PR Niblets

Monday, September 29, 2014

LinkedIn 101: Business Goes Social

The following is part of a series about understanding social media

Now that we have a solid grasp on using Facebook and Twitter, it’s time that we tackle the lesser known platform of LinkedIn. While LinkedIn has become an important tool in terms of individual professional development, it is often underutilized when it comes to brands. What sets LinkedIn apart from giant social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is its emphasis on business. This makes LinkedIn a prime tool for B2B brands. Let’s jump right in.

Employees as Brand Advocates - One of the best benefits of LinkedIn for a company is that you already have a built in audience: your employees. When employees update their profile and list your company as their place of employment, they are automatically connected. This improves the quality of your page immediately by listing the number of active employees on LinkedIn and making your page appear more complete.

In addition to simply appearing on your page, employees can be useful in advocating for your brand. Sharing content that your employees believe in and support increases the likelihood of them engaging with the company page. When employees share updates or information from their company, it demonstrates value in what your brand is saying as well as provides you with further reach.

Thought Leadership – As LinkedIn is typically seen as a more professional social media platform, it provides an opportunity to truly engage with peers in your field. This is where it is most important to refrain from too much self-promotional material and follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of content should be value driven while 20% ties back to your company. This is an easy rule of thumb that helps demonstrate thought leadership in your industry instead of self-serving promotion.

Multimedia – As we learned in Facebook 101, including multimedia-rich content increases chances of engagement. This is just as true with LinkedIn. Including links, images and videos in your page updates significantly drive engagement. In fact, according to LinkedIn, including a link can drive twice the engagement than a post without one, images result in a 98% comment rate than posts without, and links to videos typically see a 75% higher share rate. You can’t argue with those numbers.
Cross-promotion – While Facebook and Twitter may be more consumer-facing than LinkedIn, if you’re creating content of value, it will be applicable to various audiences on different platforms. If you have a following on one or more existing platforms, leverage that to introduce audiences to your LinkedIn page so they can engage with your company in a holistic and all-inclusive way. In the same vein, use your LinkedIn page to promote and drive traffic to existing company pages such as a branded blog.

Have any thoughts, comments or questions? Connect with us!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Week without Connectivity: Ireland Edition

I recently returned from a vacation in Ireland, which is probably one of my first real vacations since entering the professional workforce. Sure, I have been to the beach and taken a few domestic trips here and there to visit friends and family, but this one was different. I was planning it all from start to finish (with the help of a small group of friends, of course) AND it was in a foreign country. We had a game plan: Itineraries, run-of-show packets with tickets for pre-scheduled activities, printed maps/directions for every leg of our trip, etc. The one thing we didn’t anticipate: Internet bandwidth.

The last time I was in Europe, the iPhone didn’t exist and cell phones were a means for calling on-the-go, rarely texting. I knew I wouldn’t be able to text or call my friends like normal, but I had always heard that WiFi was readily available in Ireland for periodic check-ins. This is true EXCEPT when 50,000 college football fans come to town (Yep – that’s right, we went to Ireland to watch American football). 

We all seemed to travel back a decade to “survive” without our mobile devices. That meant:

Making a plan and sticking to it. At any given point in the trip, we had anywhere between five and 12 people that we were coordinating. Rarely did everyone want to do the same thing at the same time… and we had no cell phones to text or call to meet up somewhere later. Instead, we designated specific meeting spots and times to meet. (Time is a difficult concept for many of my friends, but without the distraction of being connected, it was never an issue!)

Our trip mapped out
Having a conversation over meals. I try to do this in my everyday life, but it becomes more and more difficult to not pull up emails or texts during a dull moment of discussion. After spending six days with the same four people, the conversation begins to fade. Many times we found ourselves also striking up a conversation with the friendly table next to us; something that rarely happens these days in NYC. 

Reading a map…and navigating. All of us are pretty reliant on GPS systems these days. But luckily, we had printed maps and were always sure to plot the trip before we hit the road, marking key exits and turning points. As a driver, it’s stressful enough having to drive on the left side of the road from the right side of the vehicle. The last thing you want to think about is where to exit in the next roundabout.

Peace Wall in Belfast, Northern Ireland
After the initial shock of being cut off from the hustle and bustle back home, we quickly embraced the lifestyle of not being connected and enjoyed the endless views and rich culture of Ireland. In just one week, four friends and I road tripped around Ireland and Northern Ireland visiting Dublin, Midleton, Killarney, Dingle, Galway, Belfast and everywhere in between. The endless views were priceless and the memories are surely to last forever.

What would you miss if you were without a smartphone for a week?
Cliffs of Moher

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Facebook 101: It's All About Engagement

The following is part of a series about understanding social media

Now that we’ve learned all about the symbols and acronyms on Twitter, it’s time to handle the other blue beast of social media:  Facebook. While Facebook may seem a little more straightforward than Twitter, due to the longer post availability and easier to understand terminology, there is quite a lot to learn when it comes to running a corporate page. Let’s get started!

Engagement – Engagement is an all-encompassing term that refers to anytime a fan “likes,” shares or comments on your content. This is the most important part of using Facebook for your brand as it increases visibility. When a fan engages with your post, it becomes visible in their timeline to friends that may not already like your page. This is a great way to gain new fans without spending ad dollars.
  •  Like – When a Facebook user likes your page, they are opting-in to become a “fan.” This means that they are more likely to see your content directly from their Facebook homepage; however, it is not a guarantee. Facebook is consistently changing its algorithm so users only see the most up-to–date and what it considers “relevant” content. This means it is important to share relevant content frequently.
  • Comment – When a fan wants to directly interact with your update, they have the ability to comment. One of the easiest ways to encourage fan interaction is to add a question into your update. This encourages fans to respond and share their answers to your inquiry.
  • Share – Sharing is likely the most coveted form of Facebook engagement for brands. When a fan shares your content, they are republishing it on their timeline for all of their friends to see (this is kind of like a RT, explained in Twitter 101.)

Multimedia – Facebook users are highly visual, social media consumers and respond well when posts include some element of multimedia. When an update includes a photo or a video, users are more likely to pay attention and engage with your content. The key here is add compelling multimedia content that supports your brand’s look and feel (e.g. voice) and not just use any random photo or video -- otherwise users may feel like your content is not worth their time and attention. Always ask yourself what this content has to offer your fans before sharing.

A sample graph of Facebook’s week and time insights

Analytics – Facebook’s built-in analytics system, like its algorithm, is continuously changing and improving. This system can be extremely beneficial to brands in learning just how to target their key audiences. One very key piece of data that Facebook provides with its analytics system is what days and times fans are active on Facebook. By pinpointing when your fans are online, you can rearrange your posting times to increase your chances of engagement.

Audience – The most important aspect, aside from the various terms and tactics, necessary to understand how to properly use Facebook is your audience. The target audience for a consumer brand is immensely different from that of a B-to-B company. However, Facebook can be an important tool for companies in either of these categories. According to Pew Research Center, 71% of online adults use Facebook. By neglecting this wide of a segment, you may be missing out on quite a bit of business. The key to maximizing Facebook is to know your audience and provide content relevant to them, whether it is a consumer or another business.

Have any thoughts, comments or questions? Engage with us!