Using Technology to Gain Market Share

 Monday, December 12, 2011
 

A good thing to realize is that we use technology and technology does not use us. One does not have to use Twitter as discussed above, and there is no reason to jump in and do everything at once. It is best to start with listening. What are people saying about you? What conversations can you be a part of? What types of proactive reach can you do and what do you need to be reactive to? For you and for your company, be sure to choose how to use the technology.

If a commitment is made to become part of an online community and conversations, commit to taking the feedback to the company and asking what you can do to change and actually make the company change. Determine what the customers want and figure out a way to get back to the company mission and values. 

Benchmark your social media efforts and see if they are creating any return on investment on organic search engines through relevant content and information. Use a trend graph when trying to benchmark your social media and Internet strategy efforts. (A trend graph provides information at a glance through graphing out ups, downs, and horizontals [growth stalls] to provide metrics of valuable information needed in the study being performed.)

Message boards and forums are important ways for companies to brand. Think about why a person joins a forum; it is based on similar interests and commonalities. Online communities become trusted resources to ask advice about things not related to the same online forum or online community. However, relationships have been developed and trust is gained.

According to http://www.big-boards.com, the most active message boards and forums on the Web, they list out and rate different blog posts. When visiting this Web site, it is easy to sort and filter by different blog posts, memberships, page views, traffic, online users, Alexa ranking (a relative measurement of how popular a Web site is among the Internet community), and much more.

Knowing blogs are becoming a relevant communication tool, this is something you may want to consider doing for your own exposure, as long as you have relevant content that people will want to follow.

We are experiencing an explosion in social media participation around the world. It is becoming harder and harder to run a business without using social media. It is time to figure out how your business fits into this social media world and how to develop a strategic market place online. Social media is much different than Internet marketing. Once you understand the mind-set of social media, the core of all your social ability, and heart of your search engine optimization (SEO), the rankings will be paid off through more visibility, more leads, and potentially more sales.

Learn about these online communities and how to engage in them. With a Web presence, active social media usage, and search engine optimization strategies, you can deliver a content strategy designed to sell your products and services online. I have found social media to be very beneficial both personally and professionally. Social media content I am personally using are LinkedIn, Twitter, Squidoo, Facebook, Google+, WordPress and lots of widgets for measuring my time and efforts in Social Media. 

Spread links, contents, and messages to the far reaches of the social sphere. Tie all of this into a constant web of influence while gaining higher search engine ability. Integrated social media initiatives will increase Web presence and grow your business strategies.

About DJ Heckes, Author of Full BRAIN Marketing and Owner of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts



DJ Heckes is CEO of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts and Full BRAIN Marketing .  She focuses on educating and training companies to significantly improve their Small Business Marketing strategies.  DJ Heckes also presents customized training programs for Business Marketing, Social Media, Leadership and Trade Show Marketing. Learn more at www.EXHIB-IT.com  and www.fullBRAINMarketing.com.  Be sure to follow us!

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com




Put YOUR Brand to Work for YOU in LinkedIn with a Company Page.

 Monday, November 21, 2011
 

LinkedIn recently announced their update to Company Pages that now helps companies and small businesses become more engaged on the network.  Having a Company page is a company’s profile of record on LinkedIn and is a powerful tool to speak to millions of professionals through word-of-mouth recommendations with trusted testimonials. It is very similar to a LinkedIn Profile for a company.

If you’re already a LinkedIn Member, Company pages are a new great way to research companies you are interested in, follow what they have to say through their updates and shared information, and see what kind of people work there.  You can even review products and services you use on a Company Page.

Company Pages present a great opportunity to reveal the human side of your company by allowing others to peek at the individuals behind your brand and highlight how members use your products or services. A Company Page offers tools to bring your brand to life and truly engage your audience.

Until now, company pages existed in isolation.  Businesses are now able to update their individual company page to enable followers to receive updates and insights about company news, employee moves, job opportunities and much more.  This is a brand new opportunity to showcase your thought leadership and expand your business.

Want to post a company status update for your Company?  Any company page administrator can post a note in the status box on your company’s overview page.  Keep your followers thinking about your company by sharing updates, promotions, announcements, news articles or videos. Updates will appear on your followers’ home pages.  Followers can comment, like or share updates. This allows you to develop a unique conversation between your company and your followers. Best of all, these interactions can be seen by your followers’ networks exposing your company to a greater audience. You can also view the LinkedIn Metrics to see what followers found engaging to optimize the conversation.  Get your company conversation started today by setting up a company page on LinkedIn.

