Monthly Archives: January 2013

Who’s Using Twitter

Who’s Using Twitter

In our previous post, Why Use Twitter, we continued our new series, all about Twitter, and talked some of the great reasons to use Twitter, with a few real world examples. By the way, we go into much more detail about our Infinite Pipeline Relationship Development process in our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for B2B Sales Success – Sales Person Edition. See the bottom of this post for more info.

In this post, we continue the Twitter series, and talk about who is using it, with a look a demographic trends, as well as major enterprises using Twitter.

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Who’s Using Twitter?

Far from being a tool for teenagers, Twitter is widely used across all age demographics. Yes, the median age of a twitter user is 31, but take a look at some relevant findings from a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project[1] study that measured the percentage of online adults who have used Twitter or other status updating service:[2]

  • 19 percent of American Internet users
  • Male — 17 percent; Female — 21 percent
  • Just 8 percent of online teens say they ever use Twitter[3]
  • 9 percent of Whites, 15 percent of African-Americans, 16 percent Hispanics (English)

 TwitterDemographics

Figure 41 — Twitter Age Demographics

Not convinced it’s for you? Take a look at a partial list of the Twitter handles of enterprises, large and small:

Table 6 — Enterprises Using Twitter

@ATT @ATTCustomerCare @ATTDeals
@BestBuy @BlackBerry @CiscoSystems)
@CMEGroup) @Comcastcares @DellCares
@DellEnterprise @DellOutletUK @Direct2Dell
@Ernst_and_Young @FordCustService @FordDriveGreen
@FordMustang @FordRacing @HRBlock
@Intel @JetBlue @KPMG
@Kraft_Cadbury @Mayoclinic @McDonaldsCorp
@MyStarbucksIdea @Nikebaseball @Nikegolf
@Nikestore @Oracle @PopeyesChicken
@SamsungMobileUS @SonyPictures @SouthwestAir
@Thehomedepot @WholeFoods

OK, assuming you no longer believe Twitter is trivial, let’s see how to go about using it, in our next post on Friday.

Next up: How to Use Twitter?


Who’s Using Twitter is the 102nd in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 291. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances


[1] Pew Internet: Portrait of a Twitter user: Status update demographics: bit.ly/do6g9K

[2] Pew Internet: The Twitter Question: bit.ly/9y4821

[3] Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Report List and Summaries of Research on Teens and Technology Use (2007-2010): bit.ly/ckiYK0

Why Use Twitter

In our previous post, Setting Up Twitter, we began our next series, all about Twitter, and talk about the benefits of using Twitter as well as how to set up an account. By the way, we go into much more detail about our Infinite Pipeline Relationship Development process in our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for B2B Sales Success – Sales Person Edition. See the bottom of this post for more info.

In this post, we continue the new series, and talk about why to use Twitter, with examples of success stories.

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Why Use Twitter?

Why should an enterprise use Twitter? For one thing, it’s a very direct and immediate way to stay con­nect­ed with stakeholders. Here are some other ideas:

  • Establish connections with clients and prospects
  • Establish your brand online
  • Establish your credibility and expertise

Take a poll of your stakeholders — perhaps through your regular newsletter — and ask how many of them use Twitter. You may be surprised at the response. Twitter is used all over the world as an organizing tool for social movements. Its use by the Obama campaign in the 2008 presidential election is a great example of Twitter’s ability to mobilize, energize, and spur people to action.

You can use Twitter to help establish your online brand by making it a reliable source of the latest news pertaining to your products and your business. You may have other methods of keeping your community informed, but nothing beats the timeliness and immediacy of Twitter.

By becoming a trusted voice on Twitter, you can build your credibility and demonstrate your expertise to a larger audience than you are currently reaching. We discuss the demographics of Twitter in more depth in the next section, but there are more than 200 million Twitter accounts,[1] growing at a little less than 10 percent a month. Active Twitters who tweet at least once a month comprise 17 percent of the total, encompassing 10 million to 15 million active tweeters.[2] That represents a large potential audience to which you can spread your message.

