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

How to Visualize Your Brand With Instagram!

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The photo-sharing app recently rolled out web profiles. See how you can use the new addition to your advantage

Today there is so much content on the Internet and you only have seconds to catch someone’s eye.  In fact, brands are still trying to figure out the best ways to standout from the crowd. When devising your social media strategy, you should consider that visual images garner more than just attention, they drive engagement.

Enter Instagram, a rapidly growing social network acquired by Facebook in April of this year.  Instagram currently has over 100 million users. It provides a visually engaging way to display your brand to clients and influencers through a series of pictures. The company recently announced the roll out of web-profile pages, taking Instagram from a purely mobile application to a photo-sharing, web-based network. The move will give brands a public URL so they can promote and engage with limited restrictions.

Here, we look at the various ways brands can use Instagram to grow their business:

All-Access Pass

The best thing you can do for your business on Instagram is show people why they should get to know your brand. Instagram is more than just a social media tool; it is an opportunity. Gather your team and conduct a brainstorming session. During the conference, think of creative scenarios where photographs and images can highlight your product and/or service, employees, events or even the office.

Taylor Swift shares her Starbucks Message with Instagram Fans!

Empower your Audience

Get the most out of Instagram by crowdsourcing content. Request customers upload and tag your brand when utilizing your product or service. This will not only initiate engagement between your company and your target audience, but also expose your brand to its tribes.

Popular #hashtag for outdoor enthusiasts!

Tag It

A hashtag, a topic with a hash symbol (#) preceding it, is used to categorize messages. It adds metadata to your tweet. Just like its social media cousin Twitter, Instagrammers are avid users of hashtags and they are exceptionally important for searching on the platform.  Incorporate relevant hashtags— and relevant Twitter or Instagram handles—into your uploads as a means to market content to a wider audience.

Add Icons and Widgets

Direct customers to your corporate Instagram profile by adding a “Follow me on Instagram” link or icon to your corporate website, email signature, social media profiles or consumer outreach.

Backstage at New York Fashion Week

Share Insider Tips

People love when they are privy to insider information. With that being said, why not employ Instagram to highlight new, exclusive offerings associated with your product or service? Give visual systematic instructions on best practices or provide customers with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your product.

Contest are a great way to connect with fans!

Run a contest

Online contests allow prospects and clients to get more involved with your brand, as well as increases communication. The great thing about running a contest is you will also build up a beautiful collection of images that your brand can later use. It’s a win-win situation!

We hope this article helped you to discover new ways to utilize this platform. Don’t forget to share with your networks!

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.

 

 

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

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…

Six points for social media engagement

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Social media is here to stay and according to research from companies like McKinsey, businesses who use social media are making more money than those who do not. Today, I want to share with you with six of the twenty-one points I advise my clients to utilize to engage their followers/ fans.

1.    Do not ignore your critics. If you have put your brand into the social media space then you must engage and take part in the conversation. Your silence will be talked about and work against you.

2.    Be friendly, respectful and open. Listen to what critics, readers customers are saying and make sure you hear. Then work out how best to respond.

3.    Remain level headed and do not get annoyed and post an immediate response. Disaster this way lurks. It might only take a second or two to type a comment but it will be permanent. You might be able to delete a hasty response – but its content will be quickly recorded be it by text or screen grabs. Have some cool off time before you respond.

4.    Remember who you represent when you respond. If you are tweeting or blogging in a work capacity you have a responsibility to your employer or brand.

5.    Make sure you have the facts and know the issues before you respond. Do not shoot from the hip and hope you can bluff it. Remember these are public conversations.

6.    Be prepared to admit when you are wrong and quick to correct mistakes. People like this and respond well to it.