Thoughts, real-world observations, and anonymous examples – good and bad – regarding the use of Web/Social/Mobile technology in the insurance industry. Follow Mike Wise, President WebWisedom LLC, for the latest in Social Technologies.
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First, let me just say that it’s very irritating that Linkedin has a policy on its Company Pages that you can only administer a company page if you use an email address that uses an extension of the company name – so no Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. extensions, like me. Why? Not sure, but it’s pretty stupid considering how companies are starting to pursue different email strategies like corporate Gmail….
Promoting a company, brand or organization on Linkedin has three primary components:
I. Company activities
II. Employee Activities, especially leaders and stakeholders
III. Clients, Partners, and Fan Activities
I. The question becomes, “What are the specific things that can and should be done by the company to promote the company and recruit top talent?” No doubt, specific strategies will vary by company size, industry, business goals, etc.. A strategic assessment that connects the business objective with the Social Technology tool is a prudent next step. Let us therefore limit the discussion to the B2B context (assuming
that B2C is more focused on Facebook marketing and not Linkedin), and further refine to mid-market companies. Let’s further say that the actual person running the company Linkedin page is in Marketing and is following a tightly organized Content Calendar, looking to drive sales and business development opportunities.
The Company activities on Linkedin focus around the Company Page. The Company Page has many outbound promotional opportunities, most of which are under-utilized by the vast majority of companies. So if you don’t know about this stuff, don’t feel bad. Circa the Fall of 2011, the following list will likely serve as a checklist of engagement points, the tactical elements, the allowable functions. HOW to use these tools – what to say, when to say it, what to ask, how to respond, etc., etc. – this is where the art of viral marketing, crowdsourcing, rating, and many of the Social Technologies concepts come into play. I’m begging you: DON’T WING IT. Think “driving a high-end Harley with little or no motorcycle training” – good chance you’ll wind up in the hospital – or worse, right?
The Top 10 Elements:
0. Put up your Logo!
Some more activities the Company can do:
Employee recognition – run an employee of the quarter contest, preferably with as much employee ownership as possible so it’s a big deal, then announce in Status Updates, have the employee list that under employee awards, figure out a way to loop-in the related clients, etc. etc. etc. Always tie recognition to the clients served.
Relay current client Recommendations that are given to employees and the company. Client engagement is the whole point. So if there are major touch points like Recommendations of Products and Services and/or employees, broadcast those very generally, right? And should we return the favor? Absolutely. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
What do you think? What else have you seen? Please Comment below. Don’t just take – ya gotta give, too.
Next week: II. Employee Activities, especially leaders and stakeholders
Following week: III. Clients, Partners, and Fan Activities
Is this helpful? Need help with a strategy for the What, When, Where, How, Who? Please comment, share, and/or reach out to WebWisedom.
A few questions asked by my network… Appreciate the questions – all good. And a couple recent pictures to add color.
Following is my best attempt to shed light and add value. But like with most things, the more POV’s we can get on the subject, the better. So perhaps add your and then ask your network to take a look and add their thoughts as well. There’s a lot too it, so I’ll tackle these questions one at a time.
#1 Appearance in Search Results
Now just to be clear, this question relates to the stats you see on your home page (or on this page http://www.linkedin.com/wvmx/profile). Appearance in search results is different than Views. Views include actual visits to your profile – so someone clicked on your name and hit your profile. “Appearance in search results” relates to how often your profile is returned in a Linkedin search made by someone else. But the real question relates to the all-important word “higher”. So if there’s a list of 421 people that fit the search criteria, how do you get on page one or two, just like Google search results, right?
To understand the question, you really have to understand Linkedin Advanced Search. Take a look at the Advanced Search form, from top to bottom. The Boolean (AND OR etc.) fields are at the top. Second, notice the search “filters” in the middle. Lastly, look at the “Sort by” choices at the bottom.
Now I will say that I searched high and low on the Linkedin site for information on search ranking. As is no surprise, there is NO mention of exactly how the Linkedin Search results page returns results. It seems a closely held piece of information – understandable; kind of the secret sauce.
