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LinkedIn’s new app: Will it transform the job search process?

In case you missed it, LinkedIn may have just transformed the job search process–and this time, for the better. For the MUCH better.

By launching its new LinkedIn Job Search app, LinkedIn may have just made what can be a fairly painful experience on the job seeker side into something that could be as easy as a couple clicks.

LI App 1

We all know the job search process to be painful, complicated and flat-out exhausting, right?

And let’s face it. A big part of that is on employers (side rant–different discussion).

Lengthy and time-consuming applications sites make it damn-near impossible to even complete a submission.

Recruiters and HR folks rarely get back to you.

And tracking all this stuff is a part-time job in itself.

Enter the LinkedIn Job Search app (and no, I’m not getting paid to promote this).

Here are the transformative benefits, as I see them:

One-step application process

LI App 5

This is the biggee. According to LinkedIn, the “InApply” button allows you to apply for jobs with your LinkedIn profile. Oh happy day! The only problem is this: Not many companies are adopting this quite yet (from my quick searches here in Minneapolis I found a few companies, like Honeywell above, using it, but not too many). Can you IMAGINE applying for a job with just a few simple clicks and submitting your LinkedIn profile? I mean, can you IMAGINE? Let’s just hope companies start adopting this sooner rather than later.

Track your searches in one convenient spot

LI App 3

Using the app, you can easily track all the jobs you either apply for, or merely view. Pretty easy, right? I haven’t looked for a job in some time now, but I remember when I was, this was a pretty manual process. I had a Word doc with all the jobs I had applied for and all the contacts at those companies. It was organized, but it was time-consuming. This way, LinkedIn does a lot of that heavy lifting for you. God bless LinkedIn.

Your own personal recruiter

LI App 4

Now here’s where it really gets fun. With the new app, LinkedIn becomes your own personal recruiter. It will send you notifications of jobs based on the searches you’re making and profiles you’re viewing. Simple, yet brilliant. Truth is, I can’t believe it took them so long to develop this. Let’s say you’re really looking to get a PR job at Target. You set up a search. You’re targeting, well, Target. With this new app, LinkedIn will conceivably recognize that and send you openings that most likely at least touch on PR and send them right to your inbox within the app. Pretty damn slick. And pretty damn time-consuming.

 

To be clear, I am NOT looking for a full-time job. I’ve just been using the app to test it out :)

But, after playing with it for the last week, I will say, if I WERE looking for a job, this would be a pretty valuable tool in the arsenal.

Anyone else tried this out yet? Initial impressions?

 

6 lessons from creating posts using LinkedIn publishing for the last month

In early May I finally got access to LinkedIn’s new publishing tool. You can read all about it here.

Essentially, LinkedIn has given us all the opportunity to create blog posts on LinkedIn. Smart move.

And recently, I’ve been seeing more activity from friends and colleagues.

So, in mid-May I decided to give it a whirl.

LI Pub 1

But, the decision was this: Repurpose existing content I’m already writing for my blog, or create new content specifically for LinkedIn.

The former seemed like a no-brainer. After all, I already create a lot of content for my blog (2-3 posts per week, with no outside support). I don’t have a lot of extra time to create MORE content.

I had heard “experts” talk about how creating unique content for LinkedIn was a MUST. And the more I heard it, the more I thought I was right about repurposing. No one would care. I’m simply syndicating my content on another platform–same thing I’ve done on LinkedIn for years, just in a different format.

So, I decided to repurpose my posts.

So far, the results have been mixed from a few different standpoints. Here’s six initial takes after a month of posting on LinkedIn:

You’re essentially starting over with traffic

My blog gets between 15,000-20,000 uniques per month. But none of that matters on LinkedIn. You’re essentially starting from scratch. Not a big deal, but for those with blogs it’s a consideration. Here’s my first post on LinkedIn–as you can see, just 125 impressions, 3 likes and 0 comments.

LI Pub 2

All that time on LinkedIn should pay off

I don’t have insight into the algorithm LinkedIn is using to share our content. But, I’m going to guess that your connection count makes a difference. At the very least, your direct connections should see your post. So, the guy who’s posting with 100 connections isn’t going to see the same kind of initial traffic as the woman who has 1,500 connections. All that work building up a solid network over the years should pay dividends here–and I believe it has for me out of the gate.

