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Welcome to Futureforth

We teach companies how to reach their people.

We are a social media strategy, digital marketing consultancy, and communications company based in Nashville. Our goal is to teach you inbound marketing, social media best practices, and everything you need to succeed with content marketing including your blog, email newsletter, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other favorite social networking platforms.

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The Futureforth Blog

Helpful tips and articles about social media strategy, content marketing, and business networking. 

Filtering by Category: Tips

New Ways to Reflect and Follow Up

Dave Delaney

Take time at end of week to reflect, follow up
Take time at end of week to reflect, follow up

Since launching my free daily goals download, I have received a few questions about how I keep up with my work. The daily goals document helps to keep me on task each day, but it's also important to reflect and return to the items you have crossed off your list. Here are a few ideas to help you keep track and to remember to follow up.

Your Calendar

We are all obsessed (at least I am) with keeping up with our calendars. I use mine to book meetings, coffees, events, speaking engagements, and family stuff. What I have started to do is return to it each Friday to review who I met with that week. I then start a follow up list, so I can remember how I should follow up. Do I need to send a Futureforth proposal? Do I need to make an introduction for someone to another person in my network?

Sent Box and Messages

On Fridays, I check my email sent box. Who did I write to this week? How should I follow up? I also make it a habit of reviewing my Twitter direct messages, LinkedIn mail, Facebook chats, and my regular voice mail and text messages. Who did I communicate with? Are there any next steps I forgot to do?

Daily Goals Review

Each Friday, I review my Daily Goals. It feels wonderful to scratch items off the list as I complete them through the week, but some items lead to new things to add to my agenda. Don't recycle your completed goals documents. Instead, review them and keep them in monthly folders.

I also use Baydin's Boomerang in my Gmail. This is a free service to make emails return to my inbox at later dates. For example, if I email you a proposal, I will set it to return to my inbox in one week if I have not heard back from you yet. This helps me keep organized and feeling (somewhat) sane.

These are a few ways I keep up with my work each week. It is easy to do the work and to move on to the next thing. We need to take the time to reflect on our week. Ask yourself how you wasted time and consider your accomplishments too. Never forget to follow up, that's a crucial part of business networking.

This article originally appeared in the Tennessean newspaper.

How to Kill Conference Hashtag Spam

Dave Delaney

How to stop conference Twitter spam
How to stop conference Twitter spam

I saw a tweet the other morning from Jeff Gothelf, who was expressing disappointment from hashtag spam occurring at UX Camp CPH. I sympathized with him and his fellow conference attendees. As speaker, I know how annoying this can be.

Here’s how I cut out (most) of the spambots when following a hashtag at a conference.

How to stop conference Twitter hash tag spam.
How to stop conference Twitter hash tag spam.

Go to Twitter’s Advanced Search. Search for the hashtag, but be sure to include the location of where the conference is taking place. Save the search, so you can easily return to it.

This will greatly reduce what you see from the spambots. It’s not a perfect solution, but it will help you enjoy Twitter more during a conference.

You can learn the basics on hashtags here.

[Tweet "Hashtag spam sucks."]

5 LinkedIn Mistakes You Could Be Making

Dave Delaney

Top Five LinkedIn Mistakes
Top Five LinkedIn Mistakes

If you're not actively using LinkedIn you're missing out. The professional social network just surpassed 300 million users, which is more than Twitter. If you question why you should invest your time, consider how LinkedIn just spent 1.5 billion in their acquisition of Lynda.com, an online education company. That's a move by a company that has big plans for it's future. If that doesn't convince you, consider that one new member is joining LinkedIn every two seconds.

At Futureforth.com, my job is to review personal profiles and train companies how to capitalize using LinkedIn. Here are the top five personal profile LinkedIn mistakes I see frequently made and how to fix them.

1. No head shot. Let’s face it, doing business with someone without a head is pretty unappealing. Your eyes are the windows to your soul, so why not share them and the rest of your beautiful face while you’re at it?

Choose a professional head shot. Never use a goofy photo (unless you’re in the business of being a goof). Avoid cropping others out of photos. It looks odd to have a profile photo with someone’s hair along the edge or a random hand on your shoulder.

2. Sending default connection requests.

I’d Like to Add you to My Professional Network on LinkedIn.

I’d like you to tell me who the heck you are? Where did we meet? What did we talk about? Why do you want to connect on LinkedIn?

Make sending a connection request part of your networking effort. When you meet someone new, follow up with a connection request. Do this by sending a custom message and include where you met and what you talked about. Here’s an example.

Hi Mary,

It was a pleasure meeting you at the Refrigerator Conference. I had no idea you had such a rich history in the industry. It was a pleasure speaking with you over lunch.

Let’s be sure to keep connected via LinkedIn. If I can provide you with an introduction to someone in my network, please let me know.

A caveat to this rule is an issue with mobile. Unfortunately, LinkedIn mobile apps automatically send the default connection request message. Even if you accidentally send the default, follow it up with a normal email.

3. Not selecting skills. How can you pay the bills if you don’t show off your skills? The skills you choose to be associated with will become LinkedIn endorsements from your connections. On the flip-side, if you find you are being endorsed for older skills, it’s time to update your skills section.

4. Writing a crummy summary. Take the time to write a killer summary that tells visitors to your profile about you. Who are you? What do you do? What are your amazing talents, and how have they helped your employer or clients? Avoid being too boastful, but don’t be shy about including milestones and facts, figures and statistics related to your successes. People want to know they are connecting with a winner.

5. No keywords or terms. In this day and age we always need to consider search engines when creating content online. Our LinkedIn profiles are not excluded in this. Gone are the days of a recruiter finding your resume because it was printed on pretty paper (that once worked). They use search tools to seek out candidates by searching LinkedIn.

You want your profile to be optimized and appealing so people find you and want to connect.

You must be sure to include relevant keywords and terms related to your industry in your profile and LinkedIn headline. As I always advise my clients, don’t write your profile littered with keywords, write it so it is pleasant to read for humans. Just don’t forget about the robots that also read it. Be strategic in how you include those keywords for LinkedIn so the bots can find you, too.

Just as you would want your brick and mortar business to be appealing so customers enter, you want your profile to be optimized and appealing so people find you and want to connect.

Don’t file this post away for later. Get started updating your profile now.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessean newspaper.

How to Remove a LinkedIn Connection

Dave Delaney

Remove LinkedIn ContactI had a conversation with a gentleman today who asked how to remove a connection from LinkedIn. Thank you for inspiring this post, David. We use LinkedIn to grow our networks, but in some situations we need to disconnect or "unfriend" a person.

You can't remove a connection on mobile, but you can from desktop.

How to Remove a LinkedIn Connection

  • Go to the connection's profile.
  • Move your cursor over the arrow icon next to the button in the person's profile. The button name may vary.
  • Select Remove connection.
  • Click Remove.

Important:

Don't worry, the connection will not be notified when you remove them. However, any recommendations and endorsements you exchanged will also be removed. They will not reappear if you decide to reconnect later, so keep this in mind before you disconnect a contact from LinkedIn. You will also lose any notes you have taken, so be sure to back those up.

Have you had to remove a connection from LinkedIn? If so, why did you do it? Leave a comment, so others may learn some best practices to avoid getting disconnected. Thanks.

Four Secret LinkedIn Tips to Maximize Your Time

Dave Delaney

LinkedIn Tips
LinkedIn Tips

Did you know there are more than 350 million LinkedIn users? A new member joins every two seconds. Studies show Facebook growth has become stagnant, while LinkedIn continues to lead the way as the professional social network. Whether you are new to LinkedIn or a frequent user, I expect these tips will help you make the most of your time. The following are four LinkedIn tips the experts know and now you will too.

 

1. LinkedIn Advanced Search

Did you know LinkedIn has a powerful search engine? The search function is great, but the Advanced Search is the secret sauce; use it for even better search results. You can search by company name, location, title, school, industry, current or previous company. Advanced search allows you to narrow down your search to 1st Connections (those who you know), 2nd Connections (those who are connected to someone you know) and Group members.

2. Save search results

When you have created your search using the directions above, click the gear icon to access your settings. You will find a much over-looked Saved Searches option. Click it and save up to three searches (for basic LinkedIn users). You can set up email alerts and LinkedIn will automatically send them to you weekly or monthly. Saved searches are perfect for human resources recruiting and lead generation for sales.

 

3. Archive important messages

Your LinkedIn inbox can get unruly as you balance connection requests with personal messages and (those annoying) solicitations. Searching your messages isn’t easy. I recommend archiving your messages outside of LinkedIn should the service go down or you lose access to your account.

Under Account Settings, select Privacy & Settings. Scroll down to Communications. Under Email and Notifications, select the frequency of emails. Check your settings and make sure you are receiving messages from other members. This is important, because the messages will end up in your email inbox, where you can safely archive and find them again in the future.

4. Export connections

I applaud LinkedIn as the only social network that allows you to easily export (back up) your connections. Click Connections on the top of the screen and click the gear icon on the right side. Under the Advanced Settings, select Export LinkedIn Connections. Choose the file format you prefer to download.

Be sure you are exporting your LinkedIn connections at least once a month. Keep the exported list secure, since it is filled with the personal information of your LinkedIn network. I upload my connections to Contactually, so I can keep in touch. 

This story originally appeared in The Tennessean by Dave Delaney, Futureforth founder.

Be Human on LinkedIn

Dave Delaney

How to send an invitation on LinkedIn When you send a LinkedIn invitation, a generic message appears. Don't just send this, tell me why you would like to join me on LinkedIn. A personal approach is always the better way. Be human.

Hi Joe,

It was a pleasure meeting you at XYZ event. I can't believe we have so much in common. Let's keep connected on LinkedIn. Please let me know if I can ever be of assistance.

Cheers, Dave

Remember that you don't have to accept every invitation. LinkedIn reminds us to only connect with people we know, because:

  • They’ll have access to people you know.
  • Others may ask you about them and vice versa.
  • You’ll get updates on their activity.

The Mobile Caveat

Unfortunately, connection requests sent via LinkedIn (or third-party) mobile apps automatically default to the generic message. In this case, it's wise to follow up by email to let the person know you sent them a connection request.

UPDATED: Read this! 

What I've Learned in Eight Years on LinkedIn

Dave Delaney

LinkedIn 8th AnniversaryToday is my eighth anniversary using LinkedIn. Should I buy myself a cake? I wrote an entire chapter of my book, New Business Networking, about using LinkedIn to grow and nurture your professional network. Last year, I was the keynote speaker at LinkedIn's LinkedIn Live Conference in Nashville which was an honor for me. You might say, I'm a bit of a fanboy.

Top LinkedIn Posts and a Free Webinar

To celebrate my eighth year using LinkedIn, I have round up a few of my most popular posts about the professional social network. I am also inviting you to join me with Brad Farris on January 21st for a free webinar on getting the most return for your business and career using LinkedIn. You can learn more and RSVP here.

Last night I used LinkedIn's nifty Connection Timeline tool for a glimpse of my history. You may recognize a few faces in this short video of my life on LinkedIn. Was the 90s a bit of a blur for you too?

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy8m4ZZ2nX4&feature=youtu.be&hd=1[/embed]

My Most Popular LinkedIn Blog Posts

To continue my anniversary celebration, I reviewed my analytics to determine my most popular blog posts about LinkedIn. Here they are for your reading pleasure.

LinkedIn High-Fives VS Nods. Understanding the difference between endorsements and recommendations.

A Terrible LinkedIn Mistake. Managers need to stop making this crucial mistake about LinkedIn (and how they treat their employees).

10 LinkedIn Tips for Profiles. Brad and I will teach you plenty about optimizing your LinkedIn profile (and more) during our free LinkedIn webinar, but it never hurts to improve your profile. Give this one a read.

Students Need LinkedIn. I love speaking to students about the importance of networking. I put an emphasis in my presentations on why students need to have their LinkedIn profiles up to date, how they should join and create groups, and why they should write recommendations. If you're a student or a parent of a student this post is for you.

Be Human on LinkedIn. Nothing irks me more (on LinkedIn) than receiving connection requests with no personal message. I realize mobile apps automatically send the default connection request, but you should always follow that up with an email. I share more thoughts on how to do this in this post.

Don't Miss My Free LinkedIn Webinar

Free LinkedIn WebinarDon't forget to register for my free LinkedInwebinar. Mark your calendar and join Brad Farris and I, as we walk you through everything you need to know about getting the most return from using LinkedIn in 2015.

More details and registration can be found at The 2015 Guide to Using LinkedIn. I hope to see you there.

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