Steps to Become a Successful and Powerful LinkedIn User – Part 2

Recently I wrote Part 1 of “Steps to Become a Successful and Powerful LinkedIn User,” in which I outlined some important strategies.  Creating a plan and strategy for using LinkedIn and creating a personal marketing plan are essential in growing a business and having a personal brand that will resonate.  Spending focused time and energy on LinkedIn will enhance relationships, build trust and create awareness that will assist you to achieve your promotional, business and career goals.

Here are five additional steps to take to become a power LinkedIn user:

Who to connect with? – You should consider connecting with almost everyone.  However, keep a sharp eye out for people who are not serious LinkedIn users or those who are likely to place you on a sales solicitation or an e-mail marketing list.  There are easy ways to determine if someone is a good connection or not.  Some of the immediate red flags are: no photo or one of poor quality; no status update activity; few endorsements; few contacts; no personal “who I am” details in the profile, and ambiguity about what it is the person actually does.  When reviewing a new potential contact, consider whether the person could be an ally or a competitor.  For example, some attorneys want to connect with other attorneys, but marketing professionals may not want to connect with their competitors located down the block.

When you are approached to connect with people you don’t know or with whom you are casually acquainted, you must ask them to provide you with more information. Questions should be posed to them.  Ask questions such as: Who do you want to meet? Whom do you network with? Whom are your ideal clients?  This process also gives you the opportunity to tell them who you are and who you want to meet.  We have found that those who are not serious LinkedIn users never respond to these requests.  This nonresponse is a good indication that they will not communicate in the future. If they will not engage, they are likely not interested in developing a relationship.  If the individual responds to the questions posed, move forward and connect or ask additional questions.  Whom you are connected with is important.  You will develop relationships with these individuals and connect them to others on LinkedIn.  Starting relationships the right way creates the right foundation of trust.

Bring real world networking into the LinkedIn cyber world – The process of networking, meeting people and developing business relationships, existed long before LinkedIn.  However, LinkedIn offers a platform that can be used strategically to enhance and facilitate real world networking.  LinkedIn can make networking and networking follow-up more effective.  Most importantly, when used strategically, LinkedIn can speed up the relationship development process.  Basically, LinkedIn will assist in building trust, which is essential in the business relationship growth process.  Without trust there is no relationship.  How do you use LinkedIn to build trust? Start by bringing your real world contacts into the online LinkedIn world.  Often the first step in the networking process is meeting and talking with new people at events or meetings in the real world.  You will collect business cards and begin communicating.

One easy way to bring the people you meet in the real world into your LinkedIn world is to use the mobile app produced by LinkedIn called CardMunch.  Use this app to scan the business cards you receive.  The app makes it easy to send a connection request and quickly connect with people.  This can all be done using your smartphone on the road or even during a networking event.

Groups – Strategically pick the groups you join.  If you have limited time, pick two or three groups where you can be very active.  Remember to join groups that offer a target-rich environment for business development and potential referral sources.  If you are an accountant and rarely get referrals from other accountants, limit your membership in groups that are geared toward accounting professionals.  Find groups where you can demonstrate your expertise and connect with individuals that fit your ideal client or ideal referral source profile.

Regionally focused groups should be considered.  Even if every person in the group is not an ideal direct prospect or referral source, relationships matter.  Having contacts and connections in different business sectors will allow you to connect to people looking for a wide variety of services or solutions.  Groups are where you can build a reputation as a giver and provider of information as well as share connections.  When you can assist individuals advance their career, help them solve a business issue or most importantly drive business to them, they will remember you and your efforts.  This strategy is one of the most effective business lead generators available to networkers.

