Entries Tagged 'networking' ↓

4 Effective ways to use LinkedIn as a marketing tool

Using LinkedIn as a marketing toolSince its inception in 2003, LinkedIn has grown from a fledgling platform with 4000-odd members to hundred million strong global users. More and more members are now discovering its scope as a networking channel. If you have checked LinkedIn off of your social media radar, you need to take a fresh look at the platform now!

Though it cannot surpass the obvious benefits of Facebook fan pages and more recently, those of Google+ brand pages, it can certainly help small businesses and entrepreneurs connect with potential clients. LinkedIn is not only your online resume; it is a chance to woo clients!

Here are a few tips on using LinkedIn as a marketing tool:

Join groups

Groups are the simplest way to communicate with people who share similar interests. Use the LinkedIn search feature to find groups to participate in. If you’re a freelance social media consultant, join social media marketing groups such as Social Media Marketing, Social Media Today, and Digital Marketing.

Participate in discussions

Participating in group discussions helps you network with other users and increase your list of connections. A lot of business owners also visit groups, either to keep updated with industry news or to find people to work with.

In either case, group participation helps you build trust. It also helps you in proving yourself as a subject matter expert, thus helping prospective clients make an easy decision about hiring your firm.

Think of it as a networking opportunity, similar to what you’d do in an offline environment. Use groups to sell your skills, not by direct upselling, but through creative, thought provoking, and logical discussions.

Understand that groups are visited by a global audience – keep your replies gender neutral and don’t include any racial biases.

Get recommendations

Recommendations are a clever way to demonstrate client feedback and testimonials. They tell people about your work style and what makes you different from other people with the same skills.

To get a recommendation, choose the “Recommendations” link under “Profile”. Select the role you want a recommendation for, decide who among your connections would be the best person to ask for a recommendation, and send them a message.

When selling a service, showcase recommendations from as many clients as possible. Recommendations are an opportunity to tell people about the work you do, how good your skills are, and what an amazing person you are to work with.

Write a great profile

Your profile is the first thing people see on LinkedIn and if you want them to read the whole thing, you have to make it interesting. Don’t copy information from your resume; create a short, enticing bio about how you can help them and what makes you different from your competition.

While the purpose of a LinkedIn profile is to list your abilities and credentials, don’t make it all about you. Clients are not visiting your profile to read about you, they want to know how you can help them and what you can do for them. Give them what they are interested in.

These simple tips will help increase your visibility on LinkedIn and get you more clients!

Author Bio: Joe Linford contributes on behalf of social shopping sites Broadband Genie and Crowdstorm 

The author’s views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com. If you are interested in producing a Guest Post for this blog, please get in touch with your ideas. 

What is PR?

What do you think of when you think PR?

  • Air kissing
  • Extremely expensive magazine/newspaper columns
  • Glossy magazine adverts…

Believe it or not, PR doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact sometimes it won’t even touch it.

Being in the know

A lot of your PR can cost you virtually nothing. All you need it a bit of time to get to know people and build a few relationships.

Let’s look at press first. There’s bound to be an industry magazine you can contact or perhaps your networking group has a magazine or e-newsletter. Either way they are a great source of free PR.

Get in touch with the editor and find out what they’re looking for. If you have a great story (and we all love real life stories), pick up the phone and have a chat with them – tell them what you have to say. If they like it, write it down and send it in. But make sure it’s ready to go (without any typos etc) because if they can just cut, paste and print they are more likely to use it.

Being seen

Getting in front of people is another great way to boost your exposure.

Whether it’s having a stand at an exhibition (yes that will have a cost attached to it), giving a talk at an event (that won’t), chairing a committee or attending events, you will gain great exposure and meet interesting and potentially useful people.

In other words, get out there and network.

Being bold online

You don’t have to be seen in the flesh to gain great PR.

Social networking is everywhere – Twitter, Facebook, Google+, not to mention all the online forums.

Get out there, start interacting and offering advice.

Of course you can also blog. Having a blog that concentrates on your expertise (I’m a copywriter and marketer so that’s what this blog is all about) enables you to write posts that help people and that will position yourself as an expert in your field.

Be yourself

Everything you do (within reason) can be used to further your PR.

If you do daft things for charity, publicise it.

