LinkedIn User Guide

Mondays are the day that I post my most significant blog post for the week.  If you’re looking for Part 2 in the 10 Part LinkedIn series it will be released on Monday.
One of the statements I made in Part 1 was that I wasn’t sure why people chose to sign up for a LinkedIn account and then did nothing.  Someone posted a comment to the blog stating that most people don’t know what to do once they sign up for an account.
I can understand that lack of knowledge would lead to lack of activity.  The next question I have, though, is “why is anyone letting a lack of knowledge get in the way of a potential resource that can help you grow your network, develop relationships, and drive new business?”
With any new tool, technology, etc. you have the choice in how long it takes to go from a novice to an effective user.
You can choose to do nothing
You can choose to learn it on your own
You can choose to tap into the knowledge of others
You can choose to outsource the activity
When I started to learn how to use LinkedIn I chose #2 and #3.  First I looked around the site to see if I could figure it out on my own.  While I learned the basics I decided I would be better served tapping into the knowledge of others to speed up the learning curve.
I started reading any blog I could find that talked about LinkedIn.  At the time there weren’t that many so I bought a LinkedIn ebook.  This one ebook provided the framework I needed to build a foundation of knowledge.  It also introduced me to some tips and strategies to put to work immediately.
The book I purchased was a high level overview of LinkedIn.  When I decided to write my first LinkedIn ebook I decided I would take the opposite approach and write a very detailed book.  I also decided to base the book chapters on the navigational structure of LinkedIn, making it a great reference tool.  Have a question about Groups, go to the Groups chapter.
In June I released the revision of my first book re-titled as the “LinkedIn MBA”.  I also wrote a workbook, the “LinkedIn MBA Workbook” to help people create a “killer” profile, begin building their credibility, and extend their reach.  Combined the two form a perfect resource for someone who has a LinkedIn account but is not sure what they should be doing.
The book is over 150 pages with close to 100 screenshots and the workbook is around 21 pages.  So you have a choice.  You can continue to do nothing.  You can invest the time to learn it from scratch.  Or you can invest $9.97 (the cost for the book and workbook combined) and begin putting LinkedIn to work for you as soon as today.
The question to ask yourself it what is your time worth?  The minimum wage is $7.25 so if it takes you 40 hours to learn what is in the book and work book your time in cost at a minimum would be $290.  (the average hourly rate for a LinkedIn member is actually $52.40 making the time cost $2,096.15)
The information I share on this blog is free and you can learn a lot by reading through the posts.  I just don’t have the space to provide information in as detailed a manner as in the book.  Also the blog is written based on what I find interesting each week, whereas the book is organized more on a start to finish basis.
For more information on the LinkedIn MBA and the LinkedIn MBA Work book go to http://socialmediasonar.com/book.html
Stop by next Monday for Part 2, “Why are you on LinkedIn?”, of my LinkedIn series.

LinkedIn MBA Cover 200Mondays are the day that I post my most significant blog post for the week.  If you’re looking for Part 2 in the 10 Part LinkedIn series it will be released on Monday.

One of the statements I made in Part 1 was that I wasn’t sure why people chose to sign up for a LinkedIn account and then did nothing.  Someone posted a comment to the blog stating that most people don’t know what to do once they sign up for an account.

I can understand that lack of knowledge would lead to lack of activity.  The next question I have, though, is “why is anyone letting a lack of knowledge get in the way of a potential resource that can help you grow your network, develop relationships, and drive new business?”

With any new tool, technology, etc. you have the choice in how long it takes to go from a novice to an effective user.

  • You can choose to do nothing
  • You can choose to learn it on your own
  • You can choose to tap into the knowledge of others
  • You can choose to outsource the activity

When I started to learn how to use LinkedIn I chose #2 and #3.  First I looked around the site to see if I could figure it out on my own.  While I learned the basics I decided I would be better served tapping into the knowledge of others to speed up the learning curve.

I started reading any blog I could find that talked about LinkedIn.  At the time there weren’t that many so I bought a LinkedIn ebook.  This one ebook provided the framework I needed to build a foundation of knowledge about LinkedIn.  It also introduced me to some tips and strategies to put to work immediately.

The book I purchased was a high level overview of LinkedIn.  When I decided to write my first LinkedIn ebook I decided I would take the opposite approach and write a very detailed book.  I also decided to base the book chapters on the navigational structure of LinkedIn, making it a great reference tool.  Have a question about Groups, go to the Groups chapter.

In June I released the revision of my first book re-titled as the “LinkedIn MBA”.  I also wrote a workbook, the “LinkedIn MBA Workbook” to help people create a “killer” profile, begin building their credibility, and extend their reach.  Combined the two form a perfect resource for someone who has a LinkedIn account but is not sure what they should be doing.

The book is over 150 pages with close to 100 screenshots and the workbook is around 21 pages.  So you have a choice.  You can continue to do nothing.  You can invest the time to learn it from scratch.  Or you can invest $9.97 (the cost for the book and workbook combined) and begin putting LinkedIn to work for you as soon as today.

