Why I am not a Social Media Expert

Given I make a living, in part, as a direct result of social media, it may seem just a tad illogical to state I am not a Social Media Expert. Yet, here I am, stating it proudly, and in writing. No takey-backy’s.

When I first told my husband what I was writing this blog on, he laughed and said “that’s an interesting approach to marketing”. He might have a point, but hear me out. The simple truth is the reason I don’t regard myself as an expert is because, when it comes to social media, I don’t think anyone can be.

The word “expert” is easy to define: a person who is very knowledgeable about, or skilful in, a particular area.

The problem is “very” is a pretty vague measurement of knowledge, especially when expertise isn’t based on a set amount of experience or particular qualifications.

As such expertise is very much open to interpretation and based on the perceptions of those around us. To my clients, who have little or no experience of social media, I may well appear to be an expert. I know more than they do; but that doesn’t make me an expert in and of itself.

Social media is a phrase that encompasses one Hell of a lot. In fact “social media”, as a definition, refers to websites and applications that enable users to create and share content, or to participate in social networking.

How can any one person become an expert in all that entails?

I couldn’t build you a social media platform, I couldn’t develop a website or an app. I don’t know the first thing about coding or designing. While I can help identify and build an audience, talk to you about your customer personas and your target clients, I don’t know everything there is to know about marketing and generating leads.

I can come up with ideas and create engaging content, I can schedule posts for you and I can make educated guesses about when your target audience will be online (then review the analytics when they are available), but none of these things make me an expert.

I don’t say any of this to downplay my own strengths and skill set, but simply to warn you about the dangers of falling for an experts spiel. As there is no standardised course, or linear career progression, how are you going to make sure you’re hiring the right person to help you with your social media marketing?

If I am not an expert, how can I possibly compete with a self-professed one? How do you know who is better? It can all get pretty confusing, especially if we rely on words and titles to help us distinguish people and ascertain their worthiness and credentials.

 

If you are looking for someone to help you with your social media either now, or at some point in the near future, here are my tips to keep you from hiring the wrong person.

1.      If you are being pushed to make a decision or sign-up NOW, back away. This approach reeks of sales targets and/or desperation, and is not a sign of someone who really knows what they’re doing. That’s not to say everyone who is pushy isn’t talented, but exercise caution. You want to find someone who doesn’t simply see you as a number, so pay attention to people who make time for you and answer your questions.

2.      Which brings me on to the importance of asking questions! If there is something you don’t understand, ask. If they can’t explain it to you properly, they don’t understand it either! Always question any bold statements about the returns you will get through social media. If someone says they can increase sales by 30% in 10 days, ask them how, and what will happen if they don’t. Do you get your money back?

3.      Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust. Whoever you’re thinking of working with, ask to see reviews, testimonials or even endorsements on LinkedIn. Why not ask for a trial period before signing up to a longer term contract?

4.      Make sure whoever you let loose on your social media accounts knows your business, your products/services and the industry as a whole. Again, they don’t have to be an “expert”, but they must take the time to know what makes you and your company tick. What’s your tone, who’s your audience, what’s your location, what’s your USP? If they aren’t asking all these questions, then they’re definitely not right for the job.

 

If you are on the lookout for some help with your social media in 2017, and want to know if Time Saving Heroes might be a good fit for you and your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch.  Direct Message me on LinkedIn, call 0161 883 2024 or email me at lu@timesavingheroes.co.uk

 

I am always happy to have a chat and answer any questions you might have.

The New LinkedIn UI (Part II)

Last week I wrote a post about the new LinkedIn layout, and some of the main changes that have been brought in including the colour scheme, home page and profile.

This week I wanted to take a look at a few other things that might be of interest.

Other people’s profiles

As you can expect, if your profile has changed, so too will other people’s.

Firstly, the contact information is all shown on the right hand side of the profile, and is accessed by clicking Show More.

This will show the personalised LinkedIn URL (if applicable), phone numbers, websites and email addresses etc. Of course, this all depends on what information the individual has included on their profile, but at least now you know where you can find it.

