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Networking and Connecting

How to Network Online (13 Ways from 13 Experts)

13 Top Connections TipsI love to connect with smart people online. You might say I love the social part of social media most of all. I’ve been able to connect with doctors, lawyers, best selling authors, investment bankers, leadership experts, CEOs, and more – all because of the Internet and social media.

It’s obviously not just me – it’s everyone, from every walk of life. How can you effectively network online?

For a change, rather than just share my thoughts and experiences on how to network online, I asked some of the most connected people I know what their tips were for networking online, and they gave me some fantastic insights that I’m now sharing with you.

13 Ways to Network Online

Remember that online is a tool. It does not replace human-to-human connections. Treat your online connections the same as you would when you reach out in person. Be respectful of others time and do not jump in and assume that a “like”, “link”, “share” or “follow” means a real friendship. Nobody (well, almost nobody) would ring a strangers doorbell and hand them flyers and ask them to go pass them out to their friends and neighbors…. so do not do the equivalent online. Build a relationship before assuming the right to ask for favors. – Thom Singer

Everything Thom said (above). Also be willing to help others out if you can. Don’t expect other people to make connections for you if you won’t do the same for them. Also avoid obvious template communication. Also avoid using the word also too much. – Judson Laipply

Check out mutual friends/followers… it is a small world! Reconnect to people you REALLY ACTUALLY LEGITIMATELY know. – Jessica Pettitt

Don’t play the numbers game. The number of followers you have is less important than the depth of your interactions. When in doubt, reach out to your existing followers and turn them into raving fans. Be real, be human, be helpful. – Sierra Modro

Keep your online and in-person connectivity congruent. Regularly reach out online to people you meet in person, and look for ways to attend events and meet people that you connect with online. The idea is relationship building; the online tools are simply additional vehicles that must be used in ways congruent with your brand and your personality. – Joe Turner

Know your purpose (e.g. I incite, inform and inspire conversations around the food plate). Build a community by serving as a resource – long before you need them. – Michele Payn-Knoper

Be interested in them, their work, their message. Find ways to share their ideas and connect them to people or ideas they might want to know. (Really, this is no different from real life – just uses a different tool.) Pay attention to the tone of online interactions – pretend you are saying it in real life, surrounded by a group of friends and family. If you wouldn’t say it out loud publicly, don’t write it. – David Dye

People like to laugh and be entertained (even when communicating online) – so keep at least some of your communications light-hearted and upbeat. – Brian Udermann

Compliment others. If something they wrote made you laugh, tell them. If you think an idea or insight they shared is brilliant, say so. If they inspired you, let them know. – Don Cooper

Following on what David Dye said (above), I’d put an exclamation point behind “pay attention.” You investing a piece of your time and attention online is the same as investing a stamp and some time offline to reach out and touch someone. It starts in the heart. – Roger Courville

Be authentic – in all you say and do. Only take the tips above that are truly you. – Holly Duckworth

Follow Phil, and do what he says. – Eliz Greene (Note from Phil: She said this without any prodding or payment from me.)

And my bonus tip: Ask people you like and respect to participate in your work online as much as you can, and showcase them for the smart people they are. You’ll get something better than if you did it yourself, AND you’ll introduce them to new audiences and new people that otherwise might have never known who they are or what they did. This is a win win win for everyone involved!

YOUR TURN: What’s YOUR best tip to network online?

Brand Successful Campaigns with the Social Media Leaders

This info-graphic highlights what opportunities are out there for business growth through social media, it also has some tips for edict when using these three platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Businesses looking to grow in the social media world or trying to find where their social media niche is can really benefit from this information.



Instagram Marketing

Instagram offers a unique way to keep your brand in front of customers and allow them to interact. The ‘Do Business Last’ theme also fits right! This is excellent for helping business owners to see the value of Instagram.



Get More of the Right Twitter Followers!

This infographic breaks down what you can do to get more of the followers that improve your brand and your return on investment; it does this by artfully showing how to use twitter effectively. This is great to analyze your twitter or to build a stellar account!



LinkedIn: What is it Actually Good For?

Check out this great infographic that breaks down the main benefits of LinkedIn. It shows how LinkedIn can help you stay connected with people both in your industry, new companies, and individuals. This is great for anybody who is looking to grow their LinkedIn account, or looking at how this tool could be beneficial for them.



