Instasize Letterboxes Your Images for Instagram
Instasize Letterboxes Your Images for Instagram

Instagram rocks the square format, it’s part of it’s brand. Those square, tinted pictures are what Instagram is all about. But the photos we take aren’t always square. When you upload your landscape or portrait photos you have to crop them.

There are times when this cropping just doesn’t work. Perhaps you’ve taken a picture of a group of people, cropping would mean loosing someone from the edge of the picture. Maybe you’ve taken a beautiful panorama that is just too good to not share on Instagram.

On these occasions you need a solution. Instasize could be exactly what you are looking for.

Available for both Android and iPhone you can use Instasize to put borders on your photo, allowing it to retain it’s original aspect ratio. But that’s not all it does. You can also add filters, text and funky stickers.

In this video I show you how it works.

 


I’ve shown you how to add text to your images above but you could also add your logo to your letterboxed instasized photos using iWatermark

If you decide you want to take the plunge join me on the 19th of May for the free We Teach Social webinar: ‘Getting Started With Instagram for Business’.

“eLearning

Instagram For Business, Are You Ready? - Checklist
Should you be using Instagram for your business?

I love sitting down and looking through my Instagram account. I love looking at snippets from people’s day. I like finding odd things and taking pictures of them to share. In case you haven’t guessed I’m a huge Instagram fan.

Although I use it daily personally it is only recently that I’ve thought of using Instagram for business. A scroll through my feed shows I follow a lot of brands. I’ve even chosen restaurants as a result of what people share.

I’m not alone either. According to a report from Forrester Instagram users like seeing brand content. In fact a business will get 50% more engagement on their Instagram posts than their Facebook posts.

Before you rush to join Instagram ask yourself a few questions. A bit of research time will help you decide if Instagram is right for your business. Here’s a checklist of what to consider with some helpful tips to get going.

#1 Do your customers use Instagram?

You can have the prettiest, cleverest Instagram account in the world, play it right and you’ll even get lots of interaction. But if your customers don’t use Instagram you are wasting your time.

Here’s a few ways you can find out if people are using it.

Are local people using Instagram?

Do your customers live nearby? If so search local tags, are they used frequently? An active Instagram community should mean lots of tags.

Use Websta to find out how often a tags are used. For the example below I searched for my local town of Athy. The tag has been used 4,470 in the life of Instagram.

Instagram For Business, Are You Ready? - Checklist
Use Websta to search popular local tags

I also searched for ‘Kildare’, the county I live in. This time I got a far better result. The tag has been used 27,652 times and there are also a whole host of related hashtags.

Instagram For Business, Are You Ready? - Checklist
Websta also shows related hashtags

But what about all those users who aren’t using a local hashtag? Instead of searching by tag you can search by location. Users will need to have their location settings enabled to appear in searches but it’s a good starting point.

Gramfeed is a cool tool for searching locally. I searched for Athy and found lots of local people who hadn’t appeared in my other searches. The results aren’t comprehensive. There’s no sign of my images taken in the local area but it gives you an idea of the size of the local audience.

When you get your search results you can filter them by ‘keyword’. This means you can find people using relevant hashtags in your area too.

Instagram For Business, Are You Ready? - Checklist
Search for people taking photos nearby with gramfeed

You will also find Instagrams by location using the Instagram app. When you upload a photo you have the opportunity to ‘add a location’. Instagram takes location data both from foresquare and Facebook. If you have a Facebook page with a map enabled people can tag your own page.

To find people adding photos either at your business or nearby upload a photo and add your location to it. Once published click the place tag and you will see other photos tagged at that same location.

Instagram shows you photos tagged at a specific venue.
Instagram shows you photos tagged at a specific venue.

Are people using hashtags related to your business?

Using Instagram’s built in search look for hashtags related to your business. I did a search for ‘Business’ and discovered that the second most popular hashtag was #businesswoman, handy as I am one!

Use Instagram to search for popular hashtags
Use Instagram to search for popular hashtags

I also did a search for ‘foodie’ and found a whole host of exceptionally popular hashtags related to that search.

There are lots of related tags for food and foodie...
There are lots of related tags for food and foodie…

Spend some time investigating hashtags. If there is a high volume of tags related to your business it’s a good indicator that people on Instagram are interested in what you do.

Let Instagram check your contacts

If you allow Instagram access to your phone contacts it will match them to Instagram users. If you have your customers saved as contacts you’ll be able to see how many of them use Instagram.

You can also let Instagram find Facebook friends who use the network. If you are friends with customers this is another way to find them.

#2 Do you have a visual business?

There are some businesses that are more visually pleasing than others. Food related businesses and tourism businesses should have a plethora of content at their fingerprints. Office based businesses will have less. Someone like me who works alone in an office with a computer has very little at their fingertips.

Before you plunge in to Instagram make sure you have a strong idea of the content you need to create.

If your stuck for ideas think of a theme that you can base your posts around.

Someone who does this really well is Pat Phelan of Trustev. He tells his story by sharing his cup of coffee moments.

Insta coffee moments from Pat Phelan of Trustev
Insta coffee moments from Pat Phelan of Trustev

Maybe it’s behind the scenes at your business, maybe it’s product photos taken in an interesting way. I love Warby Parkers account, who knew glasses could be so interesting?

Warby Parker feature their glasses in interesting locations and on interesting people.
Warby Parker feature their glasses in interesting locations and on interesting people.

#3 Do you have time?

This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for any business using social media. If you are going to use Instagram you need to be dedicated. You have to have time to take or create strong images on a daily basis and you need time to find users, comment, like and perhaps regram photos too.

#4 Do you have the talent?

This is a tough question to ask yourself. Instagram is all about the visuals. Can you create stunning images? If not can anyone in your business?

If you are not confident yet find some interesting accounts in your niche and take inspiration from them.

Try new things, this post from iPhone Photography School is full of tips for taking better composed square photos. Give some of them a go.
Take a lot of photos every day and be selective about the ones you share. Practice makes perfect!

#5 Do you have the equipment?

Instagram is a mobile tool. You’ll need a smartphone with a good camera. If you don’t have one it’s time to upgrade, what better reason could you have.

#6 What do you want to get out of it?

Instagram is going to be a time investment so it’s essential that you decide why you are using it.

Do you want to:

  • Increase brand awareness?
  • Connect with your customers?
  • Broaden your audience?
  • Something else?

If you decide you want to take the plunge join me on the 19th of May for the free We Teach Social webinar: ‘Getting Started With Instagram for Business’.

“eLearning

What Is LinkedIn for?
What Is LinkedIn for?

What is LinkedIn for? We often hear of it referred to as an online CV but in reality it’s far more than that. It’s an effective sales tool that allows us to build and nurture leads.

Are you wasting all the connections you are making? LinkedIn can help us to forge powerful business relationships but most of us are letting these opportunities slip.

LinkedIn offers us lots of ways to stay in touch with our connections and nurture our business relationships. In this post I will show you just a few.

Before you start make a list of the LinkedIn connections you’d really like to get to know more. Perhaps they need your product or services, are powerful influencers or they sell something you need.

Once you have compiled that list it’s time to start reminding them about you.

For new connections

When someone connects with you and they fit into the ‘valuable connection’ category the first step is to send them a message.

Thank them for the connection and pick something from their profile as a discussion point. This is the very start of your relationship don’t go in all guns blazing with a sales pitch straight away.

Now you have made the connection you can start nurturing it.

View Profiles

People on LinkedIn can see you have viewed their profile (depending on privacy settings). You might think this is a bit creepy but it can be a really useful way to remind someone about you.

Get into the habit of occasionally visiting the profiles of the people that matter to you. It’s a small nudge that will keep your name in the minds of your connections.

This is also a good tactic for getting people to connect with you. Sometimes just a profile visit will encourage them to invite you to connect. People who invite you to connect are more likely to remember you than those you invite.

Endorsements

I know you hate endorsements, most people do but take a look at them again. When someone endorses you it’s an opportunity for you to open a conversation with them. Send them a message thanking them. Ask them how they are, how business is or something else that will prompt a reply.

Avoid getting too endorsement happy. Only endorse people for skills you know they have. This way your endorsement will be welcome and will serve as a reminder of who you are.

Liking commenting and sharing

Set aside time every day to look through your LinkedIn feed. You will find amazing content and by commenting, liking and sharing you will be buying the good will of your connections.

Also in your feed is content your connections have liked or commented on. Interacting with these posts means you are reaching people outside your immediate connections. It’s a great way to broaden your audience.

Tagging

When you share a piece of content on LinkedIn you can tag people in the update. Maybe they wrote the post, are featured in it or you think they will find it useful.

Tagging on LinkedIn is easy. Type @, start typing the name of a connection and they will pop up in a dropdown menu.

How To Nurture Sales Leads & Build Relationships With LinkedIn
Tag your connections when you share their content or want to alert them to content.

 

Congratulations

LinkedIn sends us information about our connections. It will tell us when it is someone’s Birthday, when they are having a work anniversary or when they get a new job. This is the perfect opportunity to re-connect. Congratulate them publicly or send them a private message of congratulation with an invitation to meet up.

How To Nurture Sales Leads & Build Relationships With LinkedIn
LinkedIn lets you know when your connections celebrate work anniversaries

Relationships function

If you use these techniques too frequently it could be interpreted as stalking. Instead of a gentle reminder to your connection, you could be freaking them out. You can avoid this by keeping track of your interactions using the relationship function. This feature lets you set reminders for yourself to make contact with your prospect. You can also remind yourself of key conversations and information about your connections here.

Here’s a short video showing you how it works:

These tools all offer you excellent ways to stay fresh in the minds of your prospects. When you have built a solid connection you should aim to take the relationship further. Suggest meeting for coffee or a chat. This could be the beginning of a long and profitable business relationship.

In conclusion

LinkedIn works best when we use it to build relationships. It offers us a range of tools that can help foster and build relationships that could result in sales, referrals and more.

Your Turn

Do you nurture leads using LinkedIn?
Have you been approached by others using any of these techniques?

Let me know in the comments below.

 

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Tips on setting up an effective LinkedIn Company Page
Tips on setting up an effective LinkedIn Company Page

LinkedIn company pages allow us to have a business entity on LinkedIn. In this post I will show you:

  • The benefits of LinkedIn company pages
  • How to set up a LinkedIn company page
  • How to attract followers to your page
  • What to update you company page with

LinkedIn is a professional network. It gives us the opportunity to network person to person with customers, influencers and those we can learn from.

When we set up LinkedIn profiles they are all about us. We share a photo, we tell people about our experience, what we are good at. Your profile showcases your personal achievements and establishes you as someone worth doing business with.

Some companies mistakenly set up profiles in their business names. This isn’t in the spirit of Networking. It would be like going to a networking event with a bag over your head with your business card stapled to it. On LinkedIn we do business with people not brands.

The good news is that LinkedIn, like Facebook does offer a business entity. LinkedIn Company pages give your business a profile. People can follow your LinkedIn company page allowing you to keep them up to date with news and information.

Unlike LinkedIn profiles LinkedIn company pages can’t take part in discussions. They can’t connect directly with people but they do have other features functions and benefits.

What are the Benefits of LinkedIn Company Pages?

Make you look credible – When people look at your LinkedIn profile and click through to see your business it makes you and the business look legitimate.

SEO friendly – Google and other search engines crawl LinkedIn company pages. They will appear in online searches for your brand name. If you optimise your page for SEO it will appear in other keyword searches too. Again this lends credibility to your business.

A Quick Guide To LinkedIn Company Pages
LinkedIn pages appear in Google searches

 

Shows the people behind your brand – When users land on a LinkedIn company page they can view employees. They can see how they are connected to your employees, personalising your company.

Showcase content – Like Facebook you need to update your page on a regular basis. This content appears in the news feeds of the people who Like your LinkedIn company page. It’s a great opportunity to share blog posts, news and more about your business. Because followers are seeing your content regularly you will stay in their minds.

Target updates to specific people – You can target each update on your LinkedIn company page to a specific audience. Targeting options include: Company size, Industry, Function, Seniority, Location and Language. This is a good way to ensure you are only providing valuable content to different segments of your audience.

Target your updates to make them relevant to your audience.
Target your updates to make them relevant to your audience.

