I’ve decided that if I’ve recommended something at least three times in as many weeks – it’s definitely time to write an article or a review or both. And this is exactly what’s happened with Scott Allen’s The Virtual Handshake. I can’t believe I’m writing about this book 5 YEARS LATER. But it’s still good advice and I’m recommending it verbally and so I’m sharing some insights with you.

But first, a little about Scott Allen, the author. Scott started out as a tech guy, so you should listen to him because like most tech guys I know – he doesn’t overstate or understate — he just tells it like it is. You can listen or not — but at your peril. And I say LISTEN.

How I Got to Know and LOVE the Virtual Handshake

I’d heard about the book a long time ago. But I have to confess that I hadn’t read it until I started the One Coach Social Media for Small Business Course with Scott Allen a couple of weeks ago. I guess Scott has gotten desperate to get the word out – or like most tech savvy folks he’s decided that if you aren’t going to PAY to learn something, he’d offer his gospel for free. So you can actually download a FREE PDF copy of Virtual Handshake . I’ve been reading the PDF files, but I can see that I’m going to have to get my own hard copy so that I can keep it by my side.


You’ll want your own copy too because the one thing that Virtutal Handshake does is offer context to the ever evolving and overwhelming landscape that is social media.

Scott breaks it down into what he calls the “7 Keys of a World Class Network”.

  1. Improve Your Character: Basically this refers to your level of credibility and integrity. And while you think that much if this is created face-to-face (and it is). You can do create credibility and character by being there? for your community. Responding with quality answers and content, helping where help is needed, filling your character bank account virtually.
  2. Increase Your Competence: You increase your competence by consistently delivering stuff that works.
  3. Raise the Relevance of Your Network😕 This means that the people in your network can contribute to your goals and help you achieve them.
  4. Build Strong Ties: This attributes measures the closeness of the relationship between you and the people in your network. The more you know them and about them the stronger the tie.
  5. Increase the Quality and Quantity of Your Information😕 This refers to the amount of data that you have about the people in your network. And this is what makes LinkedIn such a valuable tool.
  6. Multiply the People in Your Network😕 This is the quality and quantity of the people in your network how many people are actually there.
  7. Double Your Diversity: This measures how different members of your network are from each other. A network can get rather incestuous just think about your industry and how many people know each other and hop around from one company to another. Your goal is to increase the size of that circle with people who are similar enough to be relevant yet different enough to expand your reach and network.

The idea is to focus on one or two keys — not necessarily all of them. Then build your social media marketing strategy around that. This may not seem like such a big revelation to you. But if you’ve been avoiding social media networks because you’re just not sure how to get the bang for the time and effort spent — you will see the value of the 7 Keys.

How I’ve Benefited From Reading The Virtual Handshake

I admit it. I’ve been one of those social media hounds that was spending ridiculous amounts of time and effort without exactly knowing why or how I was ultimately going to grow my business. But once I realized that I was focusing on Building Strong Ties, Competence and Credibility — everything changed for me. I put my focus on re-designing my web site so that it LOOKED like the audience I was targeting. Then I started focusing on specific communities where my target audience was spending time. Finally, I’m no longer afraid of not being ever present on Twitter — when I know that I can do more good answering questions on LinkedIn or participating with the OneCoach community or the Focus.com communities or the SBTV.com communities. THESE are the areas that value my content most. EASY.

If you haven’t gotten your copy, head over to The Virtual Handshake Site and download it NOW.