Take advantage of one of the biggest Social Media Networks – LinkedIn for your professional online networking and lead generation.
Learn in today’s interview from Janice Porter how you can take advantage of the many features provided in LinkedIn to enhance or reach profitability.
Janice Porter is a LinkedIn Trainer and Relationship Management Expert based in North Vancouver, BC, Canada. She consults with her clients how to use LinkedIn to increase their profitability.
Check out Janice’s website to download her free resources the “LinkedIn Must-Have Checklist”.
|Petra:||Hello everybody, this is Petra Mayer, www.petramayerconsulting.com, Online Strategy Made Easy. I welcome you to today’s VIP expert interview with Janice Porter. Janice Porter is a relationship expert who works with her clients to successfully navigate the online and offline networking landscape. She works with individuals and groups helping them hone their networking skills.
She works with business owners and entrepreneurs and she helps them craft their message, work a room and more importantly follow up with people. She also teaches her clients how to have a credible presence online using LinkedIn and how to build relationships effectively which in time can turn into business.
You may be surprised at how many of your prospective clients are on LinkedIn and how you can connect, network and build relationships on that platform. It is very powerful and if you have a good solid system for doing just that, you will successfully grow your business. Janice can help you with setting yourself up and finding out about the follow up.
She offers LinkedIn workshops and does one to one training over the phone or face to face and her clients see results very quickly. So I hope you will enjoy today’s interview with Janice. Janice hello, and immediate question I’ve got ask you, why LinkedIn?
|Janice:||Well, hi Petra and thank you so much for inviting me to do this interview on your blog, I really appreciate it and I’m happy to be here. So yes, perfect question, why LinkedIn? Well, really have you ever Googled anybody? As soon as you Google them, first thing that comes up, if they have one, is a LinkedIn profile.
That’s the power of Google and the power of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is where there is 330 million business professionals around the world on LinkedIn already. It gives you access to people that you may not have access to otherwise.
CEOs are on LinkedIn, if you are looking for a job, the people you need to connect with, there are recruiters all out there looking at LinkedIn now to help people get jobs as well, I don’t know if you know that.
And also if you are in business your target market is probably hanging out there too. So there is a great way to be able to connect with them without having them directly ignore your emails, shall we say.
|Petra:||I immediately have a bunch of questions popping in my head. First I’d like you to expand a little bit, you spoke about recruiters and job search but you also spoke about businesses and starting to connect through LinkedIn with your target audience. Can you just go into those two major different groups a little bit in more detail and what LinkedIn does for each one of them?|
|Janice:||Sure. Would you like me to start in any particular order?|
|Petra:||Whatever you prefer.|
|Janice:||Okay so I’ll just touch on the job seekers first because I think most of our audience is probably business owners so we’ll just briefly touch on that. If people are in the corporate world and they are working but looking for a new job or not working and looking for a new job today the place to find work is through LinkedIn, it really, really is.
You need to have a credible profile on LinkedIn, as the recruiters actually have special software and special LinkedIn programs that they use to comb LinkedIn to find the right people for their clients. (Ed:…) With business owners it’s important to have a really optimized profile on LinkedIn because that’s what helps you get your target audience to see you. There are two most important things on LinkedIn. One is to have an optimized headline which is the title right underneath your name on LinkedIn and your summary.
I’m actually surprised at how many people don’t even have a summary. A summary is basically the piece that talks about you in your voice that people can get a sense of who you are and what benefits they might have working with you and how you help your customers for example and there is specific strategies to use keywords in both of these areas on your profile in particular in those areas to help attract the people that you are looking for.
That’s one really important way that you attract the right people, your target audience that’s on LinkedIn because people search on LinkedIn by names. I’m looking for an accountant, I’m looking for a Vancouver lawyer, I’m looking for a relationship marketing consultant, I’m looking for a digital marketer.
