How to claim your LinkedIn public profile as your own

imageIf Twitter’s the virtual cocktail party and Facebook’s the virtual house party, LinkedIn’s your virtual shop front. If your ideal client were looking to hire someone with your skills, would your profile encourage them to walk through the door?

Make the most of your LinkedIn profile by providing links to your website, blog and Twitter. If your firm doesn’t have a corporate profile, create one and encourage all staff to link to it.

For the highest possible Google ranking, claim your public profile as your own by customising the URL to http://linkedin.com/in/yourfullname – it takes seconds, so no excuses!

From the Profile header, click Edit Profile:

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Then click Edit next to your Public Profile (last field below):

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Finally click Customize your public profile URL and change your URL to something unique (mine’s LindaCheungUK to match with Twitter):

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Seconds well spent Smile

How to Grow Your Network Using Social Media

When my business partner and I quit our jobs to start our own business, one of the unexpected challenges we faced was the lack of a network with which to share ideas. Even those casual chats at the coffee machine were missed.

We turned to social media, and in particular Twitter to fill that gap. We found that Twitter is perfect because just like a networking event or drinks party, the etiquette is that anyone is welcome to join an existing conversation.

We have successfully used Twitter to grow our network of peers, suppliers and customers and discovered that just like real-world networking the know, like, trust process still applies… it’s just that social media accelerates that process.

Know: Find People to Follow

One of the best places to start is with journalists in your sector. Most have a Twitter account these days. Follow them, then look who they are having conversations with. Those people are also likely to be good people to follow – either important people in your sector or people who have the ear of journalists – in either case, good people to know.

Next, look for key local people, local business leaders, large local companies and trade associations. Follow them too.

Like: Old Rules, New Tools

It’s 60 years old now, but Dale Carnegie’s classic principles from How To Win Friends and Influence People apply just as well in the new world of social media as they did in 1950s America.

Introduce yourself to people you follow. Tell them why you followed them, and ideally, pay them a sincere compliment. Say hello to new people who follow you and take a quick look at their bio and timeline. What are they talking about? If it’s their cats, ask how they are; if it’s a business trip, recommend your favourite restaurant. Tweet things of interest to people you want to engage.

Look for conversations in your timeline where you can add value. Share your own insights and Retweet insights of others. Make others look good.

Find excuses to get back in touch. Keep an eye on your contacts’ status updates. Even small status changes can give you something to start a conversation.

Proactively link people together. Don’t wait for others to ask for an introduction. Review your contact list and look for ways to add value to them.

Trust: Take it Offline

When you are ready, start to take your new network into the real world. Most people will be flattered that you want to take the time to meet them face-to-face. Keep it informal. Suggest a catch-up over coffee for instance, the next time you are in the area.

Try to position yourself at the centre of your new online network. Use industry events to arrange group meet ups when many of your contacts are likely to be around. One of our biggest successes came from organising a real-world meet up (a Tweetup) that grew to the point where conference organisers began asking us how they could get involved in our event.

One final thing: Don’t let social media become a drain on your time. Time box it in a way that works for you. Check it for 5 minutes every hour for example; while waiting for a train, bus or taxi; or schedule some time around lunch time or at the end of the day.

10 Incredible Ways to Boost Your Conference ROI with Social Media

imageConferences and trade shows are a great way to get face time with potential clients, suppliers and partners. In the past these events were all about pressing palms and cramming as many meetings into the day as possible. Social media changes all that.

We’ve found that we can massively improve the ROI of events by integrating social media with our real world activities… in fact in some cases you don’t even need to be there in person!

Here are our top tips for using social media at conferences and shows.

Before the event

  1. Help the organizer promote the event
    Find the hashtag and official Twitter account for the event and use social media to let everyone know that you’re going. Retweet announcements from the official event account. Include a status update in your LinkedIn account, with a link to the official event details. Send @messages to your online contacts suggesting the conference might be a good place to catch-up face to face. Remember to include the hashtag in all your Tweets. This will get your face and company name recognized by the show organizers and demonstrate real value to them. Smart organizers will want to encourage this behaviour. As a result of our efforts we’ve been offered massive discounts on show pricing, free upgrades and the chance to speak at future events.
  2. Build relationships
    Look at the speaker and attendee list. Speakers will often have Twitter accounts listed. Make note of anyone you want to meet in person. If you use CubeSocial, create a contact card for each person and tag them appropriately. Tweet about the speakers you’re looking forward to hearing and the people you’re meeting up with. Make sure to use the speaker/attendee Twitter usernames so that conversation can grow. Cast yourself in the role of the jovial party host. Do not sell!
  3. Schedule meetings
    Those speakers you’ve just been chatting to… the online contacts you invited to the show… now’s the time to casually arrange a coffee at the event itself.
  4. Arrange a side event
    If you can’t afford the entrance fee, or the show organizers say you don’t match their criteria for entrance, arrange your own side event. Professional marketers call this ambush marketing, and we (initially unintentionally) pulled this off earlier this year when we were told we couldn’t attend a show. We arranged a Tweetup to coincide with the conference that grew to the point that the conference organizers asked us asked how they could get involved in our event!

