LinkedIn Labs Tests Out New Tools

This is likely my last post of the year and being that Christmas is only hours away I’m going to share a little LinkedIn gift with you. Many people are not aware that LinkedIn has a site where they feature internal projects. These not-ready for prime time tools may or may not be relevant but they are interesting.

Once a month LinkedIn celebrates “In Day” where LinkedIn employees are encouraged to research, experiment, and create concepts outside of there normal routine. Adam Nash explained the concept in a post on the LinkedIn blog, “This concept began with an impromptu hackday held over the 2007 holiday break and has now grown to a company-wide event (including an American Idol style panel of judges). Teams are given just five minutes to demo their hack in front of the entire company, and judges get just two minutes to ask questions.”

These are a few of the tools Continue reading LinkedIn Labs Tests Out New Tools

4 Twitter Statistics to Encourage Tweeting

I was doing some research this week reading various blogs and news articles and decide to write down some of the statistics that caught my eye. A set of these statistics focused on Twitter and how people are using the service to take action.

43% Follow Brands on Twitter Looking for Deals and Offers
One of the first things we do with a new client is ask them the following question, “If I follow you on Twitter, what’s in it for me?”

Now we know that some people will follow a business back to help build their own network. But, what about others. Are you providing value to them? What will capture their attention?

Coupons, discounts, special offers are a great way to engage customers and prospects. We recently ran a promotion with Copeland’s Atlanta where they gave away $50 gift cards to the first 5 people that walked into a location and said “Best Brunch in Atlanta”. Continue reading 4 Twitter Statistics to Encourage Tweeting

The Missing Social Media Ingredient

Social Media is everywhere. They talk about it on the news and radio, there are articles in newspapers and magazines, and searching “Social Media” on Google returns 194 million results.

If you want to learn more about it there are hundreds of thousands of blogs, podcasts, and videos available to review. There is no excuse why you cannot figure out how to put social media to work for you. Well maybe one excuse.

That excuse is the missing ingredient in most people’s social media strategy and its “Time”. You can’t learn time and its a limited resource. You either have it or you don’t. Or you need to find or create it.

You really have three choices if you want to get serious about making social media a part of your marketing efforts.

  • You can learn it from scratch by simply diving in and figuring things out.
  • You can tap into the knowledge of others through classes, books, workshops, blogs, audio, and podcasts.
  • You can outsource your efforts.

Regardless of which you choose you will still have to invest some time and money. Continue reading The Missing Social Media Ingredient

A Case of LinkedIn Spam?

I’ve been on LinkedIn for over three years and I’ve been amazed that spam related content has not been a huge issue.  Rarely do I see, or maybe its that I haven’t recognized it, this type of activity.  Compared to Twitter direct sales messages rarely work.

Today I received a message from a fellow group member that at first I assumed was legitimate.  Now I’m not so sure.  I’m going to leave the final decision up to you.

First here’s the message I received from Bradley Mitchell which included a note apparently sent to him from Mr. Brad Kenzie.  It includes a link to http://www.moresocialleads.com which advertises a social media product called PMA Desk.

the spam message

The message is pretty straight forward.  Since I work with clients helping them with their social media strategies, and having written a blog for the past two years that discusses LinkedIn and social media, I was curious.  I clicked on the link to check it out. Continue reading A Case of LinkedIn Spam?

What is a Social Networking/Media Expert?

I recently was asked to speak at a workshop on LinkedIn by a connection of mine.  A week or so prior to the event I received an email from her to use to promote the event.  The description headline stopped me in my tracks…”Sean Nelson the King of LinkedIn”

It took me about two seconds to fire off an email telling her to ditch the royal reference ASAP.  A lot of people would call me an expert on LinkedIn, its their opinion so they can think or say what they like.  I have a different different way of describing what I am.  “I’m simply a small business owner that learned how to use LinkedIn and Social networking / media in order to network more efficiently and to drive new business.”

The word “expert” is thrown around way too often these days with little to back up the claim.  What does a LinkedIn expert look like?  How do you determine that they are an expert?  The same goes for “social networking/media expert”.

I was looking at my home page the other day and noticed an updated profile for a connection of mine and someone I’ve known for the last couple of years.  Curious about what changed I took a look at his profile and immediately noticed that after years in another field he was now a social media expert.

Now anyone can learn a lot about social media and be seen as an expert or extremely knowledgeable even if they’re not in the marketing or advertising field.  I’m a prime example of that.  I learned LinkedIn and social networking/media through trial and error trying to drive business for my insurance agency.