The question to ask yourself it what is your time worth?  The minimum wage is $7.25 so if it takes you 40 hours to learn what is in the book and work book your time in cost at a minimum would be $290.  (the average hourly rate for a LinkedIn member is actually $52.40 making the time cost $2,096.15)

The information I share on this blog is free and you can learn a lot by reading through the posts.  I just don’t have the space to provide information in as detailed a manner as in the book.  Also the blog is written based on what I find interesting each week, whereas the book is organized more on a start to finish basis.

For more information on the LinkedIn MBA and the LinkedIn MBA Work book go to http://socialmediasonar.com/book.html

Stop by next Monday for Part 2, “Why are you on LinkedIn?”, of my LinkedIn series.

The Top 5 Mistakes on LinkedIn

I often write about things you should do on LinkedIn to maximize your effectiveness. Today we’re going to look at the other side of the equation…the mistakes. The five mistakes listed here are related to your ability to eventually monetize LinkedIn.

1.  Not Having a Purpose or Not Understanding Why You Are On LinkedIn
Quite simply if you don’t know the answer to this question then how do you know what actions you should be taking on LinkedIn? There are numerous reasons to be on LinkedIn and you may have several. The actions you take should be done to support your purpose.

My ultimate goal is to grow my business (make money) so I focus on growing my networks and communicating my message as often as possible. Because I know my purpose, have determined what actions support this purpose, and implement my strategy on an ongoing basis, I have been successful in developing new business clients.

Action Steps:

a. Write down the top 3 reasons why you are on LinkedIn

b. Determine what actions will support each reason

2.  Failure to Participate
There are 50 million people on LinkedIn and a large majority do not interact with others on a consistent basis. This is a direct result of mistake number one. Without understanding your purpose you can’t know which actions to take that will produce a positive outcome.

There are only so many hours in a day and people tend to repeat what works. Social media marketing rarely provides quick results. Most often success is built over time only after people get to know you, like you, and trust you. You have to have the patience to continue participating when you’re not seeing the results.

There are no guarantees that your efforts will produce results, but if you do not participate consistently, I guarantee that you will not find success.

I spent almost a year providing value and interacting before I started seeing results. Now I can count on several inquiries each week from potential clients looking to engage my services.

Action Steps

a. Commit to taking action on a weekly basis

b. Schedule these activities

c. Post them next to your computer or in your electronic calendar

3.  Presenting an Incomplete Picture
On LinkedIn people get to know you through being connected, belonging to common groups, the information your share, and your profile. People want to look at your profile and have a clear understanding of who you are and how you might be of service to them.

If you don’t provide enough information for them to know those two pieces they are unlikely to go looking for the information. You need to make sure you have a detailed profile. You need to include a professional photo. You need to have links to your websites, blogs, etc.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to get them to view your profile, you’ve accomplished the hardest part. It would seem a shame to lose them for simply failing to provide enough information.

Action Steps

a. Look at 20 profiles to see how others are presenting themselves

b. Spend an hour each month working on your profile

c. Personalize your profile–add keywords, personalize your public URL, and Change your Web URL’s to the name (go to edit and choose “Other”)

d. Look at the LinkedIn application to see which make sense to add

4.  Not Sharing Information or Providing Value
Mistake number three is about people getting to know you. Number four is all about getting people to like you. It’s a simple fact: If you provide value to others without asking for something in return people will start to like you.

The quickest way to generate goodwill on LinkedIn is to provide value to others. Directly this might be responding to a connection or introduction request. You can also build goodwill by providing thoughtful responses to questions in Answers and in group discussion posts. Another great way to provide value to others is through writing recommendations for those who have provided great service or assistance to you.

Everything you do on LinkedIn either adds to or subtracts from your online brand so make sure you put some thought into what you say. Participate consistently and you’ll notice that your profile visits increase and people will start interacting with you.

Action steps

a. Find at least two connections to introduce each week.

b. Answer at least three questions each week

c. Identify connections that deserve a recommendation and write it. Try to find at least 15 people to recommend. Make sure these are 15 people that deserve it. If you can’t find 15 now, build this up over time

5.  Failure to Build Credibility
By addressing the previous four mistakes you will have reached a point where people know and like you. You may have even started to build some credibility. There are six ways that I document to build your credibility. These include:

A. Your Profile: first impressions count.

B. Answers: In number four we addresses answers from the perspective of providing value. This is also a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Whenever you answer a question it is available for anyone on LinkedIn to view. Your Direct connections are also notified that you answered a question on their Home page.

C. Recommendations: Nothing beats having another sing your praises. I have found that my client recommendations have been a huge part of building my online brand.

D. Your connections: Who you are connected to can have an impact. When I seek to connect to others I will often reference a common connection in the invitation.

E. Your Groups: With groups you have something in common with fellow members. I reference common groups in invitation requests as well.

F. Providing Value: This will help others grow to like you but it also is very helpful in building your credibility.

Action Steps

a. Answer at least three questions each week in your field of expertise

b. Try to get 10 recommendations. You can request recommendations but only do so from people you know that you have provided great service or help to. If you don’t have 10, keep providing great service and you’ll get there. When you do, join The “Top Recommended People” group on LinkedIn.

c. Grow your connections based on your connection strategy

d. If you don’t belong to 50 groups find 50 that are relevant and join.

e. Seek out every opportunity to help others.

