Beauty: The Southern Living Showcase Home

I believe Social Media Club in Nashville is one of the most worthwhile things I choose to participate in.  Georgia Cross and Leah Mackey have done a great job with speakers and programs that help the social marketing professional and of course the networking is the best part. I always learn something new or meet someone I can learn from.

One such meeting was completely different.  It was held at The Southern Living Showcase Home at 913 Dorset Drive, Brentwood. Nancy McNulty publicist for the Nashville Southern Living Showcase Home and #smcnash member invited the social media club for a pre-tour opening.

One of Nashville’s top homebuilders, Castle Homes, has partnered with over a dozen of the area’s top interior designers and decorative artisans to create a French Country style, 4,926 sq ft. home with the latest design trends, green energy and technology with LP Building Products as the presenting sponsor.

Now not too many people may be in the market for a $1.2 million dollar home but most of us are looking for million dollar ideas and this home was filled with them.

From the elegant entrance I expected a stuffy “Brentwood Box” interior, boy was I wrong.  The home was definitely created with livability and entertaining in mind.  From the open floor plan that begged for a party to the covered porch with gas fireplace and HDTV that could be opened to the outside., designer Kristen Finney did a great job.  I especially loved the open layout to the kitchen with large “Calcutta Gold” marble work surfaces and the Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer towers.

Each room is different but gives a sense of the whole.  Artwork by York & Friends Fine Art Gallery, www.ronyorkart.com,  lined the walls giving color and vibrancy to a neutral palette  At first all I could think of was dirty little finger prints until I realized all the furnishings and fabrics were made for rough and tumble family play.

One of my favorite things is the ability to control the home from an iPad. Off the foyer you will find the latest in InfinityEdge wall touchscreen system technology which can be run via an iPad – download the app. and go! (ACE Technologies of Brentwood/www.acealarms.com, 615-370-1600)

In the market for a new home or not, get out to the show!  You will not only get some great design ideas but you will be benefiting The Ronald McDonald House charities. Be sure you check-in on Facebook or Foursquare and Book From Birth Middle Tennessee will donate a book to Ronald McDonald House Nashville.  The home is open daily from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. until Nov. 6.

For more information: http://www.castlehomes.com.

 

Five Reasons to Use Social Media

If you’re on the fence about using social media websites like Twitter or Facebook to help brand yourself or your company, you’re not alone. While formal social media training may help your marketing strategy in the long run, these tips should give you a basic understanding of social media benefits and how a strong social media presence can greatly increase ROI and brand awareness.

While thousands of companies are already on the social media bandwagon, it’s never too late to start your social media efforts. Five key reasons to use social media include:

Whether you have four or 40 years of experience, social media allows you to brand yourself as an industry expert. By offering compelling content, relevant links and substantial statistics, you’ll create a following of loyal enthusiasts. The benefit of followers? The more you have, the more likely it is that they’ll repost or link to your content. In other words, they’ll do your marketing for you.

More than likely, you have at least one customer using social media. If you’re not there to promote your products or services, you’re missing a big opportunity to establish yourself and your brand. If you’ve launched print marketing campaigns in the past, it’s time to extend your reach to your potential customers who spend time online, specifically on popular social media websites.

  • Your Competitors are There

If knowing that your current and potential customers are using social media doesn’t motivate you to start a social media campaign, perhaps the fact that your competitors are there to steal them away, will.  Without a substantial social media presence, you’re losing branding opportunities to other companies who are active and take the time to craft fresh content on a regular basis. They might even have blogs with hundreds (or thousands) of followers.

  • Reputation Management

Companies are recognizing the impact that social media has on building relationships and communicating to wide audiences. By engaging users via internal communications, education and charitable pages, businesses have been able to expand their reach and create or repair reputations. Many companies have used social media for damage control; when bad press threatens sales and public perception, social media is often the first place a marketing team goes to reach a wide audience – instantly.

  • Smartphones Make it Easy

Through smartphones, you have the ability to reach your audience anytime, anywhere. Consumers can opt to receive instant messages from your social media platforms, as well as watch your commercials and download mobile apps. The technology in smartphones continues to improve, thus opening up even more opportunities for you to reach customers.

Once you initiate your social media campaign, make sure to rotate your content regularly; you need to keep your viewers interested and position yourself or your company as the go-to expert in your industry. Before long, you could develop a substantial following and garner national (even global) interest in your knowledge, products or services.

