LinkedIn Goes Public, Valued at $8.9 Billion


According to Mashable, professional social networking site LinkedIn had a very successful first day as a publicly traded company, as “more than 30 million shares of the company changed hands on Thursday”. That brings their total valuation up to $8.9 billion.

“At $94, LinkedIn is now valued at $8.9 billion, 36 times the $243 million in revenue the company generated in 2010,” Mashable reports.

 According to a separate Mashable post, LinkedIn is now worth more than several well-known companies, including Red Hat, Sirius XM, Chipotle, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Hormel Foods, and Electronic Arts. LinkedIn executives are seeing an enormous personal profit based on the current stock price, with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman now worth $1.8 billion and CEO Jeffrey Weiner worth $213 million.

Syracuse alum and LinkedIn employee Krista Canfield tweeted throughout yesterday’s events as the LinkedIn team rang the NYSE opening bell and began trading:

For more information on LinkedIn: How Much Did LinkedIn Shares Cost Before the IPO?

Time lapse of LinkedIn banner going up at NYSE on Thursday:

Via LinkedIn on Twitter

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Making Money in the Blogosphere

Editor's note: This is not me. Yet.

Making money as a professional blogger isn’t easy, but it can be done in many different ways. There are direct tactics like advertising, sponsorship, advertorial posts, affiliate programs, donations, merchandise and selling subscriptions. Only a few of those would work for me, because my blog is still really early in its development and doesn’t reach a very large audience yet. Then there are indirect methods like consulting, employment opportunities, offline or online opportunities, speaking, and joining a blog network. Some of these may actually be realistically successful for me, because I already have professional experience in these topics and have created a positive reputation through Twitter. So, while my blog is still in its early stages my other experience could further any monetization efforts that I may pursue in the future.

Contextual Advertising
While one of the main cons of contextual advertising is that it doesn’t generate a lot of money, my blog has a specific niche so it would be an effective way to begin creating income.

Sponsored Posts
Since my blog does appeal to a certain audience- social media enthusiasts, journalists, Syracuse community, other students, twitter followers- there may be an opportunity in the future to utilized sponsored posts. While this isn’t something that’s realistic at this point, if I continue to blog regularly and grow my audience it may be possible since I do have a targeted readership.

I’ve received internship opportunities, job offers, and a spot in graduate school due to my active participation in social media and Twitter. Therefore, I’ve already begun to gain employment through my current activities. If I continue to blog on a regular basis about these topics, that will only increase my reach and improve my reputation as an “expert” in these areas.

Employment Opportunities
I’m currently employed on the student social media team at Syracuse University because of my knowledge and activity in social media. Blogging is an additional asset that will contribute to further success in this arena.

Earlier this year I was a speaker at the BizBuzz Social Media Tweet-Up in Syracuse, NY where I discussed how succeed in social media marketing. I also discussed the university’s current efforts in social media and how we’ve benefitted from investing in Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and other social networking sites. I’ve also presented to the Syracuse University marketing committee about our social media efforts with Anthony Rotolo and other members of the social media team. If I continue to build my professional reputation through my use of Twitter and blogging, I could realistically continue to pursue speaking opportunities.

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My Blog & Apple: A Request for Proposal

While there are many opportunities for both parties in an advertising connection between my blog and Apple, I’ve chosen to focus on a few strategies that would have a high impact monetarily and yield the most effective promotional results for your corporation.

Key Opportunities
Sponsored posts:
Sponsored posts would be highly effective because I have experience using Apple products and can blog knowledgeably about your products and services. I can also provide tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way about using Apple products to enhance my professional life in social media and journalism, and as a student. My opinion would be trusted by my readers because of my experience in these areas, and I could share personal insights that wouldn’t be provided on the Apple website or a straight-forward review by a technology site. Of course, these posts would be clearly labeled as “sponsored” in order remain transparent with my audience. Some possible posts could include:

  • Benefits of having an iPad as a professional social media marketer
  • Best Apps for Journalists
  • Top Apps for social media enthusiasts
  • How to maximize your productivity in class using your iPad

Sponsored Polls: Every week, a poll will be posted on my blog that will ask a question about their experiences using Apple products and services. This will provide Apple with good feedback because it will result in inside information about what my readers think about your products, how much they use them, and what they like about them. Also, it will indicate how many readers and engaging with my Apple-centric content. For example:

Affiliate program: Post adds that direct my readers to the Apple website and products. This could be made more effective if paired with sponsored posts, like the pros of owning an iPad while working in social media, journalism, or technology. This could be lucrative for Apple because the program would be an excellent match with my blog topics; my audience already has a high interest in technology and are more likely to click through to the website and make a purchase.

“I’m Huge on Twitter” promotional deal: Offer a promotional code that the reader will receive after leaving a comment on one of the sponsored posts, or create one through a partner site. This could be as small as a five or ten-dollar iTunes gift card or 10 percent off a purchase of a certain amount.

Intersecting Audience
These options would be an excellent opportunity for Apple because of our intersecting audiences. The primary topics of my blog are social media, journalism, and technology which directly coincides with the Apple consumer audience. I’m also a college student and blog about Syracuse University, which is another customer niche for Apple. The demographic of my blog matches up well with Apple’s corporate profile and business goals.

Trusted Source
Though my blog, I’ve become a trusted source for information about social media, journalism and technology for my readers, and many know me from Twitter and other social networking sites. My readers are more likely to trust my opinion and content than another site that they have no connection to, and it’s always a positive to have an insider’s opinion when you’re considering investing in a new product or  a large purchase.

As I’m an active user in the social media space, I would also use Facebook and Twitter to distribute links to my blog and drive more traffic to the sponsored posts and advertisements. This broadens my audience and increases the amount of people who will see the promotional material. As my audience continues to grow, that would only provide more opportunities for Apple and I to work together professionally in the future.

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Ice Cream Recall Updates & Response from Turkey Hill

(Note: This post is written for a class assignment as an example of corporate blogging. I do not represent this organization in any way and this post does not reflect Turkey Hill’s products, services or promotions. This is a hypothetical response to a fictional situation to demonstrate crisis management on a corporate blog.)

This morning, Turkey Hill was made aware that a batch of our Chocolate Premium Ice Cream was recalled from stores due to reports of illness in customers. You can find the full details of the product ‘sell by’ date and product code on our corporate website. If you have recently purchased this product from your local store, discard it immediately. If you have ingested this product within the last 48 hours and are feeling ill, please contact your physician for treatment. You can also contact our customer service representatives by phone at 800 MY DAIRY (800 693-2479), our website, or on twitter.

We understand your concern and greatly value the health and safety of all of our customers. We are exceedingly sorry for this severe lapse of our product quality control, and we are taking several measures to correct this issue and ensure that it will not happen again, including:

  • offering full refunds of all tainted products purchased
  • conducting a full overview and assessment of our quality assurance and quality control practices
  • ensuring all current and future products meet the standards established by our brand and our customer’s expectations

We have identified the source of this issue and it has been correctly swiftly and effectively. No other batches of ice cream were effected, and we believe the issue is resolved.

Thank you for your understanding and again, we are sorry for our error.

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Win Big with Turkey Hill Official New York Yankees Flavors!

(Note: This post is written for a class assignment as an example of corporate blogging. I do not represent this organization in any way and this post does not reflect Turkey Hill’s products, services or promotions.)

Turkey Hill is the Official Ice Cream of the New York Yankees, with two team-inspired flavors: Bronx Bombers Sundae and Pinstripe Brownie Blast. If you’re a baseball fan, proud New Yorker, or just love delicious ice cream, we’re sure you’re already rushing to the store to find these delicious flavors. But not so fast, there are two other great reasons to enjoy these flavors today!

