This post has a bit of a personal touch. Well, about 867 words or personal touch. OOPS. Normally my posts are around 200 words. In this post you’ll learn how building business through LinkedIn can be done without acquisition. I am too shy for acquisition, so I had to find another way, you’re about to find out all about it.
You may not be interested in my personal entrepreneurial journey. I get it. I don’t need to read everybody’s personal account. If you prefer to skim read the find the juicy bits, there are plenty of headers to guide you. Otherwise, grab a cuppa and spend the next 5 minutes following my story of building business through LinkedIn.
THIS LINKEDIN STORY STARTS IN 2011
I worked for an organisation with about 100 employees and we hit rough weather. Regardless of how much I like commuting by ferry, especially on stormy days, this was the kind of rough weather that made me uncomfortable.
Friends said I should look at it as an opportunity. That it was time for me to start working for myself. Yeah right, doing what? Sure, I loved training, as I still do, but training in what? I’d done so many different things. Jack of all trades, master of NONE is how I saw myself.
My friends had a different view. They saw training as the thing I am good at and had in one shape or another 20+ years of experience in. I couldn’t deny that point.
BACK TO THE COMPANY I WORKED FOR
About 20 people were made redundant. All but two temporarily contracts were terminated. I was one of the two survivors. And I let out a big sigh of relief. All this talk about starting my own business. Ha, no matter what strengths my friends believed I possess, they forgot just one minor detail: I am too shy for acquisition.
I had been quite worried about my position for about 6 months. That is a long time. Ever been anxious about your future for six months? I do not recommend it. What it did make me do, was freshen up my LinkedIn profile.
I FELL IN LOVE WITH LINKEDIN
As I discovered more and more about the possibilities of actively using LinkedIn, I got quite excited about it. I was almost disappointed that I didn’t lose my job. ALMOST. I still had a mortgage to pay and daughter to look after as a single mum. I decided there and then that I would never, ever, feel this anxious about surviving again.
I thought, what is going to happen in 12 months time? Will they renew my contract again, or let me go after all? I always chose time for me and my daughter over money, so I was only working three days a week at this stage. With two days a week spare I decided to give this ‘starting your own business’ thing a go.
I would be “Petra Fisher, LinkedIn Trainer for International Professionals”.
NO MONEY TO INVEST OR FALL BACK ON
Now all I needed to do is put my money where my mouth is. Lacking the money, I invested time.
I aimed high. Though there is plenty of fish in the sea, what will make this fish stand out?
Charging high fees! Seemed like a great idea at the time…
Charge high fees, work for corporates and be one-of-a-kind. I needed to build up a reputation in order to be able to target those clients. By working on my reputation, I also didn’t have to worry about that little detail called acquisition. Out of sight out of mind.
WHAT WORKS FOR NETFLIX WORKED FOR ME
“Ten tips to …” seemed to be the best-viewed blogs at the time, so I needed to write some of those as well. Build a website, write a blog, share it through LinkedIn and Bob’s your uncle. With only two days a week for my own company, I had to use my time creatively.
If Netflix can do it, then I can do it. Why spend all my time on ONE blog sharing 10 tips? If I made it into a series of 10 posts that would last me 2.5 months. Somehow I only made it to 9. Each week I shared my blog on LinkedIn, as status update. Posted in several groups to start discussions…
FELL FLAT ON MY FACE WITH THAT
I posted blog episodes in so many groups, without really starting a discussion, that I got a black mark against my name in some groups. Meaning I couldn’t post for a period of time. This inspired me to write another series of blog posts. About group use on LinkedIn. Only three blogs this time, but they got picked up worldwide.
I have to tell you something that happened in between.
All this activity on LinkedIn did not go unnoticed. I got noticed by Mike O’Neil and Lori Ruff in the US. We started chatting on Skype and one day Lori send me a message saying:
“Uhm … I may have jumped the gun a bit, but a big international corporation asked if we have a trainer in Amsterdam to conduct some sessions at their European headquarters, and I’ve let them know you’ll do it”.
So here I was. I had quite an impressive video on my website. Had delivered one in company training and was asked by Mike O’Neil and Lori Ruff to deliver training on their behalf.
NOT BAD FOR A SOCIAL WORKER TURNED SELF-PROFESSED TRAINER
Not long after, I was invited to come to the US to co-facilitate the 10th annual LinkedIn event Mike and Lori organise. I was flattered, felt special. It took someone else to point out to me that it worked both ways. They had been able to advertise this 10th event with an international speaker all the way from Amsterdam!
HOW DID I USE LINKEDIN TO GET HERE?
I clearly identified WHO I wanted to reach and WHAT message I wanted to send. You’ve probably heard about the “Know, Like and Trust” factors in order to be able to do business. Here’s how I applied them.
GET PEOPLE TO KNOW YOU
Make a lot of noise so people have heard of you! Make noise on LinkedIn by sharing knowledge. By sharing industry articles by others. By liking and commenting on updates of other people. Every activity you conduct on LinkedIn increases you visibility in your network. Ideally comment rather than like. It allows you to share little snippets of your expertise, adding value to your network.
GET PEOPLE TO LIKE YOU
The easiest way to get people to like you is handing out presents. Share valuable information that doesn’t directly lead back to your website. Endorse people if you think they are really good at something. Write a short recommendation without being asked. It does wonders for your likeability.
More importantly, it is actually really good fun to do.
GET PEOPLE TO TRUST YOU
Apart from the obvious: don’t tell lies. People trust you if they relate to you. Make sure some of your personality shines through in what you do. Your values, the fact you care about how your work impacts and benefits your clients. Focus on the other.
HAVE A ONE-TRACK-MIND
Make sure you stay focused on your expertise and the target audience you wish to reach. I am interested in sustainability; my daughter was recycling before she knew there was such a word. Yet I rarely like an interesting update on LinkedIn about sustainability.
People connect with me for my LinkedIn knowledge. I want to be predictable. If you see my face come past in the non-stop stream of updates on your homepage, I want you to automatically pause to see what I said. Because you KNOW it will be about LinkedIn, Networking or Personal Branding.
HOW ABOUT THE ACQUISITION?
But how did I get around that nagging little detail, that acquisition thing? I didn’t! Easy as that. Well, most of the time. I am good at what I do because it is within my comfort zone. Acquisition is not, so I am not going to create anxiety for myself. By being active on LinkedIn for about 30 minutes a day, staying focused on my topics, aiming for my dream clients, I have not done any active acquisition. Prospective clients approach me.
STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF
I once accepted a project because it was big. It would be a great experience, could lead to new things yet I completely ignored a nagging little feeling that I was not actually going to enjoy this project.
I pushed that feeling away with rational arguments. How I was capable of pulling this project off. How it would really put my name on the map within the Dutch market. How the money was great.
Putting my name on the map within the Dutch market. What was I thinking? Didn’t I, in part, keep my own company going after the initial employment panic had gone, because I love operating in English? In an international environment?
LIFE IS A JOURNEY (Ralph Emerson Anderson)
That is when I found the missing piece in the puzzle of my LinkedIn use. I needed to sharpen my target audience and let go of doing everything bi-lingual. Operating in English is what makes me happy. Happy trainer – happy clients. This was my journey during the first four years I was in business. It led to me being a well-known LinkedIn trainer in The Netherlands, Australia, The UK and the USA. You can see the locations of my clients pinned on a map at the bottom of this page.
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
I can tell you how to fill out your LinkedIn Profile.
I can show you how to use the different features of LinkedIn.
Yet none of that is going to get you anywhere… If you don’t listen to yourself!
Identify what makes you happy, what puts that spark in your eye?
Who do you want to work with?
And then, only then does it make any sense to put all my tips and tricks into practice.
>>> Have a question how LinkedIn can help YOUR business? Pop it in the comments! Other thoughts and compliments most welcome as well. <<<
Or maybe I should ask, what type of content on LinkedIn gets you most engagement and views? I haven’t looked at my stats much, let alone compare. I did want to show you though, that LENGTH of post really doesn’t matter.
What matters is: “Does your content resonate with your audience?” This pissy little one-liner got a fair bit of traction. Another 800 views since I captured this screenshot.
WHY DID THIS CONTENT WORK?
1) It is so short, people don’t have to click ‘show more’.
2) It is a statement that people feel strongly about.
3) I do reply to each comment.
NUMBER 3 IS IMPORTANT FOR MULTIPLE REASONS
It is always a good idea to acknowledge and thank the people who took the effort to comment. That is just friendly and polite.
By responding to comments, you can add more information, showing your expertise.
Having a conversation is the starting point of relationship building, which is what networking is all about.
WHY DOES ANY OF THIS MATTER?
Because the engagement with my post creates exposure for me to the network of the person that commented. One of their connections (2nd degree to me) might then also comment and thus exposing me to THEIR network. Easy peasy way to reach a large audience and become known for your expertise.
SO WHAT CONTENT ON LINKEDIN WORKS BEST?
There is no straight answer. As soon as everybody noticed post with images worked like a charm, the algorithm changed. Same with links to websites or videos. Then there were the mighty long dramatic posts that started with two sensational lines.
At the moment your best bet seems to be a mix of content on LinkedIn. Short posts, longer ones. Video, images, links… just two quick notes with that. When posting a video, the algothingymebob does seem to favour UPLOADS over links to YouTube or Vimeo, same as FB. They like to keep people on their platform. This is also why people now tend to put links (URL) in a comment, so the actual post isn’t seen as sending people to another site.
>>> Thoughts? Questions? Compliments? J Hit the comments! <<<
If you are an admin of your own LinkedIn Company Page or the page of the company you work for, you might have run into this. Anytime you like, comment or share, you do so as the page instead of YOU from your personal LinkedIn Profile. There is an easy fix for that! Mind you, I overlooked it for quite some time. Once you know, it is like DUH!
YUP THAT IS ALL THERE IS TO IT
By default (A) you are in ‘manage page’ modus (admin view). This means you comment, like, share as the page. Clicking ‘go to member view’ (B) allows you to comment, like and share as yourself.
PS In the app you automatically share as YOU when you visit your company page.
>>> Any comments? Questions? Other LinkedIn Company Page things to share? GO FOR IT. <<<
You can use video on LinkedIn for many reasons. Video is a quick and easy way to show your expertise. You can record ‘how to’ videos, quick tip videos, videos with background information, product demos, videos of you speaking… you can even ask people to record video testimonials! Here are four things to keep in mind when adding video to your profile:
Directly upload video on LinkedIn.
Places where you can add video to LinkedIn.
Fun ideas for video on your profile.
Always add value.
1. DIRECTLY UPLOAD VIDEO ON LINKEDIN
LinkedIn, like most platforms, doesn’t like people leaving their site. The algorithingymebob prefers you to upload a video on LinkedIn over posting a link to YouTube or Vimeo. With the mobile app you can even record video on LinkedIn, but editing options are limited (next to none).
2. WHERE CAN YOU ADD VIDEO ON LINKEDIN?
Just recently (at time of writing, spring 2018) LinkedIn added the option for video on Company Pages. Even sponsored posts (ads really). Apart from that, you can add video on LinkedIn to your status updates (posts), LinkedIn Articles (the blog option so to speak) and your profile.
3. IDEAS FOR VIDEO ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
Your profile allows you to add video to your summary, experience and even education section. If you gave a presentation or talk, a little video is great. I suggest editing so you have a 1-2 min video that makes a point in itself, rather than just showing that you were on stage.
You can also demonstrate products, record interviews or turn PowerPoints into videos. A 30-60 sec introduction video is great. People get to know you and you can take away any (unconscious) bias people may have regarding your language proficiency or academic level.
4. ALWAYS ADD VALUE
Whatever you do, keep your reader in mind. Add value for them. Share tips, how-to’s, insights, anything that makes people feel it was worth their while watching. A few more ideas for video: behind the scenes at your company, a customer case study, a weekly series that makes people look out for your video, you can even turn your blog posts into videos by narrating them.
>>> What ideas have you got for video on LinkedIn? Please share in the comments!<<<
Do you ever look at “Who viewed your profile?” I used to, heaps, in the early days. And do nothing. Then I more or less stopped looking. What about you? Do you take action based on profile views? Before we get into it, let’s dispel …
A BIG FAT MYTH
Let’s get this straight first. Having a paid account does NOT show you the details of someone viewing in anonymous mode. That is an urban myth. LinkedIn does not breach its user’s privacy like that.
WHY CHECK WHO VIEWED YOUR PROFILE
Paying attention to who viewed your profile is more than scrolling through the list. Click on anything that wants to be clicked! Even better, check it in the app on your mobile or tablet, then you get a cool graph as well.
The information like location, company, job title is given to you a bit haphazardly. It still gives a good indication if you are attracting the right people. If not… fix your profile and focus more on your area of expertise when posting and commenting.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PAID AND FREE ACCOUNT
As my schooldays are LOOOONNNNNGGG time behind me, I will not look up the information and then write it down for you in my own words. I’ll do what the resident teenager of this house would do. Add a screenshot of the relevant information!
SHOULD YOU REACH OUT TO THOSE PEOPLE?
See, I never did. Seemed a bit creepy. Stalking almost. Which is quite a funny way to look at it. If people show an interest in you, why not start a conversation? I used to be hesitant to send out an invitation until I saw this analogy by Kurt Shaver.
My first thought was: “I’d be too shy to follow up and contact those people”. Then I remembered it is an analogy. Online I have no shyness. It suddenly made perfect sense to reach out to people viewing my profile!
SOME THOUGHTS ON REACHING OUT
Did you apply for a position and is the recruiter or HR person checking you out? Do a little happy dance, but leave them alone. You don’t want to be seen as trying to become teacher’s pet.
Did someone from a cool company check you out? Hang tight for a moment. Look at the company page or website to check if they are hiring. In that case, apply first, then reach out. Otherwise, go for it.
People that seem to be ‘just looking’? Look back! If you see something on their profile that interests you, invite them to connect, mentioning what sparked your interest in their profile.
Did a 1st-degree connection check your profile? Send them a message for sure, what a great way to get back in touch with your network and start a conversation. Who knows, they might be ready to hire you for your services!
>>>What are you doing with the who viewed your profile information? Share your thoughts in the comments.<<<
Well hellooooo you trigger finger! Wouldn’t you like to know how to undo your action and withdraw LinkedIn invitations? See, this is what happened. I went for a walk in the freezing cold, as the sun was out and I had been sitting still too long. Then I bumped into a person I know. Yup. True story! After we ran through the compulsory script of bumping into people she asked me a question:
HOW DO I WITHDRAW LINKEDIN INVITATIONS?
See, they accidentally clicked that option where LinkedIn automatically invites your whole address book. Oopsies. Well, even I’ve done that! Yup, demonstrating how that feature does have its uses if used correctly and forgetting to untick the box I needed to untick to demonstrate. UGH.
2 OPTIONS TO WITHDRAW LINKEDIN INVITATIONS!
If you invited just one person (or a few) by “mis-clicking” there is an easy fix. You can withdraw LinkedIn invitations as long as they have not yet been accepted.
Click on “My network” in the menu bar.
Click “Manage all”.
That’s it! Invite gone. There is no warning, no are you sure, no confirm your actions. Hey, if you were so quick to click in the first place that you accidentally sent out the invite, then why slow down now!
If you clicked so LinkedIn invited your whole address book, the above method may not work. In that case, click the drop-down arrow next to “Me” underneath your pretty little (tiny really) face top right in the menu bar. Go to help and politely ask (or desperately beg if that is more your style) for them to remove all outstanding invitations. WARNING this will also remove any invitation you sent out on purpose.
BEFORE YOU USE METHOD 2
Follow the first 3 steps in method one. See any invites that you deliberately sent out? Write down their names. The will be GONE if you use method 2. By writing down the names you can manually invite them again.
>>>What is your biggest LinkedIn OOOOOPS moment?<<<
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