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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How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

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Whether you’re a business owner trying to ramp up your startup’s connections or a recent graduate looking to secure post-grad opportunities, yourLinkedIn account is crucial to landing new-found opportunities. LinkedIn is an excellent online networking tool that can assist you in building vital professional relationships.

Finish what you’ve started

First impressions are everything. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your one shot. Thus, your LinkedIn profile should list your current position and at least two previous roles, academic institutions attended and contact information which will then make your profile 100% complete, according to LinkedIn’s standards.  Take the time to fill out the descriptions, listing your duties and inject keywords relevant to your industry.  Ask yourself, what would others type in the search box to find someone with my skill set?

Put your best foot face forward

Browsing through most social media sites, you’ll notice a majority of the profile photos are not professional. These laid-back photos are acceptable for personal profiles, but, since LinkedIn is a professional’s playground, promoting yourself or your brand without having professional photographs can drastically alter the way you and/or your business is viewed.

Studies show that LinkedIn profiles with appropriate photographs are much more likely to get clicked on than those without.  So, even if you don’t have a professional photo, taking one with a high-resolution camera in conjunction with appropriate lighting, clothing and background is better than having no photo at all.

Reach out

Perform a series of searches to locate people you know by name via the search box. Once you’ve identified these contacts, click the connect button to add them to your network.  Send a custom message to the person within the invitation, especially if you’re not in constant communication with the individual. Once you’ve made a significant amount of connections, you should view the “People You May Know” page to review colleagues you may have missed.

Request meaningful recommendations

Take the time to reach out to your supervisors and closest colleagues to obtain quality recommendations prior to sending a request on LinkedIn, and explain the importance of their recommendation.  Once they have completed your request, take a moment and thank them and consider returning the favor by recommending them.

Get those apps

Third-party applications approved by LinkedIn allow you to customize your profile and showcase your work products. You may have crafted a white paper or presentation that can be of value to your industry; consider sharing it with your network via SlideShare which you can connect to your LinkedIn account. Perhaps you’ve penned a blog article, add the WordPress app so you can share you’re expertise.

Take time to explore the infinite amount of tools and features that LinkedIn offers. It’s like a gold mine for those who want to take advantage of connecting with other professionals, establishing thought leadership and creating new opportunities.

Have LinkedIn tips? Share your best practices in the comments section below.

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.

The final log off: Do you need a social media will?

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Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide advice only. Every legal matter is unique and you should consult with a legal professional in your area.

Unfortunately a few months ago, I lost a friend to leukemia who was in her twenties. She was an active participant on social media networks and during a discussion with friends someone asked “What do are they going to do with her Facebook account?” It is a great question that many of us in this digital age are going to be faced with. In fact, creating a “social media will” is now one of the government’s official personal finance recommendations, listed on USA.gov.

So ask yourself, what should happen to the content you have posted? Consider creating a statement of how you would like your online identity handled by appointing someone you trust as an online executor. The executor will be responsible for the maintenance and or closure of your email addresses, social media profiles and blogs after you are deceased.

Consider these steps to assist you with write a social media will.

  • Write down a list of all the websites where you have a profile, along with usernames and passwords.
  • State how you would like your profiles to be handled. You may want to completely cancel or leave it up for friends and family to visit. Some sites allow users to create a memorial profile where others can view your profile but cannot post anything new.
  • Identify and meet with your intended executor. Explain to them their role and share the list with them. (Google Drive may be a good resource as you can retain ownership of the document and share it with them. This way if your passwords are changed it can be easily updated.)

While my friend did not have a social media will her family chose to leave her profile up so that we could post photos and memories, and while I knew she was an awesome person now I can connect with the hundreds of people whose lives she touched and make new acquaintances.

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Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency specializing in the creation of social /digital media strategies, online communications, training and web content production based in Washington, DC. 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!

Are you one of the 6.5 million? Linkedin & E-harmony network comprimised

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Recently, 6.5 million user passwords for the business social network LinkedIn and 1.5 million user passwords from the online dating site eHarmony were published to the Internet. The passwords were published as hash values, which is an encrypted format. The release does not include user names or any other data.

If you have an account on LinkedIn or eHarmony, please change these passwords. Also, change your passwords on any other accounts that use the same or similar passwords.

Please do not utilize websites that purport to help you identify whether or not your password has been compromised. Visit the sites directly by typing the address into your web browser to reset the password.

As a best practice, you should avoid using the same password for different accounts and services.

Please share this 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,