What does your LinkedIn account look like?

At a recent networking event, where I was discussing the benefits of social media in a marketing plan, I heard over and over again how these professionals were on LinkedIn, and therefore participating in social media.  As I’ve written before (Saying You are on Facebook Does Not a Social Strategy Make), having a profile is not social media, although it is a small part.  What is most important is how you use that profile or page.

So, you have that LinkedIn profile all set up, right?  Well, if it looks like this, you have a long way to go:

This is a poor LinkedIn Profile

What’s wrong with this profile?  What can you do to optimize it for both LinkedIn search as well as Google search?

Let’s begin with the “Professional Headline” which appears right under your name.  This should be a descriptive sentence about who you are, or what you do.  Good examples would be “Social Media Marketing and Education for Small Business”  or “Marketing for the Digital Generation”.  Just make sure to use keywords that people would use to search for someone within your field.

Next in the profile is your career, education, websites, and other social sites that you are connected with.  This should be filled out as completely as possible, using as many keywords that are appropriate to your career/profession.  Also, while completing this information, make sure to take advantage of the ability to edit your public profile “URL”, or address people will use to find you.  LinkedIn assigns a long string of letters and numbers, which is difficult and confusing.  Change it to something meaningful – (my URL is www.linkedin.com/in/CraigEYaris)

Finally, there is the “Summary”, which is where you get to really tell all about who you are.  This is a great place to explain a career path, or why you are in the field you are in.  Just make sure, as you complete this section, to also use some important keywords.

After these main sections are completed, it is time to fill in some of the other available options to increase your profile “completeness”.  This includes your “Honors and Awards”, “Volunteer Experience”, interests, Groups and Associations, and even some personal information.

All of these items will help you increase your visibility within LinkedIn, and will put you on the path to more connections.

Want to continue to grow your network?  You should be searching for groups within LinkedIn to join, and make sure to participate in those groups.  Offer opinions, ask questions, be helpful.  You can also add applications to your profile, such as the Amazon Reading List, and you can even have your blog imported straight to your profile.

Most importantly, avoid the following “buzzwords” within your profile, as they have no real impact, and may even hurt your career prospects:

  1. Dynamic
  2. Communication skills
  3. Problem solving
  4. Innovative
  5. Motivated
  6. Track record
  7. Extensive experience
  8. Effective
  9. Organizational
  10. Creative

By now, your profile should look like this:

Craig E Yaris LInkedIn Profile

Now, go visit LinkedIn, and get your profile in order.  Let the networking begin (and feel free to start with me)!

Resources:

15 Tips to Optimize Your LinkedIn Initiative

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Search Optimization Tips and Tricks

10 Buzzwords to Take Off Your LinkedIn Profile Now

Saying You are on Facebook Does Not a Social Strategy Make

This past week I visited a local restaurant that was preparing for the holiday season by advertising their holiday parties on a board right when you walk in.  Also on that board, were requests to “Follow us on Twitter” and “Like us on Facebook”.  So I tried to find them on Facebook, and being more knowledgeable than most with Facebook, I thought I would find them right away.  But, there are two pages for this one specific business.  It was also difficult to find them on Twitter, since they add “NY” to their name.

On their lobby sign, they don’t even tell you how to find them.  What’s their twitter name?  How are they listed in Facebook?

This is the position so many businesses find themselves in lately.  They have gone through the trouble and expense of creating a Facebook page (or two)… and then nothing.  People click “like”, they collect fans, people even write on their wall, and then … nothing.

This particular restaurant hadn’t updated their Twitter account since May, and has never actually engaged on their Facebook page(s).

Is this a social strategy?

No.

So, what makes a good social strategy?

A good social strategy has four main components:

  1.  Identify your goals
  2. Find your audience
  3. Decide on performance indicators
  4. Schedule and manage

Identify Your Goals:

Any good marketing plan, whether social or traditional, requires that you start at the beginning.  What do you want this specific marketing to accomplish?  Do you want more customers?  Do you want to establish your brand as an expert in a specific field?  Until you know what you want to accomplish you will have no way to move your plan forward.

Find Your Audience:

You will need to determine where your customers are spending their on-line time.  Are they on Facebook or Twitter?  Is LinkedIn more appropriate for your business?  This will all depend on the type of business you have and the specific client you are trying to reach.

