Social Media Marketing

Here’s Some Novel Things to Do on LinkedIn to Really Stand Out

I’ve spent a lot of time on LinkedIn, both helping others master the platform and building my own account. I’ve seen a lot of things done wrong and a few things done right. Standing out, branding yourself, positioning yourself (whatever you want to call it) on LinkedIn doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s really just a matter of common sense, and a slight bit of old-fashioned sales skill. In this article I want to give you a few good ideas that will make your presence on LinkedIn shine!

Don’t Use the Generic Connect Request!

When you send someone a connect request on LinkedIn, you’re offered the opportunity to write your own message or use LinkedIn’s generic message. It’s so tempting to use the generic message because it’s so much faster! Don’t do that, because if you do, you’ll  1) look like everyone else, and quite frankly  2) look like you don’t care about the person you want to connect with. And, in point of fact, you don’t do you? Because if you did, you might want to go over to their profile, find some commonality, and mention that so that people know you care about them.

Don’t Use Messaging to Spam!

Well, actually, don’t spam at all! Get someone’s permission before you send them information about yourself, what you do, your business, what you sell, etc. If you don’t get people’s permission, you’re going to come off as a spammer of sorts. Remember the old Zig Ziglar mantra?

“People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”

Well, you’re not going to be coming off as caring, are you?

Really Follow Up!

I can’t tell you the number of times someone has contacted me and I’ve messaged them back only to have the conversation drop at that point. It might take some work to keep up with all of this, but you want to follow up with your connections. I follow up with everyone a couple times a year. And, I definitely follow up with conversations that I’ve started.

LinkedIn is about personal connections and networking so take the time and make a personal connection to the human beings behind the profiles.

 

Big Mistakes Managers Are Making on LinkedIn

LinkedIn connects virtually every serious business person on the planet. There are slightly over seven billion people on planet Earth right now. Over half a billion of them are on LinkedIn. Given the fact that LinkedIn rigorously polices their accounts looking for duplicates and bots, you can bet that virtually all of those half a billion people are real! Think about it. One out of fourteen people on this entire planet are on LinkedIn!

Not only does this give you an amazing reach as a job seeker, recruiter, freelancer, sales person, or corporate executive, but it also poses a little problem for you. If all your peers, colleagues, and competitors are on LinkedIn, then just BEING on LinkedIn isn’t going to make you stand out. No, you now have to do more than just have an account.

Here’s what a lot of business professionals do. Or rather, what they fail to do. They fail to create and maintain a vibrant LinkedIn presence. But, since everyone else is on the platform, it stands to reason that many of their peers and competitors are indeed creating a vibrant presence. So, look at it this way. Check out your own LinkedIn profile and then check out some of the profiles of your competitors, and what do you see? Unless you’ve spent some time updating your profile and posting content to it, you’re going to look like a, well for lack of a better word, slacker! Your peers have upped the bar, which means you have to up your game too!

So, how do you do this without killing yourself? LinkedIn isn’t your occupation. It’s just necessary to it.

One way is to use automation.

You can use Hootsuite, for instance, to auto-post status updates and articles you write to the platform.

Speaking of articles, another way is to post articles you’ve written on LinkedIn Pulse. This is LinkedIn’s blogging feature.

If you want to go a step further, uploading slides you use in presentations to SlideShare and sharing them on LinkedIn is a perfect way for you to look like a thought-leading pro.

There are other ways too, sure, but if you’re not currently using any automation, I don’t want to overwhelm you with options. Start with these three ideas to get you going in the right direction and then you can build from there.

 

Five Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Snap, Crackle, and Pop!

Dull and boring just isn’t going to cut it in today’s oversaturated Internet world. Same old, same old isn’t going to get you that new job or attract the right clients to your business. You absolutely must stand out from the crowd. And you have to do this in a way that appeals to your market! In this article, I’d like to turn you on to a few things you can do to your profile to stand out from the crowd and make people take notice of you! Ready?

