Try the Brave New Browser!

I really like the name and for a reason – you really need to be brave to take on the likes of Chrome and Microsoft Edge. Just the other day, I’d read an article by Gavin Phillips discussing about how Chrome was a RAM guzzler. Moreover, have you noticed that Chrome has been getting slower and slower? Does it now take longer for your browser to launch? Do you frequently encounter frozen tabs? Time for a change.

Enter Brave. While browsing through my Twitter feed, I happened to stumble upon a promotional tweet for Brave. It promised to be much more faster, block ads, provide more privacy, and have lesser control of your life. I did a quick check on CNET to ensure I wasn’t downloading some spyware masquerading as a browser. When all seemed fine, I proceeded to download and install Brave.

Source & Copyright: https://brave.com/

And boy! Was I delighted! Within minutes, I was done with importing my bookmarks from Chrome and was all set to go! I decided that Brave deserved that my first blog post on the new browser would be about Brave itself.

Let’s get a sneak preview on some features.

1. Personal Data: First things first – they make it pretty clear that they’re not in the personal data business. Your browsing data is neither seen nor stored by their servers. All your data is is stored on your devices for you to delete when you want to.

2. Customized settings: One really cool feature is that you can choose to customize your settings for your browser or just for specific sites that you visit using this browser. The browser keeps track of how many ads and trackers it has blocked, and you get to see the count each time you launch the browser.

3. Mobile browser: While their desktop browser is only 2x faster, their mobile browser is 8x faster and that means a lot of money saved on data because none of the ads on various websites are allowed to auto-download.

4. Security: One feature I really loved is that Brave automatically upgrades to HTTPS for secure, encrypted communications, where other browsers use insecure connections.

5. Block ads by default: The best part is that all the annoying ads, malwares, and phishing software are blocked by default. Just open one of your favorite websites, and you’ll be surprised with the amazing way in which it blocks all ads. I tell you these guys have brought back some pleasure into browsing the Internet without highly irritating distractions.

Any flip side? Brave rewards. Brave is free to use, but you can opt in to display ads. They say, “Brave Rewards locally picks which private ads to show you based on your browsing activity. Then, Brave uses an anonymous accounting process to confirm ad event activity, keep personal details private, and ensure people earn rewards for their attention.” As a first-time user, I was and am still pretty confused about how this works. With ads being blocked, it remains to be seen if this opt-in approach can be sustainable for Brave. It’s a brave move after all!

Till then, download Brave and enjoy free browsing. Nothing stops you from using the browser for free without opting in for any ads whatsoever. 🙂

Share your views through the comments section below.

How to use the right hashtags on LinkedIn

Using the right hashtags can help extend the reach of your content on LinkedIn.

Have you ever wondered what kind of hashtags can get you maximum views and engagement on LinkedIn? Most users tend to create hashtags that they feel match the content of their posts. Little do they realize that hashtags are a recent phenomenon on LinkedIn and not all hashtags that are popular on Twitter or Facebook might be equally popular on LinkedIn. Moreover, hashtags on LinkedIn don’t necessarily work the way they do on other social media.

The hashtags you follow on LinkedIn are one of the parameters that determine the content of the feed on your LinkedIn homepage. But more often than not, users tend to use hashtags that they think are relevant to their content without realizing that the said hashtag might have very few followers on LinkedIn.

For example, if someone from the academic publishing industry uses the hashtag #academicpublishing in their posts, little do they realize that it has only 443 followers (at the time of writing this post)! This implies that unless someone actually searches for this hashtag on LinkedIn, your post might reach the feed of only these 443 followers.

Now, compare this to more generic hashtags such as #publishing (4,558,030 followers) or #research (460,733 followers), and you’ll realize how important it is to first do a bit of research on the hashtags you’re using on LinkedIn.

It’s highly recommended that you use the right hashtags along with your LinkedIn posts to enhance the reach of your content. LinkedIn has now also introduced the concept of hashtags for company pages. So, company page admins on LinkedIn can now associate their page with hashtags to listen in and respond to conversations about their brand and other relevant topics. Clicking on these associated hashtags from the company page allows users to interact with content related to that hashtag as a company (and not as an individual user). So, go ahead and start using the right hashtags for your postings on LinkedIn.

Found this post to be useful? Do share your views through the comments section, and let me know in case you have any queries.

One cool WhatsApp hack for voice notes

Voice notes on WhatsApp can be a really useful feature when you’re tired of typing or just don’t have the time to type. Yet, many people do not use this feature frequently simply because not everyone carries their earphones all the time and playing out some confidential voice notes in public could be embarrassing.

Now, imagine, you’re in a public place and have just received an important voice note on WhatsApp. But you don’t have your earphones or your Bluetooth handy. Fret not! There’s this very simple hack that you can use to ensure that you’re able to listen to the voice note in private!

Simply play the voice note and immediately hold the phone to your ear as you would do for a phone call. Viola! This will activate the proximity sensor and the WhatsApp voice note will begin playing on the built-in speaker as if you’re on a call. Thus, you can listen to the voice note in private!

What’s more! WhatsApp has announced the launch of one more new feature for communicating via voice messages. The new Consecutive Voice Message will enable users to listen to voice notes consecutively without having to tap on each voice note. Once you begin listening to a voice note, the next one will begin playing automatically. This can be very useful when you don’t have the time to type or are on the move and want to communicate quickly!

3 simple steps to multiply the impact of your LinkedIn profile

Do you know what is the most popular activity on LinkedIn? Yes, it’s viewing profiles! The fact that a huge number of recruiters are on LinkedIn and that they view dozens if not hundreds of profiles each day might be tilting the scales in favor of this metric. Nevertheless, this makes keeping your profile updated all the more important.

In this post, we’ll be covering three simple steps that will help you multiply the impact of your LinkedIn profile.

1. Add a photo to get noticed: LinkedIn says that profiles with photos get up to 21 times more views. Remember to add a professional close-up photograph that makes you easily recognizable.

Power tip: Search for profiles using any relevant keyword, click on “People” on the filters drop-down. View the photos accompanying profiles in your search results to understand how your profile photo will appear in search results. Will it stand out? If not, add a more relevant picture. LinkedIn provides some useful guidelines for adding the right photo to your profile.

2. Add a positioning statement: Refer to the power tip above. What do you see in the search results? Names, designations, and profile photos. You know what? You can simple add a positioning statement to your profile header. Just click on view profile on your LinkedIn profile and then click on the edit icon. Then, add a positioning statement alongside your designation. For example, “Senior Manager – Customer Care | Delivering enhanced value to our valuable customers.” This Hubspot blogpost has some very good examples and guidelines to help you write a very effective headline.

Remember that this positioning statement will help to draw more prospects and customers to your profile, help them understand your role and responsibilities at one glance, and make your profile stand out in search results. The snapshot below presents a good positioning statement.

This is a good example wherein a recruiter can use an image to add branding value.

3. Add a powerful background image: This is one aspect a lot of people miss out on. Anytime someone visits your LinkedIn profile, what they see at first is your photograph, your designation (plus your positioning statement as mentioned above), AND the background image. More often than not, users leave this blank, which then leads to the default LinkedIn image being showcased. Remember that the background image presents a very good opportunity to make a quick and lasting impression on the viewer thereby giving them more reason to read on further details on your profile.

The background image here gives a very good overview of how Don works at an important intersection of scholarly communication.

The examples I’ve showcased above are simply indicative of the potential of strong header images for making positioning statements. You can even choose to communicate certain aspects of your role or company using this background image.

Once you have completed these three simple steps, just begin engaging with updates and watch your profiles views shoot up! 🙂 Share your views through the comments section below.

How to improve your Social Selling Index on LinkedIn – Part 4

This is the concluding part of this series that focuses on building relationships. This parameter primarily revolves around strengthening your network by connecting and establishing trust with decision makers. Personally, I feel this is among the most critical parameters for sales personnel looking to have a strong impact on LinkedIn.

As per a LinkedIn survey, 73% of B2B buyers prefer sales professionals who have been referred by someone they know. In addition, they found out that buying decisions now typically include more than five decision makers. Hence, establishing strong relationships with different prospects is of utmost importance.

SSI 4

Now, your SSI score component under this parameter of building relationships is based on the following four aspects.

