Category Archives for "LinkedIn"

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 https://calendly.com/linkedinninja/30min.

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: http://www.bamf.media/linkedin-views/

 

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: https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-clear-cache-2617980

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:  https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/4135 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:
https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/topics/6304/6305

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.

 

Jun 29

EXTRA! EXTRA! LinkedIn Limits Group Member Messages

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles , LinkedIn , LinkedIn Groups

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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: http://community.linkedin.com/questions/323652/you-are-no-longer-authorized-to-message-this-membe-5.html#answer-335674

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: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/extra-linkedin-limits-group-member-messages-crystal-thies

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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.

May 09

How To Share Documents on LinkedIn

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles , LinkedIn , LinkedIn Profile , Marketing on LinkedIn

Update to this article 4/2016

Many people find this article via search and the method to share documents described in the original article is no longer valid on LinkedIn.  LinkedIn has since made it much easier to share documents.

Share Document via Status Update:Share a Photo or Document

LinkedIn recently had a paperclip that made it clear that you could share a document – such as a pdf, Word document, etc. – in a status update by directly uploading it. They have since removed that paperclip icon and only have the upload a photo icon. You CAN upload documents with the Upload a Photo function – you are not limited to only image files. Feel free to use that function for flyers and documents that are not stand alone photos.

Sharing Documents on the Profile:

LinkedIn has now embedded the ability to display work samples, marketing collateral and other documents, images, audio and video files directly in your LinkedIn profile. Add Media Icon This type of content can be added at the bottom of your Summary, below each Experience entry and each Education entry. Simply look for this icon when you are editing your profile.

 

Videos and audio/podcast files cannot be directly uploaded to LinkedIn, but you can share the link to the video or audio hosted somewhere else – such as YouTube, Vimeo, Broadcast News, iTunes, etc. Add Media - Get YouTube URL You need to use the actual link to the video – not the link to the web page is it embedded in. Look for the share icon in the media and get the shareable url. That is what you will need to paste into LinkedIn to embed the content in your profile.

Leveraging SlideShare for Sharing Content in Status Updates and on your Profile:

LinkedIn now owns SlideShare. Utilizing SlideShare to insert content into your profile or share in a status update is the method that will give you the biggest bang for your buck – though it takes a few more steps. SlideShare is a separate social network that was originally built for sharing PowerPoint Presentations. People search it for educational and informational content. It currently supports PowerPoints, Word Docs, Open Office Docs and Presentations, and pdfs. You can embed a YouTube video into a PowerPoint, but you cannot upload video directly. When you upload a file to SlideShare, it provides a simple interface to add to your LinkedIn profile. Each upload also has a unique url to share via status update.

The biggest benefit of SlideShare is that it provides analytics. If you want to know how many people are looking at your stuff, this is the only way to do it. LinkedIn provides NO analytics for content directly uploaded to the profile. A secondary benefit is that people may find you and your content directly in SlideShare and a tertiary benefit is that you can share the uploads on any social network and even embed them directly into websites and blogs.

SlideShare is free and your account can be built directly from your LinkedIn account. They also have a premium lead generation service to insert forms into your content to gather requests for more information from those who read them.

 

****The feature described below is no longer available on a LinkedIn Profile. Use the Updated Instructions Instead****

One thing that many people struggle with on LinkedIn is how to share content that doesn’t live on the web. By content, I mean documents, flyers, non-hosted audio files and the like. Much of small business still lives in the world of creating marketing collateral that results in a printed piece or a pdf file. Ideally, you would want to convert it to an html file and put it on your website which would give you a link that you could easily share on LinkedIn and with other social media. That can get a little tricky.

So, what do you do if you have a pdf flyer or newsletter that you want to share on  LinkedIn? You can’t attach documents to status updates. Heck! You can’t even attach documents to LinkedIn messages sent directly to your connections. So, does that mean that it’s just not possible to share documents and files? No! That’s where the partnership between  LinkedIn and Box comes in.

As long as you don’t mind who sees the document, you can share it on LinkedIn if you use the Box application on your LinkedIn profile.

To add the Box application to your profile, go to the More menu and scroll to the bottom and select Get More Applications. Find the application called Box and click on it. Click the Add Application button after making certain that the box next to “Display on my profile” is checked. You will have to set up a free account on Box before going any further. Once set up, you will be able to access your Box application from the More menu to add and remove files. You’ll see an Upload button that will walk you through uploading the document or file you want to share.

Once your file is uploaded, got to Edit Profile.  Scroll down to the Box application (if you haven’t used any applications on your profile yet, then it should be at the very bottom).  You’ll see the file that you uploaded and want to share.  If you see a big logo and a small file name, click on the Menu button in the upper right hand corner and select “List View” which will be the first item in the list. Your view will change to what you see in the image below.

If you hover your cursor over the file name, you will see a blue arrow appear at the end of the row.  Click on that arrow and you’ll get a drop down menu. Select “Get Web Link” and you’ll get a pop up with a web link that you can copy.

You can now use this link to share your document in social media status updates and via LinkedIn‘s messaging system. As you will see in the final image, when you use the “Attach a Link” feature, it treats your document just like any article. However, the description is the description of the Box application. To change that simply click on the blue Edit link at the end of the description and you can add your own description of what the document is that you’re sharing.

By the way, want to know the best part? Whenever anyone clicks on that link and downloads the document, Box will sent you an email notification. It can’t tell you who looked at it, but you’ll be able to track how many people do look at it.

A best practice is to always use a document format – like pdf or mp3- that is easily shared and used by all. If you leave your document in Word or other raw format, only those people who have that software will be able to open the document. Also, you would be giving a document that can be easily changed and manipulated allowing others to possibly steal your work.

Is this the first time you’ve ever heard this  LinkedIn tip? If so, please let me know in the comments.

Jan 09

My Case Study: How Leveraging Relationships and Using LinkedIn Can Make You Money and Even Get You a Book Deal

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

LinkedIn Treasure MapI’ve been meaning to write this article for quite some time, but I’ve been holding out because it keeps evolving into bigger and better things and I wanted to wait and see what happened first. Well, the biggest thing that I could have comprehended has now happened, so I think it’s a good time to dive in.  Finding the starting point is also hard because you can keep tracing things backwards, but since my business is now LinkedIn and nothing but LinkedIn I think it makes sense to start there.

I found LinkedIn in October 2007 and became the 17,056,420th member. I was on the verge of taking an extremely large career risk and was searching online for different tools that I could use to accelerate the potential success I would have and I stumbled upon an article about LinkedIn. The risk I was looking at taking was re-entering the financial services industry (after being out for almost a decade) in my home town of Cleveland, OH (which I hadn’t lived in for 15 years), and specializing in a very niche market of charitable giving and working with nonprofit organizations. I had been a financial planner for 2 years with what was then American Express Financial Advisors (now Ameriprise) in Evansville, IN. I was one of two financial advisors who had successfully completed their first year in almost five years (from that office). After two years, my now ex-husband decided he needed to move on to another university to teach and thus ended (at least I thought) my short lived financial advisor career (every financial advisor will tell you that the first two years are H, E, double hockey sticks and that anyone who would want to do that again is crazy!).

So, with LinkedIn in my pocket, my strong networking and relationship skills, a great contract to get started with a new financial advisory firm, and my graduate education and experience in nonprofit  management, I went up to Cleveland and half moved back in with my parents (my fiance and dog were still down in Cincinnati and wouldn’t be joining me until my business was solid). It’s January 1, 2008, and the future was looking pretty good!

I was using LinkedIn and showing other advisors how to use LinkedIn. It was so different than any other marketing or advertising that we weren’t even really thinking about compliance issues and the compliance department wasn’t even aware that it was out there. Until…we had a young guy right out of college join the firm, connect with all of the senior advisors, and jump into the LinkedIn Answers section answering all of the financial questions in a super salesy way and acting like an expert (which, of course, he wasn’t) . A senior advisor sees what he’s doing (and how it’s impacting him as part of the firm) goes to the general agent, complains and the kibosh is put on LinkedIn. We have to remove all affiliation with the firm and broker-dealer. This severely limits how I’m using LinkedIn, but I continue to use it without any branding or specific identification as a financial planner.

So the stage is set and now we’re going to speed things along a bit to the chain reaction.

While still a financial planner, I attended a networking/training conference for women. I was getting a cup of coffee and turned around to find myself standing in front of Jessica Hanes. I had gone to high school with Jessica. We hadn’t been close friends, but were in the same friend circle. We rekindled and strengthened our friendship. She decided that I needed to meet Jill Banner. Jessica’s company (ServiceMaster) was a client of Jill Banner (The Fedeli Group). Jessica invited me to have lunch at The Fedeli Group to meet Jill. Jill and I became great referral partners (she handled business insurance and worker’s compensation) and ultimately a great friend.

The second half of 2008 “happened.” Markets crashed, the economy tanked, and things looked really bad as a somewhat new financial planner for the foreseeable future. Not to mention that I had found social media and was loving it, and my hands were being tied in how I needed to use LinkedIn. So I decided to take another risk and make a major change – leave financial services for the wild west of social media. It was new and hot. The only “experts” were those who learned it by doing it and this looked like it would be a heck of a lot easier to sell in this economic market than financial planning services.

In November 2010, I held my first seminar on LinkedIn for Financial Advisors. Thanks to my great friend Jill Banner, I was able to use an amazing 50+ seat auditorium that Fedeli had available at no charge. Without that, I couldn’t have done the seminar. To advertise the seminar, I only used LinkedIn. I sent it out to a lot of my network who were financial advisors, but I also used a great strategy to access financial advisors I didn’t know. Essentially, I ran a search for financial advisors in the Cleveland area that I was in groups with (I was in a lot of local Cleveland groups). Then I sent them a message telling them about this seminar. Even though I wasn’t connected to them, because I was in a group with them I was able to do that. I ended up with about 15-20 financial advisors attending, one of whom was Bob Moore, SVP of the Northeast Ohio office of Wells Fargo Advisors. I didn’t know Bob. Bob received one of the cold messages that went out to my group members. Bob signed up himself and another VP from UBS and then shared the information with several others who weren’t originally on my list. The following spring, Bob also had Wells Fargo hire me to come to their Northeast Ohio region marketing conference and train all of the Wells Fargo advisors on LinkedIn.

One of the people Bob shared the information about the first seminar with was Ned Van Riper who helps financial advisors change broker-dealers. Ned also attended. A couple months later, I decided to offer that seminar virtually in a webinar format. Now that Ned was connected to me and a past client, I shared it with him via LinkedIn and he shared it with Adam Koos who is a wealth advisor in the Columbus, OH, area. Adam attended the webinar and found it very valuable.

Adam was working with Matt Halloran who was a financial practice business coach (he helped financial advisors build stronger businesses). Adam thought that Matt’s other clients would benefit from my expertise and he suggested that Matt connect with me. Matt sent me an invitation to connect on January 27, 2011, explaining why and how he wanted to connect. I gladly accepted, responded back and we began a dialogue.

Shortly thereafter, Matt referred me to his client Gary Sullivan who is a wealth advisor in Boston, MA, and specializes in working with small business owners. Gary hired me to develop customized LinkedIn strategies and marketing plan for his firm which included his partner Karen Busanovich. Additionally, I did some custom training, profile development and their company page.

Matt ends up securing a contract with Wiley to publish “The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors on their Bloomberg Press label. It’s a “how to” guide covering Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn specifically for financial advisors. Knowing what a great resource I am, he decides to bring me in as his coauthor to cover the LinkedIn content. The book is scheduled to be out in July.

The book is a game changer for me and I’m looking forward to an exciting 2012. AND…it all started with a cold message via LinkedIn to a financial advisor who I didn’t know, who I happened to be in a LinkedIn group with.

So what about you? What are your success stories with LinkedIn? What wouldn’t have happened if this amazing tool hadn’t been part of your business or career marketing plan?

Dec 07

Why You Shouldn’t Use Twitter to Post LinkedIn Status Updates

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

I’m going to hazard a guess here…if you’re using Twitter to send status updates to LinkedIn, you’re probably not spending a ton of time in LinkedIn. That also means that you might not have noticed the small print change to LinkedIn that is harming your social media efforts as a result of the choice you made to try and streamline your social media activity.

History of LinkedIn and Twitter Integration

When LinkedIn first added integration with Twitter, if you pulled tweets into LinkedIn, they became standard LinkedIn status updates. That meant that you could interact with them only as LinkedIn status updates. At that time, LinkedIn didn’t have the “Like” feature so you could only comment or reply privately. Additionally, when it first started the link attachment and pulled in article feeds to status updates, any tweets with such links were just listed as links and the feed wasn’t pulled in.

The next evolution added the ability to adapt your Twitter settings to pull in the feed that LinkedIn saw attached to your link to give it the same visibility as a LinkedIn status update, but it still became a LinkedIn status update with interaction via LinkedIn only. LinkedIn added the “Like” functionality that would allow you to send someone’s status update or tweet out to your entire network’s news feed telling them you “Liked” it.

For a very brief time, we had advanced double integration. When you sent a tweet into LinkedIn as a status update, you could interact with it as Twitter with controls to Retweet, Favorite and Reply AND you could interact with it via LinkedIn with controls to Like, Comment or Share. Interact with both networks directly in LinkedIn!

The Status of Status Updates Today

Now, if you send your tweet into LinkedIn, it stays a tweet. What that means is that there are no controls for your LinkedIn network to interact with the tweet inside LinkedIn. They can only Retweet, Reply and Favorite. No Liking…No Commenting…No Sharing.

THAT MEANS that you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for your LinkedIn network to share you and increase your visibility. There are a lot of people on LinkedIn who don’t have Twitter accounts, so you’ve essentially eliminated their ability to help you get the word out and to share your information with their network.

The Solution

If you’re only using LinkedIn and Twitter, then launch your status updates from LinkedIn and you can check the little box to send them out to Twitter. If you’ve tied your Twitter account to LinkedIn and you’re using the mobile app, then the status updates automatically go out to Twitter. If your social media activities include other social networks, then use a social media dashboard that allows you to post to each social network as if it’s an original status update.

 

So, will this change how you do LinkedIn Status Updates?

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