Tag Archives: marketing

Ten Linkedin business marketing mistakes to avoid

Many millions of people using Linkedin are missing out on the fantastic brand building opportunities new Linkedin presents. I say new because after several years of under-investment, Linkedin has gone functionality crazy of late.

Give your Linkedin profile a spring clean today, avoid these ten all-to-common mistakes and start to take the most of the platform as an unbeatable research and business development tool as well as an incredible brand builder.

1. Poor or non existent profile pictures. Who wants to see a faceless profile or worse a company or brand logo. Not me. As with all social media, add a profile picture.

2. Lack of clarity in titles and descriptions. Use keywords that best represent who you are and what stand for do.  That little box that tells you how many times you’ve been looked at – its down to keywords.

3. Lack of focus on achievements and what you add. Too many people fixate on titles when they should be focusing on your impact on sales, brand launches, new initiatives, or improvements in quality, process, training or operations if you are not in a commercial role.

4. Failure to use all available opportunities to promote via the profile page. There are some great links and embed opportunities. Use them. Add your website, a blog, a Twitter account, a Slideshare account.

5. Not having a thought out contact strategy or approach. Are you connected to all the people you’ve ever worked with rather than the people you want to sell to? Time to rethink who you want to be connected to by researching people using the search function, identifying key companies and seeking opportunities to informally approach them through Groups (see below). And don’t let Linkedin send a default invitation request. Tailor it giving a reason to connect – reference to a group, common contact or other common ground.

6. Not enough or over use of the status updates feature. Linkedin status updates containing tweets is one of the most frustrating parts of logging into new Linkedin. If you’re not careful a handful of people will take over your feed – luckily they can be hidden without dis-connecting. On the other side, don’t be a Linkedin bore. Update once / twice a day with something useful.

7. Not enough or over use of testimonials. These should matter. The best testimonials come from former managers, clients or customers. Asking your peers, team or suppliers to provide references just seems lame. Go for quality over quantity on this one. .

8. Being a lurker not a contributor in Groups. I estimate 1% of a Linkedin group’s membership actively engage in discussions within the group. What a missed opportunity. Getting involved in groups of like minded people is the cornerstone of the Linkedin experience. There is a group for almost everything on Linkedin. Search and sign up for one to try it out. There will be discussions taking place that you can add value to today!

9. Not building reputation through Answers. Like groups, this is a great feature to really build your profile as an expert in your field but as it is hidden away in the ‘More’ tab it is overlooked. Browse the categories and begin to provide feedback and recommendations to questions posed by other Linkedin members, worldwide.

10. Not fully populating your Company Page. This feature has developed in recent months with opportunities to add specific products and services linked to targeted landing pages and your Linkedin member colleagues.

Q: What other mistakes do you see made on Linkedin and how can they be avoided?

Links worth a click #17

Some informed viewing for you this week.

First up, Coca Cola’s approach to social media in video form. Sure it’s big budget, but there are smart lessons in here. Love how they’ve used the word liquid which is a creative way of linking their strategy to their products. How could you do something similar?

Second, a video showing how Google search continues to evolve to the personal needs of the user.

Finally, the latest user data from Linkedin (for January 2012) shows how the platform continues to add users around the world. Some interesting intelligence for presentations.

 

R E S P E C T

Aretha was right. Actually, respect is a fundamental human need. Most of us in our professional careers yearn for it. But how do great business leaders motivate and inspire  colleagues, managers and customers to deliver ground breaking, difference-making work? How do they (you?) set themselves apart from the poorer ones?

Perhaps these five characteristics are a good place to start

1. Passion. Great leaders believe utterly in what they are trying to achieve. There is often a more compelling reason to deliver great marketing work that matters over and above the need to simply get paid. Being associated with work that matters drives business leaders the world over. Pharmaceuticals save life, construction projects provide shelter and a place of learning whilst packaging innovations reduce waste and carbon and positively impact the planet.

2. Decisiveness. Making tough decisions, bold decisions, going in a new or different direction, and admitting when you got it wrong are all hallmarks of a leader worth following. I blogged yesterday about decisiveness in football club management and stimulated some interesting discussions across social networks. Having courage to stand out and make a decision marks leaders out.

3. Confidence. Passion matched with courage and decisiveness naturally instills confidence. The leader by default is confident but more importantly so too are the people around him. Whilst passion is innate, for me confidence (like positivity) is definitely infectious. Confidence in the direction being taken, the decisions being made and the work being done fosters greater productivity in people who want to be successful.

4. Inspiring. Most business leaders assume a leadership position by default – whether they set a company up, rise up to the role or are recruited to the role. Few are trained in leadership. The specifics are learned on the job. Inspiring leaders bottle their passion, decisiveness and confidence and package it in a way to ensure it becomes infectious so people buy in. Virgin regularly tops the list of brands most marketers would like to work on / for / with. Why?

5. Approachable. I believe leaders need to be approachable. This doesn’t mean anyone can get in touch at any time. But working in an ivory tower and not engaging can damage reputation and business. Listening becomes more important as a coaching skill. It’s not a surprise to me that during the last few years more senior managers are ‘going back to the floor’ to see what’s happening and what their workforce, customers and suppliers ever-shifting perceptions are.

Being a leader marks you out in a tough economy and creates business opportunities if you preach and practice what you preach. People will come to value your contribution and trust you to, in time, help their business.

Q: Have I missed any? What attributes do you see in great business leaders, that lead to them being respected? Share below.

 

How to ensure more productive meetings in 2012

Lots of companies and marketing and sales teams are busy pulling together their master plans for the coming year. Often this means lots of onsite and offsite meetings. Meetings get a bad rap in business because people use them to avoid work, avoid decisions and to look busy.

