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6 Tips to Better Market Yourself on LInkedin

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Linkedin’s stock opened at $45 a year and a half ago, it now sits at $120.  Unlike Facebook, one of the primary reasons it has done so well is that it found its’ “killer app”early on, and built a business model around it.

For recruiters, Linkedin is the largest (now 200 million members) and most current database of business professionals in the world.  For job seekers, it’s a portal into new opportunities, connections and references.

To learn more about its capabilities as a recruiting tool, we posted an open account supervisor position for our DC office on Linkedin. The resumes have been sent directly to me for the past month.  Unfiltered by a recruiter or HR person, I got a direct shot of the power of Linkedin.  As the hiring manager, I learned a good deal about using the tool, and how job candidates can better marketing themselves for posted positions.

Because of the volume generated by Linkedin, hiring managers have the luxury of trying to find exactly what they are looking for without having to dig too hard to find it.  We quickly scan the email summary and the attachments.  As a result candidates need to:

  1. Read the job description – hiring and HR managers spend a great deal of time defining the role.  Take the time to adapt your resume to highlight those areas that best match what we are looking for don’t make us connect the dots because we won’t…we’re already on to the next candidate.
  2. Customize your cover letter – tell us why you’re the right candidate for the position in the cover letter, especially if you can’t link it on your resume. Make a compelling case as to why we should spend additional time looking at your resume and background.  A generic cover letter is a waste of time and a sure way to take yourself out of the race.
  3. Know that we will check you out – if we find someone we like, we’ll spend time checking your Linkedin profile (beyond the email summary below) our current and former employers, as well as your social profile.  For example, a person that caught my attention was eliminated from the process because I couldn’t find their last two employers on the web.  The learning – companies go out of business or are acquired all the time, make sure your resume reflects or notes that change.  We will “Google” you.  Slide1
  4. Brands count – recruiting firms use key word searches to pull resumes.  As for me, I scanned resumes also looking for those “key words.”  Again, because of the need for speed certain words “pop.”  Brand name companies caught my attention (whether the candidate worked for them or had them as a client).  Schools you attended, the types of skills you have, and your accomplishments, especially if they were award winning.  I also took notice of the number of Linkedin connections and references…it does matter, I’m looking for a good marketer.
  5. Using a connection/s worksleverage your Linkedin connections to find a common link to the hiring manager or job poster for an introduction.  I trust the recommendations of people that I’ve worked with in the past.  As a result, do your homework. The closer the connection to the hiring manager or recruiter the better chance it will get you noticed.
  6. What does not workI found the executive education programs to be confusing.  It took too much of my time to figure out if you graduated or only took a class.  Consider moving the later under skills or experience rather than putting in education.  I also found resumes that were more than 2 pages too long to read.  A summary is a good to have upfront, but don’t go beyond more than a third of the page.  Get into your experience quickly.

Talent is the lifeblood of an agency…for that matter most companies.  What you think, say and produce grows our business.  We need you, and we have jobs.  Help make it easier for us to find you, link your experience and expertise to our needs.  Hurry, I need someone…like yesterday.

5 Reasons Why Pinterest is a Must of Business Marketers

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Pinterest is likely to be the hottest social media platform for business marketers—next year.

Despite the hype and the record-breaking growth rates, Pinterest is not ready for business marketers; the demographics are wrong, the categories are too consumer focused, and there are significant copyright and measurement issues to overcome.