Recommendations and Endorsements – LinkedIn users benefit from recommendations from individuals whom they have worked or whom they know. Recommendations help to reinforce the value of individual skills, abilities and services that can be provided.  We have suggested that to be effective on LinkedIn users should secure one to four recommendations each month.  This shows continuous activity and makes it known to your contacts that you are somebody that people like and respect working with.  Recommendations and endorsements of services assist in building brand awareness and are effective in demonstrating and reinforcing to others your stature and expertise in a given area.  These recognitions are particularly important for people who are just getting to know who you are and the areas in which you are a leader.  Recommendations are also a good way to get feedback on your personal marketing efforts.  If you receive a number of endorsements recognizing your expertise in a specialized area, then it is clear that those who are connected with you know what you do and what you do well.  If you are getting endorsements for services you do not provide, then you have to review how you are marketing and communicating with contacts.  If this is out of sync you need to work on how you are perceived in your market.

This article was provided by Bill Corbett, President of Corbett Public Relations based on Long Island in New York.  Mr. Corbett is a respected leader in public relations, media relations, personal branding and social media.  Over the past two decades Mr. Corbett has assisted thousands of clients to secure media coverage, build brands, attract attention and grow.  For more information visit www.corbettpr.com or contact him at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com Twitter @wjcorbett

This blog originally was originally posted on http://www.socialmediaclub.org

Sources:

http://marketingthink.com/social-branding-how-to-create-the-perfect-linkedin-profile-blueprint/

http://www.careerealism.com/optimize-linkedin-groups/

http://www.myinspiredmedia.com/five-linkedin-power-strategies/

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/linkedin/a/linkedin-recommendations.htm

Going to Google – The Glass Introduction Experience

I had the pleasure and thrill of accompanying Basil Puglisi, social and digital media leader, to his special appointment at Google for a fitting for Google Glass.  Although we were not able to record video inside, I was able to document the experience.  It was quite remarkable.

Google’s Glass training and introductory area is located just above Chelsea Market, a trendy and popular setting in New York City.

After we entered a café-like setting, we were met by our Google training rep, Duyin Ha. She was fantastic and it was clear she had extensive training and knowledge of this amazing new device.

So what is Google Glass?  It’s a device worn like glasses; however, it possesses cutting edge technology which integrates an array of mobile applications and digital technology. If you have not read or heard about Google Glass you are behind the tech curve.  This incredible device takes video, connects with your online “life” and much more.  In the short training, Duyin explained features and walked Basil, a very tech, Google app and Android savvy individual, through the many functions, features and the set up for Glass.

From a marketing and social media perspective, Google Glass has tremendous potential.  The ability to quickly take, upload and share video content and images will make G+ an even more desirable and friendly social media platform than it already is.  Recent reports indicate that G+ has close to 350 million accounts and growing.  Glass interacts seamlessly with Google Chrome and other specific apps created for it.  Here is a prediction – with Google Glass, enhanced apps, services and integration, Google social media use will explode.  Watch out Facebook—with devices, apps and ease of use combined with search, it will be a challenge to keep up.

From the brief time I was involved with the demo and Basil’s first hours with Google Glass I was impressed and certainly liked what I’d seen.

From my public relations and marketing perspective, Google Glass will provide individuals and businesses with the ability to demonstrate, explore, educate and market products and people like never before.  Story telling from the first person perspective will be unmatched.

Glass is new and it was amazing to see how Basil became an instant “celebrity.”  After our session and following just seconds on the street in Manhattan, people were pointing, taking photos and asking questions.


People from all walks of life and ages wanted to know more about Glass.  Glass is a powerful personal branding tool which allows users to broadcast their experiences, demonstrate skills and expertise and show people a glimpse of their personal lives.

Information comes from the first person perspective and this allows users to share in a uniquely personal way.  We will be able to get to know people better and build relationships.  In terms of business, getting to know those that you work with or may work with will open up new opportunities as well as create new questions.

I can’t wait to get my Google Glass.  If you’re listening Google, I am a fan.  Can I get one?

More to come on this great device and technology.  We have not even scratched the surface of what Glass can do for business, brands, and to make life a little easier and more interesting. Here’s one final point. Google Glass enables its users to utilize Google maps. You can enter an address and the map and directions pop right up on the screen.  This technology is ideal for individuals walking in an urban-type setting but is not appropriate to use when driving.

