LinkedIn Marketing

How Social Selling Works on LinkedIn

According to Paul Sowada, Marketing Development Manager of Binocular, social selling is “taking out the pitching component of sales. You’re creating conversations about your product and services which organically can produce sales conversations.” Basically, social selling puts the relationship first, and the sales pitch, or sales presentation second. Instead of selling first, then building a relationship, you build a solid relationship first, then the product or service sales falls naturally out of that.

LinkedIn feels that social selling works! LinkedIn is after all a social media platform, one that’s geared specifically towards business. So, you’d think they actually have the “inside skinny” on this. And they do! According to their statistics, 78% of social sellers outperform their peers who don’t use social media, and strong social sellers are 51% more likely to reach their quotas. Bottom line here, social selling is a good thing, and it would behoove you to learn how to do it. So, let’s do just that. Let’s have a little primer on how social selling works on LinkedIn.

It Starts with Your Profile

Your profile establishes your personal brand. If someone wants to know who you are and what you stand for, all they need to do is to click on your name and read your profile summary. If they want validation, they can check out your recommendations and your endorsements. Think of your profile as a sales letter that’s selling you!

Next, Find the Right People

You need to next connect with your target audience. For most businesses and professionals, these will be people interested in buying your products or services. This happens on LinkedIn in two steps. First, you need to connect with a lot of people, then you use search to find the right types of people to connect with among your 2nd tier, or indirect connections, and over time, you connect with them!

Build Relationships

Just being connected, however, won’t cut it! You need to take this all a step further and actually build a relationship with your connections. This is going to take time. Think of it more like building a long-lasting asset rather than going for the quick buck!

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.

Six Ways to Grow Your Brand on LinkedIn

Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is just for business—nothing else! So, it would make sense that LinkedIn should be your “go to” platform for personal and business branding. In this article, I’d like to show you a few things you can do to harness LinkedIn’s amazing power to brand either yourself or your business, or even a client’s business!

LinkedIn Pulse

LinkedIn has a blogging feature called Pulse. If you’re not using Pulse, you’re missing out big time! Creating and posting blog posts on LinkedIn will not only get you a lot of eyeballs on your profile, but it will help people really learn who you are, what you know, and what you can do for them. Blogging on LinkedIn is tops!

Advertise Intelligently

LinkedIn advertising is somewhat expensive, but that doesn’t mean that using paid ads in conjunction with LinkedIn isn’t a good idea. Ads on Microsoft’s Bing network are still fairly cheap. And, YouTube’s video ads are cheaper still! Learn about paid advertising and send that traffic to your LinkedIn posts and profile!

Leverage Your Employees

If you have employees, you don’t need to be the only one working LinkedIn! Get them to carry part of the load and make regular posting part of their job descriptions. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time, and it doesn’t have to be a big distraction, either. You can multiply not only your efforts, but also your reach because you’ll be posting content on other people’s accounts.

Use SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In our case, we’re talking about how people search for other people on LinkedIn. Figure out how people are going to find you and then make sure those keywords are included in your headline and in your profile summary.

Use Video

If you’re not hip to video as a marketing powerhouse, you’re missing the boat! You, or your employees, should be creating videos, which you can post on YouTube and then sharing those on LinkedIn. Sharing is easy! Just a few clicks and now this content is available for all your connections to see.

Use SlideShare

LinkedIn owns SlideShare, which is a PowerPoint and Keynote sharing platform. Another great idea is to take your presentations, share them on SlideShare and then post them on LinkedIn. The more content you can post on LinkedIn the better!

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!

How to Turn Your Connections into a Tribe on LinkedIn

According to Google’s online dictionary, a tribe is “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.” Seth Godin popularized the idea of tribes in his book, aptly named Tribes. The idea being that people tend to find each other through the Internet, and also that businesses and thought leaders can take advantage of this phenomenon to sell more of their products and services. So, having said all of that, wouldn’t it be great if you…yes you…could build a tribe for yourself? Fortunately for you, LinkedIn is a great place to do this, and in the rest of this article, I’m going to show you a few things you can do to start to “tribalize” your connections. Do that, and you’ll never lack for business again!

One of the first things you have to do is to build community. You don’t want to just be connecting with people. You want to reach out to them and bring them into your world! You actually do want to build a relationship with them! One of the most important things you can do is to message your connections on a regular basis. And, when they respond, you want to deepen that relationship by actually having a conversation with them! You can easily manage this through messaging. No one’s saying you have to meet a few thousand people at Starbucks over the course of the year. You can be intelligent with this. But, if you want a tribe, you do have to go that extra mile!

The other thing you can do is to provide your tribe with pertinent information. Reports, videos, podcasts, audios of other types, all these things will serve to make people more familiar with you. You really should be considering the video component. And, those videos should show your face! Talking! Acting like a caring pro! To have a tribe means you’re the leader. So, you have to start acting like a leader. Do that and you’ll start getting paid like a leader, too!

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!

Everything Starts with Your LinkedIn Headline

Besides your picture, your headline is the first thing people actually see when they run across you on LinkedIn. It’s the first thing they’ll read on your profile, and even if they’re searching and find you, they’ll see your headline below your picture in the search and suggested connection results. Your headline is what entices the reader to read more. If you have a boring headline, you’ve really shot yourself in the foot. If, however, your headline emotionally connects with your target audience, well, you’ve already won half the battle. Here’s some things not to do, and some things to do with your LinkedIn headline.

First off, never use your job title as your headline! That’s not only boring, but there’s no emotional connection with your target audience. Something like “IT Professional” says virtually nothing about you. Not only that, but there are probably a few million people on LinkedIn worldwide who’s title says the same thing. So, not only will you not stand out in the search results, but you’re not branding yourself as different from those other few million!

Instead of a job title, try saying something on a more human level that captures the essence of who you are and what you do. Using our example, what are you actually doing as an IT professional? Maybe you work for a school system, and you’re in charge of maintaining the school’s network. So, you could say something like… “Connecting Children Safely to The Internet.” That may or may not capture the real essence, so please don’t just copy and paste that, but it’s moving in the right direction! You can explain how you’re connecting children safely to the Internet in your paragraph summary where you can elaborate on being an IT professional.

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

How to Have Your Next Job (or Client) Find You on LinkedIn

One of the great beauties of LinkedIn is that it’s a search engine. Millions of people are using LinkedIn search every day to find other professionals both for jobs and to provide products and services. If you structure your profile right so that you show up in the right searches, you’ll find that the right job (or client) just might come to you easily, instead of you having to go out and find them. In this article, I want to talk about how to do just that. Make your profile very search engine friendly.

The first thing you need to do is to figure out how someone would search for you. You can get some small amount of help from LinkedIn’s analytics, especially if you have a paid account. What might be more useful, though, would be to go to Google and start typing in phrases you think someone might use. Look at the suggested searches that Google suggests. These are searches that have already been done by someone else on Google. And, it’s just as likely that someone’s doing these same searches on LinkedIn. Find a few that make sense for you, and then note down the actual phrase used. These phrases, by the way, are called keywords.

Once you’ve narrowed down to two or three keywords, you’ll want to optimize your profile for them. That starts with the headline. You’ll want to squeeze what you think should be the primary keyword into your headline, all without making it sound weird. The next thing you’ll need to do is to use your main keyword, and perhaps a couple related keywords, in your profile summary. Make sure it reads well, though! You don’t want to sacrifice readability for optimization.

Now that you’ve got your keywords sorted and your profile optimized, you want to make sure that it “sells” to an interested visitor who lands on the page. Start with a good, professional head shot for your picture. Next, you’ll want to beef up your recommendations and skills. The only thing you might want to do after this is to experiment with different keywords to see if you’re showing up in more or fewer searches.

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!