Is LinkedIn a Waste of Time?

John Haydon of Inbound Zombie recently posted this question on Facebook.

Is LinkedIn a waste of time? - question

A lot of people are frustrated with the new-ish Endorsements feature. I know I personally have been endorsed for skills I didn’t even know I had!

So, I can understand their bewilderment when people who don’t really know them come along and endorse them for every skill they have listed. It’s like they’re trying to game the system or something.

Here’s the response I gave though.

Is LinkedIn a waste of time?

 LinkedIn can be a powerful part of your business strategy. [Read more…]

Getting Your Story Out There

Today’s guest post is from Jical Jial of Mosotomoss. He is a Creative Stager that helps entrepreneurs to stage their story. You can see more of his writing at Mosotomossblog.com.

Create the story you want pepol to seeCreate the story you want people to see and take ownership of what you want them to hear. It’s never too late to get your story out there. I know sometimes it can feel like a daunting task to do everything yourself. There are many steps you have to take to get your story out, but if you break those steps up, it doesn’t seem so daunting.

As a writer, you may think writing your book was the hard part. But I would say, marketing the book is the hard part. When you don’t have a team of creative people behind you coming up with ideas to market the book, it can be frustrating. Don’t wait until the book is finished to start working on the marketing. I’ve seen way too many authors finish a book and then ask, “what’s next?”

To market your story is to seduce your audience into wanting more of what you have to offer. Just like you build the suspense up in your book, you have to do the same thing with your marketing. You have to create anticipation in your audience. Writing a blog post or creating lively chats on Facebook are two great ways for you to build up the suspense.

Create rich dialog about certain situations in the book without giving away any of the book. Make what you’re posting relevant to your audience. All characters must go through something, and so does your audience. Now would be a great time to pull them in, not after you have written the book and when it’s about to be published.

Today’s publishers want to know how big your audience is. That often determines if you will be able to secure a traditional publishing contract. Without an audience, it’s hard to sell the book. Having an audience to sell to says a lot about you. It says you are interesting, and people want to hear what you have to say.

I am often asked whether an author should post excerpts of a new book on a blog. I would never recommend doing that. It’s always best to blog about characters or storylines without giving away anything. It’s really important as an author for you to be engaged with your audience. So find ways to start conversations about the book, rather than giving previews of it.

When it comes to your marketing plan, don’t just think about selling the book. Most authors never think about merchandising, for example, selling T-shirts with quotes on them that your character says, like “Who is John Galt?”  Promoting your merchandise is a great way for you to not only make extra money, but build a brand empire up at the same time as building your audience. 

You are an entrepreneur, believe it or not. Telling yourself you are just a writer won’t work. When you believe you are an entrepreneur, you act like an entrepreneur. There are many more ways of getting your story out there. The main way is to build the story up before it ever really gets finished or heads to the publisher. Generate a buzz about your book as early as possible. The more people you know, the more chances you have in selling them something they want to have.

The Power of Social Media is Community

As a business owner with clients all over the world who works out of a home office, there are plenty of times when my daily life can feel real isolated.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve come to appreciate social media so much. It’s allowed me to build connections, share projects, and develop friendships with people I might never otherwise have had the chance to get to know.

Yet, with one group of friends I met on Twitter in 2010, I co-authored a book called The Character-Based Leader.

Social media has also enabled me to stay in contact with audiences from past speaking engagements, as well as with clients.

Then, every once in a while, we share a need and it’s truly amazing to sit back and see the response we get.

Late Saturday evening, I launched my first crowdsourcing campaign to raise the funds necessary to publish and market my next book, entitled The Best is Yet to Come. Despite the hour, I sent the link out to my co-authors from the earlier book project, and about a dozen other friends on social media.

Less than 48 hours later, these friends are supporting me in reaching my goals so that I, in turn, can help others change their lives for the better.

I could never reach as many people by myself as this network of friends will reach. Yet, we’ve taken time to know and support one another over the years. That’s why I’m always telling my clients, if you want to harness the real power of social media, it’s got to be about the relationships. Marketing is secondary. Spend more time being authentically you, and sincerely trying to get to know those you connect with online.

It’s only when you generate enough social proof to show that you have something of value to offer that you can truly make the kind of difference you want to make.

Thank you to my friends who are supporting me in reaching my goals! May you each be as blessed to have friends such as these. Below are just a sampling of some of the posts being made, with more promised yet to come.

With a community that supports me like this, I can confidently say… The best is definitely yet to come.

Deb's_support

 

Testimonials Are Music to a Brand’s Ears

5-star-rating for Aleweb Social MarketingWe hear it all the time. Word-of-mouth referrals are a brand’s bread-and-butter.

No amount of traditional or social marketing can equal the power of a friend who recommends a product, service, book or experience.

Today is the start of the new week. You may own your own business and look for these longed-for referrals, but how do you get them?

Have you ever heard the adage “It is better to give than receive?” When it comes to referrals and endorsements, this rule holds true.

You can ask friends and close acquaintances to endorse your product or service, but after a while you’ll run out of people to ask.

As JFK was quoted as saying “…ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Or in this case “ask not who can recommend your business, but whose business you can recommend.”

Think over the past week.

Who have you interacted with? Where did you go to lunch? When you took your teenager to the mall, which stores did you go to? What book couldn’t you put down? Whose advice and support has been crucial to your own success?

I challenge you to come up with one thing each week for the next two months that you want to recommend to your friends. It can be a business that provided excellent customer service, an enjoyable experience, or that went out of their way to make your buying experience exceptional. Or it can be a book, play, concert, or any other experience that you loved.

Why two months?

I want you to establish the habit of looking for people and experiences you can appreciate. Enjoy that feeling. Appreciate the sense of gratitude. Pass it forward. Catch people “in the act of getting it right,” and let them know you’ve noticed.

It will change you too.

Being more focused on showing your appreciation for others will take the pressure off trying to get people to appreciate your brand too. You’ll internalize what you’re learning from brands that “do it right” and potentially improve what you’re doing as well.

Regardless, in giving, you will receive. And don’t be surprised if you start to see your own client testimonials increase as well.

So… Have you thought of someone for this past week?

Go ahead and think of one. We’ll wait for you…

Have it now?

Alright… Here’s the easy part. Go find that brand online. It doesn’t matter if it’s on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Angie’s List, Instagram, Google, their website or wherever else you feel comfortable. Just find their listing and post a review.

What should your review look like?

Write it as if you’re talking to your best friend. Tell them about your experience and what made it so special.

Businesses hear often when they’ve done something wrong. Give them a boost. Let them know when they’ve done something right so they can do it more often!

Wherever you posted that endorsement, share it with your friends.

People like to buy from brands they know, like and trust. Your recommendation tells your friends who you know, like and trust, and exactly why. And perhaps that experience is exactly what they were looking for too!

Share a link in the comments below to a brand that made you feel special recently and let us know how they did it.

The Ultimate Complete Final Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet [INFOGRAPHIC]

One of the challenges of keeping up with social media is to ensure that you have attractive and consistent branding across all of the various platforms. No sooner do you find the right size for Facebook than the same image changes on Google+ and you need to tweak your images again.

Doing the research to find all the right sizes was always a pain. Various sites had inconsistent (and even incorrect) information, making it difficult to know where to turn or who to trust.

Thankfully, LunaMetrics has stepped forward and volunteered to be the keeper of all such mundane information, providing social marketers with a single place to turn for all their sizing needs. Thank you, LunaMetrics!

The Ultimate Complete Final Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet LunaMetrics

Brought to you by the LunaMetrics blog.

 

When Social Networking Does Good

I’ve been providing social marketing services for three years now. Yet, one of the things I’ve seen a significant increase in this year has been the ability of social communities to rally together for a good cause. Whether it’s spreading news or raising funds, there is no parallel to how rapid a message can spread when shared over social networks.

In my local area, since August, lost dogs have been found, runaway children have been restored to their families, news of a long-time family friend’s passing quickly spread, a kidnapped child was returned safely to his guardians, and an online community formed to support two families whose lives were devastated by a home gas explosion.

When the tragic shootings took place in Sandy Hook (a neighboring community to where I live) on Dec. 14th, 2012, news spread like wildfire over the social networks. As always, I found Twitter to be the best source of news. Facebook couldn’t keep up with or spread the information quickly enough because of its closed nature. But with a few appropriately placed hashtags, I could find out everything I wanted to know as it was unfolding; actually, more than I wanted to know since my own children’s schools were also on lock-down until the situation was under control.
eMarketing Association logo
What I didn’t know until today was that the very next day, a colleague of mine suffered a tragedy in his own family. Robert Fleming is CEO of the eMarketing Association, an organization whose conferences I have spoken at over the past couple of years. It’s related LinkedIn group is the 4th largest group on that network, out of over 1.5 million groups!

On Dec. 15th, his 12-year-old daughter suffered an illness and was paralyzed from the neck down. Within 5 hours’ time, she went from being perfectly healthy to being completely paralyzed, unable to eat, speak or breathe on her own. She still remains in the ICU at this time. But is in good spirits. A website to chart her progress will be up and running in another day or two at rhanasjourney.com.

While the information I have is limited and the family deserves its right to privacy as it deals with these difficult circumstances, Robert is hoping to see good come out of this circumstance regardless. On LinkedIn today, he shared an announcement with the eMarketing Association Network group.

100% of all profits from conference registrations, certifications, sponsorships, memberships and ecourses will be contributed to a fund in [his daughter’s] name, for her care, now through the end of January.

With this offer, you’ll be able to hone your eMarketing skills as you prepare for 2013, and know that you are helping a little girl heal at the same time. So, why not take a moment and make an investment in both her and yourself. See what the eMarketing Association has to offer today. And, as Robert finished his announcement, “Our best wishes to you for a fantastic new year.”

An Interview with Jeff Goins, author of “Wrecked”

Today’s post features an interview with author, Jeff Goins. Tara Alemany, owner of Aleweb Social Marketing, had the opportunity to ask Jeff a few questions recently as part of his virtual tour for his new book, Wrecked, which came out in August 2012.

Jeff Goins, author of Wrecked, interviewed on alewebsocial.comJeff is a writer who lives outside of Nashville with his wife, son, and pup. He works for Adventures in Missions and blogs at goinswriter.com.

When you started your blog in 2010, you had some burning questions about making a living as a writer that you were trying to answer for yourself. (To see Jeff’s questions, click here.) With the recent publication and success of Wrecked, it looks like you found the answers. I’d love it if you could share part of that journey with my readers because it’s a trip they’d all like to take too!

[Read more…]

How to Turn a Facebook Profile into a Page

I had an interesting question come up from a prospective client the other day. For the first time in a long time, I was stumped! An hour later, with lots of research and exploration behind me, I thought I’d share an interesting feature that Facebook added in March 2011. It was new to me!

Say you have a Facebook profile. You’ve got lots of “friends,” but you don’t know most of them. They’ve simply connected with you because you’re a public persona and they want to get to know you better. I know this happens all the time with public figures.

You joined Facebook for the same reason as everyone else; to keep in touch with family and friends. But then these friend requests started pouring in. Like a deer caught in the headlights, you didn’t know what to do. So you accepted the request or ignored it hoping that it would go away. But then in a moment of weakness, you gave in and accepted the backlog of requests just so that you wouldn’t feel guilty anymore. Right?

Now, your newsfeed is flooded with information that you really aren’t interested in, and it’s making it harder to see those gems from your friends and family that you really do care about. You could filter it, as I demonstrate in one of my YouTube videos, but who has the time to go through so many friends and put them in lists?

Did you know that you can convert your Facebook profile into a Facebook page? What? You didn’t? Neither did I!

Here’s the deal. When you migrate a profile to a page:

  • You do lose the old profile. You have to create a new profile for your personal use using a different e-mail address than your old profile. But if the idea is to clean up the profile, starting with a clean slate isn’t a bad thing!
  • Only your profile pictures and friends/subscribers are transferred over to the page. So, backup your content if you have any interest in saving it. It won’t be accessible later. Note: Depending on the number of friends you have, it can take a few hours for all the friends and subscribers to appear as “likes” on the new page. So, don’t worry if they’re not all there right away.
  • Other than the new likes and a profile picture, your new page is blank. Once again, not a bad issue. Just start creating content. At least you’ll be off to a great start with the following.
  • If your profile is the admin for any groups or apps, assign new admins before you migrate. The page will remain an admin for any pages you’re an admin for, but better safe than sorry; I’d add other admins for pages as well.
  • If you have a username specified for your profile (otherwise known as a “vanity URL”), it will be applied to the new page instead. The username for  my page is “AlewebSocial.” That gives me a vanity URL of http://www.facebook.com/AlewebSocial. Facebook doesn’t allow you to change the username of a page with more than 200 “likes,” so depending on how many people are friends, you may not be able to update the username of the page.
  • From what I can piece together, the name of the new page (the page title) is based on the profile name. Therefore, Joe Schmoe’s profile will be displayed as “Joe Schmoe” for the page title. At least that’s my guess. So, if you want a different title, change your profile name before you update the account. The first name could be “Joe Schmoe’s” and the last name “Awesome New Facebook Page.” You get the idea. I have to admit, I have not tried this out yet, but my guess is that it would work. Otherwise, to change a page title, you have to put in a special request with Facebook, and they don’t make it easy.
  • The newsfeed of your new page will be blank because you haven’t “liked” any other pages yet.
  • Some people may be put off by becoming a fan when they thought they were your friend (think old high school classmates, family members, etc.). So, anticipate a drop-off in “likes” soon after the conversion.

Making a page is definitely the right answer, even for personal brands. You need to be in conformance with Facebook’s terms of agreement, otherwise, you risk them shutting your account down.

But there are other reasons for it too. For instance, Google indexes pages, but not profiles. In addition, pages allow much more functionality than profiles do, including adding apps for a mailing list, creating events, etc.

I hope this helps! Since I haven’t had anyone volunteer yet for me to convert their profile, I’ll share someone else’s video of the process for you to see what it looks like.

If you decide that you want to go ahead and try it yourself, just sign into your Facebook profile and go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php?migrate to get started.

So, what do you think? Is it time to convert your Facebook profile to a page? Let us know below if you’re daring enough to do it!  😀

The Fun Side of Social Media

Tara Alemany, the Bubble Lady, having fun in TanzaniaYou know, the fun thing about social media, whether you are using it for business or for pleasure, is that it can be an awful lot of fun. There are online events intended simply to be silly, that take us out of our shell and allow us to feel like kids again for a little while.

For instance, on Friday nights at 11 PM ET, there’s the TweetChat #slumberparty hosted by the lovely @DabneyPorte. It is often accompanied by creative hospitality, pillow fights, stolen Diva jets, great music spun by Wayne, and general merriment.

But once a year, there is the annual International Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19. This celebration is enjoyed by celebrities like Dave Barry, and everyday folks like you and me.

This year’s celebration is the 10th anniversary of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, otherwise known as “ITLAPD.” With over 82,000 likes on their Facebook page, this online party is a well-attended one.

Yet its popularity and extends beyond Facebook. Their website talklikeapirate.com has a Google page rank of 6 and an Alexa ranking of 259,871 worldwide and 37,696 in the US. The banter and merriment make people want to join in the fun, and this translates to traffic.

For the fact that the majority of their activity is limited to a couple of months a year in the lead up to September 19 each year, that’s an incredible accomplishment.

So as you think about your business, what kind of fun and merriment can you bring to it? This extends beyond contests and polls, which bring limited one-time traffic, into the realm of entertainment. Take for instance the Old Spice viral videos that came out a couple of years ago with the Old Spice Man. They were shared far and wide because of their humorous nature. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself and create a fun environment. Take yourself too seriously and you’ll be considered an old fuddy-duddy. Nobody likes hanging out with a fuddy-duddy.

I know a new business that launched their YouTube video series with their blooper reel, instead of their commercials. They ended up generating a lot of interest in their YouTube channel before they ever put up a single commercial for their brand, simply because they were willing to laugh at themselves. Once they started putting their product commercials, they already had the attention of a rapt audience.

So in honor of making social media a bit more fun, here’s a brief video tutorial on how to change the language settings in Facebook to “English (Pirate).” The same technique can be used to change the Facebook language settings to anything else you choose as well.

So, give us an “Arr!” below, and scrawl somethin’ tellin’ us what your favorite way is to have fun with social media.

To Tweet, Or Not To Tweet

Thomas Comer | B2B CFO http://www.b2bcfo.com/partner/tcomer/Thomas R. Comer, MBA, JD, a partner in B2B CFO. Tom attended a talk I gave at a NetworkPlus event in Westport, CT, this spring, which just happened to be of the same name. It’s one of my more popular Twitter talks, “To Tweet or Not to Tweet: Whether Twitter is a Useful Business Tool or a Devious Distraction.”

Without knowing what the topic was that day, Tom had brought along this poem he’d written. With his permission, I share it with you. (Apologies from both of us to The Bard.) 🙂

To tweet, or not to tweet, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of cyber-obscurity,
Or to take arms against a sea of competitors,
And by opposing end them? To log on, to search,
No more; and via Google to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural junk mails
That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To log on, to search;
To search, per chance a “hit” — aye, there’s the rub:
For in that SEO of hope what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this limited liability company,
Must give us pause — there’s the respect
That makes the value proposition so long.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of clients,
The promised referral, the proud man’s brochure,
The pangs of unreturned phone calls, the Internet’s delay,
The insolence of networking, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his laptop make
With a Facebook page? What would consultants bear,
To blog and sweat under a weary life,
But for the dread of something called LinkedIn,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus the hyperlink doth make cowards of us all.

What are your views? IsTwitter a useful business tool or a devious distraction? If you don’t know and want to find out, feel free to give us a call or book our talk for your organization.