Publishing on LinkedIn – Three Surprising Tips

20141107 LinkedInThree surprising tips, in my third post about Publishing on LinkedIn… do good things always come in threes?

In the first post, I asked if being one of the first to publish was a privilege or pain.

In the second, I looked at the pros and cons.

This third post comes via Jennifer Janson, who contributed to the second, and tweet alerted me to 10 Data-Driven Steps To Dominate LinkedIn Publishing by Melonie Dodaro.

Dodaro’s infographic is based on “the 3,000 most successful LinkedIn publishing posts”. Surprisingly, the ten tips include –

1. Longer is better in LinkedIn publishing: 1,900 – 2,000 word posts significantly outperform shorter content.

2. Sitting on the fence is a good thing: Neutral posts perform more than 70% better than those with either positive or negative sentiment.

3. Questions don’t make great titles: The more successful posts had statement headlines.

So… don’t ask questions, don’t have an opinion, and don’t use one word when you can use more?!

Beware of Spam LinkedIn Email

2014-09-05 13.17.46Pause before you click!

The image on the left is a screenshot from my phone. At first glance, at the From, the LinkedIn headline and formatting, it looks genuine.

However, I always make sure to pause because clicking on a link, and during that pause I was surprised to see the email addressed “Dear LinkedIn User” rather than to my name .

As I was in the office, I thought to have a second look at the email from my computer. While the From had looked genuine on my phone, it did not on my computer screen:  20140905 LinkedIn Spam

Thought to share and say beware!

Tapping into the social media treasure chest

imageIf the heading looks familiar… it’s because you’ve seen it before! I was recently interviewed by Lexis®Commercial about the use of social media by law firms, and this heading is from Paul Caddy’s article.

Click here to see the full interview – while it focuses on law firms, the themes covered apply to all professional services firms:

1. Social media is fast becoming a hygiene factor in business

Can you imagine telling an important contact that you don’t have email? Can you visualise their reaction? Many will now look at you in the same way if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile or a Twitter account.

2. Social media is just another way to talk

At its heart, business is about relationships, and relationships are built on conversations. Conversations first became virtual via letters, then telephones and faxes, then emails… and now social media.

3. Find out what people are saying about you, your colleagues and your firm

Not being on social media doesn’t mean that you’re not being spoken about. Head over to Google and search. Next, see what bloggers are saying on Google Blog Search. Then go to Twitter and search there. Each result or conversation that you find is an opportunity to influence. If no-one is mentioning your firm, why not?   

4. Find out which platforms your clients and prospects are using

You don’t need to be everywhere. Discover where your contacts want to engage and prioritise those platforms. LinkedIn is your virtual shop front, Twitter the virtual cocktail party, and Facebook the virtual house party. Twitter is a very powerful platform for professionals. As with real-life networking events, you can join any conversation uninvited, as long as you have something relevant and/or amusing to add. You can also boost the ROI of events by integrating social media.

5. Think glass half-full

Some are afraid of social media because it’s public and real-time… which means that social media is searchable: you can find contacts and conversations of interest; reach a larger, yet more targeted, audience; and accelerate the know-like-trust-buy-advocate cycle. By demonstrating your expertise and personality, you can become the host of the virtual parties that matter to you – with opportunities and prospects coming to you, rather than you needing to find and pitch to them.

6. Plan your content, set a strategy

- What you are going to talk about? How will those topics be interesting to your target audience? Effective use of social media means creating content that is provocative… content that provokes a reaction so that readers want to share or engage. It’s better to have a strong opinion and be prepared to defend it rather than sit on the fence.
- Who will be the ‘faces’ of your firm on social media? What training will those individuals need? It may seem like a lifetime ago, but it’s not so long since people needed training on how to use faxes and emails!

Publishing on LinkedIn – Pros and Cons

20140415 LI invite to pubishWhen LinkedIn started the rollout of its publishing platform earlier this year, I asked: is publishing on LinkedIn a privilege or a pain?

