Monthly Archives: December 2011

Do your tweets ever feed through to LinkedIn? Why you may be creating a barrier to sharing

by Kirsten Hodgson

Tom Skotidas recently ran a LinkedIn poll to uncover people's views on posting Tweets to LinkedIn. Seems a few people don't like it.

Personally, I don't mind seeing tweets in my LinkedIn network updates as I often find some great information and content this way BUT there is a really compelling reason why you shouldn't do this and it's a little change LinkedIn made a few weeks ago: the ability for others to share your tweets within LinkedIn has been removed.

If you see a tweet in your network updates stream you can still retweet it (if you have a Twitter account), you can still reply to the person sending it (via Twitter) and you can still favourite it. But that's all you can do.

A couple of weeks ago a contact of mine launched a great iPhone app that I thought those in my network would want to hear about. I tried to share it by commenting on the post but, because my contact had sent it via Twitter, I couldn't. I did retweet it instead but it means those in my LinkedIn network didn't see it. The key point here is that by tweeting direct to LinkedIn you are putting up a 'sharing' barrier. Yes, there are ways around it but you need to consider the hassle factor.

If you want people to share your content, you need to make it easy for them and that means posting direct into each platform. Luckily it's very easy to quickly adapt your message for LinkedIn with Hootsuite and other similar tools.

I started this post by saying that it seems that others don't like people to post tweets into LinkedIn. Why is that?

Tom made a really good point that hashtags don't lend themselves to LinkedIn, saying:

"Both networks have their own ways of expression. On Twitter you can use the @ and # symbols. On LinkedIn, however, there are no such symbols, so when tweets bleed into LinkedIn news feeds, they actually look like foreign communications. At best, they are neutral to the tweeter's personal brand; at worst, they are damaging to the tweeter's personal brand. I recommend a wholly-focused communication approach to each social network."

Others believe they look noisy or spammy. I do gree that when people automatically feed their Tweets through to LinkedIn it's not always the best look. These are often personal in nature and just irrelevant.

Whatever your view, I strongly recommend that, if you want to make it easy for people to share your content, you post direct to LinkedIn rather than using #in from Twitter or opting for your Tweets to automatically flow to LinkedIn.

What do you think? 

8 sure-fire ways for professionals to lose clients: Part 3

by Kirsten Hodgson

At last, the final in my three-part series about common client service mistakes lawyers, accountants, engineers and other professionals sometimes make and my recommendations to avoid these. 

Number 6.     Over-reliance on a few key relationships within the client organisation

In order to minimize the risk of losing a client should your key contact(s) leave or be made redundant, you should identify all the key decision makers, influencers and gatekeepers within an organisation and build relationships with as many of them as possible. Look on the company’s website and see if there’s an organigram or do an Advanced Search on LinkedIn to identify who you do/do not know but need to. Setting up a simple matrix will help you to quickly identify the gaps and you can then seek to close these.

Number 7.     Lack of understanding of the client’s operating environment

The current economic climate means that a number of businesses are looking at reducing their costs and if not, they’re certainly focused on getting more value from their existing spend. It’s important to think about how you could help your clients in this context – for example are there more things they could do internally before getting you involved, are there different ways of pricing that might appeal more to your customers, or can you help them budget for your services by providing them with a timeline setting out what they will need to pay, when? This will be particularly useful for developers and other businesses that need to draw down funds in order to pay suppliers as they will be able to budget for these in advance.

Again, the only way to truly understand your clients’ operating environments is to ask them.

Number 8.     Wrong personal fit (relationships are key – people do business with people they like)

People tend to do business with people they like. Feedback we’ve received suggests that clients are increasingly hiring ‘horses for courses' so, provided an individual has the necessary level of expertise (and the right level of support behind them), the client is likely to hire someone for a piece of work based on their relationship with them. It therefore, is really important to ensure that you have the right people managing each client relationship and that you’re prepared to pull them off and replace them if a relationship’s not working.

We’ve helped a number of our clients to save major accounts simply by replacing the existing relationship person with a new one, more suited to that client. You can’t underestimate the importance of this. It’s an issue that can cost businesses millions of dollars. If you find out this is an issue for one of your clients then make the change quickly – you don't have to be hard on the person involved but you do need to be hard on the issue. 

What's your view? 

What other common mistakes do you see professionals making when servicing clients? 

8 sure-fire ways for professionals to lose clients: Part 2

by Kirsten Hodgson

This is the second in my three-part series about the 8 most common client service mistakes lawyers, accountants, engineers and other professionals make and how to avoid these.

Last week's post dealt with the first two. This week we look at another three typical, and costly, mistakes. 

Number 3.     Hiding behind written communications

It’s often tempting to draft a news-alert or letter to clients about issues that might affect their business but by doing this you may well be missing out on great opportunities. How much more valuable would it be to your clients if you called them about the issue, briefly set out what it might mean for them, and organised to come in and talk to them about it in more detail? You could then follow up with your written summary.

I talk to clients of professional services firms time and time again who tell me that their advisers missed out on an opportunity because they sent a generic written summary about an issue that could potentially affect the client’s business AFTER their competitors had done so. Because a number of firms are adopting the same approach, it literally comes down to who can get the summary out quickest. The clients say that, had they received a phone call and a more personalized approach, the adviser would have secured the work arising from this.

Number 4.     Focusing on yourself rather than on the client

When times are quiet, attention does turn to business development. However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to focus on your needs rather than those of your clients. The best way to ensure success is to find out about your clients’ businesses, ask them about their upcoming opportunities and challenges, find out what their current frustrations are and think about whether there are any opportunities for you and your colleagues arising from this.

Once you've done so you can offer a workshop, give some free advice (that then leads to paid work) or send your client something (such as a checklist, article or referral) that could help them. You may want to think about who else in your network your client might like to meet and provide an introduction either in person, or via LinkedIn.

Number 5.     Lack of meeting preparation / outcome identification

Given that the majority of people don’t want to fail, it’s amazing how many treat meetings with existing clients as something they can ‘wing’. Before any client meeting you need to identify the purpose and what you want to achieve as a result.

I’d recommend preparing at least three questions you would like to ask the client during the meeting and that you define your target post-meeting ‘next action step’ (e.g. set up a follow up meeting by X date, or introduce them to your colleague by X date).

The key thing is to leave each meeting with a concrete action step that’s time-bound.

I'll post the final part next week.

What's your view? 

What other common mistakes do you see professionals making when dealing with their existing clients?