Using LinkedIn for Business

The question I ask many sellers is, do you research your client before making contact? Most of the time they do: “I like to understand where they have worked before, what groups they are interested in, and sometimes it gives me an insight into their interests outside of work. Which is great to sometimes break the ice with.

Then I ask, do you think your clients do the same to you? If you think they don’t, you are very much mistaken.

When was the last time you looked at your profile? Is it looking tired and frayed at the edges?

Is you headline title one of  acronyms that needs a cypher to decode?

Could a potential client understand how you can add value to his or her company?

So first, before you start building your valued network, and requesting your clients to connect with you, let’s consider your personal brand, LinkedIn is your chance to demonstrate the value you can offer.

Let’s start with your photo. Do you use the same image across all your networks? Keep it professional and consistent; it’s always beneficial to know that the same person I was speaking to on one site is the same person I am speaking to on another. A huge eighty percent of professionals have indicated they would not generally connect to someone with no photo. We like to know whom we are talking to.

Next, is your professional headline. By default, LinkedIn populates this with your job tile. Take mine several years ago “ICR LSE at IBM” – I can’t imagine why clients had no idea what I did. So take advantage of the 160 characters available and answer the question “What do you do?”

As a result of doing these tasks, you can now address what I believe, are four important things. As a result of a search on LinkedIn, a potential client is presented with only four answers: your name, your headline tag, and how many connections and how many recommendations you have.

Are you going to stand shoulders above the rest?  Would you click on you?

So now they have clicked on your name and are now staring at your profile. Have you written a summary using all 2000 characters available? It is not important to do so,  but why waste? Aim to make your profile an interesting read – long enough to cover the essentials but short enough to still be interesting. Never start it with “In my role as” or “I’m here to make money.”

Why are you here on LinkedIn? Take a moment to summarize from your work experience – what value have you brought to other clients?  What results did you get? How can you provide value to your next client?

The summary is also subject to search engine optimization (SEO) and is used by the likes of Google and others. So, consider using key words that reflect the industry and skill set you have. Same goes for specialties.

You’re almost there. Under your work experiences, make sure that you have highlighted your one to three accomplishments within each role. Clients like to see progression; it provides them with credibility and helps reduce the trust gap.

Now you’re ready to start approaching new prospects, and they will be willing to connect with you because now they can clearly see the value you could potentially bring to them.

Next question: If, every Friday, I supplied you details about your customer, such as who has been promoted, and who are new joiners and even leavers, would you find that of value? Of course you would.

Follow the companies you are aligned to or are of interest to you. LinkedIn will then send you this information. What better way to introduce yourself by saying congratulations on your new job, promotion, and such.

The people who have left, in my opinion, are the most valuable. Ask them for help – as a species we are geared to do so. For example, “I’m trying to get through to xxx, can you help me?”

If you don’t have companies, you can take advantage of the superb search function for lines of business. You can use Boolean search strings within LinkedIn. For example “Chief Information Officer” OR cio will search for the exact phrase in quotation marks (” “) and also the word CIO. You can search in a geographic area using a postal code and you can save this search. Guess what? Every time a new CIO appears in this area you will receive a notification.

Last but not least, keep your network updated with what you and your company are doing. Don’t send too many marketing type messages; try to keep them of value and informative. It will bring great results.
With a bit of polishing your profile can be rich and demonstrate the value on offer to a potential client
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Personal Branding & Your Profile Pic

Many people think that personal branding is just for celebrities such as Justin Bieber or Stephen Fry, yet each and every one of us is a brand. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others. Dan Schawbel is the author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success, and owner of the award winning Personal Branding Blog and in this article discusses the personal branding process, so you can start to think about what face you want to show to the world and how you want to position yourself for success!

I spend a lot of my time coaching colleagues how to use social media for personal branding. One thing I always stress is the importance of first impressions and your profile picture.

Firstly to actually have an image of ‘yourself” goes a long way. We all like to know who we are talking to. Secondly using the same images across your platforms, so that we know we are speaking to the same person we met a ye olde twitter pub.

LinkingR have come up with a great gauge. Have a look and see if your avatar falls under one of these categories.

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The Four C’s of Change Management: Choice, Conviction, Commitment, and Compassion

Guest Post Jennifer Dubow

After spending a week at SXSWI for the first time, I met a lot of folks in a range of roles and companies including:

  1. Large enterprises responsible for transforming their business practices and workforce to adopt social business.
  2. Digital agencies and social business consulting firms trying to get their clients to adopt social media programs and new mindsets
  3. Social Media software vendors trying to train their clients to more fully adopt the software the client has purchased
  4. Startups seeking to scale their businesses and sell their software or services

To me, one resounding theme, especially with the onset of Spring, is that Change is in the air.

