How To Create a LinkedIn Group for Your Company

This will be redundant for the more social media savvy subscribers, but for those of you who are on LinkedIn as a professional but not as a leader of a Group, this is something to consider!

Understanding LinkedIn and Groups

LinkedIn has 50 million users and is one of the most popular social networking sites for business professionals. One of the strongest features of LinkedIn is the ability to create a group. Groups offer networking opportunities, resources, and information for participants/members. By creating a group, you can establish a community of individuals who share the same interests/goals as you do. In addition, the group is a wonderful tool for business intelligence and business development.  It can be used to create awareness of your brand and demonstrate your company’s expertise.

How to Set Up Group

  1. Log into LinkedIn. At the top of the site, you will see “Groups.” Scroll down and click “Create a Group.”
  2. LinkedIn will ask you fill out a form to create your Group.
  • Logo: Upload an image that stands for your brand/company. Logo!
  • Group Name: Your group name – Be creative and straightforward.
  • Group Type: The drop-down will give you options— Alumni Group, Corporate Group, Conference Group, Networking Group, Non-Profit Group, Professional Group, Other. Choose the one that is most appropriate for your Group’s goal/mission statement.
  • Summary: This is a brief description of your group’s purpose. This description appears in the Groups Directory.
  • Description: This is a more comprehensive description of your group’s purpose.

**Keep Group summary and description brief. One paragraph should clarify possible topics of discussion.

  • Website: Add a website link that directs traffic to your website.
  • Group Owner Email:  This will be your designated Group manager’s email address.
  • Access: I suggest you use “Request to Join.”
  • Language: English or any other language you might use.
  • Location: If the group is specific to a single geographical location, you can choose this. However, you will most likely want to keep it open to all geographical locations.
  • Twitter Announcement: Click this so that when you announce something, it will be sent via Twitter as well
  • Click  “Create Open Group.

4. Post Group Rules: Post clear group rules. Discussions should be reserved for sharing resources, discussing issues and ideas, and seeking advice. Post group rules under “Manage>Group Rules.” Once they are posted, they are then featured in the upper right of your group’s homepage.

It’s pretty easy! I will be posting in upcoming days how this can help your company, best practices, and ideas for effective strategies!

Does anyone have a group they would like to share? 

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Are You Pinterested in This?

As Mashable reports, Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. Not only is it capturing amazing stats, but the site is a new form of social media that we haven’t seen before– and it is both smart and pretty.  Instead of links, we have photos/images. Instead of categorizing items in a list, we have virtual boards. And when you view someone’s profile, you see a beautifully organized, image-based representation of that person’s interests. While Chris Brogan argues that Pinterest catches more of the female demographic than the male sector, I am tempted to say that 1) I doubt that will hold true for too long and 2) who cares?! It still works as a social media outlet that helps marketers on all sides. In fact, in addition to the aesthetic pictorial representation on the site, I’m also fascinated by the multifaceted marketing dynamic.

There is the product. When I say ‘product’ I’m referring to the photo that the user loves enough to pin on one of their boards. This can be anything from a blouse you see on J.Crew or a book you want to read/have read to a poster print you have hanging in your office or want to hang in your office. When the user pins this to the board, that person become personally connected to the brand of that product. The brand then benefits from this pinning because any one of the the user’s followers who sees the pin, and says, wow…I really like that blouse, too…and proceeds to click on it gets directed to the J.Crew website. While this is great for the brand/company on the other side of the pin, it also creates more design demand. You’ve got to have a strong design element to your website if you want to be on Pinterest.

Then, there is the brand that gets on Pinterest as a user. When J.Crew gets on Pinterest, what do they pin? While they are not currently on Pinterest as a user (you’ll see their clothes pinned everywhere–no surprise there), what would be smart to pin from a marketer’s perspective? Sure, why not put more of their clothes on the site, but they could also show those products coming from companies they’ve partnered with like New Balance, Timex, Sperry, Ray Ban, etc. Or, how about from an institution/school like the University of Virginia: what do they like? They could pin their paraphernalia, published faculty books, images from events, football games, the surrounding town, restaurants– all of these things bring students to the UVa website. Not many companies/institutes/brands have hopped on Pinterest to create a profile yet, but I think it would be a smart thing to do. Not only do you create a diversified portfolio of the products and personality of the brand itself, but you create a personal following– your fans do not just ‘like’ your company, they follow you and pin your products on their walls. The marketer can even see what specific products are getting the most visual attention.

