The Not So Quiet Revolution of Consumer 2 Consumer Business

The digital mobile revolution has transformed consumer behaviours. Over the last decade there’s been a shift in how consumers are finding and purchasing products and services. Many start ups have capitalized on this trend and have created businesses centered around mobile apps and social media. Think of Airbnb, Taskrabbit, Uber, Taobao, etc. It’s these two items that have paved the way for the next generation in consumer to consumer (C2C) business. With features such as customer reviews, ratings and engagement; buyers now have a greater level of transparency than in typical business to consumer (B2C) models.

airbnb_hosting

The success of the new C2C model has challenged many static B2C industry models forcing them to modernize their service offerings or risk losing market share. Let’s take a look at two examples to gain more insight in how they’re revolutionizing the way we buy.

Uber

One of the most controversial examples of the new C2C model is Uber. Operating in over 58 countries Uber and has shaken the foundation of the traditional taxi B2C service model.

Uber is an on-demand car service that allows a consumer to request private drivers through their mobile app. The service utilizes dispatch software to send the nearest driver to the location[1]. By using the Uber software app drivers are connected to consumers through a service request. People can sign up to become an Uber driver using their own vehicles.

In my opinion there are four main things that Uber did to evolve the C2C model:670px-Use-Uber-Step-9-Version-2

  1. Rate your driver- The ability for passengers to rate their drivers and read reviews. Transparency about service from real reviewers provides a higher level of authenticity and trust.
  2. Pay for Performance- Drivers are empowered to get a 4 star rating or greater. This keeps service levels high and increases earning potential.
  3. Pay through your phone. Payments are made through the credit card linked to your Uber account, on your phone. No cash accepted.
  4. Contact Your Driver– Once the trip is booked on the app, the passenger will receive the cell phone number of the driver and can watch them approach on their mobile device.
  5. BYOC– Drivers can bring their own car to work! All they have to do is lease the mobile app. and be adequately insured.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin_Digital_Currency_LogoBitcoin is a digital payment system that enables peer to peer transactions without having to go through an intermediary financial institution. Bitcoins can be purchased through an electronic trading system using a smart phone. This video is a great short summary of how Bitcoin works. Since its launch in 2008, bitcoins have gained significant traction, with more than 45,000 transactions ($48.5 million dollars) handled through its network each day[2]. It’s introduced the concept of a decentralized virtual currency where value is determined by its users.

In my opinion Bitcoin that evolved the C2C model in four ways:

  1. Universal Currency- No need to convert to various currencies. Value is determined by its users- globally.
  2. Lower Merchant Fees- Fees for retailers are much lower than the 2-3% typically imposed by the credit card companies.
  3. Real Time Payment- Once the bitcoin transaction is complete the digital currency is transferred directly from the consumer to the vendor’s digital wallet. No middle financial companies required.
  4. Peer to Peer Money Transfers– Money can be wired directly to others through the digital wallet.

bitcoin_2bitcoin_1bitcoin_3

The new C2C model is not only convenient but lucrative. In 2014, C2C had a recorded $105 billion dollar market size compared to $71billion dollars for B2C e-commerce[3].  A testament that consumers have embraced it.

With this new model, the traditional work model is also changing. Services like Taskrabbit and Uber offer freelance opportunities where you can define your own hours and accept the jobs you want. Motivators for incentives and rewards are geared to work/lifestyle balance or earnings potential. Is this the laying the foundation for the way we define the way we work? As C2C continues to become more lucrative, companies may need to rethink work arrangements, incentives and rewards to remain competitive and retain its workforce.

What does C2C mean for your company?

Like what you see? Follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter @annzaliebarrett, or subscribe to my blog. I look forward to hearing from you.

Blog:  https://sailorann.wordpress.com

_________________________________________________________________________________________________
[1] http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Uber

[2] http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/bitcoin-questions/

[3] http://article.sapub.org/10.5923.j.ijnc.20140402.01.html

Kick Starting Your New Year

First, I want to start off by wishing all of you a very happy, safe, healthy and prosperous New Year.

happy new year

The holiday season typically provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the year behind us. What lessons did we learn? What would we do differently? What did we accomplish and what weren’t we able to cross off our list. As the new year begins most of us feel rejuvenated, optimistic, full of hope and revolve to make this year different.

