As an online marketer, sooner or later you’re going to have to face facts. It might seem daunting, or even like a waste of time at first. But it’s more than necessary. It’s an essential part of any well-rounded social media presence and should be a priority for all types of marketing professionals. It’s LinkedIn.
But if all you’re going to do is slap together a resume and add your fraternity brothers as contacts, you will not be harnessing the true power of LinkedIn. That’s why we’ve put together this list of five rarely spoken of tips that can help you to get the most out of this particular social experience.
This may indeed go against a lot of LinkedIn advice you have heard before that encourages you only to add those people you know outside of social media, either personally or professionally. But the sheer number of people on LinkedIn means that if you limit yourself in that way, you’ll never see the site work its magic for you. That doesn’t mean sending unsolicited messages to tons of strangers. Instead, find people with common interests. One great way to do this is by connection with people who are in the same LinkedIn groups as you are. Which brings us to tip number two.
Whether your main focus on LinkedIn is lead generation, professional networking, or competitor research, Groups and the discussions that take place within those groups can be invaluable. But don’t just join one group, find a lot of relevant groups and join them all. You don’t have participate in all of them, but the notifications you receive may prompt you to chime in or just make you think. And remember, if you can’t find the exact group you want, you can always create one yourself. Chances are you aren’t the only one looking for an “Oregon State Dog Walker’s” group or a “Social Media Marketers Who Live on Sailboats” group. (Okay, maybe you are the only one looking for that second one).
No, it’s true. You can use LinkedIn for more than looking for jobs and connecting with former colleague. If you take advantage of the tools they offer, you can actually generate high quality leads from your LinkedIn presence. Part of this strategy should definitely involve using groups, including those of your own creation. But you can also mine LinkedIn advertising, which is highly targetable, as well as any integration between your other social media efforts and your LinkedIn profile in order to generate leads with genuine interest in what you have to offer.
You should already have an amazing LinkedIn profile, since you know the importance of a complete LinkedIn profile. But one thing you may not have thought of, particularly if you’re the creative marketing type, is that being fancy on your LinkedIn profile, whether you are an individual or a business, can actually be a hindrance. People use LinkedIn search to find profiles and if you use words that are more cute than descriptive, it’s less likely that they will be able to search for you. You want them to find you, right? Be straightforward.
Sure, LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch with contacts when you’re sitting in front of a computer and you can type in their names, but what about in the real world where you actually meet people? As the saying goes, there’s an app for that. The LinkedIn CardMunch app will turn real business cards into LinkedIn contacts instantly. Get it. Use it. Watch your network grow.
If you’ve been reading the ManoByte blog over the last few months, hopefully you have already figured out that one of the best ways (and by best we mean actually profit generating) for a business to use social media is for lead generation. And while each social media platform has its own best practices for generating valuable and relevant leads, today we are only going to discuss Twitter, a site that is chock-full of leads for your business, whether you are a B2B or B2C marketer. These five tips will help you to understand the true impact of Twitter on your business’ bottom line and how you can make it as useful as possible.
Anyone can visit Twitter.com and set up a profile, then start tweeting madly. This is clearly demonstrated every time a parody account is created mere seconds after a news event. In fact, ease of use and access is basically the whole point of the site.
But if you’re a marketer and you’re only using Twitter.com to develop and implement your lead generation strategy, you are missing out. Instead, you should be taking advantage of management tools like HootSuite and search engines like Followerwonk. These applications can add a ton of value to the time you spend on Twitter by making it easy to find the most influential people on Twitter and track entire conversations that are relevant to your brand. These tools exist to make your job easier. Try them. You won’t regret it.
For the majority of people, social media is fun. They don’t sign on and constantly check updates because it makes them money, they just want to. Even if social media marketing is your job (like it is here at ManoByte), social media can still be fun. When you are mining Twitter for leads, though, make sure you don’t get swept up in the fun chats, tweets, and hashtag games. You actually have to link out to your content sometimes, too. Participation is great, but you have to take it to the next level and have those followers click through to your site and give you some info. Then you’ve got a lead.
You may not spend that much time on your own Twitter profile, either creating it or looking at it. But for a company, your profile is often the first thing people see. Make sure you include a way to contact you right there in the profile. You can send them to Facebook, if that’s where you put most of your content, or to a landing page that asks for their email. Seize the opportunity to send new followers exactly where you want them, which may very well not be your main homepage.
Keeping your followers engaged is a key part of a successful Twitter lead generation strategy. But your followers are definitely not the only leads you can find on the massive network that is Twitter. You should always be looking for new potential followers and reaching out to them as well. Maybe they’ve had a problem with your competitor, maybe they’re comparison shopping: you should be there, offering to help and showing them all the advantages you have to offer them. Don’t be content with your followers. Find more. Do more. Earn more.
It may be cliché by now, but when you send Twitter users to your site, use landing pages. Do it. Give them a way to enter their email address, subscribe, add, friend, follow, like, whatever. Get their information and turn them into a lead.
While there is no magic potion that can generate leads for you (we’re still working on that one) there are proven ways to use Twitter for lead generation. Just follow these principles, stick with the strategies that work for you, and you’ll be surprised with the results. We would love to hear your thoughts on what has or has not worked for you with Twitter. Please leave us a comment
With our focus on social media, ManoByte knows there are a lot of aspects that come into play when creating a social media marketing strategy. Working from the ground up, you need to think about who is going to spend their time on your social media profiles, how often you want them to be interacting, and identify who they should be interacting with. But one of the most important parts of your social media strategy also needs to be the content that you’re putting onto these social media platforms.
The first thing to do when considering your social media content strategy is to identify your target audience. If you don’t know who you need to be talking to, it’s impossible to know what you need to say. Identify some key demographics and find out where they hang out online. If you’re a B2B marketer, you’ll probably find LinkedIn to be more of a focus than if your key demographic is tweens.
Once you have figured out who you need to talk to, make sure that you know how to use their platform of choice. Not only are there rules and regulations that govern behavior on the various social networks, there is also a spectrum of unwritten rules that govern the communities. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the tone and overall tenor of conversations on that particular platform before you try to jump in.
With the right people in your sights and the right platform knowledge under your belt, it is time to open your ears (or eyes, technically) and listen. Chances are, your potential clients and customers are already having a conversation about you – if not directly about you, then about your competitors or your industry in general. You need to listen to this conversation. There are a few ways to do this (and really you should use all of them):
By listening to what people are already saying, you can learn what they want, which brings us to the actual content portion of your social media content strategy: the content.
The most important thing to do when creating social media content to bring traffic and recognition to your brand is to give your followers (or friends, or fans, depending on the platform) VALUE. Anyone can tweet an advertisement for their own product all day long, but that won’t get you far in the interactive environment of social media. Instead, you need to create content that is not only relevant to your company, but is relevant and interesting to your potential customers. This could take the form of original research, SlideShare presentations, infographics, or blog posts. Remember how we suggested that you listen before jumping in? Use that listening time to figure out what your customers want and what they need, and then give it to them.
When you can use your social media content to add value to your customers’ lives is when your social media strategy is working.
But don’t stop there! Once you begin to implement your social media content strategy, you can’t just quit listening. Instead, go back and listen to how people respond to the content you’ve shared. Is it getting Liked or Retweeted? Are you getting a ton of comments or is it being ignored? Pay attention to these metrics and continue to tweak and improve your social media content strategy. The internet can be a fickle place and it’s important to pay attention to the responses you are getting so that you can always try to play into what people want. Keep your social media content strategy fresh and repeat the listening cycle until something sticks, then listen some more and you’ll be on your way to a successful content strategy.
There are a lot of qualities that make up a good marketer, but perhaps one of the most important is flexibility and adaptability. This has never been more true than with the advent of social media marketing with its consistently fluctuating landscape and ever-changing best practices. Still, it’s important that as a social media marketer you don’t resort to “see what sticks” strategizing (at least not as a habit). This can be particularly tempting on a platform like Facebook where having you business page and posting updates is completely free. Why not just post as often as possible and see what gets hits? Yes, odds are you will eventually find something that resonates, but wouldn’t you rather put your efforts into creating the perfect post every time?
Well, the folks at Salesforce have put together this pretty infographic that details the most important elements of a perfect Facebook post. Have a look:
We’ve covered a lot of these tips on the ManoByte social strategy blog before, but having them all in one easy to digest image can be a really helpful way to look at things.
Is there anything you think Salesforce has missed? Let us know in the comments!
Although it may seem like the stuffier cousin of the more youthful and exciting social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn should be an integral part of your social media life, particularly if you are a business professional. As with any social network, in order to get the most out of it, you have to actively participate on LinkedIn and the first step is to make sure that you have a complete profile.
You’ll be able to see if your profile is complete by looking at it while you are logged into your account. In the right hand column you will find a circle that is either empty, partly filled in, or full. This corresponds to the different levels of profile completeness. There was a time when LinkedIn used percentages to convey this information, but they’ve switched to the slight cutesier classifications of:
Of course, your ultimate goal should be to reach the level of All-Star, which means your profile is complete. But why is a complete LinkedIn profile even important?
First off, your LinkedIn profile represents you to the professional world. When you have a complete LinkedIn profile, your colleagues, potential clients, and even potential customers will have an easier time finding you – not just on LinkedIn, but also on search engines. This is because social media profiles rank highly on many search engines. When a professional contact is googling you, it would be a lot better for them to find your complete, professional LinkedIn profile come up first than a blog entry about the last beer pong competition you won.
A complete profile also makes it more likely for someone that finds you to actually get in touch with you. According to LinkedIn, it actually makes that 40 times more likely to happen. For instance, if someone was searching for social media specialists and ran across a member of the ManoByte team, they could see from his or her complete profile that they knew what they were doing. This means more offers, more contacts, more lead generation, and a wider network to mine for customers, clients, and mentors. That definitely seems worth the extra effort.
But having a complete LinkedIn profile can directly benefit your business, too. LinkedIn gives you opportunities to link out from your profile to other sites like your Twitter page, your blog, or even your company’s site. This is driving people who are interested in you and your company directly to a place where they can engage with you and hopefully buy from you. This is inbound marketing and it’s great.
Finally, having a complete LinkedIn profile makes it that much easier to leverage all the tools that are available to you on LinkedIn. Participate in groups, send InMail, post updates. With a complete profile, people are more likely to be interested in what you have to say and to engage with you, which is what social media participation is all about.
If you don’t have a complete LinkedIn profile now, it’s time to get one. Add your former employers, your skills, and your education and watch your completion meter climb. Take advantage of the “boring” social network and see what kind of exciting results come your way.
Social media marketers know that a robust social media presence can have a very real impact on a business. But it doesn’t stop with having thousands of Twitter followers or Facebook friends. Proper social media engagement can generate leads for all types of businesses by driving high value traffic to your site and encouraging those visitors to stay, return, and share what they found.
There are a lot of reasons to utilize social media for your lead generation goals, but tops among them is the fact that social media is simply enormous. Facebook alone has more than a billion users. It’s safe to assume that there are at least a few of those who want whatever you’re selling.
Additionally, social media lead generation is effective, affordable, and measurable: all key reasons to reconsider your social media lead generation strategy today.
The best way to start utilizing social media as a lead generation platform is to make sure all your social media profiles are up to date and active. This is social media 101 stuff so hopefully you’re already at least part way there.
Then you need to utilize your lead generation skills in a way that is conducive to social media interaction. Listen to the conversations that people are having about your brand, your competitors, and your industry. Gauge what people want to know and what they want to talk about. This will be the most valuable information you can have as you set out to get new leads.
The listening portion of this strategy should never stop. Initially, you can use it to generate ideas and strategize. Then, as you launch a more concerted effort, you must continue to listen not only so that you can keep getting ideas for content, but so you can know how effective your strategy has been thus far. Always keep an ear open across social media channels.
The best way to use social media for lead generation is with content. A lot of this can be original content that you create yourself. It is important to keep in mind that the content that will have the biggest impact is content that your demographic wants. Posting a sales pitch is all well and good (and there’s a place for it) but it’s not what lead generation is about. Find out what people need: infographics, statistics, information, research and give it to them. Remember that you don’t have to create all of this content yourself. To fully participate in social media and be credible as a source, you have to link to relevant content from other sites as well.
So you have great content that you are publishing across your social media channels and it’s driving people to your site. How can you turn these curious visitors into leads and keep them on the site? With targeted landing pages. Make sure that whenever someone clicks a link you post, they know exactly what to expect, can easily find what they’re looking for, and can easily share it. One lead in the world of social media can beget many more through webs of friends, followers, and other connections.
Finally, use your analysis tools to keep track of your campaigns. How many new leads are coming in via social media? How can you increase that number? The instant nature of social media means that you can test, try, create, and finesse new ideas and get nearly instantaneous feedback.
Don’t underestimate the power of social media in generating new leads for your business. It’s one of the most effective and affordable tools you have and you should be using it!