A short course exploring if and how LinkedIn might be able to help your business grow – written specifically for New Zealanders.
Here is what we know about LinkedIn for Kiwi businesses at the moment:
- Lots of people are talking about it.
- Everyone in business to business selling seems to be using it.
- Nobody is quite sure how to get the best out of it.
- Some people swear by it, others are confused or just can’t be bothered.
Here at Good Oil Marketing we’ve dived in heavily over the last few months, to see what we can learn, see how to apply that to Kiwi businesses, and generally get a feel for best practices.
+++ Spoiler alert – while LinkedIn is growing rapidly, it’s not going to be something we recommend for everyone. +++
There are plenty of good reasons for all people to use it in business, but for you and your business, only you will be able to answer the question about return on time investment.
Having said that, let’s dive in...
What we have noticed with Linkedin training, is that most of the content is designed and delivered by people based in the USA.
We simply don’t agree with how they are doing it. We don’t want you to be that spammy person who is quite frankly, an online pest.
So – our training is designed to suit Kiwi business owners.
As such, we have designed this course around 3 key areas:
- The Look and your Pitch
- Grow your Authority
- Find Your Tribe
The Look and your Pitch
First impressions count, and this is true with LinkedIn as well.
When someone sees your profile, or just your headshot and job title after you’ve commented, you can bet they are making a fast judgement about you, your value to them, and whether they should be talking to you.
Its human nature, and the nature of digital media – we filter through content very quickly (because there is SO MUCH of it), so that we can get to what counts.
Let’s look at your business card or header image first. This is what someone will see if they click on your PROFILE.
Here are two that we quite like.
Taki Moore – well known coach of coaches in the online business world.
Some points on this shot:
- Red arrow 1 shows us a good headshot of Taki, exactly as you’d normally see him. He’s often shooting video at a beach, and he’s a super friendly guy.
- Arrow 2 tells us exactly who he is. Taki is known as the Million Dollar Coach. If you found this profile, you’d know you’d found the right guy.
- Arrow 3 is his job title – descriptive and benefit driven.
- The actual background photo is edited to include the story of what his business does.
If you find this profile, you know exactly who Taki is, what his business does, and how it can help you. All in all, it’s very good.
If you look at mine, I’ve modelled some of the key lessons there too.
Friendly headshot – Logo in there for brand recognition – edited header image to include URL and our main “thing” – Digital Marketing for Small Business.
- Get the headshot right – talk to a photographer
- Edit the background image you have, and add some text that describes what your business does.
- Ensure your current job title tells people what you do. For example, “Company Director” won’t do, you need to think about what your ideal customer would be looking for.
Realistically though, people might see your headshot and job title only, so be aware of how that looks too.
If you look at Nathan Chan’s headshot / headline combination – he’s done it well.
Nathan is a very well known entrepreneur – the headshot is very similar to other shots you’ll see of him online, he mentions his start up company in the job title, AND he’s added a very cool twist…. “We’re hiring” which is different, stands out, and for many people, would get them messaging him to enquire.
I think that’s very smart. He also happens to be one of the most successful growth business founders of the last decade in the online space.
NOTE: Your headline, can have up to 120 characters. Use as many as your need to, it has to STAND OUT and relate to your ideal customer.
You’ll find the Headline editing box via:
Click on “Me” >> “View profile” >> edit pen icon.
Video of that process here: https://www.loom.com/share/6d000eeb648349cb9eb75f173d645ec7
Improve your Vanity URL (eg linkedin.com/ln/coreyhinde rather than a whole bunch of numbers etc at the end
Go to Me >> View Profile >> click EDIT PEN >> contact info >> profile URL and you’ll be able to edit.
Use all 3 website spaces if they are applicable and useful.
Settings and Privacy – set your “viewers of this profile also viewed” to NO, otherwise you are sending people to your competition.
Click on “settings and profile”, then you’ll see this image:
Grow your Authority
This really is where we think you can win on LinkedIn.
In New Zealand, people don’t want to be pitched to, sold at, or pulled into a fake friendship that will turn into a pitchfest very quickly.
LinkedIn will evolve a lot in the next few years, for now we feel the best use of LinkedIn is as a place to grow your authority around your area of expertise, so that your profile grows and spreads, and when people are ready to do business in your area of expertise, they come to you and your company.
Let’s start doing that right now by using a few features on the platform.
Your “About” section in your profile
This is something that people will click on, and read. It’s important to get it right.
Click on “me” and then “view profile”, then you’ll see something like the image below:
You can use up to 2000 characters, be sure to use them well.
Talk briefly about your background.
Talk about your ideal clients.
Give a brief Call to Action. What do you want them to do next?
Don’t just review your career, you need to focus on your ideal client, and only briefly on yourself.
Use this space to quickly tell a story about you, what you do for people, and be sure to add a testimonial as well.
We think that the best way to do this is in your most recent role, which will appear at the top of your “experience” section in your profile.
Social proof is vital with marketing your business, so inject it wherever possible.
Ask for a recommendation
More social proof, and this time you’ll get people talking about specific skill sets.
