Why Blogging is so Interesting for Organisations in the LinkedIn Era

March 31, 2011

Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post about the pros and contras of blogging.

Blogging might benefit companies and organizations even more when they empower their employees to use LinkedIn (and other social media).

Like I wrote last week it starts for companies with rethinking the relationships with their employees first.

But let’s assume that there is enough trust, then LinkedIn might be a gigantic lever for a company when they blog.

Let’s look at some numbers:

  1. The larger the organization, the more people can contribute once in a while. If you have only 50 people writing 1 blog post a year, you already have enough content for a whole year.
    1. Remark: in reality you will see that there is a small group of people who are already writing and would love to contribute on a very regular basis. Just ask around who is interested.
  2. When you link your blog to your personal LinkedIn profile and your Company Profile it is automatically updated.
    1. If you are the only person working in your organization, the “leverage factor” is not so big: 1 blog post is shown on 1 LinkedIn Profile and on 1 Company Profile (if you don’t have one read the benefits of setting up a Company Profile). Let’s assume a person has on average 50 connections on LinkedIn and a small business has 30 followers via their Company Profile. Then the potential readership via LinkedIn is 80.
    2. But if you are working for an organization with 1.000 colleagues then the “leverage factor” increases to 52.000.
      1. 1.000 colleagues times 50 connections = 50.000
      2. 2.000 people following the Company Profile = 2.000

Of course, this is just the potential. Not everybody reads the blog posts on their connections’ profiles.

But you can increase the chances:

  • Ask everybody to mention the blog post in a Status Update.
  • Ask people who have a Twitter account to mention it there as well.
  • Ask (a select group of) people to post it as a Discussion in the Groups.

Big remark: people will only take these proactive steps if the blog posts are interesting and helping other people. So they need to contain free tips and they can’t be sales pitches.

In this way the potential readership can be increased even more.

Let’s assume that:

  1. 200 people share it via a LinkedIn Status Update times 50 connections: 10.000 extra potential views.
  2. 100 people share it via their Twitter account times 50 followers: 5.000 extra potential views.
  3. 50 people share it via a post in a LinkedIn Discussion with a membership of 1.000 people per Group: 50.000 extra potential views.

Result: in total we have 112.000 potential views.

Even if only 1% of the potential readers actually reads it, then your blog post still has 1.120 readers.

An extra benefit is that this blog post will end up higher in Google. Why? Google takes traffic to a webpage into account. As a result many more people will discover this blog post when searching for information on the web.

Not bad for 30 minutes work per year (assuming that you have a pool of contributors who write one blog post per year).

To your success !

Jan


LinkedIn and other Social Media invite Organizations to Think about Human Relationships

March 23, 2011

Many companies are realizing: LinkedIn and other social media are here to stay, but how can they benefit us as an organization (versus as individuals)?

The answer is: by tapping into the power of the second degree!

In this case the first degree is the management team of an organization (or other central departments like marketing or recruiting).

The second degree: all the employees of the organization.

The task at hand for the “central” unit is to help the rest of the organization by OFFERING them good content for their individual LinkedIn Profiles. When all employees put this content on their Profile their network (and people who visit their Profile) will see this. Do you see the exponential power?

If you want to be successful with this, it’s important to remember that it’s about OFFERING them content, not FORCING it upon them. The latter will create more resistance than gratitude for help.

This is how LinkedIn for example can be beneficial, but this is only the end of a process, not the beginning. And that’s where many organizations drop the ball.

Being successful with social media starts with creating a great working environment in which people are empowered and trusted. Only then organizations will really benefit from the tremendous power of LinkedIn and other social media.

Employees have always been the ambassadors of an organization.
In the past it was at parties with friends, in the gym and in the pub. Now it is also on the Internet, which makes it more visible. The latter makes organizations that are more hierarchical or “dictatorial” nervous. They are loosing control over their “slaves”.

LinkedIn and other social media invite organizations to look inside again and work on human relationships first. They invite organizations to rethink why these people are working together and how the talents of each individual can be recognized and allowed to show and grow for the greater good of the organization.

In other words the “new” media invite us to connect with each other again as the wonderful, talented and inspired human beings we are and to invite each other to live up to our potential.

And isn’t that what it has always been and always will be about?

To your success !

