Online Testimonials and Referrals

Social media networking is transforming how professionals connect online. A decade ago, businesses needed to form entirely new relationships with one another. It started with an outreach campaign- such as a simple magazine advertisement or shaking a hand at a cocktail party. Over time and multiple interactions, a relationship was created. In the social media world, relationships jump through hurdles at an amazing pace… sometimes within hours or even minutes.

One of the main driving forces behind this phenomena is social networking being multiplied by a technology revolution. When you visit this site or many of the other sites I write on, you have the opportunity to do something that is amazingly interesting: you can interact with my readers. Just like at a cocktail party, you can listen to the main speaker (me) or choose to take the discussion down other avenues with an audience member. An example of this technology in action is on the sidebar at 123socialmedia.com, the mybloglog.com and blogcatalog.com widgets which show community members who have visited my site.

With that in mind, I am going to state the true power of what I write really isn’t within the words of this article. It is actually in the fact that what I write is spread across hundreds of different sites and social networks.

What does that mean?

If you only come here and don’t know how to investigate the internet like I do, you probably don’t know I am on Linkedin, Biznik, or Namyz. You may not even know what those websites represent.

In my “universal brand” it means a lot.

An example is if I collect a handle of the testimonials and references I have on those sites:

On my Biznik profile:

Janet Burchfield – Real Estate Broker: “Barry Hurd is flat-out brilliant at navigating the complex world of social media promotions. My brain literally hurt a little, in a good way, after his recent Marketing Strategy Workshop for Real Estate.”

Banu Sekendur – Art Therapist: “Barry is a wealth of information and so generous with it. He is not only brilliant but very easy to relate to and so incredibly modest. He is not just a numbers guys he has a social intelligence that sneaks up on you when you think you have figured him out.”

May Nguyen – Amazon.com Business Development – “Barry is absolutely brilliant. He has given me some great ideas about online marketing and search engine optimization that will be very helpful for my business.”

Switching over to my Linkedin profile:

Toby Barnett – Barnett Associates Real Estate: “Barry is a innovative and forward thinking web guru that will warp your brain if you give him a chance. His cutting edge marketing strategies allow for fast and yet manageable growth for any size company.”
Jeff Collins – MyHaberdasher.com: “Barry really knows his way around the web & can get you great results if you want you or your company to stand out on the internet.”

Brian Crouch – Business Development 123SocialMedia.com: “It’s easy to be enthusiastic working for someone who is widely regarded as one of the sharpest minds in the industry. Barry’s reputation as a social media innovator and expert is growing, and I am honored to be associated with him.”

My profile on Namyz

Peter McDowell – Performa Business Development; “Top notch guy who gives freely of his time to help others, like me, understand the ever changing technology landscape. Plus, he’s super smart and visionary when it comes to internet marketing.”

Howard Howell – That Lease Guy: “Barry knows his stuff. I would endorse him as a business associate and recommend his services highly.”

Kevin Hoffberg – Thought leader : “I met Barry several years ago when he did some project work for me. He’s an extraordinarily bright guy. I would recommend him in a heartbeat, particularly when it comes to technologies related to community building.”

What does this mean?

Stop for a moment and think about the nine testimonials above and how much information is available at the click of a button. Sourcing information for what previously took “forever” is now done instantly. Most of the people above are also present on several social networks. You can read more about each person, you can read about what they do for a profession, you can see who you know in common, and if they have a blog you can even see what kind of motorcycle they ride (Kevin Hoffberg’s blog).

In the real world I would have to request this data and take serious effort to track down a small fraction of the same information.

It isn’t just for your eyes only.

One of the amazing and interesting facts of this type of information is that it is not for your eyes only. My professional presence is “out there” for the world to see. I cannot doctor or manipulate it for every person. The article you read here is the same piece of information ten thousand other people will find.

If you have ever hired an employee or a business partner, you have probably discovered that feeling when you question whether or not the person you are hiring is the same one on the piece of paper you are reading. In the social media evolution, the same piece of paper is being sent out to everyone.

Historical data is relevant online.

The internet has a long, long memory. You can find my writing from years ago on my old blog at www.technicaldisaster.com, it has some great articles on leveraging online conversations, online communities, and even psycho blogging.

This data is becoming more and more about YOU.

Right now, there is a lot of information being collected about you. Have you ever searched for your name or company online and looked at the results? Have you ever asked yourself the question about how many of your associates and friends have searched for your results? Have you come to the conclusion it may be a good idea to start understanding how your professional (and personal) information is being used online?

If you haven’t come to that conclusion, don’t worry. While you are thinking about it people like the MIT Northwest Forum are having entire panels about your information and how businesses are making money off it.

You can read more about professional social media profiles, online reputation control, and online brand management here on 123SocialMedia. Let me know if you have any questions.

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