Category Archives: LinkedIn

Tips to Makeover Your Profile Picture

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are you saying with your profile pictures?

Photo courtesy of Hair Dresser’s Guide to Photo Shoots

With each photo you post, you choose to represent yourself and your company. A vital part of crafting an online presence, the profile picture can get lost in the shuffle of quality information and targeted content.

Consider your profile picture as the human connection piece to your organization. Whether you are choosing your personal profile picture on a social networking site or a picture that will rest on a “Meet the Staff” page, this is where your users will make their first judgments about you and the quality of your organization.

Even away from the company’s website, you are still a face that represents your business. Use these tips to make sure you draw people in with your confident, professional appearance.

Focus on You:

Since your face is the focus of a profile picture, make sure you are the focus of yours. There should be no one else in your photo, nor animals or distracting objects. Create an uncomplicated background. This does not mean that you have to stand in front of a blank wall, but make sure there isn’t anything to distract people behind you. Have your photographer frame the photo with you in the center. Insure that your head doesn’t look lopped off by leaving the top half or fourth of your torso in the shot.

Snap a great pic:

This may seem obvious, but make sure your profile photo is actually a quality image. That means it needs to be well-lit with your face in-focus and sharp. It also means that it needs to be a high-resolution image. Posting a second-rate photo is an easy tip off to a potential client that you are unprofessional and not detail oriented.

Be consistent:

Make sure that you have the same profile picture representing you on all of your social networking sites. If a client is trying to determine whether or not to follow you on Twitter and your profile picture appears different, they may not be able to tell if it’s actually you. Think about your personal profile as your brand. A consistent profile picture will become your logo. This does not mean, however, to keep the photo of you from twenty years ago. Use a recent photo. Update if you get a drastic new hairstyle or every three to five years so your photo represent the real you.

Be professional:

Dress in your picture the way you would go to a meeting with a client. Dress in your finely-tailored business professional look or embrace the business casual look. Make sure that you appear clean and are wearing professional makeup or jewelry. Try also to select your outfit’s colors based off what will complement your website’s coloring. Neither you nor your company will be represented well if your yellow outfit clashes with the brown of the website. Always, make sure your clothes are clean and not ill-fitting nor wrinkled.

Get the perfect angle:

Once you are dressed and ready for the perfect shot, look into the camera and try to be pleasant. Make sure to smile but do not attack the camera with your confidence. Sit up straight and upright, making sure you don’t tilt your head to the side.

If you find yourself questioning your choice of a profile picture, do not be afraid to ask for the opinions of others. Remember to be professional!

~Katelyn

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Filed under Branding, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Reputation Management

Seven Social Media Mistakes

thumb downIn this day and age, social media is the quickest way to stay in touch with friends and family all over the world. With at least five popular platforms, social media is also turning into another way for businesses and individuals to promote themselves to others. Whether you’re just starting to dip your toes into the world of social media or you’ve been active for a while, there are certain guidelines to follow. An article from Business Insider (based on a survey of sorts conducted by a small business consultant by way of LinkedIn) helped narrow down the list of social media mistakes that are regularly being made.

Don’t post too often! Sometimes, often when people get bored or have time to kill, posting on Facebook or sending a tweet on Twitter becomes an hourly activity. Not only does this clog newsfeeds, it takes away from productivity. Think how much more you could get done at work if you weren’t posting every hour on the hour, even if it’s just a quick comment on something. While you want to actively post if you’re promoting a business, don’t post multiple times each day—keep it in moderation. However, do make sure to check your page often. Many times customers will post to your page or send you a message consisting either of praise or a complaint. More often than not, these comments go completely unnoticed and are left without a response.

Don’t avoid posting—followers do want you to be active on social media! Posting once or twice (at most) a day will suffice. Sometimes business only post once or twice a week! Followers may be more likely to interact with you if they see your name once or twice in a newsfeed where they see other names upwards of four times. Keep in mind that commenting on posts is very different from posting in itself—customers will be happy to receive a response from you on something they posted on your page, whether they gave negative or positive feedback.

Don’t post or share irrelevant information or content. If you’re a small business owner, say an online store specializing in clothing, don’t share political content or science-related articles via your business page. Instead, share a link to a new product you have in stock. Customers and followers want to hear about things relevant to them—they made the choice to follow your page, so make sure to consistently post things pertaining to your page.

Don’t limit your social media activity to just one forum. Many businesses create a Facebook page and think it is sufficient social media coverage. There is also Twitter, Instagram, G+, and LinkedIn (just to name a few). Why limit yourself? The only thing that could happen is your business could grow!

Don’t overshare on personal matters. Even if the focus of your time on social media is your business, you will likely end up making a page for yourself. When that happens, keep the private details of your life private. On each page, you represent your company, so your followers don’t need to visit your company’s page, find the link to your page, and see that your relationship just ended and you were out on the town the night before. Yes, posting pictures is fun, it’s a way for people to see you are enjoying life, but keep in mind all the people who could view your page. Each social media site offers a privacy setting, some even offer a way  to change who can see what you post—use these settings. Do not toe the line between what should remain personal and what should remain professional.

Don’t link to articles or products if the content isn’t complete! Everyone has come across it at one time or another—click on an article and begin reading only to notice grammar mistakes, simple spelling errors, or captions that are completely missing from pictures. It’s frustrating for the reader and it’s not going to give your company a professional image.

Don’t get involved in social media for the wrong reasons. Many companies are heavily involved with social media, but don’t jump the gun—work on building your company first, focusing on creating the relationships. After you have a solid customer base, progress to social media as a way to stay connected and keep customers updated. Creating, building, and maintaining relationships is a big focus for companies with social media activity.

It may seem daunting at first, but remember to start small and build your social media reputation as a small extension of your company. Keep the focus on your customers and your company, not on your personal life. With this list of basic social media mistakes, you’ll be able to build a strong social media profile to better connect with your customers and grow your business!  ~Hollysocial media icons

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The 10 Most Popular Social Media Sites and Why They’re Successful

Humans are social by nature and the multitude of social media sites tries to meet that need. Their popularity is measured by the number of unique visitors that each site has each month. With so many sites what makes the top ten stand out from the crowd? Each site identifies a new way for the members to connect with each other and makes it as easy as possible for them to make that connection.

Image courtesy of Flickr.com user mkhmarketing

Image courtesy of Flickr.com user mkhmarketing

1. Facebook – The most popular site with an estimated 900 million unique visitors each month. This incredible popularity comes from the wide range of ways that users can share information and connect with other users. Facebook has also taken full advantage of APIs and allowed their users to embed external content on to their personal profiles.

2. Twitter – Short tweets have become big news with an estimated 310 million unique visitors each month. Twitter’s popularity is based on the immediacy of the internet. Users can post short updates about their lives and easily keep their followers up to date on their daily lives. The final component of Twitter’s success is the ability for users to follow their favorite celebrities and feel as if they have a small connection to these incredible people.

3. LinkedIn – This is the first social media site with a specific audience in mind. This site is dedicated to individuals looking for professional networking. LinkedIn gives its users ways to publish their skills for potential employers to find. There is also a feature which allows the users to ask for an introduction to individuals through a mutual contact. Asking for introductions creates a method of networking that very closely resembles networking in person.

4. Pinterest – Pinterest owes its popularity to focusing on one function and then performing that function extremely well. On top of doing that single function well it is also simple to use so that no one will be intimidated by complicated methods of sharing information. Pinterest also focuses on what its users want their lives to be in the future instead of what they are right now. The focus on future hopes and dreams provides another type of connection that other social media sides do not address as plainly as Pinterest does.

5. Google+ – Google+ allows the users to customize circles of connections who all share the same interests. It also allows users to stay connected through all the Google applications instead of only on the Google+ site. The strength of Google’s software also allows its users to have video chats with multiple people at the same time. Finally by building a strong profile on Google+ individuals are building up their Google authorship and increasing web traffic to other sites created by the same individual.

6. Tumblr – Tumblr represents a combination of the immediacy of Twitter with the informative nature of blogs. Users are given the strong connection that comes from blogs as well as a much more social aspect that comes from easily sharing information to other users. Users are able to create customized profiles to highlight their individuality in a more visual way above and beyond the content of the blog itself. One difference between Tumblr and other social media sites is that the content can be found by individuals who are not Tumblr users.

7. Instagram – Instagram capitalizes on the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Instagram is targeted at the millions of mobile users who enjoy taking and viewing pictures on their phones and tablets instead of a traditional computer. Instagram also focuses simply on the images themselves and provides a simple method for viewing beautiful pictures. Instagram also provides a simple way for users to share their pictures across many social media sites without having to upload the same picture multiple times.

8. Flickr – Instagram may focus on quickly sharing pictures Flickr allows users to better organize and display a large collection of images. Instead of searching through cluttered news feeds or unorganized albums pictures can be easily organized and shared. Above sharing beautiful images Flickr boasts a large collection of communities focused on all aspects of photography from specific locations to the color orange.

9. Vine – Vine allows users a platform to post their short looped videos with the immediacy of a Twitter news feed. The incredible popularity if this app has created many Vine celebrities who are able to tell their stories in seconds. Vine, like Instagram, has capitalized on the number of people using their phones as cameras and has given them a simple way to display their creativity to other mobile users.

10. YouTube – YouTube has long been a popular site to search for a wide range of information. With 100 hours of video posted each minute there is a wealth of information to be found. YouTube also appeals to the new trend of video logging which is similar to the traditional blog but using a visual medium. Now YouTube is taking steps to become more social by allowing users to post videos as comments and increase their interaction with others who are watching the same videos.

Knowing why each site is popular can help you know how information is shared and who it is shared with on each site. This knowledge will help you create social content that others will appreciate and share.

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Make Your Linkedin Profile Content Stand Out

My Web WritersLinkedin Profile stand out

LinkedIn is more than just your resume posted online. It’s an interactive, dynamic and ever-updating network. While the content from your resume is an excellent starting point for the content you should include in your Linkedin profile, the thought process cannot end there. To make your Linkedin profile effective it must stand out among the rest. It must tell the story of who you are, not just what you do. Here are several key tips to help you create a professional and memorable image for yourself on Linkedin.

Tell a story

Your work experience is part of your life story. Rather than just listing a bunch of job titles, make your profile stand out by sewing together each past experience to tell an interesting story. Your summary is the first thing displayed on your profile and should entice people to want to read more. No matter how scattered your work experience may seem, you can find at least one underlying theme that ties it all together. Maybe each job required leadership or taught you customer service. This becomes the theme that pulls all of your experience under one umbrella. The professionalism of your content and attention to detail are also examples of your work that potential employers or customers will take into account.

Utilize the extra features

Linkedin continues to add features which can be incorporated into your profile to make it really stand out. Highlight your writing work by adding a portfolio feature to your profile. This allows you to upload and share examples of your work and showcase your talent. Do you have a blog? If so, list this blog as a publication so that all new posts are automatically displayed on your profile and publicized in your newsfeed. There are many more features available at the basic account level and even more available if you choose to upgrade your account. Be sure to keep in mind the objective of your profile as this will help determine what features are most applicable.

Network in a meaningful way

If you currently use Linkedin, you may be all too familiar with the mass messages people send that are more like spam than they are networking. Avoid using communication tactics that come across impersonal or cold. Linkedin was created to facilitate a community for networking – utilize this! Networking means a two-way conversation. If you want to get to know a contact better, write a personal message to them asking a specific question as a conversation starter. Then, let them ask for more information about you and your work before you pile it on them. Finally, format the updates you share on your newsfeed to be conversational. For example, ask for opinions on a professional-related topic. Don’t use your newsfeed as a billboard to push people to your business web site or Facebook fan page. Instead build a relationship that inspires them to do this on their own.

