How to Manage your  Linkedin Connections so you never forget how you met
Mange Your LinkedIn Connections

How do you manage your LinkedIn connections? If you are connected to a lot of people it can become confusing. It can be hard to recall how you met people and what conversations you have had in the past.

Perhaps you connected with a lot of people you met at a conference, maybe there are others that you are pursuing as sales leads. Sooner or later you will forget who is who and why you connected.

Luckily LinkedIn has a really cool function that can help you stay in touch with the people that matter, will remind you how you met and you can even log some key information about them like their interests or their children’s names.

Use The Relationship Function To Set Reminders
Use The Relationship Function To Set Reminders

This has to be one of the most valuable functions on LinkedIn and it’s one that a lot of us overlook.

In this video I show you:

  • Where to add information about your relationships on LinkedIn
  • How to set a reminder to contact someone
  • How to add information about how you met your contact
  • How to add additional information relevant to your contact

What sort of information should you store about your connections?

This function is a virtual memory. You should use the ‘Notes’ section to keep track of all the important information about your contact as you get to know them better. Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Hobbies & Interests
  • Birthdays / Anniversaries / Key dates
  • What you discussed at your last meeting
  • Names of children / cats / spouse

Your Turn

Do you use this function?
What other information is useful to you when building a business relationship?

 

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How To Stop, Delete And Manage LinkedIn Endorsements
Love them or hate them LinkedIn endorsements can be valuable

 

LinkedIn endorsements are hated by many but I think they get a hard time unfairly. In this post I’m going to show you how to manage your LinkedIn endorsements and share my tips for using them effectively.

What are endorsements?

LinkedIn launched endorsements in 2012. Before they appeared the only way our skills could be validated was with recommendations. Recommendations act like job references or business testimonials, they are written by those you have worked with telling people why you are great. Obviously a recommendation is far more powerful than an endorsement but they are also a lot harder to get.

LinkedIn prompts people to endorse their connections for skills. To endorse someone you just click a button. It’s quick and simple and can be a good way to connect or reconnect with your network.

How do you control what you are endorsed for?

I wrote this post when endorsements were new to LinkedIn showing how endorsements could be abused. The truth is it’s easy to manage your endorsements from your LinkedIn profile.

Here’s what you can do:

  • If you have been endorsed and accepted endorsements for skills you don’t possess you can delete them.
  • You can change the order of your skills on your profile
  • You can choose to switch off endorsements
  • You can switch off the prompt to endorse others
  • You can switch off those email updates each time you are endorsed
  • Perhaps the most interesting part of managing your endorsements is the ability to hide endorsements for specific skills from individuals or everyone. This could come in handy if you change your job or business and don’t want a less relevant skill showing as your most endorsed.

In this video I show you how to manage your LinkedIn endorsements from your profile page:

 

What are the benefits of LinkedIn endorsements?

  1. By endorsing someone you are reminding them about you. It’s a small ice breaker that when followed later by a message or email can help you build a relationship further.
  2. An opportunity to reconnect. If someone endorses you on LinkedIn it’s an opportunity to get in touch. Follow up with a thank you message and an invitation for a coffee or a chat.
  3. It gives profile viewers a snapshot of who you are. If you offer Facebook training and that’s at the top of your endorsements section it’s a reassurance that you are the right person for the job.

Your Turn

  • Do you use LInkedIn endorsements?
  • Do you find them helpful?
  • What are the benefits / downsides of endorsements?

 

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A Quick Guide To LinkedIn Groups
A Quick Guide To LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups Guide from Spiderworking

 

When I talk to small businesses about LinkedIn they fall into two categories. Those who love LinkedIn and spend all their time on it and those who have a profile and do little else.

If you fall into that second category I’m hoping to persuade you to try something new. LinkedIn groups.

In this post we will discuss:

  • Why you should use LinkedIn groups
  • How to find LinkedIn groups worth joining
  • How to leave irrelevant or dead groups
  • What to post in groups

What are LinkedIn groups?

According to LinkedIn:

 

“LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts.”

Source

If you use Facebook groups you will already be used to the format.

Why LinkedIn groups?

Broaden your network

People who participate in groups on LinkedIn get on average five times more profile views than those who don’t.

The more profile views you get the larger the opportunity to connect. With increased profile views come more connection requests. If someone of value to you views your profile and doesn’t send a request send a request to them. They are more likely to connect if they are familiar with you.

As anyone who has participated in networking knows, meeting new people and chatting can result in strong business relationships both on and offline. LinkedIn groups give us the opportunity to meet and build genuine relationships with people outside our network.

Establish your expertise

By participating in and starting group discussions you have the opportunity to show off your expertise. Be the first to answer a query and you will become the go to person on that topic.

Gain insights and knowledge

LinkedIn groups aren’t all about answering questions. Is there a burning question you have? Do you want to gauge the popularity of a blog topic? LinkedIn groups are the perfect place to find answers and float ideas.

Before you join

Before you start joining and participating in groups it’s important that your profile is in order. If people like what you post in a group they will probably click through to your profile to find out more.

This is your opportunity to make a great impression so make sure you’re profile is polished. At the very least ensure you have a profile picture and a good professional headline.

For more tips on making a good first impression with your LinkedIn profile read my tips on reviewing it here.

Which groups should you join?

So I’ve convinced you to join some groups. How do you find them and more importantly how do you identify good groups?

Use LinkedIn search

  • Identify key words. To find groups that are relevant to you you will need to define some keywords. These could be industry terms relating to your business or the people you want to do business with.
  • To find groups type a keyword into the search bar at the top of the LinkedIn home page
  • Click the down arrow to the left of the search bar and choose ‘groups’ from the drop down
  • Click the magnifying glass icon
A Quick Guide To LinkedIn Groups
Search for keywords related to your business

Groups by their nature are international. If your business is limited to one geographic location you are probably only interested in discussing topics relevant to that country. Unfortunately you can’t filter groups by location but you can filter by ‘1st connections’. Assuming that the majority of your connections live in your region you are more likely to find groups relevant to that location.

 

A Quick Guide To LinkedIn Groups
Filter by first connections

 

Identify good groups

The next step is to try and identify valuable lists from those that appear in your search results. Each group thumbnail will provide you with some headline stats about the group.

  1. How active the group is
  2. How many discussions in the last month
  3. How many members
  4. How many members in your network (your network consists of 1st, 2nd, 3rd connections + people you are in groups with.
A Quick Guide To LinkedIn Groups
How active is the group

 

When I’m choosing a group to join I look for a group that is ‘active’ and that has at least 30 discussions a month. A group with thousands of discussions is a turn off for me. I know I’ll never be able to keep up with what is going on.

If the group is an open group you have the option to view it before joining.

A good group will have lots of active discussions and very few links without comments attached. Take a look and see if people are talking about topics that you can participate in.

If a group is closed you will have to request to join. Some requests are automatically accepted others require an admin.

If you don’t find enough interesting groups using search take a look at the profile pages of some of your connections. You will usually be able to see groups they are members of towards the bottom of their profile page.

 

A Quick Guide To LinkedIn Groups
Find Groups at the bottom of LinkedIn profiles

 

How to leave a LinkedIn group

Even with research it’s inevitable you will join groups that don’t work for you. Unless you are able to participate in a group, or gain valuable information from it there is no reason to be in it. After a while LinkedIn will stop sending you notifications and you’ll forget it’s even there.

You can only join a maximum of 50 groups so make sure each one is worth it. Have a group cull every six months or so. Visit each group, assess it’s worth and decide if it’s still valuable to you.

When you find a group that you want to leave hover your curser over the ‘member’ button on the top right hand side of the page. The ‘member’ button will magically change to a ‘Leave’ button.

 

A Quick Guide To LinkedIn Groups
Hover your curser over ‘member’ and you will get ‘leave’

 

I’ve joined a LinkedIn group, what next?

Now you have found some relevant groups and joined them it’s time to start participating. This is the process I follow:

  1. Find the group rules for guidance on what you can and can’t post
  2. View active discussions, like and comment when I can
  3. Start my own discussion. Try to avoid posting links and frame my discussion as a question to provoke answers.

I set aside specific time every week to participate in LinkedIn groups. This ensures that I am actively participating in the groups that I am a member with and building new relationships as a result.

Recommended LinkedIn groups:

Facebook for Business Powered By We Teach Social - This is my own group, it’s a place to discuss all things Facebook, to seek advice and to help others.

Social Media Marketing Networking Club – This is run by Erik Fisher, the community manager from Social Media Examiner. It’s always full of active discussions. There’s a lot to learn from contributors and you will discover social media challenges that other businesses are facing.

