Always Get Better

Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

How to Get Recommendations on LinkedIn

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Used properly, LinkedIn is an incredible tool for finding new opportunities and connecting with potential employers. As your network grows over time and people move on to bigger and better things, the connections you make in the early days can easily be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in terms of salary and other business opportunities.

LinkedIn has three things going for it:

  1. A thorough resume builder that is intuitive and begs to be completed
  2. An easy way to find and connect to professional colleagues
  3. Peer recommendations – this is what makes LinkedIn valuable

People who compare LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook are missing the point. Users of each network are seeking different experiences, and LinkedIn serves an excellent purpose when used “properly” as a networking tool.

Beyond giving a plain resume (which is, by its very nature, more detailed and relevant than most of the bad paper resumes I see day-to-day), LinkedIn’s user recommendations option gives potential employers a more organic view into what it would be like working with you, as seen by your colleagues.

There are a lot of elements that go into a good recommendation, but the goal should be to strike a balance between supervisor, co-worker and subordinate recommendations. For example, your direct boss may say you’re an excellent manager, but what about the people reporting to you? A vote of confidence from all levels gives a much clearer picture than a potentially biased recommendation from a single source.

The beauty of recommendations is that you must receive them from people connected to you, which means requesting them in some way. If you don’t have any recommendations already, how do you start?

The easiest way to get someone to write a recommendation for you is by writing one for them. Yes, you can nudge the person, officially request a recommendation, bug them in person, etc but the ego-boost someone will receive by getting a recommendation from you is, in many cases, enough incentive for them to respond in kind.

Don’t get upset if someone does not return your recommendation. The system only “works” when recommendations are given freely and honestly – so if you don’t truly recommend working with someone, don’t give them a review on LinkedIn. There is really no downside to this.

Command and Control Social Media

Friday, April 8th, 2011

From a branding perspective, social media is about joining the conversation rather than trying to constantly send out broadcasts. Any idea worth discussing is already being talked about – if you ignore social media you aren’t just failing to get your message out into the wild; you are, in fact, allowing your voice to be absent from the existing discussion. There is a seismic shift occurring in the way brands and their respective owners are thinking about engaging their target audience. It isn’t good enough to just get the message out anymore – more attention is being placed into measuring the effectiveness of that message.

This isn’t a new idea; in fact, people have been talking about brands for as long as brands have existed. It’s well known that behind every customer who speaks up about their disappointment or service problem are ten others who simply switched to a different supplier. Figuring out what people are saying “on the street” and reacting to improve based on customer expectations isn’t a new concept; Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere are only tools that make this much easier – they did not invent the conversation. So what’s the big deal?

The difference we are seeing today is the easy access to information that was not present before. Employees at all levels of the organization have access to the same outside data, the same instant feedback to everything being done. Ofttimes the worker at the lowest level has more sense of customer feelings than does the decision-making upper management – this has always been true, of course, so why the sudden magnification?

I believe we are seeing a generational change in business and mindset that is putting people ahead of function. Call it Generation X (over-workers to a fault) passing the torch over to Generation Y (family-focused individuals). In the next several years we are going to see a greater focus toward grassroots-based marketing efforts and a continuation of the trend toward niche-based services alongside the dismantling of mainstream distribution channels.

How to control this? Don’t. Service the customer and listen to their feedback. The same ingredients that have always made businesses successful are still in place: the difference is it is now easier than ever to hear the feedback faster.

How to Hire a Social Media Expert

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

I am seeing an alarming trend on my beloved Facebook. Several of my friends (ok, I haven’t really kept tabs on them for years) have become “social media experts”. You can tell who is pushing at this stuff because they start tweeting dozens of times per hour, washing out all relevant contact from your home feed. They start using @reply and #hashtags and linking to other “social media experts” blog postings about the importance of Social Media and oh-goodness-your-company-doesn’t-understand-this-like-I-do-but-I-guarantee-results-for-you!

Honestly, this kind of behaviour has become textbook newbie behaviour.

The Buzz Bin has put together a list of ways to vet would-be social media experts.

I swear if I ever see ‘social media guru’ on someone’s resume, I will not hire them.

Everything Sounds Better With Spin

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
little monkey
Creative Commons License photo credit: michelb

You have to shake your head every time someone goes off about “netbooks”, those wonderful, tiny, cute computers that don’t cost very much. When you look at them, what do you really see? How about a crappy laptop that can barely run Windows. The thing is cheap in more ways than one – but somehow marketers have been able to spin that as a good thing and make big profits off useless hardware without needing to develop anything new.

This Brave New World Seems Just Like the Old

Anything sounds better with a little bit of spin – Web 1.0 is clunky, slow, ugly. Web 2.0 is a designer’s dream, sexy, with new technology. Well, no. The technology isn’t new at all – the web is the same. The only difference is enough marketers held onto the “Web 2.0” buzz phrase and shouted it repeatedly long enough that it became accepted as fact.

What’s So Social About Media?

There was never anything truly “new” about New Media. There’s nothing earth shattering about Social Media either. Call it a new paradigm all you want, there is nothing different between it and “old” media: the goal is to communicate our message to as many people as possible. How others perceive your brand and how you react to that feedback is not something new and alien – it’s just a lot faster now than it used to be. Your audience is your focus group. Traditional roles haven’t changed one bit – their owners have.

Twitter Won’t Overtake Facebook

Monday, April 6th, 2009

I started writing this entry before Facebook switched to its new look. At the time there were a lot of people praising Twitter and predicting that it would soon replace Facebook as the network of choice for connecting the Internet’s middle class together; that coveted position on the totem pole between the MySpace Ghetto and LinkedIn (the professional’s pick).

Facebook's New Look

Facebook's New Look

Why Facebook Rocked

I’ve been a Facebook user for about three years so I’ve now lived through two major design changes. The first changed the layout from a bumbling mishmash of functionality into a surgical-sterile work-flow that made the side understandable and useful (to me). Facebook’s strength was the separation between users – everyone had their own “space” but fit together uniformly and professionally. It was a nice, grown-up place to be online.

What Happened?

Now Facebook looks rather generic. The focus is fully on users’ tweets status updates and I can’t tell where my profile ends and my friends’ begin. The layout still looks soothing and professional, but the service isn’t as useful to me anymore. The “Facebook” distinction is gone – I’d rather mashup my own Flickr and Twitter feeds instead of have Facebook duplicate the same functionality and sell my data to every bidder.

Will Twitter Conquer?

If you told me two months ago that Twitter would overtake Facebook, I would have laughed at you. Now Facebook has lowered its ambitions to the one-trick pony of social media / friend feed updates.

The two services weren’t in the same leauge before – Facebook was a massive profile site that I could use to connect to my real-world contacts while Twitter was and is essentially a public IM service. Now the two are basically identical in my circle.

I don’t mean to be a Facebook-hater. I still log in and give it a good effort; I just don’t connect to it anymore. Maybe the next update will bring the site more in-line with my usage and I can enjoy the service again.