Archive for July, 2012

5 Ahas of LinkedIn

July 27, 2012

LinkedIn is a brilliant marketing tool. Many business owners have a Linked-In profile but their only interaction is to occasionally invite (or to accept an invitation from) someone they’ve recently bumped into. Unwittingly they are providing loads of information for their competitors. Fortunately, not many of their competitors understand how to tap into that data!

Here then are 5 Ahas of LinkedIn aimed at helping you get a bit more from this wonderful resource.

Aha #1 – your profile should be like an elevator pitch

Your profile needs to be engaging and written in a way that succinctly describes how you help people. You have just 160 characters in your “Professional Headline” so make them count!

Business Owner, Director, Managing Director etc. are not effective ways of describing what it is that you do (they are merely job titles.)

Treat your profile as an”elevator pitch” and focus on the benefits that your customers get from working with/buying from you by telling a story.

Ensure you have a profile picture that show you in a good light – smiling and not too quirky.

To edit your “Professional Headline”:

  • Log in
  • Click ‘Profile’ then ‘Edit Profile’ then the ‘Edit’ alongside your name.
  • You will see ‘Professional Headline’ a few lines down (it’s a box that at first glance doesn’t include the full description.

Make sure you have links from your LinkedIn Profile to your web page and your twitter account.

Offer something to people who find you – a free half-hour of consultancy, a fact sheet, a sample of your product etc.

Aha #2 – use LinkedIn to Build Rapport – NOT to SPAM

Don’t just broadcast! Get involved.

Scan the activity reported toward the bottom on your home page. Say “Hi” “Congratulations” “Great Link” “Thanks for that” etc!  Share interesting relevant material with others.

Ask for recommendations from people you know well, satisfied customers and the like.

Better still give recommendations to your own service providers, customers and others in your network. Be genuine.

Join relative groups and join in the conversation.

Don’t spam. If all you ever do is publicise your events, products and services people will see you as a spammer. PLEASE  don’t spam people!

Aha #3 – LinkedIn’s great for finding potential clients

Use the Advanced Search facility to target specific prospects. You might be looking for specific industry sectors, people who hold specific positions within an organisation etc.

Go to ‘Advanced Search’ at the top right of the LinkedIn screen and tick as many boxes as relevant. I would also limit the search to 2nd degree and Group Connections. Use the post code box to set a geographic limit (if necessary) and when you’re done click ‘search.’

Look through the results and from the list look to begin a conversation with just one or two people a day.

You could do that by following them on “Twitter” (if they show a link to their twitter account) and begin the conversation.

Ideally, for 2nd Degree Connections, pick up the phone to the contact that links you and ask them to put you both in touch. I wouldn’t recommend using In-mail to make a ‘blind’ approach. It would be like a cold call – not impossible – just improbable.

Aha #4  – Tagging your connections is a great way of getting focussed!

Use Tags to segment your connections. This means you can send selected, targeted communications aimed at specific segments. This is much better than copying in everyone on all your communications. That (as I am sure you’ll appreciate from the experience of others doing that to you) just gets irritating for people who are likely to disconnect from or ignore you.

LinkedIn automatically assigns some tags (friends, partners, group members etc.) dependent on how you LinkedIn with the connection.

To assign your own tags:

  • Click on “Contacts” from the menu bar
  • Click on “All connections”  in left hand column – this brings up your contacts in the box.
  • Select a number contacts and assign a “Tag”… might be “accountants” or “potential clients” “influencers” etc. Only you can see the tags that you have assigned.
  • You create a new tag by clicking “Edit tags” which opens up a box – type in the “tag” you wish to assign to these connections.

To send a message to all members of a “tagged” group of your contacts simply click the “Tag” in the left hand column  and then send message in the right hand column.

You can choose specific members from a number of groups simply by ticking their name. This will add their names individually to the list. Again just click send message and your away!

Aha #5 – you can choose how you are found

Firstly you need to decide on how you would wish to be found. It’s a bit like deciding the key words you’d choose for your website.

Say you want people to find you as “hypnotherapist.” Then you need to ensure this word crops up as many times as possible in your overall profile.

The word count is what determines how high up in the returned search results you feature. A word of caution – ensure that in an effort to increase the word count that you do not turn your profile into an unintelligible mess!

You should get your chosen search terms into your professional headline, within your current and past positions, in your summary and within the section that details your experience too.

There you have it – my 5 ahas of LinkedIn. These tips are a small sample of ways in which you can make a big impact upon the effectiveness of your LinkedIn profile.

If you would like to find out more – then get in touch with me, Ken Norman at New Tricks Training!


Pitch Perfect – Tuning the Perfect Pitch

July 27, 2012

I was delighted to be asked to present at this year’s Venturefest in Oxford a couple of weeks ago.

Venturefest is a networking event held annually and focused on business creation. Over the day entrepreneurs seeking capital to start or grow their businesses network and give 15 minute presentations to an audience of investors – both venture capital companies and high net worth individuals actively seeking to invest. I was asked to give some guidance on pitching:

Some Dos:

Plan and prepare your pitch with the audience in mind – put yourself in their shoes: they are thinking “What’s in it For Me.” Point out what they get (rather than what you’re looking for!)

