If you are a business in the 919 area code, you may wonder where on-line to network. Of course linkedin.com is worth having a profile on, but I want to talk about a new one– www.inside919.com (they also have ones for all US area codes — www.insideareacodes.com – but you need to really work or live in the title-designated area code ).
It is free to join, allows you to form local discussion groups like “Triangle Business Bloggers” or “Podcasting.” It lets you list calendar events, have a blog so you can contribute useful articles, have a profile stating your business and it offers an RSS feed so you can keep up with it in your Blog Reader. By requiring you to live or work in the 919 area code and asking that people make at least one contribution a month, it keeps it smaller then the big guys offering a local connection. It was started by Pat Howlett who moved from a small town to the RTP NC area and wanted to create a small town business networking feel on-line.
My networking advice for using Inside919 is to take a little time to join it, fill out the basic profile, maybe join a few groups that are of interest and connect to some people you know. Next just check in once a week or even once a month based on your time demands and the importance of a web presence. When you check in, look for ways to help others or contribute to a conversation that is occurring in a Forum or group. If you use a blog reader then add the RSS feed to that so you can keep track of it.
I do recommend a picture and if you don’t have one you like, pay a photographer for one good one. The good photographers can offer Photoshop touch ups if that makes you more comfortable. You can find one in InSide919.com as well.
Next share the site with good local businesses you know to help them connect to others.
I like this group since Pat is a local person who truly wants to help the local business professionals and make it easy to participate. To me this can be one of the important pieces of your on-line presence and marketing plan.
Pat Howlett also is creating groups for other area codes and here is a website to find all the groups: www.insideareacodes.com
If you join www.inside919.com , look me up and say hello!
By Martin Brossman – www.coachingsupport.com – Martin@CoachingSupport.com (919) 847-4757