Archive for the ‘LinkedIn’ Category

Finding Time to Engage In Social Media

Rumor has it 2010 is the year that social media will become mainstream. The early adopters have already left the station, and the early majority has boarded and the late majority is in line. This means by 2011, 84% of individuals will be using some form of social media. Still not convinced? Check out the Social Media Revolution video.

The biggest reason people DON’T use social media

There is no doubt the number one reason for NOT using social media is time. People are already short on time, and just the thought of using social media creates mental stress as we conceive of the hours and hours of time sucked into the virtual realm of the social vibe. The fact is, you don’t have to spend hours a day. You can choose how much time to spend on social media, and then implement a schedule that works for you. The key here is to get engaged and be consistent.

The Social Media Diet: finding time for a social media plan

As a solution to the time dilemma, I wrote The Social Media Diet, a 30-minute-a-day plan for getting involved in social media. I came up with a 7-step plan to figure out where social media will fit into your schedule:

  • Step 1: Choose how much time you want to invest M-F
  • Step 2: Choose what you want to get out of social media
  • Step 3: Choose your networks
  • Step 4: Calendar in your time
  • Step 5: Track your progress
  • Step 6: Stop when your time is up
  • Step 7: Keep it up!

Step 1: Choose how much time you want to invest M-F

It’s best to choose how much time you can put in each day. Even if it’s only 15 minutes, that’s okay. It’s important to do it daily so it becomes a part of your routine. You only have to engage Monday through Friday. If you want to do more on the weekends, great, but at least commit during the week.

If you have people who work for you or your company, factor their time in as well. Collectively come up with how much time all of you will engage in social media tasks.

Step 2: Choose what you want to get out of social media

What you want out determines what networks to choose. There could be many reasons, but only you can determine what is uppermost on your list. I would chose ONE objective to focus on. This will help keep you on track:

  • Generate leads for business (probably the #1 reason)
  • Learn what others are doing in your industry
  • Generate PR for your company
  • Connect and interact with customers
  • Share information to establish your expertise
  • Generate SEO (search engine optimization) links for your website
  • Just to see what it’s all about

Step 3: Choose your networks

Based on the list above, I would suggest you choose 2 of the following networks to get you started. Once you’re in the groove with 1 or 2 networks, then expand to include others.

Generate leads for business (probably the #1 reason)
  • LinkedIn Groups
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Blog building
  • Guest blogging
  • Actively work on LinkedIn connections
  • Industry message boards
Learn what others are doing in your industry
  • All social media platforms
  • Industry message boards
Generate PR for your company
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn Groups
  • Article Distribution
  • Create a blog or guest blog on industry blogs
  • Use Stumbleupon, Reddit, etc. to distribute content
Connect and interact with customers
  • Blog
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
Share information to establish your expertise
  • Guest blogging
  • Industry message boards
  • Article distribution
  • Answer questions in LinkedIN Groups
  • Participate in industry message boards
Generate SEO (search engine optimization) links for your website
  • Commenting on blogs
  • Guest blogging
  • Participating in industry message boards that are not behind a login
  • Press release and article distribution with in-line links in content
Just to see what it’s all about Ask your friends or customers what their favorite networks are, and choose what seems appealing.

Step 4: Calendar in your time

Many people ask me how it is I get so much done. Well for one, I calendar in specific tasks in order to accomplish them. Calendaring is the #1 way to achieve goals. I know many of you are crinkling your faces at this moment, but seriously, this is how you’re going to get this done.

Look at your schedule, and honestly evaluate when you could fit in some time to implement your social media plan. Let’s say you have committed to 15 minutes a day. Find the same 15 minutes each day so it becomes a habit. It could be first thing in the morning, just after lunch, or even at the close of your day. Right at the moment it doesn’t matter when you do it, just that you do it!

It’s important to actually put this time INTO your calendar. If you are using Outlook or Google Calendar, set up a reminder so it flashes on your screen to tell you it’s time to start your social media tasks. Treat it like a real appointment.

But I really just don’t have the time…

Sometimes you have to be clever about it, but there is always time to be found if you look hard enough. I took a poll of several people who have found time to include social media into their schedule. Here are some of the ways they found to fit the time in:

1) I started making coffee in the office instead of stopping at Starbucks each morning. The 20 minutes I saved in travel I now spend on social media.

2) I put social media apps on my smartphone, and now whenever I wait in line, wait for a stop light or wait for anything, I am on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn and working my networks. I’m amazed how much I get in with just 2-3 minutes at a time.

3) Our office wanted to implement a social media plan. Together we committed to shortening our daily status meeting by 15 minutes so we could all return to our desks and implement our social media strategy.

4) We did a poll in our office to find out who was using social media. We then came up with a strategy that included time people were already spending. Together we promote our articles, tweets and other online links.

5) We hired a consultant to teach us how to use Twitter. We found we were wasting a lot of time figuring it out. He showed us some great tools to help us manage Twitter and make it go faster. After the class, we found it very easy to fit in 15 minutes a day per person because we knew exactly what to do.

6) Each person in the office chose which social media outlets they wanted to use. Then our vice president hired his niece to spend a day creating accounts for each person. She set up profiles, photos, and all the details. That way we were ready to go out of the chute!

7) We asked everybody in our company if they wanted to help write our blog. We found 7 people who wanted to help. Each of us wrote 3 blogs a month, and it has been easy to post daily blogs for our customers.

Step 5: Track your progress

Keep an Excel spreadsheet or other document where you track what you’ve done in your social media domain. It could be as simple as tallying your progress:

  • Sent 5 tweets today
  • Put one comment on a blog

Or you go into more detail by copying and pasting URLs of places you’ve left comments. We signed up for Disqus, which is an excellent tool that helps track comments on blogs. Unfortunately it only works on blogs where’s it’s installed, but it’s becoming more popular, so it’s start towards organizing all those blog comments.

