Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

The only Twitter List a Business User needs

One of the biggest challenges using Twitter lists is that there’s no way to auto-update those lists. What this does is that very soon it loses value since its no longer an accurate representation of the folks I intended to follow on this list. What if I told you that starting today, you could add all your business connections to a list that also auto-updates every day.

Enter the latest avatar of LinkedIn's Tweets App

Adam Nash just announced the latest version of LinkedIn’s Tweets App, which allows you to do just that by automatically creating a private Twitter list (let’s call it Business List for now) of all your LinkedIn connections that dynamically updates each day. Connect with more folks on LinkedIn and they automatically get added to your Business List on Twitter. Remove connections from LinkedIn and they drop off your Business List. I may go as far as calling it “magical”. But, I won’t, cos that would be hyperbole.

So, here are three quick steps to set up your Twitter Business List via LinkedIn:

1. Have you connected your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts?

If you haven’t done this yet, I’m not sure why you would want to try out Twitter lists, but I digress… Get your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts synced so your friends can find you when they create their own Business Lists.

It's as easy as 1-2-3. Click. Go.

2. Find and install the Tweets App on LinkedIn

Find LinkedIn’s Application Directory under the “More” header tab.

Find LinkedIn's Application Directory

Clicking on the Tweets app (via Application Directory) will take you to the Tweets Homepage.

Connections tab on the Tweets homepage with Business Lists

3. How can I create a Twitter list of my LinkedIn connections?

Adam’s post describes the feature set in detail, but let me just say that there’s something for every user in this release.

a. LinkedIn users who are just getting started on Twitter

Try the “Connections to Follow” widget on the Tweets App homepage. Left sidebar.

Source: The LinkedIn Blog

b. LinkedIn users who are starting to get Twitter

Try the “Connections” tab for a longer list of your LinkedIn connections’ Twitter ids to follow.

c. LinkedIn users who can’t live without Twitter

Try the “Dynamic List” option, which creates the private auto-magically updated Twitter List that you can then access from Tweetdeck and a host of other Twitter clients. It’s the “Save as Twitter list” widget on the left sidebar of the Connections page.

Source: The LinkedIn Blog

As I said, you may notice that following your business connections still doesn’t include either media brands or just brands in general that you’d like to follow. That’s why I’ve created a public list of carefully nurtured Twitter list of Tech blogs / news outlets to complement my private Twitter Business List.

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Features, Twitter

Why CEOs should break their bad email habits

Update: Brian Chen from Wired writes of Steve Jobs’ “email campaign” with input from Steve Rubel and Brian Solis. My $0.02 per my original blog post below: I think a CEO “email campaign” (if true) sounds a tad manipulative and opportunistic. That said, a consistent Twitter outreach from a CEO seems a more authentic way to reach a far wider audience – and more effective. I can assure you a twitter.com/stevejobs account will rival that of Gizmodo‘s w/ 83K followers and offer an easier way for a CEO to reach fans and media alike. Beg to differ. Please comment away. And, Thanks for reading!

If you like this content, follow me on Twitter!

Turn on Techmeme yesterday and and this is what I saw.

CEO emails were all the rage on TechMeme yesterday!

This is not an isolated occurrence.  I’ve been seeing a lot of emails coming from 1 Infinite Loop in the past 24 hours as well as preceding weeks.

One email to Steve Jobs asked him what he thought of Gizmodo saying Google had leapfrogged Apple with the release of the new Android operating system. Steve’s response,“Not a chance.”

Another emailer (via Mac Rumors) asked if Google was showing up Apple with its developer conference and if Apple had big announcements for WWDC. Steve’s response, “You won’t be disappointed.”

And Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook completed the cycle with his email to Scobleizer, who then proceeded to ask the question: “When do you throw a CEOs privacy under the bus”. Scoble then answered the question with a screenshot of the email string and:

UPDATE: Zuckerberg gave me permission to print this email while I was typing this post.

Cue Seinfeld tone: What’s… the deal… with CEOs and emails these days?!

I constantly review CEOs and their attempts at blogging. I’d have to agree with Steve Jobs’ BFF Larry Ellison that there are far more important issues for a CEO to deal with than to regularly write blog posts.  His exact words were, I quote: “Blogging was a silly diversion” for former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz. Zing. Yes, there’s always the one off crisis management blog post that I believe a CEO can deliver with much impact, but regular blogging is overkill.

That said, since my last post on this topic, the landscape for corporate communication has been radically transformed thanks to Twitter and its ability to offer anybody (even CEOs) a chance to communicate to their audience (maybe peers, employees, customers or the media) in an authentic manner with a minimal investment of time.

CEO Twittering is easier than CEO blogging but still an investment of time

A twitter account is a perfect way to strike the right balance (I’ve said it before). Plus, for any CEO (especially, a celebrity like Steve Jobs) the sky is the limit when it comes to the following he can gather should he choose to tweet on a regular basis. I’m just saying, cos he’s been emailing a lot lately. With that in mind, I wrote down 5 questions for a CEO or executive to consider before choosing to start with social media. Print this out and share it with your CEO, in case of an emergency.

1. First ask yourself: “Do I have something interesting to say?”

And, is that on behalf of my company’s brand or my own. Most of the executives who blog have a great personality in front of the social media camera and are comfortable playing the role of a celebrity. But, if you’re camera shy and would rather just get the job done and move on (like HPs Mark Hurd), forget about it.

Check out other executives who tweet. Is this something you’d be comfortable doing?

  • Former GE rockstar CEO, Jack Welch (1.2M followers). Topics: Sports talk. Lots of it. (I predicted he would tweet. Sorta)
  • Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh (1.6M followers). Topics: Pithy, inspirational quotes.
  • Cisco’s CTO Padmasree (1.4M followers). Topics: Tech, music, weekends and lots of engagement with followers.
  • Express’ CMO Lisa (17K followers). Style: Topics: Yes, she tweets often about Fashion. In many cases Express’.
  • Formerly Kodak’s CMO Jeffrey Hayzlett (21K). Topics: Travel and book related.

And, so many more. Yes, it’s pretty amazing. Also, do you know of any CEOs who have established a presence on Facebook to engage with their “fans”? Sorry. Former Governor Sarah Palin doesn’t count.

2. Does this tie into your branding strategy?

What surprised me most about Steve Jobs’ late night emails (there’s a part of me that still wants to believe it is fake) is that it contradicts the carefully constructed image we have of Apple and by association Steve Jobs. It paints him more Howard Hughes than PT Barnum. Every brand needs to continue that brand imagery on Twitter as well.

In Express Retail’s case, they have an integrated marketing and branding strategy where they aggressively promote their Twitter and Facebook avatars through their packaging, etc. If you consider Twitter a marketing channel, then go all out and try to tie it into the larger marketing / branding efforts of the org.

3. Does this tie in with your communications strategy?

Let’s not forget all of the above CEO emails were with bloggers and journalists. Mostly bloggers. The fact is most bloggers (and increasingly journalists) are on Twitter, plus your conversations are going to be broadcast to millions of other users in addition, making your communication more effective than an email. Plus, you can always DM (private message) a journalist if you want to say: “No“.

Check out a list of bloggers and journalists who are on Twitter already.

4. Have you considered the legal ramifications?

Understand that blogs and Twitter fall under the FTC’s guidelines, so beware of frivolous brand endorsements. And, don’t forget the SEC since that could be a bigger problem for you especially if you’re a publicly traded company. Here are some of the issues they watch out for (Source: BNET).

  • How information posted on a company Web site can be considered “public” and how companies can comply with public disclosure requirements under Regulation FD by posting information on their web sites
  • The liability framework for certain types of electronic disclosure, including:
    • how companies can provide access to historical or archived data without it being considered reissued or republished every time it is accessed
    • how companies can link to third party information or Web sites without having to “adopt” that content for liability purposes
  • clarification of how the anti-fraud provisions apply to statements made by the company (or by a person acting on behalf of the company) in blogs and electronic shareholder forums.

5. Just tweet it

If you’ve answered all the above questions with a “Yes”, then take the tiny little step of actually setting up your Twitter account (which should take all of 2 minutes). And, send out your first “Hello World” tweet for the world to see. Yes, it may seem intimidating now, but the ramifications of a positive engaging conversation with your customers has a positive impact to your brand.

But all of this is valid ONLY if you’re truly interested in having this as an ongoing conversation. With Twitter it’s a small yet considerable investment of your valuable time, so think twice before you jump in. Because if you quit doing it, you’ll be worse off than if you never started twittering. An easier way, would be to establish a presence on LinkedIn. (Disclosure: Yes, I work there).

If you’re interested in these topics, please subscribe to my blog. And, don’t be a stranger. Leave a comment, rant, rave or tweet me @mariosundar.

Filed under: Business Blogging, Leadership Communication, Public Relations,

Are you hurting your business relationships by syncing Twitter and LinkedIn?

Quick Update: Chris Brogan just posted his tips on using LinkedIn effectively. Sheds light on best practices he follows, some of which I’ve outlined below. Read more on Chris’ blog. And, here’s another on how to use LinkedIn status updates. Priceless.

I noticed my good friend, Chris Brogan, seems to have come down with a case of Twitter overkill, on LinkedIn. Let me explain. Recently, we started letting our users sync up their LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. That lets you stream your status updates from LinkedIn to Twitter and vice-versa. You do have the option to selectively update your LinkedIn account with only those tweets tagged #in or you could let the whole fire-hose of your twitter imagination run riot on LinkedIn.

Keeping Business and Social Connections separate

Keeping Social and Professional unique and separate. Pic Source: nutmegthepuppy, flickr

Would you take your vacation pictures and paste it in your cubicle. No, you wouldn’t. So, why does it seem ok to let in your entire twitter stream directly to LinkedIn. That said, I’m sure you’d love to show off a picture of  you standing next to a business celebrity you may have stumbled upon and paparazzi’d while on vacation. The problem with these auto twitter streams is that folks like Chris start seeing a relentless twitter stream when they log into their LI homepage.

Of course, this is dependent on the # of friends you’re connected to on LinkedIn, as well as how twitter friendly they are. In Chris’ case, since he’s both a best selling author and marketing expert he probably has a ton of connection invites (most of which he accepts – more on that later) who also have a lot to say on Twitter. Unfortunately, some of them chose to stream all that Twitter to their LinkedIn accounts.

Chris Brogan's LinkedIn page with Tweets

So, here are three quick tips for those of you who are interested in nurturing your business relationships on LinkedIn via network updates but would like to avoid annoying your business connections with a meaningless interfering Twitter stream:

1. Control the flow of tweets in your stream:

As Chris recommends, go to your LinkedIn-Twitter sync Accounts and Settings and turn down the Twitter faucet. Secondly, make sure the tweets you bring in to your professional LinkedIn ecosystem are hashtagged #in and have a business context.

For e.g.
or

vs. the random LOST tweet that popped in to my LinkedIn stream today.

2. Hide the noisy twitterers in your stream:

Secondly, increase the quality of your connections (keeping it business) and spring clean your LinkedIn accounts every once in a while. Many times when I see persistent, random tweets come in from people I don’t very well recognize I use that as an opportunity to weed out the connections that may have sprung up inconsequentially.

When you see someone spam you with their tweets, all you’ve to do is mouseover the right of each status update, which will pop up the HIDE button. Click on that and you won’t receive updates from that user no more. You can also do this on your Facebook feed, if you’ve a noisy friend, for e.g.

For a more granular control of the updates you see on the homepage, click through to this Update Settings page where you can then tweak updates by either connections or Type.


Let’s not forget, LinkedIn is a business focused networking site, so letting in all your tweets – all personal and business – will have the exact opposite effect you were hoping to achieve by using the site. And, by that, I mean it’d end up hurting the same business relationships you were hoping to nurture.

Plus, be thoughtful while you send out those LinkedIn connection invites. My rule of thumb is to invite folks I’ve met a few times, talked to and who can recognize my personalized invite right away. What is yours?

3. Time your status updates for maximum effect:

Now that you’re no longer that noisy neighbor everyone’s calling the cops on. Learn how to use your LinkedIn-Twitter sync to maximum effect for your business. Time your relevant, most impressive tweets or status updates for maximum effect. By that I mean scheduled updates at the most effective timings. Here are some tips on what’s the best time to tweet. There are a slew of services that allow you to tweet information to select services. Three that come to mind – Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and Seesmic – all of which allow scheduling your tweets.

Tweetdeck’s new update in particular has me wowed since it allows me to not only shorten and track the effectiveness of links through my bit.ly account, but it also let’s me schedule tweets across LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

One last tip: If you’re a small business owner or the social media manager who runs your company’s official Twitter account (like I do here), I’d recommend tying that to your Twitter account. If your company does not have a Twitter account but you’d still like to share the latest happening at your company with your LinkedIn network, then consider adding your company’s blog to LinkedIn. More on that here.

These tips are just the beginning. I’ll continue to blog on ways you can use social media effectively at work and for your business, right here on this blog. Please consider subscribing to my blog or following me on Twitter.

Questions or comments are also highly appreciated. Fire away in the segment below.

Filed under: Linkedin, Twitter

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