Social Selling

Are you guilty of using the ‘sheep dip’ approach?

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 I am sorry to say, I'm guilty!

It's not that I'm not wishing to be super personal and to engage with one person at a time and appeal to their specific goals and aspirations.

The truth is there are just not enough hours in the day to engage with every new connection request and every new follower at a level that I would ideally like. So some automation is inevitable. I'm still experimenting too and have already adjustedsome things.

I'm not using autobots as such, but I am manually adding new connections to my CRM and an automated process and messaging them with the same template message. And no, I don't feel great about it, but it's working at the moment.

My goal is to be engaging and strike up a conversation, share some valuable content and information that is free and at the same time being careful not to pitch anything. Its totally not my intention to do any kind of pitching. Eventually I'd like to have a conversation, which I call a discovery call. And that again is to provide some value, not to pitch.

I have carefully designed this process after weeks of testing it and receiving some deeper level of engagement with new connections, especially on LinkedIn. Anywhere else it's much harder to do. Email is still one of our default go to apps each morning. I know it's Facebook for most too.

I state very clearly in my auto emails that my purpose is to engage at a deeper level and invite recipients to unsubscribe if they wish to and indeed some do, but not as many as I had originally expected. Maybe one every 2-3 weeks.

I do receive a fair bit of engagement from these new connections and I also notice a lot don't. I'm surprised because they asked to connect with me in the majority of cases, at least 95% of them are incoming requests. Usually with no reason given for wishing to connect by the way.

The real engagement occurs when after a few touch points, which are a combination of engaging with their profiles and sharing some content and information, you manage to get agreement for a discovery call. When you are able to engage in a conversation with your connections, more clarity about who they are and what their goals are means that you can start to look out for clues and understand better how they'd like you to engage with them in the future. Over the years I've come to realise that this is by far the best method.

The goal always is to end up having a conversation. I believe by phone and usually Skype with video is best. I'd like to try other methods too, like Facebook messenger with video, although having tried it twice, it's still a bit unstable.

If you'd like to skip all the automation and go straight to a discovery call then by all means go for it and head over here,

http://www.stayingaliveuk.com/lets-talk

in the meantime let me know how you're feeling about my automation and by all means share your ideas and strategies that are working for you? 

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and@gapingvoidhere: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Occasionally I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk



#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #why #linkedinlectures

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

So how do you create more relevant content?

I really and honestly haven't got the answer, if I did I'd probably be on a beach somewhere during the freezing winter months.  Are you feeling cold right now?

If you do think you can answer my question, please skip to the end and I'd love to hear your perspectives and of course we all need to know, urgently.

What I will do is share what content personally turns me off and what attracts me. And in the words of Tony Robbins we are either 'moving away or moving towards something', this could be pain or pleasure and in this case content.

Turn-offs (no way a complete list, but what comes to mind for now an I may continue to add as they come up in the future).

  1. Too many adverts saying 'buy me'.
  2. Self congratulations, which portray a message to say, 'aren't we clever?'
  3. Newsletters, I just don't get those anymore, they're such a complete and utter waste of time nowadays.
  4. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat and even more multiple repeats of the same content.  I'm guilty of this too!
  5. No context around someone else's content you are sharing. Just sharing for sharing's sake. Ouch!
  6. Live video here, live video there, live video here, there and everywhere. Too many notifications to suggest that everyone is joining the bandwagon. Although I have to say the Instagram version is attracting me a little!
  7. Autobot messages via 'commun.it', oh dear what is everyone thinking?  Autobot messages are so 2014.  Stop them, stop them now!
  8. Articles with the top 5, top 10, top 25 and even the top 50 of suggestions we really never take action on. Do share if you ever have please.
  9. Adverts that have animals starring in it to jolt our emotional brain neurones into saying awwwwww and apparently remembering the product for longer.  And now even giving away toys of said animals if you purchase the product.  Readers in the UK, will know exactly what I'm talking about.
  10. Re-marketing ads.  They are really, really doing my head in, because unfortunately you can't get them out of your head. I bet a very clever psychiatrist at Google suggested this one.  Aaarrrggghhh!

Okay that's enough for now, turned out to be a bigger list than I had expected.

Attracts

  1. Videos that are educational.  Ted-talks and Ted-Ed are brilliant and I could watch them all day long.
  2. Content that answers my question when I search on Google for the answer to a problem I need to solve.  Thank you to all those amazing trainers, coaches, educators out there, we appreciate you! 
  3. YouTube. For making my home feed relevant to what I like watching, coming up with new suggestions or ideas and allowing me to scrap them if I wish. Also making the list of new videos from my subscribed channels easy to navigate around.  I love YouTube, it's visual, engaging and quick.
  4. Animated GIFS, as long as they're funny and clever.  I've even started to have a play with producing them myself.  Great fun!
  5. Comedy.  Who doesn't like having a good laugh, there isn't enough laughter in the world and social media can be a real tonic for the soul.
  6. Real-live stories.  In the last year I have seen more real people stories coming through even on LinkedIn and as you would expect they are stories of overcoming adversity in some way.  They are hugely motivational and at the same time make your so-called stresses seem so small.
  7. Content that provides great learning for where you are in that moment and time, whether it be your personal or business life.

Right then do you have the answer?  What content inspires you?

I'd love to learn and I am sure others would to, so help me out and share your answer below.

---

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

 

 

 

Are you still receiving TOO MANY LinkedIn Emails?

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On July 27, 2015, LinkedIn announced that they were reducing the amount of emails they would be sending to members. 

As a consequence they also stopped the daily email, which summarised Job Changes, Birthdays and Career Anniversaries. And in the months following all emails that are sent by LinkedIn have gone through a steady change in layout and branding. I have to say for the better. However I am still receiving lots of them each day and each week. How about you?

let’s have a closer look at this.

Below is a list of all the emails that LinkedIn currently sends to us (well, most of them that I received):

  1. Invitation to connect, standard template invitation.
  2. Invitation to connect, personalised invitation.
  3. [Person's name], has accepted your invitation.
  4. Invitation awaiting your response.
  5. Email message notification.
  6. Messages you've missed.
  7. Unread messages.
  8. Open profile messages.
  9. [Person's name], mentions you.
  10. What's new with your posts. Providing you are publishing on Pulse.
  11. New endorsements waiting. These are endorsements extra to the ones you have already listed. (Note: Only click through if you wish to add them to your skills list).
  12. Connections have endorsed you. These are against your existing skills list.
  13. Your connections have been mentioned in the news.
  14. Updates from Pulse. These would be based on your channel preferences, including posts by your connections.
  15. Groups trending discussions. Based on how many groups you belong to, you could be receiving several each day/week, unless you have switched off the email digest setting for that group.
  16. Congratulations on your new job.
  17. Someone has commented on your photo.
  18. Group comments in response to your discussion post.
  19. Latest leads (Sales Navigator only).
  20. Your account updates (Sales Navigator only)

Did I miss any?  Yes I probably did. Do please let me know if you have some that I didn't mention and send me a screenshot. Thank you!

how you can reduce the amount of emails you're getting from LinkedIn.

