Monday, April 14, 2014

How to Leverage LinkedIn for Professional Services Marketing


***originally written by different author
For professional service marketers, LinkedIn provides numerous ways to connect with key decision makers, showcase your firm’s expertise, build a personal brand, conduct market research and gather competitive intelligence. It helps to:

  • Expand your network and keep track of your professional connections and their career moves.
  • Research your competitors and business opportunities.
  • Present a professional front to prospective customers and employees.
  • Recruit top talent.
  • Position yourself and your firm as an expert and thought leader, becoming the go-to resource for your contacts.
  • Drive traffic back to your website or a blog and boost SEO rankings.
If you are a marketer, or a company executive, chances are you’re already on LinkedIn – the question is: Are you taking full advantage of this premier online networking platform? And is your firm leveraging LinkedIn’s multitude of strategic uses, including both marketing and lead intelligence?

Before you can dive into LinkedIn full-force, however, you need to make sure you are working from a strong foundation.

The Basics

Set Yourself Up for Success

Make sure that your Company Page and the Individual Profiles (beginning with the Management and Marketing teams) have photos and are complete and optimized for appropriate keywords.

Keep networks active, constantly sharing valuable content, trends and updates – both generated by your firm and curated.

Build the Community


Establish search parameters (title, industry, etc.) and use them to search for new connections.
Subscribe to receive weekly reports for new connections within your key industry(s).
Use second level connections to make introductions.
Send invitations to existing contacts to follow your Company Page.
Encourage all staff members connected to your firm on LinkedIn and to share content posted to Company Page.

Deepen Engagement

Research and join relevant LinkedIn Groups and begin participating in Group discussions.
Set up regular discussions around original content (generated by your firm) within those Groups where your clients or industry influencers congregate.
Share content and updates relevant to your target audiences.
Make sure the Company Page is regularly updated, including new blog posts and PR mentions; new hires, promotions and achievements; new clients and projects; and more.

Company Pages

Make sure that your company profile is complete, optimized and includes all relevant information about your firm and your offerings. LinkedIn automatically associates all members listing your firm as their place of employment with your Company Page.

Use the Careers section to post your open positions – both potential employees and recruiters use LinkedIn more extensively than even before.

If you want multiple team members to post updates to your Company Page, you’ll need to grant admin privileges to those individuals.

Individual Profiles

Make sure you profile is complete with skills, education, volunteer organizations and board positions. If you want to truly engage with the LinkedIn community, provide as much info as you can. And make sure to update it as needed

Don’t be the faceless, flat gray person – add a profile photo and make sure it’s professional and recognizable. Your LinkedIn profile is a virtual equivalent of person-to-person networking and you want your name, and definitely your face to be remembered.

Get recommendations and use them as testimonials in online and offline marketing.

Skill Endorsements
Skill endorsements are a way to endorse your 1st degree connections' skills and expertise with one click. Endorsements are all the rage and all cool kids are doing this! Should you? Proceed with caution.

According to LinkedIn, there have been 550 million Endorsements so far and growing at a rate of 10 million per day. And while some endorsements are legitimate, we all have probably gotten a skill endorsement from someone who has no experience with that particular skill. This makes the whole system suspect and more like a Facebook “like” rather than a LinkedIn “recommendation.”

A few guidelines:


Don’t embark on endorsing all of your connections for all of their skills simply because you hope they’ll endorse you back.
Don’t automatically accept every endorsement, especially if you are endorsed for skills you don’t have listed on your profile because and/or those you don’t want to highlight. You can also hide an endorsement (you can’t delete it).
Use the endorsements you receive as a market research on how your personal brand is perceived by the marketplace. Are you being endorsed for the skills that you want to be known for? Which skills get the most endorsements? Is there a gap between your existing and desired brand perception?
Groups
With an ever-growing list of LinkedIn tools to grow your business, Groups remain one of the most effective.

Think strategically: 

Which groups should you join? While it’s a good idea to join some groups of like-minded professionals with discussion topics relevant to your day-to-day job so that you can stay on top of trends and best practices (and keep tabs on your competition), you should first think about joining groups where your clients are. Is your core expertise in Urban Development? Join groups for real estate developers and planning directors and learn what your prospects are talking about and what’s important to them.

Once you join a group, begin by “lurking” to see the group dynamics and then gradually become more active. Be careful not to promote your firm but seek to make truly valuable contributions to the group through your knowledge and expertise.

Connecting

We’ve all agonized over whether or not we want our clients see our other clients and our connections see who our clients are. At some point you need to decide why you are on LinkedIn – if you want to expand your network, then you may need to be less guarded about initiating and accepting connections.

