Posts Tagged ‘linkedin’

The Power of Personality within Social Media

conanIt’s become very clear over the past few years, you need to have personality to succeed in social media. Every brand that thrives in the long term understands this reality.

One of the best examples of this proposition is Conan O’Brien – and, yes, it is fair to call him a digital brand just like most celebrities who spent time connecting with their audience online.

He’s someone who all digital marketers can learn from.

Conan has become a master of interpreting his real personality into the online world, and offers a lot of great lessons for digital marketers in any industry.

His latest stunt was starting a LinkedIn profile and embedding it with the same touch of humour and levity that he did on Facebook and Twitter.

He describes himself as “CEO of Conan”, and his experience includes being a “temporary consultant” on The Tonight Show from June 2009 to February 2010.

For Conan to displays his quirky personality on a fairly dry and utterly professional network like LinkedIn shows any it is possible for any brand to have a personality.

It is important consumers be allowed to connect with your true brand. This doesn’t mean your brand has to be funny or edgy;  it just means you need to be fully replicated in the online world.

If you do this you are going to find a lot of success!

Do you show your brand’s true personality in social media, or are you holding back?

Onward and Upward for Twitter

Everyone’s favourite yapping bird is back at it as Twitter continues to attract more users.

According to its official account, Twitter now has more than 200 million users; an increase of 60 million since March, 2012. Any way you want to slice and dice it, this is impressive.

As eye-catching is there are more 400 million tweets posted a day. It’s almost impossible to wrap your mind around that statistic.

What does Twitter’s continued growth mean in the grand scheme of things?

For one, it means the new rolled out by Twitter over the past couple of years have raised the bar and resonated with users.

It means that Twitter’s rivals are either irrelevant or don’t exist. Anyone heard from App.net recently?

It could also mean that people who weren’t getting Twitter before are getting more involved, although many Twitter users never tweet.

Twitter was never niche but compared to Facebook, it was a strange creature to many non-users. The numbers over the past nine month could mean that Twitter is appealing to all demographics in some capacity.

For digital marketers and other relevant parties, it means if you aren’t exploiting Twitter in some shape, way or form, you are probably missing out.

Given Twitter is bigger than ever, it is becoming more important to have a clear plan about how you want to capitalize on it. Your audience is there and more engaged than ever.

One of the big questions should be how high can Twitter soar? Has it peaked or is 200 million active users just the beginning?

What do you think Twitter’s recent growth means to the social media landscape?

More: Speaking of 200 million, LinkedIn recently said it now has 200 million members.

LinkedIn Plays the Follow Game

linkedinIf you’ve figured out how to hang out on LinkedIn and truly enjoy yourself or make a meaningful contact, you’re way ahead of the average social media user.

The 175 million-member site has long been a must-join, but many users are still working to figure out how to more effectively use the service.

People like me have hundreds of contacts, but the question is: “Now what? How do I really take advantage of all these contacts?”

Yes, LinkedIn can be a great vehicle for people on job hunts but for many people, LinkedIn is still work in progress.

Some professional industries do use the site as a central gathering point but it mass appeal is not there yet.

That could change with LinkedIn’s plan to let users follow other users without needing approval — a la Twitter.

This is a start, even though it is just a test drive, as the site lets users follow 150 thought leaders, including Barack Obama and Richard Branson.

LinkedIn says it plans to extend this new approach to all users in future. The experiment could make the site, or take away its core value.

There’s always been something solid, if not unspectacular, about LinkedIn. Letting celebrities rule the roost is bound to change the vibe to the more gossipy instead of informative.

Yet it will also open things up for marketers. The ability to become a thought leader, build a large network and speak to a wider audience has huge potential.

LinkedIn’s charm may be the fact it’s not glitzy so, hopefully, it can grow without losing the things that has made it so compelling.

 

 

Is Twitter Getting Desperate?

twitterSay goodbye to Twitter.

