Social_Media

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

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 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 using the new LinkedIn Contacts App?

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Well you should!

Let me share with you what I discovered.

First I tidied up my address book on my iPhone/iPad/Mac (iCloud). It took a while but I did a few letters of the alphabet each day, which made the job less daunting, but still delivered a great result. I removed about 2000 contacts, phew! How ever did I manage to accumulate those? I have no idea! Also make sure you remove sensitive data. You don't want this going up onto a server do you? Instead move those somewhere else.

***DATA HEALTH WARNING***

You MUST do this task first, as otherwise you end up with all the rubbish inside your LinkedIn contacts and you really want to avoid this.

If you do this task first you will thank me for it and it is about time you did this and when I share with you below what you can achieve, you will be delighted...no ecstatic!

Step 1

Download the LinkedIn contacts app

(***DO NOT OPEN IT AFTER DOWNLOADING***).

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/linkedin-contacts/id635424128?mt=8

Step 2

I am assuming you have the standard LinkedIn iPhone app, but if you haven't please make sure that this is downloaded too.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/linkedin/id288429040

You can open that one and ensure you are logged in. Providing you have set 'download connections' to ON inside this app, (if not click on the IN in top left corner to reveal the setting cog wheel top right. Click on the wheel>download connections and activate this. It will download all your LinkedIn connections on to your iPhone and keep them updated too. This is an important step to complete before going on.

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Step 3

On your iPhone, go to settings>privacy>contacts and make sure the contacts app button is switched to on/green. If you forget this step, no worries the app will remind you to do this.

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Step 4

Open the LinkedIn contacts app on your iPhone, it will import with lightening speed all your iPhone contacts, find them on LinkedIn, and pull in all the data, plus send all the data to LinkedIn too.

Pretty impressive actually how fast this goes.

NOTE: I don't have my Facebook connections in my address book any longer. I ended up with too many duplications and then had to link those together, which was a real pain. As I only want to have my LinkedIn connections in my address book, I don't want to disturb things. And I highly recommend excluding Facebook. Remember each contact on your iPhone will be uploaded to LinkedIn.

To switch Facebook off for your address book, go to settings>facbeook> and switch the contacts switch to off/white.

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Step 5

Check that everything has worked. Search inside the app for a contact, anyone will do. Make sure the data from your address book has been pulled across.

Check on the LinkedIn website and go to network>contacts and then filter by source>iPhone and check if the number of contacts agrees with your iPhone.

NOTE: Don't expect numbers to agree 100%. Mine are out by about 10, but I know that is because previously I had some contacts that were linked with Facebook and messed things up. If it is there or thereabouts, then happy days it has worked.

That's it job done!

But now for the magic, this is where you will be very grateful for using this app.

First let me share with you how people tend to work on LinkedIn. Most people will only share their personal emails address and no phone number.

So when you have someone's business card, look them up on LinkedIn, send an invite to connect and they accept, you will see that the email address that they have on LinkedIn is their personal one. Usually no phone number.

This means you need to add their business email and phone number details. Well firstly LinkedIn has a bug on phone number formats, which means it will not accept a European format, only USA formats. Which is a real shame and yes I have had a dialogue with their support and no fix is imminent either.

But have no fear here is the solution.

Now that you have the LinkedIn Contacts app, your problem is solved.

Step 1

After someone has accepted your invite to connect or you have accepted their invite, you need to go to the standard LinkedIn iPhone app and open it up from time to time, to make sure that LinkedIn downloads these contacts to your iPhone. This makes sure that you don't have to manually enter their details in your address book. i.e. LinkedIn does it for you. However you will more than likely only have their personal email address.

So once per week, I go into my address book iPhone/IPad or Mac (iCloud), with my business cards handy, I look up those people, that I know I have sent invites to and update their record with their business email and their mobile. I don't usually bother with their land line number. If they move in the future that will change and their mobile often stays the same. (unless they have give you their business mobile only).

Step 2

Once you've updated the address record on your device, go to the LinkedIn contacts app and open up the alphabetical view (doesn't matter which view you are on) and then pull down the page, which will then start an update process and a spinning circle appears. You have to see the spinning circle, so make sure of that.

***THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS*** The LinkedIn contacts app drags the information from your address book, with your latest updates and pushes it to LinkedIn.

Now your contact record on LinkedIn, has updated the business email address, as well as the mobile phone number.

This is pretty amazing actually, because also the phone number format bug inside LinkedIn has been overcome by adding the phone details in this way.

Now you have the correct contact details sitting inside LinkedIn as well.

What this means in fact, that as well as downloading data from LinkedIn onto your iPhone, with the standard LinkedIn app, you can also push data to LinkedIn.

I felt this was such an amazing discovery, I just had to share it.

I hope it works for you and if you have any questions, just let me know.

***DATA HEALTH WARNING***

When dealing with contact information in the cloud, it is possible to create duplicate records. This has happened to me in the past, so please take each step carefully and check your records regularly.

The steps above worked for me without any issues, but I can't take any responsibility for your records and the way that you upload/download from the cloud.

Wishing you success always!

Just 3 Apps for busy Executives?

Just 3 apps for busy executives...really? If you are a baby boomer or even if you're not and you're not sure which apps to download on your shiny new Apple iPhone 5S or iPad Air.

How about just having 3 in addition to all the ones you get free from Apple of course.

The idea is for you to achieve a super fast review of what's going on what is being said about your company, so you can scan it (read), write it or find it.

Number 1 is Flipboard

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Flipboard is still for me THE best social integration magazine app around. There are others but as Flipboard was first and they made the biggest impression, for me they have stayed ahead of the crowd.

