Social Media to Keep You In the Loop

Did you see our live-stream Facebook video during the recent Best Places to Work in Indiana celebration in early May?

It was the first time we’ve broadcast live from that event – meaning you could be part of the action, even if you were watching from home!

If you follow us on Twitter, you’re the first to see our posts and news regarding legislative priorities and policy matters important to the Indiana business community.

Earlier this year, for example, you might have been following along as Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar tweeted from one of Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma’s “Tweet Seats” during the Governor’s annual State of the State address.

On Instagram, you’ll get a glimpse of life behind the scenes here at the Indiana Chamber, from learning more about our new employees to how we celebrate the holidays, give back to the community and relax together as a company.

LinkedIn is a great way to learn about our many conferences and seminars, awards and updates and so much more.

You can also find us on YouTube with a variety of videos. Overall, social media is a great way to keep in touch with the Indiana Chamber and to receive breaking updates about the state’s business landscape.

Member news: If you’re looking for broader visibility for your company news and updates, submit your press releases through our Member Press Release submission form. Not only are those archived on our web site, but we regularly highlight this news and information to our 18,400+ Twitter followers and over 2,400 Facebook fans.Our presence on social media is also one of the benefits of membership with the Indiana Chamber. Here are some of the various member-related features you can find across our feeds:

  • Member Spotlight: We also shine the light on Indiana Chamber member companies through their own narrative with the Member Spotlight feature.
  • And we’re regularly interacting with Indiana Chamber member company accounts on social media, with this blog and the EchoChamber podcast, sharing conversations, posts and updates about what’s new in a number of companies and industries around the state.

But the best way for you to find out what we have to offer via social media is for you to follow, like or subscribe (if you don’t already) to our accounts.

You can also contact Communications and PR Manager Charlee Beasor at (317) 264-7543 if you have any questions or need more information about our social media presence and how your company can follow along or join in the conversation.

Making the Proper Contact

37193874The challenge with business-to-business sales is that the purchasing decision rarely resides solely with your contact. Instead, multiple influencers and departments are often involved.

Recently released survey data from LinkedIn provides some insight as to the departments that wield the most influence.

Based on a survey of more than 6,000 buyers and marketers at mid-sized to enterprise-level companies in seven countries, LinkedIn concludes that, generally speaking, the top departments involved in the typical buying decision are: information technology (32%), finance (31%) and business development (26%).

Of course, these results differ greatly by industry. View a chart online summarizing the top three departments per industry sector.

One of the key (and perhaps obvious) takeaways is that the department most involved in purchasing decisions often reflects the industry. In other words, the IT department is most commonly an influencer in the technology industry, while marketing wields the most clout in the marketing and advertising industry, and finance in the commercial banking industry.

CEOs Just Saying No to Social Media

Social media may be taking much of the rest of the world by storm, but Fortune 500 CEOs are not quite ready to take the personal plunge in most cases. Bulldog Reporter has the story:

The 2012 Fortune 500 Social CEO Index was created (by Domo and CEO.com) to investigate the social media habits of leading CEOs. It found that while CEOs lagged far behind the general population in terms of overall social media participation, they are more active on one social network — LinkedIn — than the general public. When it comes to specific social networks, LinkedIn was by far the most popular among Fortune 500 CEOs, with 26 percent on the network, compared to just 20.15 percent of the U.S. general public.

But on other major social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, the presence of Fortune 500 CEOs was minimal at best, with only 7.6 percent on Facebook, 4 percent on Twitter, and less than 1 percent on Google Plus. By contrast, more than 50 percent of the U.S. population uses Facebook and 34 percent uses Twitter.

"The results came as a surprise considering that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are part of the daily fabric of life," said Josh James, Domo founder and CEO, in a news release. "We really expected to see more social engagement from CEOs, especially since the benefits of social media are no longer just wishful thinking."

