Archives for January 2008

Listed In Search Engines

One of the ways that search engines determine their organic listings is based on the number of sites that connect to your site and the relevance of key words. 

My site has been up for over 5 years and on a quick search on “Atlanta Health Insurance”  I come up as the 32 listing on yahoo and the 44th listing on Google.

My LinkedIn profile has been up for about 9 months (but really I just expanded my profile and focussed on generating connections, giving and receiving recomendations, and answering questions in the “Answers” section about 5 weeks ago).  Each of these activities helps my search engine ranking.

Searching “Sean Nelson” I come up number 47 on Yahoo and 36 on Google.  I would expect to climb in the organic rankings as I build my LinkedIn presence. 

Will these lead to business?  I don’t know, but it can’t hurt.

I did learn that there are some more popular Sean Nelson’s than me…an actor, a country singer from Southeast Georgia, the lead singer for Harvey Danger and some Canadian guy on Facebook and MySpace.

If you’re bored at work or have a slow day Google your name and see what you find.

 For example, there is a Scott Dunn who is a comedian, a conductor and pianoist,  a relief pitcher with the Oakland A’s,  an attorney in North Carolina and a Scott Dunn that is going to jail for a really long time (not the Scott Dunn most of us know through the chamber).


2nd Way LinkedIn is Relevant

If you have read the previous posts you noted that the first way I found LinkedIn to be relevant was that It Enhanced My Chamber Networking.  Now we have #2.

It Facilitates Receiving Recommendations.

I’ve been helping folks with health insurance for 7 years and in that time I have had a lot of positive feedback from clients.  Most of this was stated over the phone directly to me.  It’s just felt strange to ask someone to put their thoughts in writing, so I’ve never collected this feedback from my client’s in a written form.

With LinkedIn my clients that I am connected to can post a recommendation to my profile.  Another neat trick is that I can request a recommendation from any of my connections…understanding that a recommendation from someone who has used my services has the greatest value.

Two weeks ago I sent a request to the people on LinkedIn who are my clients simply asking, “Recently I have helped your with your health insurance needs.  I am building my profile on LinkedIn and if you feel I did an outstanding job assisting you, I would appreciate it if you would take the time to write a brief recommendation”.

The result is that I am now the most recommended insurance agent in the Greater Atlanta area.  Anyone searching for an insurance agent in Atlanta will see me listed at the top of the list.

Finally, it has also allowed me to post recommendations of people I have worked with who did an outstanding job for me.

Warm Regards,

 Sean Nelson
(404) 418-8753


Time Out

Every other Wednesday I attend the North Fulton Leads Alliance.  It’s been great to recognize people that I am connected to through LinkedIn, and usually anywhere from 25 to 40% of the people there are connected to me.

There are a lot of people though who may have heard of LinkedIn, but either have not taken the time to explore it or do not see the relevance.

For those of you that have an account but have not done anything since signing up, what are you waiting for?  You’ve probably received several invitations since you signed up.  It’s easy to accept the invitation and takes little effort, though you should have an idea of who they are or at least a common connection point such as the chamber.

Even if you don’t know how LinkedIn can be useful, build your network anyway.  At some point in the future if you figure it out, you’ll have a head start on building your network.

If you don’t have an account, what are you waiting for.  It’s free.  Use it to connect to people in the chamber and you’ll find that you’re a little more relvant than the copy of your card on the card sheets they hand out.  That connection can serve as an ice breaker to talk with oanother attendee.

For those of you who do not have an account, go to and sign up for the “FREE ACCOUNT”.  Then click on the “People” link and type in the keyword “North Fulton Chamber”.  This should pull up 91 potential connections.  You’re on your way to building your network.

Now you just need to figure out how to use this “tool” to enhance your networking and your business.


How To Write An Excellent LinkedIn Recommendation

Recommendations are a pretty powerful thing within LinkedIn. You can’t write your own, and you can’t edit what someone has submitted for you. You can just decided whether you want to show a recommendation or not. Because of this, each recommendation carries some weight.

Read the full story

This article is written by Jason Alba, author of I’m on LinkedIn, Now What?


Making the Connection

When it comes to connecting through LinkedIn you will encounter different perspectives on connecting.