Set Your Performance Indicators:

Social media can be measured.  You can determine how many people visit your blog, website, or Facebook page.  You can analyze what content is getting shared and retweeted and when that content is being posted.  You just need to determine which of these items are important to the campaign you are running.

Schedule and Manage:

Once you know what your goals are, where you will be concentrating your efforts, and what you are looking to monitor, it’s time to set out your schedule.  Who is tweeting on behalf of the company?  When will posts be made to Facebook, and who is responsible for responding to your customers?

These steps will help you begin to envision your social media strategy, in hopes that you can offer your clients an engaging, responsive, and embracing community.

 

Resources:

7 Steps for a Successful Social Media Strategy

The Key to Developing a Social Media Strategy

Social Media Strategy in Four Steps

 

Professional Spotlight: Robert Basso

On Tuesday, November 15th, a group of everyday entrepreneurs who have proven track records from building their own successes, came together to share how they had achieved those goals on their own terms.

Some attendees included:

  • Joe Corcoran, Founder of Joe Corcoran Productions
  • Selena Cuffe, President of Heritage Link Brands
  • Jeff Hoffman, Co-founder of Priceline.com family of companies
  • Steve Davies, President, The Alternative Board – Nassau
  • David Becker, President, PhilippeBecker

Robert Basso, the author of The Everyday Entrepreneur, is a well-recognized business leader and advocate. With an entrepreneurs eye for spotting opportunities, Rob has a long list of achievements from founding investor in Empire National Bank to owner of Advantage Payroll Services. Rob frequently contributes on Fox Business as well as other national programming such as Entrepreneur. Rob has also submitted to interviews with USA Today, AP, and CNN Money. Rob also hosts a web program called Basso on Business which features businesses and entrepreneurs.

The Everyday Entrepreneur

The Everyday Entrepreneur is loaded with powerful strategies and important objectives for defining, setting, and achieving goals for your own entrepreneurial success. Revealing how its readers can learn to apply their own ambitions to their desired goals and gain an understanding on how to proceed on their own, this book provides realistic goal setting ideas that can lead to successes that may have eluded you so far.

The Everyday Entrepreneur is unique from other available books on the market in that it supplies palpable entrepreneurial strategies for business owners. The contributions of The Everyday Entrepreneur allows for business owners to build their own wealth, financial freedom, and success regardless of age.

In The Everyday Entrepreneur, Basso explores other innovative entrepreneurs like himself and discovers what encouraged each one of them to push the limits and find their own genuine successes on their own terms.

You can also expect to learn:

  • Valuable lessons regarding how to drive business growth
  • How to best hone entrepreneurial instincts
  • How to reawaken your sense of adventure in your business endeavors

So much more is covered here but we can’t share it all. The Everyday Entrepreneur provides a roadmap allowing readers to follow the success stories of a variety of individuals who all hail from very diverse backgrounds. Take a walk with Basso as he shares the stories of each entrepreneur while they find the answers to achieving their own successes and surpassing goals unimagined.

My Take on Robert Basso

In a room full of professionals this picture speaks but a touch of the moment and what Robert Basso conveyed as an Entrepreneur, Professional and Parent. At the start of the event Robert thanked a few people, something you expect from most at such an event, but the moment to see Robert’s character came forward when he called his children to the front of the room.

“You might not quite understand this yet, but it’s my hope that you will someday” Robert Basso told his two children.

A moment that was so passionately about a father conveying an important message to his children that he had to be instructed and nudged by others to turn so they could get the photos they wanted. One could try and say that this was possibly staged, but if you had seen it first hand, you’d know the sincerity was without question.

My short interaction with Robert leaves little to argue about the long term experience of knowing or doing business with this professional, but if how he cares and treats his family is any indication, then clearly he is a professional worth knowing.

THE EVERYDAY ENTREPRENEUR

Published by John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Publication date: October 24, 2011

$24.95; Cloth; 175 pages; ISBN: 978-1-118-10644-0

Sources:

The #140Confli: Fast, Informative & Interactive

The #140Conf by Jeff Pulver is known for short presentations and interactions, but for Long Island it has turned out to be one of the most potent networking and learning experiences I have ever seen.

This fast passed, energetic event engaged the attendees, keeping it under 140 Characters @katcop13: summed it up in a tweet “The word ‘audience‘ is dead. It’s a conversation.”

The engagement was both real life personal interactions and throughout the twitterverse, so much so that @namnum: was the first to break the news “Just heard we are trending in NY!”

@Krochmal has been a great host, engaging the audience making sure that all attendees are getting an experience, even seeking out an entire room to find out what they are passionate about and what they are learning.

This event has featured few if any traditional presentations, many presenters and the panels made a successful effort to facilitate conversations between presentations and during the breaks. The topics included business, personal brands, success stories, the human element, startup issues, fashion, musical performances and this thing called Social Media.

While the event is still far from over, it has this professional wondering, whats next and where can we get more?

Latest Tweets from the #140ConfLI:

— Melissa_Kue Melissa Kuehnle

@farida_h Glad we got to finally meet face-to-face at #140ConfLI.

— KennyKane Kenny Kane

@Krochmal Did you host a talk show in a past life?

— treypennington Trey Pennington

“Hugs over handshakes…that’s what we do at 140 Conferences” @jeffpulver #140ConfLI

— longislandpatch Long Island Patch

LI social media rocks RT @jmolinet Follow the afternoon sessions Long Island 140 Character Conference live http://bit.ly/lStBmK

— PsgeToNirvana Lee Carlson

RT @dhfrench: “Don’t be afraid to fail; it’s how you learn.”-@elyrosenstock #140confli How true, how true….

— levyrecruits Steve Levy

@mzayfert “take the first step, make some noise, and change the world” #140confli

How Much Money Should You Make? How to Sell Online…

Have something to sell? No? You may not think so, but I’d bet good money that you already do, or have the skills to easily create things that could sell well online. Quite frankly, when it comes to selling online, you are 100% limited by your own ideas of what your limitations are. Too vague? Maybe this will explain further.

You do not have to own a jewelry store, pawn shop, or music store to have a product that is high demand and high profile that will sell well online. Regularly, regular people are creating their own businesses by doing exactly what they like to do, what they are good at, and what is easily done in their own homes.    

  • Art – Custom paintings, creative furniture covers, frames, the list is actually endless in the art department.
  • Handbags and Purses – There is actually a fairly large market for handcrafted bags and purses.
  • Bath and Beauty – There are hundreds of thousands of people making a nice living by creating eco-friendly, and homemade bath and beauty products.
  • Candles – Candles of all sizes and styles are always in demand. Most especially candles that are created for weddings or religious ceremonies.
  • Ceramics and Pottery – This can entail many things, but a good potter will know exactly what products people can use the most and create them accordingly.
  • Clothing – Handmade clothing and used clothing have a big market online with many different venues. E-bay does not have a monopoly on secure online open seller sites.
  • Crochet – You may not have thought all of those hours you spend crocheting that blanket for the co-worker with a new baby was worth much, but blankets crocheted larger for a bed size for instance, regularly sell for several hundred dollars online.
  • Edibles – No one says you will be able to make a living cooking dinner for people and selling it online, though some do. But if you have skills in the kitchen, be aware that a few dozen decorated sugar cookies can rack in over a hundred dollars.
  • Furniture – Have carpentry skills? You don’t have to build and ship custom couches to make money. Try building light weight veggie boxes or trinket boxes online. You would be shocked how much custom designed items like this can go for. And the shipping won’t kill your wallet either.
  • Glass – Do you have skills at blowing glass? What about etching it? There is a huge market for these items in holiday, wedding, and religious ceremonies for this.
  • Holidays – Any holiday, all year long. If you have a special skill with creating Halloween costumes, or a knack for making nice Christmas ornaments, you have what it takes to sell online.
  • Music – You don’t have to be rock band quality. If you have a guitar and a nice voice, sell your skills online to create jingles, videos or other audio products for the many businesses that are desperately hunting them daily.
  • Pets – Like making dog sweaters? Seriously, browse some pet clothing shops online. Outrageous prices. If you can do better, you have a lot of money waiting on you as you read this.
  • Plants – Seed sharing is not only an incredible idea for producing great new strains of fruits and vegetables, but it is also a lucrative business to do so. Got some incredible moss covering some of your property? You can sell small chunks of it online for ten bucks a piece all day long.
  • Vintage – Vintage items of any kind are always top sellers. If you inherited some clothing from a great- great anything, don’t turn it over to the second-hand donation box just yet. Even they may not know what to do with it. But a vintage shopper online will.
  • Weddings – Have skills with creating invitations? Knack for decorating? Sell your skills, or your wedding products online. You may have a bit of competition, but nothing a little targeted marketing may not cure.
  • Woodworking – If you have woodworking skills and are not selling those in the creating of custom frames, plaques and the thousands of other quick finish job options online, you are missing out.

So that’s a great place to start. Now that you’ve had a moment to think on it, maybe you just need to know how to begin.

  • Selling Online

Product sales online are divided into three categories.

  1. Selling physical products
  2. Selling downloadable products
  3. Selling services

Note: Even if you’re not taking money digitally your still selling so make sure your brand and pitch are in line with the consumer need.

  • Equipment

So the first thing you need of course is a computer and an internet connection. Be sure you have a reliable connection. Losing the internet for a couple of days mid-sale can cause you to end up with bad feedback or reviews that can be highly detrimental to your online business.

Tip: Setup a backup plan, who has wifi in your area and maybe a valuable tool like coffee?

  • Funding

You will need to have a credit or debit card to do many of the functions online. Although having a checking account is nice, not many businesses will accommodate automatic checking, instead, use your bank ATM card as your debit or credit source.

Tip: If you can’t afford a charge back or lack of funds availability get a corporate card because credit is far more forgiving then bank accounts when it comes to fraud. If your credit is in the recent tank like so many others ask your bank about secured cards that start at as little as $300. Credit cards are much more safer then bank accounts when it comes to internet transactions. (This tip thanks to Doug @ Suffolk County National Bank)

  • Email

You will need an email account. For business purposes, try to find an email server that will allow you to get your company name in the email address. Yet one more way to put your company name into cyberspace for recognition. Google, Hotmail and Yahoo all provide free email accounts that are commonly compatible with many other sites and services online.

If you grab a domain you like run a generic, sales@ info@ and use a POP setup, in the early portion of your business you don’t need to be spending money on exchange services and avoid any tech that tries to tell you otherwise.

  • Domain and Web Hosting

If you want to be easily found, and easily remembered, you will need to get your own domain name and find a web host with good solid service. Always try to get a .com if at all possible. Of course you or a hired web designer will still need to build the site, but never settle for a free option on another sites server alone.

SEOTrick: Avoid your name, you not famous or important (yet) take a look at your product or what your customer is searching for, run that through the AdWords keyword tool and buy a domain that fits that.

No one says you shouldn’t have an Ebay store, but you should also have your own. The Ebay store should actually be used to direct customers to your real store front, the one you own the domain and pay the host for.

  • Exercise the Options

Do not limit yourself to your website and an extra Ebay store on the side. Although you should be careful not to overextend yourself, there are so many other options available that it’s hard to imagine an online store owner that does not network themselves and their product. Check out these sites to build an extra store front. One more place on the net with your product, and one more place on the net with your name on it. Don’t let someone tell you that you should pay for this or that service because they have great online storefront options, use these free options.

  1. http://www.etsy.com/
  2. http://www.artfire.com/
  3. http://www.ebay.com/

This isn’t the stopping point. Check out the unique ideas these online product sellers are marketing themselves.

  1. Valentine’s Day Services
  2. Business Logo Embroidery Service
  3. Cancer Research
  4. Music Services

Take note of those sites. Register with them, offer a lower cost product you have, and with each product you send out, send a business card with your real website address on it. Offer them a discount for shopping directly through your store. Do what you have to do to network your business, but never, ever, just pop a store up and wait. There is no quicker way to fail and to let frustration cause you to give up.

  • Merchant Services

Get your account set up with a merchant service that will allow you to accept credit card payments. You can do this several ways, but Paypal does offer great merchant services at about the best price you are likely to find.

Authorize.net is arguably the largest and easiest plug and play merchant account offering integrated web systems and virtual terminals.

  • Promote Your Site

If you have utilized all the tips here you have definitively gotten a great start on advertising, networking and promoting your site. Go the extra mile, build a blog that provides helpful information on your products, find some affordable SEO services such as those who will help you release great PR’s for reduced cost. Remember those micro sell sites you exercised your options on? Check thoroughly through those for some quick and incredibly affordable marketing and advertising options as well.

They may not shoot your store to the top all by themselves, but with your own efforts and theirs combined you will have definitely begun to make your mark as an online seller.

Good Luck!

Sources:

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