Neal Schaffer - Posts



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7 Useful Tips for Getting Started on Twitter

Twitter 101

Recently I presented on the topic of Social Media and Your Job Search in front of a large group of executives, many of whom were in transition.  As with any professional crowd, nearly everyone was already comfortable with LinkedIn, but less than half of the attendees had ventured out onto Twitter yet.  I sensed some confusion about Twitter, so today instead of blogging about Twitter and Personal Branding or Twitter and the Job Search, I felt it was time to write a blog post to help hand-hold those that are still confused by Twitter but really want to give it a shot without any risk.  With that in mind, this is your Twitter 101 Getting Started on Twitter Guide based on 7 tips that I hope you’ll find useful.

I am not going to go through all of the screenshots you will see when you sign up with Twitter, but I will point out 7 useful tips that I recommend you follow upon signing up to Twitter to get you started risk-free:

1) Use your personal e-mail address for your Twitter account.  Yesterday I tweeted a story about someone who lost access to their Twitter account after they left their job.  You may never be able to retrieve your password ...

StumbleUpon Marketing: 5 Ways to Get More StumbleUpon Traffic to Your Website

Social bookmarking websites always confuse my social media strategy customers.  There seems to be an aura that somehow just posting all of your own content to these sites will somehow magically drive massive traffic to your website.  Of course, it doesn’t work that way.  And unless you have a certain objective or niche demographic that tends to find a large population of your targeted users using sites like Digg, Reddit, or Delicious, my advice is simply to concentrate efforts on other more popular sites.  I will make one exception, though: StumbleUpon.

First of all, StumbleUpon is not a niche site.  With more than 11 million members, it has almost twice the number of registered users that Digg has, which Kevin Rose was recently quoted on Quora saying that Digg membership was almost at 6 million users.  So while considerably fewer users are stumbling when compared to the user base of  LinkedIn or Twitter, membership of over 10 million users is not something to ignore in terms of social media marketing.  What is amazing is how a site with so few members can drive traffic that can compete with these larger sites.

Whenever I ...

How to Use the LinkedIn Follow Feature? Think Outside of the Box.

I recently got asked a great question in my Windmill Networking LinkedIn Group:

Neal, what is one of the most recent insights you have learned about LinkedIn that can help us?

Since I wrote the book on LinkedIn, although 90% of the functionality of the site is still the same, I am finding the “Follow” features that LinkedIn have introduced to be of value for some.  While this “feature” may still be a mystery to many, here is my advice on how you can strategically use it by thinking outside of the box.  For instance:


When I wrote my book, I said that the only thing I disliked about LinkedIn Jobs was that they didn’t have an email alert system for informing you of new jobs like those that are available at Monster, CareerBuilder, or HotJobs.  That now exists, on a company-by-company basis, if you follow your Target Companies AND they post on Jobs. And following companies is not just for jobseekers: Read more in my blog post on the 6 people who should be following companies.

What about following other people and not companies?  This is a little tricky because when LinkedIn introduced the new follow feature, they automatically started ...

Why Your Company Needs a Social Media Policy and 14 Corporate Social Media Policy Examples

Yesterday I wrote about how to sell social media to your marketing department, and as a follow-up to that question, I received another email from the same person indicating a big reason why internally their marketing department still doesn’t want to move forward:

“After more in-depth discussions it became apparent that the real concern of our marketing department is protecting our “brand name” while employee’s use social media to, essentially further their own careers and successes. I hadn’t looked at it from that perspective but it does present some challenges.”

The fear of how one’s employees will use sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook is a knee-jerk reaction by those who, once again, might not be new adopters to these tools.  But upon analysis, it is clear that there is a natural progression of understanding that needs to take place here:

  1. Why not being active in social media can hurt your brand;
  2. Why your company was never in control of their brand (or the conversations of its employees) ;
  3. Why there is a need for a corporate-wide education program; and
  4. Why corporate social media policy creation is the only way to set proper usage guidelines and ...

How Your Business Can Twitter Better with Hootsuite

Today’s blog post was contributed by my guest, Ann Smarty, who I have gotten to know through her managing the LinkedIn Subgroup “The Guest Blogger.”   Her post is about my preferred Twitter tool which I am also passionate about and use in my own social media consulting and implementation, Hootsuite, which just today released new Social CRM features allowing you to filter tweets by Klout score or keyword.  Ann is also currently Director of Media for BlueGlass.

Business power Tweeters can rejoice – the tool you need is finally here. Any business who has a social media policy and uses Twitter or Facebook extensively to reach out to customers now can fully manage their social activities through this site.