Brands can now have company pages, and users can 'follow' the company page for updates from those companies. The LinkedIn network has more of a business networking and career focus, and the way that users connect is much more formal.  Users in LinkedIn often have fewer, more intimate connections than they would on Facebook or Twitter. The content shared and discussions started to engage your audience are usually more industry and business-focused which makes LinkedIn a great source for B2B Marketing.


Want to find and follow your favorite Companies?  You can locate and find interesting companies in one of two ways:

  • From any Member’s LinkedIn Profile.
    You can click through to company pages from any LinkedIn Member’s profile. Just mouse-over any company on a LinkedIn profile page and on the resulting popup, click through to a company page or click the “Follow Company” link.  If a smaller company has not claimed their company page, you may not find them.

  • From the LinkedIn Header.
    One of the easiest ways to find a Company Page’s homepage is in the LinkedIn navigation bar at the top of any page. You can also search by using the search box in the box in the navigation bar for any company.

  • From the Company Page.
    If you’ve found a company page of interest that you like by searching for a specific company name or keyword, just click “Follow Company” to stay updated on that company.

Having the ability to follow companies helps you track developments at companies of interest to you, including job opportunities or other business developments.

Now that you know how to set up a Company Page and Search and Follow Other Company Pages, listed below are Tips to Engage your Audience Listeners.


Five tips to “turbo-charge” your LinkedIn company status updates:

1. Say “Hello” to Start a Relationship.

Introduce yourself first by describing who you are, why you and your business are here and don’t start off with the sales pitch. Truly engage your audience. Get to know your audience. For example, an IT services firm should tailor its messages differently to their tech-savvy followers than an audience of  marketing executives.

Remember - your followers are already interested in hearing what you have to say so be brief, authentic, honest and relevant.

3. Think Quality - Not Quantity.

Offer insightful news, tips and other relevant information about your industry or business. Engage your followers with what you have to say and build relationships. Don’t just blast yoru readers with sales pitches or promotional messages.

Develop friends first! If you build your LinkedIn Company Page based on relevant content, the business results will follow. A humorous, effective status update can go viral and expose you to a wider audience as your followers “like,” share, or comment on company-driven content with their own professional network of followers.

A great example is Dell’s update about rival HP that created lots of buzz recently.



2. Mix Up Your Content with Varying Your Status Updates.

Company Status Updates are posts made by a company to share anything from company news about product releases to promotions to relevant industry tips and articles. Company posts are visible on the company’s Overview tab by any LinkedIn member. Anyone who follows a company will see the posts directly on their homepage. All LinkedIn members are able to view posts, click on embedded links or view videos and are also able to comment, like, or share a post.

In one post, consider highlighting a new product release, share an article link to press coverage or industry news and in another post, highlight a new product release or a list of hot topics or hot jobs. Photos are great! Try posting a YouTube video, opinion pole or even an infographic - even better.

Here are some great examples of spicing up your content and engaging you readers:

The Harvard Business School Executive Education that posts video Q&As with faculty, online newsletters, podcasts, and other multimedia content to engage with users.


Intuit posts a weekly news video broadcast to keep their followers informed:



4. Participate in Conversations. 

Ask for feedback from your followers and find out what they want from your company. Start by asking questions and then watch how your followers respond and interact with other readers who are commenting.

Answer their questions timely and highlight insightful comments and show your followers that you’re actually listening to what they are saying.


5. Analyze Your Engagement Often.

How do you know if you’re doing well? Utilize the Free Analytics Tool in  LinkedIn and check the stats that appear on your posts within 24 hours after your status update goes live. This will allow you to see what types of information and links create the most comments, likes, and clicks. Use this data to understand who your followers are, refine your strategy and optimize the conversation.

Use your time wisely and effectively in your social media marketing efforts. Remember: just because a social network is "popular," doesn't make it necessarily right for your business or industry. Use analytics as your guideline for what steps to take next. Monitor the traffic and leads you're generating from your online presence on each individual social media site. Is the return on investment (ROI) significant enough based on the amount of time and effort you're spending there? Is one social networking site performing better for you than another? These are all important questions to adjust your strategy accordingly so you can focus more of your time on the social networks that work for you and your business, and less of your time on those that don't.

About DJ Heckes, Author of Full BRAIN Marketing and Owner of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts



DJ Heckes is CEO of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts and Full BRAIN Marketing .  She focuses on educating and training companies to significantly improve their Small Business Marketing strategies.  DJ Heckes also presents customized training programs for Business Marketing, Social Media, Leadership and Trade Show Marketing. Learn more at www.EXHIB-IT.com  and www.fullBRAINMarketing.com.  Be sure to follow us!

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com




Check Out NEW Google+ App for Organizations

 Monday, November 14, 2011
 

Google+ is NOW available with Google Apps.

Google Apps makes sharing on the web more like sharing in the real time world. You can use Google Apps at college, at work or at home.

How to Turn on Google+ App. 

Be sure you understand how Google+ works and what your users can do and how they can share outside your organization before you enable the service.  This feature can bring in a new level of communication and collaboration to your organization, but keep the following in mind before you get started.


  1. You need to join Google and create a Google profile before you can turn on the new App.
  2. Due to Google+ not being part of the core Google Apps suite, this is an additional service only if your organization has moved to the new accounts infrastructure.
  3. You will need to enable Picasa Web Albums for photo sharing and Google Talk for messaging features.
  4. Users must create the Google+ Profile to be able to use Google.  This is a profile that will be publicly visible to anyone on the web. You can choose which information in your profile to share publicly or with specific circle of influencers and what information you want to keep private. You can share content, photos and videos outside your organization.
  5. You can export or transfer your Google+ data using services such as Google Takeout.
  6. You need to be 18 years of age to use Google+ and if this requirement is not met, your entire account will be suspended.
  7. You need to create content within Google by using the name most people commonly know you as.
  8. You can select who within your organization is allowed to have access to the Google+ and enable the service for only specific users using organizational units.
  9. All users must agree to the additional non-core Google+ Consumer Terms of Service to use this new service App.
  10. Some users may have conflicting Google+ accounts and will be prompted to change their user name for their personal Google+ account the next time they sign in.
  11. Before turning on the Google+, know that your organization is solely responsible for complying with all laws and regulations applicable for the provision of Google+ and this includes all users allowed within the organization.
Now that you have gone through the manual process to turn on the new Google+ for your Organization, your users within the organization will need to sign up at  to get started.


All the Google Apps users will have access to the same features available to every Google+ user and much more. This allows you to have the option to share with everyone in your organization, even if all the people in the organization have not been added to the circle.


See example of an educational organization set up stream below.



Google+ Circles is also a great way to allow everyone in your circle of influence group you create to share relevant content with the right people and follow content posted by people you find interesting.  You can also customize your personal profile information for your circles.  See example below of a circle of photographers.




Hangouts with extras allows you to connect and collaborate with colleagues in real time. With a group video chat feature, you can video chat and web conference with multiple people around the world at the same time. With screen sharing you can give others the ability to view on your computer screen and choose an open window screen on your computer and give everyone in your meeting the ability to look at it.


To share your screen, simply click “Share Screen” at the top of your screen.  Then in the window that pops up, select your desktop or choose the window you want to present and click “Share Selected Window.”  To stop, all you need to do is Click “Stop Sharing Screen.”


See what the screen would view as below for an example.  This is even better than using Skype!


Now that you have turned on this Google+ Application for your organization, it is time to check your PROskore.  I just went in today to the PROskore website and filled out the information to measure my professional reputation score which is a 43.  I was surprised to see that the average score currently is only 25, which made me feel a little better.   Be sure to check out your metrics for professional reputation too.




Stay tuned for more cool tips and Apps in my upcoming Blogs.


About DJ Heckes, Author of Full BRAIN Marketing and Owner of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts



DJ Heckes is CEO of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts and Full BRAIN Marketing .  She focuses on educating and training companies to significantly improve their Small Business Marketing strategies.  DJ Heckes also presents customized training programs for Business Marketing, Social Media, Leadership and Trade Show Marketing. Learn more at www.EXHIB-IT.com  and www.fullBRAINMarketing.com.  Be sure to follow us!


DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com



How to Get The Most from LinkedIn

 Monday, September 12, 2011
 

What Can LinkedIn Do for Me?

LinkedIn has been around since 2003, and many people use it differently.  The question of what it can do for people seems to be a very popular question.  In short, LinkedIn is a professional networking site with an executive representation of Fortune 500 companies.  It is a great way to find people and is a great way to read someone's business history in a single screen. The site also helps you to understand who they know and network with.

Some interesting facts you probably did not know about LinkedIn:

- The average number of LinkedIn connections for people who work at Google is forty-seven.

- The average number for Harvard Business School grads is fifty-eight, so you could skip the MBA, work at Google, and probably get most of the connections you need. Later, you can hire Harvard MBAs to prepare your income taxes.

- People with more than twenty connections are thirty-four times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than five.

- All 500 of the Fortune 500 are represented in LinkedIn. In fact, 499 of them are represented by director-level and above employees.

Top Reasons to Use LinkedIn

 1. Building your Reputation. LinkedIn is a great tool for people to outline their experience, accomplishment, organizations and network. Too often I have seen incomplete profiles. A crucial element to get LinkedIn to work for you is to make sure your profile is 100% complete. Include all your previous employers, groups you belong to, your "advertisement", websites and other important information. LinkedIn is also becoming a place where employers find candidates, so if you are job hunting, this may be the place for you.


 2. Find Qualified Candidates. You want to find the best candidate because it will benefit the company, but weeding through all the applicants can be exhausting. Well, how about using your network to find employees? LinkedIn has a great job posting board, which is also very inexpensive. Even if you don't want to field unknown candidates, you can send out an email to all your connections.

 3. Find New Connections. Have you ever felt like sometimes you see the same people at the networking events? Would you like to meet new people? Use LinkedIn and do a search. For example, let's say you want to meet Architects. I just go to LinkedIn and type “Architects” in the search box. LinkedIn will search your contact's contacts and return the results. The best part is it shows you how you are connected to the person, which can then be used for introductions. LinkedIn also provides results of what they call 3rd degree friends. Essentially, your contact has a contact that knows the architect. It seems complicated, but it is a great way to expand your network and your friend's network. Try a search, see what happens. LinkedIn also has introductions, a tool they offer to give you an introduction to a person you want to meet.

 4. Increase your Google Ranking. Ever wondered how people's names come up so high up on Google searches? I don’t have the secret Google formula, but can tell you a well written LinkedIn profile earns a high rank on the page. The more information you have on LinkedIn (or Blog articles), the better your Google ranking.

5. Scope out Competition, Customers & Partners.  Most people use Google or another search engine to see what information they can find out about their market. The market includes your customers, competitors and partners. LinkedIn is a great tool for research.  Another key advantage is to see what groups your customers or potential customers belong to.

 6. Groups. LinkedIn just added a new tool to search groups. The groups range from networking groups to Alumni groups to Company groups. Groups can be a great tool for networking. There are many different ways to use the groups and their members as leads into conversations. As a plus, when you join a group you can show the group on your profile. The benefit could be others see the group and find they have a common thread with you.

7. Recommendations. LinkedIn has created a system where your contacts can recommend you. Leverage the power of LinkedIn to get recommendations and be sure to give them as well.

8. Help Others. Use LinkedIn to introduce people you think would be a good match. You can easily do introductions to the people with LinkedIn's inMail. The nice thing about giving a contact more connections on LinkedIn is that no one wants to be the person with the least contacts....so help out a friend and send them a contact or two that makes sense for them. Part of helping others can be helping them use LinkedIn.

9. Use it on the go. LinkedIn is configured to be able to use it on your handheld device. While you waiting at the airport, doctor's office or another waiting area, log into LinkedIn and network from anywhere. Just go to linkedin.com.

10. Get answers to tough business questions with a little help from your real friends. Small business owners deal with challenging questions on a slew of topics each day. LinkedIn Answers and Groups let you find answers to those vexing questions quickly by tapping into the wisdom of your network (LinkedIn tells me there are over 200 different categories on Answers including one dedicated to small business and over 2000 groups on small business related topics). Wondering whether your recent office purchase is tax deductible? Check out hundreds of questions on related topicshere.

I hope this helps you take LinkedIn beyond the usual uses and makes you and your business even more successful.




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