Month: January 2014

After Setup: Focus on LinkedIn

By Sue Brady linkedin logo

Part 2 in the continuing series of post set-up basics for Social Media (read part 1 – Twitter Basics here)

Congratulations! You’ve set up your LinkedIn company page. Now you need to make the most of it.  LinkedIn currently boasts almost 260 million users and remains one of the most actively used social media tools. It is viewed as a Business-to-Business (B2B) tool and not necessarily a personally social one.

As always, the first thing you need to clarify is your company’s LinkedIn goal so that you can make sure you are doing all you can to achieve it.

Possible Goals

  • To have a place for seekers to learn about your company and/or products
  • To offer advice (aka thought leadership) to potential customers
  • To recruit new employees
  • To generate leads/sell product.

Visitors will come to your LinkedIn page because

  • They read a tweet from your company
  • They read an article where your company is mentioned
  • They saw your logo as the employer (or former employer) of someone they want to do business with or someone they know
  • They are interested in a job posting associated with your company
  • They heard about your company and want to gather some additional information.

In support of almost any LinkedIn goal, you’ll need to have a built out profile. It supports everything you’ll do on LinkedIn. Let’s say someone sees a tweet from your company, or reads an article about you or someone at your company. A first stop for many folks is LinkedIn because they can see what your company is all about at a glance and, they can easily see if they know anyone in their network that works there. So your profile is key and should be the first thing you focus on by adding information to your home page. You can include things like: address, date you were founded, website, company size, industry etc.

Also flesh out your Product/Services tab and list as much as you can to make it clear to viewers what your company does. And you’ll want to ask others to leave reviews of your products and services as a way to add more credibility to your page.

Once your page is as good as you can make it, you want to make yourself known.

Build a following

  • Invite your personal contacts to follow your page
  • Invite your business contacts to follow your page
  • Invite your customers to follow your page
  • Follow your customers’ business pages; a company may see your ‘follow’ and follow you back
  • Find appropriate LinkedIn groups to join on behalf of your company so that you can start participating in conversations there. It’s a great way to connect with others.

Share content

  • Share relevant content posted by others (companies and people) in your network
  • Share articles you have found that are relevant to your audience
  • Share blog posts you’ve written on your company site that your audience will find relevant
  • Post updates about what’s happening in your company
  • Answer questions that are posed to your company either directly or in a related group.

Comcast Post

This picture shows a post made by Comcast Business Class that was also posted by an employee there. It is showing in my feed twice because I follow Comcast Business Class and I am also linked in with Craig. Using the options along the bottom of the post, I can like the article, leave a comment or share this article with my network.

Decide how frequently you want to post. Many companies keep an editorial calendar to inform content for all of their social media efforts. It’s a best practice and will help you keep it all straight, especially as you look to cross-post across your various sites.

Another way to reach potential customers is through LinkedIn advertising. You can target your ads based on your own requirements for the type of customer you want to attract. These might be a particular industry, job title, geography, or company size. Note that you might want to make your targeting ‘loose’ enough so that your ad is seen by a larger audience.

To buy an ad, you need to go here: LinkedIn Ads. You’ll be walked through the steps, starting with deciding between creating an ad vs sponsoring one of your updates. You can see an example of a post sponsored by Yahoo below. You’ll be prompted to set the minimum you are willing to pay for a click, as well as a daily budget. This is a great, easy-to-follow article that walks you through each of the steps from identifying your audience to analyzing your results: Tutorial for Advertising on LinkedIn.

Linkedin Promoted Ad

Not only does advertising reach new potential customers, but you might get a benefit from existing customers. In the example below, the customer made a comment on the company’s post, and that means his network will now see that ad. In addition, the company used it as a way to politely ask for a recommendation on their product page.

Linkedin Ad

Regularly check your LinkedIn page to see if anyone has sent you a message or commented on something you’ve posted (and/or use your settings to receive notifications via email). It’s usually a good idea to post a response if someone comments publicly on something you’ve posted. And of course, you should always answer a private message, and do so privately. Private message notifications show up at the top of your page on the right hand side: notificationsNext week’s article will cover the Post-setup Basics for Facebook for your Business. If you missed last week’s Twitter Basics post, you can read that here.

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Focus on Twitter: What Comes After Setup?

By Sue Brady

TwitterIn last week’s post: How to Set up Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for Your Business, I talked about how you can set up your social media pages for your business. This post takes a deeper dive into using Twitter and increasing your presence there. Next week’s post will focus on LinkedIn.

Last year well over 300 billion tweets were sent. Tweet this stat! Twitter can be an impactful social media tool. But, before we jump into the basics, it’s important that you decide what you want to accomplish with your Twitter account. You may want to use it to track what others in your field are writing about, or you may want to use it to position yourself or your company, as a thought-leader. Or, you may plan to use it as a customer service tool. Your go-forward Twitter strategy will be different depending on your goals, so make sure you understand those.

Subject Matter. In essence, businesses tweet three different types of content:

  • Information with no links – this may be something wise you’d like to share that can stand on its own (your limit on twitter is 140 characters, so there’s not a lot of space to get your point across).
  • Information with a link to someone else’s content.
  • Information with a link to your own content – A rule of thumb is to tweet your own content no more than 30%-35% of the time.

The type of content you post (or that you post as your company) will be driven by your overall Twitter strategy:

  • If you are establishing yourself as a thought leader, you will want to publish links to important and relevant content for your target audience. This may be content you’ve written on a blog, or may be an article or tweet written by someone else. Or, you may post a tweet that contains a useful tidbit of information, but no link.
  • If your goal is to monitor your competition or to see what thought leaders are saying on a given topic, you may not tweet at all, but rather just choose to follow a number of people.
  • If your goal is to address customer service issues, you may be posting tips or how tos, or just engaging with your audience so that they feel heard. Several big brands have really figured this one out, including Taco Bell, Oreos, and Tesco.

Let’s cover some basic information regarding how to use Twitter.

Tweeting. You can post a tweet by using the ‘Compose New Tweet’ icon. Click the icon and a tweet box will appear.

Compose New TweetTwitter compose new tweet

From this box you can create your own tweet or copy and paste a link from an article you’d like to share. Because you only have a total of 140 characters, you might want to shorten the article link (aka URL) you are sharing. There are a few ways to do that. I like to use hootsuite’s product called ow.ly. Just cut and paste your link into their ‘shorten URL’ bar and click ‘shrink it.’ It’ll return a shortened link for you to cut and paste into your tweet.

You can easily add a picture to your tweet by clicking on the camera icon in the lower left-hand corner of the tweet box. Here’s an example of a Tweet with a picture:

Twitter with PhotoFinally, you can also add your location to a tweet by clicking on the teardrop icon next to the camera icon. You can read more about that here. It’s a feature to use judiciously because it allows Twitter to embed your location into your tweets.

Retweeting. Retweeting is a way to share content. There are a couple of ways to retweet. One is to use the retweet button that appears underneath every tweet. Twitter provides four easy links under each tweet, and it’s where you’ll find the functionality to retweet:

Tweet Tom Pick

Retweeting in this way means that Twitter will do the work for you. In the screenshot below you’ll see a tweet from Hubspot.com that I retweeted using the retweet button.  That tweet is automatically identified as being retweeted while still showing Hubspot as the source of the information.

Tweet retweet screen

The second way you can retweet is to use the ‘Compose new Tweet’ button. If you choose the manual method, the protocol is to include in your message the letters: RT (meaning retweet) or MT (meaning modified tweet). After the RT or MT you should acknowledge who you are retweeting. You do that by using the @ symbol followed by the appropriate Twitter handle, ie @SueBrady if you’re retweeting something I’ve posted. Then you copy and paste the link you are retweeting, along with a brief description of what you’re sharing. The person you are retweeting will see your retweet if they check their @connect page or if they have their email notifications turned on. Here’s a screenshot of a post that I manually retweeted. I added a comment in front of the RT but didn’t change anything in the original message so used RT instead of MT.

