How do you manage your LinkedIn connections? If you are connected to a lot of people it can become confusing. It can be hard to recall how you met people and what conversations you have had in the past.
Perhaps you connected with a lot of people you met at a conference, maybe there are others that you are pursuing as sales leads. Sooner or later you will forget who is who and why you connected.
Luckily LinkedIn has a really cool function that can help you stay in touch with the people that matter, will remind you how you met and you can even log some key information about them like their interests or their children’s names.
This has to be one of the most valuable functions on LinkedIn and it’s one that a lot of us overlook.
In this video I show you:
Where to add information about your relationships on LinkedIn
How to set a reminder to contact someone
How to add information about how you met your contact
How to add additional information relevant to your contact
What sort of information should you store about your connections?
This function is a virtual memory. You should use the ‘Notes’ section to keep track of all the important information about your contact as you get to know them better. Here’s a few suggestions:
Hobbies & Interests
Birthdays / Anniversaries / Key dates
What you discussed at your last meeting
Names of children / cats / spouse
Do you use this function?
What other information is useful to you when building a business relationship?
LinkedIn endorsements are hated by many but I think they get a hard time unfairly. In this post I’m going to show you how to manage your LinkedIn endorsements and share my tips for using them effectively.
What are endorsements?
LinkedIn launched endorsements in 2012. Before they appeared the only way our skills could be validated was with recommendations. Recommendations act like job references or business testimonials, they are written by those you have worked with telling people why you are great. Obviously a recommendation is far more powerful than an endorsement but they are also a lot harder to get.
LinkedIn prompts people to endorse their connections for skills. To endorse someone you just click a button. It’s quick and simple and can be a good way to connect or reconnect with your network.
If you have been endorsed and accepted endorsements for skills you don’t possess you can delete them.
You can change the order of your skills on your profile
You can choose to switch off endorsements
You can switch off the prompt to endorse others
You can switch off those email updates each time you are endorsed
Perhaps the most interesting part of managing your endorsements is the ability to hide endorsements for specific skills from individuals or everyone. This could come in handy if you change your job or business and don’t want a less relevant skill showing as your most endorsed.
In this video I show you how to manage your LinkedIn endorsements from your profile page:
What are the benefits of LinkedIn endorsements?
By endorsing someone you are reminding them about you. It’s a small ice breaker that when followed later by a message or email can help you build a relationship further.
An opportunity to reconnect. If someone endorses you on LinkedIn it’s an opportunity to get in touch. Follow up with a thank you message and an invitation for a coffee or a chat.
It gives profile viewers a snapshot of who you are. If you offer Facebook training and that’s at the top of your endorsements section it’s a reassurance that you are the right person for the job.
Do you use LInkedIn endorsements?
Do you find them helpful?
What are the benefits / downsides of endorsements?
“LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts.”
The more profile views you get the larger the opportunity to connect. With increased profile views come more connection requests. If someone of value to you views your profile and doesn’t send a request send a request to them. They are more likely to connect if they are familiar with you.
As anyone who has participated in networking knows, meeting new people and chatting can result in strong business relationships both on and offline. LinkedIn groups give us the opportunity to meet and build genuine relationships with people outside our network.
Establish your expertise
By participating in and starting group discussions you have the opportunity to show off your expertise. Be the first to answer a query and you will become the go to person on that topic.
Gain insights and knowledge
LinkedIn groups aren’t all about answering questions. Is there a burning question you have? Do you want to gauge the popularity of a blog topic? LinkedIn groups are the perfect place to find answers and float ideas.
Before you join
Before you start joining and participating in groups it’s important that your profile is in order. If people like what you post in a group they will probably click through to your profile to find out more.
This is your opportunity to make a great impression so make sure you’re profile is polished. At the very least ensure you have a profile picture and a good professional headline.
So I’ve convinced you to join some groups. How do you find them and more importantly how do you identify good groups?
Use LinkedIn search
Identify key words. To find groups that are relevant to you you will need to define some keywords. These could be industry terms relating to your business or the people you want to do business with.
