Tag Archives: LinkedIn

Do We Really Want Mullets?

Anyone remember the mullet? You know what I’m talking about: the haircut that’s “business in the front, a party in the back.” I think the last time the mullet was popular was when it was sported by members of the Pittsburgh Penguins when they won The Stanley Cup in the early 1990’s. Since then, it’s become more of an object of ridicule than a hairstyle to be admired. I think we’ve come to recognize that we can’t be both businesslike and a party at the same time.

I thought of the mullet the other day when I read that Facebook was testing resume-building features so that users can share their work history with their Facebook friends. They’re obviously trying to hone in on a space dominated by LinkedIn. The curious thing is that your “resume” doesn’t really display. It seems as if Facebook is simply gathering the information which one can assume they’ll use to fuel a service for headhunters and active job seekers. There’s actually a couple of points we can think about here.

The first is that most of the people I know (myself included) use different social sites for different purposes. Many of my Facebook friends are not work-related. We’re not generally connected on LinkedIn. I don’t cross-post (other than the screed) content on the two sites since I don’t especially think my business contacts care about what food I’ve eaten or what concerts I’ve attended or my political views. Conversely, I don’t bore my non-work friends with the three or four business-related articles I might come across that I find interesting.

From what I can tell, most users can distinguish between the appropriate content for the two sites. Frankly, I think Facebook knows way too much about each of us anyway, and I’m not sure that I want them to know much more about my work life, my contacts, or anything else I keep in the workplace. I certainly don’t want potential clients considering anything other than the professional qualifications available to them on LinkedIn – not my musical tastes, not my politics and not my sad attempts at humor with friends.

More importantly, every business needs a focus. Facebook, in particular, seems to have decided that anything is fair game. They’re trying to out video YouTube, to out marketplace Amazon, and to compete in areas such as food delivery. In the meantime, they can’t even decide if they’re a media business (hint: they are).  Each of us needs to figure out what business we’re in so we can channel our resources, focus on our competition, and understand what problems our solutions can solve to serve our customer base. Chasing the next shiny object or growing beyond our core competence generally is more trouble than it’s worth. That’s how we end up with a mullet and is that what we really want?

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Social And Small Business

I’ve mentioned before that I keep a “blog this” file which contains articles that piqued a thought.  I went through the file over the weekend and came across a press release from the folks at Constant Contact.  They do a study about the state of small businesses and the ways they connect with and grow their audiences.  Results include responses from respondents across a range of business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries.  wkL_ccWhat piqued my interest was this:

While small business interest in, and appreciation for, social media is on the rise, small business owners continue to lack confidence in their social media skills.  More than half (54 percent) chose social media marketing as the marketing activity they need the most help with, which might explain why their frequency of use with social media is not where it needs to be.  Only 13 percent of survey respondents post to Twitter daily and ten percent post weekly to LinkedIn.

Aside from the obvious point that clearly I need to make my phone number and email address more prominent (I can help – call me, you guys!) that research shows me that these folks are being smarter than others.  They recognize that value of the various platforms and aren’t shooting the messengers due to their inability to capitalize on what those platforms offer.

Social is a conversation.  If you’re only engaging on an irregular basis (once a week) and only a fraction are even engaging that often, it’s not going to work.

The study is unclear with respect to how they’re defining social media marketing.  The owners were asked “which social media platform is the most effective for their organization” and that’s kind of nebulous.  Is it paid advertising and the “effectiveness” is measured by responses?  Or is it some other engagement metric?  One hopes the respondents can answer how they’re defining “effective” but I suspect they can’t.

Social media is not like any other form.  It requires commitment and resources far beyond what many folks have experienced buying print, TV, radio, or even display ads.  Doing it badly can do more than be ineffective – it can hurt your business (no one likes to be ignored!).  Can we agree on that?

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A Social Marketing Study

I’ve been meaning to write about the Chief Marketer 2012 Social Marketing Study for a little while now.  Even though it came out a couple of months back, what it found is pretty relevant and I think you might find some of those findings relevant to what might be on your marketing mind.  At least I hope so!

As one might infer from the name, the topic is brands’ use of social media for marketing purposes.  You can get the study by clicking this link (registration required) but here are some of the key findings:

  • 76% of overall respondents to the survey said their brands were conducting some level of marketing within social media, and a further 16% reported plans to begin do so by the end of this year, making for a potential social marketing contingent of 92%.
  • More than half of respondents cite the difficulty of calculating an accurate return on their social marketing outlays as a prime frustration with the channels. That difficulty in turn grows out of their second most often expressed complaint in this year’s survey: the difficulty of accurately tracking sales to social campaigns. Those response rates held true for both B2C and B2B marketers.
  • Marketers are also troubled by issues of content: specifically, by the amount of time their staffers spend curating social media and by the need to keep social media supplied with a constant stream of new, fresh, engaging content.

Other not so surprising data points are that the primary purpose marketers have for using social is to drive web traffic and that most of their efforts are on the big three social sites: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  What all of this said to me was not so much about how quickly marketers adopted social as a channel but how their efforts are really just sort of fumbling along.  Not every brand should be on Facebook yet all seem to be.  While I’m a firm believer in having measurable outcomes to help with ROI calculations, it seems from the study as if the standard to which social investments as being held are out of whack with both how social is being deployed as well as with the standards applied to other channels.  Finally, the emphasis on creating new content is a good one but it sounds to me as if that content is being used in the context of social media as a megaphone – yet another broadcast medium.  I could not disagree more with that approach.

Does your company use social media for marketing?  Are the study’s findings in line with your experience?  Am I missing anything?

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