Time to write your Christmas list

Time to write your Christmas list

OK, I’ll admit, there is not even the scent of Roses in the air, and I haven’t even put a jumper on yet, but many people have already begun their Christmas campaigns.

Retailers have been on this for weeks already, but you may not have planned your social media campaign yet.  However, you really need to get your skates on.  Before you know it, the John Lewis ad will air, and the season will begin in earnest.

Whatever your business, it’s not enough to Instagram a quick photo of a mince pie and hope for the best.  Even if your business doesn’t directly profit from the Christmas season, the general feelings of cheer, goodwill and bonhomie (forget the humbug) can give a warm glow to your business relationships.

So, don’t leave it until the last minute, you need a plan.

Ideally your Christmas campaign should tick a couple of boxes

  • Make people think generously about you
  • Encourage people to talk to you
  • Drive sales either in the short or long term

Depending on your business, you can thought-provoking, funny, endearing or any combination.  A thought-out approach is the key.

The festive season lends itself really well to timed campaigns: Christmas countdowns, shopping days, advent calendars, the Twelve Days of Christmas, are all things you can take inspiration from.

Now, like all good children, it’s time to sit and write your Christmas list detailing everything you would like.

Here are a couple of things you should be thinking of.

  1. Seasonal branding

On a very basic level, this means slapping a Santa hat on anything that moves (or doesn’t), but we can be a little more imaginative than that.  A seasonal theme to your logo or brand templates gives a cohesive look to any social media campaign.  These can be carried across Facebook Headers, social media posts, printed materials and even Christmas cards.

If you can, think of ways to tie in the festive season with your actual business, rather than just some random Christmassy graphics.  This campaign from Penguin last year was sleek and stylish, totally on brand and relatively inexpensive.  They carried the theme throughout all of their social media too.

penguin christmas campaign

Sites like Canva have some great templates to use or look for a graphic designer to create you something really special.

Changing your logo to be slightly festive has the added advantage of rolling out across all of your posts.

  1. Christmas movies

Remaking Elf in the office might be a bit of a stretch, but video content is a great way to add Christmas cheer.  Video messages make a fun alternative to company Christmas cards (and better for the environment too) and short, snappy videos are perfect for your social media feeds.  There are so many clever tools and apps available these days, they’re not too hard to magic up either.  Let your imagination run wild.

  1. Lend a helping hand

Make your content as useful as possible to people over the Christmas period.  Everyone is busy, in a rush and quite frankly need all the help they can get.  Hints and Tips, gift guides, how to guides all come into their own.  People will thank you for them.

  1. Encourage User Generated Content

A clever hashtag in the right place can be all you need to get people talking about your brand at Christmas time.  But there’s lots of things you can be doing offline to promote this too.  Think of Starbucks and their festive cups.  Encourage people to check in or take a photo to share.  If you’re in the Christmas gift market, make sure your tags and packaging encourage people to share their gift on social on Christmas morning. Ensure that your social media handles and campaign hashtags are clear for them to see.

  1. Do your bit for charity

Nearly all charities will have a Christmas campaign, so get involved.  That could be simply sharing their posts, volunteering or donating.  Either way, help them spread the word on your social media feeds. If you already have strong ties with an organisation, it might be worth getting in touch with them now to see if there are any joint initiatives you can do, or events you can organise.

So, don’t wait until Michael Buble is back on the radio, get your plans together now.

If you’d like more of these ideas, or more advice on putting together a campaign, then get in touch.

You can book a One-to-One Half Day Digital Strategy Session between now and Christmas.

I’ll spend some time looking at your business, and the competition. Then we’ll sit down for the morning and look at some ideas and content plans.  You’ll leave with a To Do list and a written To Do list and fully mapped out strategy for the big day.

Alternatively, sign up for one of our group workshops.  If you want to maximise the effects of your efforts, then the Facebook Advertising Masterclass will give you all the tools you use Facebook’s most powerful paid advertising tool.

For an overall refresh of your marketing, join our fundraiser workshop Kick Your Social Media Into Shapeall proceeds of this course will go to #PassTheSmile

 

The Greatest Show – what P.T. Barnum can teach you about marketing

The Greatest Show – what P.T. Barnum can teach you about marketing

The world is full of business books, podcasts and guides.  Many of them have their uses and, if you find them at the right time, they can revolutionise your business.  But sometimes, they just don’t cut it, and inspiration strikes in less conventional places.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Greatest Showman.  I took my youngest son to watch it at the cinema on a dreary Saturday morning and we loved it.  We have the soundtrack, the piano music and even a Ringmaster’s hat.  Aside from it being glorious, it came at just the right time and really struck a chord with me as to how I run my business.  There was a need for more elephants obviously, but it was more than that.

It has been out for a while, so if you haven’t seen it, grab it on DVD/TV and, if you’ve already seen it, watch it again.

The story plays a little fast and loose with the actual P.T. Barnum story, but we can forgive them a little artistic licence.  Barnum himself published his own Business self-help book in 1880 with his book, “The Art of Money-Getting or Golden Rules for Making Money,” and has inspired the likes of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs ever since, so he must have had something to say.

So, putting an eternal love for Hugh Jackman aside, here’s what you need to learn

A million dreams is all it’s going to take

Alright so he didn’t actually have his life mapped out, but he was certain he was going to be successful and never wavered from that.  He had a goal and he stuck to it.

His dream was to create a better life for himself and the woman he loved (cue music) and he was prepared to do whatever it took – even though it took years to achieve.

Having a vision for the world, and the business, you want to create makes every other decision easier, from branding, to Twitter posts.  Even if you start small, everything is better if you have a dream of where you’re heading.

The Greatest Showman “Men suffer more from imagining too little than too much”

You can risk it all and see 

Doing anything involves a little risk, and the best things offer a lot of risk.  This doesn’t always have to be financial, it can be trying something you’ve never done before and trying out some new ideas.

I’m what you might call ‘risk averse’ – I struggle to decide on a new haircut.  However, it’s something I’m working on and getting better at.  Making calculated risks and investments is essential and needs to be done.

Whilst I don’t advocate lying to the bank about your flotilla of ships, from a marketing point of view, it could be experimenting with video, more elaborate campaigns or investing in advertising and exhibitions.

The Greatest Showman “Comfort is the enemy of progress”

Be prepared to change your mind

There’s a difference between being risky and foolish, and largely the difference is tracking what works and what doesn’t.  If something isn’t working, don’t throw it out completely, but look at why it doesn’t work and think of new ideas.

Be open minded about where those ideas come from and they can come from the most unexpected places (even musicals).  For Barnum, it was his daughter’s comment that “he needed more things that are alive” and a couple of random thoughts created the circus that made his fortune.

The Greatest Showman - noone ever made a difference

Haters Gonna Hate

It was PT Barnum that said “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”

The critics hated PT Barnum, and the critics even hated The Greatest Showman (Mark Kermode, we are no longer friends) but it made no difference.  It’s not important who doesn’t like your product or service, it only matters who does.

It’s even possible to turn that criticism into a positive, if it helps to define what you are as much as what you are not.  It was Barnum’s critic that first described his show as a Circus.

Find Your Tribe

What this means is that essentially you must find your tribe.  I prefer Abraham Lincoln’s “You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”

Maybe peanut shells is where it’s at.

Decide on your target audience and stick to it.  Forget the rest, concentrate on them.

The Greatest Showman “You don’t need everyone to love you, just a few good people”.

Don’t Hide Who You Are

I spend most of my time telling people to be their authentic selves in business, so this shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone.  However, the rallying cry of This Is Me, probably sums it up best.

Creating a professional image is one thing, but clients and customers want to see more than that, your values, your principles and everything in between.  Vulnerabilities are what makes us human, and people buy from people, so don’t be afraid to be open and honest and let your personality shine through.

The Greatest Showman I am brave I am bruised Greatest Showman

Don’t try to be something you’re not

Barnum’s near ruin came because he tried to be something he wasn’t.  He was successful in his field, but he felt he needed more, that somehow, he wasn’t enough.

Turning your back on what made you successful in search of something bigger, something worthier, something better, doesn’t always work.

Be careful of trying too hard to attract an audience that doesn’t fit with your brand values, or brand personality, because you feel it will give you something you’re lacking.  If you feel you’re not good enough, new clients aren’t going to change that.

“Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it’ll
Never be enough” 

Other downsides include pesky opera singers trying to steal you away from your wife, so be careful of those.

