Yesterday I was giving a full day Advanced Workshop/Presentation to the Executive Institute of Ireland on Social Selling Through LinkedIn. It was being run in the absolutely gorgeous newly renovated rooms in the National Concert Hall in Dublin. Lots of light, huge airy room, massive screen, great coffee and pastries and then I had to teach Top Sales People with enormous monthly quotas how to Sell through #LinkedIn.
Here is my problem – I have been training companies for years in how to use LinkedIn through NOT selling!
However, I am so convinced of the power of doing business through LinkedIn that I decided to bring that knowledge to the table and turn it slightly on its ear. So, instead of “Selling” we worked on how to focus on warm introductions and recommendations and on how to get these prospects to arrive in your sales funnel at a much higher lever than the normal entry point. Here’s a little bit of what we covered.
People Do Business with People
It is human nature to chat, hang out or even do business with people you can personally connect with. Research shows B2B decision-makers count their interactions with salespeople as the major determinant of whom they choose – more than product quality, brand reputation and pricing combined! That means that if you, as the sales person, can give your buyer a personal hook to connect with you’re already ahead of the game.
I asked all the participants to tell me a bit about themselves at the start of the course yesterday. No one had ever met before. Everyone told me who they worked for, their title and what their company was famous for supplying. I asked each one again “Anything else you want to tell us?” Again, they told me the company had been operating for X years and employed X number of people. I was nearly dying inside!
Finally someone told me they were building a house… The room erupted… “Oh My God It;’s SO stressful!” “Do you have a good electrician?” “Where are you getting your bathroom?” “My brother has just finished here’s what he learned” “Here;s the number of a great painter”…. We had noise and conversations and numbers being exchanged. Simply because there was a Personal Hook people could easily relate to. How easy was that? We were having conversations, advice and information were being exchanged, everyone was engaged.
Now… How is that any different to LinkedIn? You MUST create Conversations, Exchange Information and Advice and Be Engaged! That is the core to any successful Sales Funnel. Give me something to connect with, show me some personality in your copy, some flair. That personal engagement will ensure that you are personally connected to your contact. That in turn means that they will come to you for information and advice, engage with your posted content and become the solution to their problems.
There are many ways you can do that on LinkedIn. The first, is to ensure your profile and the Summary piece especially are full of personality, watch your voice in your writing. You want them to be able to hear you speak when they read your Summary. They’ll only read the first couple of lines though (no time!) so make sure it is clear – What you do, who you serve and your value to them. All in the first 3 lines of your summary.
It is NOT a CV, do not mention that you’re experienced, motivated, a team player, self starter… these are all taken for granted now. Make yourself Stand Out. Show Passion. Tell Stories!
Make sure that you know very specifically who you are selling to, what their worries are and what solution they will value from you. Then fill the rest of your (2000 characters) summary with Keywords (Google Adwords, Tools – Keyword Planner) scripted into your key messages aimed at that specific audience with those specific problems (see below for campaigns). Don’t forget to put in a recommendation here. Use all the space. Show your personality!
I often change my summary depending on the specific work campaign Redstorm is running. So, I am often working to attract different target audiences with a different set of values. SMEs looking for an internal Marketing Department, websites and branding; Bluechips looking for LinkedIn Training or Personal Branding for their top tier executives – I advise everyone to open and save a word/pages document and spend time writing a couple of headlines and summaries based on their main key targets so it’s then easy to switch between them depending on your business focus at the time. I’m not suggesting you appear psychotic! Just tweaking the message and keywords to appear in different search results is incredibly effective.
The very first piece of real estate anyone sees in LinkedIn is your cover graphic and photo. So why did everyone bar one yesterday have the LinkedIn blue graphic? You need to Stand Out – Change the graphic! Use Canva to design a header graphic with your company colours and message of the month or campaign message on it. Change it regularly! Here’s mine:
It makes it really easy to see what I do. I have a clear smiling photo that shows my personality – you get a feeling for what it would be like to meet me face-to-face.
The next piece of real estate and one of the most high powered search areas in LinkedIn is your header. People have an awful habit of putting their title here. But that just means you’ll show up when a sales person wants to sell into “Business Development Managers”… Why not use this to give a shot of what you deliver? Keyword heaven!!! It doesn’t have to read well; it has to tell your potential connection what you will bring to the table. It has to tell the search engines to show you in their results. Be creative!
Can you see the difference between me putting “Marketing Strategy, Communications, Social Media, Digital Strategist, LinkedIn, Branding, Entrepreneur, Keynote Speaker” versus “CEO Redstorm”?
In Part Two of this “Social Selling – Linkedin for Sales Prospecting” I’ll be looking at how to successfully engage and create Great Conversations across the platform.
If you’re having any difficulty with your own profile give us a call on 087 2476600 and we can chat it through!
We all know the effort that goes into creating content right?
Wouldn’t it be great to create that piece of content and KNOW that you’re going to get LOADS of social media shares on the SAME piece of content?
Here are some easy tips to ensure you increase the amount people share, comment and use your content!
Remember to follow the basics first:
Create Great Content
Use a Variety of Media – Text, Infographics, Video, Podcasts etc…
Store Your Content on Your Website – So You Control It
Use a Link Shortening Tool – Bitly/Tiny etc
Use a Scheduling Software (for free) Hootsuite/Buffer etc
Have Your “Standard Operating Procedures” (yawn) in place! More later…
Know Your Keywords
Know Your Audience
Know Your Message!
SHARE CONTENT MORE THAN ONCE
One of the best ways to get more social media “Shares” and engagement is to share your content more than once. You have one great piece of content, you put it up on Facebook and then you’re done? Seriously? After all that work? No Way!
Get your shortened link, a couple of good quality relevant photos, several keyword rich sound bites and you’re good to go! I’d even suggest you put all this into an excel spreadsheet to make it clear at a glance! Using Hootsuite (for example) you can then choose which platforms you want to use for this content and plan when you want to publish and with what keyword rich message. Don’t forget, publish several times on EACH platform with a different message at different times of the day. Very effective for very little extra effort… Lovin’ this!
Getting into the Habit (Standard Operating Procedures – more on this later) of sharing content more than once also lets you get to know what kind of images, messaging and hashtags work with your audience, and can help you to determine when your audience is the most active and what they are most likely to ENGAGE with.
