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LinkedIn Marketing Guide

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Discover how to put your business on the road to success as a super user. With over 55 million members LinkedIn is the best no-nonsense social network for transforming your time into business ...

Discover how to put your business on the road to success as a super user. With over 55 million members LinkedIn is the best no-nonsense social network for transforming your time into business results.

98% of professionals use LinkedIn as an online rolodex and a bit more. 2% of users realize LinkedIn is a goldmine that can help them find clients and jobs, build quantity and quality networks, establish a high profile leadership position, crowdsource for leading edge industry information, save their company money and much more.

This eBook is a living document and collaborative project and will be in a state of change and growth. Please comment with your requests on what you would like to see added and amended. We also want your success tips and stories and will give you credit for it when it goes into the eBook. Together we can help inspire and instruct more people as the learn how use LinkedIn as a powerful marketing tool.

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    LinkedIn Marketing Guide LinkedIn Marketing Guide Document Transcript

    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide How to Put Your Business on the Road To Success as a Super User This is a living eBook and collaborative project. Your tips, comments and questions are welcome. Innovated and created by Andrew Ballenthin Version 1 February 6, 2010 Network. Discuss. Follow. Connect. ca.linkedin.com/in/andrewballenthin communintymarketing.typepad.com twitter.com/solsolutions groups.to/socialmediamonetization 1
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide Program Overview With over 55 million members LinkedIn is the best no-nonsense social network for transforming your time into business results. 98% of professionals use LinkedIn as an online rolodex and a bit more. 2% of users realize LinkedIn is a goldmine that can help them find clients and jobs, build quantity and quality networks, establish a high profile leadership position, crowdsource for leading edge industry information, save their company money and much more. This session will teach you how to become a LinkedIn Power User and harness a giant that can take a business and professional’s career to its next level. Learning Outcomes Bonus: Planning Pointers – Tips and 10 areas that put you on the path to monetization 1. Time Management - Devise a plan for getting results based on your time 2. Leading The Pack - 5 super user tips for standing apart from your competition 3. Growing Your Database - 3 smart ways to build a quality and quantity Contact database 4. Unlock LinkedIn’s Secret - 1 key point that creates potential or wastes your time 5. Reach Huge Audiences - Learn how to reach 500,000 to 1.5 million people 2
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide Planning For Results “Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning helps to make the elusive come true.” Lester R. Bittle, writer Defining Your Success Plan One of the secrets to becoming a Power User is having an excellent plan and defining what you want and how you will get there. Many people waste their time because they do not have a clear picture of what they are going to do in the following areas: • Branding and alignment with your other marketing • Defining and segmenting your audience • Setting direct and indirect monetization goals • Resource planning: who and how much time a week can be applied • Defining LinkedIn features to specialize in • Understanding how to create dynamic content • Communication planning: knowing what you want to say in advance • Defining success measurements and reporting • Ecosystem planning (how Linkedin, blogs, Twitter and other social networks work together) • Integration with your sales and advertising programs and more These 10 points are a starting list of areas you should define in as much detail as possible before putting too much time into using LinkedIn. Why? If one or several of these areas are missing it can take more time to become a Super User and monetize your results. What usually prevents success is an invisible barrier that prevents you from making the progress you should. When invisible roadblocks appear it’s because one of the points above that has not been addressed and your results are telling you to go back and fix it. The good news is social media marketing is always about learning and improving. 3
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide Why Planning And Goals Matter: A Study From Harvard Business School “Goal setting is more effective when specific steps are integrated with written time frames and dates to document our thinking. Reality: written goals clarify thinking, objectify their potential, and reinforce commitment. Another secret of successful people is that they keep their written goals visible and review them daily. Harvard Business School did a study on the financial status of its students 10 years after graduation and found that: • As many as 27% of them needed financial assistance • A whopping 60% of them were living paycheck to paycheck. • A mere 10% of them were living comfortably. • And only 3% of them were financially independent. The study also looked at goal setting and found these interesting correlations: • The 27% that needed financial assistance had absolutely no goal setting process in their lives. • The 60% that were living paycheck to paycheck had basic survival goals; such as managing to live paycheck to paycheck. • The 10% that were living comfortably had general goals. They thought they knew where they were going to be in the next five years. • The 3% that were financially independent had written out their goals and the steps required to reach them.” Source: Pius Ephenus, Goal Setting - The Power of Writing Down Your Goal. Full article -http://bit.ly/635l9G. 4
