Time To Change the way I use Linkedin

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Linkedin TipsLinkedin has changed a lot in the last 10 years for me.

  • From 2005 – 2011, I thought it was a great job board where people were carefully putting their online resume on display for people to checkout, learn from and record for a possible job change in the future.
  • From 2009 – 2012, Linkedin Groups were the place to be.  For some people they still are. People could connect with others based on their industry, professional networks and other new markets.
  • In the past three years, there was a movement toward more social sharing on Linkedin. People started looking more at personal updates, company updates and article updates. These changes have really made this platform the place to be for networking with different groups of people.
  • The Linkedin Blogging Platform has taken Linkedin to another level.

So what does all of this mean…I am not a normal Linkedin User

Meet New People on Linkedin

People ask me why I like to connect with people I don’t even know on Linkedin. To me, it is more about learning from others at different companies,  industries and professions. I can learn from anyone if I take the time to stop and listen. I really enjoy connecting with people who are active on Linkedin. People who share updates and take the time to write blog articles.  Do most of your close friends and acquaintances blog? Very few people do, so why would I only want to connect with  people I know.

Linkedin Groups

Linkedin groups are not my style. I belong to a few groups and share from time to time, but they have become mostly a broadcasting area for people to promote themselves and their own thoughts. I stay connected to “industry groups” so I can receive updates that help me keep in touch with a particular industry.

Linkedin Company Page

Be patient! Keep posting information about the company and promoting its content. You will eventually see results. For me, its been a slow climb. Also, consider following other companies, but again be patient, companies are not quick to post information about their respective companies.

Linkedin Updates

This is where people share good information about themselves and others. This is the place where I spend my time catching up on news and interesting insight. Also, if you leave a comment or receive a comment, Linkedin provides a nice information feed indicating that someone is referencing your update or comment. It is a great place to directly connect with people.

Linkedin Blogging Tool

This is where I can really achieve a bigger following. I typically post articles on my blog site to this area and I add some additional questions to get people to leave comments. I learn a lot from people’s comments. It also helps me gauge what people are interested in.

My Linkedin Advice for You

Spend time on the blogging tool and updates. This is where you will see the biggest return on your time spent on Linkedin. Remember, few people do it. You can be like everyone else or you can have an advantage over your peers. People will read your articles if you make them personal and speak about your own experiences.

Don’t be afraid to connect with people you do not know. Just remember if you extend an invitation to someone and have not heard back from them for a couple of days, you should consider withdrawing your invitation, (don’t delete). Too many of these type of invitations can be a negative against your profile. From here, you can now start sharing information or commenting on updates because you have that initial connection in place. (This is so backwards compared to anything you will ever read in Linkedin books or articles)
Let me ask you, when you go to a networking event or conference do you know everyone in the room? Do you ever exchange your business card with a stranger? Of course you do! How is that any different when you share your profile. Remember Linkedin is not a job board anymore. It is a social sharing platform.

Spend more time on Linkedin than other social media sites if you are wanting to connect closer with other business professionals.

Picture Source: Pixabay

 

We Need More People To Speak Up

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step up and talkIt is time to take a stand and make things better.

I am only going to talk from a marketing standpoint in this article, but it really needs to be stated. If companies are going to survive they are going to have to make necessary changes much quicker  in order to meet the needs of their clients. Everyday, people are willing to provide information regarding your company in all different areas like:

  • they will tell you if your service is good or not good today
  • they will ask questions about your product or service
  • they will tell you how they heard about your company, if you ask the question
  • they want to know more about your service today
  • they want to pay for your service right now

Clients will share this information. The question is do you want to hear it. I am finding that many company executives do not want to know this information because they might:

  • have to work harder
  • provide better service,
  • they may need to understand their own products and services more
  • they might have to gain a better understanding of their client’s needs

Most important, they might find out that they have their work cut out for them and they don’t want to face the facts. The landscape is changing. Company representatives need to be more responsive and find ways to upgrade processes and improve service.

In addition, they may find out they can’t do it alone anymore. They need to rely on other people to help out if they are going to be able to keep up. I found this to be true this past week when I wanted to make a change. I knew my change would impact all levels of the company so I brought them all into a meeting. Each group approached the idea from their own vantage point and through the discussion it was apparent that this change was by no means a small one. In the past, I, too may have tried to get some of the changes implemented with a smaller sector of people and would still be working on implementing the idea in a step-by-step manner.

By bringing in a larger segment, we quickly realized the following:

  1. Where we want to go short-term and long-term and
  2. How we were going to get there.
  3. We need to map out the process and
  4. Start developing the final deliverables

I only share this concept with you because companies are going to need to work closer together and make sure people are aligned with the goal and have a voice to say. There really isn’t time for politics anymore as far as I am concerned. If you are still dealing with a heavy political culture, you have your work cut out for you. Sorry – I have also been there. At some point you may have to say enough is enough or take greater risks for the hopes of a better culture.

Time is of the essence. How will you address much needed changes in your company? Step up and start speaking up today. In the end, what do you really have to lose. Clients are speaking up these days. Its time company representatives recognize this and start speaking up as well.

Picture Source: Pixabay

 

A Great Website Experience

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website experienceHere is a question for you…

What makes for a great website experience, whether you are on your smartphone, desktop computer, television or tablet?

What does the experience look like?

I am really struggling with this question because if you ask five people, you will receive five different answers. The answer to this question is critical now more than ever. I feel a sense of urgency to get our company website up to speed. This means, I really need to make it an experience that users can get on and connect find the answers to their questions in an easy manner. In the past, the feeling was if we put quality content on our site, people will find it and believe we are knowledgeable experts in the field. This method worked well in the early days of Google, but with the advent of mobile search, the new variables that were introduced were “time” and readability. Just because your site, is mobile friendly doesn’t equate to a great experience. Many marketers are experiencing this pain right now.

Should this topic concern you?

Amazon is getting into the professional services market. Do you want to give a company like Amazon your user experience to help them find you. Many companies may say yes to this. To me, I look at Amazon as a huge online competitor. Can I give this type of experience to my clients with even more value? This is where my focus is. I am not willing to concede everything over to Amazon to help draw clients to my site.

Social media sites – More and more people are getting information on social media sites like Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook. How can I draw these people to my company site and keep them on the site to help them find the answers to their questions.

How can we compete for our client’s time. Do we want that content we create to reside on a social media site or do we want them to check out our company site. Many companies have given into the pressure and are relying more and more on social media platforms. Again, I am not ready to concede this battle.

 

Some areas I am looking at improving:

Menus – I really need to simplify menus. Our current site has way too many options. I need to create fewer options that are easy to find and easier to access. (Goal: fewer clicks)

Content – I’ve worked on this in the past. I really need a section just for old resource information for people to access. In addition, I need to bring out the pages that are more frequently updated like the home page and blog pages.

Storefront– Need to work toward a model where people can find what they need in the areas of products and services and give people a way to easily purchase these items. Current storefront software works well for products, but not necessarily for services and it is limited with respect to functionality. (Longer-term project)

Contact Us Page – Need a way for people to easily ask questions, get contact information and connect with appropriate people. I work at this process every month and I am learning what works and what does not work.

Media – How can I incorporate more media on the site that compliments the experience and does not take away from it. Is extra media needed? How much is too much?

Starting Point page, Guide Page, Decision Page – This is the area I am trying to wrap my head around. How can I create a better experience for users. I am in the designing phase of trying to give people a place to start and guide them along a path to help them find the right information. This is the area I am looking for input from others.

Summary:

Clients can find your site in many different ways: social media links, search links, email, referral, etc. The trick here is to effectively help guide them in a way that helps them get the information they are seeking in a quick, clean manner without distracting them along the way. This is the hard part.

Picture: Pixabay

Content Marketing Transition

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Content Marketing Transition

Marketing continues to change at a rapid pace. Content marketing is changing right before our eyes. 

Over the past few years I have been a big support of content marketing. I have seen the value in creating quality content on blog sites as well as continually updating content on company websites.

Today – I believe we are going through another transition with respect to content marketing.

Content in the past was about telling stories, being knowledge experts, curating information. Today, content takes on even more and it will continue to move in a new direction. In the future, content will take on the following:

  • Provide “quick” direction to people seeking information – Direct links to specific information
  • Need to be better organized on websites. (Content Navigation)
  • Need to be updated and look more like news releases, simple, to the point
  • Will need to be backed up with media: audio, video, image
  • Need to be validated with the author’s name and dated for more reliability
  • Need to be written and organized to show value or next steps.

Why is this so important to understand?

The internet is still in its infancy. We are just beginning to scrape the surface of its potential. The mobile experience is showing us that time is of the essence and that people are becoming less patient. They are wanting more of a “now” experience. Who has time to read pages and pages of information when you can ultimately search for a particular piece of information and find it with a few clicks.

Who does it affect?

We are all affected in some way.

Clients have to be the focus here. If a company cannot provide information in the form of results or answers to questions in a timely manner, clients will quickly figure this out and move on to another option.

Client service is a premium. Our service staff need access to information to quickly provide to clients seeking the information. Our systems need to be built with a goal for more real-time experience. It is a constant state of reengineering processes to make them better an more efficient.

What can be done?

Examine where people are going the most for information on your site. (This can be done with programs like Google Analytics) Look for ways to make this information more easily available to clients. .

Look at incorporating more media into your content.

Focus on issues and topics that are pertinent to our clients. Stop wasting people’s time with jokes or information that is not related to your company.

Finally…

I am really looking at this topic from a number of different perspectives and it really is the key to getting things right going forward. There is a huge movement away from company websites to social media sites like Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and others. People want information quickly  and when they go to your site, they need to be able to navigate your site to be able to find this information quickly. Content is good if it is organized in a simple manner and it is easy to access.

I used to believe that content needed to be fresh everyday to make a difference. Now, I believe content needs to not only be fresh but organized much better if we hope to bring clients back to our websites. I really think sites like Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram are competitors. It is up to us as marketers to communicate our message on these sites and do a much better job of bringing people to our websites and provide them with an experience that they will want to come back to.

Content marketing is alive and well. It is a matter of refocusing more on the right content to bring people back.

Picture Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Build a Directory of Contact Experiences

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experience connectionsIn the past, the business card file was where people often kept contacts’ names. Oh, now we have become much more sophisticated and we keep these files on our smartphones. But how valuable are these lists of contacts. I would tell you there is a more critical list that you need to start developing and it is helping me connect more with respect to connecting in the digital age.

This directory includes contact names and their associated information, but it also contains another important aspect. This aspect is Experiences. This past year, I have started, ( …repeat started) a list of names and some type of experience or information that this person shared with me.

This information could be in several different forms:

personal…

  • insight into a particular topic
  • experience regarding an issue
  • personal belief
  • personal experience related to a topic
  • some personal information regarding a person or company
  • a personal suggestion for me or my company
  • a personal note or email
  • a personal request regarding a work opportunity

The point here, is that I have taken time to make the connection between a person and some personal action. This way I can always remember why I stay connected to this person or if I need to be cautious around this person.

Today, we are at a point where people are more willing to share information to strangers both online and offline. Some of this information may be too personal, but for the most part I find that people who share their experiences are genuinely trying to connect themselves to some sort of purpose in life. Often times, we brush off these experiences as just normal conversation and don’t remember this information in future interactions with these people.

As I am finding out, the people I want to connect with more take additional effort. All of us need to work at developing our personal relationship skills and listen closely to the words we are communicating to each other. By connecting people with their experiences and taking time to note this information, we begin to learn more about ourselves and the world around us. We take connecting to a whole new level and we develop a respect that each and every person is gifted in some way.

Today, I continue to work at this process and continue to learn from others on various topics and experiences. It has helped me to become a better listener and in return it helps me realize where my role is in the relationship and where I can add the most value. When both parties share information that is given and received appropriately, this is where the birth of new ideas and continued learning can develop.

Picture Source: Pixabay.com