Promoting your brand through personal networks

by Matt Owen 

One of my regular tasks is to run through the comments on the Econsultancy blog and sweep up any spam comments.
We currently use a learning filter, so while it does let through the odd comment shilling pneumatic lubrication while simultaneously blacklisting reasoned, in-depth comments about SEO, by manually updating it, it gets better (at least, that’s the theory). 
Checking out all the comments is also extremely useful for me, as it gives me a daily digest of what users are talking about, what their consensus is and which issues are of importance to them in general.
We all benefit from this as we can use it to make our content more relevant. 
Now, this may seem like a random fact about my rock n’ roll lifestyle, but bear with me, it all makes sense in the end (and apologies in advance for length and lack of concrete answers). 
Recently one of our users asked why Econsultancy, as a company, aren’t generally active on LinkedIn. Given LinkedIn’s user base, you’d be forgiven for assuming that it would be our first social port of call, but we certainly don’t cover LinkedIn anywhere near as often as we do Twitter, Facebook or even Google+. 
The truth is that we are active on LinkedIn, but possibly not in the way you might think. 
Unlike Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn doesn’t make it particularly easy to maintain a branded, unified presence. Yes, there are company pages available. Our own page currently has a couple of thousand followers, and we do update it regularly with news and new products. 
We also showcase our conferences and other events on LinkedIn and run a few small groups, one for those starting out in e-commerce and digital, and two for users interested in multichannel and data analysis respectively. 
They aren’t huge and aren’t particularly busy, but again we update regularly and they are useful points of call for anyone who may not be aware of our extended offering, who want to network or who use LinkedIn groups as a news source. 
One of the main reasons for this is that, despite the obvious difference in size, LinkedIn could technically be considered a competitor to Econsultancy, albeit not a direct one.  
Ultimately, we’d much rather users headed over to our own forums, or became members and updated their on-site profiles, rather than hanging around in satellite groups. 
We offer a more focused agenda than LinkedIn, with a specific target audience, but there’s still room for crossover. After all, there are literally millions of marketers and professionals from associated businesses on LinkedIn, so it would be rather foolish of us not to want a slice of the pie wouldn’t it? 
So how do we (and you) get around this?

Making social media personal

Along with comments on our own blog, I also run a lot of searches on LinkedIn (along with forums, Quora, Reddit, Twitter and more) specifically in the Q&A section. Here’s a screenshot of a netvibes account I use to keep an eye on all of this: 
http://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0001/9110/netvibes_dash-blog-full.png
From Early 2010 until mid 2011, we targeted these questions, but not as a single entity. LinkedIn specifically promotes the value of the individual and close personal networks, so I would curate a few relevant questions each day and distribute them in an all-staff email with links. If they had time, members of staff were encouraged to dip in and answer a few questions. 
If they felt like linking to a relevant blog post or a report, then so much the better. 
A lot of people do this, but here’s the important bit: We always answered the question in full. Links were added with a ‘there’s some more in-depth information here if you’re interested’ qualifier. No hard sell (No sell at all for that matter), just exists’. 
LinkedIn’s forums are full of people posting answers, but a huge amount of them read ‘Our software can help you with this’, or ‘suggest this expert:’ with little value in doing this, because it’s just spam. It doesn’t look good and isn’t helpful.
We also made a game out of it internally. We added a ‘share’ link to the site. When logged in, each member of staff could click this and would receive a unique code to share. Staff members were assigned as ‘campaigns’, with prizes for the member driving the most traffic or the most revenue each month:
http://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0001/9254/staff_campaigns_on_linkedin-blog-full.jpg
And it worked incredibly well. While last touch conversion relays a very limited view of social value (especially so in Econsultancy’s case), in this case it’s an excellent benchmark for success. 
Here’s our total LinkedIn last touch revenue from July 1st 2010- July 1st 2011: — Find out the results  and the complete econsultancy article

How I Leveraged LinkedIn to Create a 7-Figure Business In Three Years

Lewis Howes, Contributor
Marketing, entrepreneurship and the parallels of sports and business

Imagine being completely broke.

Your “home” has become a family members couch.

Your possessions have been reduced to a laptop and a suitcase of clothes.

As for a paycheck,  your next paycheck is based on whatever odd jobs you can find.

Not exactly the American Dream, huh?
This is the exact situation I found myself in following a career ending injury in 2007 that took me from the AFL (Arena Football League) to my sister’s couch.

Broke, broken and confused, I had no idea what was in store for me next and no idea what I was supposed to do with my life.

Facing Reality
It’s a strange place to find yourself.  You’ve worked hard, made sacrifices and have finally achieved your dream.  There’s really no words to describe the joy and satisfaction that comes with accomplishing something like that, but the reality is that goals are like anything else in life – temporary.
Anything, and I mean anything can be taken from us in a moments notice.  It doesn’t matter what it is – a car, a relationship, a loved one or even a career .  Everything we “own” is on the table – that was the first thing I had to accept.

My second realization was that even though I would never play professional football again, I still possessed the characteristics of a professional athlete.  Things like discipline, competitiveness and hustle don’t just disappear due to outside forces.  Our character can only be surrendered and I had no intentions of putting up the white flag.

Finding the leverage Points
Every situation is going to have its unique benefits, you just have to find them and exploit them.  No matter how bad it it may be, your perception of the situation is all that really matters.
The depression started to fade the moment I embraced the understanding that I would no longer be playing Pro football.  Instead of saying to myself, “This is a bummer, my life is over. I didn’t get my college degree and I have no back up plan.” I shifted my message to: ”I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to play professional football and achieve my childhood dream.  I’m so happy I walked away with a broken wrist and didn’t break my neck or have any serious brain injuries.  I’m so excited about all of the possibilities open to me now that I have all of this free time.”
There’s always something to gain from any unfortunate situation – an ally that can assist you.  For me, that ally became the isolation that my injury created.

Even though I had no money, I was rich with time. – Read the rest of the Forbes Article

LinkedIn for Job Seekers: An Interview with Jason Alba

by VivekaVonRosen

I recently interviewed Jason Alba, author of “I’m on LinkedIn, Now What” for a special Job Seeker’s section of my book,“LinkedIn Marketing:  An Hour a Day.”  Jason is one of my mentors, and as usual, incredibly generous with his time and information.  He is truly one of the first LinkedIn Experts and the most knowledgeable person I know when it comes to LinkedIn for job seekers.

Jason Alba’s Bio:

Jason’s new career as a LinkedIn aficionado started sometime in 2006.  Prior to that he was an IT manager and General Manager of a small IT company, finding it to be a very important learning experience…until he was laid off in January 2006.
He started his first job search then and found the job search experience to … suck.
He wrote I’m on LinkedIn — Now What??? in September 2007.  This book has sold thousands of copies and has been a significant factor in Jason becoming a “professional speaker.”  He co-authored I’m on Facebook — Now What??? which came out early 2008 and helped unbrand Jason as just a LinkedIn or job search expert, and more of a social media/network guy.  Of course he still speaks to job search and networking groups, to unemployed or employed people.  He also speaks to associations, universities, marketing groups or clubs, etc. He spends a lot of time writing (He has 4 blogs that he keeps updated.)
Jason considers his main role to be CEO of JibberJobber.com (which we will discuss  below) and hi THIRD edition of  LinkedIn for Job Seekers DVD ships out next week.  It’s 2 hours of how-to, essentially watching over Jason’s shoulder.  Details here: http://www.jibberjobber.com/blog/2012/05/10/linkedin-for-job-seekers-dvd-third-edition/

Here’s a potion of my interview with Jason Alba:

Viveka:  What are some “Best Practices” for job seekers on LinkedIn?
Jason:  The most important thing a job seeker needs to do is get serious about their profile on LinkedIn.  Too many people do the bare minimum on their profile and that can hurt rather than help you on LinkedIn.
Viveka:  Why does a job seeker want to spend some time optimizing their profile?
Jason:  When a job seeker gets found in a LinkedIn search, or someone happens upon their resume, or finds them on Google, we want them to be impressed with the job seeker’s profile – we want them “sucked in” and engaged.  A well-optimized profile has a better chance of attracting a recruiter, employer or hiring manager:
For 21 Steps to Create a Better LinkedIn Profile Click here: http://linkedintobusiness.com/linkedin-tips-tricks
Viveka:  How can job seekers use LinkedIn more effectively?
Jason:  Job seekers need to be proactive about what they are doing.  They are either searching or they are stagnant.  Too many job seekers create a profile and then sit there and do nothing.  Use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature and go find people they should be prospecting
There‘s a mentality with many job seekers that to find a job all they have to do is apply, apply, apply to job boards and then wait for the phone to ring.  But that doesn’t work anymore.   Job seekers need to get out of their comfort zone and proactively look for the right connections.  They need to figure how to move from reactive to proactive!
Viveka:  So what should job seekers do?
Jason:  Start by using the advanced search to find the right connections.  Take a few minutes to make a list of company executives, HR professionals, recruiters, Influencers in your industry, potential mentors – and then reach out and contact them!
Job seekers have to start developing relationships.  The job board puts you back into comfort zone mentality.  Don’t rely on LinkedIn’s job board, apply for a job and wait.  Use it to find who works at a company you are interested.  How are you connected to the person who posted the job?  You might as well reach out to them, what else do you have to lose?
Viveka:  I assume you suggest reaching out and connecting to people they don’t know on LinkedIn.  How should Job seekers reach out?
Jason:  One way of reaching a lot of people – without connecting to a lot of people  – is through a LinkedIn group.
To communicate with an individual, find out where they are comfortable.  Are they active on Twitter?  Then maybe the job seeker should reach out to them on Twitter.
When reaching out, ask your new contact where they would like to have the conversation – through email or through phone.  Ask them where they are most receptive to the conversation.  If you can send a connection a direct message on LinkedIn, then that is your best bet.
I also like Introductions a lot, getting your message and branding in front of multiple people.  However, if it’s a time sensitive message, be aware Introductions can take a long time.
Invitations will work, but your first conversations shouldn’t be an invitation. Relationship should come first whether you connect with them or not.

The Beginner’s Guide to LinkedIn

 by 

LinkedIn is considered the non-sexy, sleeping giant of social networks. It keeps a low profile, perhaps due to the professional nature of its users. Nonetheless, LinkedIn continues to exert a powerful influence on connected job seekers, brands, recruiters and industries.
Founded by Reid Hoffman in 2002, LinkedIn has grown to 161 million members in over 200 countries, making it the world’s largest professional network on the Internet (by comparison, Twitter has 500 million registered users, and Facebook has 900 million). Currently available in 17 languages, LinkedIn remains a relevant platform the world over.
That being said, we doubt you spend 20 minutes on LinkedIn per day, like Facebook’s power users do. So, if you need a crash course on what LinkedIn has to offer, browse the network’s most prominent features below. Or send this to your recent grad as he or she prepares to enter today’s daunting job market.


Have you used LinkedIn to find a job, network with professionals or research hot topics in your industry? Please share your own tips in the comments below.


1. Profile


Like most social networks, LinkedIn hosts your personal profile, a page on which you may list information like job experience and professional skills.
However, unlike many other social networks, it’s important to complete your profile to the best of your ability — especially if you’re using LinkedIn for the job hunt. LinkedIn measures your “profile completeness” from 0-100%. The higher your profile completeness, the more likely you are to appear in search results. For instance, when you list skills like “Final Cut Pro” and “Photoshop,” potential employers may come across your profile when they perform an advanced search based on those keywords. Handy.
To ensure that your profile is 100% complete, LinkedIn recommends including the following information.
  • Industry and postal code
  • A current position with description
  • Two more positions
  • Education
  • At least five skills
  • Profile photo
  • At least 50 connections
  • A summary
For more information about optimizing your LinkedIn profile, see these additional resources:


2. Connections


Of course, to get those “50 connections” mentioned above, you’ll have to expand your network on LinkedIn. Don’t worry — LinkedIn’s algorithms and data mining make it pretty easy.
I recommend first performing a series of basic searches to find people you know by name. (See the search box at the top of each LinkedIn page.) Click the “Connect” button next to people’s names to add them to your network. You may send a custom message along with that invitation to make the connection more personalized.
Once you have made several connections, head to the “People You May Know” page. LinkedIn’s algorithm will likely have begun determining additional suggestions based on your connections’ networks. LinkedIn labels these connections by degree. People you’re already connected to are “1st degree” connections. People you’re not yet connected to, but who are linked to your 1st degree connections, are 2nd degree connections. And so on. You’ll see a blue icon that says “1st,” “2nd” or “3rd” next to their names.
You may also choose to connect your email’s contact list to LinkedIn for the purpose of finding additional connections. Head to “Import Contacts” and allow access to your contacts to pull up a list of potentials. Be aware, however, that this may generate a huge list of people, especially if email services like Gmail tend to save every address you’ve ever contacted.

3. Groups


LinkedIn groups are spaces in which professionals and experts can share content, ask for advice, post or search for jobs and network with others. Groups are tailored to brands, associations and societies, support groups, causes, publications and industries in general. That can mean anything from “On Startups – The Community for Entrepreneurs” to “Cal Alumni Association | UC Berkeley.”
On the other hand, don’t confuse LinkedIn “groups” with “companies.” Coca-Cola has a “Coca-Cola Current & Former Employees” group, but its business lives on “The Coca-Cola Company” company page. More on that later.
With over 1.3 million groups to choose from, you’re likely to find at few that fit your field and interests. Keep in mind that many groups require authentication before the manager permits you to join. However, nearly one-third of groups don’t require review, and are labeled “open.”
Once you’re familiar with group functions, you may choose to create your own group. That means you’re the group owner, but you may also appoint a group manager and moderator, who are responsible for supervising discussions, subgroups, settings, etc.
To get the most out of your LinkedIn group, take a look at the following features:


4. Companies


Just as you have a personal profile page, many companies choose to represent themselves on LinkedIn, too. Like Facebook brand pages, you may choose to follow the activity and updates of companies on LinkedIn.
Company pages contain general information, such as a business overview, list of employees and press mentions. Many companies also choose to list job openings on their pages, and some even encourage applicants to apply through LinkedIn, a very handy tool of the network.
Once you follow a company, you’ll see its updates appear on your LinkedIn homepage alongside those of your connections. Mashable, for instance, tends to post business-related articles on LinkedIn, since that seems to be the content most pertinent to the network’s audience. Businesses also use LinkedIn to post company announcements, such as acquisitions, new hires or updated policies. LinkedIn warns against update spam, however: “Businesses that post updates excessively are subject to review by LinkedIn and could risk having their page deleted.”
If you’re interested in adding your own company to the network, LinkedIn advises you take the following steps.
  1. You’re a current company employee and your position is on your profile.
  2. A company email address (e.g. john@companyname.com) is one of the confirmed email addresses on your LinkedIn account.
  3. You associate your profile with the right company. You must click on a name from our company name dropdown list when you edit or add a position on your profile.
  4. Your company’s email domain is unique to the company.
  5. Your profile must be more than 50% complete.
  6. You must have several connections.
If you’re interested in learning more about how companies can use LinkedIn, see the following resources:


Tips 5 – 9 and complete Mashable article

How I used LinkedIn to get Interviews and Land Offers

Hey Guys,
Been using this site for a while now and figured it would be beneficial for me to give back a bit. For starters, I thought I would detail my experiences using linkedin and cold emails to land a summer offer.

Coming from a semi-target undergrad b-school, I had my hands full. Nonetheless, it all worked out for the best and I’ll be at a top tier BB (GS/MS/JPM) this summer for IBD.

– I first decided to set aside a huge chunk of time to look up possible contacts.
– Hours upon hours I searched the web/linkedin/google/etc
Where to begin…
Create an excel sheet / access table / word document and start writing down every bank, consulting firm, investment firm you know of or wouldn’t mind working for. I wrote down most BB and MM banks since IBD was target. After your list is complete, I went through my list and would type “School Name + Firm Name + LinkedIn” into google. Coming from a semi-target I would only get a handful or so people, which was manageable. I would then change my college to my high school in the search (or hometown, etc). I would open each person’s page and figure out if they were relevant to my job search and if we had any “small world” type connections to talk about if we ever spoke. I kept track of everyone and eventually had a list of 200 hundred people at 50 or so banks. If you feel uncomfortable about these individuals seeing that you viewed their profile make yourself invisible in the settings or disable cookies and if you click on the linkedin in google you will not be signed in.

Also, I joined as many relevant groups on linkedin as I could, and would spend the time to go through the entire members list.

With my list complete, I used WSO to find the correct email formats for these people and after finding each individuals email, I began my cold emailing. I created a very generic email that all I needed to do was change the firm’s name and the division I was interested in (IBD/S&T/PE/IM/Consulting/etc/). For example…

Dear Mr./Mrs. XXXXXXX (even if they graduated last year – always show respect),

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is XXXXXXX, a junior finance major at XXXXX and have developed an interest in XXXXXXXX. I was wondering if you had some time to speak on the phone within the next few weeks to discuss your experiences in XXXXXXX and any suggestions you may have as I approach this year’s recruiting season. I have attached my resume for context and look forward to speaking with you soon.

I would sometimes make it a little more customized if they were some BSD, but also made sure to include my resume to show them that I was worth their time.

I received a 50% response rate  — More tips and complete article

31 LinkedIn Tips – How to Use LinkedIn Best Practices for B2B Prospecting

LinkedIn is the greatest source of business to business (B2B) sales intelligence and research data for the average sales professional ever invented. This kind of tool has never existed before. LinkedIn let’s you connect with people and see their network of connections. Once you understand that you can only see relationships that are 2 levels deep it gets much easier to use and understand.
My LinkedIn Network of Professionals - 3 levels deep

My LinkedIn Network of Professionals – 3 levels deep
I just came from training a great team atVeracity Networks, a local internet, voice, and tv provider in Utah and long-time customer of ours. We talked about all the ways that LinkedIn can help in B2B prospecting. I also promised on my last webinar that I would make a list of 20 ways to use LinkedIn, well I got carried away.
Here is one thing you can do for every day of the month.
1- First, use LinkedIn to get in to a new account. I remember when I wanted to get into the inside sales department at a company just up the street by the name of Novell. I looked up the company, found an old friend of mine that works there named Morgan Spencer, contacted him, and asked for a referral.
My friend Morgan Spencer worked at Novell when I needed him

My friend Morgan Spencer worked at Novell when I needed him
Now he works at Concierge Communications, so maybe I should see if he can refer me again. Anyway, it worked and took just a few minutes. That was my first productive use of LinkedIn years ago.
2- Follow your customers companies.That means you should be connected through LinkedIn to ALL OF YOUR CUSTOMERS! That seems like a no brainer, but very few companies do that. We recommend that your CEO, VP Sales, VP Support, etc. reach out with the welcome pack to each new customer and connect. Then ping them now and again to ask “how are things are coming?” Follow each of your customers companies in LinkedIn.
3- Make sure you complete your profile, keep it fresh, and set it up correctly so you have credibility. Complete the profile! That means 100%. Salespeople never take the time to finish and this hurts them.  
4- Use a good close-up picture that stands out. Our company uses black and white short-cropped head shots that are sort of cool. Why black and white? We stand out. Nobody else on the page is black and white. I like to zig when everyone else chooses to zag. (Sorry you can’t use this one, everyone else has to stay with color pictures.)
Notice my name in the Public Profile has my name!

Notice my name in the Public Profile has my name!
5- Grab your name before someone else does! Make sure that your public profile is shortened to contain just your name, ie:http://www.linkedin.com/in/kenkrogue. If you leave this to LinkedIn it will have lots of crazy random letters and numbers and looks like a mess and is hard to link to. Write a compelling introduction to you and your company so people know what you do! If your company is hiring, mention it like our VP Sales did, it works!
6- Have a point person at your company. LinkedIn works by letting you connect to people 2 levels deep. It is a good idea to have at least one person in the company who reaches out to lots of connections. If everyone else at the company is connected to them, they act like a “window” with great connections for everyone else.  I’m connected to over 2300 people, and through me, all of my sales reps have a connection that is far more broad than their own.
7- Connect to your employees. Spend time and teach your colleagues and employees the value of using LinkedIn as a team. By designating a “point person” as mentioned above, make sure that person is connected to every single employee. Do it from day one in the onboarding process for all new hires.
8- Connect to your customers. Who in the B2B world is more important than your customers? I like to use Tags to connect to and classify my customers as part of my LinkedIn network. Why? I care deeply about my customers. They are like the kinds of prospects I want to also become my customers. Be getting to know them well, I can connect to others just like them. I can find the groups they are part of. I can ask for referrals or recommendations that will really have impact (if I have earned it.)
9- Connect to your prospects. We ask our salespeople to connect to all of their prospects right after the first contact attempt. Do they always do it? The smart ones do. Why have them connect? Increases rate of building a relationship. LinkedIn increases response to communications by 300% versus email.
You can also search by keywords to find lots of prospects. For us anybody with “inside sales”, “lead management” or “salesforce.com” in their LinkedIn profile is a prospect. What are your keywords?
10 – Do a 3×3 analysis of your prospects.My friend Steve Richard from Vorsight,outsourcers in inside sales training, taught me this. Take 3 minutes before calling a prospect to find 3 things you have in common to talk with them about.  LinkedIn is great for a resume, company, college sports or alma maters, common trade groups perspective, Facebook for hobbies, sports, etc.