Top 10 Tools to Connect You to Your Customers

In my presentations, I talk about tools last, because it’s all about the value you provide first, and then the tools you use to manage those relationships second.

Top 10

Here are my top 10+ favorite tools to connect you to your customers. I’ll be doing reviews of many of these in the future.

If you use these tools, I may get more time on my subscription or a few dollars in my pocket. I use each of these all the time and I LOVE them!

Should You Post Images to Your LinkedIn Profile?

I love to experiment in how I use social media. Even though, I read and share different statistics on social media, my own and those from others. My results don’t always match what the other “experts” have seen. So last week, I saw something I hadn’t seen, or rather hadn’t paid much attention to. Someone had posted a graphic to their status. Rather than just showing up as a link, it showed up as a whole graphic.

linkedin image post.png

So I decided to share it to my status. I posted it along with this status, 9 days ago:

This is really interesting. What do you think? Waste of time on LinkedIn – or useful?

Here are the results and the subsequent conversation :

whos viewed picture post.jpg


  • Gregg Voss I’m seeing more, frankly, silliness on LinkedIn, which is too bad, because it clutters the really good, insightful stuff want. 7d agoAndrew C. (Andy) Marris, MBA
  • Andrew C. (Andy) Marris, MBA I admit, too, that I joined-in the first time I saw the math questions or the crossword puzzles, but it started to get ridiculous. I love this! 7d agoAndrew C. (Andy) Marris, MBA
  • Andrew C. (Andy) Marris, MBA That and the constant LION stuff, too. It’s great to be an open networker, but please stop all the news feed clutter! 7d agoGregg Voss
  • Gregg Voss Hear, hear, Andy. :-) 7d agoPeter Dorfman
  • Peter Dorfman Hear, hear, Gregg.
    • Rick Ornberg It seems to me that many people use apps that link several different social media outlets so that whatever is posted on one, is posted on all the others. This, unfortunately, diminishes discretion and proper targeting. 6d agoAnne Munkwitz

    • Anne Munkwitz What is being shared that isn’t useful? My feed is full of insightful shares! 6d agoBenjamin Smidt, M.A.

    • Benjamin Smidt, M.A. I would agree with Annie. Your feed can be modified to ‘mute’ people you may find are cluttering your feed, or posting too frequently. I would like to see LI offer a feature that allows you to shut off Home Feed notifiers for Group postings. I …more 6d agoBob Graw

    • Bob Graw My immediate reaction was, “Who decides what is nonsense”? My idea of nonsense might differ from yours. As Anne and Benjamin suggested, modify your feed—or just keep scrolling to what you decide is the good stuff. Also amusing to see the poster …more 4d agoPhil Gerbyshak

    • Phil Gerbyshak Judging by the fact this got 29 likes and 15 comments (not including mine), I’d call this an experiment worth adding to my personal marketing mix. Maybe for you too? 1d agoRob Pritzlaff

    • Rob Pritzlaff Well, it all depends on your professional position. If you are a leader in the industry, you then have a license to post “motivational” material. But if you are not, then you should keep your posts to a modest professional level. I use Facebook for …more 5h agoGregg Voss

    • Gregg Voss Totally agree with Rob on this: I think the old rule should apply: speak (post) only when you have truly something of value to say because you will be judged by your every word. I’d add something from the nuns in grammar school: Empty barrels make the most noise….. less 3h ago

    • Phil Gerbyshak Rob and Gregg – While I respect your opinions, I’d ask if you are my ideal client – or more importantly, if your ideal clients would value this diversion from the rest of the news and links of the day? My thought: an occasionally relevant graphic would be useful. Doing it every post would be annoying. Doing ANYTHING every time is annoying. Doing NOTHING is annoying. Do what works. This seems to work – RIGHT NOW. I’d encourage you to try it, and see if your results were like mine. Don’t knock it until you try it is my advice. PS Stay tuned for an article on this very topic. less 3h agoPhil Gerbyshak

    • Phil Gerbyshak Rob and Gregg – While I respect your opinions, I’d ask if you are my ideal client – or more importantly, if your ideal clients would value this diversion from the rest of the news and links of the day? My thought: an occasionally relevant graphic would be useful. Doing it every post would be annoying. Doing ANYTHING every time is annoying. Doing NOTHING is annoying. Do what works. This seems to work – RIGHT NOW. I’d encourage you to try it, and see if your results were like mine. Don’t knock it until you try it is my advice. PS Stay tuned for an article on this very topic. less 3h ago

  • Rob Pritzlaff Hi Phil, Point taken but you yourself just made the clarification when you used the term “relevant”. This implies using your best judgement. I agree with occasional use though. I guess whatever the content and whenever you post, it should be thought out in terms of purpose and not impulsive. less 2h agoGregg Voss
  • Gregg Voss Phil Gerbyshak: It comes down to strategy for your personal/professional brand. What content are you putting out there…and not putting out there because it might be clutter. This has been a really good, insightful discussion, BTW. :-) 41m ago

In 9 days, it has become my most viewed post, and, other than my profile picture updates and job changes/job anniversaries, the most commented and liked post. If you look closely, you’ll see it radiated out all the way to the 3rd level, putting me in front of people who would otherwise not be aware of me.

Did I get any business as a result of this? Not yet – but likely for those 2nd and 3rd level folks, it was the first time they saw my face, so I need to keep experimenting.

Key takeaways:

Do your ideal clients value this diversion from the rest of the news and links of the day? I think an occasional relevant graphic would be useful. Doing it every post would probably annoy your contacts. Doing ANYTHING every time is annoying. Doing NOTHING is annoying. Do what works. This seems to work – RIGHT NOW. I’d encourage you to try it, and see if your results were like mine. On LinkedIn, I’d encourage you to make sure you are relevant, not just posting random word searches and cat pictures. That might work on Facebook, but I don’t think that will work on LinkedIn. It’s important to understand how the platforms are different, so you can make your content more compatible to your contacts and consistent with your company.

Or you might try a cat picture and see what happens. I know I’m going to.


Want to see more experiments like this? Connect to me on LinkedIn and follow the Advisology company page.




Creating a Custom Profile URL: LinkedIn Professional Tip

One way to tell if someone is using LinkedIn well is if they have a custom URL or not.

What is a custom profile URL?

It’s how you point people to find you on LinkedIn. Do you say “find me on LinkedIn?” That’s easy to do – if your name is Phil Gerbyshak. It’s harder to do if your name is Katie Jansen – or Bob Smith.

How can you create a LinkedIn custom profile URL?

linkedin custom URL

Watch this 2 minute and 30 second video on how to create your LinkedIn custom profile URL.

Can’t see the video embedded above? Click here to watch it on YouTube.

Your turn

Do you have a custom LinkedIn URL? Leave it below in the comments.

Do you have other questions about LinkedIn? Let us know by leaving a comment, or contact Advisology to have us do custom LinkedIn training for your organization.

I Hate to Break The News: Effective Marketing is Hard. And Costs Money.

I am honored to present today’s guest post from Tom Snyder.  Tom Snyder, is founder, president and CEO of Trivera, a seventeen year old strategic marketing and communications firm that has embraced the web from the very beginning. Tom oversees the day to day operations of the firm, and lives in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his wife Marjie and their two dogs. When Tom isn’t busy making his clients look like marketing rock stars, he’s also a wine snob, music junkie, Ex-Milwaukee Radio Guy, HDTV expert, political wonk, hopeless romantic and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Mini Guide to Realtime Marketing with Foursquare,” from Penguin Books.

smdeadendBroadcast advertising: DEAD!  Print advertising: DEAD! Direct Marketing: DEAD! Trade Shows: DEAD! Web sites: DEAD! Email Marketing: DEAD!  Long Live Social Media!!!!!

A lot of folks have been regarding me as a go-to source for Social Media marketing for several years. My marketing firm, Trivera, produced Social Media University, the first major Social Media conference in Milwaukee in 2009 (we picked Phil Gerbyshak as one of our professors).

So what I’m about to say may surprise you.

If I see one more expert blog about the demise of any traditional marketing vehicle at the hands of the next new shiny Social Media object, I just may vomit.

News Flash: NONE of them are dead, or even going away any time soon. And as much as some would like to believe that Social Media is the low cost silver bullet that will allow you to ignore other marketing vehicles, those people are kidding themselves.

Old time Marketers who have been around for awhile (i.e. since before SXSW), will tell you: New platforms don’t make it easier or cheaper to market your business. They never have and they never will.

Decades ago, there were marketers who hoped that this new fangled TV thing would be their savior, and they’d no longer need to use radio to reach their audience. The smart ones (and even the not-so-smart ones) soon realized that they needed to figure out how to strategically use BOTH to reach different market segments.

