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/

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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/

What is SEO?

SEO is short for search engine optimisation, it is the process by which you get a website to appear near the top of the search results for the terms that you want to rank well for. The reason that you would want to do this is obvious, the site that is at the top of the search results will get the most visitors. A site that is on the tenth page of the search results however will likely get very few visitors. Therefore if your webpage is an important part of your business you have to make sure that it ranks well.

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The search engines are supposed to provide the most relevant results for each search term and this is what they try to do. Therefore in theory you should be able to get your site to rank at the top of the search results simply by providing the best and most relevant content. In practice things don’t work out that way, most of the time you are going to have to take steps to help your site to rank well. How much work is required will depend on how much competition there is for that search term.

There are basically two parts to search engine optimisation, the first is known as on page optimisation. This involves making sure that it is clear what your site is about. The easier it is for the search engines to tell what your site is about the easier it will be for it to determine what it should rank for. That means that you are going to want to make sure that your content is tightly focused. You will also want to make sure that your site is laid out in a way that is easy to navigate and that related pages are linked together.

The other part of SEO is off page optimization, this is mainly about getting links. Since the search engines really can’t make judgments on things like quality it is necessary that there be another way to determine which sites are best. In large part this is done by looking at how many other sites link to your site. The theory is that the best sites will be linked to the most. This also makes it possible to get your site to rank well by creating the links yourself. Not all links count for the same value so it is important that you know which links are the most useful and that you go after them.

It is important to realise that SEO is not a onetime thing, if you stop doing it you can be sure that other sites will go past you in the rankings. That means that you will need to be constantly adding new links to your site. Once you have your site ranked at the top you can reduce the amount of time that you have to spend looking for links but you can’t stop entirely.

Taken from: http://www.gnctech.net/what-is-seo.php

5 Essential Social Media Tips For Your Job Hunt

The new year will be here before we know it and college seniors will soon be taking to the streets, heading to web and networking events in hopes of landing a job post-graduation. Any modern job search requires more than just a resume and portfolio, however. Here are five essential social media tips from creative staffing agency, Vitamin T, which job seekers should consider when embarking on their job search.

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Use keywords

Searching for a person online is like searching for a book in Powell’s and not knowing the author. It is important to use keywords in your LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and other social media bios so you are easier to find. If you’re a front-end developer, you want to come up when employers or recruiters are searching for HTML, CSS, etc. on LinkedIn. Think about the skills you use every day and the things that make you great at your job, and make sure they are listed in your bio. For Twitter, you want someone to come to your profile and immediately know who you are, what you do and why they should hire you. They’ll scan your feed, so make sure it’s true to what you’re claiming in your bio. If your keywords say one thing and your feed says another, you’re not likely to look credible.

Google yourself

Because your potential employers will. There is nothing worse than walking into an interview and having an employer tell you something about yourself you didn’t know was out there. Google has a long memory, but if you’re prepared, you can preempt any confusion without surprise. Again—keywords in your bios will help better control what people are finding.

Connect with potential employers

Don’t just listen, talk. Retweet their tweets, comment on their posts, share their posts and tag them in posts. Every time you engage with a potential employer online, it is another chance for you to be noticed, and maybe even become their next hire. At the very least, listen. Know what potential employers are talking about on social media so you can bring it up in a potential interview. You might not retweet every tweet, but they’ll know you are paying attention.

Mind your manners

Be mindful of the language you are using and the opinions you are sharing publicly. You never want to say anything that would offend a potential employer. When someone is considering you for a job, they are considering you to represent their brand/company. It is hard to change a negative first impression, so control your online presence by only sharing things you want Google to remember. Keep in mind, if you retweet something someone else posted it still reflects on you. So think before you post.

Keep it human

Be yourself. You aren’t a robot. Humanize your feeds. It’s important to have conversations and engage with others, but it’s also alright to talk about things that are not related to your job. Do you like watching sports, have a cooking blog or sit on a community board? Talk about it! You don’t have to tell everyone what you’re having for every meal, but employers like to know you’re multifaceted.

 Taken from: http://bostinno.com/2012/12/08/5-essential-social-media-tips-for-your-job-hunt/

London 2012 Olympics journey planner: Tfl unveils its social media strategy

Transport for London will operate a range of new social media platforms to assist and inform commuters before and during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

With approximately one million more people than usual expected to be in the capital during the forthcoming Olympic GamesLondon commuters and incoming visitors are being warned that the city’s transport network will be under unprecedented strain. Today TfL has announced the full list of social media platforms and planning tools it is making available to those who will be travelling through the city during Games time.

In addition to TfL’s permanent Twitter account (@TfLOfficial) a number of Transport for London Twitter accounts will be providing additional advice on how services and roads are operating during the Games period. They are @TfLTrafficNews, @TfLTraveAlerts and @GAOTG. Individual Twitter accounts also exist for each of London Underground’s Tube lines, the DLR, London Overground and the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme. You can find a complete list of TfL’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts here.