In this case the person had attended a couple of my LinkedIn workshops, a few other social media workshops, and was partnering with a company jumping from Google Adwords to social media.  It takes more than attending a couple of workshops and working in the industry to be an expert.

So what is an expert and how do you determine if you’re one?  Is it valid to claim that you are an expert or does that title have to be conferred upon you by another person?  I’m not certain what the official definition is but here are some thoughts about what I think it takes to potentially be considered an expert: Continue reading What is a Social Networking/Media Expert?

6 Social Media/Networking Tools for Businesses

social media swirlMany people use the term “Social Media” to represent the vast array of social networking sites, social media sites, and tools available.  What we’re really talking about is the Social Web.  The Social Web is made up of Social Networking and Social Media.

Social Networking is about sharing the conversation.  Social Media is about sharing content.  Combined they form an effective toolbox to grow you business.

Sharing the Conversation
There are hundreds social networking sites available and you could spend unlimited time trying to determine how to use each.  I’m looking to use social networking in as efficient manner as possible so I focus on two networking sites and one hybrid.

The two sites that I use are LinkedIn and Facebook.  Both allow me to build communities of people, engage and interact with them, and communicate to on an ongoing basis.  The results may include branding but the end goal is always monetization.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a natural fit from a membership perspective.  The average household income per member is $109,000, close to 80% have attended college, and 49% are decision makers.  The average LinkedIn member is a great prospect.

LinkedIn is a somewhat closed environment and it takes time and effort to build the right communities and typically most of our communications are indirect in nature.  I want those in my networks to see the messages I deliver over time and to get to know, like, and trust me so that when they have a need for the services I provide, I’m top of mind.

It also doesn’t hurt that you have the ability to prospect and then see how you connect into each opportunity. Continue reading 6 Social Media/Networking Tools for Businesses

5 Tips to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

blog 5 tips to optimize profileSeveral times a month I speak at events talking to others about how to use LinkedIn more effectively.  I’m constantly revising the presentations; trying to come up with one that balances showing new members what LinkedIn is while providing value to those that have been members for a while.

The latest presentation focuses on the three areas I wrote about in the 3 Basic Keys to LinkedIn:  Optimizing Your Profile, Building Your Network, and Leveraging LinkedIn.  From this I have put together a list of Tips for each area.  I’ll cover each in separate posts over the next two weeks.  Today we focus on 5 Tips to Optimize Your Profile.

Tip 1:  Have a Relevant Profile Photo

No discussion on creating a better profile can exclude the impact of the photo.  Having a photo simply allows people to place a face with a name.  Not having a photo says that you don’t get “it”.

Having a logo, a product shot, a cartoon etc. isn’t much better than not having a photo.  Doing this also says you don’t get “it”.  Having a photo that is hard to see, doesn’t match your brand, or that is not properly formatted says the same thing.

What is “It”?  “It” is the fact that social networking is about people interacting with people.  Not with companies, products, logos, or cartoon characters.  Being a professional network for business people, What might be acceptable on MySpace of Facebook doesn’t work on LinkedIn.

Tip 2:  Title verses a Tag Line

Titles tell people what you are.  Tag lines can tell people what you can do for them.  For example, there’s a huge difference between “Social Media Consultant” and “Helping business build communities and monetize social networking and media”.

If I’m the CEO for a company maybe I stick with the title.  If I’m a sales person I’d rather people know what I can do for them.  Remember whenever your mini profile is displayed (answering a question, posting a discussion question, posting a news article, etc.) viewers see your photo,  name, title/tag line.

Tip 3:  Customize Your URL’s

In your profile you have the ability to add 3 web links.  Typically you see these on a profile listed as My Website, My Blog, My Company, etc.  Each of these can easily be customized so that My Company is changed to SONARconnects, or MY Blog is Social Media Sonar Blog.

To make the change simply go to you “Edit Profile” page and click on the “edit” text link next to your URL’s.  Then click on the drop down box and choose “Other”.  This allows you to then type in a name to list for the link.

You also are assigned a URL for your Public Profile page.  It typically looks like this:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sean-nelson/10/6a4/3b6.  A customized Public Profile page URL would look like this:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/seannelson.

The customized web links and the customized profile URL will have an effect on your ranking in the search engines.

Tip 4:  Add Applications

Your profile is made up of a lot of static information.  You can update it over time which is good for two reasons:

1.  You want the information listed to be as up to date as possible; and

2.  Every time you update your profile your network is notified that something has changed.  This generates profile visits.

Applications allow you to present information in a variety of formats.  You can add videos,  PowerPoint presentations, white papers, brochures, one-pager’s, case studies, etc.  Not everyone visiting your profile will view the information, but for those who want to know more about you, this is a great way to share information about who you are and what you do.

