MAD Perspectives Blog

Managing your Exposure on LinkedIn

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, August 27, 2013

As we return from summer holidays, get the kids back to school and kick start our Q4 efforts to surpass goals set in the earlier in the year, now is the time to take advantage of LinkedIn. As a big fan (and investor) of LinkedIn, I follow the enhancements and advise clients on how to optimize their use of the social network. While LinkedIn has a very high membership within the business community, there are still those who are skeptical of its value. Or, they feel it is only for those who are job hunting. Or, they are not interested in being highly visible due to the nature of their job.  In any case, here are a few tips to help you manage your exposure on LinkedIn.

Privacy Settings is the area within LInkedIn where you can manage your visibility.  It is possible to control what kind of updates your network can see, select who can see your activity feed (although if you are shy or private, you may not use the activity feed at all), define what other members see if you check out their LinkedIn profile, manage who can see your connections and how others can contact you.  

For example: If you do not want everyone to see that you are updating your profile (e.g., adding skills, changing your picture, etc.), do the following:

  1. Login to Linkedin 
  2. On the HomePage, hover over your picture in the upper right hand corner
  3. Click on Privacy Settings
  4. Click on Profile in the lower left hand corder
  5. Click on Privacy Controls
  6. Click on turn on/off activity broadcasts
I've heard mixed reviews of endorsements and have a mixed opinion myself. I don't believe users understand how endorsements work and tend to click randomly, thus not telling the true story of a users skills. If you are not a fan of endorsements:
  1. On the HomePage, hover over profile and click on edit profile
  2. Scroll down to Skills & Expertise
  3. Click on the pencil icon
  4. click on the green check in the upper right hand corner
  5. Choose "do not show my endorsements"
On the other side of the coin, perhaps you see too many updates from your connections. LinkedIn makes it easy for you to manage your view of these updates.  
  1. On the HomePage, hover over your picture in the upper right hand corner
  2. Click on Privacy Settings
  3. Click on Account in the lower left hand corner
  4. Click on "customize the updates you see on your home page"
  5. Decide and click on the types of updates you are interested in seeing
Or perhaps, you are trying to understand why and what ads are appearing:

  1. On the HomePage, hover over your picture in the upper right hand corner
  2. Click on Privacy Settings
  3. Click on Account in the lower left hand corner
  4. Click on "Manage advertising preferences"
  5. Select the your preferences and click Save Changes
As you can see Privacy Settings is your place to define how others see you and what you see when using LinkedIn. The topics above are those questions that have been raised most frequently as I'm chatting with friends and colleagues. The bottom line, your profile is YOURS. Tailor it to your needs and follow your gut instincts as to the level of exposure you desire.

What's your perspective?



Learning about LinkedIn

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, March 05, 2013

I taught an introductory LinkedIn class last night for my local Continuing Education program. My audience represented LinkedIn's core user base, adults ages 35-55. My goal was to help them better understand how LinkedIn can hep them achieve their business goals, whether that is getting a new job or generating more business. It was also an educational experience for me - a huge fan of LinkedIn.

i learned the following:

     - Writing a good summary is intimidating for most users. I'm not completely surprised by this. My summary has been developed over time, based on my own investigations on how to best optimize LinkedIn. While we all understand that LinkedIn is complementary to a resume/CV, it is often difficult to find the words that best reflect our professional journey, how we interact with clients or the value we provide as professionals.

     - LinkedIn Groups may be the most underestimated benefit of the social network. I'm a fan of groups as I generally find them to be great sources of information. Yes, there can be a lot of spam in groups as unscrupulous individuals post random content regarding crazy business opportunities or promotion of irrelevant topics. However, the power of engaging with the group is exemplified through the engagement between and the support amongst members. There is no such thing as a "silly question" - groups typically provide good insights and guidance to fellow members. Groups are a great opportunity to expand your knowledge and your network.

     - LinkedIn is best used by business professionals. I suppose this obvious, yet there we several educators present last night. One was an administrator, the other a former teacher. Both were seeking options to expand their networks to gather information and understand non-education sector opportunities. Sadly, we could not find any groups that could offer them tangible value, unless they wanted to pursue corporate training as a career. LinkedIn is doing a great job creating options that will attract students. Perhaps there is also room to develop solutions that will help those in the education sector.