Still, there is ample evidence as to why Pinterest could be huge for business-to-business marketers.  In many ways, Pinterest’s platform has the potential to offer far more value than Facebook and Twitter because of its ability to aggregate and naturally curate content. Here are five areas to watch:

  1. Traffic – Much has been made about Pinterest’s ability to drive referral traffic more than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn. Traffic generated from pinning and repinning is important but most likely benefits small businesses(in particular, retailers). For larger organizations, the following areas may offer greater potential.
  2. Scannability  Business-to-business communication tends to be content heavy. There is a great deal of written content and it keeps expanding. Much like in the consumer world, business decision makers are becoming far more accustomed to searching visually. The Pinterest platform accelerates the process by aggregating and organizing images by category or theme, making it easy to search. For example, we are redesigning a corporate website for a professional services firm. Its “knowledge center” holds a deep repository of data-rich content and is now being reshaped to look like a Pinterest page to make it more inviting and searchable.
  3. Speed – That’s why it is essential to experiment with Infographics (visit Visual.ly for a starting point). As content becomes more crowded and competitive, audiences typically move faster. The average person reads between 200 to 300 words per minute, but visually it takes only 1/20th of a second to process an image. Mashable’s eye tracking study shows that Pinterest is also changing viewing habits from left to right, to top down the center, improving users’ ability to scan information quickly. Offering a “light visual appetizer” may stop audiences long enough for them to order the full content entrée.
  4. Natural Content Curation – This provides marketers the opportunity to capture deeper insights into audience consumption habits. For example, business marketers tend to organize content along the “buying process,” which is typically defined by steps in the sales process. Marketers may find that business audiences within Pinterest organize and consume content by categories or by a pinboard defined as “applications,” i.e., how they intend to use the product and not how they will buy it. This insight could help define the real purchase path and key influencers (pinners) along that journey.
  5. Affinity Data – As Scott Brave, CTO of Baynote, wrote: “Individual pinning choices are interesting, but there is even greater opportunity to analyze segments of people who express an affinity for a product or category in aggregate.” If available, this information could enable marketers to create new segmentation clusters based on common interests, which could help improve messaging and targeting.

“Clustering” could identify brand advocates, key influencers and connectors, local “hot spots” and new ideas for reaching them.

I realize that there are skeptics out there. I may even end up being one, but as we’ve learned with other social media platforms, if you don’t think there is value for the business marketing, there won’t be. Pinterest holds great potential, but that “potential” will only realized by those who seek to define or dare I say, “pin it.”

5 Mobile Advertising Trends for the Holiday Shopping Season

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Black Friday is like the “annual report” for mobile advertising – a yearly snapshot of how mobile ads are progressing and evolving. The big challenges are perennial – the gap between time spent on mobile and ad dollars allocated, consumer perception of mobile ads as annoying and intrusive, and low click rates. But every Black Friday, innovations and learnings from the past year move the needle on these challenges.

I asked John Shomaker, the CEO of AdJuggler, a digital ad management technology and media services company, for five trends we’re likely to see during this year’s shopping season:

1. Smart, hyper-local mobile campaigns will create a new shopping experience.  Mobile advertisers are figuring out more effective hyper-local, geo-targeting campaigns that reflect the way consumers want to combine in-store shopping with product research on their smartphones. According to Shomaker: “Consumers want to find deals on their mobile devices they can use in physical stores they’re out visiting. Smart mobile advertisers are geo-targeting the perimeter of their physical store locations, and those of their competitors, with ads that offer special in-store promotions. Layer on top of that contextual relevance like keyword targeting and you can serve a product-specific creative that links to a relevant product page and promotion on the store’s mobile website or app, enhancing the in-store experience. The mobile ad and its click-through becomes an extension of the path the user is on; it’s no longer annoying and intrusive.”

2. Behavioral relevance will scale to reach holiday shoppers.                         “Targeting mobile users by behavioral segments, such as those from BlueKai, and executing these campaigns at scale using real-time bidding [RTB] is making us better at being relevant,” according to Shomaker. Pulling in social “likes” and shares and adding those to the audience segmentation model further improve the relevance of behavioral targeting. As mobile ads become less annoying and more relevant, clicks increase, thus creating an empirical basis for more mobile ad spend.

