LinkedIn

Are You Targeting the Wrong Social Network?

By Melissa Goodman, Social Media Specialist at IMPACT So many small business owners have the mindset that if we capture tons of followers on our social media networks, that will be the key to a greater success for our business, but is this necessarily true?

Take, for example, your Twitter account.  According to Courtney Rubin, from a post on Business Writers, a 37 year old female is the target audience for Twitter.  If that is not the market that you are trying to reach to market your product, then chances are there is a better social network out there for you to utilize.

I recently read a study performed by Pingdom, a website monitoring service.  They surveyed 24 of the most popular social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.  The results from these studies said a lot about the target audience on the different sites.

  • More than 55% of Twitter users are older than age 35.  So, if you want to capture women in their mid-30’s, you should create Twitter posts that capture this audience’s attention.  Such topics as motherhood, careers, family, and beauty are all great topics for this type of account.
  • The youngest users, under the age of 24, found DeviantART.  This actually surprised me, as I would have thought Facebook was the leader.
  • LinkedIn had the highest percentage of users over the age of 55.  It is great to know that this generation is utilizing such networking services.
  • Tech-focused sites tended to be heavily male dominated, which is generally the rule of thumb.

Overall, it was found of the 24 sites, the majority of users were female (51.25 percent vs. 48.75 percent male).  It comes with no surprise that Pinterest was the most female dominated site.  I guess we have finally proved how much we love to eat, decorate, and shop!

What is the point to all of this?  Well, there tends to be a target audience for all social networks.  If your small business is more tech-savy, you may want to learn more about Slashdot.  If your audience is more artsy/creative, you may want to research Pinterest more in depth.

Have any of you noticed a difference in social networks?  Do you see the same members across the board or is it easy to differentiate?  Sometimes the key is not to have thousands of followers, but to connect and really engage those who are truly interested in your product.   I think it definitely pays to research if you want to reach a target audience specialized to your products.  It’s especially important with year-end approaching and the sky rocket sales that are usually predicted in the holiday season.

Staying Ahead with LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch with current colleagues and make business connections. However, like other social media tools, developers are constantly changing and upgrading the site to stay competitive and give users even more great ways to interact. The following article offers a brief summary of some of the most recent changes to this site and how they might affect current LinkedIn users. New Criteria for a 100% Profile Having a LI profile that is 100% complete plays a significant role in search engine rankings. In the past, a profile would be deemed 100% only after all the vital information was completed, which included the need for at least three recommendations. While having valid recommendations is a great resource on a LinkedIn page, often this requirement would lead people to obtain recommendations from friends and family members. The recommendation requirement has now been replaced with the need to have at least 50 connections.

Absence of Tweets Up until just recently, LI users who also had a Twitter page were able to automatically feed their tweets to LinkedIn. While this function gave users the ability to easily and regularly populate two social media sources at one time, it was not always with business relevant content. While you can still send LinkedIn updates to Twitter, you will not longer be able to share your Tweets on LinkedIn.

Updated Profile Layout In addition to the above changes, LinkedIn is also in the process of updating its current profile page layouts. There will be many small changes, however one of the most noticeable will be the larger profile picture. This makes finding a good picture even more important. Using a casual cropped photo might still work, but the larger photo makes it even more important to find a relevant photo or even professional headshot.

In addition to the larger photo size, the summary content is also going to play a more important role on your LI page in coming days. It will no longer be appropriate to repost a copy of your resume’. Instead, content should be search engine optimized to make it easy to find your page. It is recommended that you take the same care with the content of your LI profile as you would with a website. This means your page will have an appropriate mix of keywords to help it come to the top of the search engine heap.

Finally, other elements of the page layout are also being updated. For example, job titles will no longer appear in the brief overview next to the photo. This space is reserved for the names of current and recent employers, as well as educational institutions. Furthermore, contact information, including websites, email, Twitter handle and phone number, are now located behind the contact button beneath the profile photo.

Today’s social media tools create a whole new way to conduct business. While five years ago a profile on LinkedIn might have seemed like a passing fad or another fading business trend, this online networking tool is proving itself to be a relevant and vital way to conduct business in the 21st century.