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting Once you know what you want in your success plan it’s best to turn it into a goal. You may have heard of the S.M.A.R.T. methodology for effective planning. 3M was using it as early as the 1970’s and since then it has not gone out of style. This system will help you apply a razor sharp focus that makes becoming a LinkedIn Power User absolutely possible. Defining what you want and what you’re going to do to get there is an essential secret that transforms your time from being busy to being effective. S – specific M – measurable A – achievable R – realistic T – time bound Examples of using S.M.A.R.T, planning and LinkedIn Example 1 - Our engineering company will have all 12 of its employees on LinkedIn. Each person will be a member of 5 groups. Collectively we will identify 1,000 highly targeted prospects within 5-15 Groups. This will be completed in 45 days: due for day/month/year. Example 2 - As a sole businesses owner I will spend 5 hours a week answering 5 to 10 questions related to my industry in Polls or Group Discussions. I will also invite 10-25 highly targeted customers and industry influencers to be part of my network each week. I will keep a weekly report for tracking people I start discussions with so I can nurture those relationships as potential clients and future business alliances. 5
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide Time Management “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Albert Einstein Now that you have goals you need to determine how much time you can put into getting your results. There are a few factors that will either make you a Super User or a super time waster. By weeding out what wastes your time versus what is a valuable use of time you can master LinkedIn and be highly productive. Exercise 1 Write TW (Time Waster) on the line beside the bullet point if it is an area you are unclear about or you feel under-experienced doing. Write SU (Super User) if it’s an area you feel confident of your knowledge or your skills are equal or above average for getting results now. ___ Do you have at least 4 features of LinkedIn you can use really well ___ Are you operating from business goals rather than random activity ___ Do you have the focus to keep asking yourself, am I being busy versus effective ___ Do you know how to interact and bringing out the best in connections ___ Do you know what enables direct and indirect monetization for your business ___ You have a clear knowledge of who your audience is and how many people ___ Do you know how to convey a consistent brand image ___ The ability to give your audience original, valuable and inspiring content ___ What time will you schedule each week to ensure you become well recognized ___ Are you excellent at the art of valuable and compelling communication ___ The ability to watch for subtle changes and continually adapt 6
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide Exercise 2 What makes exceptional achievers different than average or poor performers is their ability to judiciously apply their skills to get the maximum results for the least amount of effort. List your Super User Strengths below (include additional points if you want to). 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Write out 1 of your goals that is aligned with your Super User strengths. Note how much time you will apply to your goal using your strengths each week. Exercise Summary By matching your strengths, to your goals and your weekly time budget you will be well positioned to get excellent results. The areas where you need to improve should be seen as investment time outside of your weekly budget that will pay back in the future. 7
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide LinkedIn Success Stories Job Searching “In addition to networking with most of her real world professional connections on LinkedIn, and joining groups, she researched LinkedIn for company information and potential connections before applying for any jobs. She saw a dramatic difference in how many phone interviews or offers she got from traditional online boards (5% response rate) versus online and offline networking (31% response rate). During her search, she made a weekly goal of 3 meetings with her connections, to learn what might be happening in the job market. When she saw a job posting for what is now her current job, she looked up and connected to a former co-worker through LinkedIn, who introduced her to the hiring manager.” Story by Kathy Robinson, Career coach at Turning Points Career Consulting. Article on Christine Midwood, program director and product manager. http://blog.linkedin.com/2009/08/11/kathy-robinson-why-linked-in-is-high-octane-fuel-for-job-searching New Business Growth “Linkedin has been a very valuable tool for my business. I’m based in Singapore running a boutique PR company and have been contacted through Linkedin by companies from the US, UK, Australia and other parts of Asia. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some major clients who I would never normally had access too. As well as form some strategic alliances with other small PR companies in other countries... The individuals on Linkedin are all professionals and take both their business and other businesses seriously... Put simply Linkedin is terrific!” Linda Ruck - Director Linda Ruck Communications, Public Relations & Branding, Events, Media Campaigns http://www.communitymarketing.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/10/an-understated-hero-linkedin-a-global-village-of-goodwill.html 8
