Category Archives for "SMO – Social Media Optimization"

How to become a Top Influencer contributor on Linkedin
Oct 23

5 Tips to Use LinkedIn Updates to Grow Your Network and Influence

By Rebecca Murtagh | SMO - Social Media Optimization

5 Power Tips for Leveraging LinkedIn Updates to Advance Any Stage of Your Career

Whether you are the CEO leading a brand, CFO seeking funding, sales professional seeking leads, career professional seeking a new opportunity, expert seeking to share thoughts and opinions, Recruiter seeking new talent, or a student looking for your first job, LinkedIn is the preferred social network for professionals. With over 225 million professionals in 200 countries worldwide, it is safe to say that LinkedIn has become the most trusted professional network in the world.

Bottom line, no matter where you are in your career, LinkedIn can work for you, or against you. The difference is in how you use the platform.

You Have to Do More Than Show Up

Just having a profile on LinkedIn is not enough to grow your network, build influence and achieve your goals. You must be engaged in order to keep those in your network current and gain access to what I call ‘Spheres of Influence’…the indirect connection to colleagues, friends and family of those you are directly connected to.

Posting updates on LinkedIn has several benefits which are not immediately clear to most users. Here are 5 ways to use LinkedIn updates to improve your visibility and reach to your target audience, whether they be customers, media, employers, partners, investors or employees.

5 Ways to Use LinkedIn Updates to Support Career Goals

1. Visibility on LinkedIn: The more frequently you post updates from your social media profile, the more likely you are to keep your network up-to-speed on your focus, and the more likely they are to think of you when an opportunity to hire or help you comes along. When you comment or like, or your update is commented upon or liked, your name appears in notifications for your connection, and in the stream of those you are connected to. Every bit of your engagement on LinkedIn (with the exception of messages) is visible to others, so the more engaged you are, the better!

2. Visibility in Search: Currently Bing displays ‘Klout’, a measurement of personal influence in search engine results. (refer to Klout score in red icon beneath profile on the right in the image below)

How Klout appears in search engine results.

All search engines take queues from social media networks, and display social profiles in SRPs (search engine result pages). The more authority you have, the greater your value is to those you seek to engage, or be engaged by.

3. Visibility to New Connections: When you post something your connects like, it appears on their stream (which everyone they are connected to can see), and you are notified. This opportunity not only provides instant feedback on what your connections are interested in hearing from you, it also enables you to expand your network to others like those you currently have a direct connection to.

For example, if I write about social selling, and one of my connections is in the sales training business and they share that post in an update on their profile or in a group (that I may or may not belong to), everyone that professional is connected to is exposed to my content and becomes a potential connection for me.

4. Visibility in Groups: Much like updates from your profile, posts in groups will appear in your stream. Group posts will appear to other members of that group, even if you are not yet connected. Likes and comments on your post will appear in your notifications, and your likes and comments on others posts will appear in their notifications. This is an excellent way to connect with target audiences.Reach and frequency are key in all aspects of social media. Just as you would never expect a flurry of sales from one single 30 second radio or television ad, you must post and engage regularly if you wish to leverage the platform effectively. The more active you become, the more visible you become – earning “top influencer” status is not extremely difficult with a little time and focus.

How to become a Top Influencer contributor on Linkedin

Power Tip: Think about the audience you are targeting (not just your peers) and this approach becomes 100x more powerful.

5. Visibility on Other Social Networks and Communities: Like most social platforms, you have the opportunity to connect your LinkedIn account to another account to allow facilitating simultaneous updates on multiple networks. Push notifications should be executed with thought and de-selected when a post is inappropriate for one network or another.

You may also use your LinkedIn profile as credentials to ‘log in’ for commenting on blog posts, community forums, etc. When you do, your profile is typically connected to your comment, enabling those who see the post and your comments to learn more about you and potential become a new connection for you.

So there you have it – hopefully you’ve learned at least one little something new about the power of an update on LinkedIn.

Like this? Share it, or comment on this blog or on the LinkedIn update – doing so will elevate your visibility and potentially connect you to someone uniquely able to support your goals.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Jul 02

Is Facebook Really Your Friend? A Wake Up Call for Brands

By Rebecca Murtagh | SMO - Social Media Optimization

Should Social Media Replace The Brand Website?Is Facebook Really a Friend to Your Brand?

In my book Million Dollar Websites: Build a Better Website Using Best Practices of the Web Elite, I give it to the readers straight; the website should always be the ultimate destination for the brand. It has become one of the most commented sections of the book. Why? Because after drinking the Kool Aid (no disrespect, I grew up on it) marketers and brand managers have handed over the keys of the kingdom when it comes to fully realizing the return on the investment in social and often do not recognize how confining the social platform is to how their brand can engage audiences.

