LinkedIn SEO: Increase the visibility of your business profile

LinkedIn

LinkedIn was created for business persons to communicate with each other. You can improve the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your profile so that you are more likely to appear on the Google search engine results pages, as well as making your profile more prominent and easy to find on the LinkedIn website itself. LinkedIn is not as prominent on the Google search engine results pages because contacting people on there is not so easy sometimes, but the new Google Hummingbird update may soon change all of that, so it is wise to start optimizing your LinkedIn profile now.

Make sure you fill out every section on your profile

This is imperative, as they are there for a reason. It is not like Facebook where there are parts that you can and cannot fill in and it does not matter. The only time it does not matter on LinkedIn is if the thing it is questioning you about is literally nothing to do with you. For example, if it asked for your limited company ticker number and you where/are not a limited company, then you would leave it blank. Otherwise, fill in every bit of your LinkedIn bio and profile.

Filling out your profile is important

Think about how people are going to read your profile. Google are very eager to make everything all about the user. This means that they are phasing out things that apply directly to the search engines and are trying to make it all about the user in every way. So it is up to you to think about how your website is viewed by others.

Look at the profiles of other people

You can start by going to look at some other profiles to see how they have done it. Look for blank spots on their profiles and look at how glaring it is. Look at how they have filled out their profiles. Take notes on what are bad and what are good. Look at some of the factors they have included and think about how you could include them. For example, are you going to write BA or bachelor of the arts? How have other people written it, and how is it formatted? Look at what looks good to you, and steal the good ideas whilst avoiding their mistakes.

What did other people do to rank so highly?

All of this research is relevant because firstly the LinkedIn results you are seeing on Google are probably the ones that are the best optimized. Secondly, you can pull lots of ideas from their profiles in order to make your profile better, and thirdly you are going to see evidence of why their profiles are ranking so highly. It may be that they have a lot of contacts, but you will also notice that it is because they have been thorough when filling out their profiles, whilst still being concise.

Think about the questions that may lead people to you

This is an idea that Google are playing with a lot these days. They are more interested in questions and less interested in keywords. So, instead of strategically placing keywords on your profile, think about what questions people may ask before they drop on your profile.

Things related to your service are possible, so let’s say that you paint houses, then a suitable question may be “who can clean my house in Randy Town?” If you optimized your profile with a relative answer to this question, then you may do better when it comes to ranking up your profile. This is especially true when it comes to location based queries, as it removes a lot of your competition from other companies online.

Keep up to date with current SEO updates

There are often rule changes internally within social media networks and within the Google search engine. This means you need to keep up to date with the most recent ranking updates for LinkedIn, and for Google. The LinkedIn profiles do appear on the Google search engine results pages, but normally only if you type in a person’s name and it has already shown you the Facebook and Twitter answers for that name. However, the wind is changing, and the hummingbird update is having an effect.

This may mean that optimizing your LinkedIn profile for internal ranking is just as important as ranking for external ranking via something such as the Google search engine. It is also a good idea to update your LinkedIn profile from time to time to make it appear that you are conscientious about keeping your information on there accurate.

Six Ways You Can Use LinkedIn to Turbo-Charge Prospecting

SuperCharging

You already know that LinkedIn has become a solid, go-to resource for researching companies and getting good background information on business execs.

But it’s also a prospecting tool, and a more powerful one than you might think. Here are six ways you can use LinkedIn to gain a competitive edge and leverage the time you spend prospecting:

 

1. Dig for decision makers

At most companies, the admin staff is trained to keep pesky sales people at bay. You can use the advanced search function in LinkedIn to identify both the decision maker with the sign-off authority and the influencers – the lower-level directors or managers most likely to benefit from your solution. That will make it much easier when you’re “warm calling” later.

 

2. Surprise opportunities

Try searching for companies in the “people” field. This will yield a list of everyone who works there – or has worked there in the past. You can then narrow your search by location or job description.

A related idea: Look where people have worked before their current position. You will find companies you did not know existed, and they can turn into customers.

 

3. Watch competitors

It’s always good to know what the competition is up to. You can “follow” companies by name, to see who they are connecting with.

Another angle is to check out specific reps who are chasing accounts on your turf. Watching what they are saying online or posting can give you an edge.

 

4. Track ‘endorsements’

LinkedIn recently added an “endorsement” feature, where people connected to a prospect will endorse them for various capabilities, ranging from financial modeling to publishing.

The number and type of endorsements can reveal a lot about the prospect, of course. But the real payoff can come from connecting with the endorsers.

 

5. Follow both prospects and customers

It’s a good idea to follow prospects and customers and track their LinkedIn activity. One good reason: You can spot situations where customers are connecting with attorneys, consultants or vendors – a pretty good bet that something’s in the wind.

Move quickly on this intel and you can get in ahead of the competition. When you participate in the planning stages you become an asset, develop a deeper relationship and land more business.

 

6. Join industry groups

There are thousands of industry groups on LinkedIn, which can yield fertile ground when cultivated with care.

Joining groups that your target prospects belong to will automatically give you a large audience of searchable contacts, and potential new business to develop.

But be careful how you go about it.

When you participate in discussions, make sure what you say adds value. Blatant sales efforts can get you booted. And simply posting links to your own website will be seen as self-serving.

LinkedIn Tops a Quarter Billion Users

LinkedIn

The king of professional social networking reached a major milestone recently when they broke the 250 million user mark.

Since going public in March, 2011, LinkedIn has had an up and down road. This can be expected from any social media site that goes public (just ask Facebook) but LinkedIn has been relatively stable. They’ve had some missteps. They’ve faced challenges. They seem to come out on top the majority of the time.

Here’s what Mashable had to say about the milestone:

LinkedIn now has 259 million monthly active users, up from 238 million in the previous quarter and 187 million a year earlier.

The latest number, which came as part of LinkedIn’s third quarter earnings results, puts the professional social network firmly ahead of Twitter, which had 230 million active users last quarter according to its updated S-1. However, LinkedIn is still well behind Google+ (currently at 300 million) and Facebook (1.15 billion as of the June quarter).

Read More: Mashable

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22 Content Types to Keep You Blogging

Content

One of the hardest parts about blogging is staying consistent and pumping out enough content to keep your readers coming back for more. It’s a challenge, not just because of the time necessary to stay consistent and abundant, but also because it’s possible to run out of ideas. Don’t get me wrong – there’s not really such a thing as running out of ideas completely – but we can hit a road block and sometimes we need to get some inspiration.

Other times, all you need to do is take a look at the infographic below that will give you some examples of types of posts to help keep your juices flowing, your fingers typing, and your content bursting. This graphic comes to us through Copyblogger.

Compelling Content Infographic

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Why Teens Love Snapchat

Teens on Snapchat

I know the feeling that many parents get when they find out their kids are using Snapchat. It doesn’t matter how much you trust them. The first question that comes to mind for those parents that know anything about the temporary messaging system is, “are they sexting?”

Thankfully for most parents, you’re children are not. As much as mainstream media would love for us to believe that the service is evil and part of the moral degradation that is gripping our country, the standard Snapchatting teen is using the service because they really don’t want their actions as teens to catch up to them as adults. It’s a mentality that makes Snapchat such a hot service and parents need to understand that in many ways Snapchat is a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of bad things that can happen on Snapchat and tons of reasons why parents should be concerned. Even if their children aren’t doing bad things on the service doesn’t mean that they’re not receiving bad things from their friends. It’s really no different from normal real-world interactions. Good things can happen and bad things can happen. It’s all about raising them to focus on the good things and to be able to handle the bad situations appropriately. It’s about parenting.

As was noted on Techcrunch today, kids see Facebook the way adults see LinkedIn:

Kids are in a petri dish, where their every social post can be scrutinized and used against them. That’s why disappearing media startup Snapchat is important, says its investor, Benchmark‘s Bill Gurley. Teens don’t want their daily lives permanently recorded. Gurley said at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe in Berlin that Snapchat board member Mitch Lasky’s kids tell him they view Facebook like adults view LinkedIn.

Read More: Techcrunch

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Is Your Firm’s Social Media Strategy Effective?

Social Media Strategy

Does your company have a social media presence? If your answer is no, stop reading this and read this article to understand why it’s important and how to begin building a social media profile. If you do have a presence, how well does your social media strategy deliver results?  How have you defined success?

Whimsical tweeting and posting company updates and news to your profiles consumes your time and generally doesn’t yield much benefit.  However, with a strategic approach to social media you can rise above the noise, find new prospects and influencers, engage them in meaningful conversation and one day call them customers.

Let’s start with what makes good conversation in social media, and on which networks. An effective social media strategy pinpoints where audiences are online and what they care about, so that you can join the discussion. The discussion is happening. You need to find it and then be part of it.

Now, let’s look at how other companies apply social media to their marketing efforts.

 

How Do High Growth Firms Use Social?

In a recent study, 500 CEOs, executives and marketers from professional services firms were asked to rate the effectiveness of social media as a part of their digital marketing strategy. The answers were compared between high growth and average growth firms in the figure below.

Effectiveness of Social Media

The results showed that the fastest growing companies found social media tools to be much more effective for marketing online than the average growth companies, and they were using social media more often. If you want to follow suit, take a similar approach.

 

A Breakdown of the Tools

Now that we know the benefits of social media, which social media tools are right for your social media strategy? In the same study, some of the most popular social media tools were ranked in order of effectiveness:

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook
  4. YouTube

If these results seem surprising to you, let’s look at each social network and how it could benefit your firm. LinkedIn exists as a purely professional network. And while many people use it solely for networking, building a company profile and joining groups, discussions, and sharing content can have a major impact on your online marketing. Since people using LinkedIn are already thinking professionally, it is an effective place to market your services. Explore the many groups on LinkedIn – there are some for every industry.