A few months on, most seem to think the latter! But there are some positive experiences to share too…

Tipping the scales towards Pain:

imageCharles Christian, Award-winning legal technology journalist
I’ve published there but think LinkedIn has lost the plot, and object to the fact that premium users get to be influencers.

 

imageJulian Summerhayes, Consultant | Coach | Speaker
I think people will regret publishing on LinkedIn. What I’ve seen so far doesn’t fill me with much hope that people have thought about their buyer persona, the digital buyer journey and how LinkedIn has treated its users in the past with dumping certain aspects of the platform.

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Janet Bebb, Social Media Trainer, Content Manager & Consultant
I’ve not got round to publishing yet. Reason – not even blogged on my own site so hardly likely to blog on LinkedIn. Negatives: Seeing some peoples articles that I’m 1st line connected to that I’d rather not! Benefits: just that, it can get you back in front of your contacts!

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Aynsley Damery, Partner, Tayabali Tomlin
Honestly, a pain in addition to the TT blog, status updates, posts, tweets, etc. Agree with the valid concerns in your blog! For me, the idea is good, but… need to focus on 1, 2, 3 [what to write; how to find the time; and being mindful that the content is not under your control].

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Tara Taubman, Founder at FlyAKite.org
Technically, just ok. Had trouble editing my first post from iPad and some comments won’t show on iPhone. Also, in a very short time, one day, LinkedIn is saying more than 250 views, so I am a bit sceptical.

Tipping the scales towards Privilege:

imageJennifer Janson, Managing Director at Six Degrees
Despite the fact that I regularly post on the Six Degrees blog, I only rarely get comments. Within 24 hours of adding my first post to LinkedIn, I had comments which included lively debate among the readers. I think that’s priceless. It might mean that I am doing something wrong on my own blog, or more likely, it means that there truly is power in the LinkedIn network.  Although it will add greater demands on my time, it’s a wonderful way to stay connected with my connections on LinkedIn, in a meaningful way. I do worry about the fact that my content might one day disappear on the whim of someone at LinkedIn, but while the publisher platform is there, I am going to do my best to use it.

imageDeb Dobson, Marketing Technology Manager at Fisher & Phillips LLP
My firm and I have been busy writing on the platform. We are seeing an increase in views, engagement and followers. It’s easier to get in front of a target audience and if a post gets picked up by a LinkedIn Pulse Channel than it really gets distributed to those following specific topics. One post got picked up by two channels that were definitely the audience the post was meant for. I would encourage the doubter to consider it one more place to publish on in addition to website/blog. We are using standard [rather than premium accounts].

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Paolo Fabrizio, Social CRM I Blogger I Speaker
My opinion was and remains very good. In particular, I’ve experienced positive results in terms of reach, networking and engagement. I set a clear strategy before posting my first article. That was: 1) Writing on LinkedIn only in English; 2) Not copying or mixing any content of my Italian blog; 3) Covering the same topics (social customer care, corporate blog, online reputation). If you don’t have a clear strategy, you won’t get any result. In such cases, just don’t do it!

How are you finding publishing on LinkedIn? Do your experiences tip the scales towards privilege or pain?

Social Media Beyond Marketing

imageHurrah to Deloitte UK getting that social media is just another way to talk! Their new video – The Growing Power of Consumers features Nick Turner, Digital Lead for Consumer Business, but the principles he mentions also apply to the B2B world:

1. Engaging needs to go beyond the marketing function, it requires collaboration across different departments in managing different touch points. 

You don’t meet marketing departments at events, you meet human beings. You may have no interest in following a law firm on social media, but would tweet with a lawyer with expertise in your industry. Social media is not “just marketing” or “something that brands use”. Can you imagine telling an important contact that you don’t have email? Can you visualise their reaction? Many will now look at you in the same way if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile and a Twitter account.

2. Technology and analytics can help integrate and track interactions across all touch points and channels, to guide real-time targeted responses.

