How LinkedIn Can Build Your Business

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Advice, LinkedIn, Social Media, Tips and Tricks | Posted on Jan 26, 2012

0

LinkedIn is More than an Online Resume

Professionals have been using LinkedIn to connect to other professionals for years. During some of the talks I have given over the past year about Social Media Strategy, I have even told people (at least at the beginning) they can regard LinkedIn as a more stagnant social network. I tell people to complete their profile to their liking and connect with people they know personally. At least then they will have a modest number of connections as well as a complete profile filled with the relevant information.

When companies and individuals are getting started on Social media, I advise them to look at other networks at this point as they require much more attention during their inception. I generally advise users to start building their Facebook presence at this point, because 95% of the time spent on social media in the US is spent on Facebook.

Let’s fast forward, you have build up your Facebook presence and are confident with your Facebook Strategy. You decided that you aren’t ready to start work on Twitter, but want to get more involved on LinkedIn. Remember, not all social media sites are created equal, there are pros and cons to each network. In this example I am assuming you have taken the time to figure out which network is best for you to work on next.

Now that you have decided to grow your LinkedIn presence, here are some results you will get from LinkedIn:

1. Detailed information about new connections
2. Increased Traffic to Your Website
3. Partnership/Business Opportunities
4. Status as a ‘Thought Leader’
5. Help with Specific Business Problems

Now how do you reach these results? You need to interact with the users on LinkedIn. Your first step should be through joining LinkedIn Groups. 81% of LinkedIn users belong to a group on LinkedIn. The benefits of a LinkedIn group is it gives your profile more visibility (insofar as you are active) and when you connect to new people that is your common ground.

I think the real power behind a LinkedIn profile is ‘LinkedIn Answers’. There are already large online communities dedicated to answering questions, e.g. Quora. The content on these sites is all user created, and LinkedIn Answers is no different. So you may not consider yourself an expert, but I bet you have enough experience to answer a few questions. You are the expert insofar as you know more than the person asking the question, and as long as you are adding value with your answers people will be grateful.

Scroll through the questions people are asking and genuinely answer their questions. Provide sources, if you are an active blogger provide a link to your blog that further answers the question (this helps increase site traffic). If your answer is well written, solves a problem, and provides proof you will likely be awarded the ‘Top Answer’. As you answer more questions and receive more top answers your opinion will be valued and more people will want to connect with you.

LinkedIn Answers are a two way street, maybe you aren’t looking to become a thought leader but have questions of your own. Before you ask a question be sure to check if it had been asked before, redundancy is annoying. If your question hasn’t been asked yet, ask away! Whenever I ask a question on LinkedIn, I make sure to ask some of my connections who I think may have some insights. By getting some activity on the question you asked, other people’s networks will be aware of the Question and you may get answers that you didn’t expect. One thing I can’t stress enough, thank people who answer and then choose the best answer of the group. People are taking the time to answer your question, so if someone has a truly outstanding answer make sure to reward them with the top answer.

If you take part in Groups, Answers and follow up with a LinkedIn invitation after real life networking events you will have a stellar profile.Good Luck!

Online to Pass the Time

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Advice, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, News, Social Media | Posted on Dec 02, 2011

0

A Recent Study Showed 74% of Online Adults use the Internet to pass the time

A recent study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that adults use the internet for ‘no particular reason’ and as a way to pass the time. People browsing the web lack purpose, and this is something marketers need to keep in mind while crafting their next campaign. Since adults view the internet as a ‘destination for fun’ it is imperative that companies and marketers utilize some of the fun outlets online in their attempts to grow their business.

Key Takeaways

There are a few things you should take away from this study. The first being that the Internet is immersing itself as a major aspect of many people’s lives. They interact with people, watch videos, read articles, search Google, create shareable content, share content, and the list goes on and on and on. If this is how people are spending time, marketers need to find a way to catch the attention of people ‘just looking to have fun’.

It is no wonder that funny videos go viral, these videos are shareable content that people want to see. This is also why people continually share images and info graphics. The second key take away from this study is that you need to make your company ‘Shareable’. Social networks are the medium by which people share the latest findings online. Your company needs to market itself in ways that make people want to pass the word along.

Social begets Sharing

During a twitter hashtag chat the other day, #smmeasure, one of the questions was ‘Do you expect to see more social networks emerge in 2012’. Most people quickly said ‘yes’ or ‘Of course, let’s see them’. I took a much different approach to the question. Companies shouldn’t try to build social networks, Facebook, Twitter Google+ and LinkedIn are covering the market pretty well.  Not to mention, people still use specialized forums to discuss various topics in depth. Companies need to find a way to utilize social marketing, but more importantly craft services that are a their very foundation social.