If you’re launching a new look website, tell people

If you’ve moved premises, shout about it.

If you’re taking on new staff, tell the world.

Basically anything you do that is newsworthy can be turned into a press release.

So you see, PR doesn’t have to cost the earth. Virtually everything you do has an element of PR in it, you just have to learn how to leverage it.

What do you do to help your PR? Leave a comment below and share your best piece of free PR or any other PR tips you find that work for you.

The Only Way is Social Media

These days, TV schedules seem to be full of reality TV shows. We appear to be obsessed with human behaviour (admittedly at times, it’s not so human) – how different people react in situations and how they interact with each other.

Whether you love them or loathe them, they do offer an insight into the world of social media and the people you will meet there.

Although social media happens in a virtual world, you will still come across the usual people profiles:

  • Shy
  • Confrontational
  • Opinionated
  • Funny (and those who think they’re funny)
  • Confident
  • Flirty…

The list is endless. This is why social media interaction should be based on real life interaction. You may not be speaking with people face to face but they are real people.

Make friends

If you were at a party you would mingle and chat, that’s what you need to do on social media. If you are a natural wall flower this is the perfect opportunity to make an impression.

In a real life situation you may not have the confidence to approach people and chat with them (especially if you don’t know them). But in social media you can because you don’t have to physically approach them. Sat in front of your computer, you can be whoever you want to be.

Join the conversation but make sure you leave your sales hat off. Concentrate on adding value to others rather than asking favours. Offer advice and information and become a valued member of the community.

Social butterfly

You must know someone who always manages to effortlessly fit into any social group, always has crowds of people around them hanging on their every word and generally being irritatingly popular.

Emulate that person by sharing tips, stories and advice. Also encourage others to join in the conversation by inviting readers to leave comments on your blog posts – get a debate started.

Always ask questions and be interested in others and what they have to say. If you engage with others in this way they’ll want to talk to you.

Watch out for the bully

Sadly they exist everywhere, even on social media.

There’ll always be someone somewhere ready to start a fight – they’ll disagree with everything you say and try to run you down.

First of all, if you can avoid this type of situation, do so. But if it does happen, don’t run and hide. Make sure you express your opinion and stand up to them but…

  • Think before you speak – you don’t want to antagonise the situation
  • Read your comment before posting – how does it sound? You don’t want to lose credibility through a knee-jerk reaction
  • If you can add facts and figures to your reply – use stats to back up your position
  • Don’t reply in haste – remember your comment will be on the internet forever

So, as you can see, social media really is a lot like real life. All sorts of people use it – some to engage with others and make new friends and contacts, others to promote their services and products.

To get the most from it you have to be part of it. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or blogging, dive in and join the conversation.

Do you have any tips you can share on engaging in social media?

Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a situation that’s been quite difficult or you’ve been the victim of a social media bully? If so, how did you deal with it?

Please share your experiences by leaving a comment below.

Author – Sally Ormond, freelance copywriter at Briar Copywriting and social media addict

The Etiquette of Social Media

A beginner’s guide to social media interaction

social media etiquetteSocial media – does it strike fear into your heart?

Do you suddenly experience hot flushes when someone asks if you’re on Twitter or Facebook?

Do you have the blankest of all blank moments when it comes to starting your blog?

You’re not alone. Those that ‘get’ social media make it look effortless and will wow you with their success stories. Those that don’t ‘get’ social media will tell you it’s a complete waste of time.

One of the biggest hurdles a social media newbie will experience is working out what they’re going to say, when they’re going to say it, and how to interact with other people.

I have put together a few tips to help you on your way and to demystify some aspects of social media.

How should I look on social media?

Once you’ve set you account up, you should upload your avatar.  Some people upload company logos, others don’t upload anything and just use one of the platform’s generic images.

First off, use a photo of yourself and not your company logo, especially if you’re a sole trader. People like to know who they are interacting with. If your company is a partnership or larger organisation, try adding a photo of the person that tweets on your Twitter home page.

Use a good photo (not something that’s grainy or hard to make out), and a recent one. That way you’ll avoid the embarrassing moment when you meet face to face and you’re unrecognisable.

How do I follow people?

As you know Twitter is a social media platform where you gather ‘followers’.

