Tuesday, July 21, 2015

LinkedIn for Small Business: What happened to the Group Statistics?

In social media, change is the ONLY constant. That is so true for LinkedIn. Not too long ago, I posted an article about how LinkedIn members can use Group Statistics to determine if a group is worthy of joining. Alas, Group Statistics are not available on LinkedIn now. At first I thought it was me, my internet access, or my browser. After doing a little research, I came across this forum thread discussing the loss of the Group Statistics feature. UGH! Another useful feature removed.

Bloggers, LinkedIn Members, Small Business Owners: How do you feel about this new change on LinkedIn? Frankly, I found Group Statistics to be very useful because it gives some idea as to the level of engagement within the group.

In Social Media, Change is the ONLY Constant

What can we do? Click the feedback link on the right side of your LinkedIn homepage. Maybe if enough of users express the same concern, we'll get the feature back. In the meantime, I have to go back to my other post and make a note that the information is obsolete


Image courtesy of mrpuen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

LinkedIn for Small Business: The Company Page Part 3

Hello Small Business Owners! We've spent a great deal of time talking about the LinkedIn Company Page and how it can enhance your LinkedIn profile and your business' branding.  Today we will be talking about engagement and how to build that all important relationship with your followers.

Engagement = Relationships!

Remember a few weeks ago, we had a post about creating a homey feeling for your LinkedIn Group?  Well, we need to create that same sense of 'home' with the followers on your company page.

How do we accomplish that?  I'm so glad you asked!  First, remember that your followers are just as human as you are.  People love stories that involve a general human interest.  Think charities, social responsibility, good causes, etc.  Set up Google Alerts to search for these stories in your industry and share them on your company page.

Do you have a blog page on your company website?  If you do, share some of your blog posts on your company page.  Do watch the amount self promotion and sales pitches.

Do you have employees with LinkedIn profiles that work for your company and are in good standing? Encourage them to link their employer field to the company page, and FOLLOW your company page.  Once they complete these steps, they will appear on the company page as employees.  Now are you  giving a HUMAN face to your business.

Your Company Page following will take time to grow.  Be patient and continue to share your company page via your LI news feed.  DO acknowledge any likes, comments and shares so that your followers know you are paying attention to their feedback.

Sharing Human Interest Posts = Caring

Here's a quick summary of how to create that sense of 'Home' using your LI Company Page:

1. Share Human Interest Stories
2. Share Blog Posts
3. Encourage Employees to Follow and Link their profile to your Company Page
4. Acknowledge all likes, comments, and shares

AND, if you love the thought of having a Company Page, but don't have time to manage one, simply fill out my contact form.  You can also look me up on Google+ or LinkedIn.

Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, June 11, 2015

LinkedIn for Business: The Company Page Part 2

Welcome back small business owners!  In our last post, we talked about how a LinkedIn Company Page can enhance your own profile AND help you and your business appear in search results.

Today we will talk about how the LinkedIn Company Page can also enhance your business' brand.

What is branding? Entrepreneur.com defines branding as
"The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products."
source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/branding

There is a tool that can help you use your LI Company Page to differentiate your business from competitors: The Showcase Page.

LinkedIn Showcase Page = BRAND AWARENESS

Some of you may remember the 'products and services' page that LI done away with.  Those have been replaced with Showcase Pages that can be used to show off specific business areas, brands, products, services or long term innovative projects.  You can even list a distinct website on each Showcase Page - it's like have a landing page right there on LinkedIn.

Amazon's LI Company Page is a great example of how Showcase Pages are used.

For more information about LinkedIn Showcase Pages, visit the LinkedIn Help Center. 

Would you like to set up a LI Company Page but have no time?  I'd love to help! Look me up on LinkedIn or Google+.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, June 4, 2015

LinkedIn for Small Business: The Company Page Part 1

Recently, I posed a question to local business owners on the Greenville-Spartanburg SC Connections LinkedIn Group:

Question for local small business owners:

How do you use LinkedIn to promote your business?

One business owner replied, saying he doesn't use LinkedIn to promote his business, and admitted that he wasn't sure how to use the platform for his business.

Confident that other business owners share the same thought, we're starting a 'LinkedIn for Small Business Series' to help.

Today we will take a look at LinkedIn's Company Page Feature.

LinkedIn Company Page = Easy Access to YOU and YOUR BUSINESS

Why go through the trouble of setting up a company page on LI?  Well, you're on LinkedIn so potential customers will find you, right?  Did you know LinkedIn is like a search engine?  An LI company page can be linked directly to the current employer field on your profile. That means easy access to you and your business information via your profile, or a LinkedIn industry or keyword search.

Setting up a LinkedIn Company Page is quite easy to do, and it's FREE. Simply go to 'Interests', select 'Company', and then click on the 'Create Button' to begin setting up your page.  Click here for detailed instructions from the LinkedIn Help Community.

