Last week, LinkedIn introduced the mention feature, allowing the social media giant to become a bit more social. The feature, pretty much identical to Facebook's and Twitter's mention, is a great way for users to engage with other users. But for the professionals looking to start taking advantage of this feature, I would highly recommend exercising caution.
Since LinkedIn is primarily for professional networking (emphasis on professional), the platform has a completely different culture than that of most other social networks. Profiles are available to the public and potential employers, so maintaining professionalism consistently is essential for any and all LinkedIn activity. A good rule of thumb is to treat your LinkedIn profile as if it was a digital resume you were submitting to a prospective employed. This means profile pictures, which are publicly viewable, should portray you in a conservative business attire as opposed to that hilarious Facebook profile picture of your weekend shenanigans (for someone seeking jobs, this is also a bad idea for Facebook).
Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone underwater as a kid? First, it doesn't really work and second, the life guards don't really appreciate it.
Listening to the market is one of the most important things that social media allows us to do. It allows you, the business owner, or marketer to follow trending conversations, curb dissatisfaction with proper customer service and to win over those second guessers. Before we had social media, marketing was considered a monologue like talking in an empty room, or underwater for that matter. Social media brought the guests to the party and now it's up to you to mingle, to create connections that are relevant and that could potentially benefit your business.
Business owners and their marketing teams are holding themselves back from success. That's right; it's them and no one else. That's because they're holding fast to easy-to-obtain convenience metrics. So what is a convenience metric? It's a number that "conveniently" grows and gives the appearance of a successful campaign. On social platforms, convenience metrics are things like number of followers or fans and post likes. Sure, these metrics can give us an idea if our content is share-able or popular, but it doesn't paint the entire picture of your social success. After all, why is your business on social? To show how much people like your photos? Probably not.
More than likely, your business is involved in social media to grow your business opportunities through leads or sales, create brand awareness, engage current customers, market to potential customers, implement better customer service tactics or various other similar reasons. Though convenience metrics are predominantly a social media problem, they also exist in other forms of digital marketing. For example, how many clicks did my paid search ad get? How many people viewed my webcast? These metrics are not painting the entire picture of a successful campaign and can cloud your judgement of digital success and further optimization.
Why is it that 70% of Fortune 500 CEOs do not tweet yet?
That's what a report issued out last year and featured on InformationWeek.com says. It goes deeper than just Twitter however, as these same CEOs are noted to spend much less time participating in social networking than the average non-CEO person does – and when they do hit up the networks, they spend the most time on LinkedIn.
One of my first moves as a social media manager was to get the CEO of the company I work for, Deborah Sweeney, squared away on the tweeting scene with her own personal Twitter account. Lucky for me, she already had a Twitter handle, but as anyone worth their Klout score can tell you, Twitter is all about engaging with others on a near-daily basis which works to build up both yourself and your brand online. Perhaps this is why CEOs aren't drawn to Twitter on the same level as most people are – tweeting takes more time than it looks like it does and there's always the fear that the wrong phrase or wording might slip out to a readily waiting and retweeting audience well into the hundreds of thousands.
I know this blog post title might sound a bit simplistic — perhaps sensational — coming from me, but I do think there is one core idea to consider when starting a social media strategy that is often misunderstood ... or missed all together. So I hope this explanation will help a lot of people struggling to figure things out!
You could go blind reading tricks, tips and strategies for social media marketing success. But after being immersed in this space for many years now and having counseled thousands of business owners, executives and students, I think there is really one core idea everyone needs to consider when embarking on this journey.
Most companies and individuals start with an examination of platforms. Do I need a Facebook page? A blog? A Twitter account? Where do I start and how do I get going?
Instead, I think there is another fundamental question to ask: "What is the source of my rich content?"
Let me explain what I mean by this strange little question with a story.
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