LinkedIn Marketing Book 2nd Edition

LinkedIn Marketing bookIn June of 2009 I released my eBook LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula. At the time it was one of the first books to look at using LinkedIn to communicate a message to tens of thousands of people on a daily basis.  That might sound like spam but the techniques I detailed were all through indirect communication tactics.  At no point did it advocate or suggest that you send sales messages directly to people.

As I release the 2nd edition of the book it is still one of the only books that lays out a LinkedIn communications strategy.  Most books simply tell you what LinkedIn is and help you learn how to accomplish tasks such as completing your profile, creating a group, answering questions, etc.  Nothing wrong with that, I released two such books:  LinkedIn 101 in 2008 and The LinkedIn MBA in 2009.  There are enough people that will continue to release these types of books which are great for people new to LinkedIn.

This book is for the person that has figured out the basics of LinkedIn and is ready to put it to work for them. Continue reading LinkedIn Marketing Book 2nd Edition

5 Steps to Thrive on LinkedIn

I posted this video as one of the last Linked Intuition posts.  Unfortunately the URL was corrupted and left out the .com in the URL.  So Here we go again.  This is an interview in which I talk about the 5 Steps to Thrive on LinkedIn.


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.

Linked Intuition Partnering with Linked Strategies

linked_strategies_logoI just wanted to update everyone that I am in talks with Nate Kievman and Peter King to join forces with them and several other LinkedIn experts to create a Super LinkedIn Alliance.

This site will continue to post the same quality of content you have come to expect.  What’s changing is that I am joining Nathan Kievman, Mike Miller, Pete King, and Randy Shrum at Linked Strategies to create the most powerful Linkedin Strategy group on Linkedin.

It’s important that you consider different perspective on how to best use LinkedIn.  In addition with the combined knowledge we will be able to offer more LinkedIn resources in a single location than anywhere else online.

If you have not joined the Linked Strategies group I would recommend that you do so at .  There’s no cost to join the group and over the next couple of weeks you’ll see the results of this combined think tank.

Warm Regards,

Sean Nelson

5 Key Benefits to LinkedIn Groups


Groups are the hottest thing to hit LinkedIn in the last six months.  Sure they’ve been around longer than that, but without any functionality they were a shell of a feature.  Updates that allowed member to communicate through discussion posts and news articles have changed their relevance.

Something as simple as a functional group directory made it possible to find groups to meet specific purposes.  If you live in Georgia and want to join a group with other Georgia Residents you can search on Georgia and find a group such as Linked Georgia.  If you’re self-employed in Atlanta a quick search find the Self Employed Atlanta group.

There have also been some goodies added for Group owners.  You can now send a weekly announcement to the group.  You can configure automatic email responses to group inquiries to join, a welcome message to new members, and messages to those you decline or block from future requests to join.

Groups are becoming a powerful tool in using LinkedIn effectively.   Here are 5 Key Benefits to LinkedIn Groups

1.  Groups expand your Reach
You might have 500 people in your direct network (first degree connections) but join the top 50 groups on LinkedIn and you’ll have a group reach of close to two million members.  I live in Georgia and the top 50 groups have over 40,000 members.

You likely can’t join the top 50 groups on LinkedIn or in a state…there are requirement’s that you might not meet.  Doesn’t matter because you want to make sure you join the top 50 groups that are relevant to you.

I have a combination of national and local group that I’ve joined.  The national groups were chosen because of how they might impact Linked Intuition, this blog.  The local Georgia groups were chosen for their relevance to my two insurance companies, Atlanta Health & Like and XL Benefits.

Nationally my reach is about 525,000; locally it’s about 20,000.  That’s more than the 650 direct connections that I have.

2.  Groups allow you to communicate
If I want to talk with other insurance professionals I can post discussion questions or statement on my two insurance related groups.  If I have thoughts or questions about online marketing I can tap my marketing related groups.  Each group is based on a common factor and that allows you to target your communication to an appropriate group.

The news articles section allows you to share relevant information with fellow group members.  It’s a great way to provide value and to drive traffic.

Over the last 3 months my blog traffic has grown from 2,200 visitors in March to over 20,000 in May (based on the results in June, visits are on track to exceed 40,000).  LinkedIn groups have been a large part of the growth.