2. CREATE CONTENT THAT ADDS VALUE TO YOUR CUSTOMER
You REALLY need to know your audience. Know what they value, know what is relevant to them, know what experience you bring that removes their worries, solves their niggles. Notice I’m using the word “Know”. This is not guess work on your side. You need to know it For A Fact. So, go ask them.
People are much more likely to share content that they perceive as highly valuable to them. If you can consistently create that type of content – they will share it.
3. CREATE “SNACKABLE” CONTENT
Snackable content is generally short, quick and easily digestible. Snackable content can include quotes, infographics, and stats. Get creative in the way you present your information and find additional ways to frame and present your ideas in shorter forms. You still need the longer version (like this post) as Google loves 1500+ words but to drive sharing and engagement people often share the quick bites. It’s all good brand building for you. And easier to create.
4. SHARE POSTS WHEN FOLLOWERS ARE ACTIVE
Figuring out when your followers are online and active is essential to getting the most impact out of each of your social media posts. Social Media platforms are so immediate that its easy to be missed in the 6000 tweets sent every second!
Use in-network analytics tools (like the new Twitter Dashboard) to help you determine when your audience is online and ready to be engaged.
5. PROVIDE CONTEXT IN HEADLINES/MESSAGING
Your headline can make or break your content – research has shown that up to 80% of readers will decide whether or not to click through on a link based on your title.
Make sure headlines, sound bites and messaging offer clear context for your content and what the reader will get out of it. Good keyword research and knowing your audience well will pay hugely here. Be sure to use Active and Descriptive words to encourage your readers to interact with your content.
6. MAKE SOCIAL MEDIA SHARE BUTTONS EASY TO FIND
This sounds SO simple but seriously, I don’t know how often I find great content that I know my readers would love but can I find anyway of sharing it? I don’t have time to go searching, make it easy!
Be careful how and where these buttons appear. There are the coolest sharing buttons that are “Sticky”, they stay in place when you scroll through content and appear at the side of your blog post. BUT when you read the post on a mobile device you can’t read the content it disappears behind these lovely sharing buttons!
Make sure that its clear which buttons do what – does the big F at the end of your blog post mean I can share your content on my Facebook page or does it mean that I will now follow you on Facebook. There’s a Big Difference!
Some platforms, like Pinterest and Facebook will automatically pull the post’s featured image so make sure it’s a good one. Using software such as canva.com makes it easy to get the correct sized image for each platform as it does it automatically for you. No more excuses for dodgy imagery. Just don’t lose your entire day designing!
8. TRY “CLICK TO TWEET” OPTIONS
It’s the little things in life! “Click to Tweet” plugins let you choose parts of your post that your reader can simply click on to tweet out to all their followers. Firstly, this makes it super easy for your readers to share key notes of your content. They’ll like that. They look good, there adding value to their followers. And secondly it lets you highlight the critical take away points from your article.
I use a plugin, but if your site isn’t on WordPress you can try ClickToTweet.com or run Google search for click to tweet services.
9. USE CALLS TO ACTION
Take it back to the old fashioned Call to Action (CTA). Have a think about what exactly it is you want your readers to do. For example ask them (nicely) to share your post if they’ve found it of value. Include this messaging in all your landing/sales pages too. Be clear in your Calls to Action, leave no room for doubt and incentivise readers to follow your CTAs!
In this article, I’ll show you how to get the most from your LinkedIn company page, in five easy steps.
Why a LinkedIn Company Page?
The benefits of a well-oiled LinkedIn company page include engaging followers with company news, updates, events and relevant content.
There’s also the improved search engine rankings as LinkedIn pages often perform well in company searches. And let’s not forget lead generation opportunities from your content marketing.
In fact, research shows that 50% of LinkedIn members are more likely to purchase from companies when they engage with them on LinkedIn.
Here’s how to make your LinkedIn company page work for you:
#1: Optimize Your LinkedIn Page
Showcase what your business has to offer. Smart marketers who build out their products and services page tend to attract twice as many company followers than those who don’t.
Use this page to tell members what you do best and give them compelling reasons to follow you.
Remember that you can link to just about anything from your products and services page, including your latest and greatest white papers, case studies or how-to content.
You’ll best attract customers when you turn your products, services or anything else relevant to your business into focal points. Here are just a few examples of what to feature prominently:
Products: The software you sell or the apps you’ve built
Services: A list of your résumé writing services or your tax consulting brochure
Other: Webinars you host or your company’s white papers or ebooks
Use the products and services page to raise awareness of your brand, promote career opportunities and educate potential customers on your products and services.
Company pages are also very SEO-friendly. Google previews up to 156 characters of your page’s text. Be sure to edit your description so that it leads with powerful, keyword-rich sentences. Plus, members can search for companies by keyword on LinkedIn, so include words and phrases that describe your business, expertise and industry focus.
Finally, remember to include your company contact information, descriptions of offerings and your areas of expertise. Your primary attributes can also function as keyword tags.
Once you’ve done that, ask your customers to recommend the products and services they favor. Authentic advocacy equals credible endorsement!
#2: Engage Your Audience
With LinkedIn company pages, you can now like and share content as a company. Before, you could only do so as an individual. This is a big change, so use it toengage other members!
For example, your company page admins can like and respond to member comments that are made in response to something you post on your company page.Consider sharing your customers’ and prospects’ content—from their corporate blogs, product updates and company posts—to get these kinds of interactions going. And don’t forget content from their employees! You’ll develop trust with buyers while developing a more professional corporate brand identity.
Hands down, content that’s customized to your followers’ and customers’ professional interests resonates the most.
With LinkedIn’s targeted updates, you can easily tailor your message to your audience. For example, when you create an update, you can choose to share it with “all followers” or to a “targeted audience.”
Choose the latter to send your update to a subset of followers based on geography, industry, company size or level of seniority. Just as with any social network, LinkedIn is a community where targeted engagement is essential for success.
Company updates allow your administrators to directly engage with viewers and followers of your company page. You can post and share items like company news, promotions, relevant industry articles and YouTube videos.
When you update from your company page, use these two essential tips for creating compelling content:
Think like a journalist. Don’t bury the lead! Concise intros and snappy headlines are more likely to result in higher engagement than long, dry copy. You have only moments to show your audience why they should care, so being succinct is crucial. Grab your readers’ attention right away by starting your update with your most important thought.
