Getting ready for the new LinkedIn Company Page


Social media is an area with many aspects to it and has important implications way beyond being a new marketing communications channel. Nevertheless, the basics are important and this post gives you a quick overview of the coming changes in LinkedIn’s Company Page and how to prepare for them.

Organisations will get a new LinkedIn Company Page “later this year”: this is an advance warning to start preparing your digital assets so that, when the new format is released, your content will be ready.

The main difference in the new layout is that a landscape cover picture at the top of the page is a key feature, similar to cover shots on Facebook and Google+. Updates get more prominence – compared to the About Section – and the layout has been streamlined to make navigation simpler and more intuitive.

The changes to Company Pages will only affect only the layout of your Company Page. In other words, no new features will be added; only the look-and-feel will be fresh.

LinkedIn is deleting the tabs that used to appear at the top of the page: instead, those sections have been highlighted in the right sidebar.

Some page elements, such as Recent Updates, Recruitment (We’re Hiring!) and the Products and Services sections of your page, are more prominently featured. The About Section will be moved to the bottom of your Company Page.

LinkedIn has now made the Follow button yellow and a bit more prominent. The button is directly across from the logo so that a natural eye movement will follow a grey strip to the right. These changes should increase the number of follows you get.

Mobile app changes

Another improvement for Company Pages is that they can now be accessed from LinkedIn’s iPad, iPhone and Android apps: they will have real-time notifications of actions taken by Connections and include the facility for Members to edit their Profiles on their mobiles.

Targeted content

The dialogue box that helps you target appropriate groups with company status updates.

LinkedIn is providing a more obvious option for targeting your Company Updates to certain segments of your audience. LinkedIn will be rolling out two new features for company pages, Targeted Updates and Follower Statistics.

Targeted Updates enable you to target company status updates to specific groups of followers so you can deliver the most relevant content to the most appropriate audiences. Companies can segment by variables like company size, industry, job function, seniority, geography and to include/exclude company employees.

While targeted updates will be displayed only on the LinkedIn homepages of the followers you target, all status updates you publish will be visible to anyone who visits your LinkedIn Company Page, regardless of whether those visitors were included in the initial targeting criteria.

After you post an update, you will be able to view metrics such as number of followers targeted, impressions, clicks, shares and engagement, as well as being able to review that post’s original targeting criteria.

The new Products and Services Section

The new version of the Products and Services page works in a very similar to the current one. The main difference is that it is now in the right sidebar and it also allows display of the names, job titles, companies, and Profile images of LinkedIn users in the visitor’s network who have recommended particular products/services on your page. This is a useful facility because it emphasises and displays testimonials much more prominently.

Below these highlighted users, you’ll find any videos you’ve added to the page in a similar way to the existing page layout. The layout is a bit more customisable, like the business pages of other social networks such as Facebook and Google+.

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Five prin­ci­ples of social objects


Jyri Engeström

Jyri Engeström

Jyri Engeström, co-founder of Jaiku and now Google employee, has always been an advocate of understanding social objects. Social objects are one of the key building blocks of digital content.

The social sites we visit today are not just friend networks — they’re also built around objects that connect people with shared interests.

These social objects could be anything from a photo on flickr, a video on YouTube, a track on Last.fm. This concept may not be new information to some of you — Jyri has been talking about “social objects” for years now.

So what are Jyri’s Five Prin­ci­ples?

  1. Define your object. This is the easy part, but perhaps most important. The social object will be the center of your network. On eBay, it’s whatever item you’re selling or buying. On Amazon, it’s a product. On Flickr, it’s a photo and so on.
  2. Display your verbs clearly.What do you want people to do with your social object? Do you want them to comment? Rate it? Share it? Watch it? Make sure whatever action they should take is clear and highly visible on the site.
  3. Make the objects shareable. This is almost a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many sites have not made it easy (or even possible!) to share the object which their site is centered around.
  4. Turn invitations into gifts. Want your friends to join you on the network? Don’t just spam them with an invite, send them something of value. Jyri mentioned how a purchase of a Skype headset years ago also included a set for a friend. Also, PayPal had originally offered a small amount of money posted to the account of your friends who signed up for the service.
  5. Charge the publishers, not the spectators. On any network, there are those who are creating and those who are passively consuming the content. You shouldn’t charge the latter, only the former. The people who are actively using the service and are getting value from it in some way are the ones who would be willing to pay for additional features or, in some cases, just to use the service itself.What is interesting, though, is how well this information has held up over time. Or has it? Do you find this useful?

Six types of social media user


At this point, no single customer engagement channel can deliver marketers a complete picture of consumer behaviour.

Google knows what you’re interested in, but not what you’ve done. Facebook knows who your friends are, but not what you buy. Pinterest knows what you share, but not how you act on it. Foursquare knows where you are, but not what you like. You get the idea.

Social media measurement is critical to success, but brands have been unable to get their arms around what it is and what it means.

