Mario Sundar's Speakeasy

Spero Ventures. Early LinkedIn, Twitter. These are my thoughts on tech, brand, marketing and community.

Previously on LinkedIn: Why Killer Profiles Matter

Another week goes by and a lot of great LinkedIn tips unearthed including a simple articulation of how every professional should craft a killer LinkedIn profile, and more. As Sr. Social Media Manager at LinkedIn, I monitor the social media airwaves for business networking tips, tricks and news so you don’t have to. Here’s this week’s awesomeness!

Ask me questions or @mariosundar me on Twitter

1. SLIDES: How to optimize a KILLER LinkedIn profile by John Kewley

As I speak with LinkedIn users I realize how sometimes even smart marketing types don’t get the SEO benefits of having a killer LinkedIn profile. As I mentioned earlier this week, it doesn’t you take you long to maintain a killer profile (see #2 here). And, a day later, I stumbled upon a succinct presentation that articulates effectively 8 key tips to gain some much needed SEO benefits for you.

The first few tips are useful for any professional, but they progress towards areas that’d make B2B marketers find value from LinkedIn. More on B2B marketing in the weeks to come.

2. How to manage your online reputation by Abhijit Mukherjee

The post makes an observation similar to what I’d add to social media guidelines for companies to share with their employees: “Think before you Tweet”. But that is applicable across all social media hubs since once it’s out there, it’s out there.

One important thing people don’t understand is that when they email, tweet, or comment on blogs, is, that whatever they type is written record. In many cases, the comments can be held against you in a court of law any day. There are enough examples of celebrities landing in trouble due to their tweets, aren’t there?

The bottom-line is this: just because you can type anything online doesn’t mean you should type anything. Not only does it reflect on you as a person, but, an inappropriate sentence typed in haste could go a long way in damaging your brand. So, think before you write. Doesn’t matter if it’s a tweet, a blog comment, an email, anything…just take a step back for a second and take a careful look before you hit the send button.

Also, as I’ve said before – I’d recommend keeping your social and professional life separate. More importantly, the post doesn’t make any mention of LinkedIn (and I find that surprising) or maintaining a robust SEO friendly LinkedIn profile (see #1 in this post – above). I can’ t think of a better way to manage one’s online reputation on the web than a LinkedIn profile.

Once you get past the name of the blog (Dumb Little Man) – just kidding – I think you’ll find a few good posts every month on productivity, savings, etc.

3. How to use LinkedIn to get hired by Sindhu Sundar

And, finally, once you build an online reputation I’m sure you’d want to parlay that into a great job. Sindhu quotes my good friend Lindsey Pollak on how financial professionals could get noticed using LinkedIn. There’s a lot of subtle netiquette explained, so read on.

For example: how about not spamming every potential hiring manager with generic messages on LinkedIn.

“Too many people think it’s about reaching out to strangers,” said Pollak, who cautions against inadvertent spamming. Start by connecting with people you already know, such as fellow alumni. “Then you can start to look beyond, at people who work for the company you’re interested in.”

Not hearing back? Follow up with a personalized email or a phone call. “Finance, like most all professions, are heavily about communication,” said Pollak. “So don’t neglect that.”

Simple, often neglected netiquette tips. I try to keep my weekly “Top of the LinkedIn” posts down to three quality articles on tips you may not have heard before. Now go out there and have a great weekend! If you’ve other categories you’d like me to cover more, feel free to leave a comment.

For more LinkedIn goodness, tips, tricks and news subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter!

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn in the News

Resumes SUCK. 3 things you can do about it now!

There I was… battling slumber as I came this close to ignoring my focus on deliberate blogging – yes, it’s a play on deliberate practice (well, never mind). And, all it took for me to get this post up was a kick in the blogs from an old post (circa 2008, but relevant today) by Dave McClure. I love Dave’s posts – yes, this too is one of em with colorful language, and by colorful I mean COLORFUL in more ways than one – but it’s a doozy.

Resumes SUCK! 3 things you can do about it. Read below.