Make your content valuable and “snackable.” Develop quality content that is quick to consume, so members will want to share it with their connections and networks. In fact, our data shows that the most successful updates include a picture, chart, video or link to an article. When you do not have a link or image to include, engage your audience by asking a question.
Lastly, keep in mind that professionals will check your updates on multiple devices.
#3: Attract More Followers
The more the merrier on the social merry-go-round. Here are some simple, effective strategies for attracting more followers with your company updates:
Engage your colleagues. Employees are 70% more likely to engage with your company updates, so don’t forget to ask them to do it! Initiate communication and make it easy for them to respond.
Cultivate a larger following with a multi-channel approach. Encourage your teammates to add a link to your company page in their email signatures. If needed, ask your designer for help creating a customized banner or button.
Add a Follow button to your website. Your web team can pull code for a Follow button from developer.linkedin.com to add to your blog or website. This lets LinkedIn members follow your company with a single click.
Add a Follow button to your website, making it easy to grow your LinkedIn company page follower base.
#4: Follow the 4-1-1 Rule
The 4-1-1 Rule was coined by Tippingpoint Labs and Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute. The rule states:
“For every one self-serving tweet, you should retweet one relevant tweet and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.”
Consistent posting: Create an editorial calendar of updates within your company, and highlight relevant third-party material. Then share it with company followers. Image Source: Tippingpoint Labs.
Apply this simple rule to your activity on your LinkedIn company page, and you’ve struck gold. You’ll authentically engage in conversations, build awareness and interact with LinkedIn members without giving the impression that you’re a self-centered know-it-all.
For marketers, the 4-1-1 Rule is particularly useful when applied to building relationships with prospective customers. This kind of trust hinges on your ability tofoster an informative dialogue regularly. It also keeps you at the front of prospects’ minds as they move through the buying phase.
As Jay Baer says, “Sell something, get a customer for a day. Help someone, get a customer for life.”
#5: Analyze for the Prize
Company page administrators have access to LinkedIn Analytics that help them better engage with their followers and monitor their success. There is a goldmine of insights available to help you focus and refine your strategy, including:
Engagement % — Engagement = interactions + clicks + followers acquired. In other words, this metric answers the question, “Of those who’ve seen my update, how many are truly engaging with it?” Look at updates with higher engagement rates, and note the type of content, people targeted, date and time. Then you’ll know how to optimize future content around what’s proven to work.
Demographics — From seniority and industry to company size and function, demographics give you a snapshot of your followers. With this information, you cantailor the type of content you share on your company page, as well as the tone in which it’s delivered. Demographics will also help you determine segments to target with targeted status updates.
How You Compare — Knowing how your company page compares to your competitors’ pages is a great way to determine whether you should change your strategy.
Host a company “Lunch & Learn” to evangelize the power of company updates, and share tips and tricks with your team. This can have a significant impact on your company page’s overall reach.
Consider third-party apps like GaggleAMP and Addvocate to show employees which updates are most important for your company and are pre-approved for sharing.
Over to You
What do you think? Are you using LinkedIn’s company pages to connect your business with the professionals you most want to reach? How do you update your followers on company news, products and services and job openings?
This article originally appeared in the Social Media Examiner
LinkedIn is often overlooked in B2B marketing campaigns – but that may be a missed opportunity
Samsung’s launch of the Galaxy Note 2 “phablet” (a mobile phone of near-tablet size) at the beginning of this year made great use of LinkedIn, the professional networking site which is often overlooked in consumer marketing campaigns.
The mobile phone giant created a microsite and invited visitors to sign in with their LinkedIn membership profiles. They were then encouraged to share their thoughts about the phablet with their LinkedIn connections, enabling Samsung to reach a global audience of 20 million people. Samsung’s director of social media marketing, Andy Hwang, points to LinkedIn’s ability to precisely target audiences, adding: “It provided a platform for driving word of mouth and shifting perceptions among consumers worldwide.”
Since its launch 10 years ago, LinkedIn has become the first port of call for businesses wanting to use social media for B2B marketing, staff recruitment and disseminating industry information. But it comes low down the list of social platforms that brands consider for marketing to consumers, a situation the company is seeking to remedy.
Its 239 million members worldwide tend to spend less time on the site compared with users of Facebook and Twitter, but LinkedIn’s members are there for serious reasons. They are less likely to lie in their profiles and they visit the site to enhance their position in the world.
With 3m company pages, the marketing potential seems huge. LinkedIn’s marketing solutions division accounts for about a quarter of the company’s revenues, recruitment account for more than half of revenues, while subscriptions make up about a fifth. In the second quarter of this year, the marketing unit’s profits grew 36% on the 2012 period to over $85m (£54m).
Josh Graff, head of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions across Europe, says this shows that advertising on LinkedIn “is truly coming of age”. He adds: “The platform has changed. People used to think of it just as a place to secure a new job. But six times more impressions flow from people seeking information about companies than those specifically looking for a new job.
“More and more consumer brands such as Samsung and Mercedes are going on LinkedIn every day because they can target our members who are affluent, educated and influential and have a high disposable income.” He says that a third of visits to the site come via mobile, up from a fifth a year ago.
Paul Armstrong at Digital Orange Consulting points to figures from digital analysts ComScore, which show that the 9.4 million unique UK visitors to LinkedIn in July were evenly spread across the age groups. But the site has an above-average proportion of high-income visitors. While nearly 6 million had incomes under £50,000 a year, 3.5 million earned in excess of 50K, according to ComScore. “People are getting to understand that it is a controlled space, there’s not a lot of noise going on there and it is a simple eco-system. It is becoming a hub for high-quality business information,” he says.
LinkedIn has recently introduced Sponsored Updates, where businesses can pay to ensure their posts appear in the news feeds of members, who they can target using a range of criteria.
Graff says this enables brands to promote new and relevant information, such as white papers, research and infographics, particularly important for companies seeking to build their reputations for thought leadership on business issues. This helps the site’s B2B marketing strategy, positioning it as a resource for anyone in business who wants advice, data and contacts.
Computer giant HP uses LinkedIn to target small businesses through its Business Answers page, where firms can discuss areas of interest such as tax. Rebecca Shears, head of marketing for printing and personal systems at HP, says: “We had research which showed that more and more small businesses are turning to social media and are looking for peer-to-peer advice, so we launched the hub two years ago. Now we’ve got over 9,000 members. The main reason we are doing it is to position HP as a brand that supports businesses.” She says members of the LinkedIn page are 20% more likely to recommend HP products than the average population.
