Maintaining the Sanctity of the Business Network on LinkedIn

By | Social Media | No Comments

I have had a great deal of success using LinkedIn as a business development tool. When I first began using LinkedIn, I set out to maximize the time I spend there and to keep my profile consistently up-to-date. I learned all I could so that I could teach others how to effectively use it and frequently teach workshops or coach individual client contacts to get the most out of LinkedIn.

I’m a big believer in thoughtfully developing one’s business network and so after a number of out-of-context requests to connect from strangers, I published this update.

Dear people who wish to connect on LinkedIn: I think you’re probably great and a good contact for me to have. Unfortunately, we’ve never met, and when you sent your invitation, you didn’t send a note. I don’t know why you want to connect with me and doubt very much we will interact since you didn’t see fit to share that with me in our initial chance for interaction. I simply don’t connect with people with whom I don’t have a real, meaningful connection. It’s not a dating site. It’s not Twitter. It’s LinkedIn, the social network for business. You’re welcome to follow me on Twitter @marijean and maybe you’ll introduce yourself and we’ll get to know each other and that might lead us back here. But for now, I’m not going to accept your request.  Sincerely, Marijean

 

It seems I struck a nerve because so far, more than 6,400 users have seen the post, with several likes and comments. It also generated some online conversation, which I would like to open up here. Do you agree with my position on LinkedIn relationships? Why or why not?

 

Branding — a Client-Driven Brand Refresh for the REALTORS Association

By | Marketing | No Comments

We are fortunate to have had a long-term relationship with our area REALTORS®  association. They don’t need us all the time, but sometimes there’s a project, or a training, or a one-time PR or communications need we can jump in and provide. We were excited when the CAAR team told us they were looking for an update to language about what the association offers, i.e. messaging, and a new brand identity to support that messaging. We pulled in graphic design partner Yellowfish to collaborate and exceed our client’s expectations.

The messaging that resonated with the group is:

CAAR is Your Gateway to More

  • Knowledge
  • Influence
  • Solutions

Knowledge builds more credibility, business, and revenue. Influence results from collaboration among REALTORS®, local government, and community.
Solutions and tools  keep you indispensable.

Once we gained consensus from a group of association leaders, we could move into the design phase, creating the logo, and other graphic representations to use in social media, in print, and on large banners.

Our client, Ali DiGuardo, CAAR’s director of marketing and communications had this to say: “We are extremely pleased with the logo and associated marketing pieces. We originally showcased the logo, value proposition, proof points, and imagery during our June General Membership Meeting, and have received great feedback from members. The new logo is a true representation of CAAR and how it supports its membership of over 1,000 REALTORS® and 400 support staff and affiliates.”

It was a fun project and a great collaborative effort. It’s great to see our work come to life in a popular local brand.

 

Dear Charlottesville: How to Interact with National Media

By | Media | No Comments

Charlottesville, Virginia is in the national news again. Reporters are already descending upon our city and it’s likely you’ll see and even recognize some of them. Here’s what to do:

  1. If a reporter asks you if you’d like to be interviewed, either accept or decline, but do so respectfully. This is a person doing a job.
  2. If you agree to an 0n-camera interview, look at the reporter, not the camera. Speak in short sentences and be mindful of not using local jargon. A national audience doesn’t know what “the mall” or “the corner” is, for example.
  3. You will be asked to supply your name and spell it. Just FYI. This is not the time to be anonymous or give a false name.
  4. If you are nervous, upset, happy, excited — feel free to use those words to describe how you feel about what’s going on. You could be the face of the story at hand and your feelings are what the media will want to share — about whatever is happening in the moment.
  5. Represent your city! We’re all proud of Charlottesville. This is our chance to let the nation and even the world know about our home. Think now, before you have the opportunity to speak, about three things you want the world to know about Charlottesville. For me, it’s a beautiful place, there’s much to do, and the people are, by and large, friendly and welcoming.
  6. What’s the main message you want to get across? Make it short. Write it down. Practice it.
  7. Don’t put your desire to be on television or in the newspaper above your personal safety. It’s not worth it. Get your 15 minutes of fame some other time, for something else.

 

5 Reasons Not to Be a LinkedIn Hater

By | Communications, Social Media | 2 Comments

 

 

I was in a client meeting not long ago when the use of LinkedIn was mentioned.

“I hate LinkedIn,” a meeting participant said. Here’s why I think that’s a mistake:

1. Search plays a big role in the management of your reputation. When someone googles your name, (particularly if your name is unusual) your LinkedIn profile does appear.

Whether you like it or not, if you have created even an incomplete profile, it will show up in search engine results. If you have no profile at all, you are only frustrating the person who is trying to locate you (and what if they have a really great business deal or offer to extend to you; what then?)

2. Recommendations are third-party endorsements that say that you are who you say you are. Think about it; you wouldn’t hire someone to do plumbing or painting at your home without a referral from someone else, right? It speaks highly of you and your business to have a few recommendations from clients and colleagues visible in your searchable profile. (They’re also good to read if/when you’re having a really bad day.)

3. Avoid that awkward blind-date scenario by allowing a new business contact (with whom you’re meeting for the first time in person) to see you and know a bit about you beforehand. It’s a courtesy in today’s business world, and expected. A fully completed profile should have a photo of you so if you’re meeting for coffee, your contact will know who to look for.

4. Maybe it’s not you (maybe it is), but someone in your company is responsible for website traffic. Give them a leg up by listing the company website and going the extra mile by giving it the right name instead of accepting the default settings of “My Company” and/or “My Blog.”

5. LinkedIn is easy; it’s people you know (not those you don’t or those you used to know, long ago). It’s not scary and does not have the privacy issues that Facebook often faces. No one plays games like Candy Crush or posts quizzes on LinkedIn. It is a social network designed for online business networking; that’s it. Its simplicity and clarity of mission make it an important component of your overall social media strategy, whether that strategy is personal or on behalf of your brand or company.

LinkedIn has stood the test of time and consistently added smart upgrades to remain current but true to its original purpose. Don’t hate LinkedIn; it’s there for you to use to succeed. See you there.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/marijeanoldham

 

Whoops! I’m Two People on Facebook

By | Communications | 5 Comments

Do you have two profiles on Facebook? If you do, your intention was probably to have a “professional” profile and a “personal” one.

Guess what? This is what you’ve done instead: you have given others reason to have the following reactions:

  1. In a search, they are unsure which one of you to connect with — are you friends or professional contacts? Whose decision is that?
  2. Hey! I thought we were friends! Why now are you shifting me over to your “business” self?
  3. What are you up to personally that you feel like you need a totally different profile to protect your “private” self?
  4. You really don’t understand Facebook, do you?

None of the reactions others have to you and your dual Facebook personalities are positive, are they? Furthermore, why on earth do you want to complicate your life by having to manage two different profiles?

You’re also making yourself vulnerable by violating Facebook’s terms of service — you know, that thing you clicked YES to and never actually read? Here’s a section:

See that part about not creating more than one account? If you end up having a hacking problem or other security breach, you’re going to have a really tough time getting anyone at Facebook to help you if you’ve violated any of these items. Just sayin’.

How to Stop Being Two People on Facebook

You’re going to have to deactivate one of your personalities. More than likely, its the newer one, the one you decided to create for a more “professional” appearance. Log in to that account.

Go to Account –> Account Settings –> Deactivate Account.

Now, I understand that you still have this conflict; that there are parts of your life you want to share with friends but not necessarily colleagues or business prospects. The way to manage that is with lists.

This will help: How to Create Lists, Save Some Privacy on Facebook in Five Easy Steps.

Really! Do it today!

Read this, too: My friend Michelle (Golden) Rivers has a great post on this topic as well — Managing Your “Private Life on Facebook While Developing Business.