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide Leading The Pack: 5 Super User Tips 98% of people on LinkedIn don’t get more than a bit of networking, a rolodex and some valuable tips and feedback. Super Users are clearly different. The following points were found to be consistent after interviewing several group managers on LinkedIn who had members ranging from 20,000 – 100,000 and over 10,000 network connections in the personal following. What they all had in common was: 1. An 18 month vision and clear goals. 2. A clear and compelling personal and company profile. 3. They knew who their audience was and talked to them regularly. 4. Their ideas were innovative and offered compelling value. 5. They were dedicated to nurturing their audience and developing real relationships. These 5 points were implemented with the highest level of professionalism, persistence, and tenacity. Their drive in these areas enabled them to stand apart from their competition. Keep in mind it’s tougher than ever to be unique on LinkedIn with over 55 million members and 55,700+ groups. However these 5 points together are a secret that makes master networkers and group leaders stand apart from their competition. Exercise The above points are only effective if you know what makes you highly different than your competition and you have bigger plans for getting there than your competitors. Describe what is highly unique about your plans and why that puts you in the top 2% category. 9
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide LinkedIn Users That Leave Their Competition Behind “I'd be lost without LinkedIn. Quite simply, it is essentially my professional home page. I probably spend more time searching on LinkedIn than I do on Google. I am thankful for the ability to create and cultivate my network, to find and connect (and stay connected!) with new and old contacts, to be found by potential partners, clients and employers, to research companies of interest and seek connections there, to read and participate in discussions on innumerable topics of interest with thoughtful professionals around the world, to request and provide information, advice and contacts, to join and participate in groups, to create and build an alumni network for my former employer that has helped our members succeed.” Larry Robiner - Business Development Executive and Strategic Marketing Consultant http://www.communitymarketing.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/10/an-understated-hero-linkedin-a-global-village-of-goodwill.html “Linked In is now part of my daily business life. It has allowed me to meet people, all be it virtually. Created business opportunities and provided tons of invaluable information. Best of all through the site I have been able to prove and confirm that product design and definition and product acceptance on a world wide basis. With LinkedIn the World is a smaller place and working cross boarders is suddenly easy.” Mark Alford - Director at StorePOINT International Ltd http://www.communitymarketing.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/10/an- understated-hero-linkedin-a-global-village-of-goodwill.html 10
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide Techniques For Growing Your Database There are a multitude of ways you can reach more people and grow your database on LinkedIn including Groups, Polls, Jobs, Events, search returns, TopLinked.com, invites, and more. One of the secrets to being effective, and therefore a Power User, is defining in advance what size of database is most important for you and who your prospects are. For some 50 contacts are enough, for other it’s 500, for others it’s hundreds of thousands. The number doesn’t matter; it’s the quality of that database in relation to its size that counts. Quality Comes Before Quantity Many people who do not get results on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube all have the same problem, only a fraction of their following are the right people who would do business with them. One of the greatest reasons why businesses do not monetize their social media is because they don’t have the right quality audience in the right quantity. Social media marketing has certain parallels with marketing: low target audience matches to your business equal no to low customer conversion opportunities. Ask yourself the following questions to see if you’re on the right track: 1. How many in your LinkedIn contacts know you or your business personally? 2. When you add new contacts are they people that are within 80% of your ideal customer or strategic alliance profile? 3. Are your activities on LinkedIn talking to your peers, your general industry or just an interest group that you like to hang out with? 4. How many people on LinkedIn are in your business’s geographical reach? 5. How many contacts in your personal LinkedIn network are decision makers, influencers, and advocates and within the 80% range of being relevant to your business? 11