So how would your profile show up higher in search results? To a certain extent, it seems out of your hands; dependent on the filters and sort-by choices a searcher makes. But to get on the list to begin with, it would seem important to do the following things. Consider this list as table-stakes – things to do to get invited to the dance and show up in someone’s search results:
Now to the question of Search Rank. Again, it depends on the searchers choices in the “Sort by” field. Since the default is “Relevance”, it would seem to make sense to pay particular attention to that concept. So how do they define relevance? Intuitively, one would think it would be based on the following:
With this in mind, what are some of the critical must-have’s/must-do’s with your profile relative to appearing in search results?
That’s it for now. Please Comment. Thanks in advance.
Next: Company pages, Promotion, and Recruiting
A couple weeks ago, I had a terrific opportunity to attend Scott Klososky’s Enterprise Social Tech Bootcamp in Chicago. Great to catch up with Scott once again. Readers will remember some work I’ve done with Scott in the past, including writing the Chapter on Sales for Scott’s Crowdsourced book, Enterprise Social Technology, a phenomenal book on why Social is more than Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.
As a special extra, I was able to travel with a rising star on the Social Tech scene, Shane Fraser. Shane won a $5,000 bounty Scott put out for promoting the book via crowdsourcing. Check it out – very, very cool. See Shane’s new Blog as well.
[Shameless plug: If you need a deep dive in this stuff for your team, I've got Scott's endorsement, all the original Enterprise Social Technology content, and can do any kind of preso or consulting best suited for your situation. Contact me here.]
A few of the podcast highlights to listen for:
Next EST Bootcamp: Dallas, October 2011. Stay tuned.
A few action pics from the Bootcamp:
First, a few notable Crowdsourced sound-bites from Part 1, along with age and work demographics.
And a nice capper…
Interesting … very interesting. This would make for a great panel discussion at a conference.
Contrast the Part 1 “Nowhere Man” story with the flip side. The dinner-conversation-referral-Google-search scenario immediately returns a full page of content about “Doug Smith” “E&Y”. Topping the list is Doug’s cutting-edge Blog – a powerful, well-designed and executed micro-site filled with compliant, keyword-rich content that dates back several years; a virtual fountain of information. Of course the content stops short of giving away any ‘secret sauce’, but it has links to a few of Doug’s recent video presentations at conferences, podcast case studies with other “supply chain financial management” veterans, several white papers he’s authored, recent Comments by readers on an interesting twist on “global supply chain financial management”, and direct links to his Twitter feed and mature Linkedin profile, both of which include reinforcing content. Google also shows that Doug is also featured on several other industry Web sites as an RE – joint vidcasts, guest blog posts, etc.
Let’s play out this scenario: Chris clicks through from Doug’s blog to Doug’s twitter feed (this link is actually a Twitter Search on my Profile to make it easy for those without a Twitter profile to get a sneak peak). Chris, again, the E&Y prospect, immediately Follows Doug and adds him to her “supply chain financial management” List. She scans a few of his recent posts, sees that he’s in Kenya on a project, follows a couple of the links to some powerful “supply chain financial management” content Doug found and shared today and yesterday, and then clicks through to Doug’s Linkedin profile (again, my public profile as an example for those unfamiliar).
“OK… Let’s see what we can see… 500+ Connections – solid. 15 Recommendations – hey, there’s Joe from dinner! OK… There’s those tweets again… and a couple headlines from his blog… Hmmm, before E&Y, he was with McKinsey. Wow, we have some people in common… and some shared Groups. Yep, looks like Doug is in Kenya right now. (Look forward to asking him about that.)
“No problem – my issue isn’t urgent. I’ll leave him a voice mail and let him know I see he’s in Kenya, but want to talk when he gets back…. ‘Doug Smith, this is Chris Mann from XYZ. I had dinner with Joe Jones from ABC Company tonight at the QRS Conference. Joe referred to you as the “supply chain financial management” guru. Got a challenge I’d like to run by you. I see you are in Kenya on a project. Please call me at your earliest opportunity. 212-515-1212 Or email Chris.Mann@XYZ.com and we’ll schedule a phone call. Thanks so much. Looking forward to meeting you. Joe spoke highly of you…’”
And this all took Chris about 10-15 minutes depending on how fast she scans and assimilates data.
