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?

Facebook Privacy Basics

In an effort to make their terms and policies easier to understand and to control, Facebook is rolling out Privacy Basics on January 1, 2015.The post, in it’s entirety is featured below.

Updating Our Terms and Policies: Helping You Understand How Facebook Works and How to Control Your Information

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Over the past year, we’ve introduced new features and controls to help you get more out of Facebook, and listened to people who have asked us to better explain how we get and use information.
Now, with Privacy Basics, you’ll get tips and a how-to guide for taking charge of your experience on Facebook. We’re also updating our termsdata policy and cookies policy to reflect new features we’ve been working on and to make them easy to understand.
These updates take effect on January 1, 2015. As always, we welcome your feedback about our policies.
Privacy Basics
Privacy Basics offers interactive guides to answer the most commonly asked questions about how you can control your information on Facebook. For example, you can learn about untagging, unfriending, blocking and how to choose an audience for each of your posts. This information is available in 36 languages.
Along with our privacy checkupreminder for people posting publicly and simplified audience selectors, Privacy Basics is the latest step we’ve taken to help you make sure you’re sharing with the people you want.
Helping you get more out of Facebook
Every day, people use our apps and services to connect with the people, places and things they care about. The updates to our policies reflect the new products we’ve been working on to improve your Facebook experience. They also explain how our services work in a way that’s easier to understand. Here are some highlights:
Discover what’s going on around you: We’re updating our policies to explain how we get location information depending on the features you decide to use. Millions of people check into their favorite places and use optional features like Nearby Friends (currently only available in some regions). We’re working on ways to show you the most relevant information based on where you are and what your friends are up to. For example, in the future, if you decide to share where you are, you might see menus from restaurants nearby or updates from friends in the area.
Make purchases more convenient: In some regions, we’re testing a Buy button that helps people discover and purchase products without leaving Facebook. We’re also working on new ways to make transactions even more convenient.
Find information about privacy on Facebook at the moment you need it: To make them more accessible, we moved tips and suggestions to Privacy Basics. Our data policy is shorter and clearer, making it easier to read.
Understand how we use the information we receive: For example, understanding battery and signal strength helps make sure our apps work well on your device. We ask for permission to use your phone’s location when we offer optional features like check-ins or adding your location to posts.
Get to know how the family of Facebook companies and apps work together: Over the past few years, Facebook has grown and we want to make sure you know about our family of companiesapps and services. We use the information we collect to improve your experience. For example, if you’re locked out of your Instagram account, you can use your Facebook information to recover your password. Nothing in our updates changes the commitments that Instagram, WhatsApp and other companies have made to protect your information and your privacy.
Your information and advertising: People sometimes ask how their information is shared with advertisers. Nothing is changing with these updates—we help advertisers reach people with relevant ads without telling them who you are. Learn more about adsand how you can control the ads you see.
Giving you more control over ads
We’ve heard from some of you that it can be difficult to control the types of ads you see if you use multiple devices and browsers. In the past, if you opted out of certain kinds of advertising on your laptop, that choice may not have been applied for ads on your phone. We know that many people use more than one phone, tablet or browser to access Facebook, so it should be easy for you to make a single choice that applies across all of your devices.
That’s why Facebook respects the choices you make about the ads you see, across every device. You can opt out of seeing ads on Facebook based on the apps and sites you use through the Digital Advertising Alliance. You can also opt out using controls on iOS and Android. When you tell us you don’t want to see these types of ads, your decision automatically applies to every device you use to access Facebook. Also, we’re now making ad preferences available in additional countries, beginning with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and the UK.
We hope these updates improve your experience. Protecting people’s information and providing meaningful privacy controls are at the core of everything we do, and we believe these announcements are an important step.

