Does LinkedIn Confuse You? Let’s Change That!

Does LinkedIn confuse you? Overwhelm you? Make no sense to you?

Let’s change that.

If you’ve been avoiding LinkedIn, there is a good chance you have untapped potential. Whether it’s networking, selling, collaborating, or influencing, LinkedIn has something for just about everyone … and it’s growing at a rapid pace.

As of August 2018, there were more than 26 million companies represented and more than 15 million open jobs on LinkedIn. Add to that the steady increase of engagement – members are taking or sending more than 200 million viral actions and messages every week – and LinkedIn is at least worth a look.

What You Need to Know

Before we dive into how to use LinkedIn, it’s important that you understand these three things:

1. LinkedIn has evolved.

To the dismay of early adopters, LinkedIn is no longer a place to have virtual coffee with the people you already know. Do you remember the slap on the wrist you would get back in the day when you’d try to connect with someone you didn’t know? Those days are gone. Now it’s all about growing your network.

2. The news feed is the place to be.

Forget groups, forget article posts … LinkedIn wants you on the news feed, engaged in conversation. If you don’t believe me, post a link to the news feed with a one-sentence description and watch it die. Today’s LinkedIn is all about posting engaging content (use ALL 1,300 characters!) and generating comments.

3. Hashtags actually have a purpose.

Remember when LinkedIn tried to implement hashtags awhile back and they promptly had no purpose? That’s not what happened this time! Hashtags are like LinkedIn’s filing system. Trust me, you want to use them.

We Know This Isn’t Facebook

… Though you will be reminded of this frequently by annoyed LinkedIn users who are upset by “personal” posts.

While it is a good idea to keep things business-focused, it’s important to incorporate personal thoughts and feelings into posts. If we didn’t, LinkedIn would be pretty dry … the way it was when you stopped using it three years ago, remember?

But content isn’t the only reason LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook. The most exciting reason it isn’t like Facebook is because it has the potential for organic reach.

Yes, that’s right! As opposed to Facebook (where we can’t even get our content in front of the people actually following our business pages), you can post to LinkedIn and your posts have the potential to go viral on the platform.

How exciting is that?

Simplifying LinkedIn

I simplify LinkedIn by breaking it into three primary components:

  1. Your profile
  2. Content/posts
  3. Connection requests

Here’s how they work in tandem:

1. Optimize your profile.

What does that mean? LinkedIn is a heavily searched platform. In fact, LinkedIn makes its money by selling the ability to perform detailed searches. Make sure your profile has relevant keywords, is easy to read, and has all of the necessary components filled in. If you want a breakdown of those components, you can download my free LinkedIn checklist.

2. Post quality content and posts.

What you post will depend on you and your audience, but – regardless of what you post – you want to make sure you optimize. Use hashtags, use your 1,300 characters, and don’t put links in your original post (add it to the comments).

3. Send connection requests (with a note).

Reach out to individuals that will improve your bottom line, but do so with an eye towards a relationship. With the potential for organic reach, the connections you make may not be the people who help your business or career, but they might lead to the people who help your business or career!

Did that help?

I hope this provided ample evidence that you should at least explore the possibilities LinkedIn has to offer!

If you have any questions, please comment below!

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a LinkedIn specialist working with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is a powerful, lead generating weapon. When used for good, it can open all kinds of business doors!

 

Let’s start by talking about why you want to optimize your profile.

First, it will help your exposure in SEARCH. If you are a Facebook Ads guru, you want the keyword phrase “Facebook Ads” to be all over your LinkedIn profile so you are the first person who pops up when someone searches LinkedIn for your services!

Second, it will help with inbound marketing. Let’s say you’re in a LinkedIn group and you are so amazing — so witty — that someone clicks on your name to view your profile. You want your profile to use high quality inbound marketing practices to guide that person through the start of your sales cycle.

You’re ready! Let’s optimize your LinkedIn profile!

STEP 1: HEADLINE

You need a stellar headline for a great LinkedIn profile. Your headline is that 120-character statement that accompanies just about every post your make on LinkedIn. Think of it as your personal billboard.

 

What do you want to include in your headline? Answer this question:

What will stand out to the people I want to buy from me?

For some, it means articulating a niche target audience. For others, it’s articulating a niche service. Either way, your goal is to be as specific as possible. I recognize the fear of excluding anyone who may want to work with you, but it’s better to specifically attract a small group of people than to sort of attract everyone.

STEP 2: SUMMARY & CURRENT EXPERIENCE

These sections are the heaviest weighted within your profile. You want to make sure they include keywords and statements you will be found for. Don’t worry about being repetitive; no one is going to read through your profile like a novel.

Your summary should — as the label suggests — sum up your professional career. Don’t feel like you have to include that you have three cats and a dog and like skydiving. Be as personal as you’d like, but don’t feel like you have to be. The key is to be true to you.

Your current experience section(s) — you can have as many as you have current jobs — should provide insight into what your company or business provides. Before writing it, ask yourself this question:

What will someone clicking through to my profile want to know about the services I provide?

Answer those questions with these sections!

 

STEP 3: SKILLS

Fill out your skills section with anything you may be found for in search. You have up to 50 skills and you have the option of choosing three featured skills that will be at the top.

Delete anything you don’t need — if you’re a C-Level professional, you can get rid of “Microsoft Word” as one of your 50 skills.

 

STEP 4: ADD A BUSINESS PAGE

I don’t care if you have your own business or simply work for yourself, make sure you create a business page. Sure, it may only act as a placeholder for your company website, phone number, and services, but it will take your profile to the next level.

 

See the difference?

STEP 5: USE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS

Make sure you’re using a professional headshot (even if your spouse has to take one in front of a blank wall) and not a cutout from that party you attended five years ago. Also, add a banner to your profile so you don’t have that dreaded blue placeholder graphic LinkedIn adds when you don’t have one.

Engage with others!

Once you have an optimized LinkedIn profile, it’s time to engage on the platform. The more you talk to others, the more you’re personal billboard will be displayed.

Also, if you don’t have time to do all of this yourself, please take a look at my LinkedIn Profile Optimization packages and choose one that works for you!

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

What’s the Proper Etiquette for Prospecting on LinkedIn?

Do you know LinkedIn could be a big lead driver for your business, but aren’t sure how to get started? Have you “tried a few things” but aren’t sure whether you’re headed in the right direction? I recognize a lot of people are in that spot, so I asked my network to post their LinkedIn questions.

I hope they help you as well – please post additional questions in the comments section if yours isn’t addressed!

Q: After I’ve made a new connection and introduced myself, what’s the etiquette for following up? Is it simply a question of commenting on their posts and articles or should I be doing more?

There is a spectrum of ways to follow up, depending on your lead generation strategy. If you are reaching out to schedule a discovery call, you will want to follow up to ask if the person is willing and available for that call. If, on the other hand, you are nurturing long-term relationships, you can just follow up with a thank you. Try to avoid overwhelming the person with an immediate, “Here’s my free download!” or “Join my email list!”

I do recommend keeping track of these people in a spreadsheet, though, so you can follow up later with relevant content. Let’s say you design websites and your target audience includes marketers looking for website help for their new or existing clients. If you write an article about website design best practices, you can share it with a potential lead with a note of, “Hey XX! I just wrote this article and think it might be relevant to you or your audience. If you like it, I would love it if you could share it!”

This way, you’re not only helping the potential lead, you’re getting your content out there to another relevant network and it’s a soft ask. In my opinion, this is a win-win-win.

Q: In your pro opinion, when does it make sense to use premium levels of LinkedIn (ie. Sales Navigator) for lead gen?

Look at whether you intend this to be a primary way you generate leads. If you have another source of steady leads, you may simply want to browse through LinkedIn to find relevant connections and track your outreach through a spreadsheet.

If you want this to be a more robust way of generating leads, however, you’ll want to pay for the premium service because it allows you to track leads and easily engage with them, whether you’re connected or not.

You can look at the value of a lead vs. the cost of the service, but I would wager that anyone looking to generate leads on LinkedIn has a client value above $79.99 (the cost of Sales Navigator). Many people won’t see a return for months, though, because it’s a nurturing process, so looking at whether this will be a primary source or leads is the important thing.

Q: What is the proper etiquette (for lack of a better word) for prospecting on LinkedIn?

Connecting on LinkedIn should always be about a mutually-beneficial relationship. If you reach out to someone, do so with the intention of creating a relationship that will benefit both parties instead of reaching out with, “buy from me!”

The exception is if you can tell without reaching out that the people you’re reaching out to already need what you’re selling.

For example, you’re selling doorknobs and you’re reaching out to door companies. They need doorknobs. You don’t have to ask if they need doorknobs — there is a clear need. It’s easy to reach out and say, “Hi, Door Company! I’m reaching out to see if you are in need of a new doorknob vendor. Our product is superior because A, B, C.”

Note, though, that even when you are reaching out with “buy from me” it is a mutually beneficial relationship. Door Company needs doorknobs. You need to sell your doorknobs. It’s a win-win.

Q: Isn’t that the best way to “sell” anyway? Through engagement and connection and the sales will follow.

Yes, it is, but there are two things here.

  1. People don’t actually do that. There is some bad “selling” going around. I’d wager everyone reading this has been on the receiving end of bad selling.
  2. Relationship building is more important on LinkedIn, because you know who you’re talking to when you reach out. It’s easy to completely ruin a potential relationship from the beginning if you don’t have the proper tone as it pertains to your audience.

If you advertise on Facebook, Twitter, Google ads, or you have a content marketing plan on your website, you can see traffic, but not who is looking at your content. This is the one platform where you see who is looking at your content or messages AND who they are as a professional.

Q: I’ve wanted to start posting articles to LinkedIn, but, wasn’t sure if they needed to be written ‘differently’ than how they are on my blog… can they be re-purposed word for word, or, is that frowned upon?

Totally not frowned upon. The question is whether you are writing for the same audience in both spaces. I am working with someone who owns her own nonprofit school. On Facebook and with her website blog, she is speaking to the parents of current and potential students.

On LinkedIn, however, she is speaking to other businesses with the hope of garnering donations and interest from local entrepreneurs willing to mentor her students (her school engages in personalized learning with many hands-on, real-world experiences).

With her blogs, we can tweak the same message to make sense for the business audience compared to her parent audience.

Q: What’s your best tip for someone starting out with cold outreach for lead gen using LinkedIn?

Check your business for these two things before you create your marketing plan:

  1. Is your audience on and using LinkedIn? If they aren’t, you’re not going to get very far.
  2. How will your audience want to be sold to? Will they need to be nurtured along with multiple touch-points or can they be asked, point-blank, whether they want your product or service?

Q: What are your thoughts on thanking new connections? If yes, how do you do it tactfully?

I think it is important to be truthful and non-intrusive at the same time. I will often say things like, “Thank you for connecting – please let me know if any LinkedIn needs come up!” or “I’m excited to connect – I look forward to learning more about your business!”

When I am executing LinkedIn on behalf of a client with a more straightforward ask, I will follow up by asking if they are open to a discovery call and whether they have availability. The most important thing is to be a real human and not a sales robot. Stay true to yourself and your business while holding a real conversation.

People can often see through a “plan” being executed to a tee vs. someone having a real conversation. It’s why I manually work lead gen on behalf of my clients, I don’t automate the process. When I type in a response, it comes across as a conversation instead of a copied-and-pasted response.

Q: What is the most important thing to optimize on my profile before starting to reach out and connect to potential clients and collaborators?

Look at your profile as your own personal sales page. The same way you would optimize a sales page before launching a new product, you do for your LinkedIn profile. The three most important components to doing that are:

  1. Headline
  2. Current experience
  3. Summary

If you expect your audience to search for what you’re providing, embedding keywords would be at the top of the list as well.

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

LinkedIn help

Don’t Make This Mistake When Writing Your LinkedIn Profile

There are a number of factors to consider when writing your LinkedIn profile: target audience, search engine optimization (SEO), and call to action to name a few. After all, you’re looking to convince users (target audience) to buy from you (call to action) and you want to be found (SEO).

But even when everything is written well, there is one critical mistake made over and over again that can greatly decrease your chances of generating leads on LinkedIn.

And that mistake is … Readability.

You can write the greatest sales copy of the century, but fail miserably if it is thrown into one gigantic paragraph. The average human attention span is eight seconds, which means you have the blink of an eye to make a great first impression. You better have a profile that is easy to digest or you’ll lose the audience you’re working so hard for.

This is especially challenging within a LinkedIn profile because the platform doesn’t allow for formatted text (e.g. bold, italics, font size). You have to get creative to make your profile stand out, but the first step is making sure it’s readable.

Here are some of my suggestions:

Paragraphs

I am a huge advocate of breaking up text into paragraphs. There is nothing worse than trying to read something that is a giant word wall.

Now, I get that paragraph length is a personal preference and that mine tend to be on the shorter side. But in this age of short attention spans, I want to keep eyes moving. To me, structuring paragraphs within a profile is an art form that can make all the difference between someone getting lost in your copy to feeling lost reading your copy.

Lists

Lists are another great way to keep eyes moving through your copy, and you can work them in to just about any section of your profile. Take a look at what you’re writing and if there are sentences structured with commas (i.e. “I am talented in item A, item B, and item C”), consider breaking those items up into a list.

You will have to use symbols as bullet points since LinkedIn doesn’t allow for formatted text within its profile sections, but you can get creative with what you choose. Visit websites like copypastecharacter.com to find symbols for your profile.

Subheads

Since you can’t add HTML to your profile you won’t get the SEO benefits of subheads, but you will break up your text and draw attention to key points within your profile. To see the power of this effect, take a look at my LinkedIn profile.

By capitalizing all words and using symbols before and after those words, the subheads within these profile sections stand out. Not only is your eye drawn to those sections, you’ll find yourself reading them. This technique is a tool to better communicate what you and your profile are all about!

Symbols

I’ve already mentioned symbols in two of the other sections because they are critical within LinkedIn profiles. When you use symbols, it successfully breaks up text and draws attention to key points.

Now, I recognize that symbols are fun and it’s easy to get carried away. Make sure you pick professional icons that look good together!

Final Thoughts on Formatting

Readability is critical for a successful profile and formatting is a key piece of that. Get creative with the way you use capitalization, symbols, spacing, and paragraphs to draw attention to what you can do for the audience you draw to your profile.

And if the entire thing sounds like too much work, take advantage of my LinkedIn Profile Development service.

Good luck!

LinkedIn Profile

Resume Or Life Story? What To Say Within Your LinkedIn Profile

Should you write your LinkedIn profile the same way you would write a resume or should you tell your life story?

Knowing what to say within your LinkedIn profile is much harder than it seems. Sit down to start your Summary or Current Experience section and you may come down with a case of writer’s block.

There are a number of factors involved when it comes to what you should say within your LinkedIn profile and how you should say it.

1. Industry

First thing’s first: what industry are you in? An investment banker isn’t going to sound the same as a film producer. A doctor may lose credibility if he or she cites a love of wine or cigar smoking within his or her profile. A freelance writer may miss out on jobs if copy is dry or uninteresting.

It’s important to look at your profile through the filter of the field you’re in. What would someone looking for your services expect to see? How can you use what you write within your profile to show off your skills or expertise?

2. Personality

Stay true to you when you’re writing your profile. Here’s what I mean: if you don’t like sharing personal information, then don’t. If you like to tell stories, tell them. You’ve reached this point in your career because of who you are — don’t shy away from then when you’re talking about yourself within your LinkedIn profile.

At the same time, you want to make sure what you say comes off the way you intend it to come off. Having another set of eyes look through what you’ve written is always a good idea, especially when you’re really looking to showcase your personality.

Something you think is funny may come off rude. Something you think is clear may come off confusing. Get a proofreader!

3. Credibility

What approach will give you the most credibility? Put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re targeting. What could they read within your profile that would lead them to feeling comfortable giving you their money? What would inspire them to want to work with you?

This is the inbound marketing process, which walks people toward wanting to work with you before you even have a conversation.

The right approach will vary by industry and individual. A sales rep, for example, would want to list numbers to show competency. Someone selling a product would want to list key features or testimonials that showcase product benefits. Know what others will want to see from you and include it within your profile.

4. Context

Take a step back from your profile and look at the big picture. Envision your target audience, or who you want to be viewing your profile. What are their key attributes? Then ask yourself these three questions:

  • Where are they coming from? In other words, how will they find your profile?
  • What must they know about you if they are going to do business with you?
  • What do you want them to do once they’ve read your profile?

These three questions will guide you through the process of understanding what you should say to your audience. If your LinkedIn profile were an experience, what would you want that experience to be like for those who visit?

You may need help or guidance when it comes to answering these questions, which is completely normal. You may not even want to write your profile! No problem.

Schedule a Strategy Call or LinkedIn Profile Optimization. We’ll have your profile representing you in no time!

LinkedIn Profile

How to Get Your LinkedIn Profile Ready to Be Seen

I was recently asked an eloquent question around LinkedIn:

How do I get people to buy from me without being smarmy?

Really a fantastic question … and I have an answer!

There are three important steps to generating sales on LinkedIn:

  1. Get your profile ready to be seen
  2. Engage, engage, engage!
  3. Reach out to leads

It’s really that simple, though I know it isn’t simple at all. How do you get your profile ready to be seen? Where do you engage? What do you say when you reach out to a potential lead?

Today we are going to take a look at preparing your profile to be seen, starting with one of the most important aspects of LinkedIn: having a great headline.

It’s All About the Headline

Your headline is critical to the attention you receive on LinkedIn. When you have a headline that pulls attention from potential clients, curiosity will get the best of them and they will click through to your profile.

So … what makes a great headline?

The key is to adequately represent what you provide. How to do that will vary by industry. For example, I receive the most attention for my services (LinkedIn Profile Optimization) by putting those words first in my headline.

Others who don’t have a specific deliverable (a business coach or marketing consultant, for example) may do better with an action-oriented headline such as, “Generating Leads for Small Business Owners in Metro Detroit.”

Now, I just used that last headline as an example, but it gets you thinking, doesn’t it? Even if you don’t have a small business in Metro Detroit, you want to see what that person has to offer. It resonates far deeper than a headline that reads, “Marketing Consultant,” or “CEO.”

Ask yourself what your top deliverable is and represent that within your headline. Also, make sure you put the most relevant keywords within the first 75 characters since that number of characters is always visible when engaging.

What Would You Say First?

When it comes to what you should write within your Summary and Current Experience sections, think about what you would say to someone who would most benefit from your product or service.

  • How would you best describe your product or services?
  • What problem(s) are you solving?
  • What are the next steps to getting started with you and your business?

What you want to say within your Summary and Current Experience sections are what you would tell someone who just walked into your brick-and-mortar establishment. Instead of an actual store, though, they’ve walked into your LinkedIn profile.

The difference between a Summary and Current Experience section is kind of like the difference between a cover letter and a resume. Your Summary will talk more about who you are as a professional while your Current Experience section will talk more about your deliverables.

Don’t Forget Keywords

What would someone type into LinkedIn search to find what you’re offering? Those are the keywords you want to include within your headline, job title(s), and copy. If you have characters left over (LinkedIn provides 2,000 per section), you can even list keywords at the bottom. Simply refer to them as “Specialties” or “Expertise” and then list them out.

Add Articles, Multimedia, and Websites

LinkedIn doesn’t allow for dynamic links within your body copy, but you can add links at the bottom of each section. Great things to include are sales landing pages, articles you’ve written or been featured in, multimedia (e.g. videos, podcasts), links to your website, or PDF brochures.

You want to link to anything that provides credibility or links users to the next step in your sales funnel.

Make it Readable

Make sure what you write is easy to read. I know this can be difficult since LinkedIn doesn’t allow for formatted text within sections, but there are ways to write something that is easy on the eyes.

Avoid giant blocks of text — use plenty of breaks, headers (use all caps for these), lists and icons. You don’t want it to look like an emoji app blew up on your profile (keep it professional!), but some strategically-placed icons never hurt anyone.

Also, proof it! Have someone else take a look at what you’ve written and point out any errors. Grammatical and spelling errors are the best ways to look unprofessional!

Be YOU

Don’t forget to be yourself! Adding some personality to your profile can be a huge benefit. Articulate your passions, write with a particular flair, or add a little humor. Obviously, a profile for a tax consultant will have a far different tone than that of a business coach, but you get the idea. Make sure what you say is memorable!

Okay, what do you think? Did I leave anything out? Feel free to ask questions below! And if all of this seems like way too much work, take a look at my LinkedIn Profile Optimization service.