How Personal Should You Make Your Social Media?

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We all have been there – we see a tweet that is borderline offensive but is hilarious and we’ve hit ‘favourite’ before we’ve even thought about the repercussions. As a Blogger of almost five years (and a self confessed social media addict), I can definitely empathise.

I have seen some bloggers go from zero to five thousand followers in a day because of a single tweet. With that said, on the flipside I’ve also seen some businesses go from having 120,000 followers and loosing more than 20,000 followers in an instant because they’ve offended people by being too personal, or by ‘liking’ something that can be disagreed with.

I know a lot of you reading this are businesses looking for advice on how personal to keep your social media and there are also a lot of Bloggers looking for the same information which is why this article will be split into two sections.

The rules for Bloggers and Businesses for social media are very different and so I wanted to keep this clear and individual for both genres.

First thing’s first, let’s talk about it from a business point of view.

1 – Businesses Should Keep It Professional With A Hint Of HumourIMG_2131

The title might seem pretty self explanatory but let me just go into a bit more detail. Businesses, whether you run an online shop or service, are seen as ‘professional’. I would probably expect some Bloggers to say something offensive or using profanity now and again, but I always expect a business to be professional. I don’t really want to see a business sharing their opinions or using profanity. If I am going to spend money with someone, I want to feel safe and know that if I choose to complain to the business, I will be met with professionalism. At the same time, I also want to know that the business is human and has a sense of humor.

2 – So, what is ‘too’ personal in Business?

Here is a list of ‘No-No’s’ for any business on social media:

  • Do not establish any online friendships on a business account
  • Do not use profanity in your statuses.
  • Do not ‘favourite’ or ‘like’ any statuses that contain profanity or potentially offensive statuses.
  • Do not engage in arguments.
  • Do not post any images that were not taken by you or that you do not have permission to use.
  • Do not engage in or post any political, religious or sexual discussions.

3 – What Should My Business Be Personal With

Now that I’ve given you a list of things you shouldn’t do, it’s only fair to give you a list of what to do.IMG_2130

  • Do respond to any messages of complaint or query about an order or otherwise.
  • Do always mention the person’s name in the response (it makes it more personal to the individual).
  • Do always thank users for their message
  • Do keep things light hearted. For example “It seems our website has been enjoying our relaxation products a bit too much! We’re working on getting getting the website working again and apologise for any inconvenience”
  • Do show respect. Be sure to post statuses of respect in regards to the deaths of popular people (celebrities) for example “Rest In Peace Whitney Houston. We will forever be affected by your music”.
  • Do post cute animal pictures. Everybody loves a cute cat!

These tips will definitely keep your business on the right path on Social Media. If all else fails and you instantly regret posting a status or make an embarrassing spelling mistake, then there is always the delete button. We’ve all been there!

Now moving on to Bloggers.

1 – Bloggers should keep it personal with a hint of business.IMG_2132

I’m completely reversing the formula in comparison to how businesses should behave on Social Media.

I’m a Blogger, so writing about how to behave on social media as a Blogger is really easy for me. I have literally made every mistake in the book so I can 100% talk with experience.

People read blogs to feel connected with someone. I read blogs because I like to hear their opinions on products, fashion and even politics. So it’s important that your social media feeds aren’t just filled with “have you seen my blog post? Visit www.no-one-wants-to-see-this-sort-of-thing12345.com.” type posts.

When users follow you, or visit your social media, they’re looking for a real time version of your personality. They want to connect with you and are happy to read about your daily activities and hear all about the first date that went wrong. What users don’t want to see is controversy for the sole point of being controversial and trying to get followers. It’s difficult knowing boundaries as a Blogger on social media as users still expect a ‘degree’ of professionalism from Bloggers as people of online influence.

2 – What Not To Do On Social Media As A Blogger

Here is a list of a few things I recommend a Blogger does not do on social media:

  • Do not get involved in arguments or heated debates. It just portrays you as a ‘troll’.
  • Do not post ‘click bait’ titles to your blog – followers see straight through them and invariably dislike it. (Click Bait titles are catchy titles such as “I’m Marrying My Dog?” when actually you simply say “I love my dog so much I’d marry him if I could” within a blog post that is completely different to the status).
  • Do not post images that belong to other bloggers unless you have their permission.
  • Do not start a campaign unless it is something you truly are passionate about and there are no other likeminded campaigns to get involved with. Followers see it as attention seeking and invariably unfollow.
  • Do not post controversial statuses just to get followers.
  • Do not criticise other bloggers or celebrities. Followers just think of it as ‘sour grapes’.
  • Do not post anything sexually explicit, religiously controversial or politically damning. You could be sued. Yes, it has happened to other bloggers.