During the event

  1. Live Tweet conference sessions
    If you are in a conference session, live Tweet it. There are always plenty of people who for whatever reason are unable to attend. Followers who are interested in the event will appreciate the real-time insights and may add to the conversation, widen your perspective of the event, and the reach of your tweets. Their retweets will provide an interesting insight into what resonates. Remember to always use the conference hashtag. Journalists often follow the hashtags during conferences on the lookout for interesting stories. In our case, our very first piece of media coverage came from a journalist quoting Tweets we had sent during a live Tweeting session.
  2. Make use of otherwise dead time
    During the show you’ll likely be busy with all the meetings you set up beforehand, but be sure to make use of otherwise dead time: The journey to and from the event and during breaks for example. Follow the conference hashtag to discover the important news and themes of the show, and contribute to the conversation.
  3. Tag team it
    Ask your colleagues back at the office to engage in conversation with you and selectively retweet your posts. Your goal should be to put yourself at the centre of online activity, expanding your influence and awareness of your brand.

After the event

  1. Follow up on the leads you missed
    Review the hashtag stream for the conference. Regular Twitter search just goes back a couple of days, so you’ll need to be quick. If you use CubeSocial you can set up a Social Search to record the entire stream for the duration of the show. You can then review the stream at your leisure and reach out to people who might be new contacts, leads or opportunities.
  2. Share photos
    It doesn’t matter whether it is on Twitter, Flickr or Facebook. Share your photos of the event, especially of people you met there. People love photos, especially if they give an insight into something they may have missed out on. Photos are some of the most frequently shared material on the web, and will help broaden the reach of your brand.
  3. Write a review of the event
    Use your blog to write a review of the event. Write about the interesting people you met there, including photos and links to websites and Twitter accounts of people you mention. When you’re done, tell everyone you’ve mentioned that they are featured in your blog. Your aim is to make it easy for people to join the dots, make new connections, find the interesting content and build on their experience. When we took part in Seedcamp earlier this year, our Seedcamp write-up proved so popular that the event organizers mistakenly thought we were spamming them. We had to react quickly on that one and explained that no, it was simply the community at large picking up on it and sharing it.

The best thing about all this is that in many cases you don’t even need to be there in person to benefit from the buzz a conference or show generates. If you find yourself in that situation, try curating the Twitter stream instead, as we did here for a recent event.

What techniques have you found successful for maximising the value of real-world events with social media?

Recruitment Consultants: How not to use social media

If you’re a recruitment consultant thinking about using social media to target candidates, here’s a cautionary tale about how not to do it…

Last week I was followed on Twitter by someone whose bio said they owned a digital marketing agency and a recruitment consultancy.

As usual I said Hi to my new follower (I never use tools that send auto-DMs each to each new follower – they are so obviously automated and impersonal) and asked what caused them to follow me.

In reply I received an odd response that didn’t answer my question: “@markbower Are you on LinkedIn?”

Curious about where this was leading though I replied “Yes, wouldn’t be without it.”

A couple of hours later though I received a LinkedIn invite from the self-same person. Rather than ignore the invite I declined explaining that I only accept LinkedIn invites from people who I have met in person.

The following day I got a spam DM advertising a job opening that was in no way relevant to me. Needless to say I unfollowed and blocked the offending account.

What Went Wrong

Social media accelerates the know – like – trust –buy – advocate cycle of purchasing. That’s one reason social media is so great.

But it only accelerates that cycle – it doesn’t go away entirely!

What this person did wrong was to jump straight from “Hello” to trust, without working through the know and like stages first.

The Lesson

Don’t be in too much of a rush to close the deal. Just as you wouldn’t immediately (ever?)ask for the address book of a person you had just been introduced to at a cocktail party, you shouldn’t try to do the same in the virtual world.

Instead, use a tool like CubeSocial to help you get to know your new contacts better.

CubeSocial takes a Twitter ID or email address and automatically discovers all the other social media profiles for that person. It only takes a couple of seconds to scan a contact’s profiles to find something you can chat to them about. Within minutes you can move through the know and like stages without fear of coming across as spammy.

Social Media for Estate Agents

imageIf you’re an estate agent planning to use social media, you may be thinking about using it to push an automated feed of property for sale.

STOP!

Don’t do it until you’ve read this…

We’ve been chatting recently to a great digital marketing company. One of the clients they are working with at the moment is an estate agent.