  1. Connect with contacts: It is obvious that a larger network will give you greater leverage in finding new prospects and getting your foot in the door with potential clients. Hence, never underestimate the power of constantly developing your network. You just need to remember that a good, strong network cannot be built overnight. Make it a point to spend a few minutes everyday in building and extending your network. Send out personalized invitations to prospects in the industry. You never know which contact might help you get your next big order. Some users hesitate to connect with people they don’t know personally or whom they haven’t met at least once. However, this approach greatly limits your networking capability on LinkedIn. Hence, I would recommend being open about connecting with new people based on their profile credentials.
    Power tip: Connecting with those who have a huge number of direct connections gives this parameter a huge boost because it almost instantly increases your third-degree connection base exponentially.
  2. Focus on decision makers: The key is to establish strong relationships with decision makers at the prospective or target company/institution. Getting through to senior decision makers is not always easy. Also, not all of them might be active on LinkedIn. So, it’s always better to target multiple senior personnel and decision makers to increase your chances of success.
  3. Connect internally and leverage TeamLink: It’s surprising that at times, employees within a company/institution are not connected with each other. Each person has his/her own unique network and connections. Hence, connecting with as many colleagues as possible helps you increase the depth and reach of your network with minimal effort. You might not even need to write personalized notes for connecting with fellow employees. Also, do not forget to connect with the senior management in your company/institution.Power tip: If your organization has a big enough sales team and the stakes are high, it might make sense to go for the Sales Navigator Team package offered by LinkedIn. Once you go for a Sales Team package, you can use your company’s network to uncover the best way to get introduced with TeamLink. But until you feel the need for purchasing a Sales Team subscription, connecting internally with senior folks within your organization is the best bet!
  4. Nurture relationships over time to keep your services top of mind: A big mistake some people do is to not maintain a healthy relationship after the initial contact. Remember that LinkedIn is just a platform built to facilitate relationship building. It’s your responsibility to maintain regular contact and reach out periodically. Add value by providing relevant information and solutions to your prospects or client’s business problems. If nothing else, at least make it a point to like, share, or comment on updates shared by your prospects.

We’ve now covered all four aspects – establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships – comprising the primary parameters that determine your social selling index (SSI) score on LinkedIn. Note that this is especially important for those focusing on B2B sales since LinkedIn is arguably the most successful platform for generating B2B leads.

I would like to conclude with saying that it’s best to regularly spend time networking on LinkedIn so that you build a professional brand and strong network over time. Please do share you thoughts using the comments section below.

How to improve your Social Selling Index on LinkedIn – Part 3

In the third part of this series, we will be focusing on how to engage with insights to improve your social selling index (SSI) score on LinkedIn. The earlier two parts of this series can be accessed here and here.

The third parameter mentioned by LinkedIn for improving your SSI score is based on your ability to discover and share conversation-worthy updates to create and grow relationships on LinkedIn. Did you know that around 64% of B2B buyers report that they appreciate hearing from a sales person who provides knowledge or insight about their business? Which is why knowing how to engage with insights holds a lot of importance.

Linkedin SSI 3

The following pointers will help you ace your score on the engaging with insights parameter on LinkedIn.

  1. Share relevant resources to strengthen personal connections: Make it a point to post content that is relevant to your prospects. This can be in the form of industry news, trends, or updates from your own organization. Sharing and liking updates posted by others is also a great means of engagement. Make it a point to be on the lookout for insightful updates and sharing them. Show that you care about the successes of your prospects and tag them whenever you share an update relevant to them.
  2. Stay in the know with timely content: Remember to leverage industry data and news on LinkedIn to stay up to date. LinkedIn Pulse was earlier a separate platform, but it was merged into the main LinkedIn platform a few years ago. So, now any long form article published on LinkedIn actually goes on to Pulse. When searching for anything on LinkedIn, searching for “content” allows you to search for relevant content on LinkedIn that you can then share.
  3. Engage in discussion where your connections are: LinkedIn advises you to leave thoughtful, constructive comments on content posted by your prospects and to join LinkedIn groups. LinkedIn groups are a great way to find people with similar interests. Search for groups, especially large groups with a significant number of members, to join and engage with prospects and like-minded people.

