10 top tips for small business success on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the definitive social network for small business. More than four million professionals in the UK and more than half a million groups have been created. Someone joins LinkedIn every second.

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Here are 10 tips for making the most of LinkedIn for your business

1. Find new customers

LinkedIn is a great way to find new customers. Improve your chances of finding them by asking your customers to write you a recommendation, which will be broadcast to all of their connections and yours.

2. Stay connected to those who like you the most

LinkedIn is all about business intent. Way more so than any other network, where perhaps sharing is the biggest motivator. LinkedIn can be your place to get deals done.

3. Sync your other social networks with LinkedIn

You can easily sync your Twitter with LinkedIn so that you don’t have to go to two places and make the update. Think before you do though. If you use your Twitter purely for talking about your personal likes and loves consider whether your business network wants to share in that on LinkedIn.

4. Seek out suppliers

You can find people and businesses you might otherwise have had trouble tracking down through LinkedIn. Search for a company or see which companies your connections are recommending – you could strike gold here.

5. Find out which of your contacts are on LinkedIn and invite them

By simply downloading your email contacts you can upload them all to LinkedIn via a CSV or excel file. It’s a really quick and easy way to connect with your contacts. Don’t forget to add your LinkedIn handle to your email as well – that way you’re promoting your social profile day-in-day-out.

6. Make use of groups or start one

You can glean a lot of industry knowledge from joining LinkedIn groups. Just search the directory to find subjects of interest in your industry. You could start one yourself and become the thought leader of a given subject. There are a surprising number of businesses who’ve got a lot done this way.

7. Get answers you can trust

Use the direct mail function to email someone directly with a question or a post your question to a group. You can guarantee that someone else will have a question too and help you with the answers you’re looking for. You may even win new business this way. If you help someone with a good answer to a tough question, who knows, they may select you for the services you offer.

8. Be wise

LinkedIn’s premise is that you connect with people you’ve done business with, so don’t go spamming people you’ve never met with requests to connect – this can backfire on you and may even see you given a warning. You can connect with people you don’t know though by asking to connect with them via a group you’re both a part of. They can only say no.

9. Blog

If you write a great blog you’ll want to share this on LinkedIn – there are lots of professionals ready and willing to engage with your content if it’s good.

10. Keep an eye on the competition

Use LinkedIn to see what the competition is up – who they were connecting with, what groups they were creating and contributing to. It’s a brilliant way to see what’s happening in your industry. If you’re not into sharing or the fear of the competition finding out what you’re up to is scary just suck it up – you’ll only get left behind. You could even look to hire new people via LinkedIn. Their profile is there for all to see.

How do you use LinkedIn for your business?

Source: http://howdoyoudo-marketing.co.uk/2010/11/10-top-tips-for-small-business-success-on-linkedin/

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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:

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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/

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

Choosing the Best Social Media

It seems as if a new social platform pops up every week, and as a small business owner, it can feel overwhelming. So how can you establish yourself on social media when users are bouncing from one network to the other, and the next hot network may have no reliable messaging for your business?

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First, take a deep breath. Second, there are a lot of social platforms and many audiences, but not every one may be right for you. Before diving head-first into the social sphere, you should know what each is used for and whether it’s useful for you. This is especially true if you’re spending your valuable time managing these accounts yourself.

Here is a breakdown of the seven major social media sites and how they can be beneficial to small businesses.

1. Twitter

Twitter is a great platform for projecting what your company is doing and accessing a large audience. Branding a business requires a lot of time and money, but creating a consistent voice with your tweets is an easy way to get started.

If you already have a blog, which almost every small businesses should, syncing it with Twitter lets you seamlessly publish any major company news to both simultaneously. There are dozens of in-house apps on every blogging platform that make this easy to do.

But Twitter is not just a megaphone for your company, it’s also a great way to engage with thousands of customers. Use social tools, such asTweetDeck or HootSuite, to effectively receive feedback from your followers in an organized manner.

2. Facebook

Facebook and Twitter are useful for similar reasons. Both allow you to connect with your audience, start a conversation and update with company news. Why should a business juggle both accounts?

Facebook’s advantage is that the conversation is gathered all in one place. Customers want the opportunity to feel a part of the company they care about, and Facebook allows them to do just that.