Remember why you started

Opera singers aside, like the true Hero’s journey, Barnham finally remembers why he did what he did to begin with.  Making a better life for his family, giving his acts a place to belong, enjoying his work and their company.  Not only is this what made him happy, it’s what made him successful.  And if you can do both, then you’ve got it made.

The Greatest Showman Noblest Art is that of making someone happy

So, there you have it in a nutshell, everything you need to promote a successful business in one hour, forty minutes.

What movie do you think gives the best business advice?  Taxi Driver? The Shawshank Redemption? Let me know.

And if you can’t quite work out how to make your digital marketing Come Alive (can you see what I did there), then take a look at our Digital Strategy Sessions

We’re DOOMED, DOOMED I tell you … how to adapt to Facebook’s Announcement on business pages

Facebook announcement

Today Facebook’s announcement on business pages made headline news.  Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook was changing its newsfeed to make personal connections more prominent and reducing the amount of business posts shown.

Good!

Whilst there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth about this, Social Media Examiner’s, Michael Stelzner has gone full “Corporal Fraser” and claims we are all doomed and there is even talk of an apocalypse. However, plagues of frogs aside, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.  Organic reach from Facebook pages has plummeted in recent years and for largely good reason.

I took a break from Facebook (well, mostly) over the Christmas period and when I returned I didn’t really feel like I’d missed much. There were too many dull posts, click bait articles and the odd amusing video about otters. In other news, I had a lovely chat with old friends about our mutual love of The Crown and I’m slightly mesmerised by those ads for the face mask that peels off blackheads.  That is what Facebook is for.

Facebook is not the Yellow Pages, and its first and foremost role has always been to allow people to connect with each other.  Whether families living far away, or old school friends, Facebook was supposed to be a place for people to share their experiences, opinions and the odd bit of banter – not to buy a pizza.

I sense this has less to do with Zuckerberg wanting to make the world a friendlier place and much more to do with Facebook’s survival. The explosion in uninspiring, promotional content on Facebook pages has resulted in a decline in user experience and seen many people switch to other channels. The controversy over political bias and misleading click bait news stories is probably another good reason to put a dampener on things for a while.

However, the fact remains that you have put time and resources into building your Facebook page and there’s no need to just up saddle up your horse and leave.

Here are a few things you are going to need to adapt.

  1. Be Engaging

According to Facebook’s Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri:

“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities. In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues.”

So, the three things you must remember about the Facebook News Feed

  • They clearly want you to use Facebook Live more
  • Create events that people can talk about
  • Talk about issues and stories that inspire conversation
  1. Search is still a priority.

I have several clients which, for a variety of sensitive reasons, are not the kinds of pages that people will like or engage with.  However, we still consider a Facebook presence important.  People regularly use Facebook to search for companies and look at their pages directly (not in the newsfeed).  When they get there, they need to see content that reflects your company values, personality and services – you just don’t need to post 3 times a day.

  1. Nail down which platform is right for you and what you are trying to achieve.

Consider whether you truly belong there and what you are trying to achieve.  I’ll be perfectly honest, if you want to talk about your business to another professional, LinkedIn is the place to be.  My last blog explained why I think it’s the one to watch this year

It essentially works just like Facebook but is ‘shop talk’ only.  If you are a B2B business, it’s really where you should be at.  Likewise, you might want to invest more time in Twitter or Instagram, reducing your Facebook presence accordingly.

  1. Be the talk of the town ….

There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. Oscar Wilde

Facebook have announced that they are putting higher priority on people talking to people.  Encourage people to talk about your business.  If you have premises, put signs up asking people to check in on Facebook.  Prompt people to leave Facebook reviews and testimonials, or think up creative ways to make people want to tag your page in their own personal posts.  Rather than running the tired ‘like and share’ competitions (because Facebook is penalising those posts even more), ask people to generate their own content and tag you in it.

  1. Groups

More than just selling old fridges, Facebook groups are a good way to engage with your community.  They are chattier than a Facebook page and the emphasis is on conversation rather than announcements. Members can receive notifications of new posts and invite others to join.  Traditionally only personal profiles were able to interact in groups but now a Business Page can administer its own, meaning you can keep your personal profile to yourself. Consider setting one up for your VIP clients, or dedicated fans. A word of caution though, don’t just let it become another way for people to advertise themselves without saying much else and be selective about what you put.  If you want to join the Armadillo Social Club, click here to request an invite.

