5 top tips for small businesses when using LinkedIn

LinkedIn the professional social media platform has been around since 2003 and has seen a huge growth throughout the year’s and now has over 200 million registered users.

We think LinkedIn is often an untapped resource for small businesses and we recommend our clients incorporate it in their social media strategy as it can have some great benefits for your business. We have listed 5 top tips to help you get started:

LinkedIn-Logo

Joining and creating groups

Joining groups that are relative to your business and that attract your market demographic will allow you to take part in discussions and become more visible to prospects.

Also creating a group that is industry specific and that target your niche can be beneficial and will establish you as an expert in your field. To ensure group gains popularity, make sure to update regularly and interact with the members.

Connecting with customers

Connecting with customer on LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to keep them updated on your company news and promotions. Once connected, make sure to encourage them to write recommendations on your products and services.

Also consider connecting with prospects as it gives you another chance to promote your products or services – why not drop them a quick message thanking them for the connection and give them a gentle reminder of your great value proposal!

Advanced search function

The advanced search function is a particularly useful tool when trying to track down people with certain skills that may be of interest to you or when trying to discover who the decision makers are within a company. Search criteria such as keywords, experience, current employer and industry will help you find the person or group you are looking to target with ease.

Make the most of LinkedIn applications

LinkedIn provides a great set of applications that can be very effective when showcasing your business. These applications are just extensions of a standard profile but can make yours stand out from the crowd. Some of the most useful apps are as follows:

Word press – Using this app allows you to display your blog on your profile and is often an overlooked opportunity by business owners. This will help drive more traffic to your website and help visitors to your profile learn more about your business.

Events – This works like a calendar for your profile and will display the events you are attending. This is useful for showing your network that you’re a being proactive within the industry and allows you to see the other attendees.

Slide share –This app lets you add business presentations and videos to your LinkedIn profile. This is a good way you to showcase your products and services, generate interest and establish yourself as an industry leader.

Portfolio –This app is really useful for web designers and other creative professional as it allows them to display a portfolio of their work on their profile.

Don’t forget, Google loves LinkedIn

Make sure you optimise the content on your company profile as the LinkedIn domain has a great reputation with the search engines. This is great news for small businesses as it can help get your business on page one of the search results however ensure you edit your LinkedIn URL, this is not just for vanity reasons but so as to make it search engine friendly.

LinkedIn also allows users to add up to three links to a profile which is free ‘link juice’ and will help give your page rank a boost – why not ask your team to add your website to their personal profile too!

Not a LinkedIn enthusiast? We can help…

If you need any help or advice with your social media strategy, please feel free to get in touch….

Source: http://www.addpeople.co.uk/blog/2012/11/5-top-tips-for-small-businesses-when-using-linkedin/

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5 LinkedIn Profile Writing Tips

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The job seeking marketplace has changed significantly, especially as you consider how technology has developed and just how many actual candidates are searching for employment. Seeing as I often instruct and write on resume-related topics, it seems only fair that I also mention LinkedIn. Today, while it might go without saying that in order for you to get the job of your dreams your resume needs to be seriously top notch, the same can be said about your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters are commonly taking to searching for candidates via this social network, and sometimes this is the first place these professionals go to post new opportunities and connect with job seekers. If you are in the middle of a job search, you can’t afford not to have consistency across these two platforms—namely your hard copy resume and what a potential employer might read about you on LinkedIn.

How Do I Create a LinkedIn Profile Worth Reading?

Just as there are rules for resume writing, the same is true with LinkedIn profile creation. As you begin to contemplate your LinkedIn profile, consider these tips.

