When my children were little, they used to love helping in the kitchen and one of the most popular activities was making Alphabet Soup. It was a great way to use up leftovers from the weekend, packed full of vegetables and to keep them interested, I used to add a packet of dried pasta shapes with letters of the alphabet.
We never knew which letter would be in the next spoonful and we had some fun making up words or telling stories using those letters!
Like my real life soup, I am starting a series of posts in LinkedIn which will provide tips, information, guidance on all things LinkedIn related with each post looking at a letter of the alphabet.
Now it would be easy to start with A and work my way through the alphabet wouldn’t it? To capture the same element of fun, I’m going to mix it up a bit.
After all, who knows what will be in the next spoonful?
Look out for my post on Monday 31st August 2020, when you will have the opportunity to influence which letter of the alphabet to start with.
LinkedIn Linda’s Alphabet Soup posts will be appearing every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday starting 1st September 2020.
I’m a member of The Athena Network in Farnham and the Regional Director, Charlotte Emery, recently interviewed me remotely during lockdown as part of her Business Showcase series.
In my Business Showcase interview, I tell Charlotte a little bit about my background, where I found my love of LinkedIn Training and why helping others to succeed is integral to all that I do. I also share some LinkedIn Tips!
Many business owners know the benefits of business networking, how the process of developing positive business relationships leads to introducers, advocates and referrals.
LinkedIn as a business networking, relationship building tool is so powerful. There are many ways you can use LinkedIn to supplement and reinforce your own business networking activity to increase and enhance your visibility to a wider audience.
Having a completed and up to date LinkedIn profile is at the core of your LinkedIn activity. Help people to see at a glance what you do, and want to find out more about you and your business. First Impressions really do count.
At the very minimum you need:
Recent, head and shoulders photo
Impactful Headline – tell people what you do and how you can help them
Up to date Contact details
A strong ‘About’ section to generate interest
Incorporate key phrases and words that people looking for your business type will use to find you
A clear call to action – what do you want people to do as a result of viewing your profile?
An attractive background image that showcases you and your business
Make Relevant Connections
Connect with your fellow networking colleagues. First connections are able to direct message each other, provide Recommendations, make Introductions, therefore it is essential to connect with those who you know, like and trust.
Personalise your invitation. Make it relevant to the person – if you know them, remind them how you know them. If you don’t, tell them why you would like to connect with them.
Avoid generic templates, a genuine connection invitation will help to start your online business relationship with the same warmth you use when meeting people in person.
Keep In Touch
Use the Messaging facility to send messages to your
connections who you haven’t seen or communicated with in a while.
Keep them up to date with things that are happening that they might be interested in
Share an article or a post that may be of interest to them personally
Ask how you can help them and keep this non sales related (ie; who would they like an introduction to)
Send a Voice Message or Video Message for that personal touch
Invite them to a one to one business conversation and get to know them better. Use the plethora of technology available to so: Zoom, Hangouts, Skype – and of course, face to face once we are able to socialise in person again. Or just pick up the phone and have a conversation.
Be proactive and research your connections – who might be a good connection for someone else?
After a one to one or a group meeting, record the types of professions that your networking colleagues would like to meet. Follow up by being proactive – check your own LinkedIn connections to see who might be suitable to introduce to your colleagues.
Use the Share Profile feature – this will open up in a new Message, ready to send to your connection. Remember to personalise the message and explain why you are making the introduction.
Or, you could use the Group Messaging facility to introduce two people to each other. Once the introduction has been made, you can follow up with each person after a few days to find out if the introduction was valuable to them.
Verify Skills and Expertise
Be proactive – implement a system of viewing your fellow networkers profiles and checking which skills they have listed on their profile.
Have you had first hand experience of a specific skill? If so, and your experience has been positive, then Endorse that person for that skill. Remember only the top 3 skills are visible, you need to expand the section to view other skills.
Recognition and Appreciation
Who have you had a one to one meeting with this week?
Who have you heard speak this week?
Who has given you a genuine referral?
Who has impressed you with their knowledge, their expertise, their attitude?
Who has recommended you and your business?
We all like to be
recognised for something that we have done well and/or appreciated for our
contribution. Why not use LinkedIn to showcase other people? Here are some ways
you can use LinkedIn Posts to do this:
Share your ‘golden nuggets‘ of learning following a networking meeting, a training course, a seminar, a talk – what have you learned, how will you implement the learning and importantly, what others will gain from participating in future events.