3. Successes are likely to occur in social, local and mobile.                                 John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers coined “SoLoMo,” to predict huge business value as social, local and mobile converge.  Doerr’s view is that on Black Friday, we’re going to see SoLoMo become reality. The Wall Street Journal reported that this past year, P.F. Chang’s “Lunar New Year” promotion saw 1 million people in one hour click, retweet or otherwise interact with a promoted tweet offering dining rewards to users, including those who searched on “Chinese New Year.” Shomaker says: “We saw that 70 percent of the audience response to this SoLoMo campaign was via a mobile device. P.F. Chang immediately shifted the entire campaign budget to mobile.”

4. Consumers will overcome the “fear factor.”                                                           IAB Rising Stars Program keeps user context and teaches audiences that it’s “awesome” to click mobile ads. Users fear the unknown, and this likely plays a role in today’s low response to mobile ads. Will clicking a mobile ad take you out of your app and lose your context? Not so, according to Shomaker. “The ads aren’t designed like that, because no one wants an ad to take them away from the place they want to be. The ‘IAB Rising Star’ ad units will allay those fears.” The Mobile Filmstrip unit, Pull unit, Adhesion Banner, Full-Page Flex unit, and the Slider unit take great care to bring brand assets into the ad rather than requiring a jump outside the app or a loss of context. It also all leverages touch, to keep mobile users engaged and in control.

5. Integration of mobile ads into multichannel campaigns will result in better lift.    It’s widely believed that Black Friday will be a “multichannel holiday” because advertisers have learned to improve lift by integrating smartphone ads, tablet ads, Web, TV, even earned media/owned media/paid media campaigns to improve lift. “This last one is especially worth watching,” states Shomaker. “Display campaigns [i.e., paid media] now can feature a call to action in the social experience – for example, preference sharing or a social game. The interstitial page of the ad links to a social media marketing application, which is located at a deep link within the brand’s Facebook page [owned media]. Users ‘like’ the brand and socially share their preferences with all users in their social graph [earned media].”  

This lift in social sharing, or earned-media lift, has proved important to marketers. The odds of a Facebook fan purchasing something from a brand are 5.3 times higher than for non-fans, according to Forrester Research’s report “The Facebook Factor.”

All told, mobile promises to become a much larger part of the marketing mix this Black Friday. It will also provide a window into how quickly the third screen gets adopted into commerce as a whole. Happy shopping.

The Missing Social Platform

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Original post date February 17, 2011

On the flight to LA the other day I read an article about Evan Williams, founder of Twitter and Blogger.com.  In the article, Williams was asked what the difference was between Twitter and Facebook.  He said, “Twitter has information about what’s going on in the world that you care about and that’s different from Facebook’s value proposition, which is a way to stay in touch with people you know.”  Coincidently, The Social Network was the in-flight movie.

As I thought about those comments, and the movie, it exposed an area of our lives that seems to be missing from social platforms. If Facebook connects us with our friends and family, and Twitter to “the world we care about,” what connects us in our daily lives?  I’m talking about our local area, city and neighborhood, our offline community, the world in which we live everyday.

The more I thought about the need the more it seems like it’s not as much a social platform as it is a functional tool or in other words, an enabler; how can a platform make our lives easier by linking our social network with practical and time saving tools.

For example, my wife is a “room mother” at one of our child’s schools.  Her role is to plan, organization and host class events…and chase other parents to contribute time, money, food or all of the above.  She uses old Web 1.0 tools like email, a group mailing list, and the phone to accomplish her tasks.

In addition, our kids are active in sports, which requires carpooling, registrations, getting directions to games, status updates on field conditions all done via separate web sites or portals.  On top of that our lives – thanks to mobile devices – now mix personal and business hours all throughout the day, and they often collide.

My hope for Web 3.0 is that it will evolve as specific applications of Web 2.0 tools that provide efficiency.  These applications will be developed through the greater understanding of how we live our daily lives.  The paradigm shift is moving from investing time online to maintain our presence (through FB, etc.) to having online tools that enable us to be more present in our offline world.

What might that platform look like?  It’s mobile, and it could include any or all of the following:

  • Reviews become Recommendations – components of Yelp, Tripadvisors, etc. for local restaurants and merchant, but also, reviews, recommendations and contact information for teachers, coaches, babysitters, etc.
  • Groups become Communities – like a Linkedin or Facebook group organized around local groups/clubs you participate in, including church, school, athletic teams, etc.  Communities are built automatically when you register to join.
  • Discounts & Loyalty Programs become Active– a Groupon.com like application for local merchants, GPS and mobile enabled to pop offers in the store and automatically tracks your spend.   Additionally it would allow us to pool and direct our points to local groups (see above).
  • GPS locator becomes an Status Alert  – a mash up of GPS and Foursquare, alerting us to movement and activity of family members (especially teenagers) at any moment.
  • Lists with Automated Fulfillment – this is a big one, a digital list builder that sync’s with Peapod (or other Grocery Store home delivery service), with a shopping cart threshold that will automate trip deliveries and credit coupons.
  • Reminders become Personal Assistants – voice activated and controlled, adds and reads calendars.  Helping us remember school plays, play dates, birthdays and especially anniversaries.

In the movie, Zuckerburg asked Sean Parker (co-founder of Napster) his advice about monetizing the site by selling advertising.   Sean tells him not to because FB has a coolness factor about it and advertising would kill; “like going to a really great party and telling everyone it ends at 11 pm.”

I’m sure that if I spent enough time on Ioogle or looking in various Apps stores, I could configure solution for my need, but that would take time, rather than give it.  What we “35-50 years olds” want is a time machine.   Hell, it could include advertising and it would still be cool.   Now that’s a great party…and we might even have the time now to attend.

How Social Media is Changing our “Work” Behavior

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Original post date June 11, 2009
In 1962, Thomas Kuhn wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolution, and fathered, defined and popularized the concept of “paradigm shift.” Kuhn argues that scientific advancement is not evolutionary, but rather is a “series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions”, and in those revolutions “one conceptual world view is replaced by another”.

Social media is creating a “violent revolution” as it relates to our definition of what is accepted as “work.” The paradigm shift is believing that it is acceptable behavior to spent half your time at work on Linked-In, Facebook or Twitter?

In a recent survey by Michael Stelzner, on social media marketing almost 10% of the survey respondents spent 20+ hours a week on social media marketing. Ask senior executives in marketing in my age demographic (age 40-44) and they’ll tell you; “I don’t get it…” In the past, spending time online at work to do personal business was viewed as a major productivity waster.

In a 2006, INC reported the productivity loss to be as high as $544 billion dollars (just think about that, if we all stopped surfing the net at work we could fund the Federal bailout of the Banking, Insurance and Auto industries). As a result, companies took dramatic measures to block or monitor access to sites, tools like IM and other “distracting” technologies.

Now after years of being told that being online at work was a bad thing, this new research and the appeal of Social Media sites, makes the case that it’s not only safe, but in certain cases, necessary to be online. According to the Salary.com & AOL survey, the average 2 hours a day American workers wasted in 2006 surfing the net is now the average time needed to do social media marketing…my, my how times have changed.

And what might be most surprising is that may be “OK” with the boss – the most active users of sites like; Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are small business owners according to Stelzner’s report.

Other interest findings from the research:

  • A New Day is Dawning – although 88% of marketers reported using social media for marketing, 72% have just started (less than 3 months).
  • Once You Start…You Can’t Stop – the research points out a direct correlation between how long marketers have been using social media and their weekly commitment. For folks just starting, the mean is 2 hours a week, compare that with folks who have been at it for years…an average of 20+ hours.
  • One Thing Leads to Another – the more time you log, the more tools/sites you’ll use. Similar to the old thinking that cigarettes and alcohol lead to the “harder” stuff, the same is true with Social Media usage. The “newbies” like to start with LinkedIn, hard core users are most interested in social bookmarking sites, FriendFeed and StumbleUpon.
  • Not the “Youngins” – contrary to popular belief, it’s the 30 to 39 year old segment that logs in the most time, with 44.8% reporting spending 10+ hours a week.
  • Small Business “Sweetspot” – small businesses love social media marketing because it has generated exposure for their business, leads and partnerships, and to close business.

So if you’re going to be logging some social media hours on the company dime you might want to follow a protocol to keep the lawyers happy. In an article entitled “Managing the Tweets” in the June 1, 2009 edition of Business Week the author lays out IBM’s social media guidelines.

 

The Social Manifesto

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Original post date December 6, 2010 
I’m on the plane returning from Munich, Germany, and I’m having a “Jerry McQuire” moment.  Today’s Financial Times has an article on Mark Zuckerberg entitled; ‘This is just the early stage.’ In the article, “Zuck,” as friends call him talks about the new technologies and enhancements Facebook will be rolling out soon.
One of which is Facebook Deals, which according to Zuck, will transform the way local businesses reach consumers as they walk down the street. I had to laugh when I read that, as I thought about my previous night’s experience at the Christmas Market in heart of old town (Altstadt) Munich.

German Christmas Market

For those of you who have never been to Germany in December, christmas markets start at the end of November and go through Christmas. The markets, that seem to occupy every square in town, are a mix of vendors selling everything from Gluhwein (a seasonal drink of warm wine) to Christmas ornaments of all types. But, what is must remarkable, is the experience that it creates.
The streets are filed with families, tourists, business people, and college students as they mix drinking, eating, socializing and shopping. I was in a packed square with fresh fallen snow, carolers atop of the Rathaus, with probably 5000 people jammed into a city block, surrounded by vendors and stores filled with shoppers. It’s as close to as you can get to seeing the North Pole and Santa’s workshop.
So, it struck me as funny that Zuck could think that he could change that experience with Facebook. Zuckerberg tells the reporter, David Gelles, that “Facebook’s unique map of human relationships will change business forever.”  To that I say, Facebook, and Zuck, you know nothing about human relationships, and, with the help of other new technologies, you are helping to destroy it.

You only need to watch a pack of teenage girls texting while at the mall, or a father on his blackberry at his child’s sporting event to see it. New technologies are enabling to us to be absent from the present…more so than ever. One thing I noticed last night was the revelers were not checking their phones or texting, they were in the moment, enjoying each other and soaking in the experience…except me.

I was busy sending texts and photos to my wife and my kids pretending that they were with me, when what I really wanted was to have them there or to hear their voices. It left me hollow, longing and lonely, the reason I’m having my Jerry McQuire moment.

 

New technologies are a double edged sword. They can enable good and bad, depending on how we used them. They promise greater “interactions” or “engagement” but that’s not to be confused with, or substituted for, relationships. They are not the same. And for business, don’t confuse your followers as loyal customers, because they are not. Most people are engaging for selfish reasons, they need or want something. What they don’t want, or need, is a relationship with a vendor who only wants to sell them something.

What it has done is enable us to be more self-centered and lazy. “But Scott,” you say, “how can that be? I’m busier than ever, new technologies are helping stay in touch.” Allow me to explain.

