Linkedin is important for business. You’d be forgiven to spend all day on it, if you had to. According to Craig Smith of Expanded Ramblings, more than 332 million people use LinkedIn. More than 2 members sign up every second. Of those 332 million, 107 million are from the U.S and the social network spans 200 countries and territories with more than 187 million unique visitors. Over 40% of LinkedIn members check LinkedIn daily.
It is a social network, yet professional. Whenever we sign up for a social network, we tend to forget that the purpose is to connect and communicate. It has so much potential that many professionals found jobs, made connections, and social selling is the best way to get leads and make new profitable connections. If all you did was to have a LinkedIn account, you obviously aren’t getting much. The good news is that even with a basic, free account, you’d do a lot. Here are a few ideas and tips to get you started:
Make your profile professional
It’s a first step and it’s imperative that you get it right. Follow Cat Knarr’s Secrets to build a stunning LinkedIn profile on Huffington Post. Make sure those headlines pop.
Your profile should focus on what you can do for others. It’s about how you can solve problems for others. Apart from the fact that people would like to connect with you for having same professional interests, they’d also like to connect with you because you are the expert in what you do. At least, that’s the primary motive of your profile.
Do not leave out anything
Add your major work experiences over the years. However, everyone will. You will stand apart with add-ons like volunteer experience, seminars/workshops attended, additional certifications, workshops conducted, events organized etc. These things will give you an edge over others.
Do write your experiences but it “outward focused”. In the sense that you’d have to write it in a way where you are talking to your audience and about how you’d solve their problems with all that experience under your belt.
Keep it brief. Keep it smart.
Put up links, files, attachments, or anything else (visuals are highly recommended) to go into your profile.
Connect with any non-profit organizations and display them on your profile.
List out certifications, degrees, awards – LinkedIn allows you to put these up for a reason.
Connect with the right people
After you have made an account and added your profile, next logical step should be to connect with people. Find your old classmates, your colleagues and your acquaintances and connect with them. Recommend them and get recommended as often as you can for your skills and experience.
But that’s not all. Use a tool like Rapportive or Connect6 and find more people to connect with. The more people you know, the better it is for you.
Remember that “to connect” doesn’t mean you’d send a “connect request” and let it go. You’d have to take active interest in these people. Follow them everywhere, support their causes, like their published articles, subscribe to their newsletters, etc. You get the idea?
Communicate, Keep in touch, and rattle up old connections
- Communicate with your contacts on regular basis. Wish them New Year, birthday and so on. It can take five minutes of your time, but you are extending a courtesy, which people never forget.
They are more likely to stay in touch with you and talk to you, once you make a habit of communicating. More they talk to you; more are they likely to tell you about other opportunities they might have come across. But then,Don’t get so hung up on old connections that you don’t make any new ones.
- Not all of your connects will be responsive or active. Just do your drill and keep yourself active. Work with others who are just as active ( or more) than you are.
Don’t just join groups for the sake of it. Make your presence felt. Ever saw the little bar to your right when you are signed into a group? It tells you where you stand. Are you just getting started? Are you making an impact?
You can do this by sharing beneficial information in form of videos or articles. Start a discussion or participate in one and appreciate others if they happen to share something useful, you are here to make contacts. Melonie Dodaro of Social Media Examiner puts it well:
“If you want to make it into the top contributors box, make it a point to post regularly and share content that’s relevant to the group. Take the time to read and engage thoughtfully with other posts and group members.”
By following the steps aforementioned, you will be visible on the network. More visibility increases the chances of more people connecting with you. Your professional achievements, interests and additional activities are more likely to attract employers on the lookout for versatile employees willing to join their team.
Being visible in the right way, would mean:
- Participating in LinkedIn groups but never trying to pitch or sell.
- It’s all right to be opinionated but if you aren’t a Seth Godin or a Gary Vaynerchuck, it’s best to leave balanced comments. Strong opinions could sometimes lead to unforeseen flame wars and you really don’t want that on a network like LinkedIn.
- If you already have access to LinkedIn Publishing Platform, make a plan to write regularly. If you don’t have access yet, apply t
o get one.
Don’t bother people
Being visible does not mean you have to pester people into joining your professional network. If you have requested someone to add you you’re your professional network, be patient. They may not know you or remember you.
Moreover, if someone has refused to accept your request, do not keep sending the request. Be very professional about it. Time it. Send your reminders at regular – but well-spaced – intervals.
Professionalism is the key on LinkedIn. People are not looking to waste time with anyone they can’t connect, resonate with, or gain from.
Crisp and concise information, respectful communication, positive participation in groups should be enough to keep you visible and take your social quotient up by few notches.
How are you using LinkedIn for your business?
We all know websites are mandatory but just “any” site won’t do.
While websites need design that converts for business goals, customers of almost all profiles and personas now live on the web — they travel, rove, and almost developed an inane sense to use mobile first instead of the regular laptops or desktops.
In the middle of all this, it dawned on business owners, medium and large companies, and possibly everyone on the web that speed is of essence.
Just as it was for cars and electronic gadgets, performance matters.
Website speed not only enhances your website’s appeal but also makes it easier and faster to deliver content. Plus, there are obvious benefits with respect to search optimization. It’s time you increase your website speed.
Here are some ways on How to Increase Website Speed and tools you should be considering to make your web pages load faster:
Managed WordPress hosting is one of those incredible finds credited to the popularity of wordpress itself. FlyWheel is currently the fastest (and comparatively affordable) managed wordpress hosting solutions available today. Whether you are a creative agency, design house, web development agency, a hosting provider, or even a small business or individual with a wordpress website, you should consider moving to Flywheel.
Flywheel provides you with Free Migrations, blazing fast speeds (Flywheel website itself oads at 916 milliseconds), staging area for testing, CDN, multisite options, caching, malware protection, and free malware removal.
It’s not a CDN and but’s a web hosting platform (CDN is optional) with a huge difference: it owns data centers in the UK,Japan, and the U.S. Your WordPress install doesn’t require caching plugins, and uses its own proprietary everchache technology — all built in and managed by them. Not you.
Scoring top points when it comes to the availability of dev tools, scale, storage, speed, security, and top notch support, WPEngine is one of the best companies to host your website at.
Amazon Cloud Front is perhaps one of the most popular CDN services available to everyone today and it boasts of high transfer speeds, low latency, automatic device detection, geo targeting, cache behaviours, Cross Origin Resource Sharing (CORS), HTTP cookies, Query string parameters, and a lot more.
While it might sound all that complicated, the technology works from inside the hood. For a business owner or a website owner looking for faster loading websites, all this magic just goes to work.
What if you have more on your “I am so concerned about this” list than just web speed? What about Internet security? Protection from DDOS attacks? Is there a way you can get a CDN that also has an equal focus on security? With Incapsula, you very well can.
Incapsula is a CDN network too but it also provides your website with features to help you to counter DDOS attacks, deploy load balancing & failover, and many other features.
All inbound traffic to your website is routed through Incapsula’s CDN which filters traffic checking for Malware, attacks, and hacking attempts. Meanwhile, your site itself is plugging into Incapsula’s CDN which accelerates your site’s performance.
MaxCDN uses its own proprietary MaxArchitecture with MaxPops, MultiPath Network, and FastStack to power your website speeds. Some of the best features of MaxCDN are its real time reporting and analytics engines that give you instant, real-time data for you to make informed decisions from.
It allows for complete automation along with integration with their API and GitHub. With MaxCDN’s EdgeRules, you can control content delivery on your own.
The solution is built for advertising, gaming, publishing, software deployment, and more.
For any average website, Cloudflare is probably the easiest CDN network to hook on to. It’s quick, and the setup is instant. Websites hosted on Cloudflare load at least twice as fast while using about 60% less bandwidth and 65% fewer server requests.
Cloudflare also has tons of security features built in to protect your site. Meanwhile, the CDN network makes it easy for integration with WordPress – one of the most popular Content Management Systems in the world today – using a plugin.
Akamai is an established multi-service player with solutions ranging from website performance to solutions for network operators, services and support operations, media delivery solutions, and cloud networking solutions. On the content delivery front, Akamai provides IP Application acceleration, web application, acceleration, global traffic management, Fast DNS services, and dynamic site acceleration.
Although the pricing is not as straightforward as the rest of its counterparts, it’s certainly a long-standing and established vendor you can depend on for managing your website performance and security needs.
RackSpace Cloud Files
RackSpace partners with Akamai (above) and provides you with a CDN service backed by RackSpace’s famous “paranoid customer support”. Using more than 200 global edge locations around the world, your website visitors are fed with pages faster than normal. Its CDN caches your content for maximum acceleration.
Meanwhile, there are no additional charges, no contracts, and no minimum usage. Rackspace also supports SSL, CNAME, and provides Edge Purge.
If companies like Microsoft, Bank of America, and Adobe use a particular CDN network, would you like to use it too? You can, with CacheFly. The company has a rock solid reputation and allows you to deliver your content (including images, video, audio, CSS, and more) up to 10 times faster than any other network. You have a 100% guarantee or you can take your money back.
Of course, depending on your actual needs, you can choose from optimised and focused services such as Video delivery, Podcast delivery, website performance, software distribution, and more.
The need for speed is evident. How fast does your website load? What are you doing about it?
Just when we think we have things going good, something better comes along if something nasty didn’t.
Google Analytics has been the staple stats feeder for a gazillion marketers and business owners over the years.
A fantastic – and free – tool it certainly is but it doesn’t do everything. In fact, there could even be a possibility that your data might be inaccurate as Russ Henneberry explains in his post for CrazyEgg.
That and the fact that Google Analytics might not be best game in town when you go looking for a little beyond the standard offering that it provides.
Often, you’d need case specific analytics or custom analytics and that’s something you’d find Google Analytics inadequate for.
Real Time Analytics
Actionable metrics are like oxygen for your decision-making. The decisions you make obviously have a direct impact on your business. At the time of reading this, what’s happening with your website? How does it fare?
Your use for real-time analytics differs for each type of business or use case. However, it’s a shame to not use live analytics for specific purposes such as real-time debugging, monitoring live campaigns, gaining real-time insights into user behavior on your web properties, understand how each marketing channel works, do A/B testing better, and much more.
Twiddly – a family-run vacation rental company — boosted revenue by 18.6%, increased their average order value by 11.9%, to see a resultant enhancement of 7.9% in their conversion rate.
Google Analytics already provides you with real-time analytics built right into your default dashboard. In addition, there are several tools such as:
New Relic Insights
Custom analytics dashboard
Not all businesses are created equal. Although there are tons of tools for every possible business use, none of those will mean anything by themselves. The tools you use should suit your company. Your custom dashboard puts up only those numbers that matter to your business, in the way you want them, and in real-time (well, almost).
Whether you handle multiple projects, businesses, or perhaps manage analytics and reporting for your clients, an aggregated analytics-reporting tool such as Cyfe plugs into almost every known source of traffic.
For web-based tools that don’t integrated with Cyfe yet, you can work with APIs or with a tool like Zapier to bridge that gap.
Social Media Analytics
With all that action happening on social media, you’d need a lot more than the analytics provided by each social network (now, they do).
On social, Conversion, Amplification, Applause, and economic value are the most important metrics you ought to be tracking, according to Avinash Kaushik.
Here are ways you’d be able to measure these:
Native Analytics from social media accounts: every social network today (at east the major ones such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest) have in-built social media analytics you could get basic insights from. These basic metrics fall straight in line with basic social media metrics your business ought to measure, according to the folks at SimplyMeasured.
TrueSocialMetrics: Built on Avinash’s best social media metrics to measure, TrueSocialMetrics is a tool that gives you a dashboard that shows economic value for all your social media accounts, trends, and also gather content analysis, audience analysis, competitive analysis, engagement rate, and more.
All of the above tools and metrics are great for your overall website/blog/ecommerce store performance, but what do you do when customers walk through the door?
You can’t possibly plant a cookie on every customer, can you?
That’s when In-store analytics can help. Using in-store hardware that connects with your business or your ecommerce store, you can glean data about conversions, mobile usage, credit card payments, instances of transactions, and even pull social data from customers’ social networks to get all sorts of data right there, at your POS terminal.
A few well-known POS systems with built-in analytics along with a couple of pure in-store analytics tools that can help are:
- Shopify’s POS: Have an ecommerce store but ended up with a client on the road who wants to book orders? Do you have an ecommerce store and a physical store? You’d need a payment processing system or a POS that helps you integrate your business on all fronts. Shopify already allows you to build, run, and manage an ecommerce store. Use its POS systems to set up mobile payments, anywhere POS, and allow transactions to happen anywhere.
- Square: You can track purchases, transactions, sales, and other payments through the Square register. Look out for sales trends, create sales reports, track orders for days, months, or years. Manage your refunds and other issues, prepare taxes, and draw out sales history when you need to.While these are the core features, Square Analytics allows you to get insights on your inventory, sales, orders, refunds, customers, and much more.
- BrickStream: We have all the tools for analytics that we need for websites and ecommerce stores, but we rarely have much going for actual physical places. BrickStream gives you a fantastic repertoire of tools and resources to manage everything from In-store analytics to traffic management. Count people, measure conversions, manage, manage queues, setup mobile-payment systems or POS, and conduct behavioral analysis.
- VendHQ: What if you don’t use any one specific product like Shopify or BigCommerce? What if you have a mix of eCommerce stores (various platforms) and physical stores? What if you were already using an old POS with existing barcodes, a set number of SKUs or products, and then want to use a mobile and/or web-based POS? VendHQ plays well with almost any type of business. Of course, it does come with its own suite of analytics relevant to your business: product centric sales reports, trends, sales history, sales targets, etc.
What do you to measure your data? How does your analytics dashboard look like?