Tuesday, July 31, 2012

7 Things You're Doing Wrong on LinkedIn

Most professionals use the social networking site in some capacity--but one expert says they're making a lot of mistakes.

Today, LinkedIn is the No. 1 social media platform for professionals. Estimates of professional participation in LinkedIn are as high as 83%.
But when I talked to one of my friends--social media expert Alexandra Gibson from OttoPilot Media--she told me that she sees too many professionals making a lot of mistakes. Here are the seven she sees most often.

1. You only use it if you need a job. I can usually tell when my friends are on the job prowl because all of a sudden, a barely existent LinkedIn profile is revived. The truth is that you'll be much better served by keeping your profile and connections current, rather than just reaching out to people when you need something.

2. You have an incomplete profile. A bare-bones profile does not do you (or your company) any favors. Add all important companies and a description of the results you achieved in the past. Don't forget to optimize your profile for search--creating a keyword rich profile will help people find you and your company.

3. You don't belong to the right groups. There are more groups out there than there are seconds in a day, so it can be difficult to decide which are most important. If you join no other groups, join your alumni groups (college, prep school, grad school, fraternity or sorority). Industry groups--both for your own company and your major customer market segments--are a clear next step.

4. You're not sharing valuable content. When you publish a great blog post or your company creates a valuable white paper, share it on your LinkedIn feed. Also, share content in your feed from other sources besides your own. Post in your groups to judiciously share articles and links if you feel that it would be of interest to that audience. This will help show you as a thought leader--and, if the content is on your site, can generate quality leads directly from LinkedIn.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Proof That Social Media Sells


The biggest complaint I hear about using social media, is that people don’t think they can actually sell through social media platforms. And while I always suggest that you “sell without selling”, directly selling is not the only way to gain business or sales.

Just having a presence online and openly showcasing your ability can more often than not lead to a sale.

The other day, a Facebook friend of mine, Terry Daniel, posted:
This is not uncommon these days. In fact, me personally, I get most of my work off of LinkedIn & Twitter. And with the newest addition of Messaging to Facebook Page’s, now it’s even easier to get work off of Facebook!

The actual platforms themselves don’t sell; the people using the platform to the fullest of its ability makes the sale.

That means engaging with people, selling without selling and giving value to all that you do.
Businesses are still so afraid to get involved in social media because they just don’t see how they can make money from, essentially, free platforms.
All they see are the big businesses using social media just for exposure purposes and allowing their community to thrive online.

But small and medium businesses can actually thrive a lot better online and gain a lot more sales through social media.

Here’s Why

When you’re a small business, people feel more comfortable talking to you. You seem more accessible and transparent, so they feel as if they can ask you anything and actually get a response back.

People feel as if they’re getting a better product or service through small businesses (which they usually are).

If you’re making a true effort to connect with your peeps online, then they will return the favor by getting to know who you are as a person and a business.

I don’t want to say that small businesses are usually more creative, but they do tend to think of more creative ways to reach their audience and get their product/service out there because they have to stand out and get noticed, which means being creative about how they showcase themselves. This can draw in the target market needed to make the appropriate sales.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Choosing A LinkedIn Photo

Vivian Giang

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but before hiring managers actually meet you, your picture is going to play a big role in how they view you. 
So, what's a "good" photo and what's deemed inappropriate?
We contacted Nicole Williams, LinkedIn's Connection Director, who told us you should always post a picture — the site's own research finds that profiles are "seven times more likely to be viewed" if a photo is included. 

