Tag Archives: social network

Six Tips For The Care and Feeding Of Your LinkedIn Account

Webinar2Today’s  “Social Media for Old Folks” webinar topic was LinkedIn. Here are six recommendations we made that may be useful for you too:

1. Make invitations personal. The form-letter invitation generated by LinkedIn is not all that friendly. “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” just doesn’t strike the same tone as “Hey, Joe. Great to see you today. Want to link?” In the same vein, when you accept an invitation to connect, take two seconds to send a message back that acknowledges you’re both human beings. It takes two seconds to type “Thanks for the invitation. Hope you’re doing great.”

2. Don’t make your personal update too personal. LinkedIn is not Facebook. Let your LinkedIn update be some fairly major business milestone or at the very least, business related. Also, you don’t need to update this one as often as you might on other networks. It’s perfectly acceptable to leave the same update up there for a month or so. (As long as it doesn’t say something like “Two days before the Christmas rush is over!”

3. Skip asking for recommendations. If you’re a high-level professional, we don’t recommend having recommendations on your profile. If you’re still in the early years of your career, or job hunting, they’re fine. But everyone knows how those recommendations get there (a message from you asking your contacts for a recommendation) and that they’re sort of a command performance of glowing praise.

4. Participate in the Answers discussions. If you see a question that you can answer, take a minute to do so. It’s good to invest in helping others, so you’re not using LinkedIn exclusively for getting what you need. Besides, it’s nice exposure to be the guy who knows what’s what. Also, when you need to know something, use this Answers feature. You can access some legitimately useful expertise on just about anything you need to  know, and it gives other people a chance to be an expert on something.

5. Join groups. Your group memberships offer a quick snapshot of your interests and affiliations. If a friend or contact invites you to join their group, it’s showing support for them to join, as long as it really is a topic appropriate for you. Then, participate in the discussions. Making comments there is a good way to be involved in the LinkedIn community.

6. Start your own group. This is an excellent way to claim your area of expertise, particularly if you can narrow the scope of the group to a small niche or audience. You can begin to own that niche (or at least to be recognized as one of the players) by starting and maintaining an active group.

Social Media for Old Folks, in an Old Media Format: the 52-Card Deck

smcardpileThey’re back from the printer! Our Starter Cards deck called “Build Your Brand With Social Media” is hot off the press, literally.

If you’re one of those people who’s got a LinkedIn account but you don’t really get how to use it; if you’re using Facebook, but mostly to spy on your kids, if you’re just  plain confused by the 140-character hullaballoo of Twitter, then this is the tool for you.

Build Your Brand With Social Media” was created for those of us who were born before faxes were invented, much less outdated. This is a way to easily get up to speed and be linking and friending and tweeting like people half your age.

Here’s the idea. There is no shortage of information out there about social media. In fact, there’s so much information, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Can’t somebody break it down into a series of manageable steps? Isn’t there anywhere you can get all the basics of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and blogging, all in one place?

As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what this “Build Your Brand With Social Media” deck does. It walks you through the whole process, one step per card, with simple directions for that step on the back of each card. It’s as close as possible to having me sitting there with you, taking you step by step.

Want to give it  a whirl? You can find the cards on the Starter Cards website.


500+ contacts on LinkedIn? Can you really know that many people?

LITurns out you can. I used to be skeptical of my few friends who had that 500+ notation beside their names. I had a hard time believing they could possibly know that many LinkedIn contacts if they ran into one of them on the street.

I also used to think LinkedIn was kind of dull, compared to the friendliness of Facebook and the concise wit and wisdom of Twitter. My opinion was that LinkedIn was probably a great tool for jobseekers, but that there was nothing in it for me.

Recently, I decided to jump into my LinkedIn account with both feet. At that point, I had 178 contacts, but only because a colleague had challenged me to a competition a year or two ago. We were sitting through a long day of shooting a TV spot, and to pass the time between shots, we each tried to invite as many people as possible to connect. The one with the most connections at the end of the day would be declared the winner. (I think Stacy won.)

My collection of 178 contacts included lots of interesting, accomplished and well-connected people. But the list was a little random, and depended heavily on people I had in my email address book or that I just happened to think of, off the top of my head.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve about doubled my number of contacts. Now I’m up in the 350s somewhere. And I gotta tell you, LinkedIn becomes a much more colorful and lively cocktail party as your number of contacts grows.

My assumption was that after the first couple of hundred contacts, you’d be stretching to find any other people you actually new. But the opposite is true. The more people you connect with, the more names you think to search — and the more people find you. Tons of old co-workers, clients, vendors and acquaintances have popped up, many of whom I was delighted to be in touch with again.

As your list of contacts grows, it also becomes less weird to invite someone you know less well. I’ve reached out to people who are peers in the industry, although we’ve never actually been introduced. You can invite those people who know of you but don’t really know you — and vice versa. You can link with people you’ve emailed with but have never met in person.

How do you decide if someone’s too far removed from you to invite? You don’t want to overstep your bounds and ask someone who has no idea who you are. Some people say stick to people you know and trust, or people you’d like to know better. My rule of thumb is to ask myself if that person would pick up the phone if their assistant said I was on the line. If I think they’d take my call, I feel comfortable inviting them.

LinkedIn would appeal to a border collie, or any herding dog — if only  dogs could get online. LinkedIn lets you herd everybody together and corral them in one place. The more people in your corral, the richer and more interesting a resource LinkedIn becomes.

So yeah, I think I could end up with 500 or more contacts on LinkedIn, and still recognize everyone if we bumped into each other on the street. If nothing else, I’ll be familiar with their little headshot at the top of their profile.

Chris Brogan and the Spirit of Helping in Social Media

palmWho could not love Chris Brogan? He looks like some tough guy, and he turns out to be sweet as pie. He’s been doing some video blogs the past few days on his “Overnight Success,” mostly it seems, to prove the point that it’s not all that glamorous, and that his fame in the social media arena certainly didn’t happen overnight. In his Part 2 video, he opens shooting down from his hotel balcony to the pool below, surrounded by palm trees and lounge chairs. Then he shows us around his room, explaining how it’s not a big vacation, but is actually where he gets a lot of work done. “It ain’t all pretty,” he says, “This is where it all gets done. It’s just doing what needs doing.” (One of my favorite parts is when he’s swooping the camera around to show his laptop on the hotel room desk and pans by a row of miniature Maker’s Mark bottles lined up neatly in arm’s reach of the computer.)

What I really love about his Overnight Success, Part Deux, is Brogan’s ernest plea that we all reach out and help other people. This willingness to help seems to me the most powerful undercurrent in the social media world right now, and it’s a far cry from the business attitudes that were prevalent in the early part of my career, back in the 80s and 90s.

That makes me wonder if some of this might be the influence of Millennials in the workplace. The under-30 crowd offers a much less selfish approach to business, and they believe they can change the world, starting right now. When people my age were coming along, nobody was talking about win-win. We believed if one person one, someone else necessarily lost. Us Boomers also assumed we had to pay our dues before we could have much of an impact. These Gen Y kids seem to believe they’re ready to be the CEO from day one. I like that about them.

In fact, that attitude of doing it right now is another part of Brogan’s hotel room rant. He urges his viewers to take action, to quit talking and get in the game, to get some projects out there in the world. He says, “Let’s help people. Let’s lift each other up.”

What’s not to love about that?

The Cliff Notes of Social Media for Old Folks: Webinar One

EB&JBWebinarThis afternoon, we sat on the couch in my office and took about six or seven small business owners through an overview of what social media can do for them. My business partner Jennifer and I were presenting to a creative director, a literary agent, a strategic marketing person, a sales rep, an account planner, an expert on world poverty and an accupuncturist — all of whom were sitting in their own offices in front of their own computers.

Social Media for Old Folks is our five-part Webinar, covering everything from blogging to linking to friending to tweeting. We’re not social media experts, by any means, but we have learned a great deal about using social media in the last year or so. We’ve also discovered that we’re quite passionate about sharing that knowledge with others.

If you’re in a business that involves sharing what we call Odd Knowledge, social media is the most powerful way out there to build your business. Whether you’re a financial advisor or a large animal vet or an event planner or a Pilates trainer — or a world poverty expert or accupuncturist — you offer an expertise in a specific niche.

If your business depends on clients trusting you to be the one with the right answers, then social media is a powerful way to establish that trust. It’s also a place for you to share your unique perspective on your particular field of expertise.

Here are a few highlights from our Webinar today:

1. Social media can connect you with the whole world — but make it feel like you’re doing business in a small town. Despite the fact that it depends on technology, it can be an extremely human and personal form of contact.

2. The two most important things social media can do for your business are to A) promote your expertise and B) build your connections (which can become a following). This creates a beautiful dynamic: Instead of you always reaching out for new customers, you’ll find them seeking you out instead.

3. The model we recommend is this: a blog to showcase your expertise and social networks to drive traffic to that blog. Your blog is your content; the social networks are ways to start conversations about that content.

4. Your website and your blog are two different things. The website is your company talking, and is a destination for background information and evergreen materials. Your blog is you talking, is more fluid because it’s updated more often, and gives you a venue to share your expertise in a narrow niche, usually more narrow than your actual business. We recommend keeping your website and your blog separate, although each would include links to the other.

Next week we cover Facebook in more depth, and in the following weeks we’ll talk about LinkedIn, Twitter, and how to develop your own blog. If you’re interested in  more details, you could go to the Seminars page on the Starter Cards site.

