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Dave & Buster’s CEO Stephen King to retire

Nation's Restaurant News - Tue, 2018-06-12 16:13
Same-store sales fall 4.9 percent in the first quarter

NRN video of the week: IHOP promotes Ultimate Steakburgers with new name

Nation's Restaurant News - Tue, 2018-06-12 15:55
The family-dining chain has flipped its 'p' to 'b' as a nod to its burgers

Facebook Level Up Program Expands to Help Small Game Development Businesses

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2018-06-12 13:30

Six months after Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) launched its gaming creator program, the company announced it is being expanded to give emerging gaming creators a place where they can be discovered. The Level Up Program will help gamers with getting started, getting discovered and eventually start making money. So the platform is actually a tool to launch your own small game development business into the market.

Getting discovered so you can grow your subscriber numbers is not easy. And for emerging gaming creators, Facebooks’ new addition can make this possible by letting you get started with its community and live stream.

If you haven’t heard about the amount of money high-end gaming streamers can make, you are in for a shock. According to CNBC, Twitch streamer Tyler “Ninja” Belvins says he makes more than $500,000 a month playing a game called Fortnite.

Belvins makes the money from Amazon Prime subscribers who are able to donate money to his Twitch account, a company Amazon purchased for $970 million in 2014. Getting to his level is not easy and it takes time, talent and the right game to come along, such as Fortnite or Minecraft.

The Growth of Gaming

Gaming is growing at double-digit rates, amassing billions of dollars every year. While the movie industry generated $40 billion in 2017, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the gaming industry almost tripled the amount. In 2017 the industry saw revenues of $108.4 billion, and it is expected to grow at double-digit rates well beyond 2020.

Of this huge amount, $82 billion was generated from free-to-play games, which provides great opportunities for small business game developers looking to make a name for themselves.

Using Facebook to Get Discovered

When it becomes available, which Facebook says is in the coming months, Level up members may be able to get early access to new features for live streaming. The company will provide tips and best practices so gamers can grow their community by making content for their audience. This includes eligibility to qualify as partnered creators and Facebook’s gaming creator program.

When it comes to earning money, creators that are accepted into the Level up program will have the opportunity to generate revenue through native monetization tools on Facebook. This feature, called Facebook Stars, allows fans to support creators by purchasing and sending virtual goods when a game is being streamed live.

Qualifying for the Facebook Level Up Program

If you’re already stream games on Facebook, you may qualify to be part of the Gaming Creator Level Up Program. Once you are part of the program, you can access customized support on Facebook, high-quality premium transcoding such as access to 1080p, 60 fps, unlock Facebook Stars to get fan support and more.

However, in order to be eligible, you have to create a “Gaming Video Creator” page, broadcast 4 hours in the last 14 days, broadcast on 2 days in the last 14 days, and have at least 100 followers on your page.

If you meet the criteria, Facebook will verify the information and invite you to join the program.

If you are a creator interested in joining the gaming creator program, you can sign up here.

Image: Facebook

This article, "Facebook Level Up Program Expands to Help Small Game Development Businesses" was first published on Small Business Trends

How to Gain Millennial Customers: 6 Things They Want From Your Brand

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2018-06-12 12:05

It’s time to drop your preconceived notions about millennials right here at the beginning of this article. You may think you know who millennials are — maybe you are one yourself, or you have a child who falls into this category – but you’re probably sorely mistaken.

Stereotypes offer us valuable and efficient mental shortcuts that can be used to quickly identify someone and make reasonable assumptions about who they are, how they act, and what they want. But a stereotype rarely tells the whole story. This is certainly true with millennials.

If you want to grow your business and engage millennial consumers, you must ditch your fallacious thinking and seek to understand who this dynamic group really is. In doing so, you’ll be forced to confront the reality that this valuable portion of the consumer marketplace is rarely predictable. Yet, despite their capricious nature, most millennials want and expect similar things from the brands they interact with.

Who are Millennials?

Before digging into the desires and expectations of millennials, let’s set the bar and make sure we have a consistent understanding of who this group is.

According to MillennialMarketing.com, millennials are those born between 1977 and 2000. They make up roughly 25 percent of the U.S. population and account for 21 percent of consumer discretionary purchases.

While most people think of millennials as young, reckless teenagers, the reality is that this generation is maturing. Roughly one out of every four millennials is a parent and 53 percent of millennial households have children.

