I Need Your Help – Blogoff 2

For the last two years I’ve written this blog to help people more effectively use LinkedIn.  I decided it was time to benchmark the blog’s success by competing in the BlogOff 2 competition.  I need your help to have a chance to win the competition.

Your Task:  Visit my new blog post “The 7 Worst Mistakes on LinkedIn and Their Fixes“.  This post will help you identify and correct the mistakes I see many people making on LinkedIn.

VOTE NOW:  Your click is your vote.  *******Comments on tT7he post are a major component of the voting so please consider adding a comment.*******

Thank you and have a great day.

Sean Nelson

The Top 5 Tactical Mistakes on LinkedIn

Last week I wrote about the top 5 mistakes on LinkedIn.  The list was made up of mistakes that were strategic in nature, and dealt with mistakes that affected your ability to monetize LinkedIn.  Today we take a look at the Top 5 mistakes from a tactical perspective.  These mistakes affect your credibility, success in connecting, and ability to generate success.

1.  Typos, Grammatical Errors, Pointless Info
If I had to choose one area that I am guilty of violating my own advice it would be this one.  Typos just happen.  I write most of my posts now in Word to avoid misspellings, yet I constantly get caught by misspelled words that are simply the wrong word spelled correctly.  “Your” instead of “you”.  “Can” is “an”.  And many others.

Its always fun to write a post that talks about typos only to receive emails from my readers correcting errors.  I still feel strongly about the subject, but I’ve come to terms that for me they will periodically occur.  In the end its a function of time and with the growth of the blog and the need to continuously add content (and run my two other companies), I’ve chosen to rely on help from my readers.  Hopefully the content is valuable and can overcome a typo here or there.

Also make sure that you are providing relevant content.  Pointless information wastes time and adds no value.

What to do:
Write online posts in a word editor.  Go back and read it after an hour or two.  You’ll see things you missed.  Review your information to confirm that it is relevant to the conversation.

2.  Canned Invitations…not personalizing your invitations

This one seems to be a topic I write about often and yet immediately after writing this post I will receive invitations using the canned LinkedIn text.  LinkedIn could resolve this issue by simply changing the included text to “Add your invitation information”.

Until then you have a choice.  Personalize the invitation and have close to a 100% positive reaction or use the canned text and have a 50/50 chance of your invitation being viewed positively.  Given the potential for someone indicating “That they don’t know you”, personalization is as much a defensive action.

Personalization can be telling the invited how you know them, referencing common connections or groups, telling the person why you want to connect, and the value you bring to the table.

What to do:
Personalize the invitation.

3.  Requesting Recommendations that haven’t been earned
Even worse is requesting an invitation from someone you don’t know.  Its not your connections job to build your credibility.

I received a request to recommend a connections work this weekend.  The problem is that I don’t know this person and have never used their services.  I connect to others I don’t know because it increases the chances of unexpected opportunities finding me.  I’m willing to help as much as possible, but writing a false recommendation isn’t one of those ways.

What to do:
Request recommendations only when earned from people you know.  Give recommendation to only those who you know and who have earned them.

4.  Keeping Your Public Profile Hidden
The people that you are connected to can view your complete profile.  But what about people outside of your network who want to know more about you?  If you have set your profile to be accessible to all members no problem.

If you haven’t you may be limiting your opportunities.  There may be reasons to keep your profile hidden, but these are few and far between.  If you want to attract opportunity you have to provide information that is viewable to all LinkedIn members.

What to do:
Make your profile viewable to the public.  “Click on the “Edit Profile” tab and at the top right click on the “Edit Public Profile Settings” text link.  Then click in the check boxes to allow all of your profile to be viewable and then save your settings.  There is a link at the bottom of the page to view your Public Profile.  Click on this to see how it looks.

5.  Taking Negative Actions
Everything you do either adds or subtracts from your online brand (I’ve said this over and over…its that important) so act prudently.  If you disagree with someone do so in a professional manner.  If you answer a question provide a well thought out answer that adds value (answering 300 question in a week may get you on LinkedIn’s weekly expert list, but what it really says is that somethings wrong with your business if you have this much time on your hands)

If you don’t want to connect Archive the invitation rather than choosing the “I don’t know this person” option.(when you choose IDK the person sending the invitation can see that you did so.  That may not matter but it creates a negative perspective about you that may not affect you but is better not existing.)

I could write for hours on this one topic but if you use common business sense you can avoid most of these.

What to do:
Use common sense.  I don’t know how many times I’ve typed up a response only to delete it once I thought  about what it said about me.

Wrap Up:
This is just a small sample of tactical errors.  Most are easy to avoid if you think about your actions before executing them.  If you wouldn’t do or say it in person don’t do it on LinkedIn.

Bonus Mistake: Unsolicited Sales Pitches
I really don’t need to explain this any further.  If you want success on LinkedIn provide value and communicate your messages indirectly.  Direct sales pitches are more likely to have a negative impact on your efforts.

If you would like to build a solid foundation on LinkedIn my “LinkedIn MBA” guide is a great resource.  Its currently priced low at $4.97 for two reasons:

1.  I want as many people as possible to build a solid foundation on LinkedIn.  This leads to more activity and helps every other member; and

2.  I want to create a desire in as many members as possible to get to the point that they want to go from using LinkedIn from a networking perspective to a money making perspective.  I call it going from “Connecting to collecting”.

That’s where the “LinkedIn MBA Workbook” ($7.97) and the “LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula” ($39.97 but only $29.98 using discount code: x25rdr) come in to play.

These two resources will help you take the next step.  They do cost money but if you compare the cost to the time it would take to discover and learn the information included they are a cost effective way to learn LinkedIn.

Buy the books or simply continue reading the blog.  Either way you’ll likely know more about LinkedIn today than you did yesterday.

Warm Regards,

Sean Nelson
**Don’t keep the blog a secret.  Twitter, Digg, and other social sites are a great way to share with your friends and others.

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.


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.

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?

Do as I Say, Not as I Do

A week or so ago my wife and I woke up at 1AM to the sound of a seal coming from my son’s room.  For those of you with children, you may have experienced the joy of Croup.  Croup is simply a virus that causes swelling in the throat, making it hard to breathe.  My wife, the more detail oriented spouse, took my son to the emergency room and I stayed home with my two daughters.

Since I didn’t want to go back to sleep until they were home and I knew all was fine, I decided to catch up on adding some blog posts.  Writing at 2 AM in the morning is not something I necessarily recommend. 

Today I finally made it back to re-read the posts and I can’t say that they were the clearest posts I have written.  And grammatically they were somewhat below par.  The moral of the story is what you publish online, in emails, in letters, etc. is a reflection on who you are as a business professional.

I highly recommend that you read what you have written before sending or posting and that you spell check your work.  So in this case do as I say not as I did.  When you update your LinkedIn profile or make changes, copy what you have written and paste it in Word and run the spell check.  Make any corrections and then copy and paste back into LinkedIn.

After all it’s your brand and if you don’t care enough to get it right, why will anyone else care.
(Spell checking this before posting found 4 errors)