After many years of using WordPress.com I have taken the decision to move this blog to my main site. It just seems more sensible and user-friendly to have everything in one place.
From now on all new posts (and all previous ones) can be found here.
If you are subscribing via RSS then the new feed is http://www.etn-training.co.uk/blog/?format=rss
I hope you enjoy the new home, my intention is to increase the frequency of posts which have somewhat suffered since launching the LinkedInformed podcast
See you over on the new site.
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Have you read Gary Vaynerchuck’s new book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook?
If not, you really must. Gary is, in my humble opinion, the world’s best authority on social media.
The basic premise is that you need to provide your audience – customers – followers with useful, interesting and relevant content 75% of the time and that earns you the right to ask for their business or something in return 25% of the time (the right hook).
This is such great advice because in my experience many LinkedIn users either;
1) Spring out of their corner aggressively swinging repetitive right hooks, failing to ever hit the target and eventually pass out due to exhaustion!
2) Keep jabbing endlessly with no cutting edge until they too pass out!
The only problem with this book for me is the boxing metaphor. Gary is a straight talking New Yorker who has achieved great things from humble beginnings by being a real ‘street fighter’ in the business world. So it makes perfect sense for him to relate his advice to boxing.
I however see things differently and a better metaphor for me would be based on a saying from old friend of mine;
“feed the pigeons”!
Meaning that if you feed the pigeons, more and more will come and before long it will be easy to capture plenty of them….a little cruel perhaps but it has always stuck with me as a great metaphor for content marketing and social media.
The concept (via both metaphors) is pretty easy to grasp but harder to implement.
I think I have been guilty of feeding pigeons without taking any in the past and more recently, whilst launching my new 3 Day Start programme, I have probably been catching too many (or swinging too many right hooks) and potentially scaring off the flock that had gathered!
Its a difficult balance to find isn’t it?
What do you think?
Have you ever been guilty of swinging your right hook too much (or a brutal pigeon massacre!)?
Do you find yourself surrounded by a happy flock of overweight pigeons whilst feeling hungry yourself?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.
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LinkedIn announced their Q4 results last week which showed a 47% increase in revenue from the same period last year. I’m sure most of us would be delighted to deliver such growth (profit is less impressive as you can see in their earnings announcement) but for LinkedIn this represented another drop in sales growth, a trend which was the flavour of 2013 and one they are finding hard to reverse.
I can recall an ex boss of mine once explaining to me that actual figures (of anything) are much less relevant than the direction in which they are going. In business you are either going forwards or backwards and these figures prove that (despite year on year growth) LinkedIn’s growth is going backwards.
A closer look at the figures shows that the guilty party is advertising sales (marketing solutions). Premium upgrades have remained stable and talent solutions (the darling of LinkedIn sales) has increased its percentage of the overall sales volume but advertising has dropped from 27% to 25% of sales from the same period last year.
I must admit that I am surprised by this, I really thought that advertising would begin to increase its share of sales but the opposite is true. Maybe advertising on LinkedIn is just not proving to be a great ROI for marketers. I must admit I haven’t met too many that swear by it (if your experience is different please get in touch, I would love to hear from you).
So it seems that LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner has some serious challenges ahead and I am fascinated to see how he reacts to this – Wall Street was clearly not impressed with shares dropping by 10% on the announcement and whilst they rallied towards the end of the week, they still showed a drop of over 6%.
One early indication of their reaction has been the announcement that they will now be rationalizing their products/services, initially by dropping Slidecast and more notably LinkedIn Intro. Intro was a controversial mobile email service that was introduced in October last year and hit immediate issues with concerns over security. I can’t say this is a massive surprise, after my initial excitement over the launch I reduced my use of the app and over time found I was very rarely using it. I assume this proved to be the case for many and so LinkedIn have decided that the effort involved in running it is not worth the return. I have to applaud them for this, like a football manager who buys a player who turns out to be a ‘dud’ it is better to cut your losses quickly rather than waste more time for the sake of pride! It will be interesting to see what happens to Rahul Vohra who was the architect of Intro (and Rapportive) – A bright, innovative and bold tech entrepreneur who is beginning to look a bit like a ‘fish out of water’ in the increasingly Wall Street driven ‘corporate’ world of The LinkedIn Corporation.
One thing seems certain, the LinkedIn Axeman will be working overtime looking at every initiative and product at LinkedIn and asking the difficult questions that are inevitable in a publicly owned company;
- How does this increase our sales?
- How quickly will we see a return?
- How much resources will this require?
One thing I am quite sure about is that the real losers in this are likely to be us – the normal LinkedIn user (or member as LinkedIn like to call us). We have already seen some great features disappear with no explanation (Signal and updates on profiles to name a couple). What is going to be next?
I suspect that the much wielded phrase ‘Members first’ is going to be harder and harder to justify for LinkedIn as their shareholders demand to have their short-term objectives placed as a higher priority!
Interesting times are ahead.
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It was mid November last year when LinkedIn launched their Company Showcase pages (see here) and since then I have been observing how companies have been using them…or not!
