LinkedIn Q & A Series Part 1: This Week’s Top LinkedIn Questions

The 451 Heat team is excited to announce our new LinkedIn Q & A series! In this series, we will gather frequently asked social media questions on LinkedIn and answer them here on our blog. We hope you find this helpful. Part 1 features this week’s top four LinkedIn questions about SEO, Facebook, measurement of social media initiatives and blog traffic. As always, please leave your comments and questions for us below!

social media strategist Boston

1. What are some basic SEO tips?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best marketing techniques when it comes to increasing the online visibility of a website, and is critical to any company that wants their website to be seen and found by their target audience. The actual process of optimizing a website is long and involved, but here are 5 quick and easy ways to start improving your online visibility today:

1. Use strategic keywords to find your audience –When someone wants to find something they will search for it in Google, or another search engine, by using keywords to describe what they are looking for. You will want to pick strategic and relevant keywords for every page on your site that describe what your services are all about and how they provide solutions to your clients challenges.

2. Use your title tags –Title tags are what appear in the title bar of your browser, and are one of the many pieces of data that search engines scroll when determining what the content on the page is all about. Use the strategic keywords you selected and give each page a unique title. Try to limit your titles to only include one or two key phrases to avoid keyword saturation.

3. Don’t forget about your Meta information – Every page on a website should be treated individually and should have its own unique description and Meta tags. Write a sentence or two that best captures the content of that page, and try to include your keyword in it. Try to limit your descriptions to 180 characters or less— the shorter the better!

4. Quality Content – Ensure that constant generation of fresh, interesting and relevant content is one of your top priorities. Get your keywords into your content wherever and whenever it makes sense. The key here is to keep your user experience in mind; do not flood your content with keywords that do not fit logically.

5. Links, links, links…and more links – Think of a link as a vote of confidence or quality that search engines use to determine the relevance, and therefore page rank, of a page on your website. The more votes, the higher the rank. Good places for links are article and news sharing sites, directories, and other similar sites.

2. How can you use Facebook to increase your brand awareness?

Create a corporate Facebook Fan Page and be social. A Fan Page is a way to connect with clients, prospects, communities and stakeholders, as well as to extend your brand reach, but it has to be interactive to succeed. CC Chapman, a well respected social media strategist, explains this in his About Face white paper, “[Facebook Fan Pages] offer a unique opportunity for brands to engage consumers, providing viral hooks to recruit new Fans, and recurring opportunities for existing Fans to re-engage. But to take advantage of this, brands MUST be social – creating content, sharing status updates, posting photos, hosting events and making regular contributions to the Community.” Opportunities on Facebook Fan Pages allow companies to engage and interact with Fans in a meaningful way. The applications allow for brands to promote their brand in a way that users can connect with and appreciate. Facebook marketing is a combination of interacting with Fans and contributing to a community, rather than broadcasting promotional messages.

3. How are you measuring the effectiveness of your social media marketing initiatives?

Any social media effort should be tied directly to an objective or goal for using social media. These goals are measurable. For example:

1.  If you are using social media to increase awareness, look for online brand mentions, retweets, your increase in followers/friends/fans etc., back-links to your website of Blog, or website visitors/traffic.

2.  If you are using social media to increase sales, track purchases made online (consider running specific promos only offered through social media), the number of captured sales leads, the number of people that signup on your website for a product demo, the source of web visitors through a free service, like bit.ly (http://bit.ly/), and the number of people you get to signup for an event where there is going to be a sales opportunity.

3.  If you are looking to use social media to aid in recruiting, track the number of candidates hired by your company that had originated through using social media. Compare that cost to what you had previously paid (or currently pay) in agency or job board fees.

4. If you are using social media for customer service, calculate the cost of responding to a customer’s request through normal channels (e.g. response time, resolved requests, etc.) and compare that to the calculated cost of using a social media channel to do the same job (response time, resolved requests, etc.). Also, with the increased ability to respond to customer requests, consider factoring in the increase in brand approval ratings.

There are also ways to measure how social media can be effective in reducing operational costs, and for employee retention and trainings. Contact us directly for more of a detailed explanation of the above topic.

