Social Media Examiner - Building a niche network on LinkedIn…

Today's Guide to the Marketing Jungle from Social Media Examiner...

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It’s 🥒 Pickle Time Week, Reader! Pickled things our Director of Editorial likes include cucumbers, onions, asparagus, and green tomatoes.

In today’s edition:

  • Today's 👉 Tip of the Day is for content creation

  • 🎯 Niche 🤝 networking on LinkedIn

  • 🤳 Vertical live video coming to Shorts on YouTube

  • Google’s 🤖 AI tool Bard becomes Gemini, with more features

  • 📣 Additional industry news from Meta, Pinterest, and more

Running out of creative ideas? Wondering how you can conjure creativity under pressure?

Schedule Creative Time

Creativity is a muscle and to access it at will, you need to flex it regularly.

First, block out specific times in your calendar each week that are designated for creative activities like brainstorming, trying new things, or learning a new skill. Then, protect this time against meetings or other obligations. 

Having dedicated creativity time helps ensure you make space for new ideas.

Today's tip is inspired by Valentina Escobar-Gonzalez.

This Really is Your Last Chance…

Social Media Marketing World is the best place to learn the latest marketing strategies. It’s taking place just 6 days from now (February 18–20) in sunny San Diego. 

If you want to attend, it’s now or never. 

"We left with so many ideas… We are all fired up and ready to go!" said attendees Rusty and Teresa Andrews.

We have options for recordings and streaming if you can't attend in person.

I’m ready to make 2024 my best year ever!

LinkedIn Networking Strategies and Tips

Looking for a clever way to grow a niche professional network and improve your visibility as an industry leader? 

By applying the following networking best practices, your LinkedIn presence can position you in the same way as being a well-prepared speaker at a top industry event. Gradually, you’ll become a go-to voice for ideas that benefit your peers and attract new clients and customers.

Prepare Your Profile

The first step to improving your LinkedIn presence is overhauling your profile. Treat this like preparing for an industry conference—you want to put your best foot forward to appeal to the right potential connections. 

Specifically, update your profile picture so you will be easily recognizable. Select a high-quality headshot that conveys professionalism. Next, craft the headline, which appears prominently under your name. Don’t use this valuable real estate to place a vague job title. Instead, use it to strategically communicate who you are, what you do, and who you help. 

Then, expand the About section to showcase how you assist others, not just facts about yourself. Outline the key problems you solve or questions you address. Share credentials that establish authority. End by providing a call to action to schedule a discussion or visit your website to learn more.

Check that your skills, experience, education, and more are all accurate and complete. Little profile tweaks like incorporating color or visual icons also enhance scannability. The goal is to intrigue visitors enough to click and keep reading.

Form Strategic Network Connections

Louise Brogan, LinkedIn strategist, compares prudent LinkedIn relationship-building to thoughtfully networking at an in-person conference. Avoid accepting invites from people who simply want to peddle something. Instead, seek out people who are truly interested and active in your industry niche. 

When requesting connections yourself, personalize the message. For example, reference enjoying their recent guest podcast appearance or an article they shared about your specialty topic. Explain why linking up would be mutually beneficial. This extra effort sparks more interest and jogs their memory later about who you are.  

If you want to connect but have hit LinkedIn’s restrictive free account limits, prioritize invites from desired targets. This then enables you to message those people directly to establish a reason for connecting. Another tactic is proactively sending notes when you notice someone visiting your profile.

Become Part of Regular Conversations With Thought Leaders

A prime way to raise your visibility is by actively engaging with top industry experts' content. First, identify and follow select superstar thought leaders known for sharing ideas aligned with your goals. Turn on notifications to stay promptly updated whenever they post new pieces.  

Then, regularly provide thoughtful comments on their updates, contributing your timely perspective. When these influential figures repeatedly see your name attached to constructive remarks, they often start noticing you more. In time this can culminate into a direct outreach about partnering. Treat it like building relationships with VIP speakers you admire at an event.

Finally, Establish Your Own Thought Leadership

With this strategy, you should avoid posting heavy-handed product pitches in favor of establishing thought leadership by posting your helpful ideas. For example, contribute lists of tips, trends analyses, or tutorials relevant to your niche. Frame your guidance from your audience’s point of view, so that it’s evident you are solving their pain points.

This content will position you as an industry resource while allowing your knowledge, passions, and personality to shine through. When your connections share and discuss these posts, your reach rapidly expands. Before long you’ll transform into a sought-after speaker at your own metaphorical conference.

Today's advice is provided with insights from Louise Brogan.

Meet People Who Can Help You

As marketers, sometimes we need someone to talk to—someone who understands our struggles and can provide us with a nudge in the right direction. If you attend Social Media Marketing World next week, you will find a lot of people like that. They are marketers who are happy to share what's working and what's not. 

We've also designed a great place that makes this possible. We call them Table Talks. When you attend, you will find dozens of networking tables dedicated to a wide range of topics.

I’m ready to connect with other marketers.

🗞 Meta’s AI Strategy for Ads: Meta held a roundtable discussion on its AI-powered ad tools, like automated text and image generation, which have seen strong initial adoption from advertisers and early positive results. Other key trends noted include the continued growth of messaging ads and AI-recommended content accounting for 40% of Instagram feed posts. Meta says its AI recommendations have improved time spent on Facebook and Instagram. The company also reported video watch time grew 25% year-over-year in Q4 2023. In terms of targeting, Meta advised moving away from interest-based targeting and utilizing its Advantage AI campaigns instead. While giving up control can feel risky, brands testing Meta's automated ad processes have generated better campaign performance. Overall, AI has played a pivotal role in the recovery of Meta's ad business following Apple data privacy changes. Creative remains the most critical component of ads, influencing over half of Meta's ad auction decisions. Source: Social Media Today

🗞 Bard Becomes Gemini: Google has rebranded its AI chatbot "Bard" to "Gemini" to reflect its new family of capable AI models. Two new Gemini experiences are launching—Gemini Advanced and a mobile app. Gemini Advanced gives access to Ultra 1.0, Google's largest and most advanced conversational AI model, which outperforms leading chatbot alternatives. It can handle more complex tasks like coding, reasoning, and creative collaboration. Gemini Advanced is part of a new Google One AI Premium subscription which also includes Google services like extra storage. A new Gemini mobile app is rolling out on Android and iOS to bring the AI assistant on the go via voice, text, or images. On Android, Gemini can be accessed through the Assistant or a dedicated app. On iOS, it will be available within the Google app. Source: Google

🗞 Pinterest’s Q4 Earnings: Pinterest reported its revenue grew 12% year-over-year in Q4 to $981 million and 9% for the full year 2023 to $3.055 billion. Monthly active users also grew by 11% to 498 million globally. CEO Bill Ready said 2023 was Pinterest's most productive year yet in terms of accelerating product development and launching solutions to drive campaign performance for advertisers. The results demonstrate strong momentum for Pinterest heading into 2024 as the company continues to post double-digit revenue growth and reach an all-time high number of global monthly active users. Source: Pinterest

🗞 Vertical Lives in YouTube Shorts Feed: YouTube is launching a new vertical live-streaming feature called "vertical live" that allows creators to livestream vertically from their phones and appear in the YouTube Shorts feed. Creators can start a vertical live stream just by going live from their phone in vertical orientation—no extra steps needed. Viewers can find vertical lives in the Shorts feed as they scroll or by tapping on the "Live" chip in the corner of Shorts videos. Vertical live has all the key features of regular YouTube Live, including monetization, fan funding, chat, and archives for replay. Source: YouTube


Did You Know?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was one of the earliest composers to use the tambourine in his compositions. Another fun fact is that Emily, our Director of Strategy, is a professional tambourine player. 🤩 She’s also a great wing woman at our conferences, if you’re in the market for one.

Michael Stelzner, Founder and CEO

P.S. Add into your contacts list. Use Gmail? Go here to add us as a contact.  

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