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LinkedIn Revamp Strengthens the Platform

LinkedIn Update: New Features to Love

LinkedIn continues to make improvements to the user experience with these recently launched updates to features that we already love.

Share Professional Insights

The photo and video capabilities of LinkedIn have changed dramatically. Multiple photos can now be shared within a single post, and it will soon be possible to record and post videos directly from your LinkedIn app. This allows for easy snapshots of your latest conference or live videos documenting your insights. Currently, iOS has native video functions, but LinkedIn is working hard to deliver the same option to desktop and Android systems.

Better Content Sharing

Even guests and logged-out users can have access to your posts with this upgrade. Your LinkedIn content can be shared across social media platforms by copying the post’s URL. This can improve your audience reach.

More Content Control

The latest LinkedIn updates also give you more control over your content, with the ability to share drafts of your articles. Are you unsure of how your audience will respond to a post? Click “Share Draft” in the article menu, and only those to whom you’ve shared a direct link will be able to view your draft. Once your reviewers have given it the green light, you can feel confident in what you publish.

Comment Control

One of the most frustrating aspects of social media is how easy it can be to lose control over a post. Comments can result in threads that are not representative of the professional environment you would like to establish on your LinkedIn page. With the most recent rollout of new features, LinkedIn has included the ability to directly manage the comments on your posts. If you’re not happy with the direction of a thread on an article, you can easily disable comments in post settings and quell an ember before it becomes a  fire. Enabling the comments is just as easy, should you have genuine interest in what your readers have to say regarding a given topic.

These helpful updates will create a more unique LinkedIn experience that will cater to the professional network you would like to build. It’s still user-friendly, duplicating the capabilities of other familiar apps, while also offering the opportunity for a more personalized interface within a professional system.

Are You Missing Insta-Opportunity?

Instagram as a Business Tool

Instagram currently has over 700 million users worldwide. Given its reach, any business focused on staying relevant and fresh in today’s market simply must have a presence on Instagram.

At first glance, Instagram may appear to be more like Snapchat than Facebook and LinkedIn, and, in theory, that comparison is accurate. However, as a business tool, Instagram is much more like Facebook than any other social medium. Using Facebook and Instagram in a united marketing effort works extremely well.

There are core approaches that are key to using Instagram successfully. The following are a few of those core approaches:

Check out Instagram’s own Business Blog

While Instagram’s blog does not address all of the best-practices for business use of Instagram, it is a solid introduction to the most basic issues, especially for businesses that are starting to explore Instagram as a business tool. Of the most prominent social media platforms, this blog is perhaps the best at what it does.

Update Your Profile Regularly

Your Instagram profile should be different than other social media profiles. Traditional profiles are a place to share basic information, and they remain relatively constant for long periods of time. Your Instagram profile, however, contains the only clickable link for your followers, so use it for more than just as a link to your website. You should:

  • Change the profile image at least monthly.
  • Promote a new product or service.
  • Highlight your employees and social causes you support.
  • Give people a reason to click on your profile beyond simply linking to your website.

Use Hashtags

Using hashtags is the most fundamental aspect of Instagram, and not doing so is social media suicide. Hashtags expand your reach in a way that is otherwise impossible. Create your primary hashtag (#yourbrandname), but use it sparingly – so the most-important content does not get lost in a tsunami of less-important messages. Use common industry hashtags (which can be found easily through simple web searches), and the most popular generic hashtags, such as #instagood (used in over 300 million posts), #MondayMotivation, and #tbt (“Throwback Thursday”).

Be Creative and Fun

Focus on solutions, not products. Use short videos extensively – no longer then one minute in duration. Highlight your people, processes, culture, mission, inspiring stories, social awareness, etc. Post competitions and special promotions. Use shifting images and up-tempo music. Take people behind the scenes, and let them see what you do as you create a product or brainstorm a new service. Post videos and pictures from company parties and social events. The idea is to have people talk about what you post or suggest ideas for new material. Instagram is less about sharing information and more about engaging followers on an emotional level.

Follow Your Followers

This is so logical and basic that it gets overlooked by many companies. If a person or organization follows you, then follow them. Nothing else builds appreciation and loyalty faster than this simple action.

Reward Your Followers

Again, this is so logical that it shouldn’t need to be said – but it does need to be said. Provide special discounts or opportunities to your followers. Provide them with advanced access to new products or services. Hold special competitions limited to them. Appreciate them in tangible, practical ways.

Don’t Flood Your Followers

You don’t need to post daily, and you certainly don’t need to post multiple times each day. Establish a schedule in advance that reminds you to post every few days. Post more than once on any given day only when you have an important, unexpected message to share. In those cases, make sure that what you share is exceptionally engaging and immediately relevant. Avoid the same-old, same-old. You must maintain a schedule that keeps you visible, but quality is far more important than simple quantity.

Collaborate with Other Companies and Organizations  

Take advantage of official partnerships and collaborative arrangements. Highlight charities and socially-conscious organizations that are not direct competitors, particularly those you support financially or in some other way. Find companies that provide complementary goods or services, then agree to post shout-outs for each other. If you have a bigger social media budget and want to piggyback onto a company with a much larger following, you can employ a paid shout-out, which, in traditional terms, would be called an influencer marketing campaign.

Instagram can be a powerful business tool when you use it correctly. This social media platform has too many active participants, including potential partners and collaborators, to ignore. Any modern business that wants to engage fully with customers and clients should consider an Instagram presence.

Gramlike Instagram Infographic

Infographic courtesy of Gramlike

Is Snap the branding tool you've been missing to reach your market?

Snap for Business

Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, can help you increase your sales and grow your markets. And while these platforms are widely used in virtually every industry, Snapchat (now Snap) is another social networking site that is worth considering.

Snapchat may not work for all businesses, but it can be a powerful branding tool with 150 million users worldwide. Not kidding about the younger generations; we’re outside the Snap generation, and it took us a while to figure out just how to make a snap. We’re still learning features (mostly from our millennial and Gen Z kids) and continue to learn new ways to use the application every day. But the branding potential is off the charts for companies wanting to engage with loyal and/or local fans.

Custom Stories

Marketing Potential of Snap for Business

Events

Event marketing lets you give your fans access to your events. Essentially, your users will do the advertising for you. This was something the NFL used last season, allowing Snapchat users to compile stories of individual games. The NFL has extended their partnership with Snapchat for several years. Link Snapchat to other social media platforms during live events, and you have a recipe for success.

Snap Ads & Geofilters

10-second ad spots appear between stories and are highly customizable to your audience (think: in-store sales, product highlights, event promotion). Geofilters can cost as little as $5. They are the little graphics that users can add to images. For example, we live in Bath, New York (607 area code). We can snap a picture and add the geofilter for our location; this can be a huge boon for local businesses from restaurants and gyms to hotels and casinos, to sports and entertainment venues. Sky Zone successfully used Snapchat to increase visibility and engagement with Snapchat. Even national parks can get in on the action and promote their location. Sponsored geofilters, which can cost hundreds, are great for national brands that want to increase engagement.

Snapchat Sponsored Lens

Snapchat sponsored lenses allow you to build brand awareness and engage with fans in a fun way. Whether through art graphics by location or an interactive snap, users are paying more attention to your brand while simultaneously advertising to others what they are doing or interested in. There is nothing more authentic than users documenting in the moment, and Snapchat is rolling out new features all the time. Starbucks had success using Snapchat filters, with a Starbucks-themed unicorn filter used to introduce its new flavor (something our daughter and granddaughter enjoyed immensely).

Factors to Consider when using Snap for Business

Quick, one-time images

Advertisers traditionally want to share print or digital images that can be seen and referenced repeatedly, so buying into the idea of messages that appear and almost-immediately disappear can be difficult. However, Snapchat users understand that the time to view the images is brief, so they tend to pay more attention when they first see them – and they tend to record the important points more often than on other social media sites. This active involvement with the marketing message may yield higher results for those who are interested in the product or service being marketed.

Once the snap is opened, it cannot be automatically saved. Audio or video can be replayed if necessary, but the “replay” feature is only available once per snap. A screenshot can be easily taken if the user is does so within the 10 seconds of the snap, but unless the user has downloaded a video recorder, the videos are not available to be saved. This goes beyond the ease of social media use, so it is unlikely that a Snapchat user will take the time to record every single video. However, if they choose to do so, users are able to differentiate a picture from a video, as a picture will show in your feed as a red box while a video will show as a purple box.  Despite the disadvantage, this is still slotted as a pro due to the “My story” feature within Snapchat. This will place your snaps in the “Stories” tab for 24 hours, able to be replayed by users an unlimited amount of times.

Quick-hitting video

More than any other social medium, Snapchat can take advantage of young consumers’ lack of desire to focus on extended messaging. It replaces the traditional commercial with a quick-hitting video snippet that grabs a user’s attention without making the user stop what he or she is doing for more than a few seconds. In an age of rampant multi-tasking, this can be a powerful plus. This is true, especially, if the video used is unique.

For example, you can use a time-lapse visual that shows creation of a product over time– or one that shows diverse employees describing your services in one-word soundbites – or highlights your social consciousness or compelling company culture – or any other approach that is geared toward consumers who see the world in visual snippets. Even quite savvy traditional ads can risk losing the attention of younger generations; Snapchat solves this issue extremely well.

New Audiences, New Features

From partnering with NBC to do a daily news show to Snap Maps, Snap continues to roll out new features to make it more attractive for marketing. The new Snap maps may prove to revolutionize local marketing, if done well.

A final thought on using Snap for business: authenticity is essential

The majority of Snapchat users are millennials and Gen Z. Marketing directly to these generations on their phones is one of the best ways to reach these tech savvy and cutting-edge consumers. But they, more than any other generations, demand authenticity. And Snap users in general love candid moments that are not produced.

Quick response times and a multitude of snaps are needed to properly establish a fanbase. The implementation and management of Snapchat may require a dedicated marketer to manage oversight, and you’ll want to encourage employees to take part in building your brand’s story, which may require social media policy development and strategy planning. Should CEOs jump on Snap? Maybe not. But marketing teams should consider the platform for engaging with specific markets.

Are you missing the opportunity to expand your reach?

Facebook as a Business Tool

In our last blog post, we focused on how to use Twitter responsibly. Much of the advice in that post similarly applies to using Facebook, so we recommend that you read it now if you have not done so already.

In this post, we are focusing more specifically on how to effectively use Facebook as a business tool. While the responsible use of all social media is important, Facebook is unique in that it may be used explicitly as a tool to grow your business. The following suggestions relate specifically to that capability.

Create the Proper Page

Dummy accounts are defined as accounts that do not represent real people. These accounts violate Facebook’s terms and conditions. They are illegal. It is that simple. Don’t use them. As well, you should not use a personal account for your business; instead, you should create a separate page. Whether you’re an author, a celebrity, or the CEO of an international corporation, create the right type of page for your needs. Take the time to develop the page properly, using graphics that match your website and incorporate your logo.

Complete the “About” Section

This section appears directly beneath your profile picture. This information is one of the first things people see when they find your account. Be sure to include information most relevant to prospective customers or clients – in practical terms, the Answer segment of a typical Q&A section without the Question segment.

Post with Reasonable Regularity

The adage, “out of sight; out of mind,” applies to Facebook. But for relatively small businesses, interactions per post drop dramatically when there is more than one post per day. Therefore, it is usually best to post no more than once or twice per day. Rather than quantity, focus on quality. Posting low-quality material is even worse than posting too often, so refrain from doing either. For genuine results, especially if you are just getting started and need to build a following, investing in Facebook ads (boosted posts and page ads) can help put your page in front of a targeted audience.

Post at the Right Times of the Day

In general, most Facebook analyses indicate that early afternoon (1:00-4:00 pm) is the best time for business posts to be viewed and shared. If you want to post twice on any given day, it usually is best to post right after lunch (1:00) and right before the end of the standard work day (4:30). If your business is mostly conducted after regular business hours (restaurants, bars, movie theaters, etc.), then the hours of 4:00-5:00 and 7:00-9:00 generally work best. The most effective times for you might vary slightly from the standards, but using these suggested times as your starting point is a good idea.

Use Videos and Multimedia

One of the distinguishing factors in well-regarded Facebook posts is a combination of traditional print and video material. Just as with other marketing efforts, Facebook is most powerful when it appeals to multiple senses. Of particular impact is inspirational video and the use of music, since those forms of media tap into emotion in a direct way. Research estimates put engagement about two to three times higher after the first month when multimedia is employed as opposed to when solely using print in your posts.

Respond within an Hour to Comments

Your social media participants (those who comment on your posts) can be separated into two groups: those who complain and those who don’t. You can’t eliminate all complaints, but you can minimize them with one policy: Respond to comments within an hour. That is the expectation of those who complain, and it will impress those who don’t.

To make sure you are able to do this, activate notifications when people comment. Have the notifications sent to two locations: to an email address that is dedicated to social media responses and to a work computer or mobile device, depending on your availability.

Use Facebook Analytic Tools

It is impossible to improve that which isn’t tracked, studied, and understood. The point of all marketing is continual improvement, so actively using Facebook without taking advantage of its analytic tools is foolish. The data available through these tools is invaluable, so use them to craft an intentional, comprehensive strategy that works for you and your business. Not only will they allow you to do more of what works, but they also will allow you to do less of what doesn’t work.

Along with these foundational suggestions, there are a number of Facebook features that can enhance your effectiveness. It is worth taking some time and looking into each one to see if you can use them in your social media strategy. They include the following:

  • Scheduled posts
  • Promoted posts
  • Hashtags
  • Places
  • Stock photography

Facebook still can be a powerful component of social media marketing, if it is implemented correctly. Done well, Facebook can reach customers and potential consumers in a unique way. It should not be used independently of other marketing measures; rather, it should be integrated into your overall marketing plan. There is much more that you can do to maximize Facebook effectively, but the suggestions and components in this post will give you a solid starting point – and they can launch your expanded use into deeper features.

Are you missing out on ONE TRILLION DOLLARS in potential growth?

DaSh factor Report: Why Every CEO Should be on Social Media

DaSh factor LLC has published a new report: Why Every CEO Should be on Social Media. CEOs, especially those in the B2B space, have shown a reluctance to embrace social media beyond the standard LinkedIn profile, but this report demonstrates the countless benefits afforded the CEO on social media.

CEOs on social media in B2B, B2C, and B2B2C provide the industry-specific, trust-based, personal interaction that customers seek.

The pressure for CEOs to be accessible on social media is growing; more than half of millennial B2B decision makers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by social media and more than 80% of B2B customers expect real-time interaction with the companies they do business with. CEOs on social media amplify the brand and lend credibility to the messaging.

This report details how CEOs on social media benefit from:

  • Increased customer engagement
  • Better brand awareness
  • Enhanced brand visibility
  • Credibility as thought leaders
  • Improved employee engagement

The report provides a guideline for getting started and examples of CEOs who are leveraging the power of social media to make a difference for themselves and their organizations.

Request a free copy of this new report from DaSh factor by subscribing below.

Get our free report, Why Every CEO Should be on Social Media, when you subscribe to our newsletter.

LinkedIn and Twitter Make Big Improvements

Hashtags on LinkedIn, Twitter Character Counts, and More!

Great new changes are rolling out on social media that will have a positive impact for many business users. We’re excited because of the way it allows us to achieve even better visibility for our clients.

What Do These Changes Mean?

All of these changes are designed to make it easier for you to engage with, share to, and reach more people. These are positive changes that will allow us to better amplify and magnify your visibility and enhance your digital footprint.

Read more below for details on the individual changes being rolled out to LinkedIn and Twitter:

LinkedIn Pulse: The New Format

The new LinkedIn publishing format is rolling out, and it gives publishers a lot more control over their content. What we love:

Header images can now be the full page width.

LI Header Image

You can toggle to the standard image if your image doesn’t work:

LI Header Image 2

However, the wider image provides much more flexibility for branding and visual magnificence!

LI header image 3

Other changes to the publishing experience on LinkedIn are just as great and possibly even more powerful in terms of increasing visibility. LinkedIn has made it easier to add images, video (supporting YouTube, Vimeo, and other platforms), and slideshows (supporting SlideShare, Prezi, and other platforms) right into the body of your articles. You can even embed a tweet easily, simply by adding the link:

linkedin twitter

Most importantly, LinkedIn is ending the requirement of using the three tags to categorize your article. The tag choices were often limited and narrowing, preventing the article from reaching its full audience. The tagging system is being replaced with a content- and hashtag-driven introduction:

publishing on linkedin

This brings us to the next fabulous change on LinkedIn:

LinkedIn Now Supports Hashtags

Hint: We’ve anticipated this change for some time and have used hashtags in our client posts regularly.

LinkedIn has finally given in: After removing support for hashtags in 2013 because of “poor response,” they’ve finally realized that hashtags are the most practical tool for making content searchable. It’s already been rolled out on the mobile app, with desktop support coming soon.

Twitter Updates Character Count Rules

In a move that completely delights us, Twitter will no longer count links or images as part of the 140-character restriction for tweets. They will also stop counting the characters of the user in a reply. This means we can craft even more exceptional messages without losing a good chunk of the space to an image or link. Twitter is also removing the requirement to add a . before a mention to make sure it is seen by all. (In the past, if you wanted to complain, say, about poor service at the Courtyard Marriott, and you wanted to make sure the whole world saw it, you would have to write .@CourtyardHotels, or it would be treated like a direct message and go only to the user.

courtyard tweet

Further enhancing the platform, Twitter is now allowing users to retweet and quote themselves, providing an opportunity to be more engaging. Read more on the Twitter blog.