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Mary Biever | One Writing Mother | Tag Archive | linkedin
Tag Archive - linkedin

Pinterest = Next Generation Social Sharing

As Mark Zuckerberg changed the rules and interface of his Facebook playground, he opened the door to the next generation of social sharing – beyond faces to things and ideas showcased on new platforms like Flipboard and Pinterest.

Why and What has happened to shift the direction of social media?

There’s a limited amount of time we can spend talking about ourselves and other people before we want more. We want to talk about things we enjoy and ideas we like.  The newer platforms fill this new interest.

Pinterest has created a virtual niche that people – women in particular – can embrace. I like trying new things for dinner or organizing something better. Now, instead of swapping a recipe at the office or over the back yard fence, I can see a pin on my friend’s board – or someone else’s – and if it fits me, I can repin it and share it with my own friends.

I’ve had an address book for almost 30 years and have relied on it. Now, the role of that address book has been supplanted by my phone contacts, Facebook, and LinkedIn worlds. I especially love how Facebook can link with my phone contacts so if I click on your picture, I can call, text, email, or Facebook you instantly.

However. No 2 women ever stood over a backyard fence comparing one another’s address books. The constant changing of the Facebook’s interface accelerated the interest in a different media.  Pinterest is user friendly and offers a quick start, letting me immediately watch the boards of my Facebook friends or Tweeps.

Instead of a linear list of statuses, I see cool pictures of the things that interest me the most. In my case, that involves recipes, some home decor, and home organization plus fitness info and inspiration. If you love photography or travel, you can create your own clipboard of what you love. So instead of telling what I love, I show what I love and learn more about it at the same time.

I’ll still keep my address book, Facebook, LinkedIn et al. Pinterest can’t replace those tools.  It wasn’t meant to. Instead, it takes social sharing to a new level, the new trend.

This is the beginning of the shift of social media to more sharing. If you want to do social media well in the next generation, you’ll need to bump it up a notch – a little less name dropping and personal branding and a little more sharing of content of value with a great picture attached.

I just read several leading gurus who all talked of how Google Plus will become the flavor to taste for 2012. I disagree. It’s a reworked retread of what we already have, wrapped in multicolor analytics with a Google search time bomb for a ribbon.

The real new trend will instead be social sharing that teaches and delights – by way of things and ideas more than people.

My Reference Letter for a Person I Don’t Know

I was flattered to be asked by Jane Doe to write a LinkedIn recommendation for her. She must pay attention to a broad range of people to ask me when we have never met, talked, or engaged one another in real life or on social media.

Frankly, I’m not sure whether she asked me to be a contact or I asked her. Nevertheless, I’m honored that she still thought enough of me to ask for the reference. Her work strengths that I can see:

  • Attention to detail – there are no spelling, capitalization, or punctuation errors on her LinkedIn profile.
  • Technical mastery – she is able to use social media templates – the request for my recommendation was the exact language of LinkedIn’s default recommendation request.
  • Humility – Jane is glad to let others shine and not venture into the limelight. Indeed, she has never liked or shared any of my posts on LinkedIn.
  • Unobtrusiveness – before this request, Jane has never messaged me or intruded on my time.
  • Pleasant personality – she’s smiling in her profile photo. That must be a good sign.

Based upon these observations, I highly recommend Jane Doe as a pleasant LinkedIn contact who never gives you a headache, pesters you, or irritates you.

By the way – if you happen to see her, tell her to say hello when she sees me. I’m not sure I would recognize her.




I Invite, 6 Platforms

Imagine you’re inviting people to a big party at your office. How will you reach them? Each communications platform has its own style. Smart business communicators use each correctly.

Text: <3 our kewl partay next week! Be there!!!!!

Email: Our office is holding its annual customer appreciation day next Thursday from 1-5. We hope you will join us.

Blog: Blog on how much customers are valued with a graphic that shows the theme. It might include an Eventbrite for reservations, or it might just be an open invite.

Facebook: 5 days till the customer appreciation party – just bought the decorations. Hope to see you there! (attached to a link on the blog about the party)

LinkedIn: Please join us next week for our annual customer appreciation party. (attached to a link on the blog about the party)

Twitter:  We love our customers! Join us next week! (shortened link to blog attached)

Business professionals need to know the vernacular of each communications platform and use it. When I text, don’t expect me to ever type “kewl” or “partay.” On the other hand, I might reply back with a “k.”

I am over 40. When you send me an email, I expect it to include complete sentences, with appropriate capitalization and punctuation.