Hit the “ask for a recommendation” tab as indicated in the image below, and reach out:
You’ll have to directly ask people – so do it, and your profile will start to look very professional.
NOTE – this is still in your “view profile” section of your LinkedIn profile.
We love this almost hidden feature!
LinkedIn is a high authority website, which means it ranks really well on Google. Using Rich media will help your profile and also help drive traffic to your profile / website / other digital assets.
What is rich media?
Think Slideshows, PDF’s, Video, Images etc. Big files that you probably have, that will help position you as an authority in your area.
Give them away – build your authority – its as simple as that.
See the image below:
In that “about” section, click the pen icon as indicated above, and you’ll see a big blue UPLOAD button. Click it, and add any rich media in there.
Grow Your Authority – Next Steps
Once you have built your profile, we’ll move into the next phase which is “find your tribe”. Before we do that though, you can spend some time on LinkedIn and grow your authority.
Here are some tips for what to do next.
- Connect with personal friends that LinkedIn will recommend for you, when you click on the “My Network” tab on the top of the homepage. You’ll be surprised who pops up. Now that you have a more complete profile that outlines what you do, and how you can help people, connecting with real life friends is important because your new clear message, is easily relayed by friends who might have referrals for you.
- Once you have more connections from your real life network, go into the newsfeed and see if anyone’s post interest you, and comment on them. See if you can not only comment, but add some value or expertise. Do not sell, or try to line up a meeting, just add value. Get into the habit of doing this.
- Post something that is useful. Can be an image with some comments, can be video, or just something you write. Just short, and a normal post not an “article” (yet), just a short post. Make sure it adds value to people (ie is helpful), and if possible, elicits a comment.
- Spend some time on Linkedin, researching what others are doing to engage and build comments around their posts. Comments are important – we’ll talk more about that later. There is no ideal formula for how to get engagement with LinkedIn, there is an element of trial and error.
Find Your Tribe
This really is where the magic is. Your profile looks good, you’ve positioned yourself as an expert in your field, now to find people who need you!
We do not recommend cold outreach messages. They just don’t work in our experience.
The day before I wrote this section, a “content writer” reached out to me via LinkedIn, to pitch her services.
She prepares content that pulls traffic to websites, therefore generating INBOUND clients, rather than OUTBOUND clients…. Yet she was using cold outreach (OUTBOUND) to me… what does that say about her INBOUND skills? As a marketing consultant, of course, I was out of that conversation very quickly.
I recently had another cold reach out that really turned me away from a business person, that I was truly thinking of using, because his outreaches then turned into spam emails, and it positioned him as someone desperate for business rather than the classy operator I was looking for!
Personalise your Invites
Rather than just use the standard invite that LinkedIn gives you, why not add a personal touch? Can you edit the message to relate to the one key problem you business solves?
Can you add something personal that relates to where you met or a shared experience?
If you go to the profile of the person you are inviting to connect, when you hit the connect button you’ll get the option of personalising.
Do not sell at this point. You can mention your business or website, but do not ask for anything.
Follow up Messages
Once you have connected, message again with something different, personal, or even quirky. Again, no selling.
You can introduce what you now are doing, but don’t ask for a sale or appointment. This does not work in New Zealand and Australia, our “Sales Sensors” are usually on high alert!
Have a conversation
If people engage and want to talk, get talking. This goes more so for the newsfeed of Linkedin than the messaging once you’ve connected.
Just discuss, and over time show that you are an expert in your field.
Join Groups where your clients are
Notice we didn’t say professional groups or friends groups (though this can work well too.)
We said “where your clients are”.
Think about this. How can you use this to your advantage?
As a business owner, one of your key jobs is to understand your customers, and find your customers.
Where are they on LinkedIn?
In business to business selling in particular, this can be a very important part of your LinkedIn strategy.
At this point, your goal is to become the trusted voice in your business space.
Think about how you can develop that. Conversations you can have, value you can add, posts you can publish that support this notion that YOU are the number one go to person in your space.
Think of the following things and how they apply to you:
- Find a LinkedIn “super user”, someone with a huge following, and see if you can adapt anything they are doing, to what you now do.
- As above, is there an industry leader in your space that you can learn from?
- Can you take online conversations onto the phone? Always far easier to sell on the phone.
- An old networking saying but appropriate here “Your Network is your Networth”
- Always be thinking… “How can I become the trusted advisor” in my industry.
- Think more about your clients problems than yours
- Can you and someone work together to build both of your networks? Ideally, someone with the same ideal customer, but not in competition with you.
- Can you interview people or build out “How To” lists to provide content for your profile?
- Get recommendations. Reach out to some friends, get recommendations for skills that you want to be known for.
- Provide as much value as possible at all times. It WILL pay off.
Lastly – remember that the key here is to apply these lessons to YOUR individual situation as well as you can.
You have to start at the beginning, work through, learn, adapt, and where you need it, ask for help.
Feel free to reach out US (Good Oil Marketing) for any help with this content.
Corey Hinde and the team at Good Oil Marketing
ps – did we connect yet on LinkedIn? Here is my profile link
We trust it's helped you out!