So what does this mean to the average Facebook user?  More simple controls over your privacy, right at your fingertips. This has needed to happen for some time now, and Facebook is finally responding to requests for a more simplistic and easier to understand policy system.  BUT, as with all terms of service within the digital world, these privacy controls are only as good as the user. So take this opportunity to review Privacy Basics and to review your own privacy settings on Facebook and other social platforms.

Lunch N Learn with ZAAR Design Center

One of the great aspects of social media is the opportunity for strangers to connect through a shared interest, platform, hobby or need.  My plans to speak at ZAAR Design Center, as part of the Spring High Point Furniture Market is an example of a need, someone reaching out and plans set in motion thanks to social media.

Ruth Olbrych, the owner of ZAAR Design Center contacted me on February 12th after her friend, Alicia Connolly forward to Ruth a conversation I had on Twitter with Dana Helms, Social Media Manager at Social North. Dana is also involved with an amazing organization, WithIt.  Due to our open conversation on Twitter about WithIt, Alicia mentioned to Ruth that I may be interested in speaking to a group at the Spring Furniture Market in High Point.

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The subsequent emails and phone conversations with Ruth, has led to the ZAAR Design Center hosting a Lunch and Learn on Sunday, April 6th at their showroom in High Point. I will talk with their guests about How Best Maximize Your Social Media Presence as a Designer.  You can pre-register for the event here:   Lunch N Learn + Jewelry/Accessory Sale

How Do I, as an Interior Designer, Maximize My Social Media Presence?

The Social Media map changes at such a rapid pace it can be daunting to know where you should be focusing your energies for maximum impact for your Interior Design business. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Houzz, Google Plus, Linked In. Which portal serves you best?  Hint: Might not be what you think. What are the keystones for a Social Media plan? Yes, it can be manageable.

For me, this Lunch and Learn is an opportunity to talk about my passion, social media, as well as network with professionals within the furniture and design industries. For Ruth, it is an opportunity to showcase her Design Center and to provide the Designers in attendance with valuable information that can help their business and industry.  Truly a win-win; something I see every day within social media.

If you are attending the High Point Furniture Marketing this April, we hope you can join us for our Lunch N Learn at the ZAAR Design Center!

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.

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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!

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!”

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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.

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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…]

Power to the Online People

Where were you when news of the tsunami hit Japan in 2011? How about when Michael Jackson died? Probably online, according to many experts who claim that social media has become the main media source for hundreds of millions of people. Not just in the U.S., either; Facebook alone has more than 900 million users spread across the globe as of 2012. Other social media giants like Twitter have facilitated revolution against unjust leaders and warned people of impending natural disaster. In fact, so many people regularly interact online that if the Internet were a nation, it would exceed the Americas, Europe and the Middle East combined in population. No wonder more than 13 million members of the online community used Reddit and other media platforms to protest SOPA, a proposed Internet censorship bill. Keep this graphic in mind next time you log on, because knowledge is power — and a little knowledge goes a long way in the Internet Age. [Read more…]

Traveling For Business The Right Way ~ Guest Post

It’s no secret that we travel less for business than in the past. With Skype, GoToMeeting and other technological advancements, many companies have stopped traveling if possible.  This guest post from Logan Baker with Jet Charters in Knoxville, TN may change your mind.

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Photo by Andy Rusch used under Creative Commons License. 

Traveling for business the right way

 Lately it seems like business travel is getting a bad rap. Depending on your business, travel expenditures can be one of the first things on the chopping block. It’s often easy to justify cutting out the cost of sending people all over the place, but the costs associated with that philosophy can be quite significant. Travel is a great way to invest in your business, but only when it’s handled correctly. Read on to find out how you can maximize the return on your business travel investment.

Travel with purpose

 Think about your previous business travels. Why did you go? Who did you see? How much profit did the trip generate? The first two questions are probably pretty easy to answer, but that might not be the case with the third. The vast majority of business trips can and should generate revenue. You should approach business travel like any other revenue stream in your business plan. How much is it going to cost, and what kind of returns should you expect? More importantly, what does the historical data say about whether the trip is worth it in the first place? If you haven’t been analyzing your travel like everything else then now is the time to start. Every trip should include a purpose, a goal (revenue or otherwise), and proper tracking for the future. Put the analytical skills you’ve perfected to good use here!

Travel with efficiency

 You can almost never go wrong with efficiency. Making efficiency a part of your company culture will increase your returns in nearly every sector. Business travel is no different, but it often requires some creative thinking to get the job done. Many business trips are for a specific purpose. Sometimes you might be making a trip to see your best customer and reassure them that you’re doing a great job, and other times you’ll be traveling for lead generation. Whatever your primary goal, it’s likely you’re going to have some down time you can put to good use. If you’re there for your customer, don’t be afraid to go out and land some leads when you can. You could spend the extra time sightseeing, but that’s what you do on vacation. Business trips should be — not surprisingly — all business.

 Efficiency also refers to your travel time. You can probably find cheap flights if you’re willing to endure a heap of connections and layovers. Saving money is good, but not when it means you’ll be losing out on the most valuable resource of all: Time. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to get more time once it’s gone. Remember this fact of life when you’re booking your next flight and go direct. If you want total control you can even hire a private flight. Your time is worth more than any small savings you might realize by tacking on hours to your overall trip time.

 Travel with calm

Productivity and efficiency are going to suffer if the travel stresses you out. Some of the stress will disappear if you follow the advice above and book direct flights, but not all. The best way to avoid stressful travels involves a long-term commitment. You should already be practicing stress reduction techniques to increase your chances of business success. The same techniques will work when you’re traveling, but only if you’re in good practice. Check out Amazon for books and DVDs on meditation, yoga, or exercise. Your technique of choice should be something you enjoy so it’s that much easier to implement it in your daily life. If teaching yourself doesn’t work out, then hire an expert to get the job done. Any expenditure in this area will pay for itself in increased productivity. Once you’ve gotten in the habit of de-stressing then it will be no problem to do the same on your business trip.

You’ll get returns from your business travel in no time if you follow the tips above. Happy travels!

 Author’s bio: Logan is a guest writer and private air charter expert. His business trips usually depart from Teterboro airport, which is his favorite.

 

11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America

I originally noticed this post by Jay Baer via a share on Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop service. It is an interesting read on the current state of Social Media in America based upon statistics. I fully agree with the “Check-in” phenomenon; it really never has caught on if you compare FourSquare’s users to Facebook users. It is also interesting to see how much our purchasing decisions have become influenced by Facebook.Do you agree or disagree?

badge jay says 11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America

You think social media is reaching maturity, and the whipsaw behavioral shifts that change like a Dwight Howard trade request are things of the past? Uhhh, no. Released yesterday at Blogworld New York, findings from social media behavioral researcher Tom Webster and the team at Edison Research show some shocking changes in how Americans use and consume social media. You can access the entire presentation at The Social Habit microsite, but 11 social media statistics in particular stood out for me. Two quick notes: This is not data dredging. This is real, random sample, tightly controlled research from the same company that is the exclusive provider of Presidential exit polls in the USA. This is the last time the entire research from Edison will be released for free. It???s just too valuable to be given away wholesale ??? considering it costs tens of thousands of dollars to produce. But, you can get exclusive access to the Social Habit research when it???s refreshed and expanded in early Fall. Sign up now for a sneak peek. And if you???re interested in including a question about your company or a category of social media usage of particular interest to your organization, that may be an option (click for details, fees apply). I???m partnering with Edison Research, Jason Falls, and Mark Schaefer on the next round of these findings, so you???ll be hearing more throughout the summer. But for now, here are 11 Shocking Social Media Statistics:

Social Media Statistics Twitter Users Lean Towards teh Democratic Party 11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America

Click on chart to access entire Social Habit report

1. Twitter users are 33% more likely to be Democrats

An interesting finding, and representative of the type of custom queries we can answer for you in the next round of the Social Habit, this edition found that 40% of Twitter users are Democrats, compared to 30% of the U.S. population overall.The percentage of Republications and Independents on Twitter mirrors the U.S. average almost precisely.

2. The ???Check-in??? is the phenomenon that never happened

74% of Americans are unfamiliar with the concept of checking in to a location via mobile device, and only 3% have ever checked in. Even more damning, is that 4% had checked in when surveyed in 2011. This is a 25% decrease in check in behaviors in a single year. It???s not going to rebound, which is why Foursquare???s play is to be the new Yelp.

3. Only 33% of Americans have ever followed a brand in social media

From 2010 to 2012 the percentage of Americans following any brand on a social network has gone from 16% to 33%. This is a sharp increase, but looked at from the opposite perspective, it???s shocking to me that 2/3 of Americans using social networks have never followed a brand.Companies still have substantial room for growth in connecting with customers and fans on social networks.

4. 56% of Americans have a profile on a social networking site

This is up from 52% just last year, and 48% in 2010. How high can this climb? Certainly, there are sizable chunks of the populace that will never join a social networking site, but it???s amazing to consider that significantly more Americans (12 years old and up) have a social networking profile than do not.

Social Media Statistics 45 to 54 year old users  11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America

Click chart to download entire report

5. 55% of Americans 45-54 have a profile on a social networking site

It???s not just for kids any more. The biggest growth of any age cohort from 2011 to 2012 was 45-54 year olds, who now exhibit participation matching the U.S. average. The only group that is below average are 55 Americans, and even 3 out of 10 of them are in the social networking game.

6. 22% of Americans use social networking sites several times per day

It really is a ???Social Habit???. In the past year, 12 million more Americans are using social networking many times daily.How many other things do we do several times per day? It???s not a long list.

7. Huge uptick in Facebook???s influence on purchase

Last year, 68% of Americans using social networks said that none of those networks had an influence on their buying decisions. This year, just 36% said that there was no influence. Now, 47% say Facebook has the greatest impact on purchase behavior(compared to just 24% in 2011). Incidentally, Twitter ranks below ???other??? at 5%. If you want to drive purchase behaviors within social networks, Facebook is the one and only game to play, statistically speaking.

8. Facebook via mobile continues to be a major factor

54% of Facebook members have used the social network via a phone, and 33% use a phone as their primary way to access Facebook. This despite the fact that the Facebook mobile experience and mobile apps are mediocre, at best. Here???s hoping the Instagram guys can jump start it. If so, watch for these numbers to soar.

Social Media Statistics 22 percent of Americans have social habit 11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America

Click the chart to download entire report

9. Facebook is the most addicting of the social networks

23% of Facebook???s users check their account five or more times EVERY DAY. The mean number of daily look-ins by Facebook users is 4. Are we really so interesting that we have to keep up with our friends??? inanities every 90 minutes? Evidently, yes.

10. Twitter will have an easier time making changes to its core service that Facebook does.

53% of Twitter users have been a member for less than a year, compared to just 19% for Facebook. This means that Twitter???s user base doesn???t have long-term, deep seated expectations for what Twitter is or should be. It will be interesting to see if Twitter doubles down on this advantage, and continues to hang ornaments on the functionality Christmas tree.

11. 76% of Twitter users now post status updates

This is one of the biggest behavioral changes of the past two years. In 2010, the Social Habit research found that just 47% of Twitter users actually sent tweets, with more than half the user base in listen-only mode. The overwhelming majority of new Twitter users are active tweeters, driving the overall average to 76%.   In the next edition of The Social Habit, we???ll be looking at YouTube, social video, Pinterest, Instagram, and more. Plus, if you???ve got questions you???d like to ask thousands of Americans via the best social media research methodology available, let???s talk. Get on the list for The Social Habit now. Which of these 11 is the most shocking social media statistic? I???ll go with #7 and #11. You?

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