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Professionals: stop wasting your time on LinkedIn

“‘Cheshire Puss,’ she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. `Come, it’s pleased so far,’ thought Alice, and she went on. `Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’

‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.

`I don’t much care where–’ said Alice.

`Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.

`–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.

`Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.’”  ~Lewis Carroll in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Professionals: stop wasting your time on LinkedIn

It seems that many professionals are on LinkedIn but are doing nothing with it. Like Alice, they’re wandering aimlessly. Yet many think that LinkedIn’s going to miraculously deliver them some work.

It won’t.

Not unless you put the time and effort in and use it purposefully.

The top 8 ways professionals waste time on LinkedIn and a solution for each!

# 1: Not being clear about what you want LinkedIn to help you to achieve and how you’re going to use it

If you don’t have clear goals then what are you going to measure?

And how are you going to use the platform consistently over time to:

  • expand your knowledge,
  • position yourself,
  • overcome being pigeon-holed,
  • stay top of mind with your existing clients and/or
  • attract more of your ideal prospects?

Solution: download our LinkedIn action plan template and use it to determine how you will use the platform.

# 2: Using LinkedIn in isolation

LinkedIn works best when it’s used to support your other efforts. It can be a catalyst for getting new work but it’s rarely the sole reason why. Yet it can add rocket-fuel to your existing business development and marketing initiatives.

If you want to know how, take a look at the posts highlighted below, each of which deal with a different aspect of professional services firm’s BD and marketing activities:

How can professional services firms use social media to increase their tender success rate?

11 ways to showcase your expertise using social media 

Social media: firing up key client and practice group planning

How to use LinkedIn to power up your events

Solution: Think about how LinkedIn can support your existing initiatives and incorporate this into your strategy.

# 3: Having a sub-standard profile

There is NO excuse for a sub-standard profile.

You’re a professional.

You want to make a good impression on both your existing connections, business partners, referrers and prospects.

How are you going to do that if you can’t even pull a decent profile together?

Solution: If you’re on LinkedIn to develop your practice, PLEASE PLEASE (at the very least) do the following:

- Upload a professional looking photo

- Make sure your professional headline says what you do or who and how you can help

- Customize your public profile URL (so that you get found before others’ who share your name)

- Complete the summary section setting out:

  • Who you help
  • What you help them with
  • Your approach to working with your clients
  • Some results you’ve achieved
  • A bit about your interests outside of work
  • A call to action.
- Upload or add links, tips, Whitepapers, presentations, videos…or anything that will help to EVIDENCE your capabilities. You can do so at the bottom of the summary section, and in the experience and education sections.
- List your skills in the skills and endorsements section. Make it easy for people to endorse you for skills for which you wish to be recognised. Otherwise, you’re likely to find yourself being endorsed for skills you don’t have (thanks to LinkedIn’s algorithm that determines suggestions in the blue box that appears on users homepages every now and again!)
- Make it easy for people to contact you by including your contact details within your profile – both in the contact info section and in the section RIGHT down the bottom ‘Contact [Name] for…’

# 4: not taking an active approach to connecting with others

LinkedIn at a very basic level is a living, breathing address book where people update their own details. It’s likely to be much more up-to-date than many professional services firms’ CRMs.

The more people you connect to, the more people see your status updates. You can use these to position yourself but if you’re not connected to many people then hardly anyone will see them.
And you won’t get as good search results when using LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature (unless you opt for a paid account, or Xray search into LinkedIn using Google). This means it won’t be as useful a planning and research tool as it could be.
Solution: Connect to your colleagues (this will help you market yourself internally), your clients, referrers, and other business contacts and nurture these contacts – share status updates that they’re going to find useful.
Whenever you return from a new business meeting or event, invite the person/people you met to connect with you. Aim to grow your connections over time.

# 5: Inactivity

If you’ve decided you ONLY want to use LinkedIn as a living address book then don’t worry about being active.

BUT if you want to position yourself or grow your practice you need to get active. Otherwise you’re missing out on the opportunity to become synonymous with the work you do and to stay top of mind with the people you want to help.
Essentially, you’re making it easy for them to choose one of your competitors over you!
Solution: Aim to share at least 1 piece of third-party content each week and 1 piece of original content (i.e. compiled by you, someone in your team or your wider firm) that’s going to be RELEVANT to your connections or fellow group members.
In addition, aim to comment on, like or share 1 piece of content shared by a connection and someone in one of your groups.

# 6: Taking a short-term ‘sales’ approach

No-one’s on LinkedIn to be sold to.

They’re on there to network, to learn and, yep, to sell. But to sell in a none-salesy way. Before you can even attempt to sell, you have to DEMONSTRATE your value and help others.

It’s fine to use Inmail and ask for introductions but you’d better be damn sure to spell out the VALUE to the other person of doing what you ask of them. And it’s going to be much more effective if people ‘know’, like and have begun to trust you first.

Solution: Be active by sharing helpful content, helping others and commenting on their discussions. Position yourself by being generous. Then, when you ask for help or a meeting, people are much more likely to say ‘yes’. And the outcome is much more likely to be positive.

# 7: Ignoring the power of LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn groups are a great tool to reach more of your ideal prospects and another place to position yourself with your clients and other connections.

By joining well-managed groups to which you can add value, you can begin to extend your reach.

You will need to find these groups though (which can be difficult given that the majority are a waste of space either because they’re inactive or full of spam).

Solution: join well-managed groups and consider setting up your own either as a team or in conjunction with one or two non-competing professionals. Building a group is a great way to set up a community of people with a common interest and to become a valuable resource to them over time. If you want to know how to set up and run a group that people want to join, get our Complete Guide to LinkedIn Groups eBook for NZ$18.97,

# 8: A lack of measurement or measuring the wrong things

There’s little point in measuring things that have nothing to do with you achieving your goals. Vanity metrics such as number of likes, shares etc. are flattering but are they helping you get to where you want to be?

If not then ignore them.

Solution: pick a few key measures that are aligned with your objectives. Measure your performance over time and in conjunction with your other initiatives so that you can assess LinkedIn’s impact. Where possible, benchmark against past data so that you know whether what you’re doing is working.

It’s incredibly easy to waste time on LinkedIn. Yet it can be an AMAZINGLY powerful tool if used sensibly.

What other mistakes have you made, or seen other professionals making, on LinkedIn? 

If you want to stop wasting time on LinkedIn and start harnessing it’s power to grow your practice, sign up for our 10 week mini-course and be first to hear about our forthcoming online course with actionable modules “Grow your Practice with LinkedIn: for lawyers”, your roadmap to LinkedIn success.

Image Credit: elderderekbird.blogspot.com

New LinkedIn feature to monitor engagement on your status updates

Over the past few weeks LinkedIn’s been quietly rolling out a new way to monitor engagement on any status updates you share. It finally appeared on my account this weekend.

It’s called ‘Who’s viewed your updates’ and you’ll find it on the right hand side of your LinkedIn home page underneath the ‘Who’s viewed your profile’ section…if you can’t yet see it then expect it very soon!

How can you monitor engagement on your status updates?

You’re now able to see the number of times each of your updates has been viewed as well as the number of likes and comments. The great thing is you can click through to these if you missed them via your notifications.

LinkedIn new feature who's viewed your updates

When you hover over the circles LinkedIn allows you to ‘see news your connections might enjoy’ and ‘see trending news to share’. Clicking on these links takes you through to Pulse (the renamed LinkedIn Today) and those LinkedIn influencers you follow. It’s a shame it doesn’t actually show you trending news from those in your network as that would be far more interesting.

However, you can opt to follow a number of publishers (click on the ‘All Publishers’ link on the Pulse toolbar) and, if you set up Pulse on your mobile, can follow any blogs or publications you like. Unfortunately, these don’t seem to currently sync to the full version of LinkedIn.

On the whole it’s a great little addition that helps you:

  • Determine which of your posts get the most engagement.
  • See the reach of each post. As well as seeing the overall number of people who’ve seen your post, LinkedIn tells you the numbers according to their relationship to you, i.e. how many first degree connections saw it, how many second degree connections and how many third degree connections. To see these figures hover over the appropriate circle (the smallest one with the blue line around represents your first degree connections, the next one your second degree connections and the biggest your third degree connections).
Monitor engagement on LinkedIn
  • Identify the times of the day/week to post to get maximum exposure. If you keep a note of when you post things, LinkedIn tells you how many people in your network have seen the post (I assume by seen they mean ‘impressions’ so it doesn’t mean the people have read your post).

What do you think of this feature?

How else do you think it will help you?

 

What would happen if YOU were locked out of LinkedIn?

If you use LinkedIn to build your profile, keep up with your existing connections and/or find and begin to build relationships with more of your ideal prospects then PLEASE implement the two steps below to make sure you’re as protected as you can be should you lose access to LinkedIn for any reason.

What would happen if YOU were locked out of LinkedIn?

Last week, I went to log into LinkedIn and saw…

Nothing.

There was a blank screen.

I typed in the URL of another website and it popped up just fine.

So, I tried again.

Nada. Continue reading

14 ways to Grow your LinkedIn Company Page Followers

The old adage ‘build it and they will come’ isn’t quite true when it comes to your social media presence.

Especially your LinkedIn Company Page.

14 ways to grow your LinkedIn company page followers

A question I’m regularly asked is ‘how do we grow our company page followers?’ so I’ve set out below 14 things firms could do RIGHT NOW. Continue reading

How to build trust using social media for lead generation

How to build trust using social media for lead generationCold calling’s a numbers game. If you ring 100 people a percentage are going to agree to meet you and some will eventually buy from you.

Social media isn’t going to radically change these percentages if you use it as an ‘old style’ sales tool.

Let’s face it, being contacted by someone you’ve never heard of to take a look at their product or to meet with them can be pretty irritating – regardless of whether it’s by phone or via a social network.

Some tell you, you have connections in common who think you should meet with them – if that’s the case, have the mutual connection tell you that! 9 times out of 10 I bet your connection doesn’t even know the person is contacting you. It’s a thinly veiled cold call.

Tom Skotidas, a specialist in the field of B2B lead generation, put it really well when he said: Over time reach out to people and move relationships beyond LinkedIn but only once you’ve built trust by sharing insights.”

What does that mean?

How to build trust using social media

  • You’ve got to give before you ask.
  • Share information and insights people will find valuable.
  • Answer their questions.
  • Give away some of your knowledge for free.
  • Enable people to make an informed call about whether you’re someone who knows what they’re talking about.
  • Don’t ask for that meeting until you’ve proven your worth and earned the right to meet offline

By building trust, when it comes to the meeting….

  • The other person will already know about you.
  • They’ll understand how you can help.
  • The meeting won’t be cold. It’s going to be more valuable for the other person and for you. And it’s more likely it will lead to work.

When professionals tell me that social media doesn’t work, I wonder what they’re doing.

  • Perhaps they’re relying on a half arsed profile
  • Or they’re spamming other users by requesting meetings BEFORE they’ve demonstrated their worth and built any sort of relationship.

Social media’s not a silver bullet. You have to consistently put in time and effort to reap the rewards.  But reap them you can.  All it takes is a genuine passion for helping others and less focus on getting people to become your clients RIGHT NOW.

Action: You can start right now in building trust with your social media connections.  Look back at what you’ve done over the past week and how you have engaged with your connections.  Re-read the list above and make necessary changes to your tactics going forward.  Think about what makes you feel a connection with a person online and duplicate this behaviour.
Have you come across ‘cold calling’ practices on social media?  If so, has it ever resulted in you doing business with that person?

 

2 ways to tell if you’re a LinkedIn spammer

I never thought of myself as a spammer.

But I’ve definitely been guilty in the past of at least one of the new types of spam that are pervading LinkedIn.

Do you share links to your blog posts via multiple LinkedIn groups at once? (this is the one I was guilty of)

You’re spamming. This is a big bug-bear of a number of LinkedIn users and was highlighted in a recent blog post by Lead Creation in Australia.

Of course you want to drive traffic to your blog.

And, let’s face it, this is an easy way to do so.

But if you’re one of those people whose sole activity within a LinkedIn group is sharing links to your own stuff with no attempt to talk with others, people are going to notice and they’re going to stop clicking on your stuff.

Without possibly even realising it, you’re helping to devalue a group. Granted it’s the owner and managers’ role to police it but, sadly, not many do – which is why the overwhelming majority of LinkedIn groups are about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

In the minority of well-managed groups (that offer value to their members) you may find the group owner or one of the managers is going to start deleting your posts or putting them under the promotions tab.

Ditto if you post a link without an intro.

If you’re going to share something at least let people know why and attempt to start a discussion…that’s how you’ll start to build relationships and credibility.

Another growing trend that some people seem to think’s a good idea?

Using LinkedIn email to distribute their newsletter to all their contacts.

Imagine if everyone did that. Your LinkedIn inbox would become full of junk.

If someone hasn’t opted into your newsletter, don’t send it to them.

If you’ve written something that you think they’ll value, then take the time to send them a personalised email letting them know what you’re sending and why and asking for their feedback. 

Make it about other people rather than about you. Make it easy for them to decide whether or not to open your link. Offer real value and they’ll then probably willingly sign up to your newsletter. LinkedIn’s a place to build relationships with others and to demonstrate your expertise. Don’t undermine your efforts by not thinking through how your actions may be perceived by others.

What types of behaviour annoy you on social media and conversely, what works really well?

Thinking about setting up a LinkedIn group or want to make yours more successful? Check out my new eBook “Complete Guide to LinkedIn Groups. Network with the right people. Generate new leads. Get new business”. It’s available at half price (NZD 9.99) until end July.

 

 

Spam image courtesy Vlado @freedigitalphotos.net

 

2012 legal marketing predictions

by Kirsten Hodgson

2012 is just around the corner. 

How is the legal landscape likely to change? Here are my predictions: 

1. Legal Process Outsourcing becomes more widespread. The challenge for 2012 will be how firms differentiate their offerings from one-another. 

2. More use of legal project managers who are engaged on a project by project basis to manage the various law firms. 

3. 

LinkedIn new navigation and advanced search orientation video

by Kirsten Hodgson

LinkedIn’s now rolled out its new navigation to most users and has begun to roll out the slightly amended advanced search feature. Here’s a quick orientation video (6 mins) to get you up to speed. It covers:

  • How to find features under the new navigation toolbar
  • How to get to harder to find features including Signal (1.45 min into video), the ‘cheaper’ LinkedIn premium plans (2.42 mins) and Recommendations (3.26 mins).
  • How to use the more intuitive search feature (4.15 mins) and the amended Advanced Search feature (4.58 mins) (n.b. the ability to sort results by keyword is no longer available in the new search feature).

What do you think of the recent LinkedIn changes? 

What areas would you like future videos to cover? 

 

8 sure-fire ways for professionals to lose clients: Part 3

by Kirsten Hodgson

At last, the final in my three-part series about common client service mistakes lawyers, accountants, engineers and other professionals sometimes make and my recommendations to avoid these. 

Number 6.     Over-reliance on a few key relationships within the client organisation

In order to minimize the risk of losing a client should your key contact(s) leave or be made redundant, you should identify all the key decision makers, influencers and gatekeepers within an organisation and build relationships with as many of them as possible. Look on the company’s website and see if there’s an organigram or do an Advanced Search on LinkedIn to identify who you do/do not know but need to. Setting up a simple matrix will help you to quickly identify the gaps and you can then seek to close these.

Number 7.     Lack of understanding of the client’s operating environment

The current economic climate means that a number of businesses are looking at reducing their costs and if not, they’re certainly focused on getting more value from their existing spend. It’s important to think about how you could help your clients in this context – for example are there more things they could do internally before getting you involved, are there different ways of pricing that might appeal more to your customers, or can you help them budget for your services by providing them with a timeline setting out what they will need to pay, when? This will be particularly useful for developers and other businesses that need to draw down funds in order to pay suppliers as they will be able to budget for these in advance.

Again, the only way to truly understand your clients’ operating environments is to ask them.

Number 8.     Wrong personal fit (relationships are key – people do business with people they like)

People tend to do business with people they like. Feedback we’ve received suggests that clients are increasingly hiring ‘horses for courses' so, provided an individual has the necessary level of expertise (and the right level of support behind them), the client is likely to hire someone for a piece of work based on their relationship with them. It therefore, is really important to ensure that you have the right people managing each client relationship and that you’re prepared to pull them off and replace them if a relationship’s not working.

We’ve helped a number of our clients to save major accounts simply by replacing the existing relationship person with a new one, more suited to that client. You can’t underestimate the importance of this. It’s an issue that can cost businesses millions of dollars. If you find out this is an issue for one of your clients then make the change quickly – you don't have to be hard on the person involved but you do need to be hard on the issue. 

What's your view? 

What other common mistakes do you see professionals making when servicing clients? 

Great tools to help you with your social media efforts: part 1

Over the past 18 months, we’ve spent a lot of time looking for tools to help us with our social media efforts.  Some have been recommended to us ,while others we simply stumbled across while trying to find solutions to particular issues.

Here are the first 5 that we particularly like, that might help you:

1. Namechk.com - are your company and personal brands protected in the social media space? Namechk is a great little tool that lets you know on which social media sites a name is registered.

2. claim.io – this allows you to own your name on 300 social media sites (not that you will use, or ever use, all of them but unless you want to protect your name on the main sites yourself this is a real time saver). This makes it easier for your target audience to find you and protects you from name squatting and identity fraud, minimising risk to your brand.

3. hootsuite.com – this is a real time-saver as you can access all your social media sites in one place. I find it really useful when I want to share information across multiple platforms or to pre-schedule posts (as you can set these up in advance). I would advise using Hootsuite to post information to multiple platforms/groups with caution as you will usually want to tweak your heading/introduction to ensure it’s relevant to a particular audience.

4. bit.ly – allows you to shorten and share your links. This is especially important if you are sharing information via Twitter as you only have space for 140 characters and if you want your tweets to be retweeted then others need space to do so. I really like the fact you can go to bit.ly and get a real-time summary of how many people have clicked on a particular link.

5. addtoany.com – a great sharing button that you can add to your blog, website posts etc. so that others can easily share your content with their contacts.

Have you found any of the above tools useful? What other tools would you recommend and why?