Others findings from the study:

  • 70 percent of CEOs have no presence on social networks

  • Among the 20 Fortune 500 CEOs who have opened Twitter accounts, five have never tweeted

  • Rupert Murdoch of News Corp, with 249,00 followers, is now the most-followed Fortune 500 CEO, surpassing HP’s Meg Whitman who was in the number one spot when the survey was taken

  • 10 Fortune 500 CEOs have more than 500 LinkedIn connections, while 36 CEOs have 1 LinkedIn connection or none

  • Six Fortune 500 CEOs contribute to blogs, and only one of the six CEOs, John Mackey of Whole Foods, maintains his own blog

Slingshot SEO Co-founder: It’s All About Relationships

Indianapolis-based Slingshot SEO is a company making a splash nationwide, and its co-founder Jeremy Dearringer authored a very informative column for Inc. The message serves as a great reminder to businesses not get so bogged down in your "mission" that you forget what customers value most — relationships. He also offers some ways to leverage social media tools to make that happen.

Relationships. In business, that single word may be the most important.

Genuine relationships were the foundation of our partnership. This helped us earn the trust of our first few clients, which in turn provided us with mentors to help avoid the common pitfalls of start-ups, created strong advocates for us in the business community, and motivated early employees to take a chance on working with us. And that’s just the beginning.

Recently, at Slingshot SEO, by request of our new CEO, we dove into exploring factors that led clients to renew at the end of their 12-month contracts. We put together a task force including the three founders, the director of SEO performance, and the VP of client success. During our first meeting, members of our leadership team suggested seemingly obvious answers like ROI and ranking results. Not satisfied, we decided to dig deeper. We brainstormed a list of possible factors, surveyed our client success teams and their clients, analyzed results, and sifted through Salesforce data.

Over a month later, our report concluded that the No. 1 reason clients renew with us: strong relationships.

While results and ROI are elements we focus on for every client, these factors placed second to a positive relationship. Some clients, despite witnessing amazing campaign results and phenomenal ROI, opted out of renewing due to lack of a strong relationship or bond with our team. Others failed to renew because our champion within the client organization moved on.

With our newfound understanding about the importance of relationships, we now ask ourselves, how do we build these strong connections? How do we maximize the benefits of them?

Most successful entrepreneurs quickly realize that time is one of their most valuable assets. Forging and maintaining strong business relationships while trying to run a business can be extremely challenging. Often our personal lives suffer as a result, much like in the movie CLICK, featuring Adam Sandler, which hit so close to home that it brought tears to my eyes.

Fortunately, the advent of smart phones and social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook has allowed us to expand the number of people we can effectively maintain a relationship with. I once heard that the typical number of people you can truly maintain a solid relationship with is somewhere between 150-250. Generally, this number is displayed by how many people will come to your wedding or funeral.

I’ve found that staying in touch with business contacts via email, LinkedIn, and Twitter has reduced the number of in-person meetings required to keep relationships fresh. This practice is extended company wide. At Slingshot SEO, we use Twitter to socially interact with and support our clients, supplementing more standard communication such as in-person meetings, conference calls and email.

Networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter are especially useful, as they also allow you to influence your networks’ perceptions of your key contacts. Leaving recommendations on LinkedIn or custom, personal FollowFriday suggestions on Twitter are a couple of ways to earn relationship karma. You can also leverage these social networks to forge and strengthen relationships by jumping into public conversations and answering questions related to your expertise. A simple tweet, retweet or comment on these social networks can help keep your name in front of your contacts.

It’s All in the Child’s Name … Or Is It?

A positively unscientific look at people’s names and their professions nevertheless yielded some interesting results. LinkedIn provided the information; Ragan.com offered this summary:

Want your kid to grow up to be a CEO? Name him Peter, Bob or Jack. Oh, she’s a girl? Then try Deborah, Sally or Cynthia.

At least that’s what some people are concluding from LinkedIn’s data crunch of the names of 100 million professionals on its network.

Anyone who has sat staring bleakly at the potbelly of a patrolman writing a speeding ticket may be interested to hear the top three names for cops are Rodney, Pete and Darrell.

If you’re grooming an athlete, you may wish to try Ryan, Matt or Jessica—although gender may matter: Nobody wants nose tackle named Jessica, even if there is a coach named Lovie.

