Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn’

Recommended Read: The Social Media Bible

July 5, 2012

I recently started reading The Social Media Bible, by Lon Safko. I highly recommend this book to everyone; it’s full of great insight and interesting facts. Below are a few quotes I felt were worth sharing!

“The next most-asked question at my keynotes are ‘Where’s the ROI in social media marketing?’ and ‘How much money should I be spending on social media marketing?; My answer is always, remove the term social media from those questions and ask them again ‘Where’s the ROI in marketing?’ and ‘How much should I be spending on marketing?'” 

“Social media is only a new set of tools, new technology that allows us to more efficiently connect and build relationships with our customers and prospects. It’s doing what the telephone, direct mail, print advertising, radio, television, and billboards did for us up until now. But social media is exponentially more effective.” 

“Social media marketing is all about listening first, understanding the conversation, and then speak last.”

“Whether it’s a social network like Facebook or LinkedIn, Twitter or blogging, it’s about participating in that conversation and being there with a relationship when your prospect is ready to buy.” 

“By building relationships through social media, you build a more lasting trusted relationship that will result in more sales, fewer returns, and greater word of mouth.”

“The reason for Twitter‘s success was best put by Mark Twain, when he said in the late nineteenth century, ‘I apologize for the length of my correspondence. Given more time, it would have been shorter.'” 

Kakul Srivastava, the general manager for Flickr, told me that there are three cell phones for every man, woman, and child on the planet. With that kind of technology penetration, you and your company needs to be participating.” 

“Anytime there is a tool that millions of people in one place at one time, all with common interests, are clamoring to use, you, as a businessperson, need to understand it and be a part of it.” 

Facebook Dominates Social Networking Traffic Worldwide

June 11, 2012

According to a new infographic map, Facebook shows a strong hold on traffic to various social sites worldwide. 

Vincenzo Cosenza, an Italian-based social media strategist, has studied the most popular social networks used across the globe and has put together a map to highlight the leading platforms. He posted his findings on his blog.  

Facebook, which has more than 845 monthly active users, is the top-used social networking site in 126 out of 137 countries analyzed, including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, Japan, Brazil, and India. 

Although Facebook has its roots in the U.S., with 222 million users, Europe is the continent with the most Facebook users, 232 million. 

However, Facebook is not the top player in Russia, China, Vietnam, and Latvia. 

“If we take a look over Facebook’s shoulders we can see the battle for the second position between Twitter and LinkedIn or, especially in Europe, between Badoo and Twitter,” Cosenza noted on his blog.

What do you think? Do you think other social networking sites have the potential to pass Facebook in the future? If so, which sites in which regions?

LinkedIn Recommendations: Things You Should Know

June 1, 2012

LinkedIn is continuing to grow rapidly, which means more people are using the tool for intelligence, recruitment, and networking. A social space like LinkedIn can make specific individuals stand out among others; a specific way individuals can best leverage this social network is by gathering recommendations on their LinkedIn profile. 

Here are some guidelines for LinkedIn recommendations: 

1. Ask For Specific Recommendations

When you ask someone for a recommendation, make sure the request is personal and polite. LinkedIn will autofill the recommendation request text box, but remember to take that out. Replace it with asking the person for a recommentaion for something specific you worked on together. Also, ask the person to include what happened as a result of working together. Specific information showing how your skill or work was used reflects well on you. 

2. Don’t Ask Everyone

Don’t send out a defaulted autofill recommendation to all of your connections, because most of those connections haven’t worked with you close enough. You also want to keep the recommendations business related; you don’t want your best friend or landlord to recommend you in a way that doesn’t relate to business. 

3. Don’t Ignore a Request

If you receive a recommendation request from someone that you don’t really know that well, don’t ignore it. Say something like “Thanks for the recommendation request, but I don’t feel that I can endorse your work, since we don’t really know each other that well.” With a response like this, you have let the person down gently and didn’t just leave them hanging. 

4. Be Careful About How You Recommend

While a lot of recommendations look good, make sure your whole team or all of your co-workers don’t recommend each other. Recommendations like that add little value. 