The phone eliminates the need to have to go see someone, email and text freed us having to place a call, and now you can simply tweet or post a comment and wait for someone to “Like” it, or leave a comment. No need to get involved, just do it and feedback will be sent to you. “Ah, 10 people like my comment…that makes me feel good.” Really?
Relationships take work and sometimes they can be painful, but they make us feel alive. They’re not easy, and you can’t automate them. Time is finite, and how we spend it, along with those experiences, helps define us. We can’t make more of it, or get it back. The more time we invest with technology means it is coming from something or someone, and it’s keeping us from something, or someone.
Perhaps what Facebook, and other technologies are doing is redefining how we think about ourselves. Technology allows us to express ourselves without having to invest a whole lot of time or emotion. We can go broad without having to go deep.
People now measure themselves by how many friends or followers they have. but what does that mean? To me it means that we are taking time away from family members or customers to interact with people who we don’t, or hardly, know. Why?  Because it’s easy, convenient, provides immediate gratification, and we can carry it around with us at all time…it’s a social security blanket.
The voice in our head saying; “just go online and see what people are posting on your wall, it’s happening now…you should check.”  It’s leading us down the wrong road. More time online means less time spent offline.  I went to Germany…and I almost missed being there.
Facebook now has over a half a billion users. It’s a runaway train.  It fills a need, but so does fast food. Plenty of people have told us that eating it is bad for us, but it’s convenient, cheap and the high salt content keeps us coming back for more. But just as fast food restaurants offer the 1000 calorie meal, they also offer healthy alternatives. It’s up to us to make the right decision.
Our Facebook pages may feed the ego and give us a sense of immediacy, but it won’t nourish the soul, or satisfy our desire for intimacy.  To borrow liberally from Jerry McQuire; ”Technology, you don’t complete me…and you never will.”

Will Companies be able to Create a Trend?

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Original post date February 5, 2009
What if you could create a trend that could make your product “THE” hot product? Think it’s impossible? Maybe now, but in less than two years it will happen.
I saw something a few weeks ago that gave me chills when I thought about the potential uses. The tool is…in a sense…the world’s largest and most sophisticated digital listening device. It was built to monitor chatter by those “not so friendly” folks that see the US as the “evil empire”. (Let’s just say that Homeland Security has got this one nailed.) Yes, other companies have similar tools but nothing reaches the size, scale and scope of this one (consider this, it has archived ALL the web pages in the ”www” for the last three years).
Anyway, we’re helping to develop a commercial use for the tool and I as was watching the demonstration, I couldn’t help but think about Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point. Many of the concepts he wrote about, I was now seeing play out in real life. This gigantic ear could easily determine who the “connectors” of the digital world are (in real time), “The Power of Context” as Malcom refers to it (in over 20 languages), and when something is going “viral”….all with very sophisticated algorithms and complex math.

It got me thinking, could it also determine how to create a trend? According to the team that developed the tool , it can’t yet because it doesn’t assess and/or integrate a number of important factors needed to understand the audience and what drives behavior. But if you combine the power of this tool (and other similar tools) and social networking…I believe that we are getting close.

A few days later a colleague sent me this post. Facebook is studying “sentiment” behavior. Right now it’s limited to things like how “nasty news is impacting stock” and when folks are “going out” but it can, and will evolve quickly. To this point, Zuckerberg has not really monetized his platform yet, unlike Murdoch with MySpace.

So could this be the “killer” app that drives Ad sales into Facebook? It’s too soon to tell at this point but it sure sounds good. With 222 million unique visitors sharing very personal information with most of it in the public domain this might be the next piece to fall. Throw in Twitter and marketers will soon have the ability to understand what’s “hot” or has the potential to be “hot”, who says it’s “hot”, why they’re saying it, where they like to buy “hot”, etc.So the question to marketers is…if you have the opportunity in the near future to make your product the “hottest” thing…could you? You currently have the ability to access massive amounts of consumer data today and that will grow dramatically over the next few years. What are you doing with it now and what might you do with this information in the future?
One thing is for certain, it will require new capabilities, vendors, and tools to interpret and draw out insight. Get ready now, it’s coming… and in this situation there will be a clear early mover advantage.For now, go back and re-read The Tipping Point (replace Hush Puppies with UGGs) and start dreaming about the possibilities, especially what it would take to make it happen. Think about this for a second: you could start a trend for a product that doesn’t exist…demand before supply…yea, that’s “HOT.”