Trust = Value

I've been a LinkedIn user for several years and grateful to have many, Linked In Image
many people with whom I've made the decision to link with.  I also do a daily business broadcast and one of the stocks that has made news over the past week is LinkedIn. 

On April 30 LinkedIn stock was going for $252.13 a share. Today the price has plunged to $198.20. Why? The company shared user data which indicates a growing trend in users year over year however the professional networking company reported lower than expected guidance for the next quarter, leading to a significant drop in its stock price. Still falling as of today.

LinkedIn says it is the strong dollar that is giving it troubles.  However, we're wondering if the shine might be gone because many active users, me included, wonder if we can trust the information LinkedIn provides.

Take for example their newer method of helping you keep in touch with your LinkedIn connections. You've all seen the box that gives you tips on who has a new photo, a new job or a promotion. Trouble is many times that information is not correct or it's simply confusing.

Rather than clicking "Congrats" and moving on.  I like to click on the members profile when I'm told they have a new job only to learn they have been on the same job for years and only recently updated some information.  Yet there is a string of "Congrats!" in the member profile.

Value can often be linked to trust.  If I can't trust the information LinkedIn is giving me how much value can I place on the product?

So, what's your LinkedIn experience like.  I'd be interested. Perhaps I've got this all wrong.

Thanks for reading!

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No, Don't Ignore It!

I was having a conversation with a business friend of mine who was railing Man Noiseagainst "these social media sites" that share customer input on their experience.  That would include Yelp, TripAdvisor and yes Facebook and Twitter among others.  He said, "I don't know why they complain on social media how come they don't say something when they are in the store so we can fix it there?"

He has a point but, welcome to the digital age where anything and everything goes.

I asked him what he does when he gets a social media complaint and he said, "I ignore it.  It's just stupid and it will go away."

But, it won't.  There is a way to deal with social media complaints that, as you do it, actually boosts your brand.  Here are some tips:

  • Acknowledge to Goof - If something happened that ticked off a customer don't hide from it.  Use it as a way to show your ability to listen to the customer;
  • Offer to Make It Right - True, some folks just want to play mean but if the complaint is real find a way to fix it and say so. And, don't be afraid to do it publicly;
  • Be Nice - Look, we get it...nothing feels better than to fire off a Tweet or a Facebook Post so you can "get back".  That is until somebody out there copies the post, circulates it and then who looks bad?  Resist the impulse;
  • Use the Moment - While it's true that in the digital age anybody can complain about anything and often stay anonymous.  No matter if it's a "troll" or for real.  Use the moment to help consumers better understand who and what you are really like.

I really liked this piece from Hootsuite and how they used negative comments to re-build:  

 

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Doing It Right!

A couple of weeks ago I was having trouble finding my favorite flavor of AmarettoCoffee-Mate. Never bothered asking the local Hy-Vee about it because I figured it would show up sooner than later.

Three weeks into the "Amaretto Coffee-Mate Drought" I popped off a Tweet to @Coffee_Mate who responded, timely by the way, "We're sorry but Amaretto has been retired why don't you try..."

WHAT?  No Amaretto Coffee-Mate?  My mornings were going to from sleepy to sad...very sad.

Over the past couple of weeks I Tweeted my disdain to my former friends @Nestle and @Coffee_Mate. Ya know, photos of the Coffee-Mate section without Amaretto. A friend of mine even chimed in with #FreeTheAmaretto for Twitter.  The brand was sorry for my troubles and suggested that maybe some new "Caramel and Coconut Girl Scout" flavor might be a replacement. What?  Who thinks of this stuff?

This past Sunday I included @Hy_Vee in my tweet...moaning about the loss of the Amaretto flavor. Within a few minutes I get a Tweet back suggesting that I send an email to hvcs@hy-vee.com with my concern. Told them the flavor was retired but went ahead and sent an email anyway. On Sunday! Within the hour I got a response...from a real person...with a real name and a real email address.  

Amaretto Coffee CreamerShocked!  Who does this?  What no Bot response...but a nice note from Kourtney?  

I responded back...just to make sure it wasn't a Bot and she wrote back, "You’re most welcome Michael! We run a 24/7 operation here so if you ever have any store requests or Fuel Saver inquires there will be someone here to take care of it!"

Oh...so what did I do?  Made my own!  Another friend on Twitter supplied me with this recipe and BAM we're in business...and, of course, I picked up the ingredients from..."My Hy-Vee".

Welcome to Des Moines Price Chopper...you've got some work ahead of you.

 

Well played Hy-Vee...very!

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Smart Business or Just Don't Care?

It's the political season.  You can tell by the number of signs sprouting Man Dunce Cap up all over the place. And, along with that is a trend that, seems to me, to be retail suicide.

A growing number of retail businesses are posting political signs in front of their business. (I'd post the photos but why offer free publicity?) Either this is a stroke of brilliance or it's really dumb.

It is brilliant if you, as the business owner, believe that everybody is on your side or you, frankly, don't care what other people think and from this time forward you wish to cater only to those customers who share your political beliefs.

It's really dumb if you believe anything in that statement.

Why would a retail business seek to alienate a consumer base?  Even if that retail establishment honestly thinks 90% of consumers agree with their political statement...they are still willing to offer up the "single finger salute" to those who don't?

This might very well be a mirror of our inability to have a civil conversation in this nation.  When retail can say, "To hell with those who disagree with me!" I guess there is deeper issue.

So, what do you think?

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The "Book" and its "Cover"

He was a little stand-offish this guy in the dark suit with the bright red Dave Sanderson August 2014 tie and matching pocket square.

During a recent Midwest Speakers Bureau Showcase, something where professional speakers are given (in this case) twelve minutes to impact a room full of professional meeting planners...he didn't interact much with the other speakers in the room.

Dave Sanderson was getting ready to speak.  He was focused on his craft. He didn't want to be distracted. However, my first thought was that he, perhaps, thought better of himself than his fellow speakers  I was wrong.

Following his speech we sat down together and I opened up the conversation by saying, "Are those (shoes) Allen Edmonds?"  Dave looked at me smiled and said, "Yes, the best huh?"  We had a nice conversation about being well dressed, the value in buying high quality products and staying focused.

You know that old saying, "You can't judge a book by it's cover."? I truly enjoyed the time we spent together. I learned another lesson along with staying...focused.  Oh, his story?  Ever hear about "The Miracle on the Hudson"?  Dave was part of that adventure.  Go ahead...have a look.

(Photo Credit: Dave holding a photo of Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger holding the child Dave helped save - Diane Crone - West Des Moines. You can click to enlarge.)

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Michael Libbie is the principal of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and host of the daily business news broadcast, Insight on Business the News Hour.


Old School?

It's 7AM on Sunday and I'm in the office writting "GREAT to Meet YOU!" Thank You Notesnotes to roughly one-hundred people I met last Friday during the 16th Annual Midwest Speakers Bureau Speakers Showcase and Iowa Meetings Expo.

Yep, I could have sent an email but that's not my brand besides, I'd rather not be deleted with a push of a button.

Sure, it's pretty old school but there is something about sitting down and writing words on a piece of paper that links us...better than LinkedIn:

  • Time - It's valuable and taking time to write to your customers/clients and new friends is an investment in branding;
  • Personal - Sure you can personalize your email but why not take the extra step and communicate something special;
  • Memorable - So few people write words on paper anymore that it's highly likely this "note" will at least get noticed and, perhaps, sit on a desk for a day or so.

Shameless self promotion?  No, taking the time to write also allows us a chance to reflect on exactly what we are doing...adding value to a brief meeting that, when action is taken, benefits the writer and the reader.

So, what do you think?

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Michael Libbie is the principal of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and host of the daily business news broadcast, Insight on Business the News Hour.


This is Killing New Business...Dead.

Honestly, I want to help so here is something that will help your business grow while improving your brand.  (And, it's free!) FREE (2)

You know that automated answering system you have on your telephone? The one that asks me to "Enter the extension of the person you are trying to reach" or "Using the key-pad, type in the first few letters of the first name of the person you are trying to reach".

You know...That System?

It's killing your brand and your business, especially new business.

What if I don't know who the sales manager or salesperson is? Or worse yet the first name is Cathy and not Kathy?  Your answer: "Oh, just punch zero!"

Really?

And then what?  Get a voice mail like, "You've reached our general voice mail system, please leave your message at the tone."

You care that much about business...new business...to direct me to your "General Voice Mail System"?  Nice touch.

Why is your time more important than the customer who has a question or wants to buy something?

Have a good answer?

I didn't think so. 

Two things:

  • Hire Your Brand Expert - Get a real person to answer the phones and direct traffic. Then train them in your brand effort. This is an investment in your brand and your business.
  • Your Voice Mail - Change it...daily. Let people KNOW that you actually check the voice mail and that if they leave you a message you'll call them back.

Two simple, free pieces of advice that will have a major impact on your brand and your business.  Hey, it's what we do.

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Michael Libbie is the principal of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and the host of Insight on Business the News Hour.

 

 


Contact Us...Really?

I've just spent thirty minutes on two different non-profit websites Contact Us attempting to connect with somebody...anybody.  No, we're not selling anything we're wanting to offer some airtime on our business radio broadcast. For...free. However there is zero contact information...zero.

Let's see if we can help:

Websites, in this century, are not only billboards about your business or your non-profit business they are communication tools that help you interact among members, consumers, future members, future consumers. Increasingly people search on-line first before making an investment in nearly...anything.  But, don't take my word for it. PriceWaterhouseCoopers finds that 80% of global consumers research products online before buying in stores, and that 73% of U.S. consumers do.  And that study is three years old!

Don't hide your contact information.  Some quick tips:

  • Contact Us Page - Make sure you have one and that it gives the visitor some sense that you'll actually respond;
  • Phone Number - Some folks still use one. List it and return the call; 
  • Info@Us - Avoid using "Info" or "Contact" as "names in the contact email.  It takes seconds to put a real person's name there.  People want to communicate with people not..."Info";
  • Be Welcoming - You do want consumers to interact with you...right? Make your "Contact us Page" welcoming and open for dialogue. 
  • Photos - If you have an Executive Director, you know the person that is the paid face and voice of your non-profit, use his/her photo if possible and at the beginning of the bio have that link to the email address;
  • Respond - I know, it's a pain to communicate with customers and if you ignore them long enough...they will ignore your business/non-profit.  Why risk the alienation?;
  • LinkedIn - You may have heard about it.  If you have somebody that is the face and voice of your business or non-profit why not use this method as an additional way to connect with consumers?

Seven things that will help you better communicate with folks that want to know more about you...your company...your non-profit.  Do you have others?

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in the Des Moines Metro and the fuel that powers Insight on Business, The News Hour. Our Twitter Handle is @InsightADV and our Facebook Page is right here.

Thanks for reading!


So, You Wanna LinkUp?

We have this "love/hate" relationship to LinkedIn.  We love the  Linked In No Photo
opportunity to connect with individuals from all over the world and in different fields. Reading their original thoughts helps us grow and learn. The "hate relationship" is nearly equal. Most of the posts (90%) we see are not original thoughts.  They are posts written by others that our LinkedIn connections think are good...and nothing wrong with that. However what do YOU think? What do YOU have to say?  So, here's some quick tips to enhance your LinkedIn experience.

  • Your Photo - No really.  LinkedIn is considered a "professional resource" that means a photo of your cat might not be the best. However, a photo of your cat is better than no photo at all.  Post your photo.
  • Contact Information - Post it. If, for some reason we need to make a phone call to your office it might be a good idea for you to post your phone number...unless you're really not interesting in making a real connection. Same goes with other contact pieces.
  • Think Original - If you do a blog or have an opinion in your business world...post it.  We understand it's tough if you work for someone else. But, if you can post original thoughts...do so. It helps.
  • Read the Content - LinkedIn offers up content that tends to be in your professional space. (Amazing what they know huh?) Take some time to read it...some great original ideas.
  • Don't Simply Recommend - We LOVE it when a person recommends any of our crew.  However, at the same time it's better to reach out and comment on more than just "Say congrats on a new job".  Which BTW is often not really a "new job".  LinkedIn has some issues when you update your profile. (See they don't know THAT much!).

You have some LinkedIn Tips too?  GREAT!  Feel free to make a comment and thanks for reading!

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We're Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications a full service advertising agency that is also the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour heard Monday through Friday on 1350-KRNT and in podcast form right here.  


What Your Voice Mail Says...About Your Business

We take this voice mail thing seriously.  Each day we update our out- Man Fingers in Earsgoing message.  It let's clients, vendors and others know that we actually check voice mail and their message doesn't get...lost. Here is that post with simple tips to make your voice mail work for you.

The other day we reached out to a local business, at their request. Here is the message we heard from a woman at the business: "Thank you for calling. We open at 3PM. Messages left here are not checked."  

Huh?  Well, at least they "thanked" us for calling.

Uhm...one word: Stunned.  So much so that four days after calling it's still bugging us. Guess we could call after 3PM but we're more likely just to pass on this one.

Are we wrong?

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Insight Advertisng, Marketing & Communications is based in Des Moines, Iowa and is the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour a daily business broadcast.