5. Update Recommendations

It’s not very common, but you might want to delete some recommendations you have made. Go to the “recommendations you have made” link in your profile and withdraw it.  You can also revise a recommendation here. 

6. Say ‘Thank You’

When someone writes you a recommendation, you are given the option to return the favor. Don’t do it unless you feel comfortable recommending the person. Regardless, send the person a note saying thanks for the recommendation they wrote for you. 

Recruiting through Social Media

May 30, 2012

“Social media touches every facet of business and is more an extension of good business ethics.”

-Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics

When recruiting through social media, think of these tools in the following ways:

1) FacebookThe Coffee Shop. Fans see updates in real time so you can post about job openings, trade shows, etc. You can also create pages for job listings.

2) TwitterThe Speed Date. Include links to job postings. Can post several times a day. You can get conversations started here very easily.

3) Your BlogThe Open House. Your blog shows off your business’ personality and is a great venue for posting job openings.

4) LinkedInThe Networking Event. Users can follow your company page and you can post jobs inexpensively on your Career page.

5) YouTubeThe Public Access Cable Channel. Videos can showcase your company so prospects can “meet” the people or place they will be working with/at. You can also create a recruiting “commercial”.

For more information on recruiting through social media, click here.

A Lawyers Take on Social Media

July 11, 2011

Recently, we have had numerous law firms contact us with an interest in social media. This is a fun challenge for us, given the clients do not know much about social media and wonder why they should have a social media presence in the first place.

This article and video we ran across are very helpful in explaining why law firms should take social media into account. It is not common to find a previous Public Relations specialist working for a law firm; Vivienne Storey’s perspective is definitely something to take into account when faced with this issue.

Get LinkedIn for business

March 25, 2011

I’m getting more and more questions from clients about the value of LinkedIn, so perfect timing for this Mashable post that hit my inbox this morning. I, personally, am not as active in LinkedIn as I am in Facebook on a daily basis, but I absolutely see its value. I’ve connected with several business professionals in my industry and the groups I subscribe to provide a fantastic networking space online. And, unfounded or not, I do believe people take me and my business more seriously in the LinkedIn space. Here’s what Mashable reports:

LinkedIn recently passed 100 million users, meaning its population is bigger than most countries. But what kind of country would LinkedInLand be? An old, rich, well-educated one.

According to the infographic below, created by Online MBA, 68% of LinkedIn users are 35 or older, 74% have a college degree or better and 39% make more than $100,000 a year. As those stats illustrate, although LinkedIn may not have the buzz of Facebook or Twitter right now, it has an enviable demographic base. The company also is profitable, fast-growing and expanding into new lines of business like news aggregation. As LinkedIn prepares to go public this year, here’s an overview of the phenomenon that Reid Hoffman created 8 years ago.

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Social media at Deloitte

June 30, 2010

Adopting social media as a communications tool is a huge leap for many companies. It takes vision to see the power of people connecting online. It takes innovation to embrace something new and different. It takes guts to empower and trust employees to participate in an online channel, with all the potential risks.

But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding…results are what count.

The attached report from Deloitte Australia on their social media success is impressive. They are using platforms like Yammer to test ideas, collaborate in large numbers on a global scale, and harness collective wisdom. They’re recruiting with YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. They’re creating a corporate culture that embraces participation, communication, and transformation across the board.

So the choice is NOT ‘do we participate?’
The question is how.
To participate in social media you must unleash energy not try to control it. The process, technology and policy are easy. Getting the right attitude is hard.

This is a fantastic case study for anyone about to take the plunge…or anyone trying to convince their executive team to do so!

Download: Deloitte Social Networking

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Blue Media Boutique’s Tori Rose on social media strategy

March 16, 2010


Read what Tori and Mary Beth West had to say about social media strategy in an article from the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Strategy before execution essential in social media

By Amy Nolan, March 15, 2010


Tori Rose shares a secret with businesses excited about how many fans their Facebook page boasts.

“A lot of them are hiding you,” says Rose, founder of Blue Media Boutique, a Knoxville Web development firm that recently joined with Mary Beth West Consulting to promote their strategic interactive expertise.

The former Rivr Media Interactive executive launched her business two years ago as social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter exploded in popularity, and she’s watched as clients and prospects “jump in with no direction.”

They start a Facebook fan page believing “if we build it they will come.”

They start a blog, but no staff member is charged with writing it.

They want an iPhone app, but don’t know why.

To be sure, the Internet’s vast audience is alluring the corporate world, and so is its promise as a free, easy, do-it-yourself marketing platforms. The trend has been keenly by those businesses helping them shape their message.

“I think a lot of people think if you have the tools, you have the skills,” says Cynthia Moxley, CEO of Moxley Carmichael, who likens the situation to the Macintosh computer putting graphic design in reach of any user, giving rise to the term, “Mac ugly.”

Not unlike many industries affected by seismic economic shifts, marketers have used the downturn as an opportunity to take stock and reinvent themselves.

Advertising, public relations and Web development firms are consolidating and creating joint ventures, as well as tapping high-profile talent to boost their digital media credibility in the marketplace.

And businesses big and small, those already taking part in the online conversation and wondering whether anyone is listening as well as those considering jumping into the fray, are increasingly seeking expert assistance on how to be efficient and successful on the online frontier.

“Social is now at the curve where it’s becoming a more mature medium and people are expecting more out of it,” says Dan Alton, of Bluegill Creative, which recently merged with Internet marketing firm Eluminare.

Adds his business partner, Billy Rivet, “I think one of the challenges we face within the realm of social communities and mobile networks are the concerns of being interrupted. People don’t want to be marketed to, so how do you market to them without seeming to be marketing to them?”
Different audiences, approaches

Mary Ellen Brewington is a partner in Cherokee Distributing Co. and passionate community volunteer, who considers writing a hobby. She’s written articles for a Knoxville lifestyle magazine and earned a college degree in creative writing.

She began playing around with Facebook and Twitter last year, and signed Moxley Carmichael to talk through her efforts and get the technical assistance to make the company’s Web site more interactive.

Brewington now authors the blog, “On Tap,” that’s accessible from Cherokee’s Web site, and visitors are also invited to follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Her audience is primarily local: Cherokee distributes beer and non-alcoholic drinks to grocery stores and restaurants in 22 East Tennessee counties.

She’ll write about a beer-tasting event or fundraiser for a worthy cause, but she also devotes a fair number of words on less obvious promotional topics — from favorite beer drinking songs, the history of craft beers to some pointers on how to determine “what moderation means for you.”

Her mission is provide some entertainment and education, she says, along with promoting Cherokee’s products.

“Good business is really all about relationships, and I view social media as one of the ways to build those relationships,” she says.

She’s now receiving weekly reports on her Web traffic, and is particularly interested in how readers came to visit the site, the demographics of fans and followers, and what experts say is an often overlooked metric — whether readers are responding.

Tracking a reader to the grocery story is difficult, but she intuitively believes “putting a bug in someone’s ear,” about the nostalgic resurgence of Pabst Blue Ribbon, for example, may prompt him to pick up a six-pack at Food City.

Ruby Tuesday, on the other hand, wants to build relationships with potential customers around the world with hopes they’ll visit its nearly 900 restaurants.

Gavin Baker joined the Maryville-based restaurant chain eight months ago as social media manager.

Facebook is currently the “big dog” in the social media space, Baker notes, and Ruby Tuesday boasts 60,000-plus fans of its page.

The marketing department creates a conversational calendar for Facebook posts, dividing messages into three categories: community, product and company.

“We set that up ahead of time, and coordinate that with everything else we are doing,” he says.

Messages are vetted in the marketing department before they’re posted.

“The easiest thing to measure is the fan count — unfortunately that number doesn’t really tell you anything,” Baker says.

He watches closely what wall posts elicit comments and analyzes demographic information and engagement scores provided by Facebook.

Tracking the reader to the restaurant is made easier by an old-fashioned tool “that gets a lot of love,” he says — a coupon. Fans this month get a free appetizer; in mid-March the company launched a $1 million contest tied to the NCAA basketball tournament.
Beyond Facebook, Twitter

Katie Granju joined Ackermann PR in April 2009 as the agency’s first director of social media. She brought with her nearly eight years of participating in a variety of online communities, both professionally — she was among the first community producers for the Oxygen network — and personally as a citizen actively engaged in her neighborhood’s development and a mother interested in learning and sharing the triumphs and travails of parenting.

When HGTV, the Knoxville-based lifestyle television network, sought to tap into the exploding group of so-called mommy bloggers they turned to Granju, who blogs at

“The idea was tossed around to start from scratch” with its own blog or other targeted messages, Granju says.

Ultimately, the network signed to its talent stable Heather Armstrong, who in 2001 began publishing, a blog that has spawned two books.

“Instead of taking on-air talent and giving them an online component, this is taking some of the best online talent in the world and growing them in the other direction,” Granju says. “That makes HGTV very smart and ahead of the curve.”

The move also illustrates what Granju says are often overlooked opportunities — from endorsements of online celebrities to the more mundane Listservs and Yahoo groups.

While Granju may be a poster child for new media and all things digital, she sounds not unlike Cathy Ackermann, her boss and the public relations strategist who founded the agency 28 years ago.

“This is new, so people got excited about it, got out there in the space and many put execution before strategy,” Granju says. “It’s never going to work as well if it’s put into a silo and not aligned with a company’s business goals and everything else they are doing.”

She also preaches that companies need to integrate all their digital media elements. Her firm has been called on to perform “digital audits” for locally-based companies with national footprints, including Ruby Tuesday, Pilot Travel Centers and Radio Systems, the makers of the Invisible Fence and other pet products.

Granju says metrics to measure success are getting “better and more accurate,” particularly in just the last year.

“The metrics that matter are different for every client,” she says. “They are only as meaningful as to what they can do the product or whatever your call to action is. We determine first, ‘What does success look like?’ and then we can create a system that we can measure for that.”

Ackermann’s digital audit at Pilot Travel Centers will look at what tools are being used to monitor online traffic and conversations, consolidate its interactive strategies with its brand vision, as well as adding functions to the Web site that allows visitors to plan their trips with stops at Pilot.
Conversation is two-way

While the company’s message and user-friendly presence are important, conversation is ultimately a two-way street making listening and responding integral to the strategy.

Lyndsay Caylor, named Pilot Travel Centers’ social media manager in October, finds herself frequently communicating with the company’s human resources office, where she started her Pilot career, the legal team and the executive suite.

Such was the case recently when Pilot’s Facebook page became ground zero for a battle between the Humane Society of the United States and agriculture interests unhappy with the organization.

At the crux was an employee-driven fundraising appeal to customers to support funding shelters for animals displaced by disasters that came to light when the Humane Society identified Pilot as a corporate sponsor. Ultimately, Pilot stopped the solicitations and CEO Jimmy Haslam explained why on a farmer-hosted radio show carried by 100 rural radio stations.

Caylor was unfazed that the controversy consumed the company’s fan page, because it’s just that — the fans’ page.

Besides posting its own statement of clarification several times, Pilot let the conversation continue freely — and that in itself earned the company plaudits from its fans.

“We understand these are customer issues, and it’s their space,” Caylor says. “We are very honest. We just talked through the facts and posted the truth.”

Facebook, she says, “compared to all of our online chatter is a very small percentage,” she says, noting that she monitors online forums, blogs, Twitter and a number of other sites to determine who’s saying what about her employer.

That type of interaction is also a measure of a company’s social media success — for better or worse, the fans are engaged with the brand.

“If you don’t tell your story, someone else is going to tell it and it might not be on their Facebook page,” notes Bluegill Creative’s Jeremy Floyd. “I would much rather see a client participate in that conversation than not know about it.”

Moxley notes those types of disruptions are what scare many companies. “We got a lot of push back from businesses that their biggest concern was tjat in the social realm people might ‘talk bad about us.’ We tell them they already are talking about you, you just can’t hear them.”

Amy Howell, founder and principal of Howell Marketing Strategies in Memphis, told a Knoxville audience recently to remember, however, that corporate messages via the Internet carry the same rules as with any media.

“We tell clients posting online is global, discoverable and permanent so having a policy in place is important,” she said. “Just because the younger generation is technically savvy, doesn’t mean they’re corporate savvy.”

That policy extends to the company’s internal audience, as well — its employees.

Caylor says she was somewhat surprised how quickly and vehemently loyal employees would rush to the company’s defense online.

Pilot now has an internal social media policy — and Granju says more companies are following its lead.

At its basic level, the policy reminds employees to treat customers no differently online than they would in person at a convenience store or truck stop.

“It’s really just about being mindful of what you do online,” Caylor says. “And to remember than nothing is anonymous and that Google has a really long tail.”

Mary Beth West, the public relations professional and Rose’s partner in Interactive Springboard, says employees are one of the most overlooked audiences.

Board members, volunteers and the community-at-large are also audiences that have expectations from companies that may be different from customers, she notes.
Collaboration versus competition

In part because interactive media is still developing territory, communications professionals — being who they are — are talking about it. A lot.

Knoxville boasts not just one, but two associations devoted to social media.

The groups sponsored a half-day seminar in February attended by some 200 marketing and media types. Their members’ blog feeds, Facebook posts and Twitter streams are populated by the latest and greatest thinking on the subject.

“Five to seven years ago it was all about who could come up with the next big idea,” Blue Media’s Rose says. “Now there are so many of them if you don’t collaborate it’s impossible to keep up.

“We have a very collaborative environment online now,” she adds. “That is why business ventures are changing and there’s a lot more collaborating in person, as well.”

The “in person” collaboration is likely the ultimate measure of success, Floyd says, whether it’s a customer buying a product, inquiring about a service or making a referral.

“Ultimately, you want the relationship you have developed online to be taken to the physical realm.”

Amy Nolan is publisher/editor of the Greater Knoxville Business Journal.

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10 Best and Worst Internet Company Names of the Decade

January 4, 2010

We loved this MarketingProfs article by Laurel Sutton, a linguistics expert and a partner at Catchword.

10 Best and Worst Internet Company Names of the Decade,               by Laurel Sutton, Published on December 29, 2009

Like the internet phenoms they trumpeted, Internet company names of the last decade have been, by turns, wildly inventive, deeply troubled, breathtakingly silly, serviceable (if dull)—and, occasionally, brilliant.

Having christened our share of Internet phenoms, we at Catchword decided to looked back to identify the 10 biggest dot-com naming trends—and their best and worst examples.

(Although, frankly, it was hard to choose just one “worst” in some cases. There were so many Web 2.0 disasters! It was as though the rules of language had ceased to apply.)

Here are the trends and names that rose to the top (and sank to the bottom):

1. The Hookup

Sometimes two words are better than one—especially to convey a new way of doing things. Serviceable hookups can range from descriptive (Facebook, StubHub) to suggestive (LinkedIn) to evocative (Snapfish).

But if two words don’t have a discernible relationship with each other—or the brand—it’s a Random Hookup. And we all know how short-lived those are—in this or any realm.

Win: YouTube

Intuitive, catchy, grassroots-y. The retro slang “tube” for TV evokes simpler times and ease of use: clever for a new app that could have been seen as intimidatingly high-tech.

Fail: TalkShoe

Say what? The name is a play on the use of Ed Sullivan’s pronunciation of the word “show” on his long-ago TV show. Like anyone is going to make the connection…

2. The Conjurer

Evocative words can make memorable brand names when they relate to the core of a brand’s story (like Yelp). But the line can be fine between edgy and baffling.

Win: Twitter

Whimsically conjures up users’ sharing short little bursts of information (like birds twittering in a tree)—as well as excitement (“all atwitter”). It’s extendable, too. A whole vocabulary quickly takes flight—from tweet and twitfriend to twipic.

Fail: MOO

Great for cows, milk, cheese, ice cream. Not so great for a site offering printing services.

3. The Letter-Dropper

The problem with this type of coinage is it’s so distinctive you’re almost bound to look like a copycat if you’re not the first out of the gate. And if you drop more than one letter, you’re asking for trouble. (Was Motorola’s SLVR cell phone meant to be Silver or Sliver? And what’s with Scribd?)