Though the LinkedIn page is free for HP to run, the computer giant supports it with advertising. Shears says that if HP doesn’t buy the ads, rival companies will.
Of course, B2B marketing also has a consumer spin off. Vodafone UK’s business division uses LinkedIn to promote its Your Better Business website, which offers information and advice to business people. Helen Moon, head of Enterprise Brand at Vodafone UK, says LinkedIn is a powerful platform for disseminating business information. She adds: “There is a definite halo effect for consumers on LinkedIn. Business people are also consumers so they absorb information which shapes their personal and professional opinions.”
In truth, all the social media sites are works in progress for marketing, says Leo Ryan, head of Ogilvy@Social. “LinkedIn certainly is not a natural place for consumer marketing,” he adds. “Though that’s not to say you can’t do something innovative there. Facebook’s billion-strong membership is a hard number to ignore, so it is the default site for brands, while Twitter can have such an impact on the news cycle. LinkedIn is behind Instagram for consumer campaigns. But if B2B’s your thing, it is the first stop.”
LinkedIn’s share price is soaring in the US. Investors seem to like LinkedIn’s argument that the site’s users go there for serious reasons and that this offers brands strong marketing potential.
Article Originally Appeared: By David Benady in The Guardian – Wednesday 11 September 2013
We are quite excited about a new feature that LinkedIn is launching today. You can now start conversations through “LinkedIn Mentions”. What this means is that you can “mention” companies and connections in your status updates and comments on the network.
If you’re familiar with Twitter mentions, you can expect LinkedIn mentions to work basically the same way. In fact, it looks as if the new feature will integrate directly with Twitter. In other words, if you mention a connection on LinkedIn, and that member has his or her Twitter account connected to LinkedIn, the mention will also show up as a Twitter mention. (This assumes that you choose to send the status update to Twitter through LinkedIn)
I’m a big fan of maximizing impact while minimizing time in social networking, and the LinkedIn mentions feature is certainly going to help with this. LinkedIn “mentions” is going to bring more of a real-time feel to the network as you will be notified as soon as anyone mentions you or your company. You will see the mentions at the top of the site under “notifications”, which is represented by the small flag symbol.
Mentioning Connections on LinkedIn
The LinkedIn Blog states the following regarding mentioning your connections:
“In addition to first-degree connections, you can also mention other LinkedIn members engaged in conversations in the comment sections of posts on the LinkedIn Homepage.”
I’ve always been an advocate for growing both the breadth and the depth of your LinkedIn network, versus limiting your connections. Every new connection is an opportunity to grow your visibility!
With the new mention feature, you will have the ability to more effectively engage your first-degree connections in updates and conversations. Additionally, you can engage in conversations beyond your first-degree connections in the home page comment sections of posts.
My hope is that you will also be able to engage with commenters on LinkedIn Influencer posts, as many those posts tend to generate lots of comments. Now, those comments may turn into true dialogue!
Mentioning Companies on LinkedIn
Why might you want to mention companies on LinkedIn through your status updates and comments?
By mentioning companies with value-added status updates or commentary, you can engage directly with the company (someone is running the page) and potentially the members who are following the company.
As with all social networking features, don’t be the person who abuses the privilege. I’m sure that with this feature we will see plenty of exploitation. Be the smart marketer and build online influence through adding value and empowering others. Use LinkedIn mentions to help other members solve problems, get smarter, and achieve more.
Below is a brief slideshow demonstrating the LinkedIn mentions feature:
What do you think? Are you excited about this new LinkedIn feature?
You’ve probably heard how important LinkedIn is becoming in business, such an integral part of your personal executive branding. You have a profile but you’re not getting much traction in terms of real results or a visible revenue stream. It all takes time and time is probably one of the commodities that you just don’t have… Right? Having a successful LinkedIn profile is not easy but we think there are a few key areas that will pay big dividends…
1. Treat your LinkedIn profile like a website:
Make sure it is formatted, clean, and free of spelling and grammatical errors. I strongly suggest creating your LinkedIn profile first in a word document – not only so you can “catch” errors, but also so you can get a better idea of what your profile will look like on the LinkedIn website. In some sections of LinkedIn you can also pull in bullets and special characters. Alas – still no bolding or italics other than what LinkedIn itself formats. Another bonus, if you’ve already created your profile in a Word document, sections of it can easily be copied into other social media platforms to keep your branding unified.
2. Know your keywords:
Like any website, LinkedIn’s internal search engines weigh your keywords heavily in its searches. Make sure you place your most important search or keywords strategically throughout your profile. Some places you might want to consider are your:
• Professional Headline
• Title Fields
• Education (Activities and Societies)
3. Keep your name clean:
Put only your first name in the first name field and your last name in the last name field. If someone is searching for you by name, LinkedIn will have a hard time finding you if your last name looks like this: Jones, Dr. Mark P. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
4. Keep your photo professional:
I recommend a close up and a smile. A full body shot of you and your family, you and your car, you and that fish you caught last week is unclear and unprofessional. I have seen some artists use artistic renderings of themselves – which is clever if your image is still clear. LinkedIn doesn’t like logos.
5. Don’t ignore the “post an update” function:
LinkedIn’s update function is much more robust than it used to be (taking some tips from Facebook and Twitter). People can now “like” and “comment” on your updates – which helps to build relationships within LinkedIn which play a big part in your becoming successful on LinkedIn. And with the introduction of LinkedIn Signal, the update section can now be a functional part of your SME (Subject Matter Expertise) and content strategy. Make sure you take a little time each day to “like” and “comment” on the updates of network as well.
6. Personalize your public profile URL:
Make sure your public profile reflects your name, your business, or your area of expertise: http://linkedin.com/in/carolokelly or http://linkedin.com/in/linkedinexpert. Nothing says, “I’m a LinkedIn neophyte” like a public profile that reads: http://linkedin.com/pub/firstname-lastname9890734-akjshfiho
7. Personalize your websites:
When you edit your website, the drop down menu gives you the option of “other”. When you click on that, a new field opens up that allows you to type in your business name, website name, call to action, or description of your website. So instead of “Company Website” or “Personal Website” this section can read “Social Media for SMEs” or “Click here: Taxation Updates for 2013”
8. Juice up your “Experience” section:
“Experience” is not your resume. Make sure the jobs you choose to list support each other. Make sure you put all your keywords in the title section.
9. Utilize the “Experience” description area:
Use the 1000 characters in the description section to tell people why they should hire you or your company or buy your product. Tell a “save the day” story. Put in a testimonial. “Experience” is a great place to list “wins”, different companies you have helped, seminars or workshops you have presented, a mini-shot of your personal website. Use this section as the foundation for your Company Profile
10. List your “additional education”:
Make sure you list your certifications and licenses as well as traditional education. LinkedIn has now added new sections where you can list areas of expertise, publications, patents licenses and certifications.
11. Get Recommendations:
LinkedIn tells you your profile is complete with three recommendations. I suggest between 5-10. And when you are asking for recommendations, provide a bulleted list of your skills, strengths and services so people will write a more complete recombination and not: “She’s great”. If you are comfortable doing so, you might write a recommendation that the recommender can use or base their recommendation from. You might want to add some of the better recommendations to your website. Ask for recommendations from thought leaders in your field, old employees, and well-known clients – these all go towards you becoming successful on LinkedIn and being able to see real results.
12. Join strategic groups:
Join groups in your own market or industry, your ideal client’s industry, groups that you are interested in, groups that your target prospects are members of, alumni groups, open groups and some big groups (Consider LinkedHR with 370,000 members). Once you join a group you can send a message to strategic members /prospects or invite strategic members to connect with you. In the next week or so I’ll be doing further posts on Groups and the best ways to manage them and use them strategically to your advantage.
13. Create a group:
Consider creating an open or closed group. Make sure you, or someone in your company is tasked to moderate it to keep it interesting and relevant. Make your group a destination and active forum.
14. Limit the invitations you send out:
You only get 3000 invitations in a lifetime – use them wisely. Even though LinkedIn gives you the tools to upload your entire list, make sure you only invite people who are already on LinkedIn and don’t invite more than 2500 people – leave a few invitations for the future. At this time you cannot buy more invitations.
15. When inviting others, tell them how you know them:
LinkedIn used to have an IDK “I don’t know” button that could get you in a lot of trouble. Now a person’s response to an invitation is “Accept” or “Ignore”. Nevertheless, when inviting someone to connect with you, I highly recommend telling him or her how you know them or why you want to connect.
16. Use “Answers”:
The answers section is a great place to position yourself as an SME or thought leader. Answer enough questions and you can drastically increase your exposure on LinkedIn as the “go to” person. It’s also a great place to get ideas for blog articles, or to re-purpose blog articles you have already written!
17. Always be courteous:
LinkedIn is a business-networking site. Be courteous. Try to Answer Inmails, messages, and requests for introductions within 72 hours. Remember your “Please” and Thank you”. Help someone out.
18. “Give” more than “Get”:
LinkedIn is a great place to get information, to get connections, to get clients, to get employees. But follow the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Don’t spam. Don’t infiltrate email boxes with constant sales messages. Instead share valuable information via your groups, updates and answers and let clients come to you.
19. Use Applications:
Everyday LinkedIn is adding more useful applications. You can embed up to 8 in your profile. Take a look and see which ones will be most useful to you. I recommend their blogging apps (either Blog Link or WordPress), Slideshare, Google Presentation (to show YouTube Videos) Amazon Reading List (especially if you are an author or have published an eBook).
20. Life Long LinkedIn Learning
Continually try to keep up to date with the changes going on in the LinkedIn platform and learn how to use them to your best advantage. Keep an eye on LinkedIn blogs and articles and make use of tips on this site to make your profile and company pages as engaging and as relevant to your target audience as possible on an ongoing basis.
Here are 10 very simple steps to make sure that your social media marketing programme starts smart, has a strong launch and allows you to get the most from your new B2B communications.
1. Determine Social Media Marketing Programme Goals
Though it’s a brand new era, the place to begin is with the age-old exercise of goal-setting: Will you be working to generate new leads and sales, increase awareness of your offerings, decrease marketing spend as compared to traditional media, ensure the relevance of your company, decrease purchasing cycles, extend the reach of your market footprint… or achieve other goals?
Remember, you’ll be investing time, budget, and resources into your social media marketing programmes, so the first step is to determine exactly what you’re seeking to achieve in return.
2. Conduct Three-Point Research
A well-planned initiative always involves research at the outset, and with social media there are three key types of research that you’ll need to conduct—customer, competitive, and community:
To ensure that your programs deliver a high level of value, identify your customers’ business needs, challenges, and technology preferences.
To differentiate yourself from your competitors, understand which programs, tools, and content they are (and are not) employing.
Learn which online professional communities—and influencers—are relevant to your business sector so that you can start building relationships with them.
3. Set a Strategy
Now that you’ve determined your goals and done your research, you can move on to setting your strategy.
A (very) common misstep by marketers starting out in social media is that they identify a tool before setting a strategy: They just know “We need to get on Facebook, Now!”—but don’t know why they should, much less how they’ll use their presence to achieve business benefits.
Once you’ve set your strategy for reaching your goals, the set of tools you’ll need becomes very clear—whether your social media marketing strategy is to educate your audience on a business subject, produce an outlet for like-minded professionals to network, initiate a new communications channel or application that saves executives time and solves business problems, or create a new outlet for crowdsourcing product development.
4. Identify your Marketing 2.0 Toolset
Providing an unprecedented array of tools, technologies, and platforms, social media offers B2B marketers more choice than ever, at the most affordable costs. So choose wisely and make sure that the tools you choose support your strategy (step 3) and map to your audience’s comfort levels (step 2).
Some professional audiences are more comfortable participating in online forums than they are using Twitter or Facebook, whereas others might prefer content delivered in text, such as in the form of a blog, rather than via audio podcasts or online videos.
5. Define ROI Metrics
Now that you’ve designated your goals, strategy, and tools, it’s time to define a set of metrics to evaluate your program’s ROI.
Depending on your goals, metrics might measure the number of leads generated, increase in sales, the number of brand mentions and whether they’re positive or negative, improvement in search engine rankings, level of user engagement, and so on.
The point is that you’ll need to closely track progress, so you’ll want to define which metrics you’re assessing, how you’ll assess them, and how often. And you won’t only need them for your own department… Trust me, your boss will be asking for them, too.