Aimia, a loyalty management firm, has unveiled a new segmentation model that analyses trust and control as drivers of six distinct social media personas. The model is detailed in a white paper: Staring at the Sun: Identifying, Understanding and Influencing Social Media Users. The paper argues that specific social media personas can be identified and more efficiently engaged by understanding their online behaviour.

“Today’s approach to social media measurement – racing to rack up the most likes, retweets, followers, and recommendations – is the wrong approach. Marketers must define success not by social media activity but rather by customer value and engagement,” declares Aimia. “Marketers often struggle to understand the true motivations and purchase intent behind customers’ social media activity. Segmentation by persona allows marketers to more successfully identify, understand and influence customers in social channels.”

via The 6 Types Of Social Media Users | Social Media Today.

How far can social media take the traditional enterprise?


Social media still rests a little uneasily in many enterprises. At the large end of the scale, it is hard to adapt older marketing communications workflows to react to the 24/7 nature of social media response. There are also issues of transparency after a generation or more of secrecy and spin.

Smaller enterprises can react more flexibly but the resources and skills are difficult to find and afford. Social media excellence takes time and needs rewarding. However, these are operational matters that are being addressed.

At a strategic level, there is a more pressing issue: does intensive social media involvement imply changes to all business processes and even commercial models? With changes from digital delivery and social media in the recorded music business, commercial video, publishing, printed media and, indeed, many other industries, should all enterprises be consulting the digital crystal ball?

Certainly, enterprises are developing online communities and trying to create stronger brand relationships, from sectors as disparate as carmakers launching new models to professional services firms developing inner customer “sanctums”. FMCG brands are also finding ways to engage customers in product development and testing via social media.

LONDON Advertising's new office

LONDON Advertising’s new office reflects its business model

Start-up advertising agency, LONDON, has found a way of simplifying the creative process, on the one hand, while using experienced professionals and a digital delivery system to handle campaigns anywhere in the world with much lower costs. Significantly, they have been transparent about their costs, a key part of digital transformation and an anathema to the traditional advertising agency.

There are two main approaches to digital transformation: the first is to evolve by developing products or services which have digital DNA built-in, whilst gradually adjusting the enterprise, its skillsets and workflows to accommodate this evolution.

The second approach is more radical: set up a lab, a skunkworks, a new manufacturing or service facility and get new talent to take responsibility for its outcomes. Such a laboratory can adopt a trial-and-error approach and learn very rapidly. Finding the balance between a successful skunkworks and the mother enterprise will be a challenge but less of a challenge than not doing anything at all.

Facebook content marketing advice from Nissan, versus its dealer network (small businesses)


http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/2012/03/facebook-content-marketing-lessons/

Sunday might be a great day to post more content on Facebook

Sunday might be a great day to post more content on Facebook

#contentmarketing

The success of Nissan’s main brand page indicates that there could be advantages for its dealers in terms of engagement if they redirect their focus.

The parent company has resource to pour into social media marketing and it may have patterns of engagement that are worth looking at.

Let’s recap our findings:

  1. Bring cohesion to your messaging. What role does your business play in the lives of the people who have “liked” you on Facebook? It’s probably more than their daily dose of cute jokes. Don’t drop those entirely — nobody wants to follow a boring stream of company sales speak.
  2. Small businesses like dealerships should aim to post content that connects their industry to human-interest topics, such as local traffic information, suggestions on the best weekend road trips or even the occasional discount offer. Think about how your audience might relate to your business in their personal lives and you are almost guaranteed to find content-worthy points of intersection.
  3. Try posting more rich media. Firstly, it’s getting the highest engagement, by far. And secondly, it’s more likely to be shared. Ask yourself, would you be more likely to share a status or a photo? For most people, I think photos have a tangible quality that induces sharing.
  4. Rich media can be expensive to produce, but there are also cost-effective alternatives. Try using content from the main brand’s assets. There’s also aggregation, or content curation. You could look for someone within the company who possesses both a decent camera (doesn’t have to be a pro) and an eye to match. You could even ask consumers to get involved. Activating the community to generate content would kill two birds with one stone.
  5. Try posting more content during non-business hours. Part of content strategy involves understanding what mindset people are in when they read your content. And someone sitting around on a Sunday afternoon might be in just the right frame of mind to read about how remarkable a new model is that just arrived. It could even get them off the couch and up for a drive to check it out.
  6. Understanding what works is an ongoing process. People’s interests can change over time and, with many product categories, even by season. Fortunately, social media has made it easier than ever to gauge what’s of interest to a target audience. And the more you know about what interests them, the more likely you are to create content that tightens the relationship they have with your brand.

What separates good, and great, content marketing


If you are part of the digital marketing industry you will have probably heard of Joe Pulizzi and his organisation, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI).

Joe has been a pioneer of content marketing for over a decade and has made it the CMI’s mission to help brands create quality content and distribute it through multiple online channels.

