Monday, July 28, 2008

I've been published in the North SA Chamber newsletter

I wanted to share this recent article about Linked In:

There are many of these networking sites on the internet, and this article addresses only one as an example of how it can work, based on my experience with it.
When someone first introduced me to the concept of "Linked In," I didn't see much value in this business networking site. Yet, a friend of mine, Kevin Koym, the Austin author on a soon-to-be-published book "The Rise of the Enterprise Tribe" convinced me that this was a good way to build a network of friends and clients.

Today, my Linked In network profile now numbers more than 300 contacts. I have media colleagues, a virtual "tribe" of current and former public affairs professionals and connections throughout the world who I can call upon for a variety of issues. In the past four months, my "Linked In" page has replaced the need for an updated web site.

When potential clients want to know about my services, I direct them to my Linked In site with the nine recommendations from friends and colleagues. If you visit your local Google search page, you'll find me with the terms "Matt Scherer and San Antonio " on the first page.

From talking to some North San Antonio Chamber members, I've learned that some people question its value. I have even heard stories of competitors stealing contact information from other Linked In members. It seems that the competitor would observe rivals' activities on Linked In and then call upon those new contacts. I believe this to be an extreme example, and experiences will obviously vary.

While I have some of my competitors "Linked In" with me, I haven't seen any of them steal a potential client. What this social web site has done for me is this:
1) It helps me with research on people in my industry and prospective clients. As a public relations professional, I often have clients ask me to contact the editors of publications. For some trade publications, it's easy to find the name of the key editors or reporters. Yet, the search of key editors and names for the Wall Street Journal and other major publications used to require a lot of time at a book store or research library. With the use of Linked In, I can easily find the names of those editors and reporters. Through a follow on search on Google, I can often locate the email address for the reporter. Or, if I am calling the switchboard for that publication, I can ask the receptionist for that person's phone number.
2) It keeps me updated in my colleague's jobs and lives. Linked In provides the option so that when I log onto the site, I can see the changes in their lives. It also allows people to list what they're working on every day.
3) It allows me to build a network of people with similar interests and backgrounds. Three months ago, I set up a group called the Defense Trained Killers. It was my hope to find former public affairs contacts especially as I was bidding on a military contract. Today, the DINFOS Trained Killers "tribe" has nearly 200 members, and I can email any of them if I needed to ask them a question or get help with an issue for one of my clients.

Regardless of your marketing perspective, Linked In provides an excellent way to meet potential clients and colleagues. Even if your business focus is limited to the San Antonio , Linked In can help you stay in touch with people you meet at function. And, for those who want to move to other parts of the world, Linked In provides an excellent opportunity to meet new clients as well as friends with similar interests and businesses.

Thursday, July 24, 2008 moves to help others find jobs

Matt Genovese, the founder of, had a vision of connecting Austin techies with his web site. Today, there are over 2500 regular users of the web site. I liken Matt's effort to the classic children's tome "Stone Soup." Realizing he had an excellent pot of broth like the two soldiers in the story, he looked for ways to add more ingredients. Matt's first step was to add mixers which drew 300 or more people. At one event, the crowd at one venue filled the bar forcing the local fire marshall to limit participation. As befits Austin networking events, the group moved next door.

Matt's next event is a career fair that will link potential job seekers with employers Thursday, Aug. 7 at the Monarch Event Center, 6406 N IH-35 (Or the Lincoln Shopping Center). It's Matt's vision to have these ongoing job fairs to help connect the Austin tech work force with future jobs.

(Disclosure: I am the publicist for job fair.)