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide 3 Steps To Grow Your Database After deciding what you want your contacts on LinkedIn to look like in terms of quality and quantity it’s the right time to take action on growing your network. Following are three techniques for increasing the quantity of contacts on LinkedIn by several hundred to several thousand within months: 1. Organic 2. Being highly visible 3. TopLinked.com membership and Open Networking Groups 1. Growing organically on LinkedIn includes: - asking your colleagues to link with you - importing your address book into LinkedIn - finding and inviting old acquaintances - mass emailing and inviting people to connect - sending invites to new contacts on LI - responding to Polls and Discussions so - optimizing your profile to appear in search people see you and invite you to connect results 20-70 times a day 2. Being highly visible includes: - frequently initiating valuable Discussions Posting your LinkedIn URL on: - initiating relevant Polls - on all company stationary and emails - utilizing Answers to crowdsource research - company swag and advertising campaigns - starting your own Discussion Group - your products and packaging 3. Growing through TopLinked.com and Open Networking includes: 1. Going to TopLinked.com and registering as per their instructions. 2. Reviewing people on TopLinked’s mailing list and inviting them to connect to you. 3. Joining Open Networking groups and inviting people to connect to you. 4. Maintaining high visibility so Open Networkers will see you and send you invitations. 5. Seeking out subgroups (in Groups) where people are looking for more invitations. 12
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide The 1 Secret That Unlocks All Of LinkedIn Yes there is one point more important than anything else mentioned so far. It’s deceptively simple, it hides in the open, its essence connects all of the other points to each other, and you don’t have to be master to get exponential results. The Biggest Secret Of Being A LinkedIn Power User Is… Genuinely network with people online and treat them with the same respect and desire to build a relationship as you would with anyone you meet offline. The more targeted you are in building your database, joining groups and being visible the more you will attract (and screen) the more likely the people you have exchanges with are likely to be prospect or valuable networking contacts. Every little or big exchange you have is an opportunity to create a new relationship which can lead to future monetization of your LinkedIn efforts. Following are 10 ways 90% of people get it wrong: 1. Staying in broadcast mode like direct marketing or mass advertising 2. Forgetting every single person you come into contact with is real 3. Spreading efforts to thin and missing opportunities that fall on your doorstep 4. Being “afraid” to get out of comfort zones 5. Giving up when obvious results are not there 6. Failing to be consistently visible 7. Making errors that project poor attention to detail 8. Putting forward an image that has mixed messages 9. Not realizing it’s the little things that lead to big things 10. Forgetting that there is substantial value in building your brand’s reputation over time. 13
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide How To Reach Huge Audiences It is possible to reach between 500,000 to 1.5 million people on LinkedIn without paying a dollar. When using this secret correctly these numbers and this technique can be a game changer even for Power Users. So What’s The Big Secret? Groups! Things You Need To Know About Groups: 14
    • LinkedIn Marketing Guide 4 Steps To Join New Groups and Post News Step1 - Select “Groups” on your top menu bar. This will take you to the search page where you can enter a search term for a new group you want to look for. Step 2 - Select the Group you want to join. The group manager does not have to approve any new joiner. Some groups will approve people automatically, others will take 1-5 days. You can join up to 50 groups. Step 3 - Once you are a member of a Group, click on it to open it. You will see listings for Discussions, News, Jobs, Sub Groups, etc. Click on News. Step 4 - Enter the URL that posts your content to that group’s news listings. This can be repeated for all your groups. Beware: Over posting to groups that overlap can quickly give you a reputation as a spammer. If the content is self-promotional expect nil response rates. If the group manager does not like your activity they can remove you without warning and ban you from the group. Keep track of being busy versus effective. This can be a time consuming process with great or no payback. Watch results and measure activity closely. If things are not going well, don’t get discouraged if you hit a low spell of traffic, people are still watching you. Do the marketing audit on page 3 to see where you might be getting it wrong. 15
