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
Full BRAIN Marketing

Google Analytics Rolls Out its New Flow Visualization Feature!

 Monday, October 24, 2011
 Google Analytics updated a new feature on October 19th called Flow Visualization, which allows you to analyze a website’s insights graphically and instantly understand how the visitors flow across pages on your site. Starting this week, Google Analytics “Visitors Flow” and “Goal Flow” will be rolling out to all accounts. They will also be coming out over the next few months.

The new Visitors Flow view provides a graphical representation of the visitors’ flow through your website by traffic source (or any other dimensions) so you will be able to see their journey as well as where they dropped off on your site.
What I like best about this is that Google Analytics is working hard to meet our needs. 
The new Goal Flow is a graphical representation of the paths a visitor took to successfully complete a conversion on your site from the source through your funnel pages and where along the path they dropped off.

This new Goal Flow visualization lets you see the following:
Relative volume of visits to your website through traffic source, campaign, browser or whatever dimension you select)

Relative volume of page views per goal step

Relative volume of traffic rate of abandonment from step to step

Where visitors backtracked along the goal path

Conversion rates for each source (in the table column for your goal)

Specific metrics for connections, nodes, and node exits when you hover over them

You can find the Goal Flow under Standard Reporting | Conversions | Goals.  To be able to see this data, you need to have already defined goals in your Google Analytics Account.  
You can also apply any advanced segments to this new Flow Visualizer. You can see how visitors arrive at a page or pages of interest.  You can start by selecting ?backward” to see reverse paths which helps identify suboptimal placement of your content or you can select “forward” paths from a page or pages to understand most visited pages or to see the visitor leakages.

If you do not have goals set up or goal funnels, don’t worry. You can create a new goal or goal funnel from your profile settings. This works backwards on your historical data for metrics.
Having access to this new visual information is a real game changer for Google.  I look forward to seeing more visual analytics rolling out soon too.

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
Full BRAIN Marketing

Develop a Social Media Content Strategy That Works For YOU!

 Monday, March 14, 2011
We all live in a world where the entire globe can have access to your name, photo, IP address and all of your public information with a simple search. 

Social Media is taking this one step further. Not only are we able to find your past exploits online but we can hear the conversation that the globe is having about you, your company – right now, with a simple click and typing key words. 

What are you doing now for your social media outreach strategy? Does it involve your inputting content? Should it? 

Does every business really have a Facebook Page? Unfortunately, no. Few businesses have a strategy for their Facebook page and are struggling with their social media activity. 

Businesses tweet, blog and even set up a Facebook Business Fan Page out of fear of being left behind. But do they engage their audience when doing all this or just create busy content that no one wants to read? 

If your social media strategy engagement is reactive rather than proactive, it may be time to step back and take a deep breath and decide to develop a content strategy that will engage your community. 

You may be asking – What is Content Strategy and how do I get started? 

It is impossible to have a social media strategy without first developing a content strategy. According to Susan Cato, Senior Director of Web and New Media Strategies at CompTIA, you need three important elements to develop an effective content strategy. 

Know what your audience, customers or community wants to talk about and be willing to engage in those conversations. 

 • Twazzup, Addict-o-matic and SocialMention are three platforms that allow you to measure your social media conversations or buzz surrounding your brand online at any given time. 

1. Twazzup is a bridge between Twitter and a search engine. If you stick with the “what you know” mantra, Twazzup mostly plays in  the Twitter world but plays very well there. From logging your Tweets per hour to giving you mug shots on the top influencers of any  search, this application gives you a full circle view of how your brand is performing in the twitter space environment. 

Twazzup pigeonholes itself by being Twitter-focused. Looking for influencers? If you look up a topic such as “Gulf Oil Spill,” you fill   find the Top 10 people you need to talk with right there at the tips of your research. 

This application lets you see who is talking about your niche quickly with little effort. What links lead to your keyword search? 

2. Addict-o-matic is a social search application. It lets you see how your brand is presented on a number of different social  platforms all on one page. Like all search engines, aggregation sites like Digg, Flickr and YouTube are for media searcher, but  Addict-o-matic takes a platform called Trending.com and puts a more comprehensive spin on your social platform information. 

Not only can you create and customize an interface and keep track of a number of sites that many others may not be thinking  about. You can create your own page for your selected keywords, but you can also add tons of popular, and not so popular, social  sites to give you as much or as little detail overload as you require. You can also see the latest buzz from Blinkx, Truveo and  Twingly which are not being harvested daily by most marketers and content sharers. 

See below a lookup I did on “Sarah Palin” and then clicked on the second tab for all the social media sites. Wow, I had not heard  of at least 30% of some of these sites until today! 

This application allows you to get all the latest info on a subject matter from tons of platforms. You can move any content box  around to position the most important info on top. 

I did a search on my name “DJ Heckes” and found this information all on one page and even though you cannot see all the  elements, this is a snapshot of what is being said about a person online. 

3. SocialMention is a little more simplistic and has a very professional design but sticks to words that have been made popular by today’s social media thought leaders, while Twazzup and Addict-o-Matic are very straightforward platforms. Measuring words such as “passion,” “Sentiment,” and “reach” and having the ability to quantify these subjective words makes SocialMention the platform your boss would approve you using daily. 

This application gives you tons of features to play with, but unfortunately if a beginner, you will need to see their FAQ to catch up before you really appreciate what they have done for you. Instead of selecting one social network, or grouping the info by network, SocialMention chooses to give you a stream timeline to include content from places like Stumbleupon, Twitter a nd Google Blogs. This application also lets you know how many mentions and how many different people mention you or your business. 

My favorite feature is called “tattletale.” If you click on the word “negative” under the sentiment area, it sends you to a list of so-called “negative” posts waiting for you to join in on the conversations at any time. There is no real specific answer on how they determine why it’s negative but check out all the information and be safe instead of sorry. 

I did a look up of my book “Full BRAIN Marketing: and found this information . Wow, this is amazing!! 

 The disappointing fact is I am unable to click on the unique authors or retweets section. This would be a great bonus if we were able to see a list of those authors. As a marketer, I would want to have a list of who is talking about me to make it easy as pie to connect and grow these relationships. SocialMention makes you dig through their timeline and their data but this may not necessarily be good for us. You can export the top users, but the data requires some 4xtra effort to turn into a hit list for getting involved and building relationships. 

 Now that you have hopefully learned about three great applications that most marketers are not familiar with, let’s size them up. 

• SocialMention seems to be the best for being a complete solution of the three applications discussed. 
• Twazzup only focuses on Twitter. If they could find a way to integrate other platforms or even partner with other niche-specific platforms for a more robust solution, this application could vault to the top. If using Twazzup, you would need multiple other solutions to use in conjunction with this application to be completely covered. 
• Addict-o-matic falls short in many ways. Other than having a cool and catchy name, there is not much difference between Alltop.com or Popurls.com except the search bar. Similar to Twazzup, you will need more tools and this application.

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