Tips for a Highly Successful LinkedIn Group


Nederlands: Linked In iconThere is a social media network for every business.  But many businesses overlook the potential of one particular social network: LinkedIn.

If you are a B2B company who has attempted social media with mediocre results, YOU NEED TOO PAY ATTENTION!

Now celebrating a few shy of 1,500 members of a group we created on LinkedIn a mere two years ago for a client, we feel it is about time to talk about the benefits of LinkedIn Groups.

If you are a B2B business and have never thought about a LinkedIn Group before, consider this: LinkedIn Groups build branding.  How, you may ask?

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  • They build credentials and place businesses at the top of the leadership wagon within an industry.
  • They build a network of people in, and surrounding, your industry (prospects, potential customers, industry leaders, potential job candidates, current customers).
  • They allow you to be part of your customer’s conversations.
  • They help you stay atop trends in the industry, which allows you to be informed and identify opportunities where problems and frustrations exist.
  • They drive traffic wherever you want traffic to go: your website, your blog, your Facebook Page, your infographic…
  • They can be used to generate leads.

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Social Notworking: 10 reasons your social media is “not working”


house_new_square_128We laughed out loud when a customer of ours sent over an article about the art of “social notworking” when people social network, instead of work.

Though the term is used to describe what NOT to do at work, we thought it would be fun to define it another way, as in, why your “social” may “not” be “working”. This is what we came up with.

Social Notworking Mistakes

  1. Being too elusive.  While being mysterious may have helped with the intrigue factor of certain insider brands, being impossible to find on social media is anything but good for most brands.  Complicated Facebook page names, nicknames, and lack of Facebook and Twitter badges on your website, business cards, and email signature makes you irrelevant, not mysterious. Social media users have little patience for finding you online.
  2. Not being elusive enough.  Over-posters beware: it will get you no where.  If you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t post.  Over-posting equals un-friending.
  3. The more is more mentality.  Don’t get caught up on how many people are engaging with your page, be more concerned with who is engaging with your page.  Making a touchpoint with one relevant customer is more effective than 50 people who will never be your customer.
  4. Too much text.  Studies show that an effective post is between 100 and 250 characters (two lines of text).  Shorter posts receive 60 percent more engagement.
  5. Not enough pictures.  Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts with pictures have dramatically higher rates of engagement.  By nature, we are visual creatures–time to twitpic your posts!
  6. Being off-brand.  It’s great to engage your audience with like interests, but don’t get too off-focus.  If they wanted to see posts about your favorite coffee house, they probably would just follow the coffee house and not you.  Plus, you are likely to waste visible posts not talking about your brand when you could be.
  7. Not running ads. Like it or not (pun intended), nowadays part of your social needs to consider ads.  It may seem a little transparent, but let’s face it…you have customers out there that don’t know you exist on social media or may not have ever thought to add you to their social media list.  It’s time to find them!
  8. Being predictable.  You may think you have found your niche, but one day your realize what once worked no longer does.  Maybe that’s because you’ve gotten too predictable–too vanilla.  Don’t be afraid to change it up a bit.  Your posts should be as extraordinary as your business!
  9. Not engaging.  Do you “throw content on the wall to see if it sticks?” If you rely mostly on third-party posting services, retweeting content, and re-posting blog stories, this is not engagement.  This is like standing outside with a megaphone trying to get your message across.  Good social media means asking questions, engaging with your customers, answering questions, engaging with other brands, and making relationships with social media influencers.
  10. Ignoring analytics.  Google analytics, Facebook analytics, Twitter insights, and WordPress statistics are all great tools for determining what types of posts your audience is identifying and engaging with…use them!

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Your Facebook Questions – Answered!


Circle-no-questions

As social media consultants, we are constantly being asked a variety of Facebook questions that have very ambiguous answers.  “When should I post to Facebook?”  “What makes good social media?” and, “How do I get more likes?”

Sometimes people just want an answer!

We’ve compiled five very common Facebook questions and their answers.  Yes, there is some ambiguity when it comes to the “perfect” answer to social media questions.  That’s because each scenario and client is different.  But consider these the Facebook Cliff’s Notes.   They provide you with the basics for Facebook posting.

If, however, you are seeking the best results, consider speaking with a social media marketing company for small business that can help you maneuver through the various obstacles and platforms in social media.

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According to a new study from Wisemetrics, 75 percent of Facebook engagement happens within the first five hours of a post.  Within the first two-and-half hours of posting, you will reach 75 percent of the total impressions for that post, and 75 percent of your audience.   But, as we’ve discussed earlier, that doesn’t mean that your post will pushed out to your entire audience.  In fact, a business page’s post will only likely reach one in every seven Facebook fans.

