Seven Pro LinkedIn Hacks You Might Not Have Thought Of

Okay, you’ve opened an account, filled out your profile, included a great head shot, and wrote 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 “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. What a waste!

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 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’s going to take some 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!

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. 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 years now, and I’ve got this all down to a science. Want to know how I keep my LinkedIn account humming along at peek proficiency? Here’s three things I do daily with almost religious fervor. Do this and you’ll never have to prospect for business again.

Just as with most social media, the first of you daily tasks is to update your status. Just as 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!

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!

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!

Do each of these tasks daily and watch your LinkedIn account become your single most important business asset!

Five Steps to Building a Huge Following on LinkedIn

How would you like to be able to create leads and prospects for whatever it is that you sell almost instantly? How would you like to have prospective customers and clients finding you and asking to buy your product or your service without you ever having to lift a finger, do any follow up, or yet another sales presentation? What I’m really asking is this. How would you like to have a ready audience already pre-sold on you and your products and services? If this sounds too good to be true, you don’t really understand the amazing power of LinkedIn. If you know the steps, you can do this on LinkedIn, actually fairly easily. So, what about it? Want to know how you too can build a smashing business on LinkedIn? It’s very simple, and there are only five steps.

First off you need to have a polished profile that is not only complete, but that sells you in advance. Basically, your profile, especially the summary, is your sales letter for you and your business on LinkedIn. Next, you’re going to have to create unique, valuable content aimed at your target audience on LinkedIn. By content I mean blog posts for LinkedIn pulse, status updates, and the like. You might want a short report accessible through a squeeze page that you can link to so you can build a list of interested followers.

Of course, none of this will matter if you’re not connected with anyone! So, you’ll need to consistently build your network. On LinkedIn, you can be connected to up to 30,000 people. Surely out of that many you can find enough customers, clients, and referral partners to build a business out of!

You’ll want to substantiate who you are and what you sell through real recommendations. Real, as in not fake, by the way! LinkedIn is a quality platform, and quality always wins out! And finally, you’re going to have to stay on top of your industry’s announcements and news. After all, you want people to see you as a thought leader, right? So, lead!

Becoming a Thought Leader on LinkedIn

A “thought leader” is someone who’s positioned themselves as an expert in a given profession, interest, or business. Being a thought leader has tremendous advantages. You get more and better clients. You get hired to speak at events. Your business flourishes. If you’re wondering how you yourself could become viewed as a thought leader by your peers, you’re in the right place. LinkedIn is the perfect platform for you too!

Think about the thought leaders you know of, Gary Vaynerchuck for instance, or Tony Robbins. Why do you think of them as thought leaders? Is it because someone just told you that they were? Probably not! It’s because every time you turn around you see a book or video that Gary or Tony did. In online marketing terms, it’s because they have an amazing amount of content online that consistently builds the idea that they’re thought leaders and reinforces that idea.

You can do the same yourself, and you can do it on LinkedIn! As a matter of fact, LinkedIn is the perfect place to “thought leaderize” yourself, if you’re a business person. Why? Because it is the business platform par excellence! Here’s what you need to do to get the ball rolling.

You need content and a lot of it. You need status updates, blog posts, LinkedIn pulse posts, and you also need to be taking this content and cross promoting it and reusing it on other platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. There’s a battle going on in cyberspace for eyeballs and to win that battle, you need content, and a lot of it.

You need quality content too! It can’t be junk, or rehashed nonsense. Can’t be yesterday’s news or something that’s been repeated forty million times online. You can’t farm this out. You’re going to have to do it yourself from the beginning, unless you have a huge marketing budget and can afford to hire a marketing company.

Here are a couple more idea. Try to pick a “niche”, for lack of a better word, that has less competition. Go narrow and deep, not broad. Also, realize this is a marathon, not a sprint! Something like this isn’t happening overnight. Plane to take a year or two to get where you want to go. That’s a long time, sure, but think of what you’ll have when you get there!

What To Do With Your LinkedIn Profile If You’re Starting a Business?

I get this question all the time, and it basically goes something like this. “I’m working, but I’ve also started a business. How do I use LinkedIn for my new business without tipping off my current boss?” I really, really wish I had an answer to that, but I don’t! At least I don’t have the answer I think everyone wants to hear, that you can do this neatly and efficiently in the same profile, or that you should actually start a new profile and run two accounts at the same time. Neither of these will work. Let me explain why.

Having a profile serve a dual purpose just isn’t going to work. You’re either employed or you’re not at a given business. The only real way I know to approach this problem is as follows, and just so you know, this is less than perfect, but it’s doable! You broaden out and generalize your profile.

Let’s have a quick example. Suppose you’re an IT manager for a given business, and suppose you want to start a social media marketing business on your own. What ties those two together? Well, using technology for business is more of an “umbrella” concept that each of these can fall under. So, instead of being the IT manager for XYZ company, you become an expert at marketing technology. That way your profile will make sense to your boss as well as to prospective customers of your new venture. This actually works quite well, and I’ve seen many people do this with great effect.

The only other option is to create a new account for a second person, who just happens to be you. Unlike some social media platforms, Twitter for instance, LinkedIn discourages this type of thing. If they catch you, and they will in short order, they shut down both your accounts. You might think you can get away with this, but think of all the things that would have to be different on the second profile, work dates, for instance. Do you want to lie about all of that? Having a second profile is the least viable of both these options. Stick with what I call the umbrella method.

Three Important Things Everyone Notices First On Your LinkedIn Profile

The most important part of LinkedIn for an individual user is the profile. Your profile tells everyone who you are, and from there they can decide if they want to connect with you, answer your messages, and potentially do business with you. If you screw up your profile, you’re dead in the water before you even have a chance to get going. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about what people are actually looking at when they land on your profile so you can make that look as positive as possible and maximize your results from LinkedIn.

Number one is your picture. It’s trite, but a picture really does say a thousand words. LinkedIn is a person-to-person networking platform, after all. So, it makes sense that people want to see what you look like, and rightly or wrongly, will judge you by your picture. Get a good picture, preferably one where you’re dressed like a business professional.

Two is the headline just under the picture. We all want to pigeon hole people so we can understand them and figure out where they fit in our world. Your headline needs to succinctly say who you are and what you do. And, if you’re smart, it needs to say so in a language your target audience understands. If you’re in IT, then having a technically oriented headline is fine, as long as you’re trying to communicate only with people who are capable of understanding the jargon.

Three is your profile summary. Here are a couple of tips for that. First off, please user first person. Third person just sounds weird. It’s YOUR profile summary. You wrote it. Talking about yourself in third person sounds like something weird you’d see in a science fiction or horror movie. Next, don’t be cliche! Don’t use overworked phrases like “self-starter”. That’s been done so much that it just screams nothing at all! Just talk honestly about yourself. Pretend you’re explaining who you are and what you do to an intelligent and thoughtful person who’s not in your industry.

Before you do anything else, get these three things right on your profile. You’ll be glad you did!

Small Businesses Don’t Need Social Media Managers

If you run a small business, you’ve no doubt wondered if you need to hire someone to keep up with all the social media. After all, there’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, SnapChat, and many, many more. It’s a daunting task to think about socially selling your business’s products on all those channels and more. So, what do you do?

One idea is to hire an employee dedicated to branding and selling your company’s products and services socially. That’s the expensive way to go, though. It’s very difficult to quantify how much the efforts of that person are affecting your bottom line. And, if he or she isn’t pulling their weight, their salary, health care costs, and the taxes you pay to hire the are money flushed down the nearest Porta-Potty. A better idea might be to empower your current employees to be your stealth social media army, instead of hiring a dedicated person.

You’re going to have to incentivize this. By that I mean, if you want your employees to be spending time online talking about your business, you’re going to have to a: give them time to do it, and b: monitor what they said. And, honestly, you’re going to have to bribe them to do it. Who would want to spend time during the day talking about their place of work on Facebook when they could be liking and sharing their friends’ new cute puppy pictures?

If you can figure out how to do this, however, and if your employees are game to the idea, then you can start to get a handle on social media marketing for your business that won’t break the bank. You’ll need to have some metrics that you measure. Don’t make this too difficult. Hits on your website before and after the campaign might be a good idea. I’d average your monthly traffic for several months before the campaign starts, and then average the traffic for the same number of months after. If you actually sell through your website, then you’d want to do the same with your website sales.

Three Steps to Landing a Great Job Using LinkedIn

Normally, I write about how entrepreneurs and businesses can use LinkedIn, but I also know there are a lot of folks (as in millions) who want new jobs, and since I’m a very proficient LinkedIn user, I thought I’d take a moment and help the rest of you guys out!