If someone wants to connect and you are not sure why but don’t want to offend them, send a message back: “Thank you for reaching out. Could you briefly tell me how you believe we both would benefit from connecting.” If it’s one of those people who shoves his/her business card into everyone’s hands at a live networking event, you’ll never hear back. If someone is connecting strategically, you never know what you may gain. And don’t take it personally when people don’t accept your invitations – many professionals are still new to online networking and simply not comfortable responding

To strategically and successfully grow your network through connecting:

Customize your invite message – tell the recipient what your connection is, what you have in common and why you are requesting to connect. Unless you met at a networking event yesterday and agreed to connect, or know each other very well, the generic LinkedIn message may not be compelling enough for people to accept your connection request..
Once connection email has been accepted, follow up with a request to connect by phone to learn more about each other.
Posting/Sharing Content
Rules

No blatant self-promotion – there’s no faster way to undermine your credibility, and negatively impact your reputation on LinkedIn, than a hard sell.
Don’t be all business all the time. Without being unprofessional, show some personality and every now don’t be afraid to throw in fun info that is just plain entertaining.
What/How to share

Start a discussion around a hot trend, industry challenge, or a piece of content you or your firm published.
Comment on an open discussion.
Share and comment on other people’s content.
Post status updates.
Share an article, a blog post, an accomplishment, and industry event.
Unlike more time-dependent social networks like Twitter or Facebook, LinkedIn posts have a longer shelf life. Often, people treat LinkedIn digests that come to their inbox as their morning paper, so you may chose posting some discussions on Saturday afternoon and people will still see them/read them days later.

And while we all love, love, love automation, I recommend adjusting the personality and the tone of your messages for LinkedIn vs., for example, Facebook.
Saturday, April 12, 2014

How to Turn Business Stories to Engagement to Traffic to Sales


Telling stories isn't hard. In fact, it can be simple in many cases. Below are a few tried and true tips to getting your stories found (e.g. in Google search results), friended (e.g. a Facebook like), followed (e.g. followed on Twitter), and forwarded (e.g. shared).

Keys to Engaging Storytelling: 


Authenticity and Transparency
Create and Expand Opportunities For Your Target to Share Stories Find, Curate, and Amplify Content That's Already Been Published Keys to Getting Found: Make your content "SEO-Friendly" and follow best-practices for SEO.

Encourage linking to your content from other sites. Measure the organic traffic your content is getting from search engines. To the extent you can understand the keywords people are using to find your content, do so.

Track the traffic from organic search all the way through to conversions and revenue on your site.

Understand which content and stories are the ones that are driving the greatest engagement, conversions, and revenue.

Keys to Getting Friended and Followed: 


Make commenting, liking, and following part of the story you're telling.

Present counters next to these actions as a way to reinforce the idea that yours is a story worth reading/watching/listening to.

Recognize and reward the people that Like, Tweet, Pin, or Follow Your Content. Doesn't have to be big but it should be unique to this audience.

Keys to Getting Forwarded: 


Make sharing a part of the story.
The story gets bigger and better the more people with whom it's shared.
More than 90 percent of the sharing that happens does so through email, SMS, IRC, and other "private" channels. Neglect these sharers at your peril. They should be treated in a manner that is equivalent to your audiences on the major social sites.

Recognize and reward your influencers, the people who are actively referring their friends and followers to your content. There are many ways to do this, but the best are to do so with the development of a long-term, loyal relationship with the influencer in mind. The people are a brand's most valuable audience segment and should be treated as such.

***Originally written by different author
***Shared by BJMANNYST.com
Thursday, April 10, 2014

Are We in The Era of Annoying Social Media?

 

Are We in The Era of Annoying Social Media?

Now that both facebook & linkedin & twitter are public companies there’s always more pressure to perform. To please the stock holders with more and more earnings. So what does that pressure on them mean to the millions of social media users? It means these companies will go through great lengths to monetize their success regardless of the impact of the online experience.

I bring this up because linkedin, twitter, facebook are resulting to more intrusive advertising models which personally I find very annoying and many users are irritated by them as well. I wonder if they really know why people use social networks? They use it to socialize and stay connected and informed.

Don’t they know in todays world paid ads and promotion are simply annoying. That most people are now making more decision through the use of influencers and recommendations.

I understand the need to make money but don’t forget not to f#@&^$ with the users, community managers and the group managers. Without a quality experience on your sites, which are created by users, you are nothing. The experience is what keeps users loyal and coming back.

