Everybody’s Talking At Me: Social media and your mental health

Everybody’s Talking At Me: Social media and your mental health

Another day another bloody awareness day, penguins, vegans, sugar.  However this one is worth paying attention to (as are all the others, obviously), it’s Mental Health Awareness Week (#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek).

Social media has come under a lot of scrutiny recently, around the effects on our mental health.  Is Instagram making us all depressed? Is Twitter making us all snarling balls of rage? Is LinkedIn causing us all to become parodies of ourselves.

As far as running a business is concerned, I’m all too well aware that social media, rather than lightening the load, is often just another thing to add in to a busy to do list.  Added to that, time spent on our phones is eating into family time, our relationships and an ability to hold a conversation without checking the latest Brexit tweets.

Whether you are a business owner, marketing a business, expected to use social media as part of your role, or simply scanning Instagram in your spare time, you can suddenly realise that it’s making life difficult.

So here’s the Armadillo Handy Guide to keeping your social media life as healthy as possible.

1. Look for the helpers

Social Media gets a bad rap for its effects on mental health, bullying culture and trolling habits.  But it’s also a wonderful place, full of supportive people who will be more than happy to provide some support or light relief.  On of the great victories of Social Media is that it has shone a spotlight on mental health issues (Mental Health Awareness Week being a case in point) and provided a place where people can share, discover or just hang out.  It has allowed people to talk about their mental health without having to look anyone in the eye. It can be a lifeline to those people who have found social interaction, or leaving the house difficult at one time or another.

Make sure you have identified your tribe to turn to when needed.  I have a list called The Biscuit List, of people on Twitter that I like to read that are guaranteed to make me feel better.

Authors such as @matthaig and @technicallyron are glorious examples of this, and the world is a better place because of them.

2.  Listen out for the echo chamber

I can see how social media can be held responsible for making people’s mental health worse.  Certainly news reports around suicide and self-harm, particularly amongst young people, can be terrifying.  However recent studies have found that it’s not as damaging as first thought, specifically to teens.   What I think it does do, is amplify feelings that already exist.  So if we feel low, social media could make that worse.  If we are fine and dandy, it’s probably going to be OK.

The main reason for this is that we follow accounts that resonate with us, and then we are suggested similar accounts.  Before you know it, you have a feed filled with similar messages and similar world views.  Great in some cases, but potentially damaging in others.

Take a few moments to look at your feeds and pay attention to how they make you feel.  Is it full of unrealistic body images or lifestyles that make you miserable?  Are you constantly finding new things to be angry about?

Try to mix it up a little.  Personally I think the world is significantly improved with dogs in jumpers and @inotternews, but that’s just me.

3.  Watch your screen time

Do you know how much time you spend on your mobile phone?  Honestly?

It’s something that I’m very conscious of.  I am well aware that screen  time and my mental health are related.  I don’t think that too much screen time causes mental health issues, as much is a symptom of them.  I know that if I’m particularly anxious, I will check my phone more often. It’s almost like a nervous tick.

The latest iPhone update has introduced Screentime.  This will tell you how much time you spend on each app on your phone.  You can also set limits for yourself for individual apps, and your phone as a whole.  What’s more, you can also do this for your children!  I still secretly delight at my son’s fury when his phone shuts itself down each night at 8:30.

We have all now heard of social media’s addictive qualities.  Those likes and shares can have the same dopamine hit just as a cigarette, so it’s important to have boundaries.  Try to check your social media at certain times of the day.  It might be over breakfast, with your mid-morning coffee, in front of The Apprentice, but having set times of the day will really help keep it all contained.  More importantly, try not to check your social media while you are also doing something else (if you learn how to do this, let me know how).  Multitasking is a fool’s errand, so if you need to focus on something TURN IT OFF.

4. Enjoy the silence

This is a major one for me.  Social media is my living, so it’s difficult to put it down. However sometimes, the noise can be deafening.  Trying to keep that many clients in my head, answering endless Whatsapp updates and thinking of something witty to say about Line Of Duty can be overwhelming.  There are days when I want to scream into a pillow.  Quite a lot of them actually.

So I try to be extra vigilant about turning if off (I did say ‘try’) and finding plenty of things to do where phones are not required.  Yoga, running, reading.  I’ve tried to replace my phone with my kindle on my bedside table.  As an aside, may I also recommend Box Sets with subtitles, as you haven’t got time to check your phone as you instantly miss what’s going on.

The work life balance is even more important than ever, and even harder to maintain.  Don’t be on 24 hour call, and don’t expect those around you to be on 24 hour call either.  Remember when “I’m sorry, I was out” was enough!

You might also consider turning off your notifications.  That way you can use it when you want to, not when the world is calling.

