The latest update on Linkedin demographic statistics (January 2012) makes for fascinating reading. As the social network of choice for business professionals, numbers are steadily increasing as the functionality continues to improve unabated.
Many millions of people using Linkedin are missing out on the fantastic brand building opportunities new Linkedin presents. I say new because after several years of under-investment, Linkedin has gone functionality crazy of late.
Give your Linkedin profile a spring clean today, avoid these ten all-to-common mistakes and start to take the most of the platform as an unbeatable research and business development tool as well as an incredible brand builder.
1. Poor or non existent profile pictures. Who wants to see a faceless profile or worse a company or brand logo. Not me. As with all social media, add a profile picture.
2. Lack of clarity in titles and descriptions. Use keywords that best represent who you are and what stand for do. That little box that tells you how many times you’ve been looked at – its down to keywords.
3. Lack of focus on achievements and what you add. Too many people fixate on titles when they should be focusing on your impact on sales, brand launches, new initiatives, or improvements in quality, process, training or operations if you are not in a commercial role.
4. Failure to use all available opportunities to promote via the profile page. There are some great links and embed opportunities. Use them. Add your website, a blog, a Twitter account, a Slideshare account.
5. Not having a thought out contact strategy or approach. Are you connected to all the people you’ve ever worked with rather than the people you want to sell to? Time to rethink who you want to be connected to by researching people using the search function, identifying key companies and seeking opportunities to informally approach them through Groups (see below). And don’t let Linkedin send a default invitation request. Tailor it giving a reason to connect – reference to a group, common contact or other common ground.
6. Not enough or over use of the status updates feature. Linkedin status updates containing tweets is one of the most frustrating parts of logging into new Linkedin. If you’re not careful a handful of people will take over your feed – luckily they can be hidden without dis-connecting. On the other side, don’t be a Linkedin bore. Update once / twice a day with something useful.
7. Not enough or over use of testimonials. These should matter. The best testimonials come from former managers, clients or customers. Asking your peers, team or suppliers to provide references just seems lame. Go for quality over quantity on this one. .
8. Being a lurker not a contributor in Groups. I estimate 1% of a Linkedin group’s membership actively engage in discussions within the group. What a missed opportunity. Getting involved in groups of like minded people is the cornerstone of the Linkedin experience. There is a group for almost everything on Linkedin. Search and sign up for one to try it out. There will be discussions taking place that you can add value to today!
9. Not building reputation through Answers. Like groups, this is a great feature to really build your profile as an expert in your field but as it is hidden away in the ‘More’ tab it is overlooked. Browse the categories and begin to provide feedback and recommendations to questions posed by other Linkedin members, worldwide.
10. Not fully populating your Company Page. This feature has developed in recent months with opportunities to add specific products and services linked to targeted landing pages and your Linkedin member colleagues.
Q: What other mistakes do you see made on Linkedin and how can they be avoided?
A brilliant piece of content visualization from the team at Mindflash. Hope it inspires you as it has me!
Once the first destination for job seekers, Linkedin has fast developed its abilIty to cater for the needs of the modern business professional. In part a response to the phenomenal viral uptake of Facebook, the Linkedin boffins factored in a range of specific functionality to draw professionals into spending more time on the site.
More recently this has included blog plug-ins, news digests (Linkedin Today) and Status Updates, but it is the older ones that work the best.
Recent research suggests that over half of registered users now frequent one of the many thousand groups. Most lurk, watching and listening whilst a small, vocal minority set the agenda and contribute to the discussion. As you might expect, there is a group covering everything – as my current list below shows.
But there is creep. As groups are increasingly seen as the gateway to influence, more are springing up. People are starting more groups, which means more digests, more alerts, more email. Unless you opt out, you’re signing yourself up to the daily or weekly digest of activity – and if you join a discussion, you risk receiving an email every time a single subsequent response is posted thereafter.
If like me, you are a member of a large number of geographical, sector, job specific and special interest groups, your inbox can pretty quickly start to look like this. Information brings knowledge, but everyday, this can become overpowering.
When it comes to Linkedin matters, most users forget the settings they activated when they joined. For groups. it is as simple as switching the activation of daily to weekly email alerts to avoid the level of email above every day if you don’t want it.
How often do you check the relevance of the groups you are a member of? Chances are you rely on only a handful.
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Here is my pick from the last week, we 24 June 2011.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Mashable offered up an interesting ‘Behind the Scenes’ on 8 Innovative Social Media Campaigns. My personal favourite is The Voice because it is a new take on reality contest TV and was perfect for social media.
B2B: I particularly liked the advice on keeping your mind on ‘next action’ as a driver on what and how to present in Social Media B2B’s post on How to Create Great B2B Presentations
FACEBOOK: Australia’s finest, Jeff Bullas has pulled together an overview of 5 creative Facebook pages. I was initially surprised in scrolling through to find games, movies, cars and lingerie, but hey it is Facebook!
SEO COPY: The ever useful Marketing Profs site published a handy little guide on writing with SEO in mind. Their Five Tips for Writing Content That Keeps Pace With B2B Searches included titbits such as staying aware and staying relevant.
BLOGGING: If you need to get your CEO on board with your social media thinking, here is a useful post designed to get them involved in the blog side of things.