So, you want a new job, and hopefully you have an idea of what type of job it is that you want. Now’s the time to harness the world’s largest and most powerful virtual network to find that job! So, here’s what you need to do in a nutshell.

Step 1: Make sure your profile is “up to snuff”. Make sure it’s completely filled out. LinkedIn actually assigns you “All Star” level proficiency on your profile when you’ve completed the whole thing. While you’re doing this, make sure the dates, etc, jive with what’s on your resume. And, especially make sure you have a great head shot. Look like the winner you are! Remember the old question…would you hire you?

Step 2: Identify the companies you want to work for, and see if you can find the hiring manager or at least the VP of whatever division you want to work in. Actually track down that person on LinkedIn and send them a connect request. Don’t use LinkedIn’s stock request, either. Make it a wee bit more personal, although don’t spam them with how great you are from the get go!

Step 3: Once you’re connected with them, message them and tell them briefly that you’re interested in working for their company. Don’t send them a long message! That’s the kiss of death! Just a few sentences are fine here. Ask if you can send over your CV or resume. Make double sure you get their permission before you forward that to them!

LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful network and can connect you with more people and businesses than you can get to in a life time of doing this. Make sure you do this plan consistently and also make sure you follow up! You’ll have that new job before you know it!

The Importance of LinkedIn Recommendations and How to Get More of Them

Social proof is one of the big keys to any kind of marketing, on or offline. Businesses have been soliciting testimonials ever since the existence of commerce. On LinkedIn, recommendations are one form of social proof, and they are very, very important. Yet, most users have few if any of them! Let’s talk about how you can get more recommendations so that you can beef up your profile and start making LinkedIn work for you and your career or business interests.

In general, you need to first give what you want to get. My Dad used to tell me that if you want friends, you have to first be a friend! That was great advice to a young kid, and it’s great advice on social media, especially on LinkedIn. But, what does this mean? Well, it means the following: If you want more recommendations, you have to start recommending people!

Here’s the deal, though. Although LinkedIn might change this, at the moment you can only recommend people who are your first tier, or direct connections. To do this, just go to their profile page, and click the “More” button. You’ll see where to recommend them. So, if you want more recommendations, you’re going to have to consistently start recommending other people.

I wouldn’t just recommend people you don’t know, though. Although that might be, since probably most of the people you’re connected with you don’t actually know that well, recommending someone out of the blue like that just isn’t, well, recommended! It looks fake, probably because it is fake. This means that you’re going to need to either sort through your connections and find people you actually know and can actually recommend, or you’re going to have to go back to step one and get more connections. Either way, if you want more recommendations, you’re going to have to do this! That’s the bad news. The good news is this…it doesn’t take many outbound recommendations in order to receive one back. And, quite frankly, you don’t need a ton. Just a few good ones!

How to Market to Millennials on LinkedIn

So, it’s LinkedIn we’re talking about, right? I bet you might guess that all the users are over forty, mid-level execs, college educated—that sort of thing, right? And, if you sell products, run a business, or otherwise want to cater to a younger crowd, well you probably should go to either Instagram or Twitter. And, if you were to think such a thing…you’d be somewhat right and somewhat wrong.

Okay, you’re mainly right. But probably not in the percentages you think. Here’s a startling fact put out by Hootsuite. One quarter of LinkedIn users are ages 18 to 29. Under thirty! One quarter. One in four users are essentially millennials! Who knew, right?

Let’s say that you do run that company, or at least work for it, that caters to a younger crowd. One quarter of the half a billion users on LinkedIn are, as far as age is concerned, right in your target market. As, being that they’re on LinkedIn, they’re relatively easy to find, connect with, and message. One quarter of five hundred million (half a billion) is 125 million. That’s a lot of people under the ages of 30. Not only that, but if they’re on LinkedIn, they probably either have jobs or are at least looking for them. They’re serious about their careers. They might be exactly who you’re looking for. The only question now is how do you market to them on LinkedIn?

Well, to figure this out, let’s take a look at platforms that specifically cater to this group. How about Instagram? According to SmartInsights, about 60% of Instagram users are under thirty. So, how are businesses marketing on Instagram? It’s more than just showing pictures. Here are a few things that I see on Instagram that could easily translate to LinkedIn.

Idea #1: Make your marketing more “fun”

Idea #2: Break the rules, at least the ones that won’t get you put in LinkedIn “jail”

Idea #3: Cross promote to other platforms like YouTube and Instagram, drawing visitors back to LinkedIn