TheSocialWhat.com » Marketing http://www.thesocialwhat.com Practical, tactical advice for your social business Fri, 09 May 2014 17:49:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 5 Ways to Build A Network of Trust Through Social Media http://www.thesocialwhat.com/5-ways-build-network-trust-social-media/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-ways-build-network-trust-social-media http://www.thesocialwhat.com/5-ways-build-network-trust-social-media/#respond Sun, 27 Apr 2014 00:32:09 +0000 http://www.thesocialwhat.com/?p=1005 A while ago I was invited to speak to a group of financial professionals from FEI about using social media as a way to build a network of trust. I told the group I’d be successful if, by the end of the session, they understood why their personal brand is so important, how it impacts building a network […]

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A while ago I was invited to speak to a group of financial professionals from FEI about using social media as a way to build a network of trust. I told the group I’d be successful if, by the end of the session, they understood why their personal brand is so important, how it impacts building a network of trust, and (per my usual schtick), 5 practical, tactical ways for them to start building a network of trust through social media using tools like Linkedin and Twitter.

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The Problem With LinkedIn Endorsements – And 6 Quick Fixes http://www.thesocialwhat.com/linkedin-endorsements-6-quick-fixes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=linkedin-endorsements-6-quick-fixes http://www.thesocialwhat.com/linkedin-endorsements-6-quick-fixes/#comments Thu, 05 Sep 2013 21:50:06 +0000 http://www.thesocialwhat.com/?p=874 My friend Jack is looking for new career opportunities. Jack noticed his friend Larry had endorsed Moe, a senior leader at a company he’s trying to get into. Jack asked Larry to tell him about Moe, figuring if he knew him well enough to endorse him, he’d know him well enough to offer a warm intro. […]

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The Problem With LinkedIn Endorsements - And 6 Quick Fixes

My friend Jack is looking for new career opportunities. Jack noticed his friend Larry had endorsed Moe, a senior leader at a company he’s trying to get into. Jack asked Larry to tell him about Moe, figuring if he knew him well enough to endorse him, he’d know him well enough to offer a warm intro.

“Who’s Moe?” Larry replied.
“You endorsed him on LinkedIn!” said Jack.
“Oh. Him. I don’t know really know him.” Larry said. “And I just clicked that stuff to get rid of it on the screen.”

This is a true story. While the names have been changed out of respect for my still-employed-friend, it also sums up the core problem everyone seems to have with LinkedIn Endorsements. They take zero effort. They’re a hit-and-run social interaction. While it’s easy to blame LinkedIn for making this feature too easy to use, as my friend Tim Burrows says so well, “A social platform is no better or worse than the people that use it. And more importantly, how they use it.”

The real issue I see is that improper use of this feature creates more noise than value. That said, I believe there are six ways we can all improve LinkedIn Endorsements so they’re more authentic and real for everyone.

According to LinkedIn, Endorsements are a good way to enhance your professional identity. They enhance your LinkedIn profile with skills you and your LinkedIn network believe you have. The more people that endorse you, theoretically the better at that skill you are. And while it’s clear that people are using the feature (over 1 billion endorsements given as of March 2013) I wonder how many of those endorsements are legit. And by legit, I mean accurate.

Why the heck was I endorsed for THAT?

When you endorse someone, two things happen. One, the recipient gets notified that you’ve endorsed them for an existing or new skill. The second thing that happens almost instantly is the recipient quickly reflects on why you endorsed them. According to some quick-and-dirty research* I recently performed, 80% of respondents indicated that they’ve received a LinkedIn endorsement from someone and questioned why.

In Tim’s case, when he receives a shiny-new endorsement for “Hostage Negotiations” and “SWAT” (two skills he doesn’t actually possess), these endorsements say far more about the endorser than it does about him. It means the person endorsing him really has no idea what he does professionally. So while the endorsement was probably given with the best of intentions, it does more harm than good. As a savvy social media pro, Tim declines the endorsement – and develops a less-than-favorable impression of the endorser.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out these “skills” we’re all endorsing are filling LinkedIn’s coffers with information to be leveraged, sold and repackaged at some point. And good for them. They’re running a business, and they’ve found a way to grow their core asset – personal data. Personally, if I worked at LinkedIn, I’d be concerned about how accurate any of this data is.

