Business Speaker on Optimizing Yelp Listings and Reviews
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational keynote speaker whose topics include marketing on Yelp for local businesses and restaurants. He’s a leading authority on self-employment and the author of Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley). The 48th chapter of this award-winning book (2012 Small Business Book Awards) is entitled Leverage Yelp for Business (in Part 4 of the book: Populate Internet Properties) and is included below for your review. The book has a total of 80 short chapters, each ending with an Implementation Checklist. Also, Patrick’s perspective on Yelp and the opportunity is provides to local small businesses, especially restaurants, is summarized below.
Yelp is one of the internet’s most popular online review sites, driving massive traffic towards local businesses and restaurants. That makes it a prime marketing platform for local businesses and Patrick has a chapter in his award-winning book about the topic. The chapter is included below and the strategies are simple to implement. If you would like the Yelp topic included in his keynote presentation, please let us know. Patrick’s presentations are well known to be rich in content and delivered in an accessible and empowering way, allowing your attendees to implement new strategies as soon as they leave your event.
Chapter 48: Leverage Yelp for Business
Do you have reviews on Yelp?
If you own a restaurant, the odds are good that you do. And certainly, if you live in a major metropolitan city like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or San Francisco, the odds are even higher. But for many businesses, the answer is no. It’s time to change that. For those who don’t know, Yelp is a review site that allows people to document their experiences with local businesses using a five-star scale and an area for written comments. It has become extremely popular in parts of the country, to the extent that a business’s success or failure can be directly affected by its rating on Yelp.
Yelp caters to local businesses. Restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, dry cleaners, dentists, massage therapists, chiropractors, hotels, gyms, and retail stores are all reviewed on Yelp. Yelp is also chasing the hot new “check-in” trend, following the success of the Foursquare mobile application. Foursquare allows people to “check-in,” using their mobile phones, at local businesses, documenting their patronage in the process. The application is quite playful, allowing users to win “badges” and even become the “mayor” of particular businesses they frequent. Hoping to get in on the fun—and the growing popularity of the trend—Yelp has introduced check-in as well. In fact, Facebook recently introduced Facebook Places (Chapter 74) that has check-in functionality too and even Google has suggested they might join the party down the road.
The interesting thing about Yelp is how well it ranks on Google. Yelp is very well optimized for the search engines, so reviews posted on Yelp can easily show up on the first page of Google when people search for a particular business’s name or keywords mentioned in the review.
What does that mean? It means you can be on the first page of Google without even having a website! This is what online branding is all about. It’s about building a presence on high-ranking websites to expand your online identity. (Refer to Chapter 46 for more information about online branding.) Business owners can “claim” their businesses on Yelp. If you don’t have a review yet, you simply create a profile for your business. But if you already have reviews (a lot of businesses already have reviews on Yelp without even knowing about them), you can claim the business and verify yourself as the business owner (or authorized representative).
They’ll call your phone number or send you something in the mail and, once verified, you can edit the business information, upload photos, and reply to reviews. If you haven’t already done so, visit Yelp and make sure your business is listed and you’re verified. Similar to Google Places (Chapter 47), you’ll want to fill in as much information as possible. Upload photos and include a description. You can also add a lot of specific business information including payment methods accepted, hours of operation, facility characteristics (like patios), and parking options. Fill it all out. All of these data points are searchable and if they’re not included, you won’t show up for users searching for those specifics.
Being verified with Yelp also allows you to reply to reviews. This is key. The rule of thumb: reply to as many reviews as you can, especially the bad ones. (Refer to Chapter 28 for more on negative comments.) Don’t get mad. Don’t freak out. Instead, thank the complainer for the comment and explain what you intend to do to rectify the situation. Keep in mind that people who are active on Yelp are among your most valuable customers. Not only are they more engaged in the consumer experience but they’re sharing their experiences with their peer group. These people are influencers within your target market. Do whatever it takes to keep them happy. It’s worth it.
Yelp allows businesses to post coupons and discounts on their profiles. Take advantage of this. Some of your customers look on Yelp before and after they interact with you. They might be looking at some of your competitors and deciding who they’ll use based on reviews and coupons. Don’t miss that opportunity. If you’re hosting upcoming special events, post them on Yelp—you’ll attract your ideal customers to your business. (Think about how you can engage your customers and prospects at fun events and refer to Chapter 59 for ideas on event promotion.)
Incidentally, when Yelp first got started, they had a hard time building a user base. After trying several marketing campaigns, they started holding parties for “elite Yelpers” in the San Francisco area. Those parties became the place to see and be seen for Silicon Valley trailblazers, and the parties quickly became Yelp’s primary marketing strategy. Done properly, events are a highly effective way to engage your community! Add a Yelp badge to your website or blog. Yelp is a recognized review site. Not only will your business look more transparent and progressive but the badge will also encourage your website visitors to check out your reviews and possibly write one themselves. The more reviews you get, the more your Yelp profile will get found by active “Yelpers.”
Integrate your Yelp account with Facebook and Twitter. Click “My Account” and then “External Services” to set up the configuration. Once complete, your reviews on Yelp will automatically be published on your Facebook wall and your Twitter feed. Being an active Yelper is a position of power. So don’t restrict your participation to that of a business owner. Write reviews yourself. Connect with others. Once you have a few dozen friends and 50+ reviews, you’ll appreciate both sides of the Yelp community and that will only enhance your participation as a business.
Leverage Yelp for Business: Implementation Checklist
Make sure your business is listed on Yelp.
Get verified as the business owner.
Fill in as much information as possible.
Upload photos and add descriptions.
Reply to all reviews, good or bad.
Post coupons and discounts on Yelp.
Post your upcoming events on Yelp.
Integrate Yelp with Facebook and Twitter.
Write reviews for other businesses.
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational keynote speaker whose topics include optimizing Google Places for local businesses and marketing. He’s a leading authority on self-employment and the author of Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley). The 47th chapter of this award-winning book (2012 Small Business Book Awards) is entitled Optimizing Google Places (in Part 4 of the book: Populate Internet Properties) and is included below for your review. The book has a total of 80 short chapters, each ending with an Implementation Checklist. Also, Patrick’s perspective on Google Places and the opportunity it provides to local small businesses and self-employed service professionals is summarized below.
Google Places is the platform that includes a map with local business listings when Google users search for location-based services. It represents an enormous opportunity for local businesses because it delivers first-page search results, and that can deliver massive search engine traffic and increased businesses. Turns out, there are simple things local businesses can do to optimize their Google Places listing. Patrick has an entire chapter in his book devoted to the topic and he can weave his keynote presentations with the information local businesses need to know, leaving your attendees educated and empowered to leverage the opportunity themselves.
Chapter 47: Optimize Google Places
Is your business listed on Google Places?