What do you think about Pinterest?

Best Practices on Twitter: Playing the Game Right

Having solid best practices on Twitter is the most important aspect to creating a solid social marketing strategy. While it seems obvious, I find that this is something commonly overlooked when creating and implementing campaigns.

CONTENT

  • Be grammatically correct in your tweets.
  • Keep Tweets specific to your campaign and subject goals.
  • Keep your content dynamic: post links to different kinds of articles, videos, lectures, events, songs, images. Change it up!
  • When Tweeting events, put location first in at least some of your tweets and last in others.
  • Engage your audience with a strong, consistent voice.
  • Re-Tweet followers’ posts if interesting (RT).
  • Mention other Twitter account you appreciate @.
  • Use the hashtag for all keywords (1-3 per Tweet) #.

TIME

  • Create an editorial calendar to help you plan the workflow and content for Tweets.
  • Keep your Tweet schedule consistent. For example, do not Tweet every day for two weeks and then disappear for one month.

 READING

  • Listen to what your audience is talking about. This will help you shape your Tweets. Remember, Tweet what they are interested in, not what you want them to do for you.
  • Reply to people who tweet at you (Use the @mentions link and search for your username without the @ symbol).
  • Re-Tweet content that interests you. You can do that directly on Twitter or using your favorite Twitter management applications.
  • When you re-Tweet, check the link in the to make sure it works before you re-share it.
  • Use Twitter lists to organize the types of conversations going on. For example, you might put prospective students in one list, faculty on another list, companies on another list, etc. Click a list to see only the tweets by the people on that list
  • Offer links (URLs) to your Tweets that point to the company/organization you are working for, links to videos, etc.

*Note on providing links: Links must be shortened as they are often character-heavy (and you only have 140 characters per Tweet!) I suggest you use bitly.com. Simply copy and paste the link into the window and click “shorten.” It will provide you with a shortened link that you can use in Twitter.

WHAT NOT TO TWEET

  • Do not Tweet a link without any other text. You must provide context for links.
  • Do not Tweet with a Commercial-like tone.
  • Do not Tweet the same message more than once.
  • Do not Tweet opinions – or at least, strong opinions.

Facebook Vs. Twitter

Facebook vs. Twitter: A Tug O’ War Challenge?

Facebook and Twitter are both excellent social media tools for companies to spread brands, develop relationships with customers and businesses, and generate leads. But how do we know which site is best for which campaign?

eMarketer recently reported that 6x more people use Facebook thanTwitter. If this is indeed accurate, should companies pay attention to it? And what does it mean for marketing efforts?

Before we can answer these questions, let’s first consider where social media budgets land for using these tools. Zoomerang points out that companies’ use of social media is gaining momentum and creating a surefire way to get the most bang for the buck. As the chart below suggests, 44% of SMB decision-makers use social media.

They also point out that SMBs are twice as likely to use Facebook as they were Twitter. Emarketer comments on these reports:

“Though Facebook is becoming increasingly sophisticated in its product offerings and capabilities, businesses are sticking with the basics to drive performance: 51% of US SMBs found wall posts the most effective marketing tactic, even though only 16% of US consumers said they had interacted with a brand on Facebook.”

Interesting. because I’m going to argue that while this may be true now, the future of social media will grow more intricate and ask that the marketer do more— i.e not only rely on “the basics,” such as wall posts.

Continue reading

Social Media’s Role: Consumer vs. Marketer

Social Media’s role has grown increasingly important for all types of companies, firms, institutions, and self-branding communities. According to The State of the Media: The Social Media Report, Americans spend 22.5 percent of their online time on social media sites. Compared to games (9.8 percent) and email (7.6 percent), we cannot deny that social media has taken over the large world o’ interwebs. In yesterday’s article, Report Details Rise of Social Media in The New York Times Stuart Elliot points out that this report “makes social media the NO. 1 specific category and the No. 2 category over all, behind ‘other’ ways Americans spend time online, among them perusing adult content, visiting retail web sites and reading about subjects like sports and health.” Ok, so it’s proven that yes, social media sparks interest and woos in many. Continue reading

Moving is All About Marketing

We did not know finding an apartment in Boston would be such a competition. But as soon as we stepped into the apartment that called out to us as “the one,” the game was on. The white cabinetry, the red walls, the built-in bookshelves– we must sign.

A week before our trip out to Boston for our apartment hunt, I grew anxious that we would end up with a white-walled, sterile-looking but dirty hole-in-the-wall and over-priced apartment– rental agencies had told us not to bother calling them until the day before we arrived in Boston; it wouldn’t be worth it, they said. Apartments are going fast– as if I needed to be more tightly wound.

I peered through the beautiful window in the foyer between the stained glass windows (who would of thought that we could find an apartment with such charm?!); there was another couple standing outside chatting with the owners, waiting for us to exit, so they could view and most-likely, want to sign, too. Remain calm, I told myself while the chatter in my head was screaming: think of the cooking you can do, the writing you can do, the space for your yoga mat, a cozy living room for those winter days; if you don’t get this apartment, you’re not going to find another one like it, you know that. Remain calm, I repeated to myself.

We stepped outside, complete poise, and chatted with the owners. We are a couple: he is doing a post-doc at Tufts Medical Center; I am a writer/teacher/online marketer/ communications guru, the woman with four jobs because, let’s face it, the job market in Michigan is pretty awful. While my list of positions explains my versatility and range of experiences, I’m not quite sure it screams stability. I’m looking for employment, I explain. Marketing.  Of course I want to explain that I have a graduate degree! I am reasonable! I am fiscally responsible! Not: um…I’m looking for employment. And then it hit me: Marketing.

Marketing is about positioning– poetic, artful, and straightforward, as Al Ries and Jack Trout explain in their book, (surprise), Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. Of course, I agree and disagree with their take on positioning in today’s world, but for the sake of this article, I’m going to agree with them. “To be creative, to create something that doesn’t already exist in the mind, is becoming more and more difficult. If not impossible.” This idea raises the question of creativity: is creativity something new? Or is it something that has been manipulated, tweaked, changed? Certainly, innovation calls for some kind of invention–  a new way, a new style, a new perspective.

I’m most attached to the idea of a new perspective. In fact, that is the key to all creativity. How many action-packed thriller movies have you seen? You know, that guy who jumps from train car to train car, or the guy that leaps out of the exploding building in the nick of time…these scenes continue to be written into films, but we remain in front of the screen, latched securely into our seats, mesmerized by the (same) action. What changes is the context of the story and the perspective of the story. Perspective changes context; context changes perspective. We are always reconnecting what already exists in ways that create something new and engaging.

As the marketplace has changed, the traditional flashy billboards and glossy ads don’t always work to bring in the business. In fact, today’s world is far less responsive to all of that noise.  Because we are a society of constant chatter, talk, whispers, howls, one sound will not rise above the jungle of noises. New marketing understands this havoc; the only way to be heard is to select who you’re talking to. In reaching out to any individual audience, you must consider perspective: where are they coming from? Do your research: hop on the web, google, twitter, facebook.

Positioning yourself for the client/audience/consumer–  or rather, when positioning the pounce in the jungle– you must realize they have already been drenched in information and noise. Thus, any tactic you use must be refreshingly simple. While simplicity seems, well, simple, it’s actually one of the most challenging aspects of marketing within a business or within your own, personal lives.

George Orwell explains in his essay, Why I Write, that he writes to be political–not in the Joe-the-Plumber, ObamaCare kind of way– but rather in the Listen To Me Because I’m Interesting kind of way. The challenge of course is testing the language used to communicate that “simple” message: how do you capture the experience of your brand without losing any of it through language?

Had I not explained to the owners of this apartment that I had four jobs, perhaps that would have been seemingly more simple. “I am an online marketer.” Ta da! While it takes up less space, it’s less true and thus, less real and less intimate. Because the new market world is about conversation, and even the conversation that happening without you, it’s important to remain real.

We unpacked all of our boxes this weekend in the apartment that we somehow “won.” The owners, who live upstairs, asked us to join in on Saturday night’s dinner. They told us, you know, we received all kinds of offers for this apartment, including more money, but we chose you two because you were real.

Yes, that day on the sidewalk while we talked to the owners, wanting, somewhat desperately for them to want us as their renters, I told them I had four jobs in Ann Arbor; that I really love writing and marketing; that I loved the stained glass windows– how they reflect the warmth of the light. As I sit here in my new apartment, I think back on that day: their view from the inside and my view from the outside connected successfully.

Social Media Puts on a Serious Face

I admit: I have not always thought of social media as a marketing tool. Years ago, social media simply meant playtime. You want to procrastinate, sure, log onto facebook. I still see  the college students in my classroom, clicking away as I attempted to lecture about why academic writing is so important. I couldn’t win against social media; it was my enemy. However, a few years ago, I worked as a Communications Assistant at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art. We were preparing for the reopening of the building – the first time the Museum would be open for the 35,000 U-M students and the Ann Arbor townies in years. Sure enough, one of my colleagues recommended we use Twitter and Facebook to update our fans and inform perspective art enthusiasts. The reopening was a huge success due, in part, to our social media strategies.

After working at two start-up companies as an Online Marketer, I can barely imagine what marketing would be like if social media were entirely excluded or ignored. Yesterday, I came across an interesting article (thank you to Twitter and its professional development abilities): Amy Jo Martin’s To Monetize Social Media, Humanize It. Martin discusses some of the overwhelmingly popular assumptions that frown on social media as if it’s a clown wearing a big red nose. As she says, “Put it this way: If I gained a follower every time a CEO rolled his eyes at me when I said ‘Twitter,’ I’d be Lady Gaga (11.2 million followers).” Arguably, the word “social media” is misleading; while some use this medium as a media for entertainment purposes, marketing specialists have used it as a rather remarkable tool, and, given its success, should be taken seriously.

Martin compares social media to a telephone, though I would dare compare it to a televised conference with countless cameramen: Anyone can talk the talk, walk the walk; anyone can join the discussion. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, offers the capacity for a high volume audience, and even better, a high volume response. However wonderful that may sound, a social media platform is not a game to see who is the loudest; (who yells at a televised conference, anyway?) Social media is about offering remarkable content, as authors, Dharmash Shah and David Scott say in their book, Inbound Marketing . It’s about value. As Martin would agree, it’s about humanizing your brand, exposing real, genuine people and promise. That’s what I love about social media as a marketing tool. Finally, companies, institutions, ideas—you name it—have a face, a personality, a meaning that is communicable. It’s stronger than any old logo. We’re no longer distanced from our work; we’re not just a body or a task checked off. We are the idea, transformed and exposed as the idea. I think it makes people better, companies—better. We are forever attached to our actions, our campaigns, our strategies. And thus, we must trust our actions, campaigns, strategies, and others will, too. We are our brand, and the brand is us.

Please, join in the discussion! Thank you for reading.

How to Use Twitter for Professional Development

I’ve used Twitter for company use as an online marketer. I’ve used Twitter for fun. Recently, I’ve started to use it as a job search tool. What it has been most useful for, however, is to gather information for professional development purposes. Although the word ‘Twitter’ reminds me of an open-windowed morning when one wakes to the cacophony of sweet and hideous bird songs, lately, Twitter feels more like one of those large, sweeping fish nets that tosses out the small debris and highlights the treasures below the surface of the deep, dark sea.

Twitter is light-weight and easy to use, yet maintains the capacity to supply hundreds of articles, informative “nuggets,” and outbound links to other resources.

Ideas for How to Use Twitter for Professional Development: Growth Matters

  • Search for keywords related to your field.  By searching for keywords in your field, you’re likely to find other professionals that are just as passionate about their knowledge bank as you are. Follow those who seem interesting to you and keep a regular tweeting schedule. I’m an advocate for integrative disciplines and professions—something, I think, the world will naturally move towards as the age of information progresses. If you’re a researcher, yes, you may talk to others in the lab, but what about clinicians, patients, the public? You might type in keywords that have less to do with your profession, but have something to do with one of the subjects or topics you encounter. For example, if you’re Director of Communications at a Museum, it might also be wise to follow artists, other museums, as well as the latest communication strategies.
  • Share your knowledge. Have a conversation with your market and manage connections with other professionals. Keep your own tweet schedule. Point out resources that may help others. Retweet those messages that you deem worth it.
  • Monitor your company / brand on Twitter. Everyone has their own personal brand. Just as writing is your personality on the page, Tweets are your personality in Twittersphere. Put your voice out there, but I suggest you use 75% professional tweets and 25% personal tweets.
  • Live updates on events or conferences.  If you participate in a conference, you can use Twitter to announce your “presence.” You may even be able to meet up with other professionals at the conference.

You can follow me on Twitter @SocialAllie