Monthly Archives: May 2011

How to build personal brand using LinkedIn Answers

If marketers can use social media for branding purposes, have you ever thought why can’t you as an individual build your personal brand using social media? There are multiple platforms on which one can build his/her personal brand. Some artists do it through YouTube, some technology geeks make use of blogs to build their personal brand, while some depend on Twitter. However, LinkedIn can be another promising networking platform where one can build his/her personal brand in a much professional manner. 
The major dilemma one faces in professional arena is to convince others about one’s expertise in a particular domain. I am sure everyone realizes the fact that just by listing those domain names in your CV or Twitter profile or LinkedIn profile, its hard for the other person to judge your expertise. The trust and belief would get built based on the conversations one gets involved in. Instead of just bragging from roof top, one has to really exhibit those skills, expertise in a productive manner for others to judge. This blogpost discusses one such feature of LinkedIn called LinkedIn Answers, which one can use effectively to build personal brand and establish expertise.
If as a LinkedIn user, you aren’t aware of LinkedIn Answers feature, please follow the following steps. 
  1. After you login to your LinkedIn account you would see your homepage, which would resemble Fig.1. 
  2. Click on the “More” tab and you would see “Answers”, click on it and you would be directed to the home page of LinkedIn Answers (as shown in Fig. 2)
Fig. 1

Fig. 2
This page has some well-guided menus like Answers Home, Advanced Answers Search, My Q&A, Ask a Question, Answer Questions, etc. Now, what all can you do on this page?
  1. You can ask a question, about your domain to experts out there.
  2. You can answer questions from topics that interest you (The topics are listed on right hand side under the “Browse” tab)
  3. You can answer specific questions from your network (Listed under the tab “New Questions from your network”)
  4. Search for an answer to specific question with the help of some keywords using Advanced Answers Search 

When you ask a question or answer a question the notification of your activities are visible to your network connections. So, if anyone from your network is interested in that question, they would like to check your question / answer. Such conversations which exhibit your knowledge in real time help you build your brand.

Here, is an example of my participation. I answered to the question and if you notice my answer was selected as “Best Answer” by Suresh Bhura who asked that question. 
Some key points to be kept in mind while using LinkedIn Answers:
  1. Make it a habit to participate in this activity on a regular basis, rather than once in a while
  2. Try to focus your participation in few areas, in which you possess substantial expertise
  3. Do not ask any naive questions. 
  4. When you answer questions, to the extent possible do not take diplomatic approach, trying to keep everyone happy. If you are dissatisfied with something, make it clear.
  5. Do not often change your perceptions regarding a topic, because all your answers could be accessed by anyone. If a person who analyzes your answers feels that  your answers lack consistency on a topic, it might cause troubles for your image.
  6. If you aren’t sure about a topic, its better to avoid participation in it, rather than misguiding others with erroneous answers.
If you have had any satisfactory experience of using LinkedIn Answers, kindly share below in the comments section, for the benefit of readers.

Would such Facebook ads help brands achieve their objectives?

Facebook’s revenue through ads for the year 2010 were around $1.86 billion and industry reports indicate it to reach around $4 billion in 2011 and $5.7 billion by 2012. These figures clearly indicate the confidence brands have in Facebook ads. However, are brands benefiting enough from these Facebook ads? How well are brands leveraging them? There exists immense amount of information on checklists to be maintained to create successful Facebook ads – you may refer one here. But, inspite of all available knowledge its discouraging to see some brands practice misguiding (or to put it strongly unethical) strategies to attain success through Facebook ads. The major metric that brands follow to evaluate Facebook ads is cost per fan acquisition, i.e. more the number of clicks on ads, lesser the acquisition cost. Hence, with the objective of maximizing the number of clicks, many brands practice some unethical steps. I experienced one yesterday. Look at the below Facebook ad and guess what service this brand is offering. It has a picture of a lady, and the message “Looking for new friends? ‘LIKE’ us today to start making new friends in India”.

The first impression I had of this ad was, as if this was yet another networking website. This created a great interest and I went ahead to click it and landed up on a totally irrelevant Facebook page (see below). This brand offered group buying services for automobiles. Now, what feeling would you have as a user, if your expectations are crushed in this manner. Do you think a user would go ahead and “LIKE” the Facebook page, as the brand has been expecting?

Here is a message to brands / agencies that engage in such activities:
  1. Do not create ads with irrelevant pictures / messages to misguide the users.
  2. Even if the user goes ahead and clicks on “LIKE” page, there are remote chances that the fan would be a prospective customer
  3. Just reducing the Facebook ad acquisition cost should not be the motto of creating Facebook ads.
  4. Gathering a huge fanbase by such activities is in no way going to benefit the ultimate social media objectives of the brand (unless the objective is just to gather millions of ‘irrelevant fans’)
  5. Simply, don’t try to FOOL users, this activity might backfire in a serious manner.

I have heard from some of my friends “any publicity is after all a publicity”, by that logic may be ired users like me would blog about such misguiding practices followed by brand and in the mean process would spread the word about the brand. At the end of the day, it needs to be seen, if such acts really result in some business for the brand or just a collection of spurious fans!

Do you think brand is doing a good job with such Facebook ads? Get the discussion rolling!