We are seeing more clients start to get active on LinkedIn as a way to boost their business and it makes perfect sense for some industry professionals to really spend some time building their presence there.
For those that are just getting started on using LinkedIn, here are my “power” tips to build your profile and get some “buzz” going.
Make sure your profile is complete. Have a great photo, update your resume, and start posting interesting newsy updates.
LinkedIn is not like Facebook. I would not be overly selective of who friends you. Typically I take all comers except those who look like spammers. I accept all reviews and recommendations from those that offer them.
Post Your Blogs
I like to see users post their blog posts in LinkedIn. A well written blog post can be shared and liked extensively in the LinkedIn network. As not many people are using this feature at this time, it allows your content to be seen.
Connect Your Address Book
I do recommend on set up that you allow LinkedIn to connect your address book and that you try to “friend” people in your existing network who are already on LinkedIn. You’ll find that most business professionals and business owners do have LinkedIn profiles. Leverage this access to start building your presence.
Offer Unique Information
When you post to LinkedIn try to provide a unique piece of content or at the minimum post content at a time that is different than when you feed content out to Facebook or Twitter. I like to provide unique content for LinkedIn that caters to the business community versus content that is geared to the consumer that would typically appear on Facebook. Consider your audience.
If you need help getting going on LinkedIn and want a writer to help to build your presence, make sure to visit our website to review our LinkedIn writing services.
For several of our key clients we are testing out if adding images to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ posts increases customer engagement. With a visual statement winning out over just pure text, we wanted to find out if adding images to tweets and Facebook posts enhanced engagement?
For Facebook, if you insert an image versus letting Facebook simply import an image from the page content that you link to, you get two things.
A larger image will appear on your Facebook page.
You get to select the image versus only being able to select an image that appears on a page you link to. So you get greater control.
For Twitter, if you insert an image, get ready to re-write your post to that by the time the link is shrunk and the image URL is shrunk as well you have about ten to twelve words of text. That means you’d better have something great to say or you are just making your page look pretty.
This is what I have found out so far:
Having images in Facebook and Twitter updates does make your pages on Facebook.com and Twitter.com look nicer.
But, do images translate into more engagement – so far the answer is no.
What gets engagement is still what you write and not necessarily not even what you link to and not the image you insert.
So content is still king, but having images does make your page look more appealing visually. My recommendation is where meaningful add an image like twice a week on Facebook and every several tweets on Twitter, but I would not recommend putting images into every update. Instead make your updates interesting and you’ll get a higher level of engagement.
One clients just left me this comment on the phone about my recommendation of Pinterest, and I think it is indicative of how many small business owners feel. “All I could think of is yet another social networking site I have to add to my work load. I am about ready to throw my hands up, I don’t think I can add one more thing in the social media area as I can barely keep up with what I am doing now.” These sentiments have been voiced by many as the online world is bombarded with new programs and platforms.
What social networks deserve your real attention as a small to medium sized business owner at this point?
Get on Google+ and integrate your website and blog with the +1 button. This one is just too big to not have an early participation in. Why? Because it’s a Google property and Google is tightly integrating +1 votes and Google+ activity with its search engine.
Make sure you are using Twitter. The viral nature and the ability to interact with a wide market is important to selling outside your local sphere. I’m watching sponsored Tweets very closely for small business and feel that in the long run activity on Twitter will be a key marketing strategy even for local selling businesses. Link sharing and interaction with others in your industry as well as prospects in a casual environment make this one of my top social networking picks.
Make sure you have a Facebook Business page set up. Although right now I feel that businesses may want to have a minimal presence there due to poor fan growth, due to the changes Facebook made to how brands use Facebook in the fourth quarter of 2011, things could change, and change quickly. In fact, Facebook is announcing what changes they will be making for brands on Wednesday February 29th. This announcement may change my recommendations, but for now based on my research paper, I recommend a wait and see approach.
If you are selling business to business or business to government, LinkedIn is the place for you to connect. Establish a full profile and then update your wall on LinkedIn at least twice a day. Get active in groups and ask questions. Not all businesses will thrive using LinkedIn, but many who cater to businesses and want to reach business executives should consider LinkedIn a top priority. I have not had success with LinkedIn advertising so steer clear of that for now.