This advice is only valid if you've got the LinkedIn app. Nowadays we interact most of our time on mobile inside our social networks and I highly recommend that you spend more time on the LinkedIn app and that way you can stay up to date without being bombarded by emails.

Please watch the video to fully appreciate the changes you need to make in your settings inside LinkedIn. You can make these changes either on the desktop or inside the LinkedIn app.

Here is the full list of push notification on mobile LinkedIn app (iOS iPhone and iPad). You will see that this will provide you with more that enough information on mobile, instead of receiving all those individual emails. Click on the image to enlarge it further, but better still just go on your app and view it me>settings>communications>push notifications.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out via @stayingaliveuk

Are You Storytelling Yet?

Chapter 1 - Is Storytelling fact or fiction?

To what extent is story or storytelling currently used in events, meetings or conferences in your business? 

I don’t believe storytelling is used widely at all. There is a tendency to show and tell. With that I mean that the presenter or speaker always has something to sell, usually their product or services and therefore they have an agenda. You can’t blame them as this is how presenting is mostly done. When I create Whiteboard Animation videos for my clients, I have to coach them regularly to stop selling and instead ‘Share a Story’. Here is a fun video I created to explain this message in memorable way, hopefully!

How can a story or storytelling create or enhance the effectiveness of business messages and an audience’s perception of leadership from a speaker?

We all love stories, we learnt about stories when we were very very little and it filled our imagination with all sorts of wondrous images. When we grow older we still love stories, we read books, we watch films, we watch TV, we watch the adverts. When we read books we have to fill our brain with images to make sense of the storyline, as otherwise we wouldn’t remember it. When we ‘Share a Story’, it is so much more memorable. When we ‘Share a Story’ it enhances our memory of it, because we make an emotional attachment to it.

Chapter 2 - The benefits of Storytelling

What are the benefits and challenges of using storytelling more and how does technology play a role in this? 

The benefits are very significant. If we are teaching or presenting and we wish our audience to remember what we have said or spoken about, just presenting facts just does not cut it. In fact it is a well known researched fact that we forget 80-90% of what we have heard within hours of leaving a meeting, an event or conference. Check out the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_Ebbinghaus

The challenge is we live in a world where we are all being bombarded by advertising messages everywhere we look, it’s getting so much tougher to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. And worse still actually get remembered.

Technology plays a massive part in this. I don’t care what anyone says, we are predominantly visual learners. That means anything visual, images and video is where you can grab someone’s attention. Of course video for me is where it’s at, but not just talking head, animation is going to continue to grow exponentially, so you’d better be doing some.

The objective is just about being more memorable and not forgettable. Most brands are forgettable although they spend millions getting into our minds on a macro level. It’s not surprising that brands are using animals in their ads to evoke an emotional response from us. I call this the ‘Awww Factor’. When we have an emotional response to something we see or experience it will be memorable for longer. Equally the animal in the ad will be memorable and it delivers a hook to the product. 

Watch this video where I explain this concept.

Chapter 3 - The barriers to Storytelling

What do you consider to be the key hinderances that stop people (speakers and presenters) from using story and storytelling methods more? 

Because they can’t think of any and are stuck in a paradigm of using sales speak, Powerpoint Presentation (‘Death by PowerPoint’) methods and their desire to prove to the listening audience that they are credible and important, have a lot of knowledge and wish to impress. Because if they impress, the listener will ‘buy them’. Trouble is the content and the presenter will be forgettable.

The best example of great Storytelling and presenting I can think of are TED talks. The presenters in the main are sharing stories, that’s why TED has been so successful.

Watch this great Ted Talk by film maker Andrew Stanton of Toy Story and WALL-E fame, who shares some clues to a great story.

What can you do to make your messages be more meaningful and memorable for your audience’s ear? 

If it was made compulsory for speakers at meetings, events and conferences to only be allowed to share a story, then they would.

Guidelines could be issued to any speaker to detail how they could make their presentation more engaging by sharing stories.

Here’s another great video that explains brilliantly why stories need to be told instead of presenting bullet point lists.

The video maker has the following description under the video:

A list is great at stating raw information, but raw information alone never changed anyone. Robots love raw information, but humans respond to stories. You know, information that’s wrapped in something they can understand and that has meaning.

So, when you need to explain what your something does, be careful that you’re not just making a list of the features. Give your audience something to believe in. Give them something to care about. Give them a story.

Chapter 4 - The science behind Storytelling

So do you actually know what takes place in your brain when you hear a story?

Let’s compare these 2 short paragraphs and you decide which one is more memorable?

‘Using my smart phone  makes me more efficient and allows me to get back in touch with my colleagues, family and friends in a way I have never been able to do before’.

‘Last week, I was travelling in Europe away from the office and my young family. I have a 2 year-old daughter who misses me when I’m away. Anyway, the scenery was great and I was in the middle of some gorgeous snow peaked mountains. Obviously I was working!I managed to have a good signal on my smart phone and was able to easily get back in touch with my colleagues, family and friends. I love it that modern technology allows me to do this in a way I have never been able to do before.

You may wish to think about the images that appeared in your brain for the 2 different stories.

Here’s a handy infographic that explains in a bit more detail what happens in your brain when you listen to stories.

Do you think it's time for you to start 'Sharing Your Story'? Discuss...

@stayingaliveuk

Are You Interested in Trust?

Maybe you are or maybe you aren’t. One thing’s for sure every relationship is built on a solid foundation of trust. If trust doesn't exist, a relationship can't exist. But what are the constituents of trust? I believe there are 3 main principles for trust to develop in your relationships. I've called it the 'Triad of Trust'.

1. Give more than you receive.

The principle here is about giving of yourself and searching for ways you can give support without expecting anything in return.

Nobody can force you to do this, it has to be the life force within you that decides that you will step out of your ego and give of yourself. I have witnessed many example of folks who really don’t get this right. Giving without expecting anything in return is really a tough concept for most to grasp. 

For just a few seconds think about your current relationships, your relationship with your line manager, your spouse, your kids, your parents and even your clients. Do you give consistently without expecting anything? We’re usually looking for some sort of payback, something that will make us feel good instead of focussing on making the other person feel great.

Putting this in the context of Marketing means that we must avoid too much self-promotion and instead share stories (or information) that will assist others and inspire them. 

Whenever I have a new connection on LinkedIn, I ask each connection who they wish to get in front of, i.e. what leads they may be looking for. I record those details on their LinkedIn profile. You'd be surprised how many actually don't bother answering, because they may be suspicious and believe I might have a different motive for the question. I guess it's human nature to be suspicious. Basically they don't trust me yet.

