On LinkedIn there are millions of users but not all profiles are created equally. Many are a direct reflection of their resumes, but at a recent pilot event held in Capitol Hill, LinkedIn instructed the crowd  to think of their profile as a “living, breathing” way to get a new job, customer, or even volunteer opportunity. That can be accomplished by adding rich media, from pictures to videos to links of your work.

To help those in attendance achieve those goals LinkedIn brought together a panel of experts to speak about how LinkedIn has helped them grow their brand. It included: Peter Chee, CEO and chief pot stirrer at thinkspace; Carol Vecchio, founder of Centerpoint Institute for Life and Career Renewal; and Alexis Baird, Product Manager for Profile at LinkedIn. It’s the first time the San Francisco-based company held an event like this one. They chose Seattle because of the large number of startups here and the diversity of the city.

Personality Prevails – “Talk about what you are passionate about.”

LinkedIn panel

“People do business with people, not businesses,” Peter told the crowd. “Find ways to connect on a personal level.”

That wasn’t the only time the eager group of nearly 200 entrepreneurs, small businesses, and students were encouraged to show their personality especially on a professional website. Alexis explained the importance of sharing what you are passionate about. Adding your hobbies could lead to a professional ice breaker.

When talking about how LinkedIn has worked for him, Peter described what he called his “Alex from Target moment” a few months ago. It began with posting a long form blog on his LinkedIn page late one night titled “Questions To Ask Before Quitting Your Job To Work At A Startup.” It was part of an event promotion aimed at helping those wrestling with the same decision. Several hours later the post had 3,000 views and eventually ballooned to more than 92,000 views worldwide, hundreds of comments on LinkedIn, and it helped sell out the event. Peter said the post “created value” for the event, making it a bigger success than he initially anticipated. It’s the perfect example of using personal experience to connect with your audience.

Actionable Tips

So maybe you’re not an established business owner with an expansive network and more like me. I’m in the midst of changing the course of my career and need help with the transition. Peter provided other actionable tips.

For example, after meeting someone at a networking he suggests including “why you enjoyed the conversation” in your LinkedIn message. And don’t procrastinate.

Experts suggest:

1) Tailor your profile around what you want to be doing. It’s not necessary to list every job you’ve held.

2) Avoid job titles and use statements instead.

3) Show examples of your work whenever possible e.g. pictures, links, and presentations

The LinkedIn team also offered profile makeovers. I found this one-on-one time to be invaluable. Crystal Braswell offered me tailored tips that I utilized as soon as I got home. They included changing my profile picture because she said I looked younger in person. (Yikes!) The changes instantly made my page look better. I’ve already received positive feedback which let me know I was on the right track.

Crystal Braswell gets her makep done

Whether or not you think of yourself as being photogenic the experts say don’t ignore your profile picture. The LinkedIn team converted a small area into a professional photo shoot complete with make-up artist. All night this booth had a continuous line. Your profile picture is one of the first things people see and taking the time to ensure it’s representative of who you are is important.

LinkedIn photoshoot

By the end of the event I felt rejuvenated. Receiving usable tips and being in the company of others who are working on improving their digital footprint helped recharge my career batteries. Change isn’t always easy but events like #RockYourProfile showed me that improvement isn’t an insurmountable task.

Here are more Growth hacking with LinkedIn tips from Peter Chee.

social media, social media rank, salty waffle, facebook algorithm, facebook newsfeed formula, facebook newsfeed algorithm, how does facebook choose what I see, edgerank, edgerank facebook, salty waffle, techcrunch, news feed optimizationSome of, if not the most important parts of the web are the algorithms that make it run. Google’s search formula determines who shows up where in results, web crawlers are controlled by algorithms as they comb the web for information, and yes, social media uses them to make our online social life tick too.

A word you may not be familiar with, but that has a huge impact on your online world is EdgeRank.

Most simply, EdgeRank is the algorithm Facebook uses to determine what you see in your Newsfeed. When you stop and think about that, it’s colossal importance to the social media world becomes clear. An algorithm that decides what we see and don’t see on the biggest social network on the planet? That’s the power EdgeRank has so we set out to learn a bit more about it.

facebook, edgerank, salty waffle, thinkspace, social media, nfo, news feed optimization

Let’s start here: TechCrunch has an excellent definition for EdgeRank and it’s components.