When I get an email that is phrased like a text, unless it is from a digital native under the age of 20, I am offended and question the sender’s professionalism. “Kewl Partay!” comes across as effectively as showing up for work, dressed in a bathrobe, going commando, wearing no pants, with varicose veins popping all over the place. As I read such messages I cringe just like I do when someone talks to me who has bad breathe.

Know each platform. You can follow its standards and maintain your own voice. At the same time, remember that the voice we use in the board meeting has a different inflection than the one Ma Kettle used when she clanged her triangle and hollered for her kids to come in for dinner.

And the person who wears a tux and tails to the beach party is going to look like an overstuffed lobster ready to be baked.

When you use the wrong form, people notice your bad form and miss your message.

Are Your Clients Your FB Friends?

When I taught a full house class of business owners on social media for businesses, I was surprised when I asked the question, “Are your biggest clients your Facebook friends?”

None in the class said yes. Their vision of Facebook for business was entirely wrapped up in the business page.

Why should most of us friend our clients?

  1. Stronger communication
  2. Better relationships
  3. An additional opportunity to better understand each other
  4. More visibility

Friending clients also means we need to learn to use Facebook well and to communicate with it, not sell. (By the way – I can help you with that and personally coach clients to better communicate socially.)

Friending clients also means communicating with them across other social platforms – Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Each has a little different style and purpose. Here’s how each platform works for me with business networking:

  • Facebook – nurture and build relationships with friends and those who could be friends
  • Twitter – talk about stuff that interests me and meet new people all over the planet
  • LinkedIn – meet professionals and brand myself with my blogs on business topics.
  • Google Plus – a hybrid of all of the above where I increase visibility with more tech-oriented people.

As my relationship with someone grows, we might increase the different places we talk online. What begins with Twitter or Google Plus could venture to LinkedIn.

It’s like business networking in real life. I meet someone at a networking group on Thursday and then discover that we’re both also involved in a community event. Then we meet in a different venue. Over time, we build a relationship.

Better relationships provide more opportunities for business.

That’s why business owners should friend their clients and prospective clients on Facebook.

Google+ Joins the Social Media Playground

playgroundphoto © 2006 Azfar Ismail | more info (via: Wylio)

What do businesses need to know and do right now with Google+?

Keep your backyard Social Media Playground flexible enough to adjust the layout when a new toy gets introduced to the market.

Early reports look good. With its invitation only roll-out, social media obsessives like me were pumping Twitter networks yesterday to angle invites from friends already there. We liked what we saw. All it took was an invite and a gmail account to get me hooked.

What do Businesses Need to Know:

I hope you didn’t fall so in love with your Facebook page that you made it the inground pool centerpiece of your social media strategy. Facebook owns the platform and loves to change its rules. Arguing with Facebook is as effective as negotiating with the Borg in Star Trek.

If you built the inground Facebook pool, get ready to make adjustments in your other backyard space. Facebook grew too confident and comfortable with its market dominance because there was no viable competitor. In recent months, and especially in recent weeks, I’ve heard varied frustrations from people sick of Facebook. Why?

  • Teens don’t want to hang out on the same block Grandma and Grandpa do.
  • Facebook games lost their luster.
  • Recent spam attacks that showed pornographic images put wavering users over the edge.
  • More people are frustrated at how difficult it is to negotiate with Facebook if they delete your account.

Real competition will force Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to all up their game. This morning, Facebook added sorting and reputation features to comments.

What do Businesses Need to Do:

  • Get an invite to Google+ for at least one person on your social media team. Start playing.
  • Vary the toys on your social media playground. If all you’ve had is the Facebook pool, it’s time to try the Twitter trampoline and the LinkedIn Playhouse.
  • Get thee to WordPress and Youtube. Go blogging with written and video channels. (The Youtube/Google+ connection could become much bigger.)
  • Go mobile. Design your website for mobile. Value added apps your customer uses can make your sales boom.
  • If you choose to stay Facebook only social media marketing, prepare yourself for the day your Facebook pool becomes as relevant as a backyard museum designed for Pet Rocks.

If you need help getting started with Twitter or LinkedIn, I can help. If you don’t know who to go to to create an app, design your website, or set up your blog so you not only win search but make more money, ask me for recommendations.

I know some super talented pros in each of those areas who can help – WordPress design, web design, blogging, video, and app development and would be glad to give you a referral.

The Socializer

“I can do this!” one of my clients exclaimed after I helped her create a social media schedule that would fit with her business day.