6. Train Your People
Because these two-way tools give rise to powerful, customer-led communities, many marketing practices have drastically changed. The BIG action point here is to not only prepare your social media program but also prepare your people for social media.
Ensure that everyone involved with the program understands the fundamentals of marketing and communicating with these new media, practices that increase success rates, and what practices to avoid in order to decrease risk.
7. Create Content Processes
Social media marketing programs don’t have specific start and end dates—once they’re launched they keep going and need constant attention and care. Far too many marketers create the program, but not the processes needed to support the program.
Creating processes is key in ensuring that your programs remain “fresh” with new content and are managed by resources that can answer users’ questions in a timely fashion, interact with the community on a regular basis, and take care of issues when they arise.
8. Implement Monitoring Systems
In this new world order—where everyone has a voice and everyone is empowered with the tools to amplify their opinions, preferences, and ideas—monitoring online conversations is not a luxury, it’s a priority.
Whether a customer is expressing a compliment, voicing a complaint, or offering a suggestion, you need to know about it, no matter where on the Web it’s being mentioned.
There are plenty of free and paid services that will enable you to monitor online mentions; you’ll also need to identify which resource will be tracking brand mentions and responding to feedback when necessary.
9. Launch… and Promote!
Now that you’ve done the upfront work, built your program, created your processes, trained your people, and instituted brand monitoring systems, you’re ready to launch.
But just as we learned during the Web’s early days, the “build-it-and-they-will-come” mentality is a surefire way to fail.
It’s a good idea to stay in beta (or soft-launch mode) for a couple months to ensure all features and processes are working optimally, but when you’re ready you’ll most definitely want to promote your new social media marketing program and have a plan for doing so.
10. Facilitate Internal Communications
Once you’ve shared your program with the world, share the lessons learned and the progress of your social media programs with other departments and groups in your organization that would also benefit from those insights—such as Management, Customer Service, PR, Sales, and R&D.
You might distribute monthly reports, or make a quarterly event of holding brown-bag lunch briefings where you invite representatives from relevant departments to discuss findings and next steps—and let social media be a way to open up conversations within your own company, too.
What tools do you use to market through Social Media and how do you measure? We’d love to hear in the comments below!
So, what do you do when you’re at a conference and are hit with the inevitable question “What do you do?” Do you captivate strangers right off the bat? Do you get people asking questions and following up with you later? Your elevator pitch is a powerful marketing tool that tells your story in less than a minute. They are useful for every business person to have in her arsenal of networking tools to help with business, career and personal development. Many people actively dread networking but a strong pitch is an easy way to get motivated and broach those first few encounters.
The 10 tips below can help you craft an elevator pitch that people actually listen to, remember and respond to. Make sure you’re prepared with your own killer elevator pitch when the next opportunity presents itself for you to use it!
Here are our top tips to help you perfect your pitch and network like a pro.
1. Find the Sweet Spot
One of the key mistakes people make when answering what they do is to automatically start at the macro level, with their industry or job category. “I’m in IT,” or “I’m in social media”. While such broad descriptions may be true, it’s too abstract. You can be sure the other person’s eyes are glazing over. Remember, your pitch doesn’t need to tell your entire story; a great pitch succeeds if it draws interest from the other person and gets them wanting more.
2. Exude Confidence & Enthusiasm
Whether you’re dating or networking, confidence is a major plus. When answering what you do, don’t mumble through the response. Don’t apologise. Don’t assume that people won’t understand or care. By making that assumption you’ve lost their interest before you start. No matter how obscure your job or company, begin with the assumption that the other person will be interested, keep it simple, be excited and give examples.
3. It’s not all about you
People generally want to know what you can do for them. Your pitch should address your audience’s problems and offer solutions. It should focus on the benefits that the audience will get from working with you, so they understand why they can’t live without you!
4. Tell them what makes you better than the rest
Don’t be afraid to tell your audience what makes you different from your competitors. In other words, toot your own horn and explain exactly what you bring to the table that your competition does not.
5. Tell a story
What is the problem like without your solution? Explain the size and scale of the possibilities. When appropriate, throw in an analogy that helps your audience quickly relate to your product. Focus on the problems you solve… “My clients are typically struggling to… and I help them by…” Talking about how you help people, your job or business becomes instantly relatable and identifiable.
6. Ask Questions
Sometimes we become so focused on trotting out our pre-prepared Elevator Pitch that we forget to actually make conversation. The best way to be remembered is to build a connection. For this reason, never consider the other person “your audience.” Ask them questions, interact with them fully.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice!
No one will want to listen to your elevator pitch if it sounds like an elevator pitch. Practice your pitch in bright, noisy, awkward situations. That way, you’ll never be rattled by environmental distractions. Make sure you can deliver it in a conversational tone that does not sound like you’re reading a speech from cue cards. Try recording yourself and then watch your pitch from the perspective of your audience. Try it out on a group of friends or colleagues, and ask what specific points they remember. This instant feedback will help you determine what to cut or change in order to make a connection and be memorable.
8. Use everyday language, NOT industry jargon
Don’t get overly technical. Too many pitches get bogged down in legal, technical, or otherwise overly embellished language. Keep it simple and memorable.
9. Don’t try to Sell
The purpose of the 60-second pitch is simply to generate enough interest in your product or service to warrant a formal meeting. A “win” here is simply to have the other person understand what you do, the benefits you offer and to remember you.
10. Have a killer closing
Leave them with a memorable 1-liner that they can repeat to others. If you leave them excited and wanting more, you’ve done your job. From there, it’s just a matter of exchanging contact info and scheduling that follow-up meeting.
Savvy networkers always have their networking tools with them at all times. The Networking tool kit includes: Your elevator pitch, an ample supply of well branded business cards with all your relevant details, any pertinent collateral material (flyers, brochures, etc), your marketing message for the event – three bullet points you want people you meet to remember – and a confident and enthusiastic demeanour.
2. Set Your Goals
Successful networkers always have an idea of what the goal is for each event they attend. Know, before going in, what the outcome is that you want for yourself at each event. Do you want to meet 3 people and focus on getting to know them really well? Are you looking for an introduction to a certain type of client? Are you looking for information or connections that will get you that information? When you have a plan, it is easier to stay focused and achieve your expected outcome. Be generous with your own knowledge and connections.