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Facebook penalizes posts and pages in many different ways, meaning you could be unintentionally setting your post up for failure.  Though we don’t know the specifics of Facebook’s algorithm, we can conclude that generally pages are penalized for the following: posting too often, having low engagement, spammy posts, not paying for ads, posting at times when your audience is not engaged, using third-party posting services, using hashtags, having too broad of an audience, and setting up your page incorrectly.

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Generally, a post that is shared is considered more valuable, because content that is shared is less common.  However, because it is easier to get “likes” than “shares”, striving to get a lot of likes can actually help grow your reach and your overall brand awareness.

Posts that are “liked” generally are: funny, clever, inspirational, positive, have a call to action, are visual, informational, or conversational in nature.  On the other hand, “shared” posts likely contain: unbelievable content, inspirational stories, videos, highly-charged topics, coupons or promos, contests, or giveaways.  Both are highly valuable, but liked vs. shared posts produce different results.

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Facebook users are extremely stingy when it comes to their likes, shares, and comments.  Because these engagement actions are directly related to whether future posts on Facebook reach a page’s audience, marketers are constantly seeking ways to better their engagement.  In general, the best techniques for highly-engaging posts are posts that include at least one of the following functions: they give, they advise, they warn, they amuse, they inspire, they amaze, or they unite one with their community.

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If you catch it quickly enough (before the reach has made it very far), we generally advice to remove it and re-post it, though re-posting may decrease your reach on the new post.  If the post already has engagement (comments, likes, shares) then whether you should delete it and start over depends on the seriousness of the error.  If it is minor, make note of the mistake in the comments.  If it is major and requires an apology, you may need to make note of the correction in the comments as well as send out a follow-up post with the updated/corrected information.

Don’t fret!  Mistakes happen and even though they live online forever, they do not remain top of mind forever.  If you can make light of the situation, most people will forgive and forget (i.e. state “Sorry for our fat fingers! What we actually meant to say was…”).


Seven Traits of Highly-Shareable Facebook Posts


share content social FacebookEarlier this month, we discussed why some Facebook posts are “liked” versus “shared”.  Both are extremely important for interaction and Facebook page rank, but “sharing” has always been regarded by social marketers as the “crème de la crème”.

Perhaps the reason content shareability has been so highly regarded is because so much thought is given to a post by a user before they share it, and therefore, shares are less likely to occur than “likes”.  In fact, research claims that before a user shares a post, they consider, 1) whether the information is useful to others; 2) what the share says about them; and 3) whether it will help them connect with others with similar interests.

Only posts that positively reflect these three criteria are usually “shared” on Facebook.  In other words, users consider “shares” as a reflection of themselves, and are likely only to share a post if it will shed a positive light on their online reputation.

Creating Facebook posts that are highly shared takes a thorough knowledge of your fans, and social media.  But there are a few things you can keep in mind that will help with the overall shareability of your posts.  Marketo conducted research on social sharing using 31,000 data points from 67 Facebook pages, and found that shareability was a byproduct of the following practices.

7 Functions of Highly Shared Posts

Shareability is all about what the post does to people- it affects them in such a way that they want to share with others. Highly shareable posts do at least one of the following:

  1. GIVE: Offers, discounts, deals or contests that everyone can benefit from, not just one sub-group of your friend
  2. ADVISE: Tips, especially about problems that everyone encounters; for example, how to get a job or how to beat the flu
  3. WARN: Warnings about dangers that could affect anyone
  4. AMUSE: Funny pictures and quotes, as long as they’re not offensive to any group- sometimes the humor isn’t quite as strong or edgy- it has to appeal to a general audience
  5. INSPIRE: Inspirational quotes
  6. AMAZE: Amazing pictures or facts
  7. UNITE: A post that acts as a flag to carry and a way to brag to others about your membership in a group that’s doing pretty darned good, thank you very much

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Why Social Resumes Are Increasingly Important


LinkedIn profile resume We all laugh at the age-old joke that a painter’s house is never painted, a mechanic’s car is never running, and gardener’s grass is never green.  But could the same ring true for social media marketers?  Do we get so involved with socializing our clients on the web that we neglect to maintain our own profiles?

A recent article on The Daily Muse suggests just that; and social marketers aren’t the only ones who need to pay attention.  According to the article “Why You Need a Social Resume (and how to build one),” social media networking is no matter to be taken lightly in the hunt for jobs and clients.  In fact, they found that:

One in every six job seekers credit social media to helping them land a job.