Headline

Let’s start with your headline. DO NOT just put your job title or your main skill. “IT Professional.” “Freelance Writer.” Both of these are generic and don’t do any selling! Think about how you could restructure those to appeal to your market, whether that’s potential employers or clients. What problem do you solve or what result do you give? That’s what employers and clients are going to really hire you for.

Photo

This one’s a little tricky. You want to have a good, maybe even a professional photo, and you want it to stand out a little. For the photo, I’d go towards making sure you look friendly and likable. That is, as long as you’re in a job where being friendly and likable is a good thing. If you’re an international security expert, then you might want to tone down on the smile. 😉 Just make sure it represents you as a professional and is appropriate to your field.

Profile Summary

Here’s where most folks just fall flat on their face! You get 2,000 characters to work with for your profile summary. Two thousand. Use them! And, don’t be generic. Write in the first person. That’s much more approachable than writing in the third person. Make sure you include a little (but not too much) personal history. Idea: How did you get where you are? Here’s where you can really distinguish yourself from the rest of the field!

Recommendations

Yes, you want them! You don’t have to have a ton. Three or four great ones will do. But these especially serve to position you as an expert in your field. Most serious visitors to your profile (the ones thinking about possibly hiring you for something) will check out your recommendations and really read them! So don’t be afraid to ask past clients and colleagues if they’d leave you one. It may take a couple gentle reminders (I’m still waiting for a few who said they’d be happy to leave one, but never have the time :), but having them can really be a boost to your profile.

And lastly,

Skills

Your list of skills and your endorsements help define more about who you are and what you do. Just like with recommendations, you can bet that anyone serious takes a long look at them.

It may take you a little time to refine, add, or update these things, but if you really want your profile working for you, then don’t skip these important points.

 

Why You Must Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Current

Someone once asked a business colleague of mine who’s been working on LinkedIn for a very long time if it was okay to update their profile. In their case, they were talking about their profile summary. My colleague thought it was an odd question to be asked. After all, wouldn’t you want to update your CV or your resume? Upon further investigation though, they realized the person was asking a valid question. Basically, they were wondering if their older connections would react negatively to an updated profile. Here’s what my colleague told them that I think will help anyone asking the same question.

“It all depends! But what choice do you have? If your profile needs updating, then that really means that you’ve either moved on, or you’ve changed focus in your professional life. You’ve done something like get a new job, or you’re planning on changing careers. Something like that. If you want LinkedIn to work for you in this new endeavor, then you really need to update your headline, your profile summary, and quite possibly other parts of your profile.”

Indeed, over the past few years, as my business focus has changed, I’ve updated my own profiles significantly about 3 times. We no longer live in the world of people working at the same job for thirty years and getting the gold watch at the end. We live in a much more fluid world when it comes to career, employment, and skills.

Looking at it from a skills point of view, it used to be that you had to have a college degree specializing you in some discipline or other before you could get a job doing whatever that was. Nowadays, you can take an online course and within three months or so, completely change careers! You won’t necessarily need to start on the ground floor either!

With the flux that defines our business and professional lives, why wouldn’t you change your profile as you change? One: Will people really get bent out of shape over that? and Two: Would the opinion of someone who did really matter?

Get in there and show people you’re growing and learning. And enjoy all the new connections you’ll make as a result.

 

How To Simplify Your Social Media Marketing Strategies

Social media marketing strategies can get incredibly complicated. There always seems to be so much to do and so little time. However, there are ways to keep it simple once you know how. Here are 7 tips for simplifying, honing, and creating more effective social marketing.

1. Know your niche.

The niche research you did when you first started your business should have revealed your people’s interests, pain points, problems, and spending limits. If you’re not sure, do some research. Above all, find out where they spend their leisure time on the Internet and target those sites. There’s no point in banging away on any and every social network if the ideal customer in your niche isn’t hanging out there.

