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LinkedIn-PuzzleLast week, I had the honor of doing a LinkedIn Workshop for the Apex Chamber. We had a room full of professionals at different LinkedIn skill levels who were all able to make improvements to their profiles. After the workshop, I realized that the information would be helpful for a lot of people I know, hence this series of tips for beefing up your LinkedIn profile.

This post focuses on what you can do to passively let LinkedIn support you. Future posts will talk about how to actively use it.

Let Your Profile Do Some Heavy Lifting

1. Update your photo.

Get rid of that glamour shot from 15 years ago and exchange it for something that looks like you. People often look up your profile before meeting with you… it helps if they are looking for you and not  who you used to be. It’s also good to have the same profile pics on all your social media accounts for consistency. I’m also a fan of using a photo that’s professional, yet shows my personality. Show the real you!

2. Use the name people know you by.

Make it as easy as possible for people to find you when they search for you. If you recently got married and your name changed, keep your maiden name, as well as your new last name. If you go by your middle name, don’t use your first name in your profile.

3. Create a search-friendly title.

Again, the name of the game is to be easily found. People aren’t searching LinkedIn for gurus and wizards. Don’t be afraid to have a personality, but don’t sacrifice value for quirkiness.

  • Use a headline that displays a variety of titles people are likely to use to search LinkedIn to find your services.
  • Write a descriptive headline with key words included.
  • Use a combo, like mine: Brand Strategist, Brand Manager, Branding Consultant, Marketing Specialist at Holy Cow Branding

4. Claim your vanity url.

My url is http://www.linkedin.com/in/loranaprice. Create yours by selecting “Settings” from the drop down menu under your name, choosing “Edit Your Public Profile,” then selecting “Customize Your Public Profile URL” from the box on the right. Ideally, you’d want to use your first and last name.

5. Customize your website links.

Rather than having the generic “Company Website” listed on your profile, you can change it to be more personalized. Simply click on “Edit Profile,” then select the “Edit” option next to your website. Use the drop down menu on the edit page and select “Other.” This gives you the option to rename your site. You can do the same for blogs, and can also drive people to specific landing pages on your site. Use search friendly terms here to help generate traffic to your profile.

6. Create a functional summary.

Your summary is the place where you can brag about what you’ve done to get where you are today. Make yourself shine here! Add key words and phrases to help support search (noticing a trend here?). LinkedIn is a silent sales person, just like your website. Use your summary to help make it as functional as possible. Don’t forget to also list your specialties here.

7. Show that you’ve got skillz.

Skills is a relatively new section that will have more functionality in the future. For now, it’s a good way to show specific areas of expertise.

8. Take advantage of sections and applications.

Sections allow you to add more custom areas to your profile, such as certifications and awards. Applications allow you to
connect to other sites, such as your blog feed, Slideshare and Behance. This gives you the opportunity to really cross link
information and expand LinkedIn’s capabilities.

9. Rearrange your profile.

Now that you’ve added all this info, you may want to put some sections higher than others. All you have to do is click and drag when you’re in the edit mode. This is especially helpful if you participate on a board and want to have it secondary to your profession. Just click and drag it beneath your current position, et voila!

Feel free to creep on my LinkedIn account to get ideas.

Next time, we’ll be talking about how to get more out of LinkedIn.

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The other day I was at the bank where they told me about the new tracking sheets the sales people fill out.  Their biggest complaint was what a pain the forms were to fill out.  Then I remembered what makes such forms easy to complete.  HOT KEYS!

That’s right, hotkeys.  With the right combination of keystrokes, filling out an Excel form is quick and easy!

Here, let me show you:

Need to copy the entry from the cell before?  Use CTRL and ”.  Add today’s date by pressing CTRL and semi-colon. Need to enter the current time?  Use CTRL and colon.

Below is the link to the Microsoft help page that lists all of the shortcuts!

