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Category Archives: Networking

Better Than a Pile Up: A Review of 3 Business Card Reader Apps

So, you’re gearing up for your next big networking event and when you return to your home or office, you are guaranteed to have more business cards than you know what to do with.

If you’re like most, the cards usually end up accumulating in a pile on your desk. And there they sit. I probably don’t have to tell you what happens next – the cards just sit there until you get tired of looking at them, then you toss ‘em.

There’s a better way to manage all the information you collect during networking events: Business Card Reader Mobile Apps – and there are plenty to choose from.

I’ve taken a closer look at a few to give you the inside scoop on how they work and some key features. Keep in mind: most business card readers have the same bassic function – you open the app, take a horizontal picture and software like OCR technology extracts the data. The data is then returned to you or automatically entered into the contacts menu of your mobile device.

Now, a closer look at some of the additional features some business card readers offer.

WorldCard Mobile

World Card Mobile is not free ($4.99), and I am partial to free or low cost apps, but for the price, users get a number of useful features, making the app worth the cost for iPhone 4/3GS users.

A key feature is it’s companion, WorldCard Contacts app which allows you to save the actual business card image in addition to having the data entered into your contact list.

When using the WorldCard Mobile and WorldCard Contacts apps together, users enjoy advanced functionality such as merging existing and new contacts together, capturing contact information from email signatures and social media integration.

CardMunch

If you’re not new to business card scanners, you’ve probably heard of CardMunch which made headlines in January 2011 when they were purchased by LinkedIn. This made CardMunch more powerful for two reasons: First, following the LinkedIn purchase, CardMunch became a free application eliminating the $2.99 purchase price and $.25 additional cost to scan cards beyond the initial limit of 10. Second, CardMunch allows users to send connection requests with your new contact through the app on LinkedIn with ease.
An additional feature that makes CardMunch stand out from other readers is their 100% guarantee of accuracy. According to CardMunch, after you take a picture of your business card, or anything with contact information, the data is transcribed by actual people and returned directly to your phone contact list within minutes. The guarantee of accuracy is definitely an added bonus for a free app.

CardMunch also has what it calls a CardFlow feature which means the actual image of each individual card is saved, and users can browse those images, and access additional information assigned those images making your rolodex even more digital.

ShoeBoxed

A standard in the world of business card scanners is ShoeBoxed’s business card reader. When users take a picture of their business cards using the ShoeBoxed app, the digital data is extracted and “verified” by humans. I don’t think it’s the same as transcription by humans like CardMunch, but I imagine it gets pretty close on accuracy. Also, contact information can be quickly intergrated into Constant Contact, SalesForce, Outlook and Batch Book, which is great.
What distinguishes ShoeBoxed from the others is their online account and premium version. The app, online account and premium service together gives users the ability to scan receipts and other types of documents which are then accessible either online or available for download as PDF and Excel documents. Additionally, data can be exported to Google Contacts and QuickBooks – proving very useful for managing expenses and accessing documents on the road.

So, clearly there are a lot of options. Decide whether you’re willing to spend money or are interested in an app with multiple or single functionality, and if you want an online experience to find a business card scanner that suits your needs. But by all means, don’t let those cards pile up on your desk!

This story was originally posted on ITMartini.com July 19, 2011. 

 

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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Networking

 

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What’s in your networking tool kit?

... is going to sting a little when he's bring...

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On the April 9 episode of Digital 411, I convened a great panel of networking pros to talk about what it takes to become a master networker. Frequently people think you have to be the most outgoing and gregarious person at an event to be a great networker — wrong! Rather than recap our discussion, I invite you to listen to the podcast and take notes, because the conversation was great!

What we didn’t get to talk about was your “networking tool kit.” What’s a networking tool kit you ask? It’s all the stuff you need to have easy access to and with you when attending just about any networking event or outing. I’m not saying everyone travels this way, but these are items I’ve found to be invaluable to have with me.

Business Cards

So, this one is a no brainer. And if you listened to Ryan Bauer on Digital 411, he’s not a big fan of receiving them — and in fact, reportedly saves them to burn for heat in the winter. None the less, have plenty of business cards with you.

As an aside, I don’t necessarily give my business card to everyone, and I don’t think you should feel compelled to do so either, but that’s completely up to you. Also, regardless of whether you’re unemployed or a student — get some business cards. There are relatively inexpensive options like Vista Print that can give you something to work with.

