Networking for Introverts Featuring Dana Kaye
I don’t know about you, but I prefer to stay at home in my sweatpants and plug away at my computer. Can you tell I’m an introvert? My husband calls me a hermit! So when I hear the term “networking”, I cringe… until I met Dana Kaye! Once you hear her advice on how to network from home and how to approach networking, you will be more inclined to reach out to others. Dana Kaye is a veteran publicist, social media pro, and brand manager. Known for her innovative ideas and knowledge of current trends, she coaches her clients to identify and establish their unique personal brands. Dana is also the author of Your Book, Your Brand: The Step by Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your Sales and she’s also the creator of Branding Outside the Box where she helps authors and entrepreneurs become more memorable. I am so excited to share with you my interview with Dana today where we will discuss not only networking but networking for introverts!
Dana, please tell us more about yourself!
As mentioned earlier, I am a veteran publicist and brand manager. I launched my PR company in 2009. We represent authors and publishers and handle all things literary! As you can imagine, as book people, we are all introverts because we’d rather be reading! What I really love about what we do is that I get to introduce people to new books and kind of play matchmaker between authors, their books and readers. So much has changed in the last 11 years that I have been in this business. As a publicist, our job is to manage an author’s brand and their public persona which includes their media interviews, their book reviews, any social media management, along with any events and speaking engagements they participate in. In 2016 I came out with a book called: Your Book, Your Brand: The Step by Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your Sales. What’s interesting is that I had a lot of people coming to my launch events that were NOT writers, they were small business owners. The feedback that I was getting was that while my book was geared towards writers, it applied to small business owners as well because fundamentally, it was all the same! The way to build a brand and online community really resonated with them, even though I was mostly talking to authors. That was when I decided to launch Branding Outside the Box which is my community for people who are looking to be more memorable and make more meaningful connections.
Did you find that when you were trying to do events for authors, did they struggle with networking?
Of course! While there are some extroverted authors out there, there are plenty out there who struggle with this. We are all really bad at talking about our own worth. Even the exercise of, “Hey Dana, tell us what you do!”, took some practice to home in on what exactly I do and how I serve my community. Getting your name out there isn’t just about meeting new people, it about getting clarity on how you should introduce yourself so that when people as you what you do you don’t just say, “I’m a writer”. It’s important to be more descriptive about the types of stories you write and what you publish. If you’re an entrepreneur it’s being able to respond with what your business is, who you serve, and how you serve them. Once you get clarity on that question and you know how to respond to it, it feels a lot easier, even if you are introverted.
Dana, I’m sure there are a lot of moms out there that are introverted and they hear the word “networking” and they cringe or shut off their mind to the subject. I remember thinking of networking as being forced to go to events, sit down with “salesy” people, and have a handful of business cards. That’s really how networking used to be! However, a lot has changed!
How can work at home moms make new connections and broaden their network WITHOUT traveling or child care expenses?
I love making a personal, face-to-face connection but like you said It takes time and money for travel and logistics to do that. Not only that, but some moms might work in a more rural area and can’t be as mobile as they would like. With the advent of the internet, it has made things a lot easier. However, if we really look at the idea of social media/networking sites, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook was built for conversations and community building. How can we get back to the networking foundation of these sites? There have been a few ways that I have been networking online without being salesy or creepy and making genuine connections. For example, my preferred platform is Instagram and I do a lot of DMing (direct messaging!). Say I am listening to this podcast in my car and you say something that really resonates with me, once I park, I will send a DM saying how much a loved that particular episode. That’s it! There’s no ask, no pitch, nothing like that. I will also “share” people’s content because as you know, we are all trying to be seen on these platforms while beating the algorithm. The kindest thing you can do for somebody is to share their content! I spend most of my time on social media shooting DMs to people, sharing their content, commenting on posts in a way that is meaningful. I do that for a few weeks before I say, “Hey, it looks like I have a great idea for your podcast!” or “Hey, I have a client who would be a great fit for your podcast!” or “I think we could collaborate on something. Let’s have a virtual coffee date!”.
These practices have been a great way to utilize social media. I am either reaching out to people who I want to connect with for a cross-promotion, social media services, or a good referral stream. I will connect with them, share some of their content which, in turn, boosts their content. That way, when I do make some sort of ask, they can see that I have been engaged all along. Some other ways to network are to utilize “Mighty Networks”. This is a platform and app that allows online communities to exist outside of Facebook. This is basically Facebook Groups but without all the algorithmic privacy issues. A lot of people have been cultivating online communities using Mighty Networks. For example, I’m in two different groups. The first is What Works with Terry McMillan which is a large community for small business owners and entrepreneurs. It’s a very active community. Then I am part of the Being Boss community which was built by Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. This is a community for online entrepreneurs who are posting things that are working, things they are doing, questions that they have, there’s even a section for classifieds. The classifieds section is a great place where you can post your e-course or webinar. Now, I use this platform by searching posts that have keywords in my topic like “networking” or “personal branding” or “books” and I’ll see who is asking questions about it. Then, I will offer guidance and answer questions. From there, if it seems like it’s relevant, I’ll offer to talk through things via a Zoom call. If you notice, the way I network comes from a place of service. Additionally, you can do this type of networking without leaving your house and in between the hustle and bustle of life. If you are showing up from a place of service, it takes the pressure off of you and is less draining. As an introvert, I find it draining to show up and “be Dana Kaye” and do the things. It’s less draining if I see someone who is writing a book and doesn’t know what to do and then offer some guidance. The relationships formed that way just feel better because it’s been established from a place of mutual help, rather than just sales.
Dana, you hit on a couple of key points that I love. I love that what you said about when we are on our social networks, we should focus more on engaging rather than posting. I think that is vital to really understand Instagram or Facebook. These aren’t necessarily places to go and try and “sell” your products and services, they are places to build community and engage with other people. Using this method really does take the pressure off when you are an introvert! I remember in the begging, I was jumping on the social networks and was spammy and gross and felt forced and overall, wasn’t comfortable. Now, I have no problem showing up on social media because like you said, it just feels better when we are building communities rather than just selling.
You mentioned Mighty Networks, which I’ve never heard of! Is it an app that you download and then search for groups right in the app?
I believe you can in the app, but it’s also supported through a desktop version as well. People who have podcasts, for example, are moving away from Facebook groups and moving towards Mighty Networks because it’s a private, non-algorithmic platform that is free from distractions. Mighty Networks is a tool to cultivate these communities. You should be able to search for communities. There are also people who have large thought networks who are using this platform to help grow their communities.
How can busy moms grow their network and scale their business without sacrificing time with their family?
My son is in school which is a game-changer but there have been a few things I’ve learned about this dilemma that so many moms face. We have to accept the fact that we may not be able to do all the things. However, I do think that is an asset! I actually think that this condensation of time is great for your business because all of the nonsense and fluff just fall to the wayside. If you focus on doing the thing that is going to have the biggest impact on your business, there will be things on your list that might not get done. What I mean by that is if I had all the time in the world, I could have a vibrant YouTube channel, a multi-day-a-week podcast, I’d be on all the social media platforms, have great SEO, serve more clients, etc., but because I don’t have all that time I have to prioritize the things that will make the biggest impact on my business. This forces you to get really clear on the things that are making the biggest impact. Let’s say, for example, you are a blogger and you are looking to increase traffic to your blog. It’s important to look at where your people are coming from and what they are doing once they get there. Say you have people coming from Pinterest and they are clicking on the “work with me” page, you know that you can start focusing on Pinterest and that’s it. This gives you permission to let go of your LinkedIn, Twitter, or whatever else is not serving you. It also forces you to really get efficient and clear on what your most important tasks are. I personally cannot take meetings at all times of the day. When I say that I can’t do a meeting this week, but I can do one next week, then the client shifts and asks if everything can be sorted out via email which can be more efficient anyway! If you’re trying to scale your business, you need to first be really clear on what are the most impactful actions that you can take and what you are going to focus on. I also believe that it’s important to focus on one primary line of business at a time. My company does full-service campaigns for authors, I also have a membership site that is more of a budget-friendly/DIY site, and I also do consulting and coaching. The main focus for me this year is the membership site and growing the memberships site. I am not actively, focusing on the other areas. If I am determining if I need to go to a conference or an event, if it’s not serving that one primary goal, then I say no! When you’re focused on one primary revenue stream in your business…guess what… it grows a lot faster! When time is condensed, you only have time to focus on one marketing tactic, one revenue stream, one thing at a time and you become more efficient. I would argue that you can scale and grow just as quickly as someone who has all the time in the world because they are diluting their resources.
Dana, I love everything you just said, and you hit on a keyword: impact! You have validated what’s been going on in my head for so long! As moms, we feel like we have to do it ALL but there is not enough time in the day. Deciding to make clear and impactful actions is so good! It’s one thing to just do the to-do’s like making beautiful graphics, have the perfect landing page, etc., is all great and will eventually help your business. But what is the one action that you can do now that will impact your business the most? We have to get out of our own way and do what serves your business NOW!
The key is really to keep it simple! There is no shortage of ways to complicate your business! If you don’t have the time to make the prettiest graphics, use templates! I use Canva and we just template everything, make a copy, change the text, done! We have to look for ways that we can deliver a great service or product, keep getting new clients, but in a smaller amount of hands-on time. So even if you love creating gorgeous graphics and taking stunning photos, we don’t always have the time for that and just because you love it, it may not be the thing that is making you money or the most impact in your business. We talked about how I am an introvert so showing up takes a lot of energy but when I do show up for a webinar/podcast/client call, it makes a BIG impact on my business! I need to keep space for this type of important work and in order to have space for that, I’m not shooting YouTube videos or on every type of social media. Getting clear on what makes the greatest impact on your business requires a lot of testing to find out what works and what doesn’t.
I love how you talked about not complicating things. I think what happens is that we get on social media and we start following all these influencers and mentors in our niche and then we get on their email list. Then you start getting so much “noise” in your face and it starts to overcomplicate things for you and your business. When you see what everyone else out there is doing, you begin to overthink. We have to allow ourselves to pull away from that and take are hard look at our business and say, “What do I want to do? What do I like to do? What would help grow my business?”. That’s it!
If you are at the beginning point of your business, it’s ok to sign up for a bunch of email lists and follow the people in your niche because it can help you find out what methods work for and appeal to you. Unfollow and unsubscribe form everything that doesn’t serve you and figure out who you want to be! It’s easier to find out who you want to be and how you want to show up when you’ve observed enough people and businesses who do things that you don’t like.
How has networking has impacted your business?
When I started Kaye Publicity, I went from having 1 client to 30… in less than a year! This was dramatic, exponential, crazy growth! Email marketing was something that only corporations and non-profits used, not really for individuals. Mail Chimp had just come out, so I signed up for that. Twitter had only been around for a few years and Facebook has just opened to the public, so this was during very different times. Networking was all I had! My first client talked a lot and told everyone what we were doing! The great thing about PR is it’s very visible. If someone sees an author on the Today Show or hear them on NPR, people ask them who their publicist is because it’s the publicist who booked the shows! I was able to compound the current clients and the literary agents that I had which led to referrals. We were growing exponentially for 5 years. Referrals are so valuable!
You can find out more about networking, personal branding, and making meaningful connections at http://www.brandingoutsidethebox.com