As for HR, the top names are Emma, Katie, Claire and Jennifer (but then you already knew that).

As for the nicknamed male CEOs—the Bobs and Jacks—vs. the more formally named Deborahs and Cynthias, LinkedIn has this observation:

“Onomastics specialist Dr. Frank Nuessel suggests that shortened versions of given names are often used to denote a sense of friendliness and openness. Female CEOs, on the other hand, use their full name to project a more professional image.” 

End of the Resumes (New Don Henley Song?)

An interesting take here from OfficeTeam about the future of the resume:

Is the traditional resume going the way of the dinosaur? Some human resources (HR) managers interviewed recently by OfficeTeam think so. More than one-third (36 percent) of respondents said it’s at least somewhat likely resumes will eventually be replaced by profiles on social and business networking sites.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 500 HR managers at companies with 20 or more employees. 

HR managers were asked, “In your opinion, how likely is it that profiles on networking sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, will replace traditional resumes in the future?” Their responses:

  • Very likely – 8%
  • Somewhat likely – 28%
  • Not very likely – 42%
  • Not at all likely – 21%
  • Don’t know/no answer  – 1%                                                                                                                                        

OfficeTeam offers five tips for creating an impressive online profile:

  1. Get the picture. Make sure photos that are visible in your profiles and on social media sites are professional. Untag yourself or adjust your privacy settings to limit who can see certain images.
  2. Show your star qualities. Provide employers with a clear sense of your capabilities by posting information about your work history and highlighting key accomplishments on sites like LinkedIn. Sharing your personal interests and hobbies on Facebook also can help people relate to you more easily.
  3. Talk the talk. Incorporate key industry terms to describe your skills, specialties and positions of interest so hiring managers can more easily find you online.
  4. Make the right connections. Be selective about who you allow into your social networks because potential employers may contact these individuals for insights on you. Your contacts also could alert you to job openings.
  5. Keep it fresh. Regularly update your profile and be active professionally. Post useful advice or comment on articles on LinkedIn and industry forums.   

Get the Most Out of Your LinkedIn Page

If you’re like me, you sometimes wonder what the point of LinkedIn is. Granted, it’s fun to play the "6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game using non-celebrities, but its necessity hasn’t always been evident to me. However, local social media guru Kyle Lacy (author of Twitter Marketing for Dummies and CEO of Brandswag) recently blogged about great ways to get the most out of your LinkedIn status updates, and I think many professionals (and their businesses) may find some benefits. Here are just a few of his suggestions, but read the entire blog here:

Wouldn’t you love to have the opportunity to get in front of customers and prospects every day to share your expertise, passion, and ideas? Well thanks to LinkedIn, you do—if you take the time to update your status. Just like your updates on Facebook help you stay in touch with friends, LinkedIn status updates can help you stay connected to your professional contacts in ways that can have a dramatic impact on how you’re perceived—or whether you’re thought of at all.

While it may seem difficult to come up with something to say, there’s actually quite a bit worth talking about. Here are ten ways you can update your status so that your name not only stays in the mind of your audience, but starts conversations with them as well.

  • Mention what you’re working on. One of the best status updates is a simple mention of the most interesting thing you’ll be working on each day. Over time, mentioning different aspects of your work will have a bigger impact on what people know about you than even the most carefully written profile.

  • Share what you’ve read. Building a social media audience isn’t about self-promotion—it’s more a matter of being seen as a resource. That includes being seen as a go-to person when it comes to the latest thinking in your industry. If you’ve read something that’s worth your audience’s attention, tell ‘em about it (and link to it, if possible).

  • Share advice/opinion. You have expertise to share—why not summarize it and share it? Even if you think it’s simplistic, there’s probably someone out there who would benefit from your knowledge. And if your status is more opinion than fact, just be aware of how your audience might react. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging a little debate—as long as you can respond.

  • Share memorable quotations. A great quotation can inspire, educate, and amuse. Share others’ thoughts when they reflect your beliefs, and you’ll help the audience understand not only what you know, but what you value.