How we will all make LinkedIn Endorsements better

I do like LinkedIn Endorsements. I like giving them, and I really like getting them. I’m often humbled that people take the time to give me props in a public way. I’d just like to see folks use them more effectively so our collective impression of the tool was better. And now that skills and endorsements are available on mobile apps, (LinkedIn just dropped an iOS app update adding this feature) I suspect they’ll be used even more broadly.

Accordingly, here are six tips I’ve found helpful when using the feature. Hopefully they’ll also make Endorsements more authentic and real for everyone.

3 tips for giving LinkedIn Endorsements

  1. Only endorse people you’ve worked with. While this might seem limiting, the reality is how can you really know how effectively someone can use a skill? Here’s my own litmus test. I always make sure that if someone asks me why I endorsed them, I can describe in detail how I’ve seen or experienced that skill in action.
  2. Limit the number of endorsements to 2-3 skills. There’s nothing less authentic (to me) about Endorsements than seeing the same person endorsing someone for every skill they’ve got listed. Seriously.
  3. If you’re endorsing for a new skill, explain why. Send an email or LinkedIn message to your connection explaining why you think they should add it. This will allow your connection to make an informed decision about including it. Especially if you feel strongly they have the skill.

3 tips for getting LinkedIn Endorsements

  1. Focus on quality versus quality. This will be tricky.  Avoid accepting every endorsement/new skill you’re given. Does your kid’s soccer coach really know about your ability to manage a sales pipeline? Probably not.
  2. Don’t feel obliged to return an endorsement. While LinkedIn positions Endorsements as a quid-pro-quo feature, I think this forces people into uncomfortable territory. My advice: only return an endorsement when you feel someone deserves it. Not when LinkedIn thinks so.
  3. Make a habit of trimming and tuning the skills you have. It’s a good practice to constantly review the skills and endorsements you have –  and also reviewing who’s provided the endorsement. For example, if your boss from 10 years and 4 jobs ago endorsed you for negotiation, and you haven’t actually negotiated anything since then, is it really a relevant and current skill? And if you’re so inclined, explain to someone why you’ve removed it. A little courtesy still goes a long way.

Want to get noticed? Focus on LinkedIn Recommendations instead

I know whenever I’m about to pull the trigger on a new hire, I check out a candidates profile and skim their skills section. But I always read any recommendations others have written about them. A candidate’s endorsements have never informed a hiring decision I’ve made, and it seems I’m not alone. In the same research, 93% of hiring managers indicated endorsements have never played a role in a hiring decision. And perhaps unsurprisingly, 98% of hiring managers value recommendations more than endorsements.

Here’s another nugget of wisdom from my friend Sulemaan Ahmed about LinkedIn Recommendations. Consider them an smart investment in your SEO future. Particularly their impact on your personal search results. While LinkedIn recommendations are currently not available via Google, it’s almost a foregone conclusion they will be at some point. And when they do, your story – and the value you provide – will be told in someone else’s voice. So make sure the story people read is one that you want told.

Spend your reputation currency wisely

So here’s my challenge to you. The next time you’re inclined to endorse someone, ask yourself: can I offer a real, tangible example of that skill? If you can’t, don’t endorse them. And the next time someone endorses you, ask yourself: Do I really have this skill? Should I add it? Or would my profile be better off without it?

Your LinkedIn network (and your personal brand) will thank you.

* sample size = 125 respondents

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4 ways to avoid a Twitter PR disaster http://www.thesocialwhat.com/4-ways-to-avoid-a-twitter-pr-disaster/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=4-ways-to-avoid-a-twitter-pr-disaster http://www.thesocialwhat.com/4-ways-to-avoid-a-twitter-pr-disaster/#respond Fri, 08 Feb 2013 17:58:41 +0000 http://www.thesocialwhat.com/?p=766 Embarrassing, #FAIL-worthy tweets from corporate accounts is nothing new. When it does happen, media coverage and case studies ensue. Smart brands respond appropriately. Others make the situation worse. The municipality I live in has become the latest victim of the tweet-gone-bad phenomenon. In this case, an offensive, obscene message was tweeted from the corporate account. It’s possible the […]

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Snowpocalypse Toronto - thanks to twitter.com/danisonfire for the image

Embarrassing, #FAIL-worthy tweets from corporate accounts is nothing new. When it does happen, media coverage and case studies ensue. Smart brands respond appropriately. Others make the situation worse. The municipality I live in has become the latest victim of the tweet-gone-bad phenomenon. In this case, an offensive, obscene message was tweeted from the corporate account. It’s possible the account was hacked. It’s more likely this was accidental, and the person responsible thought they were updating their personal account. What made this message so offensive is that the tweet criticized city residents and their inability to handle snow – during the biggest snowstorm we’ve seen in years.

