Is It Really That Important To Have 500+ Connections On LinkedIn?

500. That’s the golden number when it comes to LinkedIn. Pretty much every professional on the site is trying to get to that number connecting with friends, family, coworkers, even coworker’s friends and families. LinkedIn has set the bar that 500 connections makes you a great networker and someone with influence on their website. But how much weight does that 500+ on your profile really hold?

Image source: Flickr

Image source: Flickr

Well, none if you don’t do anything to interact or take advantage of those 500 plus connections. Having that distinction on your profile is just that, it’s just a status symbol that only works as hard as you do. Those 500 connections could be the key to your next job, client or referral. Are you taking full advantage of them?

Sharing interesting articles with your network is a great way to communicate and stay on connection’s radars. Best-case scenario, they share your article and spark more connections with people in your industry. When your connections share a good article, engage with them. Comment on it, thank them for sharing it or even share it with your connections. This is a great way to start a conversation with a former coworker or potential hiring employee at a company you would love to get the chance to work for.

Look through your 500 plus connections to see what groups they are a part of and what they are saying. Don’t go crazy joining hundreds of groups, join just a few that are interesting to you and that you could realistically interact within. Then actually spend time each week interacting, not selling, with the group members. There is a group for anything on LinkedIn so whether you’re a member of the C-Suite or an entry-level marketing assistant, there’s a place for you to meet and network with likeminded professionals.

Having 500+ connections on LinkedIn is just the beginning. Staying connected and influencing through communications are what really make those 500 plus connections worth the time and energy it took to get them in the first place. There’s no doubt that out of those 500 people you have connected with, at least a few could help your professional or personal goals.

How often do you connect and communicate with your LinkedIn connections?

Twitter: Making Your Business Feed Better

Every day more and more businesses are adding Twitter to their marketing portfolio. Along with Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter is a great way to reach potential customers, share industry knowledge and connect with experts (or become one). But Twitter is more than sharing what’s on your mind or spreading a link to your webpage six times a day. There are proven ways to make your business Twitter feed better – and here they are.

9093733888_79ccacf171_b

 

 

When you create your Twitter profile, pick a communication objective. What kind of information do you want to share with your audience? And what kind of audience do you want? Some industries can be very specific and coming up with tweets might seem pretty difficult. In that case, try and create a broader objective. For example, a company that sells cloud technology to other businesses could pick a wider topic like office efficiency and productivity. These topics apply to virtually any professional, including the ones in your target market.

Along with your objective, it’s crucial to have a strategy. There are specific times that are best to tweet, when you will get the most viewers, interactions and shares. Since this varies by industry and location, there’s no blanket time to tweet, but a quick Google search can provide a good guide specific to your sector. With that information, plan when you are going to tweet and what you are going to say. Also decide how many tweets will link to your website and how many will link to other industry websites. It’s important to share both types of links so you aren’t seen as completely self-serving. Again, there is no magic answer for every industry; you will need to plan, execute your strategy, review what works and what doesn’t and make changes along the way.

When you’re at the next step, which is creating your content, remember to make it readable and relatable. Even though it’s a company account, it can still have personality. Ask questions, make comments and even crack jokes if it’s appropriate. In other words, be human! Try to create content that you think your audience will want to share. Why? More exposure for your company from peers instead of via advertising. Don’t tweet at people, tweet to them. With your objective and strategy, this will be easy and you’re sure to see results.

My secret weapon when it comes to making the Twitter feed better is social network scheduling services, like Hootsuite. This service will let you create and schedule your tweets in advance. Instead of meticulously watching the clock and tweeting every hour on the hour, you can plan days, weeks or months in advance. This also allows you the opportunity to focus on interacting day-to-day instead of creating and sending content. These platforms can also help with your Twitter analytics.

Tracking retweets will help you gauge how shareable your content is. In Hootsuite, you can use one of your columns to do this, it’s called My Tweets Retweeted. Keeping an eye on how your follower base increases (or decreases) will give you an accurate feel for what you’re doing right (or wrong). You can even count the amount of favorites your content gets so you can create similar content. While ‘favoriting’ a tweet isn’t as impactful as retweeting it, it still shows that a member of your audience liked the content, agreed with the content or at the very least appreciated it. Implementing these tactics is a step in the right direction, towards a popular, well-followed, retweeted Twitter account, which really results in leads, sales and increased profit for your company.

If you are in charge of the Twitter account for your company, remember, people connect with humans, not logos or brands. While the strategy for a business Twitter account should be an intregal part of an overall marketing and business strategy, it still needs to have a human voice and interact with followers as a person, not a business.

What Twitter tips would you offer?

