What Was Your First Tweet?

Earlier this year, in honor of its eighth birthday, Twitter unveiled a special page allowing users to automatically see and share their first Tweet ever.

This feature is interesting in that it allows you to go back in the Twitter “time machine” to view your own first tweet or the first tweet from anyone with a Twitter account.

Here’s my first tweet, from October 31, 2007 – (the tweet is the original, but the profile picture is my current version of me and not the 7 years younger version):

This tweet is also about when my journey into social media began and brings back some good memories. I was working with Jim StorerMark WallaceDerek Showerman and Aaron Strout from Shared Insight (now Mzinga) to develop and launch a professional community for iRise. The community subsequently grew to over 4,000 members by July 2008 when I left iRise for greener pastures.

In the last seven years, I have posted 6,185 other tweets and grew my Twitter following to over 3,150. And my social media journey has gotten even richer with forays into blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Slideshare, etc.

I no longer remember what the Shared Insights webcast was all about, but I’m sure it was interesting because I remain passionate about the value of engaging with customers and prospects through social interactions.

So, what memories will your first tweet dredge up? Check out First Tweets at this link.

Do You Want A Top 10 LinkedIn Company Page?

If this is not one of your organization’s social media goals, it should be. Here are my two steps to propel your company into the stratosphere of a Top 10 LinkedIn Company Page.

Step 1 – Hire me

Due to inexplicable circumstances beyond my control, I recently became a “free agent” just 6 months after the LinkedIn Company Page I managed was selected as a Top 10 Company Page for 2013. It is a little like Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw getting his contract release after earning a couple of Cy Young awards and chucking a no hitter. Well, it’s almost like that from a social media perspective.

Just think, there are only ten social media strategists who can boast the claim to managing a Top 10 LinkedIn Company Page in 2013, and one of them is currently available to help your company achieve this lofty, yet worthwhile goal!

What do I know about Company Pages? Over the last 2 1/2 years, I have learned a lot about LinkedIn Company Pages and have definitely earned my cred. I grew the followers for the AppleOne Company Page from just under 4,000 followers to over 28,000 – a 7x increase during the period. In addition, I have been posting daily status updates for nearly 2 years (which works out to way more than 500 posts in total) and the Company Page is regularly receiving over 100,000 impressions per week which means the Page is on track to record over 5 million impressions for the year.

Why is a LinkedIn Company Page so important? LinkedIn is the last professional social media property where brands can still generate strong organic traffic and visibility for free. I have also been managing a Facebook Company Page and have watched as organic traffic on that site has fall to almost nothing. On the other hand, LinkedIn is a captive audience for professionals and most companies have not taken full advantage of the Company Page capabilities. “Smart’ companies are starting to realize that content really is king and that regularly providing their followers with fresh and interesting content builds strong brand awareness while providing a valuable service.

Step 2 – Or Follow My 6 LinkedIn Company Page Tips

Here are my 6 tips for pushing your LinkedIn Company Page into the realm of a Top 10 property:

  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.
  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. For instance, out of five weekly Company Page posts, only two of the posts would be a link back to the company blog. For the rest of the Company Page content, I use Feedly’s RSS feeder to keep track of more than 75 different blog and news feeds. I scan the headlines on a daily basis, and select the top 12 articles to post on two different Twitter accounts. From this subset, I select the best articles to share on the LinkedIn Company Page.
  3. Write a catchy headline or intro – readers are bombarded by countless messages every day so your posts need to quickly grab the reader’s attention from among all of the content they are seeing on all of their social networks or information sources. Ask a thought-provoking question, tease the readers with a snappy tidbit or give them some reason to want to read the post. Don’t forget to include a shortened URL at the end of your headline to link to your content (my favorite is Hootsuite’s ow.ly URL shortener, and there are several other options to chose from as well).
  4. Upload your own image – this is one of the most important tips to really power your engagement. By default, if you paste a URL into a status update, LinkedIn will suggest a clickable postage stamp-sized photo from an image at that page. Alternatively, I have found that it is far better to upload my own image which usually with the content’s title superimposed over the picture. Sometimes I use an image from the actual article or other times, I create my own using Canva (my new favorite personal design tool). An uploaded image will be about 350×210 pixels compared to the standard 180×110 postage stamp picture which is a difference of nearly 4x. In an experiment I conducted recently, we were able to gain 87% more Impressions, 132% more Clicks and 39% more Interactions on identical posts. I will publish a follow-up LinkedIn post with more details on this tip.
  5. Empower your employees – most companies are still struggling with empowering their employees to engage regularly with their LinkedIn company page. At my former company, we had over 1,500 employees on LinkedIn, but only a small percentage were engaging with our content. We averaged only 41 interactions on our status updates over the last 6 months which would be less than 3% engagement per post assuming all of the interactions are from employees (which probably skews this quick statistic on the high side). When a company can get their employees to recognize that they are essential part of the marketing team and that it is critical to the company’s success for everyone to regularly participate in doing their share to share and promote the posts, I could easily see this ratio pushed into the 10 to 20% range which could easily double or triple the reach of the Company Page.
  6. Monitor your statistics – it is also important to monitor the Company Page analytics to see what’s working and what is not working, and then adjust accordingly. I would check the Analytics several times per day and I also kept very detailed weekly records. Over the last six months, I know that our posts averaged more than 19,000 Impressions, 192 Clicks and 41 Interactions. I also determined that my best engagement occurred from Tuesday to Thursday, so I always saved my best content for those days.

I trust that you will be able to use these tips to propel your Company Page to the next level – or you could just hire me and we can enjoy the journey together!

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I am Social Media and Digital Marketing Strategist experienced in both B2B and B2C arenas, and have proven expertise in multiple industries. My many achievements include: creating social media and digital marketing strategies, managing social media properties on a daily basis, curating content and writing blog posts, developing training materials and instructing associates on best practices, engaging with customers and prospects, and evangelizing stakeholders. I was fortunate enough to be involved in Social Media since the early days and I was the 82,754th person to join LinkedIn in December 2003.

Contact me by email via thumbarger @ yahoo.com or check out my blog or LinkedIn Profile for more information on how I can help your company achieve your social media goals and objectives.

Does Your LinkedIn Profile Picture Represent Your Brand?

People form an immediate impression about you when they view your LinkedIn profile and the most visible element is your LinkedIn profile picture.  The worst thing you can do on LinkedIn is to not have a profile picture, and the second worst thing you can do is have a profile picture that leaves an unprofessional impression for people you want to connect with and influence.  Plus, LinkedIn research has shown that profiles with a picture are seven times more likely to be viewed. Since your profile picture represents your online brand and identity, it is critical to make sure your profile picture is the best it can be whether you are actively looking for a job or planning to look in the future.

So, what can you do to make sure your profile pictures represents your personal brand?  

Check out these tips and examples of professional and not-so-professional profile pictures.  We also recommend that show your picture to several others and incorporate their feedback before uploading it to LinkedIn.    The simplest advice is to look at your photo and ask yourself, would you hire this person?

Professional LinkedIn Profile Picture Checklist

  • Take a front-facing head shot photo from shoulders up
  • Smile with confidence and energy
  • Make sure Well lit from the front
  • Use a background that does not distract
  • Dress to impress in a style that is standard for your industry
  • Square pictures are best – the LinkedIn guidelines suggest a photo ranging from 200×200 pixels up to 4000×4000 pixels

Examples of Professional LinkedIn Profile Pictures

 Professional LI Pictures

 Avoid These Common LinkedIn Profile Mistakes

  1. Don’t use party pictures or wear sunglasses
  2. Don’t use a cartoon or avatar for your picture
  3. Don’t include other people, family members or pets in your photo
  4. Don’t use obvious selfies or screenshots from your computer
  5. Don’t use badly lit pictures
  6. Don’t use a full length picture or body shot

 Examples of Unprofessional LinkedIn Profile Pictures

Unprofessional LI Pictures

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You should also check out these other recent AppleOne blog posts with LinkedIn advice:

 This blog post originally appeared on the AppleOne Career Seeker Blog.

Manage Your Career Like It Is a Start-up

The Start-up Of You

If you are looking for an innovative way to look at your career, you should check out the “The Start-Up of You” by LinkedIn co-founder and chairman, Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha.  While the book is almost two years old, the career tips and insights are relevant for anyone interested in managing their career.

The premise of the book is that everyone needs manage their career as if it is a start-up business:I

“The key is to manage your career as if it were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you. Why? Start-ups – and the entrepreneurs who run them – are nimble. They invest in themselves. They build their professional networks. They take intelligent risks. They make uncertainty and volatility work to their advantage. These are the very same skills professionals need to get ahead today.”

If you don’t have time to read the book, you can read the executive summary in the Slideshare presentation below and still receive most of the insights to apply to your career.  This entertaining presentation is 190 pages long, but each page has a single useful snippet of advice or information so it is a quick read.

The chapters in the book cover these topics:

  1. All humans are entrepreneurs
  2. Develop a competitive advantage
  3. Plan to adapt
  4. It takes a network
  5. Pursue breakout opportunities
  6. Take intellectual risks
  7. Who you know is what you know

You can find additional resources at the Start-Up of You website.

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This post originally appeared on the AppleOne Career Seekers blog.

 

Internet Trends for 2014 – from Mary Meeker of KPCB

Internet Trends 2014

Every year for at least the last 10 years, Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins has delivered a presentation on the Internet Trends for the upcoming year and each year it is a ‘must-view’ presentation.

The extensive 164 slides in the 2014 edition of Internet Trends cover the following topics and includes some great graphs of current and historic trends:

  • Internet user growth is slowing
  • Smartphone growth is still strong
  • Tablet growth is early stage by growing faster than PCs ever did
  • Mobile traffic has accelerating growth
  • Cyber threats are rising rapidly
  • Education could be at an inflection point with online courses
  • Technology is re-imagining education, messaging, how people meet, how people share, media, music, grocery shopping, local services, monry
  • Messaging is evolving into higher frequency with smaller networks
  • Image and video sharing rising rapidly
  • Evolution of apps – unbundling into single-purpose apps
  • Social distribution happens rapidly – half within less than 9 hours
  • Internet trifecta of 3 C’s – content + community + commerce
  • Biggest re-imagining is mobile devices with sensors (wearables)
  • More data + more transparency equals more patterns and more complexity
  • 1.8 billion photos uploaded and shared every day

The presentations from previous year’s Internet Trends can also be found at the links below:

How Much Social Media Data Is Generated Every Minute

This cool infographic from Domo points out the amount of data that is being generated by the top social media and web services properties every minute.  The astounding amount of data points out why almost every futurist identifies Big Data is such a ‘big deal’ and that companies who efficiently tame big data and big datasets can create competitive advantage for themselves.

infographic

How Are You Using LinkedIn?

How are you using LinkedIn?  How much time are you spending on LinkedIn each week?  What LinkedIn features do you find most useful?  Are you an above average user?

You can see where you stack up by looking at this new infographic from LinkedIn Expert Wayne Breitbarth.

Here are some of the highlights from his recently released analysis on LinkedIn usage.  

Connections – 41% of those surveyed report more than 500 connections which is up from 30% in 2013

Paid Members – the number of paid members dropped from 18% to 16% in 2014

Amount of time spent on LinkedIn – 58% of people are now spending more than 2 hours a week on LinkedIn, up from 47% in 2013

#1 Activity – 74% of people say that LinkedIn has helped them with doing people and company research

Linkedin Infographic
Via: PowerFormula for Linkedin Success