Dec 10

LinkedIn Endorsements: What Are They Good For?

When talking to clients and groups about using LinkedIn for business, I get a lot of questions about endorsements. Here are some common questions:

  • What are LinkedIn Endorsement good for?
  • What should I do with them?
  • What do I do if people endorse me who have never worked with me?
  • Should I be endorsing them back?

The problem with endorsements is that many people are using them in a way that was never intended. When LinkedIn introduced Endorsements they wanted to give us a tool that made it easy for us to vouch for the skills of the people with which we have worked directly.  However, in making them so easy to click, what has happened is that many people are endorsing us who have never worked with us.

Initially I thought endorsements were not very useful because of this misuse. However, after watching many new LinkedIn users as they look at endorsements, I do see a value in them.  What happens time and time again is that people will look at the photos of the people who have endorsed you.  Mostly we seem interested in seeing who is in your network, and endorsements is a way to quickly see people in your network.  So they do have some value and are of interest to people who are viewing your profile.

What should you do with them? First, don’t be too bothered if people are endorsing you, but have little knowledge of your work. It happens.  However, you SHOULD be sure to only endorse people who you have worked with directly.  We can certainly try to use the tool correctly.  Yes, it’s a good idea to endorse others when appropriate.  They will notice that you did and be appreciative.  That’s always a good thing for building relationships.

If you would like to know more about using LinkedIn for business, check out LinkedIn 101.

 

Dec 04

Are Your Social Media Messages Reaching the Wrong Audience?

team yellowBefore you spend time working on your marketing strategy, you need to take time to answer the question: Who are your buyers?

You want to define who your buyers are so you can focus on finding the right people for your community. You will be actively seeking new members to join your networks. When deciding which networks to use in your strategy, you must think about the people who are your target audience. Understanding what they want and need is critical to deciding who to invite to your community.

For instance, a travel agent may observe her customers are between the ages of 30 to 70 years old. In recruiting community members, she will not focus heavily on teenagers or people in their early 20’s because these are not her buyers.

There are questions to ask yourself when thinking about your buyers. Make a list of the answers to the following:

  • Who are your major audiences?
  • What characteristics do your audience members share?
  • Who can you invite that falls under these categories?

Our travel agent might answer the questions this way:

“My major audience members are between the ages of 30 to 70 with discretionary income to spend on travel
My audience members love to travel and are adventurous. They often hold professional positions at work.
I will invite people who hold professional positions between the ages of 30 and 70.”

Now our travel agent can look for groups of people on the networks who fit these criteria. She will find professional groups on Facebook and LinkedIn where she can begin to network and invite people to join her network community.

Another way to identify your buyers is to ask your customers about themselves. When you are on your network and interacting with your community, ask a customer, “Why did you buy? Did you get what you were looking for?” Their answers will provide information about characteristics of your buyers.

A quilt shop owner might receive a response such as, “I want to make gifts for my family for Christmas because I can save money.” Our shop owner now knows one characteristic of some of her customers is frugality.

Here are some other characteristics our owner might discover:

Emotions:

    • Fun-loving
    • Passionate

Interests:

    • Creative
    • Frugal
    • LearningDemographics:
    • 45 years – 75 years old
    • Female

Once you’ve identified characteristics of your customers, you are ready to find people who fit these descriptions.

To Your Success!

Dec 02

4 LinkedIn Mistakes that Could Damage Your Reputation

speak noLinkedIn is a great place to network and build relationships that can lead to real sales and business. It is a communication tool that, once you know how to use it, can put you in front of the people you most want to connect with. But there are some common mistakes that you should try to avoid. Here are 5 common mistakes I see often with LinkedIn:

Sending spammy messages to your connections

If you’ve been in business for a while, chances are you’ve learned a lot about how to sell your message whenever you are in front of prospects. But if you use that mindset with LinkedIn, you will turn a lot of people off really fast! The mindset to adopt is the same mindset you use when you are meeting new people at a face-to-face networking function. You don’t start your conversation with a sales pitch. This rubs people the wrong way and will cause them to walk away. The same is true in LinkedIn.

I am connected to thousands of people, many who are new to LinkedIn. I can always tell someone is new when they send me a direct message that talks about what they sell and want to know if I’m interested. I haven’t even met you yet. No, I’m not interested yet. It’s especially a turn-off if I can tell they have sent this out to ALL of their connections, and not just me.

The better solution is to write hello message that are real. Talk to one person at a time. Mention something about them. DO NOT talk about what you do. Don’t worry, you’re not losing an opportunity to sell. These connections will take a look at your profile to see who you are and what you do. That is enough for the first contact. Ask them a question about themselves to strike up a conversation. LinkedIn is not the place to blast messages. It’s a place to meet and get to know people

Posting Too Often

If you’ve ever come to LinkedIn and read through recent updates from connections in your newsfeed, sometimes you will find a dozen messages in a row from the same person. This is someone who is posting way to often. They are flooding your newsfeed and it feels obnoxious to you. The funny thing is, some people do this and don’t realize they are doing it. Don’t be that person.

