Archive | October, 2012

The New LinkedIn- 5 Tips for Success!

22 Oct

If you haven’t logged on to your LinkedIn account in a while, you’re in for a treat. The social media network for working professionals has undergone an extreme makeover, and the latest version looks more sleek and visually appealing than ever before.

Obviously, a new look means the playing field has changed for LinkedIn users. Here are some great tips to use this upgrade to our advantage!

  • Add a photo. It’s important to add a picture to your profile as it is more of a focal point with the new design. Your profile is seven times more likely to be viewed if you have a photo.
  • Include your skills. The latest generation of LinkedIn makes your skills and other accomplishments more eye-catching and organized. Add skills that are relevant so you will stand out. You can add up to 50 LinkedIn Skills, everything from classical ballet to bloodstain pattern analysis. Your peers can also now endorse you for specific skills.
  • Share your thoughts. If you happen to come across an interesting article, share it with your contacts. The activity feed is now on the top of your profile, so it’s more important than ever to share interesting status updates and links. In fact, those who share an article on LinkedIn at least once a week are “nearly 10 times more likely to be contacted by a recruiter for new opportunities” than those who don’t. But remember to think “quality over quantity” when you’re updating your status or sharing an article, because it will be a reflection of your professional self.
  • Tell your story. With the higher visibility, it’s imperative that you show off your online networking skills by fleshing out your background and work experience. Your profile is 12 times more likely to be viewed if you add more than one work experience to it because recruiters can be searching for a specific number of years of work experience.
  • Analyze insights. You now can get a more in-depth look at your network and how people are finding you to the right of your profile. Keep in mind that 50 is the magic number on LinkedIn.You should have at least 50 contacts so you’ll “have enough potential sources or contacts to really take advantage of the site’s three degrees of separation rule. As a general rule, only connect with people whom you trust and know.

5 Tips for Using Social Media as a Customer Service Tool

15 Oct

In today’s mobile first, social media obsessed world, many people would rather text or email someone than call them. Most people also prefer to get their news and other information online. The same goes for customer service — especially over social media.

It started off as people going online to vent frustrations about bad service, canceled flights or products that they weren’t happy with. But some savvy brands have realized that good can come from interacting with people who post complaints online. Every negative comment or customer service issue posted online is an amazing opportunity to wow people, provide incredible customer service and win new customers.

Using social media as a customer service tool, and turning dissenters into advocates in a public way, can be fast, easy and accountable. As a consumer, you get heard by everyone and receive rapid service. As a brand, you can prove you care, go the extra mile and that you are listening. Before long, managing customer service over social media is going to become the standard expectation.

At my social media firm, we teach brands how to engage with consumers and provide actionable customer service over social media. Here are five tips for implementing social customer service protocol for your business:

1. When using Twitter, create a secondary account specifically for customer service. You can reply to a customer tweet from the main account, alerting him or her that you’re aware of the issue and that the @Username will be contacting them (i.e @AcmeCustomerService). Your customer service account should follow that user, engage with him or her and sort out the issue.

It’s often wise to direct message the user after you’ve made it clear in public that you’re there to help — both for the privacy of the customer and to avoid cluttering the timeline.

2. Reply quickly. It’s best to get back to a comment or complaint within five minutes, when possible. The faster, the better.

3. Let the customer know who they are engaging with. Humanize the experience by letting the customer know he or she is speaking with a real person. For example, “We are very sorry to hear about your experience. We will do whatever we can to help you. — Scott L.” Customers usually appreciate knowing they’re dealing with a person who has a name, rather than a mystery person who’s sending automated messages.

4. Reply in a friendly and helpful manner. Let the customer know you are concerned and will do everything you can to help them. This is an opportunity to not only help someone but to win additional customers.

And remember, never be aggressive, dismissive or mean. And don’t try to hide or manipulate the issue. Social media is a public forum so everything you post can be seen by anyone.

5. Create a system of checks and balances. Monitor all interactions resolved and unresolved, and review how they played out. Did your team do everything it could to help that customer and win them over as a fan?

Facebook’s New Promoted Personal Posts

8 Oct

Facebook announced last Wednesday U.S. users will now be able to promote their personal posts to friends for a fee, but the news is being met with mixed reactions.

Although testing first started in New Zealand in May and has since rolled out to more than 20 countries, those in the U.S. can now pay to make sure your network never misses a big update in your life, from a baby announcement to an event you’re organizing. But each promoted post will cost you $7.

That’s right, you can pay to make sure your content is seen by friends on Facebook. This raises two major questions: Why should you have to pay for something that was once already a part of the site, and does this mean we’ll now inundated with life updates we don’t really care about?

Some argue users might not take advantage of the promoted option, while others believe it could be a great resource for getting news out about bands, garage sales and ticketed events. Facebook seems to think it will make the entire experience better for its users.

“Sometimes a particular friend might not notice your post, especially if a lot of their friends have been posting recently and your story isn’t near the top of their feed,” Facebook said in a blog post. “When you promote a post – whether it’s wedding photos, a garage sale, or big news – you bump it higher in news feed so your friends and subscribers are more likely to notice it.”

But what say you? Is this a good thing? A gateway to even more news feed clutter? Leave a comment below and let us know what you really think!

How to Use Foursquare for Business – 8 Smart Tips

1 Oct

Rumor has it that social media will overtake conventional marketing within the decade.  Think about it. When deciding where to take a date for a nice dinner or using a new accountant, are you more likely to take the word of a paid advertisement or the word of your unbiased friend? If you say paid advertisement, you’re just plain lying.  Utilizing websites like Foursquare will help build your social presence and allow those unbiased clients and customers to share the exceptional qualities of your business; plus, it’s free advertising!

1. Check out Examples in the Page Gallery

Once a page has been created, it is added to the Page Gallery.  The first step is to see what types of profiles are attractive to you and may work the best for your business.  This way you’ll have a clear idea of what you want ahead of time rather than fumbling through the process and having to go back for an overhaul.

2. Read the Guides

Foursquare has provided a step-by-step guide to help businesses set up pages within their system.  Be sure to check these over beforehand; they are really helpful.

3. Complete your Profile

This concept seems obvious, but fully completing your profile will help your page stand out and be more easily searchable within Foursquare as well as throughout the web.  Think of Foursquare as one of the many necessary arms of your web-presence, and each piece is just as important as the other.

4. Authorize Twitter Account

Foursquare is entirely dependent upon a Twitter account, and therefore you’ll need to link a pre-established Twitter page to complete your Foursquare account.  It is important to understand that the Twitter account you use will correlate directly to your Foursquare account, meaning the information for both should match.  Be sure to link the correct Twitter account if you have say, a personal account and a business account. This could be dangerous! Also be aware that the account name used on your Twitter account will be reflected on your Foursquare account as,

5. Use Images

This is a long-standing marketing fact: people like pictures, not words.  Using images on your page as well as your tags to draw attention is an excellent way to stand out above the rest.  Images also allow you to really engage and even entertain followers, which will of course draw them to follow you even more!  One of the best ways to use the power of an image is to tag the mouthwatering slice of pizza you just enjoyed at a certain establishment or a particularly delicious martini.  The more information you provide, the more involved and relevant your company will become and the more people will look for your opinion!

6. Share the Responsibility

Having a presence on any social media can seriously be a full-time job.  Unless you have the ability to pay a social marketer, you’ll likely want to look into sharing the workload to stay relevant on all of your company’s sites. Foursquare will allow you to add additional people to contribute, monitor, and manage your page on your behalf.  You may want to designate a couple of trusted employees around the office to add a couple of posts a week. You can simply add other users by connecting via Twitter, name, email, phone number or even their Foursquare user ID.

7. Connect with Facebook

This is a great time saver! You can do double the social media work in half the time. By linking these two accounts, you are able to post your Foursquare tips simultaneously to your Facebook wall as check-ins or status updates.  Success!

8. Get It Out There

Simply setting up your profile, linking all your accounts and downloading seven different apps to your phone won’t do much if you don’t do the actual social media work! It sounds like a lot, but I say “simply” because keeping up with posts is the most important aspect of your social marketing.  Getting your pages kickstarted will likely mean you’ll need to do quite a few posts, tips, and constant friend nagging to follow your page in order to get a following. Be sure to add links to your various pages on your main website, your blog and maybe even your signature line on your emails.

Foursquare pages really have a lot to offer businesses.  Friends are excited to share the establishments they like to visit and offer tips to their friends about great spots, dishes or small businesses with great service. This works to the advantage of the business owner as free marketing to an endless market!