Jan


To blog or not to blog: do’s and don’ts when business blogging

March 16, 2011

In our training courses the topic of blogging comes up every time when we talk about raising visibility and being more referrable. So I thought it was time to share a few experiences and suggestions.

There are many articles and blog posts written about blogging (and please check them out as well) so I will limit myself to business blogging from a networking/referrals point of view.

My most important advice is to share tips and experiences. Don’t make it a platform to sell your stuff (or other’s). Good content is the basis.

The pros of blogging for your business are:

  • It raises your Know, Like and Trust factor:
    • Know factor: readers get more insight who you are as an individual or as (a representative of) an organization.
    • Like factor: since you share tips without wanting anything in return people start to like you more.
    • Trust factor: if you write about your professional expertise it shows people you are the expert you claim to be.
  • It makes you more referrable: it is easier for other people to talk about you and refer people to you: “Jan Vermeiren is an expert about networking, LinkedIn and referrals, but you don’t have to believe me, just check out his blog and you will find out yourself.”
  • It might help you get higher in Google and other search engines (Google loves content and prefers it over “normal” websites).
  • It reinforces the other things you do. What happens a lot with us is that someone hears about me from someone else or reads an interview with me, they read the blog, they sign up for the free networking e-course or the free light version of “Let’s Connect!” or “How to REALLY use LinkedIn”, check my LinkedIn Profile and then call us to do a presentation or give a workshop.

In other words: a blog is part of a mix that reinforces your brand and supports your business in an indirect way.

When NOT to start blogging:

  • If you are not in there for the long run.
  • If the theme or purpose of the blog is not clear. This is not so much for the readers, but for yourself. The clearer this is, the easier it is to find the inspiration. As a consequence the theme can’t be too big or too small.
  • If you want short term results. It takes time to build a following.
  • If you only want to take or sell something and not want to give or share first.
  • If it takes you too much time to write. However, there are solutions: do a podcast (= you talk instead of write) or record your tips and have someone else make a transcription.

If you don’t take this into account, it is better not to start blogging. It might backfire on you: when people see that the last blog post is of 2003 or that you “gave up” after posting a few tips they might wonder whether you are still in business or not.

But if you do it the right way, it will help you to be more referrable and attract more business.

To your success !

Jan


The Person I Want to Connect With on LinkedIn Only Has A Few Connections. Now What?

March 10, 2011

One of the (many) misunderstandings about a professional networking website like LinkedIn (or Xing, Ecademy, Viadeo and others) is that it doesn’t work when the people you are looking for are not active on them.

The major benefit of LinkedIn is that it shows us who is connected to whom.

Or in other words: who can introduce us to the customer, partner, employer, employee, investor, expert or other person who we want to meet.

So it doesn’t matter that much whether they are active or not.

To get in contact with the people you want to meet, always think of these three steps:
1) Use a professional networking website as a research database to see who is connected to whom.
2) Pick up the telephone and call the person you both know.
3) Ask to be introduced via a regular email (in the book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” I call it the Magic Mail; if you want to know what that is, you are welcome to join a free LinkedIn Fundamentals webinar in English or Dutch, or if you can’t wait, just buy the book :-))

To your success !

Jan

PS: get your free light version and free updates (50 pages in the meanwhile!) of the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (or in Dutch: het boek Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken)


How CEO’s can have a LinkedIn Profile without being stalked by Sales Reps and Other People

March 3, 2011

Last week I shared that it is important for CEO’s to have an attractive LinkedIn Profile for marketing, PR and recruiting purposes.

Some organisations recognize the value in these tips, but still many CEO’s don’t have a Profile on LinkedIn. The main reason (next to fear of the unknown and not understanding the value of LinkedIn since nobody ever explained it to them)?

They don’t want to be stalked by sales people (or at least the annoying ones :-)).

The good news is that LinkedIn has many ways to protect privacy and to limit the number of invitation requests, messages and emails.

You can find them in “settings” (click on the small arrow next to your name and it will pop up).

For CEO’s it might come in handy to use these settings (under Email Notifications):
– Contact Settings -> I’ll only accept Introductions.
– Invitation Filtering -> Only invitations from people who appear in my “Imported Contacts” list.

In this way no pesky sales person can stalk you while enjoying the marketing and PR benefits of having a LinkedIn Profile.

To your success !

Jan

PS: get your free light version and free updates (50 pages in the meanwhile!) of the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (or in Dutch: het boek Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken)


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