Mints or Gum

I can’t tell you how many networking events I’ve been to where I find myself trapped in a corner talking to somebody with breath smelling like a loaded baby diaper. Of course it’s not intentional and maybe they can’t help it (I hear there are actual disorders that cause this), but this can all be hemmed up by carrying a few mints or a pack of gum with you.

I prefer gum and pop a piece at the beginning of an event, and during each bathroom break. I might be a little OCD about it, but bad breath is memorable — and who wants to be remembered for loaded diaper breath?

Hand Sanitizer

I am not a germ-a-phobe, but I do keep a bottle attached to my person at all times.

This is so much more essential than what it might sound like at first glance. Keep in mind, you likely live in America and are expected to shake hands. And if you’re going to an event and hoping to meet new people, you’re going to seem really weird if you don’t shake hands. Remember:

Roomful of people + Lack of ventilation + Bodily Contact = Instant Illness. Trust, you’ll thank me for bringing this to your attention.

Water

The other day someone said to me, “Wow, you’re having a beer. That’s so weird because I’ve never seen you drink at networking events.” I wouldn’t say I “never” drink at networking events, but it’s obvious I don’t always drink alcoholic beverages when networking. My goal is to never be that person that gets way to hammered and clearly lose sight of my purpose for attending — to make a good impression with people I’ve never met.

And as I’m sure you know, alcohol doses not hydrate you and with all that talking, you get dry mouth and are basically asking for loaded baby diaper breath. #JustSayin!

Good Exit Line

Depending on your level of influence and the other person, you might find yourself trapped talking to some dude about some bull stick network marketing program they’re trying to rope you into and that sucks. That’s why having a good exit line is important. I’m not giving out my secret lines here — but I encourage you to come up with something that is courteous to politely excuse yourself from those conversations so you can circulate and work the room.

So, that’s what I have in my networking tool kit. What do you always have ready when going into settings to meet new people. I’m sure I’ve left some things out so feel free to share in the comments section.


 
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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in business, Networking

 

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Why face time is essential to your niche community

I really enjoy the niche communities I’ve found online through Facebook, Twitter and Cbusr. In fact, there are quite a few people that I probably only exclusively interact with online. That being said, I really enjoy checking in with my online friends offline.

In the past week, I’ve attended about four meetups organized by Yelp Columbus, Cbusr, Social Media Club Columbus, and Team Cbus. What I realize after attending each of these great events is that I always have a great time seeing my online friends, offline.

Team Cbus Alive photo shoot meetup

Although it’s difficult to really understand for those that don’t maintain an active digital presence, something that is as important to the digital presence is holding and attending off line meetups. Think of it this way — the best way to maintain relationships regardless of geographic distance, is with face time.

Of course, I’ve been asked the question: Do attending and holding offline meetups really help you digital presence? The answer is a resounding YES! Here are a few reasons why meetups are essential to your niche community.

Something special happens when people get together

It’s easy to forget, but this is why we always “go home,” or visit old friends, because something special happens when we get together and spend face time with people that we don’t see very often. And this happens whether you live 15 minutes away or 150 miles away from one another. It’s an important function to maintaining a relationship.

Facilitate sustained engagement

If you are the curator of a niche community with a significant online component — you need to give people an opportunity for additional interaction. Talking and interacting online is fun — I’m the first to admit that — but I really enjoy the opportunity to have sustained conversations with individuals. It is the sustained engagement that can be how the synergy happens that makes the group a worthwhile community to which members want to be a part.

Get a sense of the larger community

Frequently when you’re a member of a niche community — you may have a few individuals that you interact with regularly, but by attending online events you can get a better sense of the larger community to which you are a part. You can meet and interact with the other people that your people are talking to, as well as grow your personal or professional network. It’s always nice to meet your friends, friends and learn more about one another in the process.

Community Ambassadors

So, may be I’m a meetup snob, but I like to know who will be attending events that I plan or consider attending. Yes, the attendance list matters. I like meeting new people — especially those that I have had sustained online conversations with, but have not had the opportunity to meet.

Having offline meetups provides opportunities for your community members to act as ambassadors for the group on line. Whether it’s a Facebook invitation or something more sophisticated, having offline meetups provides community members the opportunity to show their support and tell others how and why their niche community rocks! This is a great way to both grow engagement as well as comittment to the group.

What other reasons would you offer regarding the importance of offline meetups to sustaining your online niche community?

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2011 in Digital 411, Networking

 

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“All aboard and heading to Austin!” or Team Cbus on Digital 411

At one point I thought Digital 411 (the radio show) had already peaked when it comes to great guests, with the combination of social media experts I had on the show during Blogging Month (February). Then I got the word from Nate Riggs that the Team Cbus was being formed and even if I could not be on the actual team — that there was room on the team for me still.

I thought, how awesome! I really want to help this great group of five social media personalities, professionals, and entrepreneurs from Columbus, taking the Chevy SXSW Road Trip Challenge to form a team, drive from your home city to Austin, Texas to participate at the South By South West (SXSW) Interactive Conference, and along the way do some good and raise some cash for a great cause! Who wouldn’t?

Meet Team Cbus

So, what better opportunity could I have to get all the ins and outs of this Team Cbus mega road trip than to have the whole team on Digital 411. And that’s how I realized that there are just too many cool things going on in Columbus and beyond for that matter — I can never peak because I’ve got a endless supply of really cool digital, technology, social media, web and mobile applications to talk about.

So now that I’ve built up enough anticipation — want to know who’s on Team Cbus? As you guessed, a colorful cast of characters leading what I call a technology lifestyle — it’s not something they do, it’s part of who they are.

Since the Team has put together both a very attractive website built by Christian Adams of Christian Adams Photography and Allie of Allie Lehman Design, (@Alliepal), as well as a Facebook page, I’ll just send you to either of those to places to review and learn more about the whole sha-bang! But I will give you a brief introduction here and let the pictures intrigue you!  I’m biased — of course — but this week’s episode of Digital 411 is going to rock because this many cool people in a room together can’t be fun-free. Tune in Saturday, 10am to Digital 411 on TalktainmentRadio.com.

Team Captain, Nate Riggs Description: Social business strategist, builder of corporate social media teams. Blogger. Speaker. Runner. Blended family dad. Jedi Master.

Elijah Young Description: Co-Founder of Social Talk Live, Teacher, Only Child, Left Handed, Super Villain Strategist, Monopoly Master.

Sarah Storer Description: Blogger, speaker, storyteller, Social Media nerd, community enthusiast, authenticity hound.

Mike Whaling Description: Successful entrepreneur. Web, SEO, and Social Media strategist.

Eric Leslie Description: Father, Entrepreneur, Volunteer, Community Organizer.

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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in blog, Digital 411, Networking, social media

 

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Blogging, Branding and Gen Y: Everything you wanted to know from Tyler Durbin

We are wrapping up an amazing month on Digital 411. On our final installment of Blogging Month we’re talking Blogging, Branding, and Gen Y with two of the most well connected Gen Y professionals: Tyler Durbin and Cheryl Harrison.

If you’re not a Gen Yer — listen.

If you haven’t heard of Tyler Durbin and Cheryl Harrison — still listen.

And most importantly, if you want to some insider information on how to use blogging to brand yourself and advance your career — by all means listen!

A few interesting pieces of information about Tyler — besides his dashingly handsome good looks!

Tyler Durbin is a blogger, young professional and advocate for his Gen-Y comrades. Tyler is also the founder and editor of GenYJourney – the online platform for Gen-Y’s to engage and collaborate with each other on the life and career issues they are facing as college students, recent grads and young professionals. He created GenYJourney upon graduating from college in 2009 and has continued his weekly contributions to the site along with collaborating with nearly 100 contributors (across all generations).

 

 

You can also find Tyler sharing his story as the weekly Voice of a Young Professional columnist at Classroom to Cubicle magazine. When not writing, Tyler speaks about his experience as a recent college grad and Gen-Y blogger to groups such as The Ohio State University, Public Relations Society of America and has also served on several panels including the Blogging for Personal Branding panel at 2010 Ohio Growth Summit.

Feel free to connect with Tyler on Twitter @TylerDurbin

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2011 in blog, business, Digital 411, Networking

 

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Blogging, Branding and Gen Y: Everything you wanted to know From beingCheryl

Our last and final installment for Blogging Month on Digital 411 is: Blogging, Branding and Gen Y: Everything you wanted to know BeingCheryl AKA Cheryl “I’m a good idea” Harrison. Cheryl is a great person that really knows her personal branding stuff.  She and Tyler Durbin are a dynamic duo and I’m uber excited to feature them on the show this week.

Here’a  little more about her.

Cheryl Harrison is a marketing professional and community manager with an affinity bordering on obsession for social media. She has been actively using various iterations of the social web for more than 10 years… we’re talking Geocities pages, discussion forums and LiveJournal.