By the way, I talk about creating customer personas and lots of other cool Marketing Tips in my free eReport. To get it, simply enter your info below and it’ll be headed your way!


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2. Brainstorm hot content.

Hot content is the kind of content that will appeal to those in your niche. As you do your niche research, you will probably see the same questions coming up repeatedly. Make a list of them and create content that answers these questions. Be sure to create paid products that do as well. Free products lead to paid products.

3. Leverage the content you create.

Make every piece of content you create work hard for you. One of the best ways to do it is to put it into more than one format. For example, your content could be an article, top-10 list, or a PowerPoint deck. Your deck could become a video on YouTube which you would then embed on your site. You could also share the deck at popular sharing sites like SlideShare, owned by LinkedIn, which has very convenient sharing buttons for all of the major social networks.

4. Create a publishing schedule.

Once you leverage your content, schedule it. You obviously can’t publish leveraged content on the same topic back to back, but you can use your blog scheduler to set the date and time in advance and, for example, publish one each month for several months.

Make video your priority, though, to build up a robust YouTube channel full of interesting content that will gain followers.

If you are working alone, create your own calendar and follow it. The plugin “Editorial Calendar for WordPress” is incredibly useful. If you are working in a team, set up a shared calendar to make sure something of value is being published regularly.

5. Use automated tools.

WordPress has a range of plugins that will create share buttons so people can just click to share on the social networks. In addition, they have plugins that will announce your new content on your social sites automatically, such as WordTwit for creating a link to your content on Twitter.

Then there are specific tools that will allow you to schedule posts in advance, such as Buffer, which will link with a number of different networks, and ViralWoot, which allows you to schedule Pinterest pins in advance. These tools have both free and paid levels, so you have nothing to lose by trying them out and seeing how useful they are. If they make your publishing on the social networks easier, the cost will more than pay for itself in terms of the amount of time you will save.

6. Make an appointment with social for 1 hour each day.

Social media can devour your time if you’re not careful (ask me how I know), so block out 2 appointments of 30 minutes each, morning and evening, so you minimize the danger of getting distracted and wasting hours wandering around in an unfocused manner.

7. Outsource

Once you get things organized, outsource the work to a reliable virtual assistant. Idea: Draft in your teen or neighbor and free up your time to build your business in other ways.

Don’t have time to do your own marketing? Are you a service business that would rather focus on your business and your existing customers and have someone else handle bringing in new customers? Then we’d love to talk with you about partnering to reach your goals.

Three Negative Things Your LinkedIn Profile Reveals About You

LinkedIn is about business, right? Right! Just about business, and quite frankly, no one wants to do business with people who are suspect, don’t believe in themselves, or to use a phrase common a few decades ago, throw off a negative vibe! Yet, I see so many profiles that do just this! They hurt your cause instead of help it. Often, I think this is unconscious. I don’t think people with profiles like this are trying to shoot themselves in the proverbial foot, but they are? You might be wondering, what exactly am I seeing? Well, let’s talk about three things I see often that really put me off and make me not want that person in my world.

#1 – No Picture or Poor Picture

At least once a day someone sends me a connect request and they don’t have a picture! What’s up with that? How could anybody expect LinkedIn to work for them if they don’t have any kind of picture at all? It is, after all, a business networking site. It leaves you wondering: Why are they hiding? What’s wrong with their face? Should I trust them?

Then there’s the people who have photos, but they’re very poor in quality. You don’t have to have a professional head shot like an actor would, but you do need a clear photo that shows you at least wearing business attire.

#2 – Lack of Passion About Your Work

When I read your profile summary do I feel like I’ve read this all before? Are you faking it, or are you really stoked about what you’re doing? I don’t want to do business with people who aren’t passionate about what they bring to the table. And, frankly, I would never hire someone who seems that way, either. So, get passionate and pour that passion into your profile!