As always, no single social network is the be all end all. It often takes a combination of networks or tools to achieve your goals. These options could include the primary social networks, plus online tools like Meetup.com. The value LinkedIn does provide is a mechanism to manage all of your contacts. Whether we network online or in person, maintaining the connection can be difficult. LinkedIn provides a framework for managing relationships for the long term, regardless of changes in the roles or the employers of each user.

I look forward to additional opportunities to engage with LinkedIn users. The top industries reflected on LinkedIn are currently high tech (no surprise), retail & consumer, professional services and oil & energy. Financial services is emerging. What's next?

What's your perspective?



Recommendations vs. Endorsements, The Winner Is...

Peggy Dau - Monday, October 29, 2012

LinkedIn introduced a new feature earlier this month. Like any social network, LinkedIn is constantly tinkering with its features and functionality to find the right balance of benefit and usability for its user base. They've revamped the home page layout, added LinkedIn Today to curate news relevant to you, expanding Company Page functionality and enabled integration with other social sites.  Their most recent enhancements seem to focus on influence.  The first influence enhancement, endorsements, is the subject of today's discussion. The other, the ability to follow influencers, will be discussed in a future blog.

LinkedIn has long enabled users to request recommendations from their connections.  These recommendations usually speak to the value knowledge, interpersonal skills, work style and value provided by the individual being praised.  And, yes - recommendations are usually positive in nature, reinforcing the overall profile.  For recruiters, it adds and extra layer of insight about a candidate, if the recruiter actually reads the full profile.  I usually advise and assist clients in developing robust profiles, including recommendations. The best profile I've seen is for a sales representative who had recommendations from customers, colleagues, admin support staff, partners and competitors.

A key element of a complete profile includes a listing of skills.  These can be related to roles, capabilities, industry knowledge and more. With the addition of endorsements, connections can now validate specific skills simply by pressing an online button. There is not context to the endorsement other than the fact that one or more connections may feel you have that skill. 

Here's how it works and how I believe endorsements are inaccurate.

1. You login to your profile

2. LinkedIn presents 4 connections with one randomly selected skill for your to endorse

3. You believe you are doing your colleague a favor and click the endorse button

4. HOWEVER, is the skill referenced really the skill you want to endorse?

If you want to review ALL the skills referenced by your connection, you must view their profile.  Scroll down to their skills and review them.  The skill presented by LinkedIn may not be relevant to how you know that person. To provide relevance and value to your connection, endorse the skill(s) that you truly believe them to have. The skills section of a profile was added sometime last year.  Up until then, their had been a specialities section included as part of the profile summary.  Skills is intentionally separate and in my opinion, used to help search engine optimization for recruiters. With the addition of endorsements, skills start to carry greater weight, but do we (or recruiters) understand the context of the skill.

Imagine a skill like business development. Does the person really have outstanding biz dev skills or was that simply the skill presented by LinkedIn.  Or, a skill like telecommunications, which should actually be a specialty. What does that skill, or its endorsement, say about an individual?  Do they understand the industry or specific technologies? For me the difference between recommendations and endorsements comes down to the following:

Recommendations are about the person. They are thoughtful, intentional and provide context.

Endorsements are about the technology. They are reactive, casual and simply reinforcing keywords.

How do you want to influence the way others perceive you? I'm happy to see colleagues endorse me, but I'm even happier to have them recommend my capabilities specific to how we have engaged professionally. Don't give up seeking recommendations in favor of endorsements. Your influence is worth more than a few clicks.

What's your perspective?



LinkedIn Outperforms Email Marketing

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A colleague forwarded an email to me a few weeks ago. It was a LinkedIn message he had received from a consultant connection requesting that he share a new white paper, accessible via a website url, with interested parties. We're all working in fast paced environments and often get emails, tweets and status updates about new white papers and presentations that may be useful to us. We ignore a lot of those messages, don't we? However, because this request came from a colleague, via LinkedIn, this white paper had increased value. As a result, it also had more click thrus.

