January 24, 2011


bug - LinkedIn repeats updates 2011-01-21 440x995
If you're not online anywhere (company websites don't count), LinkedIn is the one place you need to be. It's free. You control your profile. Your profile moves with you if you change jobs.

LinkedIn isn't enough. What if your access gets blocked? Mine is …

You want to be findable on other sites through a web search.

Day 1

Here's what happened. LinkedIn now has a Country Manager for Canada. Jonathan Lister is speaking at the Toronto Board of Trade on Feb 8, 2011 about
  1. Marketing your business with social media
  2. Building and managing your business' reputation online
  3. Creating a high quality professional network online
I registered and thought that others in my network would be interested too. To inform them, I posted a message on LinkedIn (which also cross-posted to @mActuary on Twitter).

Minutes later, I got an email from a connection. He asked why I posted the update six times. I checked and the update was now posted 30 times but not by me. Twitter was working fine.
LinkedIn posts to Twitter properly
I posted another update to apologize to my network and to alert LinkedIn of the problem. As an extra precaution, I sent Jonathan a message through LinkedIn. As an extra, extra precaution, I exited my Chrome web browser and started using FireFox instead.

Day 2

I didn't notice until now, but LinkedIn retweeted exactly 12 hours later.
LinkedIn posts to Twitter again !?!
The problem wasn't fixed.

Day 3

I tried signing in to LinkedIn and got this message.
LinkedIn suspends my access
The only contact option is by email. I filled out the form and got this email saying "A service professional will review and respond to your inquiry as quickly as possible." That's reassuring but inaccurate.
Contacting LinkedIn customer service
I've been waiting over 33 hours, which is weeks in Internet time. There's no obvious way to talk to a human being and get immediate action.

Day 4

I'm getting emails from connections through LinkedIn but can't reply unless they are in my CRM system. If I can't find them online, I can't reply until LinkedIn restores access.

Your Lesson

At least I'm still findable online. Are you?

If you're looking for another place to show up, consider a free Google Profile (e.g., mine). The ideal is your own personal website (e.g., mine). If you're looking for content, start by nabbing stuff from your LinkedIn profile.


PS There's still time to get tickets to see Jonathan. I hope my account will be restored before then.

January 18, 2011


howling dog and unimpressed catThe dog's howling about his social media prowess but the cat can't gauge his skills.

I often talk to groups and individuals about marketing and they're most interested in what's now called social media.

The few who are ready to act ask how to proceed. They're busy. Can't they hire someone to do the work for them? Since social media is about being authentic, that's not a great strategy. Getting help is fine but, it's very tough to find real experts.


Here's how to reduce the risks of hiring a fake
  1. check online
  2. be realistic
  3. figure out where you need help

Check Online

You'll find many posers. See how they're using social media. Checking online only takes a few minutes. Look for real-life proof of relevant success.

I got invited to a seminar by an "expert" who just started using Twitter several months ago and has less Followers than I do. Yes there's a nice website but that doesn't equate to real-world experience.

Be Realistic

If selling were as easy as buying hot leads or joining a referral group, life would be easy. And commissions would drop because others could copy.

Success with social media takes more than your credit card and hoping for the improbable.

How Many vs Who

You'll be offered ways to zip to page one on Google. That might work … temporarily. What's easy for you is easy for others too. Google prowls for tricks and punishes offenders.

There's an easy way to get thousands of Followers on Twitter: Follow thousands. They'll often reciprocate (Universal Principle of Influence #1). I didn't play that game since who matters more than how many. My Followers on @mActuary and @riscario are limited but include people at the Globe & Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Advisor.ca and Advocis.

Rather than focusing on ways to get mega-traffic, write good content and participate online to help your target market find you. This works but takes work, lacks glitz and is difficult to outsource. It's also difficult for competitors to copy.

Figure Out Where You Need Help

You'll probably want help get your branding to look professional. You don't want an email address that makes you look cheap and generic. You don't want a website that looks dated (and yes you still need one). As a shortcut, your blog could be your website.

Maybe you need help following a schedule or creating content or editing. Your needs will vary and change. If you don't begin with the end in mind, count on spending more than you need.