  1. Put your money where your mouth is.

I’ve been saying this for some time, but the only way you are truly going to get your content seen on Facebook is by paying for it. I wrote this blog over 2 years ago and it is even more true today.  There’s no other publisher, whether newspaper, magazine, TV or radio, that lets you promote your business for free so why should Facebook be any different?  The power of Facebook advertising to accurately pinpoint your preferred customers is impressive and a tool you should be making the most of.  What other advertising channel lets you select the gender, age, web browsing habits and personal interest of your clients?

In short, Facebook Pages are not dead, they’re not even stunned.  However, you might have to up your game a little.

If you are determined to make these changes work for you, book yourself onto one of my workshops over the coming weeks.  You can spend half a day constructing your Digital Marketing Strategy, or master the finer points of Facebook Advertising or LinkedIn.

Or give me a call on 07801 816793 to talk through how these changes could affect you.

Your Social Media Stinks – A Skinnypigs case study

Your Social Media Stinks – A Skinnypigs case study

Now I don’t make a habit of criticising other companies’ marketing output, unless its a global brand and they should know better.  Part of it is my one woman quest to make social media a kinder place.  Partly is the awareness that we’re all just doing our best, and largely making it up as we go along so there’s no need to publicly shame people for their mistakes. This morning though, my hackles were hoiked so high I consider this more therapy than a public service – but maybe it’s both.

(On the upside, it involved being called a Feminazi which always makes my day.  You know those sales teams that have a bell they can ring whenever they land a contract – that’s me.)

I bang on repeatedly about knowing your market and speaking directly to them.  I also emphasise your social media being your authentic voice, about it representing your values and beliefs and showing your customers who you really are.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you Skinnypigs, a fitness company in the North East.

Now I’ll set my stall out here.  I don’t know them, I’ve never had any dealings with them, they are hundreds of miles away so don’t know anyone who does. Their branding is strong, their website looks impressive and they seem to be very popular.  I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming that they have called themselves ‘skinnypigs’ with a degree of tongue in cheek humour, and had probably already dismissed ‘fatf$&kers’ as an idea.  I’m also assuming they are probably not avid readers of Susie Orbach.  They could be the greatest company in the world to the people that are their actual customers.  I only know what they show online.

The story starts with a local poster campaign that they were running outside schools, presumably to target the ‘Mums who want to shed a few pounds’ market.  We’ve all been there.

I also would be the first to do the trolls jobs for them.  I’m not exactly Kate Moss but luckily have the marvellous encouragement from Dan & Rhys at New Leaf Fitness to encourage me to their classes on a (would love to say) regular basis in an effort to get me to look and feel better, with or without trousers.  I’m not one of nature’s athletes but I give it a good go.

Anyway, I digress.

Someone complained to them that they found the ad offensive, primarily because it was posted outside a school where children would be able to read it or at least understand the pictures.  It’s not that obesity is an aspiration, or that a healthy lifestyle isn’t to be encouraged – it certainly is.  It’s promoting a message specifically aimed at girls (and by default boys about girls) that the main aim here is what you look like with no clothes on.  Never mind your health, fitness, mental wellbeing etc, nope, just the naked flesh.  With levels of depression, anxiety, eating disorders (and obesity for that matter) rising amongst children at record rates, it was misguided at best and irresponsible at worst.  And I mean, dear God, children aside, there is enough body shaming going on without the people who are supposed to help you getting in on the act. You don’t have to be Naomi Wolf to see her point.  Maybe they only want the super confident ones who are mainly concerned with their own looks.  Maybe they only want the ones with such low self esteem that they’ll buy their meal replacement shakes whatever the cost. Maybe they just don’t care.

I have no idea how long this ad has run without complaint.  I have no idea how many people know the brand and understand the nuances of their message or their particular brand of humour.  However, the actual ad is not the issue.

There was a moment on Twitter, after the woman who had objected post the ad, for a discussion.  There was a moment when they could have talked about whether the humour justified the outrage, or that they had listened to her concerns and would look again at the placement of the ads.  Or a respectful, ‘that’s not what we are about, please find out more about us before you judge us’  Personally I still think the issue would have remained but it would at least have been civilised.  They could have agreed to disagree.