Organizations and their employees may or may not want to become a social business, but the impetus for change, whether externally or internally driven, is getting stronger. In my years in organizational change management consulting, I often heard the phrase “People (or Organizations) change when the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change.” Another common question asked is “What’s the burning platform?” that will make executives take action.

CHOICE

Change is a Choice. It’s that simple. Going through with the change, whether in your personal life, or in your organization, is tough. It may not always feel like a Choice, especially when the change is driven from an external source, such as a new CEO who has a new set of directives and style.

As we’ve seen in my last post about the Change Curve, people follow a predictable process on the change journey, and each step along that journey requires a Choice to continue moving forward. Deciding to be part of the Change is also a Choice: there are benefits and consequences to either participating in the change or resisting the change.

CONVICTION

Once you or your leadership have decided, “Ouch, this burning platform is about to explode, I better make some changes,” then you need to have the Conviction to see it through to success. Having that Conviction, or that belief that change is possible is very powerful. In practical terms, your belief in the possibility of change may take the form of a vision of change or a roadmap of transformation (“as is” vs. “to be” state), a project plan, or a motivating speech to call the staff to action.

Another complementary technique to consider is solution-focused guided imagery, an approach long used by Sports Psychologists and Athletic Trainers to help athletes win in competitive situations or overcome barriers to success known as “the yips.” You can encourage your staff to imagine what a successful change would look like, or practice this yourself. Either way, having a positive focus and belief that your organization can successfully change will go a long way.

COMMITMENT

Whether you are embarking on a personal change such as trying to lose weight, or a Social Business adoption program such as retraining your workforce on social business skills, or rolling out a new internal collaboration system, transformative Change is actually composed of many small steps that require Commitment.

This is the place, in my opinion, where Change frequently breaks down. Change often takes time, especially large organizational transformations such as incorporating social business practices into core business processes. People can experience “change fatigue” along the way, executives may get frustrated that adoption or performance results aren’t where they should be, and the list goes on, etc.

COMPASSION

It’s at this point, where we need to show Compassion towards ourselves and ideally, executives can take this opportunity to show Compassion towards their staff. Showing Compassion doesn’t mean excusing poor results or throwing in the towel. What it does mean is acknowledging that Change can be difficult for some, validating the challenging nature of change, and reaffirming that each step of the way requires Commitment, and re-Commitment on the part of the entire team of staff and executives.

We can think of the change journey as a series of Choices and small steps requiring micro-Commitments. When things don’t go according to plan, have some Compassion for yourself or your teammates. And recall that Conviction and belief in the possibility to Change that got you started on the change journey in the first place. That’s the real Magic in the C’s of Change.

As always, I welcome your thoughts, reactions, and any additional C’s you may think.

Follow me on Twitter @jennifer_dubow.

Image: StockFresh Change

Generate More Leads with B2B Social Media

Inside View created this awesome infographic that pulling together many statistics, ideas and examples about using social media to help drive leads and sales for B2B companies. You can look through the stats yourself, but here are some to consider:

  • 61% of US Marketers Use Social Media to Increase Lead Gen
  • IBM saw an Increase of 400% in Sales in a Social Selling Pilot Program
  • 55% of Buyers Search for Information on Social Media
  • 75% of Buyers Likely to Use Social Media in the Purchase Process
Social Media Leads Infographic
Selling Through Social Media to Close More LeadsInsideView

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Ditch your inbox: Luis Suarez interview

Luis Suarez is a social computing and business evangelist at IBM, but don’t bother emailing him to ask about that. Or do – but he’ll search for you on the social networks and reply that way if he can. Because he announced four years ago that email was inefficient so he would be abandoning it, and has subsequently cut 98% of his emails out.

If a colleague tells you they get too much email the usual default response is to nod sagely and carry on as if nothing was ever going to happen about it. This isn’t good enough for IBM’s Luis Suarez, who announced in 2008 that he was going to cope without it.

“I am not the guy who killed email,” he says, which is what a lot of press and bloggers have called him. “I can see good use cases for it.” One of these is when something is confidential and needs to happen on a one to one basis, such as salary discussions with an HR team. But there aren’t many instances in which he’d choose to use it.

“You can’t build your online reputation with email,” he points out. In the same way you can’t check someone’s credentials as immediately – click through their name on a LinkedIn message and you have their CV. “Communication needs to have a context,” he says.

This is why, if you want to contact him, the best starting point is to enter “Luis” into Google and you’ll find him on the first page. You won’t find his email address but you’re likely to be able to engage through Google+ or Twitter (his preferred contacts) and IBM-ers can use the company’s own internal network.

Email, outside a couple of good uses which involve legally or ethically confidential material, is open to abuse, he says. “People play political games and power struggles with the CC and BCC buttons,” he says. “I’ve had that and I’ve blogged it – the whole conversation.” Email can too easily end up as a weapon people use to fight each other in a business, he says.

Social interaction is different. If he’s away, for example, and someone asks him a question through IBM’s internal social communication system, then because it’s visible to all of his contacts there’s a good chance someone else will answer. This isn’t taking advantage because he’s on holiday, he says during his presentation – pronouncing the word “holiday” very carefully in case any corporate types have forgotten the concept. He does the same to help colleagues. And of course if he responds to something then his answer is permanently available in IBM’s knowledge base – so someone may not have to ask next time, everybody has access to it and it’s a lot more open.

He enthuses a great deal and after our interview he asks everyone at his presentation to stop responding to emails, which will cut their workload down. It’s clearly worked for him – but you do wonder how many audience members will actually be that brave.

Luis Suarez’ keynote presentation video ‘Thinking Outside the Inbox…There is no WE in Email‘ from Unified Communications Expo is now available ondemand in the Unified Communications Online Video Library.

Luis on Twitter @elsua

A world without email

 

Digital Influence

There is a great deal of interest and many different answers to the age old “what is the ROI of social media?”. To date I have not seen a definitive answer to this.

The other question I hear is “How do we measure success”, then – “what is the definition of success?”  Let me ask you this, do you measure the success of using email, instant messaging or the phone?

Why is there this obsession to measure social media when in essence its just another tool, another form of communication that, lets face it, is meteroic.

Yesterday Brian Solis, Principal Analyst from Altimeter released a report – The Rise of Digital Influence. A fasinating read if you have time. Link is further down.

Here are some of the highlights, I found interesting.

Lets begin.

The are many tools that you can use to measure influence. Before we take a look at what they are and what they measure, lets first take a look what defines influence. Brian mentions there are three pillars: 

Pillar 1: Reach: A measure of popularity, affinity and potential impact

Pillar 2: Relevance: The measure of authority, trust and affinty

Pillar 3: Resonance: The sum of the above, frequency, period and amplitude.

Now lets take a look at an action plan.

1) Benchmark: Understand where you are now so that you can track progress caputring sentiment, behaviour and awareness.

2) Audience: Who are they, where do they hang out, how are they connected and what information do they value

3) Strategy: Develop a strategy that connects the dots between you, connected consumers, and their communities.

Thats a rather brief synopsis of Brian’s full report which can be found here. The Rise of Digital Influence

So your ready …..

Lets take a look at the tools on offer:

 

Pillar 1: Reach

TwitterGrader compares Twitter profiles to millions of other users already indexed to establish a score between 1–100.
Using the  following elements:
o Number of followers
o Power of followers
o Number of updates (the higher the better)
o Update recency (the sooner the better)
o Follower/Following ratio
o Engagement (retweets and responses to an individual account)
Use Case: TwitterGrader is a performance metric for handles in comparison to other accounts. It’s ideal for quick one-to-one analysis when new, potentially influential individuals are identified using other services.

TweetLevel was developed by Edelman for communications professionals. It measures
40 different elements to quantify the varying importance of individuals using Twitter based on the context of their online activity.
TweetLevel’s measures of influence include the following attributes and output a number between 1–100:
o Buzz around specific topics
o Who the most relevant and influential users are
o The context of relevant topics
o What else people talk about and to whom
o What web links are most frequently shared
o Idea Starter metrics: does the individual generate new thoughts and content or merely amplify others
o Broadcast to Engagement ratio: assesses level of providing interesting and relevant content vs. engaging with others
Use Case: These services are purpose-built tools for the PR and marketing teams that give actionable insight into which people are influential within the right context in the right platform. PR teams can use the export feature to embed influence lists into their campaigns. These tools also offer insights into influential voices during crisis management.

TweetReach provides insight into the reach and exposure of a tweet or Twitter campaign. The service tracks any topic on Twitter and measures its exposure, activity, and contributors to identify trends and surface topical influencers.
Use Case: TweetReach offers data on the relevance, reach, and resonance of everyday conversations. Studying this information provides organizations with the ability to benchmark activity, benchmark against competitive activity, and also monitor the experiences of relevant individuals for later engagement.

EmpireAvenue.com is a virtual stock market that trades on the social capital of personal brands and real-world brands alike.
Use Case: Companies including Audi, Intel, Ford, and AT&T were among the brands that invested time and resources in EmpireAvenue. As businesses connect multiple branded channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, etc., they push newcontent into the EmpireAvenue stream. Investors will see this activity in their news feed and ,as such, engage, invest, and recommend the stock. Businesses claim to see
increased engagement within EmpireAvenue, as well as in their specific channels directly.