What’s Google Places? Well, if you search for something on Google, quite often you’ll find a map at the top of the search results with upside-down red teardrop-shaped icons all over it (labeled A, B, C, etc.). And right beside that map, you’ll find seven businesses listed, corresponding to the teardrops. That’s Google Places. It’s also been referred to as Google Local. The idea is to show relevant businesses that match search queries for local businesses, and also to show exactly where those businesses are located. But what happens if there are more than seven businesses that are relevant? What determines which businesses show up first, second, and third as Google Places?
Google uses an algorithm to determine the order in which the businesses are listed. The Google Places algorithm is not the same as the algorithm for regular search results but it’s an algorithm nonetheless. That means you now have to optimize your business for two Google algorithms, not one. First, you have to optimize your website for placement in regular search results—this is called search engine optimization (SEO), which we covered in Chapters 29, 30, 31, and 32. Second, you have to optimize your business for placement in the Google Places results, which is the subject of this chapter.
We’ll start by reviewing the three criteria for the Google Places algorithm that Google has identified publicly: location, relevance, and prominence.
Location: If the searcher includes a location name in the search query, Google will look for listings closest to that location. If no location is entered, Google will look for listings closest to the location of the searcher (determined by analyzing the internet protocol – or IP – address of the searcher).
Relevance: Based on the keywords entered into the search query, Google will look for the most relevant listings. Relevance is determined by the title of your business listing in Google Places and the description. (We’ll look at this more closely later in the chapter.)
Prominence: Google will present the most prominent listings first. For museums, as an example, Google knows which museums are most prominent. But what about small businesses? There’s an opportunity here, so keep reading!
Let’s talk about the tricks to gaining better placement in Google Places results. Let’s say you own an Italian restaurant named simply “Mario’s.” You’d be much better off adding a couple more keywords to your Company/Organization name. For example, “Mario’s Italian Pizzeria.” Those keywords will help you rank for searches including “Italian” and/or “pizzeria.” If you add keywords to your Company/Organization name on Google Places, be sure to update your website and other online listings with the same keywords. Google likes consistency. You may even wish to file a DBA (doing business as) at your local county clerk’s office to make it official. As long as your keywords are consistent among your various online listings, the extra keywords will definitely help your ranking in Google Places.
You can’t do much with your address. It is what it is. And I strongly discourage getting PO boxes in different cities to artificially accumulate duplicate references of your business. If you legitimately have offices in different locations, fine; include them all in your Google Places listing. (If you have only one location and would like to enhance your online reach, refer to Chapter 31 for a better approach.)
Make sure your listing in Google Places is complete. In particular, check that you’re in the right category. Fill in all the hours-of-operation and payment information and write a good keyword-rich description. Upload pictures and videos if possible. Google likes complete listings. Build a big online presence. Google looks at citations of your business across the Internet as a gauge of your prominence. Make sure all the citations have the same business address and phone number. Although we talk about many strategies to build online exposure in this book, publishing articles online (Chapter 52) might be the fastest way to get a lot of citations quickly. Get reviews and ratings. Google is trying to push into the review business. They want to beat Yelp at their own game. If you have a bunch of good reviews, that will contribute to a better ranking. As with Yelp, you won’t benefit with Google Places by accumulating fake reviews. Doing that is asking for problems.
Google is tight-lipped about their algorithms, and for good reason. They don’t want people manipulating the system. It’s impossible to know exactly what the impact of the above suggestions will be, but they’ll all play a small role in getting you to the top of the Google Places list. More than anything else, build the most complete business listing you can. It benefits everyone.
Optimize Google Places: Implementation Checklist
Create an account on Google Places.
Try to incorporate keywords in your title.
Ensure your title is consistent elsewhere.
Fill out as much information as possible.
Upload photos and videos where possible.
Accumulate reviews from past clients.
Build a massive online identity.
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational keynote speaker whose topics include using YouTube for business and social media marketing strategies. He’s a leading authority on self-employment and the author of Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley). There are four chapters in his award-winning book (2012 Small Business Book Awards) that cover a variety of marketing strategies on YouTube (in Part 6 of the book: Leverage Social Media) and is included below for your review. The book has a total of 80 short chapters, each ending with an Implementation Checklist. Also, Patrick’s perspective on the business marketing opportunity on YouTube as well as the increasing shift to video-based content is summarized below.
YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet today, just behind Google itself. Of course, Google owns YouTube also! In fact, when surveying people within different age brackets, those between 8 and 13 years old actually went to YouTube before going to Google! And the trend is accelerating every year. That means that the population will soon be getting their questions answered by watching videos rather than reading the answers in text format. Patrick has been following this trend since its inception and has four chapters in his book devoted to the exploding popularity of YouTube. He also has 500+ videos on his own YouTube channels, giving him an insiders view of the trends in action. If your attendees need to learn about the opportunities of marketing their businesses on YouTube, Patrick is the perfect person to convey the message. His presentations are well known to be actionable and inspiring, leaving attendees excited and empowered to use the same strategies themselves.
Chapter 75: YouTube Viral Videos
What’s the most effective type of content?
Before we answer that, we have to determine what the options are. There are basically just four types of content available: text, audio, photos (or images), and video (or animation). Which do you think is the most effective from a marketing perspective? You guessed it. Video! People love video. Period. It’s easy. It’s intuitive. It’s fun. Video requires the least amount of effort to watch, understand, and/or learn from. As a result, good video content tends to get shared more than other types of content.
Next up: where does your marketing content come from? Well, there are really just two places where relevant marketing content can come from: your business or your customers. Think about this for a minute. Peer reviews: that’s content about your company provided by your customers. What about photos? Yes, you could be sharing photos of your business online, but your customers might be posting photos about your business too. What about videos? Same thing.
What’s more effective, content provided by your business or content provided by your customers? Right again! Content provided by your customers is far more effective than content provided by your own business. It makes sense. People will always believe what someone else says about you more than what you say about yourself. It’s more credible. It’s a third-party endorsement, whether it’s a positive comment or a negative one. So what’s the most effective content available? Bingo! Video content about your business that is provided by your customers is the most effective content you can get.
Back in January 2009, the Australian Tourism Board advertised for “The Best Job in the World.” It got huge media coverage. Maybe you remember it. Anyway, the job paid $100,000 for six months—not bad. The successful candidate would live in a beautiful house on an island in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef area. He or she would be provided with all the snorkeling gear, scuba diving apparatus, and parasailing equipment he or she could handle. The responsibilities? Simple. He or she would have to write one blog post every day on the Australian Tourism Board’s blog.
In order to apply, candidates had to submit a video (one minute or less) demonstrating why they would be perfect for the job. Well, as you can imagine, the buzz exploded and the job opportunity was reported by media outlets around the world. The result? Almost 35,000 people submitted videos. Talk about spectacular content! We’re talking about almost 35,000 videos featuring beautiful young human beings (for the most part) talking about why they love the Great Barrier Reef. Brilliant. All those videos were posted on YouTube and collectively watched by millions of people around the world. Awesome, awesome, awesome!
But it gets better. People were allowed to vote on the videos they liked best—one vote per e-mail address. So they ended up with an opt-in list of more than 400,000 e-mail addresses. The brilliance of this campaign is insane. The interesting thing is that the eventual 6-month contract wasn’t nearly as successful as the campaign to hire the candidate in the first place. The hiring campaign delivered most of the benefit. That kind of video exposure is priceless.
I recently met with a company that makes accessories for wheelchairs. They make a great product that make it possible for wheelchair users to move forward by either pushing or pulling vertical levers instead of manually turning the wheels. We put together a brilliant strategy based on the same concept as the Australian Tourism Board. Unfortunately, the company never pulled the trigger, but I’m convinced it would’ve been a winner. The idea was to send e-mails to their past customers letting them know we’d be having a contest where owners of these accessories could submit videos of how they were using the product. The most creative and inspiring videos would win great prizes. The plan was to purchase 20 Flip digital video recorders and send them out to interested customers along with self-addressed postage-paid return envelopes. “Record your video and send it back,” the insert would say. I bet we would’ve gotten some fabulous videos.
I could imagine a video of someone (maybe a veteran) using the levers to propel himself up Lombard Street in San Francisco, the steepest street in the country. Or someone going up a hiking trail … in a wheelchair! It’s really too bad we never got a chance to test the strategy. How can you incentivize your own customers to create content about your business? Give them a good reason (like contest prizes) and you’ll be amazed at what you get back.
YouTube Viral Videos: Implementation Checklist
What do you do that’s remarkable?
How can your customers tell their story?
Imagine videos about your business.
Incentivize your customers to make them.
Have a contest and offer great prizes.
Support the process by providing cameras.
Post and promote those videos on YouTube.
YouTube is serving more than two billion video views per day right now. Are any of those videos yours? Are any of those videos about your business? Those two billion views are being watched whether you’re there or not. People with questions are searching on YouTube whether you’re providing answers or not. So how do we get your content in front of that traffic? How do we get your business in front of those eyeballs?
You may be familiar with the name Gary Vaynerchuk. If not, we’re talking about a super high-energy and fast-talking 31-year-old guy who inherited his parents’ retail wine store in New Jersey, just outside New York City. The store is called WineLibrary. So what did he do? He started his own video blog called WineLibrary TV and his frantic communication style make his videos extremely entertaining to watch. He literally eats dirt and chews leather to explain the flavors in wine. He’s not exactly your typical French sommelier! But the younger generation loves this guy.
To be clear, Gary Vaynerchuk posts a new video almost every single day, so this is no small undertaking. But he managed to explode his annual revenue from $4 million to more than $60 million per year in the process. Imagine: $4 million to more than $60 million!! And two thirds of the revenue came from online orders. His parents never once took an online order. He started it. Two thirds of $60 million is $40 million! This guy went from zero to $40 million in online orders! How? He demonstrated his expertise in a clever way in the middle of a raging river. You’ve heard this before. These stories are always the same.
Consider Blentec, a company that manufactures commercial and residential blenders. As the story goes, the newly hired marketing manager, George Wright, was walking through the factory one day and noticed the CEO, Tom Dickson, trying to destroy a 2×2 block of wood with an entry-level residential blender. He succeeded. The room was littered with sawdust and chips of wood. Apparently, he did that on a regular basis. It was his way of testing the durability of their products.
George saw the potential immediately. They needed to record it on video! So they started a series called “Will it blend?” to share the results on YouTube. The start-up costs for the campaign totaled just $85. They started blending all sorts of things. They blended marbles. They blended golf balls. They blended a full size rake! And they also blended an iPhone. Yes, it’s true. They blended an iPhone and it got completely destroyed. It literally turned to dust. On the video, they called it “iDust.”
What were the results? Sales didn’t double. Sales didn’t triple. Sales soared 500 percent! Why? They demonstrated the capabilities of their product in a clever way in the middle of a raging river. It’s always the same. Bottom line: it worked because it was remarkable! What do you do that’s remarkable? What do you do in your business that’s remarkable?
A woman recently attended a conference where I spoke and she e-mailed me a few days later, all excited. Her business sells premium foods like caviar, truffle mushrooms, and foie gras and she wanted to create a video about her business and put it on YouTube. “A video.” One video. Why stop at just one video when her company sold 85 products? I told her she should make 85 videos—one for each product! And then optimize each video for the relevant keywords for that particular product.
She never made all 85 videos but she did make 27 of them, and they were all optimized for highly specific keyword phrases like “black truffle oil.” People are searching for that stuff. They found her videos and each one pointed back to her website. She racked up more than 25,000 views in her first 12 months and her revenue doubled.
When I launched the first edition of this book, I recorded 57 videos, one for almost every chapter (the original book had only 60 chapters). I set up the camera in my office and recorded one chapter after another, and then chopped up the footage into separate videos later. A good friend of mine told me I should change my clothes in between each video. No! Nobody is going to watch all 57 videos. They’re only going to watch one. Each video is optimized for different keywords, based on what that particular chapter is about. So people searching for information on YouTube will find one of my videos and each one points back to my website. Mission accomplished.
Think about your business. What’s the area where your customers are most fascinated? Where do they give you the most animated response? That’s it! Get that on video. Share that on YouTube. Pick an angle or a gimmick to make your videos unique. There are basically three different strategies for creating videos: educate, entertain, or shock.
Educate: The fastest growing content on YouTube is educational how-to content. Every day, the demand for valuable how-to content increases. Teach your prospects how to use your products or services. Teach them how to avoid common mistakes. Teach them about the tips, tricks, and tools that will make their lives easier.
Entertain: People love to be entertained. Humor will always get a warm welcome from YouTube users. Show your prospects the humor in your industry. Show them the irony in your products or services. Find ways to make people laugh while engaging them about your value proposition. Gary Vaynerchuk basically chose a combination of education and entertainment and enjoyed enormous success in the process.
Shock: You want viral? Shock people. We’ve all seen examples of this approach. The “Will it blend?” campaign by Blentec essentially falls into this category. Their demonstrations were shocking, albeit with some great entertainment sprinkled in. What’s shocking about your product or service? How can you shock your prospects with the results you deliver?
Regardless of which direction you choose, YouTube offers a tremendous opportunity to those who share video content. Find a way to participate with your own business.
YouTube How-to Videos: Implementation Checklist
Demonstrate your expertise on YouTube.
Display the capabilities of your product.