5.  Keep some perspective

We all know this, but you need to remember that not everything on social media is true.  You may be stressed about work, home, money, family and it can often look like everyone else has got it all figured out – but we really haven’t. Not everyone is making as much money as they say, or living their best lives, and those #makingmemories usually ended in a row in the car on the way home.

Get some social media perspective

6. Prioritise

You can’t do it all.  Don’t feel you have to be an expert on every social media platform.  Pick one that suits you, and what you’re trying to achieve, and do that one well rather than spread yourself too thinly.  Similarly, don’t feel that you have to accept every request or follow every person who follows you.  Your newsfeeds and timelines will end up overrun with rubbish and you’ll be in a permanent panic.  Streamline your Twitter feed with lists, putting certain accounts into categories which will make things easier to keep track of.  You can also get mobile notifications for people who you really don’t want to miss – meaning that you don’t have to keep checking every 5 minutes or worry that you have let something slip by.  Have a look here for more details

7. Haters gonna hate

There are undoubtedly, some wronguns on social media.  They may be people who annoy you, or are more actively aggressive.  Feel free to block.  There’s no law against it and you don’t need to justify it.  If that feels too severe a sanction, there are also more subtle things you can do.  Muting people on Twitter allows you to still follow people but not see their tweets. On Facebook, you can change your newsfeed preferences to hide certain people and pages and prioritise others.

But there is absolutely no need to put up with abuse.  I’ve reported several people for abusive comments on Twitter (these generally followed me saying something about Jeremy Clarkson) and complaints are dealt with swiftly.  Also harassment on social media is taken seriously by the police, if you feel things are getting out of hand and you feel threatened.

And finally ….

8. Use your powers for good

Your phone can also be your friend.  These a huge range of handy apps to help take the stress out of life.  Here are my favourites

Headspace. The lovely Andy will take you through a variety of guided meditations for every woe you may have in your life from sleeplessness, anxiety, grief, or just general life grinding you down.

Runkeeper. Running is great stress reliever and Runkeeper is the best app I’ve found to help you along.  Mainly because I like the amusing voice settings that call out your progress.  ‘Conscience’ is my default setting of choice

Podcasts. I love a podcast and they are a favourite way to relax these days.  There is another blogpost in here somewhere about my Top 10 podcasts but if you’re not listening to David Tennant chat to Olivia Colman, you really should be.

So all in all, social media doesn’t have to be hazardous to your mental health, and it could do some good as long as you, in the words of Jerry Springer,

“take care of yourself, and each other”

To find a list of good mental health people to follow, take a look at my Twitter List

To find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week, visit the Mental Health Organisation website. If you or someone you know is struggling, then call The Samaritans free at any time on 116 123.

What do you think?  Do you think social media has a positive effect on your mental health, or make everything worse?

 

The Kids Are Alright: How to keep your children safe online

The Kids Are Alright: How to keep your children safe online

I spend a lot of time worrying about my children on social media, even though they don’t have accounts.  Unfortunately for them, the work I do makes that less likely for them, not more.

I’m a big fan of social media, and the power it has to inform, persuade and raise awareness.  However I’m acutely aware of its downsides, particularly where children and young people are concerned.

I know every generation must say this, but it just seems to radically different to our own childhoods, where we could go for days without hearing from our friends and often that involved their Dad answering the phone first.  The nearest we got to inappropriate content was that Judy Blume book and looking up rude words in the dictionary.

First the good stuff.  The internet is a great thing for children. They have a world of knowledge at their finger tips, they can discover any information about any subject on earth.  The only limitation is their imagination.  Sadly they seem to spend it all looking at videos of people playing video games and opening boxes but hey – who am I to argue.

It also allows them to keep in touch with friends in a way not possible before.  That feeling of connection is important and shouldn’t be overestimated – even if it can’t replace actual human contact.

Social Media isn’t going away.  I still meet people who don’t use Facebook, or have no idea what Instagram is.  You don’t need to be a complete master or use it all the time – but you need to have a basic understanding of what they all do.  If you’re going to teach your children to look after themselves in the world, then you had better learn what that world is.  This is not the Wild West, this is their reality and it should be yours.

Hopefully your children feel that they can talk to you about things that bother them, but you do need to have at least a vague idea of what they’re talking about if they do.

You teach your children to ride a bike, eat in restaurants, road safety – so why on earth would you leave them to work this out on their own.

I see three main issues with kids online, and it’s worth discussing each one.

  • Safety
  • Bullying
  • Anxiety and self-esteem

Safety

This is the major worry for most parents, although not necessarily the biggest real danger.  However, make sure your children are aware how to keep themselves safe. Online grooming is terrifying and I don’t want to complacently say that it could never happen in my family, but the more aware everyone is, the safer everyone will be.

First rule, for goodness sake obey the age restrictions.

Action For Children have produced this handy guide.

Action for Children Safer Internet Day

 

I know so many children who have Instagram Accounts, Facebook and Snapchat accounts when they shouldn’t.  The age restrictions are there for a reason.  Even if some of their friends have them, don’t feel that they all do.  They don’t.  Certainly don’t let your children have accounts if you don’t know how they work.

I mean I know I used to get served in a pub from an early age but hypocrisy serves me well here.

My children are under 13 so don’t have any social media accounts, but that doesn’t mean I can rest easy.

My eldest son has an ipad, which includes imessenger and he has an email account. we have a laptop, they watch Youtube and play on the X Box.  I should confess that my son thinks he has his own Youtube channel but actually it’s mine.

The internet contains a world of unsuitable content – so make sure you have set up your parental controls directly from your router.  We have BT Internet and their filters are good – although we came a cropper a while ago when I found my son had looked up what something meant far sooner than I thought he should!  However we have also set filters on Youtube and the Xbox.  Make sure you know how to do this, because you do need to!

Our rules are

  • Ipads and laptops can only be used downstairs in family rooms.
  • If you don’t know what something means, ask. Don’t google!
  • I will check your internet history and will know if it’s been cleared, that you’ve looked at something you shouldn’t.
  • Don’t befriend anyone you don’t know, and you can make sure that it’s definitely them.
  • Don’t share personal information
  • If something doesn’t feel right, then ask.
  • Know how privacy settings work and how to block people

 

When they are older, I will set their accounts up and set their privacy settings for them.  I also want to know their passwords.  That doesn’t mean I will read their messages or abuse that trust though.

  • Bullying

For me, this is a bigger concern than grooming.  Both my child being bullied and being the bully.  Again, you teach them to behave in restaurants and talk to grown ups, teach them how to behave online. When we were younger, if there was bullying it tended to be contained either in school, or the journey home.  Today, there is often no escape for them.

 

At the moment, our discussions are

  • Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t be happy everyone reading.
  • Be careful about who you allow into group messages and who you don’t. Excluding people can be hurtful.
  • Don’t send pictures of yourself, or ask people to send pictures to you that you either aren’t happy with or would mind your headmaster seeing. CLOTHES PLEASE!
  • Be kind to everyone as if they were in front of you.
  • Be respectful

Self-esteem and anxiety

Which brings me to the last issue. I can’t fathom how you begin to grow up in a world where you can document your every move, where all your mistakes are registered for eternity and you get to see and edited version of everyone else’s life.

There is no surprise that anxiety and mental health issues among young people are increasing.  The fear of missing out (that’s FOMO to you and me) along with a warped view of reality and the increased pressure to be fabulous all contribute and you need to offset it somehow.

I don’t have answers for this one – but you can do your best.

  • Tell your children that life isn’t perfect. Show them how photoshopping works, talk to them about how noone’s life is all that it is cracked up to be.
  • Encourage them to take photographs of other interesting things. I’ve already told my son that when he’s 13, he can only have an Instagram account if he promises that the majority of photos will not be of himself.
  • TURN IT OFF. I’m a fine one to talk, but encourage them to know that you don’t have to answer every message.  You can put it down and that the world won’t end if you do something else for a while.
  • Have actual friends. Social Media is great for staying connected but it doesn’t replace face to face contact – encourage your children to leave the house or have friends over as often as possible.

Also, think about your own social media use.  Your children are not there as content.  By all means share their triumphs, your love and your pride, but don’t post content that could embarrass them – even if they were only three at the time.  Teenagers are embarrassed about EVERYTHING, and normally embarrassing photos are reserved for the best man’s speech.

After all that, really the only way to keep your children safe is to educate yourself up and talk to them, and make them feel that they can talk to you.  You can’t protect them from it, so you may as well hop on board.

If you are still a little clueless, then ask me about my parenting sessions.  In them we go through all the social media sites, how they work, what they do, what your children think they do, and how to make them as safe as possible.

 

 

 

 

3 steps to drown out the noise on Twitter

3 steps to drown out the noise on Twitter

Do you struggle to keep up with Twitter, or anything more than the last 15 minutes of your timeline?  This is one of the main concerns my clients bring me.

How many people should you follow?  It’s a fine balance between having a broad network and drowning in a sea of noisy and confusing posts.

If you are using your account for business, it’s especially important to make sure you don’t miss the good bits.

These 3 simple housekeeping tips allow you to focus on the information you need, and silence those people you don’t want to hear from right now.

So here, allow me to make your life easier.

1.  Lists

Nestling next to your likes, Lists allows you to file relevant Tweeters into carefully orchestrated and beautifully ordered lists.

