Michael Port is a professional speaker, entrepreneur and best selling author of one of my favorite business books, Book Yourself Solid. He is also preparing to present at an upcoming CreativeLIVE session about the essentials of the book’s method. If you’re not familiar with CreativeLIVE I highly suggest you check out Michael’s session and check it out. They are an online education platform dedicated to providing free interactive business and photography courses and they’ve had some amazing instructors. Michael Port is no short of a perfect fit.
I caught up with Michael this week to discuss his thoughts on using social media for business networking:
Amy: What is your short definition of marketing?
Michael: To me marketing isn’t about communication it’s about relevancy. Anyone can communicate but if what you’re sharing isn’t relevant to the people you want to serve, they won’t pay attention. In fact, I’d like to take the word “marketing” out of the dictionary and replace it with the word “relevance”.
Amy: The Book Yourself Solid System isn’t all about networking, but it does play a big part. What’s the best strategy for building a quality network online? How do you use it without abusing it?
Michael: Lots of people will spend hours upon hours on LinkedIn and Twitter looking to befriend industry leaders. That’s great, but it’s not a great use of your time. The key to any network, whether you build the majority of it online or not, is its quality. Ask yourself: Who is essential to the success of my business? Then build from there.
What most entrepreneurs forget is that it’s important to avoid overextending yourself. Business relationships, like any other type of relationship, are built on communication and collaboration. If you don’t have time to help others, then they won’t be willing to help, leaving that relationship void. The best way to use social in this respect is to show others that you care. Comment on their published articles, respond to questions on Twitter and FB, be active in LinkedIn groups related to your industry and just be visible. If you interact with communities instead of simply broadcasting information about yourself, you will make the friends you need to online.
Amy: You deal with small businesses and entrepreneurs. How much time a day do you spend engaging with your community online? What do you think is too much or too little?
Michael: It really varies day to day for me. What you shouldn’t do is spend hours on the web everyday. Small business owners are forced to wear many hats. They don’t have time to interact all day. If you are smart about a content marketing strategy as well as social engagement, as little as 10 minutes a day will work just fine. If you are writing a lot of blog posts, or in your case, Amy, creating video blog posts, then more time is required.
Amy: In your book, you talk about the Red Velvet Rope Policy which is one of my favorite takeaways. Can you explain a little bit about what that is and why it’s important to stick with it?
Michael: The Red Velvet Rope Policy is all about seeking out the right clients. This can sound odd to some — I mean why wouldn’t you just take them all?! Well, because there is such thing as a “dud” client. When I started my business I would work with anyone, but then I started thinking “how great would it be to only work with clients that are ideal for my business?” This idea became possible when I started to define who I wanted to work with, and began to create an environment that attracted those types of clients and kept them coming back. Anyone can install these principles. If you have a small business and need clients badly, If you can’t only then try to stick to mid-ranged clients and the “A-listers” and you will be that much happier about your business. Sticking with this model ensures that this feeling will endure. I’ll talk about the Red Velvet Rope Policy in detail during my free creativeLIVE course on Monday.
Amy: Can you find those “VIP” customers through social media?
Michael: Absolutely. Let’s be very clear, your ideal customer is out there surfing the web. There are millions upon millions out their on tablets, computers and smartphones — the key is making yourself visible to them.
Amy: What can we expect to take away from your free CreativeLIVE course this Monday?
Michael: I’m really excited for this course. It’s going to be the most action-packed, free live course ever. We are going to cover all the essentials of the Book Yourself Solid method, but some of the highlights will be learning how to find ideal clients that energize and inspire you, how to understand your clients’ needs, and how to master the 4-part simple sales formula to book the business almost every time.