But, I digress. Dave was responding to a prior post by Scoble (again, remember this is 2008) on why resumes suck by amplifying what specifically sucks about it and drawing out 4 specific ways to beat that. Great tips all.

I’m gonna focus on three of those key ingredients cos it’s worth repeating:

1. A LinkedIn profile is a MUST-HAVE:

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it with Dave this time — every professional MUST-HAVE a LinkedIn profile, and I’m not saying this just cos I work there. I cannot think of a more time effective way to let the world know that you rock at what you do and why – all crafted with relevant keywords that help you pop up when someone searches for your name or job focus in a search engine. It’s also the best 10 minutes you could ever spend, since that’s all the time it takes to get the basics up there and maybe another 20 minutes to PIMP IT OUT as Dave suggests:

A simple LinkedIn profile is nice, but it’s not what i’m talking about.  you better work, sister (sashay, chante!) — get your connections into LinkedIn, fill out a work history with different positions you’ve held & expertise gained, get recommendations from people & partners who you worked with (not just your boss), answer questions on topics that matter in your line of work, etc.  most importantly, reference companies, products, skills, and other keywords that are important to you & others

And, then update your LinkedIn profile (stuff you’re working on) whenever you reach a major milestone at work – 15 minutes a month! Done. Even better is recommend a colleague you’ve worked with once you’re done working on a specific project. You get the idea. But, frankly there are no more excuses. Everyone from your hiring manager to your peers are looking for you on LinkedIn. And, not having a presence there will reflect poorly on you.

2. Career Blog around keywords:

My blog not only helps me arrange my thinking on topics I’m most passionate about (for e.g. top business blogs or community marketing) but more importantly since it’s a career blog, it led me to my dream gig. For those of you, who are considering a blog and have time to invest (especially you job seekers, I’m talking to you), I’d recommend having a strategy around specific keywords you specialize in or want to be found for.

These are the same keywords you should have on your LinkedIn profile under the specialties section. Yes, think about your professional brand holistically and apply across all social media hubs you’re now a part of.

Use similar keywords on your LI profile and your blog

Also, add your blog and Twitter URL (if you have one) with a clear description from your LinkedIn profile.

Add your blog and Twitter URLs to your LinkedIn profile

And, finally to complete the career focused social media trinity, you can also add your blog or LinkedIn profile (whichever is  updated more often) to your Twitter profile – under the website section in your profile.

Add your LinkedIn URL or blog URL from your Twitter profile

Simple SEO friendly actions such as the above tips, will go a long way in helping you build your brand on topics you’re most passionate about. As more people search for those topics – your blog posts and LinkedIn profile are bound to show up more frequently, but all of this takes time and dedication. Nothing comes easy. Finding a dream job is a long term gig, NOT a short term win.

3. Build relevant content on other social media properties:

Finally, if you have even more time on your hands, go ahead and create relevant content on career friendly social media sites. Dave gives a great example of how a Flickr picture and a slideshare that he created got thousands of views and ranks really high for a popular term.

this one is actually overlooked by a number of very thoughtful (but not very colorful) bloggers.  i once wrote a post about Facebook licensing their platform to Bebo in response to Google launching OpenSocial.  the copy was pretty much empty blather except for the somewhat insane graphic at right that i created using powerpoint, and then uploaded to Flickr (and also to SlideShare), then embedded in the post.  i probably spent about 5 minutes writing the post, but i killed most of an afternoon (3-4 hours) putting together one silly image to satisfy my own freakish psychotic social network addiction.  the photo later got picked up by several other bloggers, and when i checked just now the Flickr photo had over  6000 views.  the SlideShare presentation (just one slide) has about 5600 views.  and the photo comes up on the first page of google image search results for the term “social graph“.  whaddya know: my crazy-ass graphic is DOMINATING the social graph term!  and i bet my post gets more awareness than any ten other high-and-mighty bloggers who wrote some in-depth intellectual analysis (yeah i know i do that shit too).

Agreed. But, let’s face it there are very few folks like us (can’t believe it’s nearly midnight already) who invest the level of time and dedication on crafting social media content consistently. But, if you’re a professional who presents at events and conferences, slideshare is a great place for you to host your content. And, don’t forget to cross link your slides from your LinkedIn profile.

