Category Social Media Marketing

Three Important Things Everyone Notices First On Your LinkedIn Profile

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!

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Small Businesses Don’t Need Social Media Managers

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.

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Three Steps to Landing a Great Job Using LinkedIn

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!

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

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!

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How to Market to Millennials on LinkedIn

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

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A Few Ways To Really Alienate People on LinkedIn

A Few Ways To Really Alienate People on LinkedIn

Alright, I’m going to just start out with my own pet peeve so you can see what I’m talking about here. Then I’ll show you some other ways to become really unpopular and annoying on LinkedIn. But to get the ball rolling in the right way, let me just unveil my number one annoyance.

Getting spammed with a five-paragraph message about something I don’t really care about!

There, I said it! And, if you’ve spent any time whatsoever on LinkedIn, I’m sure you know what I mean. (I get so much of this, I might hazard to say that a few of you reading this have been guilty of this practice! GRRRRR!)

Some days I go to LinkedIn, click on my messages and right there front and center is a huge, multi-paragraph thingy, usually about a biz op and full of meaningless hype. And, to boot, it’s from someone who’s connected with me but someone I don’t really know that well. I can just picture them sitting at their desk copying and pasting the same inane message over and over again to their entire network. Nothing screams Annoying Spammer quit like this practice!

Quit it!

Here’s another one, which is basically the same but done through email.

It’s getting an email from that same someone that I don’t even recognize saying that we’re connected on LinkedIn and that here’s the world’s most important, best offer for whatever it is, and that I can get in on the ground floor only if I act now, etc. Seriously, I get this stuff all the time. Well, not ALL the time, but enough to where it makes me cringe every time I see something like this.

My other pet peeve is the polar opposite of this. This next one happens less frequently, but it’s still hyper-annoying! It’s getting a message with the single word “Hi!” or perhaps something like “Hi, how are you?”. The problem with this is that I have to try to figure out who the person is and why they’re saying hello to me. I know what they’re doing. They think they’re getting my permission to message me and I appreciate that, but wow, just give me a short clue as to what this is all about.

So, bottom line here. If you’ve been guilty of any of the above, for Gosh sake, quit! You’re alienating and really annoying one of your greatest assets. Your network!

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A Short Course in How to Use LinkedIn for Business

A Short Course in How to Use LinkedIn for Business

LinkedIn is the top business networking platform bar none! As of the writing of this article, there are over half a billion LinkedIn users. Unlike some other social media platforms, Twitter for instance, virtually all of these over five hundred million accounts on LinkedIn are real. They’re not fake accounts or bots, for instance. If you want more business for yourself or your company, LinkedIn is THE place to be! All you need now is to understand how to use it properly, and then you can, as they say, write your own check. So, in the rest of this article, let’s talk about how to go about using LinkedIn the right way for business.

The first thing you need to do is to get a significant number of connections. What’s my definition of “significant”? Well, it’s got to be at least over 500! 500 is the magic number on LinkedIn, because LinkedIn shows the number of direct connections you have up to 500 and then when you top that, it keeps showing 500. So, if one person has 498, it will show 498. If someone else has 6,000, it will only show 500. This is also important because the number of people you can reach via searches on LinkedIn grows the more connections you have! Bottom line, start connecting with people!

The next thing you need to do is to write your profile and especially your headline and your profile summary so that it brands you in the best light. So many people on LinkedIn have skimpy profiles! Don’t do that! Use all the space provided and fill out your profile as best you can. I’ve written several articles on the best practices when it comes to LinkedIn profiles. Use search to find them, or if you’re reading this on LinkedIn itself, just message me. I’ll point you to them.

Finally, message people consistently. LinkedIn is a person-to-person networking platform. Most people don’t realize this. It’s made to be used manually. Their API, for instance, allows of very little interfacing with the platform via software. The overall goal is to network with people the same way you would in a BNI or Chamber of Commerce meeting.

Get these three things rolling in your favor, and you’ll turn LinkedIn into a business prospecting machine the likes of which you’ve only dreamed of!

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You Should Be Doing This Monthly on LinkedIn!

You Should Be Doing This Monthly on LinkedIn!

If you use LinkedIn actively, you need to be doing a few things monthly in order to maximize your benefits from the platform. These have to do with maintenance of your contacts and your profile, as well as making sure your profile shows you in the best light. In this article, I want to discuss this all in some detail. Don’t worry! This isn’t going to take long. A few minutes per month should do it!

Monthly Task #1: You should be exporting a list of your connections monthly. Look, if you’re spending time building up your connections, you surely don’t want to loose all this work if something should happen like you get your LinkedIn account shut down, even temporarily. Although, if you play by the rules, this shouldn’t happen, why let an asset you’ve spent time building up be in jeopardy?