Hootsuite is an evolution of Twitter management that started out as “Brightkit” in 2008. While Brightkit began with potential, the creators found that the name was not in line with their services.  Subsequently, the company updated their service features, changed the name to Hootsuite, and developed a winning product that is more than suitable for business and personal social media activities.

Hootsuite offers numerous features that result ...

5 Great Ways to Prospect for New Business on LinkedIn

Spare a dime?

While many social media marketers concentrate on Twitter and Facebook, a lot of Business-to-Business (B2B) Business Development professionals already know that LinkedIn is the preferred place to prospect for new business in social media.  With an executive from every Fortune 500 company represented and an average household income of over $100,000, LinkedIn is a perfect place to prospect for decision makers in the industries you want to sell into as well as a prime destination to make alliances with other businesses and professionals that can help grow your business.

I recently had a conversation with a good friend who was having some challenges prospecting in social media, and this is the advice I gave him in using LinkedIn to prospect for new business.  Note: LinkedIn is a social networking platform of trusted relationships that can work against you if you just use it to look up people and simply cold-call them.  Engaging with the community as I suggest below will give you better mileage and start the cycle of inbound marketing bringing leads to you.1) Grow Your LinkedIn Connections

LinkedIn is ...

HOW TO: Deal With an Angry Customer on Twitter

The following is a true story. It was late at night when I arrived at my hotel, a little past midnight.  It was a long day and I had a morning meeting with a client scheduled for the next day, so I was looking forward to getting to sleep as soon as I could.  Unfortunately, circumstances [...]

Social Media Etiquette: 6 Important Lessons Learned from One Japanese Company’s Major Twitter Mistake

FileUcc canned coffee 233x300 Social Media Etiquette: 6 Important Lessons Learned from One Japanese Companys Major Twitter Mistake windmill networking photoSocial media is a fascinating and new medium for businesses.  If done right, social media can be an incredibly viral way of spreading the word about your company, brand, or product.  However, because of its “viral” nature, companies are learning the hard way that social media can amplify the good, and the bad, about your company and/or products.  All it takes is one mistake in social media etiquette to damage your brand and have bloggers and tweeters from around the world spreading the message about what you did wrong.  That harm can be tremendous and should not be underestimated.

Today we look at the major Twitter mistake that a big Japanese company, UCC Coffee, recently did on Twitter.  What did they do wrong?  And what are the six important lessons that businesses and professionals can learn from it?

I will be honest with you that, when I am in Japan, I am an avid canned coffee drinker.  There are vending machines with canned coffee (as well as corn potage, many types of teas, and the usual sodas) on almost every street corner and train platform.  And they’re quite tasty.  UCC Coffee is ...

How Should I Deal with a LinkedIn Recommendation Request I Don’t Want to Give?

FileThumbs up1 150x150 How Should I Deal with a LinkedIn Recommendation Request I Dont Want to Give? windmill networking photoIf it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will soon: the dreaded request for a LinkedIn Recommendation from a former co-worker or employee that you may not want to give one to.  Why?  Well, every time you make a LinkedIn Recommendation, it appears on your LinkedIn Profile and becomes part of your LinkedIn Brand.  Perhaps you don’t want to be associated in any way with this person.  What to do?

As any power LinkedIn user will tell you, a LinkedIn Recommendation, especially coming from a trusted former manager, is a valuable commodity.  In recognition of this, instead of ignoring the request, I would recommend you do one of the following:

  • Recommend that person for only the positive aspects that they have, not making mention of the negative aspects.  I am a believer that every person has a good side to them.  Why not help them out as much as you can while remaining honest and true to your ethic?  This is, of course, assuming that this person indeed have some good skills that you would recommend.
  • If for whatever reason you don’t feel comfortable recommending them, reply privately telling them about ...

HOW TO: Tweet Your Way to Finding a Job on Twitter

I have given many presentations on social media and your job search.  Everybody is finally “getting” LinkedIn, but few are looking at Twitter or even Facebook as platforms which could aid those in transition in their job search.  Today I want to talk about one strategy that I discuss on Twitter and your job search, and a story of how one Windmill Networker found success through thinking outside of the box and integrating the people he meets on Twitter with LinkedIn with real-life!

Personal branding is important in your job search to help differentiate yourself from all the other job seekers. But in social media, personal branding is more than just a differentiator: it can help you be perceived as a thought leader and get found by more relevant people sooner.  And Twitter is the perfect platform for this: just by tweeting about interesting reads from your industry that you’re already perusing anyway, you start building up your personal brand and people start to follow you.  Opportunities appear.

Rather than my speaking more about this, I am going to hand the pen over to today’s guest, Ken Nicholas. Ken Nicholas is a dynamic Sales leader and ...