I spoke to the consultancy distributing this paper, BackChannel. They had recognized the value of LinkedIn to help keep track of contacts and colleagues.  They had previously used email marketing to announce new services or content. However, they decided to test the power of LinkedIn.  They understood that everyone that they were connected to directly or via LinkedIn Groups, understood that their purpose for using LinkedIn was all about business. They decided to use a direct appeal to their contacts to promote the white paper. They referenced their professional connection to the recipients, the target market for the white paper and their goal to get the white paper into the hands of those who could benefit from it.

389 emails were sent within Linked In.  The results are as follows:

     - 158 contacts opened the message (40%)

     - 42 of those who opened the message, clicked on the white paper link (26% of messages opened; 9% of messages sent)

These are impressive results, considering that MailChimp (BackChannel's email marketing tool of choice) indicates that the open rate and click thru rate for campaigns in the consulting industry, are 16.3% and 3.3% respectively.  More interesting for BackChannel was the fact that over the next several days, a further 90 direct downloads occurred as a result of connections sharing the LinkedIn mail with their relevant colleagues.

Backchannel found that the power of LinkedIn, and its concept of six degrees of separation delivering value to business people, provided a unique outlet for sharing content. When a community understand a goal, share a common interest, they will promote and share content fulfilling the needs of the community.

Have you used LinkedIn to promote your content? Are you aware that you can integrate content from SlideShare (now owned by LinkedIn) into your profile? You can expand your personal or business' visibility, by sharing relevant content, through links and updates in your profile, your company page or groups.

What's your perspective?





The Power of LInkedIn

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, May 08, 2012

161 Million members in over 200 countries, with 2 new members joining per second.  Wow!  This represents over 4.2 billion professionally-oriented searches in 2011.  So, this begs the question - how do you use LinkedIn? My friends and colleagues all know that I am a big fan (and for complete disclosure, i do own a few shares of LNKD). The common perception is that LinkedIn is a career networking site. It provides individuals with a mechanism to display their professional talents and find a new job. It helps recruiters find the best talent. It helps sales teams uncover network links to key decision makers.  These are all fantastic uses of LinkedIn.

But, have you thought about using LinkedIn to do market analysis? Or, to empower your employees? Here at MAD Perspectives, we use LinkedIn to pursue new business, learn about market trends, share thoughts and stay connected to colleagues. We have posted questions in groups to learn about new technologies.  We have answered questions posted in LinkedIn Answers. We have also leveraged LinkedIn to fulfill client projects, some directly tied to LinkedIn, others using the power of the network.

Check out our case studies:

     - LinkedIn for Competitive Analysis

     - LinkedIn for Accelerating Sales

     - LinkedIn for Solution Consulting Services

Social media has changed the way we share and obtain information at the the personal and business levels. Each of the social networks adds value to how we communicate and stay in contact with friends, companies and colleagues. It's up to each of us to determine how these platforms can best serve us. Don't be afraid to be creative!

What's your perspective?



Using LinkedIn to Build B2B Followers

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Every day there are more articles showcasing the value of social media for business.  However, 80% of those articles reflect the value for companies marketing to and communicating with consumers.  The challenge, for companies selling products or services to other companies, is how social media can help them.  After all, when most people are on Facebook, they are there to communicate with their friends and family.  Sure, they may be job hunting, and Facebook has proven to be a good place for employers to recruit new employees.  It is also a good place for companies to connect with users regarding customer support issues.  However, Facebookt is still first and foremost a destination for the individual thinking about personal, rather than business, topics.

A recent article on The Next Web highlighting the high proportion of U.S. based LinkedIn members, with membership growing internationally. What was more interesting is how companies are taking advantage of LinkedIn, particularly those in high tech. One of the dominant metrics, for measuring success in social media , is tracking the number of followers. For a company in the B2B space, it is most important for followers to be individuals who can influence purchasing decisions. LinkedIn is the most relevant social network for attracting influential followers. Who's are the companies leading the pack?

