LinkedIn Company Page Checklist

Your Company Page on LinkedIn is a powerful way to reach millions of professionals online. With over 100 million professionals on LinkedIn, this tool can help exposure your company and brand to an ideal target market. These professionals are following more than 1.9 million companies on LinkedIn and are purchasing professionals, current clients, job seekers, interested observers, and most importantly, potential customers. Professionals follow companies to stay updated with new developments, compare products and services and track potential opportunities. LinkedIn regularly informs members of Company Pages changes via email and/or network updates.  When LinkedIn members want to know more about your company they can look at your Company Page, which is conveniently linked to your profile.

Use this check list to ensure it’s ready for visitors:

  • The Company Name
  • Assign Admins
  • Upload Company Logo & Profile Photo
  • Describe the Company
  • List the Company’s Specialties in Showcase Pages
  •  Add the Company Twitter and Blog RSS Feeds
  • Show the Company Type, Size, Website Link
  • Select Industry, Operating Status, Year Founded
  • Highlight Locations
  • Place a Careers Listing

Here are 3 quick tips to get you started:

  1. Promote Your Products or Services – Create showcase pages to showcase the voice of your company and brand These pages provide you with the opportunity to promote who you are and what you do.
  2. Monitor Traffic and Audience Analytics on LinkedIn – Analytics is a rich resource, which adds insights and value. Here, you can track page views and unique visitors for your overview, careers and products and services pages.
  3. Invite Connections to Follow Your Company on LinkedIn – After your Company Page is set up, invite followers. You can add a follow button to your website, blog and email signature. You can also post a link to the company’s page to your updates or status feed asking for followers. Another option is to navigate to your company page’s services/products tab and click share to promote to individuals, groups, or connections.
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Social Media and Your Business

A recent Fortune article made an interesting point about the social media efforts of most companies: 

“Most companies’ early efforts with social [media] have been the equivalent of ‘brochureware’ (just as they were on the internet back in the 1990s). And although levels of sophistication are growing…most social commerce experiments have a long way to go.”

Your social media goal should be to engage and communicate with your customers, not to advertise ‘brochureware.’ This strategy should already be implemented on you website (hopefully) and in order to be competitive (and effective) on social media, you need to stop selling and start engaging.

1. Knowledge is power

This isn’t new and shouldn’t be a surprise. Learn about the various platforms and their uses.

Popular platforms social media include:

  • Facebook: Currently the largest social network on the internet with approximately  1+ Billion monthly active users and utilizes friend-to-friend connections.
  • Twitter: Real-time, short status updates and broadcasts (up to 140 characters) to followers with approximately 200+ million active users. A great tool to network and build relationships.
  • LinkedIn: An online business and networking community with approximately 200+ million active professional users.
  • Pinterest: With 20+ million monthly active users, users organize and share photos they find on the web on pinboards.
  • Google+: Google meets Facebook where users can share content and connect with approximately 343+ million active users.
  • Blog: A content driven site where individuals or groups read, subscribe and comment on content. If you are confused, you’re reading a blog right now. 

Using social media for your business will broaden your audience and increase the exposure of your communication. More importantly, it gives you another avenue to engage and communicate with your customers.  Social media is giving the world the ability to connect and communicate with each other in ways that were never possible before.

2. Create a plan

Social media is very attractive, as there is typically no cost to sign-up and get started. It can become very time consuming, but this can be avoided by creating a plan, time limit, goals and objectives. Planning your content carefully will help you to be consistent and professional.

3. Do not rely solely on social media

Social media should not replace all of your current marketing tools and campaigns, but should complement and enhance them. Social media can dramatically increase your potential audience, but it is not the only marketing medium available. Be sure to be consistent across all of your marketing channels. Social media provides your customers with another avenue to research your company, which can help build trust and awareness. 

4. Be decisive

You don’t need to be on every social media site (trust me there are too many). Be selective not only with what you choose to post, but also with what platforms you choose to use. For example, don’t create a Pinterest account unless you will actively use it. Decide if the platform will positively influence your online marketing goals. Ultimately, an inactive page reflects poorly on your company.

5. Engagement is key

Use and track your social media engagement through a system such as Hootsuite. This system helps your business save time because you can schedule posts and monitor multiple social media accounts from one platform.

Have fun with social media and be sure to showcase your brand’s personality. Happy social media-ing!

7 Benefits of B2B Social Media Marketing

To be competitive in the marketplace today your company needs an online strategy and presence. Social Media, if implemented correctly, can offer customers immediacy and can drive customer engagement, increase quality leads and result in higher ROI. B2B marketers need to realize that even top business leaders socialize with their family and friends online. While demographics still apply to social media, they are far less rigid. Generally speaking, everyone is using social media, using it for business, socializing, shopping, research and much more.

Below are the 7 B2B social media marketing benefits

1. Engagement

Be the B2B business that engages with people. If they get to know you, they may want to do business with you. You can achieve this by creating video demos, company news and customer stories. Building trust can help increase interest and, ultimately, engagement.

2. Interest

Social media provides lots of data that can give B2B companies insight into buyer personalities and motivations. Analytical tools, data and interest can help you target specific communities and create content that drives interest.

3. Traffic and Leads  

Creating and implementing high-quality strategy will allow you to create content that will attract leads. Consistent strategy should also drive traffic that converts leads into actionable sales. With the ability to segment audiences you should be able to extend your reach and your number of leads. 

4. Thought Leadership

This buzz word represents the ability to create B2B content that creates a positive impression on your potential (and existing) clients. Examples can include articles, webinars, documents, tools, etc., which demonstrates your credibility and expertise.  

5. Networking 

While social media interactions may not directly land your next client, it can build your network of valuable contacts. This online network may help expose you to new opportunities, attract a new employee or provide a quality referral.

6. Savings 

Every B2B company likes savings money, especially when it comes to marketing. Using the right tools, businesses can launch, measure and modify your social marketing campaigns immediately. Now compare this to your experience with expensive, traditional marketing. Analyzing data and results will help you gain feedback quickly allowing you to adjust your campaigns to make them more impactful.

7. Relevance 

As more companies embrace an active online presence and implement social media marketing your company needs to stay relevant. Failing to participate can make your company seem less credible and that you’re behind the times. Both companies and consumers research and measure brand profiles through their online visibility and activity. Don’t let your company become a brand that is irrelevant or out of touch.

Start your social media marketing today. For assistance, feel free to engage with me online.

5 Online Marketing Tactics Your Small Business Should Start Today

While marketing your small business online is not the most difficult task, it does take time and effort. The best part about marketing online is that you can learn as you go, you just need to commit to being active online.

*Note: Online marketing will reflect either positively or negatively on your business so be sure your online strategy provides authentic, valuable and quality content. 

1. Blog

It can help position you as an expert in your industry, bring more traffic to your website, grow a loyal fan base, and generate buzz and interest in what you have to offer.

2. Twitter

Twitter is about holding a conversation and networking, so don’t advertise, but interact (frequently) and be personable instead.

3. Participate in Groups & Conversations on LinkedIn

This simple activity can be completed every morning, twice a week, or whenever you have time and it will help increase your exposure to industry players and hopefully potential prospects.

Being helpful and demonstrating your knowledge will build credibility for your business, and it could earn you actual business leads and connections.

4. Launch an email newsletter

Email marketing is still a powerful way to grow a business online and should definitely be one of your online strategies. I recommend looking into MailChimp and Constant Contact, which offer flexible, affordable prices.

5. Demonstrate your knowledge as an expert guest author

A great way to demonstrate your expertise (and knowledge) is to guest author in someone else’s article, blog, podcast, or video. Guest authoring can help you gain exposure to a new audience and is a good way to boost your SEO.

Overall, growing your online presence (and credibility) is about demonstrating your knowledge in a niche and encouraging a growing community of brand advocates who appreciate your advice and your brand.

The Truth About Startups & 5 Helpful Tips

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It’s simple; startups are a lot of hard work.

No one is going to argue that fact, or try debating it. While they may be a lot of hard work, startups are still fun and vastly fulfilling.

They require loyal commitment and also take up an exuberant amount of time and typically rely upon a centered small, lean team who work long hours. Hopefully, these teams are innovating and creating products and services that stand out from the crowd. It is guaranteed that your company will battle against tight market competition eventually and it’s best to be prepared. Innovation and strategic is a must if you want to stay ahead of the proverbial game. If you aren’t innovating and keeping ahead of your competitors then you are falling behind or closing your doors. If you are successful at being innovative, remember to protect it. Even if it is time consuming or expensive, it is worth it.

Being innovative isn’t simply enough anymore and protecting your innovation is important not only for your business to succeed, but also to establish and receive investment.

The more barriers against competition that your startup can provide will help increase your credibility and longevity. That and investors will inevitably have more interest in your company.

5 Helpful Tips for Startups

1. Sell the promise: There are two ideal times to raise money for a startup: before your launch and when you start experiencing your growth curve. Before you launch you’re ultimately selling the guarantee of your vision (which is unquantified).

2. Ask for advice – the money comes later: Tell people you’re not raising money because when you ask for money you get advice. If you go out and ask for advice you’ll get money (and advice). That being said all startups are raising money, but it’s about how you approaching finding investors. The key is finding the right advice, money and investor for your company.

3. Write down all that advice: Take detailed notes during and after meetings with smart people. Ask short questions and record the answers. (e.g. ‘what do you think?,’ ‘what your favorite part?,’ ‘would you use it? how?,’ ‘who do you think would have feedback on this?’)

4. Take your time: Get it right the first time. Take your time and prepare and test everything. Create a solid product and a structured company that can support its success.

5. Market and plan for a big launch: If your launch isn’t generating buzz or being picked up by some media outlets, you’ve done something wrong. You only get one launch so take your time and make it worth the wait. Emails, tweets and social media interaction generally acceptable before going to the press about a beta test and product launch. Most importantly, ask for help when it comes to commercializing new products.

Facebook Contests – Your 10 Tips to a Successful Contest

Who doesn’t like to win a contest? I’m pretty sure everyone likes to be a winner.

ImageWith a user base of 955 million monthly active users (June 2012), Facebook is the social platform where your contests can be very successful and provide ROI, if executed properly. Success with contests, just like any marketing efforts, it all depends on the planning and execution (consider 3 P’s: Planning, Prize and Promotion. Plan). Better yet, if you follow these 10 tips you will be right on track to running a successful Facebook contest.

1. Decide if you need a contest

This is always the best place to start when planning any marketing campaign. Evaluate your brand and market and the impact of an online contest. If you’re a B2B company that deals in a niche market, a Facebook contest might not help you gain a meaningful number of new clients. Granted it’s all about good execution and follow through.

2. Set contest goals

What do you want to achieve by running the contest? Do you want to increase brand exposure, launch a new product line, increase the number of likes for your page, build user engagement, gather user feedback or develop brand advocates? The bottom line: have specific goals and don’t run a contest just because you can.

3. Select a contest type

There are four basic types of contests you can run on Facebook: sweepstakes, essay, photo and video. Matching the type of contest with your target audience is very important. Video, photo and essay contests will give you lots of content for your page, but they also require more effort to enter. A sweepstakes contest is easy to enter and you can set it up so that you get a few key pieces of information from your customers.

4. Know Facebook’s contest policies and rules

Facebook has a lot of rules and regulations for contests run on the site. Facebook insists that contests explicitly state that Facebook is not sponsoring the giveaway. Violating any of Facebook’s rules will result in your contest, and possibly your page, being shut down, which you do not want.  

5. Have your private policy ready

Your private policy explains the intended use of the data you collect during the contest. If you plan to use the information outside of judging the contest, you need to mention that in the policy. As a result, your link to the privacy policy should be available on your contest app. Also, according to Facebook, you need to specify your own rules, terms and conditions and contest eligibility requirements.

6. Run your contest through a third-party app

There are lots of companies that provide contest support, but you will want to make sure the one you choose offers a 3 key features: flexibility, affordability and mobility.

7. Pick an awesome prize

Most importantly make sure you pick a prize that your target audience wants. You can always do a survey before the contest to help decide what the prize should be. The prize does not have to be very expensive, but the value of your prize should reflect the effort participants need to make to enter.

8. Keep it simple 

The simpler it is to enter your contest, the more people will get in. Your contest should be easy to find and easy to enter. Ask for less information such as the entrant’s name, age and email address.

9. Promote your contest

If you’re hosting a contest on Facebook, make it social and don’t just post details to your page. Post and send scheduled reminders about the contest through tweets, email newsletters and posts on your Facebook Timeline. You can also increase your promotional reach by using Facebook ads. Ensure your contest is well-integrated into all concurrent marketing channels.

10. Post-contest follow-up and results

Be sure utilizing the information collected after the contest is over and assess the responses and feedback of customers. The easiest way to do this is to organize the data into a spreadsheet and compare the responses. Also, make sure you follow-up with your audience – listening and re-engaging is very important to your brand and marketing strategy. Let the participants know that you value their suggestions as this will motivate and increase future customer interaction. 

Your Business Facebook Marketing Checklist

Well my mother just recently joined the social media world, bit the bullet and create a Facebook account. While she may have been a bit late jumping on the Facebook band wagon, the long distance telephone training sure brought her up to speed. With a wealth of opportunity for business, Facebook is now a necessity for companies. Hopefully these 9 tips will help you succeed with your Company Facebook Page.

1. You’re a Page, not a Profile

This is important very important for branding and communicating with customers. You’re not trying to make friends; you’re building an online presence and community. Start building your likes on a business page today!

2. Keep Things Current

This is a social media necessity. As you change your marketing campaigns and strategies your profile, including the About box, should change. Do a full update regularly and remember to keep updating, sharing and starting conversations. An open dialog with interesting posts, photos, and open-ended questions will drive your engagement and conversion rates.

3. Make it Visual

This means you need content. New photos and videos will help increase your social reach.

4. Schedule your Content

Avoid becoming a dull page. Scheduling will also help you stay current and avoid becoming a dull and forgotten. Take control, and see the results you planned for become realized. Lastly, test for best timing.

5. Data, Data, Analytics

Facebook provides an ample amount of analytics, which you can export. The number of likes, followers, and other interactions can provide valuable insight into what is and is not effective. Data is always good and helpful, and it’s easier than you might think to gather interaction data from Facebook.

6. Now Who Doesn’t Like a Contest?

Engagement is everything, and a contest is a great investment.  Contests attract new leads and customers and can revitalize your company page. Want new likes? Just encourage people to like, comment and share.

7. Website Integration is Key

This isn’t just for Facebook. All social media accounts should be integrated prominently on you website driving traffic to all of your online profiles, building an interactive community.

8. Facebook has Rules – Follow Them

If you don’t know already, Facebook has its own rule book  Don’t worry it’s available online. Rules include contests, advertising and photos to name a few. It’s always good to know your rules, you don’t want to get banned.

9. It’s 2013 – Think Mobile

Your entire online strategy needs to be optimized for mobile and this includes your Facebook page. Double checking your online content for mobile viewing is always recommended.

Happy Facebooking!