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Archive for January, 2016

LinkedIn Sharing vs. Posting

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

The LinkedIn publish a post option has been active for almost two years but is just starting to get more widespread use. For those that don’t know what a LinkedIn post is, you can think of it as a blog post that resides in a blogroll of other LinkedIn posts on the LinkedIn site. Sharing and posting on LinkedIn sound like the same thing but each offers its own advantages.

Let’s start with the simpler of the two, sharing. Sharing is the tried and true version of listing information on LinkedIn. Due to the character limitations it’s often advantageous to link to a document or a webpage. For instance, a share might be an event with a link to a registration page or the title and link to a blog article on your website. The power of sharing is the simplicity of the information you are providing and an opportunity to move to a platform with specific calls to action that reference that share.

Posts are better suited for lengthy information or content designed for a larger audience. There are not character limitations so posts can get much more in depth. Assuming you have sufficient content to warrant a post, it has three primary advantages over sharing. The first is that your content will be provided for a larger audience as anyone reviewing the LinkedIn posts blogroll will have access to your content. The second is that the information will be served up directly on LinkedIn without the need to entice a click or secondary navigation. The third is that posts will be featured into the future on your profile (shares are available for only about a month).

The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive either. For example, an article could be posted on LinkedIn and then shared through an individual and/or a company account.

In both cases, review your shares and posts for solid calls to action. Simple shares should provide a straightforward idea of what you are communicating and an obvious navigation to take advantage of the offer or information. Posts will obviously have more content but should similarly include a next step or offer that correlates to that content.

It’s valuable to use sharing and posting as intended because it makes it easier for your audience to get to your marketing communications and take action on them with a solid call to action.

Exploiting Current or Cultural Events in Marketing Often Lacks Authenticity

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

starbuck_by_diablo2003Last week I visited a national park that is a civil war battlefield. During a conversation with the Ranger at the visitor center, she mentioned that the national park service had encouraged each park to do a promotion that tied in with the release of the new Star Wars movie. She explained that several parks came up with good promotions, especially those where Star Wars had been filmed or had an obvious connection.

I asked what promotion her park had come up with and the Ranger stated, “I had several ideas to tie it in with the rebels but thought better of it. The Civil War still hits a nerve with many people here and I didn’t want any backlash from our members or supporters in comparing it to a movie. In any case, the connection was a real stretch.” Unfortunately many marketers didn’t use the same discretion and tried to get on the cultural trending whether it made sense or not.

I have literally been bombarded the last few weeks with marketing messages and articles about ____ is like Star Wars, Use the Force to _____, or ____ leads to the dark side. Some of those messages or promotions were attention grabbing with a witty or amusing connection. Many were a real stretch and appeared to only be interested in exploiting a cultural trend.

There are only two marketing scenarios where using trending current or cultural events has authentic impact:

  • There is a direct and obvious connection to be drawn.
  • There is a personal connection to the cultural event where the author or poster is very knowledgeable or a large fan.

Star Wars is a major cultural event with wide exposure so it’s easy to understand why so many people wanted to use it for marketing purposes. But without a clear connection, it can ring hollow as an artificial attempt at tapping into keywords or riding a trend’s coattails.

This is especially damaging if it’s a regular tactic in a trainer, consultant, or professional coach’s marketing mix. Using every cultural trend reflects a lack of sincerity. Like a politician kissing babies, it tends to raise doubts and suspicions rather than credibility. If you have an authentic connection, then by all means display that connection in your marketing communications. But remember that it’s impossible to have a connection with every current or cultural event so don’t overdo it.

Is this article hypocritical being posted as The Force Awakens continues to rule the box office? Maybe, but as a lifelong Star Wars fan; I thought I might get a pass.

Image courtesy of  diablo2003 / deviantart.com