Pinterest is a hot new property, but unless you are selling retail fashion merchandise, I recommend you don’t take on this social network. Although you may check it out in the future, if you are strapped for time steer clear of this one for now unless you are selling retail jewelry or clothing.
I hope this helps you to decide which networks you should focus on, the bottom-line is get going on something and start building your network now. Social media will simply not get less important over time.
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Here are a few of my tips to help build a social community whether it be at Facebook or Twitter.
1. Offer something of value. When all you talk about is yourself, others get bored fast! Make sure your status updates or tweets are informative and not redux of what others are saying for the day. Look for the unusual, try to offer insight, look for cool things to share.
2. Take time to be real. People want to know there is a real person behind the message. Although they do not want to be bored with personal details, finding common ground is crucial to connecting and building a community.
3. Make sure to give credit to others when it is due. If you retweet something, make sure you credit the original author by putting RT username. Like RT McCordWeb…..
4. If someone retweets your information of shares your video or pictures on Facebook, connect and say thanks. It just takes a moment, but allows you to say thanks for the other person sharing their wall or followers with your message.
5. In your updates take polls, ask questions, and solicit advice. Try hard to engage your readers. When you find out what it is that engages them whether it be a funny video, insightful commentary, or photos, make a mental note and build on that known. Continue to seek new ways to engage and connect until you clearly identify what your readers want and then work to deliver it.
6. I have found that with Twitter you will typically be connecting with others in your industry and sometimes consumers, while on Facebook you will be mostly connecting with consumers or prospective clients. Cater your message to what you personally find out about your own social community as you develop it.
If you are doing team work on social media accounts what are the most effective tools to use? For me, I like HootSuite, but I have looked at others. This post features three services you may want to consider for your own team’s use.
HootSuite This is by far my favorite and then one that my team of six people uses to manage clients’ social media accounts. HootSuite used to be totally free, but now has a paid option. For personal users, you can still use HootSuite free, but for business team users such as myself you will pay based on the number of team members. We will soon be paying just a little under $100 a month for access to this online service. But we have many accounts and six team members working on the same account. You can check out HootSuite now.
CoTweet This is a nice online application that is free as well to consider if you have just one or two team members and need to load multiple Twitter accounts. It does not offer Facebook Business Page features, but great for Twitter. The interface is easy to use and does allow you to review pending updates and sent updates as well as your streams. You can check out CoTweet now. Although I do not like the interface as much as I do the one at HootSuite for small teams using Twitter only this would be adequate and totally free.
I have looked at other applications but this post is about team social media work so TweetDeck although popular is not a good fit as it does not allow team collaboration. If you have one you really like, leave the name and link in the comments.
Please note that HootSuite will pay me a small commission, but only if you sign up for a Pro account.
If you aren’t advertising your business via social networking, you are really missing out a terrific way to sell your services and products to new customers. There are still a number of people, who are skeptical about the power of Twitter and Facebook. Some feel that these platforms are not viable for lead and sale generation. But I recommend that you take another closer look!
The growth pattern for Twitter has not just been consistently strong; the number of Tweeters has literally been astronomical. As of May this social networking megastar was topping out at two billion hits per month – the breakdown on that is more than two and a half million tweets per hour. That is a whole lot of opportunity to have your products and services exposed to potential new customers.
Though Facebook may not have the rapid fire succession of short communication that Twitter has reached, this social networking powerhouse actually managed to oust Google Search from the number one spot on the list of most visited websites in May. If this doesn’t speak volumes about the capabilities of social networking sites, nothing will.
The world of effective advertising as we know it has changed quite a bit over the course of the last few years, and with the emergence of social networking it will continue to change with each new day that passes. The old adage of spending money to make money may still hold true, but in terms of advertising it may no longer be the dollars you spend but the amount of time you spend Tweeting or posting status updates to your firm’s Facebook Fan Page that will make the difference for your future business growth.