13 August 2013

10 Social Media Myths

The following social media myths are compiled as a result of obstacles that I meet as a social media consultant.  Most of these apply to using social media for business purposes.  Taking these ideas on board should see that you reap greater rewards from your social media strategy.

Myth 1.  Social media contacts grow organically. 
Well yes they could, but it would take way too long to assemble an audience of a decent size who would listen, take note or appreciate your message.  I keep telling people its all about "reach".  In other words you only reach a small crowd, your message will not travel.  You will only every engage a small percentage of your audience anyway.  This has to be borne in mind.  Also make sure your audience is targeted towards your product or service or your engagement will be wasted.
Myth 2.  Social media is all about you.
No.  The best way to promote your message or your brand is to promote others.  They in turn will promote you.  Its reciprocal and the most effective.  For it to work you have to engage people and of course the right kind of people.   Another approach is to have a number of informative posts or every one sales post.  The exact proportion will need some experimentation.
Myth 3.  Social media is all about selling products and services. 
Again, untrue.  Please take the approach that social media is all about people, people who will need products and services.  This is a big difference and cannot be underestimated.   This extends to the photos and videos.  People expect to see photos and videos with people in them.  My experience has been that no one wants to get into the camera's viewfinder.  Business is about people, enough said. 
Myth 4.  Facebook is the be all and end all of social media. 
I meet so many people who tell how wonderful Facebook is and how many thousands of LIKEs their fan pages have.  Facebook is fine for keeping in touch with your customers but it is slow and difficult to grow from the ground up.
Myth 5.  Twitter only works for celebrities and big brands. 
Ironically if you are a start-up business you will have more success with Twitter than Facebook.  It is easier to drive traffic to your website or blog with Twitter than Facebook. 
Myth 6.  Social media runs itself.   
Untrue.  Social media needs monitoring and input.  You can run all your social media platforms from something like Hootesuite or Ezeesocial but you have to reach out. 
Myth 7.  You can just hire someone to run your social media presence for you. 
Yes, you can.  However social media is driven by a fuel called content.  Content can be blog article or links but they all tell a relevant story about your business.  If you ask someone to run their social media and don't provide them with content that only company insiders are privy to, this will end in disaster. 
Myth 8.  Content needs to be viral. 
Those that know about the power of content believe that all content should be viral.  Content only has the opportunity to go viral if it is shared and to share it you need an audience.  Please bare in mind that most content that does actually go viral was never planned to be viral but it had an unexpected component, it got picked up by an industry influencer who shared the link and yes you guessed it, an audience who shared it profusely.
Myth 9.  Social media doesn't work if you have older customers. 
This was originally the case but no more.  The fastest growing demographics on Facebook are the over 50's.
Myth 10.  YouTube is only for teenagers and not for business. 
I constantly meet businesses who shy away from the use of video.  Again many fear the camera but most are unaware of the amount of traffic that a YouTube video can drive to a company's sales page.
I hope I have shattered some of your social media myths for you.  Naturally there are more, but I'd like to think that I have covered the main ones.  Please feel free to post comments below.

4 July 2013

Reasons To Use Sentiment Analysis In Social Media

Have you ever considered the use of sentiment analysis in social media?
Wimbledon fans amongst you would have noticed that the IBM Slamtracker which keeps all the scores at Wimbledon now also gives a sentiment analysis for each player.  This is achieved by monitoring the number of positive or negative tweets and posts on Twitter and Facebook respectively.  Notice the yellow bar graphs below which give the sentiment strength of each player.
Wimbledon Slamtracker also monitors sentiment
The yellow bar graphs gives the sentiment rating for each player 
As the IBM Slamtracker is a predictive tool it seems that an element of the Slamtracker's analytical tools were comparing the sentiment of the crowd for each player against the actual performance of each player.

Why Is Sentiment Analysis Important?

In a day to day situation, sentiment analysis is important because we are more inclined to make a purchase when we are either very sad or very happy.  To change your emotional state we tend buy things.  More often then not we are in a negative state when an impulse purchase is made.  Also be aware that negative sentiment often implies that we need to find and/or buy a solution to an existing problem.  Combining sentiment analysis with keyword search is an ideal way of finding someone who is in need of your services.

How Is This Done?