It’s not disappearing but the Twitter that we’ve known and loved is riding off into the sunset. The new Twitter is more focused on making business, and less concerned about playing nice with others.

Twitter’s makeover was thrust into the spotlight on Friday when it unveiled the end of its tweet syndication with LinkedIn.

It means Twitter will no longer allow for the syndication of tweets inside LinkedIn that included features such as threaded conversations.

In a blog post, Twitter’s Michael Sippey said the decision reflects the “increasing importance of us providing the core Twitter consumption experience through a consistent set of products and tools” and how developers should not “build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience.”

“Make Twitter Even Better”

While Twitter is spinning this decision as a way to “make Twitter even better”, it’s a move that will abruptly and irrevocably change how people use Twitter, the delightful buffet of third-party services available, and the creativity of developers.

The way to translate Sippey’s blog is the company is tired of people using feature-rich third-party services to use Twitter.

This is a big problem because the third-party players using Twitter’s API have created services that are better and more user-friendly than Twitter.com. At the same time, these players have been building businesses by offering premium services and ads.

Throw a Party But No One Comes

This must be frustrating to Twitter, which has been scrambling to improve Twitter.com over the past year. It is like throwing a party but few people come because you decided to share your invitation list and DJ’s selections with people hosting other parties.

The question many people are asking is why Twitter has become so strident about how third-party developers use its API. The availability of the “fire hose” or parts of it has been a major part of how Twitter has established such a huge global footprint.

The simple answer is Twitter has become desperate as its scrambles to build a viable business to justify its sky-high valuation. As a result, it now makes little sense to support rivals who are luring away users and advertisers.

In the short term, Twitter will be criticized and its developer community will not be as vibrant or creative.

In the long-term, Twitter is counting on getting more financial leverage from its 500 million users around the world. It’s a tough decision but a necessary evil for Twitter as its aggressively goes from a popular project to lucrative business.

For more, Dalton Caldwell has a good post talking about the battle within Twitter between people who believed the company’s core business should be data, and those who wanted to pursue a business built on advertising.

AllThingsD’s Mike Isaac wonders about what Twitter’s move means for companies such as Flipboard that mimic Twitter’s experience.

Social Media Under Attack from Hackers…Again

One of the oldest and ongoing stories in social media over the past decade has been written by hackers.

From supposed Nigerian princes looking for a few bucks to old friends contacting you on Facebook because they’re in a jam, hackers graduated from e-mail to social networks to prey on the unsuspecting.

Recently, a hacker stole 6.5 million passwords from Linkedin, and before you brush it off by thinking, “So what? The worse they can do is apply to a job I’m not qualified for”, remember this is an enormous breach of security.

Now reports are surfacing the popular online dating network,eHarmony, has had many of its users’ passwords hacked and stolen(or as they put it nicely…”compromised”).

This is probably just the beginning of hackers infiltrating popular networks, and “compromising” passwords and personal data. So what can be done?

Social networks need to focus a bit less on marketing for the next little while, and turn their attention to security and good public relations. The savvy users have been nervous for some time, and soon everyone will be on board.

The worst part of this (or to some the most interesting) is this particular hacker, named “dwdm”, is stealing and posting passwords to popular social networks sites merely to prove his worth. It’s a move based on anarchy, and it will happen again.

Without mythologizing hackers to any further extent than needed, it is dependent on the social networks to band together and combat this threat. The next move might be the most pivotal; lets hope it is made by the companies and not the hackers.

Click here for details on how to find out if your Linkedin password was hacked.

LinkedIn: The Sneaky Social Platform?

During a meeting recently with a large PR agency discussing different approaches to social media, one of their executives described LinkedIn as “the sneaky social platform that no one is paying much attention to”.

Not surprisingly, this caught my attention given LinkedIn has more than 100 million members, and I’ve never heard anyone describe it as “sneaky”.