3. Arrive Early
Resist the urge to arrive late. It’s almost counter-intuitive, but showing up early at a networking event is a much better strategy. As an early attendee, you’ll notice that it’s calmer and quieter and people won’t have settled into groups. It’s easier to find other people who don’t have conversation partners yet. Many people dread walking into a room and introducing themselves to a bunch of strangers, you will not be alone in this. If you’re early, you can relax and focus on learning about the other people in the room. You will be judged by others, like it or not, based on their first impression of you, so be enthusiastic, engage in conversations, dress well, smile and be confident.
4. Ask Easy Questions & Be Genuine
Don’t wait around the edges of the room, waiting for someone to approach you. To get the conversation started, simply walk up to a person or a group, and say, “May I join you” or “What brings you to this event?” Don’t forget to listen actively to their replies and engage fully in the conversation. Everyone knows when someone is “schmoozing”. Be genuine in your interactions with others at an event. It comes back to building trust, to building “Brand YOU”. When you are interested in learning about someone and their business you will leave a lasting impression as someone who genuinely cares. People choose to work with people they like and have an affinity with. Take care with other people.
5. Listen With Focus
When someone is speaking with you, give that person your entire focus. LISTEN ACTIVELY. Really hear what the person is saying, ask questions, engage. The greatest gift that you can give to another person is to truly hear what that person is saying. How rarely do we hear “She made me feel like the only person in the room”? Take a business card and if possible make a note about the person or conversation that will be valuable to them in your follow up.
6. Be a Giver and a Connector
Networking about is about connecting with people and getting to know them without the need for immediate gain. Be a known as a connector and you will be held in high esteem. Networking is about generosity. Quite simply, give and you shall receive. When you are generous, people will notice and respect you. And, people generally do business with people that they respect, trust, and like. Act like a host at every event you attend by connecting people. Always invite people who are standing by themselves into your group – they will really appreciate it. If you connect with someone and do something for them, your generosity will be repaid a hundred fold, often when you least expect it.
7. Share Your Passion
Win people over with your enthusiasm for your product or service. Leave a lasting impression by telling a story about why you were inspired to create your company. Talking about what you enjoy is often contagious, too. When you get other people to share their passion, it creates a memorable two-way conversation.
8. Don’t Hijack the Conversation
Some people who dislike networking may overcompensate by commandeering the discussion. Don’t forget: The most successful networkers (think of those you’ve met) are good at making other people feel special. Look people in the eye, repeat their name, listen to what they have to say, and suggest topics that are easy to discuss. Be a conversationalist, not a talker.
9. Don’t Sell – Educate.
The Savvy Networker knows that the immediate sale of a product is not the goal in networking. No one likes a direct hard sell. Networking is about building relationships with people who will be happy to tell others about who you are and what you do. Keep your exchange fun, light and informal. The idea is to get the conversation started. People are more apt to do business with those whose company they enjoy. At every opportunity, teach others about who you are, as a person, and what it is that you do. Always present a clear emphasis on the type of client that you are looking for. In doing this, you will be building a salesforce that can reach far wider than you can on your own.
10. Follow Up
After the event, send a short note to each person that you had direct contact with – not just an email – getting your brand across their desk. If there is a referral that you can supply, include that in the follow up note and mention something you discussed when you met or a blog entry or tweet of theirs you have read since. A great way to follow up with them online is not only to follow them on Twitter, but also to make a brief post about your conversation with them. Promoting other people is a great way to create value for them and build the relationship. Do not automatically send a LinkedIn or Facebook request. So often people immediately send social networking link requests to people they just met. However, different people have different policies about whom they link with. If they believe in only connecting with those whom they have established relationships, you make it awkward if you send them a link too early (which they then ignore). Best is to ask people if they would welcome such a link at this time. Be respectful of the fact that they might use social networking differently than you do.
Following up is, sadly, the most neglected part of networking. Since so many people fail to follow up, you can really stand out by just doing this simple act of reaching out to remind someone of who you are and what you do … and that you are interested in exploring a relationship.
Attending a conference with other participants from around the country such as the upcoming National Women’s Day conference or this week’s International Web Summit in Dublin opens up a world of opportunities for growth, learning, and fellowship. Why not take a little time to plan ahead so that you can maximize your results from attending.
1. Set Goals Before You Go
Before you leave for the conference, write down some goals that you want to accomplish during the conference. Be specific but holistic – not “I want 50 new business cards”! These goals could include items about specific skills you want to hone, questions you want to have answered, people you want to contact, areas for which you want to have referral contacts, etc. Set three to five goals for each day of the conference (some goals may stay in place each day) do a mind check on them throughout the day and then hold yourself accountable for them at the end of each day.
2. Be Prepared
It always astonishes me how often I meet people at conferences who can’t succinctly tell me what they do and why I should work with them or recommend them to my clients. Get your Elevator Pitch polished and ready. Be prepared to chat about your work – have three bullet points you always get across. Have your business cards to hand (not buried in your bag across the room), with strong branding and all your relevant details clearly printed. Ensure your website is up to date with your latest announcements or offers and that the branding on your site is the same as the branding on your cards. Bring samples if relevant, it’s always easier to touch or taste than to understand a waffling description. These are the most basic marketing must haves and it’s amazing how many people you meet without them.
3. Dress to Impress but Efficiently
The way you dress and your overall look tells me a lot about who you are, what area you work in and the way you do business. It may be unfair but it’s true. You need to always look professional but with your own style and flair. Plan your look for a conference, keeping in mind the people you will want to talk to and the message you want to leave with them. Hotels and conference centers are notorious for having great variations in temperature, so dress in layers that can be removed and added on. You will probably be spending more time on your feet and doing more walking than usual, maybe reconsider those killer heels unless you wear them daily. Be comfortable, you’ll exude more confidence.
4. Be Attractive
Everyone goes to a conference to learn and have fun, but no one enjoys being around people who are boorish, self-centered, or needy. Don’t be a seller or a clinger, be a conversation maker. Show enthusiasm for what you do, ask questions, introduce people, draw people into your circle and use humour to make people feel welcome and interesting. Be yourself. Have a friendly exit strategy ready it’s easy to get stuck with a group who are not helping achieve your conference goals.
