To LinkedIn Or Not To LinkedIn

linkedin LogoSocial media is king among Marketing guru’s large and small. It is an endless marketing tool that serves almost every marketing need for all distinctive types of businesses. Nowadays, there are so many social media platforms to choose from, one has to wonder, how do we choose? To start with, you have to determine your purpose, however, the universal purpose for all of entrepreneurs, professionals, and us business owners is to be found. And the best way to begin this process is to start with your own personal LinkedIn account.

For beginners, or newbies, LinkedIn is THE professional social networking platform. If you are not using LinkedIn then you are missing out an incredible prospect. Why? Let me tell you… Even though social media has been around for over a decade now, business owners and entrepreneurs are still trying to figure out how to implement this into their everyday business model. From a professional standpoint the best way to break into the social media scene is with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is basically an online resume – coupled with a social media punch. It’s effective because well, we all work, well most people and we work with people, have worked for people and these are the connections we can maintain, discover and develop through LinkedIn. Not only can you publish your resume but you can promote yourself professionally, look for jobs, ask for recommendations, add skills, courses, certifications etc… You can add more to your LinkedIn account than you could ever add to a written resume and companies will find you through their searches. Consider LinkedIn an extension of your resume, but with the potential of 100 x’s more opportunity of being seen by big professionals, startups, entrepreneurs, and independent contractors worldwide.

So my question to you is, why not?

LinkedIn brings professional communities together across the country and around the globe. It gives you a voice, and a giant one at that. You can create your own communities, business pages, link your twitter feed directly to your LinkedIn account and vice versa. And LinkedIn does all the work for you basically. You link up your email accounts and LinkedIn scans your email addresses for individuals that already have LinkedIn accounts, send and invite to these individuals, state how you know them and you’re done! You can also send invites out to individuals that do not have LinkedIn accounts to join and link up.

In addition to the exposure LinkedIn gives you, it also gives you the prospect to construct a business page with custom banners, search for job opportunities and connect to a spider web of contacts you never the tangible reality to contact with before. For example, when you make 1 connection, you are now connected to that connection’s connections. So let’s say I have 20 contacts, and you and I connect, you now have access to my contacts and so on and so forth.

Here’s the deal, you don’t have to be a social media guru to master LinkedIn or even have a LinkedIn account. You just have to know yourself and be willing to sit down and write your professional biography. If you are still poo pooing the idea of social media, get over it because whether you like it or not, social media is a part of our lives, professionally and/or personally. This is the wave of the future and this is your chance to truly connect to the world of professional social networking. Not only does this legitimize who you are and what you do but also gives you greater opportunity of being found. So my question still remains, why not? What are you waiting for?? Google also loves LinkedIn and the more places you are on the internet the quicker you are found, whether you are a dentist, lawyer, consultant, etc.. you can and will be found, you just have to put the effort forward to make it happen!

SurveyMonkey vs. Polldaddy

survey--monkeyI’ve spoken in length about the importance of quality control surveys and the benefits of implementing this kind of system in your daily business client exchanges. I cannot stress enough the significance of this very uncomplicated tool and how it can help cultivate and advance your daily business model. Customer feedback is by far, our greatest marketing tool, it’s raw data, it’s exceptional, it’s priceless and it allows you to use this data towards amplifying your existing daily operations.

I have a client that is an Optometrist, who uses Demand Force. Granted, Demand Force is a great tool, but it’s costly. However, one of the nice things about Demand Force is it gives you reviews from surveys it sends your clients and allows you to connect this to your website and media outlets. Not only that, Demand Force does this for you automatically. Great. Well kind of, here’s the kicker, Demand Force is expensive and if you’re a small business starting out, these kind of expenses really add up. So, let your staff be the Demand Force and create your own quality control system. Enter online survey creators, Survey Monkey and Polldaddy. For a nominal cost, a small business can keep their annual costs at a minimum, say between $100-$200 a year. Demand Force is good for a couple of things, but the survey part is really a nice perk, but the truth to the matter is, you can keep continue to send customer surveys simply by creating your own through these very robust, very easy yet very thoughtful online survey creators. And why not?!