What Millennials Want

Now that we have a little better idea of who millennials are – at least in terms of demographics – it’s time to focus on their needs, wants, desires, and expectations as they pertain to their interactions with brands.

Despite being an eclectic group, you’ll find that almost every millennial shares the following desires:

1. Convenience

Millennials have grown up in a world that emphasizes convenience. Between fast food, video streaming, personalized social media feeds, and the ability to Google any question or concern in real-time, they’ve been raised to think about everything in terms of how fast, efficient, and available it is. Businesses that recognize this desire are making it a priority to deliver convenience in fresh, creative ways.

If you want proof of the desire for convenience, look no further than the current push for same-day grocery delivery. As MarketBeat reports, Walmart is currently expanding its same-day online grocery delivery service to 100 metro areas – covering roughly 40 percent of U.S. households – by year-end. The hope is to keep pace with Amazon, which has already leveraged its purchase of Whole Foods Market to offer Prime customers in select markets free two-hour delivery.

If millennials are willing to outsource and automate something as basic as shopping for groceries, you can bet they’re looking for a more convenient way to purchase or consume your products. Finding a way to satisfy this desire will yield dividends.

2. Choices

Millennials have also been raised in a world with choices. They log into Netflix and have thousands of options to choose from. They look for a specific product online and can compare choices from a number of different companies. When it comes to buying a product, they have nearly a dozen different ways to pay.

Choices make the consumer feel like they are in control. If you want to compete for millennial customers, you need to offer choices in some capacity. This will look different depending on the industry you’re in, but is necessary in every niche.

3. Experiences

Past generations have been hyper-focused on buying “things.” Millennials are more interested in buying experiences.  As millennial entrepreneur Taylor Smith tells NBC, “We aren’t spending our money on cars, TVs and watches. We’re renting scooters and touring Vietnam, rocking out at music festivals, or hiking Machu Picchu.”

The pursuit of experiences over things has less to do with the experience itself and more to do with being recognized (more on that below). However, the root cause doesn’t matter as much as the tendency itself.

If you sell physical products, you need to look past the item itself and find a way to tell a story or paint an experience. Some companies accomplish this by aligning their brand with social causes, while others host or sponsor local events. The key is to do something that brings people together and allows them to bond.

4. Budget-Friendliness

Millennials are notoriously bad at managing their money. Many of them have also been victimized by the student loan crisis (which some would say borders on predatory lending). Either way, they don’t exactly have a ton of cash to spend.

Not only do millennials have tons of debt – including an average of $40,000 in student loans – but they also don’t make a lot. The average salary for a millennial is less than $35,000. And because they spend more per year on groceries, gas, dining out, and cell phone service than older generations, they have a very limited supply of money to spend on other things – i.e. the products you’re selling.

Understanding this, businesses that offer budget-friendly options, cheaper versions, and pay-as-you-go services tend to outperform premium brands with this demographic.

5. Belonging

As is the case with anyone, millennials seek belonging above all else. They want to fit in and will do whatever it takes to connect with people and causes.

Toms Shoes is the perfect example of a brand that was able to tap into this desire for belonging and monetize it in a powerful way. What started as a unique business model that made it easy for socially conscious millennials to feel like they were making an impact, quickly turned into something larger. Purchasing a pair of Toms Shoes became a status symbol – a proof of belonging.

“Suddenly, the one-for-one model wasn’t just another stodgy cause marketing program. One-for-one became a new category of social action, where the product becomes a badge of honor,” entrepreneur Bridget Croke says. “With this in mind, we can treat behavior change like an innovative product launch, where we target early adopters first and use their influence to make that behavior feel like the default behavior in their community of peers.”

6. Recognition

Some have dubbed millennials “Generation Me.” While it might not be an endearing title, it’s hard to debate the fact that millennials are more narcissistic than previous generations. Individualism is huge right now; this has led to a desire to be recognized. Social media is a driving force behind this.

How many times have you seen someone post an Instagram photo of a trip they took six months ago with a comment that says something like, Take me back? This is simply an excuse to post another picture that drives recognition and status. As some would say, it’s a “humble-brag.”

Millennials love humble-brags and businesses can leverage this to increase exposure and drive brand loyalty. By giving out rewards and memberships, offering social media contests, and tapping influencers, brands can appeal to narcissism in ways that haven’t been nearly as effective in decades past.

