Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 10-26-14

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding! (Photo credit: Worth1000.com)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding!
(Photo credit: Worth1000.com)

This week’s #SundayMusings focuses on a topic that doesn’t get as much publicity as it probably should across social media.  Building brand advocacy and brand ambassadors is an immensely powerful channel to growing your brand or company.  Their ability to promote your brand to a broader audience, while aiding your word-of-mouth advertising can go a long way towards success.  The following stories caught my attention over the past few weeks.

#1 – Find Brand Ambassadors by Monitoring Social Media – via DigitalDoughnut.com

Premise: Social Media Week was two weeks ago and coming out of that was a real good example of why you need to be monitoring social media and how to take advantage of it.  There are at least a couple of ways that you can help strengthen your relationship with brand ambassadors through social media.  The author also quotes a few numbers from one particular event during Social Media Week, saying that 22% of ‘fans’ are ambassadors and 55% of ambassadors aren’t following said brand on their social media.

Thoughts: Interesting example provided in this write-up about a company having no idea what was being said about them and missing the opportunity to engage with a potential brand ambassador.  It happens all of the time.  The three tips on how or where to celebrate ambassadors all make sense.  You simply need to pick the route that you are comfortable with and stick with it over time.

#2 – “Making the Leap From Brand Ignorance to Brand Advocacy” via smeweb.com 

Premise: It is hard enough to get people to notice your brand, but it is just as hard to turn people over to become advocates for your brand/company.  This is particularly true for new brands and market entrants.  The author puts together three steps (or jobs) for new brands/products to manufacture brand advocacy.

Thoughts: This write-up is specific to products that live on a shelf, but very interesting nonetheless.  The first two steps are standing out on shelf at the first moment of truth and driving a level of desirability with potential consumers.  That’s all well and good and heavily relies on packaging and staying up to speed on market trends.

The third step is all about building that brand advocacy through a story that people can connect with and be willing to share with their friends, family, and/or audience.  Their enthusiasm for your story and your brand can lead to endless ripples of success.

#3 – “The secret to getting me to become your brand advocate” via businessesgrow.com 

Premise: Mark Schaefer believes that influence marketing has become a nuisance and offers up several tips and ideas for how to get your brand or product mentioned on his blog.  Interested in having Mark become an ambassador for your product?  Simply put, make it worth his while, be willing to spend the appropriate amount of time and show/create the value your product offers.

Thoughts: Great thoughts and feedback from Mark Schaefer here that can be reapplied to virtually any arena, i.e. product, service, and/or brand.  The first time reading through this write-up I thought to myself that he was looking to be paid for his time … and then, he came out and simply said that at the end of #3.  Honesty goes a long way in my book.  Speaking of books, this article puts another read into my queue as I’m not interested in checking out his book, “Return on Influence”.  

#4 – Why Social Employee Brand Advocate Programs Power Up Your Brand via SocialZoomFactor.com 

Premise: A 13 minute podcast from Pam Moore that takes a look into the importance of building brand advocacy among/through your employees and focuses on how to do so.  Through a partnership with Everyone Social, a new series is beginning to provide tips and support on how to build a better brand advocacy program with your employees.

Thoughts: To close out this week’s #SundayMusings let’s pivot out of building external brand ambassadors and focus on building them from within your own doors.  Employee engagement is critical to your long term success.  Employees are, or should be, your greatest asset.

While I have yet to participate, I would recommend keeping an eye on the “#Getrealchat” that tackles subjects like this on Twitter.  There is a good amount of communication going on and a lot of interesting feedback on each topic.  These chats happen every Tuesday night on Twitter.

Tweet of the Week:

While this week’s ‘Tweet of the Week’ links to an article that was posted two years ago, the article and content itself remains relevant.  The author puts together a quick summary on why advocacy is important, driving and identifying your brand ambassadors, and several (good) ideas regarding building an advocacy program.

Branderati put together the slideshare presentation above that includes twenty great quotes when thinking about brand advocacy and brand ambassadors.  My personal favorites are on slide 4 from Joe Chernov and slide 12 from Dave Kerpen.  What is your favorite quote here?

That wraps up this week’s #SundayMusings.  What are your thoughts on brand advocacy?  How have brand ambassadors helped your brand grow?  How can you better work with these people moving forward?

Let us know in the comments below.  Have a great week ahead!