Survey Monkey vs Poll Daddy

Quite honestly, both of these programs bring a lot to the table, but let me explain this from a first time user’s point of view. To begin with, if you are small business that wants to implement a QC system, these are both great, I just found that Polldaddy is easier to use. That’s just me. One day I sat side by side and built the exact same survey from the ground up with both of these platforms. Keep in mind I used the FREE versions for both. The paid versions offer more perks, but I was trying to look at it from a small business starting up. Here’s what I found…

Survey Monkey FREE

Slick interface, moderately user friendly, excellent question bank, harder to modify certified questions, excellent template design options, No HTML Snippets, No option for videos and pictures, NO logo option, cannot remove Survey Monkey Branding.

I liked Survey Monkey because it works with great programs like Mail Chimp. However, I found that trying to get around the website and design my survey was very frustrating. I’m a Graphic Designer by trade as well, so I really wanted to make it shine and I just didn’t have the patience…

Rankings

        • Design 3
        • Ease of Use 3
        • Question Bank 5
        • Modification 2
        • Templates 4

Features

        • Number of Surveys 200
        • Number of Responses 200
        • Number of Questions 5
        • Custom URL NO
        • Pictures/Videos NO
        • Branding with Ccompany Logo
        • Offline Response Collection – NO
        • Share on Facebook Wall YES
        • Embed HTML survey on your Website YES

Poll Daddy FREE

Easy to understand user interface, user friendly, good question bank, easy to modify questions, simple but limited templates choices, HTML Snippets, allows company branding, videos, pictures, offline collection of data with iphone/iPad app.

Right from the start I liked this user interface, it was slick but not too slick, and from the FREE module, it is quite easy to use and it has a many features. Polldaddy is inexpensive from a pro and gold standard and as I mentioned the FREE version offers much more than Survey Monkey. The best part is it interfaces with WordPress and if you use WordPress for any reason whether it be a blog or for your company website, Polldaddy is fully integrateable with WordPress and you can even use your WordPress UN/PW to start up and login. All in all it took me 20 minutes to design and upload my survey, add my logo, text and put on my website.

Rankings

        • Design 5
        • Ease of Use 5
        • Questions Bank 2
        • Modification 4
        • Templates 3

Features

        • Number of Surveys- Unlimited
        • Number Responses – 200
        • Number of Questions- 10
        • Branding with Company Logo – YES
        • Custom URL YES
        • Pictures/Videos YES
        • Offline Response Collection YES
        • Share on Facebook Wall NO
        • Embed HTML survey on Website YES

There are premium versions for both platforms to choose from and pricing is very comparable. If you are comparing apples to apples price wise, then the Pro version of Polldaddy is the way to go, many more features than the free version and many more features than the price equivalent Survey Monkey. If you are looking to try out creating your own survey and implementing this into your day to day operations, my suggestion is Poll Daddy, simply because you have more features, it’s easy to use and it is out of the box ready roll as is it’s co-pilot WordPress. But try them both side by side, have some questions in mind when going into this, because the questions bank in Survey Monkey is very overwhelming, general yet specific and doesn’t fit every genre of business whereas Polldaddy allows you write your own questions from the ground up and does not intimidate you from fact that these are not certified questions. The Facebook feed feature on Survey Monkey is really cool and the amount of templates are great especially when it comes to customizing, however, Survey Monkey FREE doesn’t give you the option to brand your marketing which is huge when it comes to brand recognition across the board.

All in all, both platforms have their benefits, but they have one major thing in common, customer intel. The most vital piece of information every company small or large needs to encompass. Don’t disregard the value of quality control. How can you grow as a business if you don’t know your strengths, weaknesses, opportunity or threats? Surveys allow us as business owners to determine what these things are and build upon to generate the most lucrative setting possible.