Use LinkedIn's Slideshare app to host professional slide content

Not only that you can also pull in your WordPress blog content into LinkedIn through a LinkedIn app as well.

If you've a WordPress blog, pull that into your LinkedIn profile too

But, I could go on and on and on about this. FACT: The world is changing and showcasing the work you’re really good at it is NO LONGER the job of resumes. The above three tips and tools mentioned can help you achieve the same but far more effectively.

Also, if you’re looking for tips and tricks on finding a job, check out my posts on that topic. If you like what you read, you should subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter!

Filed under: HOW-TO Use Social Media, Miscellaneous,

Are European companies more clueless about social media?

Readers of this blog may have noticed this past week that I wrote of two posts on how business – both large corporations and small businesses – either don’t get social media or don’t get how to measure social media ROI. But as I’d mentioned earlier today, the new world of work is global in nature. How do companies in other parts of the world fare?

So, I found this recent study by German think tank – Brand Science Institute – enlightening in that it made similar conclusions (a tad more dramatically though) on how effective social media marketing is in Corporate Europe. Here are a few conclusions from that study, conducted over a 7 month period in companies spread across 12 countries, 563 marketers, and 52 brands in Europe.

Click through the presentation below for more.

81% of companies DO NOT have a clear social media strategy

87% of companies had to correct their social media expectations

Only 11% have clearly defined social media guidelines and more…

Filed under: Miscellaneous

The New World of Work

Social networking sites are reshaping the world of work in a way we haven’t seen since the dawn of the Microsoft era. This blog series will shed some light on the huge advantages they bring to the workplace that will affect the way the next generation works.

A recent Harvard Business Review report highlights six fundamental shifts in the way we work. The post outlines 6 ways tomorrow’s office doesn’t have to be like a scene from “The Office”. Here’s what I found most interesting…

The New World of Work

Collaboration within the professional graph increases efficiency

Social networking sites have now been able to scale the number of connections (to the hundreds of millions, in some cases) and interactions (think of the immense potential here with millions of nodes) in the ecosystem, we should now be able to see increasing returns thanks to  the “collaboration curve”.

As it becomes increasingly possible to scale the number of connections and interactions between participants in a given environment, however, a new kind of performance curve is emerging: the collaboration curve. This is characterized by increasing returns: the more participants — and interactions between those participants — you add to a carefully designed and nurtured environment, the more the rate of performance improvement accelerates.

The collaboration curve helps explain the rise of network-centric efforts ranging from open source software development to “crowdsourcing” to “creation spaces.” In nearly all of these group efforts, rapid leaps in performance improvement arise as participants get better faster by working with others. 

I think we’re just scratching the surface as we figure out ways to get better at how we work, using existing social networking ecosystems. LinkedIn alone has over 75 million professionals on the site, which should lead to numerous opportunities for increasing efficiencies at work. We are able to close deals better with help from friends of friends, ditto for finding a job, asking questions on LinkedIn groups helps us find answers on projects, that’d have otherwise taken us way more time in the past. Don’t you think so?

In what other ways have you seen social networking sites like LinkedIn change the way we work? Leave a comment.

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Filed under: Miscellaneous

In the News: Being a Trust Agent

As LinkedIn’s social media guy and given my experience around community marketing, I get quoted on social media themed articles or blog posts. Here are the three most recent quotes that appeared in some of my favorite blogs and magazines – Inc. Magazine, Mashable and Chris Brogan’s blog – where I talk about social media best practices.

1. How to write a social media policy by Tiffany Black

Inc Magazine compiled a HOW-TO post for those social media marketers who are trying to put together a set of  social media guidelines for their employees who are active on social media sites. I’ve warned of the dangers of not having a social media policy and if your company doesn’t have one, this article should probably set you straight.

