Tag Archives: linkedin

LinkedIn Showcase pages: new B2B opportunities?

LinkedIn is having a great run. The B2B platform recently launched in China, it has opened up its blogging platform to all its members and it has announced a useful member blocking feature among a raft of recent updates and design tweaks.

That’s not all. According to Econsultancy’s recent analysis of 2014 marketing budgets, 26% of companies plan to spend the bulk of their social media budget on LinkedIn.

Figure 37

That’s not bad for a site that’s previously been regarded as a recruitment and B2B networking platform.

LinkedIn is fast becoming an important way to generate leads and showcase your company’s expertise, products and services.

And with 42 million professionals creating profiles in over 40 languages across the network, it is a valuable tool for building professional relationships that can lead to future sales.

It is also the no.1 social network for driving traffic to corporate websites, accounting for a hefty 64% of their traffic.

Is your company making the most of LinkedIn?

Most organisations already have a Company page which sets out their stall. We’ve previously blogged about the best ways to improve your Company’s LinkedIn page and the importance of regularly sharing engaging and relevant content – your own and other people’s – on that page.

But in November 2013, LinkedIn launched its Showcase Pages, which extend the platform’s marketing opportunities, and allow for more effectively targeted content. With the company’s recent announcement that it will be retiring its Product and Services tab, there’s no time like the present for businesses to get to grips with their replacement.

How do Showcase Pages work?
Showcase Pages were designed to allow companies with a diverse range of products or services to create pages for individual brands. This allows brands to target their marketing and build relationships within relevant communities. Individuals can then follow the pages in the same way as they would a Company Page and the two should be treated as separate entities. You can’t migrate followers from your Company Page to your Showcase Pages, for instance.

It’s still early days for the new pages, but a few brands, including Adobe, Prudential Financial, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard, have dipped their toes in the water.
Hewlett Packard is primarily known for digital printers and IT. And that’s what its highly successful Company Page proclaims.

HP

But the company also sells IT consultancy and infrastructure services to other businesses, including its Cloud product. This is a product with a very niche audience, so HP has created a Cloud Showcase Page.

It offers visitors the opportunity to participate in a free trial of the Cloud software – something that would not necessarily be relevant on its main Company Page.

HP Cloud

To help distinguish Company Pages and Showcase Pages, the latter offers a larger sized lead image and a two-column layout. Showcase Pages don’t display associated employee profiles or job listings and there is only one placement for ads.

Creating a Showcase Page for your brand

If you’re already the administrator of your main Company Page, it’s pretty straightforward to set up a Showcase Page.

In the ‘Edit’ menu, click on the dropdown and go to the ‘Create Showcase Page’ option.

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Add your page name, and list the administrators for that page. Then click ‘Create page’.

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Add your page description (up to 200 words), your industry sector and your main (or hero) image. Once you’re happy with the page content, you can publish it. It will then be linked to your main Company Page and appear in related search results.

You add and edit content in exactly the same way as your Company Page and your most recent updates will always appear above the fold.

Currently, you can create up to 10 Showcase pages for your company (you can request additional pages from LinkedIn) and your Showcase page will have its own unique metrics to track engagement, trends and audience demographics.

We’re going to get cracking with our own Showcase Page shortly and will report back. Tell us if you’ve built a Showcase Page, and whether it’s had good results for you.

By DMA Guest Blogger Adrienne Grubb, Head of Marketing, Emoderation and DMA Social Media Council member

4 social media changes you should be aware of

The goalposts are constantly being moved in social media. Here are four changes I’ve spotted this month which businesses should be aware of:

1. Improved analytics for LinkedIn Company pages
LinkedIn has improved in leaps and bounds with engagement, measurement and company presence. Its latest update is improved analytics for company pages and definitely worth a look if you are using LinkedIn for your company – especially if you post updates!

2. LinkedIn – social media has been recognised as a skill
Social media skills have been recognised as skills on the largest recruitment social network. This is currently in Beta phase but keep an eye out for it rolling out across profiles in the near future.

3. Embed posts from Facebook
Enabling websites to share the social network’s content on their site, the new ‘embed posts’ feature will allow Facebook posts from a public profile to be integrated on the rest of the web.

4. Rich pins on Pinterest
Super slick, the new ‘rich pins’ provide pinners with information that allows them to act upon an image they like. Details such as prices, availability, reviews and ingredients will now appear on Pinterest. To get involved you will need to prep your website with meta tags, try out your rich pins and apply to get them featured.

A great way of keeping up to date with the latest changes on social media platforms is by looking at the platforms blog or news section, although saying that – they don’t always announce their changes!

By Lynsey Sweales, CEO of SocialB and member of the DMA Social Media Council.