Digital Marketing: Social Media, Search, Mobile & more – I’ve just joined this but it looks like a fantastic group full of active discussions and useful info. Topics are a bit more advanced than those in the previous groups.

Your Turn

  • Do you use LinkedIn groups?
  • Are you in any good digital marketing or small business groups?
  • What makes you want to join a group?

Let me know in the comments below.

 

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Personalise LinkedIn Invitations With Rapportive - Cool Tool
Personalise LinkedIn Invitations With Rapportive - Cool Tool
Rappportive Gmail Extension Makes Customising LinkedIn Invitations Easy

You’ve heard it all before. If you want to get people to connect with you, personalise your LinkedIn invitations. But it’s not always that easy. 

When you visit a profile and click ‘Connect’ you are given the option to send a personalised LinkedIn invitation. But there’s a catch. LinkedIn only allows you send a personalised invitation if you have some connection with the user already.

If you haven’t done business with the person before, if you haven’t worked or studied together you have to have their email in order to personalise.

If you don't have an email to hand you can't personalise
If you don’t have an email to hand you can’t personalise

Rapportive makes the process easier, it’s a Gmail extension that allows you send customised LinkedIn invitations directly from your Gmail interface.

Here’s how it works:

What should you write in your invitation?

You know it’s best practice to customise your LinkedIn invitations but what should you write? Here’s some ideas:

1. Remind them how they know you. Is it a while since you last met the connection? Maybe it was at an event and they met lots of people that day. Never assume they will remember you, remind them where you met.

2. Continue a conversation. This works particularly well when using Rapportive. What were you emailing about? What were you discussing? Maybe you’ve found a link that relates to your conversation or have had a new thought. Include this in your invitation.

3. A catch up. If you know the contact will remember you use your LinkedIn invitation as a catch up. Let them know briefly what you are doing career wise these days and if you can see what they are up to now comment on that too.

4. A compliment. Be careful if you use this strategy, people can be smart at spotting OTT compliments. If you read the connections blog, admire their work from afar mention this and let them know what you enjoyed about it.

Your Turn

Do you customise your LinkedIn invitations?
Do you use the above strategies or do you have a different technique?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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LinkedIn Profile Tips - A Quick Guide To Reviewing Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn Profile Tips - A Quick Guide To Reviewing Your LinkedIn Profile
photo credit: mind over matter via photopin (license)

When was the last time you reviewed your LinkedIn profile? If it’s been over six months it’s maybe time you look again. Here’s some LinkedIn profile tips to get you started.

In this post we will look at five sections of your LinkedIn profile:

1. Your LinkedIn ‘Card’ this is the section at the top of your profile including

a. Your professional headline

b. Your profile photo.

2. Your header background image

3. Your summary

4. Your LinkedIn url

LinkedIn Profile Tips - A Quick Guide To Reviewing Your LinkedIn Profile
Review your LinkedIn profile

Your Professional Headline

By default your professional headline is the same as your current job title and place of work. This can make your profile quite generic. I did a search for CEO and found hundreds of profiles that just stated ‘CEO at…’

If your professional headline is generic it’s time to think about changing it.

Why Is It Important To Update Your Headline?

Profiles are searchable both on the LinkedIn internal search tool and on Google. People are actively using search to find new employees and people to do business with.

If you want to start appearing in these search results you will need to start building relevant keywords or key-phrases into your LinkedIn profile starting with your headline.

For example, the name ‘Amanda Webb’ returned 340 search results on LinkedIn. A search for ‘Amanda Webb Social Media’ returns 7. This should make me easier to find but only if I’ve optimised my profile.

Do the same on Google and you will find all my websites and properties. Amongst these results are a selection of LinkedIn profiles, none of which belong to me. If I want my own profile to rank better both on Google and LinkedIn I need to do some work.

LinkedIn Profile Tips - A Quick Guide To Reviewing Your LinkedIn Profile
Neither of these is my profile. I have some work to do!

 

Make a list of key phrases and key words you would like to rank for and make sure they feature on your LinkedIn profile.

Questions to ask yourself about your headline:

  1. Does it say what you do? Avoid words like ‘Mavan’ ‘Guru’ ‘Expert’ and ‘Ninja’. Your headline should be a no nonsense description of your job and skills.
  2. Is it easy to read? Although it’s important to include key words in your headline it has to be easy to read. Does it sound like a sentence? A description? A job title? If not go back and edit it until it makes sense. Using ‘|’ to break your profile in to sections can help the readability.
  3. Does it use the space available? Your LinkedIn headline can be 120 characters long, use these characters to their fullest extent.

Here’s 3 headlines from the public profiles of members of my network. All three are strong, descriptive and readable.

LinkedIn Profile Tips - A Quick Guide To Reviewing Your LinkedIn Profile
Lots of keywords

 

 

LinkedIn Profile Tips - A Quick Guide To Reviewing Your LinkedIn Profile
Plenty of info but still easy to read

 

 

LinkedIn Profile Tips - A Quick Guide To Reviewing Your LinkedIn Profile
Great description of her skills

 

Profile Photo

Your profile photograph is the first things people will see when they visit your LInkedIn profile. It’s important to make a good first impression.

If you have the budget it’s definitely worth getting a professional photographer to take some head shots for you. If that’s not possible here’s some tips for taking or choosing a profile picture.

  • Get your photograph taken in front of a blank background. This means you are the subject of your photo with no distractions.
  • Avoid having your photograph taken in front of a window. Cameras will automatically adjust the light for the window and you will appear dark in the foreground.
  • Head and shoulder shots are best. Avoid getting too close to the camera as this can look intimidating
  • Don’t crop people out. You’d be surprised how often I’ve seen this done on LinkedIn. If it’s not a clear photo of yourself choose another. Having someone else’s hand, nose or shoulder appearing in your photo just looks unprofessional.
  • Remember this is a professional photograph. Unless you run a pub your photo should not be you with a pint. Dress as you would for meeting a client. If you must use props make sure they are relevant to your business.
  • Look at the camera. Eyes attract eyes, if you look at the camera the viewer will get the illusion that you are looking at them. it’s a great way to make a connection.
  • Make sure it looks like you. LinkedIn is a great platform for building online relationships and bringing them offline. When you meet connections person it’s a lot easier to recognise each other if your profile picture is accurate.

Header Background Image

This is similar to your header picture on Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn recommends that you create an image
1,400 x 425 pixels to upload here.

When you create your image make it graphic. Most of the image will be hidden behind your profile card so pictures of you or images containing contact info will get hidden behind your main profile.

Using tools like Canva or PicMonkey it’s easy to create an attractive header image.

Summary

If people like what they see on your profile card they will scroll down to find out more. By default the next section down is your Summary. This is a chance to tell people more about your skills and achievements.

When people read online it’s a very different experience to when they read from a book or a newspaper. If there looks like there is a lot of text in your summary they will skim past it. In order to keep readers engaged:

  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short
  • Write a list of the skills you want to showcase and write a short paragraph about each
  • Use sub headings and bullet points to break up the text

How do you add formatting and bullet points to your LinkedIn profile?

You cannot bold, italicise or underline text on LinkedIn but there are some tricks you can use to format your profile.

1. Add Bullet Points

The official way to add a bullet point to your Summary and other sections of your profile is to add this code (•) where you want the bullet point to appear.

If you want to get more creative with your bullet points or add other symbols follow this tutorial from LinkedIn Makeover.

Don’t get carried away. Remember this is your professional profile. Using the odd symbol to highlight an area or a list of bullet points is fine but a scattering of icons could cheapen the look of your profile.

2. Adding Subheadings

As you can’t format your text you need to be creative to make your subheadings stand out. Here’s a couple of hacks that will help:

Use an underline

You can’t underline your text directly but you can add a solid line below the text. There are two ways to do this. Once you have added your heading hit the enter key on your keyboard and either:

  • Copy and paste the line symbol from the bullet point tutorial.
  • Use the underline key on your keyboard to create a solid line.

Use all caps

Writing your sub headings in upper case you makes them stand out from the main body of text.

See the screencap below from Donna Serdula who has combined these two techniques.

LinkedIn Profile Tips - A Quick Guide To Reviewing Your LinkedIn Profile
Sub headings that stand out

 

Add Contact Info And Links

Although this information appears elsewhere on your profile adding it to your summary means that people can take action without having to search for the info. Tell people how you would prefer to be contacted and give them the information they need to do so.

Add supporting material

Each segment of your profile allows you to add supporting material. This can be in the form of a power point presentation a document a work sample or a video.

If you have videos hosted on YouTube or slide decks on Slide Share you can link directly to these.

Customise your LInkedIn url

Your personal LinkedIn url is the direct link to your LinkedIn profile. By default this will usually contain some combination of your name and some numbers and letters.

