Most social networks fall into one of three distinct categories:
1. Horizontal oriented communities that measure their influence based on quantity. For instance, Facebook sports a jaw-dropping 600 million members, while LinkedIn reports more than 70 million business users.
2. Vertical or niche market networks that offer access to a more targeted collection of members. Govloop, Police Link and InMobile are examples.
3. Publication, association or industry managed networks. Participation in these groups offer relationship-building opportunities with other like-minded members, as well as the credibility of networking in an environment that leverages the reputation of the organizing group. CIO Magazine's online community of readers and Fast Company magazine's network are two examples.
For systems integrators, technology providers and other vendors the work with federal agencies, an online community of great interest is GovWin. This platform offers access to more than 30,000 business contacts, market intelligence, and the tools to help its members identify government contract opportunities and teaming partners.
A basic membership in GovWin is free and the sign-up process is straight-forward.However, once a contractor joins the community determining how to best participate and what outcomes to expect can be overwhelming.
GovWin's Jeff White
With this in mind, I called Jeff White of GovWin, to get his thoughts on how an individuals can derive the most measurable value from a GovWin membership.
Here are his four suggestions:
1. Create a profile:this is how to promote yourself and your company to GovWin's members.You can overview your company's capabilities and track record, and then add "tags" to the profile to make it searchable.
2. Set up subscription alerts:based on the types of news, events, topics, contract opportunities, etc. that you find of interest, GovWin will notify you in real time when relevant content is posted to the community.
3. Complete the supplier verification process:for contractors that elect to provide more detailed information about their business, GovWin's staff will review and validate these credentials and provide a certification similar to a Better Business Bureau stamp of approval.This third-party validation enhances a company's standing in the community.
4. Join the groups: they've been created by prime contractors such as Lockheed Martin, CACI, Mantech, Serco and others.According to White, these primes anticipate awarding $8 billion in annual subcontract business to partners they identify through GovWin.
Hi! I am the president and CEO of Strategic Communications Group, the only public relations consultancy of its size with an extensive track record helping the world's largest and fastest growing technology, software, telecom and healthcare organizations achieve measurable return from social media and digital communications programs.