Many enterprises have successfully used Twitter to advance their business. But few have realized the extraordinary ROI that Cisco did with its Aggregated Services Router (ASR) product launch.[3] The company went entirely virtual for the launch, shaving six figures off launch expenses delivering the following results:

  • 9,000 people attended the social media product launch event – 90 times more attendees than in the past
  • Saved 42,000 gallons of gas
  • Nearly three times as many press articles as with traditional outreach methods
  • More than 1,000 blog posts and 40 million online impressions

Twitter was a key piece of the launch, featuring 108 Cisco feeds with 2 million total followers.

“It was classified as one of the top five launches in company history,” said LaSandra Brill, senior manager, global social media. “It was the crossing the chasm point for us in the adoption phase of social media and helped us get over the hump of internal acceptance.”

These few ideas should get you thinking, throughout the rest of this chapter, about other ways to use this real-time, urgent messaging system.

Next up: Who’s Using Twitter?


Why Use Twitter is the 101st in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 289. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances


[1] Just like with our numbers for LinkedIn, this number will likely have changed by the time you read this. Here’s where we got the numbers: bit.ly/hqStPu

[2] Computerworld: bit.ly/aIcJMR

[3] Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Launch Saves Cisco $100,000+: bit.ly/pRRv6F

Setting Up Twitter

In our previous post, Create a LinkedIn Ad, we closed out our series on LinkedIn, and talked about the benefits of creating a LinkedIn ad and discuss how this is accomplished. By the way, we go into much more detail about our Infinite Pipeline Relationship Development process in our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for B2B Sales Success – Sales Person Edition. See the bottom of this post for more info.

In this post, we begin our next series, all about Twitter, and talk about the benefits of using Twitter as well as how to set up an account.

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Setting Up Twitter

“Twitter is a community of friends and strangers
from around the world sending updates about moments in their lives.
Friends near or far can use Twitter to remain somewhat close while far away. Curious people can make friends.
Bloggers can use it as a mini-blogging tool.
Developers can use the API to make Twitter tools of their own.
Possibilities are endless!”

Twitter, 2007

That’s the way Twitter described itself in 2007. Here’s how Twitter described their service in 2009: “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”

Here’s how Twitter described itself in 2010: “Discover what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world. Twitter is a rich source of instant information. Stay updated. Keep others updated. It’s a whole thing.” And here’s how it describes itself in mid-2011: “Follow your interests. Instant updates from your friends, industry experts, favorite celebrities, and what’s happening around the world.”

Four fairly different descriptions, but the Twitter service really hasn’t basically changed in the last several years. Sure they’ve added features, and tweaked various aspects — most notably privacy settings — since the service debuted in 2006, but Twitter is still a way for you to send out messages of no more than 140 characters to people — called followers — who sign up to read what you write.

If you want to get up to speed quickly on Twitter, Commoncraft has a funny but very effective YouTube video called Twitter in Plain English[1] that explains the service in less than two-and-a-half minutes. In fact, the whole Commoncraft series of “plain English” videos is well worth your time.

You may be among those who are skeptical about using Twitter for anything useful. In fact, the most common comment we get from non-Twitter users when discussing the service is, “Why should I care what you had for lunch?”

It’s true. Much of what is said on Twitter is trivial. There are lots of people tweeting about meaningless things. Our top worst Twitter tweets ever:

  • “I’m going up the stairs now” — tied with “OMG, just saw something black going up the stairs behind me, please tell me its my cat! I’m gonna be looking behind me every 10 seconds now!”
  • “My cat just rolled over” — tied with “My cat just rolled over onto me…cuddle time?:3”
  • “Gee, the line at Starbucks is long” — tied with “What is the deal with the long drive thru line at Starbucks? My gas light is coming on people!”

So these scoffers have a bit of a point. There are plenty of self-involved people using Twitter to spout trivial inanities or unwanted details about their lives.

However, to condemn Twitter because some people say stupid things on it is like condemning the tele­phone network because people say stupid things on it. Both are ways for people to com­municate. And both host a wide variety of conversations, some vapid and some deadly serious.