    • LinkedIn Innovative Users - Case Study Innovation in Social Media | LinkedIn By Tami Magaro 5on5: Expert Interviews LinkedIn is considered one of the optimum social networks for professionals. It is ubiquitous in professional networks, but how is it used? What are key strategies? Mindeliver Media developed an interview series designed to ask experts in their respective fields about strategies, challenges and opportunities using social media. Five experts - five questions on using one of the most popular business networking sites on the Internet. Why 5on5 on LinkedIn? Tami Magaro, social media strategist for Mindeliver Media, participated in weekly and monthly networking groups in tandem with ongoing social media sites including LinkedIn. Consistently, she discovered professionals with more questions than answers regarding LinkedIn. “How do I use LinkedIn to find a job?” Nancy asked. “I’m on LinkedIn but haven’t checked it for more than a month” replied Jim. “I’m not sure how to use LinkedIn.” said Susan. Tami discovered a consistent gap. Why were professionals confused about the benefits of LinkedIn. What information was available for a first-timer? As Tami continued to build her own network, the questions remained for her colleagues, potential clients and her own practice with LinkedIn - leading her to ask - What are the experts doing? As she continued to build her connections on LinkedIn she discovered Lena West recently named one of the top social media experts in Fortune magazine. What tips and tricks could Ms. West share on LinkedIn - and could other professionals implement them on their own? About The Shapes of Innovation Innovation takes various shapes and social media is the absolute innovator. We discovered that our experts are using LinkedIn in innovative ways such as Andrew Ballenthin who created a contest (Blog-Off) completely designed, implemented, activated and awarded all in LinkedIn. Our experts are finding all of the benefits of LinkedIn and applying them to the new rules of marketing and PR - an inbound approach in tandem with offline strategies. Brought to you by: 16
    • Innovative LinkedIn Users “I set a goal to reach over 1 million people without having to spend a dollar” - Andrew Ballenthin Andrew Ballenthin is the President of Sol Solutions an integrated marketing consultancy. He has 18 years of experience focusing on branding, promotions, online and offline marketing. Andrew’s leading edge social media marketing work received media coverage from The Wall Street Journal This Morning, Quebecor, MarketingVOX, Project Management Institute, Drug Information Association and many others. Presently, he is working on two new books, “Naked Social Media” and “How To Become A LinkedIn Super User.” Q. How much time do you spend on LinkedIn and how do you utilize your time? Between writing and sharing blogs, up to 50 LinkedIn groups, and interacting with comments and discussions, I spend an average of 6 hours per week. My communications program allows me to reach over 1.8 million group members. If I was to advertise to the same audience with offline media, it would cost me between $20,000 to $40,000 dollars per initiative. The time spent is a small price to pay. Q. What are some of the tools you use on LinkedIn? A great tool for me is ‘status update’ which is an excellent way to message my connections on LinkedIn and Twitter at the same time with news or general business updates. Slideshare is a good way to show your audience what kind of work you do and provide depth to your profile. Your profile is very important. It’s essential to make sure it’s updated and contains relevant keywords which can help you show-up in LinkedIn search results 20 to 80 times a day. Another tool is groups for discussions and answers. Groups enable contacts and clients to engage with you. I’ve gained clients, speaking engagements, publicity and new business colleagues because of the interaction in my groups. Q. How did you build your connections? It’s simple contacting people you know and inviting them to connect to your network. Those were the days when I saw LinkedIn as a Rolodex of contacts. Once I recognized the caliber of people on LinkedIn, and that I could connect to them directly, it opened up a new world. When I reached 450 contacts I began to see things differently. I realized that I’d rather have connections that want to follow my online activity versus pulling people into my database. That’s one of the first steps of loyalty building, letting people choose to be associated with you versus you selling them on why you should be connected. Brought to you by: 17
    • Innovative LinkedIn Users The main driver of quality and quantity of my contacts comes through TopLinked.com (Open Networkers). It’s an interesting service with pros and cons. By paying a ten dollar monthly charge you become part of a group that keeps track of open networkers across many different networks including Plaxo, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Your name goes out to the group and people invite you to connect. You may get a high quantity of people wanting to connect to you but not necessarily a high quality, targeted database. TopLinked.com has played a role in gaining over 4,500 connections. Q. What is your return on investment with LinkedIn? On a direct monetization basis, last year I was invited to tender on a healthy five figures from LinkedIn contacts. I did convert a number of opportunities to paying clients. I also measure the value of branding, publicity, visibility and online traffic as indirect monetization. Indirect monetization is determined by the value you would place on spending cash for the same activity if you were to buy it. My reach to over 1.8 million group members has resulted in speaking engagements, having content being re-published on multiple websites, being published in industry magazines and mass media coverage, over 130,000 blog site page views, raising prizes for an event and more. The value of this indirect monetization is over $150,000. One of my favorite social media/LinkedIn success stories in 2009 was Blog-Off II. This was an event I innovated and directed for social media enthusiasts who wanted to be independently measured on their social media marketing effectiveness. Through LinkedIn I was able to gain 7 volunteer judges with fabulous media backgrounds, raise $45,000 in prizes and gain entrants from 6 countries. The event ran over 12 days and generated 110 blogs, 27,700 page views and over 1,260 comments. 55% of the traffic for the event came from LinkedIn, 22.2% direct, 3% Facebook, 2.2% was Twitter. Post event publicity in 30 days gained 6 online interviews, coverage by the Wall Street Journal This Morning (140 radio stations), media mentions by; Quebecor with a feature article across multiple news websites and newspapers; MarketingVOX feature article and Huffington post. The event will be feature as a full chapter case study in Conrad Hall’s upcoming book friends, Followers and Customer Evangelists. Post online publicity reach is estimated at over 5 million people. Sponsors and contestants are stepping forward in expectations of Blog-Off III scheduled for May 2010 (more are welcome). Q. Any other comments? LinkedIn is only limited by people’s imaginations and willingness to stretch out of their comfort zone. LinkedIn can be an absolute time-waster if you don’t have a good strategy on what you want to accomplish and methodologies for doing it. I have noticed a lot of people using LinkedIn and other social media trying too many things without focus. If you want to get effective, measurable and monetizable results focus, excellence, real marketing skills and persistence are some of the ingredients for gaining above average results. Brought to you by: 18
    • Innovative LinkedIn Users “If you want to be successful and establish leadership in your industry than it is absolutely essential to have a professional [profile] on LinkedIn” - Zhu Shen, PhD, MBA Zhu Shen, PhD, MBA is an award-winning business leader, author, media personality and thought leader in cross-Pacific life science business. She is CEO of BioForesight, a strategic consulting company providing partnering, financing, advisory outsourcing, cross-cultural training and media/public relation services for clients worldwide. She is an expert in social media with over 9 million connections in her LinkedIn network. She produced a critically-acclaimed DVD on social media entitled “The Art and Science of Networking and Social Media.” Q. What have you seen as the added-value to LinkedIn? LinkedIn is very content rich, clean and simple platform. Visually it’s appealing. It is an open resume or bio for professional people who want to make themselves available for others to connect. It has a lot of rich content in terms of information about people’s background, education and professional accomplishments...and other aspects that may be of interest. It is one place where you can go to find interesting information about someone with a richer picture for you to look at. I think it gives you a certain indication about whether or not you would like to connect to another based on industry, accomplishment and the kind of work he has done. In terms of the content, it’s a very good place to put your professional information out there. I love the recommendations feature where you can see other people who have worked with you in one way or another recommending your work. It really provides a third party objective view of how your work is received in a professional setting. It’s valuable. A positive recommendation from others provides a sense for that person and you may be more inclined to want to connect. Another feature I like is ‘groups’ that continue to grow daily. Groups provide a social network for people to share similar interests - they can find one another. It helps to expand your professional outreach - which is really valuable. I think without this feature it is probably a lot harder to identify people you might have an interest in. Another feature of LinkedIn that I like is personal control over who you want to connect with and how much you want to share with people. In your network on the first level you can choose to make this public or private. I think there is a lot of thought behind the design of LinkedIn. They have done a tremendous job - thinking out all of the potential issues - to make the tools user-friendly, keeping it flexible, personal and controllable. Brought to you by: 19
    • Innovative LinkedIn Users Q. How did you build your connections? I have over 9 million connections1 with over 1,600 first-level connections. These were not built in a short time. In the past five years I’ve done various things to build my network. One of the first things I did was to import my contacts from my existing email address database and automatically invite those contacts that appeared to be on LinkedIn with an existing email address from my database. That was a great feature. I leverage this feature for several years. It’s an almost semi-automatic process. You don’t need to send individual invitations. It was very efficient and saved me a lot of time. I’m not sure this function is still available. Now, even if you have people in your other contact database and find that they are members of LinkedIn, you can’t automatically invite them. You have to manually click on the square that indicates you want to send an invitation. Q. What is your return on investment with LinkedIn? ROI has been difficult to quantify by dollar or percentage but, I would say over all my return on investment with LinkedIn has been truly amazing. I’ve been very pleased. One of my first- degree connections led me to a national television feature for my son [Perry Shen]. Within one day I received a ‘yes’ from a CBS correspondent to feature Perry as the youngest film critic in the country on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.. That was amazing. I never expected that kind of result. If it wasn’t for LinkedIn, it never would have happened. The interesting part is that the CBS correspondent and I have become good friends. We talk all the time. I have referred him to other valuable contacts that he would otherwise have no access and I’ve referred potential clients to him too. So it is a truly mutually beneficial relationship. In addition, I’ve received several inquiries for consulting opportunities, speaking invitations at events and people who refer me to other valuable contacts. I think if you are open-minded and you invest time to LinkedIn you will discover hidden treasures. You won’t know until you spend time, investigate and just play with LinkedIn - especially in groups. You can identify and find really fascinating groups that will be valuable to you. Q. Do you have other tips and tricks for the novice? It is having the desire and determination to be personally responsible for your career development, image and brand. I think it is so important to have a professional image of yourself out there for people to see - not just to find a good job or your next job after being laid off - if you want to be successful, to establish leadership in your industry - it’s absolutely essential to have a very professional image using social media tools like LinkedIn. It is a part of your personal brand. It’s important to spend the time but with deadlines - completing your profile e.g. photo, recommendations and professional experience. It’s not that hard if you set your mind to it. Brought to you by: 20
    • Innovative LinkedIn Users “I’m dealing with 200-300 requests to join a day” – Ben Benedetti Ben Benedetti is a freelance producer and corporate executive working in the entertainment industry for the past seventeen years. He has extensive experience in both management andadministration in all phases of production including network, studio operations and facility management. Ben created the LinkedIn group “Film and TV Professionals” having grown to over 24,000 members in less than 9 months. Q. How do you build your connections? I’m not as aggressive a salesperson as you might think. I don’t spend a lot of time outside of my network - my strongest connections, my strongest relations are with clients I have built in real world situations. I have been in my industry for a couple of decades now. Most of these people I’ve actually worked with. LinkedIn is just a value-added communication tool much like the telephone but, I don’t use it to replace my real life relationships. It’s a bonus - an easier way to communicate with them. Again, it’s not direct but it really doesn’t infringe on their time and they can respond at their leisure. In general, one of the dangers of social networking is that it gives a false sense of intimacy with people. You can feel like you are close, like on Facebook, where you get exposure to more of someone’s private life, people sharing their interests – non professional information but it gives you a false sense of closeness with someone you don’t really know. It’s finding a balance. Understanding that these tools are great and wonderful. You have to be able to know how to use these tools today - especially as the younger generation comes forward, coming out of college - the future business leaders. By the time these people get into places of power this will be simply a way of doing business. It’s absolutely something you have to know, have to be familiar with, and be willing to use and adopt as part of your daily working practice on reaching out to people. There are those other pit holes where you really need to make sure that you’re really spending the time of actually going out and meeting with people and working directly one-on-one with the individuals as well. Q. Do you promote yourself or business on LinkedIn? I’m in a lucky situation because I’ve been in this business for a long time. I’m kind of a known commodity to say that modestly. I’m in a unique position, I don’t necessarily have to do a lot. Promotion for me is to try to be an attraction rather than a promotion. I use these tools to really just reach out to individuals, directly. I am more active sending people direct notes and messages for a dialogue and interface. I don’t do a lot of wall posts or updates unless they are just generic - once or twice a day. Brought to you by: 21
    • Innovative LinkedIn Users “LinkedIn augments face-to-face networking and provides a platform that bridge time and distance” – Dominic Tong MD Dominic Tong, MD is an enterprising and accomplished life sciences professional. With nearly twenty years of diverse healthcare practice and management experience in the academic, public and private sectors. Dr. Tong has clinical development and medical affairs experience in the biopharmaceutical and medical device space with Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. Q. What have you seen as the added-value of LinkedIn? An added-value of LinkedIn is providing a forum, platform for meeting other individuals, professionals that you normally could not. You are separated either by distance or time so it allows you to expand your network in a much more powerful fashion than traditional face-to-face networking. It is not a substitute, most of my LinkedIn connections are people that I have met face-to-face but there are a significant percentage that I’ve not met instead have exchanged emails or spoken over the phone. It augments face-to-face networking and provides a platform that bridges time and distance. Q. How has building your connections changed over time? I was sent an invitation from a fellow soccer coach. We are both ‘Dad’ soccer coaches for our sons’ teams. I would say for a good year I didn’t really use LinkedIn. I set up a basic profile, invited a few friends but it pretty much languished. I didn’t really understand it. I went through a couple of career transitions and became quite active on LinkedIn, for the purpose of career networking. Now, it’s kind of at a maintenance level, increasing connections in a thoughtful way. I belong to ‘GroupLinked.com’ and ‘TopLinked.com’ which provide more power LinkedIn networking - so you are sending out hundreds of invitations. Brought to you by: 22
    • Innovative LinkedIn Users “…it allows me to showcase my intellectual capital and my thought leadership.” – Leena West Lena West is an award-winning social media consultant, blogger, speaker, journalist and technologist. She is CEO & Chief Strategist of xynoMedia a social media consulting, implementation and development firm helping women-owned and leading companies profit from the power of social media and Internet. Q. What have you seen as the added-value of LinkedIn? The first value is the ability to stay in touch with people in a way that is socially acceptable for most business people. There are some people that still feel that Facebook and Twitter are just not business-appropriate. The second value is the ability to stay in touch as people move from company to company. People change jobs - their contact information changes - their LinkedIn profile is always a good place to get their new information because people take the time to update their profiles. Having this one repository of information from which to reach out to people and stay in touch is an immense value. Another value is being able to request a connection from people I know and to connect with people whom I don’t. These types of introductions are almost expected - very much apart of the LinkedIn culture. You can ask others to recommend you to connect in other networks. What is even better is that LinkedIn is built to facilitate these kinds of introductions. The LinkedIn interface makes it so easy for me to help someone. Q. How did you build your connections? Initially my connections were mostly from people who sent me invitations to connect. We got really smart and strategic about building connections on LinkedIn so I asked my assistant to initiate invitations to connect with people whom I met as a speaker at conferences and attending networking events. We customize the standard LinkedIn invitation message by informing people on where and how we met...and that “I’d like to stay connected on LinkedIn.” It’s a great way to build connections. Brought to you by: 23
    • Innovative LinkedIn Users Q. What specifically do you look at in someone’s profile? I look at how complete their LinkedIn profile is - it tells me a lot about someone. When you have an incomplete profile it says to me one of three things; 1) I’m too lazy to complete my profile, 2) I’m not willing to give you a complete picture of my professional identity in order to provide you with information that helps decide whether or not you want to do business and 3) I don’t know what to do and don’t know what is left to be done to complete my profile...and I’m not willing to hire someone to show me how to do it. I’m not willing to invest in myself and my career. This one thing (level of completeness) shows me whether someone is serious about networking and marketing. It is like having a bad business card. It shows me if you are serious or not. I look at their experience - past jobs - how it relates to their current position. I look at links such as blog or website. I’ll visit their blog and website. If it’s a blog, I look at the date of the last posting - are they an active blogger? I may look at who visited their profile. It really benefits people to understand this tool. You don’t need to be a pro, but you can waste a lot of time poking around not knowing what to look for. It is a lot like knowing how to type - you take the class to avoid struggling with a ‘hunt and peck’ strategy. Q. What is your return on investment with LinkedIn? The magic question. I have got a thing for the ‘ROI’ conversation. I have blogged about it and talked about it. I think people are hyper-focused on ROI. I know with social media your return is only as good as what you invest - that’s the long and short of it. Same with money. You are not going to get a huge return if you don’t invest a good chunk of change. Every now and again you may hit a small jackpot, but for the most part, you are going to get the most bang for your buck when you invest a good sum of money. My return on investment has been great with LinkedIn - especially since we haven’t maxed out leveraging it. I’m really interested in our ROI once we start really maxing out - using more of the LinkedIn tools. Q. Do you have other tips and tricks? Take time to get familiar with LinkedIn - starting with completing your profile. A tidy, up-to-date and complete profile speaks volumes. How you do anything is how you do everything. You are investing in your reputation - you care about connecting with people. You are a finisher. You don’t get half-way through something and let it trail off by getting distracted. It is easy enough to do - complete. Complete your profile - an hour with a cup of tea in front of your computer - you’re done. Lastly, I would taking time to learn the LinkedIn platform - so you know exactly where to go. You are able to leverage this tool to market yourself, share your thoughts, become a leader and stay in contact with your network. You are only as strong as the people who care about you. Brought to you by: 24