Three tools to help you network smarter
If you’re connecting with startups on the east side of New Jersey, no doubts that your path will some day lead you to meet Saumya Ganguly. Deeply involved in the startup community, he co-organizes meetups, networks at the afterparties and doesn’t hesitate to give a hand to those starting their own businesses.
I got to meet Saumya at one of these meetups and was looking forward to getting a good talk with him. Having previously worked for top IT and consulting companies, including IBM, PwC and SAP, he has a solid understanding of corporate efficiency and know-how. Now, for the past three years, he has been bringing his professional experience to smaller companies of 50 - 100 employees with his consulting firm, Obligent Consulting.
He understands that business tools lead to incredible advantages. They give you insights to make smarter moves, boost your efficiency and make your company look a lot larger than it actually is. Saumya’s IT background made him thrilled to try and test an incredible number of business software products to help him super-power his startup - as well as his clients’.
He calls himself a “tool junkie” for a reason.
With a self-proclaimed title like this, we were obviously excited to discover his favorite business tools.
Here are just a few of them that he shared with us.
Improve Your Networking - Tools for Startups
LinkedIn preview for any email contact. Free.
Advantage: Saves you time and makes sure you’re “in the know”
When running a business, it can get overwhelming to keep track of each and every contact in your inbox. Rapportive helps you step up your startup with a James Bond-like move, by “spying” on them. Alright, it’s not quite as racy as spying but it allows you to see a LinkedIn summary for any email address, without leaving your Gmail window. At a glance, you see that person’s name, profile pic, current employment, location, any connections in common and Twitter accounts they might have that is using this same email address. Brilliant!
It’s free and works as a plug-in/extension for Chrome and Firefox. And if you are as creative as Saumya, there are any more ways to use this tool.
Asks others for their feedback on your profile picture. Free.
Advantage: Get genuine feedback on your profile picture
“A first impression is the most important impression you’ll ever make—and you get only one chance to make it. [...] And yet most of us don’t know how we’re really seen by others.”
- First Impressions: What You Don't Know About How Others See You by Ann Demarais Ph.D. and Valerie White Ph.D.
Truth is that we live in a world where we “meet” a whole lot of people online. That in-person handshake might take years to come and all that people will know about you is what Google can show them.
So even in the virtual space, better put your best foot forward.
PhotoFeeler helps you do that. It lets you upload profile pictures and asks others how they perceive you in this picture. Do you look competent, likable, influential?
So next time you change your LinkedIn picture, give yourself a headstart and share it here first.
Oh, and yes, you’ve noticed that PhotoFeeler isn’t just for your corporate mugshot.
Get feedback for social and dating site pictures as well -and let us know if you get new dates out of it!
LinkedIn’s publishing tool. Free.
Advantage: Offers you an unfair advantage with SEO
For all of us that want our business to appear at the top of Google’s search result, Saumya shared a precious insider secret: a good Pulse article that you publish will give you an unfair advantage in ranking higher.
To achieve this SEO boost with Pulse, compose longer posts that respect SEO rules. Make sure that you are using the right keywords for your industry, include links to reputable websites, have this article get linked to from other websites, etc.
This will rank higher than many personal blog out there.
And make sure you search which keywords you want to rank higher for and use them smartly in your content.
The more I spoke with Saumya, the more his incredible knowledge on LinkedIn fascinated me.
I ended up writing a full article about all his LinkedIn tips.
Interested in discovering more of Saumya’s favorite tools?