These are the holy grail of social media No’ No’s for Bloggers so be sure to stick to them.

3 – What should I be posting as a Blogger on Social Media?

Here’s a list of a few things I would recommend posting as a blogger on social media:

  • Do show a BTS (Behind The Scenes) image – people love to see how you work when you’re creating content.
  • Do reply to people who take the time to tweet or message you. It’s just good manners and makes you more human.
  • Do post positive quotes and memes – these are a ‘favourite’ and ‘liking’ goldmine.
  • Do let people see snippets of your life, such as your meals, workouts, outfits and so forth.
  • Do get involved in discussions – politely!
  • Do advertise your blog content (2-3 times per day is most effective)

These ‘do’s will be sure to keep your social feed interesting at the same time as serving it’s purpose which is ultimately to drive traffic to your blog.As you can see, being a business and being a blogger are two very different things and as such come with very different ‘guidelines’ for social media.

One thing that does apply to both bloggers and businesses is that if you are sent a ‘troll’ like message which contains profanities and is derogatory to you or your business, then simply do not draw attention to it and ignore it. Rising to it encourages more comments of the same nature and makes you or your business look bad at the same time.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful! If you have any questions or suggestions, then feel free to comment below or tweet us @purelysocialtip

Until next time!

Holly x

Is following clients on Instagram a good idea?

image via flickr

image via flickr

We’ve managed accounts for several fashion and beauty businesses and often encounter the question of whether or not it makes sense to follow clients. Most of you in the fashion and beauty industry make it a practice to only follow those on social media who are in the industry. This helps you to network with colleagues, keep abreast of the goings-on and trends within the industry, and get inspiration. These are all great reasons to do so and you should definitely continue to follow those in the industry, but our thought is this: Yes. You should also follow your clients. We’ve heard several reasons for not following clients from: “I don’t want clients’ posts to distract from what I would like to see: i.e. posts within my silo” to “What’s the point in following clients period?” or a variant of a KPI question.

Here’s our point:

By not following clients and potential clients, you’re missing the whole point of social media. This goes back to understanding why you’re on social media in the first place. If you are on social media to reinforce a relationship with current clients and expand your client base, then you absolutely need to have a two-way relationship with your followers. If not, then it’s useful for other things (we’ll talk about specifics later), but not necessary.

The entire purpose of social media is to break the fourth wall and open communication that previously was non-existent between businesses and their customers. How are you going to have a conversation with your clients if they can only visit you on your terms i.e, your page.

The benefits of having a two-way relationship extend to both intangible and tangible forms.

The intangible benefits:

  • Building a relationship.

you get to know your followers on their turf, as well as yours, and gain an insight into their lives. You also are now have more of an opportunity to listen and converse. For example, if a client posts a picture of the hairstyle you just did for her, you then have the opportunity to gain permission to repost and image. More content that you don’t have to create. Potential clients who see this can now see your work in a relatable setting.

  • Humanizing the brand.

By engaging with your clients and showing them that you are not a robot, and that you care about the welfare of your clients, you bring a human face to the brand. This means don’t just follow and lurk, engage! Like a photo, talk about something relevant, reply to comments.

Too many businesses ignore comments. If your page is getting swamped with comments, you’re obviously not going to have time to reply to each one individually, but keep an eye out for questions and potential clients seeking information. This can be the deciding factor between whether you gain a new client or lose a potential client. If you don’t have time during business hours, delegate someone to take shifts or set aside an hour or two each day where you make a point to browse through your notifications and answer questions. If you’re just starting out and get very few comments, you absolutely need to make it your duty to respond to everyone, question or not. Show that you care that they took the time to leave a comment.

  • Building trust.