Pin of the Month – Brand Advocates

October's "Pin of the Month" focuses on the importance of brand advocates.  Infographic by BzzAgent

October’s “Pin of the Month” focuses on the importance of brand advocates. Infographic by BzzAgent

Our October “Pin of the Month” comes to us from BzzAgent and research conducted by Dr. Kathleen R. Ferris-Costa.  The research provides data behind the power of building brand advocacy and turning consumers into advocates for your brand, product, and/or company.

Brand advocates help build word of mouth advertising for your brand and are influencers in the purchase cycle for their audience, followers, family and friends.  The infographic takes a look at the power of brand advocates and why they are so important to have.  So why is it important to build, maintain, and leverage brand advocates to help with your branding efforts?

The infographic caught my eye due to having data behind every recommendation.  Breaking down the data into three sections – Habitat, Behaviors, and Motivations – BzzAgent points out the benefits under all three umbrellas.  Brand advocates are going to use social media and build their audience, they are going to create their own content and help promote your brand for you, and they are going to continue to share said content with their growing audience.

If you are looking for continuous support and “free” publicity, embrace brand advocates and let them become ambassadors for your brand.  Consider rewarding them with some type of perk and watch their support continue to grow over time, which in turn helps grow your audience and amount of support.

The data within this month’s “Pin of the Month” illustrates the power behind building brand advocates.  They are exponentially more likely to help you improve your standing with a broader audience and will continue to support you / your brand over time.

Are you focusing too much on winning new customers and not enough time retaining your current customer base?  Do you have someone that will step up to bat for you and help promote your brand or business?  Building brand ambassadors is an important piece to the puzzle that is ignored all too often.

Every month we post one of the better infographics, pictures, etc. that we find on our Pinterest page and (over-) analyzing it our “Pin of the Month”.  If you have an infographic that you would like to promote here on Shore Branding, just let us know.  Thanks!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 10-12-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome to another edition of #SundayMusings – the top news and stories that caught our attention from the past few weeks.  We have wrapped up our focus on LinkedIn and this week’s musings take us back to the core principle of branding.  Here are several branding-related stories that caught our attention:

#1 – 10 Social Media Mistakes That Could Be Hurting Your Brand – via HuffingtonPost.com

Premise: The vast majority of Americans are on social media which means your brand needs to be there (somewhere) too.  However, one mistake can be costly.  The writer puts together a list of 10 common mistakes that have been made in the past and continue to be made seemingly on a regular basis.

Thoughts: Interested in annoying your audience?  Do you want to cost your brand the equity that has been built over a long period of time in 140 characters or less?  If you answered “No” to these questions, you probably want to check out this list as, at the very least, a good reminder of what not to do with your brand’s social media pages and/or presence.

My “favorite” one here is #3 – “Getting too personal” and the examples from Amy’s Baking Compnay and KitchenAid.  You might want to take a step back from the keyboard before posting anything remotely similar to the meltdowns these brands had in the past.

#2 – “Six great automotive content marketing campaigns” via econsultancy.com 

Premise: The author has found six examples of various content marketing efforts being made by automakers.  The efforts themselves are largely different and go across various mediums.

Thoughts: What I loved about this article right from the beginning is the author’s comment, “I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to properly define content marketing …”.  That is a nice synopsis of my thoughts on the niche that has become content marketing.  It is branding.  No, really, it is.

The efforts of two automakers caught my eye here.  The Nissan Leaf community is a great way to bring together current (or past) owners of the car to provide honest feedback.  The other is Honda’s YouTube channel, Honda Stage.  I’ve mentioned my loyalty to Honda in the past so this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.  Partnering with various music brands that are relevant to a younger audience will/should help Honda gain and build brand salience with present and future car purchasers.

#3 – “The 13 Steps to Content Marketing Success” via ClickZ.com 

Premise: Success in content marketing builds value in your overall company – whether that be through customer engagement, sales, or elsewhere.  The author puts together a list of tips for consideration when drawing up your content marketing plan and how to measure its success.  From ‘setting a goal’ through bringing your content marketing efforts to life, following these steps will help increase your chances of success.

Thoughts: Here we are again with ‘content marketing’.  The beginning four steps here are critical to your success.  While many of the middle steps listed here are straightforward, there is also an important stage at the end of the writer’s list to consider.  #11 – ‘Set up tracking’ is an important element if you want to better understand where your viewers are coming from and can help you adjust your current efforts or note for future efforts.  

#4 – Adweek’s Top 5 Commercials of the Week via Adweek.com 

Premise: At the end of every work week, Adweek compiles a list of the top ads.  Last week’s ads included ones from GE, Strongbow, Starbucks, Volvo, and Dove.  Readers can vote for their favorites on a weekly basis.

