The reason why I have decided to shrink my LinkedIn network

LinkedIn Network Face

The reason why I have decided to shrink my LinkedIn network 

Yesterday I downloaded my connections list from LinkedIn and exported it into Excel. There is a new service being launched by Edenchanges in March specifically for recruiters and I wanted to ensure that my sales and email database had all my recruitment contacts in it from all my various networks.

As I was processing the contact list and removing all the non-recruitment clients it struck me just how few actual recruitment connections I have given that I spend the vast majority of my time working with recruiters.

Whilst I have over 4,500 LinkedIn connections what I discovered yesterday was that only around half are in the recruitment field. If my connections more accurately reflected how my time is split then the number would be much closer to 4,000.

Yesterday it took me quite a while to filter through the non-recruitment contacts to generate a list of names and people who I could present the new service to. Like everyone I hate irrelevant emails so I I worked hard yesterday to ensure that everyone I will email about the new service is in the recruitment field.

As I was wading through the names I couldn’t help but think how much easier this would have been if I had been more selective in my networking on LinkedIn.  

Now it can be argued that simply having a large number of connections is a good thing. It’s something that early in my time on LinkedIn I strongly argued. Indeed I blogged about it (How Many LinkedIn Connections Should I Have?) back in 2011 but since then my thoughts have been shifting. In 2012, in this article (Removing LinkedIn Connections) I advocated a large network but I offered the thought that you might want to focus your network.

During 2013 I thought about this a lot and started to really examine how people use their LinkedIn networks and where business tends to come from. That thinking combined with my experience yesterday has brought me to the firm conclusion that the best type of network is a large one that is in proportion to a person’s target market.

Consequently as I do 90% of my work in the recruitment field so 90% of my contacts should be in that market and to that end I am now in the process of removing contacts that don’t fit with the aim of reaching a 9:1 ratio of recruiters to non-recruiters in my network by the end of the exercise.

Yesterday was a specific event – going through the contacts and sorting them out and as such not enough reason in itself to keep a focused network. Rather it was for me a practical illustration of what I have been witnessing during 2013.

In 2013 I either saw people win business through LinkedIn with established contacts who they already knew fairly well and were simply keeping in touch with via LinkedIn or people won business from industry specific contacts. I didn’t witness any business won in a new industry simply as a result of a connection on LinkedIn; either by myself or anyone I worked with last year.

Yesterday when I was going through the list the people I recognised were, for the vast majority, in the recruitment sector. And those who I didn’t know were mostly outside of the recruitment sector and on inspection didn’t look like they would be likely clients.

I had simply connected with them at some point. What I realise now is that has little value and is in fact a detriment. So it’s time to trim down and focus my network where the bulk of my business comes from – recruiters!

I will talk more next week about how I am selecting who to remove and who to keep in an article entitled “How to Create a More Focused and Profitable LinkedIn Network”.

So those are my thoughts at the start of 2014 – what are your opinions on this?

Until next time, be successful;

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com

How to Manage LinkedIn Skills and Recommendations

LinkedIn Guidance

How to Manage LinkedIn Skills and Recommendations

It’s important that your LinkedIn profile looks good to both the casual and more serious viewer. This then is an article on maintaining a tidy looking profile despite the best meaning intentions of your networked connections!

Last year LinkedIn introduced the ability to list specific skills that you feel you have on your profile in a way that your connections could then give you a ‘plus point’ against that skill. All good and straight forward. However your connections also have the option to give you a ‘plus point’ for a skill that you haven’t listed. In case you haven’t experienced that then it looks like the following:

Screenshot One

Image showing the LinkedIn endorsements that you can be given by your connections

The above is a direct screen shot from my profile this morning. None of the above skills are currently listed on my profile. All of the above skills are being suggested as additions by my connections. The next logical question should be –

Do I have the above skills or am I skilled at any of the above things?

Err … well yes … all of them in fact to a lesser or greater degree but and this is a really important – I don’t want to list them on my profile. There are a couple of reasons for that. And these are things that you should consider for yourself as well:

1) No list of skills is ever going to be totally comprehensive. You might be able to list all the attributes of a machine by component but you can’t do that of a person.

A person is far greater than their ‘skills’ and the smart person will be able to turn their innate abilities towards a new area with some success. Thus, it could be argued that we are all skilled at everything just to different levels of competency!

In all seriousness trying to fully outline yourself via the LinkedIn skills list is a futile exercise.