    1. IBM, ~590,000 followers

    2. HP, ~449,000 followers

    3. Microsoft, ~424,000 followers

    4. Accenture, ~419,000 followers

    5. Google, ~409,000 followers

    6. Oracle, ~293,000 followers

    7. Deloitte, ~283,000 followers

    8. Apple, ~253,000 followers

    9. Dell, ~244,000 followers

    10. Cisco, ~240,000 followers

source:  Zoomsphere

It's not a surprise to me that tech companies lead the pack.  Tech company employees tend to adopt new tools more rapidly than individuals in other markets.  IBM, in particular, has invested heavily in "socializing" its entire approach to business. This is partly to promote their own business intelligence capabilities, but also to simplify how employees get and stay connected internally or externally.  

These companies use LinkedIn's company pages to promote the company and their product lines. The benefit of promoting products and services on LinkedIn, allows the company to highlight new products, customer case studies and increase attention to key product lines. Another benefit is the ability for users to provide recommendations for company products. Hewlett-Packard, in particular, has gained a significant number of recommendations across all of its businesses. In addition, they sponsor several groups targeting different customer segments.

Social media is changing the way we connect with customers.  LinkedIn provides an additional channel for communicating value and differentiation, as well as listening to what customers are saying.  Look into leveraging LinkedIn for more than your personal profile, there are benefits for large and small businesses. Check it out!

What's your perspective?



Using the Top Social Networks for B2B Marketing

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, January 24, 2012

There is an ongoing debate about the use of social media by business-to-business (B2B) companies. However, according to B2B Magazine, 93% of B2B marketing are using some form of social media marketing. As expected, Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter are the most popular. However, tactics, resources and metrics are key challenges. These challenges are connected and reinforce the need for a comprehensive strategy, integrating your social media efforts with your overall marketing plan. However, it is first important to understand how you can best utilize each of these social networks.

Here are a few thoughts:

     - LinkedIn:  create a group for your brand, create a company page and promote products, encourage employees to provide links within their profile to the company webpage(s), share company presentations and videos, integrate twitter feeds and corporate blogs, recruit employees

     - Facebook:  share news and videos, , promote and share pictures and comments from events, highlight expert knowledge from both employees and customers, create community through customized product pages (invite Likes, discussion, links to more information on company website), recruit employees

     - Twitter:  listen to what others (customers, competitors, influencers) are saying, share content (provide links to articles, re-tweet influencer content, invite input from your followers to validate strategy

For additional insights and tips on using social media for B2B marketing check out Social Media B2B, Marketo, Hubspot, business.com.

Identify your goals. Consider how these platforms, or others, may augment your marketing, customer service, product development or sales efforts. Be brave and be patient.  Social media is a broadcast channel enabling you to reach a very wide audience.  It takes time to build a valuable following and to learn how to interact effectively with them.

What's your perspective?





Social Media Storytelling 201

Peggy Dau - Thursday, January 05, 2012

Every company has a story to tell.  There is the story about its creation and growth.  There are stories about its products and solutions.  There are insights about its impact on society, markets and individuals.  These stories are told through a wide variety of communication platforms. Social Media 101 would recommend defining a plan aligned with your strategy, then using the most popular social media platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogging) to fulfill that plan. As we enter 2012, lets look at some additional tools that will expand the audience for your business stories!

1. Slideshare - As the name indicates, share your presentations.  Not only can companies post presentations and whitepapers, they can create audio to complement the information in the presentations. Slideshare is great outlet for establishing your position in the market, sharing insights in a visual manner, promoting new products, providing "how to" content, and more.  Tell stories through graphics, pictures and key highlights.

2. LinkedIn Groups - Every LinkedIn pundit promotes the benefits of a good profile, increasing connections and gathering recommendations. They also encourage involvement in groups, yet many of the individuals that I talk to don't realize the value of groups. There is a group for just about any industry, technology, profession or interest.  Your company can create groups specific to product categories or market needs. It provides an alternative channel to promote your company's value. Groups allow members to ask and answer questions between themselves or the group moderator. Stories evolve through these interactions.

