Archive for April, 2008

Etiquette on LinkedIn

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

LinkedIn has gained broad acceptance as a social network for business professionals. Here are my LinkedIn rules to live by: (Your mileage may vary.)

1. Keep it professional.
The goal is to make you look good in a professional networking environment. So don’t be a troll. No one likes trolls. (Except, perhaps other trolls.)

2. Do not add your entire contact list.
LinkedIn has tools for importing your address books from a variety of software and services. Don’t do it. This generates a huge amount of junk mail with your name on it. Unless you are a recruiter and depend on a HUGE database of names or loose connections, you don’t need to connect with everyone you have ever gotten a business card from.

3. Only invite people that you know and trust.
If you would feel strange about calling someone on the phone and having a conversation, perhaps you shouldn’t invite that person to connect.

4. Just because someone invites you doesn’t mean you have to accept.
If you don’t know the person well or at all, perhaps you shouldn’t connect. Call the person wanting to connect and schedule a time to have coffee or something to strengthen your relationship.

5. Don’t be a stalker, or even a little bit creepy.
Use Facebook or MySpace to look up old friends. Once you have rekindled a trusted relationship, invite the person to LinkedIn if it makes business sense.

6. Recommend people and get recommended.
If you have done business with someone and would recommend that person to a friend or client, write a nice recommendation on LinkedIn. We know how lukewarm testimonials sound, so don’t write one unless it is meaningful.

7. Answer questions.
LinkedIn’s Answers section provides an opportunity to show your expertise. Answer with the intent to provide useful information. The person asking acknowledges good answers and you can receive added credibility to your profile.

8. Remove stale connections.
Once a month, browse through all of your connections. Consider removing people that you simply cannot remember. LinkedIn doesn’t alert the other user, so the other person probably won’t notice at all since they probably cannot remember who you are either.

9. Make connections part of your referral process.
If someone gives you a good referral, part of your thank you process should be connecting on LinkedIn. And if you give a referral, ask to connect on LinkedIn.

10. Share your connections.
Those that are connected to me know that my connections are trusted, not flimsy. So if they need an introduction, they know that I can facilitate not just online, but in the real world.

Blog Climbs in Google Search Results

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

A few days ago, on April 23rd, I wrote a post called “Who Says Blogs Don’t Work?” I talked about how our CTO’s blog about conversions and salesforce.com garnered first-page placement in Google under the keywords salesforce conversions.

Actually, our blog was the last result on the first page. Well, today I looked, and it had moved up to #3 – yes, third place on the first page of results. Remarkable!  Indeed, blogs can be a cost-effective subsitute for expensive SEO.

Boost Your Company’s Online Reputation with LinkedIn

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

LinkedIn has been around for a while now and recently they passed 20 million users. Unless you live under a rock, you probably have received at least one invitation to connect with someone on LinkedIn.

That said, I frequently hear, “Okay, so I have an account and a couple of people have connected to me. What can I do with LinkedIn?”

Recommendations – start by recommending people in your network and then ask to be recommended. You control what appears on your profile, so only good things will appear on your profile. It’s about making others look good and asking for the same in return.

Prospecting – if you are trying to make contact with a particular company, you can search for people who might have connection with a person the company. Once you have created enough connections, you will often find that you are one or two connections away from a potential client. You can then request an introduction or go all old school and pickup the phone to your contact and ask for a referral.

Questions and Answers – LinkedIn has an active Q&A section where members post questions and others reply with answers. Answering questions is a way to show your expertise, as members can mark the answers as “good” or “best” which earns you some LinkedIn “street cred.” We’ve actually gotten some business opportunities as a direct result of answering questions.

Groups – there are a whole bunch of professional organizations, alumni groups, etc. that provide another way to link to members. And you can even start your own interest group if it make sense for your organization. The groups feature in LinkedIn is still maturing, so keep watch for what happens there.

Who Says Blogs Don’t Work?

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

On April 9th, Kevin Gilper, our CTO, published an article in our blog called “Conversions, Conversions, Conversions!” The article talks about the importance of tracking not only visitors to your site but conversions. The true measure of success for any marketing program, after all, is the number of new clients you acquire.

In the article Kevin also talks about our company’s expertise in integrating Salesforce.com. He briefly explains how we integrated Salesforce.com into the website of Advanced Snow and Ice Solutions so that when visitors enter callback information it is automatically recorded into a leads database that can be worked by their sales team. These leads are flagged to clearly indicate the time they arrived and that they are from the website. As sales people close sales, conversion reports are configured to show the ratio of number of visitors to number of sales conversions.

So why am I telling you about this post? Because a few days ago we discovered that if you search in Google for “salesforce conversions” Kevin’s blog entry appears on the first page of results. This is a home run for us because we are proactively seeking businesses that need Salesforce.com integration. So one, the blog establishes us as experts in the field; and two, it receives excellent search engine placement in Google for the exact keywords that we are targeting. A home run, indeed!

Hello Girlfriendz!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

I’d like to say “hello” to my friends at Girlfriendz – “The Thinking Woman’s Magazine” – which debuted recently in Southern New Jersey.  Girlfriendz is the nation’s only regional magazine devoted exclusively to Baby Boomer women.

What struck me about Issue 2, Volume 1, which is the first issue I saw, was the fact that two of our clients – Linda Kester, President of Institute for Conscious Development, and Frankford Umbrellas – graced the cover of the magazine.

This particular issue even has an article on blogging called “What’s All This Fuss About Jogging? Blogging? Oops. Never Mind…”  Sometimes I think there are more articles on blogging than blogs – it’s such a hot topic.

Glad to see also in this issue there is an interesting, light article entitled Adventures in Mid-Life Dating, written by Jackie Pantaliano, owner of ImPRessions’ public relations firm in Voorhees, NJ.  Jackie is our PR person, and she does a wonderful job.

Good luck with the magazine.