Are You A Smart Creative?

In their new book, How Google Works, Google Executive Chairman and ex-CEO Eric Schmidtand former SVP of Products Jonathan Rosenberg share the secrets they used to help build Google into the company it is today.

One of the chapters in the book describes the special type of employee that has made Google so successful. They refer to this unique category of knowledge workers as “Smart Creatives” and these type of employees are essential for achieving success in the Internet Century. These workers are not confined to specific tasks, nor hemmed in by role or organization structure, or limited in access to company information and they are not averse to taking risks. In addition, they don’t keep quiet when they disagree with something and they can be easily bored.

All companies need to add Smart Creative employees to their payroll in order to be successful in the Internet Century. And workers striving to improve their career prospects can develop or enhance their skills as a Smart Creative.

The following infographic describes the key characteristics of Smart Creative employees.

Or you can download the PDF directly at Are You A Smart Creative – An Infographic by Tom Humbarger.

How Are You Doing On Twitter?

Would you like to know how many people viewed, clicked or shared your latest tweet? Well, now you can with Twitter’s new Analytics Dashboard that was released to all users last month.

Whether you are a big (or small) Twitter user, there is a lot of interesting data on the Dashboard about your tweeting activity. And if you are managing a corporate Twitter account, this information will be essential for analyzing your success and the impact of Twitter on your brand. I first found out about this new feature after seeing articles in Techcrunch and Yahoo in late August, and it is great that this capability has now been exposed for all Twitter users. Previously, this information was only available for advertisers and Verified Users.

To access your Twitter Dashboard, go to https://analytics.twitter.com/. If you are signed into Twitter, the dashboard will open with your data – otherwise, you will need to sign into Twitter. The dashboard is organized into three tabs – Tweets, Followers and Twitter cards. Here is what the main page of your dashboard will look like:

Below the weekly graph, you get a list of all published tweets along with data points for:

  • Impressments – the number of times users saw the Tweet on Twitter
  • Engagements – the number of times a user interacted with the Tweet which could be clicks, retweets, replies, follows and favorites
  • Engagement Rate – the number of engagements divided by the number of impressions

You can click on any tweet to get specific details on Impressions, Replies, Retweets and Favorites.

In the right nav on the dashboard, you can also view your activity over the last 28 days for Engagement Rate, Link Clicks and Retweets.

The Follower tab also presents some very interesting information on the growth of your Followers, their Interests, Location and Gender. Plus, the dashboard lists the top Twitter users that your Followers also follow.

Additional information on the Dashboard can be found at the Twitter Help Center.

Run, don’t walk to check out your Twitter Dashboard today.

The Best LinkedIn Advice

I am constantly scouring the Internet for great articles on how to maximize LinkedIn for a job or career search.   The following articles are the best ones that I have seen in the past year and I wanted to share them on my blog.

Your Essential LinkedIn Guide - here is the top piece of career advice from CAREERELISM – “get your LinkedIn ducks in a row.”

21 Steps to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile - LinkedIn expert Melonie Dodaro outlines her 21 steps to create a perfect LinkedIn profile in this handy infographic.

10 LinkedIn Skills Every Professional Should Have – Author and Social Business Coach Neil Shaffer came up with a list of 10 skills that he expects every professional should have as a LinkedIn user.

10 LinkedIn Blunders that Make You Look Like An Amateur - in this article from Fortune, William Arruda shares some all-too-common faux pas that will create a negative impression rather than build your brand.

9 Reasons Why You Must Update Your LinkedIn Profile Today - here are 9 eye-opening reasons why you need to polish your LinkedIn profile right now.

How To Choose A LinkedIn Profile Picture - everyone knows that it’s important to have a profile picture on LinkedIn, but you can also send the wrong message with an unprofessional picture.

Why Your LinkedIn Headline Is So Important - you already know the importance of having an updated LinkedIn profile, but did you know that it is important the LinkedIn headline section is to your job search?

Is Your Company Missing The Boat With LinkedIn?

I have spent a lot of time on LinkedIn – both professionally and personally – over the last several years and I have yet to come across a company that is doing a great job with leveraging the true power of LinkedIn.

Every employee that a company has on LinkedIn is a potential marketing dynamo that can be leveraged to build brand awareness, to push specific messages and to keep the company’s name in front of as many people as possible.  Unfortunately, most companies are wasting these potential marketing moments.

Based on my experience, I believe that there are three things that companies can do to “right the ship” and get back on course:

  1. Maximize Your LinkedIn Company Page
  2. Leverage employee profiles on LinkedIn
  3. Empower your employees to get engaged on LinkedIn

Maximize Your LinkedIn Company Page – This is the easiest part because it is the most controllable.  I have written several posts with tips for getting more out of your LinkedIn Company Page and you can find them at:

My top two tips for maximizing your Company Page are:

  1. Post regular status updates – the more content you post on your Company Page, the more you will keep your company’s name in front of your followers and in the LinkedIn Newsfeed. My best practice suggestion is to post at least daily which means you will need five great posts each week to drive traffic and awareness.
  2. Post interesting content – you do not want every message on your Company Page to advertise your products or services because that would only serve to annoy or turn off your followers. Instead, it is important to post interesting content that followers will find useful for their every day job or career, or that educates or entertains them in some way.

Leverage Employee Profiles on LinkedIn – Another best LinkedIn practice is to make sure that all employees are using the marketing messaging you want in their profiles.  LinkedIn provides users with 2,000 characters for their Summary and Employment Services section, and most people use only a fraction of this space on their profiles.  In my previous position, we created standard templates that employees could use or tailor for both their Summary and Employment sections and gave them tips on how to maximize their profile.  In addition, you should make sure that they have profile pictures that represent your brand, and that their profiles are as up-to-date as possible.

LinkedIn also lets users upload their own content and this is another way to trick out employees’ LinkedIn Profiles.  Have you received an award, do you have a short Powerpoint presentation on your company or product, do you have a whitepaper or datasheet you want employees to share?  All of this content can be provided to your employees to post to their LinkedIn profile so it is visible whenever anyone views their profile.

Employees will need training and guidance to take advantage of these advanced features, and you may want to set up a phone or email hotline to answer questions and provide assistance.

Empower Employees to Engage on LinkedIn – The final piece of the puzzle is that you have to get your employees to regularly engage on LinkedIn.  Employees must be sold on the idea that every interaction they have on LinkedIn is an opportunity to market their company.  At my last company, we had many instances of new business being generated because a connection noticed an interesting post or update from an employee’s profile.  While it is not necessary for all of their interactions to be company marketing messages, employees should be positively interacting with your brand at least once or twice per week.  The simplest way for employees to do this is to share or like what is posted on your LinkedIn Company Page.

This task will be the hardest for you to achieve as it requires developing new habits for your employees.  Employees do not have to be on LinkedIn all day, but they need to develop the habit of checking in at least once per day.  In five to ten minutes per day, most employees can build their own brand while helping the company at the same time.  Some suggestions for improving engagement are providing a checklist of daily tasks to perform or turning the effort into a contest.

 

Get Up to 40% More From Your LinkedIn Company Page

I managed a LinkedIn Company Page that was selected as one of the Top 10 LinkedIn Company Pages for 2013, so I know a little bit about what I am doing when it comes to building up readership, impressions and interactions on LinkedIn. Last month, I added “Do You Want A Top 10 LinkedIn Company Page?” – and today I am going to provide more detail behind my tip #4 about uploading your own image to Company Page status updates.

I started experimenting with different types of Company Page status updates in November 2013, and discovered that posts with larger images tended to do better than posts with the standard thumbnail images provided when you copy and paste a link into a status update.

However, I did not realize the true impact until I went on vacation in April and decided to run a comparison test. I normally post all of my Company Page status updates directly via LinkedIn since I have not been able to get satisfactory results with any of the major scheduling tools. Since I was going to be on vacation and would not be able to manually post my updates each day, I scheduled the daily updates for the week using Hootsuite. To make the test fair, I re-purposed updates that had been posted a month ago so I would have a comparison between the ‘big’ images and standard thumbnail images.

What were the results? Before I explain how I create the large images, I want to share my interesting results.Here are how two of the test posts performed in side-by-side views:

As you can see, the posts with the larger image did significantly better than the posts with the standard image by a large margin. The posts used the same introduction, shortened link and image, and the only difference was that I created and uploaded an image with an embedded headline for the large image posts.

You can also see the impact of the experiment when you look at the Company Page Analytics for Reach and Engagement for the week I was on vacation. There was a 40% drop in average impressions and a 70% decrease in average clicks for the week of the standard image test.

How do I create larger images? I use a couple of tools to accomplish this feat – specifically, Powerpoint, Snagit and Canva. Granted, creating and adding larger images to your status updates will add additional time to your posting process. For me, the process probably added less than five minutes to the time it used to take me to create status updates — but the time spent was well worth it to me in terms of impressions and engagement. You may want to experiment with what tools work best for you, but here are the three primary image tools I use:

Snagit from Techsmith is a screenshot tool that lets me grab any image or portion of an image from any website, article or document on the web. In most cases, I use the image that is already included in the article and use Snagit to create a screenshot of the image. Then I use Snagit’s editing tools to add a title, border or cut out unwanted parts of the screen grab. I also add a photo attribution in the bottom corner of the screen to make sure I give credit for the image’s origin.

Canva is a personal design tool that lets you easily create graphics to upload to blogs or other social media accounts. Canva is like Adobe Illustrator, but totally web-based and free. They also have lots of free images and clip art to use as well as images that you can purchase for $1. Guy Kawasaki is the Chief Evangelist for Canva and he has been posting links and updates about Canva on Facebook, Slideshare and other social media sites. Once I create something in Canva, I can either save it as a JPG or I use Snagit to create a screenshot of the image. Even if you don’t use Canva for creating status update images, it is worth adding to your toolbox.

I use Microsoft Powerpoint as my default image creator, but you could use any other tool that you can comfortably use. I copy images snagged via Snagit or Canva and paste them into Powerpoint where I can add additional text, combine multiple images or add shading and borders.

To add an image to a status update, click on the paperclip icon as shown below to add the file from your hard drive. Then you will need to write a snappy introduction or headline. Don’t forget to paste in your shortened URL so people know what to click to view the content. I use Hootsuite to generate my short URLs, but you could also use bit.ly or another service to create your own short URL.

Additional Tip – When I am creating my own images, I have found that I get more clicks when I embed the title of the article in the image. Including the title instead of just an images gives the reader a visual incentive to explore the link – especially if the article’s title is catchy or unique. People are bombarded with so many content possibilities these days that it helps to do anything to stand out from the crowd.

Conclusion – If you are not using BIG images with your Company Page status updates, you are throwing away at least 40% of your impressions and more than 50% of your clicks. I do see larger images on a few company pages, but it appears that most company page administrators have not figured out this trick yet.

Let me know if you have tried larger images for your LinkedIn Company Posts yet and if your experiments validate my results.

Hints for Writing Well

In 1982, David Ogilvy of Ogilvy & Mather wrote an internal memo titled How to Write.  The memo was recently posted to the Ogilvy & Mather’s LinkedIn Company Page.

At the top of the list of 10 hints to becoming a better writer was this quote:

The better you write, the higher you will go in Ogilvy & Mather.   People who think well, write well.

I wanted to always remember this hints, so I saved and uploaded the list below.

Hints for Writing WellThe first tip is to read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing three times.  During a quick Google search for the book, I found this Slideshare copy of it.

Read. Rinse. Repeat. Read. Rinse. Repeat. Read. Rinse.

Get a Clue Lou – Don’t Trust Your Social Media To An Intern

First, the back story. Lou Adler is an author, consultant and recruiter who provides hands-on advice for job-seekers, hiring managers and recruiters on how to find the best job and hire the best people. Lou is also one of the top influencers on LinkedIn with nearly 700,000 followers.

I have been following Lou’s posts for quite some time – I respect his sometimes controversial opinions and am even connected with him on LinkedIn.

However, I saw something from Lou last week that really stuck in my craw and is at the top of the list of my social media pet peeves. My top issue is with people and companies who think that anyone can do social media and who minimize the profession by not fully understanding the depth and breadth of expertise necessary to successfully create and implement social media and content management strategies.

Lou posted a job description for a Social Media Intern, aka All-Around Digital Marketing Maven on LinkedIn last week. The job description outlines the challenges of the position for a “savvy digital native”:

  • get significant exposure for Lou’s posts, book and column
  • manage the Facebook page and take it to the next level with increased engagement and better conversion
  • create and launch marketing plans and mini-projects using social media and traditional PR
  • exercise your creativity and develop your own PR and social media projects

I apologize in advance for the weak take-off of Paul Simon’s 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

Here’s the rub Lou. It’s all right to hire college interns to gain real life experiences and expertise, but your job post description is cheapening the social media profession by assuming an intern is going to be an all-around digital marketing maven and a savvy digital native and be able to achieve the results you desire. Just because someone has had a Facebook page since they were 13 doesn’t make them digitally savvy from a business standpoint. Not to mention, someone with minimal marketing and life experiences is not going to get you significant exposure, take your Facebook page to the next level and develop their own PR and social media projects. Interns also won’t have the strategic outlook to see the big picture and how various pieces of your business are inter-related. I’m ok with you trying to help a college student and get some marketing help at bargain-basement prices, but don’t diminish our profession with the expectation that you can get a high level of expertise at that price. Real social media expertise comes from years of experience in social media, marketing, content management, branding, customer service, technology, operations, analytics and project management. While there may be some success stories of interns being successful in corporate social media marketing, I have not run across any in my experience.

Call it like it is. I have always admired your posts for their honesty and bluntness, and for calling both employers and jobseekers on the carpet for not understanding that the hiring world has changed. Likewise, I trust you’ll respect the bluntness of this message from a social media expert. You wouldn’t hire an intern to handle one of your top recruiting gigs, so don’t think you should hire a short-term-focused intern to be the face of your personal and corporate brand on social media.

Too many companies do not really understand what it takes for someone to be successful in social media. I wrote a blog post with my ‘perfect’ social media job description for a project several years ago. When I went back to re-read it today, most of the thoughts I had in 2008 are still applicable today. While some of the social tools may have changed, the need for having deep experience and expertise in the multiple disciplines that come into play for successful social media marketing is still an important success factor.

Most (if not all) social media practitioners would also agree with my viewpoint. For example, I found a recent article on Inc.com from titled “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media.” Hollis asks whether you really want to entrust your entire social media efforts to a recent college graduates who does not have the maturity, social etiquette, business understanding, communication skills and well-rounded expertise in marketing, customer service, public relations, crisis management and branding necessary to do the job properly. Obviously, I am in total agreement with Hollis.

Respect the profession. Lou, I just want you to have the proper respect for the social media and marketing profession and stop contributing to the myth that anyone with a social media account can do social media. I want you to successfully use social media and wish you the best in your latest search. Just remember this simple thought…social media is not kid’s play!