Little different scenario this time around. Do you see the VERY tactical and practical utilities of that kind of mature online presence? Do you agree with that scenario as I’ve described it? Does that story help connect some dots for you? What would you add? Like it?
How else does a mature online presence as a Recognized Expert help?
Let’s consider a perhaps less-than-obvious situation. How does BRE help you achieve your career goals? What are the long-term implications? Let’s paint a picture of the future and how BRE may be a significant factor in how well you will prosper.
Let’s tweak the dinner conversation slightly. Let’s say Chris Mann is not an E&Y prospect but instead the conference organizer looking for someone to speak at the NEXT conference in six months. How would the same situation play out given the same two sides of the coin? On the one side, Chris the conference organizer finds tons of corroborating content to Joe’s suggestion that she consider Doug as a potential speaker. How strategic would a speaking gig at the next industry conference be, in front of a host of clients and prospects? And perhaps there might be some media outlets in the audience that want to interview Doug for a vidcast on the topic, perhaps an industry blog ‘ecosystem’ looking to add an author? Who knows where all that could lead, but one thing’s for sure: “It’s all good!” But on the other side, if there is no online reputation reinforcing the RE status, it all goes nowhere in a hurry.
Upper Management Change
Or how about this scenario. Consider that Doug’s boss at E&Y retires. Doug doesn’t really want to ‘move up’, and the new guy is a friend of someone on the Board, a young ex-prof from Wharton, someone with a lot of head-knowledge, looks good on paper, wrote a couple books on “supply chain financial management theory”, but in reality is thin on street savvy - a good choice for the Wall Street reputation, but a poor choice from a client perspective. “But you can help him get up to speed. He’s a good guy, knows a lot of movers and shakers, and together, you’ll both kick butt…” the vice-chair says with a slap on the back.
Well, this could go at least two ways, right? WITHOUT a solid RE reputation, after a couple inevitable missteps by the new guy, Doug could say, “Screw it. I’m throwing my hat in the ring over at __competitor__.” WITHOUT the RE profile, won’t Doug will be a bit hamstrung and eventually either set the new guy up for failure or get chewed up himself, lose his fire, and ultimately derail and fade out? True?
Either way, the company loses a bright (albeit hidden) light, has potential reputation management issues, morale issues, client satisfaction issues, etc. etc. etc. – not a good scenario for anyone – except the competition of course. But WITH a solid RE profile, the new guy will of necessity have to work with Doug, won’t he? You can’t argue with a guy that has a thought-leading blog, perhaps even a blog that’s its OWN industry ecosystem with tons of engaged readers, 1000+ Linkedin Connections, 25 Recommendations, 1000s of Twitter Followers, etc.. The vice-Chair will say to the NEW GUY, “Step aside, man, and just enable, help DOUG do his thing, bring more prospects to the table, bring ideas, that kind of thing.” Doesn’t everyone WIN in that scenario???
What are your thoughts? Does this make sense? Where are the holes? Is this an accurate depiction of why Becoming a Recognized Expert can be so useful not only in the short term but in the long-term, not only for the professional but for the company?
If so, Part 3 will discuss the practical and tactical steps to facilitate going from “Nowhere Man” to Recognized Expert.
Please share your take. Please don’t lurk – engage. Thanks in advance.
The cat wants in to my office. Not gunna do it! Sorry.
Busy professionals often want to know how to make the Social Web more useful for them. But there are barriers. Some comments I hear, especially from boomers in upper or senior management:
All legit and common questions and comments. No doubt they all stem from ‘busy-ness’. But the question is, “Can we ignore Social media vis-a-vis our professional presence and online reputation?”