    Power tip: When you’re sharing an update, always remember to add your own bit. For example, you can add your thoughts on the update or explain why someone should read that update or article. It’s always preferable to add a comment as compared to simply liking an update. But there will be situations when you’d like to just bookmark an update or show some immediate engagement.

  4. Use relevant information when reaching out: Nothing can match an informed and personalized message. When reaching out to anyone, always customize messages using relevant information you have learned about the person on LinkedIn. A simple example is to always remember to add a personalized message when sending anyone a connection request – explain why you’d like to connect with that person. To be able to do this, it’s best to visit a profile and then click on “connect” to add a personalized message. This will significantly increase the chances of the prospect accepting your connection request.

Engaging with insights is a great way to ensure that you win over the attention of your prospects. The key point is to never use a mechanical approach when trying to engage with prospects. Always try to personalize any message you send out to your prospects. That little bit of extra effort will go a long way in multiplying your engagement.

How to improve your Social Selling Index on LinkedIn – Part 2

This is the second part in the series of posts on improving your SSI score on LinkedIn. The first post on “What can you do to establish your professional brand on LinkedIn” can be read here.

The second parameter mentioned by LinkedIn for improving your SSI score is based on your ability to find the right people. Hence, in this post, we will be elaborating on how you can improve your score on this parameter.

SSI 2

So, how can you go about finding the right people on LinkedIn? We’ve listed a few pointers below.

  • Use LinkedIn’s powerful search tool to zero in on the right decision makers: Now, LinkedIn earlier used to provide free unlimited profile searches to all users. But with time, they realized that certain recruiters and sales guys were finding loopholes in their system to search and download profiles. And all of this wasn’t paying off for LinkedIn. So, they have now limited search functionality for users unless you purchase a premium account. The search prowess of your account increases with each higher level of premium. You get more filters and greater reach with each higher level. Hence, if you’re really looking to leverage the power of LinkedIn and need to regularly search for various profiles, purchasing a premium account is indispensable. LinkedIn also recommends using Boolean search terms such as AND, OR, and NOT for your LinkedIn search.

Power tip: Remember, the key is to ensure that you keep oiling LinkedIn’s search engine on a regular basis. So, keep searching for relevant profiles in your industry and try to connect with them. That apart, one important aspect most people don’t realize is that even if you purchase a premium account, your search capability on LinkedIn is still limited to your third-degree network. The larger your third-degree network base, the broader your search will be. Hence, it is really important to connect with LinkedIn power users with large networks. Further details on this are available in a separate post on How to increase your LinkedIn network exponentially. Note that this limitation of search capabilities does not apply to recruiters who purchase a national/global recruiter license (which is very expensive by the way!). 

  • Leverage warm introductions to expand your network: You might be wanting to reach out to someone who is in your second-degree network but you’re not sure if you can reach out directly without making it sound really intrusive and salesy. LinkedIn makes it easy through their introductions feature. Check out how you’re connected to that person. Then, reach out to the common connection between both of you and request the person to introduce you to the prospect. This will help you transform the cold outreach into a warm introduction through a common acquaintance/colleague. Reminder: you might not be very excited about using this feature like several others, but if you do, LinkedIn views this as a sincere move to expand your network.
  • Research potential prospects: LinkedIn advises you to look for commonalities to establish a relationship. When checking a prospect’s LinkedIn profile, check out the LinkedIn groups they’re a part of. This information is available right at the bottom of the profile. Request to join any of these groups. Once you are a part of the group, that can serve as a common point of engagement to reach out to the prospect. Furthermore, the advantage that Sales Navigator provides you is that you can save prospects as leads, and you keep getting regular email alerts whenever any of your leads posts anything on LinkedIn so that you can get a trigger to reach out or engage with the prospect. The bottom-line is to ensure that you too join popular groups in your industry.
  • Take advantage of who’s viewed your profile: This feature of “Who’s viewed your profile” is a great source for driving engagement on LinkedIn. Always keep checking from time to time who has viewed your profile. This will help you get a flavor of who all are really taking interest in your posts or profile on LinkedIn. You’re only able to see a few profile viewers with the free account. If you take a premium account, you can get to see profile viewers for up to 90 days ago. Treat profile viewers as inbound leads and always make it a point to engage with them.