This is not what happened.

This is what happened.  Actually I can’t post all of the tweets so here are just a few highlights.  These are screen grabs as some of them may yet disappear.

Screen grab skinnypigs

So, accusing your critics of being stupid.  Classy.

Next

Screenshot skinnypigs feminazi.

There’s the ‘Feminazi klaxon’  10 points.

and it goes on.

I could keep going but I won’t – oh go on then!  If you insist!

Lovely use of the word pussy there, but then again I do love a Maverick.  He also refers to having balls later on, just to be clear.

Different pussies I’m assuming.

He’s keen to state that he ‘loves women’ apparently and employs loads of them – ergo he must be feminist.  Case closed.

However, he then got a bit fed up and said people were trying to ruin his business and bring a great man down.  I think you’re doing that all by yourself love.

Some people did defend him – although I’m not sure these really are his core market.

 

What one earth was he thinking?  Now it’s clearly a successful business and many clients (well a few) have come to his defence, which he has been retweeting like a demon.  However, this has nothing to do with how effective his classes are in making your arse smaller.  This is everything to do with how he views and treats ALL women, and anyone who disagrees with him for that matter.  You certainly wouldn’t be confident that he would treat you with respect if you ever had a complaint or issue in person.  He’s hardly likely to be willing to listen to feedback and respond accordingly.

I think Salome put it best.

I’m sure, for all the people screaming PC Brigade, there are an equal if not larger number of clients cringing with embarrassment, and dedicated class trainers furious that he doesn’t speak for them.

Now I would love to discuss this with him in person but when I tried he blocked me so, sorry no can do.  I’d be more than happy to give him the following advice though.

  • Humour is humour if it’s funny.  If someone doesn’t find it funny, that’s OK, they are probably not the client for you.  However smile, apologise and move on.
  • Don’t throw personal insults at people, even if they are not your clients.  How you treat your critics says more about the kind of person you are than how you treat your supporters.
  • Listen to your critics.  You might learn something.
  • If you want to grow your business, alienating and insulting people who aren’t yet your clients and showing a complete disregard for their opinions is not going to help.
  • There’s no use just retweeting people who say nice things whilst still abusing the people who are challenging you.  I mean, you can do that, some people have made a living out of ittrump

But maybe I’ve got this all wrong.  Maybe this is just a massive publicity stunt – I mean, I’ve spent the last hour writing this and I can’t remember the last business I did that for.  Maybe there really is no such thing as bad publicity after all.  Haters gonna Hate and all that.

I like to think not.

I don’t think he will change his views, or his mind, and I hope his clients find that he has slightly more respect from him that it would appear.  If that’s how he treats a stranger, that’s how he’s more than likely to treat you.

But it’s not big, and it’s not clever.  Enough with the rude, obnoxious people who think that just because they employ and sell to women they automatically represent them. Enough with the people who think free speech gives you free reign to say what you like and no one is allowed to mind.

I wave my feminazi flag with pride in your face.

What do you think?  Do you think this exposure will have benefited or harmed his business?  Would I have been better to spend the last half hour doing bench presses?  I would love to know your thoughts

How NOT to ‘PEPSI’ your social media video content….

How NOT to ‘PEPSI’ your social media video content….

Social Media Video Content by Emma Spellman

Our guest blog this week is brought to you by Emma Spellman from Oojamaflick

Marketing gurus spend months agonising over their client’s campaigns, but it’s the short films and social media video content that really bring on the cold sweats! If some of the highest paid marketing minds (cough PEPSI) can’t pull off a social media film, then what hope in hell is there for the rest of us? The good news is there’s boundless amounts of hope because we have something they don’t, ‘common sense’ – now there’s a creative concept.

 
Whether you’re a new venture at the start of your social media life or an established business changing tack to keep up with the pace of social media engagement – boosting your online presence with social media films is an absolute must. You don’t want to make a ‘Pepsi’ of it though and you’re terrified at the thought of looking like an arse on camera!!
 

Keep it real

Your customers really want to see your lighter side. The social media films that get shared, liked, loved and remembered are the ones that drop the facade. Forget this idea that you have to behave in a certain way because you’re a business. Everyone has a personality and trying to hide that on film will do you a disservice. I film a lot of ‘meet the team’ films where colleagues team build in all sorts of active ways or have a fun lunch date or coffee together. It’s here I see the real people. Real emotion. You’re a professional outfit – there’s no doubt about that, but there’s a lot of very different and amazing personalities under one roof and it’s these personalities that make the cogs turn. Let viewers go behind-the-scenes. If your Team Leader ‘show jumps’ and your Graphic Designer does ‘stand up’ – these are great visuals and great stories. Look what Strictly did for Ed Balls. 
 
OK – so you’re reading the above paragraph and you’re pulling some faces along the lines of, yeh right – there’s no way I’m doing that! The other option is to think about a client that really inspires you. Is there someone you’ve worked with that has truly benefitted from your business; someone that makes your day better and leaves an imprint on you every time you meet? If you feel like that then viewers will too. Let’s get them on film instead. An inspired, honest client testimonial is easy to film and when you extract the right soundbites in the edit with beautiful, relative visuals you have an impactful social media film to shout about.
 
I follow a beauty salon’s social media updates avidly, purely because they film product ‘role plays’ on their mobiles and they’re absolutely hilarious. They get their willing clients involved and create scenarios about fake-tan sprays and eye brow pomades that you just can’t forget and come to think of it I’ve purchased both products!  Now that’s a win, win strategy. The camera phone is an extremely effective marketing tool and you can do some beautiful imagery with it. The film Tangerine, entirely shot on the iPhone, won an Oscar! 

Keep it beautiful

There’s always the ‘beautiful images of your amazing business’ option, accompanied by powerful on-screen text. Let’s see those products up close and let’s see what you do in a visually exciting way. Get creative with words and grab your customers from frame 1. Keep it really short and leave them wanting more. It’s really easy to create this type of film and with some clever thinking you can roll out a stunning visual narrative. You don’t need thousands of pounds to make social media films; of course you want them to look amazing, but the idea is that they’re fast turnaround and they reflect the ever changing landscape of your business. You need good ideas, clever ideas, mind-blowing ideas. The idea is ‘everything’ and you can leave us filmmakers to worry about getting that idea on screen.  
 

Keep it short

The other thing you have to remember is this – and this makes me want to cry, to be frank! You do it, I do it, your customers will do it! We browse social media whilst we’re already doing something else. All those hours spent grafting and crafting a film and to think nine times out of ten it will be watched with no sound on a train, in the park, at the pub, or half-asleep on the sofa whilst you’re watching Game of Thrones!! Unless it grabs you quickly…it might not even be watched to the end of its little life. Your loyal customers ‘should’ stay on-board, it’s new customers you want to worry about. They’re picky! They don’t have much time and they’re already busy scrolling up the for the next best thing, which might just be a video of ‘the uncensored reviewer’ talking about how to prevent poo smells. There’s no hard science here, but I’m certain of three things –
keep it real, keep it short, keep it beautiful.  
 
GOOD LUCK
 
Emma Spellman runs Oojamaflick films and  and has spent a career filming, producing and directing documentaries for ITV, BBC, Ch4 and Sky TV.
If you’d like to see more from Emma, or talk to her about your social media films, get in touch with her at www.oojamaflick.com, like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter & Instagram
New LinkedIn Layout – The Good, The Bad and the Annoying

New LinkedIn Layout – The Good, The Bad and the Annoying

A brand new LinkedIn layout has been rolling out.  Mine dropped into my laptop a few weeks ago and I’ve been finding my way around.

I can see why they’ve done it.  The new look is slicker and a little more in keeping with LinkedIn as a social platform rather than a cumbersome CV directory.  It’s also a offensive move towards increasing monetisation, with quite a few of the free features taken away.  Once again, you can’t blame them for trying.

And quite a few features have been removed from the new layout for your own good.

I’m particularly annoyed as it means I have to completely rewrite my LinkedIn workshop and, indeed replace quite a few of the sections but it’s not all about me (honest).

Here are the major changes

Advanced Search

LinkedIn search has been an amazing feature for finding new leads and prospects. This has now been reduced.  One reason, is that it encourages people to upgrade to the many, more expensive Premium versions of LinkedIn.  However, on the plus side, I also think LinkedIn has seen a big rise in spammy connection requests and messages of late, which this might go some way to reduce.

What used to be Advanced Search has now gone, leaving just a regular search box.  There is an additional ‘search for people with filters’ option at the bottom but it’s nowhere near as powerful as it once was.  The  generic keyword filter has been removed, along with terribly useful Postcode radius search.

You can still search by job title, and by individual location, but it is nowhere near as useful as it once was in finding potential interested contacts.

Maybe that’s the point

New LinkedIn Layout Advanced Search

LinkedIn as a CRM

Another feature that has disappeared from the new layout, is the ability to tag your contacts and save non-contacts into useful and orderly lists.  This is whole section of my workshop I can just whip out which is a shame as it was really useful.  However, not that many people used them and you couldn’t export the tabs.

Break out the bunting though, because both of these features are still available if you fancy forking out over £50 a month for Sales Navigator.

The only real solution to this is to bite the bullet and get yourself a decent CRM.  There are plenty to choose from.  I use Hatchbuck. Other CRMs are available but that will have to wait for another post.

*** IF YOU HAVE ADDED TAGS IN THE PAST YOU CAN STILL ACCESS THESE IF YOU EXPORT YOUR DATA (see below) ***

Who’s Looking At You is now a priority

The home feed looks a lot cleaner than it did, although I still find the ad placements annoying.  However they have brought to the forefront (well left hand) who’s viewing your profile and also now who’s viewing your most recent post.

New LinkedIn Layout Who's looking at you

New LinkedIn Layout Post analytics

As well as knowing you whether people are actually seeing your posts and some clues as to who they are, it also recommends other content for you to share

Although not the most useful thing in the world, it does help keep you focused on whether your activity is actually worth it.

 

 

The new LinkedIn Layout gives you a snappier profile

You take centre stage

New LinkedIn Layout Profile picture

Your profile picture is smaller, but you are very much given top billing in your own profile, with your Headline given more prominence than your current employer and education (although they are still up there).

Make sure you go back and edit what yours says about you.  You want your headline to be just that, and remember is doesn’t have to be your job title.

Also, your summary is shortened in the main view and any media you have added is now under the ‘see more’ section.  Annoying, but best make those first few lines snappy.

Lower visibility for published posts.

Now if you ask me, this is why you’re not allowed nice things.  Published posts were initially part of LinkedIn Pulse, and only available to a selected group of LinkedIn members who could be considered influencers.  The original intention is that they would be opinion pieces from leaders in their field that would promote and encourage discussion.  Then the rolled it out to all users.  In principle, it’s a great alternative or addition to having a blog on your own site, and gets you in front of people where they are willing to read what you have to say.  However, I’ve become increasingly irate over the past 12 months as people have used them for click bait sales messages, and flimsy posts that really should have been status updates.

So LinkedIn have done the following

  • your network is no longer notified when you publish a post (THIS is annoying)
  • Rather than give prominence to all your published posts on your profile,

LinkedIn Published Posts

But you only have yourself to blame, remember that!

Higher visibility for recent activity

What they take away with one hand they give back with the other, and they have now given much higher visibility to your recent activity.  This used to be quite hard to find in a hidden drop down list.  Now however, it’s much easier to stalk potential clients, like and comment on their posts and hang out where they are likely to be passing.

You now have to request your data

It used to be fairly easy to export all of your contacts to a .csv, for you to import into your CRM system or whatever you wanted to do with it.  Now it’s a little  more complicated – but it’s still possible.

I recommend you do this as soon as possible, just in case they decide to make it harder

  • Go to My Networks (top menu bar)
  • Then click to see your entire list of connections on the left hand side
  • Now click on the Manage Synced and imported contacts just above that Toyota ad
    Request your data
  • Now click to export your data

Export your data

 

Or if you want to make things easy for yourself and you’re logged into LinkedIn, just click here

Now I could go on, but I’m not going to because I could be here all day pointing out the minutia of changes.

However, on the whole I think it still works.  Those tools which have been removed will frustrate some but actually make others work all the harder to get good results.

What do you think?  Do you like the new layout? Which changes in particular have made a difference to you, good or bad?  Let me know.

If you need a little help finding your way around, book yourself in for a one-to-one coaching session.