5 Ways to Avoid Being a #LinkedIn Fail

I use LinkedIn. I didn’t just fill out my profile and let it sit there like a stone. I reach out strategically and post strategically and have a plan to create qualified leads from my activity there. Doesn’t everyone?

Linkedin_wall_logo_200_133LinkedIn, when used correctly can be a business persons best friend. It can get you an audience with the people you most want to work with, but perhaps even more valuable, it can expose what you do to your ideal customer.

When you attract that ideal customer you’ll want to make sure they don’t find any of these on your profile:

1. A less than fabulous profile pic. Make sure you have a picture that is as close to a professional headshot as you can find. It helps if you are smiling. I say ‘as close to’ because it truly doesn’t have to be professional, I used a well executed ‘selfie’ for years, until I had a professional shot taken.

2. A summary that only contains a line or two. Use this area to explain in detail and in your own voice, exactly what you do. Do this in first person, third person can sound lofty and overly formal and gives no opportunity to highlight your communication style.

3. No recommendations. You may have a ton of one-click-endorsements (which equate to a little less than a Facebook like) but they are widely considered much less credible than a written testimonial of your work in a specific position. Reaching out for recommendations can be tricky and requires more work than just clicking but it’s well worth it as they will enhance your credibility incredibly when peppered throughout the experience portion of your LinkedIn profile.

4. The same update they found on your Twitter profile and your Facebook page. Don’t be lazy about updating your LinkedIn profile. It is a completely different platform than other social networks and requires its own strategic application of content, especially when you intend to get business from your connections there.

5. A lack of contact information. Some people are still not comfortable reaching out online so make sure you include a telephone number along with your various social media accounts and emails. If you have a complete profile this will likely be already taken care of but if not start there and get that profile complete.

What about you? Ever visited a LinkedIn profile and decided, based on what you did or didn’t find there, not to pursue the contact any further?  Please let me know in the comments what I might have left out.

Here’s to your business!

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3 Things You Should Never Say To A Customer

excellentcustomerservice

Each of these has happened to me, and they have all resulted in me taking my business elsewhere. What about you, what key customer service points are you looking for from businesses? Which ones are you delivering?

1)  “If you had contacted me earlier I could have taken care of this for you but now you will have to wait ”

Bottom line, you want clients to feel good about doing business with you, even if they have to be delayed. Most of us don’t mind a wait when we are treated kindly, fairly and with respect. Instead of admonishing customers say something like, ‘we’re working hard to get this done as quickly as possible ‘ or ‘you have my word that we will do what we can to make this work’ – now, no matter that the circumstances I feel good about doing business with you even with the delay. If you admonish your clients in a childish manner they will feel bad – feeling bad means lost business.

2) “See how poorly ‘insert competitor here’ does that job? Obviously we are the better choice”

If you have to resort to name-calling or put-downs to elevate your case, you’ve lost me. If your product, service, customer experience and follow up can’t WOW me on its own merit you need to put your energy into fixing your product or service and creating a better customer experience rather than into putting down your competitors.

3) “We understand your time is valuable and appreciate your patience” …..while you wait 10+ minutes for a customer service rep….

This one drives me crazy especially when it happens every time you call. If you truly understood how valuable my time was you would hire more customer service reps and not make me wait at all, or you would credit my account for each minute waited. Attempting to placate me with meaningless platitudes only proves to me how out of touch you are with your customer. What it doesn’t do is make me enjoy the wait, or justify it, regardless of how surprised you might be with the ” higher than average call volumes.”

Customer service is the one area that can instantly level the playing field regardless of company size or resources. One very satisfied customer with a Twitter account can beef up your bottom line in minutes. You dont even need a superior product if you get the customer experience right. So take a moment to audit yours. Pretend you’re a customer or better yet, get someone to walk through the experience of your company from every customer touchpont and see where you might be able to enhance the system. Sometimes all it takes is a second to turn a so-so experience into a WOW one.

It’s NOT All About the Numbers.

Too often clients ask me, “ how can I get more fans on my page?” They think, as most do, that Facebook fan page success is all about the numbers. Not so. Facebook, and social media in general, is all about engagement, not numbers. If you have thousands of fans who don’t care about your products and services you might as well be putting your money and time into newspaper ads. But, if you have a small handful of loyal customers who interact with your content regularly and spread good news about your business across social media channels, then you have success; the kind that translates into a positive bottom line.
So, don’t ask your social media consultant how to increase the numbers, ask how to increase engagement because when you get that working for you, the numbers take care of themselves.
2 Quick and Easy Ways to Increase Engagement:
1) Know your audience. On Facebook the ‘Page Insights’ will show you your page demographic; make sure your posts are relevant to them.
2) Ask questions. Design your posts to be inquiries. Ask your audience what they like, what they do, how they handle different situations, etc. Answers, in the form of comments and likes, are engagement.

More engagement strategies to come…..

2 Very Important (and often overlooked) Social Media Essentials

1. A Social Media Strategy.

If you are using social media without one, you are definitely spending more time than you need to, and you are probably not getting the full return on your investment.
Having a strategy that outlines the steps to take, and the ones to avoid, is as sensible as using plans to build a house instead of ‘winging it’. A well-researched Social Media Strategy will focus on achieving your company’s goals, using time efficiently and economically. It will help you avoid common pitfalls, like posting at the wrong times, or on sites that don’t appeal to your target audience. More and more companies are realizing that throwing up a Facebook page and linking it to a Twitter account is not enough to create the buzz they were hoping for. Social Media is a powerful tool for driving leads to your door, for building customer loyalty, for educating and building trust, but it can also be a huge time waster, costing your company thousands. A comprehensive Social Media Strategy will ensure your efforts pay you, not the other way around.

 
2. A Company Social Media Policy (CSMP).

If you have employees, even one, you need a CSMP. Otherwise, your company reputation might be on the line. Most people use some form of Social Media both at work and at home and there are key points that need to be made very clear. For instance, who is manning your sites on the weekend? Do they have the authority to deal with a crisis? Who responds to comments? How soon are they answered? What happens when that person goes on vacation? Need more? What are employees allowed to post about your company? Is it OK for employees to post videos on Facebook that have been taken on your business premises? During the company Christmas party? To their personal profile? Without your knowledge?
See where this is going? If you are not outlining in detail the dos and don’ts in your CSMP the answers to these and many more questions go unanswered, until they demand to be.
Don’t be caught with your pants down, take care of these points today, before they end up costing you valuable resources, like your money or your reputation.
Need help creating a Strategy or a Company Policy? Get in touch, we can help.

5 Point Plan to Get You Up and Running with Social Media

Your social media strategy needn’t take a month to define.  Follow these simple steps and you can be producing relevant, engaging content in just days.  [tweetmeme source=”alisonstoodley” only_single=false]Your strategy should reflect your company’s needs and it doesn’t have to be like anyone else’s. Testing and tweaking are big parts of the process so don’t expect to accomplish your goals without them.  Finally, if you don’t have time to do social media effectively, hire someone to train you, or to manage it for you or don’t do it at all because what you don’t say with your social media says just as much about your company as what you do.

  1. Decide what you want to accomplish with social media
  2. Research to determine which social media tools will do the job – Google is your friend
  3. Implement one at a time, becoming used to each one before adding another
  4. Determine the best way to measure your results depending on the tools you are using – see #2
  5. Tweak and test until the results you achieve are in line with your goals.

The Social Media Privacy Myth…

Lately friends and fans alike have been up in arms regarding the latest privacy changes, (or some would say, violations) to our Facebook accounts.  In a nutshell Facebook has opted everyone in to share their personal details with its [tweetmeme source=”alisonstoodley” only_single=false]partner sites. So this means that when we visit these sites, CNN, Yelp and Pandora to name a few, we will find an internet experience tailored to our preferences. Unless of course, we navigate the maze of privacy settings to opt ourselves out and even then one can’t be sure their details are protected, which brings me to my point.

If you are one of those who is crazed by Facebook‘s ‘anti-privacy’ privacy policy take note: Anything you voluntarily share on the internet is no longer private. Keep this in mind every time you sign up for a new site, get a new email, or even purchase something. The details you share have the possibility of being compromised, no matter how secure or private a site claims to be. If you are uncomfortable with that govern yourself accordingly.

Think about it, your credit card details are vulnerable to any store clerk  yet you still use it when you shop.  In most cases using a simple business card  I can find out just about anything I want about anyone but that doesn’t keep people from sharing them. In my opinion we have all gotten a little paranoid when it comes to online privacy. Facebook isn’t trying to hack your bank account  (unless you include placing things in front of you that you might actually want to buy) or camp out in front of your house with a set of binoculars, they are merely trying to take advantage of the information you have provided to become more profitable and possible enhance your online experience. Yes, this may come with a few risks but they are no more than allowing that waitress a glimpse at your Visa number.

If you prefer to keep yourself private then you really have no place on Facebook or any other social media site and if you want to limit the details you share then don’t provide them to any site in the first place. That way we will be taking responsibility for our personal information and our privacy and we can all stop blaming Facebook for simply working with what we have given them.

Who’s the Expert?

I have taken a number of webinars on social media.  I have been using it for my business and that of my clients for almost 4 years now and I have studied everything I can get my hands on about the subject, but there are days when it feels like I am starting at square one.  [tweetmeme source=”alisonstoodley” only_single=false]

I am amazed that people call themselves experts in this area mainly because the arena changes faster than you can spell expert.  I understand the idea of positioning yourself as a specialist or an expert in your field but can anyone say that they are up to date on all the social media sites and applications when there are hundreds of new ones with increased functionality added each day?

I am not a social media expert.  There, I said it.

What I am is someone who knows the most popular tools in social media and has become familiar enough with them to see actual results for myself and my clients.  I am learning more and more each day.  I understand the scope of the social media network and can easily see the potential in utilizing these tools for business.  That is the experience I share in my workshops and one-on-one training in hopes that my participants can see what I see:  the unlimited possibilities of a communication revolution based on social media tools – sounds good doesn’t it?

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