2. Listen generously.

Listening is the hardest skill for us to master because as soon as we hear someone speak we begin to formulate a response. This also happens with all types of mobile digital communication.

Who doesn't struggle with listening? Be honest, you can't wait to say something when you are listening (and thinking) when someone is speaking to you. My challenge to you is to hold back until you believe the speaker has completely finished. You’ll know when they have finished, because they’ll ask you a question. 

For example, I'm sure you've experienced attending a networking meeting. Imagine you meet someone for the first time there and often the first question will be, ’So what do you do?’. Instead of reeling off your rehearsed response, pause and say, ’Actually why don't you go first?’. 

This puts you in a state of listening straight away. And instead of waiting for them to finish and then jump into your own blabber, ask them a few questions. Listen out to truly understand and ask even further questions to understand at an even deeper level. It actually doesn't matter if you don't get your chance to say what you do. Understanding someone else’s story is much more important and they will remember you for it. 

The term listening generously I learnt from a client in the USA, http://winningdynamics.com, who I produced a Whiteboard Animation for. Be well worth watching, as the message is brilliant.

 

3. Share your knowledge willingly.

Our knowledge is precious and worth something. However, sharing your knowledge willingly with others builds trust. After all, you too learnt your knowledge from someone else.

We arrived on this plant with no knowledge and relied on our family, our teachers and all the different people we met in our lives to teach us what we know today. Therefore we actually learnt most of what we know from others. Just think about it. It's only with this knowledge that we've been able to potentially shape it into new knowledge that we create ourselves and then sell or share with others. Just like I'm doing right here.

But you don't have to sell all your knowledge do you?

You must give most of it away. You don't own it and our job is to pass it on. After all, your knowledge is only temporary, you can't take it with you when you depart this planet. You might as well start sharing it now.

I would love to learn from you how you ’Give, Listen and Share’ in your world. Feel free to share your comments below, so everyone can benefit from your experience and advice.

@stayingaliveuk

 

In Social Selling, Building Trust Starts before You Connect

Learn how thorough research and honest communication can build trust with buyers, with these social selling tips from Staying Alive UK’s Michael de Groot.

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This blogpost was first published by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on the 13th August 2015 and is part of a blogpost series to promote the eBook '33 Social Selling Success Tips', which was curated and published by Michael de Groot (that's me!) in 2014 and re-purposed by LinkedIn.

 http://sales.linkedin.com/blog/in-social-selling-building-trust-starts-before-you-connect/

The first person who said “patience is a virtue” probably wasn’t in sales. For salespeople, patience can be costly. Waiting to respond to a trigger event or failing to follow up to a prospect’s question can cost the sale. There’s an understandable desire for hustle, whether you’re a sales leader or a sales manager.

But we must be careful that a lack of patience doesn’t make us take shortcuts that lose potential buyers. One part of the sales process you should never rush is the research phase before you reach out to a prospect for the first time. Thorough research arms you with the information you need to make a connection request that builds trust.

People buy from people they know, like, and trust. Before they get to know you and come to like you, buyers will be evaluating whether they can trust you. Here are two steps you can take to build trust before you connect.

1.  Research

Do your research first on the individual and the company. Follow the company on LinkedIn and research any articles where your potential buyer could be mentioned or featured. Check industry news sites for mentions and of course LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator could do the heavy lifting for you in terms by finding relevant company news.

There are two very useful ways that you can keep track of your buyers without making it obvious to them. In Twitter, you can create a private list and add Twitter handles to your buyer list. You will be able to see what buyers are tweeting about to give you an insight to their interests and industry specific articles or opinions. In LinkedIn, you can save someone to your contacts without making a connection request. When you save them, add a tag that will let you filter your contacts for each account. This allows you to do more research on them and find commonalities in their profile, their tweets, or their shares.

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2.  Be Direct

Once you have done your research and built a relevant, compelling case for making contact, then you can send a connection request.

For the best chance of a response, show your trustworthiness by being upfront about why you’re asking to connect. Let the prospect know what led you to reach out to them, and what you would like them to do next.

With a LinkedIn connection request, you will know 100% for sure whether or not your request is accepted. Your prospect will receive reminders from your invitation at least 3 times to either accept your connection request or click ignore. I would leave the request open for 3 weeks to see if they accept. If not, remove them from your connections database as a lost potential and focus your energy elsewhere.

In the fast-paced sales environment, it’s important to remind ourselves to slow down when we need to. Take the time to build trust with a prospect before you connect, and that time investment may pay off in a better sales relationship.

For more actionable social selling insights from experts in the profession, download 33 Social Selling Tips by Social Selling Thought Leaders.

Editor’s Note: In this series, we feature quick and tactical social selling tips from thought leaders in the profession. This installment features trust-building advice from social selling tips Michael de Groot, Social Selling Director for Staying Alive (UK) Ltd who collaborated with other social selling trainers and originally produced the social selling tips eBook.

Are LinkedIn Missing Out?

LinkedIn - Communication - Vision!

LinkedIn - Communication - Vision!

Is LinkedIn missing out on communication? Yep BIG time!

About 3 years ago LinkedIn removed their event app with the usual statement saying that 'from time to time we review our services and adjust our offer to ensure the best experience for our customers' or something like this. Commendable I think?

It was quite a useful app I thought. I used it to invite customers to my external webinars or public training events. 

Now most of us use external apps like Eventbrite. 

Also at the time I was searching for a free webinar app and to my delight Google launched Google+ Hangout. 

The web conferencing web app is amazing and works like a dream. The only problem is that today still not that many business people are on Google+. This means I have to educate them on how to use G+ and then train them on how to use G+ Hangout. Time consuming and frustrating. It ways exactly the same when Skype came out many years ago. Nobody had heard of it and didn't know how to use it. Now potentially every business person has heard of Skype and uses it.

G+ Hangout also has a messaging facility, although not that great yet.

Within the last few weeks (April 2015), Facebook launched their dedicated messenger app for the browser. It was already well established as a separate app for mobile, despite some complaints from users in the early days when it moved away from the standard Facebook page. It works and it works well and looks great inside a browser.

I'm sure I don't have to mention all the array of other messenger apps on the market. Just have a look at the graphic below, where the number represents the number of active users in millions. Facebook with messenger and WhatsApp are pretty much dominating the space.

Graph from statista.com - April 2015

Graph from statista.com - April 2015

What happened to LinkedIn? All they've got is a very basic email service, which only in the past month (March 2015) allows you to attach a file. Fantastic! Not really, I was being sarcastic then in case you hadn't noticed!

Can you imagine how amazing it would be if you had the ability to instant message your connections? Alright, I appreciate that you'd be worried with spammy messages, but they could make it so that you have to invite people to your instant messenger list and request permission in exactly the same way as connection invites.