They look and they search on LinkedIn for those things so if those keywords are in your profile in the right way then they will find you. However there is one other piece, they won’t find you if you are not connected in a major way. So that kind of leads into the second piece which is the more connections you have the greater your reach when you are searching and when people are doing searches on LinkedIn. Does that make sense?
|Petra:||Yeah absolutely I mean the network gets bigger and bigger. So how does one begin when we have clients who are perhaps not yet active on LinkedIn, may not have a profile at all or the profile is kind of a desert? How do we get them started?|
|Janice:||The first thing that we do is we decide who is your target audience, who you want to attract and from there we look at some keywords that you would use in your profile and then build your summary and then fill in the rest of your profile.
Once we have your profile the way you like it and you are comfortable that it really defines who you are as a business person then we start to reach out and build connections. All we say you don’t want to have people coming to your profile if it’s not complete so do that first.
And then we start of course with people we may know, our current connections that are in our phone or on our rolodex, so to speak and start to add them on LinkedIn because it’s easier and faster to add people that we already know. And then I would use a strategy with people when we are reaching out to find people who may be our target market and how to ask them to connect with us.
|Petra:||Can you expand on that last piece a little bit because I think that’s a really important one. We all hate spam and we do get spam and unfortunately we even get spammed through LinkedIn. How do we come across as not a spammer?|
|Janice:||That’s so true. One of the areas on LinkedIn on the right of your profile that comes up is People You May Know. And so if you start searching there for possible people that you want to connect with when you are looking at this array of photographs and underneath each one it says Connect, Connect, Connect I say do not touch that button.
That’s where spam starts to happen and that’s where LinkedIn starts to say what are you doing, are you soliciting? So instead always click on the person’s picture or their name to take you to their profile. Check it out, look at it, see if there is some piece that you resonate with that you could connect with them on.
I’m amazed sometimes that it may not be that the summary where it tells me what they do work wise, it may be something small under their interest that they like, basketball or something because I love basketball. That might be a conversation starter.
But initially when I’m going to connect with people I go to their profile then I press the connect button underneath their photo and then do not use the default message that’s in there. Take that out and personalize it a little bit.
You may say something like I’m expanding my network and noticed that you and I have similar interests, would you consider connecting with me and send it off. Just something that shows that you’ve actually paid attention and that you are indeed interested.
|Petra:||How do you feel about using the potential overlap in groups that you might be a member of? You haven’t talked about groups yet but that might be more of an advanced strategy but often you are in the same group and LinkedIn tells you when you are in the same group. Is that a good conversation starter?|
|Janice:||Oh, absolutely! However we were talking about people who didn’t have much of a profile or they are not ready to be in groups. Groups are one of the more advanced pieces but I will say, like on Facebook everything happens in the news feed.
There is a lot of conversation, a lot of engagement that goes on there, and some of that goes on in the LinkedIn news feed but the bulk of activity and relationship building goes on in groups so you are absolutely right about the importance of groups, I just thought for the beginner they’re not ready for that yet.
|Janice:||However, definitely when you are in groups, that gives you the opportunity to start conversations, engage in conversations with other people in your groups and then use the people in your groups to start expanding your connections because that is the first goal.
The first goal is to build your connections to the magic number in LinkedIn, 501 believe it or not. So when you see people’s profiles and it says they have 500+ connections, that means they have anything over 501.
Again, if we go back to what I said earlier about your reach the more direct first level connections that somebody has the more exponentially their second, third level connections so they are seen by more people. So it really is important to build those numbers.
|Petra:||Okay. So we talked about the headline and your title and we talked about the summary and then once that’s available we also talked about starting engaging in groups and connecting with people. One big thing that I found when I started my business that one day hit me right in the face was that I came out of a job and my profile was very much written for an employee and potential job search.
And then I started my own business and then it never occurred to me at the beginning that I now really needed to change my profile to be representative of the needs that I have as a business owner. Do you have any thoughts on that?
|Janice:||Absolutely, I think that some people make the mistake that your summary is like a mini-resume and they write it in third person, it’s about their business accomplishments whether it’s through the jobs that they’ve had or previous businesses.