Coke and Google

Coke is emphasising that the future of marketing is digital content

The purpose of content marketing is to differentiate yourself from your peers and your competition through the use of creative, original digital content. Such content has a very beneficial SEO (search engine optimisation) effect and you will be found online, enjoyed and reap the resulting financial rewards.

Content marketing is not new. In the 1920s and 30s, manufacturers used printed newsletters to help their customers solve problems. They used storytelling, diagrams and photography to engage their audience, create brand loyalty and tell stories. The cost of such publications made it only available to larger brands.

The speed of publication and distribution has increased a hundred times since then. Prospects and customers can accept, read and ‘like’ a piece of content online within seconds.

The barriers to entry are now negligible. Photography, video and smartphones, as well as cloud computing, have brought tools within everyone’s reach that could only have been dreamed about just ten years ago.

A content strategy does not consume budget in terms of the cost of technology or distribution: it is either time-consuming for an internal team to create and curate content or it can be partly or wholly outsourced.

To avoid outsourcing, how can you accomplish the creation of original content? Through storytelling! A well-formed story is an essential part of an online marketing strategy. And here’s the rub: you are part of your story and you have direct access to the elements that can create compelling versions of it.

One of the reasons that you might not be creating much interaction online is because you don’t have compelling stories. Online tactics including search engine optimisation, lead generation and social media should be focused around telling a compelling story to engage your audience. After all, we know that facts tell…and stories sell!

Take Coca-Cola. The brand has recently released a series of videos that provide their take on the future of content marketing and more specifically the importance of storytelling.

Coca-Cola Content Marketing 2020: Part One
Coca-Cola Content Marketing 2020: Part Two

So what separates great content marketing, according to Joe Pulizzi, from the merely good?

  1. Add value: People resent being constantly bombarded with sales material. If you are in a competitive industry (which, let’s face it, most of us are), try to add value and solve their problems. Create content that is not sales-focused but customer-focused.
  2. Avoid jargon: Create content that focuses on what the audience wants to know, in their language. Avoid your jargon and learn theirs.
  3. Think ‘stories’: Motivate your team to look for the elements of great storytelling in everyday organisational life. I regularly go into enterprises and pick up several stories immediately, things that are in front of people each and every day but, because of familiarity, they become invisible.
  4. Team participation: By encouraging participation of your team in content creation, you can accomplish a few things. Looking for content on a regular basis will make them more aware of the elements of your enterprise and provide them with increased exposure online as an advocate for your brand.
  5. Coke content marketing video

    Coke hopes to transform one-way communication into dynamic storytelling to add value and significance to peoples lives

    Brand-less: Joe advocates that “your story travels further the less you mention your brand.” The more you provide quality content that is relevant to your readers, without necessarily referencing your brand, the more likely they are to read and share that information.

  6. Search out influencers: Search engines are still very relevant but there is an increasing trend towards increased referral-based business. If you can influence key influencers and they share your content with their network, that will produce a huge return on your efforts.
  7. Content ratio:The 4-1-1 Content Marketing Ratio — for every six posts shared on Twitter or Facebook, CMI advocates the following formula:
    • 4 shares of other influencers’/company’s content
    • 1 original piece of content
    • 1 sales pitch
  8. Give them the means: Have you ever wanted to share an article and spent more time looking for the social share buttons than you did actually reading the content? Place your social sharing buttons in a very visible area.
  9. Concentrate on quality: If you have to choose between quantity or quality of content, sheer quantity will hurt your brand. Posting great content once a week is far better off than posting mediocre content five times a week.

Brands take enhanced pages on Twitter


Asda's enhanced Twitter page

Asda has posted a YouTube clip of its latest TV ad in its permanent tweet.

Asda, Cadbury, Sky and Electronic Arts are among the first 20 UK companies to set up enhanced pages on Twitter. They  went live on Twitter yesterday evening (1 February).

This is the first batch of premium Twitter pages from companies other than the handful of launch partners who unveiled enhanced brand pages in December.

Companies can now post a branded banner and a permanent tweet containing media or a promotion, at the top of pages.

Asda has posted a YouTube clip of its latest TV ad in its permanent tweet. Its branded banner includes its “10% cheaper or we will give you your money back” price guarantee.

Cadbury is promoting its latest TV ad for the Creme Egg Goo Games with a YouTube clip in its permanent tweet.

Electronic Arts has set up a brand page for its Fifa Sports game, while Sky has a page for its Sky HD service, promoting the customer service it offers on Twitter.

In the UK brand pages are free, but there is also a minimum media spend required, understood to be in the region of £25,000.

Cadbury Twitter page

Cadbury's is using its brand page to promote its tier-one sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics

According to Twitter “An enhanced profile page increases your brand’s Twitter presence by prominently featuring your most important content and visually branding your page. Your enhanced profile page is completely public — users can view it without joining or logging into Twitter.”

As Twitter gets more serious about generating revenue, it makes sense to create a more welcoming environment for big-name brands — the types of users who may want to buy more ads on the site after they see how successful their enhanced pages are.