2) That said I do believe it is good to list some skills, so that people know what you might be able to help them with. The thing is only you truly know what your core skills are or exactly which ones you want to promote to your market place via your LinkedIn profile.

I would recommend you put some serious thought into producing a focused list of five to ten skills which should read well to your potential clients or future network.

3) I want my profile to look clean, crisp and smart. When you add more than ten skills to your profile they start to stack up underneath in, what looks to me, an ugly fashion – see below

Screenshot 2

LinkedIn Skills screen shot

As a comparison see what happens when you list ten or fewer skills:

LinkedIn Skills and Recommendations Compared

LEFT SIDE = More than ten skills listed RIGHT SIDE = Fewer than ten skills listed

Click the image to see it full size

4) People only read so much – if you list too many skills, regardless of any questions of aesthetics, it’s more for people to read and potentially it’s too much. Given a strong profile will use most of the 1000 characters available for the summary and current role you are looking at several hundred words of important text which have to be read, or skimmed past, prior to the skills being seen. Add in too many of those and I think it’s overload.

So in conclusion my recommendation would be to ignore the additional skills that people recommend you for. (Do this by clicking the Skip button which you can see in screenshot one) . The individuals don’t get notified and won’t realise that you declined their attempt at being nice.

For completeness let me mention that there is a third option and that is you can remove the skills you don’t want to accept a recommendation for and only accept the ones that remain. (You do this by clicking on the grey ‘x’ next to the skill – see screenshot one). I feel about that exactly as I do about accepting all of them and frankly I think the best route is to ‘skip’.

So what about you – do you accept all, accept some or skip all? Let me know in the comment section below.

Until next time, be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com
 

LinkedIn’s New Status Update Feature Explained and Explored

LinkedIn Guidance

LinkedIn’s New Status Update Feature Explained and Explored

The latest feature from LinkedIn is being rolled out at the moment. If you haven’t got it already then it should just be a matter of days before your LinkedIn system changes.

This new feature is very similar to Facebook in that when you type the name of a contact or company LinkedIn offers to link to that person’s profile or the company’s LinkedIn page.

The following screen shots show you what happens. 

Screenshot One

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 01

When your profile gets the new feature this will appear.

Screenshot Two

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 02

As you type your status update the system prompts you with likely matches.

Screenshot Three

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 03
Names that you select will be highlighted with a shading as you type you update.

Screenshot Four

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 04

When you post your update the names will be highlighted as a click able link. If a link is clicked on you will be taken to the person’s profile or the company’s LinkedIn page.

If you don’t want to make the name a link then simply don’t click on the suggestion when it comes up. You have to actively select for the link to occur which I’m pleased to say means we all get to stay in control of our own status updates!

Be aware of this Addition FeatureSay nice things

Feature LimitationsFeature limits

So that’s the new feature explained but the bigger topic perhaps is how to use this new feature to your best advantage.

I’m still thinking about this myself to be honest so the following are just my initial ideas. What I’d love is to hear how you might use this feature … please do add your thoughts in the comments section.

Use it to help people make connections with your clients or suppliers

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 04

So I posted the above status update which refers to a training session I delivered at the Larson Group. Now they are what I’d describe as a ‘progressive recruitment company’ i.e. they treat their staff well, invest in them and manage them like adults. They also have big expansion plans and have just moved to brand new offices in the centre of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

I know they are actively looking for new consultants, both experienced and newbies to the recruitment industry so I thought I’d be helpful and mention this in a status update. Because of this new feature people can quickly and easily click through to the relevant profiles.

So that’s one way you can use it.

Pro’s – your clients or providers will no doubt appreciate the shout out so you gain some brownie points also it might help others for whom the update is relevant and you get to mention that you are working with a particular company which shows your network you are busy

Con’s – all your competitors now know at least one of your clients so it’s best only to do it when you are happy that you have a really rock solid relationship with the company. A lot of recruiters read these articles and I wouldn’t recommend recruiters mention their clients by name in their status updates. Whilst it would help candidates look up who the role is with it would also potentially lead to the candidates applying directly or rival recruiters following up, what to them, will be a tasty lead.

Suggestion – Do if you can but use with caution.

Use it to highlight your colleagues and company

If you posted something like

“My experienced colleague Frank Smith at ACME Supplies Ltd is attending the NEC Conference on Digital Widgets today. He’s interested in talking to any Widget manufacture who needs a supplier of X”

Then you would promote to your network where Frank was, as well as them having a quick click link to his profile.

