Archives for March 2008

Nothing Useful…but I Like It

I was keeping up with the few LinkedIn bloggers and came across a post on BitStrips posted by Scott Allen in his Virtual Handshake blog. 

“Simply put, Bitstrips is a Web 2.0 application for creating comic strips. It enables people like me who have no artistic talent, but occasionally observe or think of something funny, to have a nicely-rendered visual expression of it. But what makes it really compelling is the social aspect of it.”

Full Post

Of course it being late on a Friday, I decided to check it out.  Here are the first three I came up with.  Not sure they’re funny to anyone else, but who wants to read about LinkedIn on a Friday anyway. (Most readers of this blog attend the North Fulton Chamber and these are inside jokes.  For those of you reading who don’t attend the chamber, these won’t mean much.) 

Hillary care

Now Mr. Dunn makes an appearance.

The Scott Dunn

And maybe I should slow down talking about LinkedIn.

Enough already

***If you cant read the cartoon text, “hold down your control button and use your mouse scroll wheel to enlarge the page”.  If that makes no sense to you, the cartoons weren’t that funny anyway.

Have a great weekend.


A Question…An Answer…Knowledge Shared

Since I just wrote a post about LinkedIn Answers, I thought I would post part of a blog post I found for two reasons:

1.  It shows how someone used a LinkedIn question to gain valuable information;
2.  The answers is pretty relevant to finding relevance in connecting on LinkedIn.

The question was asked by Jill Konrath
Question: As a seller, how do you use LinkedIn to increase your sales?

Explanation: I’m writing an article for my Selling to Big Companies newsletter on this topic. I’d like to include specific examples to help my readers learn how they can leverage this tool. Since I’m a bit of a technophobe, my experience with Linked In is rather limited. If you can tell me how you’ve used LinkedIn to open doors, create opportunities and grow your business, I’d really appreciate it.

Social media guru Scott Allen, coauthor of The Virtual Handshake and managing director at Link to Your World, was the first to respond. Here are his invaluable suggestions:

LinkedIn can be used to support the entire sales lifecycle: lead generation, sales acceleration and solution delivery. Let’s look at each of these pieces:

Lead Generation
Find and be found. Search by title and industry for the ideal contacts at your ideal customers. Search by title and company name for specific target customers. Be sure your profile is complete and contains the appropriate keywords for your business so that people looking for your solution will find you. Endorsements/recommendations count for a lot – get them from people who have actually been your clients if at all possible.

Sales Acceleration
Search for people in your prospect’s company who are not closely involved in your deal – preferably 2nd degree contacts, not 3rd degree. Ask for an informational interview. This is where strong, trusted relationships count for a lot – “light linking” breaks down here.

Ask your interview subject about the priorities that are going on at the company — what are the high-level factors that might be influencing the buying process. Be completely open/transparent. If you have a good solution and a really good referral to a true “friend of a friend”, you will very likely find an internal champion in that person. This is the #1 technique that LinkedIn supports better than any other tool.

Solution Delivery
Quite often, especially for small businesses, you can’t do it all yourself. LinkedIn is invaluable for finding partners with particular skill sets who can help you deliver the total solution. In addition to searching, you can post questions asking about the solution area you need expertise in and use that as a way to attract potential partners.

Read the complete post

Share Feature enhancements

This past week saw the introduction of a slew of feature enhancements that I’d like to cover briefly. In addition, stay tuned to news on a few of our partnerships and “LinkedIn News” feature updates, both of which you’ll hear more about in the coming weeks. Here are the updates on the following couple of features:

Read the full post

 This is a feature post on LinkedIn’s official blog.  The update is written by Chris Richman posted on March 15.


Strut Your Stuff with Answers

Unlike MySpace and Facebook, LinkedIn provides few opportunities to interact online.  The primary purpose is to use LinkedIn to connect online, but to build a more in depth relationship you have to take it offline.

There are several ways to interact online and the Answers section is one of the best.  The answers section is a place to build your brand and strut your stuff.  Be careful how you answer, 20 million people could be watching.

Many message boards are full of people making caustic remarks to one another.  When I go to my favorite LSU message board (quick shout out – I’m amazed at how people communicate with one another.  Rather than ignore a comment or point of view people feel the need to post a degrading reply.  I think the anonymity of the format allows this, since no one uses their real name and posters are spread out through the country.

Posting similar remarks on LinkedIn would come back to haunt you.  Everything you type or post in LinkedIn adds or subtracts from your brand.  So when you answer a question on LinkedIn make sure you know what you’re talking about.  No one will necessarily call you out on a false or wrong answer, but they will notice.

When you answer a question, the answer links back to your profile and people viewing your profile can view the questions you asked or answered.  You do have the option of not showing answers and questions on your profile, but I see no purpose in excluding this information.

The Holy Grail of Answers is to get your answer selected as the Best Answer provided.  Often there are multiple answers so when your answer is selected as the best it means you really helped the person.  And it reflects well on your profile.

Questions can be helpful as well.  You can gauge what others think or recommend, gaining valuable insight.  Also, once again you get a link back to your profile.

The simple math is that the more links to your profile, the more likelihood that more people will view your profile. 

The answers section is about helping others and building your brand.  It’s a way to interact with your network and every other LinkedIn member.  Imagine some one looking for health insurance has just viewed several of my answers to questions about health insurance.  Some of these were tagged as the best answer.  Am I “More” or “Less Likely” to be seen favorably by the reader?  If they plan on speaking with an agent I’m likely to get a connection request.  My answers have established credibility and improved my brand.

Share your knowledge.  Generate conversations.  Build your brand.  LinkedIn Answers helps you do all three.

I would like to see LinkedIn tweak the section to include more categories.  When I want to see what insurance questions are out there I need to search “insurance” as a key word rather than as a category.  This means that any post that includes the word insurance pops up.  Not very efficient.

And my main pet peeve is that when you search, it returns the results based on relevance.  There is an option to select by Date, and that would be a better option for folks who regularly answer questions.  It makes it easier to see the most recent questions and answer those that you can offer assistance.

That’s it for now.


77 connections in a week!

It is said that the average person knows about 250 people.  Do you have 250 connections?

 I don’t and not everyone I know is on LinkedIn, but I’m preaching to them.  Bill King probably knows a lot more than 250 people.  Bill’s the kind of guy “you” want to know.  He’s got a great sense of humor, always offers spot on advice, and you just enjoy talking to him.

Bill finally drank the Kool-aid and dove into establishing connections on LinkedIn.  I may be off by a couple of days but in the last week he’s added 77 connections.  I would be willing to bet that he knows each of these connections.

 What’s his big secret to ading so many people.  He simply took the time to see who he knew and invited them to connect.  I would imagine he put a couple of hours into this, but look at the results.

LinkedIn has a great tool that will go through Outlook and see who you have sent an email to that is on LinkedIn.  Then you simply send them an invitation.

 My recomendation is that you type up a short invitation request that you can personalize for each person with a simple tweak or two.  If you just select the people and send them out at the same time LinkedIn will send the canned invitation which you do not want.

 Anyway, congrats go out to Bill.  For the record Bill is a franchise consultant so if you or anyone you know is curious about franchising he’s the best place to start.

 Sean Nelson


100+ Smart Ways to Use LinkedIn

Scott Allen, author of the LinkedIn Intelligence blog has put together a great list of LinkedIn reference links.  I’ll let Scott’s own words tell you who might benefit from this resource.

This resource is intended for people who…

…are new to LinkedIn and wondering how to use it to help you in your business and career

…have been using LinkedIn a while but felt like you haven’t really been accomplishing anything with it

…are trying to persuade their friends to join LinkedIn and want to communicate the value proposition

…think there’s no real value in LinkedIn (and those who want to rebutt them)

No matter how much I know about using LinkedIn, 10 million users (or some subset thereof) are collectively going to know a whole lot more about it than I do. In May 2007, I kicked off a group writing project called “Smart Ways to Use LinkedIn”. What follows are the results of that project, plus some writings of my own, plus various blog posts and a couple of articles that fit the intent of this collection. It is a dynamic, growing collection, so if you have anything you would like to add, please contact me and I’ll add it.

100+ Smart Ways to Use LinkedIn


Recommendations Build Credibility

The recommendations on LinkedIn are a great way to give and receive value. Testimonials are one of the most important things you can receive from a client. They are simply more credible than you saying the same thing. If a picture tells a 1,000 words then a testimonial tells a 1,000 times a 1,000.

There are really three types of recommendations on LinkedIn:

  1. A Colleague
  2. A Business A Partner
  3. A Service Provider (they are a client)

The most effective recommendation is from a client. Under LinkedIn there is a tab for Service Providers. This is an interesting section. You can look at a particular industry category and the top ranked person in your geographic location for numerous categories.

When the page displays it shows recent recommendation across the total LinkedIn network. To find a specific location such as Atlanta, you need to click the “Change Location” link which is in the top right corner of the page. Then either put in a zip code or select from the listed locations.

Once at the correct location, the results are still displaying the most recent recommendations. Next you want to select a “Category” which is on the right side. Since I’m in the insurance business I selected “Insurance Agent”. This brings up a list of Insurance Agents based on the most recent recommendations.

The final step is to select the text link “Top Results”. You now have a list of the Top Recommended Insurance Agents in Atlanta. The only criticism that I have is that there are many types of insurance agents, and unfortunately you can’t sort based on Health, life, Auto, etc.

Currently I am the Top Ranked insurance agent in Atlanta. Has this helped my business? So far I don’t know, but I know it hasn’t hurt it. I believe that as the LinkedIn network continues to grow, that this could be an important part of building your business through LinkedIn.

One somewhat hidden feature on LinkedIn is the ability to request recommendations. Go to your profile page click on the “Recommendations” tab. To the right you will see a recommendations box with a text link “Ask for an endorsement”. Click on it and you can send a recommendation request to your clients.

In my requests I send something to the effect of, “I recently helped you with your health insurance needs. I am using LinkedIn recommendation to help build my business. If you feel that I did an outstanding job helping you I would appreciate it if you would consider writing a recommendation of my service. Please do not feel obligated to do so. Warm Regards.”

Not everyone will reply, but those who were really impressed will likely do so. As a final word, don’t forget to recommend those folks that have provided excellent service to you. Don’t keep them a secret.

Sean Nelson