Statistics – LinkedIn company pages have statistics. These stats include views and engagement on posts and demographic information about your followers. This information ensures that you are reaching the right audience and helps you create more engaging content.

How to set up a LinkedIn company page:

Before you set up a company page you will need an email address associated with the company website domain. For example amanda@spiderworking.com works but spiderworking@gmail.com won’t.

If you have the correct email address you are ready to set up a page.

To make your page eye-catching and attractive you will also need three images:

Header image: 646 x 220 Pixels
Logo: 100 x 60 pixels
Thumbnail: 50 x 50 pixels

Watch this video to see how to set up a company page:

How To Get Followers

Now you have created your LinkedIn company page you will need to encourage people to follow it. Followers will receive updates that you post in their news feeds.

Here’s some ideas on how to get more followers on your LinkedIn page:

Tell your customers – Are your customers on LinkedIn? If so share updates from your page from your LinkedIn profile. Consider messaging your clients directly to tell them about the page. Remember to give them a reason to follow the page, tell them what you are going to share and why it will be useful to them.

Add a button to your website – You can grab a button for your LinkedIn page from here and install it on your website.

Tweet about it – I’ve found that one of the best ways to build audiences on social networks is to tweet links to them. It’s one of the reasons my Facebook for Business LinkedIn group has grown so swiftly. Don’t forget to tell people what you will be sharing on the page and why they should follow.

Share engaging content – Like Facebook people will start to notice your page if people comment, like or share your content. When people take action on a post on LinkedIn some of their connections will see that post in their news feeds. The more people that get involved in conversation about your page the further the word will spread.

Ask employees to connect to the page – If you have staff talk to them about updating their LinkedIn profile. When they add their current role they will have the option of choosing your company page as their employer. If you have only recently set up the company page you will need to ask them to edit their employer to link to your new page.

They can do this by clicking ‘edit’ next to their current role and ‘change company’ next to the company name. (see below)

A Quick Guide To LinkedIn Company Pages
Ask employees to link to your page

 

What Content Should You Post?

According to an email LinkedIn sent me updates with links get 45% more engagement than updates without them.

Think about the types of links you can share:

Links to company blog or news site: This is the most obvious type of link. If you create content share it on your page.

Links to press coverage: If you get a mention online share it with your LinkedIn company page followers. See the example below from Glasnevin Museum.

A Quick Guide To LinkedIn Company Pages
Share press mentions

 

Links to relevant articles: Find great articles about your business or industry that will interest your target market. See the example below from Wild Rover Day Tours.

Share links that will be of interest to your target market.
Share links that will be of interest to your target market.

Links to rich content: YouTube video can be played directly in the news feed. The same goes for slideshare presentations. By including these in your updates you will engage users who don’t want to click out of the site.

See the example below from the Carton House Hotel.

When you share video it can be played from the news feed.
When you share video it can be played from the news feed.

Tips: No matter which social network you use people love tips. Here’s one that is part of a series from USIT (a student travel company).

People love tips.
People love tips.

Humour: LinkedIn may not seem like the network for humourous posts but a clever targeted post can work well. This one from Prosperity is business related and adds a smile to my news feed.

Humour can work on LinkedIn
Humour can work on LinkedIn

Newsjacking: When the Apple watch was launched earlier in the week my LinkedIn feed was stuffed with comment and opinion. This post from Innocent stood out. Their approach may not work for every business but it’s totally on brand for the cheeky drinks company.

On brand humourous newsjacking from Innocent Drinks
On brand humourous newsjacking from Innocent Drinks

Job Posting: Don’t forget that LinkedIn is a place where people are looking for jobs. Be sure to share any job postings on your LinkedIn page so that people who follow you will be encouraged to apply. If you have a lot of opportunities available it is worth setting up a ‘careers’ showcase page. (more about showcase pages here.)

More info:

LinkedIn has it’s own great resources to help you get started with your company page.
Follow Spiderworking for news and views on social media.
Follow We Teach Social for the latest information about our eLearning courses

Your turn:

Do you have a LinkedIn company page?
What updates have been successful for you?
How have you built an audience for your page?

Leave me a comment below.

 

“365

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?

 

“365

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.

 

“365

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.

 

“365

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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