9 common LinkedIn mistakes and how to avoid them


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9 common LinkedIn mistakes and how to avoid them

  1. 1. 0800 80 30 826 www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight9 Common mistakes made by firms when setting up and using LinkedIn ... © ... and how you can correct them
  2. 2. 9 Common mistakes made by accountancy firms when setting up and using LinkedIn... Introduction Dear business owner or manager Thank you for taking the time to request this free report from Insight. It’s been written to help companies like yours embrace this powerful technology and benefit from the results. Over the past 3 years I have spoken to thousands of delegates about social networking. A few enlightened individuals acknowledge its importance in the current marketing mix, but the vast majority shake their heads and say “It’s for kids. It won’t work for us” or “We don’t know where to start!” But the one social networking application that very definitely is for professionals – is called Linkedin and it’s a proven way to generate introductions and referrals through online networking – exactly what you have been doing for years James Potter successfully offline. For a relatively old timer like me, it’s encouraging to see that the fundamentals of Know, Like and Trust, the three stepping stones to building profitable relationships, are still as relevant to this new technology as they are offline. People are still doing business with people they like; people like them; people who show a genuine interested in them, and who they trust. Networking groups are thriving. The move towards social business grows and LinkedIn has been elevated in importance. As some 80% of an average business client base is normally within a 30 mile radius, it makes sense to be actively networking in your local business community; most of your business will be local and will be passed on locally. As the entire business world becomes more ‘connected’, the need to actively put yourself out there and to network, both at face-to-face events and online using LinkedIn, is now more important than ever. Of course, as with any new technology, there’s a learning curve where all the wrinkles and errors are ironed out. This report has been written to help you avoid some of the most common mistakes firms have been making when using LinkedIn for the first time. It’s designed to save you time and anguish. One thing is sure… Your firm’s strategy for success really must include LinkedIn visibility, or, quite simply, you’ll be missing out! Warm regards, James Potter James Potter Senior networking and LinkedIn advisor for Insight jamesp@insight-marketing.com P.S. If this report excites you then why not come along (see page 26) 2 www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight
  3. 3. ... and how you can correct themContent4// Who are Insight? 18// Not using LinkedIn to protect your clients5// Failing to take social media 20// Not getting recommended or not getting the right recommendations8// LinkedIn is the perfect place to network with high earners 21// A simple CARE approach10// Not achieving a 100% LinkedIn profile 22// Failing to join LinkedIn Groups11// Managed LinkedIn 23// ‘Don’t wait like a fish out of water for people to come to you!13// LinkedIn Free Report 25// Don’t let your staff loose on LinkedIn without a plan and some training14// No photo or the wrong photo 26// Final thoughts15// Not developing and building your network and an invitation to join us live16// 7 quick tips to expand your network 28// Who are we? Helping firms unlock the power of LinkedIn www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by InsightWhy not join us at one of our live events, see page 26 3
  4. 4. 9 Common mistakes made by accountancy firms when setting up and using LinkedIn... Who are Insight, what experience do we have and why have we written this report anyway? Who are Insight? For those of you who don’t know, Insight Marketing was founded over 25 years ago by well known author and philanthropist David Oliver. David has set up and run a number of companies, selling some and continuing to run others. He is one of the most sought-after sales and marketing presenters in the UK and Europe and his vision for Insight is as clear today as it was over 25 years ago – to help professional firms grow and to realise the potential of the partners and the teams they are responsible for. Since its formation David and his team have worked hard to actively supporting the growth of professional service firms. Today, our senior team and their staff serve a range of firms across the world, from top internationals to sole traders. Insight is proud to have developed an excellent reputation for its no-nonsense approach to online and offline strategies that deliver meaningful results. What experience do we have? • We have been working with professional service firms for almost 30 years • Uniquely, we are able to work with any firm of any size, anywhere. We currently consult for and support many top national and international firms, hundreds of partnership and sole traders along with networks and associations. • We generate, track and measure thousands of qualified appointments each year In the 12 months leading up to this report over 10,000 professional service firms have requested one of our reports; 40,000+ get monthly emails from us; thousands have joined us on LinkedIn; over 2000 delegates have listened to us ‘live’ and we have held over 300 1:1 meetings with business owners of UK firms. Why did we write this report? We are concerned that many firms are retrenching in the current climate, cutting costs and reducing overheads and marketing spend. We believe that those firms who choose to sit on their hands and do nothing will be exposed to significant financial threats. On the other hand, we strongly believe there is an opportunity for firms that move quickly to protect their client base and take advantage of the changes in the market. Through effective digital marketing, combined with offline marketing, significant practice growth can be experienced. If you want to take the ‘unknown’ out of your digital marketing, why not join us at one of our exclusive up and coming events? (see page 26). 4 www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight
  5. 5. ... and how you can correct themMistake 1Failing to take social media - especially LinkedIn - seriouslyIt’s easy to read and hear all the hype about ‘social media’ and ‘networking’ and decide ‘it’s for kids – it’s not forprofessionals’ and do nothing about it. Worse, perhaps, is to acknowledge its existence and dip your toe in the waterwithout really taking it seriously. Please take note: Your online, digital reputation is critical to your future success as abusiness. By not being ‘up to date’ you will put off potential customers. Conversely, if you can show you are using the latestsocial media technologies, you will attract young, forward- thinking, profitable clients, who will be key to your success overthe next 10 years. The same is true of your own clients, who may decide to move to a more ‘advanced’ firm if you don’tcommunicate with them online as well as offline.The numbers: • 700 million Facebook • 1bn by end 2012 • Twitter activity 3x in 1 year • LinkedIn 2x in 18 monthsYour firm needs to listen and join conversations and LinkedIn will help you achieve this.Why not join us at one of our live events, see page 26 5
  6. 6. 9 Common mistakes made by accountancy firms when setting up and using LinkedIn... We know it can all sound airy-fairy, technical, complicated and perhaps even ridiculous to some people, so let’s paint a picture that’s appropriate for an accountant, solicitor, IFA or consultant. At the end of a busy day you are sitting with a number of friends at the local health club, perhaps after a game of golf or squash. In conversation, one of your group mentions his personal tax bill, as he and his wife run a profitable partnership. Some of their friends have ‘gone limited’ but he’s not sure what impact that might have on his tax position. He also mentions that he’s thinking of selling off a large piece of land he owns for a significant amount of money but he hasn’t received any advice from his accountant about it. He has not thought about it and has no trust or plan in place. • Can you join in this conversation? • Do you have some questions to ask? • Might you be able to help him legally, ethically and appropriately? • Could it save him significant sums of money? • Could you win some new business out of this conversation? Of course you could! The GREAT news for professional service firms is that ‘conversations’ like this are all within easy reach once you know how to use LinkedIn. The tools you need to join these ‘online conversations’ are exactly the same as those you’ve been using offline for years. In the days of the Rolodex or Filofax you used to talk face-to-face with your prospects, didn’t you? Well they are exactly the same online, with the same rules of engagement – no crass selling or hype - just honest down-to-earth conversation. And, just like the example above, they are happing right now in real time online. These are conversations you can follow, listen to and comment on where appropriate. The digital world is full of these opportunities to connect and one of the first to get to grips with is LinkedIn. It gives you the ability to link to and with each other; extend or request friendship and add yourself to an online ‘community’ or group. Joining them is easy: 1. Listen to a conversation 2. Where appropriate, respond to the conversation 3. Join/engage the conversation already in progress 4. Start a conversation 5. Increase the number of conversations you have This is not a replacement for face-to-face contact This online connection is not in any way supposed to replace your face-to-face contact with clients and potential customers. We understand that offline conversation has significant challenges; it’s fragmented, isolated, geographically challenging and tough to scale. Yet if you put the two together, your firm will have a powerful, integrated communication solution or strategy. 6 www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight
  7. 7. ... and how you can correct themLinkedIn is a great starting pointIt’s encouraging to see the fundamentals of ‘Know’, ‘Like’ and ‘Trust’, the three stepping stones to building profitablerelationships, are being used as much online now as they always were offline. People are still doing business with peoplethey like; people like them; people who show a genuine interest in them, and who they trust. Indeed, LinkedIn is a superbstarting point.Networking groups are thriving. The move towards social business is gaining momentum and LinkedIn has increased inimportance.As the entire business world becomes more ‘connected’, the need to actively put yourself out there and to network, bothat face-to-face events and online using LinkedIn, is now more important than ever. Your firm’s strategy for success reallymust include LinkedIn visibility, or, quite simply, you’ll miss out!What is LinkedIn?LinkedIn is a free online networking tool that enables you, to be found online and stay connected with others. It’s theworld’s largest professional network with over 80 million members and it’s growing rapidly. It connects you to your trustedcontacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas and opportunities with a broad network of like-minded professionals.Not only is it a fantastic tool for networking and referral generation, but it’s also a great way to keep your database upto date (something we all struggle with). In today’s professional world, people change jobs and locations constantly. Byconnecting on LinkedIn, your address book will never go out of date. Your contacts update their profiles, keeping youcurrent with their latest jobs, projects and contact details. You’ll be able to stay in closer contact thanks to a range of greatLinkedIn tools.For example, let’s imagine your immediate circle of contacts can’t solve a unique business challenge. LinkedIn tools like‘Answers’ and ‘Groups’ let you locate and interact with experts through trusted introductions. LinkedIn Search lets youexplore the broader network by name, title, company, location, and other keywords that will help you find the informationyou need. Whether you’re looking for a career opportunity, winning new clients or building your professional reputation,LinkedIn connects you to jobs, sales leads and ideal business partners. With a powerful search engine, company researchtools and a jobs board that shows who you know at listed companies, LinkedIn is the place to turn to for new opportunities.No selling; no crass marketing – just old-fashioned networking!As you already know, the most effective tactic to grow your firm is networking. Yet there seems to be a disconnect betweenthis understanding and the advantages of using online tools like LinkedIn. If your firm wants to compete in today’s ever-changing market, then the very best place to start is LinkedIn. There is no telling how far it will take you and, like most newtechnologies, it’s the firms who adopt it early on that will gain most from it.It’s FREE to join. Simply visit www.linkedin.comIf you want to know how to unlock the power of LinkedIn for your firm why not join us for social networking that works.(see page 26 for details)Why not join us at one of our live events, see page 26 7