Thoughts: If you don’t have this bookmarked or in your Feedly feed, you probably should.  What caught my eye about last week’s ads were the first three in this list.  GE’s ad with Jeff Goldblum is so bizarre I still don’t know what to think about it.  See below, as I had to put in this write-up so that it isn’t a click away.

The same agency that worked on Heineken-owned Newcastle Brown Ale is at it again with another brand under the Heineken umbrella – Strongbow.  This ad cracked me up.  The Starbucks ad is the brand’s first global campaign, which actually surprised me that it has taken this long for a more broadly distributed campaign.

Tweet of the Week:

Interbrand’s 2014 “Best Global Brands” report is out and you need to take a look.  Follow the link in the Twitter ad above to the landing page of the report.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will find all of the content that was put together for this year’s report.  This includes the list itself (which highlights the top risers year over year), the methodology, interviews, etc.  There is a tremendous amount of information here to digest and is well worth the time.  Enjoy!

What news or stories caught your eye this week?  Enjoy your Sunday and have a great week ahead!

Eight Tips When Leveraging LinkedIn Company Pages

LinkedIn Company Pages

As we close #LinkedInMonth (plus) here on Shore Branding, it is time to look at several LinkedIn Tips for building your company page on the network.  We previously looked at improving your own, personal page on LinkedIn but now it is time to focus on business pages.  Several tips are similar in concept, but LinkedIn has rolled out new features that only business pages can take advantage of.

Here are eight tips to improving your business/company page on LinkedIn.

#1 – Maximize the information you put on your profile & consider some of LinkedIn’s special offerings

Provide all of the pertinent information in your company description – who you are and what you do, your company history, corporate portfolio, and a link to your web site.  List your specialties to help with appearing in search within LinkedIn and provide any type of unique selling point (USP) that you would typically promote anywhere else.

Are you looking to hire?  Post your job opening(s) directly on your LinkedIn page and track who and how many people are responding to each posting.

LinkedIn used to have “Products” and “Services” tabs as well but they have since removed this information from company pages.  However, they now provide a “Showcase page” where you can focus your message and target others with your core capabilities.  Take your USP’s and build pages for them, providing enough depth and breadth for others to notice.

LinkedIn Showcase Page

#2 – Publish regularly scheduled content on LinkedIn

Whether or not your company has a blog page, leverage your LinkedIn network to promote your work, white papers, PR, etc.  Update your status on some type of regular basis … whether you commit yourself to a daily, weekly, or monthly update/post, stay true to form over time.  Publishing your material to LinkedIn allows you another avenue to promote your expertise.

Beyond this, make sure you have some type of consistent branding on your posts.  It can be as simple as your brand logo at the top of each page/slide or you can leverage an appropriate color scheme, hashtag, etc.  Add some consistency for your audience.

#3 – Target your status updates 

Have a fragmented audience or do you offer up a number of services?  LinkedIn now allows you to target your status updates by company size, industries, job functions and more.  This obviously says a lot about the data available on the LinkedIn servers and your ability to target down to the right audience.

Targeting your audience on LinkedIn has never been easier!

Targeting your audience on LinkedIn has never been easier!

#4 – Start a LinkedIn group and participate in others 

Vastly similar to what is recommended for personal branding on LinkedIn, this is yet another area and opportunity to promote your core competencies and expertise.  Groups are an invaluable resource for many LinkedIn users and you can find/connect with like minds, while also seeing what your competitors might be suggesting in your space.

Starting a group is another aspect for consideration, allowing you to regularly moderate the group, initiate and steer discussions, etc.

#5 – Leverage SlideShare

Have sales sheets, infographics, training materials, business goals, and more?  Drop any shareable information into SlideShare and upload the information to your profile – whether it be part of your regularly scheduled updates or within your company description, SlideShare adds a level of visual appeal and helps break up the text on your business profile.

#6 – Stay up to date on the latest LinkedIn innovations

As mentioned above, LinkedIn is continually tweaking their offering on both personal and business pages.  As these options are deployed, figured out what makes the most sense for your business page and what you are most comfortable with.

For the latest and greatest news, bookmark this page on LinkedIn.  As you will see in that link, occasionally there isn’t an update to company pages for weeks and months.  However, looking at April and May 2014, there are also times where LinkedIn is continually updating their features.

#7 – Use LinkedIn’s analytics tools

LinkedIn continues to update and improve its analytics offering.  This will allow you to help track your audience on a daily/weekly basis and to begin to understand how your efforts on the platform are paying off (or aren’t).  You’ll understand both reach and engagement on each of your updates and in total.  One of the more powerful pieces of the analytics tool is the ability to understand the success rates of LinkedIn’s advertising platform – sponsored links/updates, advertising your company page itself, etc.

