What’s the Point of Social Media?

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself that question? How did you answer it? What if we ask someone else? Are they likely to give the same answer or a different one?

We’re also likely to give a different answer than people at the top social sites would give. So lets look at the point of several sites.

  • LinkedIn: To help professionals network and deepen the relationships they already have or are just developing.
  • Facebook: It’s changed in scope from its origins but Facebook allows us to engage with our friends and families on a more personal level sharing experiences, video, photo’s, etc.
  • Twitter: Twitter lets us stream micro thoughts to others and see what others are thinking or up to.
  • You Tube: Allows you to post to share experiences, entertainment, outrage, etc with others. Continue reading What’s the Point of Social Media?

Putting Social Media to Work for You!

Since September I have been working on a 10 part series asking the question “Can LinkedIn Work for You?” The better questions should be “Can Social Media Work for You?”

In both cases the answer is yes. If you’re willing to put the time and effort required to make it successful. What I’ve often found is that many people start experimenting with the various tools but then abandon their efforts when they don’t immediately see results.

Here are the previous 9 articles:

Can LinkedIn Work for You? (part 1 of 10)

Why Are You On LinkedIn? (Part 2 of 10)

Enhance Your Networking with LinkedIn (part 3 of 10)

Expand Your LinkedIn Reach (part 4 of 10)

Building Credibility on LinkedIn (part 5 of 10)

New Opportunities-New Hires on LinkedIn (part 6 of 10)

Prospecting with LinkedIn (part 7 of 10)

5 Ways to Communicate Your Message on LinkedIn (Part 8 of 10)

Growing Your Business with LinkedIn (part 9 of 10)

Within these posts is much of the information you need to make LinkedIn work for you. Many of the same concepts apply to the other social media tools. What’s missing is how you personally can take this information and make it work specifically for you and what it is that you do. Continue reading Putting Social Media to Work for You!

I Need Your Help – Blogoff 2

For the last two years I’ve written this blog to help people more effectively use LinkedIn.  I decided it was time to benchmark the blog’s success by competing in the BlogOff 2 competition.  I need your help to have a chance to win the competition.

Your Task:  Visit my new blog post “The 7 Worst Mistakes on LinkedIn and Their Fixes“.  This post will help you identify and correct the mistakes I see many people making on LinkedIn.

VOTE NOW:  Your click is your vote.  *******Comments on tT7he post are a major component of the voting so please consider adding a comment.*******

Thank you and have a great day.

Sean Nelson

Prospecting with LinkedIn (part 7 of 10)

Last week I discussed New Opportunities, New Hires with LinkedIn that discussed using LinkedIn to advance your career and for companies to find new employees.  Todays conversation addresses using LinkedIn to prospect.

Most people use LinkedIn to connect to other business professionals that they know or meet while networking.  It definitely can help put an additional degree of connectivity to these folks.  But limiting your use to simply networking leaves a significant opportunity out of your monetization toolbox.

The tool that most people fail to take advantage of is the ability to prospect for potential opportunities.  Let me be clear, prospecting is not sending sales messages to your direct connections.  It’s not posting sales messages in groups.  It’s simply identifying potential people or companies that could eventually become clients.

LinkedIn, like other social networking sites, are not great places to overtly sell your products and services.  Can doing this work? Sure, but you’re more likely to turn people off than to turn them on.  A better approach is to connect and engage in conversations so that people first get a chance to know and like you.  Then you can begin converting the “like” into trust.

I recently received a message form someone stating that they had looked at my profile and read my blog.  In the message they simply asked if they could follow up with a question.  I said sure and then next communication was an offer for me to use their services.

Bad strategy.  I’ll talk about how they could have approached things later.

The two ways you can prospect on LinkedIn are People and for Companies. Continue reading Prospecting with LinkedIn (part 7 of 10)

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?

The Insurance Brokers Guide to LinkedIn

insurance brokers guide to linkedin 200

Today I’m excited to announce the first industry specific guide that I have written about LinkedIn.  This guide was developed based on the 8 years of experience that I have as an insurance broker and the expertise I’ve developed since 2006, using LinkedIn to drive new business.

The Insurance Brokers Guide to LinkedIn uses Action Steps to walk you through the process of moving from a social networker to a social marketer.  You’ll learn how to identify why you are on LinkedIn, expand your network, build your credibility, leverage LinkedIn, and a Bonus Action Step on using LinkedIn to prospect.
As a Special Bonus you also get a free copy of my LinkedIn MBA, a $9.97 value, which uses exercises to walk you through creating a “Killer” profile.