Going back to the example of re-posting a client’s image of your handy work, this is also an opportunity to build trust. How many of us have gone to a hair or nail salon and left less than pleased and now do detailed research before trying any new place?   By posting your handy work from your client’s perspective, you’re developing a rapport and showcasing verifiable reviews from clients that love you i.e., building trust.

The tangible benefits:

Higher potential for new clientele.

New clients are important to growth; a business can’t survive solely on repeat customers. In order to significantly increase revenue, the fact is that you need new customers. You need more people buying your products and your services in order for significantly increase growth and, as a result, revenue. This means that some time should be spent focusing on how to bring in new clientele. This is not to say that you should take any focus off of current repeat clients, you definitely should not, as repeat clients are fundamental to sustaining business. On the other hand, if growth is your goal, new clients are how you get it. Social media gives you the opportunity to reach clients in a way that no other marketing platform does. It essentially puts clients right at your doorstep and opens the door to their lives. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen posts of people moving to a new area and looking for a new stylist, nail salon, and or boutique. It happens on a regular basis, why not benefit from it.

Where do you start?

  1. Pay attention to who likes your content and do a little bit of research. Check out their page, see where they’re located. If they’re in your area, follow them.
  2. Check out who likes the content of those in your industry. Some instafamous people in the industry have followers from all over the world. If you check the comments, you’ll see from time to time people comment “I wish you were in *insert town here*.” If they mention your town or surrounding areas, this is your cue to step up and promote yourself. Don’t get ahead of yourself, no sales pitch necessary. Simply “Our salon/ boutique is right here in ______, check out our content” will suffice.
  3. See if there are any Instagram pages dedicated to your city and see who follows them. Do a little bit of sleuthing and see if you can find target client. If so, follow them.
  4. Take a look at your discovery tab, as you like and follow more content that’s relevant to you, the Discovery tab will pull more useful content. Instagram has nearly perfected this algorithm. Take full advantage of it.
  5. If your feed is too clogged, create a separate page just for yourself as the owner so you can see only what you want to see. Click here for a few apps that can help you manage multiple Instagram accounts.

Social Media Strategy Template

Originally posted on Scoop.it under Social Media News http://www.scoop.it/t/social-media-news-source

Originally posted on Scoop.it under Social Media News
http://www.scoop.it/t/social-media-news-source

Auto DMs Part I: The Annoyances

 

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I know we’ve mentioned Auto DMs in several of our posts, but I think it’s time that this nuisance gets its own spotlight. If you follow our blog, you know firsthand how passionate we are about Auto DMs. For some reason we have yet to uncover, people seem to love using them. We’ve received 22 Auto DMs from people we’ve followed just within the last week. The sad part is that we actually like some of these people and don’t want to unfollow them (not yet, at least) but the Auto DMs are just so freaking annoying.

We’re going to assume that the offenders do not realize that Auto DMs are turning people off and creating spam explain it to you in more detail this time.

If your main goal in creating automatic direct messages is to reach out to new followers and thank them for following you and to show that you care, you’re actually sabotaging yourself. Automatic direct messages have established a reputation similar to that of a pop-ups and spam email; they’re really quite annoying; twitter is a platform that has a reputation of speed. Users go on quickly check notifications, scroll through the timeline, and tweet. The way the Direct Message box is set up ruins the whole flow of that fluidity. It’s out of the way off to the side in a separate area of the Twitter layout and kind of takes users away from the conversation.

Picture it like this: you’re at a party having a great conversation with some friends and associates with similar interests when out of nowhere a random person saunters over and pulls you to the side for a really important private conversation. You go with this person off to the side to have this conversation and the person says something like “I just wrote a book about [_________], let me tell you about it.”

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Wouldn’t you just be completely bewildered and befuddled as to why they had to pull you aside to say that, especially since you were in the middle of a really great conversation? Wouldn’t it be just a little rude that they not only interrupted you, but also had the audacity to promote themselves after you only just met them and it’s completely unrelated to anything you were previously discussing? It’s rude, impersonal, and unprofessional.

With @ replies it’s a much more friendly and personable approach. Rather than send automatic messages to people who may or may not be able to respond, you actually create an open forum for communication rather than just pretend to.  If you’re really low on time, you can even set up and customize automatic @ replies to specific groups if you’d like with several different Twitter tools. It’s not something we’ve ventured to do just yet, so we don’t have too many details, but if and when we do, we’ll fill you in.

That being said, we’re going to go on a mission to find out the reasons behind why people choose to use Auto Dm’s. We’re going to reply to all of the automatic responses from people we’ve followed within the last week and come back here with our results. Stay tuned! And hey, if you personally use Auto Dm’s, tell us why. There’s two sides to every story. We’d love to see the other side! Either @ us on twitter, email us, or respond in the comments below!

Content Calendar Part 4: Strategy

Creating AContent Calendar

Our Content Calendar series is finally drawing to an end, and we appreciate how you all have responded to the insights we have provided here…

In Part 1, we discussed the importance of creating a framework for your content.

In Part 2, we highlighted the significance of measuring your efforts on social platforms.

And last week in Part 3, we walked you through the development of your content calendar and what it should look like.

Today we’re going to discuss with you creating strategies for implementation that get results.

Let’s begin with a fresh take on things. Social Media Marketing is still immature in the world of business and many small business owners still just don’t get it or know how to effectively use social media for their business. Don’t be stubborn with your marketing and lack the flexibility that social media marketing calls for. Classic marketing attempts to segment “consumers” into demographics. We all are familiar with the concept and most likely do the exact same thing with our own customers. However, defining a customer or followers by a demographic is a little out dated. Demographics are generally used in polls of public opinion and marketing to group individuals based on a variety of socioeconomic points. Until recently, we could all easily be grouped into our appropriate demographic and marketers enjoyed creating messages tailored to appeal to these different demographics.

Thanks to industrialization and globalization it’s becoming harder and harder to define these demographics. The best example of this shift is in luxury brands that have seen their customer pools widen as consumers with lower incomes began to desire and buy luxury goods.

So what does this mean for you as a business owner looking to use social media to grow your bottom line? Well, for one it means your segmenting your customers based on the wrong factors. Grouping people together based on their zip code, annual income or level of education simply doesn’t work…. Why? Probably because people are INDIVIDUALS, who deserve and desire to be treated with a level of respect. Grouping individuals based on “social market” factors turns a person into a number. Today’s consumer is not a number, they’re individuals who make informed purchases that they believe align with who they are on a fundamental level. What you should be looking at instead is your audience’s online intended actions. What will someone do with the information, services and products you provide?

It never ceases to amaze us just how many businesses overlook the treasure trove of information they could simply obtain by surveying their customers. Stop trying to figure out what works and start asking your customers what they like, want and need. A simple survey can help you determine what new products and services to offer, identify trends and highlight customer intentions! There are tons of online survey tools out there such as SurveyMonkey, KwikSurveys and SoGoSurvey, etc. Take the time to learn about your customers and how they feel about your brand. You want to develop a mindset for your organization that is focused on the wants and needs of the customer, to avoid doing damage control as a result of customer dissatisfaction.  Another great tool that can help you determine the intentions of your online audience is the Intent Index. The truth of the matter is that much of the information you seek is actually available within your organization in sales and service reports as well as in client records and inquires. Your online analytics can help as well, telling you what key words people are using to find you and where they are coming from.

Social

Image via iStockphoto

The goal behind focusing on your audiences’ intention is about obtaining more insights with less advertising, it’s about stepping into the customer’s shoes and out of your business bubble. Create a culture in your organization that encourages your team to create content based on the insights and information they have available to them. When creating campaigns for our clients we like to work backwards, in the sense that we like to always have a clear understanding of what their end goal for that particle campaign will be. Ask yourself what actions do you want your customer and followers to take after seeing your campaign, is it clicking a link, opting in, sharing, commenting or maybe you want to inspire them to create their own content around your brand. Whatever it is, you have to have a clear understanding and create a campaign that drives your desired actions.

Your social media strategy is simply a road map or guide lines for your desired intention. Take the time to analyze the appropriate social platforms for your business, as previously mentioned don’t be afraid to grow one platform at a time as you navigate your social media marketing. Determine how you  want to engage and with whom, develop your social voice and create a culture in your organization that empowers your team to be your loudest advocates. Creating a strategy that works should not scare you, in fact this entire content calendar series was roots in helping you to develop a successful strategy.