This guest post was provided by University Alliance and submitted on behalf of University of San Francisco.  In addition to social media training, USF also offers other digital marketing courses such as SEO training, mobile marketing, and more which are all taught by leading industry experts.

Facebook for FanPage Changes

This was a post featured in Tire Review Magazine(http://www.tirereview.com/Article/84578/big_changes_at_facebook.aspx)

I’ve been bemoaning for some time the fact that Facebook Fan Pages could not become fans of other Fan Pages. You had to use your personal profile to make comments on brand Fan Page walls. I guess many others shared my opinion.

Facebook instituted some major changes this month, and the best one in my opinion: Fan Page administrators are now able to communicate as the “Page” (as opposed to as a person) to post content and “likes” on other Fan Pages.

For instance, if you’re a tire dealer with a Facebook Fan Page and you would like to post a comment or photo on the Fan Page of a target group, say a local off-roading enthusiast group, you can now do so as the tire dealership and not as yourself. Essentially, Facebook has made it much easier for business-to-business networking.

[Of course, if you still want to add your personal “like” to a Fan Page, feel free.]

I can think of several types of Facebook groups that a tire dealer would want to communicate with – auto racing enthusiasts, professional women’s groups, a local trucking fleet, local community groups, local school districts, etc.

Another great development for all of you Fan Page administrators out there is user notification. Previously, one had to use a third part application to be notified of a fan commenting on our page.

Now you can get instant notifications on-site or by email. This is key because if a fan posts a positive (or negative) comment or asks a question, you want to respond immediately. Likewise, if a fan posts something that is obscene or clearly inappropriate, you want to see it immediately and take it off.

One thing I’m worried about in regards to the new look of Facebook is the picture rotation at the top of the page. It’s nice but could be a problem if someone posts an inappropriate photo; everyone will see it immediately front and center. It just means that you will need to be more vigilant than ever in regularly checking your pages.

Stay tuned as someone will probably develop an application to give us administrators more control over this new feature.

One of the other changes to note is the demise of FBML and the use of iframes. This will give Facebook Fan Pages the ability to work more like a traditional website.

Here are a few resources that I am using:

1. Facebook Page redesign: 10 things admins should do RIGHT NOW.

2. How to create iframe applications by Hyperarts.

3. How to create the perfect Fan Page.  This discussion has been going on since 2009 so scroll to the bottom.

Don’t need a Facebook Fan Page? Think again….

• There are now 149 million Facebook users in the U.S., and 70% of them use Facebook on a daily basis.

• 40% of Facebook users are 35 years or older.

• 55% of Facebook users are women and 45% are men.

For more information see about this data:  http://www.slideshare.net/360digitalinfluence/facebook-state-of-the-union

Yes, I’m a Twit… 7 Twitter tools!

Managing Twitter

Hootsuite is my app of choice on the desktop. Lists, searches, and support for real-time make it useful and helpful,  Owly my URL shortener of choice provides useful statistics on actual clickthroughs for information you share.  It will also show your most popular tweets, retweets, and geographical audience.

Want to annoy people with auto-direct messages? Want to automatically follow back anyone who follows you? SocialOomph will do this for you and do it quite well, even in the free version.

Going down the route of social CRM? Twitter for Salesforce, an app in the AppExchange, is insanely powerful. Prospect from conversations, searches, replies, and direct messages, then have your activity automatically appended to lead records, ensuring accountability and effectiveness.

Removing Slackers

ManageFlitter.com is a useful service for identifying people like the JTMarCom  Twitter account, slackers who don’t tweet and aren’t contributing to the conversation in any meaningful way.

Measuring Stuff

Lots of people place great importance on Twitter numbers that are completely bogus. Here’s a few that we think are fun but not necessarily super important, and some that really move the needle.

TwitterCounter tells you how many people are following you and vice versa. For people in advertising, consider this your first degree of audience reach.

Klout.com gives “influence scores” to Twitter users based on audience size and audience behavior You can also see how your own Twitter account and competitors’ accounts compare.

TweetReach is a service that attempts to measure how many people saw a tweet, hashtag, or other piece of content. Put in a hashtag, username, or other piece of relatively trackable text, and it’ll show you the theoretical maximum audience for it.

Follow Me on Twitter @chrisgtaylor

Happy Thanksgiving…. When will you die, damn it?