Linkedin is a powerful tool for expanding and interacting with your professional network. But in order to use it to its fullest, you must be sure that the image you’re creating is both professional and memorable. ~Stephanie


Other Posts:

12 Steps to Create Your Own Infographic

Ten Tips for Starting a Social Media Conversation

Tell a Better Story: Tips and Tricks from Mark Twain

Content for Less, Fat Brain Toys Involves Customers in Content Creation

Social Media Interaction in 2014- What’s your Plan?

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12 Steps to Create Your Own Infographic

My Web Writerseaselly_visual

It seems like there are infographics to cover every topic. There are even infographics about infographics. What if you have information that you want to tell others, but there is no premade infographic that has all your information? It’s time to make your own. Stumped on how to do that?  Follow these 12 steps to create your own.

Infographic Prep Work

1.      Plan it Out. Know what information you want to give to your readers. Keep your message short, simple, relevant, and original.

2.      Be Specific. Give your readers more than superficial details. Go in depth. Be sure you have correct information. Correct and specific details build your credibility.

3.      Balance Information with Graphics. Infographics shouldn’t be too wordy, but they do need words to get your point across.

4.      Grab Attention with a Headline. Your headline brings in readers. Make it snappy!

5.      Keep Attention with Sub-Headlines. Sub-headlines draw your readers’ eyes through your infographic. Give your audience reasons to keep reading.

 6.      Match Your Tone to the Information. You do not want to detract from your message by making light of a serious topic. Humorous information loses appeal if it is presented in a serious tone.

You’re half way there!  Once you have the information portion of your infographic lined up, it’s time to focus on the graphics.

Designing Your Infographic

1.    Find a Template. There are many websites that offer free templates that you can use, but most of them require you to register with them.  The three largest sites are infogr.am, piktochart, and visual.ly.  There are also templates that work with Microsoft PowerPoint from this blog post. No matter where you get it from use a design that catches the eye.

2.    Choose Your Colors. Use color wisely. Too many colors look chaotic, but too few look boring.

3.    Choose Your Fonts. This is not the time to use every font you can. Focus on readability and restrict yourself to only a few font choices.

4.    Create Your Graphs. Just like with the sources for templates, there are many websites that create graphs for you. Microsoft Excel is also another source for graphs if your information is already in a spreadsheet.

5.    Create Space. As you are putting all the pieces together remind yourself, infographics that share too much information look messy. Allow some open space around your graphics for a more readable finished product.

6.   Put it Out There. After you create infographics, they won’t go viral overnight. You’ll have to work to get them noticed. Share them on Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, and LinkedIn.

It may take a few tries to create the perfect graphic. If you have a relevant message and are using good information people will want to share it. ~Megan

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Filed under Content, Facebook, Google Plus, Infographics & Memes, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pictures, Pinterest, Social Media, Tumblr

Tricks to Using LinkedIn and Quora to Research Topics and Articles

By My Web Writers582041_computer_1

LinkedIn and Quora can be used for much more than meets the eye. Most think of LinkedIn as a professional website for job hunting, and some see Quora as a question-and-answer site with no more credibility than Wikipedia. If you know a few tricks, however, both can be excellent resources for researching topics and articles. Whether you’re a content writer or researching for a school assignment, turning to these sites can provide some great information, or at least point you in the right direction for other outstanding sources.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is no doubt a great source for networking and showcasing your list of job skills for potential employers, but it can also be used to research topics and articles. LinkedIn Today is the perfect spot to see what other professionals are sharing. Like the “How to use LinkedIn Today” video says, “There’s too much information out there, and not enough time in the day.”

LinkedIn Today gives you information from industry professionals and experts who have knowledge to share about specific topics. Not only can you search for a specific topic on LinkedIn Today, but can then filter down the results even further based on time posted, industry, or even company.

You can also set up your LinkedIn Today posts to show up on your LinkedIn homepage. You can select specific topics or even people to follow. The articles will be catered to your specifications!

Join a LinkedIn Group and read what others are asking or sharing.  Some of the best, blog post topics can be formed just by looking at forum questions.

Quora

“Anyone can ask, answer, or edit questions on Quora,” is the welcome you get once you’ve logged in to your Quora page.  Get answers from real people from all over the world. The answers might come from doctors, lawyers, writers, etc.

Quora has some great tips on getting started and how to decide which information makes for a good answer. For example, a good answer will often include a link to a research article or website that will provide more detailed information. The best answers are voted to the top of the often long list of answers.

If you can’t find a question that’s already been asked about your topic, ask the question yourself! You’ve got a world of people out there waiting to answer, so why not ask? The answers could open up a world of information you had no idea was out there and can be quoted in your blog post.

While LinkedIn and Quora shouldn’t be your only means of researching, the information found can certainly point you in the right direction. LinkedIn and Quora can offer analysis from industry experts and professionals that you might not otherwise find. ~Natalie

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How Can I Better Manage My Company’s Social Media Accounts?

by My Web Writers
Manage Social Media

For many of us, managing our own social media accounts is enough to keep us busier than we’d like. But when you’re given the responsibility of also managing your company’s social media accounts, this task should be given a fairly different approach and a lot more consideration. There’s no doubt that social media holds the power to become a business’s first impression for many of its customers. Because of this, a professional and well thought out social media management plan is critical for any company. Here are a few tips to get you on the right track of tackling this important marketing component:

Create an editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar allows you layout all of your planned social media posts for the coming month. For a company structure where such posts need to be pre-approved by the owner, this is an essential tool. To create an editorial calendar, there are several templates you can find online, or you can simple create a calendar in a Word Doc and format it to fit your needs. All it needs to include is what you’re planning to post and for what accounts. Include the links to any videos or web pages to make for an easy copy and paste action when you do go to post. Finally, an editorial calendar is just as beneficial to you as it is to a company owner. You will be able to easily see how often you’re planning to post and if there are any holes you need to fill. While the calendar may take several hours to initially create, it will make the rest of the month’s social media posting nearly effortless.

Automate your regular updates.

In speaking of making social media posting effortless, what’s less effort than when something is automated? Web sites like HootSuite.com and TweetDeck.com both offer automated social media posting for little to no cost. Once you create your editorial calendar, you can easily plug in the posts and schedule them in advance so that the rest of the month your regular updates are firing off exactly when they should regardless of how hectic your schedule gets. Note: it’s great to use automation for the pre-written tweets and updates, but social media is meant to be live and in the moment. Don’t tune out from all the news and announcements that may crop up unexpectedly that should be shared on social media. Be sure to get these out ASAP the “old fashioned” way—manually!

Make it a group effort.

While one person in a company may be designated as the social media manager, it’s important to remember that social media is meant to be social after all! Make this task a group effort by allowing everyone to offer input on what should be promoted or emphasized on social media. Many of your co-workers might have great suggestions for a contest to run or a question to ask to spark discussion. This input will also help fill up your editorial calendar with fresh ideas without you wracking your brain each month.

Do less, but do it better.

Just as in so many other aspects of life, you simply don’t need to do it all! There are countless social media platforms available to you, but that doesn’t mean you need to use every single one. Your time is not best spent managing 15+ social media accounts at a mediocre level. Instead, focus on your top performing 3-5 social media accounts (the ones with the largest audience and most interaction) and spend your time making these exceptional. For many businesses, these will include Twitter and Facebook to start. From there, you may also find YouTube, Digg or Google+ to be beneficial. Depending on your business and the product or service that you’re selling, your social media focus might be different from other businesses—and that’s OK!

Not only should every social media platform be handled differently, so should every social media account—business or personal. Following these tips, you’ll be able to create a professional image for your company that is both effective and well thought out.  ~Stephanie

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