Pro’s – get’s your colleague and company name out there in front of your network

Con’s – if your network is not directly in the same market as Frank then it’s potentially a pointless advert which if done too often might lower your reputation

Suggestion – pick colleagues whose work your network might be interested in and always mention the company name in the status update to maximise the impact

Summary

Over to you now – what other uses can you think of for this feature? Comment below!

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com
PS The official LinkedIn blog about this feature can be found here

Another Easy Tip To Instantly and Easily Increase Productivity

Reversed out image of a watch - another efficiency tip

Another Easy Tip To Instantly and Easily Increase Productivity

So following on from the very popular article I wrote a week ago on saving yourself time online by using the Google book mark toolbar here is an equally easy and effective tip for saving yourself time in Windows 7.

(As an aside I’m advised by several IT professionals that you’re better off sticking with Windows 7 rather than upgrading to Windows 8 – their the pro’s so I share that without being able to judge but as every tech I have spoken to has said the same thing there might be something in it!)

This tip is going to give you instant, once click access to the programs of your choice and to the files of your choice!

Activating the Taskbar

The bar of icons that appears at the bottom of your screen in Windows 7 is called the task bar – it’s the glassy looking ribbon that has the windows logo in the left hand hand side.

To create instant short cuts what we need to do is set up the task bar so that we can pin short cuts to it. And this is very easy to do!

Step One

Move your mouse over the task bar and right click to bring up the following menu.

Windows & Task bar properties menu - activate it by right clicking on the Windows 7 taskbar

Make sure that the box next to Lock the taskbar is clear i.e. no tick in it. And make sure there is a tick in the box next to Use small icons – as we want to have as much space to work in as possible.

(Aside – if you have a widescreen computer screen or laptop then you should also locate the task bar on the left to maximise your up and down viewing area)

Second Step – Open up a program that you use a lot

I’m going to use Paint.net as an example (it’s a free drawing package that I use for photo-manipulations).

Once the program has opened right click on the program icon in the task bar and a menu will pop up as shown below – I’ve added the red box to illustrate the bit you want

Right click this

Left click on Pin this program to taskbar and the program will now be pinned to the task bar. That it – job done!

Now when you shut the program down the icon will stay in the task bar and the next time you want to open the program you can simply click once on the icon and it will open. 

No more having to click on the windows icon and navigating to the program you want. As as I talked about before saving seconds add up when you repeat the activity multiple times. Also having one click access to your most used programs makes for a more streamlined experience which reduces the stress of using your computer – which has to be a good thing doesn’t it!

Taking things further and making things even more efficient

So now you can have one click access to your favourite programs lets take it further and give you two click access to your most used files …

How to create a link to a specific program

If you regularly open up the same files, for whatever reason, it would be efficient if you have virtually instant access to them so let’s do that.

There are two ways to do this – the first is the way most of you will use so let’s talk about that one.

Step One

First open the file that you are wanting to create a link to. For my example I’m going to use a Powerpoint slideshow that I use when I deliver the first session of my Management training.

Then right click on the program icon on the taskbar which will open up the following menu.

Screenshot of how to pin a file to the toolbar in Windows 7 - which also lists a few of the courses that Edenchanges runs

You will see that it is split into three sections. The first section shows you any specific files that are opened by this program that you have previous pinned. In my example that is the course Selling through LinkedIn. The current file that is open, and the one that I want to now pin is the Management Introduction file.

Step Two

All you have to do is hover the mouse over the file name and click on the pin icon that will appear next to it. As shown below:

Pin icon

And now that document will appear, forever, in the Pinned section of the shortcut menu. As shown below:

Pinned now

And when I say forever I mean until you repeat the process but this time unpin it by click on the pin icon again. It really is that simple!

By doing this you now have two click access to any file of your choice or one click access to the program of your choice.

Link to Folders

As a final tip for this week you can also link to folders using the same process – simply open Windows Explorer – pin that program as shown above and then select the specific folder(s) that you want to have quick access to and pin them as I showed you above with individual files.

In Summary

If you have Windows 7 then you should be doing the above – there is no reason for anyone to be clicking through menu after menu to finally get access to the program or file that they want. Save yourself time and increase your efficiency by setting up some instant links!

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com

One Easy Tip To Instantly and Easily Increase Productivity

Efficiency through setting up online book marks

One Easy Tip To Instantly and Easily Increase Productivity

Okay so here are two questions for you – do you go online much and do you want to increase your productivity?  I’m just going to assume the answer is yes to both of those!

