Beginners & Basics: LinkedIn 101

Our Beginners & Basics series is a collection of blogs and tips that are designed to help beginners understand the basics of communications, social media, and marketing. Welcome to LinkedIn 101.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn has quickly become one of the most-used digital networking platforms for professionals of almost any field. Unlike more personal forms of social media (think Facebook and Instagram), LinkedIn is focused on professional connections.

The social media channel allows users to build their careers and professional networks by connecting with others and sharing content. The purpose of LinkedIn is also to maintain contact with particular colleagues, friends and others in professional environments. It also doubles as a search engine for job seekers.

Who uses it?

LinkedIn has over 600 million users in more than 200 countries around the world. Surprisingly, over 70% of LinkedIn users are from outside of the US.

There are 46 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn using the channel to work on their experience and careers for future employers. LinkedIn is also crawling with recruiters that use the platform as part of their recruitment process.

Personal Profile

If you don’t have a personal LinkedIn profile yet, we’re glad you checked out this LinkedIn 101 guide! Your personal profile serves as a virtual resume, which allows customers or potential clients to see your experience. That’s the key to building trust!

Your personal LinkedIn profile will have a lot more features that you won’t see in other social media channels. You are able to include your experience, a summary of yourself, contact information, a portfolio, skills, recommendations, and more.

Your profile is meant to be a representation of your career and career goals for those who view it. As LinkedIn has grown into what it is today, with millions of users, your profile can also be seen as your “digital reputation.”

Business Profile

Much like you can have a personal profile, you can also have a business profile on LinkedIn. It’s similar to a business page on Facebook — it’s where companies share updates, articles, posts, and other information relevant to their audiences.

LinkedIn is a great social media tool for certain types of businesses, including staffing agencies, IT, real estate, and human resources are just a few!

Why is it helpful for businesses?

There’s no better way to share your brand than through a platform that allows for interaction between professionals and consumers. Because it has a long list of features to amp up your profile, LinkedIn allows you to present what your company is all about, share the people who work there, and engage with relevant content. 

Plus, it can even bring in some incredible talent if you use its hiring features.

Brands that are killing the LinkedIn game:

  • TED Conferences
  • Google
  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • IBM

Who Is Your Audience, Anyway?

When figuring out what content to post, there are three basic things that you need to know about your audience. They are: age, gender, and interest. Here’s why those demographics are important for creating content for your audience.

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Age

One of the most influential factors to consider when it comes to creating content for your audience is their age. From Baby Boomers to Gen Z, preferences and communication styles vary greatly and it’s important to be aware of what appeals most to your target age group. Like the saying goes, “one size does not fit all!” 

Just like there is a variety of age groups, there is also a large range of content types. From videos to blogs, and print material to mobile apps, the strategies for talking to each age group are endless. Different social media platforms have drastically different user bases.

So what type of content fits each age group? In general, marketers are able to turn to general generational preferences for content.

CASE IN POINT: That’s not how any of this works!

So what types of content does each age group relate to the most?

  • Baby Boomers
    • Print media
    • Radio
    • Video content (long)
  • Generation X
    • Newsletters (direct mail & email)
    • Blogs
  • Generation Y (Millennials)
    • Social Media
    • Mobile content
    • Blogs
  • Generation Z (iGeneration)
    • Social Media
    • Memes
    • Imagery
    • Videos (short)

Keep in mind that these generational preferences are broad — and not always totally accurate. Age, however, is a great place to start when segmenting audiences and narrowing down how to reach your audience where they are.

Gender

Today, gender-based marketing seems to be dwindling due to shifts in gender roles and traditional gender identification. But being aware of gender in your audience has a great impact on the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. There are very different ways to connect with different genders.

CASE IN POINT: Carl’s Jr. vs Kraft ads — and this wild Jekyll/Hyde situation going on with Hugh Jackman. 

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“Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” is a saying for a reason: women and men oftentimes respond to content with different emotions. (We doubt any of our fellow ladies enjoyed that sexist Carl’s Jr. ad either.) For this reason, content should be created carefully, with an awareness of the potential for different responses in men and women.

What are some examples of general differences between men and women’s emotional responses?