The Insurance Brokers Guide to LinkedIn is relevant to any business person, but the examples and terminology are geared to insurance brokers.  Here is a list of the content:

Foreword by Jeremiah Desmarais, Vice President Marketing, Norvax
Authors Note
Introduction
Action Step 1:  Understanding Why You Are on LinkedIn
Action Step 2:  Extending Your Networks
Action Step 3:  Building Your Credibility
Action Step 4:  Leveraging LinkedIn
Bonus Action Step:  Prospecting with LinkedIn
Wrap Up
14 Quick Action Steps
6 Social Media Tools You Should Be Using
  • Foreword by Jeremiah Desmarais, Vice President Marketing, Norvax
  • Authors Note
  • Introduction
  • Action Step 1:  Understanding Why You Are on LinkedIn
  • Action Step 2:  Extending Your Networks
  • Action Step 3:  Building Your Credibility
  • Action Step 4:  Leveraging LinkedIn
  • Bonus Action Step:  Prospecting with LinkedIn
  • Wrap Up
  • 14 Quick Action Steps
  • 6 Social Media Tools You Should Be Using
For more information about this guide and to purchase your copy go to:  http://socialmediasonar.com/insurance_brokers_guide_to_lin.html

Social Media Sonar September Posts

September was a busy and productive month with 7 posts, including the first three parts of my 10 part LinkedIn series “Can LinkedIn Work for You?”.  This month also included a primer on Twitter speak and a graphic detailing the social media/networking process.

Here’s a review and links to each article.

3 Steps to LinkedIn Success

Even if you’re not at the head of the list, only 24% of LinkedIn users are deemed “Active Users”. So once again the opportunity is out there. You simply need to focus on these three areas starting out to find success with LinkedIn.

Enhance Your Networking with LinkedIn (part 3 of 10)

The core of LinkedIn revolves around connecting to other business professionals. Networking exclusively on LinkedIn, though, ignores the human element of face to face interaction. How do you use it to enhance your other networking?

Do You Speak Twittinese?

Social networking and social media are introducing new languages in order to communicate. For those of you still working on speaking the native language of Twittinese, I offer this basic primer course.

Why Are You On LinkedIn? (Part 2 of 10)

In Part 2 of the 10 Part Series “Can LinkedIn Work for You?” we start with a question…“Why are you on LinkedIn?” LinkedIn takes time and effort to produce results. Without this answer “How do you know what actions you should be taking?”

LinkedIn User Guide

Why do only 25% of LinkedIn members use the site on a regular basis? Because most don’t know what to do after signing up. If you haven’t figured out how to use LinkedIn these resources will help.

Can LinkedIn Work for You? (part 1 of 10)

The first article in this 10 Part series asks “Can LinkedIn work for you?”. There are over 45 million people now on LinkedIn but only about 25% are active users. These articles will provide tips and strategies to more effectively use LinkedIn.

Social Media Process in a Picture

Yesterday I wrote about 6 tools that we use at SONARconnects to create and implement social media/networking strategies for ourselves and our client’s. This got me to thinking about how to simplify things by laying out the process in a graphic.

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.

Why Are You On LinkedIn? (Part 2 of 10)

In Part 2 of the 10 Part Series “Can LinkedIn Work for You?” we start with a question…“Why are you on LinkedIn?” LinkedIn takes time and effort to produce results.  Without knowing the answer to this question how do you know what actions you should be taking?

Most people initially joined LinkedIn because either they stumbled across an article saying how great the site was or because someone told them they have to be on it.  There was probably some excitement about the possibilities that quickly faded once you realized you had no clue what to do now that you had an account.

By its navigation structure LinkedIn is telegraphing some of this potential:

  1. People:  Find people you know and build a trusted network.
  2. Jobs:  Find a new job or advance your career.
  3. Answers:  Share and discover information.
  4. Companies:  Be found  by others and have a way to promote your company.

All are great ways to use LinkedIn but what’s missing is the most important reason…to grow your business and make more money.

When I conduct LinkedIn workshops I always poll the audience to see why they are on LinkedIn.  Usually about 75% say they are on it to network, 20% say they are on it to find a job or advance their career, and 5%  or less say they are on it to grow their business and make more money.

If you think about it, networking and advancing your career are part of the process of growing your business and making money. Continue reading Why Are You On LinkedIn? (Part 2 of 10)