That got me thinking… If I were an estate agent how would I use social media to promote my business. I’d…

  • Write a blog about my local area
  • Write about the local schools
  • Get a cheap video camera and record short interviews with sellers talking about the best thing about living in their area
  • Provide easy ways (on my website) for sellers to share their property details on Facebook and Twitter
  • Post loads of photos of the area
  • Provide practical advice home movers
  • Write about local walks, with photos/video
  • Talk about the little known ‘gems’ of the area… The stuff you won’t find on RightMove or in guidebooks… The amazing local organic bakery, the great landlord at the Red Lion…
  • Write local pub reviews
  • Talk about local history
  • Support community events and promote them on my blog

I wouldn’t…

  • Talk about interest rates or the economy
  • Endlessly retweet links to property listings
  • Write self-interested, salesy content

What do you think?

To Google+, or Not To Google+

With Google opening up its Plus social networking service to brands last week, the question we have been considering is whether it’s worth our time actively using the new brand pages.

Let me say before going any further though, you should definitely reserve a page in Google+ for your brand. It only takes a couple of minutes to register your page and you’ll ensure you won’t get hijacked by brand squatters.

Now, onto the question at hand… is it worth time and investment to create and maintain a fully functioning presence?

We can get an insight into the relative popularity of each service by looking at data from the Share buttons that proliferate across the web these days. We can use this as an indicator of the relative importance of each service.

For our study we looked took a sample of news and tech news websites: BBC, CNN, Guardian, New York Times, The Telegraph, Mashable and EConsultancy. Of those, only the The Telegraph, Mashable and EConsultancy have added Google+ sharing to their site.

Next we took the top 5 stories from each site at the time we did the survey and looked at the number of shares on each service:

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Google+

Telegraph

       

968

577

54

16

60%

36%

3%

1%

Mashable

       

610

5211

1684

108

8%

68%

22%

1%

EConsultancy

       

43

311

39

22

10%

75%

9%

5%

So there you have it, according to our admittedly rather unscientific survey, Google+ represents less than 5% of sharing activity on sites that have a Google+ button, and a much smaller percentage of overall sharing activity given that most mainstream sites do not have a Google+ button.

On that basis we have decided not to spend time maintaining a Google+ page (yet).

Have you created a Google+ page? What results are you getting from it?

Why do people connect with brands on social media?

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Do people have different reasons to connect to brands on Facebook vs. Twitter? There were some startling differences highlighted in last week’s report from ExactTarget

For Facebook, the primary reasons are all about getting discounts and free stuff. For Twitter it’s all about information and keeping up to date.

This verifies what we have long suspected. If you’re a retailer, into discounts and daily deals, or you’re a B2C business, Facebook is the place to be. On the other hand, if want to position your brand as an authority in its industry, you’re a B2B business, or you sell bespoke services, Twitter is your more natural home.

Five Top Tips for Social Media Chicks

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Last week I was invited by Creative Barnsley to speak at the Girl Geek South Yorkshire dinner. As you might expect from a geek audience, there was instant feedback on social media!

Here are the tips those lovely ladies (and one brave gentleman) rated top for social media newbies:

#1 Don’t delegate social media to junior members of staff – if you wouldn’t send them to a corporate drinks reception in real life don’t send them to the virtual one.

#2 Find out where your contacts hang out online to determine which platforms to invest in – speak where your clients and prospects want to listen.

#3 Use social media to research clients and prospects. Time can be saved and conversations made more relevant when you already know areas of interest and mutual connections.

#4 Be aware of the dress code – consider how others will view your profiles. If your ideal client was looking for your product/service, would you profiles encourage them to approach you?

#5 Make the most of LinkedIn by providing links to your website, blog, Twitter, etc. and claim your public profile as your own by customising the URL to http://linkedin.com/in/yourfullname 

Explaining How Jonathan Ross helped me see the business value of Twitter also generated a flurry of #ggdsoyo tweets (and the birth of new Twitter game #snaptweets @stellamedia @lornableach) and I was asked to share my 5 must-dos to get started with Twitter during and after the evening.  image

Special mention @Cr8tveBarnsley (pictured) for being such a wonderful host, @JoelFryer for “sneaking in unnoticed(ish)!” and @louisewilkie9 who was inspired to open a Twitter account and in turn inspired the title of this blog Smile

Twitter and Facebook Demographics

I found this really great infographic in my RSS feed this week. The data is probably a year out of date (Twitter supposedly now have 200m users, Facebook 800m) but some interesting things here nonetheless.

  • There are more school kids on Facebook, more graduates on Twitter.
  • Facebook users are more likely to follow a brand, but Twitter users are more likely to buy from a brand they follow.
  • There are more women than men on both services.
  • Facebook users are more likely to login everyday, but Twitter users are more likely to post new updates everyday.

Enjoy.