Know your audience better with LinkedIn Analytics

Know your audience better with LinkedIn Analytics

Speaking of …

#8 – Consider leveraging LinkedIn’s advertising platform 

LinkedIn’s advertising platform is easy to understand and incredibly easy to use.  Pick the type of ad that you want to use – text/image, video – and where you want it to appear on the network.  Then, start targeting your message appropriately.  Finally, set your budget.  You can set per day limits and pay by the number of clicks you receive or on the number of impressions out there.

A bevy of options with LinkedIn Advertising

A bevy of options with LinkedIn Advertising

There you have it – eight tips to improving your company’s LinkedIn page and to help with your branding and digital marketing efforts on the platform.

If you have any other tips for running a company page on LinkedIn, let us know in the comments below.  If something has (or has not) worked really well for your business, let us know as well.  Thanks!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 9-28-14

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on LinkedIn (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on LinkedIn (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

Our last #SundayMusings that focuses on LinkedIn as we close out “LinkedInMonth” – which turned into two months given the amount of content.  We have focused our #SundayMusings efforts on the professional network over the past few weeks and have our last two “Pin of the Month” entries on the platform as well.  Next week will wrap up our efforts with a new “Tips” article focusing on business/company page recommendations, which follows our personal branding Tips for the network.

Here are the stories that caught our attention over the past few weeks:

#1 – LinkedIn takes steps toward an ad network – via DigiDay.com

Premise: LinkedIn’s recent acquisition of Bizo will help the network vastly improve its business-to-business marketing and will serve as another source of revenue for the platform.  While LinkedIn will not call Bizo a pure ‘ad network’ play, the site will soon be able to sell B2B ads that are more targeted on-site, but also off-site.  The July acquisition takes LinkedIn another giant step forward from past efforts in building ad revenue with more powerful targeting.

Thoughts: LinkedIn’s CEO Jeffrey Weiner seems to continue pushing all the right buttons in moving the platform to the next level.  With a need to now answer to shareholders, the acquisition of Bizo represents another huge opportunity for revenue growth.  Targeted marketing continues to become more and more prevalent, while at the same time, becoming stronger and more efficient thanks to companies like Bizo.

#2 – “33 Tweet-Size LinkedIn Tips You Need to Try” via themuse.com 

Premise: An infographic from Ethos3 provides 33 tips for consideration when looking for improvements to your LinkedIn profile.  Each tip is a quote from someone else’s thoughts and gives credit to said person or company.

Thoughts: There are a lot of good ideas within the infographic.  However, I do want to point out one that doesn’t jive with others here.  I do not agree with #6 – although I am guilty of doing this myself in the past – in the recommendation “Skip the “How do you know this person” step.  Click “Connect” from search results, instead of profiles. @SylvanLane”.  Why do I disagree with this?  Simply scroll down to #19 – “Don’t use automated invitation messages … @dailymuse”.  There isn’t a way to do both and I would strongly recommend personalizing each invitation that you send out.

#3 – 5 Reasons Sales Professionals Should Publish on LinkedIn via Jeff L. Herrmann on LinkedIn.com 

Premise: The author provides more rationale to use LinkedIn as a publishing platform vs. just using it for your job search.  The five reasons are straightforward, including the ability to position yourself as an expert in your sector and building trust with others.

Thoughts: The one ‘reason’ that caught my attention and got me thinking was Jeff’s last point: “Comments, likes, and views on your published content are a much better endorsement than the skills boxes.”  I thought about this a little bit and it’s an interesting POV.  Specifically to sales professionals, which this article is focused on, this makes a lot of sense.  To the general job seeker, etc. you are going to need those skills listed out on your profile and endorsements from your network.

#4 – “LinkedIn Sales Navigator Goes Mobile and Adds Redesigned Salesforce Features” via Sales.LinkedIn.com 

Premise: LinkedIn launched Sales Navigator earlier this year and have already announced an upgrade with the release of its iOS mobile app.  Following general behaviors in the marketplace, the shift to mobile continues and LinkedIn continues to invest in the platform.  The new LinkedIn Sales Navigator app provides several key benefits: Real-time updates, TeamLink, and Saved accounts and leads.  The app also works directly with Salesforce and includes new features there as well.

Thoughts: A couple of items caught my attention beyond the announcement itself.  First, it drives me crazy when companies release an iOS version of something only.  I completely understand why they do it, but it still drives me a bit batty.  Second, it didn’t go unnoticed that LinkedIn’s own posts continue to drop in Slideshare presentations.

