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

Why Instagram trumps Vine

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In the world of technology, in order to stay relevant and profitable, your brand has to adapt. Today, social media giant Facebook unveiled a highly anticipated video feature on Instagram, a strategic move to satisfy audiences who are seeking innovative mobile technology. It’s a much needed defense tactic against rivals such as Twitter’s mobile application Vine, which has amassed a large following for its six-second videos, and Snapchatwhich enables videos and photographs to “self-destruct.”

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive at Facebook, believes that mobile is the best way for his company to remain profitable. In Facebook’s 2012 annual report, the company stated: “We believe that mobile usage of Facebook is critical to user growth and engagement over the long term, and accordingly are prioritizing mobile product development.” The Menlo Park, California-based company has tripled the Instagram workforce since the photo-sharing platform was acquired last year, and during the launch event Zuckerberg hinted, “We’re really just getting started with this product.”

The recent announcement is evidence that Instagram’s video application trumps Vine’s current offerings, allowing users to record and share 15-second videos with the option of selecting custom covers and one of 13 signature filters, as well as boasts image stabilization. But unlike Vine videos, Instagram videos do not continuously loop.

Brands have learned that uploading videos online is a powerful way to deliver advertising. Consumers watch videos for two reasons: First entertainment, and secondly information.  With projections that streaming video will harness more than 70% of online traffic in the next few years, it’s clear that video consumption won’t dwindle.

If you’re looking to try your hand at creating an online video, here why Instagram video trumps Vine:

It’s user-friendly

The selling point of Instagram is its ease of use. The app takes seconds to learn and is so simple to use.

It’s reach and integration is unrivaled

Instragram let’s users share video on Facebook and Twitter, as well as embed videos on a blog or website. These capabilities offer brands the opportunity to extend their reach to a larger audience and integrate marketing efforts over several platforms. This far outweighs Vine’s appeal since Instagram currently has over 100 million users. The product update is likely to send the user count up.

Less restrictions

While Vine only gave users six seconds of video, Instagram video boasts 15 seconds of recording right out the gate—and the videos don’t loop. In addition, Vine was only available for iPhone users until earlier this month while Instagram launched its video option immediately on both platforms. Trust, socially savvy customers won’t forget those details.

If you have yet to secure your brand identity on Instagram, now is the time to do so. Craft a strategic plan for utilizing the technology and start shooting.

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.

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.

 

 

Do you know what Google knows?

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Google has launched a new ‘Account Activity’ dashboard that allows people to review their online activity. This tool requires users to sign up and upon doing so it will keep a log of user activity performed on all Google’s products. In a blog post, Google explained that this tool will provide users with a password-protected monthly report of their activity.

As Google is quoted, “Knowing more about your own account activity also can help you take steps to protect your Google Account. For example, if you notice sign-ins from countries where you haven’t been or devices you’ve never owned, you can change your password immediately and sign up for the extra level of security provided by 2-step verification.”

With this tool, users can know the number of emails they have been sending and receiving and with whom. Their search queries as well as the time they spend logged in from different devices. The dashboard has Gmail, Latitude and search but more services- notable Google+ will be incorporated soon.

Why this is worrying the search industry?

Google may convince users to sign up for all its platforms and allow the search giant to use the social data for search and maps, but this will not benefit webmasters and search professionals at all.

Google has now started encrypting search data (keywords) of the users that are logged in. This means no referral data for SEOs or webmasters, except advertisers. This move by the search giant has been opposed strongly by the search community. Recently, Firefox also announced its plan to switch to Google Secure Search by default further dimming the chances of the webmasters and SEOs to access referral data.

How will the SEO industry be affected by this?

Please feel free to comment and 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,

Ways to Use Facebook’s Page Photo Tag Feature

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With the many changes of Facebook it is hard to keep up with all the new features. Well if you’re an entrepreneur, publicist or marketer there is a new feature that you do not want to miss.

Encourage Influencers. Building a strong influencer base within a social network is imperative  if you want to grow your brand online. This new feature allows you to encourage your fans/followers  to tag themselves with your page… using your product.

Tag Your Brand at events. Are you attending and/ or sponsoring events. Make sure you take plenty of photos and then tag them so that others can see what you are up to!

Tag Your Brand within a Product Photo. Brands can now tag photos of an individual using products and services.

If you would like further insight about how to use these features please contact me at sociallyahead@gmail.com

Happy posting…