A better practice is to post no more than once a day. Some of my clients post a couple times a week, and some post once a week. It is true the more you post, the better impact you are having on your connections. But I recommend once a day as a maximum number. If you can post once a day, by all means do continue. But if you’re tempted to post 6 times today, stop yourself and realize how it looks to your connections.

Asking People You Don’t Know to Recommend You

LinkedIn Recommendations are one very powerful on LinkedIn. But they are only powerful if they come from people you know and know your work. It is a very good practice to ask clients, customers and co-workers to write a recommendation for you on LinkedIn. It is a very BAD idea to ask people who do not know you to do the same.

If you ask someone who has not worked with you to recommend you, one of two things may happen:

  1. They may not want to recommend you since they do not know your work, and feel awkward about your request.
  2. They may go ahead and recommend you, but their recommendation will either be false or misleading because they have not worked directly with you and are not in a position to recommend your products or services.

A better tactic is to request recommendations only from those who have worked directly with you and who you know would give you a favorable recommendation. A good time to ask is when a client or customer has praised your work or services. Then it’s a perfect time to ask if they would write you a recommendation on LinkedIn.

Posting Criticisms or Negative Comments in Groups

Discussion Groups are one of the most powerful areas of LinkedIn. In groups, you can meet many people who share a common interest or work in a particular industry. It’s a good idea to become involved with groups and join discussions. However, it’s a BAD idea to criticize and post negative comments. Remember your goal in LinkedIn is to meet people and build relationships. Many times negative comments will work against these goals and will cause people to steer away from any kind of relationship with you. Keep your comments positive and be sure to add valuable responses to the conversations you see in LinkedIn Groups.

 

Nov 26

2 Simple Tips to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile Work Experience Section

keyboardOne of the most important areas of LinkedIn is your Profile You can see from the analytics they provide that a lot of people are looking at your page. One of the most important areas of your profile is your work experience. I have looked at hundreds of LinkedIn profiles. One of the common mistakes I see over and over again is the mistake of not filling out the Work Experience area fully. If your Work Experience section is mostly blank, you lose the opportunity to impress the people who are looking at your profile. These visitors could be colleagues, prospects, potential employers, botential buyers. The Work Experience section is one of your best opportunities to put information in front of them that will convince them to do business with you.

Here are some things to look for in your own LinkedIn Profile Work Experience Section.

1. Do you have all relevant positions listed on your profile?
By relevant, I mean positions that are relevant to what you are doing now. What are the positions you would like prospects to know about you. For instance, when I was 16 I worked at the local movie theater. This is not a position I include on my LinkedIn profile because I know it is not relevant to my work as a social marketing consultant. I do include the position I held in an insurance company marketing department in 2007.

Your profile is a super powerful vehicle for branding you. What parts of your background would you like to highlight, and which areas do not necessarily add to your brand?

2. Have you provided good descriptions of each position held?
Filling out the LinkedIn profile can be tedious. Likely when you filled yours out, you didn’t spend a lot of time on any particular area. It’s time to go back and look at the descriptions of the positions you’ve held. Be sure to include a good description of your responsibilities in the position. Not only will a good description give readers a chance to better understand your duties while in the position, it will also give you the opportunity to use key words that readers might be searching for.

For instance, a bookkeeper might include language about working with QuickBooks in his or her position description.  Anyone who is searching for a bookkeeper familiar with QuickBooks is far more likely to find this bookkeeper’s profile.  What are the keywords for which you wish to be found?  Include them in the work experience descriptions.
People are looking at you profile every day. Make sure it has all of the information you want them to know about you and your brand. The Work Descriptions are a great place to include more information about you and your abilities.

Nov 19

Improve Your LinkedIn Networking in 10 Minutes a Day

alarmWhen you are getting started on LinkedIn, you may feel like it’s taking too much of your time. You should only spend 10 minutes a day. You can keep it short and still get a lot of value from your account. By keeping the time short, you are far more likely to make it a regular habit of visiting LinkedIn. Consistently visiting LinkedIn for just 10 minutes a day will give you the consistency that really works on LinkedIn.

The reason it’s important to visit regularly is because, at its very base, LinkedIn is a communication tool. This is a place to touch base with your network. Your LinkedIn inbox is a place to further those relationships you already have established in the face-to-face world. If you send a message on LinkedIn, and your reader replies quickly, you should respond within a day or two at the most. But this will not happen if you are only visiting once a week or less. Keep the conversation short, but keep it going!

If you find you spend too much time when you visit LinkedIn, start setting a timer for 10 minutes. When the alarm rings, stop what you’re doing and log out of LinkedIn. You can always come back to what you were doing tomorrow for another 10 minutes.  Not only will the consistency pay off, but you will be fare more likely to build your networking skills if you know you only need a few minutes.

This week, visit LinkedIn AT LEAST 3 times. Start getting into the habit of visiting regularly for just a few minutes a day.

To Your Success,

Deborah

P.S.: If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn yet, go to my page now and invite me to connect! I look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

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