To find groups type a keyword into the search bar at the top of the LinkedIn home page
Click the down arrow to the left of the search bar and choose ‘groups’ from the drop down
Click the magnifying glass icon
Groups by their nature are international. If your business is limited to one geographic location you are probably only interested in discussing topics relevant to that country. Unfortunately you can’t filter groups by location but you can filter by ‘1st connections’. Assuming that the majority of your connections live in your region you are more likely to find groups relevant to that location.
Identify good groups
The next step is to try and identify valuable lists from those that appear in your search results. Each group thumbnail will provide you with some headline stats about the group.
How active the group is
How many discussions in the last month
How many members
How many members in your network (your network consists of 1st, 2nd, 3rd connections + people you are in groups with.
When I’m choosing a group to join I look for a group that is ‘active’ and that has at least 30 discussions a month. A group with thousands of discussions is a turn off for me. I know I’ll never be able to keep up with what is going on.
If the group is an open group you have the option to view it before joining.
A good group will have lots of active discussions and very few links without comments attached. Take a look and see if people are talking about topics that you can participate in.
If a group is closed you will have to request to join. Some requests are automatically accepted others require an admin.
If you don’t find enough interesting groups using search take a look at the profile pages of some of your connections. You will usually be able to see groups they are members of towards the bottom of their profile page.
How to leave a LinkedIn group
Even with research it’s inevitable you will join groups that don’t work for you. Unless you are able to participate in a group, or gain valuable information from it there is no reason to be in it. After a while LinkedIn will stop sending you notifications and you’ll forget it’s even there.
You can only join a maximum of 50 groups so make sure each one is worth it. Have a group cull every six months or so. Visit each group, assess it’s worth and decide if it’s still valuable to you.
When you find a group that you want to leave hover your curser over the ‘member’ button on the top right hand side of the page. The ‘member’ button will magically change to a ‘Leave’ button.
I’ve joined a LinkedIn group, what next?
Now you have found some relevant groups and joined them it’s time to start participating. This is the process I follow:
Find the group rules for guidance on what you can and can’t post
View active discussions, like and comment when I can
Start my own discussion. Try to avoid posting links and frame my discussion as a question to provoke answers.
I set aside specific time every week to participate in LinkedIn groups. This ensures that I am actively participating in the groups that I am a member with and building new relationships as a result.
Social Media Marketing Networking Club – This is run by Erik Fisher, the community manager from Social Media Examiner. It’s always full of active discussions. There’s a lot to learn from contributors and you will discover social media challenges that other businesses are facing.
You’ve heard it all before. If you want to get people to connect with you, personalise your LinkedIn invitations. But it’s not always that easy.
When you visit a profile and click ‘Connect’ you are given the option to send a personalised LinkedIn invitation. But there’s a catch. LinkedIn only allows you send a personalised invitation if you have some connection with the user already.
If you haven’t done business with the person before, if you haven’t worked or studied together you have to have their email in order to personalise.
You know it’s best practice to customise your LinkedIn invitations but what should you write? Here’s some ideas:
1. Remind them how they know you. Is it a while since you last met the connection? Maybe it was at an event and they met lots of people that day. Never assume they will remember you, remind them where you met.
2. Continue a conversation. This works particularly well when using Rapportive. What were you emailing about? What were you discussing? Maybe you’ve found a link that relates to your conversation or have had a new thought. Include this in your invitation.
3. A catch up. If you know the contact will remember you use your LinkedIn invitation as a catch up. Let them know briefly what you are doing career wise these days and if you can see what they are up to now comment on that too.
4. A compliment. Be careful if you use this strategy, people can be smart at spotting OTT compliments. If you read the connections blog, admire their work from afar mention this and let them know what you enjoyed about it.
Do you customise your LinkedIn invitations?
Do you use the above strategies or do you have a different technique?
In this post we will look at five sections of your LinkedIn profile:
1. Your LinkedIn ‘Card’ this is the section at the top of your profile including
a. Your professional headline
b. Your profile photo.
2. Your header background image
3. Your summary
4. Your LinkedIn url
Your Professional Headline
By default your professional headline is the same as your current job title and place of work. This can make your profile quite generic. I did a search for CEO and found hundreds of profiles that just stated ‘CEO at…’
If your professional headline is generic it’s time to think about changing it.
Why Is It Important To Update Your Headline?