Reach Millennials Where They Are

The consumer spending power and influence millennials have in the marketplace is growing by the day. A failure to understand and engage this segment on their terms will result in unnecessary friction and pushback.

Now’s the time to really hone in on your target market and adjust, tweak, and optimize your marketing strategies and product offerings to align with their preferences. In doing so, you’ll find it easier to penetrate what is otherwise a highly misunderstood generation.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "How to Gain Millennial Customers: 6 Things They Want From Your Brand" was first published on Small Business Trends

Joint Venture Breaks Ground On Hampton Inn & Suites Capitol View In Nashville’s Urban District

Hotel Interactive - Tue, 2018-06-12 10:57
FRANKLIN, TN-–Chartwell Hospitality LLC, an integrated hotel operations and development company, and Rockbridge, an investment firm that has been building and ...

BoxyCharm secures stronghold in beauty box trend

Store Front Talk Back - Tue, 2018-06-12 10:38
BoxyCharm recently took home the “Best Customer Experience” Subscription Award at SubSummit for its deep level of personal curation in each box and the technology which enables their customer support program.

Hiring Increases 4.5% Creating Tight Job Market for Small Businesses, LinkedIn Says

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2018-06-12 10:30

Unemployment numbers are at record lows across the board. And the new LinkedIn Workforce Report reveals gross hiring in the US is 4.5% higher than in May of 2017.

When you take the seasonally-adjusted national numbers compared to April 2018, the hiring for May 2018 was up by 5.3%. Businesses are hiring, and this creates a tight labor market in which companies are competing for a dwindling workforce.

For small businesses, this means having to compete against large companies with much deeper pockets. And the shortage of skilled candidates is affecting industries across all sectors.

According to the Randstad 2018 US Salary Guides report, this is now a job seeker’s market. The report says salaries have risen by three percent across many fields and industries, which further exacerbates the difficulty small businesses are facing when looking to hire the best talent.

June 2018 LinkedIn Workforce Report

The monthly LinkedIn Workforce Report looks at employment trends in the US workforce. The report is divided into the national and city section. The national section offers insights into hiring, skills gaps and migration trends across the country, while the city section provides localized employment trend data for 20 of the largest metro areas in the US.

In the report, LinkedIn says its vision is to, “Create economic opportunity for every worker in the global workforce. Whether you’re a worker, an employer, a new grad, or a policymaker, we hope you’ll use insights from our report to better understand and navigate the dynamics of today’s labor market.”

Key Takeaways

When it comes to specifics, the oil industry has increased hiring  significantly as the price of oil has rebounded from the lows of 2014. In cities driven by the oil industry, hiring has gone up by as much as 12.4% with an overall increase nationwide to 13.1%.

Other industries seeing increased seasonally-adjusted hiring rates include technology and hardware at 12.4%; manufacturing and industrial at 11.8%; financial services and insurance at 8.8%; architecture and engineering at 12.5%; and aerospace, automotive and transportation at 12.7%.

Skills Gaps

Cities suffering the highest unfilled demand for workers with certain skill sets include San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., and Austin. Here is a list of the cities across the U.S. where businesses large and small are seeing the largest skills gaps.

Scarcity of Skills

Not surprisingly, a similar list of cities top the list of locations where the demand for certain skills from employers far exceeds the supply of those skills in the workforce. Compared to other cities, San Francisco Bay Area, Austin, and Washington, D.C., also have the greatest scarcity of skills.

Abundance of Skills

On the other hand, communities with an abundance of skills allow businesses large and small to easily choose from a variety of qualified candidates with the skill sets they require. West Palm Beach, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale and Hartford have the greatest abundance of skills.

Cities Which Gained the Most Workers

Denver, Austin, and Seattle topped the list of cities experiencing a growth in their potential workforce. The ranking was created by looking at the population gain in each city per number of LinkedIn members. For example, in the last 12 months, 74.8 people arrived in Denver for every 10,000 LinkedIn members giving this city the top ranking.

Cities Which Lost the Most Workers

By contrast, Hartford, Providence, and Pittsburgh lost the most workers using the same calculation. For example, 64.2 LinkedIn members in 10,000 left Hartford in the past 12 months putting it at the top of the list.

 

You can click on the links for each city to get additional details.

AtlantaAustinBostonChicagoCleveland-AkronDallas-Ft. WorthDenverDetroitHoustonLos Angeles, Miami-Ft. LauderdaleMinneapolis-St. PaulNashvilleNew York CityPhiladelphiaPhoenixSan Francisco Bay AreaSeattleSt. Louis, and Washington, D.C.