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel-help/excel-shortcut-and-function-keys-HP010073848.aspx

One of the nicest things about working at Holy Cow Branding is the flexible schedule.  If I want to leave at 4:30 to get a haircut, that is when I leave.  If I wake up early, and am ready to work, I come to the office.

That was the plan anyway.

I was so engrossed in setting up Facebook Insights for Chile Bomba that I completely lost track of time and didn’t leave until 5:30.  If I had realized it was that late, I wouldn’t have even tried to get the haircut.    When I finally made it to Sport Clips, there were a few guys ahead of me, and I was told it would be about 30 minutes.  At the check in, Sabrina, told me that if I wanted to go get a coffee at Starbucks, I would have enough time.  She even offered to call me on my cell when it was close to my turn.

With time to kill, I headed to the Harris Teeter, to get some food stuffs.  On the way thru Kameron’s check-out line I used my KeyRing App to get my reward prices.  After the usual 30 seconds of blindly staring at the receipt with the only purpose being to look like I am doing something smart, I actually do find an error.  This is an amazing feat due to the complexity that is the grocery store receipt.  Good reporting tip, it doesn’t matter how hard it is to decipher the data as long as there is one number at the bottom that says you are winning.

I went back to the cashier and he apologized and told me to take it to his manager at the customer service desk.  When I first looked in that direction I saw no one, it was a ghost town, and before I was 10 feet from the counter there she was.  The manager person, Alva, appeared from thin air, maybe not thin air, she was helping another customer.  It only took her one look at the receipt to see the error and make the correction.

Ordinarily I would not have wasted the time to make the correction, but I had time to kill and I was rewarded for it.  I got $1.87 back in cash!  (Who knew pears were so expensive) And I had that weird feeling that while the world seems like a dismal place, my neighborhood was doing all right.

After stashing the produce in the trunk of my car I made my way back to Sport Clips and as soon as I walked in am told I had great timing and that I was next.  She even remembered my name! What great customer service!

Now, fueled with a sense of community, I pull out my note pad and start writing about this whole experience.  Of course, before I get much done I am being called up.  We have the usual idle chit chat and she asked what I was working on.  I told her it was a blog article about customer service.  I am not sure if that had anything to do with it, but it was an exceptional haircut.

Post Script

Cara, the hair cutter, actually knows enough about sports to foster that feeling of the barber shop and we had a lively conversation about the National League Central division.  She is a Milwaukee Brewer’s Fan, and I am a Chicago Cubs Fan.  The next day the Brewers beat the Cubs in 13 innings.  At least I got a good haircut, and there is always next year.

The best way to improve your SEO and make it easier for people to find you online is by keeping your blog current.

Having a blog is the easy part.  Providing good content is the hard part. Keep reading for some easy ways to find great blog fodder!

#1: Recruit Guest Bloggers
Ask someone whose blog you are a fan of to write a guest spot on your blog.

A guest blogger needn’t necessarily be a blogger. It can be someone who is interesting and is an authority on something your readers would enjoy.  Give them a subject; it’s much easier to write on a given subject than to come up with your own.

#2: Conduct Interviews
This is a basic Question & Answer format where you interview someone smart, fun or interesting.  There is very little writing involved, just transcribe the interview tape. Better yet! Record the interview and post the video to the blog.

#3: Point to a Good Resource
If you find an article you like, pass it on. There are a few ways to do this.  Summarize what you liked or how you used the information, then add a link to the page you are referencing. The author will appreciate the shout out and your readers benefit from content you found. If you quote the material, don’t use more than  15 % as direct quotes. Otherwise you are infringing on their copyright. Google may penalize you for the duplicate content.

You can find and import  good content  via curator software such as  Scoop It or CurationSoft. While they work a little differently, the idea is similar in that they  look for content in your interest area, then send it to you. From there, you can reference it in your blog.

#4: Don’t underestimate the value of original content about you…
Take the time to toot your own horn. Tell about your organization. Not only what you do, but who you are, what your corporate culture is like and why people who should business with you.  Tell your story, brag on your employees, and show off awards.

People want to do business with people and organizations they know, like and trust. Once they get to know you and like who you are and what you stand for, they are more likely to buy from you.

We like to count things at Holy Cow. We count words, hours, followers, sodas left in the fridge, site hits, fans, days ’til payday, visitors, bounce rate…we count so much we have our own analytics guy.

The truth is most businesses count things. If they aren’t counting, they are missing information vital to running a business successfully.

Our guy builds spreadsheets for us to count, calculate and analyze data. Not only does he build the spreadsheet, he advises us on how to use excel to work smarter.

Here, let me show you:

Don’t have your own data guy? Well, learn from ours!

He’ll be teaching Microsoft Excel as well as Microsoft Word beginning the week of May 14.
Contact Reuben if you’d like class information.

Every organization seeks to acquire many clients in hopes of profit and success in the future. However, in order to do so, it is essential that one builds and maintains a healthy, trustworthy relationship with their clients. Although this may seem like common sense, it takes just as much effort building and maintaining relationship with them as it does working on their business project. It is a continuous ladder of steps to enhance and maintain relations with them.

Tips for keeping client relationships healthy:

1. Keep Lines of Communication Open

  •  Build a professional relationship with them via phone, email, lunch meetings, conference calls etc.
  •  Keep them up-to-date on various projects you are working on and any new company info
  • Get to know your client better, what their business is about, their short and long term goals and what they need.

2. Be Transparent

  • Tell all company policies and procedures up front. Lay it out for them so no one makes assumptions
  • Explain the benefits of working with your company and the consequences if they part ways with you.
  • Be crisp and clear. Tell them exactly what you plan on doing and when you plan on doing it to sustain business with them in the future.

3. Be Willing to Say Yes

  •  Listen to their ideas.
  •  Incorporate these ideas into your brainstorming and projects for them if it meets or surpasses the requirements of the project(s) you are doing for them.

4. Be Willing to Say No

  • If a client wants something that your company cannot offer, point them in another direction.
  •  On the same hand, if they offer an idea that doesn’t work, let them know up front by pointing to various evidence of why it wont work and provide them with alternatives as well.
  •  Saying no will give you more freedom and respect in the long run.

5. Establish Credibility

  •  Let your client know they can trust you. BE THE EXPERT.
  •  Meet deadlines. If deadlines are not met, this may harm the success of your client and your success at acquiring new clients in the future.
  •  Present yourself in a professional manner (the way you dress and communicate!).

6. Don’t Just Stay Inside the Lines: Problem Solving

  • Your client has come to you because they have a problem or want to improve. Develop ways to assist and solve these problems by shedding a light on new ideas that many not be obvious to them.

Although this is easier said than done, following these steps lead to a healthy client relationship; And a happy client always equals a happy relationship.

Twitter for job listing? It appears so.

newspapers

While it seems impossible to give a job description in 144 characters, there are plenty of companies who are giving enough information for job seekers to click.

Employers in almost every  field are using Twitter to list jobs. One can look for a job locally, twitter.com/#!/jobsraleigh, by field, twitter.com/#!/getsalmanagjobs  or by company, twitter.com/#!/electra.

In fact, in an  interview  Zappos  Recruiting Manager, Christa Foley, said not only does Zappos list jobs on Twitter, they do a search looking for people tweeting about their interest in working for Zappos.

She said primarily using Twitter seems to lead to higher quality applicants, who have done their homework, knows what job they want and are actively pursuing it.

Twitter Basics:

  • You don’t have to have an account to read what others are tweeting. Go to twitter.com and put anything in the search field, say, Holy Cow Branding, our tweets will come up
  • You do need an account if you want to tweet or follow others
  • ‘Follow’ means you want to see all the tweets from a person or organization
  • Accounts are free and it takes just a minute to sign up
  • Twitter is just another way to get your brand to the world, it doesn’t stand alone but it can nicely compliment the rest of your marketing efforts, or job recruiting.