Just this week I had to practise what I preach as I was having a problem with a big organisation's customer services.
I teach people how to open doors to long sought-after contacts and how to get themselves into the press. I applied my own teaching to a situation I was facing and it worked!
I was having some big techie issues with a very large organisation that does not have phone support. This organisation has been highly recommended to me by many people so I decided to take the plunge and use it, despite the lack of phone numbers.
Then it happened that I needed to speak to them urgently...I emailed their support daily. Zero response.
I kept on emailing thinking I would "break" them but I got no reply.
Then I decided to go all out and use my secret weapon, LinkedIn.
I Googled the company's marketing and communications manager and the business development manager and in so doing quite a few new contacts in the organisation popped up in LinkedIn.
So I sent all of these people (in this very hard to reach company) a personalised LinkedIn contact request.
Luckily one person accepted that very day. I took the bull by the horns and thanked her kindly for accepting me and then I wrote about my experience.
The next day: boom! My issue was resolved.
This doesn't only apply to customer services issues but also when trying to contact anyone no matter how high up or unattainable they appear to be. Try it! Use the back door to open the front door.
Recently we’ve seen some sinful uses of social media; from clueless users to pointless tweeters. Already this year we’ve witnessed an array of social media blunders, not to mention those who’ve been prosecuted for their comments on social media.
So why all the sinning? With social media use at an all time high and as competition increases between social businesses, people are stretching the social media boundaries to stand out online. Some businesses have lost sight of social media etiquette, business etiquette and common sense as they “borrow” content and spy on their competitors.
But businesses that abuse social media are only damaging their own reputations and jeopardising their business opportunities.
So what are the 11 social media sins?:
Although you can delete posts, people can also screen grab and anything you post can remain in the social media realm forever. This is particularly relevant with Twitter — you can never be certain who is monitoring what you tweet. Never post anything on social media that you wouldn’t be happy for the whole world to see.
Treat social media as one and be consistent across your social media profiles. Your social media profiles should not be competing for your attention, do not favour one over the other; you should post content consistently over all sites. But keep in mind though that each has its own rules and purposes.
Use Twitter to signpost, ensure LinkedIn is B2B focused, Facebook B2C and Google+ should be a mixture of the two. You may need to alter the language of your posts based on the target audience of that platform. Ensure that your presence is consistent and truly represents you. Your social media profiles are usually the first place people go to find out about you, if you’ve got a mismatched, jumbled and inconsistent presence, people will be less likely to trust you and what you post.
There are thousands of fake social media users posing as celebrities and everyday users, with many of these being controlled by internet trolls. These are people who trawl social media sites posting derogatory comments and abusing users and should be reported to the social networking site in which they are operating on.
You must ensure that those influencers you follow are verified (have a little blue tick). If you’re an infamous user yourself, consider getting your own account verified.
You need to be careful what you tweet, even on your personal social media profiles. If your employer is mentioned on your profile, they can be liable for any offensive comments you make through Vicarious Liability.
Mind your social media Ps & Qs, watch your language and do not swear — especially if you’re posting from your business account. Your tweets represent your brand so ensure they reflect your target market and avoid offending anyone with your language.
There are proven best and worst times to post on social media and constantly broadcasting brand messages can be a waste of time. Check out the best times to post and ensure your posting is targeted.
Mix up scheduled tweets with timely posts throughout the week so you’ll create a great balance for your social media profiles and save yourself a lot of time.
Social media is not the place to air your dirty laundry and you will undoubtedly regret doing this so don’t share your personal information, family disputes or private matters.
Do not mix your personal life with your business handles; ensure you create a different personal account to keep up to date with friends. Already this year we’ve seen a number of cases involving people being fired, and in some cases prosecuted, for what they’ve said on social media. Again, don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want the world to see — including friends, family, colleagues and employers.
Most of us have received negative or abusive comments on social media at some time. Don’t delete these comments, instead reply to them promptly (not necessarily immediately) and appropriately (step back, compose yourself, don’t reply in anger, deal with this in the same manner as you would through any other form of contact) to show you are dealing with this.
This is particularly true when it comes to social customer service; Twitter is now the first place many of us go to complain and if your company is brushing these comments under the carpet and removing them from your feed then this shows you in a terrible light. Show respect when replying and only use humour if appropriate.
So, don’t kill comments (unless truly offensive, in which case report and block); start dealing with them confidently. Ultimately, you will be judged on the way with you deal with it.
Don’t insult or mock people via social media; instead treat all your connections with respect. Ensure you get the tone of voice right, as well as the content you share — never position yourself online as something you are not.
Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. Forge new relationships, share content and that way your will gain respect, support and recognition.
Social media has made it harder than ever for individuals to keep a track of their comments, posts and articles; and it’s now easier than ever for people to steal your content. Don’t steal other people’s tweets, arguments and opinions — it’s wrong.
We all know that social media is great for getting content ideas and inspiration, but if you are to use someone else’s articles, don’t present them as your own and reference them correctly. Social media content can still be copyrighted and you may find yourself in trouble if you present ripped off content as your own.
Many people think social media gives you anonymity but this isn’t always the case. Social media posts and comments are traceable so never use social media to slander people or businesses.
If you have a problem with a business or a brand, make sure you bring this, politely, to their attention and do not use social media as a way to broadcast your hate towards them. If you’re a business, don’t lie about other companies or mock them on Twitter.
Ensure that you have correct training and policies in place to monitor what your staff post and who has access to your accounts. After all, social media is an extension of your existing communications channels.
Love what your competitor is doing on social media? Well, don’t just sit back green with envy, go and do it yourself. Social media has removed boundaries that were traditionally the realms of big brand, big budget names.
Social media has provided a glass wall into other businesses and If you like something they’re doing, then think about doing something similar yourself. Not only has it allowed you to monitor competitors, social media has also allowed you to keep a track of your business targets, giving you an easy way to communicate and network with them.
© Emma Pauw, social media writer, We Talk Social.
Back in 2009, we were presenting to students at leading business schools on how to make the most of LinkedIn. We showed them the power of LinkedIn for mapping out their career paths, conducting research, getting noticed by potential employers; and we explained why we thought LinkedIn would be one of the most powerful tools at their disposal throughout their careers.
A great deal has changed since 2009; but our predictions were pretty spot on! Here’s why…
With 15 million UK users, three million business pages and 1,500 school and university profiles, LinkedIn has become the most powerful tool for professional networking. The so-called “Facebook for Business” can bring huge benefits to both professionals and academics and it bridges the gap between the two.
Currently, LinkedIn is one of the best ways for professionals to network and it is awash with success stories of people who have used the site to enhance their career. It allows you to monitor competitors, read up on new career opportunities, network with professionals and is increasingly being used for recruitment.
It’s no wonder that graduates are increasingly turning to LinkedIn as the number one tool in their job search. It allows you to read up on the skills and background of leaders in your field, search vacancies and gain valuable advice from industry experts.
So, we were not surprised when LinkedIn launched its new education service. The idea is to create college and university pages to provide students, alumni, lecturers and employees with a place to connect. The tagline reads: “Powered by the career paths of over 250 million members”.
The education pages provide users with job opportunities, they suggest new connections, allow you to see what your peers are now doing and show potential students what career path their course alumni have taken.
This is a fantastic tool for students, allowing them to start conversations with business professionals and gain valuable insight. From a business perspective, the service also allows you to sift through students to find ideal candidates, as well as connecting with any old alumni to develop business opportunities. Your old uni friend could open the door to your next big client.
Last year, LinkedIn also announced its partnership with some of the biggest names in online education so that users could showcase their educational achievements on their LinkedIn profile. Following the completion of specific courses, these certificates can then be posted directly to your profile. Not only can users add their certificates, but LinkedIn also allows users to add their honours and awards, test scores, courses and patents; moving the platform ever closer to becoming a one-stop, online CV.
It surely won’t be long before candidates will simply submit their LinkedIn profile to a potential employer instead of a traditional CV; indeed already many companies are asking for both.
Emma Pauw is social media writer at We Talk Social.
As a professional social networking tool, your LinkedIn homepage is more valuable than you may give it credit for.
It is by far the greatest source of real-time market intelligence I have (and costs just a few minutes of my time each day).
LinkedIn is a truly brilliant tool that provides us with the ability to engage in conversation with our business network, on both a one-to-one and one-to-many basis. So much so, I wonder whether we really still need email.
A quick glance down the right hand column reminds me of the power of my LinkedIn profile. With over 500 connections, I am less than three steps away from almost 9 million professionals. And this is growing — today the statistic shows over 25,000 new people in my network in the past three days. Three days!
Here are the seven LinkedIn features that reveal valuable information about your connections and your sector as a whole.
The quality of status updates has significantly increased, in my opinion, since the automated feed from Twitter ceased. Status updates are becoming more and more informative as users find their voice and clarify their content strategy. Engagement via likes and comments is becoming more prevalent, and the recently added ability to mention other users is proving popular.
My timeline shows when people update their profile — useful information about job changes can provide valuable business intelligence.
I love seeing the new connections being made across my network — it shows that they’re active users.
However, if you’re in a sales role you should consider protecting your profile so “stalkers” like myself don’t pick up on when you add a new client or prospect to your list. It’s a small world and I’m keeping my enemies (competitors) close by, including them in the network I’m watching.
I’m not keen on the endorsement feature — some users are click happy when it comes to endorsements and this undermines their credibility. However, a quick review of skills is helpful, and it’s interesting to see who is recommending who.
When building your network, LinkedIn’s ability to identify people you might know is really useful.
Now this is really interesting information — who has been looking at you and why? Perhaps they’ve seen a status update and want to be reminded of your profile. Maybe they need your help. Keep an eye on this and, if relevant, drop the user a note to see if or how you can help.
Real-time feedback is great for refining your content strategy. A new feature on LinkedIn provides a snapshot of what you’ve shared over the past 14 days, who has seen it and how it has been received (liked, shared) from your 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections.
If you’re not regularly checking out all this information, schedule ten minutes a day into your diary and you’ll soon find out just what you’ve been missing.
No one anticipated just how popular social networking would be become. Once viewed with trepidation, small businesses wondered whether social media would ever be something they would incorporate into their marketing strategy. Now social networking has changed the way B2B businesses interact with prospective clients and partners and how they market their brand.
Social media has become a necessity for every business because with the right strategy, it has the power to positively impact the bottom line.
An obvious marketing technique is to go where your prospective clients are and market to them. Well, everyone is using social media and whether your business is engaging in social media or not, people are using it without you. They may be talking about your business — or they may be talking about your competitors! The fact is that they are talking and you’re not there to interact.
An increasing number of businesses are engaging in social media every day and the only way to reach out to them about your brand is to make your online presence known. You can’t run from social media any longer so you might as well embrace it.
Engagement is the key to trust, and conversation and social media gives your business a voice. A few years ago all you needed to do was create a product and market it to as many prospective buyers as possible. Now traditional marketing methods are gone because social media has changed the way B2B businesses market themselves. Many businesses are now using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to engage with their audiences and some use it as their sole customer service function. People want to talk and interact with real people.
Social sharing now also impacts your SEO rankings. If you’re absent from social media, search engines such as Google won’t consider your website as important which makes your website harder to find. It’s important to include social networking in your SEO efforts in order to be a leader on the SEO board.
Social media is no longer a trend, it’s a necessity. It’s a tool that fulfils a need — the need to communicate, interact and share. Interacting on social media platforms can significantly increase your brand visibility. While traditional marketing methods could increase your traffic, social media will bring you fans, friends and followers who are interested in your business and offerings. These can be turned into customer engagement and that will lead to increased sales.
No business can survive without customer and client feedback. Social media is a dialogue where people with similar interests can interact and share things they like and dislike. Consumers don’t limit their online expressions and opinions to those businesses with a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Today, they have their own accounts and blogs for sharing their experiences and opinions about your business. By not engaging in social media, you’re ignoring these discussions and limiting your ability to participate, apologise or defend. Social media is the best way to find out what your customers are saying about your brand.
B2B businesses that continue to conduct their marketing and PR the old fashioned way will undoubtedly find it more difficult to compete. Social media isn’t going away. Businesses that want to engage their audiences need to seriously consider their social media marketing strategies for today, tomorrow and the foreseeable future.
So the key message is — don't get left behind. Social media is not just a passing trend, it can be a bonus for any company if the right strategy is implemented. For a B2B social media campaign to work, the campaign needs the same professionalism that businesses bring to every other aspect of their business.
Blog provided by iBAengage, a global social media service company.
Social media is time consuming, especially if you want to see results. But, as someone who eats, breathes and sleeps social media, I’ve discovered ways to make it a friend in both my professional and personal life, and to avoid burnout.
The key to staying fresh online and avoiding burnout is to establish exactly what you want to achieve from your social media efforts. Do your research to identify which tools your target audience are using, and focus your efforts here, whether that’s LinkedIn and Facebook, or Google+ and Twitter.
Spend time planning content. Think about what to post and create a calendar to schedule your updates. Identify a range of sources you can tap into at any time. RSS feeds are perfect for checking at a time that suits you, and can help to avoid your email inbox becoming cluttered.
Check the latest news each day, and share appropriate posts by those you like, follow or are connected to.
Not only do I plan my content in advance — I schedule posts using timers. Telling new social media users about scheduling feels like sharing a way to cheat, but it’s essential for managing your time, and your online presence.
Quotes, pictures, product descriptions, upcoming event promotion, links to your website and articles about your industry all lend themselves to advance scheduling, leaving you free to focus on the very latest news.
There are a number of tools available to help your scheduling — Hootsuite, TweetDeck and Buffer are popular choices.
Technology is the catalyst behind the popularity of social media and a wide range of free mobile apps let you keep up with the very latest news on your smartphone or tablet, even when you’re on the move.
Even when you’re happy that social media is working for you, it’s important to regularly review your profiles. Check your connections, pages you like, people you follow, and groups you’re in, and de-clutter to ensure you’re meeting your objectives.
And finally, if, like me, you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) sign up to receive a daily email from NutShell Mail, summarising the most recent activity from Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.