LinkedIn is perhaps the most game changing tool to come along in the world of networking since the invention of the business card. In the past, to network with people who could help you with your business or career, you had to physically go to a networking event. You had to go to your local Business Networking International meeting, your local Toastmasters club or your local Chamber of Commerce to meet like minded people.
This took time and could only be done every once in a while. Even the most avid networkers could only manage about one mingler a day. Most won’t even go to one a month. LinkedIn changes all that by making networking all digital. Today, connecting with the people you need to connect with is just a few clicks away.
That said, navigating the world of LinkedIn can be very tough. Movers and shakers have dozens of connection requests every week. How do you make yourself stand out, so you can build a relationship with them – where so many others fail? These five steps will help.
1. Come Up With a Winning Value Proposition
Before you connect with someone, think of something valuable that you can do for his or her company or career. Don’t go looking for handouts.
In other words, don’t begin a new interaction with someone you’ve never met by asking them to help you get a job. Instead, come up with a way that you can help them. This is the value proposition you’ll use in your initial message.
2. Find People who’ll Compliment Your Business or Career
Look for people who could help you move forward in the world. Look through your friends’ connections, your clients’ connections and your business associates’ connections.
Look for people with whom you could form a win-win relationship. For example, let’s say you’re a real estate agent. Ask yourself: What kind of people could you find win-win connections with? One answer might be a mortgage broker or loan associate.
People will often go to get pre-approved for a mortgage before they go looking for homes. People will also often look for homes before they’ve secured financing. Both of you will be able to refer business to one another. Win/win.
3. Making the First Contact
The first contact should be all about them. Lead out with your value proposition. Tell them exactly how you want to help them and why it’d be worth their time to accept your connection and discuss your proposition further.
Make your first message concise, to the point and powerful. Don’t tip toe around the issue. Your value proposition should be powerful enough to get people to listen. Going on and on will just dilute the power of your message.
Still not on Google+? Still waiting for it to prove its merits? Not sure if it’s worth your while? The time to stop waiting is now. If you’re not implementing a solid Google+ strategy, your business is sure to get surpassed by others who’re quicker to the punch.
Google+ is no longer in its infancy. Today it has over 90 million users. Not only are these users active, but many of them are influencers. The people on Google+ tend to be early adopters. They tend to be passionate. They’re the people who can make or break a brand or business.
If you’re not on Google+ yet, you’re missing out.
The Search Plus Revolution
When Google released “Search Plus Your World,” they seriously changed the game. Google’s Search Plus basically gave every webmaster on Google+ super powers, while severely disadvantaging anyone who wasn’t.
Here’s how it works.
Instead of just using backlinks and on-site SEO to rank websites, Google decided to use Google+’s +1s as a core ranking factor. If I run a website and you +1ed some of my content, the chances of me ranking for a search of yours in the future is dramatically higher.
The level of power that +1s have is unprecedented. It’s not just a search engine factor, like using keywords in your H1 tag or having a good anchor text density. It’s literally a game changer. Just this one thing alone can cause your content to outrank pages with thousands more authority links than your site.
If you want to shortcut past all the hard work of SEO, this is one of the very few ways you can do it. Search Plus is an incredibly powerful tool that few webmasters are making full use of right now.
President Barack Obama has over 26 million likes on Facebook. Some say that he won his election off the back of social media. He revolutionized fundraising through the power of the internet and recently hosted the very first Whitehouse Google+ hangout. Both as a presidential candidate and as President of the United States, Barack Obama has powerfully leveraged social media to raise funds, get elected and push his policies.
There’s a lot that corporate CEOs can learn from Barack Obama. After all, Obama is really the CEO of the largest corporation on the planet – The United States government. Here are five social media lessons to take home from Barack Obama.
#1 – Hire Social Media Savvy Staff
Did you know that Obama hired senior staff from the popular social media site Reddit to help run both his campaign and his White House?
If you plan on using social media, make sure you hire people who understand social media. Social media involves understanding quite a different mindset than traditional branding-based marketing.
While it’s possible to train someone from the ground up, it usually makes more sense to just hire people who have the skills already.
#2 – Use Social Media to Influence Perception
Barack Obama understands the power of painting pictures. He also understands the power of social media for putting spin on things.
For example, when Osama Bin Laden was captured, Barack Obama deliberately released photos from within the situation room. The images showed Obama and his staff carefully deliberating the situation. They were victorious, but not boastful. For a lot of people, this image helped reinforce a sense of trust in the president’s decision making.
Another example was how President Obama used the White House Correspondent’s dinner as a viral springboard. The dinner, which usually few pay attention to, got millions of views on YouTube. As a result of this video, President Obama’s image of being overly calm and collected was somewhat dispersed by his sense of humor.
Social media has enormous power to change image.
#3 – Leverage the Power to Spread a Message
Obama really understands how social media can be used to spread a message.
When the opposition launched a campaign to extend a payroll tax, President Obama and his White House used various social media platforms to spread the message.
They used infographics that showed exactly how the payroll tax would affect the average person. They created a lot of buzz on various social media platforms. They raised a lot of awareness of the issue through the power of social media.
In the past, an advocate had to go out of their way to create signs or make phone calls to support a cause. Today, all they have to do is click “share.” This is a game changer and President Obama knows it.
If you have a message, try to get people on board and on your side using social media.
The more engaged your users are, the more likely they are to comment, share or like your content. Low engagement means your users may not even be seeing your content. It could also mean your posts are missing the mark with your users. On the other hand, high engagement means you have a healthy Facebook page. In order to use Facebook as an effective marketing tool, you should regularly check your engagement metrics and work to improve your user engagement.
That said, here are five different ways you can improve your readers’ engagement.
#1 – Ask for Feedback
Customers are going to give feedback whether you like it or not. The only difference is, if you ask for it, they’ll express it to you rather than (or in addition to) their social network.
If your customers have a complaint, you want to hear about it directly. You don’t want them posting it to their walls. If your customers love your social media strategy, you want to hear about that as well so you can continue doing whatever it was that they loved.
#2 – Post When You’ll Get Read
Post your content during times of day when you’ll likely be read by your target audience.
The best times of day are as follows. In the morning, between 10am and 11am is when people have a bit of downtime at work. People rarely check Facebook before work, since they’re in a rush to get ready. However, once they’ve settled down on their computer and gotten any urgent communications out of the way, they’ll often check Facebook.
Next you have 4pm to 5pm, when people get off work. Finally, you have 10pm to 11pm, when people do their late night Facebook checks. These times have come up time and again as the best times to post updates.
Make sure you’re posting during these times, in whatever time zones the majority of your audience is in.
#3 – Establish Alerts & Monitors
Setup systems that’ll alert you whenever your brand’s name is mentioned on Twitter, the blogosphere or public Facebook pages. This will allow you to catch any potentially bad PR early on, rather than once it goes viral.
People want to know that you’re listening to their concerns. If a customer posts something to their Twitter and receives a response directly from your company quickly, it’ll diffuse any potential tension. Furthermore, you’ve increased engagement and opened a new channel of communication.