New LinkedIn Features Enhance Content Targeting

Business use of social media is excellent for building brand awareness, engaging customers, conducting (unscientific) research and becoming a more social business overall. The problem has been (for most businesses) establishing clear return on investment (ROI) from social media. If we can establish more definitive ROI from social media, broader adoption and spending in this area will jump dramatically.

I think one of the critical factors in improving social ROI is better targeting delivery of content. Consumers are inundated with information, which puts the onus on businesses to get them the right information at the right time. If we can do that more effectively, we can build stronger relationships, solve problems and in all likelihood increase sales in the long run.

I was glad to see this week that LinkedIn is rolling out new features that will allow businesses to better target the right information to the right followers and to better measure growth metrics on company pages. These features will go a long way toward improving ROI on LinkedIn at least, and hopefully will spur other social sites to begin to develop these tools as well.

Jim Edwards, senior editor at Business Insider, wrote an excellent post titled “LinkedIn Rolls Out New Targeted Follower Tools For Marketers” in which he outlines the two new features, Targeted Updates and Follower Statistics:

“Targeted Updates will allow companies to segment their followers by a range of variables such as industry, seniority, job function, company size, non-company employees, and geography. Companies will be able to send different status updates to different groups of followers.

“Follower Statistics will essentially be an analytics dashboard that will allow companies to see how effective their updates have been.”

As marketers, we need to develop a more sophisticated approach when using social to deliver content. We need to target the right people but also identify where they are in the buying cycle. For instance, to identify if someone is simply information gathering or if he or she could be ready to purchase soon, and then provide content accordingly.

There’s much more ahead in the evolution of social for content delivery and improving ROI, but we’re headed in the right direction. More features similar and even more robust than what LinkedIn will be offering will only speed that process. These enhancements provide opportunities to be strategic in our approach, which is always a benefit.

What do you think?

Blogging Lessons from Year One

Time really does fly, doesn’t it? It seems hard to believe that it’s been well over a year since I started this blog. It’s been a fun and rewarding experience. If you’re a blogger I’m sure you can relate to my sentiment.

I certainly have learned a lot about blogs and blogging over the course of the last year. The focus of this post is on personal blogging. Business blogging has somewhat different considerations. So, in no particular order, here are some of my key takeaways from blogging year one:

  1. Choosing a good blogging platform is important. I’ve been extremely happy with WordPress. There are other good platforms out there, but that don’t really offer the full functionality and theme options that WordPress brings to the table. This being said, find a blogging platform that works for you so that you can make your posts quickly and effortlessly.
  2. Blogging has to be personal. It should be first and foremost about what you want to share and write about, your area of expertise or passion. This is what keeps motivation high.
  3. Write for yourself, but so that others can learn and benefit. Think about how add value when someone stops by to read your post.
  4. Frequency in posting is somewhat important. This depends on your blog goals, but once a week is a good guideline to follow. The main benefit of weekly posting is that it keeps you disciplined. It also helps to grow the blog’s followers. If your goal is to dramatically increase readership then that would necessitate more frequent posting.
  5. Post length isn’t overly important. What is important is to provide clear and helpful information to the reader, whether it’s in 100 or 1,000 words.
  6. Learning from other bloggers is important. It gives us new perspectives and ideas.
  7. Learning from other bloggers is not important. Sometimes, being too focused on what others are doing compels us to try and be like them. See number 2 above.
  8. Commit to quality content. It’s better to post less frequently than produce poor or unhelpful content. Good content attracts, bad content repels.
  9. Trying new things adds life to your blog. No one wants to see the same old topics and format over and over again. Try something new and see how it goes, such as new topics, interviews, videos, images, guest posts and more. The opportunities are limitless. Keep exploring to keep things interesting for everyone.

Your turn bloggers. What has your experience been? What bit of wisdom would you offer?

The Starting Point of Great Writing

There is a lot (understatement) of information available on how to become a great writer. Much of it is helpful, to an extent.  But consider this, clearly the most important aspect of becoming a great writer is by actually sitting down and writing.

If you want to improve as a writer, you won’t do that by simply reading more about writing. You must write daily. Write at scheduled times. Write with deadlines. Write with goals. But the key in all of it is to write, and to continue to do so.

The repetition will help develop and solidify your writing skills. Thoughtful practice will bring about improvement. But that practice must be consistent and frequent.

Part of the reason that many people don’t start or don’t write enough is the fear that comes from wanting perfection. But great writing is as much a process as it is about ability. The skills can be developed with practice. The process and results can be improved over time.

Definitely watch and learn from others, but get started. Don’t try to be perfect. Try to consistently deliver value and improve. You’ll be surprised at the great writing that’s waiting to come out.

What do you think?