Sue RT

Favoriting. This function is one of the four you’ll see under each tweet. I use the favorite button to mark tweets I think I’ll refer to again, whether mine or someone else’s. If you favorite someone else’s tweet, they’ll see you’ve done that when they check their @connect page (or receive an email notification).  You can easily access your favorited tweets by using the navigation on the left side of your Twitter screen.

Twitter nav bar

Here’s what a tweet looks like once it’s been favorited:

Tweet favorited

The hashtag (#). The hashtag is used on Twitter as a way to make searching for a topic easy. In the search bar at the top of your Twitter page you can enter anything after a hashtag, hit enter and see what others are saying about that topic. You can choose to look at the top tweets being viewed, all the tweets being viewed (in order of time) or only those tweets from folks you are following.

hashtagIn your own tweets, it’s a good practice to add a hashtag in front of content relevant terms so that the content you are sharing is easily found. Studies have been done on how the number of hashtags used affects retweeting of your message. Most net out that having 3-5 hashtags enhances your chances of being retweeted. Others say that more than 3 hashtags in a tweet is annoying.

There are a number of strategies you can employ to expand your Twitter universe. Choose the ones that support your own goals.

Finding industry experts.

  1. If you want to see what others in your industry are saying, look them up on Twitter and click follow. To follow someone you’ve found on twitter, from their home page you’ll see a follow button on the right hand side, directly under their description. When you follow someone, they receive a notification that you have done so.
    Twitter Follow Button
  2. You can also use the ‘Lists’ feature to find people/companies to follow. For instance, if you are on my Twitter profile page, you can click on my lists to see the ones that I’ve made public, and you can decide if you want to follow people listed there. For example, if you want to find digital marketers, you can click on my list for that and see who I’m following in that category. (Note: It’s easier to create your lists early on so that you can add your followers to your lists as you acquire them).
    Lists
  3. As you find articles of interest, you can follow the author by either clicking on their ‘follow us on Twitter’ button on their page (almost all articles now have that button) or by finding them directly on Twitter.

Gaining followers.

  1. Follow others. Once you start following people, some will follow you back. That’s the simplest way to pick up followers.
  2. Retweet. As you retweet others, they may start following you.
  3. Attend tweet chats. Tweet chats are usually sponsored by a company in a certain industry and advertised on Twitter by them and by their followers. Here’s how it works.The chat host usually has a list of questions that they’ll pose for attendees to answer.  Once you know when a tweet chat is occurring, make sure you visit the advertised hashtag at the appointed time of day. Just type it into the search bar at the top of your Twitter page and it will take you to the chat. I find it most useful to click on the ‘All’ option at the top of the page once I’m at the tweet chat so that I can see what everyone is posting.There are a handful of sources of tweet chat schedules (here is one) but I’ve had the greatest success from seeing invites from folks I’m following.The key with gaining followers in this manner is to make sure you contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way. These can be a great source of information and it’s a good place to share what you know. And be sure when you tweet something in a tweet chat to include the # for that chat in your tweet, as well as a reference to the question you are answering. That way it appears to everyone else following the chat. This example shows a tweet I sent during a recent content marketing chat (in this case A7 refers to an answer to question 7).
    tweet chat
  4. Favorite other people’s tweets. Since ‘tweeters’ can tell when someone favorites one of their tweets, they’ll see your name and may follow you as a result.
  5. Interact with your followers by personally tweeting to them. There are a couple of ways to do that. You can visit their Twitter profile and writing a tweet in the box on the left-hand side, or you can address them directly by using their twitter handle in the compose a tweet box from your home page. This is how you’d interact directly with your customers.
    Twitter direct tweetOnce you start interacting with your followers, they may retweet your posts to their followers, and people in their networks may decide to follow you too.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @SueBrady. See you there!

How to set up Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook for Your Business in a few Easy Steps

By Sue Brady

social media montageSetting up social media pages  for your business can be intimidating. But it’s easier than you might think. I’ve consolidated the steps here for Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The hard work begins once your pages are setup. Check back for an upcoming post on What Comes After the Set-up: Making the Most of Your Social Media.

Twitter Twitter

Signing up with Twitter is the most straightforward of the three services covered in this post.

Step 1: Go here https://twitter.com/
Step 2: Fill out this box. Since you are setting this up for your business, you may want to use a different name and email than you use personally – see below for recommendations on doing this on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Click the button to ‘Sign up for Twitter.’

Twitter sign on page

Step 3: Pick a user name when prompted. Others will see this when they follow you so make sure it’s suitable. It’s most common to use your company name. Caps show, so be sure to use them in the right places.
Step 4: Click on ‘create my account’ and you’ll have an account!
Step 5: Twitter will walk you through some next steps. Skip anything you don’t want to do, but the basic idea is to find others to follow. Doing so, as well as ‘tweeting,’ will help you build your own following. Twitter will make suggestions for you regarding others you may want to follow based on the people you’ve chosen to follow over time.
Step 6: From the Home page, click on the gear in the top right-hand corner and then select ‘Settings.’ Make sure your time zone is correct. Look at the content settings and select anything that applies to you.

Twitter Gear

Step 7: Click on the same gear mentioned above, but choose to ‘Edit profile.’ From there you can upload your company logo. This will be shown next to your tweets, so be sure you use something that’s recognizable in the small square space allowed. Ideal pixel size is 200×200 to 500×500 with a 4MB max. You may be prompted to crop your image because there isn’t a lot of space. When you are satisfied, click save.
Step 8: Upload a header image (also available in the ‘Edit profile’ section). Recommended dimensions are 1252×626 pixels with a max file size of 5MB. This image will be visible when someone visits your profile.
Step 9: More settings. From the same ‘Edit profile’ section you can enter your location, your web address and a brief description of what your company does (you can only use 160 characters to do this). Fill this out if your goal is to have people find you! You can also connect to Facebook so that your tweets are automatically posted to your business Facebook page.
Step 10: Save changes and start tweeting! Remember, tweets can only be 140 characters in total.

linkedin LinkedIn

The only way to have a LinkedIn company page is by having a personal LinkedIn page first. That means that if someone from your company is responsible for making changes to that page, they have to be able to log into your personal LinkedIn account if that’s the account you’ve used to set up your business account. To get around this requirement, you can open another LinkedIn account as a person from your company for instance, and then create a business page from there.

Before you get started, create a new email address to use for this purpose. To make it easy to remember, you can use something like: linkedin@yourcompany.com where ‘yourcompany’ is your actual company name. If you don’t have your own company email domain name, you can open up a free gmail (visit www.gmail.com) or yahoo mail account (visit www.Yahoo.com). It has to be a real email account because LinkedIn will use it to verify your new account.

Step 1: Sign up for a LinkedIn account here: www.linkedin.com using your new email address and a person’s name to be associated with your account (it’s okay to use a generic name). You’ll be prompted through a number of screens designed to help you find others to link in to, follow etc.  Skip the steps to find people you know since the only reason you have the personal account is to enable your business account.
Step 2: Once Step 1 is completed, you can add a business account. You’ll see five navigation areas across the top of your home page.
linkedin nav bar
(Click on above image to enlarge.)

Move your mouse over Interests and choose ‘Companies.’ Once there, click on the link for ‘Add a Company.’
Linkedin Add Company
(Click on above image to enlarge.)

Step 3: Fill out the requested information, and click ‘continue.’
Step 4: Linkedin will send an email to the address you provided, and ask you to verify that email. Check your email and click as instructed.
Step 5:  Complete your profile.  Once you’ve verified your account, fill out your profile. Make sure to write an About section that describes what it is you do. Also take the time to add Products/Services in the appropriate sections. Include links to your website or to specific products.
Step 6: Upload a nice photo to the top of your company page. The minimum pixel size is 646×220 and the maximum file size is 2MB. You can (and should) also upload a corporate logo. Size is restricted though, and many businesses use a square shaped logo that can be used in other social media too. A square works best for updates that you’ll post on behalf of your company. If you want to use a standard logo, the minimum pixel size is 100×60. A square logo has a minimum pixel size of 50×50.  All photos/logos must be a png, jpeg or gif and there is a 2MB size limit. Your logo also will automatically appear in any employee’s profile where your company is listed as an employer, and square logos definitely render better in that area.

To upload or edit a photo to your Company Page, follow these steps:

  1. From your company homepage, find the edit button near the photo.
  2. Choose ‘Browse’ to find the image on your computer that you want to upload. You can also change or edit an already uploaded picture from here.
  3. Click Upload and click Save.
  4. Click Publish in the top right of the page.

FacebookFacebook

Similar to LinkedIn, this one requires a bit more work on the front end. While you can set up a stand-alone business page, it’s much better to have your Facebook business page associated with a personal account. It gives you far more flexibility and functionality than if you set up a business account on its own. A lot has been written on this topic because most people don’t want to link a business account to their own personal account. There is an easy workaround:

Step 1: Create a new personal Facebook account. Similar to the instructions for LinkedIn above, you’ll need to use a different name and email address from the one on your current personal Facebook account. Before you get started, create a new email address that you’ll use for this purpose. To make it easy to remember, you can use something like: facebook@yourcompany.com where ‘yourcompany’ is your actual company name. If you don’t have your own company email domain name, you can open up a free gmail (visit www.gmail.com) or yahoo mail account (visit www.Yahoo.com). It has to be a real email account because Facebook will use it to verify your new account.  Once you have an email account, choose a name, different from your own, to create the account.

Facebook Sign Up
Step 2: Do not follow the Facebook prompts to invite friends or do other things. Find the cog in the top right-hand side of your page, and use the drop down to reach privacy settings. Choose the highest level of privacy for each item. Your goal is not to have this account ‘found’ by friends. It’s merely a means to gaining a business account (there is no reason that anyone will ever find that page as the association to your business page is not public).
Step 3: While logged into your new account, go here https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. Click on the type of business you are setting up: Local Business, Company/Organization/Institution etc. and then choose a category from the drop down.  Add a short descriptor for your business when prompted. You can always change this later if you think you’ve made an incorrect decision and you can also add a longer descriptor later (see step 5). (Note: To make sure you are making changes to your company page, you can click the gear on the top right of your page and switch between the personal account and the business account.)

FB switching pages
Step 4: Upload a cover photo for your page. You’ll see the button to do that on the Admin Panel about halfway down the page This will be seen at the top of your page. Your image can contain text but the text cannot represent more than 20% of the image space. The optimal file size is 851×315 pixels. Facebook recommends using a jpg that’s less than 100kbs and has sRGB resolution. sRGB resolution is very high quality, but it isn’t necessary if you don’t have a photo in that format. You will also need to upload a smaller profile pic to appear as a square to the left of the cover image. File size is 160×160 pixels. This smaller image is the one that will appear next to any of the posts you write for your page. Facebook will ask if you want to ‘Choose from Photos’ or ‘Upload Photo.’ Because you have no photos on your business page to choose from, you’ll have to upload a photo from your computer.

Step 5: Update your Information by clicking on this button: FB Update Info Button

The information you fill out here will appear when someone clicks on the ‘About’ link on your page. This is an important tab because not only do you have room to say great things about your product, but it’s also indexed by Google. If there are certain keywords that are important to you, make sure you include them in your copy.  If you include an address, Facebook automatically adds a map locating your business.
Step 6: Customize the ‘favorites boxes’ as appropriate for your business.  Only four will display without the user clicking on the drop down list, and you can adjust which ones you want to show. Companies use these to include pages for testimonials, customer service, job openings and the like.

Before you start inviting people to ‘like’ or visit your page you want to have some activity showing already, so keep it quiet until you’ve posted a few status updates.

Good luck and don’t forget to come back over the next few weeks for posts on ‘What Comes After the Set-up: Making the Most of Your Social Media’ for each of the three services covered here.

The Multi-touch, Multi-device Attribution Dilemma (and some companies that can help)

This will be a focus in 2014.

Digital Marketing Musings

By Sue Brady

Over half of the folks surveyed by Atlas Institute  (Cookie Retention. Is the sky falling on cookies?) say they delete their cookies at least monthly.  This data is not unlike data shared over the last few years from Nielsen and Jupiter, and is just another factor that needs to be considered as you think about attribution. Attribution refers to how you give credit to your various marketing efforts. It’s complicated and messy, but necessary to understand. Attribution tracking, or understanding the customer journey to conversion, is key to optimizing your site performance.

So why the buzz about multi-touch attribution modeling, and what does it even mean?
Just a few years ago, marketers favored First or Last Click  attribution, meaning the first or  final behavior that lead to the conversion is the one that received all of the credit. That means that if someone searched for…

View original post 967 more words

How I Added Two Hours Back to my Day

By Sue Brady (back to marketing topics next week!)

Working from Home

I work in a virtual office environment.  And I’m not the only one either. My whole company at RM Factory, all 25 of us, work from our homes. Our homes just happen to be in several states across the country. We have real jobs at a real marketing agency where we all work 50+ hours a week. We don’t have kids at our feet, do laundry in between conference calls, or coffee clutch with the neighbors every afternoon.  We’re a motivated, hard-working and focused group of folks, and I’d argue that we are more productive than your typical office worker.

Don’t get me wrong. All of us have held jobs where we commuted to an office every day.  So we know what that’s like. Some of us even worked for very large ad agencies on Madison Avenue.

This virtual arrangement has so many benefits, only one of which is increased productivity.  How am I more productive at home, you might ask? Aren’t there too many distractions, like the refrigerator or kids? The answer is no. There are not too many distractions. In fact, a key driver of our productivity is that there are fewer distractions. In addition, there is less stress and less wasted time.

Here’s a typical day for when I used to work outside my home: I’d wake up, have a run, shower, dress and make myself presentable. I would drive an hour to get to my office. Once there, sometimes frazzled from the drive, I’d grab a cup of coffee and start my day. Any number of people would stop by my office in the morning to say hello, ask me a question about work, ask me a question about my kids, ask me if I had plans for lunch…you get the idea. I’d attend many meetings.  At lunchtime I’d walk with everyone else to the cafeteria. Then I’d head back to my office, where inevitably, the parade of employees, coworkers and meetings would continue. And then I’d head back home, in my car for another hour, at the end of the day. I was exhausted by the time I made it back to my family!

My typical day as a remote employee is very different. I still get up, have a run, shower, dress and in general make myself presentable. But from then on, everything changes. I walk down the stairs to my office where I can close my door if needed, put on my fuzzy pink slippers (every new employee receives a pair) and get to work. My only distraction is an occasional visit from my cat. If I had young kids in the home like some of my coworkers do, I’d have to arrange for child care.

edible arrangementWe occasionally do fun things too. We celebrate birthdays, but not in a conference room with cake. Rather, each employee receives an edible gift at their doorstep on their special day. And this year we even had a virtual holiday party. You can read about that here.

I stay connected with the outside world. I still have meetings and calls throughout the day with coworkers, employees and clients over Zoom, Skype or ooVoo, but they are concise meetings that cover the subject matter at hand, without a lot of wasted time. We use instant messaging to communicate as well, so easy questions are answered quickly and efficiently. If I don’t understand a response, a phone call can clear that up. And we use other productivity tools like Google Hangouts and Megameeting  so that we can share our desktops or files as needed. And at the end of the day, I turn off my light and go upstairs and start my evening.

Joe Pulizzi, the Founder of the Content Marketing Institute says: “Our decision NOT to set up a traditional office location was, perhaps, the best decision we’ve made as an organization.” You can read his virtual office story here.  This life is not for everyone. It takes a disciplined, self-starter kind of person to make this type of arrangement work.

If I really analyzed my time, excluding my commute, I’d guess that I’m two hours more productive at work each day than I used to be.  Two hours! Plus, I have two hours of commute time a day returned to me to use however I’d like.

What would you give to get two hours back every day?

Tune in next Thursday for: “How to setup Your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook Pages for your Business”