I guarantee you that the current younger generation when it grows up will demand such a service on LinkedIn otherwise they'll be doing it on Facebook instead. The younger generation believes that email is too slow, they don't use it. Instant responses are something they've got used to and want to experience this when they enter the world of work.

If we were able to instant message than surely the obvious extension of that would be video conference calls. The need for group web conferencing, being able to share and discuss in real-time all around the world and carry out training is absolutely essential nowadays.

It just leaves the facility for events. Like Google+ the event facility would give you the option to schedule online meetings with connections or audio/video conference calls. 

How cool would that be? This is one massive way to get more eyeballs on your site Jeff Weiner

Conclusion: LinkedIn is definitely missing out on the massive explosion of messaging and web meetings.

I look forward to the day when this will change, really looking forward to it!

@stayingaliveuk

What Does Your Logo Say About You?

I was massively obsessed in 2005 with having a logo for my new business. I didn't have a single client, not even the promise of one, but for some reason my priority was to create a logo. By the way there was no sign of Social Media yet, I didn’t even have a website and broadband hadn't been invented, I was still on dial-up or ISDN, I can't even remember!

For some odd reason I was totally consumed with needing a great logo, as this would get me noticed or so I thought. The fact was, I was only going to be using the logo on printed material, brochures, leaflets, handouts, which in the end cost me a fortune to print and the majority of those eventually ended up in recycling because I had overprinted so many to save on printing costs! As a consequence I am now very suspicious of printers.

I have also become a bit of a cynic when I see Micro-Businesses obsessed with their logos. Especially when I see individuals who are a one-person business use their logo as their Twitter profile image. I have seen thousands of examples. Just go and have a look inside the very popular #socialhours on Twitter every evening, where you can waste an hour of your time reading everyone’s adverts.

Are you a Micro-Business? A SoHo (Single office-home office)?

If you are then I want to see your face on social media not your logo. Your logo means nothing to me, it only means something to you! I know because I had the same disease. A logo makes you feel like you’re competing with the major brands. Absolutely not, you're not, you're competing with other Micro-Businesses who are after the same clients, but make themselves stand-out because they have their profile photo as themselves. A personal picture shows potential buyers that you are human and approachable. When there's just a logo they’ll feel you’re hiding something and are unapproachable.

It's not difficult, really it isn't.

If you're not convinced and still addicted to seeing your logo plastered everywhere, I suggest you ask your clients. What would they prefer to see on your Twitter, you or your logo?
Once you have changed your Twitter, go and consider where else are you overdosing on your logo?

Once you change this, I guarantee you that you will get more followers and more connections.
I've even stopped following anyone who has just a logo on their Twitter. That means I don't follow back many companies, as I'm only interested in people, not companies. Companies just advertise their stuff and I'm more interested in people and what they’re about. After all business is about people not about logos.

Should you have a logo? Sure you should, because in some places you will need one, but make sure it fits inside an icon square. Ideally the shape of an app icon. Like the one below. Yes that’s mine, newly designed a couple of years ago for the social network world. It only appears in just a few places, as overwhelmingly I have displayed my profile photo.

Now it's your turn

Let me know in the comments below what you think and whether you are now also recovering from your addiction to your logo?
 

@stayingaliveuk

Image credit: @gapingvoid

 

Are You Sharing Stories?

 

With the explosive growth in Social Media, there's a massive need by brands, businesses and individuals to acquire your attention, likes, comments and shares.

Almost everyone is wanting to be noticed and apart from brands and celebrities there's really no chance of any of us as individuals in business or in employment acquiring millions of followers (fans).

The only thing we can possibly hope for is some thought leader influence for a small group of connections via a few social channels.

So how do we get noticed when there are literally billions of social media posts being shot into cyberspace every single day.

Share Your Story...

Since we were small children we’ve enjoyed stories. Whether they were the stories our parents told us, the films we watch, the books we read, the TV programmes we enjoy or even the adverts we absorb.

It makes sense therefore that we spend more time sharing our story.

Let me explain further. 

We all have a tendency to over-promote what we do instead of thinking about how we can share our story with our audiences. 

As we all love stories, it means our audiences will be more interested in reading or watching them. And because stories are more memorable, they will live longer in our audiences brains. 

To prove the point, can you think, right now, about your favourite book, film, TV programme, advert and how many years back can you remember some of those? I am sure you were able to recall several. Maybe Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, Only Fools and Horses, Fawlty Towers, Cadbury Flake advert, The Meerkat Advert and many more I’m sure.

How do you create interesting stories?

In simplistic terms?

  1. Problem statement
  2. Infusion of ongoing pain if problem not resolved
  3. What could a possible solution be
  4. The solution you offer for the problem
  5. What life would be like without the problem

Where to share your stories?

  1. LinkedIn - on your summary, plus extra media
  2. YouTube - with video stories
  3. Twitter - with a #hashtag
  4. Pinterest and Instagram - with photos
  5. Google+ with all of the above
  6. Facebook - well if you have to.

Maybe you can use a specific #hashtag like #problemsolved or #problemsolver. Take your pick.

Share stories and get noticed. I still see too many adverts on social media. By all means do a few now and again, but keep it at a minimum. Instead share stories.

Feel free to add your own ‘client problem solved’ story in the comments. You never know who might read it!

@stayingaliveuk

Image Credit: @gapingvoid

Are You a Modern Seller?

2015, I hope, will be the year that Social Selling goes mainstream. With that I mean that no longer should we be calling it ’Social Selling’. I prefer us all to be talking about it as ’Modern Selling’. The fact is Sales has always been a Social activity and in some ways Sales Professionals can be confused by the term ’Social Selling’.

In some cases I have witnessed some really awful practices on Social Media, where bombarding folks with constant promotional material and ads are thought of as Social Selling.

Let's examine ’Modern Selling’ in a bit more detail. 

First of all what are some current practices that look like they are going to be killed off by ’Modern Selling’.

  1. The Cold Call. Although this can be at times a useful method, it is definitely starting to drag everyone down. Who actually enjoys receiving a Cold Call these days? This most definitely will be dead and buried in B2B selling by the end of 2015, if not sooner.

  2. The Cold Email. This is a tough one actually. Email is still such a fantastic tool to get in front of folks. It's on people’s phones and therefore it's quite tough to avoid, unless you have set up a super duper filtering system and who has time to figure those out? However I know that more and more people are hitting the delete button for email.

  3. The Email Newsletter. This has been an annoying and nagging interruption for many years now. Who really wants to know about all your great achievements in the past week, month, plus reports on how great you are in the eyes of your latest customers? Nobody cares, really nobody does. I have been unsubscribing from newsletters for about 2 years now and still they continue to add me without asking my permission. I'm guilty too, because I have tried it and well failed, because I haven't felt comfortable about it and you do run out of ideas of what to say. I stopped. I do have downloadable content on my website and it’s completely optional if folks wish to be added to an email list and I state completely upfront that I don't send regular emails. Only now and again will I share some content that is in line with the content they've downloaded. Often that content has nothing to do with me, it's someone else’s content who are able to convey and support my own thoughts much better.