All of the experience pieces that come below the summary on your LinkedIn profile that’s where you can talk about the work experience that you’ve had in more of a resume type of thing. But your summary whether you are in business for yourself or whether you are in a job is really all about you.
I just helped a client with his profile. He works in a job he’s a sales manager actually. He has a sales team that he trains and manages for a fairly big company. He wants to find a new job, he also wants to be a speaker and trainer on his own, a motivational speaker about sales and so on.
We had to look at his summary and piece it together about him, it’s not about what job he does, so what makes him tick? What is he passionate about? He is all about sales and so whether it’s in a job or whether it’s in his own business it’s about him.
So I always tell people that your profile needs to be first of all in first person so “I” not “Janice Porter” is and secondly there are three parts to it. The first part is about your passion, it’s about you as a person, a little bit of your personality coming out. And then the types of things that you like to do in your work.
The second part is about perhaps some key clients that you’ve had if you are in a job, perhaps it’s about the types of clients that you work with, if you work for yourself, perhaps it’s about the benefits of working with you. My clients tell me that they are able to blah, blah, blah whatever.
It’s all about from the client’s perspective that middle part. That middle part says why it’s good to work with you. And the last part is a call to action and a call to action includes perhaps if you have a free consult or a first gift that you want to give somebody or just have them call you.
Just make that the statement there that you would love to have a conversation with them, please feel free to call or email and put your information there. Even if it’s up in your contact information you make it easy for them not to have to go search for it. And you always also on your summary put your specialties and again your specialties are really your keywords. I am a relationship marketing consultant, I’m a LinkedIn trainer, I’m a networking coach, that kind of thing. You list them again for keyword optimization.
|Petra:||Yes. I think keyword is really an important one and obviously we deal with that a lot in website strategy. But it’s so important as well for LinkedIn because that’s how we search as well in LinkedIn for a specific person as you already said. So that gets people kind of going with their profile, with summarizing, with getting some keywords so that they are findable.
Now how do you link, I mean at the beginning I was saying that LinkedIn is just one of your tools and you really are an online and offline relationship expert. So where do you bridge between online and offline?
|Janice:||Well, the most important thing, and it’s kind of the next step in LinkedIn and I’ll show you how it bridges to offline. When you start building those connections online, and I’ve had people say to me I have 500 contacts or I have 1750 contacts. Great, but what are you doing with them? How are you turning those into business?
So the next steps are to start to have conversations first of all through LinkedIn, through messages back and forth. I have a kind of three step system with messages and it depends on whether you met somebody through a group on LinkedIn and whether you met them at a face to face networking event and part of your follow up is to connect with them on LinkedIn or whether you just met them.
They sent you a request or you sent them a request to connect on LinkedIn. But you start by looking as you said for some point of interest and maybe ask a question in that first message. I always, when somebody asks me to connect with them, go to their profile I look for some reason that I might want to connect with them.
And then I always send the first email that says thank you for inviting me to connect with you Petra and then write a little note, usually asking a question or two to show an interest in what they do so I’m starting a conversation. If they respond back then again we carry on the conversation one or two times.
It seems like maybe it’s a long process but this is what networking is about. It’s about moving from one step to the next to the next. And my goal with the LinkedIn conversations is to eventually, if there seems to be some synergy and that I might be able to help them either help them connect with somebody or do some LinkedIn training for them or help them with some networking skills or some follow-up skills with a tool that I use for that.
Then I might suggest that we take the conversation offline so that if we are in the same city we might go for coffee. If we are not, we might have a Skype call or long distance phone call, whatever is easiest for them. But that’s how I build a relationship from LinkedIn and business.
|Petra:||Okay. You were just mentioning follow-up and that you have a tool that you recommend for follow up. I’m curious what tool would that be?|
|Janice:||Probably another conversation but I think follow-up is the bane of a lot of people’s existence. We wonder why we don’t move relationships forward because they get lost in the cracks or we don’t follow up.
One obvious way of course is to email people and to pick up the phone which a lot of people don’t do. I also use a tool called Send Out Cards, which is a greeting card system that is all done online but sends real cards in the mail. One of my strategies with people, and I seem to be able to do it quite easily, is to ask them for their mailing address and then I send them a card.
When I send them a card, at least then they can see my picture, remember me. I usually send something that they might put up on their desk and this is in conversation, in LinkedIn messages too is, if you’ve met somebody or if you’ve had that conversation to make sure that they know that you listened to them always mention something from that conversation, right?
How was that golf game you had last Saturday or I hope you had a great trip to Hawaii that you were talking about so that they know you remember what they had to say. I’m getting sidetracked but it’s all about follow-up, it’s all about building relationships and it’s all about being remembered and going from there.
|Petra:||And do you track your conversations somehow? Do you track them in LinkedIn or in a different system?|
|Janice:||That’s a great question because in LinkedIn I do track them there and there are some tools in LinkedIn that a lot of people don’t know about called the relationship tools, there is a tab right under your photograph and just beside the contacts button called relationship or it’s a star.
When you click on it you bring up the relationship tools and there is actually four things in there. One is notes, one is reminders, one is where we met and one is called tags or tagging. So you can actually use LinkedIn as a customer relationship management tool and make dated notes on the conversations that you’ve had. If you’ve had messages within LinkedIn with people they show up there.
|Petra:||Okay, perfect. So that’s a cheap way of having your client relationship management right there at your fingertips where you also have all the information about them and typically a photo. Oh, photo, we haven’t talked about photo. That hasn’t come up yet. I think I know that that’s one that is dear to your heart.|
|Janice:||Yeah, it is actually. And in my workshop we do a little whole section on that where I show some photos and have them kind of guess what kind of position or business this person has because photos run from one extreme to the other from no photo which is a no-no.
I basically say if they don’t have the time or interest to put up a photo then why would I want to connect with them? They are either probably not really using LinkedIn at all or they are too lazy to put one up so what does that tell you? Then obviously the ideal photo is a business headshot which is like head and shoulders and professionally done which I know you recommend to your clients as well.
But if you see somebody on LinkedIn that is a professional singer this is one example for example that I have in my connections. She looks like she’s more in an evening attire or more glamorous.
Well that’s what she does so that works but if you see someone with a cocktail dress on and a drink in their hand and they are a business professional that’s not right. So make your picture as professional and as connected to what you do as you can for sure.
|Petra:||And don’t cut out the ex!|
|Janice:||No and don’t do a selfie. There is one person I was talking to about. Here is an ex-client of mine, he’s a great guy and his profile picture was him in a tuxedo like he was in a cruise ship and he was in a manufacturing business. So I was like you know what, you need to change that photo. He said yeah I just haven’t had time to get one. The next thing I know he changed it and it’s like it’s the most obvious selfie I’ve ever seen.|
|Petra:||That selfie one is an interesting one that’s come up in conversations that I’ve had and really the one important part is our arms are not long enough for the camera to take a regular, well portioned photograph of us when we do a selfie.|
|Janice:||That’s why they have those selfie sticks.|
|Petra:||Yes, yes, yes, so you need that extension arm. It just distorts us body wise when we do a selfie and so we get a double chin and the shoulders come forward and all that because we’ve got to hold the camera and we’ve got to smile. They are fun photos but they’re just not the right ones for the professional profile.|
|Janice:||LinkedIn is not the place for those fun photos.|
|Petra:||No. Do you want to give us some more tips and tricks that people might want to look at if they were listening to this and opened up their profile which I admit, guilty, mea culpa, I did. I immediately changed something in my summary as I was listening to you.|
|Janice:||It’s good when you have the visuals so that’s good. Well if I could just elaborate a little bit on the relationships tabs because I think this is something that as you are building your connections this is useful for people and I’ll explain why.
The tagging piece—okay there are two, reminders and tagging. The reminders, which I have found really useful are so I’ve talked to somebody by message through LinkedIn and then he’ll say well connect with me in a couple of weeks I’ll be ready then. Well, if I put that reminder in his LinkedIn profile it actually sends me an email reminder.
|Petra:||And that’s under the relationship one.|
|Janice:||Yes. Can you see the relationship one?|
|Janice:||Okay, and then the tags, you can create tags or groups as I would call them to group your connections. Useful when you may want to send out group messages which I’ll come back to but tags can be BNI connections, eWomen Network connections, clients, prospects, basketball connections.
You can do whatever you want as to where you meet these people, so whenever you add a new connection, you can add or check off one, two, three whatever tags for those people. If you decide you wanted to do a group message to your BNI connections, just for example.
If anyone doesn’t know what BNI is it’s just a networking organization Business Network International but anyone you’ve met through that organization, maybe you want to send a targeted message to them. You can actually send 50 messages at one time through LinkedIn.
However there is a very, very important piece I will say about that. When you go to the page to do that and I can’t show you obviously now but one of the things I can show you how to do it properly is there is a check marked box at the bottom of the messages which is the equivalent to like a blind copy or not on an email.
It always defaults at checked which means if I put 50 names in this message they’re all going to show up for everybody to see which you don’t want to do, you definitely do not want to do that. So you want to blind copy those messages so you uncheck that box if ever you send group messages. Does that make sense?
|Petra:||Oh, absolutely yes, absolutely there is a privacy issue plus you really don’t want to show up as being somebody who is sending something to—unless you are sending it to a group and that you want them all to know that you are sending that to everybody so that they can respond and so on, yeah.|
|Janice:||Right. But that I would say in the very beginning otherwise it’s just so unprofessional but the value of doing that as you go along it really gets helpful when you want to pull up a group of people especially when you have thousands of connections it becomes really helpful. So those things I think are really important. What else can I tell you? Lots of things.|
|Petra:||Well how about what I’d love to have your take on is, how much time do you think somebody should schedule in a week to work on LinkedIn, either work on their profile or also on managing the connections and interacting in groups once they’re ready to do that so that they can really see some impact?|
|Janice:||I think that once you’ve got your profile handled and again it is a living document and yes you can change things as you go and which by the way I should mention when you are making changes to your profile—it’s hard to do when it’s audio only here but that’s what I love to share with people and teach people properly.
But there is a special privacy control that you want to turn on so that when you are making changes over a period of a day you don’t want to notify everybody. Because every time you make a change on your profile it goes out as a notification to all your connections so you want to make sure you turn that notification piece off when you are working on your profile.
But to get back to your question when you’ve got your profile handled then really I think you can do 15 minutes a day of adding connections, responding to message requests for connections. If you want to get into groups and group conversations I think I would take another 15 minutes a day or three times a week.
It doesn’t have to be every day, just a couple of three times a week. I think that you should do a status update once a day, three times a week. It’s not like Facebook or Twitter where you have to be on there as often but you want to stay current.
So the more that you are visible then the more obviously that people see that you are there. The more you are activated in groups, the more credible you become and so I go visibility, credibility to profitability.
|Petra:||Last note I’d like you to perhaps talk a little bit about and that is creating more articles on LinkedIn, using that, any thoughts on that?|
|Janice:||Sure. Those of you who love to write by all means post your articles on LinkedIn. They’ve made it much easier now for people to blog. There is post and publisher. But basically the longer articles you see mostly influencers doing but now they’ve allowed anybody to put up articles.
So, certainly if you are inclined that way get them on LinkedIn and when you post one, put it on your newsfeed, put it on your groups that you are active in. I know we didn’t talk a lot about groups but if I could just say one more thing about groups, 50 groups maximum that you belong to.
Make sure that you have three or four groups that have to do with your profession or your type of business that you are in so you can see what’s current in your industry. But then you want to be in maybe half a dozen groups that your target market is in so that’s where you want to build your credibility as an expert in your field.
|Petra:||Yes. I like LinkedIn a lot, obviously I don’t spend as much time with it as you do but I do see that there is some really good conversations going on in some groups and you can actually simplify it by getting those feeds back into your email. So you get notified and then you can see oh yeah here is a really good conversation and I want to get into that conversation and it takes it right back into that.|
|Janice:||Right. But that for some people is like oh my gosh I don’t need any more email.|
|Janice:||So it depends on what you are doing. If you want to follow something at one point do that but they can get a bit overwhelming and it might be better to schedule a time to go and just check those groups each day that kind of thing.|
|Petra:||Also, what I like about LinkedIn is they’ve done a lot of changes over the last year or so. They have amazing tools where you can really enhance your experience section. So when you go back through your various posts and jobs that you’ve had where you can talk about the experiences you had, you can add videos to it.
Obviously you can have recommendations posted to it, you can add a photo or a presentation. There are lots and lots and lots of tools to fall back on and to enrich your profile.
|Janice:||Absolutely. You just touched on the media, the mixed media for sure and you said something else.|
|Petra:||The video and the presentations, presentations are really a good one.|
|Janice:||Right, so that’s always good to add. Anything that you can add to your profile to enhance it, enrich it is great. (Ed…) And if you have your own company having a company page is a good thing as well just to again give you more presence and that’s a separate entity of course. You said something else.|
|Petra:||Recommendations, is that what it was?|
|Janice:||That’s what it was. It was the thing we didn’t talk about which was endorsements and recommendations. We are kind of all over the map but I think the focus was supposed to be relationship marketing so it’s all about building those relationships. One way you can do that and build your presence on LinkedIn is to get recommendations from past clients for example from people who you worked with and so on.
There are two ways I see to get recommendations. One is to ask for them and the other is to give them without being asked and then often what happens is people will reciprocate. It’s also a nice way to start a conversation with someone if you are able to if you have worked with them or you have some way that you can recommend them that’s always nice to do.
|Petra:||And it also exposes you to their followers.|
|Janice:||Exactly. So if you are looking for an organized way to build your profile and grow your business, I can help you. We didn’t sound very organized since we were all over the map but it’s a really powerful tool LinkedIn. I get very excited about it because it really is but only as much as you use it, right?|
|Petra:||Yes. And I don’t think we were that much over the map because it is something that grows organically. I mean of course the first time you set it up you can follow a certain structure but then after that it grows organically. Sometimes you’ll add something to your summary, sometimes you might add a photo or a document or a recommendation or you work more on building your connections.
It’s just a natural way how it goes and I think our conversation kind of mirrored that. That also is a good thing because it also means that when you are just starting out with LinkedIn okay you set aside a certain amount of time, you possibly go through some training to get the idea of how to use it and how to set it up quickly.
And set it up properly as Janice was explaining with regards to keywords and to be really findable. And then after that it doesn’t take you a lot of time throughout the week or in a month you might just check your profile once in a while to make sure it’s current and it’s up to date and it serves your purpose.
Other than that it’s a basis and a platform to start building your relationships and building connections. And then take those connections as Janice suggested offline into coffee meetings locally or Skype meetings, on-phone conversations and really get into much deeper relationships with your connections that you have on LinkedIn.
|Janice:||Yes, well put.|
|Petra:||Nice summary to get our all-of-the-place packed together. Janice, I thank you very much for your time. How can the listeners learn more about what you offer and how can they get in touch with you?|
|Janice:||They can email me at Janice@janiceporter.com. They can go to my LinkedIn profile and my contact information is all there. They can call me, I’m happy to take phone calls and/or emails and happy to talk to people and see what they need and where they fit in.|
|Petra:||Excellent. Well, I thank you very much for your time on a lovely weekend in Vancouver. I hope that many listeners will take you up on the offer to connect with you and I mean one great way to get started to find out how to build a great profile on LinkedIn check out Janice’s.|
|Petra:||Excellent, thanks so much Janice.|
|Janice:||You are very welcome. Bye Petra.|