How to create Instagram Video
How to create Instagram Video

Before I started my own businesses I used to work in the Irish film industry, prior to that I studied video and TV in college. This makes me a bit of a motion picture fanatic. When Instagram introduced video to their service back in 2013 I was delighted. I’d been playing with Twitter’s Vine app but that only gave me six seconds. Instagram gave me 15 and filters.

2 years on I’m still rarely using Instagram video and from the look of my Instagram feed neither are many others. But I saw this study today. Instagram video only accounts for 8.3% of posts but gets 11.6% of all comments. This must mean it’s worthwhile. Maybe it’s time to look again.

Here’s my quick guide to creating Instagram video. It first appeared as part of an Instagram for business lesson for We Teach Social:

How to create video via Instagram

It’s really easy to create Instagram video . You can shoot one long video or shoot a sequence of shots that show a process or tell a story.

To shoot a video click on the camera icon as if you were going to take or upload a photo.

Instead of selecting an image or hitting the shutter button click the video icon on the right-hand side.

A Beginners Guide To Instagram Video
Click on the video camera icon to shoot video.

Hold your thumb or finger on the red button for as long as you want to shoot video for. As soon as you remove your thumb you will stop recording. You can now point your camera at something else and take another shot.

To create a video with multiple shots release your finger, re-frame and shoot again.
To create a video with multiple shots release your finger, re-frame and shoot again.

Repeat this process until you are finished. Now click ‘next’ at the top of the screen.

You can now select filters just like when you use images. The filters for video are slightly different to those for images.

A Beginners Guide To Instagram Video
Add filters and click ‘Next’ to upload your video.

When you are happy with your video click ‘next’, caption your video and post as usual.

Because of the start-stop function of Instagram video it’s easy to create short animated video. I love this one from Gap. (for context Vine is a video app from Twitter that is very similar and was launched prior to Instagram video). This is something even a small business could create.

There’s a challenge for you!

Our first #Instagram #video. Peace, love & social media.

A video posted by GAP (@gap) on

What works best with Instagram video?

Video auto plays in the Instagram feed, this means that people don’t need to click to watch it. However the video remains silent unless clicked. Remember most people will watch your video silently so make it easy to understand without sound.

The BBC are really good at Instagram video with captions. The 15 second video snippets of new stories are just long enough to tell the story.

If you want to add text to your video clips try Text on Video for iPhone or Instacap for Android.

Hyperlapse

Hyperlapse is a cool app from Instagram that allows you to shoot high speed video. This is a fantastic tool for business. You can show slow processes fast. For example, if you want to share a how to recipe, shoot it in hyperlapse and you can shrink it to 15 seconds.

It’s also a great way to give people a tour of your office. Here’s an example from econsultancy.

A breakneck tour around the econsultancy office #hyperlapse

A video posted by Christopher Ratcliff (@christophe_rock) on

And one from The Whitehouse.

Want to walk around the White House? Take a 15-second tour right now! #Hyperlapse

A video posted by The White House (@whitehouse) on

Other video tools

Bubble Frame App (iPhone)

There are always new tools emerging for creating Instagram video. This one from KrishnaDe stood out on my timeline. A really interesting video created using BubbleFrame App.

https://instagram.com/p/36Do-vD55s/

The small movements are enough to make the video stand out in the feed without feeling the time suck of clicking play.

I haven’t tried it myself yet but I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

Flipagram

The nice thing about Flipagram is that you don’t have to create video at all. You can let Flipagram make a video for you from photos.

You have the option of choosing photos from your phone, your Instagram account or your Facebook account.

You can also add a caption to each image in your Flipagram so it makes it easy to tell the story.

Flipagram will then make a video from the images. Here’s one I created from photos taken at a recent Instameet at the Irish National Stud.

And another that I made to illustrate a PicMonkey tutorial:

How to remove the background from your logo using www.picmonkey.com #tip #instatip #picmonkey

A video posted by Amanda & Lorna (@weteachsocial) on

One note for Flipagram. There is an option to add music to your grams. However if you upload video with this music to Instagram you are infringing copyright of the music. This can result in you having your video removed or worse you receiving a bill for the use of the music.

There are lots more fun videos you can play with. My advice is to take it a few at a time. Work to create some really eye-catching videos demonstrating your product, sharing tips, showing aspects of your day. People will enjoy following your stories this way.

Have you used video on Instagram? What sort of results have you seen? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

 

“instagram

4 Steps For Building Relationships With Customers On Instagram
4 Steps For Building Relationships With Customers On Instagram

Are you using Instagram for business? If so have you put a plan in place for building relationships with customers and influencers? Have you found the right people to follow and are the right people following you?

Relationship building is as important on Instagram as any other network. Like Twitter you can go out and find potential customers, you don’t have to rely on them coming to you.

In this post I’m going to discuss:

  • How hashtags can help you find people to follow and interact with
  • How to connect with these people
  • Creating follower lists with Iconosquare
  • Regram etiquette

Using Hashtags

Hashtags are the glue that holds Instagram together. Search a hashtag and you will find an album of images matching it.

Searching hashtags should be the first thing you do to find customers on Instagram. When you find relevant users like and comment on their content.

Before you start define what makes a follow-worthy user. For me, I’m looking for small businesses and bloggers based in Ireland. I’m also looking for tourism, food and dentistry businesses in Ireland as they are the type of clients I work with more frequently.

So my checklist is:

  1. Are they based in Ireland
  2. Are they a small business
  3. Are they tourism, food or dentistry related?
  4. Are they a blogger?
  5. Would their content be good inspiration for my clients?

Instagrammers have to fit at least two of these categories for me to want to follow them. Make your own checklist and set some rules, you’ll find it makes it easier to connect with the right people.

Later on I’ll show you a tool that can help you group these different kinds of users together.

Now it’s time to start searching

Start with a broad tag. In the example below I am searching #Ireland as this is where most of my customers will come from.

4 Steps To Building Relationships With Customers On Instagram
Switch to listview so you can see usernames and captions.

When you get the results, switch to list view as this makes it easier to see usernames. Scroll through, looking at photographs and liking any that strike you. Keep your eyes open for any usernames or images that relate to your target customers. I’m looking for small businesses so it’s the username I focus on first.

When you find a user that fits your criteria follow them and look at their images liking and commenting as necessary.

How To Connect

It’s very easy to slip into bad habits on Instagram. You will find that when you use broad hashtags a lot of people will follow you and like your posts. This is great for the ego, but you will notice that many of these people have no relevance to your business.

It’s painful, but you need to take the time to investigate each one to see if they fall into your target market. Refer back to your checklist to do this. If they match follow them back. If they don’t, don’t. Don’t worry about people unfollowing, most of these will be the irrelevant people who followed you in the hope you’d follow back.

Now you are following a good, targeted customer base it’s time to start interacting. Spend 10 minutes a day scrolling through your feed, liking photos that appeal to you and leaving comments where necessary.

Commenting etiquette

Avoid generic comments like ‘nice’ and comments purely designed to promote your business ‘we sell…’. These don’t start a conversation and are easily overlooked or at worse will irritate people. Instead find something in the photo to start a conversation about. The more someone interacts with you the more memorable you will become.

Creating Follower Lists With Iconosquare

Iconosquare is one of the best web-based tools for managing your Instagram accounts. Its best feature by far is the ability to create ‘groups’ of users similar to the way you can create lists in Twitter.

This allows you to filter your Instagram feed on Iconosquare to just the people in these groups.

Here’s how to create and add people to groups:

Set up a free account with Iconosquare.

Select ‘My followings’. This will display a chronological list of all the people you follow on Instagram.

See all the people you follow by clicking 'My Followings'
See all the people you follow by clicking ‘My Followings’

Click the small circle under a user. This will give you a drop-down menu of lists. By default you will be offered ‘friends’, ‘followers’ and ‘pro’.

Underneath you have the option to create a new group. Now select all the groups you want to add that user to.

4 Steps To Building Relationships With Customers On Instagram
Add users to groups or create new groups

I’d recommend creating a group for each of your checklist items. You could also create lists for people you want to interact with once a month, once a week or more frequently. It’s a good way to remind yourself to stay in touch.

To view group members click ‘feed’ and select the group you want to view from the drop-down. Now you can quickly and easily view content from those groups and interact with it.

Filter your feed to members of a specific group
Filter your feed to members of a specific group

Regram Etiquette

Unlike other social networks, there is no easy way to share posts from users within the Instagram app. There is no re-gram or share button. In order to reshare you will need to use an app to download or re-gram pictures.

There is a strict etiquette for those who want to do this.

  1. You need to ask permission to re-gram the post. Leave a comment underneath the picture you want to share asking for permission to re-gram and wait for a response.
  2. If you get a yes use an app like re-post, re-gram or Phonegram (iOS) (Android) to grab the photo from the web. I like Phonegram as it lets me download the picture without watermarking.
  3. Repost the photo and any caption that accompanied it. Make sure you tag the user whose post you are sharing.
  4. Here’s an infographic we made for We Teach Social showing you how to re-gram using Phonegram
4 Steps To Building Relationships With Customers On Instagram
How To Regram using Phonegram

Regramming the easy way

This process is quite cumbersome, but the good news is that once you’ve started building a good following you can start asking people for content. Create a hashtag, ask people to share photos including it and tell them you will re-gram the best ones.

See this example from Visit Dublin asking users to tag their posts #lovedublin

4 Steps To Building Relationships With Customers On Instagram
Visit Dublin encourage followers to use the tag #lovedublin

Whichever method you choose this is a great way to build relationships. People enjoy getting showcased on your page and it is a great conversation opener.

Your Turn

What techniques do you use to connect with your target market?
Have you used any of the techniques above? How did you find them?

 

“instagram

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses

There’s some pretty compelling stats out there for using Instagram for business:

But what should a business post to Instagram? What sort of content works well?

In this post I’ll look at 9 different Instagram post ideas that can help you form your Instagram content strategy. This isn’t a comprehensive guide but it should give you some inspiration.

1. Product photos

This is a no brainer. I’m sure if you sell a product you have already been sharing pictures on your Instagram page.

Try and think about creative ways to share your products.

These peaches from The Happy Pear are enticing. If they were closer I’d have been straight down to buy some.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
The Happy Pear – Sharing Irrisistable Product Pictures

Funky Crayon Lady also has a great visual product. Her shaped crayons are clever but it may not always be obvious what they do. In this post she clearly demonstrates it with just a few squiggles.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
Funky Crayon Lady used squiggles to show what her product can do.

2. People

In the old days, before the Internet and superstores people used to get to know the people they did business with. Communication would be face to face or by phone. Now we do so much business online we can sometimes feel out of touch or forget that there is a person behind the business.

Instagram gives us the opportunity to introduce customers to our staff and ourselves.

In this post from St. Pancras International they introduce us to the man who maintains the pianos at the station. The image is great but it’s the caption that tells us the full story.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
St Pancras International tell us the story of their Piano Tuner.
9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
The caption gives us the full story

Knowing about the people in the business reassures us. Anyone thinking of booking a course with The Cooks Academy in Dublin gets to see one of their trainers in advance.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
Who wouldn’t want to do a course with this smiley face?

3. Behind the scenes

Another way to reassure customers about your business is to show them the workings behind the scenes.

This post from the Royal Academy of Arts shows the preparation ready for an exhibition launch. It builds buzz and shows snippets of what we can expect.

Preperation under way for an exhibition.
Preperation under way for an exhibition.

Earlier this year the Cookie Monster paid a visit to The Museum of Modern Art in New York. His visit was documented as he met the people who worked there and viewed some of the art. We may not all have Cookie Monster but we all have the opportunity to conduct a visual tour of our businesses.

The Cookie Monster tours MOMA
The Cookie Monster tours MOMA

4. Quotes

Good quality quotes that relate to your business always make good content.

I find Pinterest to be a great source of quotes. A simple search brings me lots of suggestions. Don’t be tempted to steal images from Pinterest though. Just make a note of the quote, who said it and add it to your own images. Remember to add your own branding too.

Here’s one I created for We Teach Social. I scribbled the quote on an envelope in our brand colours and photographed it. Finally, I used iWatermark to add our branding.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
Create quote posts using pen and paper

This example from Curious Wines also relies on their brand colours rather than their logo. It’s a good relevant quote about wine that made me smile.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
Curious Wines using brand colours in their posts

This post from Unravel Knit may not be a quote but I loved it when it appeared in my Instagram feed. It instantly brought back childhood memories of happy knitting.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
A phrase that provokes nostalgia

Tools like WordSwag and PicCandy make it easy to add text to images.

5. Tips

There is something about tips that people love. They are little nuggets of information that we love to pass on. Share a good one and people will remember where they heard it from and pass it on to others.

Kerrygold recently ran a competition to gather tips from their followers. People shared their #nuggetsofgold and Kerrygold created Instagram images from them. Here’s one that I find particularly useful.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
Kerrygold use customers tips to create graphic content for Instagram

You could take the tips much further. In this post from RebelDietitian you get an entire recipe:

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
Use Canva to share more complex text on graphic images.

If you want to create these more complex graphics for Instagram try Canva. It has lots of templates for you to work from that make it easy for you to create something visually pleasing. You can now use Canva from the iPad app as well as the web which makes It easy to create images that you can then easily share via mobile.

6. Questions

You can use questions to find out more about your customers and target market. They will also help you build a more interactive audience. They spark conversations with people who will remember you for it.

Simple questions that are easy to answer work best. Don’t forget people are on mobile when they are using Instagram so writing longer responses can be hard.

This example form puppy_tales works well for getting those quick responses.

Ask questions to find out more about your customers
Ask questions to find out more about your customers

This one from the_perils_of_parenthood isn’t as attractive but it’s getting lots of comments.

This post draws lots of comments.
This post draws lots of comments.

7. Regram

If you can’t create amazing content maybe your customers or target market do. Search for Instagram posts that suit your business. Maybe they are people using your product, involved in activities related to your business or people in the local area.

DeesWholefoods do this really well. Their account is crammed with customer photos of their vegan foods.

Regraming images of your product shared by others is social proof.
Regraming images of your product shared by others is social proof.

VisitDublin encourage people to share photos with the tag #lovedublin and they regram their favourites. This gives followers an eclectic view of Dublin and what it has to offer.

Regraming can give a fuller picture of what you have to offer
Regraming can give a fuller picture of what you have to offer

If you intend to use regramming as part of your strategy be aware that you must always ask permission before sharing a post.

Unlike Twitter or Facebook there is no inbuilt function to reshare posts. You will need to use an app like Repost or Regram or use an app like Padgram to download the image you want to share.

8. Reviews

If you are the kind of business that gets reviews, on Facebook, Yelp or Trip advisor share screen caps of them. This will help you build customer reassurance.

This one from StapleFoods grabbed from the Lovin Dublin blog got great interaction with their followers.

Sharing screen caps of your reviews occasionally can reassure customers.
Sharing screen caps of your reviews occasionally can reassure customers.

The Twelve Hotel have taken a more traditional approach by photographing their newspaper and magazine reviews.

Share reviews from traditional media too.
Share reviews from traditional media too.

9. News Jacking/Real Time Marketing

Find ways to tie your posts into trends, events and news. Add your own twist to make it relevant to you and you’ll find yourself with very popular content.

I loved this post from IrishFairyDoor on UK election day. A week later they launched their product in the UK.

Clever newsjacking of the UK General election
Clever newsjacking of the UK General election

Instagram are partial to trend jacking themselves. Here’s their own #MayTheFourthBeWithYou post.

Star Wars Day post from Instagram
Star Wars Day post from Instagram

I use the website Days Of The Year to find out what special days are coming up. You can also keep an eye on trending topics on Twitter. For more info here’s a post I wrote on Newsjacking.

Conclusion

These 9 ideas are just scraping the surface of what you can do with content on Instagram. Once you start being creative you will find a flood of ideas comes your way.

If you have a really clever or interesting Instagram post and want to get more exposure tag it with #weteachsocial and we will regram our favourites.

“instagram

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’.

“instagram

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’.

“instagram

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.

 

“365

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.

 

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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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