Monthly Archives: August 2013

LinkedIn: The World’s Biggest Business Expo

Here at MINT, our social media management department handles a number of LinkedIn pages for our clients and are often asked how we can utilise the social network as part of a marketing strategy. In fact, we are asked so often that we decided to write this blog which will take you through how businesses should approach LinkedIn from both a company and personal perspective.

Firstly, imagine the LinkedIn platform is a worldwide, on-going business show or networking event. Now think of companies that attend exhibitions and what they normally need to ensure a successful, productive experience?

Social Media Management

The most important aspect to exhibiting is having the salespeople and representatives at the event to speak to new people, garner interest in the business and create leads. In this LinkedIn-expo analogy, a personal page acts as the salesperson. It is down to the business owners, CEOs and other members of a business to create their own LinkedIn personal pages and actively connect and engage with other relevant LinkedIn members.

These personal pages must be well-formed with a good amount of information about the individual and the company they are representing. Much like meeting people at a networking event, someone who is just going to talk about how great their business is is going to get very boring, very quickly.

Finding connections can take a bit of time as email addresses are often required and not all connection requests are accepted. However, once a connection is made with someone it is important to interact and engage with them through direct messages or commenting on their posts. Like in all networking events, attendees will assume the majority of the people they meet will want to try and sell them something, so don’t be afraid to give them your best sales pitch once you have gone through the general chit-chat.

Now we have the representatives of the LinkedIn business show sorted, the next thing any good exhibitor needs is an exhibition stand; this is where a company page comes in.

What many business people don’t understand is that a LinkedIn company page doesn’t work in the same way as a Twitter, Facebook or Google+ business page. LinkedIn does not allow users to go actively engage with other people or businesses through a company page so they should be viewed as the exhibition stands at this huge, virtual networking event.

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Visit MINT Online Marketing on LinkedIn

Obviously, a ‘stand’ should stand out from the crowd and in an actual business event this can be done by adding flashing lights, dancing monkeys or fireworks (not suggested for indoor events!). But on LinkedIn the best way to maximise a page is simply through ensuring the page has a decent logo and cover image, and includes as much information as possible. The more a potential client knows about what a business does, the more likely they are to purchase.

As company pages can’t be used to go out and look for followers, it’s important to drive new personal connections towards the page, much like salespeople would aim to do at a business show.

LinkedIn groups are also a great way of networking and gaining new connections. In our LinkedIn business show, these groups should be seen as seminars or workshops where relevant and like-minded, industry-relevant people will be congregating.

LinkedIn is a brilliant platform to find and develop potential business leads, but users have to be prepared to network, schmooze and pitch. If you decide to attend the LinkedIn Virtual Business Show and sit in the corner quietly without an exhibition stand, you’re not going to generate any leads.

Go out and mingle, tell people about yourself and your business, and create some great, valuable leads.

Do You Really ‘Like’ It? A Reaction To Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches’

Last night, Channel 4 broadcast ‘Dispatches: Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans’, an exposé of social media fakery and deception that was, for a social media manager, highly disturbing.

fake like

And it seems I am not the only one to find the information that the documentary discovered highly shocking. Social networks and blogs are awash with comments, opinions and, in some cases, sheer outrage.

If you haven’t seen it, here are some of the key findings that were most shocking:

  • You can ‘buy’ 1000 Facebook ‘likes’ or Twitter followers for just $15 from a Bangladesh-based company
  • At these ‘click farms’, employees each had around 1000 fake profiles which allowed them to log in and out and ‘like’ pages as many times as the client had paid for
  • Soft drink giants Coca Cola were alleged to have bought YouTube views but the company have gone on record to deny any of these allegations
  • Celebrities are often paid to endorse products or brands through their personal Twitter pages, with the amount you pay based on the number of followers the celeb has
  • Freebie events are set-up to which celebrities are invited to grab some of the goodies on offer on the basis that they will hopefully tweet at the brand and therefore give that brand a fantastic amount of exposure, driving sales and website traffic.

While I was watching this last night, I was dreading coming in the next morning as I half expected to have every client on the phone asking if we dabbled in any of these dodgy dealings. Thankfully, I haven’t heard from any of them yet which either means they didn’t watch the show or they trust us.

I am hoping it is the latter as, here at MINT, we believe that every part of online marketing, not just social, should be done in an authentic, ethical and transparent manner.

In social terms, every ‘like’, follower or +1 should be earned the right way; through hard work, being an engaging member of the social community and giving people a reason to have an interest in what we and our clients do.

While growing our clients’ fan base on the social media accounts is part of the whole strategy, it is not the main concern. What we look for and love is engagement with others; creating conversations, spreading information and posting the odd GIF of Jim Carrey dancing in a tutu.

Here at MINT we also know that our audiences and the majority of social media users are far more savvy, sceptical and analytical when it comes to things like a relatively unknown brand having 20,000 ‘likes’ or a celebrity tweeting about how much they love wearing a certain brand of jock strap. It’s like the old Abraham Lincoln and the internet joke: you can’t and shouldn’t always believe what you read on the web.

However, these revelations shouldn’t make you distrust all companies on social media. There are some companies that do absolutely fantastic work that provides their brand with a strong, likeable identity, gives their customers another way of engaging with their brand (for better or for worse) and build huge audiences because they have earned every single fan/follower.

Social media will always be open to fakers and fraudsters, but 99% of agencies out there are dedicated to creating authentic and engaging audiences that will be of huge benefit to their clients in terms of brand awareness, brand identity and hopefully sales. It is important that we all remember this and trust in agencies and companies to do things the right way and weed out those who look to cut corners and cheat the system.

If you haven’t yet seen the show, you can catch-up on 4od for the next 29 days.