LinkedIn Networking Essentials

LinkedIn IS a networking platform! Repeat this at least twenty times a day when you get up in the morning! I’m always amazed at how many people have LinkedIn profiles, but yet do nothing to actually network there. Okay, I get it. Maybe not everyone is a sales person, but surely everyone can benefit from knowing more people in their career field. What if you walk in on Monday and get the dreaded pink slip? What are you going to do then? When it comes to personal networks size (and quality) actually does matter. So, let’s talk about how even the most wall flower of all the wall flowers can network efficiently on LinkedIn.

Connections

Don’t be too picky about your connections, and at the same time, be very picky. This sounds contradictory, and it is. Here’s the deal, though. LinkedIn works like that old game, six degrees of separation. I’m connected to you. You’re connected to someone else. And, I’m only indirectly connected to you. But there’s massive power in that indirect connection! The more connections you have, the more your network expands. But…you need to be directly connected to someone in order to message them. (Inmails are so expensive!) You need both! A large number of connections and also targeted connections.

Networking

Reach out to people in your network regularly. Doesn’t have to be every month. Just at least once a year for those people who’ve fallen by the wayside. You’ll be surprised at how much business will just bubble to the surface just by doing this.

Status Updates

Keep your profile and your status updates up to date! Tell your audience what you’re up to, as far as work is concerned. What projects are you working on? How might that benefit them? What types of employees are you looking for? You’d be amazed at who’s reading your updates and who you can get to reach out to you this way.

Communicate

And, while you’re actually networking, how about really communicating with people? Ask them how the new job is going. How’s that move to Colorado Springs? Again, your goal is to stir up the proverbial mud and see what rises to the top!

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 out 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 a: look like everyone else, and quite frankly b: 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 the 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’m started.

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. I use Hootsuite for instance to auto post status updates and articles I 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, sure, but these three ideas will get you going in the right direction.

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.

Photo

This one’s a little tricky. You want to have a good, maybe even 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. As long as, that is, 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.

Profile Summary

Here’s where most folks just fall flat on their face! You get two thousand characters for your profile summary. Use them! And, don’t be generic. Write in first person. That’s much more approachable then writing in third person. Make sure you include a little (not too much) personal history. 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!

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.

Three Qualities of the Best LinkedIn Profiles

One of the services I offer is writing (or rewriting) people’s LinkedIn profiles. I’ve read hundreds, if not thousands, of profiles. Most of the ones I run across need some serious tweaking, if not actual replacement. I’m quite versed in what makes a great profile, and in this article, I want to share with you a few things for you to strive for!

Attractive!

You want your profile to be attractive! What do I mean by that? Well, you want a good head shot. Doesn’t have to be professional, but it does have to show you in a business setting, at least in business clothes. Also, you want your profile summary and your headline to both attract search engine searches and be very readable for your visitors. Keywords are the phrases we put in search engines to search for websites. You want to figure out what keywords someone on LinkedIn might be using to find you and make sure you use those in your headline and salted and peppered in your profile.

Honest!

It’s so tempting in today’s world of websites and social media to pretend we’re something we’re not. And, for a while you can get by with it. I don’t mean really pretending to be the CEO of IBM when you’re not. That’s fairly easy to spot. I mean pretending to be in a higher part of the hierarchy of your company, when you’re actually a fairly junior member. Less easy to spot, sure, but in time, someone’s going to out you! There are a half a billion people on LinkedIn. Some are less successful than you are, some are more successful. I’d recommend you just be honest about who you are and where you are. You’ll end up getting further that way.

Current!

Make sure your profile summary is current. Update it often! Also, if you’re in a technical field where language and platforms change frequently, change the words and labels you use in your summary. You want to look fresh and current. No one wants to work with a dinosaur!

Why You Must Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Current

Someone once asked me if it was okay to update their profile. In their case, they were talking about their profile summary. I thought it was an odd question. After all, wouldn’t you want to update your CV or your resume? Upon further investigation, I realized they were asking a valid question. Basically, they were wondering if their older connections would react negatively to an updated profile. Here’s a short summary of what I told them.

“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 profile summary significantly about five 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 of that. Thank God! We live in a much more fluid world when it comes to career, employment, and skills. Look at it from a skills point of view. Used to be 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 even be starting 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? So what, if someone gets bent out of shape? One: it will never happen, and Two: who cares?

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.

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. What is wonder is this. 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.

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!

“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!

Three Ways To Alienate Just About Everyone on LinkedIn

Even though LinkedIn’s not Facebook, where virtually anything goes, I’m still often amazed at what I see happening on the platform. LinkedIn isn’t the place to forget your manners! It’s a business networking site, plain and simple. Not everything goes as it does on some other sites, which shall not be named. (Oops! I already did!) But joking aside, your goal on LinkedIn it to create business for yourself, to network with people who can help you, or even to get a new job. Why screw it up by acting stupid? What’s my definition of stupid? Here are a few things I see regularly on LinkedIn, all of which should be absolutely avoided.

Spamming! No, I don’t mean sending out a few million emails telling people about how they can save 50% on their next order of Viagra. I’m talking about unsolicited advertising to people through messaging. Virtually every day somebody hits my inbox with yet another five-paragraph long essay about their new, “ground floor” business opportunity. I’m not against advertising. I’m in marketing, after all! I’m just against stupid marketing, and this is stupid marketing!

Pretending you know someone in my network when you don’t. Look, I’m an open networker. I won’t IDK you if I don’t know you. I even say so in my profile. So, why pretend? Perhaps you’ve got something great I need to know about. Just because we’re not currently connected shouldn’t be a problem. Just connect with me for goodness sake! Then ask me if I’d like to know more about you. I’ll probably say yes.

Downloading my email from LinkedIn and spamming me again! If I didn’t subscribe to your email list, then I don’t need to be receiving emails from you. If you want to add me to a list, then ask my permission. It’s called permission-based marketing for a reason!

Look, I’m a pretty easy to get along with guy! But seriously! Some folks just don’t use common sense on LinkedIn. Don’t be one of them!

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. I do 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. And, I’ll like to go over a few of those with you today. Hopefully, you’ll get as excited as I am and start utilizing more of LinkedIn’s cool features!

One of my favorite, new “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! I make a lot of slide presentations in my business, both for webinars and for speaking engagements. I can get a lot more mileage out of those slides by making them available on SlideShare. Also, when I post a new slide presentation on SlideShare I always share it on LinkedIn. I’ve done this for my clients’ too. The results are amazing! A lot more views and a lot more interaction. Talking about branding, right?

My other favorite “hack” involves YouTube. This goes hand in hand with the PowerPoints I create. I create those normally for making into videos. This gives me a lot more content to spread around. One great place to share my videos is on YouTube. I can share the video straight to my feed, or I can post it to select groups that I belong to. This is a powerful way to get the right eyeballs on myself and my profile!

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 life time. Well, I should qualify that last statement. If you know how, you can do this. If you don’t know how, then quite frankly, LinkedIn will remain a mystery to you and honestly, just a big waste of time. So, with that all in mind, let me show you my three-step hack that I use to find more business right on LinkedIn than I can deal with. Ready to get started?

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 a thousand or so. Now, don’t connect to everyone all in one day. That will look unnatural and put your account at risk. What I did when I got going was connect to fifty new people every day until I got my connections up to about two thousand, then my account built 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 connect request. You’ll want to say something generic. You do NOT want to spam people with a big long paragraph about how cool you are or your product is. Just reach out pleasantly! If someone ignores you, just keep trying every now and then until you get their attention. 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, you’ll want to 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.

Do these three steps consistently, and you’ll soon have more business than you know what to do with!