Image: LinkedIn

This article, "Hiring Increases 4.5% Creating Tight Job Market for Small Businesses, LinkedIn Says" was first published on Small Business Trends

Delivering on delivery: 3 pitfalls of traditional third-party delivery platforms

FastCasual.com - Tue, 2018-06-12 10:25
Third-party delivery apps may have hidden costs and downfalls.

Retail Roundup—Shipt expands into new markets; North Face testing used clothing

Store Front Talk Back - Tue, 2018-06-12 09:51
Shipt will expand into markets in Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania; North Face is testing a line of refurbished clothing; plus more need-to-know news from the world of retail.

Best QuickBooks Apps for Small Business Users

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2018-06-12 09:30

QuickBooks is one of the top bookkeeping tools available today. With a desktop software and online version available, businesses of all sizes have used the product to track their earnings, expenses and other financial data.

But the platform can do even more when you start making use of integrated apps. There are third-party apps available for everything from uploading data from spreadsheets to tracking employee time and pay. All of these are available in the QuickBooks App Store, where you can browse or search and then download the apps of your choice directly from each product page.

So if you’re looking to improve your QuickBooks experience, here are some of the most popular and highly rated QuickBooks apps to consider.

Best QuickBooks Apps TSheets Time Tracking

One of the most highly rated apps in the QuickBooks marketplace, TSheets offers a time tracking, payroll and invoicing solution for teams that need a bit of help managing time and/or their employees’ time and pay. There’s a free version for single-person teams, so you can access it just to track your own processes. Or you can opt for a paid plan starting at $20 per month, plus an additional $5 per user per month.

Expensify

It’s becoming more and more important for small businesses to have a way to track expenses even while on the go. So Expensify offers a tool that you can use to take photos of receipts and other expense data so that you can automatically update that information in Quickbooks. Pricing starts at $5 per active user per month.

LivePlan

LivePlan is an app available for QuickBooks that helps business owners plan for the future with financial forecasts and budgeting tools. It works with QuickBooks to give you real time updates on your key business metrics, so you can see exactly how any new developments might make an impact on your company’s finances in the future.

Business Payments

Since so many businesses use payment platforms like PayPal and Stripe to actually facilitate transactions, Business Payments offers a solution for syncing those services directly with QuickBooks. For businesses that process less than 50 transactions per month on these platforms, the service is free. For those needing additional transactions, pricing starts at $9 per month.

Fundbox

For businesses looking to grow by accessing funding, Fundbox is a tool that integrates with QuickBooks so that you can apply for funding easily and automatically add your financial data from your books to provide some context about your company’s ability to pay on a loan. The price for this tool is set per invoice, with fees starting at 4.66% of the funds you use.

Method:CRM

A CRM tool designed specifically for QuickBooks, Method:CRM gives you a way to manage all of your communications or relationships with customers and integrate your sales and CRM data together. Starting at $25 per user per month, the tool basically allows you to streamline your CRM activities by including sales and financial data within the same platform.

Bill Pay for QuickBooks Online and Bill.com

To manage your company’s regular bill payment schedule, Bill Pay integrates with Quickbooks to let you pay vendors and contractors with a single click. Then you can also save time on data entry, since those payments will automatically be added to your books. The version of this tool that works with QuickBooks online is free to use.

Business Importer

Business Importer allows you to automatically import invoices, payments, expenses and other financial data from an Excel or Google doc into QuickBooks. So if you have a small team that needs to send you sales reports or other documents, you can easily move between those docs and your bookkeeping software. There’s a free trial as well as a small business plan that starts at just $10 per month.

Performance Reviews by JuvodHR

An employee management app, this tool from JuvodHR offers the ability share performance appraisals and feedback quickly and consistently. The benefit of this is to make sure team members know what is expected with them and also feel engaged at work. Pricing starts at $3.75 per user per month.

Cloud Cart Connector

For ecommerce businesses, Cloud Cart Connector gives you an easy way to have online sales added directly to QuickBooks. It syncs QuickBooks with Amazon, Bigcommerce, Infusionsoft, Shopify, ShipStation, and other platforms where you can make sales directly to online customers. Monthly plans start at $29 per month.