Social Media for Old Folks, in Five Easy Pieces

SM FrontPlenty of reasonably (or even exceptionally) intelligent people still resist social media. Some don’t see the value in it; others just can’t quite figure out how to jump on that escalator. Social media keeps moving and changing every day, so it’s not easy to figure out where to start.

One problem is that there’s so much information out there on how to use social media. Try Googling “Using LinkedIn,”  “How to Facebook,” or “Learning Twitter,” and you’ll find yourself millions of links to explore. Not hundreds of links, not thousands, but really — millions. Most reasonably busy people will decide they don’t have time for that.

What you need is someone to break it down into simple, actionable steps. You don’t have all day, but maybe you could spend an hour a week. If you didn’t have to go anywhere. Like while you’re sitting at your desk.

That’s where the Social Media for Old Folks Webinars come in. If you’re young enough that you grew up with a mouse in your hand, then a lot of this material will be too basic for you. But if you’re one of those who remember when a fax was the new cool thing, then this might be right up your alley.

We break it down into five one-hour webinars, each Wednesday for five weeks. We’ll walk you through how to build your brand with social media, from a basic overview of the landscape and etiquette to specific, actionable steps to get yourself set up on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and finally, to start your own blog. (You’ll also learn why you really do need your own blog.)

You’ll be sitting at your computer and be able to see and hear us in real time. As we’re talking about various steps, you can complete many of them right then and there. When you have questions along the way, we’ll stop and answer them.

We’ll show you how to use social media for two important goals: to build your connections and to showcase your expertise. Think it would be presumptuous to consider yourself an expert? We’re not talking about having a Ph.D. in something; Your expertise is the narrow niche about which you’re passionate, the area of your deep experience, the problems friends come to you to help solve. It’s not about bragging, it’s about what you have to give.

If  you run your own business, or are in a corporate job and want to increase your visibility in your industry, then social media can be a powerful tool for you. It doesn’t have to be that hard. But it does take some effort. The Social Media for Old Folks Webinar is the easiest way we know to get you up and running. By Thanksgiving, you could be blogging and linking and friending and tweeting like someone half your age.

For more details, just click here. Or feel free to email (elizabeth@tribeinc.com) or call me (404-256-5858) with questions. (If you register today -Wednesday, Oct 7 – you can use the promo code EARLYBIRD for a $50 discount.)

Participate in the Slow Movement – via Social Media

snail“The best way to survive and thrive in the fast-paced modern world is not to speed up but to slow down,” says Carl Honoré, author of “In Praise of Slowness,” and key instigator of the revolutionary Slow Movement. Honoré  believes we’ve become addicted to speed. The tell-tale symptoms of this addiction are  “when you feel tired all the time and like you’re just going through the motions, getting through the many things on your To-Do list but not engaging with them deeply or enjoying them very much. You feel like you’re racing through your life instead of actually living it.”

What’s wrong with speed? Nothing, according to Honoré, who admits he actually loves speed. The trick, he says, is to blend fast and slow, to do whatever you’re doing at the right speed. That, he says, is where you’ll find yourself more deeply engaged and enjoying your days more.

Are social media and the slow movement mutually exclusive? Honoré mentions that social networks can tempt us to rush relationships and that when people claim to have thousands of friends on Facebook, it devalues the concept of friendship. True, but social media can also help us be more engaged with our friends, industry peers and the world at large.

Consider the many authentic and meaningful moments you share with others each day on social networks. The technology is fast, but the interactions can be slow, in the sense that, for those few moments, we are completely focused on the person or people we’re addressing online. We’re as engaged as if we were sitting across the table looking each other in the eye.

To keep your social media slow, think quality over quantity. Instead of following thousands of people on Twitter (or trying to get thousands to follow you), narrow it down to a smaller number of people with whom you truly share interests (or sense of humor. For instance, I always want to know what @Shitmydadsays is up to.) On Facebook, after the first few months of catching up with people you haven’t heard from in years, you might hide the updates of many you know less well, so you can better keep up with the core group of people who are most important to you. And on LinkedIn, although it’s nice to have tons of contacts in a wide variety of industries and roles, it helps if they’re people you truly consider trusted contacts. Before you invite someone to connect, ask yourself, “Is this someone I’d feel comfortable picking up the phone to ask, “Do you know someone who such-and-such?'” Also, think about participating more fully in LinkedIn groups that are good fits with your particular niche topics.

That doesn’t mean social media can take the place of face-to-face. Admittedly, it’s not the same as making time to take someone to lunch, or stopping by the house to visit. But social media is a tool, just like the telephone. We’ve all learned to get off the phone fast when it’s a telemarketer, and have all had long, relaxed conversations with people we love. In and of itself, social media is not fast or slow; it’s how you use it.