I’m also going to assume that you have certain websites that you use frequently – whether these are social media sites, forums or other web locations. Wouldn’t is be nice if you had instant access to those sites or your pages on those sites?

For example if you use LinkedIn wouldn’t it be great to be able to, with a single click, go direct to your inbox rather than that normal home page?

Let me show you how.

For this tutorial I’m assuming you are using the Google Chrome browser. (If you use a different browser I believe the principles are much the same.)

To start with you need to activate the Google bookmark tool bar and make sure that it is displayed on your machine as this will give you permanent access to your short cuts all the time you are using that browser.

Activating the Google Bookmark Tool Bar

Using the keyboard press and hold down CONTROL and SHIFT and then press B.

This toggles the bookmark tool-bar on and off. (If a tool bar just disappeared off your screen then press the above combination again to bring the bar back.)

Alternatively – If you don’t like using the keyboard to do this you can click on the three line icon that is displayed on the top right hand side of Google Chrome. Then click on Bookmarks and Show Bookmarks Bar

However you have done it lets now add a short cut to your bookmark bar.

Adding a Short Cut to the Bookmark Tool Bar

Step One

Go to a website that you use frequently and would like to have an instant link to on your toolbar – I’m using Quora.com as my example.

Then highlight the web address until it is blue – as shown below

B2

Step Two

Left click anywhere within the blue highlight text area and, holding the left mouse button down, drag the address down until it is over the bookmark bar.

You can move it left and right along the bar and a black line indicates where it will be placed once you let go – as shown below – 

B3

My Quora link is about to be added to my Google bookmark tool bar between my Pinterest short cut and my tumbler short cut.

Step Three and Finished!

When you have the black line in the right place simply let go of the mouse button and the short cut link will be placed in the bookmark bar – as shown below and highlighted with the red arrow 

Google bookmark efficiency tip

Now when you want to go to the bookmarked site you can simply click on the icon shown on your tool bar – instant access!

Now we have done the basics lets look at using bookmarks cleverly…

Using Bookmarks Cleverly

A clever way to use bookmarks is to use exact ones – i.e. use ones that direct you not just to a website but to a specific part of a website.

So for example in the image above you can see that I have four blue W icons with different text next to them. Those are four different links to different parts of the Edenchanges website which is hosted on WordPress.

With the four links I can jump directly to the part that I want rather than just going to the front page and then navigating from there. All these things save only a few seconds but those seconds add up when you consider how often you are online.

Many of you reading this will use LinkedIn a lot so you might want to set up a direct link to your LinkedIn inbox rather than your main LinkedIn page – or indeed set up both.

The power of this technique is that you can set a link to any specific address on the internet. 

Editing Bookmarks – Let me now show you how to edit your bookmarks.

Editing Step One – Simply move your mouse over the shortcut that you want to change and RIGHT CLICK. That will bring up the dialogue box shown below

B4

You can edit a number of things about the link but let me show you one particularly neat trick which helps you save some space on the toolbar.

You can only have one bar of bookmarks so it’s possible to run out of space and not have all of the saved links displayed at the same time. Whilst they are still available via a drop down menu this isn’t as efficient as I want it so let’s save some space on the toolbar and thus make room for more bookmarks!

Saving Space on the Toolbar Example

Do Editing Step One above and then click on Edit as shown above.

This will bring up a dialogue box which lists the name of the link (which appears on the toolbar and the link itself – as shown below

The website name is listed ‘QUORA’ in this example and to remove that I simply delete all the name text using BACKSPACE. B5

The toolbar now looks as follows and as you can see the icon is still there – the Q in the red box.

Tip - For new links it’s good to leave the text in until you are familiar with the icon and then you can remove the text – which is what I’m doing with the RecBlogs link shown below.Google bookmark efficiency tip

Renaming the Link Example

If you do want to leave a text description then instead of deleting the name of the site you can enter in something more memorable. The toolbar will only show 20 characters of text however so do bear that in mind.

You can see in the following example that the Advanced Marketing Institute shortcut title has been truncated by the Google toolbar. That also isn’t very helpful for me as it’s not the site I’m interested in but rather one of the tools that is available on it. (A very neat headline marketing analyser, great for anyone who writes or blogs, that I blogged about here).

Anyway let’s make the title more useful – and shorter … as we did before right click on the shortcut to bring up the first dialogue box and then click EDIT. This will give you the name text dialogue box – as shown below

B6

Now instead of deleting the text you can enter something in that works for you – keeping it to less than 20 characters. I’ve chosen to call it ‘Headline Analysis’ as that’s what it does! Click SAVE and the result is instant – as you can see below.