So, there you go! These four pointers are the primary aspects that determine the score for your ability to find the right people on LinkedIn. Keep watching this space for more information on how you can improve your sales profile and ultimately your SSI score on LinkedIn.

Do share your thoughts using the comments section below.

How to improve your Social Selling Index on LinkedIn – Part 1

In a previous post, I’d written about what social selling entails and how to find out your social selling score (SSI) on LinkedIn. In this series of posts, we’ll explain how you can improve your SSI score based on parameters defined by LinkedIn.

LinkedIn’s SSI score is calculated on the basis of four parameters, namely, establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships. It is important that you focus on improving each of these parameters to improve your SSI score. We’ll elaborate on “establishing your professional brand” in this post.

Professional brand

What can you do to establish your professional brand on LinkedIn? Read on for details.

  • Complete your profile: First and foremost, ensure that you complete your profile with the customer in mind. Remember to emphasize instances that illustrate how you’ve provided value to a client. Take care to complete every detail on your LinkedIn profile, including your profile picture, headline, summary, and experience. Pay special attention to your headline because that is what makes your profile stand apart from millions of others in your domain. To understand the importance of your profile headline, just search for people using any keyword on LinkedIn, and notice how you’ll tend to click on profiles that have self-explanatory headlines.
  • Add rich content to your summary: This aspect is one of the most underutilized items among LinkedIn’s profile page functionalities. Add content that can make you stand out as a thought leader. You can add an image, video, or a presentation to showcase examples of your work or your company’s specialties. You can also upload a deck outlining your company’s products and services on Slideshare and host it on your LinkedIn summary. 
  • Post and interact with content: Always keep in mind that the basic foundation of a strong content marketing strategy is nothing other than relevant and useful content. The key is to post relevant updates on a regular basis so that you’re perceived as a thought leader in your domain. Make it a point to spend some time to curate high-quality content that can be helpful for your target audience, and then, post updates summarizing that content and explaining the importance of why should someone read what you’ve posted. Merely sharing links might not get the kind of engagement you’re looking for. If you post high-quality and relevant content, the likelihood of your content being shared and liked increases several notches. 

Power Tip: Like I’ve mentioned in a separate post, LinkedIn’s algorithm tends to promote content with links to content on LinkedIn rather than that with links to content off LinkedIn. That apart, write long form articles on LinkedIn to share your personal experiences and industry insights. This can go a long way in establishing your brand value as a thought leader. The bottom-line here is that if you do things that please LinkedIn’s algorithm, you’ll see your score zoom up! 🙂

  • List skills & get endorsements: The “Skills” feature of LinkedIn is among the lesser used features, especially by industry leaders who don’t have time for these nitty-gritties. I’m not a great fan of this feature, but like I mentioned in the paragraph above, LinkedIn likes it if you engage with their platform the way they want you to!

    So, if you’re really serious about networking on LinkedIn, make it a point to add relevant skills to your profile. You can do this by clicking on “Add a new skill” in the “Skills & Endorsements” section. Once you add skills, your connections will view requests to endorse your skills from time to time. Make it a point to endorse the skills of your colleagues, friends, and acquaintances to expect favors in return. Now, this is a separate argument altogether as to how reliable these endorsements are. This situation has arisen from random endorsements by random people who haven’t even worked with you once. LinkedIn doesn’t seem to have figured out a way yet to address these concerns. That said, skills and endorsements remain a factor that can influence the aspect of “establishing your professional brand” on LinkedIn.

Now, all these pointers just constitute one of the factors, i.e., establishing your professional brand, that can influence your SSI score on LinkedIn. Keep watching this space for more details on how you can ace social selling on LinkedIn.

Also, don’t forget to share your thoughts through the comments section below.

Do you know your Social Selling Index on LinkedIn?

Do you know how well you’re placed to drive social selling via LinkedIn? Are you in a sales/marketing role with a need to extensively network on LinkedIn and are looking for some metric to measure your success? Or in other words, would you like to know how effective you’re on LinkedIn? There’s a simple answer. LinkedIn has devised what they call the Social Selling Index (SSI).