Profiles are searchable both on the LinkedIn internal search tool and on Google. People are actively using search to find new employees and people to do business with.
If you want to start appearing in these search results you will need to start building relevant keywords or key-phrases into your LinkedIn profile starting with your headline.
For example, the name ‘Amanda Webb’ returned 340 search results on LinkedIn. A search for ‘Amanda Webb Social Media’ returns 7. This should make me easier to find but only if I’ve optimised my profile.
Do the same on Google and you will find all my websites and properties. Amongst these results are a selection of LinkedIn profiles, none of which belong to me. If I want my own profile to rank better both on Google and LinkedIn I need to do some work.
Make a list of key phrases and key words you would like to rank for and make sure they feature on your LinkedIn profile.
Questions to ask yourself about your headline:
Does it say what you do? Avoid words like ‘Mavan’ ‘Guru’ ‘Expert’ and ‘Ninja’. Your headline should be a no nonsense description of your job and skills.
Is it easy to read? Although it’s important to include key words in your headline it has to be easy to read. Does it sound like a sentence? A description? A job title? If not go back and edit it until it makes sense. Using ‘|’ to break your profile in to sections can help the readability.
Does it use the space available? Your LinkedIn headline can be 120 characters long, use these characters to their fullest extent.
Here’s 3 headlines from the public profiles of members of my network. All three are strong, descriptive and readable.
Your profile photograph is the first things people will see when they visit your LInkedIn profile. It’s important to make a good first impression.
If you have the budget it’s definitely worth getting a professional photographer to take some head shots for you. If that’s not possible here’s some tips for taking or choosing a profile picture.
Get your photograph taken in front of a blank background. This means you are the subject of your photo with no distractions.
Avoid having your photograph taken in front of a window. Cameras will automatically adjust the light for the window and you will appear dark in the foreground.
Head and shoulder shots are best. Avoid getting too close to the camera as this can look intimidating
Don’t crop people out. You’d be surprised how often I’ve seen this done on LinkedIn. If it’s not a clear photo of yourself choose another. Having someone else’s hand, nose or shoulder appearing in your photo just looks unprofessional.
Remember this is a professional photograph. Unless you run a pub your photo should not be you with a pint. Dress as you would for meeting a client. If you must use props make sure they are relevant to your business.
Look at the camera. Eyes attract eyes, if you look at the camera the viewer will get the illusion that you are looking at them. it’s a great way to make a connection.
Make sure it looks like you. LinkedIn is a great platform for building online relationships and bringing them offline. When you meet connections person it’s a lot easier to recognise each other if your profile picture is accurate.
Header Background Image
This is similar to your header picture on Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn recommends that you create an image
1,400 x 425 pixels to upload here.
When you create your image make it graphic. Most of the image will be hidden behind your profile card so pictures of you or images containing contact info will get hidden behind your main profile.
Using tools like Canva or PicMonkey it’s easy to create an attractive header image.
If people like what they see on your profile card they will scroll down to find out more. By default the next section down is your Summary. This is a chance to tell people more about your skills and achievements.
When people read online it’s a very different experience to when they read from a book or a newspaper. If there looks like there is a lot of text in your summary they will skim past it. In order to keep readers engaged:
Keep sentences and paragraphs short
Write a list of the skills you want to showcase and write a short paragraph about each
Use sub headings and bullet points to break up the text
How do you add formatting and bullet points to your LinkedIn profile?
You cannot bold, italicise or underline text on LinkedIn but there are some tricks you can use to format your profile.
1. Add Bullet Points
The official way to add a bullet point to your Summary and other sections of your profile is to add this code (•) where you want the bullet point to appear.
Don’t get carried away. Remember this is your professional profile. Using the odd symbol to highlight an area or a list of bullet points is fine but a scattering of icons could cheapen the look of your profile.
2. Adding Subheadings
As you can’t format your text you need to be creative to make your subheadings stand out. Here’s a couple of hacks that will help:
Use an underline
You can’t underline your text directly but you can add a solid line below the text. There are two ways to do this. Once you have added your heading hit the enter key on your keyboard and either:
Copy and paste the line symbol from the bullet point tutorial.
Use the underline key on your keyboard to create a solid line.
Use all caps
Writing your sub headings in upper case you makes them stand out from the main body of text.