  • Ask questions. A question mark is the only punctuation mark that demands feedback. Phrasing your status in the form of a question is a great way to engage your audience, tap into their expertise, and show them you care about their opinion.

  • Mention events you’re part of. Location-based social networks like Foursquare and Gowalla aren’t the only way to tell people where they can find you. Tell your audience what events you’re part of—before, during, and after they occur—and you’ll be better positioned to connect with them not just online, but also face-to-face.

“Mooooooom, Grandma Won’t Get Off the Computer!”

A survey from the AARP shows further evidence that what you thought you knew about social networking might be wrong. While much has been made about how pervasive middle-aged Americans are on Facebook and Twitter, it seems 50-64 year-olds are also "LOLing" and "OMGing"  with each other on the fabulous Interwebs.  Reuters Life! reports:

Social networking isn’t only for the under 40s. More than 25 percent of Americans 50 years and older stay connected using sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, according to new research.

And nearly half of older adults, aged 50 to 64, say they are savvy about the Internet.

"The latest data tells us that more and more, social networking is becoming a part of everyday life for Americans 50 plus, and boomers in particular," said Kevin Donnellan, the chief communications officer at AARP, which released the report.

The powerful lobbying group for older Americans said Facebook is by far the most popular networking site, followed by MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Nearly a quarter of older Americans are on Facebook and 73 percent said they use it to stay in touch with relatives, but not just their children and grandchildren.

The Holidays are Here — So Start Networking!

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with reciting famous lines from "A Christmas Story" at holiday parties. Or declaring that you’ve just tasted the world’s best Eggnog. But, don’t forget to add a little business talk to the mix by networking.

A national business consultant offers several tips for putting a networking twist on your holiday celebrations. Here are a few:

  • Have a plan of action before you go. Find out who will be attending the event. Do some research online or on social networking sites like LinkedIn to learn about attendees. Pick five people with whom you definitely want to speak while you are there, and don’t avoid the big names. 
  • Let them do the talking (you ask the questions!)
  • Be prepared to pitch yourself in 15 seconds. Think about what’s unique about what you have done. Be sure that whomever you speak with will still remember you at the end of the night.
  • The party may end, but your connection shouldn’t. Cement your connections by creating a database that allows you to keep track of all the connections you’ve made. Include interesting or remarkable things people said or that you learned so you can refer back to them in later conversations. And be sure to use social media to keep in touch.

Networking Helps Net That New Job

I guess I better keep working hard and keep the job I’ve got. Because while I’m very comfortable sitting down with business and political leaders for interviews when I’m asking the questions, I’m not a big fan of social events or that one-on-one process of making contacts.

New survey results, however, put networking at the top of the effectiveness list for job seekers. In somewhat of a surprise, HR pros ranked social/professional networking sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) second on the list of top tools. Least effective among the respondents were job fairs and newspaper help wanted ads.

While the Internet has the potential to be very useful for job seekers, John Challenger of the Challenger, Gray & Christmas firm said that it has become the primary tool for many, when it should be considered secondary to the traditional technique of networking and meeting prospective employers in person.

“It is important to remember that the job search is a multifaceted process.  Those who rely on just one tool, even if it is networking, will take longer to find a position.  The problem with the ease and accessibility of the Internet is that many job seekers make it their primary job search tool. 

“Overuse of the Internet also threatens to prolong the hiring process on the employer’s end, as well, by inundating employers with irrelevant resumes.  Some human resource executives complain that for every qualified candidate that comes in from the Internet, there are 10 to 20 who do not even come close to being a good fit,” said Challenger.

“The more irrelevant resumes that hiring managers have to wade through in order to select the handful to bring in for interviews, the longer it takes to fill the position.  One result of this has been the increased use of digital screening software that scans incoming resumes for keywords.  Resumes without the right words are filtered out of the process.  This will make it even more difficult for job seekers to get their resume in front of the hiring executive," said Challenger.

“Job seekers must learn how to use all of the tools at their disposal, including networking, the Internet, newspapers, job fairs and even cold-calling employers,” he concluded.