Monday, September 07, 2009

Leveraging LinkedIn

It’s been a while since my last post. Alas, summertime and all that comes with it. Today’s Labor Day, the not-so-official end of Summer. Now it’s nose to the grindstone and back in the saddle with today’s topic – LinkedIn.

Most of you, if not all, are aware of that LinkedIn is a business social networking site. From their About Us page:

“LinkedIn is an interconnected network of experienced professionals from around the world, representing 170 industries and 200 countries. You can find, be introduced to, and collaborate with qualified professionals that you need to work with to accomplish your goals.”

Think of it as Facebook in a well-tailored pinstriped suit.

Here are a few fun facts to know and tell:

  • LinkedIn has over 46 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
  • A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and about half of our members are outside the U.S.
  • Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members.

Similar to other social media & networking sites, you start by creating a profile. This should include your current and past positions, education and a summary blurb. It’s a good idea to include a mug shot that displays your shining countenance. It’s helps to humanize this digital stuff.

LinkedIn is all about relationships. You probably have a few of those already. The site makes it easy to import your contacts from Outlook, Palm, ACT! or Mac’s Address Book. Plus, you can import your webmail contacts from Google’s Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, .Mac and a slew of others. LinkedIn will let you know which of your contacts are members. Odds are many will be. You can send out an invitation to connect via LinkedIn for those that aren’t already on the site.

So, now you’ve got perky profile and the start of network. What do you do now? There are a lot of options. You might consider some of the following:

  • Find and be introduced to potential clients, service providers, and subject experts who come recommended by folks in your network
  • Be found for business opportunities and find potential partners
  • Join in discussions with like-minded professionals in private group settings
  • Find inside connections that can help you land jobs and close deals
  • Post and distribute job listings to find the best talent for your company
  • Post news releases and articles
  • Ask questions and get valuable answers and insights
  • Answer questions posed by members to demonstrate your smarts about various topics
  • Feed your blog into LinkedIn
  • Tap into the many third party applications like for collaboration, Slideshare, Google Presentations and Amazon Reading List

Check out the their Learning Center and you’ll find more ways to leverage LinkedIn. Plus, LinkedIn offers several User Guides to help jump start your virtual networking efforts. In addition to the New User Guide, they also offer specialized guides for:

And there you have it. At the end of the day, LinkedIn is yet one more valuable tool in your marketing and promotional toolbox. As you explore the site, you’ll find more to help build quality connections, get your name out and build you business.

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posted by Neil at 10:42 AM 0 comments

Monday, July 06, 2009

Jumping On The Twitter Bandwagon

I jumped on the Twitter bandwagon just a few months ago. Like many, I didn’t get it. I didn’t really care that so and so was eating a ham sandwich or that what’s his name was watching this or that on television. But, as I followed more folks, I came to see some real value to help keep one on the radar screen.

With something along the lines of five to ten thousand people joining Twitter each day, there’s a lot of opportunity to get the word out, learn some new, useful stuff and meet some interesting folks as well. Plus, Twitter can give you pretty easy access to high-profile people in or out of your current marketing arena. It a great way to connect on a personal audience with a larger audience to share thoughts, ideas and resources. Also, you can post tweets from your mobile phone.

Before you take the plunge, it’s a good idea to poke around and get a feel for things. You’ll want to get a handle on tweetspeak too. Here’s a link on Mashable to get you started. They also cover 99 Essential Twitter Tools and Applications.

At first, I tweeted from Firefox using Twitter’s plain ‘old interface. Then I tried Power Twitter. Neither one really yanked my chains. Then I discovered TweetDeck. TweetDeck lets you post and reply to tweets, retweet, conduct searches, filter tweets, create groups and more. Swell stuff. It’s an Adobe AIR desktop app and really enhanced the whole Twitter experience for me. Here’s a good tutorial for getting up to speed with TweetDeck.

As with all things marketing, it’s good to have a plan and a strategy. Give some thought as to what you’re trying to accomplish. Perhaps it’s to connect with some movers and shakers in your industry and niche. Your goal might be a speedy way to communicate new offers or services. Lots of tweeples use Twitter as p.r. distribution vehicle by sharing links to their articles, news releases, events, etc. For others, it’s simply a way to keep their visibility up by tweeting and retweeting links to useful stuff for their followers.

Speaking of followers, it’s important to remember that Twitter isn’t about sheer numbers. It’s more a quality than quantity thing. It’s also not about direct selling. People tend to find that annoying. Consider it a marketing tool, not a sales too. They’re different things.

As I mentioned, I’m still a Twitter newbie. Here are my plans:
  • Identify movers and shakers and follow them.
  • Follow friends, business associates, clients, colleagues, writers & reporters
  • Check out who they’re following to see if there might be some good connections.
  • Set up a file of useful, relevant links and resources for future tweets
  • Use TweetDeck to scan tweets and retweet interesting tweets (Boy, was there a lot of “tweet” in that line or what?)
  • Use TweetDeck to post to both Twitter and Facebook
  • Try to find that app that also posts tweets to LinkedIn
  • Use TweetLater or other app to schedule tweets for down the road
  • Add a link to my Twitter account in appropriate locations
Lather, rinse, repeat.

Next up – Facebook.

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posted by Neil at 12:09 PM 0 comments