LinkedIn User Guide

Mondays are the day that I post my most significant blog post for the week.  If you’re looking for Part 2 in the 10 Part LinkedIn series it will be released on Monday.
One of the statements I made in Part 1 was that I wasn’t sure why people chose to sign up for a LinkedIn account and then did nothing.  Someone posted a comment to the blog stating that most people don’t know what to do once they sign up for an account.
I can understand that lack of knowledge would lead to lack of activity.  The next question I have, though, is “why is anyone letting a lack of knowledge get in the way of a potential resource that can help you grow your network, develop relationships, and drive new business?”
With any new tool, technology, etc. you have the choice in how long it takes to go from a novice to an effective user.
You can choose to do nothing
You can choose to learn it on your own
You can choose to tap into the knowledge of others
You can choose to outsource the activity
When I started to learn how to use LinkedIn I chose #2 and #3.  First I looked around the site to see if I could figure it out on my own.  While I learned the basics I decided I would be better served tapping into the knowledge of others to speed up the learning curve.
I started reading any blog I could find that talked about LinkedIn.  At the time there weren’t that many so I bought a LinkedIn ebook.  This one ebook provided the framework I needed to build a foundation of knowledge.  It also introduced me to some tips and strategies to put to work immediately.
The book I purchased was a high level overview of LinkedIn.  When I decided to write my first LinkedIn ebook I decided I would take the opposite approach and write a very detailed book.  I also decided to base the book chapters on the navigational structure of LinkedIn, making it a great reference tool.  Have a question about Groups, go to the Groups chapter.
In June I released the revision of my first book re-titled as the “LinkedIn MBA”.  I also wrote a workbook, the “LinkedIn MBA Workbook” to help people create a “killer” profile, begin building their credibility, and extend their reach.  Combined the two form a perfect resource for someone who has a LinkedIn account but is not sure what they should be doing.
The book is over 150 pages with close to 100 screenshots and the workbook is around 21 pages.  So you have a choice.  You can continue to do nothing.  You can invest the time to learn it from scratch.  Or you can invest $9.97 (the cost for the book and workbook combined) and begin putting LinkedIn to work for you as soon as today.
The question to ask yourself it what is your time worth?  The minimum wage is $7.25 so if it takes you 40 hours to learn what is in the book and work book your time in cost at a minimum would be $290.  (the average hourly rate for a LinkedIn member is actually $52.40 making the time cost $2,096.15)
The information I share on this blog is free and you can learn a lot by reading through the posts.  I just don’t have the space to provide information in as detailed a manner as in the book.  Also the blog is written based on what I find interesting each week, whereas the book is organized more on a start to finish basis.
For more information on the LinkedIn MBA and the LinkedIn MBA Work book go to http://socialmediasonar.com/book.html
Stop by next Monday for Part 2, “Why are you on LinkedIn?”, of my LinkedIn series.

LinkedIn MBA Cover 200Mondays are the day that I post my most significant blog post for the week.  If you’re looking for Part 2 in the 10 Part LinkedIn series it will be released on Monday.

One of the statements I made in Part 1 was that I wasn’t sure why people chose to sign up for a LinkedIn account and then did nothing.  Someone posted a comment to the blog stating that most people don’t know what to do once they sign up for an account.

I can understand that lack of knowledge would lead to lack of activity.  The next question I have, though, is “why is anyone letting a lack of knowledge get in the way of a potential resource that can help you grow your network, develop relationships, and drive new business?”

With any new tool, technology, etc. you have the choice in how long it takes to go from a novice to an effective user.

  • You can choose to do nothing
  • You can choose to learn it on your own
  • You can choose to tap into the knowledge of others
  • You can choose to outsource the activity

When I started to learn how to use LinkedIn I chose #2 and #3.  First I looked around the site to see if I could figure it out on my own.  While I learned the basics I decided I would be better served tapping into the knowledge of others to speed up the learning curve.

I started reading any blog I could find that talked about LinkedIn.  At the time there weren’t that many so I bought a LinkedIn ebook.  This one ebook provided the framework I needed to build a foundation of knowledge about LinkedIn.  It also introduced me to some tips and strategies to put to work immediately.

The book I purchased was a high level overview of LinkedIn.  When I decided to write my first LinkedIn ebook I decided I would take the opposite approach and write a very detailed book.  I also decided to base the book chapters on the navigational structure of LinkedIn, making it a great reference tool.  Have a question about Groups, go to the Groups chapter.

In June I released the revision of my first book re-titled as the “LinkedIn MBA”.  I also wrote a workbook, the “LinkedIn MBA Workbook” to help people create a “killer” profile, begin building their credibility, and extend their reach.  Combined the two form a perfect resource for someone who has a LinkedIn account but is not sure what they should be doing.

The book is over 150 pages with close to 100 screenshots and the workbook is around 21 pages.  So you have a choice.  You can continue to do nothing.  You can invest the time to learn it from scratch.  Or you can invest $9.97 (the cost for the book and workbook combined) and begin putting LinkedIn to work for you as soon as today.

The question to ask yourself it what is your time worth?  The minimum wage is $7.25 so if it takes you 40 hours to learn what is in the book and work book your time in cost at a minimum would be $290.  (the average hourly rate for a LinkedIn member is actually $52.40 making the time cost $2,096.15)

The information I share on this blog is free and you can learn a lot by reading through the posts.  I just don’t have the space to provide information in as detailed a manner as in the book.  Also the blog is written based on what I find interesting each week, whereas the book is organized more on a start to finish basis.

For more information on the LinkedIn MBA and the LinkedIn MBA Work book go to http://socialmediasonar.com/book.html

Stop by next Monday for Part 2, “Why are you on LinkedIn?”, of my LinkedIn series.

Social Media Process in a Picture

Yesterday I wrote about 6 tools that we use at SONARconnects to create and implement social media/networking strategies for ourselves and our client’s.  This got me to thinking about how to simplify things by laying out the process in a graphic.  Below is the result of that exercise.  I hope it helps you see the overall picture.

Social Media Process flow

Does this help you see things more clearly?

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.