Image: Intuit

This article, "Best QuickBooks Apps for Small Business Users" was first published on Small Business Trends

Twice as many men visit Lowe's as they do Home Depot

Store Front Talk Back - Tue, 2018-06-12 09:21
According to store data, which were geofenced by location-based advertising platform Blis, twice as many men visit Lowe's than Home Depot.

71% of Millennial Small Business Owners Use Tech to Keep Employees Safe

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2018-06-12 08:30

When it comes to safety and the many regulatory compliances companies have to abide by, it can be challenging, especially for small businesses. The Nationwide fourth annual Business Owner Survey, reveals 71% of millennial small business owners are using connected technology to keep their employees safe.

Technology to Keep Employees Safe

The rate at which millennial’s are using connected technology is more than double the average business owner, which is at 32%. According to Nationwide, a Fortune 100 insurance and financial company, this demographic is using the technologies to ensure and improve the safety of their workforce.

For small business owners using connected technologies, new levels of efficiency in cost savings, regulatory compliances and a more accountable and safe working environment have been seen. But like Mark McGhiey, associate vice president of Nationwide’s Loss Control Services, says on the official Nationwide blog, this doesn’t solve all safety problems.

McGhiey adds, “There’s always going to be an element of human-driven effort to ensure workers can do their jobs safely and efficiently. That’s why it’s so important for employers to follow best safety practices that are tailored to their specific business — and it’s why our experts provide individualized risk management consultation and safety training to business owners across the country.”

Technologies Millennial Small Business Owners Use

The connected technologies millennial small business owners use dramatically reduce manual processes. This allows them to use their workforce more efficiently and collect valuable data which can be analyzed to improve workplace safety.

Thirty-six percent of millennial’s use building sensors for detecting humidity, temperature, water leaks and equipment failure, while less than half or 16% of all business owners use the same technology.

Wearables are equally popular with millennial business owners with 32% saying they are using these devices compared with 13% for everyone else. Watches, belts and other wearable sensors are used to detect physical strain.

Drones, which are being used in many different industries, have been used to inspect sites that can pose danger to workers.  In this case, only 7% of regular small business owners use drones, while 21% of millennials have deployed the technology.

When it comes to vehicle telematics, 20% of millennials have installed these devices to keep their employees from being distracted while driving. For the rest of the small business population, the number is 11%.

?

National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month and according to the National Safety Council, close to 13,000 Americans workers are injured every single day.

No matter how big or small your company is, the safety of your workforce has to be a priority.

The survey was carried out online from April 9-20, 2018 among a sample of 1,000 U.S. business owners. The businesses had between 1-499 employees and the respondents were 18 years or older and self-reporting as either a sole or partial owner of their business. Nationwide commissioned Edelman Intelligence to conduct the 20-minute survey.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "71% of Millennial Small Business Owners Use Tech to Keep Employees Safe" was first published on Small Business Trends

Thinking about Names for Your New Business? These 20 Startup Name Generators Could Help

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2018-06-12 07:30

Choosing a name is one of the most important early decisions you’ll make for your business. But it can also be tough to wait for that aha! moment where the perfect name just comes to you. So if you want to intentionally move the process along, you could try an online name generator.

These tools essentially allow you to input some basic information about your business and then automatically generate suggestions that could help you create a relevant brand for your new venture.

Of course, you’ll still need to check that your name of choice isn’t protected by another trademark or copyright holder before making it official. But these generators can certainly help you come up with some great options. Here are a few tools you might consider to help you with your name search.

Startup Name Generator List NameMesh

NameMesh is a free tool that allows you to enter a few relevant keywords about your business and then uses those to generate a long list of available domain names that you could potentially use to name your business.

NameRobot

With both free and paid plans, NameRobot is a professional naming software that collects a few pieces of information about your business or product and then comes up with a selection of name suggestions for you to consider.

Panabee

With Panabee, you simply describe your business in two words and then easily generate a name that utilizes those words or letters. You can even access domain names that correspond with your name choices.

Namelix

Namelix uses AI to generate short and brandable business names using just a few keywords of your choosing.

Marketing.Club

This online tool offers a number of domain names for businesses to choose from, as well as a brand and business naming tool that also suggests domain names for you to use with your new brand.

Getsocio

Getsocio works in a similar way to many other name generators. But you can also choose a category first to give the tool a bit more context about your business idea.

Rewind & Capture

Rewind & Capture offers a full naming service and tips and resources for new business owners. You can choose the experience that’s right for you, from reading about how other prominent startups got their names to working with a naming partner to come up with a satisfactory option.