What do you think of this study? How would you design products/services that are social by nature?

Affiliate Summit in Review

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Affiliate marketing, Conferences, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Social Media, Twitter | Posted on Aug 24, 2011

4

Affiliate Summit Review – Social Media & Affiliate Tips

You all may have noticed that our blog activity has been lacking so far this week.  The reason I haven’t had time to tell you all about the latest and greatest going on in the social and email world is because I spent the last three days in New York City at the Affiliate Summit.  This conference is an amazing way to jump start your affiliate program, you will meet some industry leaders and get tip top advice in topics like Social Media, SEO, and Affiliate Marketing Management.

I was fortunate enough to speak at an expert roundtable during this summit, and I had an amazingly attentive crowd who genuinely wanted to learn how to leverage social for their marketing efforts.  Anyone who attended my session  I would love to hear what you thought of it in the comments section!

If you have never attended an Affiliate Summit, I would highly suggest going. If your company has not yet developed an affiliate program or has not taken it seriously, the Affiliate Summit will give you the knowledge and the tools to develop an amazing affiliate program. For everyone that didn’t get the chance to attend this years Affiliate Summit East, here are the top 5 tips I learned at affiliate summit

1. Twitter is Your Friend

Twitter is an amazing way to start finding new leads, partnership opportunities, and back links. During the keynote on Monday morning, Will Reynolds from SEER Interactive discussed new ways to build back links using Twitter and third party tools.  His suggestions showed just how powerful Twitter can be, especially if you can build an active following.

Think of your Twitter followers like this, they are people who are genuinely interested i n what your brand has to say.  Now that you have their attention they are more likely to post your content on their own website getting you those oh so important back links.  Will had suggested using the export.ly tool to find out who follows you on Twitter and the SEOmoz tool to find out who isn’t linking to you.  Twitter followers have already shown an interest in your brand, and if you reach out to the users who do not link to you and convince them to.  View Will’s presentation HERE

2. Use Third Party Tools

There are all sorts of great tools out there to help build your social presence as well as generate leads from this presence.  Here is a list of the top tools you can’t afford to miss:

  1. SEOmoz
  2. Export.ly
  3. ROWfeeder
  4. TweetReach
  5. Ubbersuggest
  6. TweetAdder

I think these tools should get you off to a good start.  Utilizing both tools in conjunction with one another works will too.  Try cross referencing different types of data to really supercharge your targeting efforts.

3. Affiliate Marketing is all About Relationships

If you are developing a new affiliate program, this concept is fundamental to your program’s success. Affiliates want to work with people they can trust and they want someone to talk to when they have questions or concerns.  I would suggest having a dedicated affiliate manager, who works directly with affiliates.  Some services you could provide are banner ads for affiliates, some content they could use in their reviews, box shots, data feeds, and most importantly a direct email and phone number where the affiliate manager can be reached.

Essentially affiliates are another type of sales force for your company.  They build their livelihood around developing new niche site and content, make sure to make their job easier and more pleasurable and  you will turn your affiliates into product evangelists that will drive more traffic and conversions to your website.

4. Social Media Requires Forward Thinking

My talk at the expert roundtable was initially supposed to be about creating and designing Like Worthy Facebook Pages.  We did discuss the best practices, but the discussion turned into a piece about social media and the mindset you need to have while using social media.  Google+ came up a lot during the conversation, mostly companies asking ‘Why bother using it right now?’ This is how I replied:

“You don’t want to be second place on social media. Social media is all about forward thinking, it is imperative that you utilize all of the tools available in order to stay ahead of the crowd. If you are not on Google+ yet because it is not ‘business’ oriented yet, you are doing yourself a disservice. You have the opportunity to create an engaged community on Google+ and when (mind you not if) Google includes businesses to their platform you will be one step ahead of all the other people who said ‘Why bother?’.”

5. There is always a crowd for your product, no matter how lame [you think] it might be

There are always people who will think your concept is cool, no matter what the topic is.  During one session Joe Soussa talked about the incredible size of the knitting community online.  The name of the group escapes me, but he gave an example of a message board of over a million people who LOVE to knit. Now I know I don’t get excited about knitting, but just because I don’t get excited doesn’t mean no one else will.  It is your job as a marketer to sniff out these leads, and leverage different types of marketing efforts to tap these lead wells.

http://www.slideshare.net/wilreynolds/affiliate-summit-keynote-no-shortcuts

Which Social Media Site are You?