“I’d say there are two broad reasons for having a social media set of guidelines for every company: crisis management or brand opportunity,” says Mario Sundar, community evangelist at LinkedIn.  “Social media may be a huge opportunity for your employees to help build your company’s brand, but let’s not forget that there also exists a tremendous risk for individual employees to inadvertently damage the company’s brand and by defining a set of guidelines you help mitigate that risk.”

Sharing my tips on writing an effective social media policy on Inc Magazine

I’d also recommend your check out my other posts on Social Media Policy that I’ve written these past few years. They contain tips and tricks, pros and cons and even how to actually get it written.

2. 10 Tips for Aspiring Community Managers by Vadim Lavrusik

This is the most recent post I was quoted on. Thrilled to find that this post was trending on Mashable over the weekend. Vadim Lavrusik asked me and 5 other community managers – from Foursquare, Howcast, Meetup, Sears and Read Write Web  – to share our tips for aspiring community managers. A couple of my thoughts made its way to the post.

For anyone looking for a job (especially one in the social media space), I’d highly recommend your investing time in a career blog.

Sundar also got help from blogging. He said he found his job for LinkedIn because of blogging and believes taking an hour a day to blog on social media topics will help you stand out from the rest of the social media crowd.

“I’m constantly surprised by how few of those aspiring community managers actually spend time to manage a career blog where they share tips and tricks on what works and what doesn’t,” he said. “Everyone has a LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter account, but career blogs are few and far in between. Build a brand for yourself with your blog before you actually get paid to manage one.”

Mashable's post quoting Mario Sundar on Community Management

Here are posts I’ve written in the past months on Community Marketing. Feel free to bookmark for later reference.

3. Mario Sundar at LinkedIn is a Trust Agent by Chris Brogan

This is the most personal of the three blog posts but is thematically very similar to Mashable’s recent post, since it covers one of the most important traits for a community manager – earning the trust of your community. Chris is a dear old friend whom I’ve known for many years and I’ve often talked to Chris over the years about LinkedIn, what some of his pain points were and what would make his LinkedIn experience better.

This past month I had one such conversation and was happy to introduce him to two of my colleagues from LinkedIn product & design regarding some feedback he had for us. I’ve had similar conversations with numerous other folks on a regular basis, but Chris was kind enough to make the following observations:

What did Mario do for LinkedIn by listening to my thoughts about the service, and/or bringing in the appropriate team members to help me? He made me love the brand more. That love results in this post. It results in more conversations about how a company is doing it right when I’m on stage in front of thousands of people (tens of thousands if I talk about it over a year). He built more positive brand awareness via my channels than any ad will ever build.

Thanks, Chris! This truly made my day and so did the numerous other tweets that came in from people I respect and admire greatly – here, here and here (for e.g).

That's the picture Chris took of me while hanging out in Boston 3 years ago

That’s it for the past few weeks. Stay tuned for more and thanks for reading! Thanks to Tiffany, Vadim and Chris for reaching out to me. If you’d like to pick my brain on all things social media for an article you’re writing or a speaking engagement, feel free to contact me via LinkedIn.

So, here are the tweets from my peeps at LinkedIn whom I respect and admire greatly. Thanks, guys!

LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, on Mario Sundar

Thanks, Jeff!


That's from Kay, my former boss at LinkedIn, mentor and friend


And, that's Robby who's such a blast to work with...

Regular blogging will resume shortly.

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Filed under: In the News

Companies still don’t get social media ROI, but do it anyway

Most companies these days do social media today (In a recent survey, nearly 72% of marketers say they use social media – see survey below). Now, don’t get me wrong, I know the tangible benefits that social media brings to a company, but not having clear goals before engaging in social media nor having an accurate way to measure it is probably one of the main reasons for companies to abandon social media when they find “it’s not working”!

Companies don’t know how to measure social media ROI

But, I digress… What got me thinking was a recent survey conducted by KingFish media, by interviewing “457 respondents primarily split between corporate management and marketing/sales management”. There were quite a few interesting facts that the survey unearthed, but nearly half of them (43% of marketers – see graph below) haven’t measured ROI being the most concerning.