Transport for London is warning commuters that each day of the Games will be different, with certain stations and interchanges set to be exceptionally busy when important events are held nearby. The websitewww.getaheadofthegames.com has been set up to give commuters notice of how busy their journeys are likely to be and is recommended reading for travellers looking to plan their journeys through London in advance of their arrival. Already the service has been used by 1.5 million people. Londoners will also be able to sign up for email alerts to help them plan their commute during the Games atwww.tfl.gov.uk/gamesemails while ticket holders are advised to use theSpectator Journey Planner to plan their journey to Olympics venues. Wi-Fi is now available in a number of London Tube stations and will be complimentary during the Games period so commuters will be able to access updates on the move.

The social media accounts and travel mailing lists introduced by TfL are supplemented by a number of other online travel platforms. This week Concentra launched an interactive graphic detailing which Tube stations are likely to face the most severe disruptions on any given day of the Olympics; Google maps, meanwhile, is now offering cycling directionswhich should be of use to Londoners who are planning on cycling to work during the Games. Twitter users can follow The Telegraph’s Olympic coverage on @Telegraph2012 and will find details on culture, lifestyle and travel in London via @TelegraphLondon.

Taken from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/uk/london/9397507/London-2012-Olympics-journey-planner-Tfl-unveils-its-social-media-strategy.html

Twitter search get smarter, adds Autocomplete

In the age of Google Instant, where we expect search results to complete themselves before we’re done typing, Twitter’s search feature has long seemed a little slow and dumb. Can’t it guess at what search term or person you’re looking for? Can’t it autocorrect your spelling? Can’t it just search among the tweets of people you follow?

Well, now you can do all of that, in theory. The microblogging service took the wraps off a new smarter search product Friday, after teasing us late Thursday with a brief announcement that search and discovery on Twitter was about to change “forever.”

The changes, which are rolling out to all users on mobile Twitter and Twitter.com, fall into three categories.

First, there’s the Google Instant-like guessing. “Search autocomplete shows you the most likely terms for your query as you enter it — especially useful if you’re trying to follow the hashtag for an event or you’re looking for a certain Twitter account,” writes engineer Frost Li on the Twitter blog. “You can select your query from the drop-down menu even before you finish typing it.”

 

SEE ALSO: 6 Twitter Search Services Compared 

Search autocomplete will also correct your spelling if there’s a common search term with slightly different letters — a feature Google has boasted for years.

Secondly, Twitter says, search is about to get a lot smarter when it comes to related terms, hashtags and accounts. “If you search for a topic for which people use multiple terms,” says Li, “we will provide relevant suggestions for terms where the majority of that conversation is happening on Twitter.”

And finally, once your search is complete, you have a new option to narrow it down: click on tweets from people you follow. This will appear next to the regular search filter options, “top” and “all.” In other words, if you want to forget the rest of Twitter exists outside your circle of follows, the company just made it a lot easier.

Is smarter Twitter search working for you yet? Let us know in the comments.

 Taken from: http://mashable.com/2012/07/06/twitter-search-autocomplete/

Google revamps search ‘Knowledge Graph’ to provide instant answers

Google is to add more context to search results, in a bid to understand ‘what you mean’ and provide instant answers.

The changes, which roll out in America first and then around the world, will see different options for search queries grouped into likely sets of possibilities.

Writing on the Google Search Blog, Google’s Amit Singhal said that, for instance, the site would now know that a question on the Taj Mahal could be about the Indian mausoleum, the musician or a local restaurant.

The so-called Knowledge Graph will make the site’s algorithms act “more human”, added Mr Singhal.

Earlier this week rival search engine Bing announced that it was going to start to provide information based on a user’s social connections too. Both sites are trying to go beyond the established list of links to other websites. Google’s method will try to provide more information directly on its own pages, and could mean users spend more time on sites where Google derives revenue from advertising. The site previously added personalised results via a programme called ‘Search Plus Your World’.

Mr Singhal said that matching keywords rather than understanding context was no longer enough.

The Knowledge Graph uses approximately 3.5 billion different attributes to organise results. That will allow Google to provide, for instance, specific summary boxes on results related to prominent individuals. A new layout will use space on the right-hand side of Google’s search results page to display the information more effectively, and the experience will be optimised separately for tablets and smartphones.

“The information we show for Tom Cruise answers 37 percent of next queries that people ask about him,” claimed Mr Singhal.

A separate new feature will add a list of subjects “people also search for”.

Mr Singhal described the move as a “first baby step” to building a Star Trek-style computer that provides answers. Apple has already started to integrate results from the Wolfram Alpha service, which provides verified results based on data from reputable sources such as the World Health Organisation.

Taken from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/9271424/Google-revamps-search-Knowledge-Graph-to-provide-instant-answers.html