You can have as many as you like, and you can choose to make these public or private.   I make most of my lists private as I don’t want to make it easy for my competitors!  They include

Social Media Experts/News, Local Business, Networking groups, Clients, Target clients

I can then select any of these lists and see only the tweets by these people.

Genius!

2.  Turn on Notifications

If someone is extra special and you never want to miss a tweet from them, then simply turn on mobile notifications.  A notification will then pop up on your mobile home screen whenever they send a tweet, whether you are in Twitter or not.

N.B.  This is useful for close contacts who don’t tweet very often.  Not so good for those who are at it constantly.

3.  Turn off Retweets

Now I’ll be the first to admit, this is not really in the spirit of Twitter but, sometimes, needs must.  If you don’t want to unfollow someone, for whatever reason, but they appear to have retweeting diarrhoea (you know who you are) then a subtle turning off of their retweets should quieten things down and they’ll never know.  This is particularly useful for those contacts who take part in every networking hour going.

So there you have it, bringing ruthless efficiency and calm to the chaos of Twitter.

You’re welcome.

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.

LinkedIn – the one to watch for 2018

LinkedIn – the one to watch for 2018

LinkedIn has been seen as the dull relation of the social media family for years, lacking the sparkle of Facebook or the edginess of Twitter.  People might have had a look every now and again, when they were looking for a new job, or to see what an ex-colleague was up to now, but not much more.

Just as the geeks will inherit the earth, LinkedIn has been rapidly catching up with other social media platforms, going from 120million to 500million users in the last 6 years.  Not only that, 100,000 organic articles are published each week on LinkedIn, making it a valuable source of content and a powerful platform for building your own brand.

There are a variety of reasons why I think LinkedIn will be the one to watch in 2018 and why you should be making the most of it.

  1. It’s not Facebook or Twitter.

You will hear grumbling from various corners of late that LinkedIn is ‘becoming more like Facebook’, and I admit, I am the first one to furrow my brow at those click baity maths puzzles, and people talking about their pets. Whilst there is some merit to this, it still has a long way to go and for the most part LinkedIn is still strictly business.

I’ve noticed over the past year, an increasing number of people becoming uncomfortable about the blurring of the lines between a professional and private life.  Personally, although I have a Facebook business page, I don’t have business contacts as Facebook friends.  I’ve tried running two Facebook profiles but I don’t really have the time or the inclination to do it well.  My Facebook profile is for my friends and family – and mainly I spend it watching video content of dogs in costumes or the latest Jonathan Pie.  It’s the same with Twitter. I wrote a blog, a year or so ago, highlighting that company Twitter accounts, with their scheduled posts, would turn people off Twitter and that seems to be the case.  I still love Twitter, and manage far more successfully to maintain a professional and personal account. My personal account is just Brexit, the patriarchy and The Archers.

And through the parted crowds marches LinkedIn, with the ability to share content, written and visual, but in a purely professional context, without having to worry that your new connection has seen your holiday photos.

This means that it is much easier to align your personal profile with your company values and brand ideals.  This is especially important if you are working with a team who might either ‘not do’ social media or prefer to keep work out of it.  LinkedIn gives them a platform to present themselves professionally and promote the company at the same time.

  1. LinkedIn have upped their content game.

LinkedIn led the field with content, by launching the Published Posts feature a few years ago.  Published posts serve as a personal blog on your profile, and can be a godsend for professionals who don’t necessarily get space on their company website.

Professionals looking to become influencers in their industry can reach thousands of people through published posts, especially if they can create talking points which people are keen to debate.

LinkedIn have also recently unleashed native video, allowing users to upload video directly rather than share a Youtube clip.  This can only grow as more and more users take advantage of it.

Not only that, but LinkedIn’s acquisition of Slideshare goes even further in sharing meaningful content.

  1. Anyone who’s anyone uses LinkedIn

41% percent of millionaires use LinkedIn, and of all the social media platforms, it’s where you’re most likely to find the people you want to speak to, regardless of whether you’re in sales, running your own business, or want to progress your career.  The fact that you are connecting to real life people, rather than anonymous company accounts, means you can build much more meaningful relationships than on other platforms.

As a networking tool, LinkedIn is second to none, and you should certainly be making sure that you are sending a connection request to everyone you meet in real life.  I’ve had at least 5 referrals through LinkedIn in the last couple of months and it’s certainly the first place I go to look for potential partners.

If you are in Sales, and need to find solid prospects, then the paid Sales Navigator is an incredibly powerful tool. It’s not cheap but allows you to pinpoint exactly who you’re looking to connect with and start to build a relationship with them without having to go in for the hard sell.

And the better the professional content becomes, the more conversation is created and the better the network gets.

I could go on, but that should be enough for now.

If you would like your team to be making more of LinkedIn, then get in touch about our in-house LinkedIn Training or book onto our January Workshop