Tag Archives: Linkedin

How to find the right audience for your Linkedin Group

How do you get on with LinkedIn groups?

Time was, when a LinkedIn group was in the top 4 weapons in your social media armoury, along with tweeting, blogging and Facebook. A ‘group’ brought people together around a subject so they could chat and share ideas in a non salesy way. I joined a handful about social media, and played a part in setting up several others for clients.

But now I have got stuck on a problem. My latest group is not growing. It is stunted and despite lots of tender ministrations and lovely high quality content, it is not finding an audience.

Are the days of a great group gone?

Well let’s look at the facts. The groups that work well for me are the ones where we are genuinely occupying a niche. The specialist recruitment group has hundreds of members and over the past 6 months by focussing on getting the content right, it has started to generate good levels of engagement from other group members. A success! Another even more niche group is to follow!

But over at my cloud computing group things are static. These are the problems;

  • The members all work in the computer industry and are primary LinkedIn contacts, rather than target audience, which is a different crowd altogether.
  • The content is aimed at people who work in a diverse range of professional services and want to learn about cloud computing, but don’t know much about it yet.    
  • Therefore the content is not finding the right audience. 

My suggested remedy is to change the group’s name so that it reflects the type of people I want to join, perhaps using the phrase ‘a beginners guide’ or ‘how to’ – then I need to line up some content that really matches the name change before setting to and publicising it.

I still have faith in LinkedIn groups, but I think it is harder to get an audience – especially in areas like computing where the competition is tough. What is your experience with Groups and do you think the strategy I have outlined above is going to do the trick?

Why headlines have become the story.

Pushed for time, I’m skim reading again. Glancing down the story list on BBC news on-line I take in the main news of the day without clicking. Now I’m flicking through the pages of the Evening Standard looking at the photos and then taking 30 seconds to scan the underlined bits of the school newsletter. It is much harder these days to get me to stop and read the full version because there is so much media competing for my attention. So, in this busy busy world the headlines have had to become the story. 

Ticker tape news headlines now run across the bottom of the TV screen, on mobile phones, on bill boards and in school/hospital/hotel receptions. Text alerts are the one sentence headline that has to tell the whole story.

Now think about the way you use social media – Twitter is just a series of headlines and those links on LinkedIn and Facebook – do you actually open them or just read the top few lines that display on the page?

Once you get this, you know that you are implicated too. It’s not just about how we consume, it also has to translate into how we produce – because we all ‘do’ content now.

So make your headlines count.

Confusingly there are 2 approaches here. One is to accept that your audience is going to want to swallow the information in one bite, so you need total transparency. This has to be upfront, honest and factual;

2 dead in Solent jet ski crash

The other way in is to tease the reader into opening the link. Here you can try clever, funny and irresistible. It’s hard and it’s a gamble – so good luck with that. Ideally you can be both witty and transparent, handing over both a piece of useful information and an invitation to find out more – like,

10 things you need to know about social media marketing

or, The New York Post’s,

Headless Body In Topless Bar

There are puns ; “Diageo reports spirited growth in whisky sales.”  

and then there are just times when punctuation causes confusion; “Hospital sued by 7 foot doctors.”

But nobody can rival The Sun for headlines. In Feb 2009 to accompany a picture of a Kestrel and a Barn Owl  fighting over food:

“Hawk Kestrel manoeuvres in the park”

or on the marriage of Elton John and David Furnish,

“Elton takes David up the aisle”

and finally a Yorkshire tale of foot and mouth disease – not the Sun I think,

“Sheepless in Settle”.

Something to think about while you’re composing your masterpieces. Do you have any favourites?

In search of the social media holy grail?

I’ve been at this social media marketing and pr a few years now, yet there are still times when I long for a quick fix, a universal panacea – an answer to all my problems.

Because, as I am sure you know, each social media project raises new issues and problems. This is not a one size fits all kind of game. Some clients need a dynamic Facebook presence while others are going to thrive on LinkedIn AND the landscape of social media itself keeps changing.

So every so often I go trawling the internet for answers. God what a frustrating business that can be! It seems that everyone today has become a how-to merchant and a ninja monger. At best you will find straight forward tech advice, at worst you will find badly spelled cut and paste jobs masquerading as top advice. It makes me wonder who I was taking advice from when I used to suck up all this stuff years ago.

Well it’s good to know that there are still some reliable refuges. Again and again I come back to The Social Media Examiner for a huge range of articles pitched at varying levels. I would also take a look at Social Media Today which aggregates thousands of articles from around the web and Hub Spot for a trawl through the archives. Next time you are stuck, try these resources and you are bound to find something of relevance.

What I’ve found is that even if you can’t locate the exact answer you’re looking for, you can get enough information here to set the brain ticking over and with a little thought, trial, error and effort the solution will come to you. Either that or you need to get a man/woman in!    

If you’re going to do it – do it right…..

Have you noticed how many people have made a new year’s resolution to ‘do’ social media this year?

The friend requests started to show up soon after my return to work.

And jolly well done too. A bit blinking late but not too late to join the party and get clued up (just in time to have a right royal row about Google plus – if you are interested read this .)

I really hope they stick at it because it is useful, fun and rewarding as well as being a potential time-suck!

I could offer reams of advice on how to do it, but my blogging back catalogue does that quite well, from how tos on Twitter and Facebook to blogging. But I will say one thing about LinkedIn, because so many people are doing this – please, please, please add a personal message when you ask to connect.

My husband, who takes an average amount of interest in social media says he never links up with someone if he doesn’t know who they are, and that includes lots of people he actually does know if he stops to think about it. If you are really busy you are not going to stop to realize that the person who has just asked to link with you is the woman from swimming who you know by her married name but don’t recognize from the photo because she is in her work clothes.

It doesn’t take much extra time to add a short personalized note with your request, reminding the person how they know you and why hooking up with you on social media is a good idea. I might not want to share my work life with a sporting acquaintance, but then I might be enticed by the idea that lots of their friends work in my field or that it will make sharing the results of sporting fixtures easier.

Cold approaches are always a bit awkward – why not apply some of the diplomacy to online connections that you would to real life?


Why social media is inspiring me again!

The year is hurtling by and social media continues to tumble down the hill, getting bigger and bigger like a snowball as it goes.

Some of us went through a period of social media fatigue as the shiny new toys lost their lustre, for others it was the constant changes that put them off, together with being told that everything you knew was now rubbish.

But hey ho! We’ve rolled with it and happily enough I find myself once again in a state of excitement and optimism. Why? 

As my work takes me from one sector to another I’m constantly impressed by how adaptable social media can be to the needs of very different industries.

I am currently looking at the way social media communities can be used in the world of recruitment.

Some time ago I spoke to 6th form students about how to use social media to get ahead in their chosen career. I suggested that not only should they get onto LinkedIn and participate in groups there but that they should follow people on Twitter too – listening to the people you admire and tapping into their thought leadership can be very powerful.

Now I see that this has all been taken one step further with communities like Brave New Talent which have been set up to bring together large companies with potential recruits. Instead of advertising a job and getting a flood of applications which are then wasted when the appointment is made – this encourages HR departments to stay in touch with the people who have shown an interest in them, so that they can share job news and crucially, information about what they’re looking for in a future successful candidate.

Hopefully what you get, is long-term relationships between candidates, companies and their recruiters which builds on talent instead of wasting it.  After all, how many times have you heard people moaning that young people simply don’t know what companies expect of them anymore? This is an ideal chance to stop the moaning and do something.

Brave New Talent have got an impressive rosta of companies involved including L’Oreal, Starbucks, Tesco and IBM. I really like their blog   too.

So take heart from the brilliant new innovations that continue to flow from the social media spring.

What has impressed you lately?

Twitter biographies – no modesty required?

I’ve been thinking about image and personal branding all week after writing that post about CVs. As I said then, the words you write about yourself have got to be good – you can’t afford to squander the chance to control your own publicity.

But this has led to some interesting cultural differences. Take, for example, Twitter biographies. Without being too sweeping – American tend to have less problems than we do with self-promotion. An American accountant is “the best in the Tri-state area” – round here he may just be “good with figures”.

We feel the need to down play ourselves, to turn down the volume, when of course what we should be doing is turning it up to be heard through the melee.

But take care – cautionary tale approaching.

Do you know the racing pundit Brough Scott? He is a face and voice from my childhood when  inexplicably, I watched a lot of racing on TV. I remember him looking rather dashing in a hat and a Barbour jacket although I should imagine he had other clothes. Apparently when he first took to Twitter he decided that modesty was not required and sensibly decided to use his brief Twitter bio to say exactly what needed to be said and I quote;

Brough Scott is one of the best known figures in racing and sport.

This did not go down well.

His peers ribbed him mercilessly, introducing him as “Brough Scott one of the best known figures in racing and sport” whenever they got the chance. After an initial stab at standing his ground he was forced to back down and now writes under a much reduced bio (in bragging terms at least.)

One time ghost writer for Lester Piggott. Presenter of TV shows from the Derby to Books by my Bedside. Still active – on the page at least.

We Brits like modesty much better than braggadocio and the challenge is to self-promote in a way that is going to do us justice without leading to ridicule from our peers. Dry humour helps, but I think you have to be well-known and brilliant to pull off the really self-deprecating.

Part-time Radio 4 Presenter

British actor, writer.

These are the bios of broadcaster Jane Garvey and all round treasure Stephen Fry (you’re a treasure too Jane.) I think both can be confident that we know they are more than that – and their bios go on somewhat flippantly to reference poor motherhood and swimwear – you guess which is which.

So don’t oversell, don’t undersell, be funny but not flippant, have fun and make yourself heard. Simple!

One really sound piece of takeaway advice?

  • If you want people to offer you work – add a URL to your LinkedIn profile.

Why Social Media is no longer an exciting new challenge

Hello! Today I’ll be coming back to running again – but it’s an analogy and very short so please bear with me.

When you first take up running (or any other activity) you don’t think of yourself as ‘a runner’ – you are just you, doing something new, challenging and often exciting. As you grow in confidence and ability you reach for a goal – maybe one you never thought possible, like a marathon – or in my case a half and you strive to achieve your aim.

But. Once you’ve done it and got over yourself for being so clever, you have to face up to the harsh reality. You can never call yourself an amateur – a non-runner – again. Like it or not, those days of ‘little old me, I’m just messing around’ are over.

You have become the thing!

I’m sharing this because I think many of us have come to this place with Social Media. It’s been so long now, that claiming to be fiddling around with the possibilities and dabbling no longer ring true.

It’s time for small businesses to forge ahead with a good strong strategy. Take each social media tool  in turn and have the confidence to use it in a way that best suits you. That’s not to say that there won’t be uncertainty – the Facebook changes alone are enough to keep everyone on their toes – but it’s time to admit that social media is not just an exciting new challenge but a solid part of the marketing mix.

So here’s a rallying call to all those still hovering about in the LinkedIn discussion pages debating whether social media can ever really match up to the good old skills – Let’s cook or get out of the kitchen.