3.  Customized Group Views allow you to parse information
Under the member tab of each group there is an advanced search function.  On that page you can choose to view a basic or expanded view of the members.  There’s a third option currently available that I love:  Create a New View.

When you create your view you can choose what information is displayed about each member with the search results.  I’m not going to list the options; you should play with the feature to see what’s available and how it is relevant. (a word of caution – this option is designated as a Premium feature and will only be available to Free Account holders for an undefined duration.  Just be aware that it will disappear one day.)

Here’s an example of how I am using the feature.  I have some groups that I am trying to grow.  Some of the other groups that I belong to have members that would benefit from joining my groups, they just may not be aware of my groups.  I could post a group announcement in the other groups that might be seen (you also want to make sure that it is OK with the other group owners to do so).  Or I can notify the people directly about the group.

I just need to know who in the other groups do not belong to my groups.  Creating a custom view allows me to do this.  Here’s how:

~Go to Advanced Search under the Members tab in a group

~Click on the View drop down and choose Create New View…a pop up with options appears

~Click on the check boxes for  Groups, Location, and In Common

~Name the View and save it

Now when you search the group it will display the member’s name, there location (if that matters), usually up to 4 groups, and a hypertext link to the number of groups in common.  Click on the Groups in Common link and it will show you all of your common groups.  You’ll know whether or not the person is a member of your group

If not you can now send them a notice of an additional group they might be interested in.  I try to send out about 50 to 100 notices a week and my groups have been growing.

4.  Groups can help you expand your connections
Remember groups are made up of people that you have something in common with.  The North Fulton Business Group is a local Georgia group of people networking in and around Atlanta.  These are people that it makes sense for me to be connected to.  I can simply go through the membership list to find people that I want to connect to.

There is a formula that I use in sending connection invitations within groups:

1. Introduce myself as a fellow group member

2. State that the purpose of the group is to network, so in that spirit I am extending an invitation to connect

3. Add a value statement…how I can help them

4. Include my full name

When you send an invitation you have several factors working in your favor.

1. People are open to connecting when there is common ground

2. People are looking to build their own networks

3. Membership in the same Group and having common connections establishes a baseline of credibility

4. By writing a LinkedIn blog and offering to help them I’m providing value.

You just need to identify the value you bring to the table and offer to help others.

Be careful because there are some who might be offended that someone they don’t personally know would try to connect to them and they hit the “I Don’t Know this Person” button.

I’ve seen a lot of invitations that add a message at the bottom saying “If you choose to not accept this invitation please Archive the email instead of choosing the “I Don’t Know” response.  This will hopefully prevent someone that doesn’t understand the effects of clicking the “I Don’t Know” button, but there will still be some that do.

If enough people choose the “I Don’t Know” button you may find your account restricted or suspended.  Send out invitations in small amounts and track the responses you are receiving.  **Personalizing your email will make a difference in your responses.

5.  Group Ownership is a Great Way to Create Your Community
The value in creating a group is that if the group grows large enough you increase your exposure to other LinkedIn members.  The more value your group provides the more likely you are to receive positive benefits from starting and managing the group.

If you choose to start a group, first look to see if there are any similar groups in existence.  Competing groups could impact your ability to grow the group and you might be better served by simply joining the existing group

As the owner of the Group you have the additional ability to designate discussion posts as a Featured Post which keeps them at the top of the discussion board, approve and remove members, and send out a weekly announcement.  Group owners often can influence the direction of a group since they are seen as the group leader by members.

You can be a manger or an owner of up to 10 groups.  Starting a group is easy.  You simply create a name, create a large and small group logo, and write a description of the purpose of the group.  The hardest part of starting a group is growing the membership.  Groups rarely grow on their own until they reach at least 100 members.  There are 1,000’s of groups on LinkedIn with less than 5 members.

Make sure the group will be of interest to a significant number of people.  A group such as a BNI networking chapter may only be able to add 20 to 30 members based on the chapters size, where a group for all BNI groups would have the ability to grow tremendously.

The final part of the puzzle is to invite a large number of people, at least 150 to 200, to join the group.  This is where having a large direct network will help you grow your group.  Not everyone will join and your goal should be to at least add 100 members.

I recently experimented with advertising one of my groups, Linked Georgia, on LinkedIn.  I decided I would commit $150 to promoting the group on LinkedIn.  On the positive side in one week I added over 100 people to the group.  The negative was that each new person cost $1.37 to add.

