Some Tweet Advice for LinkedIn Valentines

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by Viveka von Rosen

Social Media is here to stay. You can’t avoid it, don’t even try. Social Networking, the mega hit movie about the founders of Facebook grossed nearly 50 million in ticket sales in its first two weeks. The number of Facebook users alone is bigger than the population of some countries. And that’s only one of the social media resources out there. Twitter is so popular it grew 1400 percent from 2008–2009, and users “tweeted” 50 million times per day in 2010. LinkedIn, a business oriented site, has over 80 million users with almost half of their membership outside of the U.S. Social media can be an extremely powerful tool. It’s permeating the marketing world; successful businesses everywhere are using it to connect with customers, by building relationships and growing their influence beyond known networks.

Using social media effectively not only means knowing what’s available to you, but learning how to make this new tool work for you. One important place to focus is with branding yourself within your business on social media. Why? The clearer you are on who you are within your business — your personal brand, the better you will represent yourself, and the more business you will attract. In metaphysical “speak” this is “Name it, claim it, then act as if.” To illustrate my point, I’d like to pick on your February friend (or if you are single — your nemesis), St. Valentine.

If I were to run St. Valentine’s social media campaign, this is what I would tell him:

  1. YOU are your Brand. Inbound marketing has changed the way we do business. Your clients want to work with individuals, not some corporate entity. So the first thing we need to get clear on is who is the real St. Valentine? Is he the martyred saint who lost his head for marrying Christians and other nefarious acts? Or some chubby Cherubim slinging arrows of love into the hearts of unsuspecting humans? Or the handsome 40ish dude who didn’t quite manage a season on the CW Channel as Valentine (who slung invisible arrows into unsuspecting humans.) So first, get clear on who YOU are.

  2. Then you need to get clear on what your service or product is. For the institution that has become Valentine’s Day, we have the date of February 14th. Or do we? The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Saint Valentine the Presbyter on July 6. But for argument’s — and Hallmark’s sake — let’s agree on February 14th. And what is Valentine’s Day about really? Over-indulgence in chocolate? A boost in the floral economy? Increasing our carbon footprint by cutting down trees to create greeting cards that measure our worth as a lover? You need to be clear not only on who you are, but what your company does, and what you do within your company. Employees are becoming representatives of company brands. Now this is obvious for St. Nick — he’s got elves and reindeer and naughty and nice children representing Christmas. Perhaps the cherubs are St. Valentine’s employees? Do they know the party line? Are they representing the industry of Valentine’s Day correctly? Are they slinging arrows through Twitter now? Is that why your old high school sweetheart just contacted you on Facebook? Have the cherubs even read the Valentine’s Social Media Policy? (Policy # 1.4: “Thou shall not use Facebook, no nor Twitter, to slingeth arrows at olde lovers already engaged in matrimony”).

  3. When you are clear on your brand, and your company brand, your clients and customers become the unpaid sales evangelists for your product or service. Ok – so Hallmark is a very well paid sales evangelist for Valentine’s Day, but let’s face it, if we didn’t buy into the whole “Valentine’s Day is for Love” shtick, there would be significantly fewer people getting married, diamonds being purchased, and chocolate being consumed on some random winter day. The clients and customers of this holiday are the ones that propagate its popularity: women because we just love chocolate, love and flowers; men out of fear of “missed Valentine’s Day retribution.” So your brand must be clear to yourself and your clients. The less clarity, the greater the chance that you will be mis-represented.

  4. Why you? Be clear on the benefit the client receives in hiring you. (See above: “chocolate and retribution.”) What specific area of expertise, industry, or niche makes you distinct from your competitor? Why chocolate and not broccoli? Why arrows of love and not a burning sword of destiny? Why lovers and not team mates? You need to ask yourself: What specific benefits will my client receive by working with me? Why me individually? Why me as a company? Would Valentine’s Day have the same impact if it were earlier in the year, and family members exchanged gifts instead of vows, ate turkey instead of chocolate and were struck by the need to sing instead of by arrows?

  5. As we wrap up, it’s also important to know your keywords. When errant boyfriends get on Google last minute because they just now realized it’s February 13th and if they want things to remain copacetic at home they will need to do some last minute shopping, what are they typing into Google? Chocolate? (They are if they are smart.) Romantic love poems (that better be written in a card sitting on a box of chocolates). Diamond rings? Overnight shipping? Closest Walgreen’s Pharmacy that has stuffed teddy bears? You’ll want to create a specific list of keywords, or search terms, you’ll want to be found by. These terms do not need to be sophisticated, but they do need to be clear. If someone were doing a keyword search for you on Google, what would they be typing? Keep these keywords by your computer at all times, and use them often in your social media efforts.

  6. With this information in place, you — as an individual working in or running a business — have the basic tools needed for a successful social media campaign. If I were to do St. Valentine’s social media this season there is a final step I would recommend:

  7. Create your profile in a Word Document. Your social presence, whether it’s on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, is a website. Make no mistake. This is a professional representation of you. If you create your profile first in a word document, you:

Are less likely to have spelling errors Are less likely to have grammatical errors Can format certain areas with bullets and spacing Can re-purpose content in other social media sites Can create a template for other employees, generating a unified message and image Have a back-up in case anything happens to your LinkedIn account

When you begin to communicate and build relationships on social media, always remember why you are there. What is your social story? What is your core desire that you want to share with your clients and tribe? How are you making their lives better? Why you? Remember that and your social presence will be strong and influential. Don’t waste time — sell more chocolate.

Viveka von Rosen is a nationally renowned LinkedIn speaker, trainer and consultant, working with business professionals sharing the secrets and strategies of using LinkedIn effectively. She helps clients create a more powerful presence on LinkedIn, grow a truly useful network, and build connection and relationship strategies unique to their company culture.