When I left Morgan Stanley I had less than a dozen connections in LinkedIn, and had never used Facebook or Twitter. I was initially very uncomfortable about social media being real-time and public… until I realised the flip-side: that social media was searchable, and you can find contacts and conversations of interest. Social media is a wonderful research resource, helps you do more with less and increases serendipity. You can virtually join events that you’re unable to make in person and conversations can continue long after the event. I could go on…

3. Reputational risks need to be managed.

Nick Turner refers to Social Command Centres. Others refer to CLOs (Chief Listening Officers). Not being on social media doesn’t mean that you’re not being spoken about online. The first step is to find out what conversations are already going on about you, your colleagues and your firm. If no-one is mentioning your firm, why not?  

It’s time to understand which social media platforms are relevant to you, and how to build and optimise profiles on those platforms. This doesn’t mean that you need to be everywhere. Discover where your contacts hang out on social media and prioritise. Speak where your contacts want to listen and engage.

4. Content creation should be focused on inspiring and informing contacts and prospects, not just selling to them.

Plan your content. Set a strategy. What you are going to talk about? How will those topics be interesting to your target audience? Who will be the ‘faces’ of your business on social media? What constraints, if any, are required on what can be said in public? 

Effective use of social media means creating content that is provocative. That is, content that provokes a reaction so that readers want to share it with their friends or engage with you on the topic. It’s better to have a strong opinion and be prepared to defend it rather than sit on the fence. 

5. Arm contacts with the right information, improve trust, and increase loyalty.

Old rules, new tools! At its heart, business is about relationships, relationships are built on conversations, and (say it with me!) social media is just another way to talk… with the added advantage that it’s searchable and accelerates the know-like-trust-buy-advocate cycle Smile

Publishing on LinkedIn – Privilege or Pain?

20140415 LI invite to pubishBack in February, LinkedIn announced that it was opening up access to its publishing platform to all 277 million users. Before then, LinkedIn had only allowed a small group of selected influencers, such as Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Jack Welch, to write and share long-form blog posts.

20140416 LI Publish.1LinkedIn said that the rollout would be staged, starting with 25,000 English language users. Those with publishing power see a small pencil icon to the right of their Share Box when they are signed into LinkedIn.

The first time you click on the pencil, you will be taken through a Publishing on LinkedIn tutorial… what you should write about, what happens when you publish and “A few things to keep in mind” – reminding you to get permissions and give credit.

20140416 LI Publish.5

If you’re keen to get started and don’t yet see a pencil, you can apply for early access here: http://specialedition.linkedin.com/publishing/

Of course, the official line from LinkedIn is that it’s “a great opportunity” (to strengthen your professional reputation by sharing your perspectives with your network) and when I was granted publishing rights, the email I received from LinkedIn was headed up as “Congrats Linda! You’re invited to publish on LinkedIn”.

Congrats? Perhaps I felt a flicker of flattery, but mostly I pondered:

  • What I would write on LinkedIn… in addition, or instead of, to this blog;
  • If in addition to, how I would find the time (#needmorethan24hoursaday now!); and
  • Having just said goodbye to CubeSocial’s LinkedIn Products & Services tab, what if LinkedIn similarly changes its mind about this feature and “retires” everything that I publish – all LinkedIn publishers need to be mindful that the platform, and therefore the content, is not under their control.

What do you think? Are you one of the first to publish on LinkedIn? How are you finding it? A privilege, or a pain?

LinkedIn Company Pages – how to say goodbye to your Products & Services tab

20140409 LinkedIn P&GWith less than a week to go until LinkedIn “retires” Products & Services, I have followed LinkedIn’s suggestions to copy and save CubeSocial recommendations, and request a copy from LinkedIn.