This situation gives those of us who aren’t suffering through a real-time PR nightmare a chance to reflect on four basic ways to protect our own organizations from being tomorrow’s social media case-study.

1. Properly train your employees to use Twitter

You wouldn’t hand the keys to your car to someone who just read an instruction manual, so why would you hand the keys to your most valuable asset (ie. your brand) without proper training and education? Giving employees social media guidelines is a start – but it does bupkiss if they don’t know how to apply them. Proper hands-on training from experienced folks who know how to use social media – in a business context - is the only way to make social media guidelines effective and relevant. This doesn’t mean  you need expensive external consultants either. You’ll gain more trust (and traction) if you use internal people who know how to train people on using social media, and more importantly, how to tie it’s use to the strategy and purpose of the company.

A solid Twitter training curriculum includes:

  • Training on your organization’s social strategy and how Twitter supports your goals (hint: having a Twitter account isn’t a strategy).
  • Defining the language and tone of your brand (are you colloquial? 3rd-person? Cheeky?)
  • What content is appropriate (and isn’t) to share
  • What to do when things do go bad. Which brings us to…

2. Have a triage plan in place. 

We all know what happens when things go well. But what do you do when things don’t go as planned? Not every situation needs a public response, but every situation needs to be assessed. Your challenge is reacting appropriately when it does. Assuming you have a decent listening strategy in place, how are you prepared for these situations when they arise?

  • Someone complains about your brand, products, employees or customer service
  • Someone misappropriates the hashtag you’ve chosen for your big marketing campaign
  • An employee tweets confidential information like financial results
  • For publicly-held companies like Softchoice, a shareholder tweets their frustrations with stock performance

If you don’t have a plan in triage plan in place, create one. Involve all the departments/resources necessary for appropriate action. HR, Legal, Finance, IR, Corporate Communications, Marketing, IT – all may need to be involved. Determining who does whatwhen and how during a social media crisis is critical. Check out this post by Jeremiah Owyang for more on the topic of triage readiness in the enterprise space. It includes 10 attributes of successful  social media workflow you are free to use.

3. Isolate your accounts

I’m a big fan of social media tools like Hootsuite. Among their benefits, they make it really easy to manage and broadcast to multiple Twitter accounts at once, from one unified dashboard. The trick with these tools is that a lot of people connect their personal accounts to these platforms too. For their part, HootSuite does prompt users with a special window before they publish to designated, high-profile accounts.

Another really simple way to minimize the chances of sending the wrong tweet from the wrong account is using one tool/platform for personal, and one for work. For example, I only use Hootsuite for corporate Twitter accounts on my PC and iPhone. I isolate my personal accounts, and use other tools for personal tweets. (TweetBot on the iPhone is my fav). While this might seem obvious to some, forcing yourself to think about which app or site you’re using just might be the one thing that prevents you from inadvertently tweeting from the wrong account.

4. React – don’t over react

In response to the “storm” of attention they’ve received, Vaughan has shut down their account. While that’s one reaction, I think it was a mistake. In these situations, organizations should look to brands like Kitchenaid as a role model. During the 2012 Presidential debate, an inappropriate tweet was sent from the @KitchenAidUSA, that was obviously meant to come from a personal account. The brand quickly deleted the tweet, responded by apologizing, and the Brand Manager immediately took responsibility while making herself available to the media. Attention quickly passed, and they turned what could have snowballed into a national outrage into a best-practice example. For a great breakdown and analysis, check out this post.

Did they over-react by shutting the account down? Time will tell. My sense is their account will come back online – once the snow (and media) storm blows over.

Special thanks to @danisonfire for the use of the wicked image, and to @dubzeebass for inspiring the post.

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Popluence: A Practical Social Media Scorecard That Works http://www.thesocialwhat.com/popluence-a-practical-social-media-scorecard-that-works/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=popluence-a-practical-social-media-scorecard-that-works http://www.thesocialwhat.com/popluence-a-practical-social-media-scorecard-that-works/#comments Tue, 28 Aug 2012 03:56:35 +0000 http://www.thesocialwhat.com/?p=506 Measuring social media marketing is pretty easy- provided you look at one Facebook page, one Twitter profile, or one blog at a time. What’s not easy is reporting on all your social marketing efforts in a meaningful, consolidated way that senior executives appreciate and understand. Likes, shares, downloads, views…while each are valuable measures in their […]

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Popluence: A Practical Social Media Scorecard That Works

Measuring social media marketing is pretty easy- provided you look at one Facebook page, one Twitter profile, or one blog at a time. What’s not easy is reporting on all your social marketing efforts in a meaningful, consolidated way that senior executives appreciate and understand. Likes, shares, downloads, views…while each are valuable measures in their own right, have you ever wondered what happens when you combine them to create actionable insights and results?

Enter Popluence – a practical, tactical social marketing scorecard that you can download and use.

Why Social Marketing Measurement Is About More Than Just Numbers.

The benefits of using a scorecard for social marketing measurement go beyond the obvious “let’s track pageviews and followers” mentality. A social marketing scorecard is a bridge to better teamwork, better planning and better recognition for marketing teams. Here are four reasons why using a scorecard was important to our team:

  1. Provides the entire team opportunities to learn. With a scorecard, a team has a reason to inspect all of the metrics, and review them together in regular marketing team meetings. Where were the gaps? What performed well? What actions as a team do we need to take to improve performance? These are all good questions that may lead to specific activities for team members. For example, sharing content via Linkedin or Twitter to drive downloads of content. And since using social at work is still relatively new for some, they have a chance to try out some new things.
  2. Gives the entire team a reason to perform better. Just like Google tied bonuses to their own social media success in 2011, some teams may decide to follow suit. Why? Including a team-based component to individual incentive plans ensures everyone pitches in and helps out. It also means peers hold each other accountable when numbers fall short – and celebrate madly when they’re crushed.
  3. Makes forecasting possible. Once you use a social marketing scorecard for two large blocks of time (ie. quarters or semesters) you can do two critical things: (a) Establish a baseline relative to past performance and (b) start predicting future performance against previous periods.
  4. It puts a real number on social marketing activity. By creating a single score that summarizes all our activity, it’s easy for our team to track and remember how well we’re doing.

Popluence Rises.

Social media success is comprised of two elements. Popularity, how many people you’re able to attract to your social profiles, and influence, the behavior you drive through social messages and engagement. With this in mind, we felt the best way to demonstrate our social marketing prowess was by showing strength in both areas – popularity and influence. After a lengthy search trying to find a scorecard model that met our team’s needs, I couldn’t find anything. So I invented one.

Popluence is scored on a 100-point system. The idea is to achieve 100 points (or more) in the time period you’re measuring (ideally, a 6-month period). You score various social marketing goals, and each goal is weighted according to it’s overall value and impact to your business across two categories – popularity and influence. The weighting is key, because it allows you to put more value in areas you’re strong, and minimal value in areas you’re weak, or just testing. For example, if you put a ton of energy into creating video content, you’d weight that higher. If you’re testing Klout out as an influence measure, you might want to give a much lower value, thereby minimizing it’s overall impact on your score. Each category is also weighted based on what’s important.

For us, it was more important to recognize success in influence versus popularity (which we felt was a better indication of marketing impact) so our influence score was worth 60%, and popularity worth 40%, of the total Popluence score. It’s important to note that a 100+ point score is possible without 100% success in each metric. Because it’s a scorecard with relative weighting, overachievement in one area compensates for shortfalls in others. Or vice versa. This is especially relevant in the initial phase, when you might pull goals out of thin air, and you aren’t sure of how well various platforms will perform. This is why chose to insert a cap of 150% for specific goals. While overachievement is good, a cap keeps you honest and realistic. You should start by setting 6-month rather than full-year measures. This allows you to account for the rapidly changing social media landscape (when new profiles or platforms get added to the marketing mix, for example) as well as make some projections for the second half of the year, based on the previous semester. Ready for the really good news? The template does all this math for you! All you need to do is fill in the blanks.