4. How do I drive more traffic to my blog?

These five basic elements are crucial to driving relevant traffic to your blog.

1. Design an engaging, organized and stimulating blog. Timely content and catchy titles are important, but remember that an image is worth a thousand words. Many people respond favorably to stimulating visuals, so if you can find colorful, unique graphics that compliment your blog posts, you can attract and retain more readers.

Separating posts into categories is crucial to your blog’s organization. Blog readers want to find good information quickly, so it’s important that your blog is easy to navigate. Having clear categories with your posts properly tagged and organized into categories will make it easy for readers to find the posts that they’ll want to read most.

2. Make sure your blog has clear, basic information that is visible to all visitors

You want to make sure that your brand (personal or corporate) is represented on your blog and that your background information accessible.

Imagine a person who doesn’t know your business, your industry or anything about you at all. Blog with that person in mind.

3. Write fresh compelling content. Your blog should highlight timely, concise and engaging information, and should invite visitors to provide their feedback. If you’re not writing material that your audience is interested in, and you’re not writing it clearly enough for them to digest it quickly, then your blog will not be an effective tool in reaching and connecting with your audience.

4. Make your contact page highly visible and user-friendly. If you want your blog to have a significant ROI, you need to make it easy for your audience to contact you. Ensuring that you are easily reachable is essential to maintaining an open dialogue and interacting with readers in a meaningful way.

5. Your RSS and ‘Share This’ features should be highly visible to visitors

You’re starting a blog with objectives in mind and you know that it is going to take some time to gain a following of trusted readers. You need to make it as easy as possible for others to find you. The best way to start that process is to make it as easy as possible for people to subscribe to your blog via RSS. Social bookmarks increase your reader’s participation and allow them to view themselves as part of your “community.” Once you’ve gained their trust, and their “buy-in” to your blog’s message, they will start to share your thoughts with their peers and your readership will continue to grow.

-AJ Gerritson

Why and How to Add LinkedIn Buttons to Your Email Signature

LinkedInButton

With over 45 million users representing more than 130 different industries around the world, LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing networking sites on the web. The best part about the site is that it enables users to build their professional profile and expand their network by making strategic connections, seeking recommendations from colleagues and participating in interactive polls and discussions.

As traffic on LinkedIn continues to rise, it becomes increasingly clear that the site will become a necessary tool for even the most passive job seekers and networkers. To help promote the existence of your profile and make it easier to connect with colleagues, contacts, industry leaders, clients and potential prospects or employers, follow these simple steps to learn how to insert a LinkedIn button into your personal email signature.

Step 1– Log-in to your LinkedIn Account

Step 2– Go to your “Accounts and Settings” option

Step 3– Click on your “Public Profile” (Halfway down the “Accounts and Settings” page)

Step 4– Under the “Public Profile” go to “Promote Public Profile” and click on “Customized Buttons”

Step 5– Copy the entire code for this button

Step 6– Open Notepad on your computer and paste the code into the document

Step 7– Under “Save As”, save the file name as “LinkedIn.html”, and change file type to “All Files”

Step 8– Open Outlook, go to “Tools” and click on “Options”

Step 9– Go to “Mail Format” and click on “Signatures”

Step 10– Click on “New”

Step 11– Click on “Use this file as template,” then select your saved file. Next, add your contact details as you would like them to read over your LinkedIn button.

Now you are done!!

We would like to know how inserting a LinkedIn button to your email has helped increase your connections on LinkedIn or otherwise helped to get you noticed. Please share your success stories.

-Brie Bellefeuille

Social Media and Generation X

social-media2Although social media may seem to belong to teenagers and early 20 something’s, it has become widely adopted across all generations.  Online social network acceptance by American adults has grown by more than 400% since 2005 (courtesy of PEW).  Among the most intriguing adult demographics are the Gen Xers (those born between 1960-1979).

Gen Xers use social networking sites for both personal and professional use and therefore are more likely to carry several profiles and utilize multiple social networking outlets.  Overall, 17% or American Gen Xers visit social networking sites on a daily basis. LinkedIn, the Internet’s largest professional network, boasts a median user age of 40 and  according to PEW, 30% of 35-44 year olds have at least one profile on social networks (along with19% of 45-54 year olds).

