Archives for October 2009

What is a Social Networking/Media Expert?

I recently was asked to speak at a workshop on LinkedIn by a connection of mine.  A week or so prior to the event I received an email from her to use to promote the event.  The description headline stopped me in my tracks…”Sean Nelson the King of LinkedIn”

It took me about two seconds to fire off an email telling her to ditch the royal reference ASAP.  A lot of people would call me an expert on LinkedIn, its their opinion so they can think or say what they like.  I have a different different way of describing what I am.  “I’m simply a small business owner that learned how to use LinkedIn and Social networking / media in order to network more efficiently and to drive new business.”

The word “expert” is thrown around way too often these days with little to back up the claim.  What does a LinkedIn expert look like?  How do you determine that they are an expert?  The same goes for “social networking/media expert”.

I was looking at my home page the other day and noticed an updated profile for a connection of mine and someone I’ve known for the last couple of years.  Curious about what changed I took a look at his profile and immediately noticed that after years in another field he was now a social media expert.

Now anyone can learn a lot about social media and be seen as an expert or extremely knowledgeable even if they’re not in the marketing or advertising field.  I’m a prime example of that.  I learned LinkedIn and social networking/media through trial and error trying to drive business for my insurance agency.

In this case the person had attended a couple of my LinkedIn workshops, a few other social media workshops, and was partnering with a company jumping from Google Adwords to social media.  It takes more than attending a couple of workshops and working in the industry to be an expert.

So what is an expert and how do you determine if you’re one?  Is it valid to claim that you are an expert or does that title have to be conferred upon you by another person?  I’m not certain what the official definition is but here are some thoughts about what I think it takes to potentially be considered an expert: [Read more…]


Building Credibility on LinkedIn (part 5 of 10)

Part 5 finally arrives.  Sorry for the delay but client’s have to take preference over the blog.  Plus I’ve recently switched to a Mac and much of my time has been spent migrating to the new computer.

In part 4, Expand Your Reach on LinkedIn we covered building through direct connections and groups.  Today we talk about Building Credibility on LinkedIn.

When I lived in New Orleans a good friend of mine had an uncle named Joe.  Everyone in the neighborhood knew him and everybody loved him.  I don’t know anybody who would trust him as far as doing what he said he would.  Great guy, just not dependable.

For a business you want to be known and liked, but before the cash register start ringing you have to establish trust.  Trust might be strong enough to over come someone not liking you, but with enough options, this combination is not likely to be viable.

On LinkedIn you start your account off with none of the three.  As you start to connect on LinkedIn you’ll pop up on people’s radar.  Your activity is displayed on people’s home page so with enough participation you’ll start to get known.

To take the next step the most effective way to do so is to share value.  In a small network you may be able to establish this outside of LinkedIn.  But for those people that only know you through LinkedIn, they’ll make their decision based on how they judge your interaction and the value of the information you share.

Trust only occurs as people positively evaluate your interactions and content over time.  Trust can take a long time to build and disappear overnight.  So how do you use LinkedIn to take the steps from Known to trusted?  Here are some ways. [Read more…]


Expand Your LinkedIn Reach (part 4 of 10)

linkedin expand networkIn part three of this series, Enhance Your Networking with LinkedIn, I talked about how LinkedIn could be used as a way to support your offline networking efforts. Today I continue the conversation discussing how LinkedIn can expand your reach.

Your end goal on LinkedIn should be to drive new business or to monetize LinkedIn. Your ability to communicate your message to a larger number of people, expand your reach, is critical if you hope to move from “connecting” to “collecting”.

When you’re at networking events and collecting business cards you’ve got a great opportunity to take this activity and convert it into new LinkedIn connections. This is a way to grow your direct connections. Your Direct Connections, though, are not your only network on LinkedIn.

I’ve identified three networks that everyone has access to on LinkedIn:

  1. Your Direct Network: These are the people who are 1st degree connections.
  2. Your Group Network: The people that are in the same groups as you are.
  3. The LinkedIn Network: Everyone who is a member of LinkedIn.

What makes the member of each of these a network is your ability to communicate your message to them. There are specific ways to communicate to each and we’ll touch on many of these later in the series. First we need to expand out reach. [Read more…]


The Insurance Brokers Guide to LinkedIn

insurance brokers guide to linkedin 200

Today I’m excited to announce the first industry specific guide that I have written about LinkedIn.  This guide was developed based on the 8 years of experience that I have as an insurance broker and the expertise I’ve developed since 2006, using LinkedIn to drive new business.

The Insurance Brokers Guide to LinkedIn uses Action Steps to walk you through the process of moving from a social networker to a social marketer.  You’ll learn how to identify why you are on LinkedIn, expand your network, build your credibility, leverage LinkedIn, and a Bonus Action Step on using LinkedIn to prospect.
As a Special Bonus you also get a free copy of my LinkedIn MBA, a $9.97 value, which uses exercises to walk you through creating a “Killer” profile.

The Insurance Brokers Guide to LinkedIn is relevant to any business person, but the examples and terminology are geared to insurance brokers.  Here is a list of the content:

Foreword by Jeremiah Desmarais, Vice President Marketing, Norvax
Authors Note
Action Step 1:  Understanding Why You Are on LinkedIn
Action Step 2:  Extending Your Networks
Action Step 3:  Building Your Credibility
Action Step 4:  Leveraging LinkedIn
Bonus Action Step:  Prospecting with LinkedIn
Wrap Up
14 Quick Action Steps
6 Social Media Tools You Should Be Using
  • Foreword by Jeremiah Desmarais, Vice President Marketing, Norvax
  • Authors Note
  • Introduction
  • Action Step 1:  Understanding Why You Are on LinkedIn
  • Action Step 2:  Extending Your Networks
  • Action Step 3:  Building Your Credibility
  • Action Step 4:  Leveraging LinkedIn
  • Bonus Action Step:  Prospecting with LinkedIn
  • Wrap Up
  • 14 Quick Action Steps
  • 6 Social Media Tools You Should Be Using
For more information about this guide and to purchase your copy go to:

Social Media Sonar September Posts

September was a busy and productive month with 7 posts, including the first three parts of my 10 part LinkedIn series “Can LinkedIn Work for You?”.  This month also included a primer on Twitter speak and a graphic detailing the social media/networking process.

Here’s a review and links to each article.

3 Steps to LinkedIn Success

Even if you’re not at the head of the list, only 24% of LinkedIn users are deemed “Active Users”. So once again the opportunity is out there. You simply need to focus on these three areas starting out to find success with LinkedIn.

Enhance Your Networking with LinkedIn (part 3 of 10)

The core of LinkedIn revolves around connecting to other business professionals. Networking exclusively on LinkedIn, though, ignores the human element of face to face interaction. How do you use it to enhance your other networking?

Do You Speak Twittinese?

Social networking and social media are introducing new languages in order to communicate. For those of you still working on speaking the native language of Twittinese, I offer this basic primer course.

Why Are You On LinkedIn? (Part 2 of 10)

In Part 2 of the 10 Part Series “Can LinkedIn Work for You?” we start with a question…“Why are you on LinkedIn?” LinkedIn takes time and effort to produce results. Without this answer “How do you know what actions you should be taking?”

LinkedIn User Guide

Why do only 25% of LinkedIn members use the site on a regular basis? Because most don’t know what to do after signing up. If you haven’t figured out how to use LinkedIn these resources will help.

Can LinkedIn Work for You? (part 1 of 10)

The first article in this 10 Part series asks “Can LinkedIn work for you?”. There are over 45 million people now on LinkedIn but only about 25% are active users. These articles will provide tips and strategies to more effectively use LinkedIn.

Social Media Process in a Picture

Yesterday I wrote about 6 tools that we use at SONARconnects to create and implement social media/networking strategies for ourselves and our client’s. This got me to thinking about how to simplify things by laying out the process in a graphic.

Social Media Sonar provides the following four resources for FREE… 1.  The Blog, 2. The Online Marketing/Social Media Blueprint, 3.  Conversion Rate Optimization Guide, 4.  Resource Center.  If these help you implement your own online marketing program, great. We love helping people. If you decide you need some help, great. We love new clients.  Contact Us if we can help you.