Twitter comes in second place and is a great network to share content – both your own and external content – and to engage with your audience on a personal level. There are tools to help you find Twitter followers in your specialty (follow them, and most will follow you, too).  Sure, some will be competitors, but many are also buyers in need of solutions.

Facebook and YouTube round out the most effective social media tools, largely because while the numbers of users are vast, they have less of a focus than LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

What Do the Experts Say?

In our research, experts in online marketing and social media were asked to rank the effectiveness of these social media networks as well. The results show that companies are not taking full advantage of the tools available online.

What Experts Say

Not surprisingly, the experts rated LinkedIn and Twitter as the most effective, but they rated the networks’ effectiveness even higher than the high growth firms. There is even more to be leveraged from these networks than even some of the most successful marketers know.

The experts rated YouTube significantly more effective than high growth firms. Video is often an untapped, but effective component of online marketing. Taking a good look at how your firm is using video could produce great results.

Unexpectedly, the experts rated Facebook less effective than the high growth companies. Many are under the impression that Facebook provides more benefit for marketing online than it really does. While this is likely bad news for Facebook, it is important for firms to know so that they can focus their social efforts appropriately.

Social media isn’t just for personal use anymore. Your company’s target audiences are online and participating in social networking. And in order to drive growth and higher profitability, take a closer look at how your company is approaching social media to get the best results possible.

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The Two Parallel Styles of Small Business Content Marketing

Mazda Keys

Content has been the big play for over a year now in the world of marketing. It’s the glue that holds social media marketing and search engine marketing together and it’s becoming so prevalent that the old ways (the ones everyone started using this year) are already starting to become obsolete.

Don’t get me wrong – the techniques themselves still work. The problem is that everyone is starting to get it. The competition level for content marketing at the small business level has gone from non-existent at the beginning of 2013 to hyper-competitive before the end of the year. It’s too easy, too important, and has too many people talking about it for most companies to miss.

Perhaps as bloggers, we did our jobs right. Now, we’re faced with a dilemma – taking it to the next level. Thankfully, the strategy is pretty much the same with an expansion into a two-style mode. By going with this format, you’ll be able to stay ahead of the competition that is starting to catch up to you.

 

Style 1: The Local Content

This is the easy part. For localized small businesses, it’s all about talking to to and about those in the local area in order to build buzz. The concept is this: post content that is enjoyable or useful to your potential customers and they will share it on social media as well as generate an occasional link or two.

It’s the style that everyone’s starting to get. Just in the automotive industry alone, we’re seeing multiple dealers in the same city making videos about how to change a Mazda key fob battery, writing articles about their first shipment of Chevy Corvettes, and bringing in local celebrities for interviews and discussions.

Just because so many are starting to do it doesn’t mean that you should stop. It means that you have to step up your game. You have to make your content better, get more people to share it, and post more often than your competitors. It means that you have to work harder than everyone else, but that’s one of the things that are necessary in order to stay ahead of the game.

 

Style 2: The Broader Content

The goal with all types of content is to become the authority on your topic. We have known for a while that localized content works, but it’s not able to stand alone anymore in most industries because of the competition level. To make it stand out ahead of the competitors, you need to hit the national arena.

This means that you can no longer just be the local authority. You have to get the type of content out there that can resonate with a broader audience. This is only possible if you’ve already mastered the local content style and you have a strong following for it.

Going broad is harder. It requires that the content have a more general appeal. It means that your local following will share it as well and that their friends and family from the rest of the country or world will see it and find value as well.

It could be reactions to national news about your industry. It could be universal help items that are not localized. It could be great videos, images, or infographics that anyone anywhere in the country can like.

It also requires a bit more professionalism than the localized content. An iPhone video might work for a quick walkaround of a new inventory item, but to get the national appeal, it has to be better made than that.

* * *

This is the type of thing that many people fear. Just when you thought you had localized content mastered, hearing that it won’t be good enough to keep the gap large between you and your competitors in 2014 can be disheartening. However, if you really think about it, every new challenge like this is an opportunity to shine above and beyond them.

Change is good as long as you’re on top of it.

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How to Connect Effectively on Social Media – 5 Working Tips

Connecting

One of the best ways of connecting with people and building a brand is via social media. The reason that many people do not effectively connect is because they cannot be easily found or recognized on social media.

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Reaching People on Social Media is About Consistency

Tortoise and the Hare

There’s an exciting thing that can happen when you first start advertising on social media. The organic measures of exposure are quickly fading away, so when you get that first boost of exposure as a result of spending very little money, it can become addicting.

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