Personal Online Networking

Looking for new online networking opportunities? Think about personal networking to build your professional network and web traffic.

Everyone knows Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but those are just the leaders of the social networking pack. When it comes to building connections to drive traffic, exposure and conversion, there are hundreds of options.

Social sites are consistently being added to Google's real-time search results, which is key for your activity getting picked up and brought to relevant searchers.

Many of these sites and other personal networking sites will be unfamiliar to the masses. But not for long.

It is estimated that "personal networking" generates more than 150 million unique visitors per month, 100 billion page views, and 5 billion overall visits. The time spent on these sites is also drastically climbing, with a 6% increase from March to April 2011.*

The use and definition of "personal networking" will vary from person to person and business to business based on many factors, but it is a hard category to overlook in the world of online exposure.

Here are some recommendations on sites with the highest potential: **

  • Pulse.Yahoo.com
  • Wikia.com
  • Tagged.com
  • Yuku.com

Define Your Contacts

From these statistics, it is not a leap to identify that you SHOULD create a personal networking plan, but how do you go about it? Start by identifying your network contacts and creating a process to follow to build your network.

  • Keep in mind that asking your current contacts for help, recommendations, and support is a great place to start.
  • Break your contacts into two tiers.
  • Tier-One Contacts will be your hottest and closest current, past, and present colleagues and friends. These are going to be individuals you have the closest connection to. You can even go as far as to include vendors, consultants, recruiters, bankers, venture capitalists, and others whom you have established a relationship with.
    • The goal of the Tier-One Contacts is that this will be your highest point of influence when you want to start utilizing your network. These are people who can help you make new connections, or if you are in the job market, help you find a new job.
  • Tier-Two Contacts will be your casual contacts. The people you know through a friend of a friend, or whom you have not had close relationships with. Consider realtors, developers, publishers, attorneys, accountants, investors, professional organization associates, friends of friends, and more.
    • The goal of the Tier-Two Contacts is to extend your reach. Make your network more all-inclusive so hopefully you can start to develop relationships outside your normal contact zone and create Tier-Two relationships into Tier-Ones.

Once you have defined and developed your network, use it! Do you need to drum up new business for yourself or a client? Are you looking for a new job? Are you interested in expanding your business? Then personal networking could be one of the keys to success!

References: * Compete.com ** Website Magazine

Learn More About LinkedIn Company Pages

Did you know that you can take control of your LinkedIn company page and post updates, job opportunities, company thoughts, FAQs and perspectives?  If not, here are some tips to get you started.

FIRST – Create/Complete/Update your company page

You can’t get started until you have one, and it won’t help you if it is out of date.  If you are looking to enhance your page, keep in mind that you can post images, videos and rich media content to support your on page text.  You can also and build out your products and services pages.

To get started on creating your company page, login to LinkedIn, click on the Companies tab, and click Add a Company on the right hand side.

NEXT – Build a following

This can be current employees, their friends, your friends, your customers, almost anyone.  Let your employees and clients know they can follow your company on LinkedIn, just like they can on other social media outlets.  To get in the mix of other companies and individuals, follow your peers, vendors, and other companies you interact with. If you want to be more direct, send an announcement to request people follow your page and provide them a few good reasons WHY.

SIMULTANEOUSLY – Provide value-add content and interact

People and other companies are not going to follow you unless there is a strong reason to.  Engaging people through job postings or company updates is a great start, but this may not create long-term interest of  your target customers or clients.  To do that, provide them with value-add updates that can help them and/or their business. Remember, social media is about attracting customers, but to attract customers it cannot be all about you and your business.  Instead it must be about them and their needs, and how you can best fulfill them.  Keep this in mind and provide helpful and value-add content to develop yourself as a thought leader and great partner for your followers, clients, and customers (potential or existing). Remember that questions are a great way to start a discussion and engage your audience. Help facilitate interaction with your company and start conversations with your followers.

IN CONCLUSION – Monitor your efforts

There is a great analytics feature to help you monitor who is visiting your page and viewing your information. This is just a straight numbers game, but to get information on who is engaging with your page, you can see this on your company profile. Pair those two pieces of information together and you should get some great insight on your company pages’ success.