Tag Archives: LinkedIn 101

LinkedIn: Should You Connect To Anyone With A Pulse?

Connecting To Everyone On LinkedIn?An article posted on Social Media Today about accepting all LinkedIn connection requests caught my attention. The article suggested ignoring LinkedIn’s recommendation to “only accept invitations to connect from people you know” in order to grow your network and gain more visibility, more reach on this social channel. The article did suggest not connecting to “obvious” spammers — which I completely agree with — but, you can’t always tell who is a spammer until you’ve accepted the connection request and find an immediate sales pitch in your InMail.

Spray-And-Pray Connecting

When I work with clients, I teach them to follow LinkedIn’s advice and connect to those they know. I then ask my clients by what criteria would they determine they “know” someone before asking permission to connect. Think about it. Why would you connect, and then share your connections, with a complete and total stranger? Would you give this unknown individual you just connected to after meeting at a business event for, say, 10 minutes, complete access to your financials if you’re looking for an investment recommendation or strategy? Probably not. Then why would you connect this way just to grow your network? So you’ve added 200 people to your connections – how well did that strategy work for you? How well do you know and trust them? “Spray-and-pray” tactics such as this rarely work and may not bring you the actual benefit you’re looking for without connecting to an actual strategy. Connecting just to grow your network is NOT that kind of a numbers game.

Strategically Connecting

Grow your network strategically by starting with those you’re already connected to. Why? The trust factor is higher. If you’ve done your homework, you know these people from digesting their website content, conversations (social media, email and offline), their articles and thought leadership musings, and answers to others’ questions. You’ve checked their connections and found some commonalities, along with some you would like to connect to directly. You’ve checked out the groups they are members of and viewed some of their posts. You also may have found them using other social media platforms and looked at who follows them. After all this, you’ve sent a personalized connection request because you understand this is a real person and not a number.

Commonality Connecting

As you do your due diligence on LinkedIn, you will find folks through your 1st connections that may belong to the same group as you. You may find a college alumnus, a set of skills you both share, or a common certification. You may find you support the same non-profit or cause! You may decide, then, to connect through any one of these commonalities. The trust factor has been built in by the commonality; now you just need to know more about the person. One way to get this done is to ask the person to whom you both have a common connection to tell you more about this person. Finally, ask your connection to introduce you to the person you want to connect with. A warm introduction from someone you know will go much farther than a cold push-button request.

Grow your network strategically, build know-like-trust and give/receive referrals. Be the resource and expert you expect yourself to be.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

7 Tips To Pump Up Your LinkedIn Profile

Connecting To Everyone On LinkedIn?Your LinkedIn profile has to truly stand apart from the competition in order to gain that visual edge you need for either a project or job. The big question is: what should be improved about your profile to gain that edge? A new photo? More keywords? Here’s seven tips to help pump up your profile.

  1. Professional photo. The worst thing you can do, by far, is to not have a photo on your LinkedIn profile; the second-worst is having an unprofessional photo. Remember, LinkedIn is a more professional social media channel than Facebook. Pay a photographer and have a good photo taken.
  2. Keyword your header. What do you want to be known for? Let these keywords shine in your profile header! Don’t stuff keywords — don’t use the same word over and over, such as “social media marketer”, “social media consultant” and “social media mentor”. Find a way to express these in one keyword or phrase.
  3. Write to your expertise. Got something to say? Write it out! LinkedIn Publishing Platform is a blogging platform that gets your posts in front of all of LinkedIn’s six million (or more) members. This gives you a professional, warm ground by which to verbalize your thought leadership. TIP: Post no more than once a day to keep the notifications to your network down. I prefer 2-3 times a week max.
  4. List your interests. There is a section you can add called “Additional Info”. List your interests here. What do you like to read or collect? This brings a human element to your profile, and also introduces potential common ground for visitors/prospects.
  5. Projects and Slideshare. Don’t underestimate these powerhouse sections. Listing your projects demonstrates what you are currently working on, which can help if you are experiencing a gap in employment. If you are a speaker or presenter, do you use PowerPoint presentations in your speeches? Get a free Slideshare account and link them to your LinkedIn profile.
  6. Endorsements DO matter. Endorsements are just as powerful as recommendations. Here’s why: when someone endorses your skills, they are putting their credibility on the line by saying you DO have that skill. The two best (and easiest) ways to get your skills endorsed: a) ask your 1st connections to endorse you; b) endorse your connections’ skills.
  7. Certifications, Awards, & Volunteering. You might have gaps in either employment or education, but, did you earn any certifications? These demonstrate continuing education. Did you receive any industry or scholastic awards? List these to show your credibility. Do you enjoy volunteering? OK, it may not always pay, but it does show prospects you care about your community and choose to get involved in what matters to you.

After you’ve pumped up your profile, join a couple of groups within industries you want to work with and participate in conversations. A better strategy: reconnect with your network first. Congratulate folks who are moving up, having anniversaries/birthdays, or who have also improved their profiles. Show you truly care about being connected to them.

Want more help with LinkedIn? Email me with your questions – I’m ready to help!

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Successful Business Uses for Facebook and LinkedIn

This is an old post from my former blog, but I felt the information was still relevant today.

The corner where Marketing Ave. meets Strategy St.Deciding on a marketing plan for your business, whether or not to market your business in either Facebook or LinkedIn, and the right mix of disciplines to use is a combination of personal preference, trial-and-error, and industry statistics. The industry statistics help determine what combination of online and offline marketing tools your competition is using. Objectives help keep you on your marketing path by providing the support for the plan. The trial-and-error helps determine what works and what doesn’t by being flexible to try some other marketing idea when the current idea isn’t working. The personal preference is, well, up to you. Learn what your target market is using for social media platforms and gear your messages to both the audience and the platform.

LinkedIn is a social media platform with a more professional population. In this platform CEOs, entrepreneurs, decision-makers, business owners network for jobs, projects, and information. Members connect for colloboration, to show expertise, continue company branding and expand their professional network. Creating a LinkedIn Group has three advantages over joining an existing group for professional connecting:

  1. You write topics and/or posts and invite like-minded people to join and contribute to the new community.
  2. You are viewed almost immediately as a leader.
  3. Make new connections, find & be a resource for those needing help.

Facebook is another social media platform that is more social than professional. Members connect here to stay in touch with friends and family, or to find friends or family. The atmosphere is more laid back, more conversational, less formal than LinkedIn. After creating a personal profile, you can create a Business Page (f.k.a. Fan Page). This has three advantages:

  1. Build a community and network through posts and discussions.
  2. Continue branding and awareness of your business.
  3. Insights allow Pages to see what content is most influential for their followers, as well as receive notifications of new Likes and messages to Page.

The choice I am making for my two business’ marketing plans is to engage more through LinkedIn Groups. I am weeding out Groups I have joined that either are no longer active, or are no longer aligned with my business’ strategies. Ideally, continuing to utilize both cultures and maintaining a presence is desirable, but for my companies — both B2B (business to business) oriented, I must spend more time engaging in LinkedIn and create my own Group for interactions, information, and assistance.

Bottom line: business owners should make their social media choices based on knowledge of their target market, finding out what social media platforms they are using via email, phone and/or surveys, and what type of content is most important to them. Don’t assume your audience knows everything about your business. Listen to the questions they ask, and they will point you in the right direction for content creation.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

LinkedIn: Should Your Profile Be Public Or Private?

Linkedin LogoRecently a question from one of my networking colleagues took me by surprise: “Should my LinkedIn profile be public or private?”

Being a marketing specialist, I advocate personal social profiles be public, but I also looked at potential advantages/disadvantages for keeping this info private. Here’s my short list below:

  1. I don’t want everyone to see it. No problem. People won’t see your profile if: a) they are not a direct (1st-level) or 2nd-level connection; b) if they don’t have a premium account. Think about the unintended consequences of this action (will discuss below).
  2. I don’t want to be spammed. Great point, and yes — keeping your profile private will keep this annoying problem from happening.
  3. I don’t want to be stalked. Another great point. Hiding your profile will handle this issue well, but is not foolproof.

Unintended consequences resulting from keeping your profile private may not seem like a big deal, but could prove to be down the road. Below I’m outlining a few points to consider. By the way, according to LinkedIn, if you choose to switch your profile from public to private, it may take a few weeks before the search engines catch up.

Now, my reasons for keeping your profile public:

  1. Job searches. Everyone knows job searching has been very tough since the decline in 2009. Potential job employers are searching LinkedIn profiles by both job titles (current and past) and your skill sets. By keeping your profile public and posting 1-2 updates per day, you will increase your chances of being viewed by a potential employer. Unintended consequence: your profile won’t turn up in Google or Bing search results. Think about your strategy for finding employment.
  2. Project searches. This is, to me, the same as landing job opportunities. You have great thoughts and a strong background in your industry. When you participate in groups daily (keep your target market in mind!) and post 1-2 updates per day to your own profile, you will be found more often in Google searches. Unintended consequence: you are invisible, and potential projects could wind up in your competition’s arms.
  3. Influencer marketing. Businesses look ways to not only reach their target market, but also those influencers that positively resonate with their target market. Could you find an influencer if their LinkedIn profile was marked private? Likely not.

Bottom line:

  • Hiring managers look at profiles to determine the legitimacy and credibility of a potential candidate;
  • CEOs and business owners look at both the personal profile and the business page to confirm the credibility of a potential contract or project award;
  • Marketers look at profiles to find the influencers of a particular industry, including groups they participate in, posts/blogs they follow, and brands they support.

If you know other reasons to keep your profile private, please share them here — I enjoy learning from others! If you want help setting up your profile or business page, please contact me here.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

How to Set Your LinkedIn Profile to Private

Do you know how to set your LinkedIn profile to private? One of my friends in a networking group recently attended a LinkedIn seminar. The instructor gave a lot of information, but this one item stood out. Here’s how in a few simple steps:

  1. Sign in to your LinkedIn account.
  2. Next, click on “Profile” at the top of the navigation menu.LinkedIn Profile, set to private Step 1
  3. Now click the “Edit” button below your name and header. This takes you to the overall editing mode.Make LinkedIn profile private, step 2
  4. Next, click the blue “Edit” link next to your LinkedIn URL. You will find this below your photo. This allows you to start editing your public profile.
  5. Below “Public Profile” you should see two columns of information. The block on your right should allow you to customize your public profile with several choices.Make LinkedIn profile private, step 3
  6. Under “Customize Your Public Profile”, you should see two radio buttons. One allows you to set your profile to be visible to no one, the other by everyone. The default is “everyone”.
  7. To set your profile to private, select the radio button that allows “no one” to see your profile.
  8. That’s it. Keep in mind, however, that it may take a few weeks before both Google and Bing register this change, and during this transition your profile is viewable by all.

    I have a follow-up post that delves a bit into some reasons as to why you should (and shouldn’t) have a private profile. The choice you make should depend on your situation, your intentions, and your strategy for either finding a job or a project/new client. Consider all the possibilities and choose what makes sense to you.

    If you want help setting up your profile or business page, please contact me here.

    Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.