In the spirit of online transparency, and for those paranoid about organizations watching your every move, a new tool from Mozilla lets you monitor who is following your digital footprint.
As of January 31st, LinkedIn will no longer offer LinkedIn Answers, their on-site, Quora-like community sourced Q&A resource. The change was announced in a brief message on the Answers homepage:
In another short message in their Support resources, LinkedIn explains, “As of January 31, 2013, the LinkedIn Answers feature will be retired from LinkedIn. We’ll be focusing our efforts on the development of new and more engaging ways to share and discuss professional topics across LinkedIn.”
LinkedIn Answers was a great place to quickly find information and expert advice from professionals. The real opportunity for companies, though, was that it was a fantastic way for individuals to showcase their own expertise and establish credibility. This has long been important for businesses large and small.
In the B2B (business-to-business) space especially, LinkedIn Answers offered a valuable venue for marketers to answer the questions of others, who might have included potential clients, industry influencers, suppliers or others.
The closing of LinkedIn Answers will affect some marketers more than others, though there are still plenty of places to connect across the platform.
The first is your own LinkedIn Company Page. Here, you can offer details about your products and services, share company news, pose questions to and share information with your following, and more. This is also the right place to offer contact information and share a link to your company’s website, making it simple for those who have found you on LinkedIn to connect in other ways.
LinkedIn Groups are another great place to connect and have conversations with people in your industry or those interested in learning more about it. There are currently more than a million LinkedIn Groups, many with over 100,000 members. Marketers might choose to join relevant groups and participate in the conversations there, with the emphasis on providing helpful information, not advertising. Another option is to establish a group of your own on LinkedIn, where you can more effectively drive conversations and establish a reputation as a thought leader.
LinkedIn Ads can then help drive targeted traffic to the Group, Company Page or an external website. In fact, social ads on this network can even target members of specific Groups.
Wherever you connect with LinkedIn members, be sure to offer high quality, engaging content, whether in video, visual or text format. Answer questions where appropriate, but also start conversations. Respond to questions or comments on your Page and in Groups to which you belong. Share content that offers value to the people with whom you want to connect: those who can help you achieve your business goals, whether in sales, brand building, exposure, or other areas.
See our How to Engage Your Audience on LinkedIn series for more helpful advice on using the professional network for maximum benefit.
Will you miss the LinkedIn Answers section of the social network? Share your thoughts about it in the comments.
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LinkedIn is one of the more established social networks, though it has undergone a transformational shift. Once thought of only as the place to post an online resume and search for jobs, LinkedIn has become fertile marketing ground for companies of all stripes.
Members span over 200 countries and have reached 187 million in number, with over 2.6 million businesses displaying LinkedIn Company Pages. Social media expert, author and seasoned speaker Brian Carter is teaching companies how to best take advantage of the LinkedIn opportunity through his consulting, writing and speaking work.
Carter spoke with Dell recently, to share insights and tips from his latest book, LinkedIn for Business: How Advertisers, Marketers, and Salespeople Get Leads, Sales and Profits from LinkedIn.
Where to Spend Time and Budget on LinkedIn
The first and most important consideration for marketers, said Carter, is deciding where to spend your time and money. On LinkedIn, he recommends using Ads and Groups. “Ads allow you to target better than Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, if you’re trying to reach people with specific job titles or within industries,” he advised.
Further, LinkedIn Groups have one particularly useful feature: weekly announcements sent directly to group members’ email address. “Groups are great, not only for building and engaging a social network, but for building an email list, as well,” said Carter.
Brian Carter: “Think Like a Publisher”
One of the biggest shifts in businesses right now is companies moving towards becoming publishers, Carter noted. This can be a challenging concept for companies to grasp and implement. “How do you get people interested in your content?” he asked. “How can I be interesting and provide value to people without advertising to them? They’re not going to go read your blog if you’re just marketing to them; they won’t choose to spend their time that way.”
The solution, he said, is an interesting content mix that plays to the needs of readers. “Use humor, where possible. Be inspirational. Give advice. What businesses struggle with in B2B marketing, especially, is that you have to be professional, but not boring,” Carter said.
Companies can create interesting content using minimal resources with these tips from Carter:
- Videos are not as compelling as people expect them to be, partly because there’s a time commitment. If you create a video, put the best stuff in the first 30 seconds.
- Infographics fulfill great content criteria well: it needs to look stunning, make data easier to understand, and inspire them to share with their peers. Find an experienced infographic creator, try an infographic creator tool to do it yourself.
- People love pictures; images are quick and easy to digest.
Tips for More Targeted, Effective LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn offers two types of advertising solutions: self-service, where marketers create and manage their own campaigns, or a managed service with a monthly budget.
If you’re going the self-serve route, said Carter, it’s important to experiment and test your targeting on an ongoing basis. “For example, if you’re going after CMOs or CIOs, you may still need three separate campaigns to find the best way to target those people,” he said. “It might be groups they’re in, or it could be that targeting job titles is more effective.”
The biggest problem people have is getting impressions, he said, because people aren’t spending a lot of time on LinkedIn. However, there’s a silver lining there in that ads don’t burn out as quickly as they do on platforms where impressions are typically higher, such as Facebook. This means ad images and copy stay fresh longer and require less switching out.
Experiment with different types of images and ad copy, he recommends. Carefully track the performance of each ad to determine the optimal length of time to display the ad before testing new creative.
Carter’s LinkedIn for Business book takes a deep dive into prospecting and sales generation tactics for B2B companies, complete with case studies and actionable tips.
Are you using LinkedIn to build your business, either organically or as an advertising platform? Share your tips and experience in the comments! If you’re just getting started, use our How to Engage Your Audience on LinkedIn series to help you navigate the many features available to you.
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Marketers are wasting millions of dollars by failing to apply what works in digital marketing to their mobile initiatives, says Huge CEO Aaron Shapiro. Here’s how to stop the bleeding.
Here are five metrics that can help a digital marketer take these new shifts into consideration and better handle their daily bid management routine.
“we gave some thought to the key attributes and behaviors of the effective community manager – someone who creates useful, fun and safe brand and communal experiences.”
The volume of information being created is growing faster than your software is able to sort it out. As a result, you’re often unable to determine the difference between a fake LinkedIn friend request, and a picture from your best friend in college of his new baby. Even with good metadata, it’s still all “data”–whether raw unfiltered, or tagged and sourced, it’s all treated like another input to your digital inbox.
What’s happened is the web has gotten better at making data. Way better, as it turns out. And while algorithms have gotten better at detecting spam, they aren’t keeping up with the massive tide of real-time data