You can customise this link and get rid of the numbers. This not only makes it easier to share on business cards and in signatures but it probably effects your profile’s Google ranking. As I mentioned earlier in this post a Google search for ‘Amanda Webb Social Media’ failed to pull up my profile. It did link to a different Amanda Webb.

I’m hoping by changing my customised link to “http://linkedin.com/in/amandawebbsocial/en” I will start to appear in the search results.

Top tip

Make sure you include your key words and key phrases in all sections of your profile. This will give you the best possible chance of appearing in search results both on LinkedIn and Google.

Your Turn

How often do you review your LinkedIn profile?
Do you use any of the above techniques?
Have you any tips that have worked for you?

Let me know in the comment section below.

 

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How To Hide Your LinkedIn Profile Views & Why
How To Hide Your LinkedIn Profile Views & Why
How To Hide Your LinkedIn Profile Views & Why

Do you use LinkedIn for research? If so you might want to hide your LinkedIn profile views.

I find the ‘people who viewed your profile’ section on LinkedIn fascinating and I often wonder where these people came from. Maybe they liked one of my updates, found me through a connection or advanced search.

Knowing that people can see when you’ve viewed their profile is cool too. If you want to stay in touch with someone you don’t always have to drop them an email or a message. When they see that you have visited their profile it will get them thinking about you.

But what if you want to review a profile a lot? What if you are doing competitive research or trying to find out who has a specific role in a company? It may not be advantageous for people to know you have been visiting their profile in this case. If you want be anonymous on LinkedIn this video shows you how.

There is a downside. When you go anonymous on LinkedIn you are also limiting what you can see about who visits your profile. If you go completely anonymous you won’t be able to see any information about those who look at your profile. If you choose the semi-anonymous option you will see limited information.

For this reason I go anonymous whilst researching (or teaching) and toggle back to full profile mode when I’m finished.

Your Turn

Do you like seeing who has been viewing your profile on LinkedIn? Would you prefer to be anonymous all the time? Do you use LinkedIn for research? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

 

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How Do You Measure Up To Your Competitors On Facebook? - 30 Second Tip
30 Second Video Tip - Facebook Pages To Watch
30 Second Video Tip – Facebook Pages To Watch

Have you ever wondered how your page compares to those of your competitors on Facebook? You may not be able to see how many people view their posts or how much money they spend on advertising but you can see some headline stats using the ‘Pages to watch’ feature in Facebook insights.

You can compare the following stats to those of your competitors:

  • Total page likes
  • New page likes (percentage increase or decrease on the previous week)
  • Number of posts by the page in the last week
  • Engagement in the last week

In this video I show you how to add Pages To Watch to your Facebook Insights:

This is a really useful way to keep yourself motivated on Facebook. Having someone to beat will keep you working hard on your page.

It’s also a good way to keep an eye on what is working for popular pages and what isn’t working for others.

It is nice to see our page likes soar above our competitors, to know our engagement rate is winning but Facebook marketing is about more than that.

You need to take your stats with a pinch of salt and answer the following questions:

  • Are the people who visit and engage with your page your ideal customers?
  • Are people clicking the links to your website and if they do are they taking action on your site? Are they getting in touch? Subscribing to your email list? Buying your product?

Are customers asking you questions either on your page or via direct messages?

Over to you

How does your page compare to your competitors?

Have you learnt any tricks from other Facebook pages?

Do you have a goal for your Facebook marketing?

 

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How Pet Sitters Ireland Reached Their Ideal Customers - Facebook Competition Case Study
How Pet Sitters Ireland Reached Their Ideal Customers - Facebook Competition Case Study
Buster – The 2014 Nose Of Tralee

One of the most successful Facebook competitions I’ve worked on was ‘The Nose Of Tralee’ with Pet Sitters Ireland.

Pet Sitters Ireland customers really love their pets and we wanted to design a promotion that tapped in to this. We know pet owners love sharing pictures of their pets online so a contest that encouraged this would have to be a success. We named it humorously after the ‘Rose of Tralee’ and announced the winner at the same time the Rose of Tralee was announced.

Like the Rose of Tralee this wasn’t a beauty contest, Pet Sitters Ireland were looking for the pet that best represented Ireland. Each county had a representative.

The contest was run via a ShortStack app on Facebook (affliliate) but didn’t Like Gate it as we wanted to make it accessible for all. This wasn’t a contest aimed at getting Likes but about getting brand awareness amongst Pet Sitters ideal customers. To enter applicants had to submit a picture of their pet and describe why they deserved to win. The finalist from each county was given a sash and had to submit a second photo with their pet wearing it.

Here’s a snapshot of the results:

  • Web traffic doubled for duration of contest
  • 2,000 new likes
  • 650 subscribers to email list
  • 15 newspaper features
  • 7 radio interviews
  • 1 TV appearance

 

Kate from Pet Sitters Ireland did all the hard work, I spoke to her about the contest and how it worked.

 

Tell me about Pet Sitters Ireland. How long have you been in business, what services do you offer?

We started Pet Sitters Ireland in 2010. At the time we had a cat and a dog.

We had stopped travelling away as I hated putting them in kennels. Our dog Patch hated being left there and our Cat ‘Top Cat’ would always be really angry when we went to collect him. It always seemed so much hassle to take them and then collect them when we got back.

A friend of mine in the UK was doing some Cat Sitting for a friend and it occurred to us that this service could be really popular in Ireland. At the time of starting the business there were a few independent people offering this type of service, but no-one who was really operating it as a full time business 365 days a year.

Our Pet Sitting service allows your pets to stay home while you travel away. One of our Pet Sitters will call to you house as many times as you need each day to feed your pets and walk them if required. While they are there they also carry out a check of the house and can turn lights on and off, close/open curtains and blinds, and generally make the house looked lived in. We don’t come in branded vehicles or wearing Pet Sitters Ireland uniforms, so the service is very discreet.

Our daily dog walking service is extremely popular with busy professionals and is perfect for people who work or maybe are short on time. Not everyone has time to walk their dog as much as they would like, so we can fill those gaps for them.

Using the services of a Pet Sitter or Dog walker is becoming increasingly popular with people who work or like to travel. It takes the hassle away from dropping your pets at kennels or catteries, or asking friends to do you a favour and come in and feed your pets. When you hire one of our team we come in, follow your exact instructions and then send you a pet care journal via email to let you know your pets are safe and your home is secure. You even get pictures every day to show you how your pets are doing.

 

What was the Nose of Tralee?

The Nose of Tralee was a chance for pet owners across Ireland to enter their pet to become crowned the 2014 Nose of Tralee. Like the ‘Rose’ we asked people to share stories about their pets and tell us about their special talents. So whether your pet could sing a song, walk backwards or just had a cute smile we wanted to hear from them.

It was a 2 stage competition. Pet owners were asked to submit a picture of their pets along with details of why their pet would be a good Nose of Tralee. 3 Independent judges then selected the 32 finalists who then went on to a public vote.

The winner received a photo shoot with David Mcauley Photography and the runner up received a 250 euro hamper worth of pet products.

 

How many entries did you get?

We received 647 entries from the 32 counties. It was amazing the amount of effort that people went to with their entry. The pictures and written stories about people’s pets was amazing.

 

What different techniques did you use to get entries?

We have an active social media presence so we received a lot of entries via the promotion we did on our Facebook page. We posted pictures of the entries, asked people to share the competition details and we tweeted about it. 

We did some Facebook ads targeting pet owners to encourage more entries. We wrote blog posts on why people should enter the competition and the type of pets that should enter. Probably the most unusual pet that was entered was a tortoise.

How Pet Sitters Ireland Reached Their Ideal Customers - Facebook Competition Case Study
Some of the 2014 Nose Of Tralee finalists wearing their sashes.

What was people’s reaction to the contest?

We had great support from people and they seemed very excited to enter their pets. People thought it was a fun idea and seemed to genuinely want their pet to win the title of Nose of Tralee.

Because of the link to the Rose of Tralee we received a lot of interest from the press. The title of the competition really caught people’s attention.

How Pet Sitters Ireland Reached Their Ideal Customers - Facebook Competition Case Study
The Kildare Nose meets the Laois Rose of Tralee

What challenges did you encounter during the process?

It was quite time consuming and I would probably have given myself more lead time to create the blogs, images etc we used in the promotion, as that all took a lot of time.

We sent sashes out to the finalists and I probably could have done with more time to get these out to people after the first round of judging.

It was also apparent that you need to be very clear about the process of selecting finalists and the different stages of the competition, so that there is no confusion about what people can expect.

 

You got a lot of press coverage for the competition, how did that come about?