The endless social media emails. Even as a group moderator, I get bombarded by all kinds of email from everywhere. So i’m not immune to the growing annoyance of social media sites. I hope someone at these companines better strike the right balance or else I will find alternatives.

Advantages of Social Media Advertising 

Social media sites are great for building customer relationship and offers an incredible reach and the opportunity to connect with customers in an entirely new way Offers a wide reach, with its potential for viral marketing Traffic generated can be extremely targeted Social media tools are relatively inexpensive 

Disadvantages of Social Media Advertising 

Targeting is so low because of the diversity and breadth of audiences, resulting in low ROI as visitors do not convert Visitors mainly go to social media sites to socialize, and are not interested in advertising Traffic is typically in the learning stage of the buying process; hence it is more important to inform and teach than sell outright Social media can be a hard branding tool for small businesses, and it is not easy to build awareness, create appeal and generate traffic -


Banner Advertising Advantages of Banner Advertising 

Prices (CPM and CPC rates) have gone down through the years With good placement and design, banner ads can deliver above-industry average click through rates Banner ads are good branding tools Easy to track with the available ad serving tools and tracking tools Banner ads can bring in targeted traffic interested in your offerings 

Disadvantages of Banner Advertising 

Some types of banner advertising — e.g. flashing banners, popups, popunders, interstitials — are often seen as annoying and highly intrusive Growing usage of popup and ad blockers that prevents users from seeing the ads Click through rates have significantly declined, due to poor banner design to accumulated bad experiences of web users Oversaturation of banner ads leads to ad blindness
Friday, April 4, 2014

Accountants Probably to Be Replaced by Robots?



This is what Bill Gates said:
"Software substitution, whether it's for drivers or waiters or nurses … it's progressing. ...
Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set. ...  20 years from now,
labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model" - Bill Gates



 My statement:
Just thought I'd share this view by Bill Gates & others and maybe learn what skills will be in demand in the future. Like to learn what are the actions currently taken by accountants. As a marketer that engages people from diverse profession and assist business owners and organization. Like to hear your thoughts and maybe start a discusiion.
Sunday, March 30, 2014

Do you know your online personality type?



Hey everyone

I came across an interesting insight from the people at Mastercard. The accuracy of the profile insight I'm not sure but it's interesting from a business and marketer perspective.

Check out their summary as well as the embed pdf document. Enjoy!
Plus, if BJ Mannyst / FU40 Group can be of service to your organization, contact us.

Mastercard's Summary

Using state-of-the-art techniques, MasterCard has
designed a methodology to gauge global consumer
attitudes regarding the use of personal data in social
and commercial settings. Consumers are by and large
fully aware of how their data is harvested and leveraged
by the sites they visit. Globally, they separate into five
quite clearly defined segments, which MasterCard calls
personas, determined by their online behaviors. These
behaviors are indicative of their attitudes toward their
own data, its value, and, most important, what they go
online to accomplish.

Insight...PDF

Saturday, March 29, 2014

How to Pickup Love on the Subway_Infograph


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Manny’s - What Modern & Future Marketing ROI Looks Like



So many marketing mediums. So many things to do. So many things competing for our consumers attention. You spend so much time creating campaigns however the constant pressure of marketing ROI, in dollars, always lingers. 

As a marketer, i’m sure your role and responsibility has become overwhelming-demanding. So i put together some insight to provide you a better definition of what modern marketing ROI really looks like and what to expect in the future. 


Next Generation Consumers ROI 

If you haven’t spotted the patterns in the past few years, then I’ll make them clear. In every century or generation, the youth & future adults are the ones shaping everyone else future behaviors. From how we consume information to if we plan to have a driverless car. 

Gen-X had some balance of the analog world and the digital world.The youths born from 1982 - present, Gen-Y, what I call the “Snooki” generation have being immersed in more digital things than any generation. And many have formed their social and economic behaviors from many diverse mediums like the internet. They currently have low social trust, very brand aware, not brand loyal, very tech savvy, expect more brand engagement, are powerful & influential on social media. 

So to sell a generation like this and current consumers, for a monetary or non monetary ROI, there’s very high pressure to be, what I call “pleasure pleasers”. A “pleasure pleasers” every time at every transaction at every interaction. Why? We are all becoming emotionally starved. You just cannot let anyone down. 