Now, a three way tie for content of the week:
EBOOKS: First off Hubspot’s How to Write and Launch an Ebook That Generates Leads. Staggeringly useful.
INFOGRAPHICS: Secondly, a must try: Infographics are all the rage right now if you have a dataset you want to present in an innovative way. Here are 5 tools to help turn data into infographics.
WEBSITES: Finally, from Econsultancy, and just to make most of you feel your age, just look at how some of the UK’s top e-commerce sites have changed in the past five years (or in some cases not changed).
Hope you see something you like. More next week.
Here’s my pick of the best click worthy content from the last week.
First from Hubspot, a piece positioned as a startup’s social media starter list but actually useful to companies at various sizes and points on their development trajectory.
Next if you’re moving your PR online and targeting influential bloggers and writers online, heed the warnings in this piece offering 6 Ways to Guarantee Your PR Pitch to B2B Bloggers Will Be Deleted.
Interesting stats released by com.score and reported on by Mashable this week suggested that social networking accounts for 1 of every 6 minutes spent online. I’m just surprised that 1/ people still use MySpace and 2/ people think it is even fair comparing it with Facebook.
Lots of companies are entering the social media space. Most are cautious, some write guidelines and implement policies to steer safely through. It’s ultimately becomes a case of how brave or conservative, and how empowered you want your staff to be. Here is an interesting Econsultancy read looking at whether all your staff need be engaging in social media?
Did you twang the Les Paul guitar strings on Google’s recent doodle? If you did you contributed to $268m in lost productivity, claims Search Engine Journal.
A random, and finally and just for sheer ‘awesome-ness’ here is a behind the scenes featurette from the new Transformers 3 movie, focusing on the birdman footage shot above Chicago.
Q: What have you been reading? Share your links in the comments.
An interesting Slideshare is featured below (email and RSS subscribers need to visit the blog site to view) which showcases the ongoing growth of Linkedin. The latest statistics and demographics indicate that the site has tipped over the 100m mark.
I was intrigued on one hand to learn that the UK is 3rd overall (with 6m) whilst on the other hand the number of marketers is as low as 4% across the board. The age, gender and sector splits make for interesting reading too.
Overall, the uptake of Linkedin demonstrates that the raft of changes to improve functionality of late have made quite a significant impact. And though the site is some way short of the 500m and rising that Facebook enjoys, Linkedin does offer a very different proposition and is now so much more than the online CV library of old.
Facebook marches inexorably towards dominating the battle for attention raging on the Internet.
This excellent presentation shows how Facebook has not only innovated in a number of areas but also taken on new startups in a bid to attract and retain its audience of over 500m users, half of whom log in and spend time on the site every single day.
The line between social and business is blurring ever more and Facebook is in part responsible. If you don’t have personal and business pages set up on Facebook you are really missing out on lucrative audience access, potential business and valuable search engine optimisation.
1. Have a hook, a USP, a reason for people to want to be interested in what you have to say. Chances are you are not a celebrity so you’re going to need to focus. Spell it out in your profile biography as these keywords will draw people towards you.
2. Content and context are king. Engaging, interesting and relevant content is critical on Twitter, especially if it is for business use. A carefully crafted line of copy and a shortened link to interesting content provides a number of benefits. It positions your interests and links you to other people and companies interested in that content. It forms common ground and creates opportunities to connect with other users.
The most interesting Twitter accounts predominantly share lots of engaging information they have sourced from others, some of their own content and occasionally some personal information or insights.
3. Pay it forward. Associating yourself with better known sources of great content by retweeting it and including the original creator in your tweet is a very powerful way of building a profile. This works not only for tweets and content you like, but also tweets and content that you want to be associated with from a business perspective. In much the same way as blog, news and article response is a credible way of driving traffic to your own websites and blogs, so to is ingratiating yourself with industry thought leaders through Twitter.
4. Pay it back. By adding that all important @ link to the original creator, you are acknowledging them and validating that content by sharing it with all your connections. Always credit a content creator as they have often spent a significant amount of time on a blog, video, infographic, white paper, ebook or whatever it is you are sharing.
5. Use hashtags. Sounds simple but do all your tweets contain hashtags? I’m as guilty as most for not adopting these all the time, but by adding a relevant tag such as #b2b or #seo or #marketingblog, you are giving your content the best opportunity to develop virally. The conference sector has picked this up and run with it at large scale conferences and exhibitions and there are a number of unofficial tags that often spring up around major TV and news events so tweets can be grouped together.
When these tags hit a high degree of take up, they become a trending topic which means a given subject is one of the most talked about at a given time.
Adopting these five techniques should draw more interest in your Twitter activity.
And whilst on the subject, I recommend you migrate your account to a free service like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, simply because they offer more functionality and flexibility. I personally prefer Hootsuite as you can quickly and easily schedule and distribute messages and updates across all the major social networking platforms from the one place (more to follow in a post later this week).
Today, a great little slide set from Custom Communication which charts the developments in the social media space over recent years, highlighting which innovators stayed the course and which fell at the early fences.
What is interesting, like in so many sectors, is how in most cases whether it’s social networking, images, blogging, location etc, the early innovators no longer lead the way. Whether that means you should wait rather than innovate, I’m not sure, you just have to be prepared to be flexible when change is demanded. And few areas are needing flexibility more than the online social space right now.