Structure your presentation well:

  • Overture (Many operas and symphonies begin with an attention grabbing start.) Open with a statement that motivates the audience to keep listening. (An overture to an opera includes snippets from the work that is to follow.) Share with your audience what’s coming up.
    (The content of the main body of your pitch will vary but may include “Finances, Competitors and Marketing Plan”) Suggest 3 “Acts”  (but no more than 5.)
    • Act 1
    • Act 2
    • Act 3
  • Finale (Reprise your main points)
Rehearse (Practice makes Perfect) A musician would never dream of going into a performance without rehearsing.
Create visual aids that are VISUAL (i.e have images, charts and graphs) and aid the audience understand the points you make.
Rehearse again.
Smarten up your appearance. Polish your shoes, do up your flies, if wearing one, tie your tie correctly, check your hair, remove dangly jewellery – remove distractions.
During your performance SMILE and make eye-conact with your audience.

Some Don’ts:

  • Read to your audience
  • Use PowerPoint as an auto-cue
  • Be “I” focussed. Too many pitches begin “I want…” “I am looking for…” ” I am seeking £45,000…” etc.
  • “Wing it”

Going Viral

July 19, 2012

Big Society Video Ken NormanLast year I had spectacular success using Social Media to highlight a concern at Chipping Norton Lido where I was a trustee. I made a four-minute long video detailing my experience of and reservations about “The Big Society” which I posted to YouTube. I then used my “Twitter” account to promote it.

One Friday afternoon I cleaned and tidied my office, positioned my web cam to achieve an “interesting” angle (i.e. not square-on to the computer screen) and spoke (in a one take) into the lens. To keep me on track I had some cues on post-it notes stuck up round the camera and on my desk (you can see me glance at them every now and then.) Using Apple’s “i-movie” I edited out the odd pause and added photos to illustrate the key points I was making (and to mask any really obvious stumbles over my lines!) Using the superbly simple apple mac software, I added titles and some intro music, and within an sixty-minutes I had uploaded the edited video onto YouTube.

I sent out a few tweets during the day  (generating 25 or so views from my own followers) and rescheduling the tweet (using Hootsuite)over the next 24 hours generated another 200 views.  It was truly exiting to see more and more people re-tweeting (or RT-ing) and watching the video over that weekend. By Monday I’d had 650 views and I thought it’d be good fun if I reached 1,600 views (the significance of this number we become clear if you watch the film!)

I then unwittingly  unleashed the extraordinary reach of Twitter. I simply used Twitter’s “search” facility to find other folk who had tweeted on “The Big Society”

I noticed tweets by Sunday Times journalist, India Knight, Dr Ben Goldacre and comedian Marcus Brigstocke all articulating their concerns (i.e. having a go) about Mr Cameron’s ideology. I replied to their tweets and in my reply included a link to my own little rant. “Brilliant point there Marcus! Have you seen this vid about The Big Society http://link.” These three wonderful people retweeted the link (they have 200,000 followers between them) and within two weeks my video had been viewed 9,000 times. India Knight said, “Watch Mr Angry of Chipping Norton make a fair point about The Big Society”. One of Iher followers was Alan Rusbridger (The Guardian’s Editor ) and he retweeted, “Watch this strangely compelling video” to his own 40,000 followers.

The results were astounding.

Marcus Brigstocke Twitter Feed

Marcus Brigstocke’s Twitter Feed

The video has now been seen by  12,600 people. The virility of the video also meant that it made page 1 of Google for the search term “Big Society” and that meant that I was bombarded with enquiries from journalists, researchers and the like. I’ve raised £1,250 of sponsorship from many who followed the link to my everyclick fundraising page included in the YouTube video. Mind you I had to run the Great North Run into the bargain.

Some people  pointed me to funding streams that proved useful, others just sent good wishes and moral support. As for The Lido we’ve had interviews with the Banbury Guardian, The Daily Mirror, The New York Times, BBC Radio 5 Live and The Guardian. Jeremy Clarkson wrote about us in his Sunday Times column one weekend. French Canadian Radio Television included in their film (due to be broadcast this September) The Lido as an example of The Big Society in action. All marvellous profile.

So, based on what I learned, here are my top tips for making and promoting a YouTube Video?

  • Plan and rehearse what you want to say
  • Include a call to action
  • Prepare to be contentious
  • Wear your heart on your sleeve
  • Be passionate and animated when speaking to camera
  • Use post-it notes as key word cues
  • Don’t worry about the odd verbal slip-up (I appear unable to say the word “thousand!”)
  • Set up the camera and room to look interesting
  • Add pictures, titles and music if possible
  • Add tags and links to the video description
  • Respond to comments
  • Tweet about it
  • Schedule different tweets at different times of the day
  • Identify others with an interest in your subject
  • Tweet them and ask for their view.
  • Be prepared to defend your view.
  • Thank people for their advice, views and/or recommendations.

If you’d like help constructing a video presentation, help with filming or editing – just give me a call on 0845 003 8175.