“At a high level, the EdgeRank formula is fairly straightforward. But first, some definitions: every item that shows up in your News Feed is considered an Object. If you have an Object in the News Feed (say, a status update), whenever another user interacts with that Object they’re creating what Facebook calls an Edge, which includes actions like tags and comments.

Each Edge has three components important to Facebook’s algorithm:

  • First, there’s an affinity score between the viewing user and the item’s creator — if you send your friend a lot of Facebook messages and check their profile often, then you’ll have a higher affinity score for that user than you would, say, an old acquaintance you haven’t spoken to in years.
  • Second, there’s a weight given to each type of Edge. A comment probably has more importance than a Like, for example.
  • And finally there’s the most obvious factor — time. The older an Edge is, the less important it becomes.”

What this essentially all boils down to is that the people you interact more with, will show up more in your feed. You may have noticed that you generally only get news about the friends you interact with the most online; you can thank EdgeRank for that. It’s goal is to make your feed more manageable and the information more relevant, but you can turn it off if you want. That way you can see news from everyone, including pages you like that you may not interact with often, but are still interested in keeping track of.

EdgeRank has spawned what people are calling NFO or News Feed Optimization. Similar to the idea of SEO, NFO is being implemented by brands looking to become more visible to the people in their network. Just like using knowledge of Google’s search formula, Facebookers are looking to boost the reach of their posts by utilizing the ideas behind what makes EdgeRank work.

If you’re looking to boost your visibility on Facebook, check out these 5 awesome tips! You can also look up your approximate EdgeRank for a page you are an Administrator on, at EdgeRank Checker.

So you want to know: How many people actually see your tweets? How many people do those 140 characters actually make it to through your network? You know that social media is playing a role in SEO and you want to be influential, so let’s start with Twitter and see just how many people you’re getting to.

That’s where TweetReach comes in. The free plan is simple; it allows you to search a url, Twitter handle, phrase, or hashtag and then returns the reach and exposure for the search term. When you search a Twitter handle, TweetReach takes your last 50 tweets and then calculates how many people they reached and a list of your top contributors of impressions.

This is a great tool for finding out which types of tweets are working for you and which ones aren’t. It is also great for finding the people that are really engaged in what you have to say. If you see that there are people consistently contributing to getting you impressions, it is an opportunity to thank them and work to further that partnership.

When you nail down exactly what you are doing to successfully to get impressions, you can work to keep increasing them more effectively. The way you tweet has a direct effect on how far that tweet makes it through the twittersphere; basing future tweets on ones TweetReach says are getting impressions is a great way to start perfecting your technique.

social media, influence, social network

social media, facebook, superman, superhero social media, superhero facebook

What will be Facebook's kryptonite?

With Google+ quickly gaining a strong user base, the question keeps popping up: Is Facebook invincible?

It wasn’t long ago that MySpace was the end all, be all in the world of social networking. Just a few years later, the once up-start Facebook, dominates. The grip Facebook has on our world is tight; with over 600 million users, 2.5 million Facebook integrated sites, and 30 billion pieces of content moving across the network, Facebook is buried deeper into everything we do online than any social network in history.

The question is, is that grip strong enough to overcome new challengers, privacy concerns, and a future that will eventually include going public, more talent wars, and a constant battle to avoid becoming stale like many networks before it?

Threat 1, Losing Control: Facebook will have to go public eventually and that presents an opportunity for some instability in the organization. Never before has a young CEO like Zuckerberg kept control this long and this successfully. Becoming a publicly traded company may change the power structure depending on investors demands the nature of the sale. Keeping the top of a Facebook hierarchy that has steered the company to its crazy success in place, may prove an impossible task over time.

Threat 2, Losing Talent: There is a talent crunch in Silicon Valley and the talent wars with companies like Google are only making a shrinking pool of engineers that much more valuable, and expensive. If Facebook can’t remain one of the ‘cool’ places to work, they risk losing out on the young talent that will drive valley companies in the near future.

Threat 3, Competitors and the Open Movement: There is a lot of buzz about potential competitors to Facebook that may rise up very soon. Google now has Google +1, and you know they have all the talent and cash in the world to throw at it. Other competitors that have momentum because of the stark contrast of their open model to Facebook’s closed system are Diaspora and OneSocialWeb. Both are fairly small start-ups, but growing unrest over ownership and privacy issues are priming people for an open solution that puts them in control.

social media, social media superhero

Will a Dark Knight rise up to take Facebook's place?

To think that one day Facebook might not be as powerful or as inescapable as it is today, almost seems strange. I can imagine a world where Facebook’s power only grows; more integrated sites, more services requiring a Facebook login, and more apps designed for the Facebook API. To be fair though, I never saw Facebook overthrowing my once beloved MySpace. How wrong I was.

Organizational instability, key talent losses, and a new, ‘cooler’, network all came along to overthrow Tom for Mark and the same could happen to Facebook. Sometimes we forget that Facebook is a business and it has to deal with the same issues every other business does.

So will a new kid on the block overthrow the Facebook kingdom, or will King Zuckerberg tighten his grip? Can Google steal enough talent and overcome a failed Buzz experiment to become the go-to social network? Or will an open start-up solution take the world by storm like Facebook once did before it?

What do you think? Will you be Facebooking in 2 years? 5? If not, where do you think you’ll be?

social media classes, social media vocabulary, social media, marketing, salty waffleThis is a guest post from our friends at Salty Waffle social media classes.

You have probably heard of Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Habits, but did you know there are also 7 Highly Effective Habits for Facebook Success? PsyBlog has a great post that cites different social media studies to determine how to make yourself into the best (or best looking) Facebooker you can be. We have adjusted their list Salty Waffle style, and stayed true to the science behind each habit. Enjoy!

  1. The Optimal Number of Friends Is: Between 100 and 300. Studies show that social attractiveness ratings peaked at around 150 friends, the same number of relationships psychologists believe humans can maintain.
  2. Get Hot Friends: Studies showed that people with more attractive friends surrounding them were perceived as more attractive.
  3. Understand Why People Join Facebook: There are 7 main reasons people join; connect with old friends, social surveillance (friends), look up people they just met offline, people watching (strangers), status updating, and sharing content.
  4. Don’t Stalk, Too Much: We wrote a little while ago how Facebook can make you jealous, keep in mind how much time you spend digging for information you may not like.
  5. Learn How To Use Your Privacy Settings: Use of these settings is on the rise, even among young people, but there is still a large chunk of the Facebook population that doesn’t understand just how much information they are media, social media classes, entrepreneurship, social media vocabulary, facebook
  6. Be Real: Show the real you. Not only because it’s easier to maintain one life than two, but generally people figure it out if you are a poser. On top of that, studies show that people are typically very honest online so you don’t want to be the only faker.
  7. Don’t Separate Business and Personal: This is something near and dear to us at Salty Waffle, and studies show that people can effectively use Facebook to get jobs, contacts, and other important connections. People on Facebook are just that, people. You should be too!

To check out some of these studies in more depth, check out the Psyblog article and follow the links to the various journals they cite.

Hopefully this won’t result in a bunch of friends shaving me off their friend lists to get down to the right number or removing my posts from their wall to boost the overall ‘hotness’ of their page, but the science shows that people with Facebook pages that follow these 7 habits were perceived the best. The science behind social media is fascinating yeah?

Hivemyne Seattle Startup

Maybe it’s fate that David Wachter, who is the founder of Seattle startup Hivemyne, wanted to be a meteorologist when he was a kid. “I was obsessed with weather,” admits Wachter. “I scoured the library for books about how weather worked.” These days, he forecasts a different kind of weather: the mood of the Internet.

Hivemyne makes sense of social media chatter. How do people feel about current events? What do people think of topics or products? Lots of companies collect data, but few look at the bigger picture. Wachter says, “I hope that collaboration and discussion will arise, but that’s not always the case. We strive to bring all the pieces together… [We] take data and bring it to life by putting a context around it.”

You can look at raw info all you want, but without the human touch, it’s just a bunch of numbers. The connection between companies, products, and customers is lost. Hivemyne bridges that gap and “get answers out to people.” Boeing and Microsoft are just a few of the companies who use Hivemyne.

Wachter knows firsthand how overwhelming the Internet can be. Between balancing social media, a start-up, and a family, “I’m not sure sanity is even an option,” he says. He’s helped by Hivemyne’s membership in thinkspace, a community of entrepreneurs that helps start-ups “learn to ride the wave instead of fight it.”

Those words describe perfectly what Hivemyne does. They make clarity out of chaos. Their name explains it all. A “hive” is a storehouse of honey, delicious information “mined” for meaning. So why is “mine” spelled with a “y” instead of an “i”? Simple. The info is “yours.” Hivemyne is part of Web 3.0, where every Tweet can change the world. Even an “LOL” matters.

This is a guest post from our friends at Salty Waffle Social Media Classes.

If a potential employer searched for you online what would they find? Would it help you get a job, or hurt your chances?

Social media touches nearly every part of our modern lives. Getting a job is no different; in fact over 80% of employers use a social media site somewhere in their recruiting process.

Whether you plan to use social media to find a job from square one or are already somewhere in the recruiting process, you will want to become the most noticeable (for the right reasons) and hireable candidate.

We’ve put out a little bit from our new class on ‘Building a Killer Social Resume’, check out this article from earlier on places to be besides LinkedIn, and Part 1 too! If this wets your appetite for shoring up what you’re putting out there on a professional level, talk to us about getting into a class, they’re a ton of fun!
Social Media Resume

Social Media AccountabilityThis is a guest post from our social media friends at Salty Waffle.

Have you ever struggled with doing something that you set your mind to do? Said to yourself today is the day to start on a lifestyle change, then tomorrow you are back to the old ways? Perhaps you set a goal to have a daily quiet time, go on a certain diet, or work out 3 times a week. I choose these examples because they are reoccurring goals I tend to say I will do… but that never fully happens. Whatever it may be, we always say we want to do things to change, but something gets in the way – busy schedules, laziness, lack of motivation, something. Two social media solutions are Twitter and Foursquare.

1) Twitter: Twitter is a great place to gain accountability. By publicly tweeting about what it is you are trying to accomplish, and the process you take in getting there, you can gain followers who will encourage you along the way. This can be loved ones, friends, or strangers. Specifically, if you have a mentor or fellow community members you would like to be accountable with on a certain topic, the two of you can utilize twitter for daily check ins. New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter used this method of accountability to lose 75 pounds.

2) Foursquare: For accountability that includes a certain location, Foursquare is the answer. If you’re struggling with working out and will be going to a certain gym each time, you can check-in there and have your network hold you accountable.

This is a guest blog post from our friends at Salty Waffle Social Media Class.
If you’ve been trying to get around to implementing a Facebook strategy for your business, but never got around to it, these facts might help push you over the edge. Dive in! These facts show how important Facebook and a good social media strategy are, as well as a look at just how valuable a fan is in real dollars.
I don’ always use Facebook, but when I do, I always make money.

Facebook Facts For Businesses To Consider:
  1. There are over 200,000,000 Blogs
  2. Because of the speed in which social media enables communication, word of mouth now becomes world of mouth
  3. 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content
  4. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands. Do you like what they are saying about your brand? You better.
  5. People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services  than how Google ranks them
  6. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations
  7. Only 14% trust advertisements
  8. 60 millions status updates happen on Facebook daily
  9. We no longer search for the news, the news finds us.
  10. We will no longer search for products and services, they will find us via social media
  11. Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate
  12. The ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in 5 years
(Courtesy of socialnomics)
I’m still not convinced, can Facebook really help my business? As in, make me more money?
Study, courtesy of, click for more.


Homeless People Use Social Media

This is a guest post from our friends at Salty Waffle.

CNN had a story on how homeless people are using social media to find community, food, and shelter. How amazing. Twitter is the main source of finding food shelters and housing for people online. Likewise, AnnMarie Walsh, a woman previously homeless began tweeting to conquer her fears and loneliness attributed to living on the street. This is powerful tool for connection. For this woman, just knowing people were reading her tweet and responding was enough to encourage her. A new website, We Are Visible, has been created to connect homeless people and create an online community. The website serves to empower homeless people by connecting them to tell their own stories. If you are like me, you might wonder how are people living on the streets going online enough to utilize social media? Kara Finnstrom, covered the story and stated that many people have their phones before going homeless and make them a priority. In addition public sources like libraries are being used. Check out the story here and see the video here.

To learn how to utilize social media to make an impact on your community check out Salty Waffle’s social media classes.