by Ray Huse
We all have reasons we joined BNI. I came on board because I feel most fulfilled when I help someone else succeed. I loved the idea of an organization dedicated to the idea of helping others, which would in turn, benefit me as well.
We all have reasons we stay in BNI. For most of the members I talk to, it's the relationships we build, the contacts we make, and the knowledge we build. I've talked to people who are so passionate about what BNI has done for them and their business, they share it with every time they get the chance.
Today, we have a tool that can help us share the great things we do, these reasons why we stay, as well as help us grow our chapters. Most of us use it every day. I'm referring to social media.
Every BNI Heartland chapter has a Facebook business page, and some chapters are using it to effectively tell their stories and attract people to their chapter meetings. I'd like to discuss some of the reasons why it's important to keep your social media presence up.
First of all, I'd like to refer back to an "Ivanism" you've likely heard: "Not filling out your BNI Connect profile is like having a full page ad in the newspaper and leaving it blank." I'd say leaving your chapter Facebook page blank or outdated is a similar mistake. To me, an uninvolved social media page is like having a showroom for selling cars, but all your good stock is somewhere hiding off in a back lot. You've got something great, but you're not showing it!
Social media has come a long way from it's origins. I remember at first I used it to find former co-workers and classmates to see what people were up to now. Then it became a way to connect with family all over. Now it's evolved into a way to do business. Facebook is now right behind Google and YouTube as the most popular website on the planet, and people are using it to network for all kinds of purposes. In BNI, networking is a part of what we do, and Facebook is an excellent tool for us.
Have you ever met someone and Googled them or their business later that day - only to be directed to a Facebook page for that business? Even a search for "BNI + Omaha" yields a chapter Facebook page within the first five results. How many people do you think that you invite to visit do a quick internet search for your chapter and find your chapter Facebook page? Or just search directly within Facebook itself?
This is why BNI Heartland has created Facebook business pages for each chapter. We encourage chapters to share things that correspond with our core values to their pages. Think of it as that "showroom" for your chapter. Spotlight those things that show Recognition, Learning, Tradition + Innovation, Building Relationships, Accountability, and Positve Attitude. All this will show what Givers Gain can do.
Some of the benefits of that active page can include keeping you and your business top of mind between meetings, more visitor interest in your group and meetings, increasing your visibility in your local business community and more.
The first step is to find your chapter's Facebook business page and "like" it. A search on Facebook for your "BNI Heartland" with your chapter name should pull it up.
The next step is to like and share the content that is already there. See that picture of your Notable Networker from last week? Like it! See a good blog article there you'd like to share with the group, or with fellow businesses and friends? Share it! (That MAY be a hint!)
Looking for more ideas? Carrie Langston, our Area Director in South Dakota has written her blog detailing some specific ideas of what you can share, and shares the results some of her chapters have seen. Another good resource is to share content on the main BNI Heartland Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BNIheartland. Like and follow that page for more great content while you're at it.
These Facebook pages have been set up for you - the members - to share the great things going on in your chapters in the spirit of BNI's Core Values. We've left the pages open for your content and comments, knowing that you will respect what you post there with the same level of professionalism as what you share in your chapter meetings.
After all this is your showroom! Let's see everyone shine!