This may include setting goals for a new job, home, travel, more money, etc. As you begin to define what you want to change, the how to get there will be a critical input to developing your roadmap.

elearning

If your sites are set on career changes you may want to explore enhancing your skill set. Virtual learning has come a long way over the last few years and now there are variety of free learning options that cater to how you want to learn.

  1. Leverage your company’s eLearning library for education/training programs.
  2. Take advantage of social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ . You can join free groups, participate in conversations, projects, webinars, events and industry discussions.
  3. Sites like Coursera offer college/university level courses taught by professors for free!
  4. One of my personal favourites; YouTube. It’s not just for music videos. It offers instructional videos, how to’s, etc. It’s one of my main go to’s when I need just in time learning.

Upgrading your skills in an evolving market is always a good idea. It demonstrates your willingness to learn new things and keep relevant. Take a few moments to think about what new skills or training you would like to acquire and how that may help you align with your roadmap.

Maybe you’re quite happy with your job but would like to get a better sense of what’s happening within your coffee chatcompany or out there (in your industry). The start of the new year should also be a re-examination of relationships.  Remove those who are toxic and draining. Toxic relationships erode your self-confidence and leave you feeling inadequate. Toss them in the garbage! Draining relationships are ones that are typically one sided, all about the other person. Hey it’s time to put yourself first! Time to let go and move on to relationships that are fulfilling for both parties.

I am a firm believer in meeting new people. Not only does it expand your social network, but it also stimulates your communication and inter-personal skills. It removes complacency and makes us more self-aware. Take some time to build networks both within and outside your organization. How about making a goal to network with six people this year? That’s one every two months.

  1. Pick two people you sparingly interact with at work. Schedule a coffee to learn more about what they do and connect.
  2. Pick two people from your external network that are acquaintances. If they live in another city/location schedule virtual coffee using tools like Google HangOut, Skype, Facetime, What’sapp, etc. so you can still maintain the visual connection.
  3. Pick to two people in your community. Building and cultivating your network can be an important step in helping you make connections to realize your end goals.
  4. Build your networks through LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Google+. Increasing your network will give you more visibility to other professionals.

LinkedIn_edit_profile

Regardless of your end goals, as I wrote in my blog post How to Articulate Your Accomplishments for Your Performance Review, make a point of updating your online profile(s) to include accomplishments, skills and projects you have completed. This will boost your brand and showcase your skills.

Finally, and most importantly, balance your professional goals and objectives with your personal goals and objectives. The way we feel is the foundation of

how we project ourselves to our family, friends and work colleagues. Feeling positive about you should be your number one priority. Maybe it’s time to take up a new hobby or start an exercise routine. Having this balance will help put you into the right frame of mind to focus and achieve your goals. I am particularly passionate about this.

My personal journey to re-focus on health and wellness started in 2013. I felt I was overweight which caused me to be lethargic and more introverted. The final straw was when I went to my cousins wedding and looked at pics of myself. I didn’t like what I sahealthylifestylew. I decided I need to do something to improve my well being. That year I started an exercise routine and started eating more natural foods. Within six months I lost close to 40 pounds and 6 dress sizes. I had a lot of support and encouragement along the way. I’ve managed to stick to my routine and have kept the weight off for more than a year. More importantly, I feel better and have more energy. It’s transformed my attitude, relationships and way of thinking. Make it a priority and find time to spend on yourself. How can you start?

  1. Exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes (cardio)
  2. Reduce your sugar intake
  3. Reduce your  processed food intake
  4. Eat frequently with smaller meals throughout the day

We all think we don’t have time, but with a little sacrifice, you can reap big rewards.

As for me…I am thankful I had a great year last year and feel very optimistic for the year ahead.

I would love to hear what you have planned for the year ahead. I wish you every sucess in achieving your goals. Tweet me @annzaliebarrett

What Will Be the Title of Your 2014 Chapter?

happy new year

First, I want to start off by wishing all of you a very happy, safe, healthy and prosperous New Year. As the New Year begins, it provides a sense of optimism, opportunity and possibilities. I like to think of it as ending the chapter of the previous year and starting a new chapter charting your course for the year ahead.  So what will the  title of your 2014 chapter be? For some the chapter may contain goals for a new job, home, travel, more money, etc. The title of your chapter can guide you on creating a plan to help you achieve those goals. It can serve as an anchor to remind you what you set out for the year.

elearning

If your 2014 chapter has aspirations for a promotion or career change (and of course more money), consider exploring development opportunities that may be available to you through your company’s eLearning tool or education/training programs. Social networking tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ also have free groups you can join to participate in conversations, projects, webinars, events and industry discussions. Upgrading your skills in an evolving market is always a good idea.

