Friday, 24 October 2014

Five favourite LinkedIn tips from Women In Business

I recently presented on one of my favourite subjects, LinkedIn, to a Women In Business event in Burton-on-Trent.

Thanks to the Women In Business partners: Burton and District Chamber of CommerceSmith PartnershipFCM Associates and Hoar Cross Hall for the invitation to speak.

So, I thought  I'd share with you the tips that proved the most popular with the delegates at the Pirelli Stadium.

1. Customise your LinkedIn home page

You can choose what appears on your home page when you first log on to LinkedIn.

It can be a busy page when you are seeing notifications from all your connections and groups and the companies and influencers that you follow.

You can turn off some of that noise by selecting 'Customize' (US spelling!) from the dropdown under 'Updates' on your Home Page

2. How to remove a LinkedIn connection

If you want to remove a connection, go to their profile and click on the down arrow to the right of the 'Send a Message' button.

The dropdown gives you a number of options for actions including endorsing or recommending this person. If you have a good reason for not wanting to keep them as a LinkedIn connection you can choose the final options 'Remove connection'. They won't be notified that you have removed the connection.

This functionality is currently only available on the desktop version of LinkedIn. You can't remove a connection on the LinkedIn mobile app.

3. How to personalise an invitation to connect on LinkedIn

A few people have been caught out by a recent update that has rolled out on LinkedIn. Previously if you went on to someone's profile page and clicked the blue 'Connect' you would always be asked how you knew the person and then you would have the option to personalise the invitation to connect. Now pressing 'Connect' fires off the default message for most users.

I'm a big fan of personalising invitations so that you can explain to people why connecting would be mutually beneficial. It also shows that you've gone to the trouble of typing something specific and personal, indicating that it is a connection that you will value.

If you want to personalise your invitation on the desktop version, you need to click on the down arrow to the right of 'Connect' and 'Send InMail' and select the dropdown option to 'Personalize invitation'.

If you are using LinkedIn's mobile app, and you are on iPhone iOS6 and above, you  need to go to the person's profile page and click on the icon top right of the page that looks like a box and an arrow and then tap the option to 'Customize invitation'. 

4. Catching up on news, ideas and inspirational articles via Pulse.

Exploring the Pulse section - accessed underneath 'Interests' from the main horizontal navigation - is a great way to learn from influential companies and business people across the world.

Use the 'Discover' tab to choose the people, companies and topics you want to read about. They will then filter into 'Your News'. You can update them as often as you like. For a change, choose 'Top Reads' to see what is proving popular that day.

5. Make the news yourself

LinkedIn's publishing platform was made available to everyone this year and is an easy way to write your own article. Just click the pencil in the box where you would normally add a status update on your home page and you'll be taken to a page where you type your article, add a headline, and a picture - and away you go.

It's a great way to increase your visibility and draw in potential new connections. If you are short on inspiration see the sort of 'stories' that other people are telling to get their point across. There's also good tips and advice to get you started here on LinkedIn.

  • If you want to know more about the power of LinkedIn to grow your business, or you want some help in strengthening your personal profile on LinkedIn, please get in touch.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Four good reasons why your business could benefit from blogging

Do you need convincing that blogging is a way of helping your business to grow? Or have you heard about what blogging can do for your business, but you don't know where to start?

I'm delighted to have been invited to speak about the benefits of business blogging at the October 8th meeting of the Angels In Business business growth group in Sutton Coldfield.

My session will be focused on practical tips and inspiration to help you write like a 'pro' and promote your business through writing articles and blogs. The meeting will run from 9.30am to 11.30am at The Kings Arms, Coleshill Rd, Sutton Coldfield, B75 7AA, and the £25 meeting fee includes refreshments.You can book a place online or call Clare Whalley on 07739 196896.

As well as a different speaker each month, the Angels In Business meetings offer members and visitors a chance to network and give a 60-second presentation about their business or company. Genuine referrals and testimonials are shared and the group is ideal for businesses that are serious about growing and developing.

Meanwhile, here's four good reasons why you should seriously consider investing some of your valuable time in blogging for your business.

1. There are SEO benefits to writing regular blogs about your business. Google wants to drive more people to quality websites that are relevant to their searches - so by writing useful articles that help and interest your customers, and potential customers, you can improve your ranking on search engines.

2. Blogging is a way of showcasing your skills and knowledge, reassuring potential customers that you are worthy of their trust and their money. This also helps if you want to establish yourself as a 'go-to' expert who is quoted in print and online, or sits behind a radio microphone or on the sofa in a TV studio when there's a news story relevant to your expertise.

3. Blogs reinforce the calls to action that you have in place on your business website. Compelling, persuasive writing and 'storytelling' on your blog can encourage people to sign up for your newsletter, pick up the phone or send an email enquiry.

4. Good blogs are more than just a channel for broadcasting sales messages. They are also an opportunity to build a community and improve communication between a business and its customers. Take the opportunity to ask questions and listen to the answers. Learning more about your customers, their problems and priorities helps you to improve the service you offer and perhaps diversify into new areas.

At next week's workshop I'll also be talking about how to tap into a never-ending stream of ideas for topics for your business blog, how to develop your writing style and how to make your blogs interesting to people and search engines.

If you are interested in a workshop about blogging for your organisation, I'd love to hear from you. Contact me here.