For video I prefer the Goggle Presentations application.  For presentations I use Slide Share.  And for files I use Boxnet.  I also use the Word Press application to import my blog into my profile.

Others are using the Amazon application to share information on the books they like and TripIt to show others where they are traveling to.  You don’t have to use every application but a few can take your profile from 2 dimensional to 3 dimensional.

Tip 5:  Add Keywords to Your Profile

Your profile is searchable, whether it’s on LinkedIn or from search engines such as Google.  The more effectively you use keywords in your profile the better you will display in search results.  I’m not a fan of adding a string of keywords, but with the various places to add information you can sprinkle them naturally in your descriptions.

I wrote the LinkedIn MBA Workbook to provide a systematic way for someone to build a “Killer” profile.  The workbook is over 20 pages so there are a lot of other tips to optimize your profile.  If you do nothing but focus on the five I’ve listed above you will have a better profile tomorrow than you did today.

Your profile is where people that find you on LinkedIn begin forming their first impression.  Make it a good one and make sure that when they leave your profile they know exactly what you do and how you can help them.

What are some profile tips that I should have included?

**If you would like to learn more about how to use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Business Blogs to grow you business, SONAR Connects offers two options:

  1. Social Media Training that teaches you how to optimize your accounts, build communities of friends, followers, and connections, and how to monetize social networking and media.
  2. Social Networking/Media Management: We take on the responsibility for managing your social media accounts including creating and writing your blog.

Social Media Sonar provides the following four resources for FREE… 1.  The Blog, 2. The Online Marketing/Social Media Blueprint, 3.  Conversion Rate Optimization Guide, 4.  Resource Center.  If these help you implement your own online marketing program, great. We love helping people. If you decide you need some help, great. We love new clients.  Contact Us if we can help you.

How the Top Social Sites Stack Up

If you read this blog often you probably wouldn’t know that I’m actually aware that there are other sites out there.  I use various social networking/media sites but write about LinkedIn because that’s what I know best.  As time moves on I hope to start bringing in some thoughts on the others.

I recently took a look at the ranking of several social networking/media sites and thought they were interesting.  I’m not exactly sure what the rankings and stats mean but I’ll share them.

These results were taken from Alexa.com and include site statistics and demographic data.

Site Rankings: (membership included in parentheses – rough estimates in some cases)
YouTube (100.9 million viewers per month): 3
Facebook (165 million):  4
MySpace (80 million):  11
Twitter (8 million):  20
Flickr (7.5 million):  30
LinkedIn (42 million):  82

Google is number one.

Minutes Per Day Spent on Site
Facebook:  25.6
YouTube:  22.5
MySpace:  19.8
Twitter:  8.6
LinkedIn:  6.5
Flickr:  4.8

Sites Linking In
YouTube:  489,059
MySpace:  335,770
Facebook:  258,619
Flickr:  236,171
Twitter:  169,785
LinkedIn:  55,771

Not sure about all of these but I find it amazing that LinkedIn has less that 56,000 sites linking in to it.

Demographics – relative to the general internet population how popular each is with the listed demographic

Age:
Facebook:  18-34 (ex – Facebook has a higher share of 18-34 year olds than the general internet population but a lower share in the 45+ age group)
Flickr:  18-34
LinkedIn:  25-44
MySpace:  18-34
Twitter:  25-44
YouTube:  18-34

I would expect LinkedIn to have a older user base and not surprised that Twitter does as well.  What’s interesting is that none of the sites seems to be doing that great with the over 45 internet user.

Education:
Facebook:  College Graduates and Graduate Degree
Flickr:  College Graduates and Graduate Degree
LinkedIn:  College Graduates and Graduate Degree
MySpace:  Some College
Twitter:  College Graduates and Graduate Degree
You Tube:  College Graduates and Graduate Degree

Not much difference noted here, with MySpace being the only one doing better with those who attended college but did not graduate

One thing that I do not go into is that in each of these categories some are stronger than the others.  Alexa user a bar graph with no numerical notations so while you can see who is stronger in a particular demographic I did not see how to quantify it.

Wrap Up: I’m not sure that the above statistics provide much relevance.  I think the most telling stats are the rankings and the time on site.  One thing to keep in mind is that all of the sites are pretty open as far as users with the exception being LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is primarily used by business professionals which is a smaller population than the others.  LinkedIn has been working on the 18 to 34 market recently launching a microsite dedicated to recent graduates – http://grads.linkedin.com/.

If you’re bored go to www.alexa.com and you can check out the stats on these and other sites.