If you have questions about Google Glass ask Basil Puglisi on twitter @basilpuglisi

To read about the story in Newsday please visit http://www.newsday.com/business/lier-test-drives-google-glass-1.5648381#disqus_thread 

For more images from the Google Glass experience please visit http://flic.kr/s/aHsjGrZ67V.

Follow me on social media to see additional posts, images and videos relating to glass and other marketing topics.  Feel free to email me any questions at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.

13 Scary Social Media Mistakes to Avoid This Halloween

Nothing is scarier than watching people continuing to make social media mistakes.  It frightens me to think of all the time, money and effort wasted with ineffective and inefficient approaches to social media marketing.  Unfortunately many businesses and business people approach social media in a nonchalant way with no planning or goals.   At Corbett Public Relations we see this happening every day.

I offer many workshops: Grow Your Personal Brand and another on using social media to grow business are the most popular ones. Most attendees are eager to use social media, but almost all have no social media or marketing plan.  They are also overwhelmed in regards to where to start.  Whether you are already using social media, or just getting started, these are some common scary and time wasting mistakes you must avoid:

1) Don’t go in there! – Just like a group of unsuspecting teens who venture into a haunted house, remember you need to have a plan when approaching a social media marketing effort for yourself or your business.  Would Van Helsing go vampire hunting without a plan and wooden stakes for their hearts?  Start your planning with an assessment of what marketing you are doing now; research the social sites where your customers interact; completely set up your sites; link your social media sites, website and blog; and create goals with methods for measuring them (for a copy of my six week social media start up plan e-mail me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com).

2) Boo! –  Using social media to sell or, even worse hard sell, is a major mistake.  By doing this you will do the exact opposite of two of the major goals you want to accomplish with your social media activities – attract followers and start conversations.  If you try to sell you will scare many people away, probably forever.

3) What was that? –  This is a line often heard in scary movies.  Freaked out teens in an abandoned building are obviously scared, but what are they doing? They are hypersensitive to their environment and listening for danger. In the case of social media everyone needs to listen to customers, competition and other online influencers.   If you do not listen you will never understand your customers, the marketplace or know how to position your business and your messages.   Listen and you will avoid the danger of communicating messages nobody is interested in.

4) Scream – Social media is a two- way street with multiple intersections.  If you stand on the corner and shout your message at passing cars few will hear you and even fewer will care.   Your screaming (touting yourself, your

products or services) will eventually fall on deaf and uninterested ears.   People will listen to you if you speak with them and listen.  Answer their questions and give them a reason to pull over and listen to you.

5) The Swarm – There have been many scary movies about killer bees.  What we learn from these movies is that the saying, “never disturb a bees’ nest” is true.  The same goes for getting involved in cyber wars, arguments or discussions of religion and politics online.   As part of your social media activity you are seeking to show your expertise and build your brand.  Discussing these taboo topics can and will bring unwanted attacks and many negative comments.  This will drive people away and potentially hurt your brand and social media efforts.

6) Rotten Eggs – With Halloween comes mischief and unfortunately some destruction.   Throwing eggs is part of this tradition and is a practice that should be frowned upon by everyone.  Like an unwanted egg, an unwanted direct message or a poorly thought out,  error-filled post is equally undesirable.  Avoid sending direct messages asking for sales or with direct selling offers.   Build relationships before you ask for anything or even attempt to sell something.  The same goes for posting; if there is no purpose to it, don’t do it.  Posts should have interesting content, photos and videos whenever possible.    To build relationships and followers social media users need to be interesting, fun and informative.  You may only have one chance to make a good impression, make sure it’s the right one.

7) Trick – Don’t get tricked by high expectations for social media.  While social media can be very helpful and for some a strong business driver ROI (Return on Investment), for many, especially in the business to business world, this remains elusive.  Create a plan and look at social media as a long term investment in marketing and branding.   If you expect immediate gratification then you really have been tricked.

8) Trick or Treating – Did you ever plan out your trick or treating route when you were a kid?  Did you know the best blocks or houses for getting the most and best kinds of candy?  I bet many of you did.  For social media focus

on activities that work, spend time in communities (groups) where you can enhance your brand and attract followers.  Complete goals before moving on to new ones or developing new strategies.  Track your success with different social media sites and different communities and return to them.  Don’t go back or invest too much time on communities that proved to be more of a trick than a treat.

9) The Black Hole – Whether it’s a portal to another dimension or a black hole in space, it is important to avoid them.  Social media also has its own black hole – the black hole of time.  Social media can be a major time waster for many, like a vampire with a craving to suck blood social media sucks time away. Set specific “time budgets” for social media activities and only add time when you see efforts reap rewards or when they clearly demonstrate they are helping to achieve goals.

10) Your Costume – Have you ever won a costume contest?  Why do people win costume contests? The winners are usually creative, visually interesting, memorable and fun.  Your online image needs to have the same qualities.  Make sure you have a photo of yourself; one that makes you look good.  Spend the extra money to get a professional headshot done.  This image is important; studies show and social media experts report that without a photo people are less likely to connect with you or a business, follow you, comment on your posts or even read or look at what you post.

11) Zombies – What do zombies do?  They roam the earth looking to make a meal out of a live person.  In the social media world we also need to avoid zombies.  Zombies come to us in the way of viruses, spam and those engaged in fraud to get personal financial information.  Thankfully, viruses are less common via a social media but they do happen.  If you receive a direct message that looks strange, from someone you do not know or a message that suggests you check out a video or photo with you in it, delete this right away.  Knowing your enemy is important, but also be prepared.  If you use social media regularly make sure that you change your passwords from time to time, never share information that can be used by others to create accounts, make sure you back up your data remotely and often, and finally be prepared because you eventually will get a virus, malware attack or get hacked.  This is scary to think about.  Make sure your zombie (virus) protection plan is in place and software updated.  Protecting yourself will also help stop the virus from infecting others you are connected with on social media.  Spreading a virus is not a good way to attract friends, fans or followers.

12) Your Halloween Party – Who do you invite to your Halloween party?  Certainly friends, family and people you think will have a good time.  Would you invite people who you know would not wear a costume?  In social media you need to know who you have and who you want to have at your party.  The wrong people at the party could spoil it for everyone.  From people posting inappropriate content on your Facebook wall to LinkedIn “connections” who mine your client base for business, or worse steal your ideas (it’s happened to me), monitoring and carefully analyzing who follows you is important.   Take the time to review your followers on all social media sites; don’t let any questionable people into your community.  This does not mean preventing people you don’t know in, but do your best to vet them and watch what they are saying to members of your community.

13) Treats – A successful Halloween for me when I was young was all about having fun, maybe getting a little scared, collecting some great candy, and engaging in some harmless mischief.  A great costume attracted attention and some extra candy.  In addition, friends and family took photos and remembered the best costumes for years.   Social media can lead to treats or as I like to call them followers, referrals and business.  With a social media plan in place reputation and followers can be built on a growing basis.  By listening to followers and others, conversations can be started.  This will lead to relationships, real world meetings and eventually referrals and the best treat of all business.

Don’t be scared of social media.  For the new user it can be a little frightening but the rewards, both personal and business-related, can be significant.

What scares you about social media?  Let me know.

Boosting Trade Show Success

Bill Corbett Presents at Trade Show Seminar

Over the past month I have had the pleasure of offering several workshops on trade show marketing and strategies for success with Judy Fairbanks, VP of Sales & Marketing for Skyline New York and, Rob Fishman, Partner of Sandler Sales Training Institute.  Events events were held at Skyline New York’s modern facility in Hauppauge, New York.  

My firm Corbett Public Relations  has promoted many trade shows and we have assisted many clients who use trade shows to market their products and services.  The sessions that I am giving with Judy and Rob continue to help me find new strategies and look at the overall trade show experience from different perspectives.  It remains clear that exhibitors of any company need help in being more successful and securing ROI from trade show appearances. 

There are many benefits of being involved in trade shows.  Shows allow businesses to be directly in front of people, demonstrate products and services and start relationships.  We are in a day an age where online communication is dominant, it’s great to see people face to face and have real interactions.  This also means getting out from behind the desk to promote and selling a product or service.  Selling and promoting effectively takes skill, planning and a system.   

