width=0I was asked to keynote at our Social Media Club. The topic, social media in the boardroom. I presented on Building Actionable Relationships from Social Networking, a subject I have a lot of experience with the past three years. I took a little trip down memory lane in putting this together, and reviewed HOW I had built my current business, brand and reputation...from scratch!

A key few points to share about this story:

  • I career transitioned by choice a little over three years ago.
  • I moved and accepted a job to an area where I didn't know anybody.
  • The job didn't work out.
  • I launched an original business in Feb 2007.
  • I just celebrated 3 years in business.

There is a story and a process to building actionable relationships. For me it had to start locally and offline. Then it grew to nationally. Now it combines, equally, offline and online communications.

My Story

I built an original brand from scratch for my company, Train with Shane, identified certain niche's I was going to specialize in, and set out to establish myself in a market where I had no previous contacts, connections or relationships. A dubious challenge I accepted gracefully and with guts, courage and belief.

I joined chambers, professional groups, networking groups, pro-bono'd myself as much as I could, and interacted in the communities I wanted and needed to be associated with. I needed to build a database of contacts to market to. It worked.

My Process

The website came  first. I hired a media company to assist me in creating my brand, which would translate into everything else: cards, stationary, newsletters, ads.

Next was constant contact e-mail marketing, which allowed me to send out professional, clean e-mails to my growing connections on tips, tools, resources, my events, happenings, programs and services.

Then came The Metropolis: blog, newsletter and Internet radio show. These were my media tools to build, share, leverage, interact, and build my tribe.

This process of building relationships is iconic and  timeless in business. Today, we have a huge reach and boundless technology to speed it up, but relationships take time to grow.

My definition of  actionable relationships is, Building a personal trust and commonality with people that opens the way for mutual benefit.

Do I like you? Do I trust you? Do I respect you? How can we help each other?

I made some lists of local and national people I have met through social networking. I would never have met them otherwise. How fortunate we are today to have such enormous resources and opportunities to meet like minded, like purposed people.

The key is to seize the opportunity to reach out and GET PERSONAL:

  • Pick up the phone
  • Get together
  • Plan collaborative things
  • Connect people
  • Listen
  • Thank people
  • Acknowledge actions that benefit

Actionable: ready to go or be put into action, ready for use

Relationship: an (emotional) connection, association, or involvement

Are you social? What are you doing to build actionable relationships?

About the Author:

Deborah Shane delivers business education and professional skill development specializing in women in business, those in career transition, sales and personal and social brand strategy and integration.