Good business readers are asking for more tips and information on social media strategy, and who better to comment than our own resident social media guru, Suzi Pomerantz. Suzi is an incredible networker both online and off, and has some great material to share. Let’s start with an introduction.

What should our readers know about you as an entrepreneur, an executive coach, an author and a social media expert?

Thank you, Karlin! It’s always a pleasure to connect with you.  Thank you for inviting me to participate on your blog! By way of introduction, I started my coaching business 18 years ago after leaving my teaching career, and in the last 18 years I’ve had the honor of coaching executives, leaders, and teams in 150 organizations worldwide. I’ve also started a number of organizations or served as a co-founder or founding board member (in recent years: IJCO, ICCO, Library of Professional Coaching, Leading Coaches’ Center), and published a bunch of articles and books.  Here’s a short version of my bio:

Suzi Pomerantz, MT., MCC., CEO of Innovative Leadership International, LLC is an award-winning executive coach and author with over 17 years experience coaching leaders and teams in over 145 Government and private sector organizations internationally, including seven Fortune 100 companies. Suzi is committed to leadership excellence and specializes in the intersection between leadership and business development, helping executives, teams and organizations find clarity in chaos. She was one of the first executive coaches to receive the Master Coach Credential from the ICF in 1998 and teaches at several of the top coach training schools. She was a founding board member of the ICCO and IJCO, and has authored 25 publications and 4 books about coaching, ethics, and business development, including the best selling book Seal the Deal. As a leading coach passionate about stewarding the profession, she is the founder of the Leading Coaches’ Center and co-founder of the Library of Professional Coaching, provides pro-bono coaching to TED fellows through SupporTED, and has spoken at the ICF annual conference, the Metro-DC ICF conference, Linkage, and many other venues. She was the 2007 recipient of the Woman of Achievement Award and the 2008 recipient of the ICCO Stewardship Award.   You can find out more about Suzi here: http://www.karlinsloan.com/coach/coach.php?Coach=PomerantzS

My social media interest and knowledge came about by necessity - I had to learn to quickly master managing my online reputation after an entrepreneur hired me to coach her for one month, refused to pay her bill, and instead took to the internet creating illegal and defamatory content about me online. The mess she created resulted in a lawsuit situation with enormous costs - huge time, money, and emotional tolls.  This is why I’m passionate about social media as a vehicle for creating, controlling, and managing your online reputation.  The one key distinction about social media strategy is that once you know your purpose for engaging online that you become an active participant.  Social media is not an external-facing application such as a static website or a brochure, article, ad, commercial, or billboard. It is a two-way interaction.  You must engage with others in real-time conversation using social media as a vehicle in order to succeed in leveraging social media for your strategic objectives.

Tell me about the Leading Coaches Center. What got you excited to create a destination site for Executive Coaches?

The idea for the Leading Coaches’ Center (http://leadingcoachescenter.com) came out of my complaining that the coaching industry as a whole seems to be lumping all coaches together so much so that it’s creating market confusion.  For example, I’ve been an executive coach for 18 years. I only coach leaders in organizations. Yet people often say to me, “Oh, I know a lady who does what you do!  She’s a life coach!” Or someone I’ve just met and talked with about executive coaching will introduce me to someone else as a life coach as if they are interchangeable terms.  To me, life coaching and the work I do as an executive coach are very distinct, very different fields.  Turns out I’m not the only one who defines them differently and what the Leading Coaches’ Center allows executive coaches to do is to have an online community or playground for connecting with other executive coaches distinct from the larger community of our colleagues who provide other coaching services outside of leadership and organizational systems. It also provides a place where we can connect with each other year-round, without expensive travel costs and conference fees.  There’s been a tremendous sharing of resources in this community, and members have created teams and posted announcements and used the site to find colleagues around the world for all sorts of various research projects, contracting gigs, co-authoring projects, etc. I’ve been amazed at it’s word-of-mouth growth.  We now have 350 members from around the world!  It’s kind of like a cross between LinkedIn and Facebook but just for business coaches.  There’s an additional fee-based monthly membership opportunity that is connected to the free Leading Coaches’ Center called the Leader’s Clubhouse, which is currently jam-packed with content from multiple experts in a variety of subjects designed to advance and enhance a leading coach’s business. You can check that out here: http://leadingcoachescenter.com/clubhouse/

What is the free access Library of Professional Coaching, and how are you monetizing it?

The Library of Professional Coaching is in transition from what we originally set up to be a subscriber-based, highly vetted collection of quality content about Executive Coaching to what is now a free access and rapidly growing collection of world class quality materials about professional coaching.  We are in the process of building a new platform for the site so that the materials can be more widely accessible at no cost and easy to access.  We will be expanding the categories as well as adding hundreds more articles and tools. We will make the entire collection available for no charge. We will make the materials much easier to find, access, and download.  Since the current platform is not designed for the open access to the Library we envision, we need to raise funds to change to and support a new platform that will better align with the vision of the Library that will better serve you. Until the new platform is built and operational, we wanted to share our excitement about this new direction for the Library, so we’ve created a stop-gap way for you to access the current collection at no cost. While it is still not so easy to access and download articles in the current platform, at least you won’t have to pay as a subscriber! In a few months it will all be much easier, but for now please enjoy the Library gratis. If you can support the build-out of the newer, better version, please consider becoming an angel or sponsor. If you, or someone you know, could benefit from this kind of opportunity, please consider becoming a sponsor.  The details can be found here (scroll down to the bottom of the page): http://www.libraryofprofessionalcoaching.com/ .  Our current plan is to seek sufficient sponsorships that the Library will be self-sustaining.

What are three tips for our Good Business readers for networking effectively online?

Only three? Well, my top tip is to be authentic.  It’s impossible to create genuine human connections if you’re not being true to yourself.  The second is to be generous.  Give of your time, give resources, help people connect with each other. The third is to connect, not sell.  You wouldn’t walk into a party where you don’t know the people and start in with, “Hi, buy my stuff!” would you?  Of course not!  So don’t do it online!  I actually wrote a book that shows you the Nine Mindsets of Networking and how that applies online.  You can get a sneak preview of it here: http://www.suzipomerantz.com/peek-inside-the-book-networking-in-the-age-of-social-media/

Is there any “Don’t Do this EVER” tip you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t ever put something in writing that you would be upset about if it were on the front page of the Wall Street Journal with a photo of you.  That goes for emails, social networks, blogs, the back of a business card…ANYTHING.  Because in today’s social media world, anything you put in writing can be used out of context and against you online.  There’s a whole new industry that’s cropped up as a result of this trend:  ORM.  That stands for Online Reputation Management.

Where can we find out more?

The hub site that will connect you to all the places mentioned above and then some is www.suzipomerantz.com and you can find all sorts of links, articles, podcasts, videos, and freebies there!

Thank you Suzi!

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