  • Men
    • Less variety of emotions
    • More likely to view content based on positive emotions
    • More suggestible
  • Women
    • Greater variety of emotions
    • More sentimental
    • More emotionally complex

Keeping gender in mind, while remaining inclusive is ideal and positions your content to have the edge it needs for success.

Interest

At the end of the day, your audience needs to have an interest in what you’re saying! 

With the prominence of today’s digital and social media, we marketers are able to keep tabs on the interests of people and more specifically, our target audiences. People’s social interests can be interpreted and used to create content most relatable.

Case in point: Aerie’s #AerieReal campaign and inclusive modeling strategy

communications consultants providing social media management, content creation, public relations, and media pitching
Photo credit: Metro.UK

Did you know that Facebook can target you based on your income level, interests, job title, and even marital status? As a consumer, that can be pretty terrifying, but as a social media strategist, it’s a key part of the job! 

Interest-based targeting engages audiences through relatability and personalization. For this reason, relevant influencers and celebrity endorsements have revolutionized marketing, especially when appealing to Millennials and Gen Z consumers. 

Another example of interest-based targeting is highlighting brand transparency and using “real” people to market. When customers believe that they are represented in advertising, they’re more likely to buy whatever you’re selling, whether it’s literally or figuratively. 

There are so many ways that interest-based marketing can further narrow down content creation and successfully reach target audiences. Let us help you figure it out! 

The Best Super Bowl 54 Commercials

Whether you watch the Super Bowl for the football, the commercials or the halftime show, Super Bowl commercials have become an event of their own over the past decade. Each year, it’s just a (very expensive) contest to see who creates the best, most memorable commercial.  

The amount of celebrity cameos in this year’s commercials was impressive. From Taraji P. Henson and Bryan Cranston to Jason Momoa and Molly Ringwald, the list of celebrities was endless. We love a good celeb cameo, but that’s not the only thing that makes up a fantastic commercial.

Here are some of the Super Bowl commercials that had us running out to buy their products: 

The Cool Ranch Long Form feat. Lil Nas X and Sam Elliot | Doritos

What’s a Super Bowl without a Doritos commercial? Doritos truly takes it to the next level each year, and these commercials have become a tradition. (One of our other favorites was the “Don’t Touch my Doritos” commercial for Super Bowl 44.) 

This year, they went the pop culture route and featured rapper and singer Lil Nas X, known for his chart-topping song “Old Town Road”, and classic American cowboy Sam Elliot, who stars as Beau Bennett in The Ranch on Netflix — admittedly one of our favorite shows ever. Watching Sam Elliot and Lil Nas X one-up each other for the sake of Doritos is not only highly entertaining, but also argues that “Old Town Road” is, in fact, a country song. 

The star factor in this commercial makes it a “win” for the brand. This is the only time of the year we see Doritos go this big with advertising, and they don’t disappoint. 


Loretta | Google 

In a commercial that will pull at your heartstrings, a man goes through his memories with some help from Google Assistant. Portraying Google Assistant as the software to keep your memories safe and revisit them. This did so well #Loretta began trending on Twitter after the commercial aired. While we usually think that the best Super Bowl commercials are funny, this one had us bawling into our nachos. And boy, was it a. good. commercial.


Best Thing Since Sliced Bread | Little Caesars 

Little Caesars announces that they now deliver in their first ever Super Bowl commercial. Featuring The Office’s Rainn Wilson was a great choice — because who doesn’t love beets, bears, and $5 delivery pizza?! All we have to say is, this is the best thing since sliced bread!  


Jason Momoa, “Comfortable” | Rocket Mortgage 

This commercial let us all see celeb heartthrob Jason Momoa in a new light. It may not be our favorite look for him, but it’s a new side nonetheless. Rocket Mortgage’s commercial was a bit on the weird side, but flipping the “muscular man” stereotype on its head was hilarious. 

We’d say they definitely relayed their message of comfort living being key. (We agree — which is why we own more sweatpants then real pants.) Notice how this is the third commercial on this list to feature a celebrity? Capitalizing on celebrity culture is a great way for brands to advertise, especially if the celebrity is a great fit with the message. 


Back in the Office | State Farm

The last one on our list is good old State Farm. They brought back the classic “Jake from State Farm” bit and added a little twist. This was a short but sweet commercial that we really love for the nostalgia factor. Jake from State Farm has become synonymous with the brand, which is a great way to give a brand personality. 

