Thursday, 17 November 2011

Social Business Play Book - Chapter 2 - [Corporate] Social Media @ Intervate // LinkedIn

This article will take approximately 11 minutes to read

This is an article that was written recently for the business I am in, but the principles can be transposed to any business seeking to take the first steps to transformng to being a social business.

                       

People like people - People buy from people - People trust people
People like dealing with people


It may seem rather obvious to some – but others will quickly learn through this article that the business we are in requires all of us to have a public persona of some kind that will enable us to unlock opportunity and to build relationships with people that we meet.  

When we think of the people that inspire us, that we look up to, that we call for help  or rely upon for our advice and guidance in our professional lives, do we remember firstly their name, or the company they work for?

I am sure most of you in most cases would have just thought: name. And you would probably be in the majority by 97% of the people that read this.

So, ok, “people like people”, so what?

In today’s modern age everything is about ‘information’, be it: 

Where can you download that newest service pack, to finding the latest financial results of the company that you are interested in, or to finding if a piece of code that is throwing an error has a solution somewhere out there…and that’s just your needs – your customer has needs too: where can they obtain the latest information about our service offerings, do we know much about the user profile service, to seeing that we are the premier sponsor to a huge SharePoint event. 

That information is generally generated by people, transported by technology but the original information is normally man-made.  In the same vein as “don’t shoot the messenger” which is a metaphoric phrase to indicate that one shouldn’t blame the bearer of bad news for the bad news itself – the exact opposite is also true.  

‘Praise the messenger’ is not a recognised theory and has not even gained enough notoriety as yet to be considered urban myth, nonetheless, the concept is sound, in that recipients who receive good information from a source will hold that source in high regard.  ‘Good’ of course remains a subjective status and will be personal to the recipient, however one would assume in the case of LinkedIn being used to connect like-minded business people together that the conversations would be deemed ‘good’ by virtue of relevance of topic or subject, timing and uniqueness.

To this end creating a profile of yourself in the business context which can be used to provide another piece of a modern online profile can go some way to helping you to make your own personal online persona (assuming that you want one). And of course with an affiliation to the Intervate brand the mapping of people to brand is projected, which, assuming the projection is positive will assimilate the positivity to the brand in turn.

Build the ‘YOU’ brand and that of Intervate’s

So moving on from the thinking behind the concept, let’s take a look at how you can actually engage and help to create and participate in the social media conversations around your skills and how you can actually help Intervate and yourself to grow brand symbiotically.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 120 Million connected professionals. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.

LinkedIn gives you the keys to controlling your online identity. Have you Googled yourself lately? You never know what may come up. LinkedIn profiles rise to the top of search results, letting you control the first impression people get when searching for you online.

In today’s professional world, people change jobs and locations constantly. By connecting on LinkedIn, your address book will never go out of date. Your contacts update their profiles, keeping you current with their latest jobs, projects and contact info. You’ll stay in closer contact with great tools to communicate and collaborate.

As you can see the main benefit at this stage is to you in a personal capacity in building the ‘YOU’ brand, the positivity that is then created around the ‘YOU’ brand, as we have touched on, is then assimilated by the Intervate brand by association – it should also be noted that any negativity could also end up being assimilated by the Intervate brand but this is deemed an acceptable risk which can be managed.

The LinkedIn home page is available here: http://www.linkedin.com - if you don’t have a profile yet on LinkedIn you are encouraged to add one and to engage in the conversation.  Once a profile is created you will be able to ‘link’ ( LinkedIn style of Facebook friend requests) with peers, colleagues, ex-colleagues, partners, customers, any other types of business relationships you may have.

LinkedIn also has a ‘status’ board as well where you can record a ‘status’ which is then fed onto your LinkedIn Home Page feed along with all your connections’ status updates.  These status updates can be connected to post to LinkedIn and Twitter simultaneously without the need of having to post on both applications.

The LinkedIn tool enables you to build a professional community, and one where you can become a trusted advisor, a source of ‘good’ information and a consumer of the same from others and where your profile can provide credence to your skills and experience.

Caution should be considered when posting status update on LinkedIn, the exposure thereof is similar in its viral capacity to twitter and because the LinkedIn feed for some connections could be aggregated with other social streams the re-tweeting, on posting, emailing, Facebook Like’ing and other social bookmarking actions are highly likely and prevalent. 

The LinkedIn Company Page

The LinkedIn Company page for Intervate represents general information about the company, shows employees, new hires and delivers the Intervate twitter feed along with a few other sections which we will discuss shortly.  

Intervate on LinkedIn
The LinkedIn Company page for Intervate can be found here: http://www.linkedin.com/company/intervate
 
The company page aggregates individual profile membership by the key word derived from the company name.  The company page shows employee’s (who have been aggregated by association), new hires, which looks at the past 6 months where ‘Intervate’ appears new in the position list and a number of additional areas including ‘Careers’ and ‘Products and Services’.