It demonstrates your willingness to learn new things and keep relevant. Take a few moments to think about what new skills or training you would like to acquire and how that may help you align with your holistic career plan.

Maybe you’re quite happy win your job but would like to get a better sense of what’s happening within your coffee chatcompany or out there (in your industry). The start of the new year should also be the start of new relationships. Take some time to build networks both within and outside your organization. I am a firm believer that different perspectives can help you make a more informed decision about what’s happening both beside you and around you. How about making a goal to network with six people this year? That’s one every two months.  Perhaps three people internally and three people externally. Maybe they’re acquaintances that you casually interact with that you would like to get to know better. Build you networks through LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Google+. Pick a few people and reach out to them. If  you can’t meet in person, set up a virtual coffee. Building and cultivating your network can be an important step in helping you make connections to realize your end goals.

LinkedIn_edit_profile

Regardless of your end goals. as I wrote in my last blog post How to Articulate Your Accomplishments for Your Performance Review, make a point of updating your online profiles to include accomplishments, skills and projects you completed. Having an updated profile helps build your brand and showcase your updated skills.

Finally, and most importantly, incorporate your personal goals and objectives into your 2014 chapter. The way we feel is the foundation of
healthylifestyle

how we project ourselves to our family, friends and work colleagues. Feeling positive about you should be your number one priority. Maybe it’s time to take up a new hobby or start an exercise routine. Having balance helps put you into the right frame of mind to focus and achieve your goals.

As for me…the title of my 2014 chapter will be an expansion of my 2013 continuous improvement philosophy, simply: “Expanding My Perspectives Through learning”.That will include both professional and personal goals.

I look forward to hearing what titles you come up with for this year. I wish you every success in achieving your goals. Tweet me @annzaliebarrett !

Are You Really A Collaborative Team Player?

collaboration_learningSocial Media has played a signficant role in facilitating collaboration through interaction, sharing information and soliciting feedback through public forums. Younger generations growing up with social media and the internet have become accustomed to collaborating through groups to accomplish tasks. This behaviour has now become a norm which has carried over to the workplace.

As organizations expand into global markets and new generations enter the workforce (think of Millennials) working virtually, in a collaborative way, is now a requirement to stay competitive.

Many organizations have adopted collaboration tools, to provide the technology for active participation. The shift to virtual working through collaboration is not without its own challenges.virtual_team Think about cultural differences, time differences, languages, geographies; and how to bring all of those together in a productive way. At the heart of collaboration lies relationship building and trust. Both of which are not easily accomplished without putting some effort into it. Even through technology may be used to virtually interact, the communication and interpersonal skills to facilitate collaboration may still need to be cultivated. Take the time to invest in building your skills to get the most out of your virtual work experience.

Here are a few things to consider when collaborating virtually:

  • Be open-minded: Working in groups can be a rewarding and enriching experience. Listening to and/or reading various perspectives, approaches and ideas can increase your knowledge and expand your own thinking. Group experiences are most gratifying if you keep an open mind to other people’s contribution and ideas. The goal is to work together to achieve a common objective. The more people feel “safe” to share their ideas and perspectives, the more interesting and genuine the contributions will be. It creates a positive, innovative environment where people can appreciate other viewpoints.
  • browser-hangoutShare Information: Have you read an article that you think may be beneficial to someone else? Are you working on a project where you could use someone else’s expertise? Share information with those who may benefit from it. Once you share, you will notice that your colleagues will in turn start to share with you. You may also start getting invited to other meetings where you can share your expertise and perspectives.
  • Participate in the conversation: What makes group projects so successful are the ideas and perspectives that each person brings to the table. When you’re at the table participate in sharepoint the conversation. If you’re using a technology platform provide updates and suggestions to contributions that will enhance the virtual conversation. This allows you to showcase your skills and knowledge and learn from others at the same time.
  • Be Respectful: When participating virtually be respectful of other people’s ideas and suggestions. Even if you don’t agree with something avoid writing comments such as “that won’t work” or “that doesn’t make sense”. Dismissive comments may curb collaboration rather than encourage it. Instead help direct the conversation to address your concern. As an alternative try, “What might be some of the risks or constraints we may need to consider”?

These are just a few suggestions to consider when working collaboratively. Are there some recommendations you want to share?

 By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

Why Social Recruiting Is Inevitable

I was inspired by the recent blog post by Bilal Jaffery who landed a social media job via Twitter. His story is a great example of how some Gen X and Gen Y’s are approaching job sourcing. It centres around engagement and conversations on social networking platforms.

twitter_helpwanted

The relationship component plays a bigger role in helping candidates determine if a company is the right fit for them. At the same time it also gives organizations the chance to interact with potential candidates to build a qualified talent pool.

His story also validates the shift happening within recruitment. Candidate behaviours are driving employers to adopt social recruiting practices to solicit passive talent. Companies who have been social media shy are at risk of being bypassed as a destination for top talent. Candidates are judging the employer as much as the employer is judging the candidate. Bilal’s blog post highlighted a few things that employers need to do to remain competitive:

imagesCAGEOSCE

  • Social media is mandatory– The fact of the matter is, if you’re not on a social media channel, at a minimum to build brand awareness, chances are you may be screened out as a potential employer. Much like dating, candidates want to build a relationship with their potential employer before they make a commitment. Your social media presence provides some insight into what your brand means to consumers and how you engage with them. The focus is on engagement and responsiveness.
  • Employees are your best brand ambassadors– There are hundreds of blog posts that attest to this. Tweet_bloombergIn the case of Enterasys it was the CMO’s tweet about a job opportunity that enticed Bilal to reply. Social media has empowered managers and other employees to actively participate in the recruitment process like never before.  Many managers have embraced social media as a way to partner with recruitment, actively share jobs to networks and identify possible candidates to contact. At the executive level, interaction via social media is a reflection of an organization’s willingness to working in a modern, forward thinking way.
  • LinkedIn will become the universal social job profile– LinkedIn has established itself as the professional social networking channel. This is the place where you can really create your own professional brand, market your experiences, projects, languages and LI_resumeportfolio of accomplishments. Consider that 100 new profiles are created every minute on LinkedIn*. According to mashable.com;  student use of LinkedIn increased 700% in 2012 as students and new grads individually and through their schools used the tool as a primary way to learn about new jobs and engage with potential employers. As a result profiles are being used as virtual resumes. As social media log on’s to third party applications continue to proliferate the virtual landscape, applicant tracking systems have also embraced LinkedIn integration’s providing candidates an option to use their profile as the basis of their job application. For those companies still requiring a resume, LinkedIn users can quickly download a copy of their LinkedIn profile in a resume format.

So what’s the message here? Candidates are learning about opportunities through a variety of social media channels. If you want to be a viable contender in the market, step up your social media efforts. That doesn’t mean putting all your eggs in the Twitter nest. It means diversifying your social media approach and really focus on engagement.

By Ann Barrett – Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

http://www.linkedin.com/company/linkedin-consultant

Do Employers Really Look at Social Networking Sites as Part of the Recruitment Process?

I wanted to reshare this blog post, as it’s a good reminder to do some summer clean up!

Ann's Social Recruiting Blog

Many employers now regularly visit social networking sites to pro-actively recruit and source candidates. The older eRecruitment model of automate it and they will come, is quickly being abandoned in favour of the social recruitment philosophy of meet them where they are.  Since social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, etc. are all public forums, by default your profile, connections and information on those sites are set to “public”/”everyone”. This means if you haven’t changed your privacy settings information you post is readily available and searchable on the internet. That includes video’s, photo’s, status updates, photos you are tagged in, etc., which also appear on your network/friends wall and news feeds.

There have been a number of articles, blogs and new casts cautioning people to be careful about how they portray themselves on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. There have even been cases around the world where…

View original post 537 more words

Building Your Best Online Professional Brand

The social realm is all about building your brand. With social sites and blogs people can define the persona they want to present to their friends, family, co-workers and the general public at large. The dilemma is separating your personal person(s) from your professional one. LinkedIn provides the perfect social platform to build out your professional brand.

LinkedIn-RolodexWith more than 225M global users and a whopping 155M user visits per month*, LinkedIn has become the virtual Rolodex for professionals. It’s the place where you can showcase your professional experience, build out your networks, participate in discussions and showcase your professional portfolio of accomplishments. Savvy users have realized its potential by using it as a marketing and talent tool to promote their professional brand by seeking recommendations and showcasing their career journey.

 LinkedIn can also launch students and new grads into the talent market through their professional profile. Students have realized that employers are using LinkedIn to proactively communicate, promote jobs and source new talent. Extending engagement beyond on site campus/college events. That’s why it’s important to create the best impression.

Here are ten tips to building your stellar online professional brand on LinkedIn:

    • A professional photo- I cannot stress this LI Photoenough. Photographs help create an emotional connection. Most people are better at recognizing someone based on their picture then just their name. Choose one that best represents the image you want your professional network and employers to see. 
    • Summary– Your LinkedIn profile is about you. The summary section provides a great way to introduce yourself. What makes you a seasoned professional? What’s your area of expertise? What are you passionate about? What makes you stand out? Put some thought into this. The best practice is two to three paragraphs. Write your summary in the first person. There’s nothing more annoying than reading a profile where people reference themselves in the third person. 
    • Showcase your work experience- Your career history is important to building your professional journeybrand. It outlines your career journey and showcases all of the experiences, knowledge, skills and expertise that you have built up over the years. The best practice is about 8-12 bullet points that accurately reflect the work you do. What are your key responsibilities? What business groups do you work with? What are your outcomes? Do you specialize in a job family or region? 
    • Education– Your university/college. This can help build your network as LinkedIn may suggest other people who went to your school to connect with. If you’re a graduate, only list your post-secondary education. No need to put dates. For students ensure you document your education with your forecasted graduation date. This helps employers seek out students who will be graduating in the upcoming year(s). 
    • Skills– What skills have you acquired? What industries have you worked in? You may wonder why this is important when you may have documented this in your work experience.  The skills section makes it easier for others to read, and for your network to endorse you. It’s a great way to showcase skills you’ve acquired from all of your experiences, work related or not. For students, this is a LI_recommendationsgreat place to showcase skills you’ve acquired in school, through volunteering and/or work. 
    • Volunteering– What things are meaningful to you outside of work? Are passionate about any causes? Students, what volunteer experiences have you completed? Volunteer work is also important in shaping your skill set. You may acquire skills in your volunteer work that are broader than your work skills. Take a few moments to think about your volunteer experiences. How have they built your skill set and/or shaped your career path? 
    • Certifications– In addition to your education if you have obtained a license or certification (e.g. Society of Actuaries, PMP, CSC, LLB, etc.) this section lets you document it with ease. Other similar professionals looking to expand their network can find you easily. Certain LinkedIn groups’ require designations as a pre-requisite to joining their groups. 
    • Languages – Languages can become an important part of building broader networks. Not only canedit_profile you add languages on your LinkedIn profile, but you can create your profile in more than one language. This increases your network reach. If you speak more than one language make sure you have your profile available in those languages.
    • Add your Awards– Have you been recognized at work, in your community or at volunteering? Are you a recipient of an award?  The awards and honours section is a great way to showcase your recognized accomplishments. You’ve earned it, so show it off!
    • Solicit a few recommendations –People put a lot of credibility into recommendations becauseyoure_awesome they’re hard to get. While skills can easily be endorsed recommendations require more thought and are specific to you. A good place to start is asking previous employers, community leaders and work placement leaders. Recommendations are about quality not quantity. Think about what skill sets and work experiences you want someone to endorse. Those are the people you should reach out to for recommendations. 

These are just a few examples of tips you can use to boost your brand presence. What tips would you recommend?

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

*according to Techcrunch.com

Is Your Organization Ready for Social Recruiting?

It’s hard to believe that less than five years ago many companies were still contemplating whether social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter could be used as sourcing channels. Fast forward to 2013. The landscape of recruitment has significantly changed. The industry is in the midst of shifting away from traditional recruitment practices to what is now called “Social Recruiting”. Social recruiting is a model focusing on pro-active sourcing, brand marketing, engagement and metrics on social and mobile platforms. In a 2011 Jobvite survey, more than 80% of companies indicated they were using social media as part of their recruitment efforts.

So how are companies successfully using social media to assist with recruiting? Here are a couple of key suggestions to help you move to a social recruiting model:

  • Don’t treat social media as an add-on to your existing recruitment process – Social recruiting is an interactive, candidate centric model. It means socialinteractionthinking about sourcing in a drastically different way. Traditional recruitment focuses on a requisition centric approach. Recruiters spend administrative time screening out applicants to get to a qualified pool. Social recruiting turns this process upside down focusing on pro-actively finding qualified individuals and engaging them to market job opportunities. Instead of recruiters narrowing the applicant pool, they’re generating a qualified candidate pool through engagement. Successful companies have realized that social recruiting should focus on engagement, marketing and proactive sourcing. So, if you’re using social media as a job posting board it’s like using a smart phone to only make phone calls. If you don’t use the other options you won’t truly yield all the benefits.
  • Focus on engagement to build talent pools– Social media provides potential candidates with the opportunity to learn about your organization in an open and transparent way. Platforms such as Glassdoor and Indeed allow people to anonymously provide feedback about their experience with New-Rules-of-Recruiting-Promocompanies. In the social world, opinions carry a lot of clout. Most people will take feedback into consideration to help them form an opinion about a company. Candidate behavior is also shifting as social media becomes more commonplace and accessible. More than 60% of candidates expect to use a social media platform to engage with recruiting. Successful companies have realized that having a social media presence means providing a forum for people to interact. Candidates need to have an avenue to ask questions, provide comments or talk to someone if they want more information. What channels are available for your potential candidates to connect and communicate with you?
  • Really Proactively Source– Many companies buy into the concept of proactive sourcing but have trouble successfully executing. The shift from traditional post and pray to proactively searching can be a huge change for recruiters. It requires a thorough jobseekers_statsintake conversation to understand the search criteria. Most of all, it requires patience and perseverance. Statics show that 88% of all job seekers have at least one social networking profile. Successful companies have realized that they need to invest in training to ensure recruiters have the necessary skill set to execute. Consider partnering with a third party vendor with expertise in boolean search. If recruiters understand the basic concepts of online searching they will feel more confident executing.
  • Use metrics to anchor your strategy– Like any good strategy, metrics should be a core element.  Successful companies have realized that metrics can be used to tie their strategy together:
    • Measure to anchor accountabilities: Develop guidelines around what will be measured. Set expectations around ROI, and anchor accountabilities by creating benchmarks and frequently measuring against them. Hold people accountable for their performance.
    • Expand what you measure:  Traditional measures such as source of hire and cost per hire only tell part of the social recruiting story. Consider adding engagement and branding measures such as #followers, InMail acceptance % and talent reach to your dashboard to show the broader picture.
    • Refine your strategy based on results:  What is the data telling you? What are the accomplishments and gaps? What are the trends? As you consider your strategy for the next year let the data help you make the correct decisions. Make sure you communicate and share the your findings so there is transparency into the model.

These are just a few suggestions you can use to help build your social recruitment strategy. What tips would you suggest?

Is Resistance to Social Media @ Work Futile?

SEO Manager, Community Manager, Mobile App. Developer, Virtual Lead Generator and Recruitment Optimization Specialist. Most of these jobs were unheard of ten years ago. The high rates of user adoption on social media platforms have created new jobs to support technological development and new ways of working. Traditional jobs have also evolved as social tools permeate into our day to day work. Companies have realized they need to embrace social as part of their overarching strategy in order to remain competitive in the market. Resistance to social media may not only hinder company performance, but can widen the skill gap between you and your competition in the job market.

Don’t believe me?

Selling-Through-Social-Media-to-Close-More-Leads-InsideviewLet’s take a look at sales as an example. Traditionally sales people spent a significant amount of time cold calling and cultivating relationships to build their client base. There were limited ways of tracking information, let alone mapping out connections. Social media has revolutionized the approach to lead generation. Virtual networks help sales people identify, learn and connect with potential and existing clients by showing recent activity, new connections, job updates, people movements, status updates, etc. The savvy salesperson uses social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) to market themselves, and research people they want to get in touch with before making a call. The picture above shows the correlation between social media usage and increased lead generation.

Traditional Approach                                       Savvy Approach

  • Blind cold calling to generate leads      Uses social to research leads/ introductions
  • Relies on paper                                      Leverages mobile to get information on the go
  • Manually track clients                            Leverages social /CRM
  • Not on social media                               Use social media to engage and communicate

How about Marketing? This one is a no brainer. The introduction of targeted content marketing on the internet andsocial-media-industry-report-benefits-marketing-stelzner-march-2009 social platforms means messaging is reaching relevant audiences. So, if you’re a sales professional you won’t see job adverts meant for java programmers. Social media data also provides key insights to understanding consumer preferences, demographics and metrics around success/failure of targeted messaging. Content marketing has also evolved to become interactive. Savvy marketers know that fostering engagement between the company and their audience through a social forum builds brand awareness and relationships which can translate to new customers and customer retention.

Traditional Approach                                   Savvy Approach

  • Relies on push content strategy          Creates an interactive strategy to foster engagement
  • Limited/static social presence            Offers content types through social platforms
  • No mobile strategy                              Optimizes content for mobile

Recruitment has typically been an industry leader using social media . New-Rules-of-Recruiting-PromoNew industry terms such as Recruitment 2.0, Social Recruiting and Social HR have emerged to describe the shifts in recruiters work and tool kit. Think about it. Job boards, applicant tracking systems and staffing vendors were key sourcing channels to generate a just in time candidate pool. However, high memberships on social platforms have resulted in a shift to proactive sourcing to seek out the best candidate instead of just relying on the applicant pool. The savvy recruiter participates in social media to promote their brand, connect, search through networks and leverage managers networks to build proactive pipelines.  Savvy campus/college recruiters understand that pro-actively cultivating relationships with students and providing a forum to interact builds an emotional connection to the company and brand.

Traditional Approach                                       Savvy Approach

  • Spends time screening out applicants    Pro-actively searches and engages candidates
  • Requisition based searches                     Uses social to build candidate pipelines
  • Relies on career centre postings             Cross promotes jobs on social networks
  • Only interacts on campus                        Uses a variety of social platforms to interact
  • Opts out of using social media                 Cross promotes company social channels

One last point to think about is the new work force. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that young people have the highest

Edison-research-graphuptake on social media platforms (as shown). As they enter the workforce they have an expectation they will use some sort of social media platform (internal or external) in their job to collaborate and/or communicate.  As a result companies have started to transform the way they communicate, engage and collaborate internally.

So, to stay relevant and competitive you need to be willing to embrace new ideas and adopt change.  Job descriptions now incorporate using social tools as part of day to day operations. Whichever way you look at it, social media at work, is inevitable. Which means resistance to social media in the workplace is futile.

By: Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

LinkedIn Guide for Sales People

What once started as a professional networking site, LinkedIn has quickly evolved into a more robust tool used for a variety of purposes including networking, job searching, sourcing and consumer marketing.

Savvy sales people have also realized LinkedIn can be used for lead generation and relationship management, making prospecting faster and more efficient. Here is my Sales person’s guide to leveraging LinkedIn to generate sales.

Step 1: Making the best impression

Your prospect is most likely looking you up on LinkedIn to better understand who they are dealing with. What impression do you want your profile to convey about you and the company you work for? Secondly, your profile can act as a great ice breaker to get your foot in the door. The more you add, the higher the probability your prospects see something they have in common with you.

Here are the eight must haves for your LinkedIn profile:

  1.  A professional photo. I cannot stress this enough. PhoLI Phototographs help create an emotional connection. Many people have a better time recognizing someone based on their picture then just a name without a picture. Choose one that best represents your professional persona.
  2. Summary– Your LinkedIn profile is about you. The summary section provides a great way to showcase your entire professional persona. The best practice is two paragraphs at the most that best describe you and summarizes you overall professional experience. What makes you stand out against your peers?
  3. Update your current work experience. The best practice is about 5-10 bullet points that accurately reflect the work you do. If you are a sales person, what products do you sell, what’s your territory?
  4. Add company links under your work experience: Promote your company by adding the company website, You Tube channel, Facebook page or product videos. As people check you out, they also get to learn more about your company and its products.
  5. Education– Your university/college. No need to put dates.
  6. Solicit a few recommendations –People put a lot of credibility into recommendations, especially from existing happy customers.
  7. Interests– You would be surprised what an ice breaker this could be. Things like, traveling, biking, playing tennis, etc.
  8. Cross Promote: If you have a Twitter feed, add it to your LinkedIn account. When you add status updates you can tweet at the same time.