At a very basic level you can tap into the use of the Twitter Advanced Search Operators.
Typing your keyword(s) into twitter search along with :) , yes that's right, a smiley face, will give positive tweets related to a topic.
:( followed by your keyword will list negative tweets.
In my case I use specialised software to scan my clients tweets for negative sentiment as part of brand monitoring and customer service exercises.  I can also identify worthwhile retweets based on keywords and sentiment analysis.  As ridiculous as it seems, negative retweets get a considerably higher reaction.  The power of emotion I hear you say.

 What Will The Future Hold?

I am told that the CIA already uses sentiment analysis on the video feeds of airport travellers to identify who is a security risk.  I can see sentiment analysis creeping into the images on Facebook.  Who knows this might lead to auto-emoticons.

You might be thinking social media just got a whole lot more involved but hopefully you will consider the use of sentiment analysis in social media.

26 June 2013


Using people power to generate start-up funding
Are you a start-up company looking for seed capital?  Rather than turning to venture capitalists, many start-ups are now turning to crowdfunding platforms.  Artists, filmmakers, would be writers and musicians  all apply for crowdfunding in order to roll out that first commercial project.  Crowdfunding is an ideal way to fund a creative project.  Creators do keep 100% ownership of their work but naturally there is a fee taken of the money raised, typically 5%.

Kickstarter was the first of the crowdfunding platforms and appeared about 3 years ago.  Since then it has funded over 95,000 projects.  The most famous of these was the Pebble watch project which raised over $10 million when in fact they were only looking for $100,000.
Today there are scores of crowdfunding platforms each covering a different crowdfunding niche.
Here's a link to the alternative platforms.

How Does It Work?
The trick is to set a funding level that you realistically wish to achieve.  If you don't get enough interest to reach 100% of your funding you receive no funding at all. 
So how do you put forward your case?  You do this via a video of the proposed project, through graphics, informative text and FAQs.  The trick is to set up a stepped reward system for your backers.  Ideally the higher the investment in you, the more the backer receives in return.  You can see that it makes an ideal platform through which to generate advance orders.
Typically the fundraising takes place over a 30 day period.  The number of days remaining is displayed on the project page along with the number of backers to date and the amount of money pledged to the goal amount.

Things I have Noticed
  • Filling out your Kickstarter project page reminds me a lot of LinkedIn, that the correct content is vital to tell your story and promote your project. 
  • Remember its all about your "orientation" to the donor. 
  • The donors need to be able to identify themselves in the project that you are promoting.
  • Sell the benefits not the features.
  • People donate for emotional reasons.  Typically this will be the reason why or how your project came about.  This makes for a good opening paragraph
  • You need to promote this like hell using social media.  I noticed that the project videos received a lot of Facebook shares but very few tweets.  Personally I would rather see this the other way around.
  • I would suggest having a well built up social network before the clock starts ticking on your crowdfunding project.
  • Bring your offline contacts online and your online community offline.  Create a live event based around the project to raise awareness.  I would highly recommend a group photo of all of the participants, who can then be tagged on Facebook, so that your project Facebook page will get into the newsfeeds of all of their friends.

Cody Rauh, a colleague has launched a crowdfunding project to produce a series of children's therapy puzzles.  The purpose of these puzzles is to aid in the development of children with autism, patients with head injury, stroke victims and the recovery of war veterans.
Please give your support at  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/codyrauh/zoobits

PS I just came across someone crowd funding for a new kidney.

3 June 2013

4 SEO Tips For Bloggers

SEO for bloggers
Below are 4 main aspects of SEO for bloggers to keep an eye on.  I only recently learnt of the importance of  semantic keywords and hope you find the LSI keyword tool interesting.

I have always known about search engine optimisation (SEO) however I have always written for people, not search engines.  As a blogger, you do your level best to deliver value to your reader by giving the best possible content on the subject matter.  You cannot do this if you keyword stuff your articles for the apparent benefit of search engines, all in the vain hope of gaining more organic search. At this stage we are all aware of the Google Panda and Penguin updates that constantly change the SEO playing field.  All the more reason to write for people. 