Essentially, as per LinkedIn, your Social Selling Index (SSI) measures how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships. These four parameters are monitored and your SSI is updated on a daily basis. You can check your SSI score simply by clicking on this link (you’ll need to log in to LinkedIn to know your score).

 

Minhaj SSI Score

Although some experts are sceptical and feel that the SSI has been devised by LinkedIn simply to promote their Sales Navigator offering. More so because LinkedIn claims that Sales Navigator helps users in improving their SSI score by up to 20%. Which is why you’ll find some views asking users not to bother too much about it.

That said, the four parameters that lead up to the final SSI score for an individual are actually quite indicative and necessary to determine your social selling skills. This article on how important is the LinkedIn SSI score weighs the different aspects quite well.

The SSI score feature was launched sometime in 2014 and must have definitely seen several refinements already. But it’s quite intriguing that despite being around for some time, SSI hasn’t been so popular with LinkedIn users. In fact, a huge number of frequent LinkedIn users are completely unaware that something like SSI exists! I’m certain that with continual feedback, LinkedIn will continue refining the algorithm that determines the final SSI score.

So, what can you do to improve your SSI score? LinkedIn has clearly outlined details for each of the four abovementioned parameters. We will be covering this in detail in a separate blog post soon. Keep watching this space for more.

PS: My SSI score is 75. What is yours? Do you feel that the SSI score is truly reflective of networking capability for social selling? Share your feedback through the comments section below.

Four simple steps to increase your Twitter followers

You’ve just created your Twitter account and are raring to go. Your list of contacts has been uploaded and you have begun following your favorite accounts. But do you still feel you’re missing something? Why doesn’t that follower count go beyond a crawl? Fret not! Here are a few simple steps to set the ball rolling.

Increase Twitter followers_2

  1. Write a strong bio: What a lot of people miss out on is writing a strong bio. Your bio is what attracts people to follow you on Twitter. When users are browsing through hundreds of Twitter accounts, you just get a second or two to get their attention. Your Twitter bio is like condensing your CV to within 160 characters. So, make sure that you give it your best.

Pro-tip: Ensure that your Twitter Bio explains your interests, has keywords that touch upon your profession or expertise, and has a link to your website/blog. If you’re still feeling stuck, this Twitter Bio Generator might just help you generate your Twitter Bio.

  1. Follow your competitor’s followers: Search for your competitors’ twitter accounts or accounts that focus on similar topics/interests such as yours. Then, check out their followers and follow them one by one. The logic is simple: these people have followed a Twitter account because their interests match. So, if your Twitter bio accurately reflects your interests and expertise, there is a very high probability that they will follow you back when they see your following notification! Remember to avoid obvious spam accounts and those that don’t seem to reflect your interests.

Pro-tip: Now, think about why you didn’t follow certain accounts and then revisit your own Twitter bio. Will potential followers ignore following you because your description is unclear/sounds spammy? Would you follow someone who has a similar description as yours? Take a step back and revise your Twitter bio again if needed.

  1. Build an impressive Twitter feed: Remember that apart from your own tweets and retweets, the content of whom you follow determines what will be seen in your Twitter feed. So, pick and choose whom you follow. If you begin following random Twitter accounts, your Twitter feed will be all over the place and might put off potential followers.

Pro-tip: You can choose to pin a tweet to the top of your Twitter feed. Choose this very judiciously – most people barely go down more than a scroll, and your pinned tweet is your best chance to get potential followers hooked on to your profile.

  1. Engage with your prospects: What goes around comes around. One of the best ways to increase engagement on your Twitter feed is to engage with all those who choose to engage with you. If someone retweets/likes any of your tweets, go back to check their account and retweet/like tweets that might be useful for your audience. Make it a point to follow back most people who follow you, but remember to avoid spam and irrelevant accounts. Read point 3 again to maintain your focus.

Pro-tip: Retweet interesting and insightful content from influencers in your domain and remember to add a comment to explain why someone should check that out. You’ll pick up more followers if people begin to perceive you as a curator of good content.

That’s all for now! Go and try out these steps right away. Do not forget to add your comments below to let us know if you found these tips to be useful.