The Importance Of Having A Strategy, Especially Marketing

Sure, guessing games can be fun, but they rarely lead to long-term, sustainable success. Which is why having a strategy in the business world, especially a marketing strategy for your business is crucial to its success. Companies that have formalized strategies are more focused and driven. They experience more productivity and more achievement. Why?

4040200884_7950f70718_b

Shared from Rich Brooks on Flickr

Having a marketing strategy provides reasoning behind your tactical choices. Instead of executing an email marketing campaign just because, you can execute it because you know that emailing is the most effective and efficient way to reach an audience. A strategy also gives companies focus and keeps them on the right path throughout the week, month or year.

Part of having a marketing strategy is tracking and analyzing it, which means recognizing and recording results. Employees that create impressive marketing results for clients can more easily be found and acknowledged. People are more likely to do the right thing when they are being watched, in the marketing world, employees are more driven to produce results when they are being captured and evaluated.

The marketing strategy also keeps members of the marketing team on task, as they know what they are responsible for and when each task or project is due. A clearly outlined plan keeps everyone organized and on track. It has specific objectives that marketing employees must work hard to implement so they don’t hinder the rest of the strategy. In fact, the more effectively that they accomplish the objectives of the strategy, the better the strategy as a whole will work.

Teams that are organized achieve more. They hit goals and reach objectives as a whole and individuals work together better. Having a strategy also makes it easier to prove that success. It’s hard facts and numbers that when reached can be provided for the organization to show how your marketing strategy improved communication, produced leads and even brought profit to the bottom line.

When was the last time you reviewed your strategy?  If it’s been too long, now is the time to review it, change what isn’t working or look at new possibilities. If you need help, let us know!

2014: The Year of Pay to Play in Social Media

As the new year starts to unfold, we see a multitude of articles offering up predictions for the 2014.  From fashion, to music, to the economy and of course, social media. What’s funny about these predictions, is, well they are predictable.  Some of them foretell the death of Facebook (not going to happen) while others predict that Google+ will be the king of social networks this year (Want to know a secret?  Google+ isn’t a social network the way most define it).  So, what do you believe?  What predictions are on the mark and what predictions are just plain silly?  Look at the history or experience of the people making the predictions and use common sense!

With all of that being said, I can confidently state: 2014 will be The Year of Pay to Play in Social Media.

6355836713_7ea15f733f_b

In December, TechCrunch published an article, Facebook: Brands Will Have to Work Harder (Or Buy Ads) For Your Attention – But Fans Still Matter.  The post highlighted what Facebook finally admitted – and brand managers suspected – organic, or non-paid reach for business pages had been decreasing.  Why?  Mainly because Facebook is not showing that content in the newsfeed.  According to Facebook their Billion plus users are sharing so much content that a business breaking through that noise is unlikely just by sharing content organically.  The solution? Promoted Posts and paying to advertise your page. If you have a business page on Facebook, you have probably noticed your reach decreasing and, if you want to reverse that trend, you will have to pay.

So, on Facebook, it is definitely Pay to Play for businesses. What about the other platforms?  Google+ is testing ads that will show up in their newsfeed, promoted accounts and Tweets have been part of Twitter for years, plus you can pay to monetize your Video’s on YouTube.  In other words, pay to play isn’t new, it’s just becoming more apparent and necessary.

One of the fallacies of social media over the years has been it’s free or low-cost. Thankfully that is not true or I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills. Social media is a tool, or a set of tools just like direct mail, advertising, PR and everything else that you can fit under the umbrella term of marketing. However, it is not free. Never has been. Never will be. Especially now.  Business owners, marketing professionals, social media consultants, et.al, must face the fact that to cut through the clutter of these various social platforms will require advertising. In addition to advertising, it will require a well planned strategy that includes using and utilizing the social platforms that fit into the niche or target demographics of the  business.

Paying to Play on Social Media also highlights the importance of a business optimizing their own website, but more on that later.

No matter what social platform or platforms you decide to hang your business hat on, get ready to pay; in 2014 and beyond. Those are my thoughts; what are yours?  Will you pay to play?

Thank you, Teddy Burriss

One of the most exciting aspects of  social media is how a connection can lead to a friendship, a business opportunity or just the ability to connect with someone that has shared experiences and abilities.  Teddy Burriss would fall under the categories of friend, colleague and in some ways a respected mentor.  I have been friends with Teddy for a couple of years now, after initially connecting virtually on Twitter.  Thankfully, we have expanded our social media relationship to one that has included meeting face-to-face whenever possible.  I encourage you to do that as often as you can; meet face-to-face with your connections.

Earlier this year, Teddy reached out to me and asked if I would share a social media success story for a book he was authoring.  I am no fool, of course I said YES to his request!  What followed was a book I highly recommend; and its not because I am featured in it, but because it is a valuable resource on social media and networking. Success Using Social Media hits the nail on the head:  Start By Building Relationships! 

BRSM-Front-Cover-199x300

 

Click the link, buy or download the book and start building those relationships!  I encourage you to start by connecting with Mr. Burris.

Update Your Social Bio’s

A few weeks ago, I asked the following question on my Facebook Page:

“How often do you update your social media bio’s?”

Responses to the question ranged from, “not often enough” to “not lately” to “just last week.” But the response that made an impact to me was from Amanda Wright, CEO of Learning Connections. Amanda stated that she updated her bio’s the first of every month. I thought, what a great idea! Now normally I update my bio’s every month or two , but thanks to Amanda, I have actually scheduled it as a task on my calendar  month.

20130902-194405.jpg

 

 

 

 

Used under Creative Common License via Flickr

So, how often do you update your bio’s? I suggest you follow Amanda’s suggestion as I have, schedule the update on your calendar!

Why would you want to update them monthly?  Here are three quick reasons as to why:

1. You gain new followers and friends on a monthly basis, so make sure they have the updated information about what is important about you.

2. You may want to attract a different group of followers. As an example, if you work in education, you may want to focus your bio on your field of study to gain followers or connections in education.

3. Hobbies and interests change. If your new hobby is sailing, then use some keywords that related to sailing in your bio.

Social media, just like business, changes on a daily basis. You gain new followers, you lose followers, interests change, or your market can change. Change with your market and your interest; update your bio’s monthly.

Let me know in the comments below when you last updated your bio’s!  In the meantime, please excuse me; I need to update my own bio’s!

25 Blogging Tips on List 25

Thanks to my friend Misty McPadden, (@mistygirlph) I was recently included in a terrific resource post: 25 Blogging Tips You Need to Learn Today.  List25 was started by David Pegg (@iamdpegg) and Syed Balkhi (@syedbalkhi). The site compiles lesser-known intriguing information on a variety of subjects.

John-Lusher

My tips for this post encourages bloggers to  “Use Your Voice” when writing.  Allow me to expand on what I submitted for the article.

  • Write as you speak. When you write, make sure you are writing the same way you speak, using your words and your manner of speaking. For some reason when most of us sit in front of a screen to prepare an article or blog post, we try to write as someone else, not as ourselves.  Think about how you speak; how you carry on conversations with your friends or colleagues. Write in the same manner and vocabulary that you use daily.
  • Write for one person. As my manager told me when I was a new DJ at a radio station; picture yourself talking to one person, or having a conversation with one person. Obviously you want a lot of people to read your blog, but write it as if you were writing for just one person. This goes along with writing as you speak; if you write your posts in the same manner that you would speak in, the readers will get to know you.
  • Record yourself.  Yes, we all hate to listen to ourselves, but this can be a very valuable process. Recording yourself talking about the blog topic will help you to write as you speak and can help you avoid writers block. Relax and talk about the topic, then listen back to the recording and write your post! This can also help you to make sure you are not forgetting an important point in your post.
  • Don’t Post Just to Post. Regular blog posts are essential for your business and can greatly improve your search engine rankings; however, posting just to post is wasted time and space. It can also potentially alienate your readers.

Those are some of my tips; what are your favorites? Thank you again to Misty for asking me to be part of List25!

STOP the Social Media Insanity!

Do you remember the Stop the Insanity weight loss program from Susan Powter?   In the 90’s, you couldn’t turn on television without hearing her infomercial with that famous catch phrase, “Stop the Insanity!”

insanity

Do you ever feel the need to scream, STOP the Social Media Insanity?  Websites, Blogs, RSS feeds, Emails, Email newsletters, Facbook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, FourSquare, Yelp, and on, and on, and on!  Do you get overwhelmed as you try to keep up with reading information, posting or joining various social platforms for yourself or your business? If so, I have a few suggestions that may help you stop your own insanity.

[Read more…]

Own and Protect Your Content!

Other than the devastating news out of Oklahoma, the digital world is buzzing this week over the news that Yahoo has purchased blogging site Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Or as some are now referring to it: Yumblr.  It is too early in this process to know what plans Yahoo has for Tumblr, but one thing is for sure: Tumblr will change. Tumblr subscribers will either embrace the changes or they will leave. In droves.

images

Image Courtesy of Slate

 

In March 2012, the headline was Twitter Buys Posterous. Many people speculated that Posterous would stay around; that Twitter only wanted the owners/management team but would leave the product alone.  Alas, that was not the case. Posterous shut down May 31, 2013.

[Read more…]

Copy & Paste: Future of the Internet?

One of the most common crimes being committed online and in the world of social media is theft of content.  Sure, most content is provided for others to consume and in many cases, for us to use and reuse if we want.  But more times than not, proper credit is not given to the content creators. [Read more…]