Why LinkedIn should be worth more than Facebook

It’s an age-old adage – Business vs Pleasure.

In a world where athletes make millions and the average business person makes less than $100K it is hard to argue that a market designed for entertainment isn’t big business. However, the customers are clearly in it for pleasure. This is why Facebook on paper is more valuable than LinkedIn – how can you argue with almost a billion users? LinkedIn, however, has over 200 million “business users” and the entire focus of LinkedIn is to “link” you with other business people.

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Can’t remember that person who Sametime’d you?

There is a cure for that!

With over 400,000 employees, IBM can be considered a very large company and too often I have accidentally closed a chat window or had to reboot and could not remember who I chatted with! Well, there is a tiny little down arrow in the title area for the Sametime Frequent Contacts window in your Notes client. You can select what contacts to show in the list. Notice you have several options:

  • Sametime Frequent Contacts – shows a list of contacts you often chat with.
  • Sametime Primary Contacts – is a static list you define of your “favorite” people.
  • Sametime Recent Contacts – shows in order of date the people you have chatted with. A little different from frequent contacts as it’s just sorted by date.

So maybe this would be a good “badge” if you used this feature in Sametime. I would be interested to know who actually knew about this and who uses it.

Who’s viewed your profile?

Your LinkedIn profile can either be a positive or negative element in the social world equation. I received some good tips from Ben Martin about how to have a profile that gets results. While I am not looking for a job, I do use my LinkedIn profile to connect with customers and partners and I want to be “found” when I am not out looking for others. I want others to find me. Since I expanded my introduction section I have seen a drastic difference in the statistics around how many times my profile was viewed or has shown up in search results.

If you want to be taken seriously you should have as much information about your skills as possible. People are looking for something out of the ordinary buzzwords. I am sure my profile is not perfect and if you have any advice for me please share!


Effectively using #hashtags with Twitter

One of the features I love about the Twitter application for iPad and iPhone is the use of the hash tag. I follow a particular hash tag during events like #debates, #ibm, #survivor, etc. The applications on the iPhone and iPad under the Discover area allow you to follow the activity for that particular hash tag and quickly use that hash tag in your own posts. When you click the write icon you get the hash tag placed in the entry field automatically for you and highlighted. This is a big time saver and removes error, especially for large search terms or hash tags. Check out the screen shots below where I follow the hash tag #ibm and then click the write button.

Other sources:

Twitter help about Hashtags – link here.
Article – 5 Ways Your Business Should Use Twitter HashTags.


My Top 5 Twitter tips

Here are my top five Twitter tips for the professional and casual Twitterer:

  1. Hash tags
    Use at least one or two hash tags. Many sources on the net will say the most powerful aspect of Twitter is the hash tag and search. I have also read that readership starts to fall after two hash tags, so you can use three but I would not recommend going to four or more hash tags.
  2. Consistency
    Whether you do it professionally or just for fun, be somewhat consistent with what you Tweet. If you need to have multiple Twitter Id’s then so be it. Be consistent with each account and you will attract like minded followers.
  3. Block Spammers
    While having a lot of followers is good, make sure they are real followers. Many companies check to see who you follow and who follow you. If you have a lot of “let’s meet at a hotel” type of followers it does reflect on you. So I don’t have a ton of followers but I can say I block as many spam accounts as I can recognize.
  4. Be Social
    Don’t just push information out to others, start a dialog, get involved, retweet things you really like and if you truly like it then favorite it. This will get you on Twitter lists – another way to get recognized in forums.
  5. Publicly thank!
    Everyone likes a mention, make sure you thank people who re-tweet you or mention you. It’s part of being social in this online forum. If you get a new follower then you should seriously consider following them and thank them publicly!

Do you have a favorite tip of your own that you want to share?

    Getting started on LinkedIn – My Top 5 tips

    I joined LinkedIn in December of 2005. This was at a time when MySpace was King and Facebook was a college only thing slowly getting into high schools as a social network. At first I didn’t think the concept of LinkedIn would be successful but at the same time I did believe it had a lot of potential, boy has it changed (for the better) over the years. Let’s get to some tips for effectively using LinkedIn.


    Tip #1 – Your Profile

    You must complete your profile with a picture. Think of this as your online resume. Fill out as much information as you can but keep it professional. You should not include anything personal like hobbies, sports, etc. I think of my LinkedIn profile as a business tool, to confirm my credentials when customers or business partners look me up. Oh yes, and they will look you up. Complete your profile, education, work experience, awards, etc. You never know what kind of contact you may meet by simply having all of your information on there or what group may ask you to get involved base on your information.

    Tip #2 – Join Groups

    There are many types of groups on LinkedIn, professional, hobby, government, social groups, alumni, etc. Get involved in the groups. One of the things I really do not like about many of the groups are they end up being job boards. So unless you are looking for a job post relevant information to the groups and add value. The more value you add the more likely you are to attract a future employer or business. You can even promote your own products or brand on these groups but keep it more informational and less selling, establish yourself.

    Tip #3 – Link to others

    If you are in a business meeting and you introduce yourself or get a business card make sure when you get back to your computer you find that new “link” and get them into your network. This will be a sure way to get “remembered”. And if you end up getting connected, they can see what kind of influence you have by what you post and share on LinkedIn. I make it a point that when I get a business card I always attempt to link with that person, it solidifies my interest in them and their business.

    Tip #4 – Recommend and Get Recommendations

    You don’t need many, but getting recommendations on LinkedIn hold a lot of water in my opinion. The reason is someone looking at a recommendation can quickly see who that person is doing the recommendation and see what their reputation is very quickly. You should also recommend people. I wouldn’t just recommend people for the sake of recommending, make sure you truly would recommend this person in real life, because that is exactly what it is. It quickly builds a list of references and is always available online.

    Tip #5 – Be the expert your profile says you are

    If you are a rock star manager then make sure you post often about being a rock star manager. Make sure you are a thought leader in your area of expertise. This will clearly attract more connections and raise your profile credibility. The newly introduced “skills” endorsements is a great way to get others to see that you are what you say you are. I recommend blogging or sharing key stories or news articles that are relevant to your industry.

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    This just in: Google+ is still uninhabited

    I know that blog title will attract some attention and it even sounds like something you would see on The Onion but I had to write this.

    I joined Google+ well over a year ago and I still see little activity on it. I post “most” everything I post on Facebook and Twitter to Google+, not everything, but pretty close. Guy Kawasaki might be right stating Google+ is the Mac of Social:

    “From my perspective, Google+ is to Facebook and Twitter what Macintosh is to Windows: better, but fewer people use it, and the pundits prophesy that it will fail,” – Guy Kawasaki

    From my Klout score(see below) you can see I have very little interaction from Google+, actually …none. I do love Google+ and think it is way better than Facebook but not as clean and simple as Twitter. I have over 1000 followers on Twitter, over 500 Friends on Facebook and about 330 people in my circles. I don’t really even use the Circles feature because most of my stuff is the same for all of them.

    Bottom line, Facebook has penetrated the youth, students, professionals, and the retired generations. Facebook seems to actually be losing teenagers to more basic things like Twitter and Texting on their phones, but not to Google+. My teenagers have all heard of Google+, none of them use it.

    Until there is a massive incentive to go to Google+ or leave Facebook even, Facebook and Twitter will continue to dominate and Google+ will be popular among the tech elite, college students, and Google employees.

    Getting Social must read for all brands!

    Twitter LogoAccording to this article and a report from Buddy Media, marketing managers are not effectively using Twitter.

    Some key guidelines are also in the article:

    • Tweets with hashtags get twice the engagement of those without, yet only 24% of tweets during the time of the study used them.
    • Using one or even two hashtags in a tweet is fine, but if you add a third, you’ll begin to see an average 17% dropoff in engagement.
    • Posts with images have double the engagement of those without even though users can’t see them until they click on them.
    • If you ask followers to “RT,” you’ll get a 12X higher retweet rate than if you don’t. But if you spell out the word “retweet,” that figure jumps to 23X.

    Must have links for the virtual eCommerce world

    I often get asked both internally to IBM and external how I keep up with the many trends in the eCommerce world. When I made the change over to the WebSphere Commerce team I wanted to be running in the new space (to me) very quickly. I created a few things that have helped me get up to speed very quickly in this industry and now I use these tools to not only learn new things in this space but evangelize best practices, stories, and direction. So below you will see what I currently use to keep in touch with customers, business partners, and other IBMer’s in this space:


    The eCommerce Daily – an aggregation of most everything you see below this point in this post.

    Smarter Commerce Blog – Mentioned below also, this is where IBM’s thought leadership shines in the Smarter Commerce space.

    WebSphere Commerce InfoCenter – THE place to go for product information, tutorials, and any product related information for WebSphere Commerce.

    eWeek.com – great site for everything “e”, including eCommerce.

    Mashable – everything social including social for commerce.


    This tool is invaluable. A few ID’s worth following in this space:

    @bobbalfe – Me! Yeah I know that is kind of cheezy but I am always retweeting or tweeting the many different things I see on the net related to commerce.

    @IBMsmrtcommerce – The Official IBM Smarter Commerce Twitter ID. You will get a lot of great information and Tweets for the Smarter Commerce Blog. Many of the IBM Leadership team is using this blog for thought leadership posts in the commerce space. You can also search Twitter for “Smarter Commerce” and get the different ID’s for other countries and regions.

    @bobbalfe/commerce – This is a list of people and companies that I feel provide a lot of great information in this space. If you feel you should be on this list just friend me on Twitter and send me a message. The list is pretty selective and you really need to inform/educate about commerce. Some key mentions on this list:


    This list is primarily for WebSphere Commerce because I use this to give feedback on anything related to WebSphere Commerce and I also post a lot of links and videos here. I stay pretty active and subscribe to the groups via email. This way I only go to the group to answer specific things that I can or see conversations that interest me.

    IBM Websphere Commerce

    Retail Industry Professionals Group

    WebSphere Commerce Experts

    Websphere Commerce Professionals

    WebSphere Commerce Specialists

    WebSphere Gurus Inc.

    Websphere Professionals Group

    WebSphere SME’s

    Websphere Software Specialist Group


    I do a lot of Commerce related videos and so do a few others.

    bobbalfe – My channel is around WebSphere Commerce administration for marketing types, some developer videos and a few of my older videos focused on Eclipse and Lotus products.

    IBM – of course the IBM channel but you will get a lot of videos for the entire IBM portfolio so you may have to search around.

    RoyalCyberSolutions – a lot of great videos about IBM technology and not necessarily limited to commerce.

    nehadas85 – This is a relatively new channel and also focuses on WebSphere Commerce related content.


    New Social targets and triggers in WebSphere Commerce 7

    When administrating WebSphere Commerce version 7, you, as a business user, can now use the new social triggers and targets to strike dialogs with your customers. The trigger and action was enhanced in feature pack 3, here for more details.

    Now when a customer participates in social activity (blog, comment, review, or rate your products) you can trigger things like sending a coupon for a promotion:

    Using the same rules editor, you can use these new triggers to customize your shoppers experience. For developers, you can check out one of the more advanced tutorials to do some pretty cool stuff – check those out here.