The following are five quick strategies that must be part of successful trade show appearances:  

  1. Plan- To be successful in any marketing effort you need to plan.  Start by working the calendar backwards. Set dates for materials to be ready, for publicity efforts and creating campaigns to invite prospects to your booth.  Remember 60 percent of people who attend trade shows go on a mission to see you specifically or to look for a specific product or service.  Don’t forget to contact the show producer, they want to help you promote your appearance and be successful.   
  2. Promote Appearance– Create your online trade show promotions and use social media. List your trade show appearances on your website, create a Facebook event page, create a special Twitter account or hashtag and certainly create your media kit with a press release.  Alert the media and the show producer if you have new products or services that you will be introducing at the show.   
  3. Training– Educate and train all booth/exhibit workers. Start this process early and make sure everyone knows what they need to know about the products and services offered.  Have them practice their elevator pitch but most importantly help them create questions to assist them to start conversations.  Remember it is as important to listen and ask questions, as it is to talk about the benefits of your products and services.  Hard selling will never get you leads, but conversations and solving problems will. 
  4. Exhibits and Booth– Take the advice of the professionals like those at Skyline New York. Create open and inviting booths that do not overload show attendees with too much information.  Create a booth that is open, inviting, branded clearly and interesting. 
  5. Next Steps and Following Up- Did you know that 80 percent of leads that are received at a trade show never receive a follow up? This is a tremendous loss of money and time.   In order to be successful, take the time to create a clear system for qualifying leads and procedures for following up.  As Judy Fairbanks says “the real trade show starts when the breakdown of the booth starts.”  Set up your system and even block off a day or two for specific follow up after the show.  Quick follow up is essential.   

These are just a few basic strategies to think about for enhancing trade show success.  The workshops we are offering at Skyline New York hit on these topics and many others. 

For Additional Trade Show Tips from Skyline:

 http://www.skylinenewyork.com/Seminars/Successful-Trade-Show-Marketing-Strategies/

http://www.skylinenewyork.com/Seminars/Trade-Show-Marketing-Strategies-For-Todays-Economy

New Year’s Social Media Resolutions Failing? How about a Groundhog Day Promise?

Most likely you have already forgotten or fallen short on your New Year’s resolutions. This means you are free to make a Groundhog Day Promise.  Starting on Groundhog Day, February 2nd, simply promise yourself and your business that you will create and implement a real social media marketing program for the remainder of the year.

On February 2nd, Groundhog Day, we know what is going to happen: Punxsutawney Phil, Malverne Mel and Staten Island Chuck are going to see their own shadows.  This means six more weeks of cold, snowy, wintery weather.

Unless you are a “powered hound” and you live to ski or snowboard, the thought of six more weeks of winter can be depressing.  Going to work in the dark and returning home after the sun sets for six weeks may sound gloomy, but it need not be unproductive for you and your business.  Without a shadow of doubt, the groundhog has set the stage for you.  You now have six weeks to tweak your social media marketing program.

New Year’s resolutions are for the procrastinators.  The six-week approach is much better.   Why not review, revamp and implement a real social media marketing program for your business. No more excuses and no more simply dabbling with social media: it’s time to make the commitment.  Most businesses and people think they have a social media marketing program in place already, but the truth is that most have little more than a basic presence in the social media world.

Let’s admit that by seeing his shadow, the groundhog has given us a gift — six weeks of winter to put plans in action.  We recommend you take on the following tasks over the next six weeks and predict that at the end you will have a real social media program in place.

  • Investigate what is new in social media marketing
  • Review 2010 social media marketing successes and failure
  • Determine the ROI of past social media marketing efforts
  • Establish social media marketing budgets, timelines and time allocations
  • Create a new plan for social media marketing with defined goals
  • Implement a new social media marketing plan
  • Establish ongoing systems to assess social media marketing successes and failures

If you are looking for an in-depth Six-Week Social Media Marketing Plan with a list of  tasks to undertake each week, e-mail me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.  I will send you a link to a six-week program outline that you can use to implement a social media marketing program for your business or for your personal brand.

