The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

LinkedIn Profile Tips

When it comes to social marketing, LinkedIn is often overlooked in favor of Twitter or Facebook.

For most businesses – especially those in the B2B market – that’s a mistake.

If you’re not yet using LinkedIn as part of your social strategy, then you’re likely missing out on incredible opportunities.

The first thing to do when you join LinkedIn is ensure your profile is up to scratch. Here’s how to do that.

Give Yourself a Custom Profile Link

When you join LinkedIn, your profile will be given a default URL with nothing special going for it.

However, LinkedIn gives you the option of creating a custom URL. Make this URL your name, and it will look good on business cards. It will also make it easier for people to find you when they put your name into a Google search.

To change your profile’s URL, click here, then select Customize your public profile URL.

Create a Keyword Rich Profile

We all know the vital role keywords play in making your website visible on search engines. To put it simply, if you want to be found, you’ve got to have the keywords on your site that people are searching for. Otherwise, you’re effectively invisible.

The same is true on LinkedIn. Want your profile to be found? Then you need to include search keywords in your profile.

You can include keywords in your headline, summary, job titles, and job descriptions. A keyword-heavy headline is particularly effective at drawing a crowd.

Collect LinkedIn Recommendations

As anyone in the world of marketing knows, social proof is one of the most effective weapons when it comes to selling anything.

What is social proof? It’s endorsements of your brand by real people. This could be testimonials from customers published on your website. It could be having thousands of Twitter followers. Or it could just be that people are talking about your brand, passing on their positive experiences of your company by word-of-mouth.

Think of this way. Everyone expects you to toot your own trumpet. So any claims you make about yourself are likely to be treated with an element of caution. When when others toot your trumpet, then people sit up and listen.

Recommendations are how you build up your social proof on LinkedIn. You can ask any of your connections to write you a recommendation. Or, just start writing recommendations for others. Many people will respond in kind.

Over to You

What are your best tips for improving a LinkedIn profile? Let us know in the comments section, below.

Ignore Bad Social Media Advice

There’s plenty of advice out there about social media.

Some of it is brilliant.

Some of it’s meh… okay.

And some of it is downright awful.

If you ever come across any of these tips, run away as fast as your legs will carry you…

1. Facebook’s the Only Place to Be

Facebook is the world’s most popular network. It’s on course to hit 1.5 billion active users anytime soon.

Does that mean your business needs to be on Facebook? Perhaps.

If you sell to consumers, then Facebook is a great place to be. But if your customers are other businesses? Then other networks will be far better for promoting your products or services.

The key here is to choose the social networks that are right for you and your brand.

2. Email is “Old Hat”

Yes, email was around before many of Generation Y were even born (that’s why we call them digital natives). But that’s no reason to dismiss email.

Rather, email’s long life – and the fact that everyone uses it – is a big reason to embrace email.

Did you know that for every dollar invested in email marketing, the average return is over $40?

Email’s here to stay – so make sure it’s integral to your social strategy.

3. Ignore (and Delete) Negative Comments

You think that ignoring the mud-flinging makes you look professional and detached?

Then you’re wrong.

Consumers are increasingly turning to social media with complaints. And they expect a response.

So make sure you know how to use social media as an effective customer service tool.

4. Never Let Your Employees Anywhere Near Twitter

This is a “helpful tip” you’ll probably hear from a lawyer. Their heart is in the right place. They want you to avoid a lawsuit.

The problem is, lawyers think like lawyers. They don’t make great marketers.

Nowadays, people want to engage with businesses. They want to see that you’re human and vulnerable – and (horror of horrors!) you sometimes make mistakes.

Yes, letting your team loose on social media is risky. And you should always train them first. But it will help you engage with your customers and ultimately be good for your marketing.

5. You Should Never Automate Updates

Some people argue that your social media accounts are only authentic if you’re sitting at your computer (or on your smartphone) when you post updates.

We call baloney.

Scheduled updates are vital to any sensible social strategy. They give you a social presence around the clock without the need to constantly sit at your computer. If you did that, you’d never get anything else done!

Of course, you should make sure you have time to go live on social media from time to time. We recommend logging in for 15 minutes a day. That gives you time to engage with your followers without sacrificing your calendar.

6. The More Social Networks You Use, the Better

Here’s the spirit behind this advice: spread your net wide, and you’ll catch a ton of fish.

The truth? Spread yourself thin, and you’ll struggle to have any impact. Plus, you will burn out.

Social media is constantly changing. New networks are coming on the scene all the time. It’s good to keep track of trends, so you can stay ahead of the crowd.

But jump on every bandwagon, and you’ll be taken on so many rides you’ll have no time for your core audience.

What’s the right way of doing things? Find the networks where your customers are most likely to hang out, and use those.

7. You Need Thousands of Followers to Succeed on Social Media

Having thousands (or millions) of social media followers is a huge asset for your business. We’d never deny that.

But far more important than a big audience is the right audience. Quality trumps quantity any day.

Your ideal followers:

  • Are in love with your brand
  • Have similar values to your brand
  • Are engaged – they read and respond to your updates

In other words, they’re your true fans.

With just a handful of followers like this, you’ll go way further than with thousands of zombie followers.

8. Only Post at Optimal Times

We’re somewhat guilty of proliferating this advice. One of our most popular posts is The Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Networks.

You might guess that you should only post at the best times, when your audience is most likely to be online.

It’s certainly true that you should be posting at your best times. But you should also be posting at other times too.

Sometimes you’ll get the best engagement during downtimes, when only a few people are online.

9. Social Media is Great Because it’s FREE

Social media is brilliant because you can reach a huge audience without sinking a ton of money into it.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s free. To get your voice heard on social media, you’ll need to devote a significant amount of time to updating your feeds and engaging with your followers.

You will also need to make the most of your creativity. To be a success on social media, you need to draw on your smarts.

On top of that, using social media effectively can cost money. Investing in ads, scheduling tools and analytics tools can be money well spent.

10. Always Keep it Professional

Yes, you should have a professional approach to social media. But that doesn’t mean you can’t reveal who you really are.

In fact, it’s really important to share your brand’s story, to let your personality shine, and to let people see beneath the hood of your business.

Small Business Facebook

Facebook is the world’s most popular social network, with over 1.3 billion active users.

That means if you want to connect with your customers, then Facebook’s the place to be.

Here are three ways you can make the most of Facebook as a small business.

1. Make Your Business Into a Community

We all want to belong and be part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s human nature.

Facebook lets you build a community around your brand. At its heart, business is about people, so in many ways Facebook is about getting to the roots of business.

By asking your customers to be part of your community, you invite them into your brand’s story. When they’re part of your story, they’ll want to share what they’ve found with their friends.

Building a community is also a great way of finding inspiration…

2. Get Inspired by Your Facebook Fans

One of the advantages of being a small business is that you have control over your creative decisions. You have input on everything from product development to marketing to pricing.

The problem? Being the go-to person for everything can leave you burned out. There’s only so much creativity that you and your small team can muster.

That’s why social media is so helpful. Your customers care about your business – especially if they like your brand on Facebook. They want you to succeed, and they want you to develop the products they need. When you need their advice or help, they’ll be willing to give their input. You’ll be surprised at how generous people can be with their ideas.

Of course that doesn’t mean you should rely on your customers for your creative drive or vision. But it’s good to know they’re there if you need them.

3. Target Ads at Your Ideal Customers

Let’s say you run an online boutique selling handmade baby clothes for newborns. Your ideal audience is made up of moms to be. Facebook lets you target ads so that only expecting moms will see them. Neat, huh?

You can target dog owners, cat owners, people who like gardening, fashionistas – if you can think of a particular group of people, you can most likely target them on Facebook. You can even advertise to people based on their favorite TV show, movie or baseball team.

When your ads are this carefully targeted, you can be sure your marketing budget is being put to good use. Of course, you’ll need to monitor whether your ads are converting. And if they’re not, then you’ll either need to tweak the ad, or rethink who your ideal customer really is.