What do you need to do?

  • You need your company social feeds as priority 1. This means you can view and keep up to date with what your marketing teams are sending out.
  • You need your own social feeds if you have time to be engaged with them. You can have feeds from all the major ones, plus you can post and engage from within Flipboard too, so there's no need to download the individual apps. Its basically your single dashboard for everything.

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Second is LinkedIn

If you're no making use of LinkedIn, then you are missing out on some key intel. LinkedIn is now THE biggest and MOST important professional database in the world.

Fortune 500 employees are there for sure and most Executives have a profile, even if some of them are hiding them.

Time to get out of the shadows and be seen!

The LinkedIn iPad app has received a major overall and now its fast and accurate. You have to meet someone, call them or even research them. Using LinkedIn is the best tool for doing that.

Your company profile should be there too. With all the detail of your latest marketing posts.

Remember of course you can pull a lot of the feeds into your Flipboard too! Primarily though this iPad app is for research and engagement.

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Third is iA Writer

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Not much to be said, its a simple writing app, no distractions, no formatting, no fluff, just think and write. A draft email, a report, meeting notes, just anything that needs recording simply easily and safely. Done!

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Go and get those and STOP playing games, use your mobile devices to do some business and stay focussed!

Success!

 

 

Where Is Your Video Advert?

I still see many businesses, who are not making use of video to educate their customers, prospects and leads about who they are and what they do. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGog-0UY7NA

Think about it, do you have time to read websites, read emails, read tweets, read LinkedIn updates, read your children's Facebook updates (no time to post your own of course!), carry out your own work, delivery fantastic customer service to your customers and colleagues and also pay attention to your family?

Of course the answer is a big fat NO!

You don't have time and neither has anyone else.

But...

Could you watch a video which is less than 90 seconds to understand what someone is saying about their business or present your own explainer video about one of your products or services to a new customer or prospect?

Of course you could!

So what's stopping you?

Time? Money? Commitment? Procrastination?

Oh yes indeed, read the stats...

- More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month - Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube - That's almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year - 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute - 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US - YouTube is localised in 56 countries and across 61 languages - Millions of subscriptions happen each day, and the number of people subscribing has more than doubled since last year

Time for you to get creative. Talk to me for a no-obligation review of what can be achieved using a videographic to tell your story!

Success!

 

 

 

 

What Stage are You at with LinkedIn?

The 4 stages of LinkedIn In all my dealings with clients, I have concluded that their are 4 stages of progress with LinkedIn.

Most members are stuck at stage 1, what I call the 'Profile' stage, where they are still getting to grips with developing a decent profile, that shows what they can do for people or employers instead of 'what' they do.

The objective of course is to get to stage 4, the 'Sell' stage and this is the same for members looking for business or for those looking for jobs or advancing their career.

You do need to commit time and effort to each stage and make sure you are comfortable and confident in applying or completing the stage before moving on.

Each stage prepares you for the next one and its a logical progression. There is no way you can dive in and start 'Social Selling' until you have a decent profile, a decent size network and you know how to behave.

I often say that not having a decent profile with a decent photo is like greeting someone in person with your back turned to them. I still see too many holiday snaps, people posing in the far distance or with family members and mates. Its a disaster and it will NOT win you business or your next job. NO WAY!

When you invite members to connect with you, they will almost certainly look to see if you have over 500+ members. Why? It makes you an attractive connection. Adding another 500+ people to their 2nd level network means they will achieve more exposure on LinkedIn and allows them in turn to find potential prospects to connect to easier too.

If you have 500 connections, who in turn have 500 too, it means your network grows to 250,000 in a heart beat. Now this gives you options and social is a numbers game, sorry but it is. And for those who tell me they are very careful who they connect to and decline people they do not know, you need to wise up to the fact that your network will stay small, because of your small thinking.

Once those two stages are out of the way, you can focus on your behaviour inside LinkedIn and this includes groups, emailing, sharing, liking and commenting. A massive subject taken for granted by most. Oh and it's NOT a promotion campaign that's what the advertising channel is for.

Only after those 3 stages are completed can you think about how to develop leads on LinkedIn.

Hope that makes sense? If you wish to book on the '4 stages of LinkedIn', my price is £200 + vat ($350), for 4 hours of tuition, 13 weeks online support via my LinkedIn group, costed based on the size of your group. £35 ($49) for my 2-hour video course 'Mastering Your Profile on LinkedIn'.

My coaching is over a period of 8 weeks, with a 2-week interval between each stage allowing you to adopt your new learning and implement a new approach.

It's a small investment, if you consider how much potential ongoing annual turnover/profit you will make from just adding one new customer every month to your current business.

I look forward to working with you to make that a reality.

Success!

3 Must Do's to Win Business and Get More Leads

flickr | draken413o LinkedIn connection Mark Langston of Crystal Thought asked me to contribute to a blog he's writing. He wanted '3 Must Do's to Win Business and Get More Leads'.

Well that's a tough one, I can think of loads. Its easier to say what 3 things you must do when you get up in the morning then decide which are the '3 Must Do's to Win Business and Get More Leads'. Bathroom, Shower, Breakfast and sometimes in reverse order!

In my view the following 'Must Do's' are quite basic and of course as we know the basics are often forgotten.

So here goes;

1. Stop talking about yourself and start listening!

You have two ears, two eyes and JUST one mouth. A common mistake I see all the time is over-promotion. STOP! When you engage with someone either face to face or online, listen, watch and learn. Its in the stories they tell you, they share the secrets of what they need. SHUT UP! Do not be tempted to jump in and solution sell at the first opportunity of hearing their need. It could well be a false direction they are trying to send you in and after all nobody will truly say what they are struggling with. That would be too obvious, too revealing, too embarrassing and definitely not English. All is actually OK, if the government just got their act together, we would be OK. DON'T! Get drawn into politics, focus on the job in hand and ask the most important question, which is; 'What Else?'

2. How can you assist in ways that are not profitable for you but profitable for your prospect?

Business is built on trust and the fastest way to build trust is to do something for someone without expecting anything back in return. When doing your listening whether face to face or online, listen out for clues as to who they wish to meet and who their ideal prospect is. In fact if they don't give you those clues, which actually most people don't, then you MUST ask the question. It is highly probable that you know someone, who knows someone and before you know you could make an introduction. With the power of LinkedIn this is now very easy to do. Its YOUR job to deliver the potential prospect to your prospect. Trust is built on what you DO for people, not what you COULD do for them.

3. Its a numbers game, but they don't add up until you get personal!

Yes indeed, you have to kiss a few frogs before you find the ideal prospect, however you also need to get to know your network better than you actually do. In my experience you have an intimate network of only 150 people. I call these the 'Power 150'. These are the ones you need to leverage more than you are actually doing. Can you tell me what these 150 people do, who they want to get in front of and what their personal aspirations are? Whether you meet them face to face or via a video call, it doesn't matter, but get intimate, get to know who they are and what their business is about. They are the ones who will help you find the business that you need. As humans we will remember those that make the most noise. I'm not saying be noisy, but definitely be there alongside them, so they notice you. So now go and make a list of your 'Power 150'!

To get more FREE tips on social selling you can visit; http://stayingaliveuk.com/linkedinstinct/

Success!

Have you understood the new LinkedIn updates?

LinkedIn have been busy. Their have been 6 significant updates in the past few months and I'm sure there will be more on their way. I have created this one page MindMap to help you view what the different updates mean.

You can download the PDF by clicking on the link below or just click on the image below to view it online.

In summary the new features are:

  1. New all encompassing search bar
  2. Rich media updates on your home page or company page, upload files or images
  3. Mentions, you can now mention anyone or a company when you post an update
  4. Contacts, completely revamped and improved
  5. 'You recently visited' graphic to interrogate and review what you've been up to
  6. 'Whose viewed your updates', a great measurement tool to see what posts are receiving engagement

Success!

New LinkedIn Features

New LinkedIn Features

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE4gRccorCk

 

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Would you like to help your LinkedIn connections?

One of the major benefits of Social Media, is that you have a real opportunity to 'give' instead of 'take'. Don't get me wrong in the world of business there is a lot of evidence of 'take'. So when I see the largest professional network, LinkedIn, providing us the opportunity to get closer to our connections and help them out, I am pleased and thankful that someone understands the need to 'give' more.

They already gave us 'Skills & Expertise' on your profile allowing your connections to endorse you. However it does come with a health warning from me, because LinkedIn serves up suggestions that are derived from your profile through a clever algorithm hidden in the secret code. They aren't always the ones you want or need for your profile key word optimisation.

Then a new graphic appeared out of nowhere on my profile and although it hasn't got an official name, I will call it 'The comparison graphic'. See below. Thank you to my wife @hippyclair for allowing me to use her profile for example purposes.

 

As you can see the overall graphic compares your skills, interactions and connections on LinkedIn.

On its own it may feel quite dis-heartening if your own graphic is smaller then theirs, but you have to go deeper and you do that by clicking on each individual graphic.

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Skills: If you have more skills then your connection has, it prompts you to do something about it and give them some more endorsements. A great prompt to help them out.

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Interactions: This one is a little bit confusing to me. So it tells me that compared to Clair I've had more likes, comments and shares in the past 30 days. And then prompts me to share an article. I guess to continue with my good work.

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Connections: This one makes more sense. I have more connections then Clair, so it is asking me to suggest some connections for her. Again a good prompt to help out.

They might be small things, but this can really help out your connections and they will appreciate your efforts in supporting their journey on LinkedIn.

"Give a little bit"

Success!

Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?

As published in The Non-Significant Journal of Business & Consumer Psychology Issue 2.1 - Spring 2013

Background

In recent years, an increasing number of scholars have sought to study and measure the impact of social networks (social media).

Social media network connection concept
Social media network connection concept
  • A 2010 study by the University of Maryland suggested that social networks may be addictive, and that using social networks may lead to a "fear of missing out", also known by the acronym "FOMO" by many students.
  • It has been observed that Facebook is now the primary method for communication by college students in the U.S.
  • According to Nielsen, global consumers spend more than six hours on social networking sites.
  • Consumers continue to spend more time on social networks than on any other category of sites—roughly 20% of their total time online via personal computer (PC), and 30% of total time online via mobile.
  • Tim Berners-Lee contends that the danger of social networking sites is that most are silos and do not allow users to port data from one site to another. He also cautions against social networks that grow too big and become a monopoly as this tends to limit innovation.
  • According to several clinics in the UK, social media addiction is a certifiable medical condition. One psychiatric consultant claims he treats as many as one hundred cases a year.

Introduction

Networks are not new; they have existed since the very first existence of cells on planet earth. It's quite amazing to know that our cells work together in networks to achieve tasks together. One such example is wound healing. For wound healing to occur, white blood cells and cells that ingest bacteria move to the wound site to kill the microorganisms that cause infection. At the same time fibroblasts (connective tissue cells) move there to remodel damaged structures. This is a wonderful example of how cells behave together in networks.

Even our brain neurons wire together in associative networks to create our memories and skills. Cell division even mirrors the way that networks grow.