Exhibit the benefits of your service.
Identify what you do that’s remarkable.
Upload new videos regularly.
Educate: provide how-to information.
Entertain: show the humor in your field.
Shock: surprise viewers with wild videos.
Everybody wants their videos to “go viral.” They want the video to catch on and spread like wildfire, accumulating hundreds of thousands of views along the way. Turns out, getting a video to “go viral” is hard work. Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely some videos that just hit it right. They strike a chord and get shared around the globe. But there are also countless great videos that get a few hundred views and then fade out. To give a video the best possible odds of becoming successful, you need to give it a good push at the beginning. There are lots of things you can do to promote YouTube videos and there are companies that specialize in doing just that. What are they doing?
First, make sure the video isn’t too long. These days, we live in an ADHD society. Nobody has any patience anymore. Most of the successful “viral” videos are between 30 and 45 seconds long. As a rule of thumb, your videos should be no longer than three or four minutes.
Second, ping your network. Once your video is uploaded with an effective title, description, and tags, send it out to your e-mail list. Post it on Facebook. Tweet about it. People enjoy videos and will often take a few minutes to watch yours, if invited. That will get you some initial views.
Third, encourage comments—right on the video itself! Near the end of your video, ask people to leave comments below. Ask them a question. Ask for their input. Also, invite controversy. Controversy leads to more comments and comments improve YouTube rankings.
Fourth, find a high-traffic forum that’s related to your video’s topic and embed your video in a new thread. Use an enticing title and encourage posts. The longer your thread (and video) are in the “fast water” (see Chapter 53 for full instructions) the more views it’ll rack up. In many cases, you can get a few hundred or a few thousand views by effectively managing your thread on the forum.
Fifth, do the same thing on two or three other forums. These are all independent communities and you can double or triple your results by repeating the exact same steps on multiple communities. Post your video on Facebook Groups and LinkedIn Groups and Google Groups and Yahoo! Groups. Post it anywhere your target audience spends time.
The companies that specialize in this sort of thing generally maintain multiple accounts on all these various platforms, including YouTube itself. By doing so, they can start the initial dialog (via comments) and controversy all by themselves. They can also keep their forum threads active and popular within those communities. Understandably, YouTube tries to limit these types of artificial conversations and will automatically check to see if the various accounts are being managed from the same IP address. That means you’d have to have people in different locations using different Internet connections to do this safely.
My advice? Be careful. It’s important you understand what people are doing. That’s your competition. Whether you decide to employ similar techniques yourself (or hire a company that uses these strategies) is entirely up to you. My objective is to give you a clear picture of how these things happen and then leave the final decision up to you. Ideally, you want your video to make it onto the “Most Popular” pages on YouTube. They’re featured on the homepage and show the trending videos each day. There are a variety of factors that determine which videos make the cut, including the numbers of views and comments. The point is that once you get to the “Most Popular” pages, your views soar.
At the end of the day, you work like crazy to get the first few thousand views, and then you get the next 50,000 for free. Once you’re on the “Most Popular” pages, the exposure explodes. And that’s when you’ll find out if the video has true viral potential. Once you get to that point, the video is circulated widely enough to really take off . . . or not. Some will go to 100,000 views. Others will go to 1,500,000 views. It all depends on the video. Is it catchy? Is it educational? Is it funny? Is it shocking? If so, you could be in for an exciting ride. By the way, once your video gets a bunch of views, YouTube will offer to “monetize” it with advertisements, giving you a share of the revenue. If your channel does well in general, they’ll offer you an opportunity to become a “YouTube Partner.” Both will result in revenue and exposure.
Moral: promote your videos! It can change your business.
YouTube Video Promotion: Implementation Checklist
Make your videos short.
After uploading, tell all your friends.
Post it on Facebook and e-mail your list.
Ask for comments—right on the video!
Create a thread on a high-traffic forum.
Embed your video and invite interaction.
Post it to Facebook and LinkedIn groups
Post it to Yahoo! and Google groups.
Try to get it on the “Most Popular” pages.
If you succeed, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational keynote speaker whose topics include Facebook for business, social media marketing and Facebook advertising. He’s a leading authority on self-employment and the author of Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley). There are four chapters in his award-winning book (2012 Small Business Book Awards) that discuss Facebook in detail (in Part 6 of the book: Leverage Social Media) and is included below for your review. The book has a total of 80 short chapters, each ending with an Implementation Checklist. Also, Patrick’s perspective on Facebook marketing for businesses, including national marketing opportunities as well as local geo-targeted campaigns, is summarized below.
Facebook offers tremendous opportunities to local businesses. It allows you to target people by location as well as their demographic profile. Even better, you can target people who already “like” other Facebook Pages. Taken together, Facebook has one of the best target marketing platforms on the internet. Aside from Facebook advertising, businesses can also learn to engage their fans on Facebook by posting visual (photos or videos) content and providing incentives for interaction. Micro incentives for micro actions! Patrick has accumulated dozens of Facebook success stories involving PPC advertising, micro incentives, effective posts and tagging people in photos. If you’re looking for someone to present an informative and entertaining synopsis of the business opportunities on Facebook, Patrick Schwerdtfeger is the perfect choice!
Chapter 70: Facebook Profiles & Pages
Can you use Facebook for business?
Yes! Absolutely. But we need to begin with some of the basics. There are three different “facilities” you can use on Facebook: profiles, groups, and pages. Profiles are for individuals. You probably already have a profile. Profiles have “friends.” Groups are for multiple individuals with similar interests. Groups are built by profiles. A profile builds a group. Groups have “members.” Pages are specifically designed for public figures and businesses. Pages are built by profiles. A profile builds and becomes an “admin” for a page. Pages have “fans.”
In the past, engaging with a page involved clicking a button called “become a fan,” hence the term “fan.” In 2010, Facebook replaced that vernacular with the “like” button. The change has resulted in an increased willingness of Facebook users to engage with Facebook pages. Anyway, the term “fan” is still regularly used to refer to page membership. Facebook pages can have multiple admins. You can add admins or remove them as circumstances change in your business. Also, when you become an admin for a page, it will not link back to your personal profile so it’s a great way to keep your business and personal lives separate.
Now, let’s take a look at how the Facebook facilities are different from each other.
If you want to see my profile, you have to jump over two hurdles to get there. First, you have to be on Facebook yourself. You have to have your own profile and be logged in. Second, you and I need to be Facebook “friends” for you to see my profile. There are a few exceptions to this. Facebook recently introduced new privacy settings that allow you to make your profile more public. But for most people, there are two hurdles to viewing a profile.
If you want to see my group, there’s only one hurdle you have to jump over. You have to have your own profile and be logged in, but you and I do not have to be friends for you to see my group. You can search for groups, find mine, and check it out without being friends with me.
If you want to see my page, there are zero hurdles. What does that mean? It means you don’t even have to be logged in to Facebook to check out my page. It means there’s no firewall. It means that pages are fully indexed by Google and the other search engines! Do you think Facebook ranks high on Google? Yes, indeed! Facebook is a huge website and Facebook pages rank high on Google. In fact, there are companies who have a Facebook page and a website, and when they search for their own company name on Google, their Facebook page ranks higher than their own website!
So that means there’s an opportunity for businesses in creating Facebook pages for themselves. But wait! You need to keep one thing in mind: the title of your Facebook page is the only thing you can’t change once you’ve selected it. Everything else you can change, but not the title. So you want to get it right the first time.
The title of your Facebook page is the most valuable from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective. For those familiar with the HTML website coding language, it’s effectively your H1 tag. That’s valuable real estate so you want to include some keywords if possible (and appropriate). If you work for a large company that people are already searching for, fine. Just use the company name for your page title. But if you’re a self-employed service practitioner, you might want to include a few keywords beyond just your name. Would you call your page “Jane Smith?” No. Nobody is searching for “Jane Smith.” Instead, call it “Jane Smith Financial Advisor Boston MA.” There will be people searching for a financial advisor in Boston, so include those words in your page title.
Your Facebook page title is one of the only things you can’t change. You can at the beginning but once you have more than 100 fans, the title will become permanent and will no longer be editable. If you already have more than 100 fans and are now wishing you could go back and change your page title, chill. It’s not that big of a deal. It’s just one of those little tricks that’s worth mentioning for those who are just getting started. So if you have less than 100 fans, consider adding a few keywords. If you have more than 100 fans, it’s probably not worth deleting it and building a new one. Stick with the one you have.
The important thing is to recognize the different facilities available on Facebook and how you can use them. Do not create a profile for your business. Profiles are for people, not businesses. Profiles that are created for businesses will eventually get deleted because they’re against the Facebook terms of service. Create a page for your business. All the new features such as Facebook Places and Facebook Deals (Chapter 74) are only accessible through pages, leaving businesses with profiles in the cold.
Create a Facebook profile for yourself.
Search for your favorite keywords.
Search for your favorite keywords.
Consider creating your own page.
Never create a profile for a business.
Add keywords to your page title.
How do you communicate with your friends and fans?
This is another interesting topic on Facebook. Turns out, every facility you use (profiles, groups, or pages) has its own communication advantages. If I (my profile) want to send you (your profile) a message on Facebook, it will go into your Facebook inbox but you will also get e-mail notification (with the default settings). You’ll get an e-mail telling you that Patrick (me) sent you a message on Facebook, and you can read the message in either location.
To be clear, you can read my message in your regular e-mail inbox or you can log into Facebook and read my message in your Facebook inbox. The message is in both locations. It gets interesting with groups and pages. If a group wants to send a message to its members, the delivery depends on the number of members in the group. If the group has 5,000 or fewer members, the message will go to each member’s Facebook inbox and the group members will also get e-mail notification. If the group’s membership grows to 5,001 members or more, the e-mail notification goes away. That means the message only goes to the Facebook inbox. That’s a major problem. Why? Without the e-mail, if your members don’t regularly check their Facebook inbox they might not even realize they received a group-related message.
This is a major drawback of Facebook groups. When your group has fewer than 5,000 members, you have an extremely effective way of communicating with them. But once you cross the 5,000-member threshold, you lose that functionality and never get it back—unless you remove members to stay under that 5,000 limit (which some people do, by the way). It gets even worse with pages. As a page admin, there is no way to send a “message” to your fans. You can only send “updates.” So what’s an update? In your Facebook inbox, there are “messages” and “updates.” The default tab is messages and very few people read the updates. That means an update sent to your fans will get read by almost nobody.
If you want to communicate with your Facebook page fans, the best way to do it is to post on your page’s wall. Wall posts go into the Facebook user’s news feed and end up getting seen way more than updates. So let’s take a minute and talk about wall posts. Whether you’re posting on your profile wall, your group wall, or your page wall, the primary objective is interaction. Interaction leads to trust, and trust is an essential precursor to the purchase decision. You need trust first, and the fastest way to get it is by encouraging interaction.
One of the simplest things you can do when posting on your wall is to end your post with a question. What do you think? Any suggestions? Are we missing anything? Other ideas? How can we help? Who’s your favorite? What went wrong? Ah, yes. The power of a question! Questions tug at people’s subconscious. They beg for a response. They tickle people’s minds and invite new ideas. Bottom line: they encourage interaction. Using this one simple strategy will dramatically increase the effectiveness of your Facebook activity. And on your Facebook page, interaction is absolutely essential for building a broader fan base. Keep in mind that any time Facebook users make a comment on your page wall, that activity is also noted on their wall. That means their network is notified. It means their interaction spurs a viral process that can attract new fans. The more interaction you have, the more people find out about your page.
If you’re just getting started, your first milestone should be getting 300 fans. Once you have 300 or more fans, you’ll notice that your number of fans will start to grow on its own, especially if you’re actively encouraging interaction on your posts. Also, when people comment on your post, they’re automatically subscribed to subsequent comments. That means they’re notified when other people comment after them. So you can post something, accumulate a bunch of comments from interested fans, and then comment again yourself, knowing everyone will see your follow-up comment. These strategies are simple. It just boils down to a series of simple little tricks to maximize your effectiveness. It’s all about understanding platforms like Facebook and how they work and then leveraging them to achieve your objectives. Once you’re comfortable with the process, it’s easy.
Facebook Messages and Wall Posts: Implementation Checklist
Log into Facebook and visit your inbox.
Notice the “messages” and “updates” tabs.
If you have a page, send an “update.”
Measure the response you get.
Next, post something on the page wall.
Measure the response you get.
Always end wall posts with a question.
Add follow-up comments on wall posts.
Tagging people on photos. Tagging people on photos has such huge potential and is so underutilized. Here’s how it works. Let’s say I take a photo of Susie, upload it to my Facebook page, and then tag her in the photo. What happens? Well, the photo shows up on my Facebook page. That’s where I uploaded it to. But it also shows up in Susie’s profile as “photos uploaded by others.” That means I can put a photo into Susie’s profile. Think about that! The photo also goes onto Susie’s wall. It says “Susie was tagged in a photo” and the photo will be there for her entire network to see.
Last year, I worked with a small winery. It was a very small family-owned operation and we hosted a public wine tasting to try and get more exposure for the place. We only charged a $5 entrance fee and marketed the event using offline channels. Lots of people showed up. When they entered, we had a table set up where they had to register. At that same table, they received their wineglass (included) and also got their first pour. So when they left the registration table, they already had wine in a wineglass. A few feet away, we had an area where the winery name and logo was displayed on the wall, and a photographer greeted people there. “Welcome. We’re thrilled you’re here. We’d love to take your photo. Is that okay?” Almost everyone said yes.
Think about these photos. They all had people smiling with wine in their hands and the name and logo of the winery in the background. These were branded photographs. That’s very important. They were basically advertisements! Right? I mean, it’s subtle but those photos were ads. After the event, we uploaded all the photos to the winery’s newly introduced Facebook page and tagged everybody. You need to be friends with people before you can tag them in photos so we gave everyone a full explanation of the process at the tasting. We had to send friend requests first but that was a small price to pay for the end result! We had about 180 photos and ended up with more than 100 people tagged. So those photos ended up in the profiles of more than 100 people. We basically put an advertisement into all of their profiles! Not only that, but the photos also appeared on the walls of those same 100 people. The awareness shot up immediately and the foot traffic increased the very next weekend.
Where do you interact with your customers or prospects? At trade shows? At a retail storefront? At events you host? Think about the opportunities you might have to take photos and tag people on Facebook. If you’re a real estate agent and you sell a house, you need to take a picture of your customers in front of the house and that “SOLD” sign. If you’re a contractor and just did a major renovation of someone’s kitchen, you need to take a picture of your happy customers in front of those beautiful granite countertops!
I worked with a shop that does pedicures for women. They started taking photos of these women’s feet and tagging them. You couldn’t even see the women’s faces. You only saw their feet with little flowers painted on their toenails. Before they uploaded the photos to Facebook, they brought them into Photoshop and added in their company name and phone number, subtly in the top right-hand corner. Over time, they accumulated dozens of photos—or advertisements—in the profiles of their customers.
Think about this stuff. How can you leverage it?
As a speaker, I create images of the cities I speak in with my head shot superimposed at the top. I add text explaining which conference I’m speaking at and the date. I upload the images to my page and tag myself in each one, bringing them into my profile as well. Whether you want to admit it or not, people are looking at your photos on Facebook. That’s what people do. People love photos. So when they’re looking at my photos, they see these images of cities all around the world. Without ever speaking to me, they see where I have spoken. It builds my credibility.
Tag people in branded photos. Find ways to capture your customers and prospects in situations that involve your products or services. If you do it once or twice, it won’t change your business one bit. But if you accumulate dozens or even hundreds of these photos, it’ll change your business forever.
Facebook Tagging Photos: Implementation Checklist
Where do you interact with customers?
Where could you interact with prospects?
Take photos that involve your products.
Bring the photos into Photoshop.
Subtly add your contact information.
Upload the photos to your Facebook page.
Tag the people featured in each photo.
Do this regularly, accumulating photos.
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational keynote speaker whose topics include social media and business marketing on LinkedIn. He’s a leading authority on self-employment and the author of Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley). There are four chapters in this award-winning book (2012 Small Business Book Awards) about LinkedIn and how to market your business on LinkedIn (in Part 6 of the book: Leverage Social Media) and is included below for your review. The book has a total of 80 short chapters, each ending with an Implementation Checklist. Also, Patrick’s perspective on the best use of LinkedIn for B2B business marketing and professional business networking is summarized below.
LinkedIn is the most professional social media platform and contains an enormous amount of information about its users. That allows for unparalleled functionality, like searching by Job Title. You can’t search by Job Title on Twitter. You can’t do it on Facebook either. That means LinkedIn offers massive opportunities to B2B businesses and salespeople who need to connect with prospects for their products or services. Aside from becoming a LinkedIn Open Networker (LION), there are a lot of other strategies people can use to market their businesses on LinkedIn. Patrick’s award-winning book includes four chapters about these topics and he has a wide variety of case histories where people and business have achieved huge results by using LinkedIn effectively. Patrick’s keynote programs are well known to be content-rich and extremely tactical, leaving attendees excited and empowered to leverage the strategies in their own businesses.
Chapter 67: LinkedIn Precision Emails
Do you get more than 50 e-mails each day?
For most, the answer is yes. You might get more than 100 each day. By contrast, how many LinkedIn e-mails do you get each day? Five? Ten? For savvy LinkedIn users, maybe more but it’s still a small number compared to your regular e-mail. Turns out, e-mails that come through LinkedIn get opened a lot more than regular e-mails. These are the types of statistics LinkedIn publicizes on their blog because they demonstrate the value of the LinkedIn platform.
Consider unsolicited e-mails, e-mails from people you don’t know. So we’re not talking about e-mails from your spouse, colleagues, or friends. If you get an unsolicited e-mail, you’re up to seven times as likely to open that e-mail if it came through LinkedIn rather than if it just showed up in your regular e-mail inbox. LinkedIn is a great way to deliver a proposal to an ideal prospect, especially for people in the B2B (business to business) space. You have a much better chance that the prospect will actually open your e-mail and see what you have to say.
If you’re a savvy LinkedIn user, you’ll know that you can only send LinkedIn e-mails—called “InMail”—to your direct network, people you’re directly connected to. As luck would have it, there’s a really easy way around that. Just visit the profile of the person you’re trying to contact—all LinkedIn profiles are public so you can visit anyone’s profile—and see which groups he or she is a member of. Join one of the same groups and once approved, you can send InMail to anyone in a mutual group. This is not always true. There are settings people can modify in their group membership preferences and it is possible for people to restrict the messages they get from other group members. But the default setting allows other group members to be able to send them InMail directly, and most people leave those default settings unchanged.
Here’s what most people do: they join groups full of their competitors. It makes perfect sense. So a photographer joins groups of photographers. And that’s fine. I’m not suggesting you stop doing that. Rather, I’m suggesting you go a step further. Take a moment and think about what groups your customers and prospects would be a part of. Visit the Groups tab on LinkedIn and do some searches to see what you find. Visit the LinkedIn profiles of your best customers. See what groups they’re a member of. Select a few groups—ideally, the big ones—and join. It’ll give you direct access to your ideal prospects.
For me, I’m always connecting with event planners. Those are the people who hire speakers. On LinkedIn, there are some huge groups of event planners, including Event Peeps and Meeting Professionals International (MPI). I joined both of those groups and it’s a tremendous marketing channel for me. The Meeting Professionals International (MPI) group has more than 18,000 members. It’s a raging river all on its own. It’s an online destination with tons of traffic, all of whom are ideal prospects for me. By being a member of that group, I have direct access to my target market.
How would you contact these prospects? This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how few people do it correctly. If you’re about to send a message to someone you don’t know, take a few minutes and visit the person’s LinkedIn profile first. Look for commonalities you can mention in your message to make it less “cold” and more personal. Upon visiting the person’s profile, perhaps you’ll notice that you went to the same alma mater. You’ll see if you have any mutual contacts. And obviously, you’ll know the group you’re both a member of. Include those specifics in your message. “I’m contacting you to introduce myself. We’re both members of [group name] and I noticed we have two mutual contacts: Chris and Lisa. I also saw that you went to Cal. Me too! Anyway, I believe we might be able to help each other.” And so on.