  8. 8. 9 Common mistakes made by accountancy firms when setting up and using LinkedIn... LinkedIn is the perfect place for you to network with high earners • LinkedIn enables you to connect to your network at work and at home. The percentage of users logging on from home/work (UK): 38% business / 62% home • Financial service companies are among the top 4 most connected industry sectors using LinkedIn IT 324,770 Financial Services 188,786 Computer Software 124,785 Marketing/Advertising 119,958 • Over 75% of the UK’s top professional firms still do not show LinkedIn on their website homepage. That’s great news for firms wanting to use this tool while your competitors sleep! (Research undertaken by Insight March 2011) • LinkedIn is also good for firms wanting to reach and network with banks and bank managers. Two banks are in the top 5 most connected UK companies and all major banks are already using LinkedIn. Have a look for a local bank manager you know! NHS 18,140 BT 11,536 Royal Bank of Scotland 11,221 IBM 9,217 HSBC 8,557 • LinkedIn is dominated by households who earn £50,000 or more • 20% of LinkedIn users are senior level executives and managers. What’s more, over 60% are either decision makers in their companies or have direct influence on decision making. 8 www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight
  9. 9. ... and how you can correct themHigh earners on LinkedIn are potentially great prospects for your firmAs a professional firm you should be looking for quality clients, of the right type and profile that suit your firm. We I believeLinkedIn is the perfect place to find these customers and be introduced to them. It allows you to select your target marketvery precisely, and with a younger base of 25 – 34 year old with high incomes, that’s got to be a great starting place.The February 2011 stats show that there are over 90 million members onLinkedIn worldwide. It represents the largest and most current businessdatabase available in the world today.Source:Global Recruiting roundtable, 2011. Everything you wanted to know about LinkedIn - UK statistics and trends 2011.[online] Available at: <http://www.globalrecruitingroundtable.com/2011/01/07/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-linkedin-uk-statistics-and-trends-2011/> [Accessed 10 March 2011].Why not join us at one of our live events, see page 26 9
  10. 10. 9 Common mistakes made by accountancy firms when setting up and using LinkedIn... Mistake 2 Not achieving a 100% LinkedIn profile If you already have a profile, you might think you’re ready to go, but any number of simple mistakes will have a negative effect on your profile score. So, if you already have a profile, please use these tips to improve it. If you don’t have a profile, use them as a guide to create your first profile. Before connecting with others you must first set up a profile page at www.linkedin.com and ensure it achieves a 100% profile score. LinkedIn claims you are 40 times more likely to turn up in a search if you have a fully completed profile. To achieve this, simply complete the 7 simple steps below and make sure your profile is client focused. Before you start writing your profile: Take the time to think through your profile carefully. We recommend that you write out the various points using something like Microsoft Word or similar so you can work on the different aspects of your profile until you are happy with it. Your profile needs to be client focused. It’s not a CV or a boring list of all the companies you have worked for. It’s all about making connections and to do that effectively potential clients need to be able to see ‘what’s in it for them’. Make sure you have an interesting headline, as this is what people find when they search LinkedIn or when you contribute to a group discussion. As you write your profile, make sure it is full of value to the reader. Most profiles are full of facts and we all assume the people reading it will translate facts into value. Sorry, that just doesn’t work! We need to stop being so conservative about it and share the outcomes, differences and successes you can achieve for the readers. Your profile should be more about the reader than you. It needs to provide as much value as possible to the reader and be used to create discussions and conversations about you and your firm. It should therefore focus on what your firm can do for the reader who engages with you. It’s not a CV or a resumé - It’s a marketing piece! Join LinkedIn Essential info’ Search About Social updates Employment History10 www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight
  11. 11. ... and how you can correct themManaged LinkedInSometimes getting it done is the hardest part!Sometimes, even when the facts are clear and you understand the theory, implementing them may still be a barrier that’stough to remove. It’s not simply an issue of time, its also about understanding what needs to be done. I always used tolaugh when I pulled over to for directions (yes, I was alive before SatNav!) Almost without exception, the person wouldstart by saying “It’s easy! You just...”. Boy, it’s easy when you have it 15 times, but when you try to follow directions for thefirst time, it’s far from easy! So, if you prefer us to drive you there, and provide you with a managed LinkedIn profile - noproblem.Let us write your LinkedIn© company profileCompany profiles are the corporate entities of the firm, the organisation and its services which the employees associatewith. In excess of 1,000,000 companies have profiles within LinkedIn and it is essential that they reflect the values and valueof the brand.We will create your unique profile which will maximise the functionality and provide impact. Making your propositionsand brand enhance the browsers insight, raise the value perception and capitalise on client’s positive feedback. A goodcompany profile gets you past scrutiny, recognises your position as a market leader and ultimately gets you the successyou want.Your company profile will include the following: • Create a high impact company profile that demonstrates your values, services value and your brand - the value that you share with clients. • Ensure your company profile is secured to prevent unauthorised tampering and amendments. • Add an appropriate professional brand logo (or services logos) from your library. • Embed suitable YouTube videos to products and services. • Create promotional links and contacts, as appropriate. • Work with an internal contact to ensure “invites to recommend” are sent appropriately to endorse products and services. • Link to website pages that reflect the business.This is created for your firm, tailored to your specific marketing messages, themes and content. The cost for the creation ofa single company profile on LinkedIn would be £950.Why not join us at one of our live events, see page 26 11
  12. 12. 9 Common mistakes made by accountancy firms when setting up and using LinkedIn... Personal Profiles – Creating profiles to be proud of © The individual’s personal profile is the foundation in the world of LinkedIn . A great personal profile produces the platform to grow from; it underpins you and your personal brand. If someone wants to find your areas of interest or business do you make it easy for them to find you and buy from you? Do you use the right key words? Does your profile reflect your local standing in the community and profession? If it is not representative of your value it will limit the chances of success by giving the wrong message or worse still no message at all. Using our senior LinkedIn advisor James is an expert on LinkedIn, with over 130 recommendations, and can create profiles with impact, making your values, personal brand and your professional value to clients obvious. A good profile gets you connected, gets you noticed and ultimately enables the success you want. This is a one off service creating an attractive, compelling profile using your existing profile as a starting point and curriculum vitaes (where available) to create profiles within Microsoft Word. This is followed by a telephone interview to collect further insights about you, your brand and your value. Removing the problem of what to say, how to say it and saving the business chargeable time. It will: • Create a high impact profile that enhances your presence. • Demonstrate your values, value and reflect your brand. • Craft sections of your profile that reflect their expertise, skills, your experience and the value that you share with clients. • Add an appropriate professional photograph from your library. • Get your profile towards 100% complete. • Add applications that work for you. • Integrate with Twitter, if appropriate. • Link to website pages that reflect the business. This enables you to broaden your network, work it more efficiently and to get the connections, engagement and business you seek from within LinkedIn. The closure process for each profile will be a telephone coaching session for 30 minutes. You can then use it to populate your LinkedIn profile without exposing any individuals password or login details externally. Cost per LinkedIn profile offsite with a brief telephone interview prior to creation is £600. We also offer an onsite service at additional cost.12 www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight
  13. 13. ... and how you can correct them How to Unlock the power of LinkedIn© A Free Report from unlockingsocialnetworking.com by Insight Your free report Unlocking the Power of LinkedIn IBLE F 25 IG O EL CPD R Yrs TRUSTED F P S C OR OVER D T POINClaim your Free ReportHow to Unlock the power of LinkedInWhy should you take LinkedIn seriously?When I founded Insight over 25 years ago I never imagined that the skills our team employed offline in an era withoutcomputers would in the most part be just as useful online. Training professional service firms to network effectively andexpand their Roladex is exactly what we are doing now only with a much more powerful tool at our disposal. The days ofbuilding a prospect list manually are dead; its 21st century counterpart is LinkedIn.At Insight, our team have taken LinkedIn and its use for professional service firms so seriously that we have established adedicated networking team, overseen by James Potter – one of the UK’s leading exponents in harnessing the power ofthis modern medium. James has recently put together a 17 page report entitled ‘Unlocking the Power of LinkedIn for yourpractice’.This comprehensive report is available for you now. And it’s completely FREE of CHARGE.Simply register here for your copy or call today on 0800 803 0826. IBLE F IG O EL CPD R www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight P S C D T POINWhy not join us at one of our live events, see page 26 13
  14. 14. 9 Common mistakes made by accountancy firms when setting up and using LinkedIn... Mistake 3 No photo or the wrong photo LinkedIn is all about connecting with people - about personal relationships. So, it may seem obvious, but the biggest mistake is not having a LinkedIn photo at all. You wouldn’t do business with anonymous people, so it’s not surprising that having no photo raises suspicions about the validity of the connection. In fact, there are many people on LinkedIn who refuse to connect with a person unless they have a photo. You wouldn’t want to be remembered as a faceless icon, would you? So make sure you upload your photo. Adding a photo is so easy and it’s free, but what type of photo? This might sound simple but it’s not. If you browse LinkedIn you will see what we mean. Your wedding photo or holiday snap might seem like a simple solution, but it’s not. Your photo should give people clues to who you are; professional, trustworthy etc, and should not be funny shots or family shots either. LinkedIn is a professional network and your photo should reflect that. We recommend a simple head shot (because the LinkedIn photos are small) that is of a good quality. Dress smartly, but casually – a jacket and tie may give the impression of being too formal and stuffy. In summary Your LinkedIn profile is all about you. Your photo helps people get to know you and make a connection. Therefore it should be friendly, warm and professional not wacky, cheesy or over corporate. If you are having a few profiles done as a firm, why not bite the bullet and spend a few hundred pounds on getting a good photographer to take some shots. It’s worth every penny. They can also take other team pictures etc. For use on your website and other online marketing at the same time.14 www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight
  15. 15. ... and how you can correct themMistake 4Not developing and building your networkOnce you have achieved a 100% profile that’s well written and supported with a great photo, you are ready to build yournetwork. Getting this far doesn’t mean thousands of people will try to connect with you – rather, you need to consider howto expand your network.The hardest part is getting started. Once your list of connections reaches a critical mass, it’s easier to develop. As yournetwork grows, the more people will find you and connect to you. You need to decide if you want a wide network with lotsof connections or a deep network with fewer connections who know you and your practice well.Now it’s time to invite people to become LinkedIn with youLinkedIn allows you to send up to 3,000 invitations free of charge (and you can request more if you run out). This is a morethan enough for most people to get started. First, invite people you know: we recommend current staff members andcolleagues (providing their profiles are up to scratch), and then your clients. This will develop a powerful communicationchannel for you with those you know and do business with and vice versa.Don’t use the standard LinkedIn invitationLinkedIn provides a standard invitation format which is quite impersonal, so we recommend that you write individualinvitations to each person. Make it friendly and personal and if you think they might not remember you (surely not!) Then itwould be helpful and courteous to remind them how you are connected.Don’t spam people you don’t knowA word of warning for adventurous companies… Please don’t send invitations to people who you don’t know. It could bedeemed as spamming if enough of them complain about you and LinkedIn will suspend your account.Make a decision whether you want to become an open networkerThere’s an ongoing debate about this particular issue, so just be aware that some people choose to connect only totheir very closest known contacts. Others simply accept invitations from everyone. The open networker does this becausethey want to receive a wide range of invitations to expand their network. We advise that you start with those you knowand if you decide later that you want to become a more open networker, that’s OK. There are many open networkingopportunities such as www.opennetworker.com and www.toplinked.com.Why not join us at one of our live events, see page 26 15
  16. 16. 9 Common mistakes made by accountancy firms when setting up and using LinkedIn... 7 quick tips to expand your LinkedIn network This report has been written to highlight common mistakes made with LinkedIn. Once you have made sure you are not making any of them, here’s a list of 7 quick tips to help you expand your network. 1. Start with you current clients LinkedIn is the perfect tool to communicate with and update your current clients. Once you are connected and are using LinkedIn, one of its most powerful features is to see who your clients connect to. Before your next client meeting, take a look at their LinkedIn profile and study their connections. Then, instead of asking for a referral, you can ask if they will introduce you to one or two specific people they are connected with through LinkedIn. It’s also one of the tools we strongly recommend firms should use in order to protect their client base from increasing threats from competitors (see Mistake 5) 2. Upload your firms entire database of potential customers If you have a database of potential customers you’d like to work with, upload the list to LinkedIn and connect with them (providing you have a genuine reason to do so). Also consider any lost sales opportunities you have had over the past few years, any contacts you may have met that you are not working with and reconnect with them using LinkedIn. As you know, situations change quickly and they may be pleased to be connected to you. At the very least, it will enable you to have new conversations with them and follow them with ease in the future. 3. Upload partners and staff email lists We work with any firm of any size and that means some of the practices we speak to do not actually have a database of potential clients. If that’s the case with you, then one of the first things we suggest is to build a list from your email folders which can be one of the best sources of contacts. Trawl through partners and staff email address books stored in Outlook, Gmail etc, upload them to LinkedIn and connect with those you know or remember. It can be quite an enlightening job as you spot names of contacts you have not chatted with or connected with for years. 4. Ensure you have a practice policy to connect Each time you get a new name, business card, contact or enquiry, make sure someone is responsible for adding them to LinkedIn and an invitation is sent. We strongly encourage you to do this with any potential clients before you meet them so you can learn about them, and they can find out more about your firm.16 www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight
  17. 17. ... and how you can correct them5. Make LinkedIn your home page on the internetIncredibly simple, but actually a highly effective way of reminding you to use this powerful networking tool.6. Use ‘Advanced Search’ on LinkedInAs LinkedIn has grown, one of the most common questions we are asked is “What are the most important tools on LinkedIn?”If you want to find people to meet and connect with it, then the Advanced Search facility is essential. LinkedIn is like a hugeroom full of people - over 100 million or more - and finding them is simple with the Advanced Search tool. It may take a fewminutes to master but once you have it will reward your efforts handsomely. The people you’ll find in your concentratedsearch may be some of the most valuable you can ever hope to connect with. Before sending them a LinkedIn invitation,we recommend you should send them an email asking them to connect, if they list one on their profile.7. Go in search of LinkedIn Answers – it’s a gold mine!One of the keys in social media and networking is to seek out opportunities to share or provide value to others. As professionalservice firms, you are perfectly placed to do this as you have so much technical knowledge - and people are looking for it.LinkedIn Answers is the perfect vehicle to share some of this knowledge with others and join the conversation. Every day onLinkedIn thousands of new questions are asked. All you have to do is find the questions that relate to your industry generallyor any specialist areas you have knowledge of and are willing to share.There are multiple benefits to answering questions, providing of course, you know what you are talking about! You willbuild up good will with the person who asked the question and also anyone else who reads your answer. You have theopportunity to demonstrate your expertise in an area that perhaps their own adviser should have helped them with. Andall your answers are linked to your own profile and therefore seen by all your profile visitors.Where do you start? Simply go to LinkedIn Answers (You’ll find it in the ‘More’ tab on your profile page) and search forsomething that is related to professional services or your specific expertise, e.g. Solicitor. Where appropriate, engage withthe audience by answering questions. Include a link back to your firm’s website and this will also increase traffic to yourfirm’s site.Why not join us at one of our live events, see page 26 17