Need help creating a profile? Click here

Step 2: Build Your Network

What does your current network look like? Are they mostly family and personal friends? If so, it’s time to invest in building out your professional network to include colleagues, customers, propsects, industry associates, etc. Connections breed connections. As you build your network your network reach (up to three degrees) will also increase, giving you a broader pool of people to reach out too.

Here are six ways  to build your network:

Tip # 1- Seize the moment!

Whenever you meet someone always follow up within 24-48 hours with a LinkedIn network request while it’s top of mind. Always include some context in your invite such as where you met them.

Tip# 2- Use Your Network to Identify and Target Prospects

Recruiters use LinkedIn to target potential recruits and get a better picture of their experience and skills. Sales people should be using LinkedIn to seek out key contacts, influencers and decision makers within organizations. LinkedIn profiles can provide a plethora of information such as office location, projects, groups followed, recommendations, etc. With a little investigation you can quickly zero in on who you should be talking to, who they’re connected to and how you’re connected to each other. Don’t forget to check out who’s viewed their profile to get some insight into who’s viewing them.

Tip #3- Use Advanced Search To Find New Prospects

sales_LI_searchLinkedIn has a fabulous, free, search component. With advanced search you can search for people by title, company, location or keyword. What’s even better is you can save your search criteria and set up a regular alert notifying you when anyone new matches your search.  For example, you could save a search for a “Benefits Manager” within 50 miles of Tampa. Then you can get an email with anyone new who matches that search and deserves a closer look.  New prospects to contact. Once you start using this you will wonder how you ever lived without it!

Tip #4- Get Introduced to Expand Your Network Connections

sales_LI_search2LinkedIn allows you to see up to three degrees of separation between your direct connections and your network. That means you can see how you are connected to people you may want to reach out to. In the example above, I can see that I am a third degree connection to Mary T. If I wanted to connect with her, the best practice would be to see who we have in common and ask that person to help make the introduction. People are much more likely to read and accept an email from someone they know then someone they don’t. If you send an empty connection request chances are your connection/email maybe ignored.

  • Click on the person you want to connect tooLI_introduction
  • Beside the “Send InMail” drop down arrow select “Get Introduced” option
  • LinkedIn will show you your common connections
  • Select the person that you would like to approach for the introduction
  • Craft your introduction message to the person making the introduction

Tip#5- Use Groups to Connect on a Large Scale

In my opinion one of the most under-utilized features of LinkedIn are groups. Think about it. A group of like-mindedLI Group Pic people, who share information, solicit advice, participate in discussions and ask for recommendations. This is where you want to be. Discussions can provide some insight as to where some companies need help or hot topics. Questions are often posted to group members asking for referrals or experts they can connect with. Group members can also see contact details of fellow members providing an opportunity to reach out. If you are not a member of at least 5 groups you are missing out on potential prospects!

Tip # 6- Follow Companies

LI CompanyAs a Salesperson, you want to be informed about what’s happening at companies you may be targeting. Are there changes in the structure? Acquisitions? New markets? This information can be powerful and present a good reason to get in touch. The “follow” company feature on LinkedIn allows you to receive updates into your news feed.  Don’t forget to follow your own company!

Step 3: Your Daily Checklist

Okay, now that you’ve updated your profile and put some key processes in place to help you build your network and identify new prospects. Don’t stop there. Each day you should spend at least 30 minutes taking a look at LinkedIn to see what’s been happening with your network and potential prospects.

  1. Review your news feed– What have your connections been up to? As your networks update their information it will show up in your news feed
  2.  Check your groups’ digests – look for new members and for opportunities to participate.  Join the conversation so people get to know you
  3. Look at who’s visited your profile and check them out to assess
  4. Calling a Client or Prospect? Take a look at their LinkedIn profile to find out if there any changes or updates? Knowing recent information helps break the ice and makes you look more informed. Pay attention to their profile changes and activity.

So, three easy steps to use social media to align with your sales plan. What other tips would you recommend?

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy