Leveraging Your Social Network to Find Early Customers Monday Feb 11 at SDForum

I will be speaking next Monday at the SDForum Marketing SIG on “Leveraging Your Social Network to Find Early Customers.”

Social navigation is networking with a goal. Entrepreneurs will spend social capital navigating their way to getting trusted feedback and early sales. Like Google and web assisted selling tools, social network tools can improve the quality of your conversations by providing you with background information and context. In the context of established relationships, tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, and others allow people to connect with others and foster networks of friends or colleagues. I will walk through a simple social navigation exercise and also offer a model for how startup entrepreneurs and product introduction managers spend social capital to get critical feedback on product and business concepts.

I plan to mix some interactive exercises into the presentation to allow attendees to assess their social capital and social navigation skills. My hope is to keep it engaging and energizing. My perspective on Facebook and LinkedIn is that they are useful but no substitute for authentic relationships and real networking skills.

For marketing folks in both startups and established firms key elements of social navigation have less to do with “on-line social networks” and much more to do with face-to-face, phone, and E-mail conversations, each with their respective protocols and etiquette. My focus is more on leveraging bona fide existing relationships and not wasting the social capital that others are lending you to find prospects and ultimately early customers.

The Marketing SIG meeting starts at 6:30PM at DLA Piper DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary LLP on 2000 University Ave. (University Circle) in East Palo Alto. No charge for SDForum members, $15 at the door for non-members.
I hope to see you there.

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