We humans are no exception in nature. We exist and flourish as part of networks. We seem to have some inborn instinct to behave in this way, actively involving ourselves in many different systems of connections.

Thumbs up like button on white background.
Thumbs up like button on white background.

The first network we experience in our lives is the immediate family, where we learn how to be social by watching our parents and siblings. Beyond that, we soon learn how to ‘network’ with other groups of adults and children. We then start our social journey by joining many different networks, the nursery, primary and secondary school, the college and university and then our work and leisure networks.

The size, membership and complexity of these networks may grow or contract during our lifetime, but they always remain an important part of our experience. There are several theories put forward to explain this networking phenomenon, from Social Comparison Theory,Role Theory,Homogeneous Theory and the Social Identity approach. The evidence seems to point to the conclusion that networking is in part driven by our genetic make-up.

Tribes

These networks have a major impact on our lives. They determine how we see the world and how we see ourselves; we constantly monitor how we are accepted in our various networks.

Perhaps another word for these networks could be 'tribes'.

Belonging to a 'tribe', gives us the feeling that we are part of ‘something bigger’ then we are. It helps to give our lives more meaning and significance. The belief that you belong to a ’tribe’ is reinforcing, as it encourages you to relate more strongly with the other individuals in that ’tribe’. It helps with the identity that you have given yourself as you became an adult.

When your ’tribe’ behaves in the same way that you do, you will consider them the same as ’you’ and somehow feel a connection. It triggers an automatic approval, telling yourself that they are OK as they behave in a similar way to you.

The way that this translates in social networks is that individuals will follow people on twitter, send each other friends’ requests on Facebook or ask to be connected inside professional networks, like LinkedIn. We may have never met the person but for some reason we want to share intimate details of our lives with them.

Facebook
Facebook

Never in the world have we seen this kind of behaviour before. It did not exist before social networks appeared on the worldwide web. You could not have imagined walking up to strangers, people you have never met and suddenly start sharing your personal life with them. It just didn’t happen. We as humans need to trust someone first before we will share personal details. In social networks personal details are being shared all the time without any apparent shyness or reservation.

And the only reason this happens is because we have connected at some level with this stranger in a social network where their behaviour mirrors our own. In social networks we behave for around 80% of the time exactly the same way as everybody else. Just the act of being in a social network together, posting updates, sharing content means you are doing the same as everyone else and that makes you part of that tribe.

Significance

Social networks give us a platform for significance. According to Anthony Robbins, significance is one of the 6 human needs as per his Human Needs Psychology model.  We all have a need to be significant in our lives and when family and friends, like, comment or respond to our activity inside social networks, we feel good, we feel loved, we feel significant.

Dopamine is closely associated with reward-seeking behaviours, such as approach, consumption, and addiction. Recent research suggests that the firing of dopaminergic neurons is motivational as a consequence of reward-anticipation. This hypothesis is based on the evidence that, when a reward is greater than expected, the firing of certain dopaminergic neurons increases, which consequently increases desire or motivation towards the reward. This is why social networks are so addictive and why games inside social networks (e.g. Farmville) are so popular. Equally though, aggression is also evident in social networks and recent studies indicate that aggression may also stimulate the release of dopamine.

Why do humans enjoy social networks?

Humans are social beings, they thrive around other humans and other humans make them thrive. Without human interaction we have no reason to exist. Compassion and love is a ready built-in operating system, which we are born with. Without the love we experience on the day of our birth we would probably die. Throughout our lives we crave that love and connection with other humans. Especially as those humans are the same as us or expressed in another way, exist in the same tribe as us.

Anthony Robbins’ Human Need Psychology says that one of our 6 human needs is love and connection15 .

Physical social networks, whether it’s the family unit, our workplace unit or other tribal social networks, which we belong to for our sport, hobbies and political activities, all exist because there is some love and connection that takes place.

Virtual social networks via the web also exist for the same reason. The creators of these networks have been able to create certain activities to allow us to feel love and connection with a connection or a tribe that exists inside these networks. Whether it is ’liking’, ’commenting’, ’sharing’, ’re-tweeting’, ’favouriting’, ’re-posting’, the user feels good when this takes place or in other words they do feel loved. This is very addictive and when dopamine is released in the brain, we want to experience more of this feeling16 .

As human beings we also want to give out love and this is another one of the human needs and is called ’contribution’. And therefore in social networks we also like to contribute to our fellow human beings.

The way that this translates inside of virtual social networks is no different. For example by actively ’liking’, ’sharing’, ’commenting’, it makes us feel good and drives us to do more of it, whenever the recipient rewards us in some way for taking this selfless action. And guess what happens more dopamine is released and the more addictive it becomes.

Put on top of that Ivan Pavlov’s dog experiment

and ’ding, ding, woof, woof’, every time our mobile device makes that familiar notification noise, we know that this could mean more dopamine and more love, so we’ll react instantly to the need of that possibility.

How social learning grows networks

In 1961 Albert Bandura conducted a controversial experiment known as the ‘Bobo-Doll ‘experiment, to study patterns of behaviour associated with aggression. Bandura hoped that the experiment would prove that aggression can be explained, at least in part, by social learning theory, and that similar behaviours were learned by individuals modelling their own behaviour after the actions of others. The experiment was criticised by some on ethical grounds, for training children towards aggression.

Bandura’s results from the Bobo Doll Experiment changed the course of modern psychology, and were widely credited for helping shift the focus in academic psychology from pure behaviourism to cognitive psychology. The experiment is among the most lauded and celebrated of psychological experiments.