Two things to remember as you create your new page:

  1. You will be prompted to input an email address during the set up process.  Once your page is set up, you will not be able to create another page with the same email domain.                                                                                           
  2. Think long term!  You will have the option to assign page admins.  Is someone setting up your company page for you?  Will that email address or company page be accessible after that person leaves your company?   I've seen companies stuck with a page they can't access.  

Our next post will take a closer look at some of the company page features that can be helpful to the small business owner.

Do you need help setting up a company page?  Shoot an email to me at jeaninevidalsolutions@gmail.com.

AND if you would like to go even further and become a LinkedInfluencer, check out this affiliate offer from www.LinkedInfluencer.com!

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, May 25, 2015

Have you Critiqued Your LinkedIn Profile Pic Lately?

First impressions are lasting impressions, and one thing your LinkedIn pic will surely provide browsers is a first impression of who you are and what kind of work you do.  I recently had a chance to watch a great tutorial from Linked Into Leads showing some of the best profile photo fails.  It's a quick tutorial that shows both good and bad examples of pics. Click here to view the video.

Jeanine Vidal
I thought it would be a great idea to use the tips from the video and critique my own LinkedIn profile photo. Yes, this is me.

LinkedIn profiles should:

  1. Be from the elbows up to include the face - Check!
  2. Show attire that complements your profession - Check!
  3. Good background - Check!
  4. No couple pictures or family pet pictures - Check!
Thankfully, I am fully clothed (can you believe the profile pics that are shirtless?), but I can't help but feel there may be room for improvement. I passed the hard checks, but the pic is obviously an old selfie cell phone pic.  It may be time for an update, and maybe with a better quality camera.

So, your assignment, dear readers is to self critique your LI profile pic.  Tell me about your results in the comments below, or you can email me at jeaninevidalsolutions@gmail.com.

Do you want to become a LinkedIn Influencer?  Click here for more information. Thank you for checking out my affiliate link!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Creating that 'Homey' feeling for your LinkedIn Group

LinkedIn Groups can provide a wealth of information about your industry, but many LI users are turned off by groups due to the spammy blasts of self-promotional posts.  Now I understand many entrepreneurs and small business owners create groups to enhance their online presence and brand.  The struggle comes with growing the group and with member engagement.  What's the best way to help your group grow and to encourage group engagement?

Simple! Your group will just have to be one of the GREAT groups on LinkedIn that people want to join.  Create a welcoming atmosphere and persona within your group where members feel comfortable approaching you via private message, or freely commenting on a discussion post.  Below are a couple of ground rules to follow to help you accomplish this:

Posting Frequency
Post from your own blog site or website no more than 1x a week.  The idea is to generate discussion, not use the group as your personal billboard.

Post Quality
Post direct questions.  Group members love direct questions - it makes people feel like they are part of a community. AND you are most likely to get more comments with these kind of posts.

Set the rules and Stick to them
Don't feel guilty.  Only try to let content through that you feel will be truly helpful to the group.

Reward your Members
Read other people's posts and provide a meaningful comment.  Reward other members when they post genuine discussion questions (and not a link to their site) by featuring these posts on the Manager's Choice board.

What methods have you found helpful to encourage growth and engagement?  Please share - we'd love to hear from you!

Do you need help starting a group, or with a group that's lacking that 'homey' feeling?  Shoot me an email at jeaninevidalsolutions@gmail.com.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, April 26, 2015

One Simple Trick To Finding a Great Group on LinkedIn

Update 7/21/2015:
Unfortunately, due to LinkedIn removing the Group Statistics feature, this post is obsolete.  Click here for an update on this issue.

LinkedIn Groups are a great way to find information about current trends in your industry.  However many groups are either overrun with self-promotional posts that are really just a link to someone's website, OR they are so tightly moderated that no one checks the new membership queue for weeks or months at a time.

How can you tell if a Group on LI is worth your time?  I've found one simple statistic that lets me know in an instant if the Group is a GREAT Group or just another crappy spam fest:

After browsing to your choice group, click on the gear wheel in the upper right hand corner. Next, click on 'Statistics' under the 'About' section.  Go to 'Activity' and here you can find the number of comments compared to the number of posts. More comments mean more engagement. Members are actually communicating with each other instead of just posting, posting, posting.

Here's an of example of a Group that has a higher comment rate:

And here's an example of a Group that have a LOT of posts, but few comments:

Higher comment rates indicate a healthier membership. These are the groups where new connections can be made and great ideas can be shared.

If you are a group owner, my next post will provide advice on how to create that comfortable atmosphere where members are happy to leave comments.

Do you have a favorite LinkedIn group?  Please share with us in the comments!

Need help with your LinkedIn profile or Group Management?  Look me up on LI or email me at jeaninevidalsolutions@gmail.com.