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Social Media, Twitter | Posted on Jul 27, 2011

0

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all use social media (some of us excessively), but there is always one site that we give more attention to than others.  Some will say that a person uses one site because it is easier to use or is more refined, but I hold that some people simply mesh better with different Social Media platforms.  Sure you can have one social media marketer, or a small team, but when it comes to creating the content play them to their strengths.  Where do you (or your social team stand)?

Facebook

Do you have something to say about everything and all sorts of different ways to say it? Do people tend to flock around your conversations? Are you more casual than professional? Then you are the perfect Facebook user.

The standard Facebook user is one that can not only start a discussion, but not intrude on others’ discussions within their community.  They can build a following around new topics and ideas quickly, and have various different ways to share information and news. The Facebook user is a jack-of-all-trades utilizing videos, photographs, questions, quirky quotes, and relevant links to get their point across.

Twitter

Are you quick thinking, quick witted, and always have your finger on the pulse? Do you believe that brevity is next to godliness? Then you are definitely a Twitter person!

The optimal Twitter user is someone who can digest all kinds of data quickly, and can remain on top of trending topics. Twitter is a stream of consciousness that can be intimidating to navigate. However, pro twitterers can easily identify what is going to get them the precious mentions and retweets and what is going to fall by the wayside.

LinkedIn

Are you more business than casual? Always looking for that new venture and ready to network at any time? Then LinkedIn is your domain!

LinkedIn is often overlooked at as Social Media because of its professionalism. This is one of the greatest place to actually generate leads for your company, and for you to find new side projects or even a new job. LinkedIn’s strong point is in its groups, by answering questions in groups you can designate yourself as a thought leader and people will want to connect with you and get your advice on topics they consider you to be a pro at. There are no quirky or banal posts here, only meaningful content may apply!

Google+

Are you always on the search for the latest technology? Do you want to have more control over who sees what between your personal and business life? Then Google+ is where you should hangout.

Google+ is the latest [and yet to be determined though considered by some, greatest] social network.  With an estimated 20 million users already, Google+ is starting to pick up steam. Google+ has a disproportionate amount of users from the technology and marketing space (as well as some articles have pointed out a disproportionate amount of males as well).  There are very cool features in Google+ including Hangouts and their grouping feature Circles. With features like these it is no wonder some are claiming Google+ to be the next big thing.

Obviously companies should be using all of these to be successful on social media(well not Google+ because businesses aren’t allowed there yet). However, if you are a small business and can only focus on one or two sites, pick ones that play toward your strengths.  I only covered 4 Social Media Platforms, but there are many other forms, how would you describe a FlickR user or a Blogger? Give it your best shot  in the comments and tell us which social media site you are!

Businesses Using Social Media for Hiring

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Advice, Facebook, LinkedIn, Social Media, Twitter | Posted on Jul 14, 2011

0

How Businesses and Potential Employees can use Facebook

For Employers

Everyone knows that social media is playing a more and more important role for businesses as it gives them larger and larger audiences to advertise to. But businesses are now using Facebook and social media in a new and different way: to explore for potential employees. According to this article, 90% of companies are planning to use social media while searching for candidates. Referrals are still very important, but the process of finding them is much easier on sites like LinkedIn, which has that feature built in. Nearly everyone is on a social network these days, which means businesses can search through a huge field of potential hires very easily.

For Employees

On the other side, this puts some onus onto those potential employees. First off they should make sure that they have their bases covered in terms of social networks, which means a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as Google+ if you’re feeling ahead of the curb and have an invite. Obviously it is not just enough to have these accounts, they have to be used, and they also have to be used in an appropriate way. That is probably a logical thought, but it never hurts to repeat. While drunken nights are fun and all, you may not want to advertise about them on Facebook or Twitter. On Google+, with its circles, this problem is alleviated a little bit, but until it gains more popularity an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Employees should use their own digression for what goes up onto Facebook.

Are you an employer who has used social media to hire someone, or an employee who used social media to get hired? Let us know in the comments.

 

A New Tech Bubble?

Posted by Dylan | Posted in Facebook, LinkedIn, Social Media | Posted on Jun 14, 2011

0

Is there really any money in companies like Facebook, Groupon, and LinkedIn or are we just blowing another tech bubble?

Tech Bubble

Image Credit: http://www.businesspundit.com/category/finance/

Latest Tech Trend: Filing for an IPO

There is a new trend in the tech world right now, and it’s not just to create as much content as possible, although that is certainly a big part of it. Companies like LinkedIn, Groupon and Pandora are all looking to tap the largest money reserve yet, the American people. I’m talking about going public, something LinkedIn has already done, and more companies are looking to do in the near future. LinkedIn, who filed for an IPO in late January, raised their stock price 30% to $42-$45 before they went public, jumping from aiming for $175 million to $352 million. When the stock finally opened on May 19, 2011, it opened at about twice that at $94.25, which proceeded to go up to over $100 a share, before falling into the $70 range, where it has mostly sat since. Investors and lay men alike were shocked at this 102% jump, leading many to think that perhaps we are in another tech bubble.

Groupon gets in the Stock Game

Groupon has also decided that it wants to get in on the public stock game and so filed for an IPO on June 2, which excited investors even more than LinkedIn had. At the same time however, people were even more torn about whether to believe in a successful Groupon. While the company continues to grow and acquire new customers at an astonishing rate, it is also yet to make a profit, which is not the healthiest business model; although the company believes that this is all a long term investment into a vast customer base, regardless of any short term set-backs. A big IPO could be worth upwards of $25 billion, which would certainly encourage other companies to go that route.

A Public Facebook?

Of course, the most anticipated tech IPO is Facebook. A report came out yesterday from Mashable saying that Facebook is preparing to sell its shares starting in early 2012, as it would be otherwise required by the SEC to disclose its financial information publically. The report states that Facebook’s IPO “could easily top $100 billion,” which they point out is more than four times what Google’s IPO was seven years ago. Obviously not many people know specifics, but it seems fairly clear that Facebook has done nothing but grow and grow since its inception and that it is sitting on quite a fortune, a fortune that other investors would love to get into.

Are we in a Tech Bubble?

So are we in a tech bubble? That question of course can’t be answered now, because you can’t really determine a bubble before it pops. Even so, it’s too hard to tell whether all of this money is just speculation or whether companies like LinkedIn and Groupon can perform in the long term. What is certain is that remains a lot of money to be made, and if and when Facebook goes public, it will probably start a domino effect of other social media networks doing the same, if they haven’t done so already.

But do YOU think we’re in a bubble? Let us know in the comments.

 

Why you need a LinkedIn Presence

Posted by Dylan | Posted in Advice, LinkedIn, Social Media | Posted on Jun 13, 2011

0

If you aren’t on LinkedIn yet, you are missing out on FREE networking

LinkedIn Logo

Facebook may look like the be all and end all of social data mining, and in some ways it is, with its 700 million user group, there are plenty of people shelling out information about themselves that will allow you, the small business owner, to create much more targeted ads. However, there are other, smaller social networks that are just as important, if not more important than Facebook for your company.

The example I have in mind today is LinkedIn, the largest business-oriented social network around, recently passing 100 million users, and adding another million people every week. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that LinkedIn is more business than social, for the site has both. LinkedIn is similar to Facebook in that they both have friends (“connections” in LinkedIn), they have groups that people can join and discuss various things and otherwise be social, and LinkedIn even has its own button for articles around the web.

Here are a few more reasons why you should set up a LinkedIn account immediately:maybe you want a few more specifics.

LinkedIn’s Business Orientation Helps Target Leads More Effectively

LinkedIn’s professional orientation makes advertising even more targeted as people on LinkedIn are more like to be updating their resumes than updating what they had for lunch, if that’s the sort of crowd you’re going for. All around the site is more professional, which in turn makes your ads seem more legitimate than if they were on a more general social network like Facebook.

LinkedIn is the Perfect Network for B2B

Facebook is often criticized as being far to B2C focused, and many other B2B companies use this excuse to bypass social media. If you are a B2B company you MUST have a LinkedIn account, you can highlight your personal and professional achievements while networking with prospective partners/clients. Make sure to fully complete your profile, and enjoy this free opportunity to network. LinkedIn claims creating a profile will increase your change of successful networking by 15% (read the article).

LinkedIn Users are Professionally Social

A LinkedIn user is not spending their time on LinkedIn looking for videos of cats or updating about trivial matters. Even though the general mood on LinkedIn is far more professional than Facebook, it is still a social network and has many of the great benefits of social sites like Facebook. A lot of the same reasons to grow your presence on Facebook also exist of LinkedIn, such as the number of potential viewers (hundreds of millions) as well as the ease that potential customers may feel at seeing advertising on a social site, especially if promoted by their friends (something possible on both Facebook and LinkedIn).

Though creating a LinkedIn page can be somewhat involved, these pages are MUCH easier to maintain than a Facebook business page. So what are you waiting for? Get started, post your resume, write about your achievements, get friends and colleagues to write a recommendation and start networking today.