Happy Thanksgiving…. please die. Not a very nice thought is it?  I’d like to think it wasn’t me who had that thought Thanksgiving morning but it was. I would like to say it was because I had a sinus infection and was stressed trying to make a perfect holiday for my homecoming children, busy, stressed. Which is true. But all I could think of was the stench.  The stench of urine and shit saturated sheets. The panic of trying to get things cleaned up before my daughter awoke.  For her not to see her grandfather pee on the floor when his penis hit the air and me using washrags to clean his balls of the feces caught in the hair of his scrotum. I didn’t do a very good job.  The stench of cooking turkey, sweet potatoes and pee found me in the back yard retching up my morning coffee.  Thank God she slept late.

I love my father-in-law.  He thanks me for taking care if him when his mind is good. Otherwise, he dislikes me.  I am the person who won’t let him sit in urine. I won’t give him buttermilk or unlimited sweets.  ( his feet swell and his breathing gets difficult) My weekend mornings suck.  After working long hours on our business we get to go to our farm.  Sounds nice but it’s not.  We are lucky we have someone to take care of my 97-year-old father-in-law most weekdays but even the caregiver needs a break. We are it.

We promised my Father-in-law he wouldn’t go to a nursing home.  We are trying to keep that promise.  The worse thing is that he now wants to go into home but it is too late.  A home would be fun. Cute nurses, people around he wouldn’t have me making him walk.  But if he does we will lose the farm.  The farm; that he wants his grandchildren and great grandchildren to have.  It is too late.

The papers transferring the farm into my husbands name needed to happen five years before nursing home care.  Now if we put him in a nursing home his assets would disappear quickly. $6000 a month goes fast.

Why do I tell you this?  Please talk to your parents. Please think about yourself.  What do you want the end to look like? You can choose.

Farmers Rock Social Media!

I am very fortunate to be working with Alliance Tires Americas, Inc., a client in the agriculture industry; not only because they have wonderful products and are great folks, but because my own personal interests are satisfied. You see, my husband John and I have a family farm in west Tennessee. The farm has been in my husband’s family since 1870 but we are “new’ to the farming business.  So I am learning a lot from participating in forums and social media sites for Alliance Tire.  For example, I learned recently that because we have 100 acres or less we are considered “hobby farmers.”  That’s OK with me. We have a great deal to learn.

It may be a surprise to some of you that agriculture professionals and farmers in America are quite advanced in using social media and other public forum sites to promote themselves and their interests.  The Ag Chat foundation sponsors a question and answer session every Tuesday night from 7-9pm EDT using the twitter hashtag #agchat.  Almost every Farm Bureau offers classes teaching social media to their constituents.

Why?  Because farmers want you to know where your food comes from.  They want you to know the faces behind your gallon of milk or carton of eggs. Farming is not easy. It is hot, dirty, and expensive and totally under appreciated.  But individuals like Troy Hadrick and Advocates for Agriculture, and organizations like AEM, Association of Equipment Manufactures (AEM is looking for someone to recognize as the ‘Advocate for Agriculture” at their annual meeting.  Other examples on Facebook include: Indiana Dairy, Farmer Showcase and Farm Journal.

Do you know where your food comes from? Do you care? Who do you know that is a great “Advocate for Agriculture?” Tell us your story.  It is important!


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Dying From Depression

NOTE: I have been sitting on this blog post for a while because I have been afraid it would be seen as unprofessional. However, I just heard from a friend that a  member of my book club got  drunk at her daughter’s wedding and was so ashamed she went to her garage,closed the door,  got into her car, and killed herself. She left behind, husband, children and grandchildren. I am SURE they would have forgiven her.

“Everyone has a Mother, and they all die.” I saw this short story title in a book I was reading  “Believer, Beware.” It made me catch my breath. You see, my own mother died recently and it shocked me.  It shocked me because she died but also because she chose to die.  My mother starved herself to death.

I was raised by my paternal grandparents so I did not find out until I was a junior in high school that my mother was manic-depressive or bipolar.

Bipolar illness seems to in the news a lot lately, the new ADHD. Every TV channel promotes this and that new drug, Xanax, Lyrica, Lexapro…

Bipolar depression, the illness dujour, is a very serious one.  But like all illnesses it has different degrees, from mild swings of depression and mania to wild full-blown psychotic episodes. My mother’s illness seemed to run the gamut.  Looking back through her papers I think she began to show symptoms as an early teen. But back then not much was know and her behavior was written off as a thyroid condition. So she was not diagnosed until much later.