  1. List every job you have held. While it’s true that it’s okay to be selective on your resume, the exact opposite is the case on LinkedIn. Why, you ask? Because recruiters will often search for a candidate based on where they have worked in the past. If this isn’t included on your profile, you won’t be found. Therefore, while you may have shortened your hard copy resume so that you do not present a veritable tome to a potential employer, expand upon your past on your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Write about all of your past positions. While this might seem like a serious time commitment, going back and rehashing all of the professional details from every job you have held, this is absolutely necessary when completing a LinkedIn profile. The reason for this is because what you write will contain keywords that will help you be found. Plus, just like on a resume, someone who is viewing and considering your profile wants to know your past successes and accomplishments.
  3. Fill in the section that outlines “specialties.” This is a keyword-focused area of LinkedIn and it’s incredibly important when you consider how a recruiter searches on the platform. Think about this area carefully and how it applies to your career. Do your due diligence in filling in as many competencies and proficiencies as possible. In order to do this correctly, it’s best if you take a bit of time and look for commonly used words and phrases that relate to your industry.
  4. Effectively edit your sub-header. When you first begin on LinkedIn, you will likely enter your current job first. Therefore, LinkedIn will place this directly underneath your name on the profile. So, unless your job title is really impressive, you need to edit it so it attracts attention. For instance, “John Doe, Sales Representative for ABC Company” is not overly striking, but “John Doe, Revenue Generating Extraordinaire and Consultative Sales Expert” could raise some eyebrows and communicate what you might be able to bring to a company.
  5. Create a personal URL. LinkedIn will automatically generate a seemingly generic URL for your profile when you start your account. This is bound to look something like: http://www.linkedin.com/johnd8976890. This URL is designed so a visitor can access your profile directly without searching for you and it is also a Web address that many job seekers choose to put on their hard copy resume. Ultimately, you can change and personalize this URL so you can both simplify it and stand out. For instance: www.linkedin.com/amandaclarkgrammarchic. Not only is this a direct match, but it also includes my company’s name, which is how many people search for me. So from an external Web standpoint, my LinkedIn profile is likely to be found on a regular search. LinkedIn, as a social network, ranks really well on the search engines, so doing this can help ensure that you are on page one of Google for your name.

In today’s digital age, it’s fine to have a great resume that you email or hand directly to a potential employer, but you also must make sure that your online profile is doing its job as well and presenting you in an attractive light.
Source : http://www.business2community.com/linkedin/5-linkedin-profile-writing-tips-0379108#Qpkzu8vj6Q2U5CAk.99

Six Social Media No-Nos for Small Business

The number one social media no-no for small businesses is ignoring social media marketing and the enormous potential that it offers. The beauty of social media is it can level the playing field for small businesses allowing them to compete with larger corporations. A recent national study reported 8 out of 10 companies, of all sizes, are using Social Media and planning to expand efforts.

If a business does not have accounts at some of the major social media sites – Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter – then it is missing out on potential sales,  free publicity,  increased brand awareness and traffic to its website. The social media enthusiasm and obvious business missteps are reminiscent of the mid-1990s and the early days of the world wide web when several major web portals were competing for attention.

Regardless of the obvious opportunity, this does not mean that a business should rush into creating mulitiple social media accounts before it knows what its doing and why it is doing it. Avoid the Fire – Ready – Aim approach where you can.

2. Acting without thinking is the number two social media no-no for business. Before creating a social media account, a business should:

  • Decide who is in charge of maintaining and updating the social media account
  • Decide on a marketing strategy (hint: Study what successful people in your field are doing.)
  • Create your company’s written social media communication guidelines/policy and tell your employees about it. Depending upon your company size, coordinate this with HR and Legal.
  • Be customised where you can. Examples: Create a custom-designed Twitter background and decide what avatar the business will use – a logo? A picture of a product? A picture of the owner?

3. The third social media business no-no is being too aggressive and self promoting

Social media marketing requires the soft sell. It’s important to get your marketing message out there and let people know about your upcoming sales, specials, contests, giveaways, promotions, etc., but it’s also important to interact with people on social media sites, have conversations, ask them about themselves and what they’re up to, and offer free advice about your area of expertise, if applicable. (See item 4)

It’s possible to sell yourself without sounding like a salesman. Instead of singing your own praises, talk about your accomplishments and how they helped someone else. Results can speak for themselves.

4. The fourth social media business no-no is being dishonest.

Integrity is required for long term success. Don’t use an avatar of a person that isn’t you, such as a scantily clad model. It makes people instantly suspicious when they see those avatars; they assume that it’s a spam account. Don’t send direct messages, tweets or updates that trick people into clicking on a link, such as saying “This is how I finally started driving traffic to my site!” with a link – which should lead to a blog post, but really leads to a Clickbank product. You will only fool people once.

Be transparent. People are smart. If your company has authorised staff to participate on the company’s behalf; they should say so. Goodwill can be generated if they share tips from their area of expertise in accordance with your communications guidelines for social media communications.

5. The fifth social media business no-no is neglecting your accounts.

Don’t create multiple accounts, then get bored and abandon them all. If you can not update an account – delete it. It creates a bad impression to create an account and then only update it every few months.  It’s worse than not having an account at all. It makes it look like you are a business that isn’t minding it’s store, that it doesn’t have enough personnel to actually run the business. While this may be true, you don’t want to publicise the fact.

6. The sixth social media no-no is breaking the social networking Golden Rule                

Genuine appreciation goes a long way. A largely unwritten rule of community and relationship building is thanking people and extending a helping hand or Tweet to the next person.  This is part of integrity but it is also simple common courtesy.

Taken from: http://kamaron.org/six-social-media-no-nos-small-business

Charities turn to social media for invention

It’s not an easy time to be a charity but many of them are turning to social media to connect with potential donors. Monty Munford reports on a growing trend.

In these days of straitened budgets, few people welcome the sight of a High Street filled with an over-aggressive army of charity collectors. Fortunately, innovation in the digital and social media sectors is helping charities to raise money in other ways.

Givey, launched almost a year ago alongside the Government’s Giving White Paper, allows people to give to charities using SMS and Twitter. Hundreds of charities have signed up to the scheme which provides them with a ‘Givey Tag’ that doubles up as a Twitter and SMS hashtag.

Donors sign up to Givey and link it to their PayPal account. Then they simply key in the amount they want to give and who they want to give it to and the money is then collected through that account. The donor they receives a return Tweet or SMS thanking them for their donation.

Other charities significantly older than Givey are also using social media to appeal to their audience and new donors. Animal welfare charity the RSPCA was formed in 1824 and is funded entirely by donations.

It recently launched its AnimalNation Facebook ‘pledge’ app over the weekend of April 28-29th to kick off RSPCA Week that aims to raise awareness of animal welfare.

During the campaign the RSPCA gave people the opportunity to publicly show their support for the RSPCA’s five key animal welfare pledges via the charity’s Facebook page.

Supporters had the opportunity to explore sensitive and priority issues such as animal euthanasia, animals used for experiments, welfare standards for farm animals and responsible pet ownership.

Moreover they could ask questions via Facebook to Gavin Grant, the company’s CEO, and talk to RSPCA staff in locations as remote as Malawi. This campaign was also backed up by the ubiquitous Twitter hashtag as well as content on YouTube.

Social media in the charity sector is also giving rise to a new trend that is unlikely appeal to over-excited chuggers and that is ‘slacktivism’. This that requires little effort but can be very effective if the so-called slacktivist tweets, signs petitions and shares charity concerns across Twitter and Facebook. According to the agency behind the RSPCA campaign this was a particularly key element in the creation of the AnimalNation app.

Other companies are using videogames to connect charities with potential audiences. PlayMob has done this by in-game virtual goods. Each time a virtual good with a charity connection is purchased, a donation is collected for the charity.

It costs nothing for charities to sign up to the GiverBoard platform, with a revenue share on each transaction between the charity and developer, with a small admin fee going to PlayMob.

As these virtual goods cost almost nothing to create, PlayMob is apparently working with developers to channel some of this revenue back to real world causes. The company works with another Facebook game Magicats where virtual cats help to raise funds for Flora Internationals’ Big Cats projects in South America.

Last and not least, major clothing brand Diesel recently teamed up with the Dubit platform to launch its Only The Brave Foundation.

After flying to Mali the companies produced an online virtual 3D Malian village to ‘enhance the effectiveness of marketing activities and real-life interaction with the village’… and obviously to raise the profile of the Foundation.

So while these are tough times for charities, there is nothing like necessity being the mother of invention. It would appear social media is certainly helping that invention and may completely transform the way we give to charity, although for now don’t ignore that collection tin, charities need us more than ever.

Taken from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/social-media/9246729/Charities-turn-to-social-media-for-invention.html

Brand Loyalty: The Evolving Nature of Brand Alignment

Business is simple. Companies connect with customers, and customers connect with brands. The brand is everything in today’s digital world; and brand loyalty is a recurring business.

Brand alignment used to be quite simple in the past. Before the dot com era, brand loyalty was a one-way communication channel and functioned primarily to give information to customers about the brand. Now with the emergence of social media, customers are deeply engaged with products and services across the entire digital space. Customers have begun to feel the brand need and are demanding greater interaction with it. They’ve come to expect brands to engage and respond to them at all times and from everywhere. But what does brand loyalty mean for businesses today? Quite a lot, actually.

Digital is an experiential medium. It’s no longer enough that a strong marketing initiative will turn consumers into customers. To earn brand loyalty today, businesses must not only stand for something but also do something. And if they want to stay relevant in the digital era, they have no choice but to adapt. Not just through social media but across the entire digital channel. One of the significant drivers to earn brand loyalty is brand engagement – using digital media to connect with people, hear what they want, what they think, how a product or service worked or how it didn’t. The second significant driver is customer service. Many businesses use digital channels as customer retention tools to connect with customers, solve their problems and answer questions instantly. The third significant driver is reward programs. Offering deals and special offers are not only smart tactics to reward the customer, but it enhances your business’ reputation and credibility.

The best companies today understand that brand engagement and positive experiences creates brand loyalty. These businesses understand that it takes more than just a “like” or a “follow” to drive awareness or attention, but through a series of experiences over time. As Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, has been known to say: “Your brand is formed primarily, not by what your company says about itself, but what the company does.” Brand loyalty not only matters – it drives results to the bottom line.

Taken from: http://socialmediatoday.com/alexhisaka/500783/brand-loyalty-evolving-nature-brand-alignment

NBA brings Twitter handles to T-Shirts on Pro Sports first

So you’re a big Kevin Durant fan. You watch his games, you wear his jersey — but do you have his Twitter-handle T-shirt?

In what’s believed to be a pro sports first, the NBA this week began selling official T-shirts that feature some of the league’s biggest stars’ Twitter handles above their jersey numbers, where surnames would normally go. The shirts are available at the NBA Store website and include Durant, Dwyane Wade, Jeremy Lin and a number of other big names.

Lisa Pilken, the NBA’s vice president of licensing, says the move is in keeping with the league’s tradition of creativity in social media.

“We are always looking at new ways to connect with fans,” Pilken told Mashable in an email. “As the top sports league on Twitter with more than 4.5 million followers on @NBA and more than 350 NBA players active on the site, we thought this would be a great way to engage with our fans.”

NBA players were among the first pro athletes to embrace Twitter. In 2009, Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva was reprimanded for tweeting from the team locker room during halftime of a game. Later that year, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love used a tweet to break news that the team’s coach had been fired.

The league as a whole has been especially adept at leveraging social media as well, and this year hosted a digitally influenced All-Star Weekend.

While the NBA is the first league to officially make player Twitter T-shirts, it’s not the first to have a version of the idea. The sports-meets-social site TweetStarGame has an online store selling Twitter-handle shirts of players from a number of sports. Professional soccer and lacrosse teams have also replaced players’ names with their handles on official game uniforms.

Do you think putting players’ Twitter handles on T-shirts is a smart marketing play or not? Let us know in the comments.

‪Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, Link-creative ‬

Taken from: http://mashable.com/2012/03/31/nba-twitter-handle-shirt/