To help us get a better idea of what's appropriate, Williams shares 11 of the worst photo blunders you can make on your professional profile: 
1. A photo with a four-legged friend. Unless you’re a veterinarian, don’t post a photo with your pet – as cute as (s)he might be.
2. A group shot. You need to post a solo shot. Otherwise how will people know who you are? Also, are your sure your friends want to be represented on your professional profile?
3. A photo of your baby. You’re growing your family and we’re all thrilled, but that doesn’t belong on LinkedIn.
4. An old photo. It’s easy to choose a photo of ourselves at our best so it makes sense that a person might use a photo of themselves from ten years ago. However, once they call you in for an interview, the jig is up. An interviewee might feel slighted due to your bait and switch campaign.
5. An unprofessional photo. Are you at the beach, a night club or running a marathon? While you don’t need to be in your "Sunday’s best," you do need to keep it professional. No bikinis, sports jerseys or cleavage.
6. A wedding photo. We all know you paid thousands of dollars on hair, makeup and photographers for your big day. We know you’d like to make these photos last. However, unless you’re a wedding dress designer, you need to keep it professional when it comes time for a professional picture. Save the wedding ones for your personal album.

Tips 7 - 11 and complete Business Insider Article

Thursday, July 26, 2012

To Effectively Use LinkedIn, Know Your Goals

Recently while visiting some friends that I hadn’t seen for a while, one of them asked me to show her how to use LinkedIn since she considered me an expert. I was surprised by the request; I certainly don’t consider myself an expert. I have been using LinkedIn for many years and have helped others get started, so I felt I could offer her some advice and was happy to help.
When I sat down to look at her profile and connect with her, I was surprised to find out she hadn’t yet created a LinkedIn profile. Obviously, this was my first tip: create a profile. Once she set up the basics, I asked what her reason for creating a LinkedIn profile was, what was her goal? That might seem like an odd question, but really, it’s an important one because the answer is different for everyone, so my advice isn’t necessarily going to be the same as I would give to someone else.
In her particular situation, she had a great job that she loved, and wasn’t planning on leaving. However, she and her spouse had opened a small business within the last year, and she wanted to use LinkedIn as a way to help build and promote the business. I thought it was a great idea and made some suggestions.
Here are a few tips I gave her:
  • Show both her current job as well as her small business. By doing this, you are clear on where you are at in your current situation. If you suddenly connect with someone who you might not in your daily job, but you would for your business that will help them to decide if they want to connect.
  • Add a picture. In her case, I thought her business logo was fine, since she is trying to build her business, but if you are using LinkedIn to network for your career, keep it personalized with a picture of yourself.
  • Add your history. People like to know where you worked before and it will help to identify those that you may be connected to through others. LinkedIn is all about connections, the more job history you have, the more likely you’ll be able to connect with those you know.
  • Build your network. Start reaching out to who you know and have worked with in the past. LinkedIn makes this pretty easy now with suggestions of people you know. When you send a request, be sure to send a short note, especially if you haven’t spoken to the person in some time, it will help to strengthen your network by creating a warm connection. If you don’t know the person, you can ask someone to introduce you, and explain why you want to connect. If you ask me to connect to someone in my network, I want to be sure I’m not going to regret it later!
  • Join groups that are relevant to your business or career. It’s easy to join a ton of groups, there are so many that look interesting! This can be difficult to keep up with all of them, especially if you can’t be on LinkedIn every day. Join the ones that make sense to your goals, and contribute where you can. Groups can be an excellent way to network, share ideas and learn. Definitely be careful not spam, you might be tempted to post anything and everything, but sometimes, less is more!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Are You Committing Career Suicide on LinkedIn?

