Fake LinkedIn Accounts

As an open networker I tend to receive anywhere from 100 to 150 invitation requests each week. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed some suspicious items about many of these invitations:

  1. Either no profile photo or a stock photo
  2. Use of the words “Independent” or “Student”
  3. Or no title at all

As I began looking at the profiles it was clear that these were basic accounts with little more than name and title. On about 50% of the questionable account there were three urls included but not much else.

I can’t say with 100% certainty that these are fake accounts but they look suspect. In the video I show Continue reading Fake LinkedIn Accounts

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.


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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

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?

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

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?

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

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Mismatched?

I recently stumbled on to the following information in a summary and I had to laugh.  Here’s an excerpt from the Summary:

“I am an experienced insurance analyst, benefits specialist, and client advocate. My history in the medical field has provided me with a perspective that many insurance agents lack — I understand the challenges patients can face when they attempt to use their benefits without being educated about them. I am not just a salesman; I am an educator, an advocate, and an expert in my field.”

Fine so far.

Then I looked at the Experience:

Current Employer: Independent Insurance Agent – December 2008 – Present ( 5 months)  Uh-Oh
Previous Job: Insurance Specialist – July 2008 – December 2008 ( 6 months)   Hmmmm

That’s it.  Then the next listing is for Education with a college graduation date of 2008.

So let me get this straight.  This person claims to be an experienced insurance analyst and benefits specialists after 6 months.  And an expert in health insurance after 5 months.

Everyone new to a job or an industry where sales is involved is trying to seem credible.  I get that, but the statements and facts don’t support each other.  When you’re building your profile on LinkedIn you want to make sure that 2 + 2 = 4.

If you don’t have the experience at least borrow it.  A better way to phrase the profile would have been to say “I’m part of an organization that has been helping clients with their health insurance and benefits related needs since 1984”.  It doesn’t make you an expert but it helps with the math.

My business is insurance whether it is helping folks in Georgia with their individual health insurance or small businesses with designing comprehensive benefits packages.  Maybe that’s why this stood out so much, and if the person had made similar claims managing databases I wouldn’t have noticed.  But somebody else would have.

Your LinkedIn profile is your brand and when you fudge the facts they can come back to bite you.  “Fake it until you make it” may be a common refrain, but so is “it’s the first impression that counts”.

What do you think?  Am I being to harsh?

How Good is Your Profile?

It’s been a while since I mentioned the Linkulator so I thought I would give it a plug.  The Linkulator allows you to grade your profile and compare it to the Average LinkedIn user (at least of those who have completed it).  It takes a couple of minutes and will provide you with a numeric score of your profile, display the average user score, and then it classifies your score and provides some tips on how to improve your profile.

It’s simply a fun tool that grades your profile based on the criteria that I set.  If I had the technical skills it would be more advanced but it is what it is.

You’ll find the Linkulator at the top of my page of LinkedIn Tools