Cheryl has blogged at beingcheryl.com for close to three years on topics ranging from practical marketing strategy to absurd personal anecdotes. She also blogs at tappedin.tv, a site centered around craft beer and the Columbus community. Cheryl has been been featured on CNN, Ragan Communications, Columbus Alive, the Columbus Dispatch, 10TV, NBC4, Mix 107.9 and Examiner.com, in addition to several dozen blogs.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2011 in blog, Digital 411, Networking

 

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3 Ways to Build Your Blog’s Niche Audience

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

This month on Digital 411 we are talking about blogging. On the first episode — of four total — we started at the beginning. My guests, Elijah R. Young, co-founder of Social Talk Live and Sarah Storer AKA The Naked Red Head offered a tremendous amount of information for beginners and seasoned bloggers alike.

I really enjoyed our conversation about cultivating a niche audience, so I’m sharing some of our insights here.

Guest Post

So, you’re thinking about starting your own blog, awesome! Now, you’re asking yourself: How do I generate a niche audience? Consider writing guest posts for other blogs. Since a big aspect to keeping a blog alive is fresh content on a regular basis, bloggers are always looking for strategies to make that happen and guest posts can be a win-win for everyone.

Find a few blogs that cover topics related to what you are considering as a niche topic. Once you’ve found 2 or 3 that might work, review their content for fit. Next, come up with 1 or 2 article ideas that you feel comfortable and capable writing. THEN reach out to the author.

Although you may have dreams of starting the next Technorati or ProBlogger — consider a blog that is a little smaller. My educated guess is: The author may be less likely to turn you down because they aren’t inundated with requests.

Pitching a story is not that difficult, but you want to be sure to pitch to the right venue and provide the author a couple of options, since you don’t know what their content-publication schedule.

If things work out well, you may find yourself with a regular guest posting gig. This is great because now you are building an audience that is familiar with you and the topics you write about. When you start you’re own blog, you are giving people more of what they want and are familiar with. As an FYI: I’m open to guest posts, feel free to contact me by email =)

Comment on Other Blogs

If you’re goal is to build or develop a personal brand for yourself on a particular set of topics, then commenting on other blogs is a great strategy. Also, if you want to develop a niche topic — it’s very important to know the other blogs that cover topics similar to what you’re covering. This means reading and reviewing those sites regularly.

In “A Major Revitalization with Blog Commenting & Its Best Benefit,” Melvin identifies some great reasons to be an active blog commenter — here are a few.

  • Get some awareness from the blog community — Tell the blogosphere “hey I started a new blog, welcome me!”
  • Get more traffic — This is mostly the point of blog commenting. So, even if you’re the 99th person to comment, go ahead an leave your thoughts or question.
  • Show appreciation to bloggers who comment — In the blogosphere, the “give and take” relationship is practiced considerably. And when someone comments on a site, there’s a good chance that the author(s) will check out that blogger. And, if their content is compelling enough, they will comment back.

Interact with Readers

Although it sounds simple, it’s not a practice used by every blogger and Sarah Storer AKA The Naked Red Head, takes this strategy seriously. I really liked some some of the suggestions she offers to engage readers and build a community around her Royal Nakedness!

  • Offline Meetups: There’s so much value to interacting with your readers offline — it cannot be underestimated. Of course, it’s flattering for you — the blogger — but it’s also flattering for your readers. It really gets at developing a community around your blog. Keep in mind, people talk, and are likely to spread the word that you’re an engaged blogger that really values your readers and makes that known.
  • Skype Conversations: Sarah said something she has enjoys doing when her readers are displaced geographically is to have Skype meetups. In an effort to not only learn what they enjoy and would like to hear more about, but just to get to know her readers better as individuals with thoughts and ideas that are valuable. I really like this idea and plan to incorporate it more in my own work and you can too. Thanks Sarah!
  • Social Media Engagement (Twitter and Facebook): Although it’s not technically “on your blog,” interacting with your readers using some other social media channels can help build a niche audience too. Think about it this way — the conversation is public —  so friends and associates of those you are talking to can see what’s happening and are more likely to check out your blog to see what all the fuss is about. Just remember to be authentic, thank them when ever they provide a shout or promote your articles, and try to be engaging or solicit feedback. This is a great way to acknowledge your key supporters!

There’s so much to be said about blogging and we are just scratching the surface. What strategies can you offer the novice blogger about audiences, content, subscribers or otherwise? Leave them in the comments section below. I’d love to include them in the next episode of Digital 411

As you can see from this brief snapshot — we cover a lot of ground on Digital 411.I invite you to listen live Saturdays, 10am on Talktainmentradio.com. (also, you can access previous podcasts at this link). As an added bonus we love to have callers (1877-932-9766) and give away promos too!

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Posted by on February 6, 2011 in blog, Networking, social media

 

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