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5 Ideas for Leveraging LinkedIn for Business

I was recently asked by a Cisco partner which social platform was better for B2B marketing – Facebook or LinkedIn?  My response went something like this – We’re all using Facebook to connect and share with our family and friends and with 800 million users, Facebook is hard to ignore, but do we really want our professional networks and personal lives to intermingle to this extent? There is always the option to create a separate Facebook page solely for business purposes. However, these types of pages are more likely to be successful for B2C companies where the target audience is already a regular Facebook user and  the product or service they’re selling is a lifestyle fit.

On the other hand, LinkedIn is a social platform designed specifically for the business professional.  It’s used by over 160 million people worldwidewho did nearly 4.2 billion professionally-oriented searches within the platform in 2011 and are set to surpass more than 5.3 billion this year. If I only had $10 to spend on social marketing and I had to choose between LinkedIn and Facebook, I would choose LinkedIn. The audience is more targeted, more qualified for the B2B technology market we focus on and the platform offers many ways to engage with this audience.

Here are five thoughts on how to maximize LinkedIn for business:

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Let the Game Begin: Download the CiscoEvents Mobile App #ragancisco

On May 8th and 9th, come to Cisco Headquarters to learn advanced social practices, mingle with old friends and make new ones at the 2012 Advanced Social Media Strategies for PR, Marketing and Corporate Communications Summit. Hang out with us and other attendees in the real and virtual worlds as we explore topics like how to:

  • Adapt to the social business model: the key to real culture change
  • Hone in on the “social” aspect of social media
  • Build a collaborative case for social media to persuade your C-suite
  • Use carrots—not sticks—to get buy-in for a social media marketing strategy
  • Take risks, measure results and meet marketing goals using social media
  • Track the ROI of social media Read More »

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Top Reasons Why Using Webinars is Good for Business

You have expertise and that can be a powerful differentiator for you in business.

Use a webinar to share your knowledge, attract new people and even help hone your internal processes. Here are five reasons why using webinars (and WebEx) is good for business.

1. Add value to your brand.

Leverage your in-house expertise using it to distinguish your business leadership. A good webinar parallels all of the information your company is already putting out, but adds depth to a particular area. It also can allow users to ask specific questions. Here’s how Mike Bartkus at SkillSurvey uses webinars to tell people how to avoid bad hires. While you learn new information, you tacitly trust Mike’s advice and expertise.

2. Educate and inform your audience; share your passion.

Seeing is believing. If you have a great widget, show me how it works and what it can do for me and my company. Engage me. Don’t bore me with a slide-show about your company’s history. Show me what your product or services can do and why I can’t live without them.

3. Fill the funnel.

Generate marketing leads with a successful webinar. You’ll attract those people who are most interested in the subject matter which should shorten your sales cycle. The potential audience here is unfettered by time or location, and bonus, the webinar lacks the associated travel costs of a large marketing event. It’s win-win.

4. Create a lasting impression.

“Whatever webinar you’re doing, it’s worth recording it,” says Brian Carroll, CEO of InTouch Inc. “We’ve been able to show that 300% to 500% more people watch a recorded webinar than attend a live one,” Carroll said. “If you don’t record it, you’re missing out on more than half of your audience.” Creating an asset that can be used repeatedly over time can save you money and time.

5. Move your business forward.

Webinars can help you train your employees on a new piece of software from your home office, saving you time and travel costs. You can provide employees with everything they need all at the same time, with hyperlinks, and if you record the webinar, employees can refer back to it at a later time if they need a refresher or feel that they missed something the first go round.

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Learn Marketing from the Experts and Amp up Your Efforts Next Week

In less than a week, partners from around the globe will join Cisco executives and marketing thought leaders in Las Vegas for Cisco Partner Velocity 2012. This exclusive three-day event is all about you—helping partners “amp up” their marketing efforts. Don’t worry if you can’t attend in person: there will be lots of coverage from the event and replays so you won’t miss a thing.

Next week, we’ll host the very best and brightest marketing experts and they will share their insights on a range of topics such as:

  • How to scale your business through integrated campaigns
  • Creating distinction using social media
  • Understanding and leveraging marketing techniques
  • Marketing best practices to accelerate your business
  • And much more!

Some of Partner Velocity’s guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Martha Rogers, recognized for her one-to-one marketing
  • Daniel Pink, bestselling author and journalist
  • Chris Brogan, bestselling co-author and columnist

What else can partners expect to learn? Read More »

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Built for the Network: Built by Cisco Partners

Before we could write, film videos, watch TV, or tweet, stories served as the way to share information and convey data.

But even in the digital age with information coming at us from every angle every second, it’s the power of stories that compel us to buy, that make our customers  trust us, and it’s how the best marketers convey information.

Cisco’s new Built for the Network campaign is helping us to reach out to customers through videos and success stories that we’re currently rolling out via television, print, digital, mobile and social media. These stories showcase the power of Cisco and its partners and we want to ensure that you have the tools to spread the word, through this and your own campaigns. I would also like you to participate and will show you how.

First, watch the most recently launched commercial.

Keep reading for details on how to participate in the campaign and reach more customers. (It could be your business featured in an upcoming commercial or video.)

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