Monthly Task #2: Another extremely important monthly task for you is to download your profile. Now you can do all of this at the same time. This is a handy changed LinkedIn has made recently. You especially want to download your profile summary. As you grow and change, your LinkedIn profile headline and profile summary will change as a reflection. You’ll naturally want to emphasize some aspects and deemphasize others. As you modify your headline and profile summary, though, it’s tempting to just delete the old ones. That’s probably a mistake. There’s often information or ways of saying things in an earlier profile summary that you might realize later are better than what you currently have. If the summary is deleted, you’ll have to try to reconstruct it. This is a less than ideal scenario!

Monthly Task #3: Finally, the third task I think is very important is to review your endorsements. Visitors to your profile scan your endorsements in order to quickly figure out who you are and what your skills are. Again, that changes over time. If you had a certain quality or skill four years ago and you were endorsed a lot for that skill, should it still weigh heavily in your current profile? Personally, I don’t think so. You might have changed jobs, changed rolls in your business or profession, or even changed professions totally!

Bottom line, you want to make sure your LinkedIn profile reflects and brands who you are Right now. That it shows you in the best light for your current purposes.

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What and What Not to Include in Your LinkedIn Profile

What and What Not to Include in Your LinkedIn Profile

Every hear the phrase, “TMI” or “too much information”. Every now and then I’ll read someone’s profile where I feel like they’ve included too much. Now, frankly, it’s usually the reverse. Normally, if there’s a content problem with a profile, it’s that the user has not included enough information. Their profile summary isn’t long enough and complete enough. They haven’t included enough skills and endorsements. Or they don’t have enough recommendations. Or, given their age, their work history looks incomplete. But that’s what I usually see. Every now and then, however, I see the opposite.

When I see too much information on someone’s profile, it’s not the length that bothers me. After all a profile summary is limited to 2,000 characters including spaces. What I mean is what they’ve included shouldn’t be there. For instance, snide or defensive remarks about a former employer absolutely have no place on your LinkedIn profile! Okay, I get it. Your last boss or company you worked for were, how shall we say this, less than stellar. Call your sister, best friend or you mom up about it. Don’t spew that venom on social media. This is a sure way to never get hired for any but the lowest of the low jobs again.

Another “cardinal sin” I see vis-a-vis content in LinkedIn profiles has to do with changing careers. If you feel you were underutilized in your former career, you don’t need to say so. Just emphasize how your talents are being used in your new career and you should be fine!

The bottom line here is don’t be negative! It’s kind of like your grandmother might have said to you (I know mine did). If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it. Employers, and also potential clients, are allergic to negativity! It puts them on the defensive. Why spoil your chances at landing a new job or getting a new client just because you said a little too much on your LinkedIn profile?

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Is LinkedIn Facing Competition from Facebook?

Is LinkedIn Facing Competition from Facebook?

On the surface, it seems that LinkedIn and Facebook are polar opposites. LinkedIn is a professional, work-based app that people use to network and find jobs. You don’t post your pictures from your latest vacation on LinkedIn, as you do on Facebook, and you don’t post information about job openings or even about information about your profession hoping to secure a job on Facebook. At least up until recently you didn’t.

Recently, Facebook has decided to encroach on LinkedIn’s territory by allowing businesses to post job openings and for job seekers to apply for jobs right from Facebook. At firsts, this capability was rolled out only in the US and Canada, but recently, Facebook opened this all up to over forty countries worldwide. Businesses and job seekers alike can use this part of Facebook in order to find applicants and jobs respectively that are local to the business.

It’s too early to tell if this new direction that Facebook is moving in will impact LinkedIn or not. But it is kind of like watching an old Japanese horror movie where two city sized monsters battle each other over Tokyo. LinkedIn has over half a billion users, while Facebook is four times that size. Either platform is used by a significant portion of the global population.

Having said that, there are some differences in how Facebook is rolling out their job capability and LinkedIn. One important difference is the following. The unity of currency on LinkedIn, if you will, is the individual. Although LinkedIn has business pages, the main interaction that’s occurring is between individual people. By contrast, Facebook’s focusing on the business itself. Another difference is that the businesses that Facebook seems to want to cater to are small businesses that will be hiring people who are already local to the business.

Both Facebook and LinkedIn are free, although there again we have a slight difference, because LinkedIn has several paid tiers, which Microsoft seems to be intent on pushing people into. Competition is never a bad thing, however, and it’s going to be interesting over the next few years to watch this all unfold.

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