You have six weeks to keep your promise to get your social media program up and running.  The perfect target date is March 15.  This date’s easy to aim for – recall Shakespeare’s famous quote: Beware the Ides of March. The great author is referring to the date Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated at the hand of Brutus and others.   The only thing you need to fear is failure to start the process.  Social media results will to not happen overnight but by starting now you can reap rewards and real ROI in the months to come.

Like the groundhog there is no need to be afraid of your shadow and run and hide.  Make the promise that you will take the  necessary steps to implement a real and effective  social media program.  Failure to do so will see you fall behind your competition, fail to be part of the online conversation in your industry and, finally, fail to grow your business and your personal brand.   Six weeks is not a long time, but it is a long-enough time period to get the elements of a plan in place.  Make the effort, and it will pay off for months and years to come.

Let me know how you do and if you need some support along the way send me your questions.

All I Want for Christmas is…More Visitors to My Website and Blog

Websites, blogs and social media pages make up the bulk of a business’s web identity and contribute significantly to the public perception of the company.  Everyone agrees that maintaining an interactive and informational web

Bill Corbett Jr.

William J. Corbett, Jr.

 presence is a marketing necessity.  Business websites let people find your business and learn about the products and/or services you offer, and a blog plays a similar but different role positioning you as an expert in your field.  As entrepreneurs, owners and professionals, we spend tremendous amounts of time, effort and money designing, maintaining and updating websites and blogs.  But if your sites are not attracting traffic, all of your hard work is for naught.  So after you just spent the entire holiday season trying to avoid traffic, please read below for a few SEO and others tips from Corbett Public Relations that you can use to drive traffic to your website or blog.  All these tips are free and easy to implement.

Tips to Increase Traffic to Your Website or Blog

1 – List your business website on specific search engines where you want to be.  Google, Yahoo and Bing cannot find your website unless its information is submitted directly to them on their site.  There are also free services that can be used to submit sites to multiple search engines; try Submit It! and Scrub The Web.

2 – Research Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques.  Search engines aggregate results pages based on certain criteria.  They search web pages for relevant keywords, titles, headings and meta tags; meta tags are unseen descriptions embedded into HTML code of a website that provide search engines with information about a particular site.  Optimizing your website is the single most important action you can take to drive traffic to your site.  For example, make sure every page, picture and file on your website is tagged individually with your unique keywords and phrases in the title, title tag, meta keywords, and meta description.

3 – Your blog entries should highlight your expertise on a specific topic or field.  Posts should be made regularly and comment on current trends and issues relating to that subject.  Blog entries should be full of keyword-rich content; useful or topical content is the number one reason people will visit.  Include pictures and links to add dimension and make the entry more appealing and likely to be read.

4 – Promote your website and blog.  Make sure your website and blog links are included in your e-mail signature, on your business card and on any marketing materials you produce.  Network locally and remind people to read your blog for timely, useful information.  Build an e-mail list from current customers, prospects and contacts and send them regular updates.

5 – Keep websites and blog formats simple and clean.  The page has to be appealing to the reader’s eye and the key information should be visible on the page without having to scroll down.  Don’t clutter the page with unneeded links, subscription buttons and RSS feed links.  When the page is well-organized, easy-to-follow and rich in content, it will be attractive to readers and web traffic will increase.

6 – Utilize free press release submission sites and other business listings sites to increase your web presence and increase traffic to your site.  You can submit your keyword-rich, back-linked press release directly on these sites for free.

7 – Incorporate a share button into your blog page.  You want interested readers to be able to share your fascinating, relevant and timely blog entries with all their friends and contacts on their Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.  This function can increase the exposure of your blog exponentially.

The individuals who we know and work with that use these approaches and techniques are showing increased numbers of visitors to their websites and more subscribers to their blogs.   We welcome your comments and questions about SEO and online marketing.

Bill Corbett, Jr.

wjcorbett@corbettpr.com

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