Despite the fact that nearly every business recognizes the need to engage in social to some level, many brands are struggling to fully realize a return on the investment in social. There are factors that contribute to this dilemma.

3 Reasons Why social media should never take the place of the website:

1. Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest Are Brands Too

“Free” social platforms that society has embraced to connect on a personal and professional level were designed to make money. Facebook, as well as other social media platforms, are continually developing features to improve the user experience, most of which will serve their needs to generate specific data to support various goals and objectives.

For social platforms, it is all about aggregating users and perpetuation as much time spent on the social platform as possible. that As they mature, their revenue models evolve. However, one fact remains constant; social media platforms were created to make money, one way or another. So, if their primary goal is to serve their bottom line, why would one ever believe the best interest of brands is a priority?

Social media is most productive when implemented in the context of an integrated marketing plan, which should include a path to establishing a direct connection to each customer, promoting loyalty and supporting key performance objectives (like list-building and conversion to sales).

2. Data and User Insights

Social platforms are inherently designed to generate intelligence, data and insights that support development, advertising sales, data-mining, and licensing of data to other entities. Any marketer worth their salt understands that without proactive analysis of performance, interaction and the ability to measure results, the social media investment is subjective.

Facebook states “You will not collect users’ content or information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without our permission.

In other words, you must have Facebook’s permission to build a list from the relationships you build on the platform.

Marketers know that “the money is in the list”.  Those who drive interaction from social platforms to the website may enjoy greater flexibility in managing user interaction, expand exposure to the brand over time, and provide analytic reporting and insights into effectiveness of marketing efforts.

Possession is nine-tenths of the Law

click to view current Facebook Page Guideliunes

July 1, 2013 brings new updates to Facebook Page Guidelines

When the relationship is established, cultivated and maintained on the social platform only, the relationship may be connected to the brand, but it is owned by the platform. In addition, did you know that everything you provide Facebook a non-exclusive license to distribute everything you post on your Facebook Page?  Have you ever tried to export or download a “list” of fans, friends of your brand?

By leaving the relationship on the social platform, you never really take ownership of a long-term relationship. You and your customers are “permissioned” to connect with Facebook sitting in the middle, and owning the relationship. When brands invite audiences to engage on owned assets like websites and blogs, direct communication and long-term benefits are enjoyed by both sides.

3. Terms, Changes and Navigating The Unknown

A relationship with anyone on a social platform is subject to the terms and conditions, or terms of use of the platform. The ever-changing terms, display rules of profiles, posts and shares of Facebook, for example, have created ample challenge for marketers seeking to leverage the platform for their brand. As frustrated as consumers may be with the ever-changing privacy settings, brands find themselves needing to continually adapt and invest in creative and marketing to keep up with design requirements for images, tabs, and other features necessary to promoting the brand on the platform.

This has been particularly problematic for marketers in the past who wished to launch promotions on Facebook. There are guidelines to adhere to. In fact, Facebook states that promotions must be administered within the Apps on Facebook.com T a requirement that many brands may be in direct violation of.

If you use social platforms to introduce promotions, and run the promotion on the website, the benefits expand from list-building to support of key performance objectives like website visits, time on site, referrals and other factors that can directly support SEO efforts.

Facebook Page Terms Updated July 1, 2013

In May I presented a session “All Roads Lead to Home”  at Nova Southeastern University for SFIMA 2013 (a South Florida Interactive Marketing Association and Pubcon conference) to articulate ten reasons why the website can, and should be, the ultimate destination for a brand and its customers. I asked the room packed full of marketers, “How many of you have read the Facebook Pages Terms of Service?” Approximately 3-5% of hands went up. I then asked, “How many have read those terms of service recently?” I think one hand went up, maybe.

Why should this matter?

On July 1,2013 Facebook updated their Facebook Pages Guidelines.
Facebook, as well as every social platform, has rules that impact how a brand can use the platform. I am focusing on this post because although many marketers continue to depend on Facebook as their sole social platform, few are staying on top of platform changes that directly impact how they interact with their audiences.

In addition to the Facebook Pages TOS, Brands must remain compliant to Facebook Ad Guidelines, Data Use Policy, Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, Facebook Platform Policies and Custom Audience Terms. Not just initially, but continually, as these guidelines tend to change frequently.

The platform is very specific about how pages can be named, populated and has offers strict guidelines on how brands may communicate, advertise and conduct promotions on the platform.

So I ask…Why let the social platform set the rules when you can use social media to engage with target audiences, and then cultivate that relationship on your own website, where you have much more freedom and flexibility?

A Fair Tradeoff?

