Do You Have A Twin On LinkedIn?

Do you have a twin on LinkedIn, or have you ever found someone on LinkedIn with a duplicate profile?  It’s more common than you might think.  There are a few ways this can happen:

Accidentally . . . . It generally happens because someone creates a profile with one email address, then is invited to connect by someone who sends the connection request to a different email address.  LinkedIn has no idea that the two email addresses belong to the same individual, so it prompts that person to create a profile using that second email address.

Intentionally. . . . Someone creates a profile using an email address, but then they lose access to that email address (i.e., a work email at an employer they no longer work for).  Since they can’t access that account, they start over with a new profile but don’t take the time to delete the original profile.

Needless to say, a duplicate profile is confusing for people looking to connect with you.  And whether accidental or intentional, having a duplicate profile isn’t great for your personal branding, because it gives the impression that you’re not technologically savvy.

The best way to avoid a duplicate profile is to provide LinkedIn with all of your email addresses.  You then have the ability to select which one you display publicly on your profile.  Then no matter which email someone uses to send an invitation to connect, LinkedIn will know it’s you.  Here’s how you do that:

  1. Go to settings (hover your cursor above your name, above the search box in the upper right hand corner).
  2. Once on your settings page, scroll down and select “Account” in the bottom window.
  3. You’ll see a section for “Email & Password” with an option for “Add & change email addresses” which you’ll want to select.
  4. Follow the instructions per the screen capture below.

LinkedIn, LinkedIn Email Settings, Avoiding a Duplicate Profile

If you already have a duplicate profile, there’s no way to merge the two together.  Your best bet is to pick the one you want to keep.  Generally it’s the one with more connections and/or recommendations.  Looking at the profile you plan to delete, see if there are connections you have which you do not have on the profile you plan to keep.  You’ll want to send them a customized invitation to connect on the profile you plan to keep.

When you’re satisfied that you can delete one of your accounts, you’ll find that setting in the same general area under settings, then account (pertinent areas highlighted in pink):

LinkedIn, Account Settings, Where to Close Your LinkedIn Account, How to Close Your LinkedIn Account

Once it’s deleted it’s gone, so be sure you’re ready to delete!  If you’re in a situation where you can’t access the profile you want to delete (i.e., you no longer have the password and/or access to the email associated with the profile, etc.) you’ll want to contact LinkedIn customer support to explain the situation.  Long-time readers of my blog know that I haven’t always had great luck with LinkedIn customer support, so be patient.  🙂

Recent Examples of PR – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

In any given week, if you look for it, you’ll find examples of public relations; good, bad and ugly.  Here’s what I found recently:

The Good:  Restaurants and fast food chains have so many examples of bad PR that you could write a novel.  So when something goes against that trend, it’s worth talking about.  Red Robin recently received great positive PR and all it cost them was $11.50.  How did that happen?  A couple expecting their second child visited a location in North Carolina.  When the bill came due, the couple was pleasantly surprised to see her meal was at no charge with “MOM 2 BEE GOOD LUC” written on the bill.

The Bad:  Allstate recently released an ad that focused on how they’ve helped numerous victims of Hurricane Sandy and how their agents put the customer first.  The problem was that one of the damaged homes featured prominently in the spot is not being covered fully by the company and the insurance claim is still in dispute.  The homeowners have vocalized their displeasure with both the company and the video.  I’ve tried to include a link to the video, but it’s been removed.  While not a PR disaster of epic proportions, this is certainly bad PR for the company.

The Ugly:  Did you happen to watch the NCAA Football Championship game on January 7th?  During the game, play-by-play announcer Brent Musburger made some comments about the girlfriend of the starting quarterback for Alabama.  What he said wasn’t necessarily inappropriate or bad, but many viewers during and after the game took to social media criticizing the comments as “creepy” and “awkward.”  In my opinion, an apology wasn’t necessary, but ESPN issued one to escape a potential firestorm.

What have you noticed recently in public relations and would you nominate it as good, bad or ugly?

Opposites Attract

There’s an old saying that opposites attract and that’s often true.  There was a story in the local paper recently about the decline of greeting cards due to the increasing popularity and usage of electronic versions and social media.

Stats back up this trend.  A U.S. Postal Service study which shows correspondence (like greet­ing cards) fell 24% between 2002 and 2010.  Hallmark estimates the number of greeting cards sold in the U.S. has fallen by 20% in the past decade.

