Digital networking tools can enhance your professional networking.
Hi there, The Digital Marketer here, ready to help you put the power of the Internet and technology to work for your business.
Are you still using a paper Rolodex and notes on the back of business cards to keep track of your professional contacts? There are digital ways to exchange information and manage your contacts that are much more efficient than the old-fashioned paper method.
Optimizing and Digitizing Your Business Cards
Still a Luddite when it comes to networking? If you're a sucker for the business card and are resistant to going totally digital, I can't rave enough about Moo cards from Moo.com. Moo cards come in two sizes -- the more unique smaller size which is like a regular business card cut in half the long way. But they've also added more traditional sized business cards.
What really makes Moo cards stand out is that you can place a different image on every card. Many people tap into their Flickr photo accounts and use different photographs as their card images. You can order 100 cards for $21.99 US and include up to 50 different images for your cards if you like. Moo.com is located in the UK so keep that in mind when ordering.
If you collect piles of business cards at events, you may want to invest in a CardScan card digitizer. The portable versions are priced around $160 and the faster CardScan Executive is around $260. You can also visit CardScan @ Your Service at CardScan.net once you've scanned in your business cards and keep your contacts organized.
Now if you are like me, most of the business cards you collect are in a shoebox and scanning them seems like a nightmare. You can remedy that situation by using a service like Shoeboxed to upload and manage the cards. You literally mail your cards to the company and they do the scanning for you. The cards are sortable and easily imported to Gmail, Outlook, Salesforce, and many other contact programs. If you're willing to pay for someone else to scan for you, Shoeboxed will handle 50 cards per month for $9.95 monthly; 150 cards per month for $19.95 monthly or 500 cards per month for $49.95 monthly. FYI, Shoeboxed also scans receipts with a similar searchable and sortable convenience.
Other people I know use their iPhone to snap a photo of business cards they receive, and then they upload the images to Evernote.com for their accessible and searchable archives.
Your Social Media Business Card
When it comes to virtual business cards, the common file used is called a vCard file. Many applications are enhancing vCards and the way vCards are distributed.
Retaggr helps you build a "profile card" which brings together links to many of your social network profiles. You can add a photo to your vCard as well as a feed to your recent tweets on Twitter in addition to links to your web site and blog. I like the compactness of the Retaggr card, and you can also embed it as a widget in your web site or blog as a way for people to find you and contact you. Please note however that so far Retaggr has not worked with WordPress blogs.
A company called SnapDat let's you create personalized mobile business cards -- called SnapCards -- that are really just enhanced vCard files. SnapCards can be easily distributed via email and through SnapDat's iPhone application. You can choose from dozens of custom designs to use on your SnapCards and make as many cards for as many different purposes as you need.
Managing Your Social Networking Contacts
With all this networking, you are bound to have oodles of contacts but little handle on how you are leveraging them. While you could invest in a service such as Salesforce which starts at $99 for one user per month, you might not need something that robust and could benefit from an application such as SocialMinder. SocialMinder taps into your email program such as Gmail or Outlook and then delves into your LinkedIn contacts and analyzes how often you're staying in touch with your network. You get weekly emails from SocialMinder letting you know the status of your most neglected contacts, and you have the option of emailing them immediately to touch base or contacting them in some other way and noting that action in SocialMinder. It's a great way to stay current with your network.
Bottom Line: There are many ways to enhance, optimize and digitize your networking tools and take advantage of new technologies, services and applications to make your business networking better. I promise to share more digital networking tips in the near future.
That's all we have time for today. Visit the show’s website at digitalmarketer.quickanddirtytips.com for links to all of the sites mentioned in the show. If you'd like to ask a question or request a topic for The Digital Marketer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message by calling 206-339-6279.
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Moo Cards -- http://www.moo.com
CardScan -- http://www.cardscan.com
CardScan @ Your Service - http://www.cardscan.net
Evernote - http://www.evernote.com
Shoeboxed -- http://www.shoeboxed.com/
Retaggr -- http://www.retaggr.com
SnapDat -- http://www.snapdat.com
ShareCard -- http://www.sharecard.com
SocialMinder -- http://www.socialminder.com
Social Network image courtesy of Shutterstock