5. Network, Network, Network
A conference is a priceless opportunity to make yourself and your brand known and to get to know others. You’ve already set some goals that will get you started. Now be alert to other opportunities. Always remember the person you’re chatting with may never buy from you but it’s who they know that counts. Be sure they understand what you do and the type of client you’re looking for – make it easy for them to refer you. Be a good and active listener and engage in the conversation if you want others to remember you. Get a card from everyone you meet and make a note on it as an aide memoire. Be active networking online throughout the conference, using hash tags give a live feed on the key learning points for each speaker on Twitter, give relevant updates through LinkedIn and on your company facebook pages. Comment on other posters updates, start conversations and meet up face to face.
6. Learn From Every Experience
You will learn a huge amount from attending a conference. There will be wonderful speakers with knowledge and experience to share. Take just one or two points from each session – Imagine you have to sum it up in a single tweet (Better still, send that Tweet!). You will learn a great deal as you network with colleagues. And there will be some mistakes you make that will also teach you important lessons. Learn from every single experience that you have. Keep a note of your key learning points both positive and negative.
7. Lighten Your Load
Conferences are great places to pick up “Stuff”. You’ll collect business cards, brochures, handouts, t-shirts, bags, books, tapes and random samples. Before you know it you will have more things to haul home then you can imagine. Working in Marketing I am a divil for this, I collect designs I like, marketing ideas I think might benefit clients, web shots etc. Needless to say most I never look at again. Lighten your load throughout the conference by trawling through the collateral you collect, make notes on it on the conversations you had with the provider and be ruthless in what you jettison. If you are abroad, simply post it home… It’s much easier to mail a few pounds of material to yourself than it is to haul it back on a plane. Make a note of everyone you met regardless of their value to your business, keep the cards with you. Make notes of what you promised and to whom to make follow up fast and easy. Do this at the end of each conference day.
8. Back at the Office
When you return to the office after the conference, be sure to promptly do whatever you have promised to do. Make contact with everyone you had conversations with, even just to say it was good to meet them, or to thank them for their advice. Don’t just send an email – write a letter – you are bringing your brand and message across their desk, again making it easy for them to refer you. Connect with these people on LinkedIn and Twitter using a personal message and if they accept your invitation you have access to their online networks, leveraging your relationship as a referral. Contact attendees you met based near you and arrange to meet up face to face to discover more about each other’s business. The more they understand what you do and the type of client you are looking for the more confidence they will have to refer business your way. Remember 14% of EU businesses say they will buy from an advert, 78% say they will buy from a referral. Go through the notes you made and look at where the learning can be applied – act on it!
More publicity… Less competition… Talent waiting to be scooped up… Here’s why starting up in a recessed economy may give your business a better shot. Do you have one good reason to start your business right now?Regardless of what people around you (including the media) may say, right now is the best time to get into business. Here are our Top 10 reasons you should start your business now-despite the current downturn:
1. Everything is Cheaper
Let’s face it – There is great value now in economic markets. This is the right time for fantastic deals in virtually every category, from land and equipment to commercial office space, personnel and fit outs. Some people have waited years to find value in these markets – and now that time has come.
2. Qualified People Are Hungry For Jobs
Having highly qualified people is the lynch pin of success in any business but it is an area where start-ups can fall. Start-ups are often unwilling and always unable to spend enough to get the highest level team to ensure the success of the business. This all changes in a recession. There are people now available willing to accept lower remuneration and keen to get a slice of the pie in a start up. Mindsets change in a recession too – those individuals who would normally never consider working in a small start-up are changing their focus on work directions. This all means that you will be able to source a really strong team at the outset for a fraction of what it would cost you in a growth environment.
3. Great PR By Going Against The Trend
The media loves a good story, and if you are optimistic by expanding,re-branding or getting into business now, you will find yourself and your new business in that category. Great PR like this will go a long way towards launching or branding your new business without it being seen as “Selling”.
4.Suppliers Are Giving Better Credit
Because the credit markets have virtually shut down, the B2B credit flows are keeping money circulating out of sheer necessity. That means a bullish outlook for companies looking for good terms on stock and inventories. When everyone is looking to survive, great deals can be had.
5. Believe it or Not There is Still Finance Out There
Individuals, family and friends who traditionally invested in stocks and shares will be less enthusiastic to do so at the moment but they’ll still want to put money into ventures likely to show revenue streams and eventually profits. That means they may be willing to finance a portion of your new venture, or the expansion of an enterprise that has proven itself over time. If you have a solid business plan that delivers real numbers, your chances of raising the capital you need increase exponentially.
6. Businesses Are Changing Suppliers
Everything is now on the table. As a smart Start-up if you can come in with greater value and an understanding of where your prospect is hurting you have a good chance of winning new business. You also have the advantage of being the “new kid on the block” when it comes to pitching your products and services. Many companies are desperate to find new partnerships with new businesses that have a different, better or more innovative way of delivering those products and services.
7. You Can Buy Everything You Need at Auction
In addition to everything being less expensive, you can find great deals at auctions, especially in terms of any large equipment and office furnishings. Auctions are also a great place to find hardly used or “gently” used restaurant and bar supplies at great prices. It’s an opportunity for you to get set up for a fraction of the price it would cost you in a growth market.
8. Ownership Equals Tax Incentives
Business ownership offers a variety of tax benefits that aren’t available to employees. While taxes should never be the sole reason to go into business for yourself, it should be one reason to add to you “benefits of business ownership” list.
9. You Can Find Great “Low Money” or “No Money” Deals
Many current business owners want out at any cost, meaning you can negotiate great win-win deals that allow the current owners to exit while giving you an opportunity to turn around what could be, if run right, a very viable business.And finally . . .
10. You’ve Lost Your Job, and You Have To Do Something
Sometimes, the best business decision is the one you are forced into, and the incentive (as well as need) for income is often enough to push you to go out on your own. It is also a great opportunity for you to strike out in area in which you have always been interested but had not considered part of your planned career.
There you have it:
Redstorm’s top 10 reasons to start your business in a recession. There’s no better time to start than now. Give us a call on +353 1 2360909 if you’d like to chat through any opportunities you are considering.
Redstorm CEO, Carol O'Kelly, is a very hugely respected, award winning, keynote speaker in the areas of Personal Branding, Strategy, Communications, Executive Presence and LinkedIn. She has a huge passion for what she does and for the clients she works with. From C-Suite Personal Branding work to Communications Strategy projects and her Advisory roles, she brings all her energy, enthusiasm and focus to her work.