LinkedIn Launches Company Follow

LinkedIn TipsLinkedIn has launched a follow button similar to Twitter and the Facebook Like to increase awareness and engagement with the company pages and users on LinkedIn. Company pages are the forgotten pages as there is not a whole lot of functionality within these pages and previously there was no button or link from your website (other than a share which was more used for a blog article and did not direct users to the company page) to let users know that the page even existed on LinkedIn (there is the share button which was mainly for blogs). While the functionality is still limited as we cannot interact with LinkedIn company pages via posting our comments/thoughts/ideas, etc., at least we can make site visitors aware of them and allow them to follow and share company page updates on LinkedIn.

How Does LinkedIn Company Follow Work?

The LinkedIn Company Follow button works the same as follow for Twitter and Like for Facebook where in order to follow a company, you must be logged into your LinkedIn profile (if not, you will be prompted to log in). While on a company’s website, click the follow button and you are brought to the company LinkedIn page and are automatically following that Company.

The Company pages as you may recall have added employees  through company search as well as products and services for visitors to learn about your company and to see what level of connection they have with your company through your employees. Thereafter, they added analytics for companies to see who is visiting, who is following the company page as well as their industry, company and function (position).

How To Install LinkedIn Company Follow

    1. Go to LinkedIn’s Developer Plug-In Page
    2. If you are not logged in to your LinkedIn, type in your company’s name in the box. If you are logged in, it should automatically populate the field.
    3. Pick the style you wish to have on your website, horizontal with count or without count.
    4. Click “Get Code” and the code will appear.
    5. Copy the code and place it on your website on the page(s) you wish for the button to appear.

Why Should I Install LinkedIn Company Follow?

Simply – awareness and exposure and to keep users up to date on your company. Not everyone will visit your website every single day however, many do visit their LinkedIn profile every day. Your company page updates and new job postings will be featured on their LinkedIn profile which is visible to others. So, not only are those that are following your company page viewing your page updates, so are their connections. Awareness and exposure.

The key here is that you have to make sure that you are updating your company page as if not, why would people want to follow you? This is not like Twitter where we can tweet upwards of 25-50 times a day. No that is too much for LinkedIn users. Update when you have company news or something that is industry related. Remember, you cannot ask questions on your company page as users are unable to answer on your page (utilize the Q&A section, start a Group for Q&A or a poll). If you are not updating your page eventually users will forget about you and unfollow and having the follow button on your website becomes pointless. Update your company page status to get people to know more about your company, share your updates and also refer your company to those in the need of your product/services.

LinkedIn Tips: Find and Follow A Company Video

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photo credit: Mario Sundar

Choosing Your Audience Without Apologies

choosing audience without apologies Choosing your audience without apologies is traditional advertising of tv, radio and print as these spots tend to reach the watchers of a certain show, magazine/newspaper or station and not necessarily those that would ever purchase. This holds true on the web as well with sites that have ads that reach the target market and then some who are viewers of the site but do not fit the exact target of the ad. Sure, we look at the numbers provided by the media outlets and strategically place ads based upon the demographics provided by them and see where our target is there and bam, we place and run. There is always an audience that is not the target and some may become and for others, the spot is falling on deaf ears. That is the nature of traditional advertising as regardless of how technology betters, we can never solely attract our target audience. Do we need to apologize for this? No. We have become accustomed to receiving advertising messages that are not for us. Sometimes we listen or sometimes we do not. Advertisers hope we do as they just want a return on their investment.

No Apologies

Discount retailers who are targeting a certain segment never apologize for having discount merchandise or attracting for new customers. They never apologize for not having the size scale or ample amount of merchandise that a non discounter has. They lure us in by giving us merchandise that is sold at a lesser price, which gives us more to enhance our lives in family time and enjoying the opportunity to have new things. They embrace living on a budget and exploit it. They are not trying to make the wealthy like them or dislike them, they are honing in on their target market through targeting them in the moment and creating the story for them and never apologizing for creating the “good life on a budget” story.

Bloggers do not apologize for the reach they get when their article is retweeted. Actually, we thank people for sharing. We apologize if someone does not like our writings but never apologize for the new set of eyes. If we apologize for the new audience then we are making a crucial error as our business model will be flawed. Yes, we need to map out our target market but there has to be a path to growth and expansion. Build your blog community and company by understanding and directly talking/selling to your core audience to create brand loyalty but also be mindful of the larger audience that may not know of your existence. There is no apologies needed to build a stronger business and attracting new customers to help enhance their lives. There are no apologies needed when we are gaining attention for what we believe in and want others to believe in (unless of course it is destructive in nature and sets out to cause  harm). Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ are not apologizing for attracting new people in drones. They are not apologizing to those that choose not to pay any attention to them. Why should other advertisers? Why should we have to apologize if our message is received by someone who would never buy? They make us by lashing out and we are compelled to, to protect the reputation and integrity of the blog/the company.

Creating the Apology

Creating the apology is done when when a tweet or an ad goes bad and people swarm all over it. This is more than people listening, it is where people are listening and reacting. The more popular the negativity becomes, the more attention that is given and people start listening to what you are saying in your apology. Many times this is people who may have never heard of us. This starts to snowball and while it can spiral out of control, it can also attract some new eyes and broaden your audience. No apologies here for bringing awareness so long as it has a positive outcome. When the awareness brings in negativity from the new audience and it continues to linger in the media, it can be damaging. We saw this with Ragu with saying men are incapable of cooking a family meal as that is a woman’s job. They were empowering women as the queen of the kitchen and not apologetic for dissing men who are the king of the kitchen. While we can all appreciate empowering people through advertising for them to relate to the product and the story it is telling to persuade them to buy but when it lends itself to the stereotypes, it starts to turn off certain audiences. Was this damaging enough to Ragu to hurt sales or was it just one select target market that had their attention and it was ignored by their loyal customers who championed them for supporting women with all that they do each day with work and caring for the family?  Competitors had a new target market opened up to them with those that were outraged and certainly were not apologetic to attract this new target.

Do We Ever Need To Apologize When Choosing Our Audience?

Do we need to apologize when we miss the mark? Missing the mark happens where the targeting starts to get broader and we generalize. We select certain criteria about  our target market and hit up those that meet the criteria. There is no way of ever knowing exactly if every single person we are targeting meets all the criteria so we run that risk of pissing someone off. If Hanes started inundating me with mens’ boxers emails, tweets, etc (and while I love Jordan), and I never clicked on, responded or bought, I would get annoyed. I would recognize that they are reaching out to women who would buy for their significant other and while the lil man loves his boxers,  I am not in the market for mens’. Would they need to apologize for targeting me? If I said publicly said something in a tweet I would think they would and remove me from their target list (while adding me to the boys targeting efforts) but do they really need to apologize? They generalized that women, especially of a certain age, with child(ren) would be buying for their man and they may attract new customers with this generalization. Do they need to apologize to me because while I fit MOST of their criteria, I do not fit all (in this scenario, the biggest part)? I do not think so.

When I purchased ONE Giants shirt years ago as a gift and was still getting direct mail and emails to buy more when I bought a ridiculous amount of JETS merchandise from the same company, I was concerned. How can a company continue to send out direct mail and emails that never get opened? I suppose that this is a topic for another post but for right now, do they need to apologize for clogging up my email or my mailbox? I purchased an item so I was added to their targeted list. They had no idea that I would not buy more Giants merchandise. But year after year when the emails went  unopened and offers in direct mail never were acted upon, they should have gotten the hint. Did they need to apologize? No. They just needed to review the information better. This is being lazy and growing the numbers and not paying attention to the buying habits. Maybe they need to apologize for that. Hmh. That would be something. If a company came out and issued a formal apology for not paying attention to the buying habits of people and continued to email them as if they were a regular buying customer (and not creating marketing messages geared to decrease attrition). In other words, we were lazy and did not pay attention and we will improve that. Interesting concept and again probably best flushed out in another post.