Posted by:  Loraine Antrim

Is your LinkedIn profile killing your career? It might be, if it doesn’t help you stand out. With over 150 million users, it’s very easy to have a LinkedIn profile that mimics many of the same words and ideas as others.  Results? You look and sound boring.
If you use LinkedIn for career connections and job search, listen up: the key is to differentiate.Here are five tips to guide you in creating a profile that will advance your personal brand, not sink it.
First. Grab Them With a Headline If your opening line is, ”GM of Sales” or “Account Executive,” you sound pretty dull. You’re not differentiating in the most critical part of your profile: the first thing the reader sees. Your job title and company are NOT good headlines; unfortunately, that ‘s pretty much the default for so many LinkedIn users. Place your title farther down on your page; not first thing. Grab eyeballs. How? Follow the guidelines journalists use for news headlines: be short, get creative, use catchy language and draw the reader in. For example, “Hiring People Who Aspire to Cure Cancer,” is a real grabber. You WANT to read on.
2nd. Kill Common Titles. There are many many directors, consultants, engineers, sales professionals, and lawyers. Why would you want to list a title everyone else has? Telling the world you’re a director might give you a big ego boost, but it’s not boosting your career. Find an unusual way to say who you are. “Architect of Drop Dead Designs” is a catchier headline than “Senior Graphics Designer.” For example, my headline says I’m a Butterfly Killer.”  Butterflies, you know, that feeling in your gut before you have to speak in public. As a presentation coach, I’ll get rid of that fluttering in your stomach. It’s a very unusual way to say I’m in executive coaching. Spend some time and get thoughtful…ask friends and colleagues for some suggestions. A unique title will make you memorable and readers will WANT to read on.
3rd. DO Think About SEO. No keywords means bottom of the barrel search results. Search engines will pick up your LinkedIn headline, so the right key word is critical for both LinkedIn search AND general search. How to choose the right keywords? Think like a recruiter!  Hire yourself! What keywords might a headhunter put in a LinkedIn people search to find you?  Don’t just keyword your profile. Judiciously pepper keywords throughout your entire page. Remember, the right keyword will help you rise to the top of search or help sink you down.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

10 LinkedIn Shortcuts For A Post-Twitter World


By now, we’ve all heard about Twitter’s little break-up with LinkedIn – and discovered the consequence in our now tweet-free LinkedIn timelines.
As social media marketers, this adds a new wrinkle to our already hectic days of trying to juggle multiple social media channels.
LinkedIn may not be the sexiest social network, but it’s still an important one. It’s part of the Big Three (behind only Facebook and Twitter in popularity) and used by 73 percent of marketers, according to a recent study.
So while we wait on LinkedIn’s new update, life goes on — as do social media updates. What do we do now that our handiest shortcut to keeping our LinkedIn presence active has been taken away?
I dug around a little to uncover 10 ways to stay active on LinkedIn that are nearly as simple and painless as our gone-but-not-forgotten-Twitter connection. Check them out and then share your favorite shortcuts in the comments (seriously, I want to steal hear them.)

1. Share Your Blog

Frequent blogger on a professional topic? Tap into a targeted audience for your blog posts and connect your blog to your LinkedIn account. A widget will appear on your profile and new posts will generate a news item in your timeline.linkedin-wordpress-appTwo different apps from LinkedIn’s Applications Directory make this process seamless for any blog platform. The WordPress app takes care of the most popular blogging software, or useBloglink for any other platform.

2. Add Presentations

Sharing presentation slides is a great way to build authority in your industry, and LinkedIn makes this simple. Activate their Slideshare app to pull presentations into your profile. Slideshare allows you to customize the look of this widget and even offers LinkedIn-specific analytics about your contents’ views, comments and favorites.

3. Comment On Articles

One of LinkedIn’s newest points of pride, LinkedIn Today aggregates top news for a variety of industries and categories of your choosing. What’s brand new is the ability to like, comment on and share specific stories. It’s a quick and easy way to keep your stream lively and catch up on industry news.

4. Curate Content

Build a reputation for sharing great stuff with your professional network. Using the wonder toolIFTTT.com (If This, Then That) it’s a cinch to activate a trigger that sends items from your Google Reader stockpile to LinkedIn. Even shorter: use this already-created recipe.

5. Join Groups

Did you know LinkedIn lets you join up to 50 groups? Choose wisely and you’ll be hooked into great resources, conversations and new relationships.
Check out the full Groups Directory or choose “Groups You May Like” from the drop-down menu to get plugged in. Just make sure you customize your settings (Settings > Groups, Companies and Applications) to make sure you aren’t getting more emails than you bargained for.

Monday, July 23, 2012

4 Tips for Luring in Recruiters With Your Linkedin Profile

By Arnie Fertig

Recruiters are often called "headhunters" because they constantly seek out passive job candidates for their highly selective corporate clients. LinkedIn has become the prime hunting ground recruiters frequent because it's target rich in quality people who are there for purposes other than getting a new job.