Social Media & Content Marketing ROI 

Marketing is no longer about making one investment, but increasingly many diverse investments to consumers. And as you know every investment provides different ROI. According to a poll that was ran on FU40 Group LinkedIn page, majority of members admitted to receiving average ROI from social media. I’m not sure if it’s the difficulty of converting “likes” and engagement to money value? I believe we live in more “selfie” world that seeks pleasing oneself before being of service to others. Take now, give eventually. So my conclusion is align yourself to “pleasing” to increase possible ROI. 

Content is just the same however if your content is of extreme value, monetary ROI is possible think “Good to Great” however if yours is no different from others then ROI is less likely. Consumers absorb content and social media of many influencers to aid in decision making. There are just so many voices and choices and the right trustworthy influencers can help narrow their choices. Chipotle for example took a different approach to content by raising awareness of issues that relate to the brand, rather than developing content specifically for the brand. 

Modern Realities of ROI 


The reality to be the “pleasure pleaser” of the “selfie”, multiple tools are needed to get the job done 24/7. So it’s important to balance and understand our monetary and non-monetary ROI. For example: 

  • Community investment and nurturing gets you respect and influence 
  • Brand investment gets you awareness 
  • Story investment gives you a soul and a heart 
  • Leadership investment gives you trust and a personality 
  • Innovation, change and product investment keeps consumers interested and supportive 
  • Equipment, talent, resources investment enables efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainable growth
  • Public relations investment grows traffic and community awareness 
Sure most people crave monetary ROI however you must understand that any ROI is a combination of the tangible as well as the intangible. 

Delayed ROI

 All effort will be made by you and your team to get immediate ROI. It is the right thinking however current consumers will engage and interact but have the power to delay monetary or non-monetary action unless you have a very compelling offer that has more value than its cost. It’s like if you want to have sex today but your girlfriend just wants to cuddle for the next 6 months. You have to make the case for sex today. What works is a foot rub 

Atomization Overuse & Technology ROI 

Technology is not your ROI savior. Good old fashion business fundamentals is your answer. Everyone is in this APP instanity that many forget human are likely to use at least 10 apps on a daily and regular basis. And a automation end user cannot control is a big turnoff. 

Marketers want to believe we are personalizing however we forget there's a person with a soul at the other end. Take sometime to share some TLC into your brand experiences. Figure out when to automate and when to inject a person. 

Finding the Right Partners ROI 

 All efforts should be made to cultivate allies and support within and outside your organization or department. And provide the best incentive for loyalty. The pressure for marketers to produce results both monetary and non-monetary is very high so get all the help you can get. Let your partners know that your time is very valuable so efficient use of time is important. Modern marketing is 24/7 real time. 

Data, Big Data Craze ROI 

 Clearly “Big Data” is a challenging problem that isn’t easy to solve, it requires a close relationship with the IT team, money, talent you need to truly get significant ROI from data, depending on your size. Like anything digital, modest is healty, too much is just suicide. You can know everything about someone or predict their behavior but you cannot make them love you. You dont want your brand to be associated with the word “creepy”. 


Effectiveness & Efficiency is Real Time ROI 

In todays marketing, every person you will need to pivot your message or strategy on the fly should be in the same room. Without that type of daily personal engagement, an organization can’t pivot quick enough to keep up or excel. 

The Best Approach to Better ROI 

 (The following list below were presented and written by a different author) 

“Businesses that are winning in today’s market embrace marketing in a more agile, scrappy, and connected way. To them, marketing is more than planning and communications. “ 

  1. Spread customer insights further and wider: One of the best sources of growth comes from customer insights. However, far too often they’re kept within a few departments or business units. Effective marketers are collecting and disseminating this knowledge as widely as possible, making sure it is codified, distributed, and used by the right people, at the right time. They routinely gather intelligence from the sales department—the people who hear most often about customers’ daily struggles—and share it with the organization to learn and adapt faster. The most innovative companies also routinely mine insights from their customers’ customers and bring these insights to their other customers to disrupt traditional buying behaviors. 
  2. Start true design partnerships with customers: A global chemical company we work with was doing well in its sales to the automotive market across many business units. But it wanted to find a more effective way to cross-sell and find higher value, comprehensive solutions. To do so, it reimagined itself as a design partner, tuning into its customers changing concerns about sustainability and emissions. Using those new insights, the company created needs-based “platforms” that clearly defined the company’s areas of expertise and focus. This became the marketing narrative that told the company’s story in a more relevant, impactful way. 
  3. Give teams the space and permission to collaborate: The companies that are winning more often and finding new sources of growth are intentional about giving their businesses and their people space and support to work together on shared growth opportunities. It’s not easy, though. Even newer B2B companies, like (company name) need to explicitly foster this type of collaboration. 
  4. Create a larger marketing vision by selling solutions: When we began working with (company name), it had nearly 40 different P&L centers and some of the most elaborate, independent silos we had ever seen. Many of these business units, although selling diverse technology and equipment, targeted the same end users. Marketing recognized the need to better understand and target their key customers and drive a more comprehensive value proposition. Through careful segmentation, the company clarified its three best markets, which covered some 60 percent of its business. That freed (company name) to create more unified messaging, center its research innovation on bigger bets, and spark new conversations with new customers.
****We welcome your own insight on ROI on how to get it, measure it,
Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ways to Strengthen Referral Relationships

 

1. Arrange a one-to-one meeting. 

Meeting a referral source in person is an excellent opportunity to learn more about his or her business and interests. Prepare questions in advance so that the conversation flows smoothly. Be ready to give an update on your business and to ask lots of questions about your source’s interests.

After you’ve met at least once, you may also consider inviting him or her to participate in some type of recreational activity, such as a golf outing, fishing trip, concert or play. This can be a good opportunity to let your referral source see a different side of you in an informal setting.

2. Send a thank-you card. 

A handwritten thank-you card makes a great impression, especially in this age of electronic communication. Be sure to write a personalized note that mentions what you’re thanking your referral source for.

3. Send a gift. 

Like a thank-you card, a gift -- however small or inexpensive -- can help build visibility and credibility with your referral source. Try to find out what his or her likes are (such as favorite foods, hobbies, etc.), and send a gift that is personalized.

4. Call a referral source. 

 An occasional, casual phone call is a good way to keep the relationship strong -- when you take care to call only when it’s least likely to be an unwelcome interruption. It’s also a good idea to have a piece of news or some tidbit of information to pass along that will benefit or interest your source. You can set up a file for holding newspaper and magazine clippings that may be of interest to people you would like to be your referral sources. Sending an article, especially one that is pertinent to your source’s current business or personal circumstances, reaffirms that you are thinking about his or her needs.

5. Display a source’s brochure. 

Doing a bit of sales work on behalf of a referral source can only enhance your relationship. If you have a public area for your business, offer to place your source’s materials where your clients can read them.

6. Extend an invitation. 

Invite a referral source to a networking event. Introducing him or her to other businesspeople you know gives your source an opportunity to meet others in your target market. It may also provide new business opportunities for you both.

7. Nominate them for an award. 

Watch for these types of opportunities. Local service and civic organizations often present annual awards recognizing contributions to a particular cause, and local periodicals often sponsor awards contests for businesspeople. Find out which groups and interests your referral source is involved in and check to see if there is a form of recognition associated with them.

8. Include a source in your newsletter. 


Even a brief mention of a referral source in your newsletter can pay dividends down the road, including the opportunity for them to reciprocate the favor in their own newsletter.

9. Arrange a speaking engagement. 

Help your referral source get in front of a group that would be interested in his or her business or area of expertise. Local chapters of service organizations, such as Rotary and Kiwanis, are always looking for good speakers. If you belong to a group that invites people to speak, use your contacts to help your source make the rounds among various chapters.

10. Turn the table. 

Offer your referral source a referral he or she might find useful. It’s often a wonderful way to build your relationship. By helping build your source’s business, you help create a debt of gratitude that will encourage your source to respond in kind.

***Written by a different author
Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 World Career Satisfaction & Motivation Infograph


ALSO CHECK OUT THE XP on Facebook

Want Successful Business Relationships?

Relationships.Building real relationships with real people in the real world will increase your chances of success. 


Here's why relationships are the key to business success: Your most important asset is your network - not your virtual network, your real one. Every successful executive and entrepreneur will tell you, their most important asset is their network, and they don't mean social network. They mean people they actually know and work with in real time because they're the ones that actually get things done.

One real relationship in the real world is worth more than 10,000 social media links, likes or followers. Sales transactions are between two real human beings. Even with ecommerce, most sales transactions are still between two human beings. Think about it. Every significant B2C and B2B transaction involves a buyer and a seller, not to mention all the channel development and pre- and post-sales support. And the best product doesn't necessarily win. Buyer behavior is mostly subjective and relationships are a big factor. In a service business, they're the biggest factor, hands down.

When opportunity knocks, it's always a person knocking ... and answering. As much as we like to fantasize about opportunities just falling in our laps, the truth is, that never happens. Of the thousands of career and business opportunities I've been involved with over the past 30 years, every single one involved a real relationship. Every job, every piece of advice, every business deal, every vendor relationship - there's that word - every single one.

***Written by a different Arthur

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