Image by Mario Sundar

Editor’s note: The following is a guest blog written by Jon Moss. Jon and I first connected on twitter and then “IRL” while having coffee at Social Slam 2011. We re-connected after his excellent LinkedIn presentation at Social Slam 2012.

“Are you IN?” That was the question I asked attendees at Social Slam 2012. While a lot of people who embrace social media as a means of marketing may be on LinkedIn – meaning they have a profile – the percentage of those who actually dive in and use the myriad of features it offers is far less.

One of the misconceptions about LinkedIn is it’s for finding a job, or posting a resume or profile. While it does offer robust features to accomplish all that, it is so much more. Let’s take a look at some of what it can do for you.

1. SEO-ize Yourself
Back when I was learning of the importance of ranking high in Google searches I realized I had a problem. When searching my name pictures of Boy George always came up on page one. Turned out we had something in common. The drummer for Culture Club (Boy George’s boyfriend at the time), and I shared the same name.

One had to go several pages deep into Google before anything related to me came up. Not good. What was good for me was that LinkedIn profiles rank very high in search. Thank you LinkedIn for putting me back on page one of Google! To borrow from a Culture Club song, “I’ll tumble for ya, LinkedIn”

2. See Who’s Checking You Out
LinkedIn has a cool feature that allows you to see who’s recently looked at your profile. Sure it may seem creepy, but it’s so cool when thinking about what you can do with that information. Imagine you’ve been trying to get in the door with a certain company only to find out they’re checking you out. How about you sent your resume off to a recruiter and now they’re reviewing your profile. A well thought out email or phone call while you’re fresh in their mind could do the trick.

Just keep in mind this works in reverse too. People can see when you’ve been looking at their profiles so be careful when stalking your competition! There are ways to go around this though. You can disable the feature in settings, but you lose the ability to see who’s looking at you. For now, when you browse people from the smartphone app, LinkedIn does not register that you’ve looked at their profile.

3. Signal & LinkedIn Today
Get news on your sector aggregated by your industry connections. It’s like an online industry publication crowd sourced by your peers. Keep tabs on people in your network. Reach out to them when appropriate. If information is power, then this is your source.

4. Groups
Places for like minded professionals to hang out. Most flock to groups geared towards their industry, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Go deeper by diving into groups where your customers hang out. If you sell insurance to doctors how many leads do you think are waiting for you in the “Underwriters of America” group? Got the point? Now get yourself into the groups where they hang, but don’t jump in and start selling. Restrain yourself young salesbuck. Get a feel for the group. Respond to questions by others when you have something of value to add.

Groups can be industry specific, geographic in nature, or centered around activities. Whether avocation or hobby, find the ones where the people you want to meet are in. If you can’t find a group that tailors to a specific group, go ahead and create it yourself. As a group administrator you’ll be in a better position to connect with members.

5. Company Profile
You have a profile on LinkedIn, and your company can have one too. Like Facebook Pages, an LI company profile lets you post products and services, have customers provide reviews/ratings and make recommendations. It’s a great space to claim. People are researching companies just like they are people on LinkedIn nowadays.

6. Pimp Your Blog
Want more exposure for your blog? Pin it on your LinkedIn profile. Imagine all that good stuff you’re writing being seen by everyone checking you out LinkedIn. A prospect quickly comes to realize you’re the expert they’ve been looking for. Your future employer see you’ve got a knack for writing. A competitor realizes they can no longer compete with you and throws in the towel. You are still blogging, right?

7. Add Video
If only you could add video to your LinkedIn profile, then you could show everyone how awesome you really are. Wait, you can. The technology is available. Queue theme from The Six Million Dollar Man. It just takes adding the Slideshare application and embedding a YouTube video. You do have a YouTube channel, no?

8. Answers
This could very well be the most overlooked feature on LinkedIn. Imagine a place where you can have your questions answered by professionals anxious to display their depth of knowledge. Why pay $300 an hour for legal advice when you can get it for free on LinkedIn?

We’re not talking random generic answers, rather insightful thought out responses to your questions. LinkedIn Answers ingeniously allows professionals to ask and answer questions on a wide variety of topics. I know what you’re thinking. Why would someone bend over backwards to give “free” advice to someone they’ve never met before?

When you provide an answer, the “asker” of the question gets to pick who they felt gave the best answer. LinkedIn, in return, awards a “star” to the “askee” for providing the best answer. Earn enough stars and you show up as an expert in that particular topic.

I can personally attest to the power of having lots of stars having picked up new clients by demonstrating expertise, having my competition actually recommending me, and receiving phone calls from national publications wanting to interview me all because of the answers I gave to questions on LinkedIn.

9. Don’t Cross The Streams
On the surface it seemed like a good idea. Connect your Facebook to Twitter and LinkedIn, post to one and you’re done. Right? Wrong!  Don’t do it. LinkedIn is the only platform that’s strictly business. Leave the puppies, the Instagrams of your lunch and everything else you wouldn’t share in person with your employer, client or prospect at the door. Muddy your LI status with hashtags and Foursquare checkins and risk losing relevance. If you don’t believe me, listen to these experts.

10. Go Mobile
LinkedIn’s iOS apps are amazing. With calendar integration the iPad app could become the killer app from which to run one’s schedule. If you’re in sales or run a business, chances are you’re not chained to desk. Packed full of features, the LI mobile apps let you carry your network on the go. Lose the Rolodex, and get down to business with real information at your fingertips. Anywhere. Anytime.

Final Thoughts
It’s amazing when I think back years ago when my company paid thousands of dollars to Dun & Bradstreet and Hoovers for access to business information and personnel. A lot of it is now available for free thanks to LinkedIn. Gold awaits those who seek it. Are you ready to go mining?

So there you have it. Some features of LinkedIn you may have missed. It’s not just the oldest social networking platform, it’s the most powerful in terms of business and professional networking — for those wanting to get down to business.

Here’s video of the presentation and slideshow I did at Social Slam – http://mmlabs.biz/2012/05/talking-linkedin-at-social-slam-2012/

Jon Moss


When he’s not infusing new media with marketing ideas at Moss Media Labs, Jon Moss can be found fiddling with the latest gadgets and mobile apps. Available by email at  or via Twitter @jonfmoss

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MarketingMel speaks to ETSU's P.R.S.S.A student chapter

Last year’s blog post “How to Find a Job in Public Relations” was extremely popular, particularly with college students preparing to head out into the workforce. So I decided to turn it into a less-than-three minute video with the hope of helping even more people along the way.  For the pro’s viewing this, please share any tips you would like to add for our recent college graduates who are looking for communications jobs. Thanks!

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My sister, Ann Marie Plubell, holds pandas at Wolong Reserve, Sichuan China in 2000

My sister, Ann Marie Plubell,  is in China preparing to give a presentation at IPv6  and she’s asking her family members for last minute advice.  Now, speaking in the United States, generally before peers and fellow English speakers can bring about its own case of the butterflies. But the thought of presenting in English while simultaneously being translated into Chinese could make even the most confident of speakers downright queasy!

My brother and I both jumped in to assist her, making a few comments on her slides and passing along a couple of  our favorite presentation videos. I shared one from Guy Kawasaki. The social marketing guru has become synonymous with the 10-20-30 rule. I got to hear him present this information live when I met him at the Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston last fall. He is so “enchanting” when he presents, he keeps the audience mesmerized.

My brother, Phil Plubell, a veteran teacher, provided the following outstanding suggestions:

  1. “Take notes when the other panelists are talking and refer to some of their points in your presentation, if possible.  “As Mr. X pointed out …”  That shows respect for your fellow panelists.  It also demonstrates to the audience that this is a “live” performance, and that you are not just “reading the slides.”
  2. Never appear to be rushed.  The impression is bad.There is a tendency to “rush through” a slide show when the time limit approaches.  If it looks like you are going to run long, right-click for the shortcut menu, then “Go to slide” and jump ahead a few slides if necessary.  This is more elegant than rushing through the slides.
  3. Have a strong opening and a strong close.  
  4. Don’t worry about “flop sweat” or “opening night jitters.”  All speakers experience it. My brother has taught thousands of classes.  Yet he still wrestles with; “Will the audience finally figure out I’m a fraud, and I’ve been in the wrong field all my life?” anxiety every time he teaches a new class. His answer to the self-doubt “Am I good enough?” is “I might not be the best, but I’m the best available to do this particular presentation right now.  It’s showtime!”

Then my brother suggested the “Ba-Da-Bing” video where the instructor illustrates her example by using the simple method she designed to help children craft sentences and stories. Love that teaching concept and it may prove helpful to my sister as she visualizes her presentation.

What are some of your favorite presentation tips? I don’t know if my sister will be able to read your comments in time for her speech in China, but surely we can help her (and others) for the next time! Thanks for participating. I’d love to hear your stories of what works for you.

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Editor’s Note: This launches the first in a month long series  on Relationship Marketing.

`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ (asked Alice.)
`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat. 
`I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice. 
`Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.

Ryan Sauers, MarketingMel and two Milligan students, Lauren and Brittany

Recently I had the opportunity to hear Ryan Sauers speak to the Knoxville Social Media Club. Ryan, a consultant who’s an excellent communicator and speaker, gave us the highlights from his new book, Everyone’s in Sales. He began by discussing the era of “transformational change” that we live in and the fact that, “We are all communicators. Right now there are 23 ways to communicate with me.”

Did all of this technology cause us to gain more hours in the week? No.

“168 is the great equalizer,” says Ryan. “That’s how many hours we all have. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from or how old you are. It’s not that you didn’t have time, it’s that you didn’t make time. You have a choice. ”

“Be unique and be authentic it all comes back to real world relationships,” says Ryan. ” You are not filtered anymore. The world is so wide and yet more connected than ever.”

Here are some more great comments that Ryan made during his talk:

  • Don’t become complacent! In life you are either going forward or backwards.
  • Your brand is what people think about when your name comes up. Tell me about your company, engage me!
  • Reputation, attributes, name and distinctiveness Be purposeful deliberate and intentional in all your communications. Think it through.
  • The longer a problem sits the worse it gets. Decision by indecision is bad. Paralysis by analysis is bad. Sometimes it’s ok to get a B plus.
  • As the Cheshire cat said to Alice (above) when she asked, If you don’t know where you’re going then any road will do

Ryan reviewed the 5 Cs of effective communications

1. Clarity: Are you clear in using clarity on every post? In what you are trying to communicate?

2. Consistency: Are you consistent in what you do day after day? Can people count on you and your message and tone?

3. Content: It’s  what you’re writing about, your core

4.Connections: Do you work hard to connect others?

5. Creativity: Allows you or me to be you or me.

Reframing communications as sales as he discusses in this short video that I conducted with him.

Ryan concluded there are three types of communicators: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and  those who wonder what happened.”


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Photo credit: José Manuel Suárez

Editor’s note: The following is a guest blog post by Ken Fairbanks, a lifelong learner who is now Director of Distance & Distributed Learning at Wytheville Community College. 

Distance learning, cloud computing, social networking, desktop virtualization, augmented reality, smartphones, tablets and the arrival of the post PC era… this all sounds a little scary, huh? Welcome to the world we live in. A world impossible to predict. A world characterized by disruptive technological, social and economic change. How do we prepare ourselves, our employees and children for the future?

The answer is “Lifelong Learning.”

Disclaimer: I work in higher education. I am the Director of  Distance & Distributed Learning at a community college and what you are about to read is more than a little biased.

I just want to get that out of the way!

This should not be news to you. Most of us, who have survived the business climate changes over the past two decades, have internalized the idea of lifelong learning and adaptability. How many job and career changes have you experienced? Depending on your age, you’ve probably had at least two or more. It’s now predicted that new high school graduates may experience 8-10 career changes in their lifetimes. That’s career changes… no wonder my college student son can’t decide on a major!

What we need is a new educational model that is focused more on creating a new breed of entrepreneurial workers, who can adapt to rapid change. A system more about knowledge acquisition and problem solving and less about taking standardized tests.

I think Sir Ken Robinson in the video below and a recent manifesto by Seth Godin are on the right path.

The biggest changes occurring now… are how, where, and when we are learning. When I transitioned into higher education in 2001, distance learning was still pretty new and many thought it was a fad, while others dismissed it as inferior to the traditional face-to-face education model. Today, that has changed and around 30% of all college students nationwide are enrolled in at least one online course and by 2014, that number is predicted to increase to 50%.

Being part of the change doesn’t make us immune to change. Distance learning itself is undergoing massive upheaval… the past two years have been all about mobile devices. Our assumption that students taking online courses, were using a computer to access their materials and perform their work has been shattered. Increasingly, students are using smartphones and tablet devices to complete online coursework. It’s simple economics, smartphones and tablet prices are falling making these devices ubiquitous and our primary tools for accessing the Internet. Students can also use their mobile device to interact with the world around them in real time and share their experience with fellow learners and instructors. Now we have mobile learning… talk about a game changer!

Augmented Reality (AR) will be the next evolution in technology to impact education. We are currently planning AR campus tours using Google Earth and the Layar app. Google has announced that they will be releasing AR glasses by December 2012,  very similar to the Nokia prototype highlighted in the below video.

The future of higher education and distance learning is evolving, as new competitors from the private sector enter the marketspace and big brands like MIT, Stanford and Harvard reinvent themselves. The ideas of open source content and education are gaining popularity. MIT and Stanford are now placing many of their online courses on Apple’s iTunesU for free download by anyone interested in learning. Of course, if you want their degree you will have to pay… but the learning is still there for the taking. Companies have formed their own universities for training and new entries like Khan Academy that are blowing up the traditional education model. The key over the next few years, will be the accreditation of these new open source forms of education.

Add to this disrupted reality, the recession driven increases in college enrollments and decreases in government funding and you will find higher education scrambling to embrace new technology to drive down costs and remain competitive.

I’m proud to say that community colleges have been in the forefront of many of these educational advances. I think the reason for our success has been our small size, connection to the community and ability to adapt quickly to meet the needs of today’s business and industry leaders. Community colleges have become the higher education equivalent of the start-up tech firm that can easily adjust and seize new market opportunities.

As business leaders what do we need to take away from this?

  1. We need to embrace change and look for value adding employees capable of adapting to the changes and competitive forces in the marketplace.
  2. We need to continuously invest in ourselves and our employees (human intellectual capital) through internal and external educational opportunities.
  3. We need to stay abreast of new technologies and leverage them for training and building value in our employees.
  4. We need to realize that the new generation of workers coming up, will expect instant access to education and training through mobile technology.
  5. We need to recognize that our current education model needs to change, if it’s to be successful at meeting the demands of our new economy.

About the Author: Ken Fairbanks is Director of Distance & Distributed Learning at Wytheville Community College, in Wytheville, Virginia. Ken also works as a multimedia designer and provides corporate training in leadership, problem solving, marketing and team building. Prior to moving into higher education, Ken was Director of Marketing for a successful advertising agency in the Tri-Cities and also worked in the television news business as a reporter and anchor for several years. Ken currently lives in Abingdon, Virginia with his wife Beth and two boys. When he’s not developing online courses or blowing up Facebook and Twitter with his latest thoughts… he’s probably running, walking, or biking on the Virginia Creeper Trail! You can contact Ken via Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook

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Just recently I had the pleasure of meeting Erik Proulx, the creator of Lemonade on a Google Hang-out. Lemonade was a 35 minute documentary that came out three years ago. With its theme “is it a pink slip or a blank page?” the film featured creatives who had lost their jobs and gone on to far greater things. I loved the movie and thrived on its message. It was just what my late father, an entrepreneur himself, always taught me: “When life gives you lemons, honey, make lemonade.” Now Erik is shooting a new documentary called Lemonade Detroit and I am celebrating three years as a marketing entrepreneur. In reflecting on the past three years, things have changed quite a bit. Now we have iPads and Pinterest  and I get to “meet” cool people like Erik in a Google hang-out. My once indispensable Blackberry has been replaced with an iPhone. And, I find the general public doesn’t find my fondness for twitter quite so odd anymore. It’s been a journey.

This is my lemonade story.

Three years ago my former co-worker Tim Story and I sat at Panera Bread sipping coffee and planning our futures. Both of us had recently been laid off from an interactive agency that was hit hard by the recession. I did not even own my own laptop yet and Tim was using a borrowed one. Tim knew I was an entrepreneur at heart who wanted to start my own marketing and public relations firm, so he volunteered to register my domain name. In betweeen sips, he looked up from his machine and asked for the name of my new company. I said without hesitating, “MarketingMel.” I had already established the name on twitter and when you googled “MarketingMel” it soared to the top of the page, far ahead of a well known actor whose first name I share. Who could argue with that? A company was born.

Tim has gone onto success in his new career and he has helped me as a freelancer with SEO work for some of my clients. For three years I’ve had the privilege of working with fantastic business professionals, guiding them with their communications and awareness efforts including marketing, public relations and social media strategies. Together with my “virtual ad agency team” we’ve collaborated to create award winning web sites, logos,videos and more.

When I tell people I’ve been in business three years they generally congratulate me and comment that many entrepreneurs don’t make it past the first year.  Shortly after that groundbreaking cup of coffee I attended two workshops at the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at ETSU including one on writing a business plan.  For those of you who may be thinking of starting your own business, here are some pitfalls to avoid and tips on starting a small business. Chief among those, writing and then working your business plan.  I would add to that be sure to have an annual strategic planning session for your company (even if you’re a solo) and refer back to it often throughout the year. And as for your business’ name, well, I recommend something with staying power. I am MarketingMel and I’ve been in business three years. Let’s have some lemonade to celebrate!

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A dad takes out his anger on his daughter's laptop

The following is a guest blog post from 7 Waves Cathy Founder, Cathy Rodgers

How Social is That & What Would Dave Ramsey Do?

By Cathy Rodgers

With the viral spread of a dad trying to teach his daughter a lesson on Facebook, it gives one pause to think of what the long-term effects of social media are, and what the long-term effects are on all the relationships involved.

Is this too much family information gone public?  What is the impact of all this personal information sharing?  Where does it all end?

Many view the incident of shooting the daughter’s computer as a total act of anger, but as a parent myself, I view this as a total waste of money (plus I know I will have to shell out money for something later because teenagers are not cheap). Having a lot of friends who are Dave Ramsey providers, I receive frequent tips, hints, and “think before you do that” lessons.  I wonder what the financial guru himself would say?


All opinion aside, people from all over the nation have either sided with this father or decided to hate him.  The sad thing is the father is a small business owner, yet has generated as much hate and love as a politician.  I wonder if he is prepared for the impact this will have on his business?  This could be considered a PR crisis for him and his family.


Here are a Few Insights


  1. If you are a business owner, everything you do or say on social media channels can be judged in relation to the image of your business.  You may be the best at what you do, but business is conducted based on relationships.
  2. Relationships tend to have a “ripple” impact within a business community.  If the talk of the cocktail party is the video dad and some think he is a “psycho” or “angry,”  yet others already have loyalty to the business, will that lead to loyal clients sending more business referrals as they put their own reputation on the line?
  3. Even if the father decides to get out of the limelight and takes down the You Tube video and deletes his personal Facebook page, will it all be forgotten?  At this stage, the whole subject has achieved the “tipping” point in information sharing and can continue to be talked about as much as murder in a small town.
  4. What is the impact on others?  This short list shows how far reaching social media really is. I wonder if the father thought about the impact this video would have on all the people affected (and how they digest and respond to the information within their own homes and families).  Let’s take a look at just a few of those impacted by this video:
    1. His own daughter, Hannah.
    2. All members of Hannah’s immediate and extended family.
    3. All of Hannah’s close friends.
    4. The parents and grandparents of those friends.
    5. Hannah’s church family (or sports teams).
    6. People who do business with the father.
    7. People who live and work in the town they live in.
    8. Vendors and business partners of the father.
    9. The teachers in the school Hannah attends.
    10. Hannah’s future opportunities for high school, employment and college.
    11. More …

I invite you to view this video for yourself.  Do you see relationship building here?

Cathy Rodgers, 7 Waves Cathy


Cathy Rodgers is the owner of Seven Waves Marketing, a Social Media, PR, and Online Marketing Co. established in 2009. Cathy has over 20 years of experience broadcasting stories through copywriting outlets: newspapers columns, blogging, social media, and photography outlets. Visit Seven Waves Marketing or look for @7wavescathy on Twitter

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I had the privilege of attending the first Hubspot Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston in September 2008. That conference was a true “game changer” for me as I heard both Seth Godin and David Meerman Scott telling those of us interested in social media marketing that we were on the edge of something big. It was a pleasure to return three years later to realize how true their words really were and to see how far we as professional marketing and communications people have come. (You can see my video interview from IMS11 on The Pulse Network here.)

Over the course of the next few weeks I plan to share nuggets of information about the outstanding thought leaders who spoke to us.

I’ll start with my favorite, noted social media marketing guru and author Guy Kawasaki. (Guy truly had “rock star” status at this conference as attendees, myself and friend Cathy Rodgers included, lined up to meet him.)

Guy Kawasaki at IMS11 with MarketingMel and 7wavesCathy

In preparation to hear Guy I read his book “Enchantment.” Like all authors, they talk about their latest book when onstage. But Guy has a disarmingly charming way about him that keeps you mesmerized by his stories. He is, well, enchanting.

Here are 10 of my takeaways:

1. Likeability: Have a marvelous smile (Mari Smith’s charming smile was his example), dress equal to your peers and pefect your handshake.

Facebook guru Mari Smith has a great smile

2. Achieve Trustworthiness:  Become bakers, not eaters. (Great word picture isn’t it?) Trust others. Default to “Yes. How can I help you?”

3. Perfect your product. He used the Ford MyKey program in which parents can pre-set the volume and top speed of a car as an example. Provide value. It is much easier to enchant with really good stuff!

4. Have a mantra. Guy’s is “empower people.” What’s yours?

5. Conduct a pre-mortem. Ask “why will our product fail?” Come up with all of the reasons beforehand to ensure its success!

6. Plant many seeds. I loved this one. Guy talks about how Marketing 1.0 meant “sucking up to a traditional media hierarchy.” Marketing 2.0 with the power of social networking is flat. The people make it successful and “nobodies are the new somebodies.”

7. Enchant all the influencers!  He gave us a homework assignment to watch Justin Bieber’s movie “Never say Never.” (I did Guy!) Justin and his team enchanted all of the influencers from viewers of his YouTube videos to moms, to girls in parking lots who wanted tickets.

8. Invoke Reciprocation: When you do something for someone and they say “thank you” say, “I know you would do the same for me.”  Think about the power in that line! Then enable people to pay you back.

9. Presentations: Sell your dream! Guy says that Steve Jobs didn’t sell an iPhone he sold something cool and thin and sexy.  Customize your introduction every time and keep your presentation to the 10-20-30 rule; 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font.

10. Use technology to enchant. Don’t make it hard for people to engage with you. He talked about removing the speed bumps and obstacles to communicatingWhat was really humorous was that Guy was given a stick mic for his presentation. He is used to wearing a lapel mic. so his hands can be free. After several comments from Guy, the conference organizers got the hint, removed “the obstacle,” and presented him with a lapel mic.  “Social media is core to existence,” he said. (And Facebook has certainly proven that again with its recent change announcements at F8.)

Although Guy said much more these were a few of my key takeaways. Do you plan to move forward on at least one of these in order to become more enchanting to your employees, customers and loved ones? I do!


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