Pillar 2: Relevance

Kred calculates dual metrics for Influence and Outreach by analyzing a person’s ability
to inspire action and level of interaction with others. Influence, scored on a normalized
1,000-point scale, measures the ability to inspire action or influence others in the form of
retweets, replies, likes, new follows, and other actions.
Use Case: Gathering intelligence around communities of focus and interest graphs. Using the self-service dashboard, businesses can learn more about the people and their earned social capital related to key topics. It offers a glimpse of reach and authority based on individual activity and the related activity of those around them.

PeerIndex provides an overview of an individual’s stature, relevance, and reach within social networks based on cumulative activity. Sources include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, and blogs. PeerIndex consists of four components: resonance, authority, activity, and audience.
o AME (Arts, Media, and Entertainment)
o TEC (Technology and the Internet)
o SCI (Science and Environment)
o MED (Health and Medical)
o LIF (Leisure and Lifestyle)
o SPO (Sports)
o POL (News, Politics, and Society)
o BIZ (Finance, Business, and Economics)

Use Case: The PeerPerks program is a marketing program that delivers scalable word of mouth and rewards programs. It does so by characterizing what makes a likely socialadvocate for a brand and then helping brands reach and engage many thousands of those advocates at a time. PeerIndex also provides enhanced tools for behavioralprofiling and integration into a range of social platforms for select clients.

mPACT is developed by mBlast and is designed for marketing professionals in companies and agencies with an emphasis on identifying the specific individuals who are the established authorities on any given subject.
Use Case: Because mPACT’s strength is on topical relevance, the ability to identify connected individuals who matter to your market is revealing and insightful. Running a search by the keywords that define your industry will introduce you to the most relevant people who are already talking about your space, with or without you.

Traackr positions itself as an influencer discovery and monitoring platform. It uses a proprietary search engine and scoring algorithm to convert any keyword query into a list of top influencers ranked on the Reach, Resonance, and Relevance of each person discovered in the search.
Use Case: Traackr is dedicated to influencer identification and engagement. Focusing on communications rather than rewards, Traacker will help businesses create and manage ambassador programs and also shape influencer relations campaigns. Users can also track mentions and engagement metrics.

Radian6 developed an Influencer widget as part of its listening and engagement platform, which helps brands identify important individuals related to their markets across a myriad of social platforms, including blogs and Twitter.
Use Case: Radian6 provides social media monitoring, analysis, and engagement for all types and sizes of organizations. For communications professionals who focus on influencer engagement, it offers a deep and clickable path to better understand why someone is potentially influential and why he or she is important to the business. The Radian6 widget is ideal

Appinions is an influencer management platform, which is the result of over a decade of technology development at Cornell University. The platform is based on two key pillars: technology and access.
Use Case: Intended for agencies and brands, Appinions is designed to identify relevant influencers for intelligence gathering and engagement and is used by social out-reach, PR, strategy, and research teams.

Pillar 3: Resonance

Klout uses over 50 variables to measure what it calls the “standard for influence.” Its public-facing service presents the social capital and capacity for an individual’s ability to influence behavior and outcomes in social networks. Klout’s algorithm involves three separate stages of semantic calculation: True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Value.
Use Case: Klout offers a free search tool to identify individual ranking by username. To use this tool effectively, brands must first have an idea of who they would like to learn more about and then use the search function to analyze their social capital. Additionally, organizations can partner with Klout through its paid Perks program to target influencers by Reach, Relevance, and/or Relevance.

Twitalyzer evaluates Twitter activity based on a deep set of factors to assess signal-tonoise ratio, generosity, velocity, and also clout.

Use Case: Twitalyzer offers a detailed Benchmark report that provides brands with ranked lists of Twitter users based on their stated location and the tags that have been applied to their profile. Reviewing this list of potential influencers and analyzing their activity provides brands with insight into the nature of the dialogue, as well as opportunities to engage influencers.

PROskore focuses its influence analysis on professional reputation. It scores and ranks individuals based on professional background and experience, peer validation, popularity, and engagement in social networks, as well as within the PROskore community. PROskore’s algorithm places emphasis specifically on LinkedIn, Facebook Pages, Twitter, and blogs. The end result is a score that is designed to help professionals network with partners and prospects to “generate business.”
Use Case: Whereas other influence vendors focus on helping brands connect to influential people in digital word-of-mouth marketing applications, PROskore assists businesses by introducing hiring managers to ideal employment candidates. PROskore also brings to light the notion of internal influence. By tapping personal brands as company stakeholders, the right influencer can spark important dialog from within and ultimately impact external conversations and actions. Although PROskore can help hiring managers and employment candidates, it also helps businesses identify leads and
sales opportunities.

eCairn’s Conversation platform was developed to help marketing professionals identify influential communities and the influencers who drive relevant market conversations.
Use Case: eCairn is an influencer relationship management solution designed to help brands find and engage with topical influencers and experts.

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