There may be lots of eyeballs on Facebook, but they come at a price. You may be very well prepared to operate and adhere to the confines of promoting your brand on Facebook and other social platforms. However, if you haven’t considered the factors mentioned above, you may consider using social media to connect with target audiences and bring them “home” to the website.

How do you approach Facebook and the relationship between your brand and audiences? Has this post changed your thought process at all?

 

 

Jan 02

The Influence of People Through Social Media

By Rebecca Murtagh | SMO - Social Media Optimization

How We Are Influenced, and Influence Others With What We Post Online

social media influence

We are impacted by persons we have been introduced to through social media every day. They may share valuable information, a fresh perspective, or a better way to do something. Often, a blog or post motivates or inspires professional or personal action, without the author ever knowing.

Posts and Updates Take on a Life of Their Own

The post may be seen the moment it is shared on social media or in an RSS feed. Or, it may not be found until days, months or years later. Yet, because of its relevance to the person reading it, that tweet, blog or share often becomes more than a published post. It can, and often does influence decisions, choices and actions of others in a real way.

There are numerous experts and thought-leaders who have unknowingly influence me in some way professionally. Below are two examples of how social interactions have influenced me personally.

Motivation

While at Digital World Expo to speak, I had the pleasure of chatting with Tim Ash who was also presenting a session. We had crossed paths online, but this was the first time we had met in person. We spoke of  kids, family, his Conversion Conference, his book  and photography. As  Tim was walking around with a digital SLR camera taking photos of everyone, I felt as though I was missing something. I have always enjoyed photography. In fact, in college I studied photography, learned how to develop my own film, prints, etc. I learned to shoot on a manual 35mm camera, and have never replaced it with a digital SLR. Despite my passion for the art of photography over many years, I had deferred to pocket digital cameras while traveling and raising a family, denying myself the joy of photography.

Influence

What Tim does professionally gave us common ground. Yet, it was my exposure to Tim’s personal interest in photography that inspired me. Within 2 weeks after chatting with Tim at a rooftop networking event in Las Vegas, I had researched, purchased and was shooting with a digital SLR camera. I have since traveled with the camera and use it even more than I thought I would. Seeing a “kindred spirit” doing something I loved, gave me that extra little nudge I needed to do something about it, finally.

Inspiration

Seth Godin is well known for sharing his thoughts on everything from marketing, entrepreneurship and being proactive in achieving goals. This year, Seth was highly successful in circumventing the traditional publishing world by crowd-funding ‘The Icharus Deception”, an experiment in publishing based on the mythology of success. Seth introduces the book by saying “We are all artists now”.

I have started 3 books over the past few years. Seeing a prolific author publish a book about something he was passionate about inspired me.  So, after months of writing, I have finished my first book; “Million Dollar Websites”, sharing have learned about the common, costly mistakes frequently made by those investing in websites. I expect the book, which will be finally published in January 2013, to be the first of many.  I would have written the book. However, seeing another author break out of his comfort zone to embrace a topic that he was passionate about provided additional inspiration to take on the totally exhilarating, exhausting and rewarding experience of finishing my book.

You don’t have to be a rock star in order for your expertise and knowledge to do good (thankfully).

You Never Know Who You Could Be Influencing

As I have shared, two people I just happened to cross paths with have inspired me without ever knowing it. The same is true with what you write and post on your blog or social media accounts. You may never truly know who you have influenced, or how. Rest assured, just as you have likely been influenced by someone you have encountered, you are likely to impact those around you.

How to Improve Your Social Media Influence

Three things to keep in mind when you post (even when you think no one is reading):

  1. What you post will be ‘out there’ on the internet forever. It may be read the moment you write it, or be viewed months or years later, so keep that in mind when writing. And, even if you delete it, chances are it has been seen, captured or archived somewhere.
  2. Be authentic to yourself and to your brand. The information may not be timeless, but if you are consistent with your personal brand, the context that moment in time will go a long way in building credibility and ability to attract like-minded people you are likely to influence, and be influenced by, over time.
  3. To improve the life of what you write, optimize it to be visible across all platforms. Use keywords when writing, hashtags (on Twitter and Google+) when sharing, and make the destination page or post search engine-friendly. Optimization extends the life of what you write far beyond the moment you post it.

Who have you influenced?

Who have you been influenced by?

Dec 21

Has Social Media Forever Changed the Exchange of Christmas Cards?

By Rebecca Murtagh | SMO - Social Media Optimization

Has Social Media Forever Changed The Tradition of Sending Christmas Cards?Christmas cards have become direct mail pieces.

The days before Christmas and my mailbox is filled with Christmas cards. Having moved frequently over the years, I have always looked forward to receiving greetings from loved ones near and far. Yet, in recent years a new trend has emerged.