  4. Brochures. Yes some folks are still keeping the printers employed by cutting down trees and distributing brochures to prospects and well anyone who will have them. It's time that these are thrashed, because your prospect will anyway. 

  5. Features and Benefits. This is the biggest one to crack. I would love to see this one dead and buried. Sales professionals spend most of their time practicing these in order to memorise them when in front of prospects and clients. Marketing professionals also spend countless hours presenting these in many different formats, to convince buyers to make decisions based on how their products compare with others. It doesn't make any difference to your buyer. She wants to buy your product to solve a problem. You would be better off listing problems and solutions, so she can see her problem listed. 

What are the alternatives I hear you cry!

  1. Personal Brand. You, whether employed, self-employed, freelance, consulting or any other process you identify yourself with and if you reading this, are already a ’Personal Brand’. This wasn't necessarily possible without Social Networks. Social Networks and by being on them, have allowed you to become a ’Personal Brand’. You HAVE to take this responsibility seriously and if you don't, the consequences can be very harsh. This is the starting point, without this recognition you will struggle to get recognition. You have to craft a great story about yourself and make this consistent across all the Social Networks you exist on. Whether these are personal or business networks. Social is Social, keep the story the same across all. Folks will check you out across all of them and if they aren't in synch you will come across as random.

  2. Conversation. The ultimate aim for anyone in Sales or in Business is to have a conversation with a prospective buyer. Therefore your ideas, approach, strategy and intention should be about how you can have a conversation with your buyer. Your buyer won't be interested in you, the only thing on her mind is juggling and solving her problems. You are most likely an interruption to her day and as such you need to be able to convince her that time spent with you will be well spent! All your actions, communication, social posts, will be to support why a conversation with you will be interesting and more importantly a very worthwhile interruption to her day.

  3. Engagement. This is the holy grail. We all would love to have our connections become potential prospects and at some stage they will have either liked, commented, shared and loved what we posted or have written. Instead of focussing on what you can ’get out’ of your connections, instead focus on what you can ’give’ to your connections. What free content can you share with them that will help them. Share their stories and updates with your network and help them to get more exposure. The route to engagement is trust. This is all you can shoot for to start to develop a relationship. Folks will do business with people they know, like and trust. Once you build trust, which can potentially be developed online, they can start to know you through a conversation, which can be done over the phone. The ’likeness’ can only happen when they start comparing your profile with theirs and get to know you a little better. Folks are always searching for ’likeness’ when meeting new people and if there are some areas of commonality, likeness can develop quite quickly.

  4. Personality. Let your personality shine through at every opportunity. Avoid writing in the third person and reduce the amount of ’I’ statements. It actually isn't all about you. Share ’Why’ you do what you do, as this resonates so much better compared to only making statements about ’What’ you do. If you're able to share passionate insights about how you are helping folks this will also help viewers reach a better understanding about you.

  5. Gratitude. Showing gratitude to new connections for accepting your invite or in response to their invitations is an essential part of the ’Modern Selling’ recipe. Furthermore when it comes to invites, I experience too many invites on LinkedIn that have the standard default text. Asking people to give up their time to look at your profile, read it and decide whether to accept your invitation is actually a big deal. Sending a basic and standard invite therefore is actually saying that you don't respect their time, but you do want them to accept your invitation. I also liken it to talking to someone with your back turned when you meet them for the first time. Something you would never do. You can also show gratitude by engaging with your connections’ posts by liking, commenting, re-sharing, retweeting and favouriting (Twitter). 

We are all learning how to do all of this much better. I still have masses to learn and all of our journeys on Social Media are still very very new.

Take it step by step and think about all your actions and interactions carefully and thoughtfully. When you take your ’Personal Brand’ seriously and you have respect for your connections, you can achieve great things.

@stayingaliveuk

Have You Got Content Sorted?

Social Selling experts say that one of the pillars of Social Selling is our ability to demonstrate that we are experts in our industry/sector and thought leaders in our own businesses. One way to show these attributes is to share insights.

Firstly what is meant with insights? Relevant content. Content our buyers are interested in reading and hopefully they'll remember you all the more for sharing it.

The trouble is where do you find those insights/relevant content?

Well, I'm here to share with you that I've pretty much got this part completely sorted. Well in my own mind I have, because I've spent hours refining this and in the process discovering that app developers haven’t made it that easy for us, as of course they aren’t active users of their own apps so there’s no joined-up thinking. 

Until finally the day that joined-up thinking occurred and I'm soooo delighted that those wonderful app developers out there have just made my life even more productive, even though they don’t even know it.

There are just two apps involved and in combination they are my winning formula and very easy to master. If you master this, you will be able to share relevant insights quickly, regularly and easily, with the minimal investment of time and effort.

The first one is Flipboard. Flipboard is an awesome article and news aggregator. And with its magazine style format, it's a dream to browse and flip through the articles. But there are some key things to do, to complete the perfect setup.

  1. Connect all your social accounts in order to get the newsfeed from each of them flowing in your Flipboard. A tile represents a social stream or your selected stream inside Flipboard. Think of it as your individual social magazine.
  2. Do you have twitter lists? Create a separate tile for those.
  3. Have a favourite hashtag? Create a separate tile for as many as you like.
  4. Do you follow key news accounts on Twitter? Like LinkedIn’s Pulse? Add another tile for them.
  5. Create a tile for blogs you follow easy. Get the RSS feed and search for it inside Flipboard and create a separate tile for as many as you wish.
  6. You can create literally dozens of tiles.
  7. Complete the set-up in Flipboard.

The second one is Buffer. Buffer is the best social media sharing/scheduling app on the planet, really it is. Forget Hootsuite.

  1. Download Buffer, free account up to 10 future posts. Paid account $10 per month up to 200 future posts. Go for the paid account, I did.
  2. Connect all your accounts in there too.
  3. Buffer will give you a free email address so you can literally email anything to your schedule (Buffer)
  4. Once you have Buffer installed, I suggest that you learn how to use it properly.

Now with both apps installed and working, you can literally share any article from your Flipboard direct to your Buffer.

Click on the square and arrow icon bottom right, to reveal ‘More Options’ for sharing from your iPhone or iPad. Click on the 3 dots to show more sharing apps and the Buffer logo will be visible. Just select it, be ready to insert a title or message, select the accounts you are sharing to and press ‘Buffer’.

I know it sounds easy and my journey to achieve this has meant that I spent a few hours to learn how Buffer worked and how Flipboard operated.

If you want to have a super-easy, fast, time efficient way of sharing content, this is by far the best route.

I wish you success and let me know when you have mastered it.

Sorry this article is only for iPhone/iPad users.

Is Creating Content the Elephant on the Web?

IMG_1214 Recently I joined a twitter chat #sshour (social selling hour) and the subject of content curation was being discussed. I too have been busy organising my content stream, selecting the articles I enjoy reading and sharing them on my preferred platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. And I love scheduling them using Buffer.

And my reason for doing this? Thought leadership? Just sharing ‘stuff’, which my connections might like to read? Wanting more followers, likes and comments?

Does anyone really give a damn?

And what's our outcome? Is it more engagement with our buyers, receiving more enquiries for our products and services? Or is it ’FOMO’,  fear of missing out? Or ’FOBLO’, fear of being left out?

Social Media has a lot to answer for. It’s changing human behaviour across the planet. We never shared so many intimate details of our lives, so publicly. And as we are so obsessed with sharing content surely we are trying to look interesting, relevant and impressive to our connections and followers?

No wonder there are 630 million search results on google to my question ‘how often should I blog?’

I asked the question last year: ‘Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?’

I know it’s a great feeling when your article/blog or your shared post gets noticed by your followers. Ever time this happens somewhere deep inside of us we say, ‘Wow she/he loves me’.

And by just pushing out more and more content and posting regularly, are we hoping that we’ll get noticed by some big shot CEO who will approach us to come and do some consultancy or maybe even work for them? There's news there too for us. They aren't reading them.

I believe there are two tribes who do all the blogging and posting. Folks that are self-employed and are making it part of their own personal marketing strategy or folks that work for big business and their job is in marketing anyway.

Everyone in between either don’t really care or are just too busy at work to bother.

I’d love to hear your opinion. Are we overdoing it and heading for blogging/posting burnout?

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Are You Afraid of Rejection on Social Networks?

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You should be...

Many more social networkers are being more discerning in deciding who they connect with. I'm sure by now you've heard the saying: ’you’re network is your net worth’.

It’s more important for networkers to show off 'WHO' they are connected to, compared to 'HOW' many.

What's needed is some {old-fashioned} personal branding. If you're reading this then you're already a personal brand and you might not have realised it yet. It doesn't mean you have to be a Rock Star or some YouTube celebrity, although of course it would help. What's a personal brand? I'm not talking about celebrities, it's anyone these days, who has a profile on a social network, a blog or any other profile that resides on the web, like YOU! Personal branding 2.0 is alive and kicking. Anyone nowadays has a voice, whether, you Tweet, Facebook, Google Plus or LinkedIn, you and anyone else can share their inner feelings and thoughts about any national or any international affairs. Plus your opinion on companies, their customer service and their products and services, counts. Potentially you can cause massive damage to reputations of companies or individuals.

With this power also comes great responsibility.

I am assuming that your reputation matters to you and this means, you should take it seriously. Anyone with an internet connection can interrogate your presence on the web. And as you're probably reading this on LinkedIn, a search result of your LinkedIn profile will very likely appear on page 1 of Google when someone searches for your name.

In 1 keystroke any searcher can learn everything about you in a just a few seconds.

Doesn't this warrant a great presentation of your personal brand? It absolutely does. For the past few years we've all rushed to join the latest social network in 'fear of missing out' (#fomo) or ensuring that as a minimum we've got a profile in case someone happens to search for us there. And in that rush we have proliferated our profiles across these networks causing a huge amount of inconsistency. Here are just 4 items from my audit checklist for you to review and examine how you're doing with your own personal brand:

  1. Do you have different profile photos on different networks? Most of us are still super critical of the way we appear on photographs. This means we scour our photo library picking out the best photo that we perceive will represent us in the best light. What happens is you may select a photo of yourself in business attire and place that on LinkedIn. You’ll find another one from your holidays maybe with family and friends in a T-shirt, crop yourself and place that on Facebook. Or maybe a family picture and use that on Google plus or Twitter. And when you are developing your personal brand this type of inconsistency completely confuses the viewer.
  2. Are you using the company logo instead of a profile photo? If you are a big brand great, push your recognisable logo if need be. However if you are a small or micro business, using your logo is THE most impersonal thing you can do. And using a logo on your personal profile on LinkedIn is just plain silly and actual against LinkedIn's terms, which you agreed to, remember?
  3. Do you write a different ’about’ section on each profile? It's one of the easiest errors we can make. To become a recognisable personal brand you need to have consistency as readers will scan your profile and at least pick up a few keywords from your ’about section’ with an opportunity to remember them. If they vary greatly it will lead to readers being confused and not remembering anything tangible from your ’about section’. I know the no. of words allowed also varies greatly, which means that brevity counts.
  4. Are you using different header images across networks? Everyone has gone header crazy. Plus the sizes differ hugely. Furthermore how the header interacts with the profile photo and how it appears on mobile devices is another factor that complicates things further. Use your graphic designer to help you get the best look and resolution.

Take a few minutes and review your social networks and adjust them to be closer in line with each other. After all your personal brand is important to you, it's time to take it seriously.

@stayingaliveuk

ps. A great business friend, Richard Tubb @tubblog, asked me to review his media branding and this inspired me to write this article. Thanks Richard!

Did You Send me a Personalised Invite? If Not Why Not?

I know it's not your fault, you’re browsing inside the LinkedIn app, suggestions keep popping up all over the place about who you should connect to, displaying a large ’+’ sign or a ’connect’ button and as your finger slides across it, the invite has fired off!
20140704-230836-83316392.jpg And the recipient receives an invite with one of the following messages; ’Join my network on LinkedIn’ or ’Michael, please add me to your LinkedIn network’.

Did you know the individual? Had you just met at a meeting? I'm sure they’ll be fine with it, if that's the case. The trouble is the majority and I really mean the majority of members send the standard invite. It's not my fault, I hear you cry, it's LinkedIn, they don't allow you to send a personalised invite via the apps. Correct now you know this, stop inviting from the apps. Go to the website and do it there and do it properly.

Send a decent message to the individual and give them a reason to click the accept button. Be honest and tell them why? Because when they receive that sterile message from you, you've already started on the back foot. If you ever stand a chance to develop a relationship with this connection, show them that you care about their choices. They have a choice to accept your invite or not.

What do you think? What chances do you have in getting that person to accept your impersonal invite. 50/50? 80/20? 90/10?

I reckon there's a 5% chance that they will accept your standard invite.

Now what do you say? It's always better to examine the individual’s profile and look for what you might have in common. Maybe a group, a connection, a location, interests, influencers you follow. There will be something. Think about how you can word a very simple and short message and help them answer the question that will inevitably come up in their head, which is, why on earth should I accept your connection?

Maybe it's just that you’re growing your network, or you wish to connect with like-minded individuals, just be honest and share it. Giving them a reason not to accept your invite also, it shows that you respect them.

Here's an example;

Michael, I see we’re connected to the same people and have similar interests. I am also looking to grow my network on LinkedIn, so I hope you're OK connecting, but of course don't feel obliged to do so

Doesn't that sound better than the standard invite? Even when I’ve met people face to face, I will always send a personalised invite. The only time I might, is when I'm standing or sitting with the person, open the app and search for them, whilst they are looking. Then I confirm that I've found them and then apologise for sending the standard invite.

So please remember, NEVER EVER, EVER NEVER, NEVER NEVER, EVER NEVER, NEVER send the standard invite and NEVER EVER, invite from a mobile device.

Got it?

Wishing you massive success always!

@stayingaliveuk

Do You Really Know How to Sell?

If you're in business or you're an ambitious sales professional, this post is for you. I know that we all want business but...

You need to read the signs before upsetting to your buyers. Read the email below and let me know what you think?

{I have removed sensitive information in order to protect the email sender}

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I was horrified, not because the email upset me, but because I couldn't believe the tone of the email.

Let me give you the background without giving away who or what it was that I was buying.

After some difficulty, I needed a quote from a third-party in order to fulfil a potential project that I was quoting for. It took me over a week to get a response and that was because my emails weren't getting through to the supplier. In the end it was an IT issue with servers, but still it took some considerable time to sort out. Probably not the supplier's fault, but it happened.

After finally agreeing a quote, which wasn't that easy either, I sent my proposal to my potential client. In the meantime, I'm assisting and sorting out email server issues with my potential supplier. They then send several emails chasing me to see if the project is on or not. That's fine I don't have an issue with chasers and I did warn my supplier that my client had a budget he needed to achieve, so he was probably searching elsewhere.

So after receiving another chaser email from my supplier, I advised them that I had already chased up my potential client and that it was entirely possible that they would be searching for a cheaper price in their local country.

At this stage I have never placed any business with my supplier, so you would have thought that they would hold back a bit. But then that email arrived and I was amazed.

The message here is a simple one. Respect your potential buyer's process and lead-time for getting things done. Do NOT chase too many times.

You have to know when it's appropriate to send a reminder and when it's appropriate to send a chaser. They are not the same! And certainly when you are waiting to get the order confirmed don't send chaser emails.

And then there is the 'UpSelling' tactic. NEVER 'UpSell' when you haven't even got onto first base yet. Why would anyone wish to buy other products when they haven't even experienced your service yet? Especially as the service so far hasn't been that great!

Wishing you massive success always!

uk.linkedin.com/in/stayingaliveuk/

@stayingaliveuk

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Are You Embracing Social Selling Yet?

There’s so much coming out of the USA on ’Social Selling’ at the moment, that in order to keep abreast of developments, I’ve decided to follow a select group of thought leaders on the subject. I have requested at least 66 of them to connect with me on LinkedIn and I'm following around 73 of them on twitter. In the UK, apart from LinkedIn personnel in London, I've only met one other person in the UK (on Skype), Chris Heffer @theotherhef.

So the UK is way behind the USA, but that doesn't mean it's not taking hold. A lot of people and I mean a lot of them in the UK, don't get LinkedIn at all. They still see it as a depository for your CV and where companies, head-hunters, recruiters look for potential recruits. Frequently I hear this sentence at face to face networking events; Oh yes I’m on LinkedIn, but I don't really do anything with it...should I?

And yes the site may have started life as a CV or résumé site and still is very useful for that, after all LinkedIn make their biggest sales revenue in their Talent Solutions Division ($860 million, 56% of the overall).

However in my view the future growth development of LinkedIn will be by their ’Sales Solutions Division’ and my forecast is that this will overtake their Talent Solutions Division over the next 5 years.

OK, so now what's ’Social Selling’ and how does it work in the commercial world and can it work for anyone?

Firstly there's no dictionary entry for this terms as yet, no Wikipedia entry and when you search on Google there's no real clue as to what it is either. There are many different theories, from as simple as ’using social media to sell’ to the more thought-out definitions as shown below by Koka Sexton of LinkedIn.

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For me though it's no different to the term Social Media or Social Media Marketing, which for me are getting rather dated now. Isn't it time that we start encompassing it with the old name ’marketing’? Aren't Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube, just channels, like the channels we invented with the printing press, like newspapers, brochures, posters and anything paper-like.

Aren't the new channels just tools of the trade and therefore isn't ’Social Selling’ just...wait for it...Selling? Of course we need to learn some new techniques, new technologies, new approaches, un-learn old habitual paradigms, stop promoting and start listening, but essentially the process of selling will still exist. After all when you've been spending hours of time, listening, sharing, retweeting, congratulating, at the end of the month you've still got to pay the bills right? Including generating a revenue for your own business or your employer’s business.

There has to be an outcome, a mission, a goal to doing all that engaging and therefore you need a well-thought out strategy, that can deliver the results you want and most importantly need.

But I have come across some interesting concepts and some of them are by Jill Rowley @Jill_Rowley, who is known as the superhero in Social Selling.

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1. ABC - Always Be Connecting. You can draw your own conclusion if you wish and for me, this means that growing your network is important. I've always said that sales is a numbers game. If you don't have the numbers, you won't make the numbers. 2. OPC - Other People's Content. Share content written and curated by others and give them credit for it. Always writing your own content is time consuming and sometimes tough to generate enough volume, especially if like me, you're sharing 3 pieces of content every single day. I would never achieve that if I didn't have other people’s content to rely on. 3. OPP - Other People’s Popularity. Help your connections, wherever they are on the web by being their raving fans, make them look good to their audience and mean it. There's no point faking this, as you will be found out, it has to be genuine and authentic.

One thing’s for sure there is a bit to learn, some things to take on board, a lot of listening and a huge amount of practicing too.

I wish you massive success with your Social Selling Mission!

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Why?

20140202-162147.jpg I recently re-discovered Simon Sinek’s work on The Golden Circle. To familiarise yourself watch his TED Talk video. (audio quality does improve when he changes microphone)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zFeuSagktM

In essence he challenges us to think differently about how we present ourselves as businesses and especially how we create our marketing messaging to convince prospects to become clients.

Most of us have a tendency to articulate ’what we do’ and ’how we do it’. And rarely do we say ’why’.

Why is a really powerful word and very underused.

However kids say the word continuously as they grow up and as such this word is actually hard-wired in your brain, without you even knowing it.

Before you decide to buy anything your subconscious asks this question automatically.

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You may not even realise it, but you do, especially if someone is pitching you a new product or service for your consideration. If they can't answer the ’why’ question for you, it’s unlikely you will buy from them and look elsewhere.

Of course we do buy stuff based on the what and how and usually you will fill in your own why, if the seller hasn't been able to articulate this for you clearly.

So your mission if you choose to accept it, is to review your marketing messages, especially your LinkedIn profile and start looking at ’why’ you do what you do?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PH8uJEPOYDQ

Wishing you massive success always.

Are You Tagging on LinkedIn?

The secret of managing your connections on LinkedIn is tagging. If you don't you will never remember anyone in your network. When you accept an invitation or your invitation gets accepted, go to your new connection’s profile.

Underneath the main profile header there are two tabs, ’relationship’ and ’contact info’.

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Click relationship, which allows you to complete a few bits of information.

1. Note 2. Reminder 3. How you met 4. Tag

 

tagging

 

  1. Note; allows you to write a few words about why you connected to them and what you hope to achieve with this connection.
  2. Reminder; allows you to schedule a reminder for yourself. At time of writing you can't customise a date as yet, but you can schedule it for 1 day, 1 week, 1 month or recurring.
  3. How you met; it doesn't matter that you haven't actually met face to face and it does help how the connection was made. They invited you, or you invited them and why?
  4. Tag; the most important one. If you don't do anything else on this section, this one is a must. Decide first what tags you want to have, then after you have made the connection, visit their profile, straight away and allocate the tag from the list that shows up.

Now you are able to search your connections based on their tags and send emails to groups of connections based on tags (50 limit per email). And as you grow your network it means you can find people easier by their tags. You don't need to allocate regional tabs unless you want to group them by district. For example I do have a tag for ’west midlands’, which covers a number of counties in the middle of England.

Wishing you massive success always.

 

Are You Improving Your LinkedIn Profile?

I teach people every week how to improve their LinkedIn profile. However there are millions on LinkedIn who don't bother to improve their profile. Most aren't getting it yet and don't appreciate that your profile on LinkedIn is your personal brand. Ignore it and you will reduce your chances of finding that perfect job, that career progression or that perfect client. The 1st key area is the profile photo. I still see many profiles and receive invites from people who don't even bother with a professional head and shoulders profile photo. Or they have a badly taken photo which could be a holiday photo or where they stand far in the distance. I completely don't understand this. The other day someone's excuse was that they had put on weight and therefore didn't want to share their photo. And what part of you thinks that people will take you seriously without a photo?

Personally I say, what are you hiding by not wishing to post a photo of yourself? In fact if you don't post a photo of yourself the chances of people connecting with you is reduced by at least 50%.

So it is essential you make this a priority.

The 2nd key area that is ignored by many is your headline. Many make the mistake to enter a title like; manager, director, coach, programmer, student etc. Of course you can use this if you wish, however you have 120 characters of space to tell the reader what you can do for people and what you are good at. OK, granted if you are a student it makes it slightly harder however you also want to stand out of the crowd, so putting something like ’Researching the meaning of the Universe to better serve my future clients’ or something equally different will make you stand out.

The reason for putting something different is that your headline follows you around wherever you go on LinkedIn. For example when you send emails inside LinkedIn, when you send invites to connect, when you post discussions in groups. Each time your headline will be shown and if you just keep your title only, it won't tell the reader anything about you. In effect it's your elevator pitch that is presented every time they read something from you.

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The 3rd area is your skills and expertise. LinkedIn have developed this section carefully over a number of years, originally it was called specialities, which was a simple text box, where you could list your specialities. Now LinkedIn suggests to your connections to endorse your skills and they have succeeded tremendously with this initiative. The main reason they have developed this is for their advertisers. Advertisers are able to target their ads very specifically to you based on the skills on your profile. Now you know why LinkedIn keeps giving you suggestions to endorse people. The profile header has even got a new button at the very top saying ’endorse’.

Now most members overdo it. They list the maximum 25 skills. Firstly only 15 will show on your profile but only 10 are in a list with the photos of those that endorsed you, which tends to be the list that most people go for. Everyone scans profiles and because the main list of 10 is more visual they tend to just go for those. Plus they tend to be the highest endorsed and that's why it makes it easy for them. So reduce your list to 10 and keep very focused.

Once you've identified your list and you are happy with it, this list of skills become your keywords. Keywords inside LinkedIn is essential if you want to be found on search. With 260 million members your job is to have your profile optimised for search.

Then take those skills (keywords) and spread them intelligently throughout your profile including a few inside your headline.

This will definitely help when people are searching for members based on skills.

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Finally the 4th key area is your summary. Most of the time members use this to promote themselves, which is fair enough if you're looking for a job. However most are actually looking to promote their business or their employer if they are an employee. Of course you need to say something about yourself and I would suggest this is done under your experience section. THE most important part of your summary should be some text that describes what you can do for people. Note, ’what YOU can do’ for people ’NOT what you DO’!

Keep the text short, lots of white space and bullet points wherever possible. This allows the reader to scan your summary in super quick time. Remember people are time poor and don't have time to read a very wordy profile summary.

OK I think that's enough for now. These in my view are the 4 key areas on your LinkedIn profile that need work. It shouldn't be too overwhelming for you. Another tip is to re-visit your summary, headline and skills regularly. It is vital that you refresh these and update them based on things that are changing in your world.

Wishing you massive success always!

How Do You Share Content?

As part of your journey into ’Social Selling’ and becoming your own ’Personal Brand’, you will inevitably need to share content. You don't always need to write your own content, although it’s obviously better if you did. Not everyone likes writing, certainly it took me a few years before I started blogging.

So curating and sharing other’s content is OK, providing it adds value to your own authority on your subject matter.

So how do you do it? Or rather how do I do it?

First we have to answer a few questions. Why share content in the first place?

Well, it shows that you are interested in your subject matter and more importantly that you wish to share it with your network and maybe, just maybe they will get something from it. Don't be concerned about not receiving any comments, likes or shares, that should definitely NOT be the reason for sharing your content.

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However they might and it's that possibility that should encourage you to keep sharing. You just don't know where it could lead to.

I use just 3 apps for doing all my curating and sharing.

Firstly the best sharing app that I use is ’Buffer’.

I have written a separate blog on buffer, so go ahead and read more about it there.

The second app is Flipboard, where I follow different streams that are closely connected to my subject matter, plus all the posts from people I follow.

The third app is ’Pulse’, a LinkedIn app, which allows me to find more content, by LinkedIn Influencers and many other news streams.

Buffer allows me to email all content I find on the web, either via these apps or generally on the web.

I have set my buffer to share the content 3 times per day, meaning my content is posted automatically in the morning, lunchtime and evening. Times of the day that people are most likely to browse their mobile devices.

I will add additional content now and again on a more spontaneous basis. And I also add some personal comments now and again about any subject I wish. This will hopefully show people that it's not all about business and they will see my personality come through too.

So it's time to start writing, get searching, reading and finally sharing. Have fun and ensure that you have your audience in mind when sharing content.

Wishing you success always!