I couldn’t agree more with social media marketer, Olivier Blanchard, who said in a recent post:

The chatter around social-media ROI is as strong as ever for two reasons: The first is simply because ROI [points to] one of the most important questions an organization can ask before green-lighting a social-media program: I could spend this budget somewhere else — Why should I spend it on social media? Before any other questions can be asked, you have to start with “why.

But is this what companies are doing? More after the jump.

Companies don't measure social media ROI (Source: KingFish Media)

So, what are companies using social media for?

As expected, companies and marketers use social media (loosely defined) for two things: Sales (get leads and manage accounts) and Branding (everything else falls under this bucket). I was surprised that PR wasn’t explicitly mentioned under qualitative metrics though both PR and customer service objectives were mentioned under the quantitative metrics (see #21) section.

Companies use social media for sales and branding (qualitative)

But what do they measure…?

Sales (easily the most straight forward goal) has 3 metrics around it being tracked (leads generated, new customer conversions, and increase in average order size) while most of the remaining metrics tracked are around branding. Some of the metrics are around PR (mainstream media mentions), SEO (search engine rank changes), customer service (customer reviews posted). All three of which are valid social media goals , as I’d pointed out years ago – here).

But companies measure nebulous branding for the most part (quantitative)

And, looks like the scariest part is that most companies aren’t even getting to the ROI part until months after instituting a social media program:

Others don’t get around to asking about ROI until 6 to 18 months after a program has begun and budgets need to be reviewed. Trust me, when 10% of your group’s budget is being cut, you start asking hard questions. Social-media programs not clearly in support of specific business objectives had better come up with a good answer when the budget hatchet starts to come down. (via Olivier’s interview on Smartblog on Social Media)

Now, this is definitely NOT a place for your company to be in. The good news is that over 50% of companies (per the survey mentioned above) have clearly defined metrics and ROI. There are also gold-standard companies that are pioneering social media in terms of what it can do for your company and measuring it aggressively. Stay tuned for clear examples on how companies are using social media within the organization on this blog.

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Your company must be using social media (looks like most companies are). What does your company primarily use it for?

Filed under: Social Media ROI

Is promoting your CEO blog a good spend of your money?

Over at Mashable this past week, Erica Swallow compiles 15 interesting corporate blogs – some of which have found mention in our corporate blog rankings over the past 3 years. Guess which ones?

While I’ve shared similar tips in the past, there were a couple of new tips from the post that I wish to highlight.

1. Use the social graph to add “real voices” to your blog:

I think a lot of companies are collaborative group blogs with posts coming from different teams and a diverse array of employees from across the board. For e.g. at LinkedIn, we’ve had posts from nearly 90 of my colleagues (I’m the social media guy at LinkedIn and I edit our corporate blog) from across product, engineering, design, and our executive team. Google is another great example.

The official Google blog pulls insights from all over the company. Taking a quick look at posts from the past few days, I found updates posted by a software engineer, a technical program manager working on Google Apps for government, the vice president of search products and user experience, an entertainment marketing associate, and a university programs specialist — that’s a diverse crowd.

Connecting the people behind the products to the people using the products

What we’ve done on the LinkedIn blog, is to use our LinkedIn API to pull in the most recent LinkedIn profile image and summary for the post author. This gives you a better picture of who’s writing the post and if you’re interested in providing feedback to the author directly you can click through to their profile.

LinkedIn blog pulls in profile info on post authors

Facebook’s blog is very similar as they do the same pulling in the most current profile photo of their post authors. This is something all corporate blogs should be doing since it helps shine the spotlight where it should be shone – on the real voices of the company.

Again, I think this goes back to the basic ideal of social media within corporations – facilitating easier conversations between users and the teams that make the product. Read Hugh Macleod’s classic post on the Porous membrane and how that works within a socially smart organization.

Facebook's blog also pulls in author info frm social graph

2. To promote or NOT to promote a CEO blog:

CEO blogging is a challenging and frankly a debatable idea. But, if you have a CEO who not only likes to blog, but is actually good at it and can find the time for it – then go for it.

Erica even suggests promoting it:

You can’t put up a blog and expect people to just discover it. While that’s possible, it’s very unlikely. Just like any other business, marketing, or educational program you may run, you need to promote it.

There are a lot of ways to promote your blog, but one particular corporate blog is doing a great job with search engine marketing (SEM). Forrester Research’s CEO George Colony runs a blog called The Counterintuitive CEO. While searching for “ceo blog” on Google, you’ll run across his blog in the “sponsored links” section, where paid Google AdWords ads are displayed.

As you can see the first result that pops up when you search for CEO blog is the Top 10 CEO blog rankings that I did nearly 3 years ago.

Is promoting CEO blogs a good use of time & money?

One of blogging’s great advantages is that with a targeted content strategy (picking the right topics to blog about consistently) and a passionate CEO blogging, you don’t need to spend any $s on promoting it otherwise. More on that later.

What do you think? Is it worth spending money to promote your CEOs blog? Or is it spent more usefully in other marketing pursuits? Leave a comment on this blog or follow me on Twitter.

If you like similar content you should subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter!

So, while Erica’s post gives us a sneak peak at some interesting corporate blogs and goes over blogging basics I think at the end of the day – any company’s blog is valued based on two things COMMUNITY and CONTENT that’s useful to your community.

That’s pretty much it. That’s why I’ve been ranking corporate blogs based on their Technorati authority (for lack of a better metric), since it helps us identify how popular and engaging these blogs are with their community. Here are the Top 10 corporate blogs of the past few years.

And, if you’d like to see CEO blogs, check out the original killer post that started it all. Go here.

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Previously on LinkedIn: Plotting career success and more tips

Another week goes by and a lot of great LinkedIn tips unearthed as well as cool coverage about our Data Analytics team at LinkedIn. As Sr. Social Media Manager at LinkedIn, I monitor the social media airwaves for business networking tips, tricks and news so you don’t have to. Here’s this week’s awesomeness!

Ask me questions or @mariosundar me on Twitter

1. How can LinkedIn help you become a CEO? by Quentin Hardy

In a recent interview, Deep Nishar (who runs product at LinkedIn) shares some interesting insights into LinkedIn “data maps” that can help you identify your career path based on goals you’ve set for yourself. For e.g.

If you aim to be a chief financial officer of a 5,000-person company, for example, the data show you need to get an M.B.A. within nine years of starting work. Graduate from college with a physics degree and there is a 22% chance you’ll be a software engineer in two years.

The article also shares some interesting insights that only a site like LinkedIn can offer, such as:

He gets insights into American economic history (job switching almost doubled between 1970 and 2000, to 3.1 jobs a decade), résumé tips (“proven track record” is an overused phrase) and thoughts on fate (chief executives tend to have short names–like Jack, Amir and Boris).

Reminds me of a couple of our recent LinkedIn blog posts around the financial fallout as well as another post we did on job titles and ninjas.

2. Tips on networking right using LinkedIn by Lou Dubois

A rather lengthy, yet useful post on how best to transition all your old-school networking smarts to work for you on LinkedIn. Most of the tips may have been said before, but an often under-utilized yet highly effective tip is to use LinkedIn to check up on people when you attend events or conferences:

“When I go to a conference or networking event, I’m able to research the speakers and attendees online and see who I’m most interested in talking or listening to,” says Darling. “In years past, you were stuck with a pamphlet and a three-line bio of folks, but now you can find out so much more. If it’s someone I’m really interested in, I’ll send them an email ahead of time with the header ‘Look Forward to Meeting You at the Conference’ and try to set up a time to talk.”

I think LinkedIn (more than either Twitter or Facebook) is a great way to showcase the speakers and their recommendations on an event or conference site. It’s always been one of my pet peeves and something I’ll continue bugging Hugh Forrest at SXSW about, the next time I see him 🙂

Another great example of similar usage would be LinkedIn integration on sites like Plancast or EventBrite. I love both these services and use it all the time. Thought, they use LinkedIn as one of the three key social networking sites to share event info. I think LinkedIn profiles  would be far more valuable in the attendee listings.

Including LinkedIn profiles in the sign-up would be very useful

It’d be even better if they could pull in LinkedIn mini-profiles when you mouseover the LinkedIn profile id of the attendees. That’d make my job connecting with the right folks even before the event, a cinch.

LinkedIn mini-profiles that mouseover when you browse attendee listings would be awesome!

But, I digress. I should probably write a separate post on this topic sometime soon. If you’ve thoughts on this, please leave a comment.

3. The mega LinkedIn tips and tricks section by David Spark and Kristin Burnham

This 5 page article covers a broad swath of LinkedIn tips from proper connection etiquette to LinkedIn and Twitter (to sync or not to sync – something I covered here). It feels like a collection of recent tips and tricks and I’d recommend you bookmark the piece for reference, though you may tend to get lost in it. My favorite tip is around Company Follow, a recent feature that I’ve seen professionals increasingly adopt given its obvious benefits.

LinkedIn announced a new feature that lets you “follow” companies on the professional networking site and keep track of their key developments, potential business opportunities and job leads. This tool is especially helpful for job seekers who want to keep tabs on businesses to which they’ve applied, and for businesses looking to monitor their competitors’ announcements.

Imagine a feed of information around a company minus all the noise, with relevant info on key developments, bizdev and job opportunities only. Learn more on LinkedIn’s Company Follow here.

Bonus Tips: 5 ways PR pros can use LinkedIn, 10 unique ways to craft a LinkedIn status update

If you find other posts that share unique tips on leveraging social networking for your career or business, feel free to share or leave a comment on this post.

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Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn in the News

Why businesses continue to fail in social media

Businesses are confused by social media, always have been. Many businesses feel compelled to start a Facebook page or a Twitter page the same way they used to feel the need for a blog, but they’re not sure why? They amass thousands of followers on Twitter. Now, what?

Always start with the goal and find the means

Feels like Groundhog day to me? It wasn’t that long ago when businesses were jumping on the blogging bandwagon with no goal in sight. This often leads to frustration and discarded corporate blogs. I’m tracking over 200 corporate blogs and find that many of them either fall off the radar or the Top 10 business blog rankings because they stop blogging.

And oddly enough the answers always remain the same. Start with business goals, track metrics and the rest will follow. Starting a Facebook page without a social media strategy doesn’t achieve much and not having social media goals besides # of followers (for e.g.) doesn’t get you far either.

eConsultancy recently had a post on first identifying your target audiences and goals; identifying social platforms later:

Social media can, and should, involve identifying your target audiences and the platforms they already use. If you are a B2B company, LinkedIn and Twitter are likely to be much more useful than Facebook. Demographic information is available for most of the major social networks, so there really is no reason not to target your social media activities.

Also, different social media sites are fine-tuned for different business goals. If you’d like to use social media for lead generation, then identify the appropriate social platforms that’d help you achieve that. Once you’re done with that, define a comprehensive social strategy across those platforms. Hoovers Biz blog (another great blog you should subscribe to) said it best:

Because social media is so easily accessible and fairly straightforward, many businesses are hopping on the Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn bandwagon in an effort to stay current. The problem is these businesses have no idea what they are doing; without a proper strategy, social media is essentially a waste of time. In order to make social media work for your business it must be part of the winning Internet marketing formula to dominate local searches:

Social Media Website structure SEO = Local Search Domination

Bonus tip: And, check out another great post on how to use both LinkedIn and Twitter in concert for prospecting, here.

Integrate with existing strategies

This leads to the more interesting question, how does a new social media site fit into your existing strategy (whether it is marketing or PR or customer service). You probably have an existing email marketing strategy. Use social marketing in combination with what’s been working for you. Looks like marketers are listening:

As reported by eMarketer today, in an April 2010 survey by email marketing agency, eROI, two-thirds of US marketers are now integrating social media into their email marketing campaigns.  In addition, email marketing and social media marketing solution provider, StrongMail indicated that the percentage of marketers who had integrated social and email (or planned to this year) is 71% worldwide, based on June 2010 research. (via Hubspot blog)

For e.g. your existing email marketing strategy could be a great source of lead generation. Promoting a best practices LinkedIn group you’ve created or encouraging your audience to share on LinkedIn (esp. a B2B audience) adds to your email campaign’s long term effectiveness. Those were two of the key objectives that business executives stated as their goal in integrating social with email marketing (Source: eMarketer)

Top reasons for integrating email marketing with social

Companies that are doing it right

Here are five examples of companies that are experimenting with social media right in different areas within the organization – from PR to Enterprise marketing. Will keep this blog updated with future adventures of companies that are early adopters of social media but doing it right. Read on…

1. Pepsi’s Bonin Bough explains the rationale behind Pepsi’s social media strategy – from the master plan to the small wins

2. How Karen Wickre and team at Google approach social media as a team sport (Google’s corporate blog may not be social, but it’s effective)

3. Intel’s Bryan Rhoads goes over social media training for employees and all the cool stuff Intel’s been doing in that regard. A must-read for anyone at a large Fortune 500 organization.

4. Dell’s Manish Mehta shares how Dell scales social media across the enterprise and their numerous internal teams, yet maintaining the intimacy with their consumers.

5. Sorry it’s them again! How Coke and Pepsi are building their “Trust Banks” with their customers. It’s all about trust, yo!

Keep track of the latest in social media. Subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter!

Filed under: Miscellaneous

If your small business does not have a blog, be concerned

A week ago, I found this gem of a video on the need for blogging. Some valuable comments from Seth Godin and Tom Peters on why blogging matters to any professional. I couldn’t help but think of how much more important blogging is to small businesses and wondered how many small businesses actually blogged. More on that after the jump.

Hat tip to Mitch Joel for the link and transcription to the video:

Seth Godin on blogging:

“Blogging is free. What matters is the meta-cognition of thinking about what you’re going to say. How do you explain yourself to the few employees – or your cat – or whoever is going to look at it? How do you force yourself to describe – in three paragraphs – why you did something?”

I couldn’t agree more. One of the greatest benefits blogging has afforded me as a professional, is that it helps me organize my thoughts on topics that I’m passionate about. It helped me find my career calling – social media and community marketing through hours of thinking about what I wanted to say to the people who equally cared for the topics I loved.

Why blogging matters to small business

With small businesses, it’s even better. It helps you and your team organize your thoughts on how you’d explain your business to your employees, your potential customers, existing customers… I could go on. In the process, you either win over new customers or solidify existing partnerships. And, you can afford to be irreverent, controversial or plain useful to your audience and rest assured you’ve established a great repository of well indexed content on the web for future prospects to find you.

And, we have data to prove that’s the case. Hubspot, an internet marketing company, tracked that companies that blog have a greater influx of visitors, inbound links, and indexed pages. This means two things for SMBs that blog: in the short term it potentially brings in a greater number of leads and in the long term it lets you build authority, page rank and SEO for your small business website and brand, yet again potentially leading to more leads.

Comparing site visits for SMBs tht blog and those tht dont

Resources available to small business

So, where should a small business start? There are a ton of resources out there, that educate you on how to start and manage a business blog. Take a look at some of my recent posts on similar categories and subscribe to a couple of other blogs that I’ve outlined below:

  1. Business Blogging Tips
  2. Social Media Policy
  3. Top Business Blog rankings
  4. Duct Tape Marketing
  5. AMEX Open Forum

If you like similar content you should subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter!

Let me finally leave you with the most important tip (measuring ROI on blogging) from a recent Mashable article that outlined 10 tips for corporate blogging, with a particular focus on small businesses.

You’re probably accustomed to tracking everything, and your blog is no different. If your blog is a page on your website, make sure your current web analytics tools are set to track all the same data that it monitors on your website. If you don’t currently have a web analytics tool, check out Google Analytics, a free analytics tool with an easy-to-use interface.

At the minimum, make sure you’re tracking site traffic, where referrals are coming from, and traffic-wise which posts are doing best. Learn from the data and adjust your blogging guidelines accordingly.

Filed under: Business Blogging