Wordoid

A creative name generator, Wordoid helps you essentially make up words that could help you describe your business. You can get very specific, including specifying a pattern of letters to include or even the number of letters you want your made-up word to have.

BrandBucket

BrandBucket gives you the ability to search for business names you’re interested and find relevant domain names or even browse suggested names that are available online by industry.

FreshBooks

A business bookkeeping service, FreshBooks also offers a name generator to help you create a snappy brand. Start by choosing an industry or type of business and then enter relevant keywords.

Wordlab

Wordlab offers a standard business name generator as well as a collection of other name generating tools. So you can choose your specific industry or even use it to name teams or projects.

Shopify

Especially if you plan on starting an ecommerce business on Shopify, this name generator from the popular platform could be a huge benefit. Enter a word you want the name to include and then view a selection of creative names that are available for your new shop.

Oberlo

For dropshipping businesses, Oberlo offers a name generator tool as well as an online platform for finding and sourcing new products to sell online.

BizNameWiz

BizNameWiz offers both a business name generator and a domain name generator so you can find the name and corresponding website for a consistent brand.

Namechk

You do already need to have a few basic name ideas to get the most out of Namechk. But you can use the tool to enter some of your top choices and see where it’s available as a domain and user names on various online and social platforms.

Naminum

Naminum has you just put in one relevant word and then view different variations of that word that could work as a startup name. It’s free to view a large list of suggestions, or go with “I’m feeling lucky.”

Guru Business Name Generator

From Copy Shoppy, the Guru Business Name Generator allows you to select your industry and then add a keyword or two before seeing a selection of potential name ideas.

Anadea

An international software company, Anadea has developed a free business name generator that’s available on the company’s website. Just enter a keyword or phrase to find a list of suggestions and then view the company’s naming tips to make sure your choice fits with your needs.

Cool Name Ideas

The actual name generator of this tool works in a similar way to many others. Just enter a keyword and get some suggestions. But you can also view available domains and interact with the platform to get naming advice.

Hipster Business Name Generator

This generator might not help you pick a name that’s especially relevant to your actual business or even available. But if you want something trendy like “Grain & Whistle” or “Windmill & Hound,” it can provide endless combinations. If nothing else, it’s entertaining.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Thinking about Names for Your New Business? These 20 Startup Name Generators Could Help" was first published on Small Business Trends

Sage Hospitality Announces New Director Of Sales & Marketing Of The Blackstone

Hotel Interactive - Tue, 2018-06-12 07:20
CHICAGO—Sage Hospitality, one of the leading hotel management and investment companies in the country, today announces the appointment of Caryn Granzow ...

IHG Launches New Upscale Brand, Voco™

Hotel Interactive - Tue, 2018-06-12 07:16
ATLANTA—IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) has today launched voco™, its new upscale hotel brand, alongside announcing a first signing in Australia. ...

11 Unusual LinkedIn Hacks Used by the Pros

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2018-06-12 06:30

Through the years, LinkedIn continues to grow as a platform to generate quality leads for businesses. In fact, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, and fully 79% of B2B marketers say that Linkedin has been an effective avenue for lead generation.

Whatever your business goals are, whether to have wider visibility, to increase product sales, to improve customer service or to grow brand awareness, there is so much to gain by using LinkedIn to promote your products or services. These goals are practically attainable by having a solid LinkedIn marketing plan.

So, I reached out to 10 LinkedIn experts, who understand the social media platform by heart, to share with us their best unusual hack to amp up their LinkedIn marketing game.

LinkedIn Hacks

Keep reading and learn from the 11 LinkedIn marketing unicorns:

Michaela Alexis, President of Grade A Digital

Website  | Twitter | Linkedin

Never share an article.

After you’ve published your article, grab the URL and create an update about the piece and explaining who would benefit from reading it. This allows you to give more context, AND, if it’s a great article, it’ll double your chances of viral activity.

Brian Dean, Founder Backlinko

Website  | Twitter | Linkedin

If you want to get lots of engagement on your LinkedIn posts, DON’T write content that only appeals to a tiny group of experts. Instead, post stuff that your mom could comment on. For example, my friend John Doherty had a LinkedIn post that went World War Z Viral (10 million views and 97,000 comments. Insane.).

What was it about? The day John decided to become an entrepreneur.

Whether or not you’ve started your own business, you can still relate in some way to John’s post. And because so many people could relate, they liked and commented on it in droves. I’ve noticed the same thing: posts that appeal to a mass audience do best.

In fact, here are the topics of my 3 of my most successful LinkedIn posts:

-Haters and online trolls (164k views)
-Popups (97k views)
-Flying business class vs. coach (278k views)

See? You don’t need to be an expert in ANYTHING to engage with posts about trolls and popups. In short: on LinkedIn, don’t be afraid to go broad. If you’re not sure if your topic is broad enough, ask yourself: “Would my mom comment on this?”.

Dennis Yu, Founder of Blitzmetrics

Website  | Twitter | Linkedin

I repost to LinkedIn anything that has driven high engagement on Facebook. Likewise, of my posts on LinkedIn, I use the job title targeting on Facebook to post and boost there.”

Brian Wallace, Founder of Nowsourcing

Website  | Twitter | Linkedin:

LinkedIn typically shows the top trending stories of the day – many don’t realize that you can do searches on content.

If you look at the hashtags behind the top 10 trending stories, if you can write something intelligent and on topic, you’ll usually gain access to a whole new dimension of people not already seeing your content.

Allen Gannett, CEO of TrackMaven

Website  | Twitter | Linkedin

Make sure every post has a question. LinkedIn is a social platform and great for discussions.

The feed algorithm also seems to heavily weight comments, so you don’t just want people to passively “like.” If you are just posting a link and moving on, you’re doing it wrong. So make sure your content is set up as a the start of a conversation, not as a mere signpost to a blog post your wrote elsewhere.

Goldie Chan, Founder of Warm Robots

Website  | Twitter | Linkedin

Use the summary section of LinkedIn to drive a CTA (call-to-action). Include a proper email, scheduler link (I use calend.ly, or link to the “learn more” or “buy now” page on your brand website. Make sure that people who are on your LinkedIn are directed to ONE easy action.”

Dr. Des Natalia Wiechowski, Personal Branding Coach of Think Natalia

Website  | Twitter | Linkedin

“Don’t invest all of your time and effort in your company page.

Make your employees your brand ambassadors and the face of your company instead.

Why? – People engage 10x more likely with employee profiles than with company pages.

How to do that?

Invest in a “mini employee advocacy boot camp”:

Get your 5-10 most engaged and representative employees a personal branding strategist and content writer. This expert team will polish the LinkedIn profiles of your employees, make them fit for the digital age and develop high quality, value adding and relevant content, which your employees will post from their profiles.

The end result? – Magic!

Josh Fechter , CEO and Co-Founder of BAMF Media

Website  | Twitter | Linkedin

It’s downloading your contacts from LinkedIn, then uploading them into Facebook Business Manager as a custom audience to retarget them on Facebook and Instagram.

This helps build a strong know, like, and trust factor with your audience.

Aaron Orendorff, Editor in Chief of Shopify Plus

Website  | Twitter | Linkedin

I thank people who send me work anniversary congratulations and ask them if they’ll help me by sharing a post.

It’s a three for one hack:

1. It takes advantage of what is essentially spam, but doesn’t make you pushy because they’re all sent in response to “Congrats on the work anniversary” messages

2. I link to an original LinkedIn video, which makes engagement easy

3. I provide a pre-loaded, click to tweet button, so again, super easy for them to engage

Manu Goswami, CEO and Founder of SuperFan Inc.

Website  | Twitter | Linkedin

My biggest unusual hack for LinkedIn marketing (brand building and effective storytelling) is going onto Medium or popular blogs, seeing what topics are trending that day, and then coming onto LinkedIn and sharing your perspective on those issues.

It’s one of the ways I’ve been able to create viral content because the formula for viral content (if that even exists) is a mix between context and relevance.

My Unusual LinkedIn Hack

I optimize posts for high user engagement using the following 3-step process:

1. Post lots of stuff on Twitter organically.

2. Filter the tweets with tons of engagement (comments, retweets, and hearts).

3. Use the top posts from Twitter as a guide for your LinkedIn updates!

You can read more of my unusual LinkedIn hacks in this post.

We thank all of these LinkedIn marketing unicorns who have taken their time from their busy schedule to respond to our LinkedIn marketing expert roundup!

Do you have a different tactic or have found success on LinkedIn marketing?

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This article, "11 Unusual LinkedIn Hacks Used by the Pros" was first published on Small Business Trends