Keep in mind that Facebook is much more visual than Twitter, so it’s best to include more than short bursts of text. Post colorful photos, insightful videos or something interesting that’s relevant to your company, valuable for customers and beautiful on your Facebook Timeline.

3. Pinterest

Because the platform is still fairly new, most brands still aren’t sure what to make of Pinterest. But as traffic and engagement are spiking, early adopters have a great opportunity to make their mark on the site before a lot of major brands hop on.

We’ve already seen some pretty creative initiatives from major brands, but even if you don’t have room in your budget for a contest, there are still great ways to benefit.

Pinterest is a social discovery network, but it’s not a platform for self-promotion. Rather than broadcasting what the company is doing, small business owners can crowdsource and create highly visual pinboards for inspiration. Collecting images, logos and websites with good design and clever copywriting will inspire your brand and team, but also show followers that you have an eye for good taste.

4. Foursquare

Location-based social media services might not be best for every brand. First of all, it requires a person to physically check in somewhere that represents your brand, for example a store or an event. If your company is virtual, there’s really no need (unless you’re having an event).

Foursquare is great for restaurants, retail stores and venues, because it allows customers to post reviews and leave tips. Because these tips are from regular customers, newcomers will feel that they’re receiving authentic information that you simply can’t provide as the owner.

Because Foursquare is partnered with Scoutmob and American Express, brands can use these apps to reward customers with discounts for checking in to an establishment. It’s a small bit of courtesy that helps bring happy customers back.

5. YouTube

Don’t let the cat videos fool you, YouTube is a valuable resource for small businesses. Today, technology has made it easy for anyone to create a video without spending a ton on production. Even a smartphone is capable of creating something worthwhile for your audience.

A mountain of content is uploaded every day to YouTube, which can seem intimidating when you’re trying to be heard. The bright side is that you also have access to that content. If you want to know how to do something, there are millions of tutorials on YouTube to help you learn.

But as a leader of your business, you also have something to give the millions of viewers and uploaders. And with the right strategy and engaging content, you can reach a large audience easily.

That being said, don’t expect your videos to go viral every time (or even at all). Instead, focus on creating content that’s thorough and insightful. Some ways to utilize YouTube for marketing include tutorials, interviews with relevant professionals or video blogging about a new product or event.

6. LinkedIn

We all know that LinkedIn is a great resource for finding a job, but there are a lot of great ways that brands can utilize the network for marketing and networking.

The advantage of Linkedin is that you can filter companies through size, industry and geography. By fully completing your company page, it will show up in the search results of potential customers.

While Facebook and Twitter are great resources for feedback from customers, LinkedIn is where you can partake in conversations with like-minded professionals. In addition to networking offline, small business owners should consider joining groups and participating in Q&A forums that are useful to your industry.

7. Google+

Many small businesses join Google+ for SEO purposes and syndication with other Google applications, like AdSense or Gmail.

It’s also a great platform to expand content distribution—many business owners claim it’s easy to gather an audience.

The audience for Google+ is highly engaged, meaning that like Facebook and Twitter, it’s a great tool for conversation. What Google+ has that the others don’t is the Hangout feature. Here businesses can talk about products or ideas face-to-face with consumers, through videochat.

Taken from: http://www.openforum.com/articles/choosing-the-best-social-media/

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

10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Business Owners

As business owners venture in to the scary world of managing their own Social Media campaigns, many are driving blind. A little bit of education goes a long way and we suggest following these 10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Business Owners to get started. There are endless ways to drive traffic to a website, increase brand awareness around the web, and engage with potential clients through Social Media Marketing. The ability to reach people in real time and target a relevant audience has never been easier.

 

10. Serve the community

Don’t always be looking to serve yourself and your business, provide your following with something that helps them that may not necessarily help you. Becoming a resource is the greatest step you can take to becoming trusted within your community. Spend time researching the other areas that your target market are interested in and provide helpful links and information.

9. Pass traffic to your website

From everywhere possible! Your main social Media Marketing goal should be passing traffic to your website. Remember that your own website is still your greatest sales tool. It has all your information and has the ability to keep people interested. Link from all YouTube videos, Flickr photos, business profiles, and anywhere else you can possibly imagine.

8. Use tools

There are a ton of third party tools for Social Networking websites, use them. They will help you stay organized and save time. Some of my favorites are:

  • ReFollow for Twitter
  • Flickr Uploadr
  • StumbleUpon Toolbar

7. Find niche networks within your industry

There are Social Networks popping up everywhere. Many are specifically targeted to a particular niche. Find Social Networks within your niche and use them. The traffic may not be as high as Facebook and Twitter, but you can easily become a leader within smaller Networks.

6. Write, write, write

Set up a blog. Write until you can’t write anymore. Hire a writer. Do something, anything to keep your content fresh and your readers interested. Don’t just write for your blog, submit articles to sites like Squidoo, Associated Content, InfoBarrel, and HubPages.

5. Promote everywhere

Once you have finished writing, promote it everywhere. Pass traffic through all of your Social Networking accounts, submit your articles to Digg, Reddit, Mixx, etc. Promote everything you do on every single avenue possible. You never know which site could make your article a hit. Whether you get a ton of Retweets, hit the front page of Digg, or get lot’s of Stumbles… if you’re writing something of value, it will catch on somewhere.

4. Learn from your community

Use the people in your community as you wish them to use you. Learn from them. Whether you’re at the top end of your community or just started your business you can learn something from anyone. Research like minded people and businesses to always stay on top of your game.

3. Provide something of value

What do you offer that other don’t? If you don’t know the answer to that question you better find something fast. You can provide Twitter only specials, discounts to Facebook Fans, the next xx people to retweet get something free.

2. Interact with your audience

Spend time talking to people in your community. Reply to Tweets, comment on Facebook posts, engage your audience from your own posts. Host polls, reply to the comments on your blog. If you disagree, be polite. Do not come off as arrogant or as a know-it-all. Be respectful and always answer in a timely fashion when contacted. Word of mouth is still a great way to drum up business, being prompt and a resource can get your respect and respect gets you referrals.

1. Be everywhere

I recently heard someone say “Oh no, I don’t have Facebook, I just used LinkedIn”. While LinkedIn appears to working very well for this person, why cut yourself off from any potential source of clientele? Find and use every single option available, some work better than others within certain industries, but all can provide the option to interact with potential customers and give the option to refer people to your website.

Taken from: http://www.stikkymedia.com/articles/10-social-media-marketing-tips-for-business-owners

Linkedin goes personal with launch of iPad app

The professional social network Linkedin has released an iPad app in an effort to encourage more users to engage with the service.

Writing on the Linkedin blog, Manish Sharma, Linkedin’s product manager, said the app aims “to provide the most engaging experience for iPad users.”

The app is designed to be a personal assistant, with features such as calendar integration and a focus on Linkedin’s personalised news feed, which shows what news articles are popular among friends.

“Our mobile platform is the fastest growing consumer service on Linkedin. We aspire to be the place where every professional comes throughout the day,” Sharma wrote, suggesting an drive to encourage people to use the service more often.

Although Linkedin’s 150 million members make it one of the world’s most popular social networks, only a third of users check the website every day. In comparison, more than half of Facebook members use the site daily.

A straw poll on Twitter revealed that many Linkedin members rarely engage with the service. One user said: “All I do on it is accept link requests, besides that nothing!” A student said “Lecturers recommended we set one up” but added “I’ve only added friends to my Linkedin.”

Ian Fogg, an analyst at Screen Digest, says the launch of the iPad app is an attempt to change this by increasing engagement.

“The biggest strategy is about making Linkedin more personal. The iPad is a very personal product which is very important to a social network like Linkedin,” he said.

“There is a bunch of things that Linkedin is doing to drive usage and adoption,” Fogg said, citing last year’s addition of the social news reader and Twitter integration on the website.

Although it more than doubled its revenue last year, Linkedin’s profits fell year-on-year, and its advertising income rose slower than from other sources. It now makes half of its money through selling its services to recruitment companies, who can post job listings and search for talent.

Linkedin introduced advertising on its mobile apps earlier this year. Encouraging greater use of the service, including via the iPad app, suggests an attempt to diversify its income by increasing advertising revenue.

Taken from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/social-media/9232023/Linkedin-goes-personal-with-launch-of-iPad-app.html