Penguin points
Penguin points

This study can be viewed as quite significant and why social networks grow so fast. When we see the activities of others in social networks, we start to wonder if we're missing out on something and whether we need to start involving ourselves. When we then discover that our tribe, (whether family, work, hobby or other tribe), is doing the same, we will stay and investigate it further. And that is when we start enjoying shots of dopamine in our brain and when the addiction of this social network interaction starts working.

CAUTION: NOT SUITABLE FOR MINORS

Conclusion

Social networks are here to stay, they've always existed and whether they are physical or virtual they are an important piece of our human make-up. My personal view too is that back in the times when humans went through war and terror they would draw closer to each other and grow closer socially. For example, during World War II, it was easier to connect with our fellow humans as we were all going through the same terror and strife. We would look out for one and other and support each other.

Basically we were giving each other a lot of love.

Bird Doodles
Bird Doodles

As the human population has grown and spread across the globe, some of the physical connections may have been lost. Virtual social networks have allowed us to make that re-connection with each other and in fact get in touch with people who we may not have seen for many years.

Of course this makes us feel loved and appreciated too.

And now, because these virtual networks show us how many fans, followers, and friends we have, this is proof to the world and ourselves how popular we are.  We take this metric as an important measure of how many people approve of us or rather love us, a kind of ‘love-o-meter’!

...or in Bryan Ferry’s - Roxy Music words...”Love is the drug I’m thinking of...”

 

Is 'LinkedIn Contacts' a sign of a full blown CRM?

20130306-192245.jpg Since the middle of 2012, LinkedIn have been rolling out new features, re-designed its user interface, upgraded the ability to include media on your profile and added more features to paid products for recruiters and sales organisations.

And now they are releasing ’Contacts’. The normal slow roll-out applies.

I predicted 4 months ago, without any prior knowledge that the natural extension of LinkedIn would be CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

I believe this is the start of it. It's a logical and sensible extension of LinkedIn, it makes complete sense. The hardest thing for sales people and marketers alike, is keeping up to date records of prospects inside customer databases, spreadsheets and address books.

Often people are employed or huge money is spent on cleaning data. There are organisations who sell directories to the most sought after professionals, like buying and HR professionals.

With LinkedIn, most business professionals will keep their details up to date. This means you have a database of contacts and prospects that will NEVER get out of date.

This is a sales professional’s and marketer’s dream. Link with this, all email communication, contact details and records of calls and interaction and you've got your dream CRM.

So now sales organisations have the triad of contact information directly inside LinkedIn, a ’social profile’, ’sales navigator’ and ’contacts’.

I can well imagine how this will develop further and do I think it would be worth upgrading to a premium account for this? Oh yes indeed I would. I am already a premium member anyway and was doubting some of the benefits, but now I can see how a premium member will receive some additional benefits in this integrated LinkedIn world.

By the way I don't think contacts is a charged product, but there are some features that are only available for premium members, what exactly I won't know for sure until I see the release.

The way I see it at the moment is that LinkedIn are the ’Apple’ of social media/networks. Facebook is the ’Microsoft’ and Twitter is just a ’News Ticker’ feed.

LinkedIn has developed a higher quality user interface compared to the others and its continuing to enhance this on their website as well as mobile.

They don't suffer from the volume of events and games invites either and now I know why they switched-off events last year. It's all making sense to me.

Their vision is right and they are doing the right things.

I am quite impressed as you can tell and I don't even work for the company!

If you want to learn how to create a great LinkedIn profile for FREE join me on my weekly surgery on google hangout.

http://stayingaliveuk.com/linkedinstinct/

If you want to swipe through hundreds of FREE insights and tips follow this link.

http://storify.com/stayingaliveuk/linkedinstinct/slideshow

Success with your LinkedIn journey, it will be worth it.

Are You Killing the Sale?

Guest blog by John Rees, sales and marketing consultant, mentor and creator of the Holistic Sale model of business development. You’ve read the book, seen the video and maybe even have the T-shirt so you know how the story goes … “This is Sales 2.0. and we will build momentum by using Social Media, Sales Automation and CRM to reduce the cost of sale and improve sales productivity.” This sounds great in theory and some businesses think the technology can and should take over. I don’t.

This approach may work well when selling to consumers, but selling in the business (or B2B) space is different, because trust and credibility are even more important. The strength of a story and the way you tell it, plus an ability to build a relationship can best be achieved by direct human contact. This can, of course use technology called a telephone or a video conference call. Face to face is not always possible, but it is still the best way to connect with others.

We all know that automation is excellent at making mundane tasks more efficient, but some businesses have taken this to extremes. They have lost that human touch. And it’s getting more complicated as Sales Automation and CRM systems connect with Social Media platforms to build automatic sales engagement models. Maybe the aspiration is to do business without having to make a sales call, give a presentation or even shake someone’s hand!

Many businesses use systems to ‘process’ potential buyers. They send predetermined emails at certain stages based on the actions people take. They only actually make contact with those who jump over enough hurdles at the right time to warrant a call from a human being.

The real danger in all this is that while you wait for the buyer to reach a certain stage of ‘sales readiness’ the opportunity may have passed. Either they are fed up with receiving obviously system generated emails, or a competitor beats you to the punch and has already engaged them in conversation.

Evidence shows that this automated approach is becoming less effective. According to recent findings, trust in online content including blogs and tweets is plummeting fast. Marketing-speak is widely used and most platforms have now become bloated advertising channels. It’s easier than ever to build a following of thousands on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, but what does this prove? Is this an endorsement of the quality of your brand, or evidence that you know how to use Social Media to maximise your exposure?

I’m not a Luddite though because I’ve spent all my working life in the technology space, so I know how it helps people become more efficient. The problem arises when it’s used as a replacement for human interaction and this is happening more and more.

