Archives for May 2009

5 LinkedIn Tricks You May Not Know

Most people are familiar with the basic features of LinkedIn such as connecting, groups, answers, applications, etc. There are some cool features that often get missed by the average user.  Here we look at five under-utilized tricks you may not be familiar with.

One of the benefits of writing a book (in my case two books which will be released on June 1st) is that you reacquaint yourself with some features that are not always top of mind.  These five feature won’t make or break your LinkedIn experience but they are useful.  Drum roll please…

Add a You Tube Video to Your Profile

You can do this with either Slideshare or Google Presentation.  My perspective was that Google Presentation was a little faster, but you should try both to see what works for you.

Here is how you would add a video using Google Presentation:

  • Add the Google Presentation application
  • Go into Google Docs and create a new presentation
  • Click on Insert (top link) and click on Video
  • Search for your video on YouTube and choose your video
  • Click on File (top link) and choose Rename – rename your presentation
  • Go back into Google Presentation from your Profile
  • Click on your video and Post to Profile

When the slide show is clicked the video will play. [Read more…]


Wednesday LinkedOut Comic 12: Spare a Few Connections?

12_linkedin_spare_connectionsThe concept to this comic just popped into my head one day and here I am months later trying to see how I can use it to make a point or share some wisdom.

Reading it now I liken the economically disadvantaged (want to be Politically correct in this day and age) person’s request to sending out an invitation using the canned LinkedIn invitation template.

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

–Your name

If you use the above invitation to connect with another member you will be making a mistake 99.9% of the time.  The only wiggle room might be if you know the person extremely well and they would connect regardless of what the invitation says.

I even customize these.  My invitation to a good friend might say “I can’t believe that you haven’t had the sense of mind to connect to me yet.  Once again I have to clean up your mistakes.  You can hit the Accept button now”.

Of course knowing some of my friends they immediately hit the IDK button.

The canned invitation is simple.  It’s fast.  It’s convenient.  It’s against the laws of the universe.  LinkedIn should replace the copy with “Type your invitation message here”.  That’s what I think.

All that from a simple comic.  What do you think?


13 LinkedIn Action Steps


In writing this blog I’ve discovered one of the secrets of blogging…People love lists.  So here we go with another list showing 13 Action Steps you can take on LinkedIn.  This is likely one of the last lists for a while so I hope you enjoy it and it provides some value.

1. Optimize Your Profile

When most people hear the word optimize they think of optimizing a website to be found in more relevant web searches.  This is much the same thing.  You want to optimize your profile so that you increase your chances of being found, and once found, are found credible.  You want a “Sticky Profile”.

You want to make sure that your profile is detailed with as much information so that your viewer isn’t left to wonder and fill in the gaps.  Your Photo, summary, past work experience are important.  Add applications to share information via presentations, white papers, or video.

The keywords you use in your profile will help you be found in more relevant earches based on your industry, product, or service.  Use a keyword search tool to see what terms people are searching and then populate your profile with these words.

Finally, your Title/Tag line could have an impact on your ability to consistently communicate your message.  I would recommend using the Tag Line to create a message.   You can use up to 140 characters.

2. Build Credibility

Without credibility you may be well known and well liked, but you won’t be in business long.  On LinkedIn if you want to develop potential opportunities you will have to be judged credible.  Credibility is built on how you interact, the information you share, and what other’s say about you.

You can take control by presenting a detailed profile, participating in Answers, securing recommendations, and providing value to your networks.  A blog is a great way to build awareness and build credibility.  My success on LinkedIn has in a large part been supported by my blog.

3. Grow Your Connections

The more connections you have the more likely you are to encounter “Unexpected Opportunities”.  There are those who argue that a large network, with people you don’t know or don’t know well, will have a negative effect.  While I respect that they can choose how they want to utilize LinkedIn, I couldn’t disagree more.  I’ve experienced the difference in opportunities that occurred after I switched to a more open networking philosophy.

If you’ve been limiting your connections and have not found more success, maybe it’s time to open things up. [Read more…]


Book Release Update

I haven’t talked much about them but now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel I figured I would release some information.  When I say them I mean multiple books on LinkedIn.  Here’s what’s coming (Hopefully by Junes 1st)

linkedmba_small1.  The LinkedIn MBA: This is the “How To” of “How To” LinkedIn books.  It’s actually a revision of last years book “LinkedIn 101” that will be approximately 150 pages (this isn’t 150 pages where the margins are really big.  It’s normal margins on 8.5 x 11 sized pages…a lot of info).

In  it I have gone through each section of LinkedIn and each Link to explain the purpose, how to use it, etc.  It includes examples, over 100 screen shots, graphics, LinkedOut cartoons, and step by step instructions.

This book is for the person new to LinkedIn or the person still trying to figure out all of the pieces and what’s available.  It’s also a great resource since it’s structure follows LinkedIn’s navigational structure.  If you have a question on Groups you go to the Groups chapter.


2.  The LinkedIn MBA WorkBook: This companion piece includes exercises that walk you through creating a “Killer” profile and optimizing your presence.

The workbook walks through a series of questions to develop your profile and begin the process of building your credibility.  You simply complete each exercise and then go to LinkedIn to update your information.

Its fast, simple and direct.

LI_marketing_secret_formula_small3.  LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula: This is a pure strategy book.  In it I detail the strategies I have developed over the last year that has resulted in prospect calling me (14 in the last three weeks).  I also include how I used LinkedIn to grow my blog traffic from 2,200 visits in March to closing in on 20,000 in May.  I’m still working on the price but readers of this blog will receive at least a 25% discount as a Thank You.

So as you can see things are busy here.  If you’re serious about LinkedIn we’re serious about helping you.

Have a Great Memorial day and if you see anyone in uniform shake their hand and tell them Thank You.

Warm Regards,

Sean Nelson
USAFR ’86 – ’94
Active Duty Operation Desert Storm
Charleston Air Force Base


Do You Know This Person?

bdb personI have 3 active groups on LinkedIn.  Two require me to approve members and the third automatically accepts members…that is until today.

I received a request from a person, B2B Discounts and Networking, to join my North Fulton Business Group.  This is something that I’m starting to see more and more of on LinkedIn.  Most of these have 0 connections.

On many social applications you can choose to have your presence based on your company name  or your real name.  LinkedIn is different.  LinkedIn is about business professionals connecting to other business professionals.  You’re interacting with people, not brands or companies.

Whoever is behind this profile just doesn’t get it.  There is an unwritten rule on LinkedIn that you are up front in how you present your self and that you don’t conduct direct marketing to fellow connections or group members.

That doesn’t mean you can’t market your self, your business, or your products.  It just means that in most cases you need to do it indirectly.

The number one way to market yourself on LinkedIn is by providing value.  Value might be a presentation or white paper, it might be a great answer to someone else’s question, it might be introducing two connections, or it might be sharing an interesting news article.

One place you can be a little more direct is with your status update.  I like to post mini success stories …”Sean just saved a client $xxx.xx on their health insurance”.  Or maybe “Sean is working on quotes for people that got a Health Insurance rate increase in May”.

The one thing you have an opportunity to do on LinkedIn is to communicate.  You may prefer to be more direct but you have to play by the house rules.

B2B doesn’t get it.  LinkedIn is about people not companies.  Sure you can look up a company but the most important piece on the company page is the people listed, and how you are connected to them.  If this person wants my business they are going to have to connect to me on a personal level.

Before someone will choose to work with you or buy your product there is a hierarchy of familiarity that must be satisfied:

1.  They have to know you – I know nothing about who B2B is

2.  They have to Like You – My current perception isn’t positive

3.  They have to Trust You – There’s not a person here to trust

This is about marketing plain and simple and that’s not what LinkedIn or social media is about.  It’s about giving to others and hopefully down the road you’ll gain.  If everyone is focusing on giving eventually you can’t help but to be on the receiving end.

I like that when I connect with someone I can see who they are and then choose whether or not I want to learn more by visiting their website or reviewing information they share through applications.  I would hate to see LinkedIn become more about companies than people.

What do you think?


Deleted Ping = Post

I accidentally deleted a pingback on one of my posts from Premier Social Media.  They have a collection of LinkkedIn resources available at


Wednesday LinkedOut Comic 11: Appropriate Recommendations

11_linkedin_recommendationsRecommendations on LinkedIn are a great thing.  They let others toot your horn while you can do the same or Pay it forward.  There are currently four ways to classify a recommendation based on who provided it:

1.  Colleague

2.  Business Partner

3.  Client

4.  Student.

Recommendations are not gifts to be given out for special occasions or charitable gifts.  They should only be given out when earned through actions that go above the norm.  Here are some tips to keep in mind about recommendations.

1.  They must be sincere:  People rely on recommendations to make decisions.  The quickest way to devalue recommendations is to pass them around freely.

2.  Reciprocal recommendation can hurt more than help:  I often see reciprocal recommendations noted on my home page.  This is where Jim recommends John and John immediately recommends Jim.  People notice this.  Recruiters notice this and discount these types of recommendations.  If someone recommends you only provide a reciprocal recommendation if it’s based on an action that you document in the recommendation.  Otherwise pay it forward by recommending someone else who has provided value to you.

Jim saying John is a great guy and John returning the favor adds no value.

3.  Write a great recommendation and Spell Check it:  Poorly written recommendations and ones filled with grammatical errors reflect poorly on the giver and the receiver.  As a extra precaution, when you receive a recommendation check it for errors.  If you think there is a better way to word the recommendation or some parts need correcting, you can request that the individual revise the recommendation.  You can’t make changes to it.

4.  It’s OK to Request a Reccomendation:  Just make sure there is a valid reason.  Don’t send out a request for recommendations to your entire network.  Don’t ask for one if you have not provided service or value in a great way.  Having met one time, had a single conversation and then connected is not the basis for requesting a recommendation.

5.  If you receive a recommendation request respond to it immediately.  Otherwise you’ll likely get busy and forget.  If you’re not comfortable writing a recommendation send a message back to the person explaining why.  In business it’s never a good thing to delay or ignore a request.

I’m sure there are more tips and thoughts which you can add to the comments section.  Wednesdays are about me unleashing my creative genius in the form of the LinkedOut comic rather than preaching.  Have a great Wednesday!

**Remember to keep the but slapping on the football field.  If you want to tell someone “Great Job” in the office constrain yourself to a high five, a pay raise, or a LinkedIn Recommendation.

Don’t forget to add comments for anything you think I missed.


9 Ways to Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile

enhance answersYour goal on LinkedIn is to first “be found”, and second “be found credible”.  With that in mind, you want to do everything possible to enhance your profile.  This includes the content you place on your profile page and the ways that people find your profile.

Here are 9 ways to create an effective profile moving from the top of the profile page to the bottom.  These simple changes can make a difference in the effectiveness of your profile.

1. Replace your Title with a Tag Line

At the top of the profile page just under the member name most people include their title…project manager, insurance agent, president.  While I guess your title says something about you it likely doesn’t say anything about how you can help others.

My job is to help people find the best health insurance plan for them in terms of coverage and price.  It’s what I do that provides value.  My title is Insurance Broker.  It’s what I am but doesn’t necessarily catch anyone’s attention.   Each time I answer a questions, post a discussion question, or add a news article in a group a mini profile is displayed including usually my name and title/tag line.

Let’s take a look at using a title verses using a tag line.  Which is more likely to be noticed:

Sean Nelson
Insurance Broker


Sean Nelson
Helping individuals and small businesses in Atlanta save up to 60% on their health insurance and employee benefits

Using a tag line is a great way to communicate a quick message to anyone viewing your profile.

2. Personalize Your Web URL’s

If you look at many profiles you will see that many people add a link to their website to their profile.  Most often you see this listed as My Company, My Website,  or My Blog.  You want to make sure if you list your websites that you personalize the name

To personalize your web URL’s click on the [ Edit ] link next to your websites.  On the drop down box for type of link there is an option for “Other”.  Choose this option and you will be able to add a customized name for each link.

3. Personalize your LinkedIn profile URL

The first thing to do is to update your profile URL.  The default URL consists of random numbers and letters.  Change this so that it incorporates your name.  There are many people with the same name so you may find that your name is not available.  Use your middle initial or some other variation. [Read more…]


Wednesday LinkedOut Comic 10: Naked Profiles

10_linkedin_naked_profileWhen I was writing my first LinkedIn eBook I created this cartoon to add to the chapter I was writing on profiles.  A year later, I still see people with basic information on their accounts.  They likely would tell you that LinkedIn doesn’t work.

These days, though I see more “Partially Nude” profiles.  So here goes the Top 10 profile mistakes or omissions:

1.  The number one mistake is not having a good photo.

2.  Lack of employment detail

3.  Minimal or no summary

4.  Failure to customize profile URL

5.  No website listed or failure to personalize web links

6.  Not using status updates…on a regular basis

7.  Not using applications

8.  No answers or asked questions

9.  No recommendations given or received (or if there are some, not having 10 recommendations received and 15 given)

10.  This may get some push back but here it goes…Not having at least 200 connections

Bonus Mistake:  Another push back item…hiding your connections

Double Bonus:  Misspelled words in their profile…here’s a hint:  type your profile in word, spellcheck, and then post into your profile.

There may be others, these were just the 10 (12) that came to my mind right off the bat.  Mistakes 10 and 11 might be arguable depending upon how you are using LinkedIn.

What did I miss?


Live on Gravity Free Radio

gravity free2Last week I was fortunate enough to be a guest on Gravity Free Radio which is hosted by Erik Wolf and Stephanie Frost of Zero G Creative.  I’ll let them describe the show:     Listen to the Show

“Here at GFR, we talk about social media from time to time.  Okay, it probably comes up every week in some way, shape, or form but this week we tackled it head on.  We decided to do this not only because it’s a big topic in the news but also because a lot of companies are struggling with how to balance using social media as a marketing tool with the perils of revealing too much personal or sensitive information to the public via their employees or associates.

Stephanie Lloyd is a recruiter here in Atlanta with Calibre Search Group.  She says that a lot of people just don’t use basic common sense when it comes to their online identities.  A good exercise she says every job candidate should go through is to Google themselves.  Potential employers could do this and it’s always a good idea to see what your digital identity looks like.

Sean Nelson wrote the book on LinkedIn quite literally (or at least a book).  He began using LinkedIn to expand his insurance business and through that, he’s become an expert on how to effectively use LinkedIn. Now, he teaches others how to do the same. His take on social media is that you must have a strategy and purpose for using it.  You wouldn’t attend a networking event without a reason and likewise, you shouldn’t just be haphazardly using social media.  LinkedIn is a great business tool and both Sean and Stephanie agreed that it’s basically your online resume so it should closely match if not mirror your actual resume or CV.  Sean discussed the importance of joining groups and answering questions to expand your direct network beyond people you already know.  He says he spends about 5 hours per week online which he thinks is adequate and it can be easily integrated into your schedule.

In addition to discussing some of the pitfalls of social media, we also discussed why it’s an important tool and that companies should begin to take a proactive role in coaching their employees on how to use it.  Used properly, it can be an amazing vehicle for promoting your company in a very positive and genuine way.  Zappos is a textbook example of a company that has embraced social media and even incorporates Twitter into its corporate website.  Stephanie pointed out that if companies simply try to pretend it doesn’t exist, the conversation will be happening regardless.  By engaging in a positive way, a company has the opportunity to guide the discussion about their brand rather than others doing it for them.

All in all, we agreed that social networking is a new tool but in a few years time will be just as natural as using email or the telephone.  It’s simply a shift in the way we communicate and most agree, a positive one at that.

Have a stellar week and we’ll see you next Tuesday at 10am!

Follow Stephanie Lloyd on Twitter here or Sean Nelson here.”

Listen to the Show