How to Use LinkedIn Like an Entrepreneur

LinkedIn is like the designated driver of social media. As small business owners, we’re glad to have it, but… boring.

The thing to remember about LinkedIn is that it was originally created for job-seekers, not entrepreneurs. So if you’ve experienced frustration promoting your small business on LinkedIn, try to be a bit forgiving.

Should you just give up on LinkedIn if y1806717289_3c47301ed8_oou’re a business owner? Maybe. If your target market isn’t on LinkedIn, then don’t worry about it. But keep in mind that in all likelihood:

  • Your prospects are on LinkedIn, to some degree or another. Like it or not, LinkedIn is firmly planted as one of social media’s Big 3.
  • Your prospects use LinkedIn to background check you. Yes, they do.
  • LinkedIn is an SEO beast: that means if someone Googles you, your LinkedIn profile is probably high up in their search results.

So, how can you as an entrepreneur use LinkedIn to leverage your small business?

Rock Your Summary

Your summary paragraph is the first thing people see, which means this is where they decide if you’re worth their attention. Think of the Summary paragraph as your elevator pitch. You have less than 30 seconds to make a real impression. Focus on what it is you do, who you can help, and what makes you stand out.

Be Visual

LinkedIn allows you to upload videos and images to your profile. And yet, very seldom is this awesome feature used! Humans are visual creatures: videos and images are highly engaging and convincing. And since most people are too lazy to use this feature on LinkedIn, think about how much you’ll stand out if you do!

Upload Articles

As a business-owner, you want to strategically position yourself as an expert. LinkedIn has made it possible for you to upload original written content that can then be shared and commented on. It’s like having a blog on LinkedIn. Get people’s attention with a well-tended selection of informative articles. Don’t forget to decorate your articles with interesting visuals.

Get Testimonials

Notice I said, “Testimonials” and not “Endorsements.” LinkedIn Endorsements are too easy to dispense and they come without significant context. They remind me of the “poke” feature in Facebook. While they can’t hurt you, they don’t help much either. On the other hand, a thoughtful, meaningful testimonial on LinkedIn is gold. It’s more than gold, it’s like super-gold. Build a reservoir of stellar LinkedIn testimonials and watch your credibility skyrocket.

Get a Real Headshot

Again, you are not a job-seeker. You are a business. You are a brand. Your headshot speaks volumes of you. It is not acceptable to use a photo from your cousin’s island wedding, with the glass of wine cropped out.

 Be Present

See, if you were a job-seeker, you could just get your profile online and then just pretty much leave it there, save for the occasional update. But you’re not looking for a job. You’re an entrepreneur. You are a business owner. You are a mover. A shaker. So get out there and hustle! Update your status often, actively seek out new connections, post new articles, leave comments, share, pitch your brand and offer expert advice.

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Does Your Social Media Strategy Need a Wake-Up Call?

Not sure if your small business’s social media campaign is hitting its mark? Consider giving your social media marketing strategy a wake-up call by asking a few simple questions:

Do you have a goal?

It all starts with a goal. What are you trying5329061838_dfc8d519bf_o to gain with your company’s Facebook page or Twitter feed? Hint: the answer is NOT “more followers.” Because having “more” of the wrong thing isn’t going to help you in any way. LinkedIn, Instagram or any of the other social media platforms may or may not directly get you more business, but they can still help you in that direction. Your goals might include:

  • promote your product or service
  • attract and engage a specific audience
  • grow your email list
  • network with and engage referral partners
  • improve customer service
  • stay in touch with past clients and reach out to their contacts
  • brand yourself as an expert

Whatever your goals may be, be realistic and give clear calls to action.

Do you know your target?

Now that you have a defined goal, do you know who you are trying to attract? Your ideal target might not be the same across every social media platform. For instance, you might use Facebook to engage B2C clients and use Twitter and LinkedIn for B2B clients. In any case, know who you’re trying to reach and speak directly to that audience.

Does your content suck?

I know, I know… if one more person says “Content is King!” I might keel over with boredom because it’s become such a cliche, but the bottom line is… it’s the truth. Make sure your content satisfies your goal and feeds your target. Don’t limit yourself: produce whatever you can to appease the beast: that includes posts, blogs, images, videos, podcasts, etc.

Are you awake at the wheel?

Are you posting often enough? Are you responsive and engaging? Are you tracking what works and what doesn’t? Having a strategy is one thing but running the race is another. Content may be King but Consistency is at least a Queen or some kind of Knight or Squire or something.

Are you a techno-dud?

Social media isn’t exactly rocket science (or brain surgery, if you happen to be a rocket scientist) but you have to be a bit technically savvy. Do your pictures look pretty on all your social media or do they sometimes get weirdly cropped and distorted? Are your videos playing back at optimal speed or do they take forever to load up and look fuzzy? Are your podcasts easy to download? Do your hyperlinks work? Are you using hashtags appropriately? Do you know how to tag with etiquette? Are you aware of optimal post lengths and optimal post times? Do you know the lingo? What’s a Retweet? What’s a Regram? What’s a Shortlink and why would you want to?

Does your social media campaign have your support?

Social media marketing works best if you treat it like a part of a larger marketing machine. Support your social media campaign with face-to-face networking, creating amazing content, sending CASL-compliant emails, and maintaining a killer website. All these elements work together and are greater than the sum of their parts.

Still need guidance? Ask about our Social Media Audit service for small businesses, where we study your current social media presence, your blog, your website, your email newsletter, your podcasts and anything related to your digital marketing efforts, and we come up with a list of custom strategies and ideas to help you take your digital marketing to the next level. Don’t worry, it’s no where as painful (or boring) as a tax audit. Contact Nishi at www.NightDay.ca today!

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Is Instagram the Next Big Marketing Thing?

If you’re a social media nerd, you’ve probably heard by now that Instagram has more monthly active users than Twitter. And if you’re a social media nerd, you also know this is pretty huge news.

If you’re a small business owner, it might 38Hmean that it’s time to consider including Instagram in your social media marketing strategy. Instagram may or may not be right for you and your small business, but at the very least, it is worth considering.

Some facts and figures to get you hungry over “the Insta”:

  • Instagram earned over 300 million monthly active users by December 2014, with an epic 50% increase in just 9 months.
  • Intended for use on a mobile device, Instagram is a ridiculously simple, streamlined and easy-to-use app for sharing photos and videos. It allows the user to share visual content – complete with captions and hashtags – quickly and easily on not only Instagram itself, but on Facebook and Twitter as well.
  • Instagram’s unstoppable growing popularity can be credited to the growing power of visual content on social media and all things Internet.  According to a recent study by Cisco, video is predicted to account for 84% of all Internet traffic by 2018. Read more about the study on ReelSEO here.
  • While most of its users are teens, Instagram is now the second most popular social app among millennials (18-34 year-olds), according to a recent report by comScore. According to the report, Instagram has 43.1% penetration on millennial users’ mobile phones, second only to Facebook (which has 75.6%).
  • It’s not just the number of users that is important to note here; as always, engagement is what is truly important. And apparently, Instagram is more engaging than Facebook and Twitter combined. While stats vary from study to study (thank you, Internet), the overall message seems to be that users are paying more attention on Instagram and that’s where your brand stands a better chance of getting noticed. According to a report from Forrester:

“Our study found that top brands’ Instagram posts generated a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%. That means Instagram delivered these brands 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.” – Forrester

What do these nerd numbers mean in practical terms? Well, according to the Forrester study…

“…Red Bull posted a video of a unique snowboarding half-pipe on both Facebook and Instagram. A few days later, we noted that the brand’s 43 million Facebook fans had liked the video just 2,600 times (a 0.006% likes-per-fan rate), while its 1.2 million Instagram followers had liked the video more than 36,000 times (a 3% likes-per-follower rate).” – Forrester

Don’t believe Forrester? Well, according to The New York Times

“Instagram users are highly engaged with the service, with users interacting with posts at 18 times the rate they do with Facebook posts, according to a report issued last month by the research firm L2.” –  The New York Times

Still don’t believe Forrester or the New York Times? Then you HAVE to believe Gary Vaynerchuk (see what he says about Instagram at 2:42 on an episode of his always insightful, always entertaining podcast The #AskGaryVee Show here:

Personally, I’ve decided to give my Instagram account more serious attention in the near future. How about you? Are you using Instagram for business? Do you think you will use it more often in your small business social media strategy in the upcoming months?

Need a social media nerd to help with your small business? Get in touch! – Nishi

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What’s the Ideal Length for a Blog Post?

Small business blogs come in all shapes and sizes, which leaves many new bloggers wondering, “what is the ideal length for a blog post?” The answer…

There is no ideal lengthtwo lines || zwei Linien.

First and foremost, your post needs to be as long as it takes to get a compelling message across. That’s it. As long as your writing is passionate, informative and articulate, go as long as you need to. All killer, no filler.

I lied. There IS an ideal length.

Keeping in mind that the quality of your content trumps everything else, be aware that search engines tend to prefer posts that are at least 250 words long. However, while longer blog posts (generally speaking, up to 1,500 words) get picked up more by search engines, most readers appreciate content they can get through fairly quickly.

That said, I recommend weighing in at 300-500 words per post.

Actually, I lied again. The right answer is… there is no right answer.

Blog length can be dictated by many factors:

  • The length of your posts may depend on your blog’s subject matter. In-depth articles backed by research and facts need to go long. Blog posts that are primarily updates on current events are rightfully going to run short.
  • If you update your blog frequently, it may be best to write shorter posts… your readers might not have enough time to invest several times a week if you write long. On the other hand, they might enjoy a weekly ritual of settling in with your in-depth lengthy post, much like people used to look forward to the Sunday paper in the olden days.
  • Post length also depends on your business brand’s target audience: does your intended audience prefer depth or brevity? It all depends on who you are writing for.

At least breaking up is easy.

If you feel like you have a lot to say, but don’t want to publish a really long post, you might be able to break one post up into multiple posts; now you’ve created content that you may be able to spread out over the course of a few weeks!

Also, your post won’t seem “as long” if you break it up into smaller paragraphs and insert interesting images. Use sub-headings and bullet lists to make your content easier to scan.

Whatever is best for your small business blog, try to be consistent with your post length so your readers learn what to expect; eventually, post length becomes a part of your branding.

At the end of the day, there are no real rules. Figure out what works best for you as a blogger and more importantly, what works for your brand.

Need help launching or writing your small business blog? Get in touch with Nishi at Night Day Digital Media today!

Special thanks and shout-out to Naomi who owns In the Buff Skin Studio for the question, “What is the ideal blog length?” Got a small business social media or blog question? Get in touch and I might publish a response! – Nishi

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Why Share Other People’s Social Media Content?

As an entrepreneur using Facebook, Twitter and other social media for marketing purposes, your major concern should be coming up with awesome original content to share with your followers. But don’t forget about sharing other people’s content too.Man And Woman Help Silhouette In Mountains

Sharing other people’s content is good for you, good for them, good for your followers, and just good for the universe in general. Here’s why:

1) It takes the pressure off

You’re a small business owner and your time is limited. Someone else has great content that they WANT you to share. As long as they’re not your competition and taking potential business away from you, why not use their content to beef up your social media presence without expending too much time and effort?

2) Your followers will thank you

Your followers appreciate the original content that you  create for them, but they also appreciate the new speakers, authors, motivators, resources and educators you lead them to. Plus it makes you look like a smarty-pants. But more importantly it keeps your followers interested… which can only lead to more shares and more followers.

3) You might make a cool friend

Let’s say you share a  post from a blogger you admire and they… wait for it… take notice and thank you! Now you’ve opened the lines of communication with a worthy influencer. Bravo!

4) Position yourself among the greats

Leverage great content from great content providers and raise your profile in the process. It’s almost like you’re one of them!

5) Dude! Karma!

If someone is out there producing something awesome, be a part of their movement and help them help others by sharing. You will be doing a small bit of good in the universe and you will feel awesome for doing it. Furthermore, maybe they’ll reciprocate and share your content one day. After all, what goes around comes around: in life, in business and especially in social media.

When you share interesting and relevant content, don’t forget to credit your source. Also, try to make it obvious by tagging your source so you help drive traffic to the source and ALSO so that the source knows what you’ve done for them. Above all, if you’re lucky enough to have your content shared on social media, be sure to thank the people who are spreading your message!

Need help creating original content to publish on your blog, email newsletter or social media? Get in touch with Nishi Sood at Night Day Digital Media today!

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3 Harsh Truths About Social Media Marketing

nasa-outer-space-stars-295995-1500x844If you’re a small business owner getting ready to launch (or re-launch) a social media marketing campaign, get ready for a roller-coaster ride of emotions. At first you may think, “Hey, social media is free and easy, what could possibly go wrong?” And then reality sets in. Harsh, harsh reality. To avoid some heartache, be aware of these Harsh Truths About Social Media Marketing:

1) It’s a long haul.
You won’t see results overnight. Overnight sensations, viral posts, and runaway hashtags are more the exception than the rule.

Solution: You need to be consistent. Schedule social media marketing time in your calendar and do it religiously, every day, even if for just a few minutes. The key is to make it a habit because there are going to be some days when you’re just not going to feel like doing it. You can’t just engage in social media marketing when the mood strikes you. You can’t just put in a big effort for a few weeks and then abandon it for a few months and then expect to pick up where you left off. It’s like going to the gym: the only way to get results is to do it regularly.

2) It’s not, “If you build it, they will come.”
Just because you’ve got a beautiful Facebook page loaded up with great daily content doesn’t excuse the fact that you still have to actively get people interested in it. Network, talk about it, print the URL on your business cards, link to it from your blog and email newsletter… social media marketing is a piece of a much larger marketing machine.

Solution: If you’re not getting any response, take a hard, cold objective look at your content (or ask someone you trust for their opinion) and determine if that’s where the problem lies. Is your content branded for your desired audience?

If your content is brilliant but you’re still having trouble getting eyeballs, ask yourself who you’ve been sharing and supporting on social media lately. What goes around comes around in the social media world. Try it. Retweet, share someone else’s blog link, jump in on a hashtag and see what happens. Karma is big on social media.

3) It’s an investment.
Maybe not money. But time. And in small business, if you haven’t already learned, time IS money. Social media can be a huge time suck if you’re not careful. You do not want to fall into that abyss.

Solution: Schedule social media marketing time but also LIMIT that time. Track your results and figure out ASAP what is working and what isn’t working for you. You may find that it’s in your best interests to hire someone to handle it for you.

Need a hand updating and managing your social media accounts, or ghost-writing your business blogs and email newsletters? Get in touch!

– Nishi

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