Although this information appears elsewhere on your profile adding it to your summary means that people can take action without having to search for the info. Tell people how you would prefer to be contacted and give them the information they need to do so.
Add supporting material
Each segment of your profile allows you to add supporting material. This can be in the form of a power point presentation a document a work sample or a video.
If you have videos hosted on YouTube or slide decks on Slide Share you can link directly to these.
Customise your LInkedIn url
Your personal LinkedIn url is the direct link to your LinkedIn profile. By default this will usually contain some combination of your name and some numbers and letters.
You can customise this link and get rid of the numbers. This not only makes it easier to share on business cards and in signatures but it probably effects your profile’s Google ranking. As I mentioned earlier in this post a Google search for ‘Amanda Webb Social Media’ failed to pull up my profile. It did link to a different Amanda Webb.
I’m hoping by changing my customised link to “http://linkedin.com/in/amandawebbsocial/en” I will start to appear in the search results.
Make sure you include your key words and key phrases in all sections of your profile. This will give you the best possible chance of appearing in search results both on LinkedIn and Google.
How often do you review your LinkedIn profile?
Do you use any of the above techniques?
Have you any tips that have worked for you?
Do you use LinkedIn for research? If so you might want to hide your LinkedIn profile views.
I find the ‘people who viewed your profile’ section on LinkedIn fascinating and I often wonder where these people came from. Maybe they liked one of my updates, found me through a connection or advanced search.
Knowing that people can see when you’ve viewed their profile is cool too. If you want to stay in touch with someone you don’t always have to drop them an email or a message. When they see that you have visited their profile it will get them thinking about you.
But what if you want to review a profile a lot? What if you are doing competitive research or trying to find out who has a specific role in a company? It may not be advantageous for people to know you have been visiting their profile in this case. If you want be anonymous on LinkedIn this video shows you how.
There is a downside. When you go anonymous on LinkedIn you are also limiting what you can see about who visits your profile. If you go completely anonymous you won’t be able to see any information about those who look at your profile. If you choose the semi-anonymous option you will see limited information.
For this reason I go anonymous whilst researching (or teaching) and toggle back to full profile mode when I’m finished.
Do you like seeing who has been viewing your profile on LinkedIn? Would you prefer to be anonymous all the time? Do you use LinkedIn for research? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
LinkedIn is a powerful B2B (business to business) network but how can you use it to meet new relevant people?
This weeks videocast shows you how to find leads on Linkedin.
To be really effective you need to do more than connect with the people you find. If they accept your information you need to push the relationship further. Make sure you are interacting with the content they share and get involved in relevant conversation threads.
Here’s how to use LinkedIn advanced search to find customers and valuable connections:
If you really want to warm up the relationship you can message them and ask them to meet some time for coffee and a chat to see how you might be able to help each other out.
Do you have a Linkedin strategy? How do you engage with those who you connect with. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In part one of this blog post I discussed the different ways to build relationships via conversations on Facebook and on Blogs. Read more here.
Conversation is the best way to build business relationships. Have you ever been to a networking meeting? If it’s a big one you probably come home with a pocket stuffed with business cards. Most you will never look at again, many will end up in the bin. It’s the people you meet over and over you remember. You might meet them at networking meetings again or you may arrange to meet up for coffee and a chat. Online we need to replicate this offline relationship building and that is where conversation really helps.
Here’s some ideas for getting those conversations:
Linkedin is the business network. It’s a fantastic place to connect with other businesses who may either require your services or recommend you to others. The first step is to connect to the people you know. If you go to a networking event and get chatting to someone request to connect to them the next day, look up your current customers and connect with them also. Immediately you have built a network of people to get to know further.
Status updates – Now you are connected to people you will see updates from them appear on your Linkedin home page. Make a habit of scrolling through these on a daily basis and liking and commenting on things that you find interesting. If the post might be of interest to your other connections share it on as well.You should also make a point of updating your own status on a regular basis with professional news and links to content about your industry that will spark discussions with your connections.
Groups – Groups are where all the magic happens on Linkedin. Groups are essentially discussion forums on specific topics. Use the search function within Linkedin to find groups that may be industry specific or one of the excellent business forums that are out there. If you are stuck for one to join have a look at the profiles of some of your connections and see which groups they are a member of.