1.  LIONs:  These are folks that believe in having as many connections as possible, regardless of how well they know those in their network.  They will typically accept an invitation from anyone.  You can recognize them by their number of connections which will show 500+ connections.

LinkedIn has a limit of 3,000 connections, although if you find yourself reaching this number you can request that LinkedIn allow you to add more connections.

The value a LION presents is that they help expand your network.  Your active network is made up of people that are 2nd or 3rd degree connections.  Connecting to a LION immediately expands your network significantly.

The downside is that they may not personally know those in their network , so asking for a introduction to one of their connections might not prove successful.

2.  The opposite of the LION is a Closed Networker.  This is a person that will only connect to someone they personally know or have had business dealings with.  They can still help expand your network, but not in the way a LION can.  Their value is in the quality of their connections.  If you ask for an introduction it is likely to be successful

3.  A third type is where I fit in.  I’m not as open about connecting as a LION, but not as restrictive as a Closed Networker.  My philosophy is that if we have a connection, such as the Greater North Fulton Chamber, I will connect with you even though I don’t personally know you.  Once connected though, I will try to at least have a one on one or at least meet you in person.

If I had to put a name to this third type it would be Networker.  This is someone using LinkedIn to enhance current connections and to develop new connections. 

Options after invitation
When you send out an invitation, the response will depend on what type of perspective the person has about connecting and whether or not you know them or have something in common.

When you receive an invitation you have three options to handle it.

1.  You can accept it
2.  You can ignore it
3.  You can respond that you don’t know the person.  If you do this it will mark the response as spam. Get five “I don’t know you’s” and you could find your account suspended.

Whenever I get an invitation and I don’t know the person, I first try to find out if there is some connection.  Maybe they remember me but I don’t remember them.  Can you imagine meeting someone and not remembering them, then clicking the “I don’t know them” response?  You’ve just labled them a spammer when they had a valid reason for trying to connect to you.  If I can’t place the person I just archive the invitation. 

What you say in your invitation request can have an impact on the response your invitee chooses.  Remember my first mistake…sending out the canned LinkedIn invitation request.

The invitation
On every invitation you send you should personalize the invitation.  For folks I meet at the chamber I usually say, “Our paths have crossed at the chamber.  I am using LinkedIn to enhance my chamber networking and I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”.  Then I make sure to add my last name to the invitation.  You could also add your phone number, giving the person a chance to call you before making a response selection.

That’s it for now.  Next time I plan on addressing the search function.  I’m now up to 113 connections with about 65 outstanding invitations.  That’s about 93 connections over the last four weeks.  It’s been interesting at the Chamber meeting folks that I’ve connected to but had not met, or at least talked to in depth.

Warm Regards,

Sean Nelson
(404) 418-8753


Fast Connector

Byron Lewis is on a roll.  I know Byron through networking and we’ve talked about LinkedIn.  You have to understand that if it involves technology, Byron is usually on the ball.  While he was familiar with LinkedIn he had not really jumped on the bandwagon.

Well about a week ago Byron decided to take the jump and in seven short days he has gone from 0 connections to 66.  These are all people he knows through networking or from doing business.  With his connections he will probably break 100 soon. 

Great job.  By the way if any of you or any of your clients struggle with phone technolgy, you need to talk to Byron.  visit his profile at

Another person just diving in is D’lesa Medlin with FreedomPay.  I’m a client and highly recommend that if you are with one of the big name payroll companies that you give her a call.  She saved me 25% and I get personalized service. 

Anyway today was her first day to start getting serious about LinkedIn.  She added 9 connections and I’m sure there are more to come.  If you know her through the chamber send her an invitation.  Her profile can be viewed at

 Warm Regards,

Sean Nelson
Acuity Benefits Solutions
(404) 418-8753


Account Settings

I’m closing in on a month since I decided to find relevance in LinkedIn.  I have increased my connections to 109, which is much better than my goal of 100 by February 1st.  I still have about 64 invitations outstanding, so I will be personally contacting these folks to talk about connecting.

Today’s topic is Account Settings
The account section is how you control much of the user experience on LinkedIn.  The following is a list of the items you can control in your account settings:

  • Profile Settings
         My Profile
         My Profile Photo
         Public Profile
         Manage Recommendations
  • Email Notifications
         Contact Settings
         Receiving Emails
         Invitation Filtering
  • Home Page Settings
         Questions and Answers
  • Groups
         My Groups
  • Personal Information
         Name & Location
         Email Addresses
         Change Password
  • Privacy Settings
         Connections Browse
         Profile Views
         Viewing Profile Photos
         Notifying My Network
         Service Provider Directory
  • My Network
         Using Your Network

For the notification setting I have them set to notify me by email.  It’s easier to do this than to remember to check the site.  If I ever begin getting overwhelmed by LinkedIn emails, I can always change the settings.

You can also control the frequency in which you receive these notices.

The Privacy Settings allow you to control whether or not people can see your connections.  Out of my current 109 connections, only one person has their account configured so that you cannot directly see their contacts under their profile. (If you do a search for someone in your network you can see how that person is connected to you even if the Privacy settings do not allow you to directly see someone’s connections).

Personally I don’t understand why someone would hide their contacts.  LinkedIn is all about seeing who your connections are connected to.  If you don’t trust your connection enough to show them who you are connected to, why connect with them in the first place.

I am connected to a couple of people who might be considered competitors.  These are people who do the same thing I do, but they are quality individuals.  I trust that they are not going to take advantage of being able to see my connections, and I afford them the same courtesy.  You never know when today’s competitor is tomorrow’s business partner.

Remember to make sure to keep your email address current.  I have tried to connect with several people I have met in the past who have switched jobs or email addresses.  When I did not get a response I contacted them and learned that they had made a change but had not thought about updating LinkedIn.

Warm Regards,

Sean Nelson
Acuity Benefits Solutions/Atlanta Health & Life
(404) 418-8753


Hey, We’re Connected

Over the last month I’ve focused on building my connections.  A natural place to start was with the GNFCC (North Fulton Chamber).  Over the past year I have scanned every card into Card Scan to build a list of people participating in the chamber.  Some of these people I’ve met and some we’ve just crossed paths.

People that go to chamber meetings are looking to connect, so I started going through the list and inviting some of these folks to connect.  In my invitation I simply said “We’ve crossed paths at the chamber.  I am looking to use LinkedIn to enhance my chamber networking and I’d like to invite you to connect on LinkedIn.”

I figure these are the people that work in North Fulton and can help me or my clients, so its good to get to know as many as possible.  At each chamber meeting there are 40+ people, so I can’t meet them all.  LinkedIn provides a means of connection.

At the last chamber meeting, I was surprised to see that about 25% of the people there were connections.  Many I had seen before, possibly said hello to, but had really not had a meaningful conversation.  After the meeting I introduced myself to several, all who were familiar with me because of LinkedIn.  What a great way to break the ice.

In my quest to find relevance to my business using LinkedIn, I have officially found the first way LinkedIn is relevant.  It is enhancing my chamber connections.  Being connected alone is not enough.  It’s how you use that connection to expand your network.  You still have to get out and meet people and tell your story.  LinkedIn helps grease the wheels. 

Sean Nelson

Acuity Benefits Solutions/Atlanta Health & Life
(404) 418-8753


Quick Thought About Your Network

Expand, Expand, Expand.

One of the first things I do when someone connects to me is take a look at their connections.  I’ve noticed several people that are connected to 15 to 20 people, but its primarily people at their current job.  That’s definitely a good place to start.

If you really want to grow your network, though, you’re going to have to expand your network.  You need to start looking for connections from previous jobs, friends from school, and people you know outside of work.

Expanding your newtwork outside of your current job will do several things:

1.  Expand your ability to be found
2.  Expand your reach
3.  Improve the value to people you connect to

This is not meant to imply that you should start connecting with just anyone.  You still need to protect the credibility of your network by connecting with people you know, people you would like to know (and establish a relationship beyond “just a link”), people you are introduced to.  Just try not to go on a connecting binge simply to build numbers.

(404) 418-8753


Interview About LinkedIn on WGSR 710AM

This week, Amy Otto (a connection) invited me on her weekly radio show to discuss LinkedIn.  Amy hosts the show with Lee Kantor (a new connection) every Wednesday at 10:00 AM and then posts a podcast online.

You can hear the interview by going to

The LinkedIn discussion starts about 10 minutes into the interview and also features marketing consultant Leslie-Anne McAllister

Sean Nelson