Valley women transform social media into networking machine

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Social media is about building relationships. A Valley womens group has taken social media beyond the casual friendships and transformed it into a professional networking machine.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are just a few things you need to be doing when applying to become a member of the Arizona Women Networking group.

“We are an organization of women that focuses on search engine optimization and social media as our primary focus for expanding our network,” Gia Heller said.

Heller is the president of the group. The commercial real estate broker launched it almost a year ago.

“It's not just about having coffee and let's talk and meet,” Heller said. “It's how do I leverage my contacts and help you get more business and how are you going to help me get more business by leveraging my contacts.”

Heller said members are actively using those social media tools to not only promote the group, but their businesses as well.

“When you shake my hand, you shake hands with 30,000 of my contacts,” Heller continued.

“The group which meets twice a month teaches the ladies how to make it in the social media world.

“They went from never having a website to that of having a custom fan page on Facebook or never knowing what the word twitter meant to that of having consistent tweets,” Donna Newman said.

Newman, who is also a member, is one of those people helping the group get the upper hand when it comes to online networking. But learning the tricks of the trade doesn't mean you can slack off.

“I have to decide who has more value to the group, who is working their mojo,” Heller said. “Is it the person I’ve been trying to train for a year on social media or is it the new person.”

Heller said not fulfilling your social media commitment means you’re out of the group. This is something new member Michelle Corr really liked about Arizona Women Networking.

“There's always going to be someone waiting for your position,” Corr said. “So I think it holds people accountable and on their toes.”

For member Alyssa Flores she believes her business has grown since joining the group.

“They educate you,” Flores said. “They push you. They are just amazing on taking your business to the next level.”

Another thing that makes Arizona Women Networking unique,

“We only allow one woman from each specialty,” Heller said. “So if you need an accountant in Scottsdale, I've only got one to refer you to.”

Which means no competition in a place where helping other ladies get ahead in the business world is a priority.

“Don't look at them as group of 50 to 60 women to pitch your business to, but find out how you can help their business because once you do that, they’re on your side,” Heller said.

The group holds new member interviews once a month. For more information go to Arizona Women Networking.