3. HootSuite or TweetDeck - Simplify your monitoring and posting of social commentary. Each platform allows users to establish multiple accounts (i.e., on behalf of clients), receive notifications, schedule updates and view multiple columns of content on a single screen. These tools provide a single destination for managing your posts on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, WordPress, Ping and others. They provide you with instant access to content to keep your story relevant.

4.  Apps - 2011 saw the rise of the app as a means of sharing content on mobile devices.  Given the restrictions of these devices, apps streamline user access and interaction. Without apps, smartphones and tablets would not be enjoying such high levels of success. The challenge for B2B companies is identifying and developing apps to address employee and customer needs. Apple launched its B2B App Store in late 2011, acknowledging the unique needs of this market segment.  Apps simplify how employees or customers can engage with your company while on the go.  Some broad ideas for relevant apps could be customer service FAQs, order management, product highlights and demos, need feeds incorporating corporate, industry and social content.  Apps help you interact in a new way and share your targeted elements of your story.

Coordinating cross channel communication efforts will be the 2012 challenge for sales, marketing and customer support. Creating and adapting content for use across multiple platforms takes time and talent. Companies will face resource challenges to manage content development and distribution. In parallel, social platforms continue to emerge and there are several technologies that all marketing strategists should be addressing. They include the use of mobile devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets), adoption of monitoring and analytics platforms and the importance of location based services.  

Be aware of how any platform can benefit your company's goals as well as increasing awareness and interaction. Use the same methodology you've been using to align and integrate your communications strategy. Define your audiences, the content they need and the best communication channels. Take your strategy to the next level -  testing and analyzing platforms relevant for your business and your customers.

What's your perspective?




Top 5 Blog Topics of 2011

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yes, it's that time of year to look back and reflect.  I took some time to see which blog topics garnered the most interest this year.  The list does not surprise me.  As B2B companies figure out their use of social media, they are facing questions of where and how to leverage social networks and interact with customers.  With no further ado, here are the top 5 MAD Perspectives blogs of 2012!

#1 - LinkedIn:  Companies are just beginning to realize that LinkedIn is more than a site for networking to find a job.  It is THE site for professional networking to find decision makers, engage in group discussion on industry topics and amplify your B2B brand.  Of course, it is also the site to represent your personal professional brand.  For enlightened companies who empower and value their employees, there is recognition that a powerful LinkedIn profile reflects positively on an employer.  Employees can provide links to key corporate sites.  A profile reflecting the value an employee provides to customers, reflects the culture embodied by the company.

#2 - Planning:  It is difficult to know if you're successful in any effort if you don't have a plan that defines goals, tactics and metrics.  Social media evolved from a individual consumer perspective.  The very nature of social media is immediate and authentic.  How can a company plan to engage socially without losing a sense of unaffected spontaneity?  It is a challenge for B2B companies as their messaging will always be related to their brand and products.  However, defining your audience and their needs will help in developing a plan to provide the right kind of content via the right communication channel.  Know your brand's voice and identify methods to share that voice.

#3 - Strategy:  You might find it interesting that strategy lagged slightly behind planning in interest.  Strategy and planning are closely related.  As we talked about strategy this year, we spoke specifically about how your social media strategy must be closely aligned with your brand strategy.  If a company does not understand its identity and does not have clear business goals, it is impossible to develop a social media strategy.  Your social strategy must be aligned with and support your company's business goals.  These could range from market awareness to customer support to product innovation.

#4 - Social Analytics:  This is a hot topic as we move into 2012.  This space is expanding beyond the ability to monitor and listen to what your customers are saying.  It is taking that data (and there is a LOT of data) and using it to drive planning.  Acting upon data collected is often the biggest challenge for any company.  The social universe gives companies unprecedented access to honest insight, opinions, and concerns.  Through their online activity on both search engines and social networks, customers are revealing their needs, being influenced by the opinions of others, sharing experiences and changing the entire purchasing process.  A critical part of any social media strategy, is defining how to monitor, capture and act upon social conversations.

#5 - Corporate Culture:  This is a carryover from 2010 and continues to be relevant.  Your company's culture directly impacts how employees will participate socially, if at all.  Command & control organizations who are leveraging social networks lack the authenticity of empowered organizations.  Social updates from hierarchical organization tend to revert to push marketing techniques of notifying customers of events, without inviting interaction.  In fact, this likely reflects fear of the unknown at the executive level.  Companies who empower their employees are creating strong customer communities through honest, ongoing interaction.  

2011 has seen more B2B companies adopting different forms of social media.  The pressure is on to show measurable results in 2012.  This  means that strategy, planning and analyzing will continue to be critical for success in this space.  Social media is useful for more than pure marketing, which seems to be the default entry point.  I'm curious to see if companies will utilize social networks for other purposes such as recruiting (Facebook and LinkedIn will fight to the death on this topic), customer support (in more than a consumer centric model) or product development (prioritizing roadmaps).  Broadening the use of social media may reveal the path to measuring its real success for B2B companies.

What's your perspective? 



The Power of Connectivity

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We all live and work in an increasingly connected world.  Our smartphones and tablets connect us to information and people in ways that barely allow us any quiet time.  How do we measure the value of this connectedness?  Is there value to having thousands of Twitter followers, Facebook fans or LinkedIn connections?  Obviously the social media community believes in the power of connectivity, but do businesses? 

Connectivity is an interesting topic.  As humans we like to be connected to family, friends and colleagues.  We have more options than even to stay in contact.  I use Facebook to keep up with friends who scattered around the globe.  I use LinkedIn to manage my network of business colleagues.  Both Twitter and LinkedIn are my conduits for promoting my blog, sharing thoughts on current events and listening to what others are saying as it relates to business.  In addition, I still email (yes, i understand it may be considered a dying technology).  Why do I use all of these tools?  Because I want to be connected.

I want to learn from others.  I want to understand what is interesting to my colleagues.  I want to gain insights into new technologies.  I want to share my knowledge.  Anyone who follows my blog or my business, knows that I am a huge fan of LinkedIn.  I did not become an advocate until I had time to realize the power of the connectivity it provides.  While i was still employed by corporate America, it was simply a tool to augment or replace my rolodex.    Since leaving the corporate world, I'm exposed to a wider set of contacts.  I thought i had a good network working at HP.  It included fellow employees and business partners.  Since leaving HP, i have added contacts from a wider range of industries and roles.

Last year I was seeking information about a topic I had been invited to investigate for a client.  It was a topic where I only had high level knowledge.  I used LinkedIn Groups to post a question with hopes of getting more in depth information.  Not only did I get greater insight, I received invites for phone conversations and a face to face meeting, which resulted in a fantastic white board session.  The power of the connectivity provided by LinkedIn, in this case, was phenomenal and positioned me for greater success in my project.

I've used LinkedIn, again, recently to request introductions from my connections to some of their connections. I was seeking access to decision makers to discuss their needs and priorities around a specific topic.  Again, my colleagues responded favorably, happy to introduce me to the specific contacts I had defined.  As a result I have been able to gather a global view of this topic, again on behalf of a client.

As businesses and as individuals, social technologies are enabling us to connect more quickly and effectively. We've all networked on behalf of business in the past.  I remember scrolling through the rolodex to find the name of the contact who knew the guy who could help me close a deal.  Social technologies reduce the manual effort and time to achieve connectivity.  So, is this connectivity meaningful?  I would argue, YES it is!

Even a casual connection can lead to meaningful business.  It's all about staying in touch and reinforcing the value of the connection.  Businesses using social media should remember this.  Social networking is not just about pushing your content out via another channel.  it is about identifying the value your customers seek from you - and then providing that value.  Customer support is an excellent example.  Your customers seek answers to frequently and infrequently asked questions.  Social conversations via all of the big networks can help you understand the their needs, get ahead of critical issues and recognized trends that may impact product sales.

Connectivity is about more than the actual connection.  it's about the conversation.  It's about providing and receiving value.  This is where the power emerges.  I don't mean power from a control perspective, I mean power to move forward, make a difference, achieve a goal.  Think about the power of your connections.  What value do you see in them?

What's your perspective?