If you want to control who follows you, you can protect your tweets so people have to ‘apply’ to follow you. The only problem with that is that you come across as being very secretive and unapproachable and therefore may actually put people off interacting with you.

One thing I’m often asked is what if you don’t want someone following you? Well you can block them if you want but the main thing to remember is that you don’t have to follow them back if you don’t want to.

The most important thing about Twitter is that you follow people you want to follow and that you interact with your followers. Very few people will check out who’s following you first before they decide whether they want to or not. A following decision is usually based on:

  • Who you are?
  • What you have to say?
  • Are in an industry relevant to them?
  • Are your tweets interesting?

One of the great things about Twitter is that it makes people accessible – people you wouldn’t normally have contact with. But don’t worry if not everyone follows you back. Celebrities for example don’t always return your follow.

As for whether it’s the done thing to follow your competition, why not? They’ll follow you and you can learn a lot about them from their tweets. Most people enjoy interacting with people in the same industry. As a freelance copywriter I follow a number of fellow scribes and enjoy interacting with them, exchanging stories and tips for best practice.

What should I say?

The first thing to remember is that social media channels are social – they’re not paid for advertising space which you can constantly promote your business through. If you do, you’ll become very lonely very quickly because people will get fed up with your constant spam.

Comment on other people’s tweets/posts/blogs and promote them to others if you find them interesting.  If someone shares your content by retweeting, thank them but don’t retweet their praise and then thank them – that’s bad form.

If you want to retweet something (or blog about someone else’s work), make sure you credit the original source. Also if someone does retweet your content, comment on your blog or post something on your Facebook page, thank them.

What else do I need to know?

When inserting links in your blogs, tweets or Facebook updates, make sure you always disclose whether they are affiliate links, or a link that you’ll benefit from in some way – be honest.

In the same way, if you’re writing about a client or using them within a case study etc., make sure you mention them and link back to them.

I get the interaction stuff now, but how can I promote my business too?

Blatant and constant self-promotion will be frowned upon, but that’s not to say you can’t promote your business.

Giving great information and sharing with others will show you as someone who is knowledgeable, approachable and an all round good egg.

If you have special offers you want to promote, tweet about them but not constantly.  And balance your own promotional tweets with plugs for other people.

Plus if you want to encourage people to retweet your stuff, make sure you leave room for them to do so. Tweeting something that’s 139 characters long doesn’t make retweeting very easy.

The final aspect I want to cover is the use of direct tweets and direct messages on Facebook. Promotions made this way are really annoying because you are targeting people specifically – it’s a bit like having a doormat full of junk mail all day long.

Go forth and socialise

If you’re not already on social media, do it. It’s not scary, it doesn’t have to take over your life and it can be great fun and a great source of new business too.

Using Facebook (I’m at freelance copywriting) and Twitter (@sallyormond) have been great for my business and they can be for yours too.

Feel free to follow me and ask for any pointers, I’ll be happy to help you get to grips with the wonderful world that is social media.

What The Quora!

Quora Social media and social networking sites appear to be taking over the world at the moment.

Practically everyone seems to be Tweeting, Facebooking, LinkedIn-ing so how do you keep on top of everything? Is there room for another new site?

Let’s look at the first point – How do you keep on top of everything?

Firstly, if you tried to be active on every social networking site out there you’d soon end up in a padded room.

The trick with social media is finding out which applications work for you and your business. Don’t sign up to everything just because ‘everyone else’ seems to be doing it.

Do your research – what do you want to achieve from social media? Once you’ve worked that out, find out which one(s) is the best match for your needs.

Next up – Is there room for another site?

With the recent emergence of Quora it would appear a the answer to that is a resounding “yes”.

Unlike other sites, Quora is based on a question and answer format. Like Twitter you have followers and can follow questions that are specific to your industry and expertise. It is an opportunity to respond to other users and pass on your knowledge or post a question to which you need an answer.

Hub Spot Blog has recently published a very useful post to help anyone looking to dabble in the waters of Quora to see if it’s for them. Entitled A Marketer’s Guide to Quora it’s well worth a read and will explain how you can use Quora to help your own business and online marketing activities.

As a relative newcomer, I had initially set up my profile and started following questions in my areas of expertise such as copywriting. But now, thanks to those wonderful people at Hub Spot, I have discovered how I can use Quora to help me and others.

Thanks guys!