Examples of the deadly serious side of Twitter are quite compelling:

First Pictures of Flight 1549 Landing in the Hudson

hudson

hudsontweet

 

 

 

 

Twitter Outage Delayed Due to US National Interest

During the Iran election protests of summer 2009, the US State Department asked Twitter to delay planned maintenance work to allow Iranians to communicate with each other. “We highlighted to them that this was an important form of communication,” said a State Department official.[2] Twitter and Facebook were used to coordinate protests over the Iranian election’s outcome. Worldwide supporters helped keep Iranians’ access to Twitter running in the face of government censorship. English comedian Stephen Fry posted: “Our Iranian friends can access Twitter from 148.233.239.24 Port:80 in Tehran. Can avoid govt filters from here. #iranelection.”[3] For Iranian protesters, access to Twitter might have been a matter of life or death.

Twitter Adds Twitter Business Center

At the end of 2010, Twitter released a Business Center that offers the ability to advertise and promote tweets and trends. Twitter also has a promoted account feature that helps automate finding followers. The site also offers advanced analytics which helps businesses track their promotions.

These features improve Twitter’s use for business and will be welcomed by the millions of businesses that regularly use the service — from HealthPartners and their Petey PeeCup[4] kids’ health outreach program to Comcast’s Comcast Cares[5] customer service effort.

Twitter Activism is Growing

Environmentalists used the #coalash hashtag to discuss a Tennessee Valley Authority spill in 2008. (A hashtag is a way to tag tweets so people can easily find them.)

Activist Twitter accounts such as @socialawareness, @ ClimateActivism and sites such as TwitterActivism demonstrate the powerful organizing capabilities of the service.

If you still think Twitter is a toy for self-absorbed narcissists, perhaps we can convince you otherwise in the rest of this chapter.

Next up: Why Use Twitter?


Setting Up Twitter is the 100th(!) in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 288. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances


[1] Commoncraft’s Twitter in Plain Englishbit.ly/degile

[2] Reuters: U.S. State Department speaks to Twitter over Iran: bit.ly/aFJcd6

[3] Telegraph: Iran protest news travels fast and far on Twitter: bit.ly/cYSNrW

[4] HealthPartners’ @Petey_P_Cup Twitter account: bit.ly/ahIM0k

[5] @ComcastCares Twitter account: bit.ly/crtIQV

Create a LinkedIn Ad

Create a LinkedIn Ad

In our previous post, Create a LinkedIn Group, we talked about how to build your brand by creating a group on LinkedIn, and talk about some of the key strategies involved in this process. By the way, we go into much more detail about our Infinite Pipeline Relationship Development process in our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for B2B Sales Success – Sales Person Edition. See the bottom of this post for more info.

In this post, we close out our series on LinkedIn, and talk about the benefits of creating a LinkedIn ad and discuss how this is accomplished.

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Create a LinkedIn Ad

Our final LinkedIn tip for building your brand is to create a LinkedIn Ad.

LinkedIn ads are surprisingly affordable, and very targetable. Get started by clicking on Advertising on the footer of any page. There are choices for large and small budgets. It’s probably wise to get started with LinkedIn DirectAds to learn how well LinkedIn can address your target audience.

LI ad campaign 1

Example — Creating a LinkedIn Direct Ad

You can target the ad by company size, industry, seniority, gender, age, and geography:

LI ad targeting

Targeting Linked In Direct Ads

You always want to select Pay-per-click, unless you really know what you’re doing. This means you are only charged when a member actually clicks on the ad, rather than when they just see it displayed. You can also set your budget per click and per day, as well as scheduling your campaign period.

LI ad budget

Always Pick Pay-per-click for LinkedIn Ads

Once you’ve selected all the parameters, your ad goes live immediately. You’ll need to turn it off using the management menu if you don’t want it to run yet:

LI ad schedule

Managing your LinkedIn Ad Campaigns

Beyond LinkedIn Basics

There is a lot more to do on LinkedIn. We’ve given you the basics and some guiding principles to use on the site. Once you have gained some experience don’t be afraid to try different approaches and features as they come on board.

One last tip: You can link your Twitter feed to your LinkedIn status so that everything you tweet shows up in your connections timeline. Don’t have a Twitter account? Check out the next section.

Next up: Setting Up Twitter


Create a LinkedIn Ad is the 99th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 285. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances

Create a LinkedIn Group

Create a LinkedIn Group

In our previous post, Ask and Answer Questions on LinkedIn, we talked how to use the LinkedIn Answers feature to attract the attention of your connections and build your reputation as an expert. By the way, we go into much more detail about our Infinite Pipeline Relationship Development process in our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for B2B Sales Success – Sales Person Edition. See the bottom of this post for more info.