Win: Flickr

The image of a camera’s flicker is relevant for photo sharing and reassuringly familiar, while the dropped letter—a new naming convention—suggested cutting-edge technology.

Fail: iStalkr


4. The Assembly Line

Names assembled from word parts with meaningful associations can be rich and unexpected (witness Gizmodo, the gadget blog). But tone and messaging need to be just right.

Win: Wikipedia

The unusualness of the name establishes it as a fresh player, while the evocation of both encyclopedias and speed (“wiki” is Hawaiian for “quick”) is spot on.

Fail: Nupedia

The flatfooted claim of newness sounds dated from day one. Plus it’s risky to stake an identity on newness in internet-land. Before long, this premise is far from “nu.”

5. The Misspeller

This kind of brand name often spells disaster: hard to remember (Ideeli, Scrybe), confusing to pronounce and spell (Myngle, Wotnext, Gravee), and reeking of URL-search desperation (Itzbig, Profilactic, Fairtilizer).

Win: Boku

French word “beaucoup” is on the money for an online payment service—and for many Americans, the misspelling is actually more intuitive and inviting.

Fail: Cuil

Meant to be pronounced “cool,” but who’s gonna get that? Rule No. 1: Your name shouldn’t need to come with a pronunciation guide.

6. The Wordster

Another convention that ages fast. And there’s nothing more pathetic in naming than a transparent attempt to appear cool (cases in point: Dogster, Agester, Talkster).

Win: Friendster

Not exciting, we’ll grant you, but the intuitiveness of the name helped usher in the era of social networking.

Fail: Napster

In light of its ensuing legal woes, to highlight the “kidnapping” of music is probably not the best idea (to put it kindly).

7. The Double or Nothing

Doubling a letter in a real word only works when the word remains recognizable, and the addition of the second letter serves some purpose, other than to complicate spelling (as in Gawwk).

Win: Digg

Intuitive and evocative, the double “g” underscores the digging nature of research and is graphically interesting.

Fail: Diigo

A social bookmarking site, the double “i” destroys the semantic connection and confuses pronunciation. (Is it Dee-go or Dih-go?) Plus, coming on the heels of Digg, it seems hopelessly derivative.

8. The eThing, the iThing, the meThing, the myThing

“e/i” shorthand quickly becomes redundant in the internet space, although it spawns many workhorse names: serviceable, if dull. The me/my thing (as in mySpace) tends to be similarly predictable and unremarkable. (Now, myBad—that would be interesting…)

Win: iContact

For a provider of email marketing, the “i” works on three levels: “I contact,” “eye contact,” and, of course, “Internet contact.”

Fail: eSnailer, eBaum’s World, eXpresso…

9. The Empty Vessel

A word without recognizable semantic roots can be a useful umbrella name for a company that may want to branch out in different directions. But it needs to be pronounceable and have relevant sound symbolism. Otherwise, it’s not an Empty Vessel—it’s Alphabet Soup. Like Disaboom, Xoopit, Yebol, and Goozex. Cover your ears.

Win: Kazaa

Recalls huzzah or hurrah, conveying excitement. (Sample exclamation: “Kazaa! I just downloaded Season One of Six Feet Under, FOR FREE!!!”)

Fail: Eefoof

Vintage Web 2.0: hard to spell, silly—and utterly meaningless.

10. The Foreigner

Words in little-known languages can also make good empty-vessel names, especially if their meaning provides a springboard into their brand story. The trick is to find words that are easy to pronounce and pleasing to the American ear (like Kijiji, a communal website with a Swahili name meaning “village”).

Win: Hulu

Good empty vessel name for an entertainment company that wants to keep its options open. (Interestingly, the word means “empty gourd” in Mandarin.) The rhyming word is playful, and by evoking hula hoops, it suggests fun.

Fail: Jwaala

Talk about a tongue-twister.

The Coming Decade

As for Internet company naming trends of the coming decade: Companies will demand more meaningful brand names, as far from Web 2.0 flights of fancy as possible; they’ll be willing to pay a premium for real-word or lightly coined domain names; and they will be creative in the messages they explore—as long as they’re relevant to the brand.

Like Internet companies themselves, it appears, Internet naming will be coming back down to earth.

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