You’re not a Richard Branson–don’t expect huge results out of the gate

Richard Branson (or any number of other LinkedIn Influencers) you are not. So, don’t expect Richard Branson-like numbers. Heck, don’t expect too much of anything at first. Again, you’re starting from scratch. Just start writing and see what resonates with readers. But, do expect results over time as perseverance will pay off. Case in point: My first five posts averaged 145 impressions, 2 likes and 1 comment. My LAST five posts have averaged 369 impressions, 12 likes and 7 comments. And that’s after just one month.

 

Getting featured on Pulse makes a HUGE difference

Pulse is LinkedIn’s reader platform. And, as an author on LinkedIn, getting your posts features there makes a HUGE difference. Case in point. Of my 14 posts so far, my average impression count is 251–excluding one post. A post I wrote about Fallon’s Arby’s ad May 28. That post had a whopping 11,855 impressions. And it was all due to it being featured on Pulse. I remember I posted in the morning that day and had a couple hundred impressions by the noon hour. I ran to a couple meetings in the afternoon–when I returned, the post had some 8,000 impressions and climbing. I quickly discovered it was on the Pulse home page and was getting traffic from all over LinkedIn. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to game this right now–LinkedIn is just surfacing content it believes is compelling.

LI Pub 3

Take advantage of your comments as reconnection points

Here’s the great part about this content being on LinkedIn–real people with real names and faces are commenting on it! And, most likely, many of those people you will either know or be one person removed from. So, take advantage of that! Here’s what I’ve been doing to date (in spots–but I plan to do more of this going forward): Using the comments as an excuse to direct messages folks on LinkedIn and ask them: 1) To coffee, if it makes sense, 2) How their job is going–and if/what I can do to help. Remember, LinkedIn isn’t Twitter or Facebook–there’s FAR LESS attention for time here. That said, some people don’t check their LinkedIn messages as often as others, but I would argue the lack of competition for time here far outweighs that drawback.

LI Pub 4

Repurposing content from your blog–not a big deal

Remember those experts? Turns out it’s not a big deal. Now, I’m not saying original content won’t work–certainly it will. But I am saying repurposing your blog content is no big deal at all. It’s all about reaching your audience where they live. In this case, I’m noticing many more people using LinkedIn as their de facto reader system during the day. So, it makes sense to syndicate my content there in a way that makes sense. The one caveat here: I don’t repurpose EVERY post–just the ones that make sense for LinkedIn. For example, I will repurpose any case study post, but going forward I may not post a post that highlights a new social media tool.

6 reasons the Minnesota creative community can no longer be considered “fly-over country”

Ask anyone around the U.S. about the top creative communities and markets like San Francisco, New York and Chicago pop up quickly.

Even markets like Austin, Seattle and Atlanta seem to work their way on that list from time to time.

But Minneapolis/St. Paul isn’t mentioned as much.

In fact, many people on the coasts continue to refer to the Twin Cities as “fly-over country.” You think I’m kidding? My wife has told me stories of people from the East Coast she met during her time at the University of Illinois who literally did not even know where Minnesota was on a map! (I wish I WAS kidding about that!)

MPLS

But, those days are numbered my friends. It’s high time the rest of the country recognizes what us in Minneapolis/St. Paul have known for quite some time–this is a damn good place to work and live if you’re in the creative field.

Keep in mind, when I say “creative field” I’m including: advertising, interactive marketing, design, public relations and other disciplines that fall within those broader buckets. I’m not just talking about advertising types.

What basis do I have for this claim? I’ll give you 6:

We win awards–BIG awards

Sure, we’ve had agencies and companies that have won awards every year. This year, PadillaCRT, Spong and Exponent took home multiple Silver Anvils–the de facto award in the PR industry. But, our agencies also win the BIG awards. The ones the East/West Coast agencies are fighting for. Namely, the Cannes Awards. Fast Horse and Fallon both took home Cannes this year, proving that we can hardly be ignored.

 

We host world-class events

The MIMA Summit may be the best event most outside of Minnesota haven’t heard of. Ask anyone who’s attended the last number of years. We get world-class speakers (Nate Silver keynoted last year’s event; Guy Kawasaki the year before that). The event attracts more than 1,000 attendees. And, it’s widely regarded as one of the best interactive marketing events in the country. Don’t believe me? Ask former speakers Chuck Hemann, Tom Martin and Adam Kmiec.

 

We employ top-flight talent

And I’m just talking about the talent I know on the PR side. And talent at all levels. Agency owners like Lisa Hannum, Paul Maccabee and Patrick Strother. Senior-level leaders like Matt Kucharski, Greg Swan and Nicki Gibbs. Younger folks like Laura Fitzpatrick, Allison O’Keefe and Sara Keeney. And again, THAT’S JUST THE PR SIDE. I know you’d see similar names on the ad, design and interactive shops around town.

 

And, we ATTRACT top-flight talent

People like Bruce Eric Anderson, director of external communications and social media at Honeywell moved to Minnesota from Chicago (and before that Austin). Or, what about Katie Miller who spent time in NYC before moving back to Minnesota (she’s now over at OLSON). We’re consistently attracting this kind of talent. Sure, people move away from Minnesota for warmer climes. But, increasingly, people are moving TO Minnesota because of our creative community.

 

We have top-tier agencies

You want big, corporate shops, have those: Weber Shandwick, Carmichael Lynch Spong, Fallon. You want more local, nimble shops, we have those, too: Beehive PR, Mono and Bolin. We also have agencies who are doing world-class work: See Fast Horse, PadillaCRT, Spong and Fallon. I’d almost put our agency talent up against virtually any market in the U.S. (save maybe NYC and SFO).

 

Oh, we also have 19 Fortune 500 companies in Minnesota

Best Buy. Target. General Mills. 3M. Medtronic. The list goes on. In total, we have 19 Fortune 500 clients across Minnesota. Surprised, aren’t you? Don’t be. What most people don’t realize is that Minnesota is a darn good place to live (9 months of the year). We have lakes. We have yards. We bike. We ski. We play golf. In sum, it’s a great place to live and raise kids. And that’s attractive to people who live in more expensive markets where raising kids isn’t so affordable.

 

So Minnesotans, what did I miss? Help me add to this list and show everyone across the country what we already know!

photo credit: Sri Dhanush via photopin cc

Walmart takes on the New York Times with creative PR tactic

Opinion pages.

In some cases, they’re a fantastic tool in the PR toolbox.

In other cases, they can be a PITA as columnists and community leaders skewer brands who are frequent (and easy) targets.

Enter Walmart (note: Walmart is a client, although I did not assist with this particular project).

WMT post 1

Now, think what you will about Walmart as an organization and an employer. They’re certainly a polarizing company. Seems people either hate them, or love them.

But, what Walmart pulled off last Friday is nothing short of brilliant.

Last Thursday, June 19, New York Times op-ed writer, Timothy Egan, penned an opinion piece about Starbucks and Walmart and their effect on the labor market and economy.

As you can imagine, after reading the post, it didn’t sit well with Walmart–so, they took to the offensive.

And they did so in an incredibly creative way.

Now, Walmart could have pursued other options. As I see it, they could have:

* Reached out to Egan and ask him to correct the various inaccuracies Walmart saw in the post.

* Tweeted at Egan to ask for the same thing–or at the very least, debate the inaccuracies publicly.

* Comment on Egan’s post

Or, they could do what they ended up doing: Write a spectacular blog post on the Walmart corporate blog detailing all the inaccuracies in the post in a graphic fashion by using a “red line” visual account of the story.

WMT post

 

There are a number of ways I believe this response was brilliant from Walmart. Among them:

The opening redline quote disarms you (and it’s pretty darn funny)

WMT post 2

Right off the bat, Walmart disarms you with that opening quote: “Tim–Thanks for sharing your first draft. Below are a few thoughts to ensure something innacurate doesn’t get published.” The quote gives the impression of Walmart having a chance to review the draft before it goes to print–in itself, ridiculous. Which is what makes it so great. Right away, you know Walmart isn’t taking itself too seriously. Yet…

Correcting obvious innacuracies

WMT post 3

Walmart was not bashful about attacking inaccuracies in the story. Particularly those around Walmart wages–an obvious hot button topic lately.

Having some fun editing

I thought this was very smart. In one part of the post, Walmart marked up Egan’s post just as an editor would make up a first draft by making a few “editorial suggestions.”

Offering additional ideas and resources

WMT post 4

Numerous times throughout the piece, Walmart added in additional ideas and resources for Egan to consider in his post. For example, when Egan talked about the G.I. Bill and how it helped vets to a better life upon return from overseas duty, Walmart chimed in with a stat about how it hired more than 42,000 vets this past year. Or, when Egan was talking about how Walmart makes a fortune each year and corporate execs benefit, they offered the idea of adding that the Walmart Foundation is the largest corporate foundation in the U.S. and that it donates more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind donations throughout the year.

Having some fun…

Loved this addition from the Walmart team, as a come back to Egan’s claim that one report claimed 28 percent of consumers had a negative view of the corporation: “Pretty sure any corporation, politician or even media outlet would like to have a 72% favorability rating.” A little shot in a very fun way.

And they did it on an owned channel

The best part? They did this on an owned social channel–not Facebook, not Twitter, not Pinterest. The post was on THEIR site. Translation: They own the traffic. They win the numbers. Readers could then also sign up to subscribe to the blog. They could check out other posts on the Walmart blog. This is actually another really good case study for why larger companies should still maintain a corporate blog. Without this blog in place, I’m not sure Walmart could have pulled this off…

So, kudos Walmart. Job well done.

BW3′s Instagram #fannerism campaign: Creative, interesting, but lacking teeth?

Earlier this week, Minnesota-based BW3s unveiled a new campaign on Instagram: #fannerism.

According this article on the Minneapolis Egotist, the campaign was “put together to help drive brand affinity with this new fandom on a platform they love.”

Minneapolis-based Periscope was behind the campaign as BW3′s social agency of record.

So far, BW3′s has only made a couple posts about the campaign–actually, just these two:

BW3s 6

 

BW3s 7

The idea? To “encourage fans to share their own #Fannerism by taking photos of themselves enjoying the World Cup at Buffalo Wild Wings”, according to the Egotist.

The Egotist article goes on to say that “submissions will be rewarded using Instagram’s direct feature, helping provide fans with the opportunity to fuel ongoing World Cup #Fannerism throughout the tournament.”

Not sure exactly what that means, but I’m guessing that means BW3s will be sharing coupons and freebies with fans who share pics on Instagram (fuel=beer?).

So far, it’s tough to say if the campaign is delivering.

A quick search of Instagram for #fannerism pulls up just five results (two of which are BW3 posts).

BW3s 4

However, if you do a larger search for #bww, you quickly pull up half a million pics–everything from food shots to shots of the BW3s logo to actually what they’re looking for (shots of people watching the soccer games at BW3s–although in my quick search I saw a lot more of the former). However, keep in mind, none of these half million pics were tagged with #fannerism.

BW3s 3

So, just a few days into the campaign, it’s tough to tell if it’s “working” or not.

But, my bigger question is this: What does success even look like for a campaign like this?

Let’s go back to the Egotist article. Looking solely at this article (and full disclosure: I haven’t talked to anyone at Periscope of BW3s), the goal may really just be loyalty and brand affinity–a typical-type goal for social-based campaigns.

If that’s the case, metrics like likes, followers, impressions, comments and shares are going to be key.

But, the BW3s Instagram page only has 2,335 followers–hardly a big number considering BW3s footprint. But, in fairness, they’re just getting started on Instagram.

What’s more, for a brand committing to Instagram in a big way with this campaign, you wouldn’t know it by looking at their account. They have just 11 posts since starting the account on May 28, 2014. They’re following exactly ZERO people. And, I’m not sure I saw a single comment by BW3s in any of its posts (not that this is necessary, but in this case, I think it’s relevant).

BW3s 5

What about impressions? Tougher to measure on Instagram, right? And, since no one’s using the #fannerism hash tag (3 people so far, remember), they can’t lean on that. So, it’s going to be tough to prove those people who are posting pics of their group on Instagram at BW3s are doing it BECAUSE of this campaign. Chances are, they probably would have done it anyway. So, then can  you attribute those pics to this campaign? I’m not so sure.

What about engagement metrics? Like I said, I can’t even find BW3s commenting on its own IG posts–let alone others. So, I’m guessing that’s not happening. Jump over to their Facebook page (where they’re also promoting #fannerism) and you see a post with hundreds of comments from passionate fans. Great, right? (but most likely supported with FB ad dollars)

BW3s 2

 

But again, I can’t find many (if any) BW3s comments back–even though they clearly have the opportunities (BW3s could easily respond to a number of the comments below if engagement was the goal). So, for a brand that may be looking for engagement as part of this campaign, it seems like they’re missing a number of great opportunities here between Facebook and Instagram.

BW3s 1

So, I don’t know. The campaign is clearly just beginning, so we really can’t judge its success yet. But, I’m just kinda confused as I analyze this one. I see a brand pushing the envelope a bit (smart). Taking advantage of a big, newsworthy event (World Cup–also smart considering the client). And doing it on a platform their fans are clearly already on (also smart).

It just seems like the execution is missing a few pieces.

What do you think? Is this a good attempt at a creative campaign by BW3s or does it really lack teeth?