It’s even easier to message a contact now, as there is a large Message button in the middle of the screen, just below their profile picture. Other interactions are just as easy to perform, such as sharing a profile, removing, blocking or reporting etc – you just need to click on the three grey dots slightly to the right of their profile picture. There are a host of other options too which you might want to play around with including request a recommendation.

There is a new section called Highlights, which is essentially an update of the old In Common feature. This is much easier to access and information is displayed more clearly, showing what contacts, groups or interests you have in common with a particular member.

The revised activity section is a great way to stalk what others are up to – showing posts on the left hand side and updates on the right. This will also highlight recent comments, likes and shares that the user has been involved with. Personally I think it’s laid out really well, but I do know some people who have found it to be a bit too cluttered for their liking.

 

My Network

In the old My Network section you had connections, Add Contacts, People You May Know and Alumni. The new section takes you straight to invitations, followed by People You May Know.

In order to view your current connections you need to click on the option on the left of the screen, which is not very intuitive.

This brings me on to my biggest bug bear with the new UI. In fact, I hate it. LinkedIn has removed the option to tag people (unless you pay for a premium account). Now you can only sort connections by recently added, or first/last name. It’s a huge blow for lead generation, and a cheap trick to try to boost income from LinkedIn’s perspective.

 

Search

While I am still in a bad mood about tagging, I might as well carry on being piddled off and head straight for the search function. Gone is the ability to do an advanced or premium search. There are no longer saved searches. You can no longer sort companies by connections, although some features do remain.

You can still use the Boolean modifier OR, but that’s arguably of reduced use as they have taken away AND and NOT!

The reality is, if you want to access the better features for search purposes you are going to have to upgrade and part with your pretty pennies.

Have you got the new LinkedIn layout yet?

Some of you with your finger on the pulse are no doubt well aware of the changes LinkedIn is bringing to its user interface throughout 2017. For some, the new look has been available since late 2016, for others it is still in the process of rolling out.

Which side of the experience you sit on seems to be pretty random, from what I can tell.

For those who have already been swapped over, or for those who are still waiting the Big Change, I thought I would run through a few of the main differences between the two versions, to help you get your bearings.

The Colour

As changes go, the move to teal isn’t really a big deal (unless you’re colourblind, perhaps) however, LinkedIn has been a variation of grey, black, white and blue for, well, for ever, so the change takes a bit of getting used to.

According to LinkedIn logic, the change is to synergise with their app, so things will hopefully be a little more intuitive for those switching between mobile and desktop.

The Home page

When you go to the new home page you will see a snapshot of your profile on the left hand side. This will show your background image, profile picture, headline as well as how many times your profile and latest article have been viewed.

Personally, I prefer the new layout as a lot of things I am interested in looking at are now all in one easy to find space. However, I do think it’s a shame they have removed the ranking feature, which was always a good way of establishing what was working, and what wasn’t. Fingers crossed they bring it back.

Share an article, photo or update is now all on one line; making it easier to access in some ways, but may prove confusing for some. Equally, the publish an article option is now on a separate line, and seems to be a much quicker way of getting to write and post an article. Some people have been complaining about it, but personally I can’t see any issue.

Other than the ads, nothing is really different with your timeline at all, other than, in my opinion, it looks a little cleaner and easier to navigate.

Your Profile

We no longer have a profile section, instead it’s just Me. You can still access it by clicking on your circular photo on the right of the tool bar at the top, and a drop down menu will appear offering you a variety of options including view profile, as well as all the standard settings etc.

When you look at your profile you will see that the background image has changed dimension. LinkedIn suggest that 1536 x 738 works best, but in reality, 1800 x 300 appears to.

Your profile photo is now smaller, and circular (which I think improves matters), and your summary section is no longer completely visible. People will have to click See More to view it all, which means it is imperative you make those first two lines count! It might well be worth reviewing your content at this time.

One downside is you can no longer move sections of your profile around to customise what is important to you. This might be a feature that is brought back in time, and admittedly isn’t the end of the world, but it was a nice to have for a while.

Next week I’ll cover what other people’s profiles look like from your perspective, as well as the new My Network section and Notifications.

In the meantime, if you want to take advantage of this new layout to create new content for your LinkedIn profile get in touch for a review or advice: call 0161 883 2024 or email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk