Understanding our digital future

If you implemented the two important steps from the last post, you are only three away from having your LinkedIn profile working for you. In this post I’ll let you know how to use your network, LinkedIn groups, and how to configure access to your profile.

NETWORK: Set a goal of 250 connections. For some this may seem daunting at first, but you will be surprised at how quickly you will get there. With a systematic approach of sending 5 invitations every day, you can reach you goal in a couple of months. You will go through stages of identifying and connecting with people on LinkedIn. For most of my clients it becomes a stream of consciousness…one person leads to another who reminds you of someone else and when you connect with them another person will pop up.

Start with your current database – it might be your Outlook or Yahoo or AOL email list but it is the best place to begin. Search by name to see who is already on LinkedIn and send them an invitation to connect. After you have exhausted this list, begin searching the companies you have worked for in the past as well as educational institutions you have attended. I guarantee you will find names of people you haven’t seen or talked to in years, but would enjoy reconnecting with you on LinkedIn. The third area to search is the connections of the people who you are now connected to. Take a few minutes every day and pick 1 or 2 people in your new virtual universe and see who their connections are. Chances are there will be a name you recognize and someone else to invite into your network.

GROUPS: The real secret to LinkedIn success lies in the Groups. You have the opportunity to join up to 50 groups (it took me 18 months to reach the maximum). The categories are: Alumni (look for all the schools you attended – whether you graduated or not); Corporate (join the groups of companies you have worked for or perhaps had business associations with in the past); Conference (many conferences today create their own groups to facilitate networking before and after the event); Networking (great for just common interests – mine is Starbucks Enthusiasts!); Non-Profit (great way to connect with other volunteers, fund-raisers, leaders, and members of non-profit organizations); Professional (more general groups to appeal to your profession – lawyers, doctors, CPA’s, etc.); and finally, if all else fails, there is a category for Other (covers any group that doesn’t fit into one of the other categories).

There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn and many have thousands of members. Once you are approved for membership in a group (sometimes automatic and sometimes requires approval by group manager), you can begin to dialogue with other members through the Discussion Forums. Be careful not to sell – be a valuable contributor.

ACCESS: Opening your Profile for everyone to see is the easiest thing to do and the very thing that most people do wrong! Once you have your profile ready to go, open the settings and set it to Full View. Remember, this is your online classified ad about you. What is the point if you don’t let people know about you? I am continually baffled by people who limit access to their profile. It makes total sense on a site like Facebook where you are sharing personal photos and information. But LinkedIn is your professional persona and there is no reason to hide the information.

Recruiters, hiring managers, potential clients, or new business associates will look to LinkedIn to check you out. If they can’t see the information you are slowing down the potential for new business. If you develop your profile the way you want yourself to be known, there is absolutely no reason not to make your profile public.

If you haven’t done so already, please send me an invitation to connect today.

Also, send Marc Ostrofsky, author of Get Rich Click an invitation as well.

Posted by: In: Blog, Social media 29 Sep 2010 0 comments

If the read and followed the last blog post, then you are probably well on your way to making LinkedIn a powerful weapon in your social media arsenal. In this post we’ll delve into more detail about what you can do to start attracting more business today. Like an interview and a great resume, proper presentation yields bigger dollars!

PROFILE: It all starts with an effective and complete profile. An incomplete profile says as much about you as not having one at all and in either case, the message you are sending is not a good one. LinkedIn provides you an opportunity to present your personal biography in a positive, professional, and engaging way. It allows you to show the world everything you want people to know about you – your background, your capabilities, and your services.

The first challenge clients usually bring up is, “I can do all that on my website, and there I don’t have to compete with everyone else’s message.” And my answer is, “That is absolutely true – but – you have to first attract people to your site and then get them to stay long enough to seek out the information about you.” This takes time, talent and money, and there are no guarantees it will work. When people visit LinkedIn, however, it is with the purpose of finding people, finding out about them, and then taking appropriate action (which may be to follow the link to your website where your services are fully displayed). Think of your LinkedIn profile as your permanent classified ad about you!

PHOTO: Why is a quality headshot your best shot? It’s simple really. For people who know you (or have known you in the past), it’s reassurance and confirmation that they are connecting with the right person. For people who don’t know you, it puts a face to a name and goes a long way in humanizing you.

A quality headshot requires you to be well-groomed, looking into the camera so people can see your eyes, and above all – smiling! This postage stamp digital image is your best way to say to the world, “I’m real, I’m human, and I’m approachable.” Dress can vary depending on what you do for a living but should reflect how you want people to perceive you as a professional and what they can anticipate if and when they meet you in person. For example, if you are competing for corporate business, then a suit is appropriate. This would also be true for lawyers, CPA’s, insurance representatives, financial advisors, etc. If you’re a doctor, a dentist, or a chiropractor, then a lab coat could work very effectively. If you’re in a business where casual dress is the norm, then men might choose an open neck shirt or polo while ladies might select a blouse or sweater. While you certainly want to look your best, this is not the time for Glamour Shots as they tend to lean toward provocative rather than professional.

A little bonus tip about photos: you should seriously consider using the same primary head shot on all your social networking profiles – Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo, Squidoo, etc. Why? So that when people navigate from one site to another looking for people, you will stand out as familiar and recognizable. That visual reinforcement will encourage connecting, friending, and following. (More on this in the 3rd series article).

The next post in this series will address the specifics of your network connections, group participation, and profile access. Look for that post next week!

We here at Get Rich Click are thrilled to bring you a series of guest posts from Carol McManus. In less than three years, Carol has leveraged LinkedIn to bring herself over $400,000 in new business! Carol has successfully transitioned from the old world real estate economy to the new world of on-line social media. She found a way to transition her previous success as a Sr. Vice President of Real Estate Operations for Coldwell Banker to Founder and CEO of YWait4Success — a highly successful coaching and consulting firm for entrepreneurs and businesses. While she understands all facets of social media, she has emerged as the leading LinkedIn expert. Get Rich Click is thrilled to share Carol’s thoughts on social media and her invaluable tips and tricks for leveraging dollars through LinkedIn.

From Carol McManus, America’s LinkedIn Lady:

Wondering how social media can benefit your business? If so, then read on.

Social networking is not only here to stay, it is an essential part of the new media mix whether you are a solo-preneur, a local business or a national corporation. Social media vehicles are the new ways to reach existing customers, find new potential customers, and establish your personal brand in the marketplace. There are many choices; the most well-known right now are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

While it is prudent to use more than one option, let’s focus on why LinkedIn should be the foundation of your social media strategy. LinkedIn is the only highly ranked site on the Internet that allows you to have a comprehensive biography about who you are and what you do. You may already have this information on your own website, but chances are you don’t have over 50 million individuals accessing your site on a regular basis.

Let’s put it another way. Your website could be the best website in your industry…great information, attractive design, easy navigation, and more. But without traffic your website is like a train stop in the middle of nowhere. You’re there, ready to receive passengers, but the only thing coming through is tumbleweed and an occasional broken-down pick-up. On the other hand, if you are Grand Central Station, then your passengers have no choice but to find you because you are in the middle of the action.

Simply put, LinkedIn is the Grand Central Station of business relationships on the web and you want to be there. You must be there! If you are in the B2B market (business to business), then this is the place to be. If you are a solo-preneur serving individual consumers, this is the place to be. Very quickly, you will discover that LinkedIn is the best way to position yourself, to be found, and to attract new connections.

If you’re still not sure, here are some specifics that may convince you to give LinkedIn a try. The average age of LinkedIn users is 41 – certainly not the teens and tweens you will find on MySpace. The average household income of LinkedIn users is $109,703 – respectable by any national standard. Looking for an educated audience? 80% of LinkedIn users are college graduates with a high percentage holding graduate degrees. One quarter of the users have a portfolio value of over $250,000. And most important, over 50% are senior level decision-makers in their businesses – hence the reason LinkedIn is ideal for you.

Okay, enough statistics. So what are the keys to make Linkedin work? The answer is to focus on the following:

• Maintain an attractive profile with all sections completed
• Use a high quality and current headshot as your photo
• Strive for a network consisting of a minimum of 250 connections as your goal
• Join a minimum of 10 groups and get actively involved in the discussions
• Open access to your profile so that people can find you and find out about you even before they are connections (biggest benefit over Facebook)

Of course, LinkedIn is not the only site you should use as part of your online media strategy. Any single strategy will have limited success. But this one is an arrow in your quiver that needs to be straight and sharp at all times. In my coming guest posts, you will learn more secrets about how to use LinkedIn effectively to build your business.

In the meantime, please send me an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Please mention Get Rich Click. Linkedin.com/in/carolmcmanus

Posted by: In: Blog, New Ideas, Social media 01 Aug 2010 0 comments

At James Malinchak’s event this week, I got to spend some time with my friend and internet marketing genius, Joel Comm. Joel is one of the people who has turned me on to the power of social media in general and Twitter in particular. If you’d like to know more about how to use Twitter to grow your business, check out this interview of Joel by James: