Profile Development

Don’t Neglect This 2019 Professional Resolution

Don’t Neglect This 2019 Professional Resolution

We’re all familiar with the “New Year, New You” types of resolutions that crop up as January approaches. For 2019, why not apply a twist to that concept: instead of vowing to refresh your wardrobe or raise the bar on your workout regime, try revitalizing your LinkedIn profile with fresh feedback…Start by identifying four people in your network whose LinkedIn recommendations would add important insights to your professional experience and highlight four additional people in your circle worthy of a little professional love.

Featured on the Richardson Financial Podcast

I had the fortune of being interviewed by the well-respected Will Richardson, based in San Francisco, on his Richardson Financial podcast. Below is a brief of what we covered. Listen and share!

• Lindsey talks about LinkedIn as a business tool and why it is so important to be relevant in today’s digital landscape. She shares insights about many of the recent LinkedIn changes, including specific recommendations to immediately implement.

• Lindsey shares great tips on how to build a strong LinkedIn profile and how to build an intentional network. She discusses with Will how to create a profile that stands out and why personalizing your outbound communication is so important.

• Lindsey gives her review on which LinkedIn subscription you should consider.

• Lindsey shares how she has worked with hundreds of financial advisors and managing partners and has a solid understanding of the compliance guidelines and use of Hearsay Social in the financial services industry. With that, she shares how we can work with her to build our profile, train us on how to use LinkedIn and/or bring her in for a speaking engagement.

4 Ways to Prepare for LinkedIn’s New Look

If you haven’t heard the news: LinkedIn is getting a makeover. One third of the United States LinkedIn members have it today and the company seems to be picking up speed on the rollout. I work with many other consultants in my same space and we do not know the selection process of how LinkedIn is doling out access; so, don’t lose sleep trying to figure it out. Be patient if you do not have it yet because your time is coming.

Here are four ways you can proactively prepare…

Already have the new look? This article is for you too...

#1 Update Your Profile

With more and more of your connections getting access to the new LinkedIn UI (User Interface) / UX (User Experience), your profile is going to look different on their computer screen. I am one of the members who does not have access yet, but I made updates to four main sections of my profile.

I also recommend saving your LinkedIn profile to a PDF. Before you do this, make sure that all of your profile sections are expanded in order to capture all of the text.

·     Picture

The new thumbnail of your profile picture is a circle. To ensure that what you want captured is what is actually showing on your picture, go to edit your picture and confirm that it looks good.

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·     Summary

While I still believe that the Summary section is a critical element to telling your professional story in your LinkedIn profile, we need to grab people’s attention now to read more. The new look only shows the first two lines of your Summary. As one approach, I simply added a line of text as a call-to-action for people to view my entire Summary.

Be mindful of spacing. If you do not have the new LinkedIn UI/UX yet, check to see if your colleagues and friends have it; then, view your profile on their account to see if it is appearing the way you want it to appear.

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·     Skills

The new profile view only shows the first 3 skills you have listed in the Skills & Endorsements section. Since you can reorder your skills, I recommend selecting the top three that are most important to you to be visible.

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·     Background image

The dimensions for the background/header/cover/hero image are changing significantly. The new dimensions are 1536 x 738. Check out my article here to get a great template.

#2 Capture Your Saved Searches

For those of you with LinkedIn’s new look and have the free LinkedIn subscription, you may be wondering where your Saved Searches went…Unfortunately, they are gone (I totally agree that a little warning here would have been nice). However, you can still use Boolean search methodology and filters then bookmark the actual website link on your browser toolbar to save the search.

If you do not have the new LinkedIn UI yet, then go into your Saved Searches to copy your Boolean search strings and filters. Then, paste them into a Word document. This way you will be ready to recreate the search when you get access to the new LinkedIn look.

#3 Export Your Connections

If it has been a while since you last exported your 1st level LinkedIn connections. Now is a good time to revisit this exercise. Whenever LinkedIn is going through major changes, I advise my clients to export their connections as a ‘just in case’ measure.

Here is a quick tutorial of how to export your connections: Export An Email List From LinkedIn

#4 Have the Right Mindset

*Keep reading: Important info here*

We all know that change is inevitable in life. The only thing you can control is how you respond to it. So, let’s think through some basic logic here.

We need to change our mindset that all technology should be and is free. LinkedIn has been stripping away features from their free/basic membership plan for months now. I have become a big advocate for the paid Premium Subscription, LinkedIn Sales Navigator because it gives us:

·     Access to search through our 1st level connections’ open networks

·     Advanced filters

·     Saved searches

·     Access to at least 20 monthly InMails

·     Customized news feed based on prospective individuals and clients who are important to you

…And more. In addition to Sales Navigator’s perks, it is worth noting two considerations: (1) there is a cost and (2) it is a separate interface from the ‘regular’ LinkedIn.com (i.e. I have two bookmarked links on my Google Chrome toolbar; one for my paid Sales Navigator subscription and one for my free LinkedIn.com subscription). Contact me for a 1:1 training session when you are ready to move to Sales Navigator.

If you have acquired a new client (or multiple new clients!), booked more calls and meetings, found your new career opportunity…and my list could go on…using LinkedIn…Why then, would you not look at investing in LinkedIn as an integral part to doing business? If you are using it often and well enough to get results, then it should be viewed as exactly that: an investment, not an expense.

We are in a state of transition with this powerful business tool. Your attitude will not change that fact. So, you have the choice to be ticked off and quit or embrace it and learn. I recommend trying the latter mindset as LinkedIn will continue to keep you competitive – in whatever market space and business pursuit you are in.

Here is a brief video from LinkedIn to get a peak at the new look:

And finally LinkedIn’s formal press release on the new UI: "LinkedIn Desktop Redesign Puts Conversations and Content at the Center" Personally, I’m most excited about the new look for Notifications!

There are certainly more changes with the new LinkedIn UI than were mentioned in this article, but you have a solid foundation to lead you in the right direction now. Stay tuned as I publish more articles on the topic so that you can continue to leverage the power of LinkedIn to positively impact your business goals. If I can help you in the interim, contact me for training.

To Your Success!

Part 4: Intentionally Connect

According to LinkedIn, “Data about your relationships referring to connections is the acceptance rate of your connection requests. If a member sends too many invites and less people accept it, then it would impact SSI.”

That’s it. Or is it?

Proactively building your network takes intention.

While there is certainly validity to having a larger network, I believe that the quality of our networks is more important than the sheer number of LinkedIn connections. That said, you probably know more people that you realize. Think about it: Clients, vendors, prospective clients, networking contacts, current colleagues, past colleagues, community connections (i.e. via organizations you serve), and don’t forget about your alumni network.

The more people you are connected on LinkedIn, the more visibility you get into your second and third level connections; this could translate to getting one person closer to connecting with your those decision-makers.

Here are some numbers to consider:

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We have made it to the finale: “PART 4: Intentionally Connect,” of my four-part series on using LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index score to benchmark your progress on LinkedIn and improve your engagement to yield more conversations for your business.

In case you missed them or need to reference back:

PART 1: It’s More Than You Think (includes “Profile Facelift: 10 Updates in 10 Days”)

PART 2: The Perks of Stalking (includes sophisticated Boolean searching tips)

PART 3: Proposals Before Nuptials (includes ideas for LinkedIn Groups to join)

Before reading further, it is time to re-calculate your SSI score. Remember LinkedIn is updating this weekly.

STOP. CLICK HERE. CALCULATE YOUR NEW SSI SCORE (and all four quadrants).

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Build Relationships: 25 points

·      Connections

·      Acceptance rate of your connection requests

I. Are you intentionally building your network?

Earlier in this post, I mentioned eight different groups of professionals who you may consider adding to your LinkedIn network. So, what should your network break out look like? Here is a suggested breakdown (+/- 5% for each category):

  • 85% people you know (clients, colleagues, networking contacts, community connections, vendors, professional acquaintances)
  • 10% people you don’t know yet, but are intentionally pursuing
  • 5% friends and family

This is how I approach my network, but it is simply a suggestion. I know colleagues who consult on LinkedIn like I do and they believe in ‘the more the merrier’ approach to their LinkedIn network because it increases their visibility exponentially. The reason I choose the former strategy is because I am in the business of connecting people. I know that I can more authentically introduce people and give back to my network when I know the people who actually make up my network.

You will have a higher invitation acceptance rate when you take my approach too because, again, you know the people you are inviting to join your network.

TIP: If too many people ignore (aka decline) your invitation and mark that they do not know you, you may be required to put in an email address every time you want to send an invitation. Remember these declines will also lower your “Build Relationships” quadrant of your Social Selling Index score.

II. Are you proactively building your network?

When should you send an invitation out? Before a meeting or after a meeting are the two options I stick with to keep me accountable to using LinkedIn as another touch point in communication.

While I am becoming a bigger fan of the mobile app, I never send invitations out through it because (as of the publishing of this post) there is not a way to personalize the invitation. Personalizing invitations is critical to increasing the likelihood of getting it accepted. Make your LinkedIn invitation stand out in their inbox.

LinkedIn celebrated their thirteenth birthday earlier this year and while they have crossed into their teenage years, they have not matured their standard LinkedIn invitation…We all know it:

Jack, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

This is so boring, unoriginal and may not warrant an acceptance. That’s why the only blue connect button you should ever click in LinkedIn, is within someone’s individual profile. This guarantees that you will have the opportunity to personalize you message to them.

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I have formed the habit of always selecting “We’ve done business together” along with my current position. I know that LinkedIn will not show the recipient this is the option I select, it is simply where I work, and I know that if I select “Friend,” “Other,” or “I don’t know” too many times, LinkedIn will eventually require me to put in an email address for every invitation I send out.

Use an invitation as a reminder for an upcoming meeting: “Sarah, looking forward to our meeting next Tuesday at 9:00am. Let’s connect.”

Use an invitation as a follow up after a meeting: “John, thanks for your time earlier today. Looking forward to working together. Let’s connect.”

Don’t overthink it. Keep it simple, but connect the dots for them.

Next Steps & Accountability

Building relationships on LinkedIn is remembering that LinkedIn is an online networking tool. It is a platform to connect with people who you are doing, have done or want to do business with. It is a supplement to your current business process and another touch point to stay top of mind with the professionals who matter to you the most.

Be proactive. Be intentional.

Where is your LinkedIn Social Selling Index score the lowest?

  1. Creating a professional brand
  2. Finding the right people
  3. Engaging with insights
  4. Building strong relationships

Focus on improving one quadrant at a time. Check your LinkedIn SSI score weekly to see if that quadrant score is increasing. Then, move on to the next quadrant that needs your attention.

Need accountability? Comment below with your SSI score and let’s track it as you make progress.

Part 3: Proposals Before Nuptials

We all know the sequence: Dating, proposing, wedding. The process of selling is not terribly different…with the likely exception of the new business deal fine print not reading: Till death do us part.

Use LinkedIn for ongoing touch points to ENGAGE your prospective clients while you are working towards closing the deal and beyond.

The selling process has many stages of interaction. From initial conversations, scoping out the work, signing the contract, to delivery of services, there are a myriad of ways we communicate throughout the process: phone, email, in-person meetings, webcast, and LinkedIn.

We are on to “PART 3: Engage with LinkedIn Insights,” of my four-part series on using LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index score to benchmark your progress on LinkedIn and improve your engagement to yield more conversations for your business.

In case you missed them or need to reference back:

·      PART 1: It’s More Than You Think (includes a “10-Day Profile Facelift")

·      PART 2: The Perks of Stalking (includes sophisticated Boolean searching tips)

Before reading further, it is time to re-calculate your SSI score. Remember LinkedIn is updating this weekly.

STOP. CLICK HERE. CALCULATE YOUR NEW SSI SCORE (and all four quadrants).

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Engage with insights: 25 points

·      Shares, likes, comments, and re-shares

·      Messages sent and response rate

·      Groups joined and engagement within Groups

I. Are you providing value to your network?

Part of the data that LinkedIn pulls for your “Engage with insights” SSI quadrant relates to the content you are sharing and your activity around your network’s content (i.e. likes, comments, and re-sharing).

While the majority of my published articles are on the topic of LinkedIn, I am cognizant not to only post content about LinkedIn. Why? Because not everyone in my network cares about LinkedIn as much as I care about it. And that’s okay! The professionals in my network are business owners, salespeople, recruiters, and top executives who manage teams. I focus on finding content that would be of interest to them: leadership, management, sourcing talent, prospecting, process improvement, brand awareness, etc.

Strengthen your connections by sharing relevant articles with them that show you are vested in their success. You will become a trusted source and advisor to them when you take this intentional approach.

Remember that an important aspect to this is engaging with your network’s activity too. Did you read a great article? Share it with your entire network. Like it. Comment on it and ask a question, or thank the author for an insightful post.

All of these, seemingly small, touches can have great impact. Your name and face will pop up on your network’s home page newsfeed when you take these actions; this keeps you top of mind.

BONUS: Not sure how active you are on LinkedIn? Check your recent activity by following these simple steps below:

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II. Are you privately reaching out to people on LinkedIn?

Frustrations: Do your sent emails get lost in the digital black hole of someone’s inbox? Do you have unlimited access to someone’s voicemail?

Potential Solution: Is your prospect on LinkedIn? Are you connected with him/her? Do you have a great article you want to send, but fear it will get lost in their email inbox? Try a different avenue: Send the article via a private LinkedIn direct message.

Sent LinkedIn messages and recipients responding to you are another data point taken into consideration on your 25 points of Engage with Insights.

Here is more food for thought, according to LinkedIn:

·      64% of B2B buyers report they appreciate hearing from a salesperson who provides knowledge or insight about their business.

·      LinkedIn messages have an 85% open rate of basic email. Why? They stand out in your recipient’s email inbox and they live in two inboxes: email and LinkedIn.

 

III. Are you joining and participating in Groups?

LinkedIn revamped their Groups last year. Here 9 Updates on LinkedIn Groups and you can now be a member of up to 100 Groups.

Here are four buckets to focus on when considering Groups to join:

·      Prospects & clients… Be visible

·      Industry… Learn from your peers

·      Alumni… Instantly something in common

·      Local… Network with your professional neighbors

Being a member of Groups is only part of this equation. Be an active participant in your Groups by sharing educational and insightful articles, like and comment on other member’s discussions, and even direct message other Group members. According to LinkedIn:

"You are 70% more likely to get an appointment or an unexpected sale if you are a member in LinkedIn Groups.”

Next Steps & Accountability

Engaging with insights on LinkedIn, as it relates to your Social Selling Index score, will be impacted by your interaction with content and activity via (1) shares, likes, comments and re-shares, the (2) direct messages you send to people along with response rate, and finally (3) the number of Groups you join and your engagement within those Groups.

Don't go dark once you have on-boarded your new clients. Stay in front of them online and here is why:

*Image ref: "Rethink the B2B Buyer's Journey" by LinkedIn

*Image ref: "Rethink the B2B Buyer's Journey" by LinkedIn

Be visible. Be active. The small touches add up and they help keep you top-of-mind with the people who matter to you the most.

What is your next step? Capture your overall SSI score and four quadrant scores!

Need accountability? Comment below with your SSI score and let’s track it as you make progress.