More recently came the promise that the web was going to eliminate both print and broadcast media. While some forged that path, others stubbornly refused to even pursue web-based marketing. But again, the most successful marketers figured out how to use all of them together. It cost more, but generated an even greater return.

Then came the marketers who rejoiced that email marketing would deliver them from the “high” cost of print and direct mail.  The wise ones found that successful digital campaigns, if done properly, could actually be even more expensive than the printed predecessors. But ironically, while even more expensive, those campaigns could still be more effective…and produce a greater ROI…when combined with direct marketing efforts using personalized URLs.

And now, most recently, businesses who resisted the high investment required for a strategically and professionally architected, effectively-developed, search engine optimized, well marketed web presence are celebrating the coming of “free” Social Media. With messianic fervor, they proclaim “the website is dead” only to be disappointed  as they bounce from MySpace to Facebook to Twitter to Foursquare to Pinterest with Wac-a-Mole-like effort, only to become serial Social Media failures. Now Instagram Video and Vine are the new shiny objects that will help them achieve their elusive, unfulfilled dreams of amazing success with little investment.

“When this 6 second video I shot for free with my iPad goes viral, my brand will finally take off!”


Here’s the deal.  Effective marketing is hard. It requires expertise. Chances are you don’t have that expertise. So you’ll need to find help from someone who does.  And I don’t mean a friend’s son who “knows computers,” a Social Media “guru” whose only credentials are that they’ve been on Twitter since 2009 or even a 30 year old ad agency whose “digital division” is a WordPress theme hack.

An effective marketing campaign is one that will start first with an understanding of your brand (not your logo, but the promise of an experience). It’s only by knowing why your ideal customers love, trust and do business with you, that you can then know where, when, why and how to find more just like them. Once you’ve done that, then you need to understand what will generate awareness, interest, desire, and action for that group, and then be able to effectively (and measurably) execute the plan to make it happen, regardless of the media necessary to get it done. That may mean Social Media, but it might not. That may not mean radio or TV, but it might. It might require email, Direct Mail or both.  PR, content marketing, video, outdoor, and even the back cover of the phone book could each be the  ideal ways to reach them.  One thing for certain: it WILL require a web presence. Whether it’s a micro-site, an informational website, a fully functional eCommerce site, an intranet, the data source for a mobile app or all of the above, there will be a web component. Part of that web component will be the tools to measure the success of every marketing channel being used and monitoring what’s working (so you do more of that) and what isn’t (so you stop doing that).

Obviously a single individual will never have the knowledge and experience to do all of that. So what you really need is a team. A team with a combined knowledge of every one of those media, and how to use them all correctly, either independently or in concert with any of the others. A team that can measure your key performance indicators, and continually improve them.  It requires a team that understands your brand, and can use the right mix of tools to reinforce that brand and increase sales. A team that understands…and can deliver…meaningful Return on Investment. Find that team and let them help you succeed.

Competition for reaching a market share and turning it into meaningful conversions will never be easy. Neither will the choices of marketing and transactional tools. There are no short cuts.  It will require an investment. But the one thing that will never change is that strategic marketing done right will come back in spades.

And that is the only real silver bullet.

Connecting the 5-Year Journey to Discovering You

Photo credit Lyssa Vang

Photo credit Lyssa Vang

[Today’s guest post is by my good friend and co-host of The Shut Up Show, Berni Xiong. As The Shin Kicking Life Spark, Berni helps solopreneurs spark people and spark movements.]

It’s hard to believe I almost let myself whittle away to nothing nearly five years ago. Literally. Two weeks after I kicked my corporate sales job to the curb and started my first entrepreneurial venture in coaching, I got sick with a mystery diagnosis. I was hospitalized for seven days. Unable to work on building the new business. Uninsured. Unemployed. On top of that, I was forced into involuntary anorexia by four doctors who prodded and probed me every day conducting a multitude of tests to find out what the hell was going on inside me.

On day seven, I was discharged with no known cause for my illness, a new parasite in my colon I contracted from my hospital bed, and a $40,000 bill. I seriously just wanted to die.

There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t think about my 2008 hospitalization. The kind of inner chatter that was happening could have easily moved me to take my own life back then. There were many moments I wished I could die so my son could cash out my insurance policy and not have to see his good-for-nothing mother rotting in her bed with no job and no strength to build a new business.