Tweet of the Week:

What I really like about Pam’s podcasts is that she provides an in-depth summary and corresponding write-up with them.  This allows you to read up on what is covered in the podcast and decide whether or not you want to listen, skip around, etc.  The highlights towards the end of article is a quick list of benefits of leveraging LinkedIn.  If you have been following “LinkedIn Month” here on Shore Branding, you know we’re aligned with a lot of these areas.

OK, so this is a little dated at this point, but I wanted to bring the focus to company pages on LinkedIn as this will be the focus of next weekend’s “Tips” write-up.  I couldn’t find an updated Slideshare for 2014 (yet?) but many of the strengths highlighted in the above presentation still exist.  I really like what Dell has done visually on their company page.  Their image has since been updated, with the new Dell page promoting a “#DoMore” campaign.

That wraps up our LinkedIn-geared #SundayMusings for another week!  What caught your attention on the network?  Have a great week!

Pin of the Month – LinkedIn Statistics

September's "Pin of the Month" is from Mainstreethost.com - LinkedIn Statistics

September’s “Pin of the Month” is from Mainstreethost.com – LinkedIn Statistics

“LinkedIn Month” (Plus) continues with our next “Pin of the Month”.  We have been focusing on LinkedIn for several weeks now, beginning with our August “Pin of the Month”, several #SundayMusings, and a Tips article.  The infographic above comes from Mainstreethost.com and provides key LinkedIn Statistics directly from LinkedIn itself.

This infographic caught my attention as there is a focus on the corporate/business side of using the social platform that doesn’t receive as much attention as it should.  You will find a plethora of material and recommendations on how to improve your own personal page (including our own Tips article referenced above …) but there is much less content out there about how to build your business page and how powerful it can become for you and your business in the B2B environment.

Starting off near the top of the infographic we find out there are 3 million or so business pages on LinkedIn.  I wonder how many of those were set up and are virtually never thought of or touched again by the company’s page managers.

From there we start to get into several, key business-specific facts:

  • “51% of companies have acquired a B2B customer”
  • “LinkedIn drives more traffic to corporate websites & blogs”
  • “LinkedIn is the most effective social platform for generating B2B leads”

These are all heavy hitting numbers and facts from the social network.  It is an interesting fine line that the company continues to toe between “social” and “business” and is certainly a unique POV when considering that LinkedIn is doing both so well (in general).

For those that may be unfamiliar with our “Pin of the Month”, each month we’ll be posting one of the better infographics, pictures, etc. that we find on our Pinterest page and (over-) analyzing it in a write-up like this.  For those specifically interested in LinkedIn, here is a direct link to our LinkedIn board.

What do you think about LinkedIn’s role in building a social presence for businesses and companies?  We’ll be putting together a second “Tips” article in the coming weeks that focuses squarely on building stronger company pages on the platform!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 9-14-14

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on LinkedIn (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on LinkedIn (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

We continue with our “#LinkedInMonth” today with our second #SundayMusings that focuses on the business social network.  Similar to two weeks ago, here are the top stories of the past few weeks regarding LinkedIn.  Again, if you have an article or recommendations for stories to cover on LinkedIn, let me know and we’ll share in the future.

#1 – How Millennials Can Use LinkedIn – via VirtualSocialMedia.com

Premise: Millennials know all about social media and how to use it, but the one site they should be paying attention to is LinkedIn.  The author offers up several tips on completing a profile and what not to include.  LinkedIn is a powerful tool/resource that can help millennials land their first job.        

Thoughts: This past weekend we covered off on several tips in improving your personal brand on LinkedIn.  Many of said thoughts are highly applicable to millennials entering the work force.  However, you must realize that the network is used by professionals and is much, much different than updating your Twitter and Facebook profiles.      

#2 – “Does your LinkedIn profile lack curb appeal?  Add images and links!” via thesocialmediahat.com 

Premise: If your LinkedIn profile looks like your resume from a Word document, you aren’t leveraging the platform correctly.  The latest updates from LinkedIn allow anyone to make their profile shine.  LinkedIn now allows you to personalize the order of your profile from top to bottom. 

Thoughts: Anyone looking to use LinkedIn for their job search must stay on top of all of the latest and greatest from LinkedIn, as they are continuously updating what is possible for your profile.  There is a great slideshare within the link above as well, providing several tips and examples on how to optimize your profile.    