Step 6: Stop when your time is up

As important as it is to commit to doing social media, you must honor your schedule and stop when your time is up. I set a a pop-up reminder on my computer that simple says “time to stop.” If you go overboard, you will get frustrated, and there will always be tomorrow to do more.

Step 7: Keep it up!

While nobody expects perfection, do your best to honor your social media commitment. If you do it consistently, in about a month you’ll start to see an online network begin to build. After two months you will likely have some new online friends. After three months, you’re certain to see some impact in your business. If you find yourself getting bored with the outlet you have chosen, throw in another one, or research articles on how to use that outlet better. Just don’t give up! This is the new way of networking, and pretty soon you won’t meet anybody who isn’t doing it.

How do you find time for social media?

I’d love to hear the ways you have found time to fit social media into your schedule. I’d also love to hear what kind of results you’ve seen from the efforts you’ve put in. Please share in the comments how it’s working for you!

10 LinkedIn Tips to Grow Your Business

1. List every important detail
Include your complete work history. You will likely remember colleagues and classmates you may have forgotten. Those contacts will be able to search for you based on what is in your profile and most social networking sites will suggest people that share these groups or interests.

2. Add updates regularly
By adding connections and editing your profile, you are more likely to be at the top of the list when somebody searches for a company like yours. Each time you edit your profile, the information will be circulated to your network, which regularly puts your name in front of your contacts.

3. Let people know what you’re doing
Use the status field to put in updates. This information is usually sent in emails to others that are connected, share an affinity group or are following specific people.

4. Join Groups
Joining professional groups within LinkedIn gives you opportunities to provide input and gain exposure. Whether it’s your own industry, or one your business serves, professional groups are an excellent way to generate new contacts through the online Q&A section.

5. Become known as an expert
By posting answers in the questions online, you can share with others what you know. If you have good answers, it will create an interest in knowing more about your services.

6. Get recommended by peers and clients
Recommendations are always an excellent source of credibility and your recommendations are always there for anyone to see.

7. Research new opportunities
If you keep abreast of your affinity groups or browse the profiles of competitors, you will likely find new ideas. This can be done by searches online, but the content is distilled better in social networks.

8. Find the leads you seek
If you know of specific business that fits your target market, you can learn a great deal about them in social networks. In addition to knowing the background of the key people, you might be able to find shared connections or shared affinity groups e.g. alma maters. This can make your first contact much smoother.

9. Improve your search engine rankings
If your public profile is set to full view, Google will index your profile and your Linked In page will draw more traffic. If you use Linked In to showcase your talents well, your website will gain traffic. You can increase traffic to all sites by cross-linking from social network sites, your own blog and posts you make to other blogs.

10. See what others see
Google yourself and see what shows up. If your online strategy is working, you should see more links and more relevant information show up first. If your own website is not at the top of the list, consider some new strategies for enhancing the virtual you.

Optimizing Your LinkedIN Profile

LinkedIn has become the number one source for researching potential business partners. If you are in business, your LinkedIN profile should be well flushed out so people looking up information will get a very clear picture of your capabilities.

To help you flush out your profile we have compiled links to tutorials to assist you in accomplishing specific LinkedIN tasks. We would recommend you go through the whole list and do each item one by one, but if you are really time pressed, at least do the general and company profile portions.

General Profile

At the very least, your profile should contain the following information. Here are links for tutorials to add each piece:

Company profile

Companies have separate profiles than individuals. Many people do not realize this. When you add your work experience, you can type in the name of your company, but it’s better if you connect with the LinkedIN profile for your company. If your company does not have a profile, you should create one. Here are tutorials on connecting with your company profile:

Other Social Networks

If you have activities in other social arenas, you can pull in that information to give updates on your LinkedIN profile. This not only offers an easy way to keep your profile fresh, but also lets people know other areas where they can interact with you. Here are tutorials to make these connections:

Recommendations

Receiving and giving recommendations are a way to add some great oomph to your profile. It’s not always easy to ask for recommendations, but it’s easier if you give one first. Choose people from various jobs so you have several recommendations for each position you’ve held. Here are tutorials for recommendations:

Groups

Groups are an excellent way to share your expertise and be noticed by others in your industry. Groups are a great way to start conversations, or get involved in valuable discussions. Join groups that are for your industry or include individuals in complimentary businesses. Here are tutorials for participating in groups:

Conclusion

Are you in LinkedIN? Let’s connect! Also, what are your favorite groups in LinkedIN? Let us know in the comments.

Did You Know LinkedIn is Connected with Twitter?

LinkedIn has employed a fun new tool that allows you to pull your Twitter tweets into your LinkedIn profile. These tools combined can make these two arenas even more powerful for sharing your ideas. The icon for this marriage is the peanut butter/chocolate introduction made popular by Reese’s many decades ago.

To take advantage of this new connection, simply click on the edit button on the Twitter line on your profile page (see red arrow on screenshot). Follow the simple instructions, and now your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts will be connected.

There are variables when setting this connection that allow you to indicate of you want all tweets shared on LinkedIn, or only tweets that include a #in hashtag. In this way you are in control of what does and does not show up.

Why is this helpful? First of all, your Tweets can now be shown on your LinkedIn account, which means you can share information without extra effort. Also, your LinkedIn status will be updated when you Tweet, which means your LinkedIn profile will always be recently updated, which keeps you at the top of search results. You can also now tweet from within your LinkedIn account, which saves more time as you share your information across multiple networks.

For a more detailed overview of this feature, visit the LinkedIn Learning center. or view this online video tutorial to setup a LinkedIn/Twitter connection.