How different would things be today had I surrendered to the beast?

Phil and I recently had an amazing conversation with Srini Rao of BlogcastFM on our new web show where we got to talking about connecting the dots of our past decisions. Srini said, “If I could push the reset button on my life, I would have done things differently. But if I did push the reset button, we might not be having this conversation right now.”

What Srini says is so profound for many reasons. If you could go back and take away all your mistakes and you only kept the good, you would miss out on a lot of invaluable experiences you’ve learned along the way. The connections you’ve made would no longer be there. Your story would not resonate with a lot of people as a result. And in the very literal sense, you would not be where you are right here, right now.

As I write this, last week I gave a kick ass workshop on selling. It was like magic. I achieved my objectives as the presenter. They got what they wanted as attendees. It was a win-win. It almost didn’t happen that way. I had originally built the curriculum to teach cold-calling and selling techniques the way I was taught over the last decade. After doing my first run-through with my material, I was extremely unexcited. I even gave myself the stink eye. There was no way I would subject anyone to that horror.

So the night before my workshop, I scrapped it all, cleaned my canvas and went to bed. The next day, I delivered my best workshop ever.

berni and phil margaritasPhil texted me after I finished my workshop asking me to meet him for lunch before I head back home two hours away. I said “Hell yeah!” with no hesitation. Two margaritas and one vine later, I realized why I got up from that hospital bed in 2008. Why I kept moving forward even in the darkest times. Days like last week delivering my best workshop ever and getting to hang out with Phil to conspire under the sun while making a difference in the world made every excruciating moment worth the journey to get here.

The shin kick here I’d like to impart on you?

As Phil says:

No regrets. But no repeats.

Berni Xiong (shUNG) is The Shin Kicking Life Spark for solopreneurs and Phil’s co-host on The Shut Up Show. When she’s not kicking shins, she writes about her journey from corporate to coaching at

Becoming A Networking Super Hero

Get Connected!

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What others say about Phil

Chris Brogan

"Phil has boundless energy and optimism, channeled into the noble goal of making good connections with interesting people. He is truly tireless in his pursuit of finding great ways to share knowledge, build community, and channel relationships into action. I’d recommend Phil highly in these aspects for your future endeavors."

Chris Brogan, NY Times best-selling author and social media superstar


Sophie Klossner

“If you are looking for a speaker who brings energy, enthusiasm and direction to your group, look no further than Phil Gerbyshak. Phil will get your group on its feet with energy and looking forward to making it a great day!”

Sophie Klossner

brad shorr

Brad Shorr

“Phil understands social media as well as or better than anyone you will find – anywhere. Besides having a full understanding of the technical and strategic aspects of using Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc., in your business, Phil brings high energy and enthusiasm to every project and speaking engagement. In short, Phil can help you figure out what to do, and get you fired up about doing it!”

Brad Shorr


Rich Hand

“Phil is a great choice if you are looking for a speaker to add value for you and your employees! He will energize you , and will customize his presentation to Make It Great! I have used him at HDI and he is a valuable contributor to our community. He can do the same for you. High energy! High Impact! Highly recommended!”

Rich Hand

lisa gates

Lisa Gates

“Phil Gerbyshak is an inspired master speaker who can light a dark corner in any room on fire with his absolute love of humanity, and a deep wisdom about team building, leadership and communication. His style is witty and improvisational, and grounded by a tireless, authentic generosity.”

Lisa Gates

tammy lenski

Dr. Tammy Lenski

“When someone first mentioned Phil to me 3 years ago, she described him this way: “He’s the real deal.” Every time I’ve spoken with or seen Phil interviewing or doing a public speaking gig since, that has proven true. Then, when I felt it was time for me to do some re-branding after over 10 successful years in business, I knew I wanted the benefit of a creative, energetic and smart soul to bounce ideas off of. I knew I wanted someone who grasps branding but works in realms not just narrowly focused on branding alone. Phil came immediately to mind. The results with Phil were exceptional. He pressed my thinking where I’d asked him to (and a few well-selected place I hadn’t!), proved a superb brainstorming and idea-generating partner, and invited me to deepen my thinking about some of the brand ideas I was considering. And he did it all with high energy, a sunny demeanor, and reliable timeliness. Phil Gerbyshak is the real deal indeed.”

Dr. Tammy Lenski