#3 – The 3 Biggest Mistakes People Make on Twitter and LinkedIn (And How to Fix Them) via blog.hubspot.com 

Premise: The author provides three mistakes that are commonly seen being made on Twitter and LinkedIn and recommendations on how to fix them.  Link baiting and blasting LinkedIn Groups with your thoughts and feedback is one common mistake; instead, join in other conversations and spread your knowledge.  The second LinkedIn mistake commonly made is sending the generic message in invitations to new connections.  Personalizing said message goes a long way to distinguishing yourself vs. others.     

Thoughts: Both LinkedIn-specific recommendations are hard to argue against.  Nothing drives me crazier than the link baiting that goes on under comments and updates in Groups.  People that simply add a “Hi” or “Thanks” and a link to their site underneath a popular status update is a great way to annoy your audience and get blocked. 

I also believe in customizing the text in your connection invitation.  Personalize your message to something that is more relevant for each individual person.  The 90 seconds it takes to do this will go a long way.  

#4 – “8 Brilliant Ways To Get Your LinkedIn Account Restricted/Suspended” via exploreB2B.com 

Premise: LinkedIn is one of the greatest ways for businesses to build their leads and contacts.  In a somewhat sarcastic way, the writer puts together eight ways to ruin your business’ reputation on the network.  Building off of #3 above at the personal level, using your business page to spam your audience is a great way to draw negative attention to yourself.    

Thoughts: The eight examples provided by the writer are all “fun” ways to annoy an audience.  Sadly, you likely see examples of each every time you check into the network.  Tip number 3 – “Clone yourself” – is one of the most confusing elements I have seen on LinkedIn and it simply drives me crazy when I do.  Which of these are your “favorite”?    

#5 – “The One New LinkedIn Feature That Will Make Your Profile Stand Out” via William Arruda on LinkedIn.com 

Premise: LinkedIn rolled out a new feature for Premium members in recent months – the ability to add a background image to your profile.  This feature will eventually become available to all users and is a great way to distinguish yourself from others with an eye catching visual.  If you want to build/improve your personal brand on the network, this is certainly one of the best features to do so.    

Thoughts: The author provides the appropriate specs (1400*425 pixels) for your background image and several other recommendations to improve your branding efforts on your profile.  For my background I actually went ahead and created a word cloud based on my work experience and expertise areas.  Think about what works for you and get started with a new background image on your profile – it truly does/will set you apart right now on the network.    

Tweet of the Week:

Author Barry Moltz has a new book called “How to Get Unstuck: 25 Ways to Get Your Business Growing Again” and LinkedIn Influencer Dave Kerpen – CEO of Likeable Media – spoke with Moltz on his ideation of how to get your business growing again, avoiding drop-offs and plateaus. 

First, these are very solid ideas for growing your business.  Second, Kerpen is a ‘must follow’ on LinkedIn if you aren’t already.  

That’s it for this week’s musings.  If you have or see a write-up on LinkedIn and you think it be helpful for others, send it my way and I’ll include it in the next #SundayMusings!

Six Tips When Leveraging LinkedIn for Your Personal Brand

LinkedIn Tips for Your Brand

LinkedIn Tips for Your Brand

Founded in 2002 and launched in 2003, the social network for business professionals has done nothing but continue to grow exponentially over the past decade-plus.  In 2011 the company went public, taking the network into another stratosphere in popularity.  Given the uniqueness of LinkedIn, we’re going to break up our Tips into two groups – one for your personal brand and one for your business.  This week’s edition focuses on the former.

Here are six (loaded) tips to improving your personal brand on LinkedIn.

#1 – Creatively fill in your profile

First and foremost, upload a clear, professional image of yourself.  I don’t think anything else really needs to be said here beyond the following …

14 times more likely to be viewed!  Yes, please add an image to your LinkedIn

14 times more likely to be viewed! Yes, please add an image to your LinkedIn

There are several other items that you want to take care of as well:

  • Customize your URL to your name or something unique
  • Within the summary at the top of your profile, after a paragraph or two of detail, list out “Specialties” or “Core Focus” items that quickly summarize what you bring to the table
  • For each position/job you have held, provide detail and perspective of what your role entailed
  • Include your contact information (phone and email at least) within the “Additional Info” section of the profile

#2 – Leverage “Endorsements” 

On your own profile, add key words and tags that describe your experience and expertise.  This will allow other connections to endorse you for said skills.

Struggling to earn/receive endorsements from others?  An easy way to improve these numbers is to start endorsing others.  A good percentage of your connections will reciprocate.

#3 – Join and Participate in Groups 

LinkedIn has the second strongest Group/Community feature available across social media networks in my opinion – trailing only Google+.  Join Groups that are relevant to your expertise and more importantly, engage within these communities to build your presence and increase your network.