In the spirit of starting the new year with a bang and doing things differently (better even) in your workplace, try giving some thought to the meetings you host and participate in.

As a host:

1. What decisions can be made without the need for a meeting? Email, file sharing, web and video conference can all be used to bring ideas to life with micro teams managing different project elements.

2. How can you manage expectation, secure the best input and minimise conflict – all in the shortest time? By being prepared. Expansive agendas and pre-reading usually assist this, but how many meeting hosts actually take the time to do this thoughtfully with the end goal in mind?

3. How critical is it that all the people involved need to be there in the room? Consider who makes decisions, who influences them and who is a ‘nice to have’. (Every person in one of your meetings for one hour is costing you two hours of productivity).

4. What tactics can you employ to keep the meeting short and on point? Think about employing pre-reading and preparation, detailed agendas, firm timekeeping, different venues, removal of chairs, tables, laptops and screens, removal of snacks, drinks, burst brainstorms and action focused takeaways.

5. What is needed after the meeting to ensure that decisions made are actioned? As the host you need to decide, and if necessary obtain buy-in from meeting participants to support you. At the very least, they should be kept up-to-date as a courtesy.

As a participant:

6. Can you be bold in fielding meeting requests and demand more from the host? Reduce the amount of time lost to meetings by being a little stricter with your time, for example by stringently focusing on the positive/negative impact on project delivery?

7. Can you add value? Establish quickly if it is a meeting you can add value to. There is no point attending to ‘hear it first hand’. That’s dead time.

8. Do you understand what is expected of you? If not, ask. If the host can’t tell you, politely decline. If you don’t have time to prepare, politely decline.

9. What is your involvement after the meeting? If you don’t get a definitive picture on this before you commit, the chances are you’ll have a whole load of work to do afterwards.

10. What’s in it for you long term? What are you going to get out of being involved?

Summary:

Sure, face-to-face contact is critical but in 2012, more than any other recent year, time is money. How are you going to ensure you keep projects moving forward, keep teams engaged and keep clients and customers happy without spending too  much time in unproductive meetings? Share your ideas below.

2012 resolutions and commitments

Seth Godin explained yesterday the importance of commitment. To me, making a commitment and making a resolution are different – commitments are long term, new year’s resolutions by their nature are short-lived and likely to fail.

And Marc and Angel Hack Life offered great advice on ways to achieve better balance, productivity and all round well being in 2012.

What do you want to achieve in 2012? Do you shoot small (realistic, in the niche) or reach for the skies? Whatever your resolution, it needs commitment, otherwise it is an empty self promise destined for failure.

For what it’s worth and to give me something to check back on through 2012, here are mine.

1. Create a blog (and wider online brand) for The Marketing Assassin that adds value to the people that come across it and come to rely on it. Facebook page? Linkedin group? YouTube channel? Slideshare page? Downloadable free and paid  content? Yup, all in time.

2. Write 150 blog posts here in 2012 (that’s 3 a week). All, more provocative and hopefully more useful than the 330 which have gone before. (Helpfully, WordPress has just kindly sent me some killer statistics on what my readers like!)

3. Publish a book. Expect it by the middle of the year. The topic and platform you’ll have to wait for. There will be deal for subscribers, contributors and fans.

4. Build profile as an authority on digital and integrated B2B marketing at conferences and seminars throughout 2012.

5. Secure additional blog and column writing opportunities on digital and integrated B2B marketing.

I hope you join me for the ride. And I hope you can share the ride with people who you are in turn riding with!

Let’s make it a year to remember.

Links worth a click #16

Some informed reading to kickstart your week. Better late than never!

First up, a beginners guide to setting goals in Google Analytics.

If you’re in the client service game, getting to know your client is critical to long term business success. Here are ten useful tips.

Are you working with your social media super influencers?

If like me you’re writing a blog, here are some tips  on building a blog that might be bought for big money in the future. 

Is Google+ credible competition for Facebook? The numbers speak for themselves.

Finally, 17 great examples of content visualisation in action (that’s infographics to the layman).

Is honesty always the best policy?

Depending on your point of view, Top Gear host and Sunday Times bestselling author Jeremy Clarkson is either speaking honestly or offensively striking at your fundamental beliefs.

 

What he did achieve this week was to put discussion of the public sector strikes over pension reform right at the heart of the news agenda – and as the first question on the BBC’s Question Time. Though he was claiming to extol ‘balance’, he rather hinted at his distaste for the strikes, at a time when everyone in the economy is being forced to make sacrifices. In that moment, he was being honest, and because people didn’t like it, his contract with the BBC is now apparently at risk.

Apply this thought process to business. Does it pay to be honest? In an extreme case for not, Gerald Ratner derided his own jewellery only for the company to go to the wall.

Interestingly, Seth Godin wrote a seminal text a decade or more ago called All Marketers are Liars which amongst other things laid the foundations for value-based story telling in marketing rather than seductive feature laiden selling. Who are the modern proponents of this approach and what can we learn?

Name some brands that are held in high regard for being honest. Innocent? Virgin? Dove? Apple? Zappos? Why?

And name some that perhaps aren’t. British Gas? BT? Sky? United Utilities? Comet? Again why?

The point I’m trying to make is that I think there is a place for honesty in marketing. Not enough companies strip themselves bare and deliver it. Too much talk about total integrated streamlined efficient solutions. Too much broadcast, too little engagement.

Honesty has to be sincere, genuine and prevalent through all levels of the business, embodied in all employees, and present at every customer touchpoint. Brands that spend thousands (even millions) of pounds convincing customers how great they are, only to deliver late, install incorrectly and then take days to put things right (Comet this very week), can’t claim reliability and service as a virtue.

So, is your business writing cheques that your people and processes can’t deliver on? What can you change to better reflect your strengths and customer value?