Monday, October 15, 2012

Is LinkedIn Worth It?

A colleague recently asked me "Is it worth it to get involved with LInkedIn?" and anyone who follows this blog or knows me would understand that it is quite dangerous to ask me my opinion. Especially about a business-to-business social media platform.

After a lengthy conversation and email, the question offered up a great opportunity to share some of the insights the B-to-B Blog has provided over the years about LinkedIn.

Here is an excerpt of the email response sent to that colleague just today. Hope this is useful to you, and happy Connecting!

Intrigued? Horrified?  Come visit me over at LinkedIn to see what all the fuss is about!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Have You Checked Your Social Network Profiles Lately? 7 Tips for Those Enhanced Profile Pages

In the last few months, three major social network platforms in the b-to-b space (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) have offered enhanced profile page options.

(When you work for a few b-to-b clients like I do, one can spend an awful lot of time thinking about this minutiae each week.)

By enhanced profile page options, think in these terms ... each one of the platforms offers more availability for business-to-business marketers to:

  • upload images
  • provide product details
  • create company timelines
  • link to blog posts
  • link to videos
  • link to webcasts, other multi-media
  • provide product reviews, recommendations, endorsements
  • more stuff I’ve probably missed

To be honest, these changes are a lot to keep up with, and there are certainly changes I’ve missed.  Some good background on the LinkedIn company pages can be found here. Profile tips and techniques to take advantage of the most recent Twitter changes can be found here.

7 BtoB Tips
With the expanded opportunities to post more content, graphics and multi-media, branding across all social media platforms, as well as a company’s website, becomes a key issue. 

It simply doesn’t pay to haphazardly update profile pages with a random assortment of content that doesn’t relate to other online marketing outlets.

In the spirit of best practices, please keep these 7 tips in mind when adding content, imagery and information to enhanced company profile pages:

  1. Keep it Simple. While it's great to take advantage of the ability to post videos, timelines, webcasts, and add product descriptions, don't over-do it.  Online readers are an impatient lot, make it easy for them to browse your profile pages. 
  2. Contact Info, People!  When updating social media profile pages, don’t forget the basics like company URL, email and phone number. Keep this info front and center! Yes, people still like to cut to the chase and call! PS, use the same phone number offered on the website contact us form. 
  3. Spit & Polish. Get your graphic designer involved to optimize how graphics look, with consistent branding in terms of colors, fonts, look/feel.
  4. Strategic Messages, People! Don’t waste words on cute phrases or ad copy – use keywords wherever possible when populating product pages and keep “Key messages” front and center. Use strategic hashtags in Twitter bios and profile descriptions.
  5. Brand Consistency. Avoid the temptation to introduce new branding, new taglines or other new elements – instead, reinforce social media profile pages with the same, consistent branding on the company’s website.
  6. Device, Browser Compatible? View a company’s Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn pages on various browsers or devices to make sure all looks well.
  7. Return Often. Don’t set it and forget it, be sure to return to profile pages at least quarterly to take advantage of any recent enhancements.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Me & My Tiny Habits: How I Dedicated One Week to Practice Forming New Routines

There is a tremendous amount of power when one develops good habits.

Whether those habits involve practicing a musical instrument (like the banjo), developing  effective business-related habits, or building good health habits, positive results follow from making positive behaviors a matter of automatic routine.

It was in this spirit that I recently participated in the Tiny Habits program. created by BJ Fogg, PhD, Director, Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University,

The innovative (and free) one-week program helps people practice the process of building good habits.

According to Dr. Fogg:
my goal is to help you practice the skill of creating new habits. I believe you can get better at creating new habits. Much like a pianist who practices scales, or a chef who practices knife skills, people can practice the skills of creating habits.

A Single Atom of Behavior
Dr. Fogg has reduced habit building to a fundamental unit or “atom” of easily managed behavior change. The key is to make it simple and easy - to leverage the power in simplicity. Fogg defines a Tiny Habit as a behavior that…

  • Is undertaken at least once a day
  • takes less than 30 seconds
  • requires little effort

Anchors Aweigh
Dr. Fogg believes in “habit anchors” – linking a new (tiny)  habit to a daily anchor behavior one does everyday (like morning coffee, or brushing teeth...)

So What Happened?
In late Summer, I took Dr. Fog’s suggestions and chose three simple, tiny behaviors to practice over the course of a week. He warned against trying for a bigger behaviors because if it was cumbersome or difficult in any way, the habit won't form. He was right!
Here’s what I practiced:

  1. After I brush my teeth, I will floss 1 tooth (flossing all my teeth is too big a behavior to practice, according to Dr. Fogg)
  2. After I pour AM coffee, I will play 3 banjo chord changes (in less than 30 seconds…)
  3. After I go to bathroom, I will fill my water glass (note, I didn’t say DRINK the water, just fill the glass – but of course I then went ahead and drank!)

At the beginning of the week, I got everything ready – that means I got out the floss and put it right next to my toothbrush, carried around a water glass all day, and put the banjo out of its case in my living room.

In general, it was a successful week, except in one area – habit #2.

It was a bit counterintuitive to remember to do chord changes on the banjo after coffee.  Why?

  • I didn’t keep the banjo right next to the coffee pot, so didn’t have an immediate “cue”
  • It never became “automatic” to tie the coffee anchor to the banjo habit
  • The teeth habit, and drinking water habit, were intuitively linked to the anchors – both behaviors now so automated I still do them! But the coffee/banjo link was tenuous at best

A Not So Tiny Truth
My experience proved this to be true: one needs to match the new desired behavior (new tiny habit) with the best anchor to trigger the new behavior.
After all, the goal is to make desired behaviors automatic.  
The bottom line is to shoot for what Fogg calls “training automaticity” -- in the case of practicing banjo, I’m going to try a new approach and identify a more relevant anchor. Fun!
 Want to give 3 Tiny Habits a try?  Join here!