The point is your message should be as personal and relevant as possible. If it’s not, the recipient might tag your message as spam and that can result in your account being frozen, suspended, or even deleted. I am absolutely not suggesting you send spammy e-mails to people you find on LinkedIn. Instead, take the time to research the person you’re about to contact and then introduce yourself in the most relevant way possible. It’s a discipline, just like going to the gym. I’ve used this analogy before but it’s true here too. Go in January and the place is packed. Go in March and it’s empty. That’s the reality. Similarly, we all know the right things to eat but rarely eat the right things! Most people don’t take the extra five or ten minutes to customize their e-mails, but that extra effort makes all the difference in the world. There are highly successful salespeople who use nothing but LinkedIn to facilitate their sales efforts. You could be doing that too.
Visit the Groups tab on LinkedIn.
Search for your keywords.
Look for groups full of prospects.
Avoid groups full of your competitors.
Visit some customer profiles on LinkedIn.
See what groups they’re a member of.
Join some of the same groups.
Visit profiles before sending messages.
Look for commonalities you can mention.
Contact prospects by providing value first.
Be as personal and relevant as possible.
For most, the answer is yes . . . but . . . You may have filled out your profile. You may have answered all the questions. You may have even included all the correct dates and locations and job descriptions. But chances are you’re missing a few important opportunities. Let’s look at a few.
Did you know you can update your status on LinkedIn? It’s true. You can update your status whenever you like, just like you can on Facebook. And of course, Twitter focuses exclusively on status updates. Anyway, you can update your status on LinkedIn too. The important thing is where that update goes. It gets displayed right at the top of your profile, immediately below your name and photo. That’s some valuable real estate! I’m willing to bet that anyone visiting your profile will see your status update. It’s a great place for an announcement. There’s an endless list of things you can mention in your status update but I recommend something pointing to an informative video or that juicy sexy PDF report we talked about in Chapter 65. The beauty is that you can include a live link, allowing people to click through.
“Here’s a 5-minute video with the seven biggest mistakes people make when renovating their kitchen: [link to YouTube video]”
“Here’s a free 14-page PDF report with the 25 most effective promotional products of 2010: [link to PDF report]”
Whatever you point to, take advantage of that real estate and get something up there. Also, keep in mind that your status update is included in the weekly e-mail LinkedIn users get with “updates from people you know.” That means it makes sense to update your status once each week but not necessarily more than that.
Do you have any recommendations on LinkedIn? You should: people read them! So whether you like LinkedIn recommendations or not, it makes sense to get a few. What’s the easiest way to get them? Well, you could simply request them, but I find that a bit tacky. Or you could sit back and pray that people you know will write them proactively. Good luck with that. Or . . . Think back to that great client you had 18 months ago. Boy, wouldn’t your life be easier right now if you had that client again! Have you written a recommendation for that person? Perhaps. But for most, the answer is no, even though you loved working with that person and have nothing but good things to say about him or her. What would happen if you wrote that recommendation today? Well, he or she (let’s say it’s a she) would get an e-mail saying that you just wrote a recommendation for her on LinkedIn. She would immediately be reminded of you and how nice it was to work with you—objective 1 accomplished. Next, she would read the recommendation and it would presumably include some complimentary comments. Pretty cool. I suspect she would sincerely appreciate the gesture—objective 2 accomplished. At the bottom of the e-mail, she would have the option to either accept the recommendation or ignore it. What would happen if she clicks “Accept”? LinkedIn would take her to precisely the spot on their platform where she can return the favor! It would literally say “The recommendation has been posted to your profile. Why not return the favor and recommend [your name] back.”
Take a Saturday afternoon and write a dozen recommendations for people you’re connected to on LinkedIn and for whom you have genuinely good things to say. Scroll through your LinkedIn contacts. If you have something nice to say, say it! By doing so, you’ll tickle all those people’s memories and more than likely get a bunch of recommendations back.
Web Site Links
You can include up to three links on your LinkedIn profile but the labels are very generic and boring: my blog, my website, and my company. You can customize those labels and it only takes about two minutes. Click “Edit My Profile” to change them. I use:
“Book me for your next event”—points to my “speaking” website.
“Marketing Shortcuts: my book”—points to my “book” website.
“Read a Sample Chapter (PDF)”—points to a PDF sample chapter.
The idea is to entice the reader and offer more visibility to where these links point to. Customizing your LinkedIn profile links gives people a better reason to make that click to find out more about you.
LinkedIn Profile Basics: Implementation Checklist
Update your status on LinkedIn.
Include a link to something valuable.
Consider updating your status weekly.
Write recommendations for people.
If you have something nice to say, say it!
Customize the three links on your profile.
Again, point those links to things of value.
Tell the reader where the link points to.
Chances are, if you Google your own name, your LinkedIn profile will show up on the first page. Of course, if you have a very common name, that won’t be the case. You might have to include a few more keywords that identify what you do for business. But either way, LinkedIn profiles generally rank high on Google. Why is that? Is it because LinkedIn ranks well for people’s names? Or is it because LinkedIn ranks high in general? The answer is that LinkedIn ranks high in general. It ranks for your name but it also ranks for all the other keywords that are listed in your profile.
Your LinkedIn profile has a “Summary” section at the top, including a “Specialties” heading. You also have a section under each job where you can discuss the particulars of that employment situation. Those are all great places to add specific keywords. LinkedIn has much more profile information than most of the other social media platforms. Consider Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. None of them have anywhere close to the detailed personal information available on LinkedIn. Because LinkedIn is basically an online resume, it contains an enormous amount of personal information about its users. By the way, one of the most powerful characteristics of LinkedIn is that you can search by job title. You can’t do that on Facebook or Twitter. You can’t do that on YouTube. Yes, there are ways of identifying your target market on those other platforms, but LinkedIn actually has a formal way of searching by job title. That’s one of the primary reasons why it’s such a great marketing tool.
The point is that you can put a lot of information into your LinkedIn profile and you should strive to include as many keywords as you can. Your profile includes a “Summary” section about your professional achievements and goals as well as a “Specialties” section. In addition, each job has an area where you can include a description. Each of these sections should be filled with specific keywords relevant to your occupation. The trick? Be specific! Obviously, the generic keywords like “real estate” or “mortgage” or “coach” or “consultant” are highly competitive on Google so there’s little sense in targeting them. But the specific and technical terms are a different story.
Recently, I spoke at an event held by the Bay Area Biomedical Consultants Network (BABCN). In preparation for that event, I did some general research about the biomedical field (to make my presentation more relevant to attendees) and found dozens of highly specialized terms specific to that industry. Including these types of specific keywords in your LinkedIn profile makes it distinctly possible you’ll rank high on Google when people search for those words, particularly if they include a location name in their search query. Regardless of what you do for a living, try to identify the most specific terms possible, not because everybody is searching for those technical terms but because they’re the easiest to rank for.
What we’re trying to do is get you “found” on Google when people are searching for the specific things you do. Resist the urge to use the common generic terms in your industry. You’ll never rank for those terms on a LinkedIn profile. They’re just too competitive. And keep in mind that those who search for super specific and technical terms on Google are much better qualified prospects. They’re demonstrating their knowledge of your industry by including those specific words. The more specific, the better.
If you are a service provider, it’s likely your prospects include your location name when searching for your services. If they didn’t, they might find a provider on the other side of the country or the other side of the world. So it makes sense to include the city, county, or state name in the search query. That means you should strive to include those words in your LinkedIn profile as well. Write down a list of location-based keywords including your city, neighboring cities, county, and state or province. If you’re in a big city, perhaps you should even include the neighborhood keywords. Refer back to Chapter 13 to research which of these keywords are searched for the most on Google and then include the most commonly used search terms in your LinkedIn profile. Never miss an opportunity to add some keywords into your profile. You never know what quirky keyword phrase someone might use. Every time you add another keyword, you increase the odds that someone will find you.
LinkedIn Google Ranking: Implementation Checklist
List specific keywords in your industry.
Include them in your “Summary” section.
Include them in your “Specialties” section.
Include them in your past job listings.
Be specific, including technical terms.
Make a list of location-based keywords.
Use those in your profile as well.
Consider what people might search for.
Turns out, there are tons of things you can do to spice up your profile. Here’s the thing: people are visiting your profile whether you realize it or not. They’re poking around, reading your stuff, and you almost never hear about their experience. So it makes sense to make your profile as impressive as you possibly can. The key to beefing up your profile lies in the “applications” available. On the top navigation bar, click “More” and then “Get more applications.” There are many options; let’s look at a few.
WordPress or Blog Link
These blog-related applications allow you to integrate your blog with your profile. By doing so, any blog posts you publish will automatically populate your LinkedIn profile at the same time. There are two applications relating to blogs: one for WordPress and one for all the others (Blog Link). So depending on which platform you’re using, select the appropriate application and get it installed.
If you’ve written a book, it makes good sense to use the Amazon Bookshelf application to highlight that book on your profile. Not only will it add credibility by showing the title you’ve published but it’ll also include a link to Amazon where people can buy your book. Incidentally, you can easily write a 20- or 30-page PDF document and sell it on Amazon for a few dollars. In other words, it doesn’t need to be a full book. You can take a document you already have and set it up as a digital e-book for sale on Amazon. Once set up, you can then feature that product using the Amazon Bookshelf application—awesome credibility and it’s not that hard. (Refer to Chapter 61 for more information on building other credibility products like CDs and DVDs.)
SlideShare is a platform where you can share PowerPoint presentations, PDF files, and other digital resources. It’s becoming increasingly well known and attracts more and more users every day. LinkedIn offers a SlideShare application where you can include up to three files right on your LinkedIn profile. That means you can have a PowerPoint presentation or a detailed PDF proposal available right on LinkedIn. Take a moment to open a SlideShare account and upload a few files. Perhaps you have a PowerPoint presentation your prospects might benefit from. What about that juicy sexy PDF report we talked about in Chapter 65? Or maybe you have a proposal that’s worth sharing. Adding these things to your LinkedIn profile allows visitors to learn more about you and your business (and your value proposition) right from their Internet browser.
If you travel a lot (like I do), the TripIt application can add a lot of fun to your LinkedIn interactions. TripIt is a platform that tracks your trips and shares them in a social setting. You can follow other people’s travels and they can follow yours. TripIt also integrates nicely with a variety of social media platforms including Facebook. Anyway, the TripIt application on LinkedIn will display your upcoming trips on your LinkedIn profile. Also, when you add a new trip, it will include it in the weekly e-mail all LinkedIn users receive with “updates from people you know.” Every time I post a new trip on my TripIt account, it goes out to my LinkedIn network and I invariably get an e-mail or two from contacts who live in the destination city. As a result, I regularly have lunch with people in my network in cities all around the world.
I have used the Google Presentations application to embed a video on my LinkedIn profile. This is a fun one; it’s not as easy as some of the other ways you can dress up your profile, but it’s worth the extra effort. At the time of this writing, LinkedIn has not provided an easy way to embed videos. But with the Google Presentations application, you can jerry-rig it to create that result. Here’s what I did: I created a one-slide Google presentation and embedded a YouTube video on that slide. I then expanded the video window to encompass the entire slide and saved it with a privacy setting of “public.” I then “shared” that presentation using the Google Presentations application on my LinkedIn profile. The result: I now have a YouTube video right on my profile. Of course, you can use this same application to include other presentations with multiple slides and graphics. Get creative. This is a great opportunity to put some impressive content on your LinkedIn profile.
Company Buzz or Tweets
LinkedIn also provides a way for you to include tweets on your profile. There are two applications serving that purpose and they allow you to do slightly different things. Company Buzz allows you to select certain searches (like your company name, for example) and have the applicable tweets show up on your LinkedIn profile. On the other hand, the Tweets application allows you to display your own most recent tweets on your profile. Essentially, Company Buzz allows you to display what other people are saying on Twitter while Tweets allows you to display what you are saying on Twitter. Tweets also allows you to follow, reply to, and retweet posts by people you’re following, right from LinkedIn.
LinkedIn also provides an Events application. This one is great for finding events that people in your network are attending. If you’re a lawyer, the Lawyer Ratings application might work well. If you’re a real estate agent, Real Estate Pro will allow people in your network to follow your activities. And if you have certified SAP expertise, you can use SAP Community Bio to display those credentials on your LinkedIn profile.
Do you have to use all of these applications? Of course not. But they exist and you should play with each of them to see if you can use them. As we said at the beginning, people are already visiting your LinkedIn profile. Some probably visited while you were at home sleeping. You want those people to get the best impression possible, so take the time to beef up your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has ambitious plans to add new applications in the years ahead, so it makes sense to check back from time to time to see if anything new has been introduced. It’s fun and will make you look like a technology ninja to all your connections!
Visit LinkedIn and click “More” at the top.
Then click “Get more applications.”
Browse through the other applications.
Look at the blog integration applications.
Look at the Amazon Bookshelf.
If you travel a lot, look at TripIt.
Use Google Presentations to embed video.
Check out Company Buzz and Tweets.
Check back to see new options over time.