Take the time to write out your social media strategy, begin by determining what your main objective for using social media will be. Maybe your looking to easily facilitate a conversation between you and your customers, or you wish to support your vendors who have a smaller online presence. You can choose to educate or learn from others, whatever your objective is clearly state it for all in your team to know. Next, define how you intend to utilize each platform and how each platform with support the other’s. You may choose to use each platform to support a different area of your business. We’re firm believes that content and messaging should be tweaked to be unique to any particular platform. Give your audience a reason to follow you on multiple outlets to get a complete story or only on a few to get the information they desire. Either way but measurements in place to assess your efforts and be prepared to make changes when necessary. Most of all have fun!

We appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read this article. Be sure to leave an comments or questions you have below!

Content Calendar Part 1: Building a Framework

Creating AContent Calendar

This series is based on the wonderful teaching found in The Social Media MBA by Christer Holloman

If you’ve been following us here or on twitter (@PurelySocialTip), then you would know that we strive to provide you with the most relevant and practical information regarding your business’ presence on social media. And if you just stumbled upon us for the first time then let us welcome you!

Here at Purely Social™ our focus is on supporting small businesses with the information they need to successfully create a presence on social media that gets noticed. We have never claimed to be experts or gurus on the subject, rather we’re entrepreneurs who see the power of social media and strive to learn as much as we can on the subject daily. We love social media, because we’re naturally social people. Social Media is changing everything we know about communicating and engaging with people. It’s exciting, challenging and scary all at the same time!

Gone are the day’s of the elusive corporate voice. No longer is it acceptable to tell customers what they need or want. In our global, 24/7 digital age, customers have taken their power back, telling brands and businesses what they want and need. Today’s customer does their homework! Taking the time to research products for the best price and quality prior to making a purchase. Meaning, now more than ever it’s important for businesses to start listening to their consumer. For those who resist and have dragged their feet to get in the game will find a loss in market share to competitors who have jumped right in! Today’s consumer wants honesty, transparency and authenticity from the companies they do business with.

Brands and businesses that understand this new found opportunity to foster relationships with their customers get the formula:

Formula for Success

It is this balance between marketing the brand and the human element that you as a business owner have to strike. See despite all of our advance technologies, the fundamentals of the human socialization has very much remained the same. People inherently have a deep desire to share, collaborate and create with one another. Social Media is no different, the top 3 things people enjoy doing online are:

  • Share ideas
  • Share product knowledge
  • Help their peers solve problems

Does your business provide any other these services, and if not how can you begin to? Well now that you know what people are doing online we would advise you to take the time to listen to what your customers are saying. Stop guessing what they want or need and start listening to them, because there is a good chance they are telling you everything you really want to know.

Armed with some customer knowledge, now the real work begins. If you want to successfully leverage social media for your business then you’re going to have to be calculated! And by calculated we mean that everything you do from a marketing standpoint has to be accountable. Set objectives and timelines to measure what works. A Content Calendar is a great way to organize your thoughts and efforts.

Begin by developing guidelines for your engagement, especially if your not the only individual who handles your business’ social media. Take the time to think about how you want people to interact with your brand and how your brand will interact with people. Consider the good, the bad and the ugly! It’s work, but trust me it’s better than damage control.

Now you’re ready to start organizing your content. Keep in mind that you want to give special consideration to the fact that above all your plan needs to be flexible to accommodate the unexpected. However, feeling as though you need to regularly get the creative juices flowing and create new content can be daunting. Select four to six topics that you want to cover on your social media every week.

We advise creating a Copy Master List for each platform, modify the drafts as you deem suitable. Having a list of solid posts to pull from will help save time when it comes to automating posts. Lastly, pull out your calendar!

The aim is to plan out the next quarter. Look at upcoming events, sales your planning or major holidays that are significant to your business and fill them into your calendar. Next set objectives that are measurable, consider the necessary lead times for effective promotion and the effort it will take to meet the objective. These posts should be considered additions to your posts that cover your previously determined topics.

To be continued…

Engagement: What’s the Big Deal?!

How and Why to Engage Engage Engage

Engage design (2)

If you ask any knowledgeable social media marketing professional what is on their top 5 list of important factors for success on any social media platform, we guarantee that the word “engagement” will be somewhere in there. Content may be key, but engagement is the click you hear when you turn the key. Engagement makes the world go ‘round!

