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Chuck Hester on LinkedIn for Media Relations: Fresh Ground #19

In this second part of a recording of Chuck Hester’s presentation on LinkedIn success secrets from Newcomm Forum 2010, Chuck shares some great tips on using LinkedIn for media relations, among other great tips. Chuck Hester is a LinkedIn power user with over 10,000 connections on the business networking site and the author of “Linking in to Pay it Forward: Changing the Value Proposition in Social Media.” He serves as director of communications at email marketing firm iContact.

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Our opening music is "D.I.Y." by A Band Called Quinn from the album "Sun Moon Stars" and is available from Music Alley, the Podsafe Music Network.

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Chuck Hester on Being a LinkedIn Power User: Fresh Ground #18

Chuck Hester is a true LinkedIn power user, with over 10,000 connections on the business networking site. He is also the author of “Linking in to Pay it Forward: Changing the Value Proposition in Social Media” and director of communications at email marketing firm iContact. Fresh Ground Principal Todd Van Hoosear got a chance to listen in on — and record — Chuck’s presentation on LinkedIn success secrets at Newcomm Forum 2010. Here are excerpts from the first part of Chuck’s session, where he shares tips on getting started and connecting on LinkedIn.

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icon for podbean  Standard Podcasts: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download | Embeddable Player | Hits (0)

Our opening music is "D.I.Y." by A Band Called Quinn from the album "Sun Moon Stars" and is available from Music Alley, the Podsafe Music Network.

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Define Yourself, LinkedIN

While in New York earlier this week Todd and I attended LinkedIN's Connect09, which was essentially a sales pitch on their advertising products. Though, I must say, it was one of the most useful sales pitches I'd been to in a while.

Also, the eggs at the Le Parker Meridien were among the best I've had at a business breakfast (apparently I'm not alone in that opinion).

Besides the new features they were showing off around LinkedIN Groups as well as some of the advertising opportunities, what struck me most was who Steve Patrizi, vice president of advertising sales and operations, identified as LinkedIN's competition.

He focused on BusinessWeek, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, pointing out how the LinkedIN audience is younger, wealthier and more engaged than audiences at any of the publications mentioned. It should be noted that Patrizi himself joined LinkedIN from the Wall Street Journal.

In fact, Facebook garnered barely a mention by the main presenters other than an amusing reference to LinkedIN interactions not being as fun as "Mafia Wars" but certainly more interesting. The only reference to the f-word by name came later during a panel on community management when one of the panelists joked that he just didn't understand Facebook but was a LinkedIN "fanatic."

This becomes even more fascinating when you consider that BusinessWeek let go some wonderful reporters yesterday. While journalism organizations have only their content to sell,

Bill Gates LinkedIN Profile Picutre

Bill Gates' LinkedIN Profile Picutre

LinkedIN has people. Or, as Director of Operations David Hahn joked, while showing a picture of Bill Gates, "We have a lot of rich people on LinkedIN and we're bigger than Twitter. Our sales reps are around the room."

From a PR perspective there is a lot to consider here. Afterall, we go where the people are, and if the people aren't reading the main publications then we need to move on too.

But I also wonder if there is an opportunity for a LinkedIN (or any of its smaller business-focused competitors) to pick up the journalism mantle. While publications struggle to find ways to make money on journalism, wouldn't it be interesting for LinkedIN to hire, say, Stephen Baker or Steve Wildstrom to do some original business reporting, only to add to the site's appeal?

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Stop, Look and Listen: Your Customers are Everywhere

"My customers aren't on Twitter."

I hear that a lot. And not just about Twitter, but replace "Twitter" with just about any social networking tool and you get the idea. However, these assumptions are pretty dangerous.

A jeans and workboots guy at a job site in Boston

Taking a break from working on the job.

Let's look at general contractors and construction workers who build skyscrapers and state-of-the-art hospitals. You're probably thinking that these folks aren’t checking their twitterfeed or reading blogs online, participating in webinars, let alone viewing video blogs on their iPhones.

Well, you're wrong. Vico Software, which makes software for the construction industry, gets 17 percent of its Website  traffic from work it does on LinkedIn. That's nearly as much as it gets from Google. This is, of course, thanks to the work of the marketing team who works hard to keep the Vico User Group vibrant and updated, but they also reach out to the 27,000 general contractors they communicate with regularly on LinkedIn.

The executive team and product managers blog regularly about current industry news items, trends, and best practices.  These blogs are shared on LinkedIn and new discussions start every day, leading to new connections. According to Holly Allison, VP of Marketing at Vico Software, “The LinkedIn Community is ripe with networking, opinions, and sharing what works.  Our target audience utilizes LinkedIn and other social media outlets on a daily basis in order to stay one step ahead of the competition.  And in this rough economy, every advantage counts.”

Vico also hosts a bi-weekly educational webinar called Fridays with Vico. Over the last 5 quarters more than 7000 people have viewed one of those webinars, either live or recorded, with 25 percent of those being new prospects, all generated from social media outreach such as LinkedIn, Twitter or a forum in which Vico participates. As far as leads go, those 7000 people turned into an average of 90 leads a month to each US sales representative.

All this outreach has  the industry talking, with partners telling Vico executives that they see Vico Software everywhere.

Let's move on from construction workers to teachers.

Credit: Chicago 2016 Photos via Flickr

Credit: Chicago 2016 Photos via Flickr

Picture a public school teacher in your head. She is on her own in the classroom, maybe with an assistant, but facing a roomful of children. What if she has a question? What if she needs help, on the fly, with a lesson? What if a student asks a sensitive question and she just doesn't know where to go with it?

Twitter to the rescue!

Thanks to Karen Miller of DoInk.com, I learned how teachers are reaching out to each other through Twitter. So if a teacher has a question or needs help, he simply picks up his mobile phone, sends out a Tweet and in minutes has an answer from a community of teachers around the country.

So, what if you're a company, like DoInk.com, that has a business model focused on attracting teachers? Then you get involved in those teaching discussions, and that's just what Miller and her team do. That work has led to a boost in traffic for the young company and increased use among students.

So before you dismiss any social media tool as being "irrelevant"  to your audience, take a listen. You may be surprised at what you find.

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