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Which social media network should I use for my business?


The social media or the management of social n...

The Question: Which social media network is best for my business?
The Answer: It depends.

With so many social media networks out there–Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Four Square, and YouTube to name a few–it is no wonder that businesses are often confused where to start.  The best social media networks for your business depend on your current online presence, your industry, and your customer.  The best place to start is to continue to grow any networks you are already established on.  After all, you’ve already laid the foundation for a captivated audience there, why not begin building upon it?

If you currently are not on a social network, use the search within each of the social networks to see if anyone has established accounts on your behalf already; you may be surprised to find a ghost user posting on your behalf or a user or group that has begun talking about your products or services online.  If they have, it’s likely you’ve found a place where your audience is already captivated and ready to talk about your business, so start there!

If you are a brand new business, or haven’t found engaged users already on social media networks, you will need to determine which social networks to enlist for your business.  Here’s a cheat sheet for determining which social networks suit your business best.

Facebook
Demographics*:

  • User rate highest for ages 15 – 34
  • Higher than average number with kids.
  • Higher than average income level.
  • More ethnically diverse than other networks.

Great for:

  1. Businesses that want to interact in sentences, not words.
  2. Local businesses.
  3. Businesses with lots of inspiring pictures or videos to share.
  4. Businesses with a passionate, engaged audience (for example, pets, children, health, politics, travel).
  5. International businesses.
  6. Businesses with lots of visitors (restaurants, hotels, visitor’s associations, resorts).
  7. Businesses with lots of events (gyms, rec centers, parks, galleries).

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OutTwit to the Presscue for Twiternity


You’ve heard of Brangelina, Bennifer, and TomKat.  You’ve probably also heard of shareware, emoticon, and pixel.  But have you ever heard of “SpaceBook”? Or, “TwitTube.”

For a little something lighter and fun while you are out celebrating your “alcoholiday”, we decided to create portmanteaus combinations using popular social media jargon.

And, in case you were wondering, a portmanteaus is, according to Wikipedia (which I believe is actually a portmanteaus itself for “Wiki and Encyclopedia”), a “blend of two (or more) words, morphed into one new word.”

So, here you go:

OutTwit (Outwit and Tweet)

To effectively, and cleverly one-up a previous statement in less than a 140 words, as in, “I completely outtwitted you.”

Twitternity (Twitter and Eternity)

If you write something stupid, expect for it to be retweeted for Twiternity, as in, “He will have to hear about that for Twitternity.”

SpaceBook (MySpace and Facebook)

Used to describe the eventual takeover by Facebook of all other social media networks, starting with MySpace, as in, “It was a hostile SpaceBook takeover.”

Caface (Cafe and Facebook)

The cafe where you “check in” with your blind date you met on Facebook, as in, “Let’s meet Caface-to-Face.”

Presscue (Word Press and Rescue)

The word to describe the evolution of print media, as in, “The local papers that are going out of business are in desperate need of Presscuing.”

Spacepace (MySpace and Slug Pace)

Used to describe a business that dates themselves by failing to try new things, like MySpace.  As in, “that business is so behind the times, they move at a Spacepace.”

TwitTube (Twitter and You Tube)

A video posted on YouTube that lasts less than 140 seconds, as in, “Did you see my video update on TwitTube?”

Can you think of a social media portmanteaus to add to our list?
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How Taking 15 Minutes on Google+ Now Can Make Worlds of Difference Later


Marketing Plan

Oh, no!  Not another social network!  For some businesses, it’s a full-time effort just trying to manage their Facebook and Twitter pages.  And then along comes Google+.  Another place to make updates, with a whole new set of tools, and a different platform to learn.

Last week we told you why Google+ for Businesses Shouldn’t be Taken Lightly. The potential to raise your search rankings on the largest search engine in the world is enough to raise at least one eyebrow.  But if you are not ready to take the plunge into Google+, don’t fret.  You don’t have to fully integrate now.

What you do need to do is take 15 minutes to establish your presence on Google+.  If social media has taught us anything, it has taught us that it isn’t always obvious which social media platforms will be adopted, and which ones will be as short-lived as the 2011 ABC lineup.  You can save yourself a lot of time and energy later by establishing  your presence and claiming username on Google+ today.  Claiming your space on Google+ now will prevent others from establishing your business’s presence for you, pretending to be you, or infringing on your trademark (as was so often seen when early adopters claimed popular Twitter and Facebook trademarked names–aka “name squatters“–in the infancy of those networks).

Once you are set up on Google+, you can engage in the media at your leisure.  If you decide you are ready to begin integrating Google+ into your Social Media Plan, you can do so knowing that your presence is already established.

How to Create a Google+ Page in 15 Minutes

1. Go to the Google+ for Business Home Page.

2. Click on “Create your Google+ Page.”

3. Sign in using your Gmail account, or create one if you don’t already have one.

4. Determine the category your business fits into (Local Business, Product or Brand, Company, Institution or Organization).  If you choose a Local Business, be prepared to provide a phone number and address for Google to attempt to locate you.  For a Product, Brand, Company, or Organization, you can provide a URL for your website.

5. Add all the applicable information, accept the terms, and hit “Create.”

6. On the next screen, you can add a tagline and profile picture.

7. After completing your profile, you have the option to publicize the new Google+ page, or to add a Google+ badge (HTML code) to your website.  Do this only if you plan on integrating Google+ into your Social Media Marketing Plan immediately.  You can always add the badge later. Keep in mind this code will help you appear more prominently in Google search results pages, so don’t let this drop off of your to-do list.


Are you LinkedIn? Follow these tips for connecting as a business.


using linkedin for small businessThink LinkedIn is reserved for job seekers?  Think again.  A recent study shows that LinkedIn has a 63 percent approval rating among high revenue-generating businesses, and is favored as the top professional networking platform for business people.

What the study fails to mention is the role LinkedIn is playing in finding clients, selling products, expanding professional networks, growing a business/brand, and PR.

Here is the what, how, and why of LinkedIn for business.

What you need to do: Set up a company page.

How to do it: Read this article and watch this video on setting up company pages.

Why it is important: Allows you to share a searchable overview of your brand, mission, products/services, and employees.  Potential clients/customers can search for your business based on keywords, and potential job applicants can get a feel for your company.

What you need to do: Build a community around your business on LinkedIn .

How to do it: Post a company status update.

Why it is important:  Allows you to interact with experts in your industry, or experts in industries you are interested in connecting with.  You can also showcase your skills or product knowledge by becoming an “expert” in certain groups, which could ultimately lead to more referral customers.

What you need to do: Share and stream your company news.

How to do it: Go to company profile.  Enter “edit” mode by clicking “Admin Tools”.  Select a “designated user” to create an admin.  Add the RSS feed for the stream you would like to add, preferably from your blog.

Why it is important: Allows you to integrate your social media over multiple platforms by RSS-feeding news, blog entries, and Twitter updates.

What you need to do: Make contacts.

How to do it: Use LinkedIn “InMail” or “Introductions”.  Search for contacts by industry, company, school, school, groups, or keywords and connect!

Why it is important:  Social media is about interaction.  Without customers there is no business; without interaction, there is no social media; and without contacts, there is no LinkedIn.  An effective approach to LinkedIn involves a plan for interacting with contacts that: become potential customers, are current customers, or help you meet new customers.

What you need to do: Ask questions.

How to do it: Pose a question in LinkedIn Answers or join LinkedIn Groups to follow discussions, pose questions, or answer group questions.

Why it is important: Using a platform like LinkedIn as a question/answer platform can be highly effective. You can obtain valuable information and advice from customers, clients, and experts just by asking! Interacting with your contacts shows your interest in their opinion, and gives you free advice and market research.

While LinkedIn hasn’t always been an attractive platform for companies, it is a great place for pushing through product ideas, making company updates, viewing potential job candidates, and promoting your business.  How will you LinkIn?


I didn’t know I could do that (with Facebook)


On September 20, Facebook launched a series of changes (again) to their format.  Along with the new look is a new way of filtering and monitoring news from “Friends.”

Facebook officially launched the “Subscribe” button, which allows users to decide whether they would like to see “all updates,” “most updates,” or “just important updates” of their Friends’ statuses.  But if you’re wondering why you haven’t seen it yet, that’s because it’s a bit hidden.

To adjust your Friend subscriptions:

  1. Find the Friend on your wall whose update frequency you would like to change (or you can search for them directly or go to their home page to do this).
  2. Run your curser over their name.  This will activate a box with their name, location, number of mutual friends, lists they belong to, and whether you currently subscribe to their updates.
  3. Run your curser over the check marked “Subscribed” box to further activate a menu that lets you determine the frequency and types of updates you would like to receive.
  4. Check mark the updates and frequency of updates you would like to receive by clicking on your selection.  These selections will ultimately determine how your newsfeed is structured and the weight Facebook gives each Friend’s update on you home feed.

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