Wrap Up

There are many other LinkedIn mistakes I could mention including avoiding typos, having multiple accounts, etc. These 5 though are fundamental mistakes that will impact your ability to monetize LinkedIn.

I’m a firm believer that the true value in LinkedIn is as a vehicle to add to your bottom line. You may have joined to network, to find a job, or to advance your career…all are great reasons… and all that at the end of the day are about monetization.

It’s OK to be on LinkedIn to make more money. It’s what will keep you coming back and participating, which in the end helps every other person on LinkedIn.

SONARconnects is a full service advertising and marketing agency.  We help our client’s by showing them how to develop strategies and tactics to build communities of people, communicate their message, and monetize their social networking/media presence.  Our client’s include Lenny’s Sub ShopCopeland’s New Orleans Style Restaurant (ATL), Action Business Coaching (ATL), Aussie Pet Mobile (ATL), The Frederick Group, and MyCustomDay.

If you’re struggling to understand how to use social networking/media to build brand awareness and drive new business call us for a Free consultation at (404) 663-3997 or visit our site:  http://www.sonarconnects.com.

 

LinkedIn Benefits Don’t Follow a Straight Line

Most of us joined LinkedIn because we hoped that it would somehow impact our bottom line.  That at some point down the road we would be rewarded with some economic return.  I’ve been fortunate in that it has generated business for me.  Just as important, it has helped me provide value to those that I have connected to.

Straight line benefits include developing new partners or alliances and developing new client’s.  Crooked line benefits include introducing connections, writing recommendations, and simply helping others.

Two weeks ago I received a request from Tom Mickell to join my North Fulton Business Group on LinkedIn.  This is a group for people that live, work or network in North Fulton County, Georgia.  I am pretty strict about only letting local folks in.  Tom lives in Detroit, so I promptly sent him a thanks but no-thanks email, but added if he felt there was a compelling reason he should be able to join the group to let me know.

Tom replied that his company was planing to open an office in Alpharetta and he was looking to hire someone in the area.  He had just joined LinkedIn and found the group.  I’m open to anyone hiring in Alpharetta so I approved his membership, made some suggestions on improving his profile and connecting locally, and sent him a copy of my LinkedIn eBook.  I also let him know that if he was going to be in town that the North Fulton Business Expo was coming up.  Plus I let him know about the upcoming chamber meetings.

Thom made the trip down and attended the Expo and a chamber alliance meeting.  While in town looking to hire a sales person he was introduced to Ross Coleman, a fellow chamber member and a great guy.  Ross, as he likes to say, is in transition looking for the next opportunity.  Ross and Tom hooked up and at a minimum Ross was able to sit down with Thom and talk about the opportunity.

When Tom and I finally met in person and I learned he talked to Ross, I was able to add my endorsement of Ross as a person and valuable asset to any organization.  I don’t know if Ross will end up working for Tom’s company.  I do know that a simple offer to help a new LinkedIn member, may in the end help an old friend.

We all want to personally benefit from LinkedIn, but often it’s the crooked line benefits to others in my network that make it a good day.  Find ways to help your network and you will prosper.

How about you, have you noticed any crooked line benefits to your network?

Why Do People Join LinkedIn Groups?

Back in the old days, pre group discussions or a searchable group directory (less than a year ago), there wasn’t much value in groups.  Sure they helped you see other members outside of your network.  You could contact those members, but there really wasn’t a significant way to interact and build community.

I finally resorted to creating a non-LinkedIn site to provide that sense of community for one group (www.northfultonbg.com).  With the addition of the searchable directory and the discussions features the equation changed.  Now you can interact with others.  The problem is that few people are participating.

So if you’ve joined a group, what are your expectations?  Is it only a cool graphic on your profile?  Is it too simply be able to contact and connect with a larger network without having to pay for a Premium account?

Discussions are the one feature that could truly provide value yet most people either aren’t reading the discussion questions or they just aren’t responding.  I posted a question in a 200 person group asking “What do you expect to get out of being a member of this group?”.  Seven days later and not a single response.

If I asked this same question in Answers I would probably get 30 to 40 responses.  The problem with these responses would be that active participants would be supplying the answers.  The real question is for those not actively participating.  It’s a Catch 22.  They’re not participating so they won’t answer the question, but their input would be valuable.

So if you’re not active (but for some reason you’re reading this blog), what do you expect out of group membership?  By the way if you are active, we’ll welcome any answers to the question.

LinkedOut

Last Friday was the North Fulton Chamber expo and as the volunteer coordinator, about 80% of my time was spent doing that as opposed to actually working.  I’m catching up so I will take the short cut of posting the following LinkedOut cartoons instead of an actual post.  Hope you enjoy.

01_what is it

02_what_to_do_next

***If you cant read the cartoon text, “hold down your control button and use your mouse scroll wheel to enlarge the page”.

These cartoons and several others are included in my new eBook, “Got LinkedIn:  From Clueless to Connected in 6 days” which should be released in the next two weeks.  Stay tuned for more info on the book.

Have a great day.