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




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.



Adoptable Habits to Make Your Facebook-ing More Successful

 Monday, August 08, 2011
 

So, you have a Facebook page.  Not only a personal page, but you have even gone to the lengths of creating a business page, branding it and making it look amazing.  Now what?

I am sure you have guessed that just because you have a Facebook Page does NOT mean people will engage with you on it.  Do not be discouraged!  Facebook can be a powerful and affective way of driving your business when it is used properly.  What do I mean by that, you say?  Well, if you develop certain, daily habits when it comes to Facebook, it can turn out to not only find you qualified prospects, but transform you into the “go-to” leader of your industry!

I have found certain habits to be incredibly helpful when it comes to engaging your fans.  These are basic tips, too, so keep them close at hand and available for reference the next time you feel as if you’re paddling against the current.

Talk to your friends

Right, I know, obvious!  But you would be surprised.  A lot of Facebook users will post things and leave it at that.  To gain popularity and really engage your followers, comment on the little things that are so often overlooked.

For instance, when someone posts a new picture or status update, comment on it!  When someone posts on your page, acknowledge them and comment.  Facebook is wonderful about telling you when your friends are having a birthday, so take advantage of that and wish them a happy birthday—I have yet to meet a single person who does not appreciate a good birthday wish.  I could go on, but to make a long story short (too late): Engage with all of your friends to make yourself more tangible and let people know that you are truly interested in them.

 

Having a hard time finding the right words?  Here are some tips:

  • Use people’s names. It adds a personal touch and makes people feel like they really know you.  Odds are they do really know you, but it still makes people feel special to be called out.  Tag their names, if you can.
  • Be comfortable. Just be yourself!
  • Keep it short and sweet. Have you ever seen a really long post or comment and just not had the energy to read it?  Well, odds are no one else wants to read a novel on Facebook, either.  So just get to the point you are trying to make and leave it be.

 

Your Turn: At least once a day you should go and be active on your friends’ pages.  Read their posts and engage.  People will notice and appreciate your consideration, and return the favor!

Know what is going on

Some people may find this particular task tedious and boring, but I personally like to know what is happening with my pages.  And I suggest, regardless of how you feel about it, you should take the time to keep track of your Facebook activity!  You can see how many fans you have, if there has been traffic on your page, and much more.  Trust me, metrics are always worth knowing.

EdgeRank Checker is another great tracking tool.  It scores your Facebook page(s) for you!  Granted, no one really knows exactly how they do this, but they do it nonetheless.  According to EdgeRank, “We began working on an algorithm that is admittedly a work in the progress that is tweaked often to reflect the most accurate representation of EdgeRank on the internet.”

Apart from scoring your pages, it also tells you what days you have the most activity, which is handy because then you know when to post the most important things and get the best results.

Your Turn: Keep an eye on your Facebook activity, whether you use EdgeRank Checker or just Facebook Insights.  It is always better to be in the know than in the dark.

Be a problem solver

Everyone loves a person with solutions.  So, be that person!  Through that, you can easily build rapport with your fans/friends, and become the ranking industry expert. 

Of course, the only way to become an expert problem solver is to consistently solve problems that you know how to solve.  I know that sounds a little redundant, but it was worth saying.  For example, my expertise is in trade show marketing, so I consistently post tips to help the average person marketing more successfully at trade shows.  When people have questions, I am prompt and accurate with my answers.  I do not go around trying to post tips on rebuilding classic cars, because that is most certainly not my niche.

Another great example is Facebook Guru, Mari Smith.  She is a certified Facebook expert and always responds quickly to all problems.  She also has a page dedicated to Facebook resources, just in case she cannot get you an answer fast enough.  Mari has developed a loyal following, most of whom she has turned into customers. 

Your Turn: I now charge you with the task of going out and making yourself the industry expert among your Facebook fans.  Think of questions you have been asked, even questions you yourself asked when you first got started.  Create a resource page so fans have somewhere to go when you are not available, and keep all of your information current.  This will help dramatically increase your Facebook clout.

Keep it current and interesting

If you want to maintain good rapport, your post content needs to be up-to-date and be relevant to the majority of your fans.  Realistically, you cannot reach everyone on every level, but you can reach most people if your keep your posts strategic. For example, on my Facebook page, I post an inspirational quote every day.  It gets a great reaction from my fans because people do not have to be in trade show marketing to find relevance in a general quote about life.  And just in case not everyone is prepared for something serious and deep, I always follow the quote with a cartoon that has something to do with marketing, advertising or social media.  Those topics will not mean something to everyone, but they do to a lot of people and I get good reactions from those posts as well.

I also post these twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, just to make sure that I reach a wider audience.

Your Turn: Make regular posts with content that is not only interesting, but able to reach the majority of your audience.  If you do that, then your posts will be something that people wait for and expect.  Ta da!  An automatic loyal following.

If it is not working, just leave it alone

When you start tracking your Facebook activity, you can easily see what actions you take get the most results, and which do not.  With the ones that aren’t getting any positive results, or the results that you want, see what you can do to change them.  If, after certain allotted time, the changes are not helping, just give it up, and move on to the next idea.  Be creative in finding different ways to engage your fans and increase your activity, but if what you are doing is not increasing traffic or getting you more fans, do not waste time trying to make it work.

.Your Turn: Is your page getting the results you want?  If not, figure out why.  Then start trying experimenting with different methods of getting people involved.  Once again, if what you are doing is not working, stop and move on.

Be kind to your fans

Although you are doing your best to be the person with the best content, be aware that others have good ideas and good posts also.  So when someone has posted something relevant and valuable, share it!  If your fans see you sharing their posts and getting them noticed, they will definitely return the favor. 

Your Turn: At least once a week, attempt to find great third-party postings and repost or share them.  You will get results from this action.

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com




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