The idea of a showcase page is to allow members to follow the specific brands and products they care most about rather than see updates that relate to the whole company. In a sense it seemed that this new feature was a hybrid between a company page and a products/services page in that it gave us the opportunity to share updates about a specific type of product in certain markets. LinkedIn have certainly used them this way by creating showcase pages for marketing, recruitment and sales products (see right). Each of these have very different markets and contact points.
So how are other companies utilising this feature? I took a look at the 12 company pages heralded as being ‘best in class 2012’ by LinkedIn and was shocked to find that only one of them (adobe) was using the showcase page feature…just one!!
OK maybe that list is a bit out of date so lets look at the 10 best company pages of 2013….errr just one again and guess who that was? Adobe again (who have over 3000 followers for each showcase page).
Below is the showcase page for their Creative Cloud product.
So what is going on here?
Why are companies not using this feature?
I think it is because it seems confusing. Why have a showcase page about products when we already have products and why have one when we can target our main company page updates to specific ‘audiences’?
Perhaps they have a point but surely the likes of Mashable and Hubspot have enough creativity to think of an effective use of this feature? I use a showcase page for my podcast LinkedInformed (I’m on my 3rd episode by the way and I strongly advise you check it out :-)). Its not a product but it seems that the opportunity to have people ‘follow’ it and receive updates announcing each new episode is an ideal use of a Showcase page.
How about this as another idea….Recruitment!
This could be an ideal use of a showcase page. People generally follow companies for one of 4 reasons in my opinion;
- They are interested in your products/services and relevant information about them.
- They are a competitor ‘spying’ on what you are up to!
- They are a potential supplier i.e. they want to sell to you!
- They are interested in working for you.
Now if I fell into the first category and I was a potential customer of yours I would get pretty fed up if I kept seeing updates from you promoting vacancies. The problem is that from my profile you would not always be able to differentiate between a number 1 and a number 4 and so I would not be prevented from seeing vacancies by how you define your ‘audiences’.
End result – I might take my business elsewhere and follow a competitor instead!
If however you could guide company page followers who want to work for you to a separate showcase page explaining that all vacancies will be promoted via updates from this page, then you have a solution…and a useful purpose for a showcase page!
What do you think? Are you using this feature and if not, why?
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Don’t be put off reading this if you don’t own an iPad – there is some important information here for anyone using LinkedIn to engage with those that might be using this app (and many people are).
LinkedIn recently relaunched its iPad app, it’s not an update from the previously hopeless version that was unstable and frankly useless. This is a completely new, built from scratch app….and its really excellent!
In the UK, mobile is now responsible for 44% of visits to LinkedIn and this figure is expected to reach 50% early next year.
That 44% is based on a phone app that is nothing special and a truly terrible iPad app – imagine how much more traffic will come via mobile now that they have a really good iPad app?
This isn’t just an interesting stat, it has a fundamental impact on how we should be using LinkedIn. When users access LinkedIn via either mobile apps they are visiting at significantly different times of the day. The graph below shows the amount of visitors at different times of the day (weekdays).
The blue line represents the traditional desktop users, signing in first thing in the morning and peaking at that point but showing consistent levels of activity throughout the working hours.
The orange line represents visitors using the mobile app on their phone, the activity stays constant throughout the working day but also continues into the evening.
The most interesting line is the purple one which represents users visiting via the iPad app, lower numbers throughout the day but it then peaks late in the evening at which point it beats the other two and records the highest number of visitors at any time of the day. Presumably this happens because people relax on the couch after their evening meal and flip open their iPad!
This is a truly remarkable statistic and in my opinion, a game changer for LinkedIn users!
I have been advising delegates in my workshops for years that the most effective time of day to post a status update is first thing in the morning, this is not only when a high number of people are online but it is also the one time you know they are going to have eyes on their homepage and the stream of updates from their connections.
Now we see a massive shift towards 8-9 pm in the evening as the most active time and most of these visitors are viewing on their iPad which is designed in such a way that the update feed is most prominent (see below)
As a test I am going to publish and promote this blog at 8-9 pm initially followed by 8-9 am the next day and continue this schedule for the next few weeks to see how it makes a difference to the number of views, likes and comments.
Another important thing for everyone to know about the iPad app is that website and email links in your profile become active.
When you view a profile on the desktop version or the phone app, the links or email addresses that someone has put in their summary or work experience sections only appear as font (ie you have to copy and paste them into a browser or email)
However on the new iPad app the links now become active.
iPad App View
Again this changes my advice on the information you put in your profile, previously I was ambivalent about putting links in your summary – now its essential to have links high up in your profile.
The new app is far from perfect, LinkedIn have yet again made the decision to severely restrict its functionality, for instance you can’t send Inmails from the app (although you can from the iPhone app) and many other essential features are missing but this is clearly a policy decision rather than a faulty design. Overall I am very impressed, I will soon publish a full and detailed review but for now lets give LinkedIn a big ‘thumbs up’ for a much improved app.
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