  • Start with the Google Keyword Tool.  This gives the number of searches for your keyword phrase and how competitive that keyword is.  The Google Keyword Tool is a must use on blog titles.  Ideally you want a title with a high monthly global search of 30,000, if you can get it.  Along with this you want a medium keyword competition.  Its a good idea to use this for titles to boost traffic to your blog.  But just remember Wordpress alone has 63 million blogs.
  • Another important element to a blog post's SEO is the use of your post's keywords in the "tags" section. My blog contains a "tag cloud" which shows more frequently used tags in larger text and also gives access to posts with these tags.
  •  Don't forget the use of a good search description to support the blog title.  Make sure this is different to the blog title.  Here you can use more keywords to describe what the article is about.
  • One thing that I recently stumbled upon to increase my blog posts' SEO was the LSI keyword tool.  This is a free tool that checks the latent semantic index (LSI for short) of your keywords.  What this simply means is that it lists keywords that are related to each other.  The reason for this is that Google expects to see certain keywords about the subject matter in an article of authority.  The LSI keyword tool lists words, two word and three word phrases that Google expects around a keyword that you have entered.  Make a note of the top 5 keyword phrases from each column and use these to structure your post.
These are the basics of SEO for bloggers.  I will add to this with another article shortly.

4 May 2013

How To Write For Viral Marketing

Mention the work "viral" and we all think of a YouTube video such as "Gangnam Style". However blog posts can also be crafted to go viral, provided you capture the interests of your audience.
Below is a list of 10 things based on extensive research that will help your blog posts become more viral.

Capture Your Audience's Attention
Capture Your Audience's Interest

  • Make use of social trends.  Your article or post must cover a hot topic.  If it is yesterday's news, you will have little interest.  So the question is how do you make your post more newsworthy?  Consider using "Google Trends" or "Twitter Trends" to find a choice subject matter.  I had used Google Trends in the past to identify how current some products where and which products were up and coming, but I had never considered using "Google Trends" for article writing.  Likewise many of us use "Twitter Trends" without thinking to see which hashtag keywords are trending on Twitter but never consider applying this to article writing.  Now you know better.  But I will admit it is tricky mixing what you would like to cover with what is currently in the news.  Sometimes timing is everything.
  • Write about universal problems as an alternative to being on trend.  As a counter-pose this strategy is more slow burning but longer burning.  There are no rules to say that you can't mix these two approaches within a blog on a particular subject matter.
  • Spend time with your title. Article titles make or break the number of views your post will get.  In my early days of blogging, I used to change the title several times after publication and observe the reaction.  This is an exercise I would highly recommend.  Sure keywords are important here but so are they in they are arranged and how they are presented.  I guess the issue here is that you, the writer, has one view but your audience may have another.  So get into the mind of your audience. 
  • Write longer articles.  There is a perception that longer articles are more worth sharing, as if the length of an article is social proof of its gravity.  That's the psychology and I respect this but struggle with its implementation at the same time.  Personally I have difficulty waffling. 
  • Use emotion.  In the world of social media there is little room for emotion.  But do your best to build it in where appropriate.  One way to do this is illustrating when small changes bring big results and how these result effect people in a positive way. 
  • Readers skim content in today's world.  Its a fact.  So organise your content with paragraph headlines or key points so that readers get an overview of what you have written.  Only 20% of readers will ever read an article in full, life is too busy. 
  • Write for people and not search engines.  The viral effect is brought about by people not by search engines.  Ok, get your title found by search engines but it is people who will share your article provided it strikes a chord.  Grab their attention and interest, don't exhaust them by saying the same thing over again with different keywords.   Let the article flow naturally. 
  • Have at least one photograph or image at the top of the article.  This image should graphically represent the contents of the article and add interest.  This image is vital if the article/post is to be shared with LinkedIn or Facebook.  The image gives a "flavour" to the text.
  • Make sure your blog has social media share buttons to allow your article to be distributed.  One important point here is make sure the share bar is below the article or post title.  Only 20% of any blogs' audience ever read to the end of an article.  So if you have share button at the article's end they wouldn't get used.  The big point here is that people will  share an article without reading the post in full, provided the headline is good enough or the subject matter topical enough.
  • Always ask for feedback on your article or if the readers would like to add anything to your list of "how-to's" or "to-do's".  Your readers may have a view on the subject matter that adds to your post and gives a better understanding.  Engagement leads to share-ability.
So if I have missed anything or you disagree with any of the above, please leave a comment below.
Regards, Chris.

21 April 2013

4 Content Curation Tools

Filter your content using content curation tools
Content curation is described as the process of discovering, gathering and presenting online content based on keywords that describe a particular niche.  In the past you may have unknowingly curated content using RSS feeds from Google reader.  But Google has only just announced that Google Reader will be shut down on July 1st 2013.  So I thought this might be a good time to look at the more hip content curation sites.
But first why curate content at all?  Some say curating original content is what gets you noticed.  I have seen it described as the difference between being a social media leader  or a social media follower.  Which would you rather be?  Realistically put it allows you to show that you know what is going on in your field and it compliments your own content. 

I simply suggest clicking on the following links and try them out for yourself,  as they all achieve slightly different results.


is a new way to read news or content.  It is for smart phones only and very entertaining when you are
on the go.  The curated pages do literally flip from one to another just like with a real book. Besides creating your own specialised magazine you can connect your own twitter followers to this and read all your followers' tweets on a particular subject.  Its a great way to see qualitatively which tweets are worth retweeting. 
Flipboard came pre-installed on my Samsung S3 but I took no notice of it until I saw it mentioned in a recent blog post.  It was described as a cross between Pinterest and Tumblr.
Apparently Flipboard already has 6 billion pages flipped per month so its well worth a look.

looks like a cross between Pinterest and LinkedIn Today.  Not surprisingly LinkedIn just bought Pulse.  You must choose a minimum of three areas of interest.  It was designed to bring all your favourite websites together.  Personally I found the areas of interest too broad.
Once you find an article of interest, you can post it to Facebook, tweet it, email it or save it for later.


allows you to create a newsfeed based on your interests.
Prismatic seems to pull topics based on the websites that you most visit.  It features your areas of interest very precisely.  Prismatic users can like and comment on your curated posts. 


is one of my favourites.  It displays blog posts on a specific topic.  These can be retweeted or sent to your LinkedIn  newsfeed.  There was a time when you could send curated articles to Linkedin with Twitterfeed.  As this service is now no longer available Scoop.it fills this gap. I've had authors thank me for scooping their content, as Scoop.it increases their reach.

As mentioned these tools all deliver different end results, so explore and see which you prefer.
If you are publishing curated content just remember to credit the original source and link to that source.

This list includes some of my favourite content curation tools but there are many more.  If you have a favourite please feel free to list it in the comments below.

3 April 2013

LinkedIn Webinar Invitation

"How To Get Clients Using LinkedIn"

Free Webinar with Chris Lentzy, hosted by Lana Karasevych 
On Monday, 8th of April 
1pm EST - 6pm GMT - 7pm CET
We will cover the main points of attracting and engaging your ideal client using LinkedIn to get clients. All are welcome.  To sign up use the link below.  Places are limited to 200 attendees.

Register For Free Webinar Here

 Presenter Lana Karasevych is an intuitive Business Coach and a former Corporate Lawyer.
Lana specializes in helping women lawyers, who are uncomfortable with marketing, sales, or money conversations to authentically accelerate their success from a new place of ease.
фото for email large
She coaches women lawyers all around the world how to partner universal energetic principles with practical step by step how-to’s to joyfully serve your clients and bring more money into your legal practice. 
Coaching with Lana focuses on both sides of the business:
1.    The strategic side of your business, including your marketing and your sales, and
2.    The spiritual and motivational side, or who you’re being in your business, including your confidence, authenticity, and alignment with your values.

Chris Lentzy, MBA is a management consultant who specialises in business development using social media. 

As a social media strategist Chris selects a mix of social media activity that supports your business model. 

His typical projects range include online product marketing, raising the profile of experts, online business promotion and PR.
 In optimising your LinkedIn profile we will discuss the key points from:
  1. Your Name – what’s allowed/not allowed
  2. Your Photo – what’s recommended
  3. Professional Headline – it’s not about you (120 characters)
  4. Setting Your Public Profile URL – so you will be found
  5. Formulating your website links for maximum traffic
  6. Be Contactable via IM, phone, Twitter & address
  7. Summary  – compose using AIDA (2000 characters)
  8. Experience – reinforces Summary with keywords
  9. Publications – including online publications
  10. Languages
  11. Interests – keywords
  12. Personal Details – not needed
  13. Advice For Contacting You – who is to contact you
  14. Your Professional Organisations
  15. Recommendations – for social proof
  16. Groups – 50 max. – how to choose
  17. Using SlideShare Effectively
  18. Setting Your Skills & Expertise – 50 to choose
  19. Company Profile
  20. Volunteering & Causes

 LinkedIn engagement strategies covered include:
  1. Adding To Your Existing Contacts
  2. Use “In Common With”
  3. Using Advanced Search
  4. Blanket Connections
  5. Engaging with Questions/Answers
  6. Engaging with InMail
  7. Engaging with Groups
  8. Maintaining Contact with an Autoresponder
  9. CardMunch/Business Card Reader App
Hope you can make it.   If not, do leave any questions in the comment box below.

2 April 2013

Succcess With Facebook For Business

You will notice from my blog posts that I have until now shied away from Facebook related topics.  Sure I've been on Facebook for a number of years and find it effective for communicating with friends and colleagues.  But I've always struggled using Facebook effectively for business.  Until recently that is.   More importantly I have found that the type of business you are in determines your success with Facebook.
Previously I was always dealing with small start-ups with no customer or supplier networks.  Recently I was working behind the scenes with an event catering company which operates in multiple locations throughout Ireland.   The first hundred LIKEs seems to come out of nowhere.  Offline measures are being taken to support online success even.  This started with management buy-in with support for the project and the need to increased brand visibility on the ground.  Absolutely nothing to do with the technical aspects of Facebook.  Yet this unexpected and  time consuming aspect of the project is now seen as the first vital step for online B2C success.   Encouraging staff members along with supplier and customers to provide content for posting will also make the task of communicating via Facebook easier.  Everyone seems to want to be seen or heard on the fan page, it just removes that fear of being short on content.  Thirdly training of the company's social media manager in relation to generating maximum engagement is import.

Success with Facebook for your business requires
  1. Management buy-in
  2. On the ground brand visibility
  3. Encouraging your network to join in
  4. Training to create maximum engagement.

Many companies will tell you that it is becoming harder and harder to create interaction/engagement on Facebook.  Engagement is vital so that Facebook's Edgerank algorithm ensures that your posts are seen by as many as possible. There are however a number of things that can be done.  These include:
  1. Make sure you have a clear clickable link back to your website in your Facebook page's "About" section.
  2. Tagging of staff and customers in any photographs. This will ensure that your Facebook content arrives in their newsfeeds.
  3. Posting your news and photographs on your business network's fan pages, so that you can cross-promote one another.  And by all means, formally decide who you will partner with and co-promote.  Your suppliers and associates are an obviously first port of call here. 
  4. Remember social media isn't about products, services or brands but the people behind these.
  5. Brand the most important of your fan page photographs using your company name and logo with PicMonkey. 
  6. Encourage employees to put "Visit our fan page at xxxx" in their "Work and Education - Employers" section on their on Facebook page.  This drives traffic and creates more business.
  7. If you work at multiple locations, mention the specific location for clarity and be descriptive as this is all good for raking in Google. 
  8. Brand your emails using Wisestamp
  9. Create engagement using questions, comments and call-to-action.  Craft these so that a reply can be as short as possible. 
  10. Watch your posting times, afternoons and evening are best, this is proven.
  11. Try to post twice a day.  Some would recommend even four times a day.  But whatever you do be consistent.   Don't dump a whole pile of posts on one go and then maintain "radio silence" for a number of days.
  12. Use competitions to reward customer participation on your Facebook page.
  13. Failing all of the above you can always pay for advertising on Facebook.
I'm sure there's more.  If I have left out anything import or anything that you feel needs a mention please comment below.

You can always LIKE my Facebook page Social Media Skills
or on the right hand side Facebook widget.

6 February 2013

Spam, AnyOne?

Spam, we all hate it and yet accept it as part of  everyday life. I recently gave a social media presentation which resulted in a heated debate about the definition of spam.  I assumed everyone knew what spam was, but there seemed to be different opinions as to what exactly spam is.

According to Wikipedia Spam is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages, especially advertising, indiscriminately. While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media.

Spamming occurs when a company typically buys an email list and bulk emails these people without them having even shown an interest in that company or its products.
It is illegal to send unsolicited emails to both companies and individuals.  I was surprised to see some think it was acceptable for spammers to target companies but not individuals.  Spamming is spamming and no differentiation is made between spamming individuals or company members.
The regulations state that when someone subscribes to your list (gives you their name and email) you must give them the option to be able to unsubscribe. Otherwise this is again spamming.
Subscribing to an email list is known in the trade as opting in.  The opt-in form is typically found on the top right hand side of a web page were it is most effective.
Bulk emailing to an audience who have volunteered their name and email in return for a newsletter sign-up or a free product is not spamming.  If you do subscribe to such a list you can unsubscribe anytime to avoid any unwanted further emails.
The only thing is, experienced marketers will mix value emails (containing something of interest to you) with promotional emails so it will feel less like you are being sold to. 

In the late 19th century Western Union allowed telegraphic messages on its network to be sent to multiple destinations. This first recorded instance of a mass unsolicited commercial telegram occurred in May 1864.  Given that spam of one kind or another has been with us for so long, it will continue to be part of our daily lives for some time yet to come.

If you have any interesting "spam stories" to tell, please comment below.
Many thanks, Chris.

25 January 2013

ReTweet Etiquette

We all know retweets (RTs) are vital for spreading your message on Twitter. But there are rules of engagement or etiquette which many are unaware of. Do bear in mind that retweeting has its own etiquette or way in which things should be handled.  Observe these rules and see if you get more of an audience.

Golden RT Etiquette

  • Always thank those who retweet you, give credit.
  • Be reciprocal.  Always retweet a tweet from the tweeb who retweeted you. 
  • Do not retweet your retweeted tweets.
  • Do not retweet someone who is complimenting you, if you can resist.

How To Get Retweeted In The First Place

  • Provide valuable content to your followers.
  • Dont make it about yourself.
  • Promote others and their conversations.
  • Ask for retweets.  "Please Retweet" not "Pls RT".
  • Add a link to your tweet.
  • Use hashtags, one is OK, two are better. 
  • The best day for getting retweets is Friday, this drops off sharply during the weekend and rises during the week days.
  • The ideal time for retweets is noon to two o'clock in whatever time zone the majority of your audience are found in.
The idea for this post as kindly suggested by Rebecca @scarberryfields.  If you have an idea for a post that you would like to see or if you have a query just write a comment below.
Regards, Chris

6 January 2013

Customer Satisfaction And Social Media

What do you do when your complaint doesn't get heard?
We all know that social media is a great tool to use if you have a complaint about a product or a service.  It is easy to companies to monitor any negative remarks about their brand with tools as basic as Google Alerts.  But what happens when you are ignored and you know that the problem you are having is being experienced by many others?

In my case, I had an issue with my car before Christmas.  My car was 4 years and 10 months with 95,000 miles (155,000 km) on the clock.  My car let me down and let me down badly.   It was a premium brand car, a BMW to be exact.  The engine had developed a serious fault which lead to the partial destruction of the engine.  Again I wasn't expecting this from a premium brand car less than 5 years old or am I being niave.  I have to mention that this repair cost me $4,160 (€3,200) while the car originally cost approx. $64,000 (€49,000) so you can imagine my annoyance.  I paid for a repair which every other diesel powered BMW was having.

On the advice of a friend I trawled a number of BMW car forums and found that this was a common enough fault on 1 series, 3 series and 5 series diesel BMWs with the N47 engine built between March 2007 and May 2010.   I put this to my local BMW dealer but they didn't want to know.  I even found and internal document which highlighted the problem, do Google PUMA 13588845-03.  This I put to BMW Germany but they insisted that it had to be dealt with through the local BMW dealer.

I posted my story on a national consumer discussion board.  There I was contacted by someone who was running a petition to have the cars recalled.  He was looking for signatories who all had the same problem.  This petition was run through AVAAZ.org, the link was
I shared this petition with my Facebook friends.
I joined the BMW group on LinkedIn, but my comments were never published. 
I am in the process of writing to "BMW Car" magazine in the UK. They are known for airing the views of annoyed car enthusiasts.
As you can see I'm writing a blog post to register my annoyance. 

Have you had an experience like this?  What did you do to get it resolved?  Please comment below.
Should big brands be allowed to get away with this kind of behavior? 

The Problem of the N47 Engine
Since over a year it has been known that the timing chain in N47 engine fails.  Some mechanics put it down to the sprocket that drives the chain, others to the lack of chain guides.  Either way when the timing chain fails the engine becomes damaged.  If the chain breaks while travelling on the highway, the engine will be completely destroyed and will require replacement.  In my case this happens during city driving and resulted in the cam shaft and rockers needing to be replaced.  Nonetheless the engine needs to be removed, stripped and reinstalled.  My car was just shy of 100,000 miles when this happened but other cars with the N47 engine have had this happen at 50,000 miles. 
If you have a car with an N47 engine you should be very worried.

4 January 2013

Recent Changes to Linkedin

We all know that the LinkedIn profile pages changed dramatically in mid December.  I drive a lot of traffic from LinkedIn to my blog via the website/blog links under the "contact info" section.  It wasn't until during the holidays that I noticed that these links were broken.  They had disappeared for no reason.  A quick email to the LinkedIn helpdesk did get it sorted.  But this prompted me to write this post on the recent changes to LinkedIn.

What's New On LinkedIn
  1. The biggest change to the LinkedIn profile page has to be the "endorsements" under your "skills & expertise" section.  There is an argument raging at the moment that you shouldn't endorse anyone unless you have worked with them, but this isn't happening.  You will be endorsed by complete strangers who will expect if not hope for a reciprocal endorsement.  No one yet knows the advantage of having high number of endorsement for your skills but many seem to think that giving skills endorsements is a great way to backlink. The jury is still out on this.  Either way an endorsement will never out triumph a "recommendation".  I know its not something we are all used to doing but push to make at least 10 recommendations on your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Your "Activity Feed" is now front and centre under your LinkedIn business card.  Personally I preferred the long feed down the right hand side but hey.
  3. Your "profile strength" is now represented by now full a circle is on the mid right hand side. Realistically your profile strength seems to be a function of the number of connections you have as well as how complete your profile is.
  4. "Your network" is a series of circles around a centre circle.  Its an interesting app that highlights where the core of your connection lie be it by company, school, location or industry.  You could use this as a compass to ensure that your contacts are concentrated and have a core or you could aim for an even spread, depending on your connection strategy.
  5. You can now follow "companies" and your industry sector "news".  These are displayed at the end of your profile page.  If nothing else it shows there your interests lie.  I wonder where they got this idea from?  But I just noticed these are not listed on your public LinkedIn page.
  6. And of course you have a bigger profile picture.  So make sure you have one. Remember company logos wont do as people connect with people and other want to know that you are a real person.
  7. One thing I don't like if that is more difficult to get an overview of your connections contacts.  This makes connecting to fringes of your network more difficult in my opinion.

What's Disappeared From LinkedIn
  1. If you haven't noticed, all the applications bar the SlideShare application are now gone.
  2. What I miss most was the BlogLink which listed my latest blog posts on my LinkedIn profile page. To get around this I now list my blog title with a link under the new "Publications" section, after all it is an online publication.
  3. The other application which I previously used was "Reading List".  I have not heard anyone lament the loss of their favourite book list.  But if you do, consider listing your "reading list"  in a SlideShare presentation or linking the list on your website or blog to "Publications".  Under "edit profile" you can also add a link to your reading list for more importantly any supporting sales documents.

A Quick Note On Your SlideShare Presentation
I was always under the impression that a good SlideShare presentation was the perfect place to give your reader a snippet of your skill and expertise.  But I beg to differ.  The best SlideShare presentations which I have seen on Linkedin profile are ones that walk your ideal customer through your sales process.  By the time they have gone through the presentation they will know exactly what you will be doing for them and how the process works.  This removes all ambiguity and barriers to doing business.
One other important thing which I recently noticed on someone else's SlideShare presentation was that you can include an opt-in page into the middle of this.  Perfect for capturing the details of your prospective client.

You will find my LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/chrislentzy
Feel free to LinkIn. 
Do let me know what you think of the current LinkedIn changes by commenting below.