Talk about what you have appreciated about someone – it could be purely that someone has gone out of their way to help you – so let them and your LinkedIn community know that you appreciate them, and why.
Write an information post about a company, their services/products and why this has impressed you.
Thank people for referring you to others and or testimonials you have received from them.
Share their events, their achievements, their business stories
The Gold Dust
Be Proactive! View your fellow networker’s Activity section on their Profile. What updates have they recently posted?
Like and Comment on their posts. This is like gold dust!
Your actions will help to boost the reach of the post, encourage more engagement from others and add real value to their presence.
You will also raise your own visibility, and enhance your own reputation as a good networker.
There is no
higher accolade than providing a genuine, written testimonial for people who
have provided a great service, gone the extra mile, have delivered a product/service
that has exceeded expectations.
In LinkedIn, the Recommendations feature is where you can give truly genuine testimonials and provide great value to your connections.
Many business networking groups will have part of their meeting devoted to giving referrals, leads and providing verbal testimonials. If you have provided a verbal testimonial during these meetings, follow up with a written Recommendation in LinkedIn.
Don’t wait to be asked! Make it a habit to write a Recommendation for that person as soon as you finish your meeting. Don’t leave it for another day or time, now is the perfect opportunity to do so.
A couple of things to be aware of…
Only provide a Recommendation when you have personally experienced what you are recommending.
Never ask for or expect a Recommendation in return – genuine recommendations are those that are given without expectation.
Be Kind Without Expectation – Never Ask for Something in Return
There was much excitement on Stand 28 at the Hampshire Business Expo on 26th February when the winner of our competition was drawn.
Visitors to the stand were invited to participate in our competition to win 2 hours of Linda’s time for a one to one LinkedIn for Business training session. Visitors were presented with 100 numbered keyholes – which keyhole matches the Key to Unlock LinkedIn?
93 keyholes were reserved at the end of the day and Claire Cable from Eagle Radio had the honour of selecting the winning keyhole.
And the winner is….
I’m delighted to announce that the winning keyhole is Harriet Palmer from The Brain Tumour Charity and she will be receiving her 2 hours LinkedIn training with Linda in March. A very worthy winner and a win that is much appreciated by Harriet.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the competition and entered into the spirit of the day.
Huge thanks to my team of helpers on the day: Richard Huckle, Alicja Teagle and Vicky Kleboe – you all did me proud!
There are many levels of LinkedIn training you can undertake: some people just want to build connections and relationships, while others intend to use LinkedIn as a key part of their marketing strategy.
Whichever the case, there are essential skills that everyone needs to learn, such as how to update your profile. This may sound simple, but as one MD found out, mistakes can still happen – and are not best made in front of your entire professional network.
Here’s how the story goes…
As the managing director of an established IT company, Lisa had built up a sizeable LinkedIn network, including: colleagues, vendors, clients, business associates and leads. The business was booming: she was in the process of setting up a subsidiary company, while reassuring clients, associates and prospective clients that the existing business would remain her primary focus.
Excited for the launch of the new business, Lisa booked some LinkedIn training for her marketing team, so they could start raising awareness of the new venture. They would need to update their profiles to reflect both businesses, which was a core part of the initial LinkedIn training.
Creating a Professional Image
A paragraph of universal wording was agreed for the ‘Experience’ section of all personal profiles within the company, so a consistent message would be created regarding the developing business. Lisa attended the training along with her marketing team, but when it came to actually updating the profiles, she said she had ‘other things to do’ and ‘knew how to do this anyway’.
On went the training, and by the end of the session the marketing team felt confident in using LinkedIn to promote the business, the new Company Page had been created and they were proud of their smart new personal profiles! The trainer left, happy with the results and off to prepare for her next client.
Where’s the Panic Button?
Very early the following morning, the LinkedIn trainer had 3 missed calls with voicemails from Lisa to her mobile – all with an air of distress and urgency. It transpired that instead of adding her new business venture to her profile, Lisa had replaced any mention of her existing business with the new company – she had effectively shut down her own business overnight.
In amongst the many messages of surprise, and hesitant congratulations, Lisa received a number of private messages from her clients and prospects: demanding answers and raising concerns. Her calls and messages to the trainer were cries for help – she didn’t know what to do, or how to explain her rather public mistake.
What followed, were many hours (at a cost) spent rectifying the profile mistake and offering apologies and reassurance to her valuable clients and prospects. It was a simple error. The remedy was to use the profile ‘Experience’ section to add the new business; then rearrange the order so the existing business would appear on top, as her primary focus.
This knowledge was built-in to the LinkedIn training schedule, just after Lisa left to attend to other things. So too, was the advice that when making any major changes to your profile you should ALWAYS switch off ‘Sharing profile edit’ – so you have the chance to review and move things around before your network are notified of the change.
To find this, go to Settings ➡️ Privacy ➡️ How others see your LinkedIn activity ➡️ Sharing profile edits ➡️ Switch to No
The Moral of the Story: You don’t know what you don’t know
If you are aware that training is needed, then book a trainer you trust to teach you and set aside the time to learn, even if you think you know it already. Like other platforms, LinkedIn regularly adds new features and updates existing ones, so a professional trainer will have the expertise to guide you through these.
Lisa is now happily running both businesses and has not lost any clients or prospects fortunately. However, following step-by-step instruction for something so important could have avoided unnecessary time and money spent, and removed the risk of damaging her business reputation.
💡 For more information on using LinkedIn to grow your business, or to book a targeted training session, please contact Linda for a no obligation conversation.
LinkedIn continue to update its user interface – or in plain language – the layout of your profile. After a major redesign in the late summer of 2017, another is on it’s way and being rolled out gradually to users. It is still in the very early stages of roll-out and as soon as it reaches my profile, I will be updating this article with further information and guidance.
The new design is only for desktop (your PC or Mac), and the mobile/tablet design will remain unchanged for now. This in itself creates a few challenges, mainly for the cover image on your personal profile as it will need to accommodate your profile photo both centrally for the mobile app and left aligned for the new design for your desktop.
I don’t yet have the new design on my own profile however, from the screenshots I’ve seen shared on LinkedIn, these are the key changes:
The Profile Photo which is currently centrally placed will be left aligned and slightly larger in size
The Headline and Location will also be left aligned and will sit directly beneath the Profile Photo
Contact Details section will move from the right of the profile and become an integral part of the top section. These details will sit directly beneath the Cover Image on the right. This is a positive move as it means the reader will be able to see how to contact you without moving to a different section of your profile
There will be more text of the Summary section visible, currently you only see two lines before you have to click the Show more to expand the section
Media items (photos, video, links) currently located at the bottom of the Summary section will also be visible before expanding the Summary as you currently have to do
From what I’ve seen, the new user interface looks much cleaner and provides more information in the top section than we currently have. I am pleased to see that Contact details have been brought into the top section too and that there is more of the Summary available to read. The new design will however affect the Cover Image…
Like many people, I have a Cover Image that is designed to fit well with the location of my Profile Photo. As the Profile Photo will soon be left aligned and not placed centrally as it is currently, I will need to redesign my Cover Image as it won’t work with the new user interface.
Remember though that the Mobile/Tablet versions of LinkedIn are not changing (yet). So I must make sure that my Cover Image is compatible with both designs.
If you are working with a Graphic Designer to design your own Cover Image, please make sure they are aware of the imminent changes and design your Cover Image to suit both desktop and mobile versions of LinkedIn.
Keep up to date with changes in LinkedIn
It seems to be almost every week that new features and changes are implemented in LinkedIn. To keep up to date with the new features, and see relevant articles, tips and short videos, please Follow Linda Huckle Training on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with 550 million users globally (statistics quoted by LinkedIn). For small businesses, it is a valuable resource for networking, connecting, sharing information, being more visible and engaging with your clients and prospects.
Behind every LinkedIn profile, there is a person – and people buy people. It is this personal approach to business that I bring to my LinkedIn training and coaching services. Keeping it personal, and relevant to your unique needs, means that the training you receive is unique to you and your business.
Does your LinkedIn Profile relay the best possible image of you and your business?
Would you like to utilise LinkedIn as a business tool?
Would you like to create engaging updates and articles?
Do you know how to build positive relationships through your LinkedIn activity?
Would you like to attract new business?
Would you like to create a content strategy that works for you?
What about images? Do you know where to find them and how to use them in LinkedIn?
Would you like to portray consistency of message, brand and ethos across your company in LinkedIn?
Would you like to rise above the LinkedIn ‘noise’ and connect with, engage with and build positive relationships with the right people?
Customer journeys are punctuated by ‘moments of truth’; interactions that may be tiny, but have a huge impact on how your products and services are perceived. I will help you improve the journeys of your customers.
Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)