4 Ways to Drive Engagement on LinkedIn

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You’ve done everything you’re supposed to do when it comes to LinkedIn: you have a 100% complete profile, received positive recommendations/endorsements and, if applicable, launched a business page.  You’ve built it, but how do you keep your partners, cohorts and clients engaged? Here are four practical methods to integrate into your LinkedIn strategy that will drive engagement:

Keep In Touch

LinkedIn is not a database, it’s a social network. To really maximize it, be aware that it’s a two-way communication venue. Keep in mind that while you are perusing other people’s profiles and groups, they’re checking out yours as well. Once you have established a connection on LinkedIn, keep it fresh. Make a note to send messages directly to a set of individuals at least every 90 days. If they need someone with your expertise, you want them to think of you and not someone else.  Use your status updates to provide useful information to those in your industry.

Become the Resource

Strive to continuously learn about your niche industry, target audience and trends. The more you know, the more you can share and help others. When you share your knowledge with your connections, they realize you are a provider they can trust with their business.

Share those insights in your on-and-offline conversations, and also consider sending clients tidbits of information as you find them online. For example, your organization compiled client case studies, consider posting them on LinkedIn via Slideshare and tag specific individuals you know will benefit from your report.

Inspire Trust

Trust is imperative to the success of any business. If trust in your brand is lost, then you lose business and, if you lose business, then you’re out of business. Since LinkedIn is a platform where professionals can interact with you and ask questions, you can utilize that to build trust in your brand. Take the time to answer questions, interact with connections and consistently post valuable information. Over time people recognize you as an expert in your field and that you can be trusted to get the job done.

Be Transparent

Transparency assists in making prospective clients feel comfortable. People are wary. They fear being scammed or spending money and time on an inferior product or service. Help them feel secure by showcasing your offerings and testimonials from those who have benefited from your services.

Be smart about how you communicate online, too.  If you have a clear strategy, then you will be able to benefit from the multitude of resources. In the end, your online success truly depends on you.

 

Connect with Lynn on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/slynncooper

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5 Social Media Networks to Watch

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Few social services have enjoyed as much success as sites like Facebook and YouTube.  However, there are thousands of social media sites in existence and their popularity truly depends on the country.

Socially Ahead’s S. Lynn Cooper has curated a list of five social networks to watch. Like Instagram, many incorporate visual images with the goal of connecting people beyond the digital realm. Other services remind us of LinkedIn, bringing users together through professional networking. Regardless of which ones spark your interest, let’s explore which ones will become the future of social media.

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Conversations

HootSuite has launched Conversations, a tool that brings social networking into the workplace.  Forget e-mail chains, members can collaborate in real-time by posting on message boards similar to Facebook.  The great thing is this tool is not limited to the immediate team; in fact, others can be invited to join the conversation. Need to pull in legal or marketing, one click and they are brought into the dialogue.

Vine

When you hear the word vine, most would think of something that grows from a tree. Not anymore! If you have yet to hear about this mobile application, then it’s time we get you up to speed. Powered by Twitter, Vine is a video-sharing app that allows users to create six second videos using their smartphone. You can upload them and share the videos on other social networks like Twitter and Facebook. If you have a product-based business and a sprinkle of creativity, Vine can become an excellent content marketing vehicle for your brand.

Chirpify

What if your followers could purchase your product or services by simply tweeting? Enter Chirpify, a social media network that allows your brand to sell directly to consumers on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. When followers, who must have Chirpify accounts, reply with the word “buy,” they score the item. No need for you to send them to your website for processing, Chirpify does it all for you for a nominal transaction fee.

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Medium

To simplify what Medium is think Twitter and Blogger combined in a simple layout.   Unlike Twitter, which caps you at 140 characters, Medium gives you the flexibility to express your thoughts just the way you like.

Quora

Quora is an information sharing and gathering platform that takes the form of crowd-sourced questions and answers. A combination of other platforms such as LinkedIn Answers and Wikipedia, users can vote the answers they deem the most helpful, allowing the most knowledgeable to obtain status in the network.

5 Surefire Ways to Make Your Website Work for You

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Having a website is essential to a business’s marketing strategy. Almost every business whether business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B), and even non-profits, need an online presence to reach the global marketplace. Surprisingly, many small businesses lack a website that will convert to leads. Regardless if you have a social media presence, operating without a website can hurt your chances at sustainable online success.

Gone are the days where all it took was a URL, flash graphics, and an expensive advertising campaign to boost traffic. The reasoning behind this shift is largely due to a change in consumer behavior. Today’s customer desires to devour information when they want and how they want to, without the involvement of a sales person. Also, prospects don’t want to be advertised to, but instead educated on how your product or service benefits their life.

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Create a user-friendly website

Your website’s appearance and ease of navigation are a direct reflection of your brand. That’s why it’s critical you ensure that your website is welcoming and easy to read and use. Before going live, gather a group of trusted individuals to conduct usability testing, or hire a firm.  Carefully review the feedback that you receive and incorporate those pointers into your site.

Incite excitement and response

In order to keep consumers active on your site, you must be able to effectively converse with them using language that is relevant and comfortable. Turn on your imagination and liven it up with powerful keywords and headlines.

Optimize your website

In order for search engines to find your brand, you will need to include your most powerful keywords (in various pages) throughout your website—your copy and headings, combined with photos and graphics. Use distinctive page titles and meta tags, and concentrate on your most important keywords. Make sure it’s easy for search engines and your website’s visitors to navigate through your site and any external links such as your social media channels.

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Build an email list

Make sure your mailing list sign-up form is featured prominently, and on every page of your website, if possible. Let your visitors know by signing up for your mailing list that they will receive exclusive offers, discounts, freebies and announcements. People like to feel like they have an inside track with a brand.

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Convert your traffic

Traffic conversion is a committed process for building relationships and affinity with your target market. When done properly, it provides the opportunity for your brand to achieve its ultimate objective of acquiring and retaining customers. In order to optimize your website, so your prospects will be compelled to learn more about your products and/or services, and feel secure purchasing from you, make your site eye-catching and ensure it contains strong brand messaging.

If You Are Who You Say You Are: 4 Useful Online Verification Tools

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Use these tools to prevent from getting Manti Te’o-d in business

A few weeks ago, the world was introduced to the term “catfishing” due to an internet hoax involving Notre Dame football player Manti Teo’s pseudo relationship with a 22-year old woman, who he thought  died of cancer last year. While “catfishing” normally takes place in a personal relationship many businesses have defrauded individuals online as well. The Internet presents a lot of potential revenue opportunities—and a lot of risks.

Knowing that you are dealing with a real individual and/or company minimizes these risks while protecting businesses from both fraud and identity theft. While many websites, and even emails, are designed to look professional and secure, there are often indicative signs that can help you identify ones you want to avoid. Take precaution by using these reliable verification tools online:

BizId

BizId is a service provided by global credit information group Experian. BizId provides reliable commercial information and reduces approval time in order to stay competitive. Through a single transaction, BizId searches multiple databases to authenticate a business and up to two business owners while helping meet compliance requirements.

ZoomInfo

Job-centric search engine ZoomInfo aggregates people and company information in one location.  Their information listings on people, harvested from across the web, include people’s employment history and current job title and whether or not they’re seeking employment. Should you get too many search results for a person’s name, filter them by geographic location.

Google

You can’t talk finding information online without mentioning the big G. For well-known brands and individuals, you will get great results by just typing the name into Google’s search bar, but for civilians, common names or names with double meanings, a few advanced Google techniques can help narrow down the field of results.

  • Enclose the name of the person you’re searching for in quotations when you enter the name into the search box (i.e. “John Doe”).
  • Include other relevant words, like the person’s profession, employer, location, or screen name (i.e. lawyer or Washington, DC.)
  • If the person you’re searching for is likely to appear on a particular web site; search only that site using the site: URL operator (like site: sociallyahead.com “John Doe”).
  • To search people by appearance, look for them on Google Images to get a quick visual—especially useful for those with common names, or to determine the gender of a person you’re meeting for the first time.

LinkedIn

Over 200 million professionals around the world use LinkedIn. You can quickly review their profiles, which will include educational background information and work history, as well as their connections. When reviewing, you should see if you have any similar connections. If so, reach out and request a recommendation on this person. If you do not have connections, LinkedIn offers a paid service called Reference Search.

13 Ways to Use Google Search like a Pro

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We’ve been told time and time again to “Google it” and let’s face it with the fast paced society we live in we use the search engine several times a day. But, chances are that you are probably still using Google search in its most basic form. Guess what! Below are 8 super simple tips for you to implement. We suggest that you bookmark this post of Google search tips, so you’ll then have the tips on hand!

  1. Explicit Phrase:
    Let’s say you are looking for content about social media marketing.  Instead of just typing social media marketing into the Google search box, you will likely be better off searching explicitly for the phrase.  To do this, simply enclose the search phrase within double quotes.

Example: “social media marketing”

  1. Exclude Words:
    You’re searching for content about strategy, but you want to exclude any results that contain the term mobile.  To do this, simply use the “-” sign in front of the word you want to exclude.

Example Search: strategy -mobile

  1. Site Specific Search:
    Often, you want to search a specific website for content that matches a certain phrase.  Even if the site doesn’t support a built-in search feature, you can use Google to search the site for your term. Simply use the “site: somesite.com” modifier.

Example: “social media training” site: http://www.sociallyahead.com

  1. Similar Words and Synonyms:
    Let’s say you want to include a word in your search, but want to include results that contain similar words or synonyms.  To do this, use the “~” in front of the word.

Example: “social media” ~professional

  1. Specific Document Types:
    If you’re looking to find results that are of a specific type, you can use the modifier “filetype:” For example, you might want to find only PowerPoint presentations related to internet marketing.

Example: “social media” filetype: ppt

  1. This OR That:
    By default, when you do a search, Google will include all the terms specified in the search.  If you are looking for any one of one or more terms to match, then you can use the OR operator.  (Note: The OR has to be capitalized).

Example: social media marketing OR online advertising

  1. Phone Listing:
    Let’s say someone calls you on your mobile number and you don’t know who it is.  If all you have is a phone number, you can look it up on Google using the phonebook feature.

Example: phonebook: 202-656-0949 (note: the provided number is the number to Socially Ahead’s office, you can use any number you like for your search).

  1. Area Code Lookup:
    Strange incoming number to your phone? No need to fear,just enter the 3-digit area code and Google will tell you where it’s from.

Example: 202

  1. Numeric Ranges:
    This is a rarely used, but highly useful tip.  Let’s say you want to find results that contain any of a range of numbers.  You can do this by using the X…Y modifier (in case this is hard to read, what’s between the X and Y are two periods.)  This type of search is useful for years (as shown below), prices, or anywhere where you want to provide a series of numbers.

Example: British Prime Minister 1930…1990

  1. Stock (Ticker Symbol):
    Just enter a valid ticker symbol as your search term and Google will give you the current financials and a quick thumb-nail chart for the stock.

Example: GOOG

  1. Calculator:
    The next time you need to do a quick calculation, instead of bringing up the Calculator applet, you can just type your expression in to Google.

Example: 7821 * 7.50

  1. Word Definitions:
    If you need to quickly look up the definition of a word or phrase, simply use the “define:” command.

Example: define: socially

  13.  Currency Converter

If you are traveling or doing business in another country, you can easily look up the   exchange  rate by entering your nations currency and putting a ? with the other country’s currency abbreviation .

Example: 1 USD = ? PKR

Hope this list of Google search tips proves useful in your future Google searches.  If there are any of your favorite Google expert power tips that we’ve missed, please feel free to share them below in the comments.

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Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency specializing in the creation of social /digital media strategies, online communications, training, staffing and web content production with offices in Washington, DC and New Jersey.  Socially Ahead focuses on helping brands and individuals navigate social media and online space to build better connections.

LinkedIn launches Targeted Status Updates for Brands

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Thanks to the LinkedIn Gods, you can now select a target audience for updates shared on your LinkedIn Company Page.  You can specify your target audience by company size, industry, job function, seniority, geography and whether they are employees of your company or not. Targeted Status Updates were launched to select LinkedIn customers and are now available to all Company Pages.

Click video below to learn more

Don’t forget to share this article with your network!

Can your business afford a social media mistake?

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Before you think of assigning an intern to manage your corporate social media… think again!

In general, most companies post news and articles related to their services and products. They also post events, photographs, tips and other information that aligns with their company’s direction.

This information gathering takes time. One way to solve the posting bandwidth issue is to assign the social media updates to an intern. After all, interns are social-media savvy and inexpensive, right?

However, if the employees posting to social media sites aren’t in the loop about the latest projects, releases, initiatives, or other organizational goals, they may find it difficult to know what to say. What they post may not align with your company’s mission.

According to A Social Primer for Technical CommunicationIntercom. June 2011, an intern or young staffer may not have the knowledge needed to guide the social media endeavors with the right direction. It states:

“Someone must have ownership of the social media strategy. The initial reaction is to look to the new intern or the youngest employee because he or she is probably using many of the tools, but this can be an unsuccessful choice. An individual’s goals do not always align with a company’s goals. Individuals are often looking to share personal thoughts, photos, and news with family and friends—probably not the same goals as a company. The strategic choice is someone who understands the mission of the company, the goals of implementing the strategy, and how the tools and the message delivered therein, may have positive or negative effects.”

In other words, although it may seem logical to designate a young, social-media savvy employee to handle the social media updates, such an employee may not have the right information and direction to post in alignment with the company’s goals.

Your corporate social media presence can help garner or lose clients. There have been numerous articles and case studies where social media faux pas have severely hurt businesses bottom line.

So ask yourself

  • How much supervision and coaching will this individual need to complete this task?
  • Does this person have the communication skills and professionalism needed to represent your business globally?
  • Does this person have the research capability to find relevant information to post on your corporate social media profiles?

If you answered negatively to any of these questions then this is not the person to consider and you may be better suited to retain a professional strategist.

While we understand that some organizations may not have the financial resources to outsource, we strongly suggest that you invest in training for the intern or young employee is implemented prior to them taking on this task.

If your business has hired an intern to manage social media what has been your experience? Was it positive or negative? Please share.

 

 

How YOU can use LinkedIn for professional and business success

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We started the week off at AARP Foundation, giving a talk regarding LinkedIn and its benefits. We thought it would be beneficial to share some of the insights provided to our readers.

LinkedIn is the largest social networking site for professional networking. LinkedIn has millions of professionals who are exchanging information daily. LinkedIn is different from other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which are basically used for personal reasons. LinkedIn gives you the ability to build connections with professionals who are in similar fields or professions. You could reconnect with college classmates, former colleagues or new clients.

LinkedIn can be used for professional networking as well as for business networking. LinkedIn offers a separate page for companies and businesses.  Thousands of companies have registered with detailed information about their employees.

 Here are some ways a professional and company can use LinkedIn for achieving success.

LinkedIn for Professionals

LinkedIn gives the best possible option to professionals for exchanging the business information.  In LinkedIn you can find people from CEO’s of a Fortune 500 companies or even recruiters to find your next employer.

By using LinkedIn you can find experienced professionals and experts related to the field of your work. You can ask for suggestions or advice related to your career or work. If you are an expert, you can also contribute your knowledge, to others by joining groups or answering questions in the ‘Question & Answer’ area.

Moreover LinkedIn also offers separate section known as LinkedIn Answers. Suppose you have an issue with a project, you can post your question and can get the answers from industry experts.

Group Discussions– There are many groups related to your industry, you can join these groups and can participate or start discussion on any topic related to your fields. Comments and thoughts of various experts will help you in enhancing your knowledge.

 These are some of the many features and applications, professionals can utilize in LinkedIn.

LinkedIn for business

LinkedIn offers lots of applications and feature to businesses, some are:

Recruiting– Businesses can find potential candidates with minimal or no cost, by posting the jobs in LinkedIn so that users, who are seeking employment, can apply.

Company Profile- Companies can register a profile and provide information such as number of employees, company achievements, locations and etc.

Lead Generation –Working for leads can be time consuming, but LinkedIn gives you a great resource by working with your professional connections.

 With the information we’ve provided it’s obvious that by investing time and effort, LinkedIn can help professionals and businesses to grow careers and generate profit.

How are some ways in which you have used LinkedIn for professional or business gains?

8 Twitter Tips for Small Businesses

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Did you know that there are over 2 billion sent out each month? Curious how you can get your small business tweets to stand out? Here are eight effective tips that can be implemented into your social media campaign today!

  1. Search through your competitors’ followers and follow them if you think they could offer valuable insight or become leads.
  2. Add Tweet variety with news, photos, videos etc.
  3. Share projects or community service with your followers.
  4. Don’t just promote yourself –share information about your industry and retweet others relevant content.
  5. Reply to your @Mentions, especially if your followers ask questions relevant to your product or service offerings.
  6. If you have a sale or promotion, tweet about it! It generates free buzz!
  7. Notify followers of exclusive corporate news, events or conferences to encourage interest and allegiance
  8. Follow Friday #FF – leverage it every week. You’ll be happy you did.

If you’re looking for more info on how to get the most out of your Twitter campaign, be sure to contact us, sociallyahead@gmail.com

Is your reputation on the line because of social media?

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Benjamin Franklin once said ” It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it. ” Social media has become a part of our daily lives, in fact for some it has been their only form of communication/interaction.  I truly love connecting with individuals on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for personal and business reasons yet I cannot express enough to my cohorts that the social in social media is misleading.

Below are two examples of personal social media accounts that cost the individual their jobs!

Gilbert Gottfried – Fired from Aflac over offensive Twitter posts

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried was fired by employer Aflac, for whom he was a spokesperson, for making at least two jokes about the recent tragic events in Japan. Gottfried, whose voice served as that of the Aflac duck, isn’t known for either tact or good timing; he famously made a 9/11 joke just three weeks after 9/11 happened. And the comedian’s Twitter stream is replete with jokes that some might describe as tasteless or insensitive.

Read more here via Mashable http://mashable.com/2011/03/15/gilbert-gottfried-japan-twitter/

Dawnemarie Souza – Fired by American Medical Response for “online badmouthing”

Former medical technician Dawnemarie Souza was fired on December 1, 2010 for using vulgar language to criticize her boss on Facebook after he denied one of her requests. Several co-workers joined in on the thread, making similarly negative comments about the supervisor. Souza made these comments from her private account on her own time and on her own computer. Her case received national attention regarding employers social media policies. Her case was eventually settled with her former employer.

Read more here: http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/08/technology/facebook_firing_settlement/index.htm

These two individuals will now have a track record that will follow them for life and I would hate for something like this happening to you. So, I encourage you to THINK before you POST anything as  it estimated that more than 68 percent of employers do a Web search on job applicants as part of their hiring procedures. More than half of them admit to not bringing someone on board because of negative information they found online. Also do not post any negative information about your employer online unless you want to get fired – remember if you post it anywhere someone could see it. If your unhappy with your job then its time to move on not tweet about it!! As my mother would always say – “Don’t burn your bridges

So when was the last time you used GOOGLE to perform a search about you?  Well.. what are you waiting for…

If you need any assistance with social media please email me at sociallyahead@gmail.com

All the best,