During my career, I’ve used various sales processes that were far too complicated and convoluted. The emphasis was on ‘strategic selling’ by building power maps, identifying buying personas and preference grids and looking for blind spots and red flags. Many processes have now been automated and systems tell salespeople when they should actually call someone. It sounds crazy and it would be funny if it wasn’t true.

I’m not saying you don’t need a sales strategy because you do, but it should be as simple as possible. While some businesses spend far too much time strategising and waiting for the system to tell them the time is right, others are seizing the initiative and actually talking with people.

Let’s be very clear here, the ability to build trust, inspire confidence and develop deep and meaningful relationships can never be achieved by a sales process or a piece of software. People will always make the difference.

Social Media and automation definitely does have a place in business because it enables us to connect with many people at the same time. It’s excellent at building a profile and sharing ideas, but don’t rely on it as your primary means of sales communication. Don’t allow it to dictate how and when you engage with people. Use it to share your big ideas and attract attention and when someone shows interest, call them and start a conversation. That’s where you make a connection and that’s where the selling starts.

John Rees is a sales and marketing consultant and mentor, who specialises in helping businesses who either want to bring a new idea to market or build momentum with an existing one. 

During his career he had sales and marketing roles in the Information Technology sector across Europe, India and North America. He worked with global technology leaders and start-ups who defined new market sectors.

He sold mainframes and minicomputers and witnessed the explosion of new markets created by the development of software application packages.

During recent years he worked with fast growth companies, start-ups and spin-outs and established businesses in many industry sectors. He learned a lot about how to succeed in business, and that’s why he created the Holistic Sale model of business development. This defines world-class ideas that can be used to simplify processes, create a compelling sales story, build a vibrant network of sales opportunities and improve sales performance.

Have you noticed the LinkedIn changes yet?

LinkedIn are gradually changing their look and feel and its not just the way the website will look, see Barack Obama's new profile below, which showcases what all our profiles will move to hopefully very soon!  To request an invite for the new profile go to http://www.linkedin.com/profile/about

Today, I also noticed that they've changed the email layout, which confirms a new connection with the same look and feel.

And furthermore a notification email, showing posts that people have liked and commented on, in a neat summary format.

And the notification email letting you know who endorsed your skills on your profile.

No doubt there will be more changes on the way, like group discussion notifications via email.  LinkedIn's changes in look and feel are very welcome and will significantly differentiate them from other competing social business networks.

Are you spending enough time on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn, is getting more exposure, more prominence for business, headhunters and jobseekers. It's been the dark horse in the race for popularity and it's not there yet and has its issues. Company profiles, are still quite basic, but that will change in the future for sure. Network statistics appears not to be working and hasn't been for quite some months or maybe even years when you see the posts on google.

But they are catching up on all other aspects. Their Facebook style newsfeed, is looking better, the fact that they stopped you from posting via twitter into LinkedIn, means they are driving you to post in LinkedIn first and allowing those to go to Twitter instead.

Initially I balked at this change, but now I can see the potential of it being one way only.

For most business people having a business type relationship, means they prefer to stay away from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other such personal consumer type sites.

By posting your updates via LinkedIn, means they can still go to your twitter account if you wish. The great thing is all your personal comments won't now pollute your LinkedIn account.

The trick now is to plan what you wish to post on LinkedIn. The best marketeers have an editorial calendar, planning what they are going to post and when. Allowing for seasonal effects, major events and company announcements, blogs and testimonials.

The recommendation is to post at least once per day, and these posts can be via your business page on LinkedIn or your personal profile. Oh yes the morning is the best time, as you will catch the commuters who are looking at content on their mobile devices.

The beauty of the business page, means you can assign admin rights to colleagues, which means you're not the only one posting content.

Content remains 'King', so be careful on choosing what you post. some guidelines on content type: Your own unique content; blogs, video, interviews, webinars, events, white papers 3rd Party content; industry news, expert third party research, news coverage of your company Sourced; customers, strategic partners, guest posts, linkedin polls, cross posts from linkedin groups, product tests, testimonials

Success with your LinkedIn journey and oh yes, please, please, please put a decent photograph of you on your profile!

Is Facebook the new Apple?

Well Facebook have done it. They have silenced the naysayers, the doubters, the fund managers who are still smarting about the dotcom collapse, the users who curse Facebook every day for making changes to the user interface without any regard for them, and the app creators who rely on their business fortunes and hoping for the continued growth of Facebook.

Facebook went public and made billions. Yes indeed someone wrote a cheque to buy loads of shares to make the owners very very rich indeed. (and Priscilla Chan is a very happy girl too!)

If you are reading this then it's an 85% certainty that you have a Facebook account. You may only have one to spy on your kids and then again, you may well be using it to stay in touch with "friends".

How many "friends" do you have? The average suggests you have somewhere in between 100 to 190 based on Facebooks's own research back in November 2011. http://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-data-team/anatomy-of-facebook/10150388519243859

And of those you probably only interact with a maximum of 6 and of those there are probably only 3 that you have a regular conversation with.

Facebook's growth has been phenomenal and unprecedented and there is no sign of it letting up. The power of personal recommendation has just got a 'whole lot' more important with their IPO.

The other day I was reading my newsfeed when I spotted this amazing image of cookies. Yes cookies! And someone had posted a thank you to the 'Campervan Cookies Co.' (http://www.facebook.com/CampervanCookiesCo) for making a great box of cookies for their client. And I loved them (well the look of them), the only thing was the company who had posted the thank you had actually forgotten to put their Facebook business page, so I had to ask for it and of course they obliged, so that I was able to find their page and like them.