Three important LinkedIn changes that will raise your profile

Over the past few months, LinkedIn has implemented numerous updates and changes, so it’s important to understand how to use them, and tweak your profile to increase your visibility, impact and influence on the social network.

Take a look into the three most recent and important changes:

1. @ Mentions in your status

Similar to what happens on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn started rolling out a new mentions feature that’s intended to make it easier for LinkedIn’s community to engage with users and companies. Now, members can mention/tag their connections and companies in their status updates. You can only mention other LinkedIn users that you’re connected to, or other members who’re part of a discussion thread on the LinkedIn homepage, but when you tag a person or company they’ll be notified by email, creating a fantastic opportunity to build new relationships. Your name, photo and headline might pop up in the drop down menu when someone is mentioning a person with a similar name. This keeps you top of mind and companies will be more visible.

However, since LinkedIn is a professional network this “mentions” feature should be used with more caution and more “business like” than on Facebook or Twitter. Professionals using it should ask themselves first if the communication would be better suited to a simple direct message that isn’t so public.

2. The Tool Bar

LinkedIn launched a new tool bar layout in order to increase accessibility and to help members navigate and engage on the platform more easily. This update follows changes to its homepage design, profile layout, and revamped mobile app.

 

 

This new tool bar reveals a simplified menu of tabs to more directly access features and content that are more relevant: company pages, groups, influencer-created content, and the new and improved “channels” are all meant to expand our use of LinkedIn Today. Settings can be found when you hover over your profile picture in the upper right. Even the Search bar has been enlarged and centered for easier access.

This LinkedIn video is helpful in explaining the Tool Bar changes:

 

3. Signal

If you were aware of LinkedIn Signal announced last year, then this is it; it comes in the form of a search bar that’s been enlarged and centered for easier access. The difference is it now gives you access to the entire LinkedIn network, rather than just your 1st level connections as is still the default situation on your homepage update stream.

It’s now great for researching topics of interest as well as finding the type of people that you’re looking to connect with through what they’re sharing i.e. comments on a subject from people in a certain company or industry. It allows you to filter the information and focus on the info that you really want to find, in real time. Very similar to what Twitter is known for, but much more business focused. It also allows you to save the searches so that you can come back and re-check them.

Additionally, there’s also a feature on the right hand side called “Today’s Headlines” which displays stories fitting your search and what others recommend.

By Lynsey Sweales, CEO of social media and online marketing experts SocialB and member of the DMA Social Media Council

Evolve or perish – the Darwinian theory of agencies

In the 10 years that I’ve been running my agency, one thing that has been truly constant is the pace of change. We have seen the rise of web 2.0, eCommerce, eCRM, the birth of social media and its rapid rise to mainstream media status, the growth of user-generated content and now it’s all about mobile, the semantic web and big data!

One thought that has always been nagging me or perhaps driving me is that both my grandfathers and my father owned and ran successful businesses in industries that no longer exist due to technical innovation. So how do ensure our survival? How do we make sure that we have an industry to pass onto our offspring?

Keeping up with the pace of change
We have seen a steady evolution over the past 20 years as the media landscape has changed – gone are the days of SP, DM, advertising and digital definitions. However, this change is accelerating. Even newish specialisms such as social media seem to be already outdated.

The pace of digital change is exemplified by the adoption of iPad - the fastest ever adoption curve. Apple sold 67 Million in the first quarter this year; it took two years to sell that many iPhones and six years to sell that many iPods. This and the rapid take up of smartphones are fuelling the always-on, ever-connected savvy consumer.

Agencies of the future
So what will the agency of the future resemble? Well, despite the plethora of new and old media opportunities (whether bought, owned or earned as we now have to label them), it will still ultimately be about engaging and influencing our core audience to act in some memorable way.

The growing challenge will be to try to do this in an efficient and measurable way. And I think this will continue to be the key opportunity area for agencies. We should all consider guiding our clients by advising them on the best ways to act, bringing together experience from multiple sectors and then creating ideas that get cut-through and hence drive results.

There has been a movement for clients to drive via in-house – especially eCRM, email and social media – hence we have to continually prove our worth. Part of this is to keep pace and to get ahead of the technological change but more importantly, to be able to advise our clients on the commercial applications of this technology.

Much is made of great modern brands that have been created without agencies – Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook etc – all built through word-of-mouth and user experience. However, they have all employed agencies to help them build their commercialisation, drive higher revenues and extend their reach beyond the initial points of the growth curve.

The next denomination of agency services
So, perhaps here’s another opportunity especially for those of us who, under the old division of labour, were considered to be below the line; those who understand the “big” data opportunities, know how to tame it, use it, exploit it, create ideas from it and deliver relevant, timely, personalised communications in real time.

I hope that this will become the 21st Century denomination of services – those who want to own the data vs those who want to own the pure idea (big or otherwise).

To make all this happen, in this increasingly frenetic world, we’re going to have to become true business partners with our clients. We need to understand their business models as well as develop long-term relationships.

This also means that we’re going to have to change the way we remunerate ourselves. We seem to have backed ourselves into a corner with hourly rates, offering up easy comparisons for procurement. We need to develop transparent cost-plus models with performance-related fees according to what we actually deliver. This will indeed enhance trust and partnership behaviour.

While I believe that we still will have a business in years to come, the exciting part is that it is going to be different. Faster paced, more measurable and digital, greater data and opportunities for our ideas!

By DMA guest blogger Gavin Wheeler, member of the DMA Agencies Council and CEO of WDWP

Is Facebook really a marketing fallacy?

Whatever your personal view, you have to admit that Michael Wolff’s recent article, The Facebook Fallacy had a certain cage-rattling style in its gusto. The piece, which is well worth a read by the way, essentially argues that, without an earth-changing idea, Facebook will ultimately collapse and “take down the web.”

The ‘fallacy,’ as he sees it, is that web advertising can never be as powerful or valuable as traditional media advertising. Further, the cost of online advertising is low and it always has been. Worse still are the low per-user revenues, which compare in no way to the old world of print, i.e. just $5 per user for Facebook. In print, the cost per user can be significantly higher ($1,000 if you’re the New York Times).

As the world slowly begins to recognise this ‘truth’ Facebook, which makes 80% of its revenues from display ads, will be forced to aggressively lower its prices, forcing competitors to do the same hence ultimately resulting in a bottomed out and bust market. Rather than often-made-comparison-to Google, with its killer ad sense functionality, he sees Facebook as much closer to AOL or Yahoo, presumably destined for the same fate.

All good tub-thumping stuff, but it doesn’t really reflect the buying experience in the UK.

For a start, comparing buying display ads on Facebook to buying them on the New York Times, in print or online, doesn’t really reflect the long-tail reality. The truth is that many smaller enterprises that previously never dreamed of advertising with a publisher like the NYT are now advertising on Facebook. Sure, Facebook still has big ad spenders (minus GM) that all major media outlets attract; but they also have a much higher percentage of smaller buyers – a fact they clearly recognise.

Their Facebook Marketing Solutions programme, announced last year and rolled out now, effectively looks to attract SMEs to the site by offering up to $10 million in free advertising. UK small businesses with more than 50 Facebook fans can automatically register for £20 credit today, with the opportunity to apply for a further £60 as their fan base grows.

It’s a big figure (though still only a fraction of Zuckerberg’s personal worth) but this is really not such a bad idea. A recent report from Payvment, polling more than 100,000 SMEs, suggested 40% had advertised on the site as part of their revenue drive, with a further 70% claiming they would use Facebook ads again.

Sure, Facebook advertising will never beat Google or any paid-search marketing when it comes to click-thrus but in its marketplace model at least, it’s following a similarly democratic formula. It’s surely a much more attractive option than directories like Yellow Pages or Thomson Local – and with its new offers feature, it is also moving into the SME space previously occupied by the likes of Groupon and Living Social.

Finally, despite whatever that may be happening in the wider display industry, Facebook’s CPM and CPC rates are actually rising! This is probably a result of the introduction of new formats. TBG Digital’s Global Facebook Advertising Report showed the average CPM has raised by 41% in the past 12 months, including 15% in the past quarter. Meanwhile, the average amount of money companies pay to get a Facebook user to “like” their page has jumped by 43% in just the past three months. The UK saw the steepest increase, at 77%.

The bottom line is that a sponsored story is not the same as a display ad on a publisher network.

Facebook is clearly not the finished article and will not get to a killer marketing solution as quickly as Google managed to, but I wouldn’t be too pessimistic about its prospects just yet! The honing and trialling of new products such as Facebook Offers suggest that there is still a long road ahead.

Although top applications such as Foursquare, Pinterest and Twitter have seen a rise as they display similar features to Facebook, it’s still Facebook that remains the unquestionable favourite among consumers. In its short history, if there is one thing that Facebook has always proved to be, it is being adaptable. Just how much they can retain that record as a public company remains yet to be seen.

Email-Marketing Round Up: June

As a representative of the DMA Email Marketing Council (EMC), I would like to present three highlight discussions by our Council members this month surrounding a range of hot topics that has affected the Email Marketing Industry.

Firstly, Tim Watson (Zettasphere) investigates the methods in which LinkedIn is driving membership upgrade conversions via the email marketing strategy.