Many people who have bipolar illness are quite brilliant. People such as, Beethoven, Hemingway, Churchhill. When my mother was high, crazy things could happen.  She might give away all her possessions and move to the Isle of Guernsey, become an innkeeper of a Scottish castle, have a fling with a Brazilian airline pilot.  That is one of the reasons some  people with bipolar illness don’t want to take their medicine. They don’t like feeling flat; they miss the ability to get an extraordinary amount of things done.

The depressive side of the illness is never far away- Being ashamed of impulsive and inappropriate behavior committed while “high”, the inability to form long and lasting friendships, the feelings of loneliness and alienation from other people.

My mother had secrets, secrets she was too ashamed to confess.  I believe that is what really killed her. I was pretty angry with her.  I do understand that is part of the grieving process.  The point I am trying to make is that we are all human. And being human makes us frail, fallible creatures.  I think it is quite self-centered to believe that you are the only one to have done stupid, terrible things.

My mother did not like being labeled mentally ill; it made her ashamed, and she also did not like growing old.  Not being able to climb the hills of Scotland hurt her deeply.   But I have to believe that it was her illness that made her give up. It takes one hell of a will to starve your self to death.

I was embarrassed to have a mentally ill mother. I was ashamed. I am sorry for that. I wish I had better understood the illness. I wish she was still here.

We all feel sad and depressed at times, we all need people to talk to. It may be a friend or a professional.  A professional helped me when my Grandmother died and again when my Mother died.  It helped.

In our society there is still a stigma about needing help. We need to change that. Do you think it is a sign of weakness to seek professional mental health treatment? Would it cause you not to hire someone who you know had?

Depressed? Get help. Lonely? Get help. Ashamed? Get Help! .  Where to start? NAMI National Alliance for Mental Illness. Suicide Hotline.

What resources do you know out there?

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Confessions of an Oversharer

I recently had someone delete me because I “overshare” information on Twitter.  It got me thinking about the issue.

As an “information junkie” who gets paid to research breaking news for my company and our clients, I come across a great deal of information that I feel is interesting.  I sometimes find it difficult to weed out my own interests and that of the audience involved.

My question is: “How often should I be posting messages onto these sites? Daily? Twice a day? Hourly?” Unfortunately, many people (myself included) post too often and abuse the airways. They send too many messages, which has two very negative effects.

First, you become an interruption rather than a welcome interlude. People who are following you and have your messages forwarded to their cell phone are constantly being interrupted by you. Now you’re a nuisance.  According to Pam Lontos, president of PR/PR, a public relations firm based in Orlando, Florida and  author of I See Your Name Everywhere. “The other problem is that search engines are designed to ignore these 140 character messages.”

However, there are strategic ways around that rule so that your 140 character messages become the alerts. The problem is that the search engines only allow a certain number of alerts per source, and it varies per search engine. If the search engines see too many messages coming from you during their standard interval period, they could flag you as a search engine spammer and lock you out.

So the best posting interval right now, in Pam’s opinion, is posting something every 48 hours, as that’s how long typically it takes for a message to be reported through search engines.

I will probably continue to post information I think is valuable but I will be more careful. What do you think?

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Why Privacy Failures Are In Facebook’s DNA (via TechCrunch)

Why Privacy Failures Are In Facebook's DNA Elias Bizannes is the chairperson and executive director of the DataPortability Project; founder of the Startup Bus; creator of the Silicon Beach community; and manages the finance function at search engine startup Vast.com. He previously was at PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia, where he rolled out a CEO-sponsored social media program using to change collaboration practices at the firm and make it more "open".  In this guest post, he tackles the … Read More

via TechCrunch

LinkedIn: 37 Usage Tips You Need to Read

by Nacie Carson on April 28, 2010 · 12 comments

in Uncommon Vocation, featured

New to The Life Uncommon? Stay up to date with the latest information, tips, and strategies by signing up or subscribing to the RSS feed.

Do you use LinkedIn? If you don’t then you may be missing out on the best social media opportunity out there today.

This weekend, I took another look at LinkedIn on the recommendation of Darren Rowse (@problogger). Like most people I know, I joined a few years ago, filled out my profile, and then never did anything else.

At the time, it appeared to me that Twitter and Facebook was where social media was at; I didn’t know too many people who did much with LinkedIn except to set their profiles up and then forget them.

Speaking of Twitter, why not connect with me there? @NacieCarson

So I was intrigued to hear that many of the most successful people I know use LinkedIn, and use it religiously. On a quest to figure out exactly how to make this networking tool work in a successful way, I started asking around.  The responses I got where overwhelming and incredibly informative.

I present them to you here, in the words of people who have had major success with this interesting networking tool, from lawyers to writers to PR moguls to small business owners. Have you figured out how to maximize your exposure and reap serious benefits? Share you tip!

(Oh, one thing I’m sure you’ll notice as you read through these is that groups are a big deal – think about joining my newest group on LinkedIn, The New Opportunists, and we can discover together just how they work!)

37 Tips for Absolutely Ruling LinkedIn from People Who Know

Here’s a great tip for journalists: The editors at magazines are always changing, but thanks to the search feature you can search by position and find the current name of the editor you’re looking for. I’ve built most of my editorial contact database this way–and have landed some assignments from getting the right contacts. –  from Kristen Fischer

Use LinkedIn as a platform for conversation. Get involved in groups, whether through posting of relevant articles as topics of discussion or by sharing expertise with the most appropriate group for your audience. – from Christopher G. Hill of Construction Law Musings

I’ve been using Linkedin for several years but it wasnt until January when I started a Linkedin group: Member ROI for Associations & Societies. There is gold in the groups if you use them right–provide lots of niche value and let your content be the promotion devise. Already have received one association speaking engagement as a result. – from Ed Rigsbee

I find that answering questions on LinkedIn helps my business stand out from the crowd. In a business consulting field like mine, potential clients either find us on LinkedIn or check out our profiles on LinkedIn on their way to deciding whether to work with us. By answering questions in my field, I get a chance to demonstrate expertise and make that lead more comfortable in working with us. – from Ben Lloyd of Amplify Interactive

Using LinkedIn has been a fascinating and rewarding experience for me. My recommendation are simplestart groups and answer questions. Starting a group is the best way to connect with like-minded people in your business. – from Ryan May

Click here to join The Life Uncommon Newsletter – Uncommoners International!

The key is (after preparing a full detailed profile) joining appropriate groups in your area of expertise, following the discussions closely and making substantive, intelligent and novel contributions to the discussion. Maintain a blog; where your blog contains a substantive discussion of the subject, provide a link. Nothing unique to add? Say nothing. Thoughtful fresh contributions invariably creates separate links and dialogues with potential clients and colleagues with whom you can create collaborative business ventures. – from Jerome Kowalski of Kowalski Associates

The key to successful Linkedin use is harnessing the power of Groups. I currently run two LI Groups: one for a client: the Illinois State Council of Human Resource Executives and the other for my own PR practice on Social Media and Healthcare. I believe this is where you can take advantage of niches of common interests and leverage the best of LI. – from Chris Martin of Chris Martin Public Relations

Use keywords to make sure your profile is searchable and easily found. Keywords can be built into your profile and even your title. Obviously, don’t overdo it but include relevant keywords and phrases throughout. – from Sacha Cohen of Grassfield Media

Post updates on a regular basis (at least once a week) about your business or company, what you’re working on or an interesting tip related to your job or industry. I have found this has most kept me and my services top of mind with my connections. It’s important the tips are not spammy; they must be of value to your connections. – from Arden Clise of Clise Etiquette

Building connections is the key to maximizing LinkedIn. Want to know how to do it? Click people you’re connected to that would vouch for you. Go to the their profile and click “Connections.” Review the names listed under, “Other Connections.” Click names of the people you want to be connected to. Click “Get introduced through a connection” link on the right side of the page and choose the persons name you have in common. Its that simple. Keep doing this again and again and you’ll create yourself a great LinkedIn network. – from Gregg Murray of Website Blueprint

To send out news about your company, join Groups that target your audience, like Entrepreneurs or Attorneys. When you become a member of these groups you can submit press releases, event information, news articles, etc. to the group. The group also sends out a weekly email newsletter to its group members so all will see the information. Ive gotten several leads for my clients this way. – from Becky Boyd of Media First

My best tip would be to join your college alumni-related groups. I joined several of my Babson College alumni-related LinkedIn groups. As a result, I was able to recruit board members to the national nonprofit I run; gain visibility for my nonprofit by connecting with Babson Public Relations staff who wrote a blog article about a campaign we were running; and connect (and meet) directly with the Babson College President who is supportive of a formal collaboration between Babson and my nonprofit, Everybody Wins! USA. – from Rich Greif of Everybody Wins! USA