A second element to Groups that many people choose not to do is to show these communities that you have joined on your profile.  The more information and detail you can provide about yourself and your background, the better.

#4 – Join LinkedIn Premium

LinkedIn Premium is a revenue source for the company but is well worth it.  If you are looking for a new job, Premium is essential.  There are a number of benefits to signing up for LinkedIn Premium, including:

  • InMail messaging – allowing you to send contact emails to LinkedIn members that you are not connected to
  • Analytics – See how your profile compares to others, who is viewing your page, etc.
  • Premium accounts are currently the only profiles able to create a banner image on your profile.  Be creative and visual with your banner image, drawing that much more attention to your page.
LinkedIn Premium Benefits

LinkedIn Premium Benefits

 #5 – Link and Incorporate SlideShare

In 2012 LinkedIn acquired SlideShare.net and now allows members to easily incorporate SlideShare presentations into your profile and company pages.  Have a sales pitch or visual component that you want to show off?  Upload said material to SlideShare and drop it right into your LinkedIn Profile.

#6 – Publish Content on LinkedIn

While it used to be only available to “celebrities” and those with thousands of followers, LinkedIn has opened up its publishing platform to all users several months ago.  Publishing posts directly on LinkedIn opens up another avenue for you to share your material.  It also allows your material to become part of your portfolio and online resume.  These posts can further prove/improve your expertise in a particular area.  Another benefit … SEO … take a look at the video below!

Those are six tips for improving your personal brand via LinkedIn.  Have you updated your LinkedIn profile recently?  Keep these tips in mind and keep up with the latest and greatest being rolled out by the network to ensure you have the latest features on your profile.

What has your LinkedIn experience been like?  What has worked for you?

The Fall Means the Return of SaveThanksgiving.net

Visit SaveThanksgiving.net and help us ... #SaveThanksgiving Gobble Gobble

Visit SaveThanksgiving.net and help us … #SaveThanksgiving
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The end of summer 2014 means that we are entering fall and here at Shore Branding that equates to paying attention to the forthcoming Thanksgiving holiday. We began our #SaveThanksgiving efforts in November of last year and now with more time available, we would like to take it to another level.

As mentioned last year, there is no greater holiday than Thanksgiving! Unfortunately, the day continues to be swept under the rug while consumers leave their families behind to get the early bird deals for their holiday shopping. More and more retailers open their doors on Thanksgiving Day and it is a growing tradition that I would truly like to see broken.

With the help of Berry Smart Media, we launched SaveThanksgiving.net as a site to take back the holiday and its traditions. Our goal is to remind people that this is a day for giving thanks for all of their respective blessings from the past year, and spend quality time with their family … not leave the house the second the doors open at local retailers.

Last year several retailers remained closed on the holiday, including; PC Richard & Son, Costco, TJ Maxx, and Marshal’s. We want to help support these retailers and those like it that refuse to open their doors, taking their employees away from their families on the holiday. Whether through sponsorship or something as simple as making it a point to shop at these stores in the coming weeks, help these retailers over the coming months.

If you, or anyone you know, is open to partnering with us and joining the “fight” to #SaveThanksgiving – please let us know. Let’s give thanks to our friends and family and spend one day with them without the distractions! With a little addition to our family, we will be contributing to at least one food drive in the area but will not be running our own. We’ll keep you posted on where those contributions will be made and/or let us know if you have suggestions and we can help spread the word.

Again, you can visit SaveThanksgiving.net and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest. Every Thursday we take a Thanksgiving theme and share a few pins.

How can you help? Share your stories with the world – it could be a simple memory of loved ones, a funny story that makes you think of the holiday, or a picture and memory. If these stories can convince one retailer, one radio station, or just a few people, this will have been worth it.

Happy Thanksgiving! #SaveThanksgiving

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 8-31-14

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on LinkedIn (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on LinkedIn (Photo credit: PowerFormula.net)

Today is our first of two #SundayMusings that will focus squarely on LinkedIn as we continue our unofficial “LinkedIn month” here on Shore Branding. As we started in last weekend’s “Pin of the Month”, each of the next few weeks’ worth of blog entries will focus on LinkedIn, including forthcoming “Tips” articles for individuals and businesses. If you have an article or recommendations on LinkedIn, send it our way over the next few weeks, as the next #SundayMusings in two weeks will also focus on the professional networking site.