We won’t be mad if Jake from State Farm is retired from now on, but it was nice seeing him for one last swan song! 

Dos & Don’ts of Facebook Posts

Some people say there is, but we think there’s no one “right” way to post on Facebook.

Whip Social Media and marketing

In personal relationships, you have to change your outputs based on the person – you wouldn’t act the same way with your boss as you would with your best friend (we hope)! Just like you know your audience for in-person relationships, it’s important to know your audience for online relationships.

Some posts may be longer because they’re explaining something complex, telling a story, or giving tips. If your followers are engaging with the post and liking it (both literally and on Facebook), that’s a valuable type of post.

Some organizations, businesses, or individuals may have very short posts if they don’t have as much to say. Sharing an article, for example, should only be a sentence or two summarizing the article – not two paragraphs.

It all depends on what your followers like, engage with, and want to hear from you. What works really well for one company may not work for another at all.

So while there are no hard and fast commandments for creating “THE best Facebook post,” there are some ground rules. Read below for tips and tricks on how to make your Facebook posts even better.

WHIP Social Media and marketing

1. DO make sure your grammar and spelling is correct.

It doesn’t matter how compelling your post is – if there’s errors, it distracts readers and makes you look not-so-great. Mistakes happen sometimes, but proofread, proofread, proofread to prevent them at all costs. You want to look polished and professional on your Facebook page at all times.

2. DON’T post things that are totally irrelevant.

A think tank shouldn’t post clips of Jersey Shore, and a fun, young boutique shouldn’t post a New York Times article about global warming. Facebook content should be diverse and non-repetitive, but it should also be relevant to your audience.

3. DO include a picture if you can.

You know what they say: a picture is worth a thousand words. If you can include a compelling image or graphic to go with your post – or even stand alone as a post itself – do! Seeing a relevant photo with your post is generally more likely to draw readers’ eyes than just a big block of text.

4. But DON’T include just any photo.

The key words from the last tip are “compelling” and “relevant.” Don’t include a blurry photo that your 5 year old took – that’s not compelling. Don’t include a photo of a donkey in a post about a unicorn – that’s not relevant. Find a good image that’s high quality from a site like Unsplash that offers free images.

5. DO keep it simple.

You may know a lot about your product/services/politics stance/topic/expertise, but assume those reading your post don’t. Avoid using jargon and explain any phrases or acronyms that outsiders might not understand (KPI, USAID, RBI, LARC, etc). A good rule of thumb (for most places) is to keep content at an 8th grade level. If a 13 year old would be confused, you should probably tone it down a little.

The major takeaway is that you should always be thinking about your audience when crafting Facebook posts. If you don’t know your audience, figure out who they are so you can cater to them! That’s the best way to create meaningful Facebook posts.

5 Basic Stats About Social Media

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There’s a lot of information about social media out there nowadays, and it’s hard to keep track of what’s important and what’s not. Different things matter to different people (ie: what’s important to Coca-Cola is probably not as important to a small bank), but here are some statistics about social media that are relevant to pretty much everyone.

  • Internet users have an average of 7.6 social media accounts. Some of the most popular and recognizable are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, but other sites like Snapchat, Tumblr, Reddit, Pinterest, and Google+ also draw users.
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  • Facebook has the most users of any social media site. By far. Facebook has more than 2 billion users, followed by YouTube with 1.5 billion and Instagram with 800 million. Overall, there are more than 3 billion social media users. That is a heck. of. a. lot. of. people.
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  • According to a 2011 study, 27 million pieces of content are shared every day. This is both good and bad for companies. There is a lot of opportunity for your content to be shared, but there’s also a lot of competition. Content has to be compelling in order for people to share it, so make sure it’s good!
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  • 500 million people visit Twitter each month without logging in. Add that to the 330 million users with accounts, and Twitter can be an incredibly powerful platform. There are 6,000 tweets sent every second — which is more than 500 million per day.
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  • 60% of Snapchat users are under the age of 25 and in 2016, $90 million was spent on Snapchat ads. While Snapchat draws a massive amount of young people, it doesn’t perform nearly as well with older demographics, who are more typically heavy Facebook users.