What the PR person meant was that LinkedIn is being leveraged in ways that may capture the spotlight. While LinkedIn is seen as a professional social service to publish your resume and make digital connections, the PR person also identified two other key benefits:

1. Website traffic referrals. While Facebook and Twitter attract most of the attention when it comes to sharing links to Websites, blogs and articles, LinkedIn is also becoming a bigger and more interesting player to drive traffic as professionals show more of an appetite for social sharing.

2. Targeted advertising: Unlike a Twitter, which relies on the information that people provide within their bios to provide advertisers with information about users, or Facebook, which is more of a personal social network, the details that LinkedIn user provide makes it easier to accurately pursue target audiences.

If anything, it’s an interesting perspective on LinkedIn and how it can be more effectively leveraged beyond making new connections.

In particular, the Website traffic referral angle is intriguing because social sharing can be an effective and powerful way to drive more attention, especially as content marketing gains more traction.

I would suggest this kind of referral traffic could have more oomph due to the “quality” of the people do the sharing and the kind of content they’re sharing.

In a recent blog post, Compete asked whether LinkedIn was becoming more of a “personal professional network”, while Buzz12 talks about how 25% of its referral traffic comes from LinkedIn.

What are your thoughts about LinkedIn? Do you see it as an attractive traffic referral and advertising platform?

GetHired.com Reinvents the Hiring Process

Last month, GetHired.com launched and it is evolving the hiring and finding a job process; a process that most would agree has become rather stale and generic.

GetHired is an interactive forum that lets users upload video resumes, and in turn, lets people looking to hire the opportunity to dig deeper than a paper resume.

GetHired was co-founded by 28-year-old Suki Shah, who dealt with the constant frustration of hiring employees at his medical diagnostics company. This is a reality many owners, managers and human resources departments encounter.

Even though it only has one of the functional elements of Linkedin, GetHired could start taking a bigger piece of the professional social networking pie. I wouldn’t be surprised if this trumped VisualCV by a large margin.

It was only a matter of time before social media and the web weighed in on the outdated hiring process. We’ll have to monitor to see where GetHired goes from here, but it is already generating some buzz. The multimedia resume approach seems like far a more interesting way to search for hires, and the dividends should pay off for both parties in the long run.

One of the more fascinating aspects is users can have their voice and thoughts heard by potential employers. Instead of simply sending their resume into cyberspace, they can open a window into their personality while having calmer nerves that most would in an interview.

GetHired could replace many of the current web tools used by recruiters, and, in fact, recruiters might turn out to be their greatest and loudest advocate. Another fan will surely be graduates seeking their first job out of school.

Now if only we could create a website where users could post videos aimed at firing people.

Is LinkedIn a Leading Economic Indicator?

One of the more interesting developments during the last economic recession in 2008/2009 was how more people embraced LinkedIn to expand their networks.

It made sense to grow personal networks – albeit a digital ones – because as people lost their jobs or became more concerned about the possibility of losing their jobs, they realized the importance and value of having a network to leverage when and if required.

Another angle to LinkedIn’s embrace was how many people realized their networks weren’t deep enough. My thesis is the more we rely on digital networking via social media services, the less attention we pay to real-world networks in which we connect with real people in the real (aka analog) world.

Over the past couple of years, it has been interesting to see how many people have focused on bridging the gap between digital and real-world networks. There are people who are bringing the two worlds together by going to conferences, coffee, meetups and events such as DemoCamp and Third Tuesday.

I think this activity had much to do with the recognition that extensive digital networks are useful but when push comes to shove, it’s important to have connection that have more depth – something that happens when you meet someone, even if it’s only once.

The idea of LinkedIn becoming a leading economic indicator popped to the surface over the last couple of days amid a flurry of requests to connect. I’m not exactly sure why this is happening.

It could be that LinkedIn’s “People You May Know” has become better so clicking on “Connect” makes sense. It could be I’ve become more active on LinkedIn so perhaps I’m appearing in more searches.

Another theory is as global economic conditions more even more volatile and uncertain, people have once again recognized that having an extensive network is important. So, more people may be turning to LinkedIn as a way to jump-start the size and potential impacts of their networks.