By understanding the methods recruiters utilize in their hunt, you can position yourself as the talented passive candidate they covet rather than a desperate job seeker who craves their attention.
Here are four tactics recruiters use on LinkedIn and how you can take advantage of them:

1. Recruiters look for people who use the same vocabulary as their clients. The easiest way to do this is by conducting extensive keyword searches on LinkedIn profiles.
Tip: Utilize the same keywords you would expect to see in relevant job postings in the narrative you build about yourself. Weave them into the Summary and Experience sections of your profile, rather then presenting them grouped together. Today's sophisticated searching technologies make bunching keywords together in a long list or paragraph obsolete.

2. Recruiters hunt for people who command the respect of their peers and supervisors. One way they do this is to search LinkedIn recommendations for a specific mention of skills, activities, and accomplishments. They especially like it when your supervisor relates how you have gone above and beyond what was expected, or how you have contributed to your company's bottom line.
Tip: Get people who know your work to recommend you, and make it easy for them to do so. For example, you might say, "Dear ABC, could you write a recommendation for me that talks about how long we've known each other, when we worked together, and my involvement in the XYZ project?" Explain to your reference writer what facets of the nature, quality, and results of your work you would like highlighted. Shun generalized messages that really say nothing, such as, "So-and-so is a great person who works hard and will be successful at any job!"

Tips 3-4 and complete US News Article

Thursday, July 5, 2012

5 SEO Tips for your LinkedIn Profile

Websites are always changing and when it comes to the leading Social Networks such as FacebookTwitter andLinkedIn they are constantly tweaking their sites to generate the best financial results, drive visitors and increase engagement.
As a small business myself, one of the most important tools for generating new business, finding contacts and industry discussion is done on LinkedIn. I use LinkedIn on a daily basis.
Today I wanted to touch base on some SEO tips you can use on your own LinkedIn profile. Before you do anything – run a web search and find your LinkedIn profile (eg, I typed David Cowling LinkedIn” into Google and Bing). It’s important we analyse how the search engines interpret your LinkedIn profile data.


Here is how my profile looks on the Google search results page:
David Cowling LinkedIn Google 5 SEO Tips for your LinkedIn Profile
Note the following:
1. You name is obviously the title of the page
2. Your Location is pulled and displayed in the search results
3. Your “Professional Headline” is displayed in the search results


Here is how my profile looks on the Bing search results page:
David Cowling LinkedIn Bing 5 SEO Tips for your LinkedIn Profile
Note the following:
1. Again your name is the title of the page
2. Bing will show your Job Title and One of your current companies (not necessarily your “Professional Headline”.
3. Bing will show how many connections you have in the search results
4. Bing will show how many recommendations you have
5. Your Location is also displayed in the search results page

LinkedIn Profile SEO Tips

Now that we understand how the search engines display your LinkedIn profile data. Here are some tips to make the most of your profile:
1. Your Professional Headline is displayed in the search results, particularly Google. Many people simply put in one of their Job Titles, however you can use this field to pick up Keyword rich job titles and phrases such as SEO Consultant, PHP Developer, PR Consultant etc.
LinkedIn Headline 5 SEO Tips for your LinkedIn Profile

2. Website Fields - many people simply display their company websites like this:
LinkedIn website Field 5 SEO Tips for your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn only lets you add 3 websites to your profile, but describing each website as ‘Company Website’ really isn’t making full use of this field.
You are able to edit the display name to match your website name. This will give people who visit your profile a much clearer understanding of your websites!
This is how I edited mine:
Edit your LinkedIn website fields 5 SEO Tips for your LinkedIn Profile
And when you view my profile this is how it displays:
LinkedIn optmised Websites 5 SEO Tips for your LinkedIn Profile
Much better!
But how does this improve your website SEO? All of these links are NOT nofollow. They are actually 302 redirects (LinkedIn generally uses 302 redirects for external links). Now technically a 302 redirect many not pass any pagerank, but if the 302 redirect has been there for a long time I think Google may pass a little pagerank through to your site. It’s certainly worth having.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The #in Hashtag On Twitter To LinkedIn CAN Still Work…If You Do It Like this