So within in the space of a few seconds I was able to connect with a company I had never heard of, didn't even know existed, was so impressed with the recommendation that I was motivated to go and like their page, actually without even having tried the product!

So what do you think? Are you a business owner, consumer, student, charity or parent? Does the fact that Facebook went public affect the way that you will use the service?

Do you feel that you are going to be bombarded by adverts some time soon and will that turn you off?

Are you fed up of the amount of changes they make to the user interface every 6 months?

I would love to hear your views. So feel free to post them in the comments or if you fancy doing this inside Facebook, please go to http://www.facebook.com/stayingaliveuk

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Raise your glasses to Facebook and say Cheers!!

Have you Embraced 'Social Learning'?

The term 'Social Learning' in current days, doesn't mean the same as it did when Bandura did his experiments in the 60's. It encompasses a theory that individuals enjoy learning in a social context, when our learning is discussed and debated.

After all 'everyone has an opinion', and this means that we actually learn more about a topic, news story, event, training intervention, when we can reflect on it and interact with it.

Learning & Development (or training) at school and at work has and will continue to be the holy grail for all education professionals. We're always looking for better ways to engage students and drive a change in human behaviour.

Trouble is millions of $'s & £'s are spent every year to achieve these objectives. And it's so painful to see when the results don't match the spend.

Think about it. The world is at War somewhere in the world and always has been. Consider the economic conditions in most countries currently. If education, training and development works, we would not be in this state of flux. But really think about it. We as humans haven't evolved as much as we like to think. Our nature is closer to animal instinct then we give ourselves credit for.

If we are truly sophisticated and used more of our frontal lobe, which is the part that separates us from animals, then surely we wouldn't be carrying out wars, we wouldn't have an issue with CO2 emissions and global warming, the economies would be running smoothly.

Surely it would? Am I mad? I don't think so, I believe I am quite a rational kind of person, who can usually see both sides of the argument and yes I do see the best in most humans, because after all they should be educated, rational, intelligent and loving beings. And you also know that this isn't always true, but we have to start somewhere and I start with everyone's good until proven otherwise.

Anyway where is this leading us towards?

Oh yes, 'Social Learning'.

Consider the success of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and the latest kid on the block Pinterest.

What do they all have in common? Any idea?

Humans connecting with humans, that's the common thread through all of it. So why is this so important at this time in the world? It has allowed millions of us to have a voice, to discuss, comment and debate on news stories on major world events and on individual stories and their life events.

My theory and its only my theory and it makes perfect sense to me is as follows.

Remember the war? Which one you will say, because there have been so many.

Well let's just talk about World War II.

The War brought people closer, they looked out for each other and they knew more about each other's lives compared to any time in history. Well it's nearly 70 years since the ending of that major war and ever since then we as humans have drifted apart and have become more unconnected.

Social Networking is not an accident or a happy coincidence, it isn't either the creation of a Harvard University graduate or silicon valley's entrepreneurs. Their invention would never have worked if there wasn't the appetite for it.

The old saying ’people buy people first’ applies in social networks too, not just in business. We like to connect to like minded individuals or people that interest us and maybe we can learn something from them!

And yes we do like to learn, we are always learning, the brain collects millions of impressions every day, without us even realising it. If we don't learn we will die. As humans we have an inherent need to grow. But when we think about learning we think about, classrooms, teachers, exams, pressure, stress and recall many unpleasant memories.

We don't perceive consciously that reading tweets, Facebook posts, articles, blogs, watching YouTube videos as learning and of course it is, you are learning all the time.

The learning methodology of 70-20-10, is showing us that actually we learn 70% on the job or in our daily lives, 20% from our colleagues or family members or friends and 10% formally, so that's when we sit in a classroom, either at school or in the workplace.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtdHZQ2VXhE

The development of social networks, will and is changing the world of learning forever. Millions of teachers and trainers are having to adopt these new technologies as part of their delivery methods.

This requires the teacher / trainer to become proficient in these new tools and get their own knowledge of these networks up to scratch. After all their students are using these to learn, so now we better embrace these too and make use of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H4RkudFzlc#!

Those that do, will succeed in helping to change the landscape of learning for themselves and students alike. A more engaged student will mean a more connected world and a more connected world will mean a world with more compassion and understanding for our fellow human.

Success!

 

Interested in the Secret Garden of LinkedIn?

There is a manual, but nobody reads it, which means most of you just dive in, try and get away with the minimum and then feel overwhelmed because you haven't taken a few minutes to do some studying. I am of course talking about myself (own up if you thought it was you) and even though I have done my studying, I still find nuggets of short cuts in social media platforms, that nobody has ever told me about.

Numero Uno.  If you are using the LinkedIn app on your phone, I am discussing the iPhone app as I don't know about Android, then you are able to view your contacts, search for new connections make new connections.  Very useful.

Secret no. 1. You can invite anyone via this app, unless they have set some privacy settings, which most people do not know how to do, or haven't bothered with.  I believe in openness which is how social media works best.  For example if you want to connect to Barack Obama, do it inside the app.  Normally If you searched for Barack via the LinkedIn website and click connect you get the box below to complete.  I don't know about you but I don't have Barack's email address, so this where the journey normally ends.

But if you search for him via the app, you get this.

Click invite to connect and providing he hasn't activated his privacy settings you should get the following message.  Note the blue confirmation at the bottom, saying invite sent.

Secret no. 2.  You can also achieve this through the LinkedIn website, however you need to have someone connected to you, who has Barack Obama as their 1st connection.

First you need to go Barack Obama's profile and confirm that he is in your 2nd level down, As shown below. If it says 3rd or higher, then it's a much tougher task.

Then you can view who of your connections is directly connected to them.

Then check each of your connections to see if their contacts are openly shared or not.  I was able to find one of them who had their connections open.  Then click on them and via their profile click on their connections.  It takes a while to find him, because there is no search facility as such, but all contacts are sorted alphabetically, so it doesn't take that long.

Once you have found him, you will see a small + sign plus the word 'connect', as shown below.

Click on it and you will get the following popup box.

You can now add a personal message and click send invitation.  No need to have his email address as shown earlier.

Note:  Of course I am using Barack Obama as an example here, this will work for anyone that you are trying to connect to.  This is where having more connections to people who also have large connections allows you to find the right people you wish to be connected to.  And by the way this is free of charge as well!

Note of caution:  Only us this method if you know the person.  People can mark your invites as 'unknown' and you could be banned from LinkedIn after collecting too many 'unknowns'.

Numero Twoo.  I love business networking, but the biggest challenge always is those business cards.  What do you do with them?  I bet you have them in a neat pile on your desk or shelves, close by.  But guess what you never go back to them.  That's why LinkedIn is brilliant.

Here is my routine.  As soon as I get back to the office from networking and I might have a stack of business cards, I find them on LinkedIn, send a nice message out to them and hopefully they will connect.  For those that are not on Linkedin, unfortunately, you will be forgotten forever, because I don't stand a chance to remember you, sorry.  Better get yourself on there.

But how do I get these contacts into my address book?  I have tried typing them in manually, takes forever.  I have used scanners, they work but too much editing.  I have now got an app on my iPhone to scan them, so they go direct into my phone address book and sync with my computer, that worked really well also.

However now here comes the gift for you!

You can download them all direct from LinkedIn directly into your address book on your iPhone, (sorry don't know about Android) and it pulls in all their details, email, phone if they have listed and their picture (providing they have a picture on LinkedIn!).  So now when you look at your address book, you can link the name with the picture and no more embarrassing moments when you meet them next.  It's very easy to do and it does work very well.

Go to your profile inside the app, click on connections, you will see a small icon top right above your connections as below.

Click on it and then you will get the next page, where you can download your contacts directly to your iPhone.

And if you have iCloud enabled those contacts will sync on all your devices.

This is the best discovery I have made for ages and will save me loads of time!

Happy gardening!

Are you afraid of LinkedIn?

(135 million+ LinkedIn professionals around the world as of November 3, 2011)

I attended a recent networking event and chatted with business people, who were there because like me they would like more business.  I was taken aback a little when 2 people that I spoke to out of the 5 that I met, who shared with me that they were "afraid" of LinkedIn.

I use the term "afraid" on purpose because, when I asked them whether they were on LinkedIn, which is a standard question I ask every business person I meet, their faces filled with horror and then they shared with me the reasons why they either weren't there or why they were very very careful who they connected to.

Maybe I am the naive one, but my philosophy with Social Media is to either be active in it and play full out or stay out of the game, you can't be half in and choose when to come out and play and when to stay at home.

But it got me thinking, maybe there are more of you out there, who are "afraid" also, so I wanted to write this article to appeal to your more liberal side, the part of you that has courage and is willing to take a few risks, because you know you've got that part inside of yourself, don't you?

Here are the "fears" that were raised with me today:

  • People who I have never met or spoken to, ask to be connected to me on LinkedIn, why?
  • They tell me that they are wishing to grow their networks; well they are pulling me into the same mindset and I do not wish to be part of it!
  • I am very choosey who I connect to, because I only wish to be connected to people, who I have met and I have got to know them and what they are about
  • What if they start calling my contacts and telling them that they know me, when really they do not?

And I am sure there could have been more.  The real reason for the "fear" is actually ignorance and I don't mean that in a negative way, I actually believe it is really positive, because there is a fantastic opportunity to educate people.

I consider LinkedIn as my virtual business networking database.  LinkedIn is actually very ethical, it is run with the same principles as face to face networking and yes of course it is ideally best to have met that person or at least to have spoken to them.  However business is a numbers game and in order to have some influence in your business community you do need to connect with people who can be in your circle of influence.

It is good to build a relationship with people who you have not yet met face to face and yes try and do that even if you are only connected virtually.  Actually LinkedIn is so transparent, they can learn about you, your history, your experience, your business goals and learn so much more, which you would never be able to share at a face to face networking event.

We all need to do more with less, so LinkedIn is the perfect vehicle to network, without the expense of attending networking events, breakfasts, lunches etc.  It is becoming more acceptable to do things virtually and of course I appreciate it's not everyone's "cup of tea".

We need you all to start getting into the game and changing your mindset, because this is only going to continue to grow and we would like you to be there with us and be part of the journey.

There is a huge amount to know about LinkedIn and I have witnessed the massive changes it has undergone in the past few years, which I promise you will continue, especially as they have gone public now.

Below I have shared my own network stats on LinkedIn and you can see the reach you can have with only a few connections.  They say that the level below your direct contacts are where your real business opportunities lie.  You can see that I have 365,000 connections that are 2 degrees away from me.  That's just unbelievable and I could never imagine that I would be connected to so many people.  However if you notice carefully Linkedin, presents a small box to you every time you log in, which says "people you may know".  And when you click through you will see a list of page after page with people that are 2 degrees away from you.  Well the same is presented to everyone that goes on LinkedIn and is active on there and that's how you get noticed, that's when people view your profile.

I hope you take on board what I am trying to convey, but just in case you don't, I would be happy to explain some other finer points to you at any time, just post a comment or question on here.

Success!