The New  Opportunists

Join LinkedIn Groups: After launching a new website and blog in late December, I knew that it would take search engines a while to crawl and digest the information, no matter how well the content was search engine optimized. In the interim, I decided to use LinkedIn Groups as a way to promote my website and blog.  I joined groups that were a good fit for legal public relations and attorney website content writing. I focused on a variety of topics such as LEGAL MARKETING, public relations, law and media, alumni networks and business owners and entrepreneurs in my geographic area.  In approximately seven weeks, the LinkedIn campaign has: Generated almost half of the traffic to the Legal Media Matters website, resulted in reprint requests for Legal Media Matters articles, triggered new connections with lawyers around the world, and produced business leads and inquiries about the legal public relations and content writing services. – from Geri Dreiling of Legal Media Matters

Once I joined professional groups on LinkedIn that were in my industry of interest and I started answering questions – I made a lot of good contacts. I had just been answering random questions in marketing and didn’t really connect with anyone. I got a lot more personal in the groups I participated in. – from Margot Chapman of Zoom Unlimited, Inc

Make sure that you are active on Linkedin. Do at least one new action item every day. This will make them appear on the front page of every person that they are connected to. This can be a recommendation, a connection or to change their status update. If they can’t think of something to say, they should come up with an inspirational quote. People will be reminded of them every time they see them on their home page of Linkedin. – from Patricia Ellis of On Target Career Coaching

The best thing one can do on LinkedIn is to join groups related to the industries you are trying to target. Answer and post questions, etc. By being a member of a group you connect without having a contacts email. The larger the group, the more contacts. – from Christine Taylor of JTMarCom

I use the groups feature in linked in to create and manage special interest groups of my customers. So if I have a number of customers interested in social media, I can put them in a group and update the entire group with links to relevant articles, observations, etc. It keeps me close to them on topics that are important to them and doesn’t fill up their email box with messages that don’t get read. – from Dan Kraus of Leading Results Inc

Use Linked in with the mind-set that you’re not communicating to a faceless stranger; approach people as you would face to face at a networking event or at your table at a luncheon. In approx 200 characters, establish common ground, tell them why you chose them, ask clearly for their help and distinctly what you are requesting. People respond well to requests for help or directions, but don’t like to feel obligated or pressured to do so.  Offer them to expand their network by connecting to you, give them your contact info and thank them. The results will show! – from Marie Guillot of ABACO International

LinkedIn is a social media tool for business, so it should be used like any social media tool – to build, maintain, and deepen real human relationships.  Comment on people’s updates, join groups, regularly ping past co-workers, and enjoy the contact with others.  Truly enjoying LinkedIn like any good networking experience has been helpful to me as I always have people who remember me if I need advice, have a friend out of work, etc.  Everyone is a person to me on LinkedIn – and do I meet some great people! – from Steven Savage

My favorite way to use LinkedIn is to focus on providing a tip in my unique niche every day. Providing useful, quirky or fun tips that speak to a certain unique niche will attract the attention of others. As a motivational speaker I have the opportunity to motivate with my words. Every day I post a Business/Life Renovation Tip. I now have a regular following for my tips and have booked business as the result of my tips. – from Michelle Neujahr

Social media is all about connecting people and helping one another. I have used Linked-In to connect valued suppliers to my consulting firm with one another, creating interactions where great synergies have occurred. Linked-In has also brought quality freelance experts to my company which translates to results for clients-all secured through simple inquires within the network. – from Jack Maholl of Wisdom Bridge Marketing

If you post a discussion in a group, make sure you respond to comments to that discussion. Not only will this show up in your activity, but it also helps you connect with people in that group and can sometimes lead to business. – from Taylor Ellwood of Imagine Your Reality

When crafting your profile, ask yourself that question: “What’s the value to others in connecting with me and my network?” A variation on that theme is this: “What do I bring to the table that is unique and valuable to others?” – from Catherine Bryers Breet of Arbez

Be brave, link in with contacts and connections from introductions from others- your business is only as big as your contact list. – from Alexis A. Moore of Survivors in Action

