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Archive for the ‘Social Networks’ Category

Four reasons why did LinkedIn had a better year than Twitter

I have to admit I was a little surprised when I saw the following chart on Mashable the other day:


The lines in the graph that surprised me the most corresponded with LinkedIn and Twitter. LinkedIn actually had a better year than Twitter!

We’ve all heard about how Twitter is growing like crazy. Ever since Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN to a Twitter-off, Twitter has been all over the media. Celebrities, news shows, websites and commercials all promote Twitter in some way. As a result, Twitter has grown at an remarkable rate, but surprisingly, LinkedIn has grown more.

How has LinkedIn done it? Here are a few ideas I had:

1. LinkedIn is more robust – I love Twitter, but there’s only so much you can do with 140 characters and a few different symbols like @ or #. LinkedIn has all sorts of great resources to help you connect with other people. They have groups, they suggest people you may want to connect with, there’s the Q & A section and they have improved link sharing capabilities. Also, your profile says a lot more about who you are and you can recommend close connections. These features are attractive to someone who’s looking to connect and network on a deeper level.

2. LinkedIn is easier to use – This may sound contrary to my first point, but hear me out. First, Twitter is not easy to understand for a new user. They don’t know what a re-tweet is, they don’t know what a hash tag does and they don’t know what the heck they should tweet. Worst of all, Twitter does a terrible job of explaining all of the ins and outs of how to use the site. Twitter does have a 101 course, but it’s not easy to find. The 101 course should be a part of the sign-up process. Second, Twitter is very high maintenance. If you want to have a successful Twitter account you have to tweet a lot of great content, which is not an easy task for most people. Third, there are all sorts of spam on Twitter. People get tired of being followed by accounts who are following 300 people and have few or no followers. I have to delete spam every day on Twitter, while on LinkedIn I’ve never had to. LinkedIn on the other hand is very user-friendly. There is a side bar tool that tells you what you need to do to complete your profile. They have great tabs that are easy to understand. All of the updates are broken up into categories. Not only is LinkedIn clean and easy to use, but you don’t have to update it all of the time. If you update it once a week you’re doing great.

3. LinkedIn’s demographic is specific – LinkedIn targets business professionals. There’s no point for everyone and their dog to get on LinkedIn and clutter up the space. The only reason people are active on LinkedIn is to network with other professionals. On the other hand, Twitter is full of people talking about everything from Justin Bieber to Earth Day. It’s not easy to sift through all of the noise to hear what you want.

4. Twitter is helping to grow LinkedIn – I think all of the hype Twitter gets actually helps LinkedIn. Convincing people that they need to be a part of the social networking revolution has gotten a lot easier as more and more people hear about these sites in the news. Professional people keep up with news; as a result, they turn to a network that makes sense to them…LinkedIn.

Why do you think LinkedIn is outpacing Twitter? Do you think I’m way off base? Let me know.

Facebook and Twitter are not social media

You thought Facebook and Twitter were social media? Sorry, you’re wrong.

Social media, or as Olivier Blanchard put it, social communications (a label I like), is not a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or a blog. It’s not getting the most fans or followers. It’s not pushing a message out into the newest social network. It’s not putting little social networking logos on your web page. It’s not even posting regular content to your different accounts.

So what is social media/social communications? Here are a few ideas:

It’s being in the right spot

In order to reach your target markets you have to be where they are.  Are they on Twitter? Are your markets on Facebook? Do your target markets read the newspaper? Do they respond to billboards? Do they watch television? Do they go to trade shows or congregate at certain events? Are you where your markets are? All forms of media today can be social. If you’re not communicating with your markets where your markets are located, you aren’t being social.

It’s integration

Once you know where you markets are, you need to integrate. If you aren’t convinced that Facebook is going to be around for very long then you need to click here. When it boils down to it, Facebook has over 450 million active user. There is a good chance your markets are on Facebook. Does that mean you stop pursuing traditional marketing efforts? No! It means you start using your traditional marketing efforts more effectively. Come up with ideas to use traditional methods that will point people to your different social networks. Tell people to communicate with your company on Facebook, on Twitter or on your corporate blog. As you invite them to some sort of an action, you will see more people coming to your pages to interact with you.

It’s listening

Now that your social networks are budding with activity, what are people saying? Are you listening on Twitter? Are people commenting on your blog? Are people saying things that make you uncomfortable? Are they unhappy with your product or are they raving about how amazing you are? Are you listening?

It’s changing

If you’re truly listening to people, then you’ll need to make changes. If people are saying bad things, then you obviously need to change. If they’re saying good things, then surprise people with something even better. If people aren’t saying anything, then you need to do something to get people talking. Here are a couple of great posts by Olivier you really need to read about how a company can listen and change using social media in a crisis: Greenpeace vs. Nestle part 1 and part 2.

It’s communicating

To truly use social media, you have to communicate with people. True communication is a two way dialogue. You can’t just push a message out and hope you see results. You have to find out what people want, what they’re saying and respond appropriately. We live in an age where people all over the world can be a part of a community. Regardless of the role you want to have in that community, if you’re going to be a part of it you’re going to have to communicate effectively.

If you don’t know how to communicate, how to listen, how to change, how to integrate new and traditional media, or if you don’t know where your markets are, then don’t waste time on social networks. Why? Because you’re probably going out of business.

Conan gave her a gift, but what should Sarah Killen do now?

conan_4credIt’s amazing the kind of power a celebrity holds. Conan O’Brien joined Twitter at the end of February and he already has over 630,000 followers. Okay, that’s no big deal. Conan is a celebrity. The real story is in what Conan has done to 19 year old Sarah Killen.

Here’s the short version of the story: On March 5th Conan decided to randomly follow one person on Twitter. He chose Sarah Killen, a.k.a. @lovelybutton. She immediately went from a few followers to almost 25,000 in six days…crazy. Click here to read more.

So what? Good for Sarah, no big deal right? Wrong. If Sarah is smart she will do something with this unexpected fame. If you watch this ABC report, you’ll see that she got a few things for her wedding. She is even encouraging people to donate to a cancer fund. That’s wonderful, but she needs to do something more. This is an amazing opportunity!

So Sarah, here are a few ideas on what you could do with your new-found fame:

  1. Start a blog: You already have thousands of people who are listening to what you’re saying on Twitter. As a result, you would get thousands of hits on your blog. You already have people sending you free stuff for your wedding, just think of how many people would pay you to have an ad in the sidebar of your blog. You could generate a pretty good income just from advertisements. Make sure your blog has focus and isn’t just a diary of your life. Make it about something of worth and it will grow instead of fading out when all of the hype dies down. If you’re not a good writer then take a writing class ASAP!
  2. Start a business: What do you like to do? What are you good at? Start a business and use your audience to help it grow.
  3. Become an unofficial spokesperson for a good cause: Pick a topic or cause that you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s helping to cure cancer. I’m sure the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation would love your help and support, and may even pay you to be an official spokesperson for them.
  4. Connect with other celebrities: You could try to connect with other comedians or celebrities. They may be interested in getting in on the joke. As they connect with you more people will follow you, which would increase your ability to influence.

Please be smart, Sarah! Do something more than just tweeting random stuff. You could do so much. Of course if you want more advice let me know!

Alumni & Online Personal Branding, Part 1: How spotless are your social networks?

It's finally time to clean up your social networks.

It's finally time to clean up your social networks.

Over the last few years, two remarkably surprising and unpredictable phenomena have radically changed the way most Americans spend their time and lives. One is the rise of social media. The other is the Great Recession.

First, social media is quickly altering the way humans communicate and interact with one another. Don’t believe me? 95% of employers polled in a recent business survey say they use LinkedIn to attract job candidates. The United States government just eased sanctions on Iran and Cuba to encourage social media use among their citizens. CNN now sees Facebook as a bigger competitor than FOX News. And on and on it goes.

In the mean time, the economic recession has paralyzed millions of businesses, families and nations. It’s harder now for a recent college graduate to find a good job than it’s been in decades.

So what do these two changes have in common? It’s simple: College graduates must use social media to foster personal branding in order to beat the recession. But how?

I was going to spill out a half-dozen suggestions in this blog post today, but my wise business colleague suggested I create a series of posts that address this important issue, step by step. I gladly took his advice, and I’ll focus this morning on the importance of keeping your social networks clean and appropriate.

Clean up your social networks: A study last year revealed that 45% of employers use social networks like Facebook and MySpace to screen potential job candidates. That number is bound to increase as social media becomes even more widely used. What does that mean for you?

  • Learn about privacy features on Facebook. I cannot tell you how many people I come across that have no idea that all their Facebook information, including phone numbers, private notes and embarrassing pictures, are public online. Educate yourself and make invisible sensitive information on Facebook.
  • If you’re smart, you’ll simply erase any negative or compromising material on Facebook, especially photos. If your friends occasionally post inappropriate comments or pictures on your Facebook wall, see the link in the point above.
  • If you have a blog, that is very good. But, like Facebook, make sure your blog is appropriate for all to see, including potential or current employers.
  • Make sure spammers aren’t following you on Twitter. Block them. Oftentimes, spammers will use pornographic images in their profile pictures which are visible to someone looking at your Twitter followers.
  • Abandon MySpace. It’s filthy and chaotic and ridden with 13-year-olds. It will do little, if anything, to further your career. Say goodbye and walk away.

In short, remember to make your social networks clean and don’t ever post anything online that could come back to embarrass or hurt you.

Over the next couple years, social media will become even more mainstream and will evolve and grow in ways we can’t yet predict. The recession will (hopefully) wither away into oblivion, like the Wicked Witch of the West slowly melting in a pool of oozy water. Those transformations are good, but it highlights the point that the time to use social media to establish your personal brand is now. The world, as it recovers from the economic downturn, will not wait for you to catch up.

Props to Obama, and a warning to all other politicians

President ObamaIn honor of Presidents Day I have to give props to President Obama for doing so well in the social media realm. Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or somewhere in between, you can’t deny that the man has done wonders in reaching out to The People via social media. As I’m writing this he has over 7.5 million fans on his Facebook page and close to 3.3 million followers on Twitter. No one else in the political arena has anywhere near as much online support. Sarah Palin, who seems to be the next most popular political figure on Facebook and Twitter, has just over 1.36 million fans on Facebook and barely 80,000 followers on Twitter. The number of her supporters pales in comparison to President Obama’s.

In addition to having large numbers of supporters on the major social networks, Obama has done a great job galvanizing his fan base. Outside of his official pages, there are thousands of groups, profiles, YouTube videos, websites, forums and blogs supporting his cause.

Obama has proven himself a worthy campaigner. Edelman, one of the top independent PR firms in the world, wrote a great report on how Obama used social media to win the 2008 Presidential Election. Click here to read the report.

A warning to all politicians

President Obama isn’t the only one who has used social media effectively to influence elections. A more recent example can be seen in Scott Brown’s surprise victory in Massachusetts. As of Jan. 1, Brown had over 70,000 fans while Martha Coakley had just over 13,000. Click here to read this Wall Street Journal report for more telling statistics about the Massachusetts election.

If you want an idea of who may or may not win their elections this upcoming November, just compare how the candidates are doing in the social media race.

Politicians beware; do not ignore social media!