For now, here are the stories that caught my attention over the past few weeks:

#1 – The 5 Most Important LinkedIn Features You Aren’t Using Correctly – via Forbes.com 

Premise: As LinkedIn continues to evolve, new features and benefits are made available. However, users fail to keep up with these updates to optimize their LinkedIn profiles. The author offers up five features that are commonly being misused, or not used at all. Each tip is followed up with a recommendation or prime example on how to make the most of your profile/account.

Thoughts: As mentioned in several other #SundayMusings, LinkedIn offers up the second strongest Groups / Communities feature on social media, second to only Google+. At the very least, you should be joining these LinkedIn Groups to find relevant/pertinent information that relates directly to your field of work.

The second of the author’s five tips that I wanted to call out is the use of multi-media. When LinkedIn started, you couldn’t do a lot with multi-media … OK, you couldn’t do anything in this realm. However, now you have the ability to link to web sites, videos, SlideShare presentations, etc. Take advantage of these opportunities on your profile.

#2 – “10 LinkedIn tips Every Business Can Benefit From” via impactbnd.com 

Premise: Businesses often create their LinkedIn page … and then walk away from it and let it exist on its own. The author puts together a list of tips and thoughts on how to better use the platform from a business page perspective. Each tip is followed by a relevant quote from various sources and publications.

Thoughts: I have purposefully focused the first two articles here on personal and business-related tips, as this is how we will be breaking down our own Tips articles in the coming weeks.

The first two tips here – “connect with a purpose” and “employ consistent branding” should be the backbone to your efforts on LinkedIn. The one tip here to be careful/cautious on, “involve your employees”. We have seen this bite company pages in the collective … too often. It is incredibly easy to add and remove access to your business page, but it is easier to set guidelines with employees that you have the utmost trust in ahead of time to ensure there are no fires that need to be put out because of someone saying/publishing something dumb or controversial on behalf of your company name.

#3 – 10 Reasons Why You Should Publish Content on LinkedIn via TopDogSocialMedia.com  

Premise: For some time, only LinkedIn Influencers were able to publish their content on the network. However, that has changed and anyone with a profile can use the platform to publish their work, which in turn creates a number of benefits and value for users. The author has created a list of reasons to consider publishing your content on LinkedIn.

Thoughts: This is a fantastic, in-depth look at a specific part of LinkedIn that you or your business can focus on. The third (“LinkedIn might promote you”) and fourth (“Reach your 2nd and 3rd level connection”) really stood out to me as the added benefit and value of using LinkedIn.

Are you using the publishing platform? If so, what is your opinion of it?

#4 – “LinkedIn vs. Facebook for Professionals: A Social Media Smackdown” via Inc.com 

Premise: While Facebook may have approximately three times as many users vs. LinkedIn (900 million vs. 300 million respectively), the latter is clearly the better network for business professionals. The author provides a rundown of why and how LinkedIn is superior to Facebook when thinking about attracting right audience, in this case, business professionals.

Thoughts: I personally liked the head to head comparisons on each of the points. I also give credit to the author for giving a tie to LinkedIn and Facebook on the company pages aspect and not just giving LinkedIn the advantage because that was the overall tone/point of the article.

#5 – “Top Content Marketers Call On LinkedIn” via SocialMediaFrontiers.com  

Premise: The push towards content and current news stories (LinkedIn Today) have become more prevalent on the network in recent months. The UK based company Collective Content has been monitoring these changes and provides perspective on how important LinkedIn is becoming to businesses.

Between LinkedIn Today and the page’s Influencer program, the potential for the platform continues to grow. Collective Content believes that LinkedIn can be a publishing powerhouse and prime news source for its members.

Thoughts: Again, we find more information and detail on how LinkedIn can be leveraged as a prime source for news and relevant content. It is quite amazing how LinkedIn has moved away from being simply an online resume to a content curator and relevant source of information across businesses and markets.

Tweet of the Week:

We couldn’t get through this #SundayMusings without a mention of SlideShare. The LinkedIn-owned site is now free to use for everyone. Beginning in September, they will be rolling out “Pro” features to everyone at a one per month rate for new users, while Pro members/subscribers will no longer be charged beginning next month.

With that in mind, below you will find one of the best SlideShare presentations I’ve seen on the basics of LinkedIn. I thought it was important to start with the basics in our first #SundayMusings dedicated to the platform. While a couple of these slides are no longer relevant due to the changes made on the network, this provides a strong grounding of what to expect when you first sign up on the site and where you can find the most relevant information.

 

Again, if you have or see a write-up on LinkedIn and you think it be helpful for others, send it my way and I’ll include it in the next #SundayMusings! Have a great week!