Start Here

If you're not sure where to begin, read a book. Here are two suggestions (non-affiliated links to Amazon.com):
  1. Trust Agents: Using the web to build influence, improve reputation and earn trust by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
  2. Six Pixels Of Separation: Everyone is connected. Connect your business to everyone by Mitch Joel
That alone will put you ahead of many "experts". They also blog.

If you don't believe in consistent persistent generosity, social media may not be be you. Visitor attention is scarce. Without valuable free content, why would they ever return?

We're part of the Good Enuf Rvltun. Social media lets you ship quickly and make changes as you gain experience and find your own unique voice. Do you even need to hire an expert?


PS As with other marketing, there's no "right" way to use social media. Experiment!

January 12, 2011


My adventures in networking started four years ago. I didn't know what to do. I watched self-proclaimed experts and saw lack of genuine caring, little value offered, a big desire for quick payoffs and little follow-up.That approach didn't feel right. My idealism said that networking was about helping others first.

I read books like Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi but they didn't click either. There was an element of my-database-is-bigger-than-yours. What about quality? Some coaches mentioned Rolodexes or PalmPilot organizers. Who uses them anymore? Maybe the content was out-dated too.

A Higher Goal

I wanted to master the art of forging lasting relationships with strangers without the hassle of meeting first. Why not? Arranged marriages take place.

Case Study

I started networking to my standards. That works. Once I became familiar with LinkedIn, I started reaching out to "good" strangers. A year ago, I sent an invitation to master networker, Paul Nazareth. I wasn't sure if he'd agree because his profile sets conditions. This enforced scarcity was intriguing. He soon connected. Victory!

Paul confirmed that reaching out to strangers can work. That was enough, but I got much more once we started meeting. I wanted to aid philanthropic efforts but I didn't know what to do. What I saw others do didn't feel right.

Paul is deeply immersed in the world of giving and frank. That combination gave quick insights that saved me years of fumbling. His introductions instantly opened doors, which also saved years.

I was also able to help Paul too and got the Golden Crab Award.


On LinkedIn, a stranger is more likely to connect if you share high calibre contacts. As your network grows, your connections introduce you some of their connections. That's a virtuous, expanding spiral.

When you reach out to a complete stranger, you're taking a risk. Yet we know risk accompanies rewards. Since networking is about who knows you, a widespread, diverse network of loose connections works best.

Who knows who you'll meet?


PS How are your adventures in networking?

January 4, 2011


2010 globe
Let's start 2011 by looking back to what you read here in 2010.

If you're a new reader, this list is a quick way to sample the type of content you'll find.

The Top 10

  1. The six most influential word groups (from 2008) [was #1 in 2009 too]
  2. Multiple email accounts make life easier (from 2009)
  3. Let's Get Real: Mahan Khalsa brings ORDER to sales chaos
  4. Reciprocity: The first universal principle of influence (from 2007) [was #2]
  5. Rediscover Selling The Invisible by Harry Beckwith (from 2009) [was #9]
  6. The best kept secret for advisor success (from 2009)
  7. Talk > Type: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10.1
  8. Nicolas Boothman on creating your 10 second commercial (from 2009) [was #10]
  9. Hero or zero? The sad tale of Lenovo and UPS
  10. Lessons from networking with millionaires by Thomas J Stanley (from 2009) [was #4]
Did you notice that six of the posts are from previous years? Half were in the top 10 for 2009 also. The old stuff is still getting read. That's an excellent reason to put content online where search engines can find it.

You might conclude that writing new content has little merit. That's not the conclusion to draw. While there are 181 previous posts, the new ones are still getting read.

More Statistics

If you want to see more statistics, check out your favourite posts of 2010 on Riscario Insider. You may be surprised at the level of detail available. In particular, look at the increase in mobile browsers, especially on Apple devices. Are your sites optimized for the smaller screens?

Other Posts Of Note

In my biased opinion, there are many other posts worth reading. Feel free to take a peek now or later when this year gets as hectic as the last one.


PS Are you subscribed to Marketing Reflections? It's free and supplements this blog.