Interestingly, female Gen Xers seem to be slightly more involved in social media on a regular basis than males.  In fact, females over the age of 40 are statistically more engaged in social media than younger women according to the website SheSpeaks.com.  In fact, females 45 years old and older used Facebook between January and March 2009 at a rate higher than any other category of users (eMarketer.com).

Clearly Gen Xers are becoming increasingly Internet savvy utilizing social media to make more informed purchasing decisions, find employment, engage with particular social groups (i.e. mommy bloggers) and stay in touch with family and friends through these most efficient and immediate methods. A recent eMarketer.com survey also found that social networks (67%) were more popular than email (65%) for mass communication.  Given the above trends in Internet social network use, Gen X’s use of social media is only expected to continue to rise. Keep an eye out for the new social media tools and technologies that spawn over the next few years—it would not be unlikely for them to be targeted to this demographic.

Using LinkedIn to Generate Leads

We have addressed it previously on HEAT, but it remains a topic that we consider to be instrumental in helping to conduct effective online lead generation campaigns. LinkedIn, when used properly, is an excellent tool for a variety of sales and marketing tactics, including prospecting, content/collateral distribution, and expert positioning.

To learn more about how to become an advanced LinkedIn user, check out our free webinar on “How to Effectively Utilize LinkedIn for Lead Generation.”

After your viewing, let us know if you have any additional questions about how to make the most of your LinkedIn account.

LinkedIn: Why you should be using it for “Expert Positioning”

The professional networking site LinkedIn has over 40 million users in more than 200 countries. If you join LinkedIn and create a profile, you can expand your network by connecting with friends, co-workers, and former colleagues. As a professional social networking site, LinkedIn enables individuals to build and extend their “professional brand,” by showcasing their job experience, references, education, and awards. Not surprisingly, the site has become a go-to resource for recruiters, HR personnel, and job seekers alike.

But, when LinkedIn comes up amidst a conversation about social media marketing tools, many are left with only a limited understanding of the site’s potential. From our experience, we have found that LinkedIn is most effective for positioning yourself (or your client) as an expert resource in your industry and network.

Here’s how it works:

To successfully position yourself as an expert, you need to discover and join groups related to your industry and ones that your prospective clients are in. Life sciences consultant? You should join the “Life Sciences Professional Network” group, and if you’re following the latest trends, should also be an active member of “Life Sciences 2.0” (to name just a few relevant groups). LinkedIn groups are places for likeminded professionals to connect, ask questions, post articles, solve problems, and share best practices. If you offer group members valuable information by initiating and participating in discussions, or answering questions, you’ll effectively brand yourself as a knowledgeable expert.

Even better, develop and share informative content (e.g. whitepapers, wikis, webinars, blog posts) that directly addresses your prospective clients’ needs and pain points. Users who view your content will notice your name because they’ll want to learn who authored the resources. It’s likely that they’ll view your LinkedIn profile to see your job title and the company you work for to confirm you are a reliable source. By driving users to your LinkedIn profile, you brand yourself as a thought leader and increase awareness of your company, as well as your other active social media channels (i.e. your blog, Twitter feed, etc). LinkedIn users will make the connection that you and your company are experts in your field, and they’ll reach out to you directly to seek your advice.

The best way to share content on LinkedIn? Follow these steps:

1. To add the LinkedIn bookmark to your Firefox browser, click-and-drag the below “Share on LinkedIn” link to your tool bar.

http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=browser_bookmarklet

2. Once the link appears on your toolbar, pull up the content you would like to share (i.e. a blog post, news article, podcast), and click on it

3. Choose the connections or groups you want to share with on LinkedIn

4. Your content will be posted to the “news” section of the LinkedIn groups you selected and distributed in the groups’ weekly digest e-mails

There you have it. Remember, when used properly, you’ll brand yourself as an expert. As with all social media channels, the ultimate goal here is to engage your target audiences and help your firm or your client to identify and nurture qualified business leads.

So have you had success using LinkedIn or another social media platform to position yourself as an expert? Please, share your experience! What worked? What didn’t?