When we are targeting with intent to expand upon our audience and improve customer conversion we do not need to apologize unless we offend an entire group. Mistakes happen. Outside of a bad mistake, we are targeting and reaching them to let them know we exist. We are trying to create awareness and the potential customers’ story by identifying the opportunity to buy and fulfill a need or want. It is right here in front of them with the underlying message to trust and act now and buy. Again no apologies for that. It is business and they key word in the headline is choosing. We do have a choice to target them or not.

Thoughts? Do we ever need to apologize for choosing our audience?

photo credit: Arenamontanus

Advertising Isn’t Dead – The Creative Process Is

advertising is not dead, creative process is Every single year we hear advertising as a whole or the various mediums (ie radio, print, outdoor, etc) are dead. And, every year we see new advances in technology and advertising thrive. There are new mediums emerging and we are expanding advertising so, to say that advertising is dead is ridiculous. Advertising is more alive now than it ever has been. I admit, I am a bit old school when it comes to advertising and, like many, think radio, tv, print, outdoor. But, there is a whole other medium that we tend to not necessarily consider advertising: the social platforms; which are very much alive.

Definition of Advertising

Advertising by definition is “the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements.”  This definition is a bit dated as not all advertising is paid. Focusing in on the “action of calling something to the attention of the public” is what we do each and every single day on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email marketing, etc. We post updates to draw attention to ourselves to start a conversation and listen to those that respond to us. Smells a lot like advertising doesn’t it? If we were not wanting to get noticed then why would we post the update? For shits and giggles? Hardly. When we flip through the newspaper and catch a glimpse of an ad, we stop and look at the ones that catch our eye. Our attention has been caught and we stop to take a second to look at it further. Commercials, prior to the CALM Act being approved and going it into effect next year, were louder on certain networks than the regular programming to draw attention to them. If we believe that our attention is only had when there is a change in volume, then we know that the purpose of advertising has been lost.

Purpose of Advertising

Wikipedia expands upon the definition of advertising and touches the human behavior element which is the purpose of advertising: “Advertising is a form of communication used to encourage or persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners) to continue or take some new action. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering …” Persuade an audience through communication is why brands advertise. If we persuade then we have them take action and buy. If our advertising does not persuade, we fall short and the desired action is not taken (yes, I realize that there are loyalists and some WOM who would buy regardless of and if they have ever seen the advertising). We could argue that there are some ads out there that are so bad that the element of persuasion is lost however, on the flip side, the advertisement has gotten your attention and through being bad and while it may persuade you to change the channel, flip the page or radio station, you paid attention enough to take some action and associate that ad with the brand.

The Creative Process

Persuasion through communication is powerful. It is that one thing that gets you noticed. Billions of dollars are spent each year on advertising; all vying to get attention. It is not only their target market anymore as we have seen with communications going viral. This helps to draw the attention of the target market and persuade them to buy while giving the brand a boost in some free advertising. If it is worthy then it is noticed. Worthy comes in all shapes and sizes as some are noticed for a negative whereas others are noticed for a positive. We saw this develop recently with FEDEX and the driver throwing the computer monitor over the fence but on the flip side where K-mart who has had a push on layaway and had “layaway angels.” If you are like me, skepticism comes into play here for K-mart as hmh, you make a big push for layaway and then suddenly people pay off others’ layaways as an anonymous donor? Ok it can happen but logically when we really think about it, there were that many people that knew that people struggling had items on layaway and they went to their local store and offered to pay for an unknown person layaway? That begs the question of privacy as the store employee pulled up past due accounts and allowed some stranger to pay for them? Or allowed a person to stand there waiting for a person to come  up and then jump in and pay for it? Maybe I am getting too deep but I do not know about you but when I really break it down, it seems a bit off. Did they do this internally to draw attention to the layaway? Did they get the media blitz to bring more people in to buy and boost sales? If so, I can say brilliant if it was internal and it is not exposed. But is it creative insomuch as a form of advertising?

The Creative Process is Dead

Advertising is not dead but the creative process is. How many small businesses create a creative brief for a Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin account? Hell, even mid to large businesses we have to question if they have  that creative brief. The creativity that we once had has been lost on technology. What we say matters whether that be in a print ad, radio/tv spot or on a social media platform. People see it on all mediums and develop their own opinion. FEDEX was championed for talking about the incident and ensuring that this is NOT what is customary for their drivers. They could have taken the avenue of our drivers are pushed the limit and do what they have to do to ensure that all packages are delivered. We looked at their responses and were quick to give them props. While this was a crisis PR moment for FEDEX, they could have expanded their efforts and posted their own video of how a package should be delivered. We all know how it should be delivered but them showing sets the standard and adds an element of creativity where they could have outlined the standards and made us all watch and be their eyes and ears on the streets. The creative process died when they were reactive and quite proactive to responding to the crisis but failed to turn it around into a positive.

Technology is Killing the Creative Process

The technological advances are astounding. We have come a very long way from the early days of advertising. There is more opportunity now to be creative but it is missed. It is easy to create a commercial that has the spokesperson/mascot, the catchy jingle, the stereotype, humor or lack thereof (it obviously was funny to someone) but is hard to create an ad that speaks to the target market well enough to have them take action and that is a viable ad across the various mediums. We can say that this ad will work well on TV but does that translate over to YouTube? Does that Tweet translate well over on Facebook? Is that even considered, especially for a small business?

Exposure across the mediums has become the goal. More eyes, shares, retweets will gain more exposure but does that exposure resonate and equate to action? Creating a commercial requires a story board. Does anyone have a storyboard or something of  the like for Twitter? Big brands have an agency or department that develops the voice of the brand online which is different than creating a spot but is it really? If we think of Twitter and Facebook as a billboard as each time we update as similar to people flying by on a highway at 65 and catching a glimpse then, we have to treat our social media accounts as advertising. Sure, some are able to sit in traffic on the highway and see all the billboards, especially the digiboards that change which again is like Twitter when we tweet more and more. Social media platforms are advertising and should be treated as such when to comes to the creative process. Technology has changed but the laws of advertising still remain. Be creative and think of each update as an ad for your company as with every update, they see your profile attached to it. Create that creative brief, that buyer persona, that voice of the brand and be consistent. Successful companies are consistent and contained therein is creativity that is not lost on the mediums.

Thoughts? Ideas? Agree that advertising is not dead?

photo credit: Annie Mole

WE Built This Social Media City

city of social mediaIn my quest to get the body moving each day through music, I seek out new music to listen to. I stumbled across We Built This City … on Rock and Roll by Jefferson Starship. Catchy tune that when you sing it and listen to the words you are singing, you stop for a minute and think, yeah, ya know WE, the social media folks built a Social Media City. Sure, the developers built the platforms but we used them, we used them so much that we drew so much attention to our City, our very own Social Media City that now has blossomed into its own communities. These communities are all a part of OUR City and when one community needs help, we are there, when a member of OUR City has stumbled, we criticize only to try and help as they are not showing our City in the best light. We, ourselves, do the same when we viciously attach one another. We have spent years building this City only to show the outside world that our City is crumbling internally. We do not all have sit by the camp fire at night singing kumbaya while roasting marsh mellows but exposing our weaknesses only give the naysayers or those on the fence reason not to continue to build and preserve our City.

Our Social Media City

We can think back to the early days of blogging – or journals as they were called. Who were these freaks writing things online thinking people would read? We had books, magazines, newspapers, etc for that. Enter LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the failed Google platforms and now Google+. If those early freaks journals did not exist, would we be where we are now? If the developers did not take a chance and create the platforms and we as users did not embrace them and show how to integrate social media into a marketing plan, we would not have OUR City. That is pretty powerful to think about as all the new jobs that have been created, the communities we have developed, the friends we have made and the opportunity that has come for thousands of businesses to meet their customers.

Is Our City Thriving?

For each Twitter, Facebook, Google+ user account that is receiving praise, there are many that have lost their way or did not spend the time in learning that social media is marketing. Marketing is about building relationships and talking with the customers and not talking to the sale. The ultimate goal is to drive sales but the route taken to build the relationships is where there is the disconnect. We have expectations of how a brand should engage. We, as well respected members in our City, have expertise on what strategy will be best for them. Sometimes they listen and many times they do not.

Abandoned accounts, accounts that act as traditional advertising mediums where there is brand talking about themselves as an extension of a billboard or print ad and not interacting with their community or those that have no presence at all hurt our City. We can think of examples of those brands who are better served not having a presence at all in social media which when we think that way, it stagnates the growth of our City. When a brand stops updating or does not answer customers, potential customers or just a general question from a stumbler/surfer, it hurts our City. People stop believing in what we have built. They forget about the Pepsi’s, the AJBombers, The Dunkin Donuts who are leaders in brand social media.

Did Our City Grow Too Fast?

Did we? I lived the expansion in Las Vegas which ultimately was/is too much too fast. The numbers were showing the fastest growing city so they built and built and built. The problem is that the city could not sustain the growth with only one major industry. The reliance upon the casino industry to stimulate prospects from other industries faltered and while the volume in people and housing grew, the industrial sector did not.

Did our Social Media City grow too fast? Did some get left behind and not have the guidance to really learn the tools and how social media is not just a chat room but a part of an actual strategic marketing plan where the target market is researched, how they interact with one another, how they interact with the brands, how comfortable they are with using the platforms, the tone, the reputation that will be created through the tone used and the level of knowledge about the brand itself the social media accounts will showcase? This and a whole lot more matters. Those that are invested in our City and the City leaders know this but those that are new or just doing social media because they have to and forget it is marketing are missing out on opportunity but are also hurting our City.

Building and Preserving Our City

How can we attract new people to our City when they are met with disarray? When brands falter in social media the users suffer and so does the industry as a whole. We can think of Detroit and how their major industry has crumbled and rebuilding Detroit has become an entire community coming together taking action. Chrysler has built an entire campaign around Detroit. Did it sell more cars? I do not know. Did Chrysler  do its part as a City leader to help stimulate growth and put Detroit back on the map? They did and we can too.

How? We can look at brands and make them more responsible by calling them out. If they are not going to reach out to us, which clearly they have not, then we have to draw attention and help them to listen to us. The brands who do social media are not listening or know better than the social media city leaders and place the social media efforts in the hands of an intern, a recent grad who has no working experience in marketing and no one to guide them. They are hired at under $25K a year, a job that any experienced marketer would never apply for.

In advertising and marketing agencies, there are positions that are geared for the new grads with Jr. Account Exec, Associate Account Exec as they work their way up through guidance. In social media, ok you know Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and Google +, great, you are hired. You have to wonder how quickly an account would go under review if an agency went to their brand client and said, “your agency team will now consist of recent grads and interns.” It is not ok with the creative so why is it ok with the social media? This hurts the communities we have built. Our City is being torn down right before our eyes. Every single brand that treats social media not as marketing but as a billboard or forgets that the intern has left and the profile is dead stifles the growth of social media. If your BFF stops calling you back, do you keep on calling? No. If your internet is down more often that it is up, do you stay with that company? No.

There is no excuse for a brand to tear down our City. This is an uphill battle as brands will continue to hire based upon knowledge of the tools and not the reason the tools are used. We know they do not want to invest big dollars into someone who will be the voice of their brand and really anyone can do it. It is this attitude that needs to be changed. Not everyone can be the voice of a brand. Not everyone has the experience, professionalism, maturity and understanding of the expectations of a brand. We can make change, we can build and protect our City.

photo credit: SouthernAnts