  18. 18. 9 Common mistakes made by accountancy firms when setting up and using LinkedIn... Mistake 5 Not using LinkedIn to protect your clients Some readers will be old enough to remember the days when almost all current forms of marketing didn’t even exist. The gentleman’s network meant that your friends and relations would be clients. Firms would not solicit for work, and would certainly not approach companies to see if they might ‘consider changing suppliers. Of course, those times are long gone and now it’s quite acceptable for companies to market themselves. Over the coming months, firms will be marketing themselves on an unprecedented scale; the marketing channels available to them will be the most diverse and technologically advanced in history. It’s fair to assume that your competitors will market to your customers, more often, more intelligently and in more ways than ever before. Viral marketing, National TV, online advertising, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and of course LinkedIn You don’t need to go far to see the speed in which these threats are gathering momentum. Watch your local rugby or cricket match and you will probably see it sponsored by an service company; go to YouTube and you will see plenty of videos from your competitors promoting their services virally. The more advanced firms will already be getting the most out of social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn by applying their traditional networking skills online to great success. Over the forthcoming months we will see a gradual increase in Apps as we all strive to stay ahead. During our up and coming events, we will explain these areas and provide explanations of how your firm can take advantage of them, quickly and powerfully (see page 26). As firms extend the reach and scope of their marketing, many profitable companies and owner managed businesses will be desperately looking for help and guidance. Over the next few years, perhaps more than ever, they will need the help, advice and guidance from proactive professional service firms. They won’t find the advice and support they need from companies that remain resistant to change and have hidden themselves away. Attrition rates will rise as competition increases and customers expect more for less; packages and fees well be re-negotiated. Once-loyal customers will be forced to look at the service they receive from their existing suppliers and it will become increasingly acceptable to ‘shop around’ for the best package at the best available price. Even profitable customers who have been unaffected or even benefited from the last few years are likely to negotiate with you as so many look to cut costs under the guise of the ‘economic downturn’.18 www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight
  19. 19. ... and how you can correct themThis threat is all the more significant because few firms are doing nothing to protect their customer base!Right now, it’s our experience that very few companies have any kind of customer protection strategy. It’s normal for us tobe talking to a firm whose database (if they even have one) of current customers is out of date, inaccurate and in truth amess. Even the few that do have a good database don’t actually have a strategy to market to and protect that database.Of course director/partner interaction; great service and personal advice on time are fantastic. But when your competitionseemingly offers the same, for less, perhaps with a greater technological advance it’s hard for customers to remain loyal.And the one small niggle that your customer may have had from months ago (it could be the smallest thing) might justsway the balance. The next thing you know is you get a call, letter or email from your once loyal customer explaining theyare leaving. You are shocked and cannot understand why, you of course contact them and they explain their reasons why– but at that moment it’s too little, too late.LinkedIn can helpIt will become more and more important to protect your customer base and carry out regular surveys to ensure clientsatisfaction levels are at an all time high.Fail to do this and your competitors will take advantage of any lax processes you have as a firm. That’s terrible news ifyou are losing clients and great news for the proactive firm that’s winning them. If you would like details on our exclusivecustomer protection and referral generation programme please get in touch. “In this day and age you must accept that if you don’t engage your clients with regular, relevant information and appropriate marketing offers your competitors will – and the grass is always greener!” Joel Oliver - MD InsightWhy not join us at one of our live events, see page 26 19
  20. 20. 9 Common mistakes made by accountancy firms when setting up and using LinkedIn... Mistake 6 Not getting recommended or not getting the right recommendations In our view this should be the perfect opportunity for all companies. After all, you have probably built your company on word of mouth and referrals for years, so why not do it on LinkedIn? Just like asking a client for a written recommendation in the post or by email, all you need to do is ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn. Better still, a recommendation on LinkedIn links back to the person who made the recommendation, meaning if they want to, they can look at the companies that think you are great. They provide a genuine 3rd party perspective about your, the way you work, and the end result. Remember LinkedIn is your public reputation engine; it’s the visual representation of your firm and your network. Therefore you should: 1. Make a point of asking for recommendations whenever possible. 2. Offer recommendations. 