by ,

On Friday Twitter announced that it had ended its syndication deal with LinkedIn, which previously allowed people on Twitter to link their tweets with LinkedIn’s news stream.
The addition of an #in hashtag was an easy and effective way to edit tweets into LinkedIn to a more ‘professional’ social network without alienating that network with every tweet, er, ‘tweeted’. But with Twitter’s recently added features such as threaded conversations and expandable tweets not showing up on users’ LinkedIn pages, Twitter decided to pull the plug.
However, you can still link your tweets to LinkedIn using the same #in hashtag if you do this…
… Go to the San Francisco-based (and wonderful) IFTTT where you can sync to all types of networks by setting up ‘recipes’, one of which links TWitter to LinkedIn.
It’s simple, click on the Twitter-LI link, -- Get the rest of the instructions..

( I don't want to poach their whole article )

Monday, July 2, 2012

How to Showcase Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn: 8 Tips

Lindsey Pollak

Like professional athletes, we now live in a time of career free agency, where we must regularly prove our unique value in a competitive and frequently changing marketplace.  This means that it’s no longer enough to have a good reputation in one’s current position. We need to think about how we’re perceived in the broader marketplace by potential future employers.
Even if you intend to stay in your current job forever, clarifying your unique value is something you need to attend to. Clients, conference planners, awards committees and other professionals may be checking you out — primarily online — and you want to make sure that they find the best representation of you.
We’re talking about personal branding, a key element of success in the Internet Age.
A term first coined by Tom Peters in 1997, personal branding includes your professional reputation, online image and personal characteristics such as your work style, community engagement and worldview. It incorporates the particular skills, talents and areas of expertise you’ve cultivated. When I host workshops on personal branding, I ask participants the following questions to help determine the elements of their personal brands:
  • How would your colleagues describe your strengths?
  • On what issues are you the go-to person in your organization?
  • What do you know more about (web design, compensation plans, marketing to baby boomers) than most people?
Once you’ve defined your personal brand, it’s time to showcase it to recruiters, bosses, customers and others who may be assessing you. Here’s how LinkedIn can help:
  1. Be authentic. The best personal brands are genuine and honest both in person and online. It can be tricky to showcase your personality on the web (you might love puns, but those don’t go over well on a professional profile), but it’s possible with a bit of effort. For instance, if your personal brand includes a balance between your detailed accounting skills and your friendly personality, your LinkedIn profile can include both your technical credentials and the fact that you belong to several networking groups. You can also ask former and current colleagues to write LinkedIn recommendations highlighting this combination.
  1. Create a distinctive LinkedIn profile headline. Your headline is your brand’s tag line. It’s the first — and possibly only — description of you that many people will see, so make it count. Go back to the words and phrases your friends and colleagues used to describe your uniqueness: “IT support manager and trusted Mac expert” or “Experienced admin assistant who never misses a deadline.”
  1. Be consistent. Make sure your LinkedIn profile, resume and all other elements of your personal brand are consistent. While you can go into more extensive detail on LinkedIn and perhaps be a bit more personal on Facebook or Twitter, all of your job titles, dates of employment and specific accomplishments need to match up everywhere they appear. Consistency is important so as not to confuse people or send mixed messages about who you are and what you want in your career.
  1. Increase your visibility. If you have a great personal brand but no one knows about it, then you won’t benefit much. Increase your exposure to people in your network by including your LinkedIn profile URL on your business cards, your resume, other social media sites and anyplace else people are interacting with you online or offline. You can also build exposure by consistently updating your LinkedIn status. Tell people what projects you’re working on, what conferences you’re attending and what books and articles you’re reading. Remember that your brand is not just who you are; it’s what you do.