Endorsements – I’ve written about endorsements before. I’m not a huge fan but they can be used well. If you endorse someone make sure you are endorsing them for something that you know they are good at. They will get an email from Linkedin every time they are endorsed so it’s another good way to remind them you exist.
Private messages – Linkedin will send you updates when your connections change their profiles, when they endorse you and when they have business anniversaries. Use this as an opportunity to get in touch with them via private messages to congratulate or thank them, re-kindling your relationship with them.
It’s easier on Twitter than any other network to get into conversations. It’s part of what I love about Twitter, you can tweet anyone you want to whether it be Stephen Fry or the local shop. Getting into conversations will improve your follower count and help you get to know people who can help spread your message. Various social media practitioners have set different ratios that they believe you should use for promoting via conversing and sharing content from other users. It tends to sit at about 30% promotion and 70% conversation. It’s a hard ratio to reach so don’t worry if you aren’t there yet. The key is to make conversation an important part of your Tweeting.
Set targets – If you are not good at small talk or if you are shy you may need to set yourself goals for conversation. Start with something small, I often recommend new tweeters attempt to get into two conversations a day. This could be as simple as saying good morning to someone or commenting on the weather. Good relationships often start with small talk so it’s a good place to start your social media conversations too.
Twitter search – Twitter search and Twitter advanced search are fantastic tools for finding people and conversations. Advanced search allows you to search locally as well as for key words and phrases. Add a ‘?’ to your search and you will find people asking questions.
Twitter chats – Twitter chats happen when a group of people go online at a specific time to discuss a specific topic. In order to join in you just need to follow the #tag and tweet using the tag. They are a great way to meet new tweeters, get into conversations and build relationships. If you want to give it a go tune into #blogchatie every second Thursday at 9pm (GMT – currently daylight saving at GMT+1), The next one is on 23rd May 2013.If Blogging isn’t your thing you might find one that you’d enjoy from this comprehensive list.
ReTweets – A good way to break the ice with a new contact could be to RT some of their content. Choose stuff that is relevant to your target market and use the ‘quote tweet‘ option if you are using mobile or the old fashioned RT method if you want to be sure they know you shared.
Lists – If you are following a lot of people on Twitter you may find it hard to keep up with tweets from the people you really want to see. If this is a problem for you it’s a good idea to set up a few lists. You could have one of your favorite tweeters, the people that you want to build relationships with. Once they are in a list you can choose to view just the tweets from those people. It’s a really good way to stay in touch with the people you really have to.
Although Pinterest is a visual network it can still be a great place to find people and conversations.
Comments – I find that I rarely get a comment on Pinterest but when I do I really pay attention. Essentially Pinterest is a place to share images so conversation seems hard to slot in. However if you find an image you like why not comment on it, you will usually get a response and that is the spark of a business relationship.
Likes & RePins – Although commenting isn’t huge on Pinterest, Likes and RePins happen a lot. Just like Twitter by RePinning and liking you will be alerting a user to your existence. Always remember to keep your RePinning relevant to your business and target market.
Are people using Google+? Yes they are but it’s still a lot less crowded a space than Facebook and Twitter. I don’t spend a lot of time there but whenever I do I find something of interest. The lack of a crowd can be an advantage, it makes it easier to get involved in conversations.
Search – I really, really love the search on Google+, you can type anything into the search box, a sport, a book you are reading, a band or something obscure. Whatever it is you will find someone talking about it. Because updates aren’t limited to 140 characters like Twitter it’s easier to get into proper conversations. You can comment directly on a post giving you the opportunity to connect with more than just the original poster but also the other people in the comment thread. This is absolutely the best thing about Google+
Circles – Circles work in a similar way to Twitter lists and Facebook Interest Lists. You can group people together relating to specific topics or related to how you know them. The obvious circles to create have always been friends, relatives etc but you should look at setting one up for experts in your industry, customers, competitors and people you would like to get to know. You can then filter your feed by circle to ensure you are talking to the people you really want to.
Communities – Communities are similar to Linkedin Groups, they are topic specific discussion groups. Their a great place to meet like minded people and get into discussion and conversation. There are communities based on every topic available so take time to find a few that will be relevant to your business.
LinkedIn has made a lot of changes recently, if you haven’t logged in for a while you will be pleasantly surprised by the more attractive interface. The home page, profile page and business page have been overhauled and the whole experience is much nicer, if a bit Facebook like.
A new feature ‘LinkedIn Endorsements’ was introduced back in September. At first I thought they had just re-named ‘recommendations’ – the testimonials or references that you can request from your connections – but soon I started receiving notifications that I had received endorsements for various skills and realised they were quite different.
Find out more about them on the LinkedIn blog. There’s lots of conversation about them at the moment so I thought I’d weigh up some of the pros and cons.
It’s easy to get click happy
When I log in to LinkedIn it prompts me to start endorsing people for skills, as soon as I endorse one person it offers another person and another skill. It’s quite easy to get click happy, sometimes it offers me skills that I wouldn’t necessarily match to people and it would be all too easy to click those too.
Do LinkedIn endorsements change the way the network works?
In the early days of LinkedIn the key focus was on making genuine connections with people you know. LinkedIn promoted this idea strongly, one of the nicest features was the mechanism for asking for an introduction to someone via a trusted member of your network. This worked because as everyone was connected only to people they trusted. People were happy to introduce trusted connections to others. I’m aware that I’m old-school on this but I still tend to use LinkedIn this way. If I meet someone or have had a long conversation with them on social media I will connect with them but I rarely connect with someone I haven’t met or don’t know.
I am aware however that this is no longer the way that the majority of people use LinkeIn and with endorsements it looks like LinkedIn is encouraging us to make more connections. When I look at the LinkedIn profiles of others I know I realise that even though I have lots of endorsements I don’t have as many as people with more connections. This is making me feel competitive and is encouraging me to connect to more people so that I can match my colleagues and competitors. I’ll loose my strong network but I’ll gain… some numbers next to my name.
You can be endorsed for anything
An online friend of mine Iestyn Lloyd has been given LinkedIn endorsments for all sorts of skills that I’m pretty sure he isn’t skilled at…. or if he is they don’t really match his professional profile (see above). This is a great example of how we can easily be endorsed for skills we don’t have. Today I logged in and discovered I’d been endorsed for SEO an area I know a little about but not one I’m strong in. Luckily LinkedIn gave me the option to delete it before adding other skills to my profile.
They are an opportunity to re-connect
I asked what people thought of endorsements on Facebook and Twitter and got some interesting replies. One from Marie Ennis O’Connor said that she was seeing benefit from them. When she got an email saying that someone had endorsed her she would reply with a thank you leading to her meeting up with people and re-initiating dormant relationships. This is a great way to maximise benefit from endorsements.
They are a quick way for profile visitors to see your skills
Now when someone visits my profile they can instantly see my key skills. I’m lucky that the skills I’m endorsed for the most are indeed the ones that I would like to appear at the top of the list. However in some ways I feel I am loosing control of my profile. If I had let that ‘SEO’ skill in earlier it’s possible that a large number of connections could get click happy and endorse me for that pushing it towards the top of my profile. Luckily there is an option to delete skills that you don’t have even after you have let people endorse you for them.
Most of the feedback I got when I asked the question on Twitter and Facebook was negative, in fact some of it was angry. What do you think of endorsements and the new LinkedIn, is there a benefit I am missing?
Have you noticed that some LinkedIn profiles have edited their websites to describe what they are (see below)? Changing your website titles on LinkedIn makes your links more clickable as well as adding to the SEO value of the link. If you are stuck with the default ‘company website’, ‘blog’ tags this tutorial is for you.
Log in to LinkedIn
Click ‘Profile’ on the top menu bar and choose ‘Edit profile’ from the drop down menu.
Click ‘Contact Info’
Click the pencil next to the ‘Websites’ section
Choose ‘Other’ from the drop down menu on the left hand side of the website you want to edit
A new box will appear with ‘Website Title’ written inside.
Replace this text with a description of your website: e.g. Social Media for Business
Type in the url of your website (including http://) in the box next to your description
Check your profile, your website description should now appear as a hot link on your profile page.
Thanks to Susanne McCabe from Totem.ie for suggesting this blog post. If you have a burning question about LinkedIn leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer it.