It’s certainly great to log onto Facebook on your birthday and read dozens of birthday wishes from friends and family (most of whom probably would not have mailed you a physical card).  But, isn’t there something special about opening the mailbox to find an envelope with your name on it, written by hand?  That’s a great example of the opposite (of the norm) having a positive effect.

The same principle applies to business or job searching.  Most job applications are filed electronically and many of the larger companies have their own applicant tracking system in place.  Conventional job search wisdom is to send a thank you following an interview.  What if, instead of emailing that note, you mailed a physical thank you card and wrote your note by hand?  Don’t you think it would stand out (in a positive way) in this ever-increasingly electronic age?

With business, when everyone sends an email, why not pick up the phone?  Don’t forget the power of a sincere “thank you” in business – and to do something to make that thank you memorable.  At the end of the day, if you want to stand out from the crowd, sometimes you zig when others zag.  It may not always be true, but very often opposites do indeed attract.

The Lost Art of the Thank You

It was ingrained in me at a young age by my parents to always write a thank you note.  When you fail to do so, they’d preach, it insults the gift-giver and almost assures you won’t receive another from that person.

I now preach that same lesson to my kids.  Two weeks ago, my youngest came home from school with an Easter-themed bag of treats from one of her teachers.  Over the holiday weekend we had her write a thank you note to her teacher.  Her teacher was very appreciative of the note and said something that shocked me.  She claimed that in all her years of teaching, she could count on one hand the number of times a student had written her a thank you note, and my daughter had written two of those.

As communication methods have become more numerous and perhaps more casual, has that changed what many would still consider good manners?  Has this changed business manners too?

When was the last professional thank you note you wrote and what was it for?  My guess is that most readers can’t remember and the other group of readers will claim it was while job searching following an interview or a meeting.  Am I right?

If you think back on the past year, there have probably been many occasions where a quick note of thanks could have been sent but wasn’t.  Think about how you feel when you receive a thank you note that’s been customized enough where you get a true sense of the gratitude.  You’re more likely to want to repeat the experience again in the future.  The goal of most businesses, regardless of industry, is to get repeat business in addition to new business.  Doesn’t it seem obvious then that a thank you note can be a powerful business tool?

So my challenge to you is to write a business-related thank you note to a client, customer or vendor this week.  Like fertilizer in a Spring garden, see how your business relationship blossoms as a result of a little personalization and display of gratitude.  Let me know how it goes!

3 Reasons Why Quality is More Important than Quantity

Quality vs. QuantityA friend recently shared a story about a client who gave him the sole directive of increasing fans/followers in social media, specifically the number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers.  In fact, this client wanted to structure his consulting fee strictly around the quantity of fans/followers.

Fortunately for this business, my friend has ethics and attempted to illustrate the error with that kind of thinking.  Here are 3 reasons why quality is more important than quantity when it comes to social media.

  1. Fans/Followers can be bought.  Services exist that allow you to purchase fans/followers to make your social media presence seem important and popular.  While that might fool some who give your site a cursory look, it doesn’t take much digging beneath the surface to uncover the house of cards your social media popularity is built on.  If your following can be bought, how authentic is it?  If your business is mostly local, odds are purchased fans will not be, so how will that be of any value?
  2. Real fans are more likely to interact.  Engagement has been the buzz word in social media for some time, and rightly so.  Which would you rather have?  50 fans who are truly fans and would not hesitate to recommend you to family and friends?  Or, 100 fans who will never visit your site, never try your product/service, or never recommend you to family and friends?  Real fans, engaged fans, are brand ambassadors.
  3. Social media is meant to have a conversational element.  When you concentrate on quantity over quality, the conversational element will likely suffer.  If the quality of the conversation is there from day one, your fan base will grow at a natural rate, and you’ll increase quantity without sacrificing quality.  It’s difficult, if not impossible, to build relationships with followers who don’t care and are not engaged.

Think about your own involvement in social media.  Think about the sites you’ve willingly followed.  Has there been a site you’ve recommended to others?  Why?  It goes beyond brand loyalty, doesn’t it?  Chances are, it’s a two-way street.  You value the content on the site and the business values you as a fan/follower/customer.

When that two-way street becomes one-way, it’s the equivalent of a dead-end road.  Consumers don’t want to waste their time on a dead-end, and neither do (most) businesses that know what they’re doing with social media.