Financially it’s not sustainable to continue adding members at this cost and I’m not sure I would recommend this approach.  But if each of those people results in 10 others joining the group it could be huge.  I think growing this group is important to the members and to me personally.  I’m willing to invest the time and some money to help it reach the group goal of 10% of Georgia residents (which is about 100,000 people)

There are currently 41 million people on LinkedIn and 300,000 groups.  Doing the math, that’s 136 members per group.  With a limit of 50 groups per month you’re competing with other groups for members.  The time to grow your group is now.

Wrap Up
That’s it for today’s discussion of groups.  Groups have changed how people interact and find value on LinkedIn.  If you do not belong to 50 groups, do so.  If you’re not interacting with your groups through the discussion board and news boards you’re leaving clubs in your bag.  If you’re a group owner and you’re not actively promoting your groups you may find you get left behind.

What do you think?  Did I miss anything significant?

**If you are still trying to figure out LinkedIn, the LinkedIn MBA will help you build a solid foundation on LinkedIn and prepare you to start using it strategically.

For those ready for the next step the LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula will do that.  The 40% discount is available through Monday June 8th.  Use discount code:  x40sbsbr in the shopping cart.

Both books are available at


The Ultimate LinkedIn Guide

90% of the users on LinkedIn are still trying to figure it out.  Many of these people won’t take the time required to develop a solid foundation.  My new eBook, “The LinkedIn MBA” is available based on the price you set.

linkedmba_smallThis is the book I wrote to explain to friends the purpose and use of each page and link on LinkedIn.  I like to say its “Painstakingly Detailed”.  If you have laser focus, read it cover to cover.  If you’re like me, periodically focus challenged, you may be better of using it as a reference guide.

If you have a question about Answers, read the Answers chapter.  Need to know something about Account Settings, read the Account Settings chapter.  The book’s chapter structure is based on the navigational structure of LinkedIn.  No appendix needed.

It’s the guide that I wished I had in June of 2006, 2007, and 2008.  For those of you still trying to get up to speed this book is for you.

There is also a number of people who are on LinkedIn that have not been able to take that next step to making LinkedIn a productive tool.  How do you go from connecting to monetization?  It’s not a short step.

It takes a strategy which has been the missing link in just about every LinkedIn book.  There are some folks who have connected into opportunities, reconnected into opportunities, and found business, but it’s been hit or miss.

LI_marketing_secret_formula_smallThe LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula” seeks to change the dynamic by laying out a strategy that you can use on a daily basis to communicate your message to tens of thousands of LinkedIn members.  It shows you how to get under the sales radar.  You’ll learn how to conduct ongoing marketing activities to drive activity.

Some people will argue that there’s no place on LinkedIn for sales or marketing.  I agree and disagree.  There’s no place for up front direct sales pitches and SPAM.  There is a place for using the available LinkedIn tools to provide value and communicate your message indirectly.

Some stress that it’s a networking tool not a lead generation tool.  My response is that I like my connections but I love my new client’s.  It should be both.

While typing this post I received two calls from people needing help with their health insurance.  One was from a Chamber friend (offline networking is still important) passing on a referral; the other was from someone who I have never spoken to before.  Because of the strategies detailed in the “LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula” I was top of mind when she had a health insurance need.

If you’re still trying to understand LinkedIn and the available features download a copy of “The LinkedIn MBA”.

If you’re ready to take the next step and learn how to strategically use LinkedIn to grow your business get a copy of the “LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula“.  The book is regularly $39.95 but for the next seven days I am offering a 40% discount, so the end price is $23.97.  To get the discount use the following Discount code:  x40sbsbr

I also detail in the book how I used LinkedIn to drive traffic to my blog growing from 2,200 visits in March to over 20,000 in May.

For those of you who have read the Linked Intuition blog over the last 17 months, thank you.  It has been my pleasure to be part of your LinkedIn experience.

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. Continue reading 13 LinkedIn Action Steps

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. Continue reading 9 Ways to Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile

10 Part Series: Can LinkedIn Work for You?

In November I wrote a post about the ways you can use LinkedIn.  From that post I followed up with a post on 9 areas of using LinkedIn.  Part 10 was released last week.  Even though all 10 post are on the blog I still tend to get a couple of requests for links to the other articles.

Here are all 10 parts of the series.  LinkedIn has changed since this series started, but most of the articles should still be very relevant.  Enjoy.

LinkedIn Part 1: Can LinkedIn Work For You? – November 29th, 2008

LinkedIn Part 2: Enhancing Your Networking – December 14th, 2008

LinkedIn Part 3: Establishing Credibility – January 15th, 2009

LinkedIn Part 5: I Highly Recommend Recommendations – February 17th, 2009

LinkedIn Part 4: Connecting Your Offline and Online Brand – February 2nd, 2009

LinkedIn Part 6: A Stage to Engage Your Audience – March 3rd, 2009

LinkedIn Part 7: Research Potential Partners and Alliances – March 8th, 2009

LinkedIn Part 8: Find a New Job – March 10th, 2009

LinkedIn Part 9: Be found – April 20th, 2009

LinkedIn Part 10: Providing Value to Your Network – April 27th, 2009

LinkedIn Part 9: Be found

linkedin_billboardPop Quiz:  Who is more likely to be found on LinkedIn?

A.  Has 60 connections B.  Has 500 connections
A.  Never answers questions B.  Answers 3 questions each week
A.  Never gives recommendations B.  Provides recommendations
A.  Rarely updates Status B.  Updates status 3 times per week
A.  Has minimal info in profile B.  Detailed profile with photo
A.  Has not listed interests B.  List several non-work related interests
A.  No Applications B.  Has 4 applications on profile
A.  Belongs to 5 groups B.  Belongs to 50 groups

I could continue with the list but I think you get the point.

Think of your profile as an interactive billboard.  The billboard has been erected but you’re waiting for traffic to drive by it.  You can wait and hope that someone takes a wrong turn and sees you, or you can try to detour traffic past your billboard.

The majority of billboard owners simply wait for something to happen.  Everyone has told them how great LinkedIn is and it cost nothing to put up their billboard.  Periodically they link to other billboards hoping that something will happen.

When you first put up your billboard it’s on a lonely two way road out in the country.  Your goal should be to move it towards a busy traffic filled interstate.  That takes time and activity.  If you wait for it to happen it may never do so.  If you take control and determine that you will have traffic, it can be done with a little elbow grease.

Here are some ways you can drive traffic (really pull) to your billboard:

Design it Well:
Its words and pictures presented in a cohesive effort.  You need to make sure that when someone sees your billboard that it effectively tells your story.  Having a profile photo that supports what you do is important.  Doing keyword research on your industry and product or service, and then listing these wherever possible on your profile is a huge part of the equation.

Customizing your URL’s isn’t much but it matters.  The same goes for listing hobbies and interests.  You never know how or why someone will find your billboard, it just matters that many people do.

Try to update what you are doing at least three times a week.  I prefer business related updates, but I’ve seen some who post everyday like on Twitter.  PingFM is a good resource that will allow you to update micro-blogs at several sites.

Finally applications allow you to take your profile from two dimensional to three dimensional.

Your profile should be a work in progress.  Each time you update a piece of it your network is notified on their Home page that you have an updated profile.  This will drive traffic.

Asking questions allows you to tap into the knowledge resources of other users.  Answering questions allows you to share knowledge.  Both are part of the credibility building process.  And both result at a minimum in a link to your profile.

Doing both will drive traffic to your billboard.  It’s not necessarily targeted traffic, but once again you never know where the next opportunity will come from.  Whenever I see an answer that captures my attention I always view the profile of the person providing the answer.  Sometimes that’s all, but in some cases it’s led to new connections or opportunities.

Try to answer 5 questions a week and commit to asking one question per week.  The caveat is that you have to provide value when answering a question and generate interest when asking a question.

Recommendations given are a way to provide value to someone who has helped you or someone that you think highly of.  Recommendations received are a way for your network to provide value to you.  In both cases a link is created back to the giver and the receiver’s profile.  It’s another great way to be found.

Recommendations from clients go a step further.  It gets you a listing in the LinkedIn Service Providers directory.  This is probably one of the least utilized features of LinkedIn and that’s a shame.  Service Providers used to be one of the main LinkedIn sections but when the Companies section was launched it was moved within the new section.  The only reference you will see is a text link on the Companies home page.

Often I will be asked to help someone with their insurance in another state that I’m not licensed in.  I always search through the Service Providers directory to find a resource to help the person.

You should strive to have at least 10 recommendations and provide at least 15.  Once you hit those numbers keep it going.

On a webinar last week one of the moderators mentioned that they thought the real value to be found on LinkedIn was within groups and not your direct network.  That’s a bold statement, but I think they may be on to something.

Within your personal network reaching out to 2nd and 3rd degree connections is cumbersome, unless you have a paying account and have access to InMail.  With groups the barriers to communicating with anyone are removed.

I have about 490 direct connections and close to 4.5 million total people in my network.  I can only easily contact those 1st degree connections.  Within my groups there are close to 250,000 members.  I can reach out and contact any at any time.

When I update my profile my 490 connections are notified of my action.  But with groups, when I participate in a discussion question or post a news article I can potentially reach 250,000 people.

If I choose my groups wisely then I have the ability to market to a specific target.  You can also create a group to develop a target group.  I do a lot of business in North Fulton County in Georgia.  About a year ago I started the North Fulton Business Group and the group has grown to close to 300 people.  With my group I have the ability to communicate with business professionals in a defined area.  That’s powerful.

Disclaimer: Starting a group is easy.  Getting member to join isn’t.  Use your connections and other groups to find your first 100 members.  After that it will start to grow on its own.  The larger your group grows the easier it will be to add new members.

You can be a member of up to 50 groups and you should focus on finding groups that are filled with your target customers or alliance partners.

Wrap Up
There has been an explosion in the number of people talking about social networking, but often the point is missed that what LinkedIn really provides is social marketing.  By actively participating in all of the features of LinkedIn you will help drive traffic to your billboard.  Visitors can choose to stop and read your billboard, and then can initiate contact, through connecting or engaging in your product or service.

In the movie Field of Dreams the unseen voice is heard to say “If you build it, they will come”.  On LinkedIn that’s not enough.  Listen close and you’ll hear “If you’re active, they will come.”

I’m Growing Fond of LinkedIn Groups

It’s been almost a year since I started the North Fulton Business Group on LinkedIn.  When I first created the group I looked at the functionality available, and other than a member having the ability to view additional profiles with a common interest, there really wasn’t much else.  You couldn’t even search groups.  Most people found groups to join by seeing them on other members profiles.

In September of 2008 I was the only member of the NFBG.  At that point I decided that If I wanted to create value for potential members then I would have to create an offline site.  Thus the site was created.  With it came the ability for members to:

  • Post Articles
  • Post Free Ads
  • Post Events
  • Add Contact Information
  • Participate in Forum Discussions
  • Add their business to the Business Directory

I even wrote a blog post saying in effect that these were the very things that LinkedIn should be providing with their Groups.  Fast forward 6 months and much of this is now in place.

Within LinkedIn groups you can post discussion questions (goodbye NFBG forum), you can post news articles (NFBG Articles), You can add advertisements in the form of a question (NFBG Ads), you can view other members profiles and send them a LinkedIn message (almost as good as NFBG), you can post jobs under discussions (NFBG Jobs), I can now send a weekly newsletter, and you can search group members (sort of like looking at a directory).

So I’m left wondering if there is a purpose for the site and does it provide enough value to remain.  It is a pain to have to register on the LinkedIn Group and the NFBG site.  And posting articles and discussion questions is easier on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn could end the discussion by adding a few more features to Groups:

1.  Allow all LinkedIn members to add their contact information to their profile.  In conjuncture, allow LI members to segment their connections and choose who can access their full contact information – Part of this (the ability to classify connections) is in beta testing taking place.  Hopefully once this is launched it will coincide with adding contact inf0…much like Plaxo does.

2.  Add calendar and event scheduling to Groups.  Currently this would be done through adding a discussion.  But it would be nice to have a calendar of events within the Group.  Currently LinkedIn has events, but when I look at upcoming events on my home profile it shows event in NY and CA, not my local events.  Maybe you can set it up to only show local events but I have not stumbled on the “how to” yet.

I’m sure there are some additional things that would improve groups.  For the time being I’m keeping the non-LinkedIn site active, but I am begining to wonder if the time spent on it would be better spent elsewhere.

How about you.  What functionality do you think that LinkedIn should add to Groups?