B7

In Summary

We all go online a lot and revisit the same sites. By using the toolbar in this way you can save considerable time, make your online travels a lot more streamline and fundamentally increase your productivity.

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com

Finding the Beautiful Rachel Weisz In My Hotel Bed

Rachael Weisz looking gorgeous - from Esquire photo shoot

Finding the Beautiful Rachel Weisz In My Hotel Bed

So there I was, walking into my hotel room late one evening after a swim in the hotel pool, when I found Rachel Weisz in all her raven haired beauty lying in my hotel bed in a very fetching red basque … okay what I mean is …

and it’s important I clarify this quickly as my lovely wife reads these blogs …

that I found Rachel where I’d left her … as you can see below …

Rachael Finding Rachael Weisz in bed or how to write blog headlines that get attention

Yes that’s right. Nothing more nefarious than Rachel appearing on the cover of Aprils edition of Esquire, the well known men’s lifestyle magazine (still available in the UK at the time of writing). 

So what’s the point? Why talk about Rachel? Or perhaps the better question is why did I take a picture of the magazine in the bed? 

The answer to both questions is that I wanted to write an eye catching blog title and I wanted it to be true.

I realise that only a few of you reading this will be blog writers but I bet that a lot of you start discussions on LinkedIn. This article is for anyone who produces blogs, articles or discussions and wants more readers!

The golden rule to remember is that the better your headline the more people will read it. The more people that read it the more people that will discuss it and accordingly the higher your profile will rise amongst your peers.

Rules for Creating a Great Headline

Rule One – Devote time to crafting a great headline

Devote around 10% of your writing time to your title. 

I know that’s quite a chunk of time to devote to what will typically be less than ten words but I think the advice is sound. If your title doesn’t draw people in then people won’t read the article and all your brilliant writing will have gone to waste.

Your headline, and your first paragraph, form the gateway to the rest of the article … devote time and craft brilliance!

Rule Two – Tell the Truth

People don’t like being conned so try to ensure that your title raises fair expectations about what people will read.

I thought of this article and the headline before I took the picture. In fact I deliberately took the picture to support the headline that I had conjured up.

Without the picture to support the title, and make a joke out of it, I don’t think this article would have worked.

So you can play a joke on your audience with your title but they shouldn’t be misled in a negative way. If they feel conned you’ve taken the joke too far and you’ll lose readers.

Rule Three – Emotional Words

We are all emotional creatures and if you can speak to the heart of your audience then you will have them excited to read what you have written.

There is an excellent free tool available from the Advance Marketing Institute which can measure the Emotional Marketing Value of your headline.

Using the headline analyser we can try out different combinations of the same title and see how they stack up. I find that using the analyser helps me refine and hone my headings. My personal aim is not to find the highest scoring headline but to use the tool as an editing process to help me write better.

Here is a genuine example of a blog title and it’s evolution using the analyser. The percentage score relates to the proportion of emotional to non-emotional words. The Marketing Institute point out that average copy writers will hit a score of 30%-40% with great copy writers getting over 55%.

The headline is first with the score below – (this article is appearing next week on Edenchanges)

How to increase productivity with the Google bookmarks toolbar
33.3%
How to instantly increase productivity with the Google bookmarks toolbar
40%
How to instantly and easily increase productivity with the Google bookmarks toolbar
41.2%
One simple tip to instantly and easily increase productivity
55.5%
One simple tip to instantly and easily increase productivity with Google
45.3%
One easy tip to instantly and easily increase productivity
66.6%

As you see through the process of getting a higher score the headline has shrunk and yet is more readable and, I think, it makes a more powerful invitation for people to read it than the earlier versions.

The analyzer isn’t perfect. It can’t cope with names and sometimes what looks and reads well to a person gets a low score and that’s okay. Take the results with a pinch of salt and at the end of the day know your audience and the message you are trying to send.

Let me end by saying thank you to the folks at Esquire and the lovely Rachel Weisz for being my inspiration this week – the April edition is still on sale in the UK. It comes this month with the free gift of one of two types of men’s skin care products (I can vouch for the moisturiser) and you can see a preview here.

I leave you to get busy crafting brilliant headlines!