Secondly, Tink Taylor (DotDigital Group) examines the smartphone device as it is becoming the most ubiquitous medium through which today’s consumers consume their emails. Tink also discusses ways that marketers should implement when constructing emails and the reasons to do so due to the nature of the smartphone.

Lastly, Skip Fidura (DotDigital Group) explores the DMA Email Marketing Council’s recent collaboration with the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB)regarding the guidance document, ‘Open Tracking and the New Cookie Law’. With the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) now having the power to fine companies up to £500,000 for breaches of the cookie law, this is a topic that is sure to rumble on as the EMC keeps a close watch.

Don’t let your social media marketing suffer a slap in the Facebook

Investment in social media marketing and promotions has rocketed over the past couple of years as more and more users flock to a proliferation of new platforms. As a nascent channel, many marketers are still trying to find their feet and understand how to fine-tune their social media marketing strategies. But there’s no shortage of advice out there. A little Googling around the topic of ‘social media marketing strategy’ turns up hundreds, if not thousands, of ‘top-10’ how-to guides. However, there’s another side to understanding how to produce a successful social media campaign, which seems to be strangely neglected in these how-to guides.

Well, there are two sides in fact. Firstly, marketers need to get to grips with the company policies and principles of use that are specific to each platform. For example, Facebook has published an extensive list of site-specific rules to ensure that that marketers produce promotions and apps that work within the ‘spirit’ of Facebook. These ensure that such promotional products don’t customise user experience or impede the functionality of Facebook’s features. The rules also outline the Facebook products that any apps and promotions must work alongside, such as Facebook Credits. Furthermore, the rules also explicitly spell out the terms on which marketers can use Facebook branding within their apps and promotions.

Secondly, there’s the legal aspect to social media marketing. According to research recently conducted by the DMA’s Social Media Council, a significant proportion of direct marketers are not aware of the specific legal implications of marketing via social media. There’s also mass confusion surrounding the CAP Code, with 73 per cent of marketers saying they think the Code isn’t clear on its rules concerning social media marketing. Facebook’s Platform Policy details how marketers should collect data, store data and use data, as well as what constitutes gaining user consent. However, it does so without reference to the wider legal framework that marketers need to understand.

Marketers who produce social media promotions or apps that fail to comply with platforms’ policies and with the appropriate legal rules and regulations run the risk of having to pull their products or tweak them to make them compliant. That can cost a lot of extra money, so it’s obviously worth getting it right before launch stage.

Given the absence of firm, clear information available on the complex issues surrounding social media marketing, the DMA offers a Social Media Helpdesk. This Helpdesk, which is free to use for DMA members, helps marketers sidestep the many pitfalls that line the path to a successful social media marketing campaign.

Making sense of integrated marketing

The team at Menzies Digital Marketing and I could have easily and usefully spent last Wednesday in the office.
Instead, as sponsors of the DMA’s Go Integrated conference, we spent the day at INMARSAT listening to a set of really inspirational speakers and sharing our ideas, experience and expertise with some really switched-on digital marketers.

There was plenty of food for thought throughout the sessions.

I agreed with Melanie Howard, chair of the Future Foundation, when she said as new media come in we don’t get substitution, we get proliferation. That’s something we firmly believe at Menzies Digital Marketing – our e-zines don’t replace but complement print.

It was also interesting to hear Google‘s Richard Robinson say he thinks some marketers are not putting the customer at the heart of engagement, or understanding how the consumer interacts across different channels. He said integrated marketing is not ticking the box saying ‘I’m doing more than one channel’. Agreed.

He also said there is sometimes very little cross-platform communication. I think that can be true in some cases, but not in others as our partners Redwood and Mazda proved when they showcased the Zoom Zoom campaign.

I loved Confused.com’s Joby Russell’s interpretation of social media:  Understand where the party is and bring a few more crates of beer. Hear, hear!

And I was 100% behind Jo Garcia from Traction when she said if you’re a retailer without a tablet strategy, then get one. Fast.

Jo said tablet owners spend an average four hours per week on retail sites, and our own experience backs up the fact that more brands are investing in this area.

Probably my favourite quote came from Content & Motion’s MD Roger Warner who said: “The value of a great idea hasn’t changed, but the opportunity to exploit it has.”  A perfect summary.

What really stood out for me is how important it is for us all to take time out of our daily work routines and attend forums such as this. Technology is moving faster than ever, but sometimes we need to give ourselves time out to think about what changes are available and how they can benefit our brands. It’s not just essential for marketing to integrate, it’s important for people too!

Sarah Clegg is a DMA guest blogger and Managing Director of Menzies Digital Marketing