Careers and Products and Services are the sections of the Company profile where Intervate can update information.  For example, Intervate can create job posts here which will appear on the Careers section and will also be published throughout the LinkedIn network and beyond through social media.  

Intervate can also promote its products and services through the creation of these descriptions using the tools provided – again these would then be published throughout the LinkedIn network and beyond.  Intervate has used the Careers section a few times with reasonable levels of success. Intervate currently does not make use of the Products and Services section.

People in LinkedIn can choose to “Follow” and “Share” on the company page.  Following would then surface the activities such as updates to the company page or new hires or departures to the news feed of the people following.  This is useful if you wish to stay up to date with a company in terms of their personnel or information held on these pages.

Share allows you to publish the Company introduction with a message to your LinkedIn status and to your Twitter account (if connected) – this is a useful activity that if done periodically can also virally market the information to your followers. 

From an employee perspective there is nothing you need to do to ‘interact’ with the company page per se, because its largely aggregating information from elsewhere.  However if you are currently not “following” Intervate, show some support ad hit the “Follow” button and once in a while “Share” the company page with your LinkedIn network and Twitter followers and post a comment.

There is a third dimension to LinkedIn however where we can all engage in active participation.  This third dimension is the Intervate LinkedIn ‘Group’.

The Intervate LinkedIn Group

The Intervate LinkedIn Group is a message forum in the traditional form.  The Intervate group on LinkedIn was created in February 2010 and messages have been posted by the Intervate marketing team over the last 18 months.  

The group started out as a closed group, which means that people who wished to join had to apply and then be accepted by a group manager, however this was changed in the last few months to be an open membership group, allowing anyone on LinkedIn to join the group and participate in the discussions posted.  

Another further recent change is that Intervate staff can now ‘post’ messages to the group which can be responded to by any member of the group (if you don’t have his ability and want it please contact Marketing).  This recent change has been effected in the hope that this will create more of a dialogue with the community rather than just being a monologue from the marketing team.  This means that any staff member can create a new discussion on the LinkedIn Group and any group member (staff and non-staff alike) can respond with a comment.

The group has the ubiquitous “Share” link on the group home page which facilitates sharing of the group to other social networks including:

  • ·         LinkedIn
  • ·         Twitter (as long as your twitter account is linked)
  • ·         Facebook

The LinkedIn sharing facilitates sharing the Company introduction and an optional message to your LinkedIn status and also allows you to push this to your twitter account simultaneously.  You can also choose to send this to individual connections or other LinkedIn Groups.  You are welcome as members of staff to share the Intervate group with whoever you feel may benefit.

The twitter sharing works a similar way, except that it will bring up a twitter dialogue window to allow you to add to the URL link (shortened of course) to the Intervate Group page.

The Facebook sharing facilitates sharing to your own wall, on a friends wall, a group, a page or as a private message. 

The last option on the sharing is the “invite others” link.  This facilitates adding in your connections or by entering the email address of the people you wish to invite and entering a short message which can be customised from the default.

As with twitter which we have already explored, this presents an enormous opportunity for Intervate to dominate the topic of conversation in our community with in turn of course helps to build brand, which in turn creates trust and in turn drives our vision: ‘to be the recognised leader in the provision of information management solutions.’

I am hoping by now you can see where this article is heading.  The idea behind the education in this topic is so that we can all participate in the conversation about the company and the company’s business - The company that you work at, and work hard to deliver on Intervate’s mission: ‘to deliver to customers, solutions that have meaningful impact, that improves productivity and reduces costs.’

You are encouraged to join in where it makes sense and helps us to achieve our vision and mission at Intervate.

The final note to add is that common sense will always prevail – if it doesn’t seem right, it normally isn’t – so take a moment, think, then post. 

Please enjoy the Intervate LinkedIn group and consider its use to help your company create the conversations with its staff, customers, community and stakeholders and to help it to achieve its vision: to be the recognised leader in the provision of information management solutions.

Community is the new Corporation
Collaboration is the new knowledge

Here are just a few key takeaway thoughts:

·         Create / Update your personal LinkedIn Profile – associate yourself with Intervate and build your brand and in turn the brand of Intervate.

·         “Follow” Intervate on the Company pages – receive updates in your update stream.

·         Join the LinkedIn Intervate Group - and participate in posting messages and/or commenting on existing messages.

·         Share the LinkedIn Intervate Group with your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and broader community – it all helps Intervate to achieve its goals.

Next Up - FaceBook and how to use as part of your Social Business Strategy.


Thanks for reading my article - if you liked it or found it useful, please click the FaceBook Like or Tweet/ReTweet my post if you are on twitter, so that others may enjoy and benefit from it.  Thanks for your support.