Perhaps TOGETHER we can collaborate on some real-deal answers. Tell you what: I’ll share some of my writings on “How to Become a Recognized Expert”. Please add your Comments to the discussion below.
[TIP: Click the "Subscribe" right next to the Submit button, especially the choice about getting an email for follow-up comments. That way you can see if someone comments on your comment. I know more email. But this is good email, email where you have a stake in the discussion and want to know what others are saying. If you have a couple minutes and really want to do it right, set up a Google profile, add your headshot and points of contact, web site, etc. Be logged-in when you Comment to 1. save time and 2. give people a name with a face.]
To ignore or not to ignore. Let’s use a real-life example. Is this True or False in your experience?
I have a great friend who is a Partner with a Big Four audit firm, we’ll call him Doug. Doug is a relationship manager for a handful of F100 enterprises. He has a team of “supply chain financial management” specialists, again at the F100 level, that know “supply chain financial management”about as well as anyone on the planet, with a great track record of meaningful successes in solving client problems. But if you look up “supply chain financial management”, his firm is invisible, not to mention Doug.
If you were a large enterprise finance professional in “supply chain financial management” looking for a new source of information or a new business partner/advisor/audit firm, wouldn’t you be interested in hearing from a Big Four contact, better yet, a Big Four contact in your network? Or vice-versa – If you were a Big Four sales exec, would you want your company and/or someone on your team to be “found” in the “supply chain financial management” category on Linkedin or Google?
Let’s continue with the vignette.
Here we have Doug, a Big Four “supply chain financial management” expert with no Web properties to his credit, no blog, no or minimal Linkedin, no Twitter presence.
Now let’s say one of Doug’s happy clients, Joe Jones (fictitious name), has a conversation with Chris Mann (fictitious name), a colleague from another F100 company, and a Big Four prospect, at an annual industry conference at a plush resort. Over a beverage and friendly dinner, together they chew on a common challenge relative to “supply chain financial management”.
Is this a common scenario? I think so, but sometimes I’m an idiot, too.
Joe, the happy Big Four client, references a few recent “supply chain financial management” innovations originated and orchestrated by Doug’s Big Four team, with a special emphasis on the wisdom and leadership of Doug, again the “supply chain financial management” relationship manager.
However, unfortunately, due to compliance, regulatory, and intellectual property issues, Joe the happy client can’t go into details or email/share any documentation on the innovation with Chris.
Chris says, “Gee, I’d like to talk to Doug.” Joe writes down Doug’s name on a napkin, digs his cell phone number out of his Droid, and says, “Give Doug a call. You’ll get his voice mail. Tell him I referred you. He’ll call you back within 24 hours. He’s got the answers…”
End of vignette.
First Question: Is this a desirable situation for the Big Four Sales Exec? Sure it is. SO…
Do you think Chris, the Big Four prospect, will do a little searching online, perhaps hit Linkedin, perhaps Google, search on Doug’s name at least? How will Chris start her search? Here’s a likely scenario…
Google – “Doug Smith” “Big Four name”
Chris thinks to herself, “Well, here’s a Linkedin profile, but it’s pretty thin. Wow, zero content on “supply chain financial management” – no blog link, no Twitter feed, no Recommendations… Well, maybe he doesn’t understand Linkedin… Oh well. Let me add “supply chain financial management”
Click the <Back> button a couple times to the search page..
“Doug Smith” “Big Four name” “supply chain financial management”
“Hmmm. Still nothing. Wow. Doug’s not publishing anything; neither is Big Four. Odd. Well, perhaps it’s the compliance department throwing down their gauntlet on Social Media and Web sites, etc. Well, I’ll give Doug a call, but in the meantime, let me see what I can find on ["supply chain financial management" blog]. Hmmmm. This is interesting….” Off Chris goes in other directions, potentially finding other sources.
Second Question: How is this scenario going to impact Chris’s first encounter and first impression of Doug when Doug returns the phone call?
Remember what’s at stake here. Think about the potential collateral damage to the relationship between Joe Jones, the Happy Client and Chris…and by extension the relationship between Joe and Doug.