Some of you may not even be sure what “engagement” even really means. You hear it all the time, but you’re not clear as to what it entails. Because we’re so awesome, we came up with this acronym to help explain how to engage.

EDUCATE

Share your knowledge! Why not? People sharing knowledge is the reason that anyone knows anything for the most part. If you have something to contribute, don’t hold back! Feel free to lend a helping hand. If you happen to have an article that could prove helpful to your niche or to a conversation, share it!

NURTURE

This goes back to basics, simply be kind to your peers and if you see someone who needs help and you can help them by either offering a resource or assisting them personally, help out. Encourage their growth and build relationships. Once you build a relationship with people within your network, you extend your reach! Not to mention, you now have a dedicated audience who is eager to hear anything you have to tell them, because you developed that trust. Being a decent human being is really all it takes.

GIVE FREELY

Mike Stelzner once mentioned in a podcast that if you’re afraid to give out free information because you’re afraid that people won’t need to buy your product/service after you give them that information, then you need to re-evaluate your business. He’s right! We’re not saying share your innermost secrets that you spent years crafting and perfecting, but tips & tricks and detailed how-to’s? Why not! Give your followers a reason to want more. Give them helpful tips on how to use your product, or tips relevant to your niche, and they’ll notice. Word-of-mouth is still one of the most rampant forms of advertising. You have no idea who they know.

APPRECIATE

If someone retweets your content, follows you, or compliments your work, appreciate it! This goes back to the basic “please” and “thank you” we were taught as children. Somehow, people completely lose their manners when it comes to social media. Don’t be that person! Of course, at some point, it gets a little crazy and you can’t possibly thank every single person that follows you. In that case, a mass thank you is fine. People love being acknowledged; it’s human nature!

GET NOTICED

Don’t be afraid to stand out or say something different or uncouth. Standing out may actually attract positive attention and draw people in to read your post. We’ve seen posts titled “Social media is bullshit” and “You’re pissing into the wind with blogging & social media if you don’t REALLY know what your audience wants.” Sure, they’re both a tad on the vulgar side, but they catch your eye and make you WANT to find out more on the article. Be honest, how many times do you actually read the articles that other people post?

ENTERTAIN

Last, but not least, have a little bit of fun with it. Be yourself! Don’t be afraid to be comical, sarcastic, or animated! Share funny pictures and jokes and show your personal side. People like that! They like to know that they’re talking to a human and not an antisocial broadcaster!

See! Engaging is simple. Don’t take the social out of social media. Focus on socializing, connecting, and engaging, and you’ll see success in no time!

If you’re having any trouble or have any questions, don’t hesitate to @ us on Twitter @PurelySocialTip or leave your comments down below. We practice what we preach and would love to engage with you!

 

3 Best Practices for Getting Started on LinkedIn

If you’re a business owner, chances are you have a LinkedIn account. In fact there is an even better chance that LinkedIn was one of the first social platforms you joined. And if you’re not currently on LinkedIn, you may want to reconsider that after this article… Let’s begin with some reasons why you should not overlook the potential of this platform.

Beginner's Guide to
For starters, LinkedIn has over 200 million active users in over 200 countries, and they are all there for one thing…. to Network!It is the world’s largest networking platform for professionals, with an audience that tends to be more educated and affluent when compared to some of the more popular social networks. And because of this, the platform is ideal for connecting with other professionals, finding a job or generating business opportunities. If your business is a B2B, then LinkedIn is where you want to be!

According to the Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Industry 2013 Report, 29% of marketers utilize LinkedIn for B2B in comparison to the 5% that use it for B2C. That means that for B2B, LinkedIn is just as significant as Facebook when it comes to social media marketing.Business owners we’ve spoken to have clearly stated that while they have pages on other social networks, they make money from LinkedIn!