We sent press releases out to newspapers and contacted the radio stations, so we got some press from that at the start of the competition. Once the finalists were selected we encouraged them to generate press for themselves using the following blog article.

We got a great response from the newspapers, radio stations and 2 of the finalists were on TV. As I mentioned the name of the competition really helped with the press. If it had been just another pet competition I don’t think we would have received the same media interest.

 

What results did you achieve?

During the competition we got an additional 2000 likes on our Facebook page. These were not just people who entered the competition, but also friends and family. We did promote the competition with a press release ourselves, but we encouraged the finalists to get in touch with local press themselves.

It was actually hard to keep track of all the press. With it being a nationwide competition we were relying on entrants letting us know they were featured. Of the press that we are aware of we had 15 Newspaper features, 7 Radio appearances and an appearance on the TV by 2 of the Finalists.

On the day the competition was launched we had 1000 visitors to the site – which was a fantastic start to getting the word out.

Each day then during the competition we had double the amount of website traffic we would normally get. We also had an additional 650 people sign up for our newsletter.

Here is the link to the some of the press we got.

 

How Pet Sitters Ireland Reached Their Ideal Customers - Facebook Competition Case Study
The Carlow Nose gets great PR in the local paper

You are running the contest again in 2015, is there anything you will do differently?

We will be hosting the competition again this year but as it has become so popular we’re going to run it via the Pet Sitters Ireland website rather than Facebook.

Having it purely on Facebook did limit us promoting it on Twitter, as we were asking people to leave Twitter to go onto Facebook and vote.

 

When do entries open for 2015 and where can people go for information?

For more information and to register to receive notification when the competition is open for entries visit the Nose of Tralee page on our website.

 

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Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
photo credit: Crystian Cruz via photopin cc

Facebook competitions are regarded by many as a shortcut to getting lots of new page likes and interaction. They can be effective for both but only if you work at it.

It’s always sad to see a photo contest with only two entries or a timeline contest with very few likes or comments. If you want to build a buzz around your contest it will take planning.

In this post we will look at:

  • How to build buzz for your contest before you launch it
  • How to promote your Facebook competition on Facebook
  • How to promote your Facebook competition outside Facebook

Before you start

You need to think about promoting your contest long before you launch it. The first step is to choose a style that will work for your audience. If you don’t have a large interactive audience you need a contest that will take very little effort to enter. If your audience have participated in your contests before and are interactive you might think about running a UGC (user generated content) competition this time around.

If you need inspiration for the type of contest you should run take a look at these 20 competition examples.

Here’s five ideas for promoting your contest before you launch it:

1. Ask your audience to pick a style

If you are not sure what sort of contest will work for your business ask your audience. The level of engagement on your post will give you an idea of the sort of result you will get when you run it.

Facebook users are most likely to view your posts on a mobile device so make it easy for them to give an answer without typing too much:

For example:

What sort of competition would you like us to run next?
1. Caption contest?
2. Like to win?
3. Photo contest?

2. Tell people about the prize

Rather than just telling people you are going to run a competition tempt them with a prize. Take a photo of your prize from a strange angle or just share a picture of a gift box and ask people to guess what it is.

3. Get people to choose the prize

Similar to asking people what kind of competition they would like you to run ask them what prize they would like. Give them three options and ask them to comment with their favourite.

In this example from Aldi Ireland they use the results of a poll to determine the prize.

aldichooseawinner
Aldi use a customer poll to determine the prize

 

4. Tell people you will launch the competition once you get a certain number of actions

Celebrate your 1,000th like by running a contest or ask people to comment or like a post and launch the contest when you reach a pre defined number. Tell your audience and you will get them engaging in order to reach the goal.

5. Countdown

Tell people all about the competition; what it is going to be, what the prize is and when it will be launched. Then count down the days either by posting a daily image or a status updates.

We used this tactic in the run up to the Blog Awards Ireland nominations. Each day we got different comments, likes and shares. When we launched people were primed and ready to enter.

Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
Blog Awards Ireland Countdown

 

Westminster Abbey teased their audience in the run up to their Advent competition ensuring that people would tune in when they launched.

Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
Westminster Abbey teased people in the run up to their contest.

 

These tactics should help you build up buzz around your contest before launch. They will also get people interacting with your posts more frequently ensuring that they will see more from you in the future.

Promoting your contest on Facebook

If you promoted your Facebook competition in advance you should have a keen group of people ready to enter.