Ask and Answer Questions! Giving advice and asking for advice is the best way to get noticed and notice others. Unless you ask and answer questions your profile is simply hiding in the dark waiting for someone to “bump” into it. You have to give your opinion, even at the risk of giving advice that you’d normally charge for. Here’s what it did for me. It sold books! I use LinkedIn regularly both connecting with people and asking and answering questions. It made my book go from a non-starter into a world selling book. I answered a question about marketing, I saw book sales on Amazon. I answered a question about graphic design, I saw book sales on Amazon. I answered a question about PR, I saw sales on Amazon. I also received emails from people who said they liked my answers so they bought my book locally and wanted to connect with me via LinkedIn. – from Gary Unger

Next time you’re at a networking event, trade show or just making a new business call and want to make an impression after the fact here’s a suggestion: When you get back to the office look up the contact on LinkedIn and if he’s there send him a note saying how nice it was to meet him and ask him to link in with you. This will not only set you apart from everyone else but now every time you put something on LinkedIn your new contact will be aware of it. It makes more sense doing this than bringing the card back and putting it in your database and never doing anything with it again. – from John Sonnhalter

The best way to get the most out of LinkedIn is to join groups, once you’re a member of those groups: start discussions and participate in discussions (to share and establish your expertise), then connect and network with people you meet in those groups and discussions. – from Robert Wilson

Position yourself as a subject matter expert in whatever field you work or are interested in. Do this by joining a few and select special interest groups. Also, answer questions that are posted both in these groups and on the overall LinkedIn web site. – from Patricia Lenkov of Agility Executive Search LLC

I’ve had a lot of success using LinkedIns “Answers” section. Throughout the week I respond to questions others have about digital marketing and social media strategy. By doing this it has been a great way for me to get my foot in the door with businesses that need help leveraging the web. – from Jillian Koeneman of Freshlime Marketing

Research and sign up for Groups that will get you what you are looking for which is not necessarily the same as groups that you would normally think of. Be sure to utilize most of the (50) that you are allowed and continually post questions, ask for feedback on your product, marketing messages, etc. and be amazed how many professionals just want to help. – from Carl Restivo of Scare Me Not

Answer questions and share your expertise. Linkedin updates your network when you do, and also notes it when you receive a best answer. This has led to other Linkedin members who I don’t know, contacting me for advice, recommendations, etc, further building my network and leading to referrals. Additionally, my answers have been used in a few news articles/blogs, leading to hits and inquiries on/from my business’ website, which is typically linked to, in the article or blog. These links also increase your website’s popularity with the search engines, putting you and your business in front of more people. – from Bob Steinkamp of Finger Lakes Media Strategies

Be active — but be genuine. Take the time to reach out to individuals. Join groups. When you find a group posting that interests you, research the profile of the person who posted. Then respond personally. I’ve doubled the group size of the Social Media for the Blogger group on LinkedIn by using this very technique. Reaching out has also landed me an as a guest speaker for a regional presentation on Social Media. It works! A little effort to reach through the clutter and personally respond to an individual does wonders! – from Karen Emanuelson

The outlook tool bar from LinkedIN is one of the best values in networking. It allows you to see who you haven’t invited to connect with. The grab feature lets you turn anyone’s email auto signature into an address book entry. Furthermore the Dashboard is a great tool for helping you keep in touch as well as reminding you of who needs a reply and who doesn’t.  – from Chris Reed of CREED Improvements

I was able to land a freelance position as a social media consultant through the jobs section of Linked In. Now I use the group discussions on Linked In to promote my business as well as my client’s. – from Carrie Lee

By being active in the groups, I have collaborated with people in articles, exchanged links, and been featured in the Art Calendar Magazine, interviewed on Blog Talk radio. There have been many opportunities, I would say, it’s about building relationships, being able to ask for help and share my expertise to expand my own network. – from Mari-Lyn Harris

Each time I correspond with someone for the first time, I make sure to include a link to my LinkedIn profile and encourage everyone to go to LinkedIn for my references. I am humbled to have over 80 recommendations which help me stand out in the crowd and give potential clients the confidence to work with me. Potential clients and associates can read in people’s own words how their experience was working with me. As a mortgage broker this is especially important since my industry has been under attack for a few years. – from Gary Parkes of NorStar Mortgage Group

I found one of my largest clients through a relationship I created through LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn, I was able to grow my book of business 166% in one year. Being able to build relationships with Second Degree contacts has been so successful, that I have now created a company that trains other professionals how to prospect on LinkedIn. – from Darrah Courter of Rippling Effect

Have you had success with LinkedIn? Share it below!

Here’s to your Uncommon Life,

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