In this post, we take a look at a how to build your brand by creating a group on LinkedIn, and talk about some of the key strategies involved in this process.

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Create a LinkedIn Group

One great way to build your brand on LinkedIn is to create your own group. We don’t recom­mend naming the group after your company unless you want to have a group for current or former staff. Rather, determine a concept or problem of concern to your target audience and create a group around that.

You should name the group using keywords, because it’s all about search, especially since, according to a mid-2010 article on TechCrunch,[1] there are more 650,000 groups on LinkedIn, with the largest representing 200,000 members.

But don’t create a group without a plan. By creating a group, you are making a commitment to your community, and you had better figure out what you’re going to do before you take the plunge.[2]

LinkedIn Group Strategy

There are two general types of groups on LinkedIn: open groups and closed groups. The choices are known as “Open Access” and “Request to Join” on the group creation form. More specifically, you can designate your group as:

  • Alumni
  • Corporate
  • Conference
  • Networking
  • Non-Profit
  • Professional
  • Other

You’ll be able to upload a logo for the group, so you should think about whether you need a new logo or if you’ll use your enterprise’s logo.

Group search is only done on the 300 word summary so make sure that summary contains keywords potential members are likely to use to find the group. Other important settings are:

  • Display this group in the Group directory — If you want to be found, be sure to check this
  • Allow group members to display the logo on their profiles — This is another great way to get found; often members will check out the groups their connections belong to; checking this also will send notifications to your connections about the group creation
  • Pre-approve members with the following email domain(s) — This is especially useful if for alumni and corporate groups

Once you’ve created the group, you can explicitly invite 200 of your contacts to join. Be sure to do that.

Next, you’ll need a plan to recruit members. Decide what kinds of people you’d like to join, and target them on LinkedIn using the techniques described in the earlier sections. It’s a good idea to post a message on the group’s discussion forum encouraging members to display the group logo on their profiles.

You also need to establish a policy on the types of posts that will be permitted on the group. As group manager, you have plenty of power to police the group, but you need to be sure group members understand your policies. See the previous blog post Dealing with Negatives for more information on establishing community policies.

Among the policies you’ll need to consider:

  • Preventing LION Invites — LIONs love groups and often repeatedly cross-post invitations for members to connect with them on groups. You need to decide whether to prohibit this type of posting, and how you’ll deal with LIONs in general.
  • Prevent Members from Repeatedly Posting the Same Post — You’ll find that some of your members will view the group solely as a way to promote themselves or their event. Establish a policy regarding this and other repetitive posts.

Finally, even if you’re not too interested in creating a group, depending on your situation you may want to do so anyway, just to preempt someone else from doing it. For example, the ex-Microsoft employee group is run by an Apple recruiter. Think seriously about this if your business has a vocal opposition that might want to create a group under your name just to trash you.

Next up: Create a LinkedIn Ad


Create a LinkedIn Group is the 98th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 280. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances


[2] LinkedIn guide on creating a group: bit.ly/mmQtVz

8 Content Marketing Trends for B2B

See on Scoop.itEnterprise Social Media

Are you wondering if content marketing can help your business? If so, look no further. In this article, I examine a recent study involving 1,416 B2B marketers

Mike Ellsworth‘s insight:

Some great findings, including this one: "87% of marketers used social media to distribute content – more than they used articles, email newsletters, blogs and other tactics."

 

Via @OutdoorsMedia

See on www.socialmediaexaminer.com

Ask and Answer Questions on LinkedIn

Ask and Answer Questions on LinkedIn

In our previous post, Developing Relationships on LinkedIn, we talked about ways to stay in front of your connections on LinkedIn. By the way, we go into much more detail about our Infinite Pipeline Relationship Development process in our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for B2B Sales Success – Sales Person Edition. See the bottom of this post for more info.

In this post, we take a look at a how to use the LinkedIn Answers feature to attract the attention of your connections and build your reputation as an expert.