And hey! why wouldn’t that be true? LinkedIn is, after all, the platform that says, “Hey, I’m serious. Let’s do business!” If you’ve ever taken the time to Google a client’s name before or after a meeting, the first result was most likely their LinkedIn profile. The appeal is in the ability to access your current network and connect to new networks, in one virtual place. In a way its your personal CRM with a social element. So here are some tips, to help you get started:

1. Invest In A Solid Profile:

Now that could be in time or money! Compile old resumes, sit down and take the time to really dive deep into your skills, strengths and hobbies. When you sit down to write this into the profile you want to keep in mind who your audience is, what are some of the challenges your customers face and how do you help them solve them? Who is your typical customer and what are the strengths of your business? Use this information to your advantage! You need to have a So What? mentality.

When your prospective customer reads your profile will it matter to them, what value or knowledge do you bring to the table that sets you apart? You know, you just probably don’t often take the time to reflect on it.  This is the key element that you don’t want to over look or half-ass. Think about it if your profile is half-filled out, you may be sending the message to your potential clients that you don’t finish what you start. A simple cut and paste of your resume just won’t do either, that will only show a lack of creativity. Your LinkedIn profile is not a resume or a bio, so put some thought into it. If you’re really looking for a killer profile hire someone to put it together for you, like The Written Coach.

2. Making Connections:

The very first thing we’re going to say on this topic is that LinkedIn limits the amount of connections you can personally make to 3000! So before you run off and connect with every single person whose business card you’ve ever collected, restrain yourself… Connect with individuals that  you either do business with or have the potential to do business with, sprinkled with those contacts that you believe have the ability to help you generate leads. If you hit the 3000 mark you’ll have to request additional connections from LinkedIn. Sounds like a pain to me… Just be mindful! Don’t let this make you feel limited, however. Consider adding a link to your profile at the bottom of your work email, inviting people to connect with you!

LinkedIn classifies your individual connections based on three levels of  degree. A 1st degree connection is either someone you have added to your network or they have added you to their network. 1st degree connections are directly connected to you, these are your family, friends, co-workers etc. A 2nd degree connection is a person connected to you by a 1st degree connection but not directly connected to you.  Lastly, a 3rd degree connection is someone who is connected to you by way of a 2nd degree connection. Remember your intention on LinkedIn is to grow your network… Why? Because LinkedIn rewards users with large networks with better search engine rankings. Do a simple keyword search within LinkedIn’s search engine and you will find that certain profiles rank higher than others.

making the connecion - LinkedinLinkedIn is not just a social network, it’s a database of skilled professionals, for professionals. In fact, a potential client may be searching for someone just like you but if you don’t share a common network connection or a LinkedIn group… you’re invisible! You are only allowed to access and communicate with the connections in your network. If you want to be found within LinkedIn, you need a large LinkedIn network.

Just know that whenever you invite someone to connect with you, you run the risk of your LinkedIn invitation being rejected. Therefore, we suggest adding a personal message to your invitations. Think about, who could resist adding a polite person who showers them with kind words? Consider:

“It was great meeting you at the networking event yesterday evening. I like to keep track of my contacts on LinkedIn. May I add you?”

or

“Hi Alex! I enjoy your posts on the Social Media Marketing Mavens Group. Would you mind if I add you to my professional network on LinkedIn? I have a number of connections that you may find useful in your networking.”

Beware, if you invite someone to connect with you on LinkedIn, and they click I Don’t Know this person or Report as Spam, the recipient of your invite is citing you as an ABUSIVE LinkedIn user! 5 flagged invites and  your LinkedIn account is set to “restricted.” Once restricted, you must enter an email address each time you try adding new people to your network. Talk about a major inconvenience!

3. Join Groups:

LinkedIn gives you the ability to join 50 groups, and we would advise joining all 50! Besides reaching out to all of your contacts, groups are an ideal and simple way to grow your network. Groups provide you with opportunities to establish yourself as a reliable resource, learn more about your clients, and find help when trouble shooting issues that arise in your own business. So join groups with large numbers of members… like hundreds of thousands of members! Look for groups that contain your potential and existing customers, as well as business partners and competition.

Take the time to review who the members of each group are. Are there any members who are adding real value to the group? Who are the top contributors? These are people you may want to consider adding to your network. Connect the group’s active contributors, these people understand the importance of growing one’s network and are typically more open to connecting. Group managers are usually good for this too.

