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Put LinkedIn Groups to work for your brand

(MARKETING) LinkedIn may feel like a grandparent’s wonderland, but it still yields power for your company, and the secret sauce is in the LinkedIn Groups.

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LinkedIn Groups have a bad rap. Often times, they are filled with useless information, people you don’t actually want to connect with, and for businesses, look like they offer less value for broad engagement.

However, the way we market to consumers on LinkedIn is different.

In the way that Twitter and Facebook give us the broad audience exposure, and Instagram engages the consumer in a creative way, business should think of LinkedIn as a forum, the online place of meaning.

A place for meaningful connection that can generate business, new employees, partnerships, leads, and even research! Sharing content creates meaningful engagement with your audience (and for entrepreneurs, that meaningful connection is your competitive edge – FYI). You can also use that group to generate ideas and learn more about your demographic.

Creating a LinkedIn group isn’t hard – it only takes a few simple steps.

1. Go to LinkedIn.com/groups (and login to LinkedIn).

2. Click “My Groups.”

3. Hit the “Create Group” button.

4. Breathe, the easy part is over.

5. What’s the goal of the group? A user group? Engaging with brand ambassadors? A way for you to find leads? Sharing ideas? Collecting data? Think about that so you know what content you’re going for.

6. You need to make your group a good place to be, so encourage welcoming posts. Propose an introductory post (share your name, how long you’ve used a product or service, and how it benefits you, for example).

7. Set group rules that facilitate professional and meaningful interactions (and hold people to it).

8. Engage with comments and messages to create meaningful relationships with the purpose of your group.

9. Read LinkedIn’s tips on growth – always think of how to use this tool.

10. Brush up on best practices.

11. Maintain the group – it’s part of your job now, leader. And not managing well hurts your brand, and you don’t want that.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool, and LinkedIn Groups aren’t the grandma way to engage your people. We want meaningful contacts on LinkedIn, and you want to build a reputation as a thought leader and a meaningful engager.

So get a group started, run it properly, and don’t treat it like another public page. It’s all about the value here, friend!

Kam has a Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and is an HR professional. Obsessed with food, but writing about virtually anything, he has a passion for LGBT issues, business, technology, and cats.

Business Marketing

Get a personalized daily checklist for your digital marketing strategy

(MARKETING NEWS) For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an digital marketing strategy, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit. This app can help.

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Check!

There is no doubt that starting your own business can be overwhelming. Along with promoting your business at events, meetings and in person, digital marketing strategies play a key role in the success of a company. For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an online presence, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit.

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Simply creating a website and Facebook page for your business is not enough. However, software tools can help simplify digital marketing. ClearPath is a tool that organizes and creates tasks to optimize your online marketing. By creating to-do lists for you based on your online marketing strategy, you can focus on the areas of marketing that improve your business, all the while receiving useful tips and advice.

How does ClearPath work?

Using ClearPath is pretty straightforward and only requires one prerequisite. Before beginning, you must have a website. If you are already lost, don’t panic. ClearPath can help you develop an online presence. Once your website is linked up, you get to choose the marketing channels that you would like to focus on. These include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email, social, content, analytics, local, pay-per-click (PPC) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Again, if you are lost, ClearPath is there to help you strategize.

After ClearPath analyzes your site, they start sending you customized tasks based they believe can improve your online marketing.

As you finish each task, you can simply check it off and it will disappear. New tasks will appear each day, and some may even repeat as they need to be updated.

A great start

Whether you are well-versed in digital marketing or not, staying updated with the newest ways to optimize your business online is a constant struggle. Tools like ClearPath give people a place to start. Although I don’t think it can supplement an active and experienced digital marketer, it is a tool that can help small businesses that cannot afford to add to their team yet. At the end of the day, it aims to save you time. And since time is money, your business will hopefully be more profitable.

ClearPath is currently in beta. Check out their website to learn more.

#ClearPath

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Business Marketing

Dolce & Gabbana apologize for racist ad, just in time for the holidays

(MARKETING) Dolce & Gabbana stepped in it, and are apologizing, but many aren’t in the mood to accept their words.

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Mere hours before the models were set to walk down the runway, Dolce & Gabbana cancelled their “Great Show” in Shanghai amidst a fervent backlash against racist marketing for the show. Several models and celebrities had threatened to boycott the show, forcing its cancellation.

The show was called a “Tribute to China,” and, according to brand founder Domenico Dolce, was supposedly “created especially with love and passion for China.” Unfortunately, Chinese critics weren’t feeling the love.

The backlash arose from a video ad, called “Eating with Chopsticks” that was posted on Dolce & Gabbana’s Instagram. The video, which has since been removed, featured a Chinese model using chopsticks to eat Italian foods such as pizza and spaghetti. Critics say that the ad relied on condescending stereotypes and was disrespectful to Chinese culture.

To make matters worse, a leaked screenshot of private messages sent by Stefano Gabbana showed the designer making disparaging remarks about the critics. Gabbana claims that his account was hacked and that he did not send those messages.

Three days after cancelling the show, Dolce and Gabbana issued a video apology via Instagram, promising that “We will never forget this experience and it will certainly never happen again.” stating “We love your culture and certainly have much to learn. That is why we are sorry if we made mistakes in the way we expressed ourselves.”

Many critics were unconvinced by the delayed apology, and are committed to boycotting D&G. A photoshopped D&G logo reading “Dead & Gone” with a poo emoji has surfaced on social media as many fashion fans believe that the outrage sparked by the racist ad will effectively kill the brand in China and other parts of Asia.

Estelle Chen, a French model of Chinese descent who has walked the runway for D&G in the past, responded directly to the designers’ apology. “You don’t love China, you love money,” she wrote. “China is rich yes but China is rich in its values its culture and its people and they won’t spend a penny on a brand that does not respect that.”

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Business Marketing

Ad agency crafts cheeky Amazon ‘apologies’ to rejected cities

(MARKETING) Famed Austin ad agency, Jessee McGarrah crafts hilarious “apologies” on behalf of Amazon, and they couldn’t be more perfect.

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It’s finally official: in case if you’ve been living under a rock, Amazon’s HQ2 will be split between Crystal City, Arlington, VA and New York City, shocking no one.

Cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Pittsburgh competed for the coveted HQ2 spot with generous tax incentives, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo even said he’d change his name to to “Amazon Cuomo” if that helped New York’s case. Given the circumstances, there are bound to be some hurt feelings among the rejected cities.

For the 17 “finalist” cities that didn’t make the cut, the Austin-based ad agency, McGarrah Jessee created apologies from “Alexa,” on behalf of Amazon for each city. Even though the apologies aren’t actually from Amazon, you can still add the feature to your own Alexa through the Skills & Games menu.

Alexa’s apologies to each city are surprisingly snarky and on-point. Take LA, for example:

“Los Angeles, hi, you look terrific. Absolutely stunning. Have you been at spin class? No? Spin class is so last year? You’re already on to the next spin class? Look, you didn’t get the part. What?! No. It didn’t have anything to do with you…you’ve never done sequels well…and we need HQ2 to be a hit.”

The HQ2 announcement (or rejection) was no surprise to Austin residents, as many were actively campaigning against HQ2, citing infrastructure issues and rising housing costs. This still didn’t stop Alexa from sarcastically mentioning Austin’s love for tacos and artisanal graffiti. Ouch, but also…well played. She even asked: “Can you Prime Now us some Franklin’s? For old time’s sake?” Don’t make this harder than it has to be, Alexa.

Alexa definitely goes for the “sorry, not sorry” approach, and we’re here for it. On that note, McGarrah Jessee’s latest shenanigan reminds us of the importance of humor in advertising and not taking one’s business, or city, too seriously.

As customers increasingly value authenticity and humor in marketing, this is a tactic to keep in mind as you’re advertising your business. Alexa’s language was funny, sarcastic, but not caustic: a unique balance to strike when writing copy.

It’s obvious McGarrah did their research, resulting in some solid inside jokes and zings to each city, and it paid off.

Check out all 17 of the apologies here:

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