Afterwards, she told people I had “Socialized” her. That inspired this ad campaign, The Socializer. I joked about copy for the ad. Then my husband and daughter of The Copper Lion took my idea of The Socializer last night and created the graphic.

Learning to leverage technology is frustrating. What I do is help you help yourself and find how to make it work for you. We will most likely laugh along the way because a dose of laughter helps the lesson go down.

I wish I could put the theme song to The Equalizer with the graphic. Back in the day, the Equalizer helped equalize the odds of regular people facing tough challenges. I do the same today, as The Socializer.

Frustrated and want to hire some help to make social media (or Excel or Word or Outlook) easier to unravel? Give me a call! Write on my wall! Tweet me! Email me! I’ll be there, ready to help.

Strategies for Special Needs & Social Media

Matthewphoto © 2008 Rebecca Wilson | more info (via: Wylio)
As I networked via LinkedIn, I discovered that a friend’s son had created a LinkedIn profile. The catch? He has Down Syndrome.  He had his profile and place of employment right. But I still called his mother to alert her.

What happens with special needs teens and adults on social media? If they choose to get involved, what strategies can their families employ to help them?

As a mother who lost an anencephalic baby who happened to have Down Syndrome, this topic is close to my heart.  Many of my friends have special needs children. Each time one of their Down Syndrome kids, some now adults, gives me a hug, I feel a tug for my Down Syndrome daughter who would be almost 18 had she survived.

When I have coached and led public speaking classes for teens, my students included highly gifted students, along with special needs. My goal was the same: empower special needs students to develop their voices so they became better public speakers.  One autistic boy gave an effective persuasive speech why video games benefited learning and were good for kids. My favorite, a girl with Down Syndrome, moved an audience of 200 to tears when she gave an oral interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer, sharing the prayer with speech and sign language at the same time.

Isn’t interacting on social media an extension of public speaking – as in public communication and networking? We all have a unique voice. What strategies can we implement to involve special needs teens and adults in the social media conversation and still keep them safe?

Strategies for Families of Special Needs

  1. Education for Caregivers. Parents and caregivers need to learn to use social media well so they can be better friends and mentors for their special needs loved ones. If possible, they need passwords to accounts so they can monitor better. The best monitoring happens from a distance, intervening in problem situations – too much rigid control often backfires.
  2. Education for Family Members. Teach concrete, specific points to target safety in social media. Potential problem areas to cover: selecting friends, posting photographs, chatting, messaging, and clicking on links.
  3. Backup Network. Ask mature, compassionate, trustworthy friends to friend your family member so they too can be aware of their social media presence and help you monitor.
  4. Privacy Settings. Set a schedule, first of each month, to review the privacy settings of your special needs loved one. Settings sometimes change, and this is imperative for obvious safety reasons.

Strategies for The Rest of Us

  1. Mentor. If you have friends with special needs teens or adults who opt to be in social media, be willing to mentor and friend them.
  2. Encourage. Some of my friends in social media have special needs. I encourage them. If they engage in conversations on my wall, I expect others to treat them with respect. If you see a conversation thread on a friend’s wall where someone you don’t know has an outside the box perspective, respond respectfully. Maybe it’s a special needs person, learning to engage with the outside world.
  3. Watch our words. Avoid using the “N” words of our decade, which happen to start with “R” – as in “retard” or “retarded.”  Remove those words from your vocabulary.  When I hear someone use those words in a pejorative sense, my first response is righteous anger, in defense of all those I love who have special needs. Though I may not always tell the person, I will mentally assign a “B” word to them – the nicest of which is “Bigot.” That “B” word then extends to my reducing “B”usiness ties as well.  There are too many good people in business for me to spend my money with those who ridicule others.

If you work with special needs adults or teens or have other suggestions, please share them in the comments.

9 Steps to Starting Social Media

“How do I get started?” people ask when they decide to try Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn for business.  Follow the same steps you would take when planning a long distance business trip. 

