All Posts by LinkedIn Ninja


About the Author

Crystal Thies has been known as the LinkedIn Ninja since founding her company, Crystal Clear Buzz, in 2009. Although well versed and experienced in all social media, Crystal specializes in the utilization of LinkedIn for sales and business development. As a past financial planner, Crystal is one of the few social media strategists with expertise to work with those regulated by FINRA, the SEC, and IIROC. She is the co-author of “The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors” published by Bloomberg Press.

May 07

EXTRA! EXTRA! Use of LinkedIn Hashtags Scores $500k Commission

By LinkedIn Ninja | LinkedIn , LinkedIn Training

EXTRA! EXTRA! Use of LinkedIn Hashtags Scores $500k Commission

LinkedIn has finally embraced hashtags and created a real use for them. You’ll notice the hashtags you’re following in the far-left column of your home page. Hashtags have appeared in LinkedIn posts since they first integrated with Twitter (which they stopped because it caused too much junk in the news feed). Since people often posted the same content in multiple social media channels, the hashtags came along for the ride in LinkedIn. The hashtags were hyperlinked so that if you clicked on one it would search of other uses of the hashtag, but since there wasn’t any other real use and people weren’t consistently including them in posts, they didn’t have much value.

LinkedIn is now encouraging people to follow specific hashtags that they monitor and grouping those followers into loose “communities.” They have since removed the reference of hashtags being a “community,” but it’s initial existence gives us some insight into the role they want them to play.

You’re able to search for and follow hashtags that are relevant to your industry and interests. Simply type the hashtag (with the #) in the multi-search box at the top of every LinkedIn page. You’ll see a drop down of the “official” hashtags within LinkedIn and you can select the hashtag in which you’re interested. If you don’t see the hashtag you want, simply hit Enter. Just because LinkedIn isn’t focused on it, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t using it.

However, for the official hashtags, LinkedIn will let you know how many people are following it. Whether it’s an official hashtag or not, you should see a Follow button to add the hashtag to your list.

When you open a hashtag, what you will find is a feed of content that includes the use of that hashtag. This content comes from anyone who has their posts visible to anyone. By scrolling through this news feed, you can find interesting posts that you can engage with. You can comment, like, or share the posts even if you’re not connected to the person.

This provides a great opportunity to get visibility to people beyond your immediate network. You can find centers of influence and when you comment on their post, your post is visible to them, their network and the networks of anyone else who has engaged with the post. AND, those people may get notifications to come and see your comment (people can control the notifications they receive).

You can use this hashtag feed to find interesting people with which to connect and start to build a relationship. There’s a lot that can be found and uncovered by spending some time scrolling through the hashtag feeds that are used by your target market and in your industry.

One last little thing before I explain the $500k. If you have a LinkedIn Page, you can identify three hashtags that your Page follows. When you open the hashtag feeds from the Page, you then have the ability to comment AS YOUR COMPANY/BRAND instead of you as a person.

So, how do hashtags result in a $500,000 commission?

The Ultimate LinkedIn Hashtag Case Study

During one of my LinkedIn Ninja 3rd Friday training sessions, I provided a detailed explanation of how the hashtags worked and some strategies that can be used to take advantage of the fairly new feature. My Top LinkedIn Ninja Dojo student jumped on these strategies and turned them into a $500,000 commission.

A little background about. This student is a commercial real estate broker based in Chicago. He’s a city boy. One of his clients asked him to sell a large ranch property located in…Florida (that’s a little bit of a hike for property showings). He was wondering how he was going to sell this property from Chicago without having a network of ranch owners or real estate agents who specialized in ranch and agricultural properties.

He decided to do a search for #ranchrealestate. Surprise, surprise, even though it’s not an official LinkedIn hashtag, there were commercial real estate agents posting content using that hashtag.

He reached out to connect with them. They accepted. He told them about the property. One of them found a buyer. The deal has a high probability of closing and should close in the next 90 to 120 days. Not only did he get that property sold much faster than he thought he could, his commission on the sale will be approximately half a million dollars! (Boy did that Dojo membership pay off!)

The Moral of the Story

LinkedIn is a goldmine of opportunity. But the gold nuggets don’t just fall at your feet; you have to go find them (every once in a while you may come across a nugget or one may go looking for you, but that’s definitely the exception and not the rule).

I can’t just grab a shovel, go digging in my back yard and find gold. You have to know where to look, how to look, the right tools and techniques to use, and your expertise to recognize the signs and potential that gold may be present.

The same is true in LinkedIn. You may be able to “farm” out some of the heavy lifting (in LinkedIn terms redundant activity), but only you have the knowledge to connect the dots between pieces of data that lead to an opportunity. The data have no meaning unless they are viewed in context that comes from experience in your industry and occupation. Assistants and automated software will never have that context. They may find some small pieces of gold, but you’re missing out on finding the ginormous nuggets that only you will see if you invest a little of your time on a consistent basis.

Jun 07

Do You Have a Diversified LinkedIn Connections Portfolio?

By LinkedIn Ninja | LinkedIn , LinkedIn Network & Connections , Uncategorized

The recent change in the LinkedIn news feed algorithm made me realize that my network diversification had gotten out of whack. The categories (or asset classes) of people no longer supported my time frame and risk tolerance. It’s time to start rebalancing.

Your LinkedIn network is an asset and the connections you build are investments. Like any other investable asset, you need proper diversification to achieve your goals – taking into consideration your time frame and risk tolerance, of course.

First, it’s important to understand the different LinkedIn Connection Asset Classes.

Close Friends/Family (Gold) – Your friends and family are gold. Their value never diminishes, and they always have your back. When you reach out for help, you know they’re going to respond. While they may not be a strategic fit to your business and career goals, they will always be your cheerleaders – and everyone needs cheerleaders.

Clients (Real Estate) – Your clients are real estate. They usually hold their value as long as you maintain them and the more you invest in them, the more they appreciate in value. The more impressive they are, the more others like them want to be part of that circle.

Target Market (Stocks) – These are the people who can help you most in your future career goals or who would buy the services/products your business offers. Target Market connections are stocks. Individually, some will be winners and others losers – not in terms of who they are as people, but in the help they’re able to provide to you. This asset class will perform well when there is a significant and growing quantity of connections in this grouping. If you aren’t connected to many people in this asset class, it’s going to be very hard to achieve your goals.

Centers of Influence, Referral Partners, Connectors, and Collaborators (Bonds) – These connections are bonds. Their overall value stays pretty consistent, but they pay interest in terms of introductions, visibility, and opportunities. They help you reach your target market which hopefully converts to clients.

Fans & Followers (Money Market) – These are people who invited you to connect because they value your expertise and the content you share. They aren’t a direct fit to your target market, but they are your brand advocates and can help you get visibility and introductions to your target market. Fans are money market funds. While there is risk in them losing their value, they almost never do. Additionally, they pay interest in helping spread your message far and wide.

Current Work Colleagues (REITs) – Connecting to colleagues and supervisors where you currently work is like investing in REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts). There are pros and cons that could lead to outstanding or disastrous results. They have tangible value because you’re actively working with them now, you’re all trying to advance the goals of the company you work for, and you can demonstrate your expertise and value to leaders in your company that you may not interact with on a daily basis. This activity could help you get a promotion. This is all well and good as long as you’re happy and you see your future continuing with the company. When you invest in a REIT, your money gets locked up for a significant period of time and if the value of the real estate plummets, there’s no getting your money out to stop the loss until the surrender period is over. If you connect with many people in your company and you decide you don’t want to work there anymore, it becomes very difficult to leverage the power of LinkedIn without making those co-workers aware that something’s up. It’s a double-edged sword and most people don’t recognize the downside to those connections until they get cut.

Past Work/School Colleagues and General Acquaintances (Cash Savings) – These are your savings account. Their value remains steady because they know who you are and that you have some history and interaction with them. They could earn you a little interest in terms of job and business opportunities, but most of the time not. But you can always turn to them when things get tough and you need some help.

Competitors (Loans/Promissory Notes) – Competitor connections are loans. While you can have synergistic and referral relationships with some competitors that pay interest, if they are not properly vetted and monitored, they could become toxic assets. They have access to see your marketing strategies and your other connections and can easily steal business opportunities and ideas. Competitor connections are a risk that requires diligent underwriting before investing.

Default invitations to connect from people you don’t know that you accept without verifying (Naked Call Options) – Connecting with people who invite you to connect that you don’t know and don’t vet, is the same as selling Naked Call Options. A naked call option is when you sell someone the right to buy a stock from you that you don’t already own at a set price. If the price of the stock goes way higher than the price you agreed to sell the stock at, you have to go into the market and buy it at that much higher price than you’re required to sell it, potentially losing a lot of money. There are bad people on LinkedIn and tens of thousands of fake profiles. If you connect with those people, they have access to your email to not only spam you, but use your information to hack your LinkedIn account, other online accounts, company servers, etc. Or, the person could become a new client. The issue is that you cannot predict the outcome and if things go the wrong way, they can be devastating.

But, there’s another important layer to your portfolio diversification.

In addition to the mix of connection asset classes, there is also a filter that you need to lay over the entire portfolio. That filter is engagement. Since the news feed algorithm change, having your connections engage with the content you share is crucial to LinkedIn continuing to share it and give you the visibility you want. If a significant percentage of your LinkedIn network are not actively engaged on LinkedIn on a regular basis, then you will struggle to get visibility.

For me, I’ve been actively growing my target market asset class – which is important to do if you want to use LinkedIn to get new clients. However, my target market is one of the least active and engaged industries on LinkedIn. So, even though I have thousands of connections, I’ve not been getting a ratio of views on many of my posts that I’m happy with. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some home runs, but also some disappointing results.

So, I’m rebalancing by actively adding engaged LinkedIn members to my network.

With Sales Navigator, I can find engaged target market people because there is a tab in the search results to show people who meet the search criteria AND have posted on LinkedIn within the last 30 days. That’s the gold mine and I’m leveraging my Sales Navigator subscription to connect with those people.

Also, when I post something that gets a lot of engagement, I review all of the people who liked and commented and invite them to connect if we’re not already connected. They’ve already proven that they want to engage with my content and would be great to beef up my Fans & Followers asset class. Of course, if they look shady, I don’t invite them. There is some risk with this strategy, but it’s a risk worth taking at this point to increase the numbers of engaged connections in my network to increase my visibility and the investment I’m making in the content I’m creating.

If you’ve not been happy with the results your LinkedIn activities have been generating, then you should really review the makeup and diversification of your network. If you’re not building your network with intention, then you’re gambling. If you like to gamble, then good for you. If you want to build something that you know will have value, then it takes strategy, analysis, and consistency.

One of the most important asset classes to get visibility on LinkedIn is Fans & Followers.

Treat LinkedIn as you would any other investment. Just as with investment management, you can spend hours learning on your own and trying to do it yourself, or you can invest in hiring a professional. The LinkedIn Ninja can create a plan and train you to it so that the time you’re investing in LinkedIn produces the best results, or we can actually do some of the work for you. If you’re interested in learning more, schedule a phone call at

Jan 10

LinkedIn Switches Favor to Conversations Over Content Sharing

By LinkedIn Ninja | Branding with LinkedIn , Latest Articles , LinkedIn

LinkedIn Switches Favor to Conversations Over Content Sharing

We’ve seen massive changes on LinkedIn this past year. While most of them were right in front of our faces with the new format, the most important change is hidden in the shadows.

Worse yet, since most people haven’t noticed this change, if they’re posting content the same way they’ve done in the past, they’re likely wasting their time and their money.

In March 2017, LinkedIn announced that it was implementing a new system for generating the news feed. This new system is a game changer. In the past, the LinkedIn news feed algorithm focused on the order of the content coming from your connections, those you follow, and notifications. It tried to put the content that you thought would be most relevant and that you would want to engage with at the top and everything else was ordered below it. Theoretically, all of your connections would be able to see your content if they scrolled far enough.

Notice that I said, “everything else.”

LinkedIn is now REMOVING content from the news feed that they deem as spam or irrelevant. Additionally, content that it sees as “low quality” is only shown to a small percentage of your network to see if they engage with it. If they don’t, bye-bye from the news feed.

Of course, LinkedIn doesn’t bother defining “low quality.” Personally, I’m still seeing stuff that I think is low quality and wonder what I could have seen instead.

However, if your update initially gets the “clear” thumbs up from the algorithm, that still doesn’t mean that you’re good to go. In the first several hours, it has another algorithm monitoring its “virality” score based on the amount and velocity of engagement. If you get no or little engagement, the update is then “demoted” meaning that people have to scroll pretty far to find it.


It’s Not Just What You Share, But How You Share It

So, what should you share?

First and foremost, LinkedIn uses the adjective “professional.” But what people see as professional often depends on the view from their own “profession.” Is an article about nutrition professional? What if you’re a nutritionist? We have no guidance on this.

Bottom line is that LinkedIn’s goal is to get people to stay on LinkedIn as long as possible so that they can show ads to you, which generates revenue for them. Therefore, sharing a link that takes people away from LinkedIn isn’t their top preference. While LinkedIn has never said that they demote external links, there is growing anecdotal evidence that they may be. Creating an update that elicits long comments and replies from many people keeps people on LinkedIn for longer periods making LinkedIn happy.

If you want to share a link to an external article, you better make sure that people will want to engage with it; simply posting the link and letting the preview do the rest will likely land you in the land of “low quality.” That means that the update that you craft to go along with that article link must start a conversation – quickly or it will get demoted.

If you’re using an automation service or RSS to auto post curated articles (like Buffer or FMG Suite for financial advisors) that automatically sends a pre-crafted update or that you just pop into a queue and don’t craft a custom update, you’re in trouble – and this goes for plugins that auto post your blog articles. If you consistently post your content via the API and it’s nothing but the link, then LinkedIn will tag your ENTIRE account as “low quality” and it will take multiple high engagement posts to remove it. I know because it happened to me.

It is possible to post a status update that is just an update – link not required. Believe it or not, but a LinkedIn Post allows up to 1300 characters. It allows for paragraphs, blank lines, and even emojis. You can essentially write a mini article directly in the update.

A status update should be crafted to address a point that you want to make and start a discussion about. It needs to tell a story. The first couple lines have to make people click on the “read more” link to open the entire update up. Yes, that means you have to be a good writer or hire a good writer to get the best results. To learn more about how to craft an effective status update in this new paradigm, please check out this article by Josh Fechter of BAMF who goes into so much great detail, I’m not going to try to duplicate it:


LinkedIn’s Paradigm Shift

This change signals a major paradigm shift. Before this change, LinkedIn’s stated goal was to be the place that people came to find and read news and professional content. That’s the entire reason why they created the Article Publishing and Influencer platform (previously known as Pulse).

What they got was a link pushing fest that became extremely noisy and made it difficult to find high quality content that led to actual engagement (keeping people on LinkedIn longer). Further, when people followed the links, they didn’t always come back. What they thought would keep people on LinkedIn longer, didn’t actually happen.

Now LinkedIn wants the news feed to be a place of discussion. Since they’ve essentially killed Groups with the changes over the last couple of years, there aren’t as many good conversations happening on LinkedIn. By encouraging conversations in the news feed, they’re essentially creating a public square as opposed to members only club houses.

Instead of demonstrating your expertise by writing an article (whether on LinkedIn or your own website) and pushing it into your news feed, LinkedIn wants you to demonstrate your expertise through discussion.


Time to Change

This means that your entire LinkedIn content marketing needs to change. The advice that I’ve given in the past is to post something every day. Find a relevant article from the news if you don’t have anything original and share it to stay visible to your network and remind them what to do.

If you continue to do this, you will be put into low-quality jail. Practically no one will see your updates. Even more painful would be if you were paying a company to push this type of content out for you; you’re wasting your money.

It is now better to craft one long, high quality discussion post per week and follow through by replying to comments in the discussion to keep it active through the week. This means strategically tagging people whose opinions you’d like to hear and who you know would enjoy participating. But, be careful to not constantly tag the same people as it can get annoying and they may disconnect from you. This strategy is important, but it must be used judiciously.

Timing is important. Getting significant engagement in the first 4 hours of the post is what sets it up for possible virality. The running definition of a viral LinkedIn post is when it has more views than you have Connections & Followers. The best time to post is the best time that your target market would be active on LinkedIn. I tend to focus on the 8am and noon ranges of whatever time zone I’m targeting.

I know that many people may see this change as a bad thing; I don’t. Yes, it is going to take more time and thought to craft an update to get the amount of visibility you want, BUT the return that you get from those updates will be much higher. Those who are trying to spend as little time, effort and money to get the benefits of LinkedIn without truly using the platform will be out of luck.

LinkedIn has made it very hard to “game” the system. If LinkedIn is the platform where your target market is and that will help your business grow, then you will have to bite the bullet and truly invest in it.

If you have a well-developed strategy and system, then the time and/or money you invest in LinkedIn will return exponentially.


Struggling to put together your own efficient and effective LinkedIn system? The LinkedIn Ninja can help with the LinkedIn Personal Funnel Filling System. With this service, the LinkedIn Ninja personally creates a turnkey system so that you know what to do every day and then trains you to it.



Nov 17

Women are Shooting Themselves in the Foot on LinkedIn

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles , LinkedIn , LinkedIn Profile

I’m dumbfounded. We have no one to blame but ourselves. LinkedIn released new analysis of gender gaps in the workforce including how well men and women use their LinkedIn Profiles to their own benefit. This analysis is based on the past year, and when added to the findings of their 2011-2016 Economic Graph study, it tells us that women definitely have work to do.

It is now a fact that your LinkedIn Profile IS your professional, digital representation to the world. When people Google any name, the first results are public LinkedIn Profiles. By default, every LinkedIn Profile is public UNLESS you change the setting to make it private. So, if it’s half complete and you haven’t given it any love, it’s likely visible and that’s the first impression that many people have of you.

It’s probably not much of a surprise, but men hype themselves and their accomplishments more than women. In fact, they tend to remove their early positions to emphasize senior positions with greater authority and accomplishment. It’s as if, they jumped right to the top. It’s debatable among LinkedIn experts if this is a good strategy, but it definitely emphasizes the positive.

Let’s look at some of the sad findings.

In the 2011-2016 Economic Graph project, they analyzed the differences in Profiles between men and women who received MBAs from the top 10 business schools. They found that female graduates, while having comparable numbers of skills and awards listed on their Profile, did not tend to complete the Summary or job descriptions. These sections tell your story! These sections make people notice and remember you. Even the brightest female minds in the business world are not taking the opportunity to shine and share information that could propel their career.

The most recent analysis looked at all women in the U.S. They found that women had shorter Profile Summaries and listed 11% fewer skills. As stated earlier, the Summary is what tells your story; it differentiates you from your competition. LinkedIn has also found that Profiles with five or more skills are viewed 17 times more than Profiles with fewer. So, increasing the number of skills listed on your Profile is important.

Before you jump in, take a step back to strategize.

If you want your LinkedIn Profile to be successful (help you attract that job, new client, or next step up the ladder), you it must speak to your target audience. You should not look at your LinkedIn Profile purely as an historical document. Yes, those you want to pick you care that you have the past credentials, but they also want to know how you can help them now and in the future. In fact, your LinkedIn Profile should be almost as much about them, as it is about you.

There are three types of LinkedIn Profiles – Jobseeker, Career Development, and Sales & Business Development.

The Jobseeker Profile is an enhancement and extension of your resume. It should be consistent with you resume (differences could raise flags), but should provide greater dimension and highlight special projects, accomplishments, and work samples. In addition to all of the facts and accomplishments related to your career, it should lay the case for why you are the best candidate for the type of job you want now. Your Profile Summary should be more like a Cover Letter.

The Career Development Profile is similar to the Jobseeker, but the Summary should focus on where you see your career going. You’re not looking, but you’re laying the groundwork for the next step up so that opportunities can find you. What do you want to do in the future? What are you learning now or skills you’re improving that will help you take that next step? Many recruiters are looking for employed people to fill their positions. If you’re ready to move up, make it easier for them to identify you.

The Sales & Business Development Profile is very different from the other two. Potential clients don’t care about your employee skills, they care about themselves – and explicit details about your sales skills, could even make them feel like prey. Your Summary should be more akin to an Elevator Pitch. It should tell people what products/services you provide, who you provide them for, and what makes you better and different than others offering the same. It should be very clear that if you offer what they need, that you’re the solution for which them.

Take Action

We have to reverse this trend. Your LinkedIn Profile is not the place to be humble. If you’re uncomfortable strutting your stuff, then your LinkedIn Profile is the best place to get comfortable – you’re not looking people in the eyes when they read it. It can also serve as a regular reminder of just how great you are when you need a boost of confidence. Pull out all of that things you’ve done that you didn’t think were a big deal and when you put them all together on your LinkedIn Profile, you’ll see it’s a pretty big deal.

Nov 06

Is it a GLITCH? OR is it LinkedIn?

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles , LinkedIn

We’ve all experienced it (some us in front of a room filled with hundreds of people)… We’re tooling around in LinkedIn, go to do something and WHAM-MO! What we’re looking for is no longer there OR you click on it and it doesn’t work OR you type in an invitation to connect/group post/comment/etc., your text disappears and nothing happens!

We have ALL experienced this frustration at some point. Since the platform change, I know there’s been a lot more frustration than normal. As one of the original 10 Official Volunteer LinkedIn Forum Experts (now 14), I’ve been on the front lines of that frustration. I’ve been sharing my troubleshooting steps with many in the Help Forum on an individual basis, so I thought I’d share them with everyone. My hope is that following these steps can help alleviate some of your frustration.

One of the best things that has come from participating in this program is seeing with my own eyes that LinkedIn is listening to the feedback it is being given – and they want you to give them your feedback (you’ll find a pop up on every page of the Help Center) There are lots of big and small changes happening every day that are IMPROVING the platform. (I really wish they would publish an ongoing list so that it would help us find them – once they’ve come out of beta.) I have been vocal in my displeasure over the changes, but I can positively say, that I’m liking the new format better every day.

The downside of this massive coding activity (make us all fall back in love with LinkedIn), is that you’re going to run into glitches. There’s just no way around it. When you have a program this LARGE and LIVING (could you imagine if they took it offline to fix things?), then there are are going to be bugs no matter how well the new code was tested. You never really know how the code will run until it’s tied into the entire program.

So, how do you troubleshoot to see if it’s a GLITCH, a bigger problem or intentional change?

Step #1: Close the tabs in your browser running LinkedIn and clear your cache.

Your internet browser creates a cache of websites you visit. This is essentially a copy of those pages on your hard drive. It does this to help give you a faster internet experience because it can pull those pages instead of waiting for them to download all over again (since many don’t change that frequently). Because of the coding changes in LinkedIn, if your browser pulls a cached copy of a page that has been changed, you’re likely going to get a glitch. Clearing your cache erases all of the saved copies and forces the browser to pull the current page getting the newest code. Once cleared, open LinkedIn back up and see if you have the same problem. If that doesn’t fix things, go to Step#2. Clearing your cache depends on the browser you’re using. If you’re not sure how to do that, here’s an article with directions for every major browser:

Step #2: Try to duplicate the problem in a different browser. 

First, be certain that you’re using one of LinkedIn’s supported browsers. Here’s a great Help Center article that covers what browsers are supported and some known issues with the browsers: Open a second supported browser and see if the same thing happens in that version of LinkedIn (generally speaking, it’s always a good thing to have 2 to 3 different browsers available on your computer). Each browser has it’s own eccentricities that requires some of the coding to be customized to them. You could be trying to use a feature in the middle of a coding change and they just haven’t customized it to your preferred browser yet. This type of glitch usually doesn’t last too long, but I have had to go a week or more opening up a second browser to do a specific task that wasn’t working in my preferred browser. If it doesn’t clear up after a day, then go to the next steps.

Step #3: If the problem occurs in multiple browsers or it’s not clearing up in your browser, then check it see if it’s listed in the Known Issues article in the Help Center:

While it’s not always 100% up to date, they do tend to list the problems that are bigger and that they are getting a lot of tickets on. Not every little known issue is listed, so if yours isn’t, then it’s time to move to Step #4. 


Step #4: Submit a Ticket to the Help Center. 

This is the last option for any type of problem you have on LinkedIn. If you’re having a technical or account related problem, do not bother posting a question in the Help Forum. The Help Forum is not monitored by tech or customer support. It is a forum for LinkedIn members to help each other. To Submit a Ticket, look for the “Contact Us” link in the footer of the Help Center. The Ticket process will funnel your problem to the best people to help you, so please review all of the different options to categorize your problem properly. This will prevent delays in having to get re-routed to the right people. Try to take screenshots or screen videos to be able to show them the problem. A picture is truly worth a thousand words in helping them understand what the problem is that you’re having. In your description, include the details on any troubleshooting that you’ve already done so that they can skip over that if it isn’t necessary and get to a more advanced solution.

So, that’s what you should do if something seems wrong. Those first three steps can be done in minutes and they will likely fix your problem – or at least know that it’s a temporary problem – most of the time. Don’t be afraid to submit a ticket too early. I’ve submitted tickets and had the glitch get fixed before I get a response.

LinkedIn isn’t perfect. The ticket process can take longer than you want and you don’t always get a clear response. In case you’re wondering, there is no phone support – for anyone – not even premium. I have found that the success that you have working with support is greatly dependent on the information you provide. Details, Details, Details! Oh, and Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!

The more you can troubleshoot your issues on your own, the less likely you’re going to have to turn to tech support. So, I hope this helps decrease your frustration the next time you don’t see what you expect or have happen what you expect when you’re working on LinkedIn!

Nov 06

Why You Should Never Accept a Default Invite…even if you choose to be a LION

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles , LinkedIn

LinkedIn Invitations to Connect and Messages

LinkedIn networking philosophy is a highly debated topic. In my opinion, there truly is no hard line right and wrong. It really depends on your purpose and goals for using LinkedIn. I just want people to really think it through and make the decision that’s best for them and their business or career goals.

Personally, when Lewis Howes first said “Connect to the World on LinkedIn!” back in 2010, my response was, “Uh, …no.” I’m a huge believer of referral/relationship/introduction marketing. My background is financial services and fundraising – two sales methods where the relationships and the introductions matter to the success of the sale. So, having a ton of threadlike connections who don’t know me, would not be of help at all because they could never give me a solid enough introduction that success would be probable. I need to be able to see where the strong relationships are in order to be successfully introduced.

So, of course I’m not a fan of blindly accepting invitations to connect from people I don’t know and who have sent only the default invite. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to connect with someone just because I haven’t met them yet either. But, even if you’re a LION and the quantity connection strategy works for your purposes and goals, you shouldn’t blindly accept those default invites either.

Why not? Because you don’t know the person’s reason or interest in connecting and you are throwing away the momentum of their invitation to connect and your ability to take control of the situation. If you’re using LinkedIn for sales and business development, people will invite you to connect because they are interested in your products or services. If you simply accept, then you may never know. You’re leaving the power of the sales opportunity in the hands of the prospect. They may not be ready to take action and are connecting for “some time down the line.” But when that time comes, someone else may be more front of mind. You’ve lost a sale and you didn’t even know it.

You need to know why people are wanting to connect with you in order to capitalize on the sales opportunities. I take two approaches to the default invite. First, if the person is not a direct fit for my target market and it is not evident why they want to connect, then I simply send a message before accepting to find out more.

If they are interested in your services, they’ll tell you. If they want to connect for another reason, you’ll start a conversation. If they never respond, then you can decide if it’s someone you want to connect with or not – it’s your call.

Recently, simply by asking a person why they wanted to connect, I landed a $50k deal . Maybe it would have still come to pass if I hadn’t asked, but maybe it wouldn’t have. By opening a dialogue, I was able to take control of the situation.

Second, if the person is a direct fit for my target market, then I’m not letting that person get away. I do accept that invitation, but then send a follow up message. The follow up message should try to elicit information about their intention and offer them additional information that will require a sign up to your list. If the person is interested in what you have to offer, they will reply back and let you know or sign up for your other information. You now have control of a lead that has demonstrated interest – how good of a sales person you are will determine the outcome at this point!

The bottom line is, that if you’re blindly accepting invitations to connect, you’re missing out on opportunities – sales opportunities and relationship building opportunities. You should look at your LinkedIn Network as a collection of relationships and not just Rolodex of people.


Jul 23

The LinkedIn “Follow” Function and How You Can Spy on LinkedIn (and be spied on)

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles

Follow ButtonThe “follow” feature is one of the hardest to understand and one that most people may not recognize until too late. I was just helping someone who thought they had their activity feed turned off and their boss saw one of the activity updates. I don’t know what it was, but I’m guessing it wasn’t something that they wanted them to see.

Essentially, with the wrong setting, anyone can now follow you and possibly without you knowing. This could be competitors, your boss, HR directors, colleagues that don’t like you, etc. However, you can somewhat control if they can see anything. There are 2 privacy settings that have to be tweaked to prevent this.

The first is “activity broadcasts” which are updates to your profile, recommendations that you give, and companies you follow. This is either on or off. If you turn it off, that means that your Connections don’t get to see it either.

The second is “activity feed.” This can be set to your connections and everyone. There used to be an option for “only you” which allowed you to put your feed in lock down, but that option is now gone. Therefore, if it is set to your everyone, then anyone who follows you will pull your activity feed into their news feed. AND you cannot prevent anyone you’re connect to from seeing your network – which could be colleagues and supervisors – so be careful who you connect with if that’s a concern for you.

Therefore, if you are being open, you have to be certain that what you are doing on LinkedIn is something you don’t mind everyone knowing – especially competitors, employers and potential employers.

For those of you that are in a supervisory position, this can also be an interesting way to keep tabs on your employees and you may be able to figure out if there is a problem or someone is ready to fly the coup before it happens and possibly prevent it – if you want to.

I definitely follow and keep track of competitors and prospects that I’m not connected to. The competitors, in order to know what they’re doing so I can more effectively strategize for my business. For prospects, to find an opportunity where it would make sense for me to connect or get referred in. I don’t have any employees, but if I did and they didn’t want to connect to me, then I would definitely want to follow them if possible.

How can people follow you?

Follow Person Profile Drop DownYour connections automatically follow you. There’s nothing you can do about that. People who aren’t connecting to you can follow you in two different ways. First, directly from your profile, they will find a drop down that gives them the option to follow it if you HAVEN’T changed it in your Privacy Settings. By default, anyone can follow you.

The second place that people can follow you is if you’re writing the long form, Publisher Posts. There is a follow button on every article so that people can continue to get your new articles – of course, they get everything else, too.

How can you tell who is following you?

LinkedIn has recently made a change to the follower function after putting it on hiatus for a while. With the creation of Pulse and allowing anyone to use the long form Publisher, LinkedIn is now encouraging the following of people who are publishing. As a result, if you are using that feature you get analytics about the performance in addition to accessing the full list of everyone following you. I have not found a way yet to review followers if you are not using this feature.

Can you make someone stop following you?Block Person from Profile Drop Down

Yes, if you fully block them from any access to your profile, so if they are a connection, this action will disconnect them from you. This is a nuclear option that forbids them from viewing your profile and communicating with you in anyway, so you do want to use it judiciously. You find the Block or Report feature in the same drop down menu as the Follow. You can Unblock someone in the Privacy Settings, if you should change your mind. If they were a connection, you will need to re-invite them to connect.

There is one other limitation in the Privacy Settings and that is to only allow connections to follow you. You have only two options – Connection or Everyone (except people you block).

How can you use it to your advantage?

If you’re using Publisher, see who is following you. If appropriate, consider inviting them to connect. Chances are, if it’s not a competitor or employer then it is someone who is interested in what you have to say or the products/services you offer, or possibly hiring you. Just be certain you personalize that invitation to connect to let them know that since they are following you, you would be open to connecting with them. Who knows, you just may find your next client this way!

These settings can be tricky and can have some serious repercussions so give serious thought as to how you want to use them.

Need some more LinkedIn help? Several times per month we offer a FREE webinar called the Seven LinkedIn Mistakes that Kill Sales and What to Do Instead. Click Here to check out and register for the next sessions. If they don’t fit with your schedule, register any way and we’ll send you the replay!

Jun 29

EXTRA! EXTRA! LinkedIn Limits Group Member Messages

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles , LinkedIn , LinkedIn Groups


For about the past two months, those LinkedIn members who are very active with their groups and in sending group member to group member messages have found that they suddenly were unable to send such messages. The ability to send group members you are not connected to a message has been one of the most powerful features for free and premium members alike since the inception of LinkedIn groups.

Some of the first few people who suddenly found they were no longer able to send these messages turned to the LinkedIn Help Forum to find out what was happening and to share the response they received from LinkedIn in explaining this sudden turn of events to their account activity. It didn’t matter if you were free or premium, and those paying were extra specially perturbed. You can read all of the comments and see the evolution of LinkedIn’s responses here:

Today, one of the participants received a definitive answer. LinkedIn is limiting the number of group member to group member messages that anyone can send to 15 per month. On the first day of the new month, your allotment will renew. This limit EVEN AFFECTS group owners and managers who need to be able to communicate directly with their group members if they are posting inappropriate content or breaking the rules.

Why is LinkedIn Doing This?

Two reasons…First, people have abused it and LinkedIn has mentioned that as a primary motivation. The second (in my opinion), is to get more people to upgrade to premium and companies to use sponsored InMail messages to have LinkedIn deliver this promotional information.

Using the group member messaging option has been a very powerful tool for me and my clients (it even helped me land my book deal). Using these messages for sales or promotional messages has been controversial and many people are against it. That’s because most people have done it wrong.

Each of these messages takes several steps to launch and must be done individually; it’s time consuming. People have hired low cost labor to just go into a group focused on the target market and just go down the member list indiscriminately sending the message to as many group members as possible. The problem is that it is unlikely that EVERY person in the group is a fit for your offer. I’ve even received messages from people telling me that they looked at my profile and thought I was a good candidate for a free webinar to teach me how to be more successful with LinkedIn. They obviously didn’t look at my profile and I wasn’t a good fit.

The second method is with the use of third party software that uses bots to launch hundreds of these messages against LinkedIn’s terms of service (like Mojo Global). The software automatically launches these messages without you reviewing or selecting appropriate recipients.That means there is a high probability that the messages are going to inappropriate people.

Those two methods are what drive people crazy because the messages are not only not wanted, they are irrelevant. There are always going to be people who hate any kind of advertising and promotion, but the vast majority don’t mind a custom-tailored, well-targeted marketing or sales message being sent to them.

Don’t believe me? LinkedIn’s own Koka Sexton held a LinkedIn Poll on this very question 2 years ago (before we lost the ability to poll too). Look at the results:

LinkedIn Poll - Do Solicitations Bother You




Less than a third said they were bothered by unsolicited messages. The primary qualifier was whether the products or services offered were relevant.

Those of us who have used this strategy selectively and with relevance and authenticity and gotten positive responses from the recipients, have lost a great tool. When used responsibly, it is not seen as spam by recipients. I have turned down clients wanting guidance on using this strategy inappropriately for mass promotion without interest in relationship development.

We now have only 15 of such messages to utilize each month, which means we will need to be even more selective in their use. You will need to focus such communications on quality business potential and not quantity. For those who want quantity promotion to prospects, you’re going to have to pay the piper…LinkedIn.

One potentially bad, big picture consequence to this change, is that it’s going to push more people to open network and connect more indiscriminately. Just when the tide was changing against open networking, we may see a shift back. I believe in building a network with purpose and not just with numbers. But if you can only message people you’re connected to and you want to message a lot of people, then you’ll need to connect to lots of people. LinkedIn is pushing people to act contrary to their own philosophy of connecting to only people with whom you have a relationship.

Did you use this feature? Will the loss of it affect your continued use LinkedIn in any way?

This article was originally published in Pulse. You can see it here:



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Dec 03

Who Should I Invite to Connect on LinkedIn?

By LinkedIn Ninja | Branding with LinkedIn , Latest Articles , LinkedIn , Marketing on LinkedIn

InMapsAfter you’ve finished building out your LinkedIn profile, then next step is to grow your 1st degree Connections. Ideally, you do not want to build your network until you’ve fully built out your profile. Inviting someone to connect is the one time that you can almost guarantee they will read through your entire profile, so you want to have everything in place so you don’t lose that messaging opportunity.

The real money level of your network is the 2nd degree; not the 1st  – because that’s the direct referral relationship. You’re going to vet all new people you meet as client material anyway, but the gold is in the people they are connected to who you don’t know yet. However, you’re not going to find good prospects in the 2nd degree if you don’t have a sizable and continuously growing 1st degree network.

It’s important to be smart about who you invite to connect. LinkedIn’s philosophy is that you should only invite people to connect who you know. The definition of “know” can vary. For me, if it’s someone I’ve engaged with outside of LinkedIn or inside LinkedIn, then that means that I “know” them. For others, “know” means that you’ve actually met them and had at least one in depth conversation. I’ve even met some people with very elaborate criteria. So, what should you do?

Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself what your “networking philosophy” is going to be and it should line up with what you’re trying to accomplish by using LinkedIn. If you only connect with people you believe to be prospects already, then you’re limiting your prospect pool to your 1st degree and not focusing on the 2nd degree which I called the money level above. If you connect with anyone and everyone, then you don’t have a true relationship with most of your 1st degree meaning that they aren’t going to introduce you to their connections (your 2nd degree) or that introduction is not going to be very convincing and you’ll have a lower success rate.

I recommend inviting people to connect who you’ve met or engaged with online AND who would be willing and open to introducing you to their connections. The #1 criteria is, “Are they willing to help you?” This means that you need to temper any assumptions on how helpful they may be. You never know who someone is connected to and how strong their relationship is. So, if you meet someone who is less than your ideal target market – say a coffee shop barista – don’t assume that they can’t and won’t help you. People who buy $6 lattes on a daily basis have some money! If the barista will introduce you, then she’s a valuable connection.

Whenever you invite someone to connect, you should ALWAYS customize the message inviting them to connect. It doesn’t have to be very elaborate and LinkedIn only gives you 300 characters, so you can’t be very verbose anyway. Simply remind them of where you met or how you’re connected outside of LinkedIn. If it’s someone who may not recall you, I would also add a sentence about your intention or motivation behind wanting to connect – and it shouldn’t be because you want them as a client! Build a relationship first.

YES, you should connect to your clients. It will make asking for referrals much easier because you can tell them who you’d like to be referred to.

NEVER drop a connection’s name as a reason to connect without that person’s permission. Ideally, you want that person to introduce you via LinkedIn first before you invite a mutual connection to connect anyway.

ALWAYS invite the new people you’ve met or encountered to connect on a weekly basis. Block it into your calendar or add it into one of your processes – such as adding someone to your CRM. This will ensure that you continually have new prospects just an introduction away.

Feb 07

LinkedIn Endorsements – How to Manage their Visibility (especially for financial advisors)

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles , LinkedIn and Financial Advisors , LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn just announced that we are nearing 1 billion endorsements given. While this new feature has launched much debate over it’s usefulness, U.S. financial and investment advisors have been dealing with the legal problems it has caused as a result of federal regulations forbidding the use of advertising with client testimonials.

This video will talk about the special settings that allow any LinkedIn user to control what appears on their profile in regards to endorsements that they have received for their Skills & Expertise. You can turn the visibility completely off. You can hide endorsements from specific people or hide endorsements for specific skills. You have much more control over this section than you may realize.

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