“Let me ask my colleague in the U.S.” The professor tapped away furiously at his keyboard as the quizzical look on my face could not conceal the curiosity I was feeling about how someone could simply type a question into a computer and expect a response. Within what seemed like nanoseconds, text returned from this mysterious person hundreds of miles away. “How can this be?” I was dumbfounded.

As a university student and research assistant, I had to go to the library and pull out information from microfiches for my research. Typing a question into a computer and expecting someone, or something—an artificial intelligence?—to answer it seemed more futuristic than a Tron movie.

The professor answered, “Susan, it’s called email. Someday soon it will be as common as television. People will email back and forth all the time.” This was 1992, four years away from the launch of Hotmail™, six years away from Google™, and twelve years away from Facebook™. I was driving a tricked out Nissan Pathfinder with a cell phone that was as big as a box of Kleenex. I thought I had reached the pinnacle of tech-cool. Things were about to change... rapidly.

Fast forward two mere decades and here we are connected instantly with a brother who lives in Spain, a team member three towns over, and basically anyone we desire to converse with. In our profession, things have changed dramatically. Years ago, network marketing was dominated by face-to-face meetings and home presentations; today, many of us use social media as the dominant force of business building.

Social media has radically changed how we do business. While there are still many ways to build, many leaders today put a lot of their focus online. Whether it’s on LinkedIn to connect with potential business partners and clients, or in a Facebook group to celebrate team victories, the vast majority of today’s network marketing professionals have a strong social media component.

In this issue of Networking Times, we are excited to share the wisdom of social media marketing expert Mari Smith. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mari, along with our fabulous editorial director Josephine Gross. Mari generously shares her tips for social media branding and creating a professional image online. Josephine and I were enraptured and Mari said it was one of her best interviews ever (we also found out Mari and I both hail from the same small suburb of Toronto—what are the chances?!)

In addition to our cover story, we gathered many social media strategies in this issue, which will undoubtedly be one you will savor and share with your teams. Regardless of where we are with our online presence, we can always improve and embrace social media as the new daily method of operation. Done right, it can have limitless benefits for our businesses. We can’t wait to see how you take your social media game to the next level!

SUSAN SLY is a top income earner, bestselling author, sought-after speaker, and reputable trainer in the network marketing space. A passionate advocate of the profession, she is an Editorial Adviser for Networking Times.

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