What do you think?

Are more people getting involved with LinkedIn because the service is becoming more popular and seen as something every person needs to do professionally? Or has LinkedIn become popular because more people need to enhance their networks quickly to prepare themselves for an economic downturn?

Is There Room for a New, Big Social Media Player?

Last week, we took a look at Unthink, which is looking to establish itself as an alternative social network to Facebook.

As more people become concerned about Facebook’s dominance and approach to privacy, Unthink is looking to establish a foothold by giving users control over their profiles and all their information. So far, it has attracted more than 100,000 registered members.

It is an encouraging start but it is difficult to say whether people are simply curious about Unthink or seriously interested in the idea of a new social networking service.

As much as people may like to complain about Facebook, you’re not seeing a wave of defections to the revamped MySpace or startups such as Diaspora. Instead, most people are sticking with Facebook because, after all, their friends and family are there.

So what would it take for a new social networking service to catch fire? Is it possible for a new player to wiggle its way into the top tier along with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+? (Note: For the sake of argument, I don’t consider Google+ a new social player given Google’s search dominance.)

One of the challenges facing a social startup is it has to have more than just more features than the incumbents. A good example is Pownce, which had more bells and whistles than Twitter but, for whatever, reason didn’t have Twitter’s buzz or cache. As a result, Pownce disappeared into the bowels of TypePad.

To capture enough users to become an established player, a social startup needs to have a service that’s user-friendly with almost no learning curve or “grit”, and strikes people as cool and happening. It would also help to have a few high-profile mavens such as Robert Scoble and Walt Mossberg embrace it in a major way.

Even this may not be enough to get a social start-up over the hump. The gap from the bleed-edge/leading-edge to mass adoption is huge. As much as online users are finicky and not terribly loyal, many social media users are creatures of habit. Once they establish a presence, build a community and integrate a social media service into their personal and/or professional lives, it’s hard to leave.

For a new social media service to close the gap, it needs a combination of great timing, luck, a service that delights for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t necessarily have to been chock-a-block with features but it just needs to do a few things really well with perhaps a few interesting wrinkles.

In many respects, we’re talking about a David vs. Goliath world in which startups battle against large and well-entrenched market leaders. It’s not an impossible task but it would take a lot of things to unfold in the right way to materialize.

What do you think? What would it take for a startup to become a top-tier social networking player?

 

Is Turntable.fm the Best Example of Social Media?

At its core, social media is about connections, and the most powerful connections are the emotional variety.

Facebook nails the emotional connection with expert precision, Twitter merely orbits it and LinkedIn is too professional and polished to allow for anything of the sort. Some believe that the next great social media treasure is right around the corner…..and it is not Google+.

Turntable.fm is a music based social media arena with a game element twist, and it takes emotional connectivity to a staggering 11.

It allows people to find and download (via itunes with a simple click) any kind of music. Even better, it allows users to connect with others who like similar music or can’t help but get choked up over that one guilty pleasure song (maybe a classic Ace of Base tune circa 1993, just saying).

The format of Turntable.fm is chat rooms focused on a genre or era of music that have  DJs (sometimes up to five, taking turns) playing songs relevant to the room. Users click on a meter that lets them rate the song choice from lame to awesome on a scale. Right off the bat, you can see why this would have universal appeal.

Turntable.fm uses the connective powers of music to allow people to naturally connect, and this will have secondary benefits to Facebook and possibly Twitter and LinkedIn. These connections can be profound enough to let people take the friendship off Turntable.fm and onto other forums.

One of the elements of LinkedIn is that it is based on purely professional connections and relationships. This means when we are engaged to LinkedIn, we use our persona and professional tones to deliver an image – it is a continuous job interview. Something of the nature of Turntable.fm removes that mask, because we connect through art and something as communal and universal as music.

Turntable.fm is already extremely popular and it should become a huge success. How far it reaches will depends on a number of factors but even from an outsider perspective, it appears they it understands the game and the human element that drives the game.