 

Instead of handwritten cards, I receive more photo cards every year. Christmas cards used to be an expression of one’s sentiment of the season. Cards featured art, humor or graphics that conveyed a message of their own. Today, the personalized Christmas card has evolved into what more closely resembles a Facebook post, image Tweet or direct mail piece (and believe me after being in marketing for over 23 years I know one when I see one). As prolific as they are, I am sure you’ve received at least one of these yourself this year.

 

Are Handwritten Christmas Cards History?

I have a dear childhood friend that every year, without fail, sends me a Christmas card and a Birthday card. No small fete since they come within 6 days of one another. And, although we have not seen one another in years, and are ‘friends” on Facebook, I cannot ever remember a year when she has not touched my heart by sending me both cards, complete with handwritten notes. I suspect she will never know how much her thoughtfulness has meant to me. (Although, if she reads this blog she may begin to know : )

 

Just as busy as everyone else, I always take the time to hand-write Christmas cards. The number has decreased over the years from 80 to around 40, and I may only write a couple of lines. However, I do include the name(s) of those I am sending the greeting to, along with a brief, heartfelt message. Over the years, I may have included a photo, and for some even inserted a longer, more personal note.

 

Every year it seems more Christmas cards are replaced with postcards with photos of the kids. Parents rarely include themselves on the cards. And, the cards are not accompanied by a single hand-written character. As much as I love seeing children of friends and family members documented in photo cards each year. It is the relationship with the parents that I hold dear and will cherish long after the kids have grown up and moved away. (What will they send then?!) Perhaps they will become more like those who have replaced Christmas cards with email, or have stopped sending cards altogether.

 

Christmas Cards Have Taken The Form of Direct Mail

It might as well be a direct mail marketing piece. These cards come in printed return labels with laser-printed address labels, and convey one simple line like “Have a Rockin’ Christmas” or ‘Merry Christmas from our house to yours”. These communications hint of obligation more than love and remembrance during the one time of year our culture has us collectively thinking about what is truly important in life.

 

Has Social Media Taken the Place of Social Correspondence?

Have we forever lost the art of sending Christmas greetings? I have even received wedding invitations in the form of photo cards. People have become quite accustomed to posting “Happy Birthday”, “Merry Christmas”, and “Thank you” on social media platforms. There is nothing wrong with that. I guess I still believe that there is something special about sending and receiving Christmas Cards.

 

I love traditions. I also love social media. Maybe I am a little old fashioned. But, I’d much rather receive a note than a mass-produced mailing. Heck, I’d even settle for a note ON the postcard. (if you’ve ever received one of these haven’t you also found yourself flipping it over only to be disappointed to only see the photo stamp?

I ask you…Do you think social media has forever erased the art of sending personalized notes to friends and family once a year?

Nov 09

LinkedIn Endorsements to be Weighed in Search

By Rebecca Murtagh | SMO - Social Media Optimization

Endorsements Will Impact Search

In and out of network endorsements on Linkedin

click to view larger image…

If you’ve logged into LinkedIn in recent weeks you have noticed that endorsements have been added to profiles. Endorsements will soon be weighed in search results according to Inc. Magazine. Higher visibility in search could translate to more business or hiring for those active on the world’s largest professional network with 175 million members.

Endorsements require only a click. Recommendations, which remain, required someone actually taking the time to write a brief review or synopsis on their experience with you.

How Endorsements Work

You can endorse anyone in your network. Anyone in your network can endorse you. You can click on the skill of any individual with endorsements to see who has endorsed them for that skill. For individuals you are not connected to, avatars of those who have endorsed that person appear as long as they are 3rd level connections or closer to you. If they are outside that circle (further than 3rd level connections or group) a generic avatar appears.

How to Increase Endorsements on LinkedIn

Endorsements offer more value than appearing in search. They let those interested in what you do gain insight from others that know you. People love reviews when they shop for products and services, so why not people? Endorsements as mini-reviews. The more you have, the more credible and trusted you are. There are a few ways to increase endorsements:

1. Endorse others. Endorse those you have hired or worked with and social media etiquette is that they will reciprocate by endorsing you. Added benefit is endorsements show up in update timelines, enhancing visibility to others.

2. Ask connections to endorse you. Reach out to those you have worked with and ask them to endorse you.

3. Invite those you interact with on various platforms, such as blogs, social media, at events, etc. to endorse you.

In fact, if you like this post, I welcome your endorsement!

Will Google Calculate Endorsements in Search?

Given Google’s interest in connecting people, places and things in its Knowledge Graph, and zest for identity verification, one could expect Google to weigh indicators like size of network, frequency of posts and number of endorsements in search. Proof and/or verification from Google will tell us in coming weeks and months.

I frequently speak on the relationship between social media and search so I will be very interested in how this evolves.

Has this post changed your perception of endorsements?

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