What are some of your favorite sites to follow, and what makes them so special to you?

Klout Responds

In a previous post, I called-out Klout for having a lack of transparency with their formula for measuring digital influence.  I had several questions for Klout, which were asked in another blog’s comment section (that blog featured a Q&A with a Klout executive) as well as two emails sent through their website.  Frustrated by a lack of response, I took my concerns public by posting my own blog post on the subject.  In that post, I did promise that I’d share their response if there was one . . .

On October 22, 2010, I had sent them a message asking 9 specific questions about how Klout accesses your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, how it accounts for your privacy settings, your connections’ privacy settings, and some of the additional features on those sites (groups, Q&A, likes, etc., some of which might also be private).

A response arrived a mere 75 days later (that’s only 10 weeks and 5 days) with an apology for the delay and this simplified answer: 

LinkedIn: Klout recognizes the total absolute number of LinkedIn connections that you have and the likes and comments on status updates. We do not recognized LinkedIn events or groups at this time but we will continue to build out our algorithms to encompass all the interactions on a network.

Facebook: Yes, if your Facebook is private and you have authorized Klout, then we will take into account the interactions you have with your friends even if you change your privacy settings to make certain content available to only certain users.

While I didn’t expect them to answer with great detail, I was pleasantly surprised the response went further than a simple “check our FAQ page” (although they did suggest that).  I was certainly disappointed it took so long for Klout to respond. 

Has it changed my opinion of Klout?  Not really.  I still believe it’s a good, initial “line in the sand” for measuring social media influence; it’s not perfect, but it’s a start.  I still feel Klout projects some level of arrogance when it comes to interacting with users.  Would you find a 75 day delay acceptable when interacting with a company, especially one involved with digital and social media?

What’s been your experience to date with Klout?  Has your opinion changed positively or negatively the more you’ve used it?

Hey Klout! I’m Kalling You Out!

If you’re into social media, you’re likely familiar with Klout.  Klout attempts to measure social influence online by analyzing True Reach (number of people you influence), Amplification (how much you influence these people), and Network Impact (the influence of your network).  Using an algorithm, their analysis assigns a score of 1 to 100, giving you the ability to compare your social influence to others.  You can also see topical areas of influence.

Having worked in market research for many years, I find their behind-the-scenes metrics and analysis fascinating.  In a way, it’s a great combination of what I enjoy professionally:  marketing + market research + data analysis + social media.  That’s why I love Klout (the occasional perks don’t hurt either!).

Recently, Klout changed their algorithm in an effort to more accurately reflect true reach.  Most people saw their Klout score drop (some significantly so).  Mine dropped, but that’s not my problem with Klout.  If you’re doing social media correctly, a Klout score shouldn’t be of much importance to most people.

While I’m not privy to their algorithm, I believe there may be a big flaw in their analysis.  LinkedIn is a major component of most people’s social media usage.  Yet, to what extent does it analyze your LinkedIn profile?  Specifically:

  1. Does Klout recognize the actual number of connections that I have, or does it just see “500+”?  There’s a big difference between having a network of 500 and having a network of 1,200!
  2. Does Klout recognize the groups I belong to and/or manage, and the frequency with which I interact in those groups?  Is it all groups (and subgroups), or just open/public groups?  Is it only groups that are displayed on my profile or all groups?
  3. Does Klout recognize Q&A interaction?
  4. Does Klout recognize interactions with comments and “likes” on updates with connections?
  5. Does Klout consider events I’ve created and the interest/attendance level indicated as well as comments and views?
I have similar questions with how Klout interacts with Facebook, given your privacy settings and those of your connections too.  Twitter is pretty open, so that seems more straight-forward.  I’m not so much concerned with what my score is, or how it’s trending.  But as someone with a 20-year career in market research, I am concerned with the accuracy of what they’re measuring.
 
While I don’t expect Klout to fully disclose their secret formula, depending on how they analyze LinkedIn and Facebook, all 3 components that comprise their Klout Score would be impacted.  I’ve asked them, both through a public blog comment and more than one email.  I’ll share their response if I hear from them.  Sadly, I must not have enough Klout because I’ve been waiting for nearly a month to receive an answer.  Perhaps that will be a future Perk they’ll offer.  😉 
 
Besides a lack of transparency, that’s not the best customer service experience.  So what are your thoughts on Klout?  Do you find their lack of transparency frustrating?