Win Free Tickets
With each purchase of Bronx Bombers Sundae or Pinstripe Brownie Blast, you can win tickets to Yankee Stadium to watch the team in action! Check your cartons for a special code and enter it online in the tickets sweepstakes. More than 80 winners will be selected throughout the season to receive four tickets to a home game. One winner will also receive a Yankee alumni dinner!

Support Local Charities
The Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club in the Southeast Bronx will receive a donated portion of the proceeds from every sale of Bronx Bombers Sundae and Pinstripe Brownie Blast, as well as other Yankees charities.

So enjoy the Yankees flavors, help others, and play ball!

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Turkey Hill: ‘Make your own flavor’ contest!

(Note: This post is written for a class assignment as an example of corporate blogging. I do not represent this organization in any way and this post does not reflect Turkey Hill’s products, services or promotions.)

With summer on the way, we want to celebrate the season by creating a new flavor that represent how you feel about the warm weather, sun and fun! We accept ideas for new ice cream and frozen yogurt flavors on our website all year-long, but this is your chance to participate and win a grand-prize giveaway! Here’s how:

Create your flavor:
Turkey Hill offers a huge variety of frozen desserts with all kinds of ingredients and flavors. But now it’s your turn to tell us what you want in your ice cream this summer! Your submission should include the flavor of ice cream and at least two other mix-in ingredients (fruit, cookies, swirls… get creative!) and can’t be the same or similar to a product we already offer.

Name your creation:
So you’ve made your flavor and it sounds delicious! Now you need to name your flavor. Try to make it reflect the flavor, describe the theme and evoke the feeling you get when you eat the ice cream. The more creative, the better! For example, we have ice creams called “Yankees Pinstripe Brownie Blast” and “Lady Liberty Mint”.

Design the carton:
Lots of our ice creams have fun, eye-catching cartons that make your mouth water! Design a carton for your flavor of ice cream that shows your summer theme and the ingredients in your creation. Here’s an example:

Explain your flavor:
In 250-500 words, describe to us why your flavor represents summer to you. Does it reflect a memory you have or include some of your favorite summer treats? Convince us why this is the best flavor of ice cream that all of your friends will crave in the summer time!

Share with us:
Submit your winning recipe on our website before the first day of summer, June 21st, 2011.

Vote for a winner:
Starting on June 21st, you can vote for your favorite flavor idea on The top 5 submissions as determined by Turkey Hill will be available to vote for. Voting will be open until July 4th, 2011. The final flavor with the most votes wins!

Win Prizes:
The contest winner will get their dream summer ice cream flavor made into a real product, packaged in their carton design. The winner will also receive one year’s worth of Turkey Hill frozen dessert products free of charge!

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How to Build a University Community on Twitter: @SyracuseU

As a member of the social media team at Syracuse University, I’ve worked with our social media strategist Anthony Rotolo and community manager Kelly Lux for almost two years. When the social media team was formed, Syracuse was just entering the realm of social media and didn’t have a strategy. Working with several other students, we’ve managed to create a strong social media strategy that’s been recognized for its engagement and success.  SU was recently named by Klout as the number 2 Most Influential College on Twitter, coming in behind Stanford and in front of Harvard (some excellent company).  Other universities, like Marquette, have also begun to be acknowledged for their excellent use of social media. Twitter has been a key tool in the Syracuse University social media strategy, and has resulted in the creation of a strong Orange community. There are several important factors to focus on when building a Twitter community for a university.

Build a team
Personal expertise and university culture: Creating and managing a university Twitter account isn’t only for public relations professionals or the marketing department, although it can be a part of your overall communications plan if you choose. You need to build a team that isn’t solely focused on promoting the University or getting donations. Find people who understand the culture of the university and the purpose of social media in professional organizations. The person or people you employ will become the voice of the university, and should not only be familiar with the tools but also have a strong perspective on engagement and interaction.

Community Manager: The main strength of Syracuse University’s twitter team is our community manager. As community manager, Kelly was hired from within the university because of her expertise in personal branding on social media and her understanding of the “orange culture”. Kelly is excellent at connecting to our audience. She’s also a well-respected member of the Syracuse social media community; in fact, she’s one of the creators and moderators of the weekly twitter chat #CMGRchat that discusses successful methods of community managers.

Student team: Another key factor in the success of the social media team are students. You’re a university; take advantage of the bright, savvy young minds that are available to you. They understand social media, are some of the most active users, are a huge part of your audience, and they understand what it’s like to be a member of the university community. Don’t be afraid to relinquish some control and give them a voice.

Define your goals and determine your audience
Goals: Launching a social media strategy with no measurable, realistic goals is one of the simplest and most serious errors you can make as any professional organization. Before you invest time and money creating your community on Twitter, you need to understand why you’re doing it. Do you want to increase enrollment? Improve campus life? Reach out to alums to increase their activities with the university? Or all of the above? Determine your goals, create a time frame for implementation, measure your success, and update your goals.

Audience: Some may think that all university audiences are created equal on Twitter. This isn’t true, and it’s another critical error to make early in the social media implementation process. While universities do share some major audiences- like current students, staff, faculty, prospective students, and alumni- others are very different. The local community in Syracuse is very involved with the university, which may not be the case for all universities. So, we make sure that we don’t limit our twitter conversations to only students, because that neglects a huge part of our audience. Syracuse also has a very strong base of athletics fans, particularly in lacrosse, basketball and football. So, we take special care to include content and discussions about athletics. In fact, our followers have organically created hashtags surround big games, like #beatnova or #beatgtown. Some followers even create pictures using those hashtags, so we often change our Twitter profile picture to those to show our athletics fans and followers that we enjoy their passion and interaction.

Find your voice
On Twitter, it’s important to let people know who you are. As a university, this can be a challenge. What is your voice? There’s an inclination to stay professional and speak as the university. However, Syracuse has had great success because we let people know who we really are. Since we have several people tweeting for the account, we’ve created a Twitter schedule. Community manager Kelly Lux tweets during weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students take over in the afternoon from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m and over the weekend. We introduce ourselves, ask questions, invite interaction,  and share pictures, info,  and activities. Each person on the Twitter account has a different voice, and our followers have gotten to know us and our styles.

Engage, Engage, Engage
I’ve seen many universities use Twitter mainly as an RSS feed of school news and events. SU’s first twitter account was similar to that. However, we felt that it would be much more effective to engage in order to meet our goals. We’ve done this in several ways with great success.

Contests: We’ve run several contests using hashtags that reward winners with SU-themed prizes. We’ve primarily focused on trivia and retweet contests. For example, during the holiday season this year we gave out SU Foursquare t-shirts to those who could answer holiday-themed trivia questions the quickest using the hashtag #holidaymayor.

Events: SU also live-tweets events using hashtags, so both those who are present and those who are unavailable follow along and interact. We took this tactic with this year’s homecoming celebration, Orange Central. We used the hashtag #SUOC to tweet about different activities and encourage students and visiting alumni to do so as well. We also displayed plasma screens in Schine Student Center and the quad that showed tweets, text messages and foursquare checkins about Orange Central. We got an enormous amount of positive feedback from this, and many alumni commented that it made them feel like they were back on campus and part of the Syracuse community again.

Athletics: As mentioned previously, SU focuses on athletics events like basketball, football and lacrosse games on Twitter using hashtags and tweeting live with fans. 

Graduation: In the past two years, SU has publicized hashtags for graduation, #SUgrad10 and #SUgrad11, to encourage students to tweet about their commencement experiences and share photos. This has greatly enhanced our ability to communicate with students about commencement, answer any questions they have, and respond personally when they say they’re excited or sad to be leaving campus. You can see tweets about this year’s commencement here.

Measure your success
Use free tools like hootsuite analytics,, Klout to quantitatively measure your results. If you have the budget for more expensive tools like Radian6, it may be wise to invest to get better measurements. For qualitative measurement, look at the quality of your conversations- are you talking with your audience, or are you pushing info? Has your audience grown? Have you create a community?

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