3. Make them powerful when you give them. 4. Once you have received a recommendation, take a look at their contacts and ask if you can be connected with them through your contact. Your recommendation will have most weight with them. 5. If you get a referral to your firm from another source (post, email, or fax) ask them if they would mind adding it on LinkedIn. How to ask for recommendations. Do unto others… LinkedIn provides the system for you to ask for recommendations and they stack up the requests in a queue for someone to address when they have a moment. The very best way to get recommendations is to provide them for other people (do unto others). It should take no more than five minutes to pen a recommendation for someone you know or work with. LinkedIn will send each person an email with the recommendation for their approval. Once accepted, it will then send the recommendation to each person’s profile. As soon as that happens, the person you recommended is automatically prompted to return the favour (through LinkedIn) and recommend you. And in our experience somewhere between 30 – 40% will do so without you asking them. Some people may be too busy to reply, so it may help if you write something for them. We normally email them and say “I appreciate you are extremely busy and may not have the time to write a recommendation. Would you be comfortable if I draft something and send it to you by email for approval? If it accurately reflects our work together and how you view our working relationship simply copy/past this as an LinkedIn recommendation. If not, please edit as appropriate and do the same.” In summary Almost everyone, irrespective of size, know that word-of-mouth recommendation is the most powerful source of new business for their firm. What’s more, these opportunities convert at a staggeringly high rate (for some it’s almost 100%) so they are golden opportunities. Anything you can do both offline and online to encourage these types of enquiries has to be a priority. And LinkedIn is a great place to start if your firm wants to take both your digital reputation and social networking seriously. LinkedIn could become one of your very best sources of live recommendations. You simply need to avoid these basic mistakes and learn the process.20 www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight
  21. 21. ... and how you can correct themThe elements of a recommendationA simple CARE approachChallengeWhat was the problem that you worked on for this organisation, colleague or customer?ActionWhat action did you take to help the situation, resolve the problem or overcome the challenge?ResultsWhat was the result of your action/assistance to this project/working relationship?EndorsementA positive, personal endorsement and if possible with the option for them to contact you with any questions.A quick guide on how to write a recommendation1. Go to LinkedIn and sign into your account, and find a contact (perhaps start with staff if you are very new to this) who it is appropriate to ask for a recommendation2. If it’s a client then consider calling them and asking for a recommendation on LinkedIn. This is a nice touch, and often creates interest from the person you are calling.3. Within LinkedIn click on the Recommendations link (located on the left side of the page under Profile tab)4. Click on the top ‘Request Recommendations’ tab and follow the first three steps5. Click on the ‘Select Connections’ button and click the check box next to the name of the person you are requesting a recommendation from. Click finish.6. Create your message in the third step on the page and click send. Your recipient will receive an email with instructions.7. When you receive the recommendation, LinkedIn will ask you to accept and publish the recommendation.8. Thank the person for their recommendation and if you have not offered them one yet and it is appropriate to do so, then offer a recommendation in return.Why not join us at one of our live events, see page 26 21
  22. 22. 9 Common mistakes made by accountancy firms when setting up and using LinkedIn... “ When you know how to use LinkedIn well, you’ll save yourself a ton of time. You’ll walk through open doors instead of making cold calls; you’ll enhance your personal reputation and the profile of your practice; you’ll access outstanding information and opportunities that you would previously have missed and, ultimately, you’ll increase your revenue. James Potter – Insight ”22 www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight
  23. 23. ... and how you can correct themRememberDon’t oversell ‘do unto others…’Manners and etiquette are often talked about in the context of social media. We like to think of it as a room full of people.If you were to meet your closest friends and colleagues in the room you wouldn’t leap into some form of ‘sales mode’pushing your firm’s benefits and trying to sell, sell, sell, would you? So don’t do it when using social media. You need toengage people, invest in their conversations and share your thoughts and ideas with them before they can appreciateyou, your value and your efforts. So we encourage you to invest a little time and effort. The returns can be fabulous.Mistake 7Failing to join LinkedIn GroupsGroups are important, and you can join up to 50 different groups on LinkedIn. It’s important to join the relevant groups,contribute to them or even create one. Look for groups within your own industry but also join the groups your clients andprospects might belong to. This will give you access to thousands of potential new customers. The key is to find as manygroups as possible that are relevant to your professional service firm and also the groups your clients and potential clientsbelong to. A great starting point is to review your own clients’ profiles and join the groups they are members of. This isactually easier than you think, very quick to do and powerful in terms of results.Once you join, raise your profile by posting relevant topical information. The best way is to create your own community offollowers who want to hear from you. You have a huge amount of important information that’s of significant value to yourmembers, so creating your own group should be relatively easy.5 things to avoid • It’s not about volume Do not invite the world just to increase your connection list. They are professionals like you and therefore they want to know why they should accept your invitation. Equally, be sensible about who you accept invitations from. We advise common sense here! Some firms will simply accept everyone, but we advise that you only to link with people you know, at least to start with. • Avoid crazy photos A head and shoulders photo of yourself, smartly dressed, is perfect. Photos of individuals out on the town, singing karaoke or drinking are fine for Facebook but not LinkedIn. • Don’t lie or oversell yourself Give a truthful account of where you have worked, what you have done and what you aspire to do. Be truthful and honest without over-hyping what you do. • Don’t ignore the update function This is a powerful tool to keep you at the top of your network’s minds. By ‘updating’ your profile, you will show up on their LinkedIn homepage and even their email. Don’t over-do it. A few updates each week is fine and like other updates you can post links to any interesting articles. • Don’t ignore your website link and do customise it Make sure your website details are on your LinkedIn profile. You can include it 3 times, so make sure you use them all – this will improve your Google rating. Higher rating, more hits, more clients!Why not join us at one of our live events, see page 26 23
  24. 24. 9 Common mistakes made by accountancy firms when setting up and using LinkedIn... Mistake 8 Don’t wait like a fish out of water for people to come to you! If you create your LinkedIn profile and don’t reach out to others and join groups that your prospects belong to, then it’s like attending a networking event and standing in the corner, looking at the ground, hoping someone will come and talk to you. You need to get out and engage with others. Here are 8 quick tips. 1. Don’t expect people to accept your connection invitation without giving them a reason. Tell them what they will get out of the relationship and how they will benefit. 2. Upload your entire customer database into your LinkedIn contacts (up to 3000 records) and then invite them to join you online. 3. Upload your entire email list from outlook, Gmail or similar 4. Focus on connecting. Every time you get a new contact or business card, link to them using LinkedIn. 5. Recommend people in your network where appropriate and ask for recommendations in return 6. Make LinkedIn the homepage on your browser so you review it regularly. 7. Think about lost sales opportunities over the last 10 years or more, then try to find those people on LinkedIn and get back in touch. Use this as part of your firm’s ‘Keep In Touch’ strategy and it will help you to reach out powerfully to past contacts. 8. Groups are important. Join the right ones, contribute to them or even create one. Find groups within your own industry but also join the groups your prospects belong to. Once you join, ensure you post relevant topical information. And the best way of all is to create your own community of followers who want to hear from you. As a professional service firm, you have a huge amount of important information that’s of huge value to your readers. Remember the powerful part of this process is that you can, over time, see who your network are joined to. At the appropriate time you can then ask them politely and professionally for an introduction, exactly as you would offline.24 www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight
  25. 25. ... and how you can correct themMistake 9Don’t let your staff loose on LinkedInwithout a plan and some trainingLinkedIn can seem like manna from heaven to a firm looking to grow and improve their social media activity. However,it’s easy to get things wrong and in serious cases you could be banned from LinkedIn altogether! Frequent errors includeemployees writing profiles without any guidelines. Without some guidelines you could end up with a muddle of information,styles, personal profile summaries and conflicting information. No one wants to be on the receiving end of a ‘hard sell’either in life or on LinkedIn, so don’t go over the top. People want to hold conversations and build new relationships. Thatmeans you need to communicate your messages indirectly and with integrity or other relevant news. This allows people toget to know you, to enjoy your content and to check out your profile – developing genuine online trust.Please contact us if you would like to discuss in-house LinkedIn training for your entire practice.Why not join us at one of our live events, see page 26 25
  26. 26. Who are we?Insight was founded in 1984 by well known author and philanthropist David Oliver. His vision then – as now – was to developInsight’s niche area - actively supporting the growth of professional service firms and realising the potential of the partnersand the teams they are responsible for. David is our leading presenter and has established a reputation in the UK andacross Europe for delivering powerful and effective marketing and sales strategies for firms of all sizes.Today, our senior team and their staff work with a huge range of firms, from top internationals to sole practitioners. We areproud to have developed an excellent reputation for our no-nonsense approach, delivering online and offline strategiesthat provide meaningful results for our customers – even in the current economy.What experience do we have?We have been working with professional service firms for almost 30 yearsUniquely, we are able to work with firms of any size, anywhere. We currently consult for and support many top 100 nationaland international firms, hundreds of partnership and sole traders, as well as respected networks and associations • We generate, track and measure thousands of qualified appointments for firms each year • In the 12 months leading up to this report over 10,000 firms have requested one of our reports • 25,000+ professional service firms receive monthly emails from us • Thousands of firms have joined us on LinkedIn • Over 2000 delegates have attended one of our ‘live’ events, and vision • We have held more than 300 face-to-face meetings with senior partners of UK professional service firms.What’s more, we make over 10,000 phone calls to UK Business owners and decision makers every single month. That’s over1,200,000 phone calls every year, generating thousands of top quality appointments for firms and millions in new RFI forfirms of all sizes.Why do you need us?Most professional service firms don’t take to marketing and sales concepts too easily. And that’s OK… After all, you’re busyhelping your clients with the important matters in life like saving tax and creating profitable businesses. But what about yourown business? Shouldn’t that be more profitable, showing year-on-year growth too?All too often, firms are so busy looking after their clients that they forget to look after their own business – and in today’srapidly changing climate you can soon get left far behind. And that’s where Insight can provide all the help and guidanceyou need to keep your practice as sharp as it should be. Our online and offline strategies are at the leading edge oftechnology and expertise, everything honed to perfection so you get the best results possible.Like to find out more?If you would like to contact us for a free no-obligation chat about some of the practice-growth options available toprofessional service firms, please call 0800 803 0826 or visit www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk and speak to one of oursenior team. www.unlockingsocialnetworking.co.uk by Insight