Download The Popluence Scorecard

Here’s a Popluence template you are free to use. My only ask: Please attribute the work if you use it somewhere.

Download “Popluence Template” TSW_Popluence_Template.xlsx – Downloaded 203 times – 44 kB

While there is no shortage of social media scorecards, I still haven’t found anything like Popluence that gives our marketing folks a sense of accomplishment as a team, while also providing a simple way to report material progress back to the business.

Will this help your social marketing efforts? Are you using another social media scorecard already? Please let me know in the comments below!

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Are Your Search Results A Good Reflection Of Your Professional You? http://www.thesocialwhat.com/are-your-search-results-a-good-reflection-of-your-professional-you/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=are-your-search-results-a-good-reflection-of-your-professional-you http://www.thesocialwhat.com/are-your-search-results-a-good-reflection-of-your-professional-you/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2012 01:29:35 +0000 http://www.thesocialwhat.com/?p=458 While some sellers have started to use Facebook and Twitter in their personal lives, few use it in any meaningful way professionally. I’ll cut to the chase: to stay competitive, you need to become socially savvy because of Google. Here’s why. Your personal brand is getting damaged – before you’ve had a chance to build it. When […]

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Are Your Search Results A Good Reflection Of Your Professional You?

While some sellers have started to use Facebook and Twitter in their personal lives, few use it in any meaningful way professionally. I’ll cut to the chase: to stay competitive, you need to become socially savvy because of Google. Here’s why.

Your personal brand is getting damaged – before you’ve had a chance to build it.

When you call a prospect, it’s likely before you even get off the phone, they’re Googling you. In the age of instant information, they’re looking to see if you’re really who you say you are. The question is – what will they find when they do? Will they find information that supports the claims you’ve made about you and your organization? Will they find content that connects you to your organization in obvious ways?

Do your search results match with the professional image you’re looking to convey?

I’m willing to bet for most people, the answer is no. And when a prospect sees something wildly inappropriate about you online, two things happen: they question your maturity as a professional, and your ability to gain earn credibility with them just got a lot harder.

Here’s a few tips to polish your professional personal brand for search:

  • Have work-appropriate profiles. It’s not debatable. Customers are going to search for you. Make an active choice and ensure what they find is how you want to be seen. Curse and make inappropriate comments at your own discretion. That’s not to say you can’t. Just be mindful of the impression that makes.
  • Say cheese. Make sure all your social profiles have a proper, business-appropriate portrait. Read: no beer-bong hats. Especially in situations with net-new customers, a smiling face goes a long way.
  • Include a proper bio. Specific to Twitter, if you have an account, make sure it includes your full name and a reference to your organization. You don’t need to include your title. Just make it obvious for customers when your profile shows up in a search result.
  • Lock your Facebook profile down. It still amazes me how many people have their Facebook profiles open for the world to see. Should your customers really see those pictures from your fraternity/sorority reunion? Probably not. Protect your Facebook profile! Change your privacy settings so that only friends can see your content. And think twice about becoming friends with your customers on Facebook. That might be a line you might regret crossing one day.
  • Create Google Alerts. One of the fastest and useful ways of proactively monitoring your personal brand is setting up a google alert for any reference of your name. Once created, Google will send you an email whenever you’re mentioned.

When it comes to search results, consider Public vs. private profiles

The natural question people ask me is how should they balance their personal/professional social profiles. After all, for many people (including me) social media is a cathartic outlet. I’ve previously addressed the responsibility employees carry – even with personal profiles – in my post on guidelines.

A simpler answer that seems to satisfy is this: given the public nature of Twitter, LinkedIn and other social profiles, keep those as work-appropriate as possible. Use social networks like Facebook and Google+ – where you can control much more effectively (and reliably) who sees what content- as your chosen places to kvetch.

If you regularly search for yourself, great.You already know what customers are seeing. If you haven’t Googled your name lately, you just might be shocked at what you find. And guess what? Your customers will be too.

How do you make sure customers see only what you want them to see, but still have fun and keep the social in social media? Sound off below in the comments and share!

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