If you’re planning to do the same, you have five days until your Products & Service tab will be removed on 14  April, and until the end of next month to get in touch with LinkedIn Customer Services. LinkedIn have committed to have recommendation data as of 4 March, available until 30 May – but if you want complete data, you will need to act now…  

I couldn’t find any details of what LinkedIn’s copy would include or look like before submitting my request. While I can’t fault LinkedIn’s response time (just under an hour), I was disappointed to receive an Excel file – see extract below:

LinkedIn P&S.1

It seems that approximately 150 words / 1,000 characters (with spaces) have been allowed for the Description field, which has been populated from Product/Service Overviews. For most of our offerings, the end of our descriptions are missing from the LinkedIn file.

And because LinkedIn is restricting their scope to recommendations, despite retiring Products & Services, if you have any offerings that have not received recommendations, not only will the end of your descriptions be missing, but the beginning and middle will be missing too!

Names and contact details of the individuals who took the time to recommend CubeSocial’s Products & Services are not provided. Instead, LinkedIn provides a “Reviewer_Profile_URL” field, e.g. http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=82977862 is Freelancer Journalist and Editor Alison Coleman. It would have been much more helpful to see public profile URLs, e.g. http://uk.linkedin.com/in/alisoncolemanfreelance rather than have to click through an unfamiliar ID number.

Previously uploaded images for each Product/Service are not attached.

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by LinkedIn’s seemingly generous deadline. Reduce the potential pain of saying goodbye to your Products & Services tab by getting in touch with LinkedIn as soon as possible. Not only will you receive a record of your recommendations, you will see what’s missing and needs to be copied before your Product & Services tab disappears.

I’m sad to say goodbye… we’ve really appreciated all the time and thought that you have taken to recommend our Products & Services, and, of course, all the B2B leads that your positive words have generated Smile THANK YOU and trust that we have a record of your comments saved to treasure! 

LinkedIn’s most viewed profiles for 2012 – spam or smart?

20130208 LI top 1pc emailLast Friday I received this congratulatory email from LinkedIn. I was initially flattered to be in the top percentile, then focused in on the reason behind the mailing – LinkedIn had “reached a new milestone: 200 million members”. Having done the maths, I shared a screenshot on Twitter and Facebook with the comment “Email from LinkedIn… Should I be flattered, or frightened?” The response was immediate and wide-ranging – a wonderful mixture of sincerity, skepticism and sarcasm!

It seems that there have been emails for 1%, 5% and 10%. People have been questioning the validity of the percentages attributed, and how special being one of 2 to 20 million really is. Spam? Or smart marketing?

Many have shared their top percentage on social media using the pre-typed messages provided alongside LinkedIn’s Senior Vice President of Products & User Experience’s letter (reached via “Read More” on the congratulations email)

20130208 LI top 1pc read more

and even when the congratulations haven’t been received in a sincere way, they have generated social media shares, competition and conversation

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Of course LinkedIn has a feature, only available to Premium accounts, which enables those paid members to see who has recently viewed their profile. Members with Basic accounts are frequently sends teasers to “Upgrade… to see the full list”.

By congratulating the most viewed, this campaign has generated reaction (be it pride, envy, or cynicism) and discussion about what it means to be in those top percentiles… highlighting the paid-for feature, and potentially increasing curiosity and conversions. I wonder if LinkedIn will reveal how successful this campaign ends up being in terms of upgrades. 20 million emails could suggest spam, but I’m going with smart.

Did LinkedIn Just Get More Important than Twitter?

Two things happened yesterday.

First I came across this data from PageLever showing how referral traffic has changed since Twitter stopped allowing Tweets to be syndicated directly to the LinkedIn newsfeed.

Next, a colleague pointed out that our blog post on Thursday had more shares on LinkedIn than it had on Twitter.

Now trust me, that’s unheard of.

Normally we see Twitter getting 3-4x the number of shares that LinkedIn delivers.

So what’s happening here?

One theory is that competition for space in the LinkedIn newsfeed is significantly reduced because it’s not inundated with tweets. So posts linking to your website now get more visibility and more clicks.

Whatever the cause, it’s clear that LinkedIn just got much more important that it used to be and you should definitely make sure to post updates to LinkedIn regularly.