Keep in mind as you begin to contribute to these groups, any discussion you comment on you will automatically be notified anytime someone else comments on the same post. So to avoid unwanted spam simply un-check the notification setting prior to posting your comment. To avoid receiving too many emails from all these groups in general, simply:

1. Click your name at the upper right hand corner of your LinkedIn screen.
2. Click Privacy and Settings
3. Click the “Groups, Companies & Applications” section.
4. Click “Set the frequency of group digest emails”
5. Scroll through the list and choose Daily Digest, Weekly Digest, or No Email (depending on your preferences.)
6. Click Save Changes when finished.

Last thing you should know about groups… The groups dedicated to LIONs, Leading International Open Networkers (LIONs), are individuals who love networking and are open to connecting with just about anyone. By simply joining these groups you are letting other group members know you are willing to network and connect openly.

We hope these 3 tips will help you get started on LinkedIn, whether your new to the platform or have a profile you simply don’t use! Please feel free to share you feed back or leave us a comment. We’re not perfect so if you feel we have stated something in error, by all means let us know!

Effective Automation

(Yes, It’s possible and yes, you’re overthinking it)

So a few weeks ago, we had a great conversation about automation with a couple of our friends on Twitter, Phil Glutting and Charlene Kingston. Since we noticed that this is a popular topic among small business owners and new marketers, we decided to share with you.

Automation is a great way to multitask if you’re very busy and want to establish a social media presence without having to be actively posting. However, Auto DMs are plaguing Twitter and absent tweeters completely contradict the purpose of SOCIAL media. When we asked Phil and Charlene their thoughts on the matter, we were really enlightened by the response. Check out the whole conversation below and on storify for the full effect.

Here are a few quick tips on making your automation more effective that we were able to pull from the conversation:

  1. Just stop with the Auto DMs! @ replies are more personal and easier to start conversations with. You can even automate the @ replies with many of the Twitter tools available.
  2. Follow up your @ reply with a greeting, don’t use the message to sell yourself. Just be courteous and try to begin relationship building.
  3. If you must automate try this method: Schedule a few tweets to be posted during the day and add to the conversation throughout the day in real time .
  4. As you grow, modify your strategy. What worked with 1500 followers will not work with 11500.
  5. Always do what makes your community interaction better, not what’s easier for you.

What have your experiences been with automation? Are you pro or anti automation? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below or @ us on twitter!

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3 Ways to Optimize your Hootsuite Usage… besides Automation

If you’re a business owner in today’s world, chances are you never feel as though there are enough hours in the day. So the last thing you have time for is wandering down the rabbit hole of social media. You know that social media is important for connecting and engaging with your customers, but creating a solid presence on any platform takes time… time you do not have.

Like many business owners you may choose to automate your posts through apps such as hootsuite or buffer. Automating your social media can save you time and energy but, be careful automation removes the real-time engagement. See our post Is Automation Making You Antisocial, for best practices.

3 ways to optimize your Hootsuite useWe believe that one of the best uses for Hootsuite is when you’re promoting an event or product and you are directing people to your site with a link. For example, say you host a weekly meet-up or Google hangout. Consider scheduling 3-5 posts a day promoting this upcoming event. Your scheduled posts should just include links not attached images, as they will not appear in the newsfeed unless people click on them ( and we all know that very few will click). So don’t waste your time posting content that most likely will go unseen. In these instances I recommend drafting the posts from a mobile device on twitter or scheduling the post directing in Facebook. Consider taking 1 day to draft up the week’s posts and keep them in a word document that will allow you to easily copy and paste the post into Linkedin or Google+. Consider shortening links with bitly.com versus the link shortener in Hootsuite. At this point most people know that owly.idhafd…etc. is a Hootsuite post and therefore automated. I have found that automated tweets can be a real turnoff for some.

Today we would like the discuss the top 3 ways to use Hootsuite other than scheduling posts

1. To watch your feeds all from one place: You probably don’t have time to check each platform multiple times through out the day. With hootsuites free membership you can attach up to 5 accounts that you wish to track on either Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Google+. So from the home screen you can watch your feeds for all of these platforms in one place in somewhat real time.

2. To monitor hashtags. If there a particular hashtag that you troll or follow, you can use hootsuite to follow that hashtag in real time.

3. Run Reports: This is one of the best reasons to use an app like hootsuite! Generate reports that show the results or your efforts as well as compare your efforts across multiple platforms