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com

How to Find Business Opportunities on LinkedIn and Twitter

How to Find Business Opportunities on LinkedIn and Twitter

A social media article

If there is one thing that really bugs me about some of my fellow social media specialists its the smoke and mirrors that they so often give out to entice people to pay for a course or to sign up for coaching on social media.

They talk about how amazing social media is, how rife with opportunities but they don’t explain how or what those opportunities actually are.

But this is Edenchanges not those other folks so let me share some specifics about the opportunities that are out there.

Because you see it is true that there is a pot of gold at the end of the social media rainbow…sort of!

New Prospects – LinkedIn Tip

A new prospect is someone new that you might be able to sell to. The most focused way of identifying new prospects through social media is to use LinkedIn’s advanced search option for either people or companies.

With the Advanced People Search you can filter by job title, company name, location etc. This then generates a list of people who fit your profile of desired new clients.

With the Company Search you can also select ‘Headquarters Only’ if you want to rule out branches of companies. There are also a myriad of other settings you can tweak so you should be able to end up with a very exact list.

They aren’t actually new clients yet but a list of a hundred new prospects is a pretty strong step forward!

New clients – LinkedIn Tip and Twitter Tip

A new client is someone who wants to buy what you have to sell and yes you can directly find new clients on social media but there is a greater degree of luck in it than the searching for prospects tip that I mentioned above.

LinkedIn Tip

Join groups where your potential clients are likely to be. Then keep an active eye out for any discussions where someone asks for a recommendation to someone selling a product like yours.

And when I say ‘keep an eye out’ I mean actively check the status update emails from the group once a week or visit each of these potential client groups in person once a week. Sometimes the posts are a straight request and other times people will express frustration or irritation about something which you know your service or product would help with.

With a direct request for assistance I would do three things:

  1. Post a public comment that explains how you can help (because this shows any other readers that you supply this service / product which might prompt someone else to call you!)
  2. Send a private message to the poster to explain how you can help and saying you will be in touch 
  3. Phone the individual and develop the conversation into a sale!
I’ve personally used this technique several times and brought in new business from new clients as a result.

Twitter Tip

Much the same as above except first you Follow individuals that you are interested in doing business with and keep an eye on their twitter feed for similar requests for your product!

In that instance I’d tweet a reply and then phone the person.

As a real example of this recently someone I follow tweeted a comment about looking for a sales trainer to speak at a seminar he was running. I sent him a tweet and followed up with a call and within 48 hours the engagement was confirmed!

When to do all this

It would be remiss of me not to answer the question of ‘when’ to do all of the above. As anyone I have trained in sales will know I am a strong advocate of prior preparation.

I’d strongly recommend that you generate your list of potential clients outside of core business hours, have the data entered into whatever sales system you use and then contact them over the following days/weeks as suits your schedule and urgency level.

With regards to checking the group discussions and twitter that’s best done once a day or every other day. In sales it’s usually best to be first so I would recommend keeping a regular watch.

Summary

As a side benefit of the above activity you are going to pick up a lot of other information by reading through the discussions and twitter streams which could also have potential business benefits.

And I know that I’m going to be running the risk of sounding like those other social media specialists when I say this but there are lots of other things you can do to create opportunities however the above are key activities and if you aren’t doing them yet then I’d start with those.

Until next time; 

Stephen Hart

Related Posts

How to Land a Job Using Social Media (economicpolicyjournal.com)

The Black Hole of Social Media (edenchanges.wordpress.com)

How to express yourself on LinkedIn (edenchanges.wordpress.com)

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The Black Hole of Social Media

The Black Hole of Social Media

It seems particularly fitting that today’s blog about social media was inspired by a posting by a contact of mine on LinkedIn. Jenny Cooper, a stress management specialist and coach, she said

“Writing on the internet can feel like throwing a pebble into a big black hole.”

That line and the subsequent discussion sparked this week’s blogging theme of ‘faith’

You see Jenny is quite correct, writing on the internet can feel like throwing a pebble into a big black hole. The trick is to be okay with that. And work through that period because it’s a phase. And having faith that the complete silence and lack of response will pass is important!

Take heart from the fact that the echoing silence that follows your first few posts is simply the silence before the whisper.

Sorry but I have to be honest, there probably won’t be a storm…at least not for quite a while!

(For the record the whisper is better than the silence.)

So how do you navigate this black hole…

Don’t wait for the response

Psychologically it is more stressful to wait for something when you don’t know when it will happen; for example – if you’re waiting for a bus and there is no indication of when it will arrive that is more stressful than waiting for a bus in York where all the bus stops have electronic readouts of when the next bus is due.

With social media there is never a readout saying when the next response is arriving! So the best way to manage the wait is not to do it. Simply post your bog, discussion or tweet and move on. If someone replies or responds in some fashion then fantastic. If they don’t then post another one on the schedule that you had planned before.

Don’t assume

It’s tempting to think that because no one responded to your item that it wasn’t of good quality. Thinking like that is a quick way to go grey! Produce an item that you are pleased with and post it. If you’re not pleased with it then don’t post it.

Accept that if you are very active in social media then  not everything you produce will be brilliant. Some stuff will just be average. And that’s okay. Seth Godkin is a world famous blogger, who blogs everyday I believe, and whilst some of his stuff (quite a lot actually) is really good, some of it is not! 

Volume always compromises quality at some point. Do have a minimum level though – ‘average’ is forgiveable ‘rubbish’ is not!

Consistency

My experience has been that what people respond well to in social media is consistency. Now that can take different forms but in short it is being consistently visible. Whether it is tweeting, blogging or being active in a LinkedIn group it is better to do something consistently than do lots of things inconsistently.

LinkedIn groups are a great case in point. Better to be a member of ten that you are active in than fifty you visit once in a blue moon.

Sometimes I am reminded of the Kevin Costner movie “Field of Dreams” and the famous line

“If you build it, they will come” *

That’s not quite true with social media. What can be true is if you build it and consistently invite people to come then they will. Individually at first, then in couples and finally in crowds!

Summary

Faith in the eventual crowd is the key to keeping you going at your social media activities. 

And whilst we are talking about audiences…the Edenchanges blog now gets three times the readership it was getting at the beginning of 2012 but we’d love more so do please recommend us to your friends, co-workers and families. We’d love to see them here – especially if they came with a book contract…we’d like that a lot!

Until next time; 

Stephen Hart

*In case there are any hardcore movie buffs reading this I know that the line in the movie is actually “If you build it, he will come.” but it’s often misquoted as ‘they will come’ and it’s also how I remember the line!

Consulting and Training

We blog to be helpful but consult and train for a living so if you like our style and feel we might be able to help you or your organisation more formally then do get in touch via phone or email and we can discuss your situation. We look forward to hearing from you.

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How to express yourself on LinkedIn

How to Express Yourself on LinkedIn

Taking the theme of being bold one of the ways that, particularly us reserved Brits, need to be bolder is in our actions on LinkedIn.

I advocate getting involved in relevant groups on LinkedIn and entering into, and indeed starting, discussions. In response to that a lot of people say things like the following

“I have nothing to say that anyone will want to hear.” or “Who cares about my opinion?”

It’s a real shame when I hear those lines and the ones that are similar. If people let those hesitations guide the judgements then indeed they will say nothing and no one will care about their opinions!

The trick is to start from a position of strength. Consider what you do for a living and think about all the specialist knowledge that you have rattling around in your head. It’s good stuff! And it’s stuff that other people don’t know.

Look for discussions that relate to your business area and share or comment based on your specialist knowledge. And yes this is giving away information but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what you truly know and the nature of social media is transient. What you post today will be mostly gone tomorrow.

(As an aside I should point out that few things are totally gone once posted online but there is so much information out there that any individual piece will drop away to the depths of the information sea fairly quickly.)

Also by posting your specialist information you are demonstrating your skills and building both your personal brand and the brand of your company.

So say your piece clearly, politely and boldly! To avoid offense you can always start with cushion statements such as

In my experience…

Based on my x years in x industry I’d say…

My view on this, based on my time in the industry is x…

I’ve blogged previously about not getting into arguments but rather taking the stance of ‘you’re view is your’s and mine is mine’ and I’d bear that in mind if the discussion rolls on and becomes a debate.

Previous blog – http://edenchanges.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/five-ways-to-demonstrate-good-character-on-linkedin/

It might be that the other person changes your mind but if in your professional opinion your view differs from the other person then you do yourself credit by saying that.

When you come to starting new discussions consider your audience and ask yourself the following question

What topics are the group members likely to be interested in?

Then post away. And post with every expectation that no one will reply – and then when they do it will be a bonus! A lot more people read articles on-line than reply to them. A LOT MORE! And it is practically impossible to guess which discussions are going to be popular and discussed and which won’t be.

Take heart – people will be reading your articles and at some point people will reply. If you really wanted to you could always, if you knew any of the other members in the group well enough, ask them to reply to it in the hope of triggering a discussion. Personally I’ve never done it but it is an option!

The best articles tend to be those with something of the personality of the writer in them – even simply a view, opinion or slant on the topic being raised makes for a more interesting discussion that a straight question.

Have faith in your specialist knowledge and that you are an interesting person with a unique skill set! When you consistently put yourself out there people will start to notice – I guarantee it!

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart

With thanks to Berit Raven for use of the stock photo – more of her work can be found here http://yellow-stock.deviantart.com/gallery/

Consulting and Training

We blog to be helpful but consult and train for a living so if you like our style and feel we might be able to help you or your organisation more formally then do get in touch via phone or email and we can discuss your situation. We look forward to hearing from you.

 ♦♦♦ 

 Edenchanges

Corporate trainers and consultants  ♦  0333 121 4212  ♦  enquiries@edenchanges.com

Based in the UK and working world wide

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Five ways to demonstrate good character on LinkedIn

Five Ways to Demonstrate Good Character on LinkedIn

Every item you post on LinkedIn, or indeed any social media site, it illustrates something about you. If you post something extreme clearly that sends an extreme message but I’m not thinking of those moments.

Every time you respond to a discussion on LinkedIn, every private message and every line on your profile says something to your audience. From attention to detail to whether you are a decent person people will make assumptions and draw conclusions.

(Which as an aside makes blogging, especially daily, a rather risky endeavour!)

So if people are going to draw conclusions about you, which they will, how can we help them draw the right conclusions?

And by right I am assuming here that you are actually a decent and helpful person and want to display that. (After all if you weren’t that type of person you probably wouldn’t be bothered to read this would you!)

Here are a few actions you can take to appear helpful, knowledgeable and generally as a decent person.

Comment on Lonely Discussions

When I say ‘lonely’ I mean those discussions that haven’t been commented on. For whatever reason a lot of the time discussions on LinkedIn get overlooked and ignored. Sometimes those discussions are quite promising but posted by people who aren’t well known in the group. Give them a hand. Take a few moments to consider your view on the topic and post a reply.

Comment on Status Updates

I know that people post status updates as a means of marketing (and there is nothing wrong with that) but sometimes they contain news or items that could be commented on. For example it is very positive to congratulate someone on a business win or a personal success item.

Point Out Errors

It is very easy to post something and make a spelling error. When I come across these I, time permitting,  will send a note to the poster pointing out their error. Most recently someone had posted what was clearly quite an important update but the web-link wouldn’t open. I sent them a note, they sorted out their website and were very grateful for me pointing it out. I didn’t do it for the thanks I did it because it seemed the decent thing to do.

Don’t argue – mediate and agree to differ

There are over 130 million registered users on LinkedIn; which means there are over 130 million different views on business and life to be found on LinkedIn! When discussing matters I would suggest that the person who declines to argue, past a certain point, but rather agrees to differ will be looked upon in a better light than a hard line individual who demands people agree with them.

Also sometimes people are clearly getting victimised or bullied in discussions and it might be that you want to step in and provide a counter balance to the discussion to help them.

By replying privately to individuals during discussions you can express more firm views privately if you feel that is necessary. Not everything should be said in public. I’m not suggesting duplicity rather diplomacy.

Share Profiles

As I sit here and type this blog I have over 1800 first tier contacts on LinkedIn. This gives me 17.3 million 3rd tier connections – which is quite a lot! As I perform my various functions on LinkedIn I periodically come across people who I know members of my network will potentially be interested in. Consequently I’m very happy to forward relevant profiles to member of my network. Again I’m not looking for anything back by doing this I just see it as being helpful. 

For me this goes to the heart of true networking – introducing people who might be able to help each other. The face to face networking group that many of you will have heard of the BNI have a saying “Givers Gain” and whilst I don’t do the BNI any more I have taken their saying to heart when it comes to social media.

FYI – The Share button can be found directly under the top part of a person’s profile.

SUMMARY

Hopefully those five tips will give you some ideas around how you can demonstrate your positive character during your LinkedIn activities. It’s not about being a saint and policing profiles and discussions but rather taking a moment or two now and again to help people. Done consistently that will demonstrate the character you want.

Until next time;

Stephen


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 Edenchanges

Corporate trainers and consultants  ♦  0333 121 4212  ♦  enquiries@edenchanges.com

 SPECIALIST AREAS

Recruitment  ♦  Sales  ♦  Management  ♦  NLP and Communication  ♦  LinkedIn