Dale Berkebile is a client of mine that founded a branding agency in Fort Worth, TX several years ago. Over the past few years, he’s become a certified Hubspot partner and now combines inbound marketing, social media and sales ability to help his clients grow their businesses. His guest post today shares what happens when you add passion to technology and networking. In his own words….
Roughly 3 months ago I started an inbound networking group (sound convictions). This is not your average “business” networking group, it is a “Music Business” networking group and an online music community.
In the past, I’ve tried many different business groups and thought this time I’d switch things up and create a strategy around my passion… Music. That being said, it still needed to be serious and business related, but was focused on a vertical, the music market, instead of a more generalist business group.
One thing that happened is it has rekindled my passion for music. More importantly, it has got me having more sales conversations that are FUN. These fun conversations are with other successful business people who are passionate about music or in the music industry in some way.
So slowly but surely, I’m building something really good. Being that Inbound Networking is NEW, I think everyone’s flying by the seat of their pants on some level. Although my group is different than most of the inbound networking groups, I’m still trying to apply many of the ideas that are thought to be best practices.
One of these thoughts is networking and collaborating with others to build a group that offers a win-win for everyone involved. I’ve been recruiting like crazy for this group and have some 8 to 20 people interested. 3 to 6 people are getting serious, starting to help. They have begun working on the group by writing articles and inviting their passionate music loving friends to follow us and share the idea and our posts.
Another best practice is getting your contacts to start taking ownership and recruiting their contacts to join what we are doing. Over the last three days I struck a nerve with this idea. Ideally this idea is meant to build the group. What has happened in my case though, is more of an exposure thing than actual members joining. At least, as of right now.
Here’s how it played out. I am helping to promote a two day music festival in Fort Worth. So I wrote a few articles about this event. What I noticed though was that many people didn’t know all the bands playing this event. Nor did I know more than 2 of the 17 bands. So I created a show playlist through Spotify. This allowed people to listen to one song from each band. Within an hour you could get a good feel for what the whole event was going to be like.
Then I added a poll for people to vote on their favorite band. Because of the playlist, anyone could participate, not just people who already knew the bands or locals that are able to go to the festival.
Then I did some music promotion through social media. And, here’s a quick lesson on how to use twitter for your inbound networking group, business or band. I also tweeted the poll using the music event’s twitter handle (@FWMusicFestival). They ReTweeted my tweet which gave this article some good exposure and got us a few votes. I then reposted this article and included each of the bands twitter handles in a personalized tweet.
This got us some more exposure and one band got serious and ReTweeted it. They got a ton of votes by the next day (63% of the votes actually). So yesterday I pissed off a few people off because I scheduled another wave of promotions based on personalized tweets to bands and facebook posts mentioning the one band had 63% of the votes. I scheduled these posts/tweets to hit at different times throughout the day. This caused a huge spike in traffic and a whirlwind of new votes.
This has gotten a ton of new people engaging with the site and sharing it with friends. So you can see how a connection’s connections can really grow your group and get you big exposure. We went from roughly 10 visitors a day to several days of 1000+ visitors. We may hit 5000 to 6000 visitors to the site by months end which has exceeded my branding business website by several thousand visits a month. What was done in 4 years for my business, was passed in 3 months. This is partly because of passion and partly because I’m working with a group of other people and tapping into everyone sphere of influence. This is the real value of inbound networking in my mind. It is marketing plus networking and collaboration all rolled into one thing.
So my question is… what are YOU doing to get others involved with your group? What kind of inbound networking group could you create? Does it have to be “business as usual” or can you find a hobby you are passionate about and turn that into a business of passionate inbound networkers?
We probably upset a few people yesterday, but it was for the greater good don’t you think? I know I lost one fan from our facebook page and maybe a few twitter followers. But we also gained a few new twitter followers and a ton of people engaging on our site. Now, our next hurdle… how do we get these same people coming back and engaging again or helping them to get involved with the group so we can grow. I’ll keep you posted on this one. Happy Networking and don’t be scared to try something new!