It is important that you continue to promote for the duration of your competition. You will need to post about your contest regularly to ensure that all your followers know about it.

Since the beginning of January 2015 this has become more challenging. The latest update to the Facebook posting algorithm could effect the reach of your organic (not advertised) competition posts.

According to Facebook the following post types will be shown to less people:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Although it’s hard to determine what they mean by ‘no real context’ we need to assume that we have to purchase ads to ensure our competition posts are seen. But before we advertise we have to create.

Here’s the three kinds of post you can create to promote your contests. We will look at advertising later on:

1. Links

If you are running your competition on your own website or via an app you can create a link post to advertise it.

If you use ShortStack (affiliate link) to manage your contest you will be provided with a ‘Smart Link’. When people click this link ShortStack will determine if it has been clicked from the web or a mobile device and will send the user to the correct version of the competition.

2. Images

Create three or more images to help promote your competition. Keep the text on the image to under 20% so that you can promote it with a Facebook ad without any issue. Think about what will catch the eye of your target market. Is it the prize? A picture of your staff? Is the post part of your contest. Nutella are always very creative with their contests.

Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
Nutella using creative imagery to capture attention

 

Here’s an example from The National Gallery London. They promoted their app based contest using an image. They have included the link to the contest in the photo description:

Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
The National Gallery London promoting their contest with images

 

3. Video

Video is getting great organic reach on Facebook. Use Vine or Instagram to create a short video introducing your contest.

This example from Target Jobs works really well. It’s a cute idea, an advent calender of questions and we’re introduced to the owner or staff member as part of the experience

 

 

By sharing a variety of post types and by sending them out at different times of the day and days of the week you will get maximum organic reach from your posts.

Advertise your Facebook competition posts

Because of the Facebook algorithm changes detailed above you will need to invest in Facebook ads to ensure your contest posts reach a wide audience. Set aside a small budget for each post and use Facebook ads to promote them. I recommend promoting posts via the Facebook ads manager rather than using the ‘Boost Post’ option as you will be able to target the post more accurately and get better value for money.

Promoting your contest via on other social media channels

Finding the link to your Facebook posts

You can share your Facebook posts on other social networks to maximise exposure. First you need to find the direct link to your Facebook competition post.

Here’s how:

Click the timestamp on the post you want to share. This is the part of the post that displays the age of the post. It might say ‘an hour ago’, ‘Wednesday’ or a specific date.

Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
Click the timestamp to find the unique link

Copy the entire link from the address bar of your browser.

Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
Copy the link from your browser address bar.

 

This link is unique to your Facebook post. Paste this into your Tweet, your Google+ post or the source area of a Pinterest pin.

Via email marketing

If you have an email newsletter let the subscribers know about your competition. Include the link to either your Facebook competition app or the post in your email.

Your Turn

How have you promoted your Facebook competitions in the past?

Which techniques have worked best for you?

 

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Are You Getting Negative Feedback On Facebook?
How To Find Out If You Are Getting Negative Feedback On Facebook
30 Second Social Media Tip – Are You Getting Negative Feedback?

Are you getting negative feedback on Facebook posts? What is negative feedback and why does it matter? 

Facebook is constantly telling us that the best way to get organic reach is to provide quality content. But what is quality content and how does Facebook judge your content?

The truth is that we don’t know but there are two factors that seem crucial:

  1. Do your posts get much engagement from the people who do see them? This includes clicks, likes, shares and comments.
  2. Do you get negative feedback on Facebook posts? This includes hiding posts, hiding all your posts, un-liking your page from a post or marking a post as spam.

Of course the type of negative feedback you get matters too. A post marked as spam is going to have a stronger negative effect on your future reach than a post hide.

In this video I show you how you can find out if your posts are getting negative feedback and what type of feedback you are getting:

It’s ok if you get occasional negative feedback, particularly if your posts are getting a lot of reach. If you find you are getting negative feedback on multiple posts it might be time to re think your posting strategy.

Tips for avoiding negative feedback:

  • Post content that is entertaining, informative or educational
  • Avoid overly promotional posts
  • Post content that is relevant to your target market

Your Turn

Do you have any tips for achieving better organic reach on Facebook? I’d love to hear them.

For more social media tips download the Kindle book ‘365 Social Media Tips’ from Amazon:

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/365SMTips
Amazon US: http://bit.ly/365SMTipsUSA

 

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