#3 – “Seeking Employment”

This last one might be my own pet peeve, but saying “Seeking Employment” in your headline is a real turn off for me. Seeking employment is not a job, it’s not a career, it’s not an occupation. It tells me nothing. Get rid of it! Instead, go out there, connect with businesses you’d like to work for and start a conversation. Not a begging or “you need to hire me right now” kind of conversation, but a real, professional conversation.

 

Make sure these three profile musts are in place and you’ll be ready to network with the best!

 

More Cool LinkedIn Hacks You Must Be Doing!

LinkedIn just gets better and better and better! I’ll be honest. When Microsoft bought LinkedIn, I felt a little, how shall we say it…trepidation about what they might do to the platform. Honestly, I’ve not liked all of Microsoft’s changes. Especially the part about moving so many of the free features into the paid-only part. That said, I like free, but I also understand business. So, I get it that I should be paying for these capabilities. There are, however, quite a few things you can now do with LinkedIn that I completely adore. Let’s go over a few of what those are today. Hopefully, you’ll get as excited as I am and start utilizing more of LinkedIn’s cool features!

One of my favorite “hacks” for marketing on LinkedIn involves SlideShare. In case you don’t know, SlideShare is a platform where you can post your PowerPoint, Keynote and other slide presentations. It was bought by LinkedIn a while back, so it makes sense that the two easily complement each other! Many businesses make a lot of slide presentations for things like webinars or speaking engagements. And now they can get a lot more mileage out of those slides by making them available on SlideShare. Also, when you post a new slide presentation on SlideShare you can always share it on LinkedIn. Something I’ve done for clients and the results are amazing! A lot more views and a lot more interaction. Talk about branding, right?

My other favorite “hack” involves YouTube. This goes hand-in-hand with the PowerPoints you create. PowerPoints are many times created for making into videos. This gives you a lot more content to spread around. (#ContentRepurposing)

One great place to share your videos is on YouTube. You can then share the video straight to your LinkedIn feed, or you can post it to select groups that you belong to. This is a powerful way to get the right eyeballs on you and your profile!

Have another hack for re-purposing content or for getting a positive response from your LinkedIn audience through one of LinkedIn’s features? I’d love to hear what you’re doing! Just leave me a comment below.  🙂

 

Your Three-Step LinkedIn Hack

If you need a way to sell virtually anything, LinkedIn is the place to be! Doesn’t matter if you’re selling coaching, books, gold, or airplanes, with LinkedIn’s half a billion users, you’re going to find more leads and more prospects than you can get to in a lifetime. Well, I should qualify that last statement. If you know how to use and build relationships on LinkedIn you can do this. If you don’t know how, then quite frankly, LinkedIn will remain a mystery to you and honestly, probably will be just a waste of time. So, with that all in mind, let me show you my 3-step hack that I use to find more business right on LinkedIn than I can deal with. Ready to get started?

 

LinkedIn is built on connections and relationships. The first thing you need to do is you need to connect with a lot of people. At first, don’t worry if they’re in your target market. Your first goal is to build up your connections to at least 1,000 or so. No, don’t connect to everyone all in one day. That will look (and just is) unnatural and, among other things, will put your account at risk. Try to connect to around 50 new people every day until you get your connections up to about 2,000, then your account will build on its own.

 

Next, you’ll want to start reaching out to these connections. A great way to do this is to message people when they accept your connection request. You’ll want to say something personal and welcoming. You do NOT want to spam people with a big long paragraph about how cool you are or how awesome your product is. Just reach out pleasantly! If someone ignores you, just keep trying every now and then to see if they’re ready to engage with you. Remember, not everyone checks their LinkedIn account daily. So if you’re being ignored, it’s more likely that the person just hasn’t seen your message yet.

 

Finally, after you’ve messaged with someone back and forth for a while, that’s when you can invite them to talk with you in more detail about your offering. This shouldn’t be a full-blown sales presentation, but more of a 15-minute get to know you session. Unlike many gurus will tell you, LinkedIn isn’t a get-rich-quick platform. It’s the online version of a B2B networking meeting. So network! Connect. Say hi. Talk. Get to know them. And if once you’ve done that they’re interested in how you can help them or their business, then open up that discussion.

 

These steps are intuitive, but I’m always surprised by how many business people are actually doing them. Do these three steps consistently, and you’ll soon have more business than you know what to do with!

 

Seven Pro LinkedIn Hacks You Might Not Have Thought Of

Okay, you’ve opened an account, filled out your profile, included a great headshot, and written a winning profile summary – as well as completed everything required to reach “All-Star” status on LinkedIn. Now what? Now’s when the fun starts. In this article, I’m going to show you seven great things you need to be doing consistently in order to reach the “Boss” level on LinkedIn.

Numero Uno: Check in every day! Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Yet, you’d be amazed at the number of people I reach out to on a daily basis who finally, sometimes after a few months, message me back saying that they just don’t check their account that often. Amazing! They obviously don’t know the power of using LinkedIn effectively.

Two: Publish an article on LinkedIn’s blogging feature, called Pulse. You don’t have to be Malcolm Gladwell. Just be you and write about what you know about. Write about what you think your target audience might find interesting. If you absolutely can’t write, hire someone to write it for you once a month. That actually won’t set you back too much and it will be well worth it!

Three: Add videos or other media to your profile. Link to examples of your work. Link to your website. Have an infographic created that shows people part of the process of what you do.

Four: Follow movers and shakers! They might not actually connect with you, but follow them anyway. Share their status updates with your audience!

Five: Connect with and send connect requests to these people and others who you think would be important to your network.

Six: You can do this one better if you have a paid subscription to LinkedIn, but given that you have that, you need to be researching who’s looked at your profile and connecting with them and messaging them. They’ve already shown that they’re interested. Follow up with them!

Seven: This one might not apply to everyone, and honestly it takes time and you might not want to do it, but in some industries, it’s going to be one of the most important things you do. Figure out who in your contacts are local to you and actually invite them out for coffee. Yep, it’s a little old school, but it works great! People do business with those who they like and trust. Taking a little time to build that rapport and a real, live, in-the-flesh connection can go along way.

Have any comments or feedback? Start the conversation and leave your comments below!

Three Daily Best Practices for LinkedIn Users

Done right, you can get more business and leads out of LinkedIn than you can get to. You have to do some work, though. For instance, you need a complete profile along with a head shot that brands you as a professional, and you’ll need to spend consistent time beefing up your connections (things we’ve talked about on the blog before so check out older posts if you’re looking for ideas for those).

That all lays the ground work. After that all you really need to do is to spend a few minutes on LinkedIn daily. I’ve been a LinkedIn user for a while now, and am getting this down to a science. Want to know how I’m building it and how I keep my LinkedIn account humming along at peak proficiency? Here are three things I do daily with (almost) religious fervor. Do this and you’ll never have to prospect for business again.

#1: Status Updates

Just as with most social media, the first of your daily tasks is to update your status. Just like with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms, every day you need to let folks know what you’re up to and what you’re doing. Doesn’t have to be earth shattering. Doesn’t have to even qualify for interesting. You don’t have to give details if details aren’t warranted. Just say something about your normal business day. If you want to get organized about this and save yourself some time, use Hootsuite and load up status updates in advance!

#2: Accept Connections

Your next daily task is to check your network and accept inbound connection requests. The more people you’re connected to the better LinkedIn is going to work for you. Each of these requests is taking you one more step towards your goal of turning LinkedIn into a prospecting and business machine. Accept these requests on a daily basis!

#3: Message

Finally, you’re going to want to message people who’ve connected with you and who’ve accepted your own outbound connection requests. Your goal is to build a network, and you can’t do that by being a wall flower and never communicating with anyone!

There are the top three. Not too scary, huh. 😉  Do each of these tasks daily and watch your LinkedIn account become your single most important business asset!