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Ask and Answer Questions

LinkedIn offers lots of ways to build your online brand (see our previous post, CIOs: Brand Your Enterprise Online, for more information on brand building). One very effective way is to ask questions and provide answers on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn provides an open forum for any member to ask or answer a question. You access it by clicking More on the top bar:

LinkedIn finding AnswersFinding the LinkedIn Answers Section

You can ask a question, which is displayed for all to see, or answer questions. Once you have a question answered, you can rate the answers, selecting a best answer. Answerers accumulate points by the number of best answers they get. They then are listed on the This Week’s Top Experts section. You’d be surprised how many answers it takes to get to the top of this list — often more than 500 answers a week! An added bonus is that every time you answer a question, you show up in your Connections’ timelines.

Obviously, one way to build your brand is to get on the Top Experts list. But even if you don’t want to spend the effort to do that, you can become known as an expert by answering lots of questions in your field. However, even asking questions can have very positive results, as we discuss in the next section.

Ask Questions

Asking questions on LinkedIn is very easy. Start by simply filling in the Ask a Question box:

LInkedIn Ask a QuestionAsking a Question on LinkedIn

When you select Next, you’ll see a menu asking for more information:

LinkedIn Ask a Question Details PageAsk a Question on LinkedIn Detail Page

You provide more details and you can elect to make the question public or just send it to a select group of connections. When you process this page, you’ll be given an opportunity to email the question to up to 200 of your connections.

So, when we train, at this point we ask our students, “What is the minimum number of connections you should have on LinkedIn?”

Can you guess the answer?

That’s right, 200. There are various places in LinkedIn where you can include up to 200 con­nections in an activity, so you should aim for at least that many to maximize the impact of your LinkedIn brand.

Your question will remain open for seven days.

When framing your question, it’s not necessarily a great thing to be too upfront: “Q: Will you buy our product?” Rather, think of questions you can ask that will provoke interesting or thoughtful responses. You can demonstrate your expertise in the description of the question, and in the ongoing dialog that will happen as multiple people answer the question.

To demonstrate, we’d like to mention two questions we asked, and the results.

I asked a technical question about using Microsoft’s ancient ASP Web technology: “What are the risks of continuing to use Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP)?” Not only did I get a lot of free advice, within two hours, the link to the question was in the top 10 results on Google for a related query!

Google risks of ASPGreat Google Placement for a LinkedIn Question

Now that may not sound that fantastic to you if you’re not familiar with how difficult it is to get into the top 10. Let’s just say many companies spend thousands of dollars a month to accomplish this feat. Granted, it was a rather narrow subject, but it’s still an impressive demonstration of the power of LinkedIn to build your online brand.

I asked another question that demonstrated how far LinkedIn members will go to give you a good answer. My buddy Don was having a problem with his Website. He’d done an update, and noticed that when he tried to print his Webpages, Microsoft Internet Explorer went into an infinite loop. He called me up and said he’d pay me to fix the problem. I took a quick look and determined the problem involved the style sheets that controlled the look of the page. Not being a style sheet guru, and not wanting to charge my friend a ton of money, I asked a question on LinkedIn.

Within a couple of hours, to figure out the answer, one respondent downloaded Don’s site to his computer and analyzed the style sheet problem. He determined that there were two settings that were conflicting, and recommended the solution. I tried it, and it worked.

So my hat’s off to Keith Tyler! He did this for no other reason that the intellectual challenge, and to be helpful. And I didn’t charge Don a penny for the solution. There are hundreds of folks like Keith on LinkedIn, and all it takes to harness their brilliance is asking a question.

Answer Questions

Asking questions is one way to not only benefit from the expertise of LinkedIn members, but to build your brand. Obviously, a more direct way is to answer questions.

To get started, search for unanswered questions. You can search in various categories, and chances are very good you’ll find questions you can answer. You can also subscribe to question categories using an RSS feed. (See the section Have a Call to Action on page 219 for more information on RSS.)

Use the advanced search to zero in on specific types of questions using keywords as in the follow­ing figure.

LinkedIn advanced answers searchLinkedIn Advanced Answers Search

Click the option to show only unanswered questions.

When creating an answer, avoid obvious self-promotion. The point of this service is for members to help members. If you’re seen as being interested only in promoting yourself or your business, you’re likely to provoke a negative response.

BTW, if you’re dying to know the questions for the Trivial Pursuit answers we started this post with, here you go:

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Next up: Create a LinkedIn Group


Ask and Answer Questions on LinkedIn is the 97th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 270. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances