Manchester-based Freelance B2B PR professional and copywriter

InMaps is LinkedIn’s connection-mapping tool and unlike Facebook’s 2007 Friend Wheel which was multi-coloured and extremely pretty to look at didn’t tell us anything that we didnt already know. On the other hand I have found InMaps really useful – not only is it fabulous to look at but it tells you a lot about your networks.

The clusters, for example give you an immediate and in-depth visual representation of your key business networks and where they overlap, which can be difficult to see in a simple list of contacts. This helps you to make sense of your networks as you can also label each of the clusters.

Understanding the connections between people in your network can be important especially when you need to get things done. Knowing who connects to who when pulling together a team or project means you can work with people who already know each other.

Keep an eye out for clusters around particular sectors or areas of knowledge as if these fit with your business these contacts have the potential to be hot leads. InMaps will also show you who is best connected in your network, as these ‘influencers’ appear as larger dots within the map, so you know who you should be networking with.

Check out my InMap here:http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/share/Dee_Goldstraw/72454832153201863313162184555341297202

I am interested to find out any other ways that people are using InMaps?

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My answer to this question is of course: Yes!

Everyone in business is aware that one of the best methods of growing a business is via referrals but can you do this on Twitter? Mark Shaw (@msrfr) is a leading authority on Twitter, and is trying to do just that by using #rfr – request for recommendation. At present it broadcasts about 100 business leads throughout the day.

So what are you waiting for? Follow @msrfr and see if there are any requests for products or services that you can provide – hopefully it should prove that Twitter is an effective and valuable tool for lead generation and it’s free!

This got me thinking about how I use Twitter for my own business and over recent months I have found hashtags such as #journorequest, #ukjourn and #prrequest incredibly useful putting me in touch with specific journalist requests. Therefore, I would be interested to find out how anyone else is utilising Twitter and hashtags in their daily business life – please leave your comments.

As of 1st March the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) started to regulate marketing communications (marcomms) on websites and that includes blogs and social media sites too. This means the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code) applies in full to any marketing messages online.

A time to worry? Or a time to give your online marcomms a once over? Fear not, it can only be a positive for online marketing as it brings it in line with the rules that apply to offline media. Put simply it is a crackdown on the crazy promises that are made by some unscrupulous traders, as a result trust in online marketing should increase.

Here are a couple of points to consider:

  1. Know what on your site constitutes marcomms: it’s not just the obvious large adverts but also subtle claims about products or services or delighted customer testimonials that aren’t quite true that could fall foul of the regulations.
  2. Check your social media platforms: as the rules apply to sites such as Facebook and Twitter too, don’t make any unsubstantiated claims about your products or services. Instead engage followers in industry debate or comments on issues in the news.
  3. Keep an eye on your blog too: especially as it is one of the most informal parts of your website it can be easy to slip up. Do talk about your products or services’ benefits but only if they are true and can be substantiated.

I hope that goes someway to helping you understand what the new regulations mean – in conclusion just make sure that everything you write online is truthful, transparent and not likely to mislead or offend.

Twitter or tweeting … we all know we should be doing it but I am encountering clients on a regular basis that are unsure of how they should be using it to market their business.

So in the essence of keeping it short and tweet, here are my top tips for gettting the most out of Twitter:

  1. Keyword target: peform searches on your keywords and reply to relevant tweets. Remember to include # of your keywords too so they can be found easily.
  2. Getting a response: phrasing your tweets as a question is one of the best ways to provoke a response and instigate a two way dialogue.
  3. Be real: show some personality with your tweets and avoid spaming your followers with constant sales messages – remember its a conversation.

Happy tweeting.

Starting out …

It is my aim to use this blog to promote my services as a freelance B2B PR professional and copywriter. Just starting out as a freelancer I am sure it will include the highs and lows of being my own boss. But most importantly I hope to create an online portfolio that keeps everyone up to date with the clients I am working with and the projects I have completed.

My key objective of setting up on my own is to provide a cost effective, flexible and results driven service for B2B clients and provide extra support when required to PR agencies.

Finally, I will give my personal views on industry news and events/conferences that I have attended.