  1. Plan. Before you take a business trip, you decide why you’re taking it and what you hope to accomplish. “Go somewhere and business will come” is not a sound strategy.
  2. Train. Before you drive a car on a business trip, you learn to drive the car. Riding in a car does not translate into instant driving skills. You learn the rules of the road, safety tips, and more. Driving lessons take time. Give yourself time to learn to use social media.
  3. Organize. Decide who will go. Who do you send on business trips, and how do they best represent your unique brand? What will you do when you get there?
  4. Budget. What tools will you buy, and which freebies will you leverage?
  5. Equip. Travel is mobile. So’s social media. Get a smartphone so you understand your customers better.
  6. Target. Who is your dream customer, and how can you best find that niche via social media?
  7. Converse. Listen to your target customers, respond, and ask them questions. Build a relationship.
  8. Streamline. Over time, social media takes less of your time. Tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and NutshellMail can help you use social media on a schedule.
  9. Evaluate. Measure results. Experiment with various strategies and determine which work best for your customers. This will help you set short and long term goals.

The key to social media is the word “social.”  It’s about people.

If you can…

  • Balance the personal and the professional..
  • Be real and be smart while you’re being transparent…
  • Listen and respond….
  • Build your own brand indirectly as you build up the community around you….

Social media will help your business not only survive but thrive.

6 Blogging Tips for Boomers

If Charles Dickens blogged today, no one would read him.  He used too many words.

Boomers can have great ideas, but they have to relearn how to write if they want people to read them. Less is more. Long is never read. How can a boomer with great ideas learn to sift for gold and shake out the good stuff? What tools should they use?

  1. Twitter. Tweets are limited to 140 characters. Savvy tweets use 120 or fewer characters so they are more easily retweeted. The more you tweet, the better your writing will shift to the new paradigm. Overly long tweets will make you look old school and past your prime time.
  2. Main Point. What’s your main point? When I teach document layout to non-graphic business people, I tell them to print a page, hold it at arm’s length, and squint. What stands out the most is what the average consumer will see first. Design the rest of the ad around that point. This applies to writing too. Step back from your blog, squint, and determine the main point. Write around that point. If you have more than 1 point, you have more than one blog.
  3. Blog with Word Count. Don’t just blog. Keep the word count at 300 to 400 words. If you go longer, you have a blog series. Start with your premise, your thesis, and evaluate every word and sentence to assure they are essential to your thesis. Don’t repeat yourself. Cut the fat.
  4. Bullet. Bullets are like related tweets and are more likely to be read.
  5. Graphic. Include a graphic or video with your blog. Back link it to your website for better SEO.
  6. Link. Tweet your blog on Twitter. Link it on Facebook. Link it on LinkedIn. If you link properly, it will be read more often than if you just include it in a status line. When you link correctly, your graphic in your blog will show on Facebook and LinkedIn. Links with pictures get more clicks.

I blogged back in the days of 900 word limits. Today’s blog is not a 5 paragraph essay. It is not a dissertation. It is a foot in the door. Smart writers use these tools to powerpack a content rich punch that stands out from boring blogs.

PS: Have keyboard. Will blog. For hire.

8 Questions for a Social Media Pro Before Hiring

If you are going to hire a social media professional, what questions should you ask?

  1. What’s your Klout? Klout measures individuals’ social media impact. Its methods may not be perfect, but social pros should have a Klout score of at least 30 (most social media pros have scores much higher than 30).  When you enter a Twitter handle (must be public), you will pull the Klout score.
  2. What are your favorite platforms? A social media pro should be familiar with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and blogs. Pros need to understand the social media spectrum and how to best use each platform. How do they integrate Groupon offers, FourSquare, and Facebook places into campaigns?
  3. How do you build your community? Social media done well builds better communities. Do they use their Klout to bring people together? Do they share their toys? Are they involved in local, state, or national social media efforts? Do they attend or present at social media conferences or barcamps? If so, which ones, and which topics?
  4. How do you define best social media practices? How do they handle ethical issues? Do they emphasize strategy or tactic? Do they encourage open, honest dialogue?
  5. How do you have fun with social media? Good social media pros never take themselves too seriously. Fun, creative pros develop fun campaigns.
  6. How do you measure results? Your campaign strategy should have measurable goals with your specific, niche audience.
  7. What’s your time frame? Instant results from a social media campaign are as reliable as weight loss programs that promise major results in a few weeks. Do you want a quick splash or a long term gain?
  8. How do you train clients? Do they evaluate your full social media branding and train employees? If they don’t train clients, do they make referrals? Do they not only teach you how to use social media for branding but also market research?

Google your social media pro.  Evaluate their blogs, videos, and photos. Do they look like a good fit for your company and its culture? How good are they are beginning, continuing, and responding to conversations by way of Facebook, Twitter, and more?

Ask good questions. Ask the tough questions.

Better to build a strong social media presence with a solid foundation than to build one in sand that has to be fixed later.

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