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Excerpts

Rule #3: Get LinkedIn or Get Left Out?
Success is not based on what you know, but rather, who you know.
The old cliché is that success is not based on what you know but rather who you know. Understanding your online identity is critical to creating success, and LinkedIn is currently one of the most powerful tools that can help you.

LinkedIn is a communication platform. In business, we use a variety of platforms from e-commerce to customer relationship management tools to accounting tools and more. However, we typically don’t blindly jump into any of them and expect to have any sort of success. Conversely, what we do is start with a strategy and then build out our platforms so that they become effective tools for our business.

While signing on and using LinkedIn may be straightforward, generating results from your usage of LinkedIn requires sophistication. We summarize this sophistication with a four-part methodology you will see throughout this book:

Download it for free at www.LeadGen2020.com/methodology

    (1) Strategize

    (2) Attract

    (3) Engage

    (4) Convert

But… I Don’t Have a Lot of Free Time To Do This
As successful professionals, your time is valuable, and what you choose to focus on must provide you with an effective result. Perhaps you might be thinking the following right about now: “This sounds great, but there are only 24 hours in a day and I have a business to run, so realistically speaking, how much time should I focus on using this tool?”

Basically, there is no hard and fast rule. The most truthful answer is, “It depends.” What does it depend on? What type of business do you have? How do you generate your leads? What are you currently focusing on with your business? What are your current business needs? How much time have you already spent in building a responsive network? Of course, there are quite a few more questions to consider too.

Some companies will never generate meaningful leads quite simply because they don’t know how to use this tool, while others can spend a few minutes per day and generate a nice flow of leads. Throughout this book, we will share success stories of what people have accomplished on LinkedIn and the paths they’ve pursued to achieve those accomplishments. If we were to suggest a baseline for time, we would suggest setting expectations of about 15 minutes per day (once you’ve gotten beyond the initial setup), but expect some days to require more as you get more engaged.

Caveats to Our Time Suggestion
First, you need to follow an effective and focused approach to using this tool, such as the four-part methodology we will be focusing on in this book. This is key to managing your time.

Secondly, and most importantly, you must sustain your effort. This sounds like the most basic concept, but it is very important to adhere to it. Unfortunately, many people join and collect contacts but invest no time or energy networking, so they gain nothing from the site. This is a clear example of reaping what you have sown. Remember, LinkedIn is just a tool to connect and open doors, but it still takes work on your part to make it effective.

If you would like to connect with us as you build out your program, please follow the links to our profiles:

  1. http://LinkedIn.com/in/ChrisMuccio
  2. http://LinkedIn.com/in/PeggyMurrah

Send us an invite noting that you’ve read the book, and we’d be very happy to accept your invitation.

Rule #19: Take Control of Your LinkedIn Experience
Manage Your Settings
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for making business connections, but it is just that—a tool. Even the most active users miss some simple ways to optimize the way they use LinkedIn. In the last of our profile-related rules, we are going to review the settings that drive your account. (Note: we are describing the settings as they exist in May 2013.)

You can create your personal URL by looking toward the top right of your LinkedIn screen and clicking on the little down arrow next to your name. Then click on “settings.” As an additional security measure, it asks you to re-sign in, and after you do so, you arrive at the dashboard of your account settings.

On the top left, you should see your photo and the date you first became a member. Underneath that, you will see your primary e-mail address you’ve attached to your account. Quick tip: use a personal e-mail as your primary e-mail. If you use a business e-mail and you subsequently lose access to it (e.g., you leave the company), you may also lose your profile too. No e-mail, no profile access.

Toward the middle right on the top of your page, you can see how many InMails (see Rule #27) you have available and when your next grant is going to occur. To the far right, you will see a small list of frequently asked questions. Over the years, we’ve found these to be pretty solid and would suggest you become familiar with using them.

On the bottom left, in a tabbed layout, you have the 4 main “settings” for your account:

Profile tab: This is the first tab. In this section, you can control how you broadcast your activity and who can see it, select who can see your connections, and choose how you want to appear to others when you view their profile (i.e., your name and headline or somewhat anonymous showing just your industry and title or completely anonymous). One of the most important things that you can do in this section is edit your “public profile.” This is how you appear when people search for you on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.

Communication tab: This is located directly under the profile tab and focused on your e-mail experience within the site. While this may seem pretty generic, it is worthwhile to review. This section enables you to select the types of messages you receive, types of invitations you accept, the frequency of e-mails you get, and more.

Groups, companies, and applications tab: As the name of the tab suggests, this section focuses on these three LinkedIn elements, along with privacy controls, as they apply to third-party applications and plugins. Perhaps one non-intuitive thing to note as it relates to your old “LinkedIn apps” is that they’ve been replaced with features that let you display samples of your work on your profile. With it, you can link to or upload images, presentations, videos, or documents.

Account tab: In this change, you can manage your privacy as it relates to advertising preferences. You can manage your profile photo and visibility and customize the type of updates you see on your homepage. The current default shows 10 different types. If you don’t want to receive some of those, with a click of a button you can hide whatever you don’t want to see. Among other things, if you ever wondered how to close an account on LinkedIn, that function is listed under this setting.

Your profile is important from both a strategic and tactical perspective. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with key settings in your account. Understanding how those impact you can help you build a more effective roadmap for results.

Your profile is important from both a strategic and tactical perspective. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with key settings in your account. Understanding how those impact you can help you build a more effective roadmap for results.

Rule #26: Effective Awareness Through Invites
Invitations can be a unique differentiator
LinkedIn invitations are a very simple and easy way to generate awareness to your profile. First off, it connects you with someone. Thus, they are aware of you being on LinkedIn. Secondly, and more importantly, it opens up the opportunity for you to continue to passively communicate with your contacts through your updates.

Let’s begin with the basics. Each registered user has a number of “connections” on LinkedIn. Thus, if you have 55 connections, you have 55 people whom you’ve either invited to be part of your network or vice versa. Keeping with the basics for a moment longer, for two people to “connect,” one must invite the other, and the other must accept. Pretty simple.

Now let’s focus on increasing the effectiveness of the invite as a tactic for generating awareness.

Effort Is More than Just Hitting the “Accept” or “Send” Buttons. We are talking about generating awareness, and awareness takes a little bit of effort. Plan to spend at least a couple of moments on every invitation you send or receive.

Avoid Using the Invitation Default. One of the most common things to do on LinkedIn is to send an invite with a default invitation stating, “I would like to connect with you on LinkedIn.” Yet as you read through our stories of success, you are going to notice, time and time again, that each of these people avoids the default invite and personalizes it to the person they are inviting. (Note: when using certain mobile tools for invitations, you are currently unable to do anything but send a default invite. Hopefully this changes in future app updates.)

Here is a general example highlighting the point above: “Hi Chris, Enjoyed meeting you yesterday. There are a couple of people in my network that I think might be of benefit to you. I look forward to reviewing that with you when you have a free moment. Thanks, John.”

Respond to Invitations. Admittedly, when someone sends you a default invite and you aren’t sure why they’ve connected, it is hard to do anything more than accept the invite. Your LinkedIn network is only as valuable as the strength of your connections. Try to engage each invite you receive with a short note. The goal is twofold. First, try to determine if this is someone that fits with the audience you are trying to build, and second, it is a differentiator to leverage in relationship building.

Find people to invite. The most basic way for people to build their network is to start with their personal contact lists. People in these lists might include someone you have worked with, collaborated on projects with, or maybe attended school with. If you are so inclined, LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to upload your e-mails and have a mass invite. If this is something you are contemplating, consider balancing the urge for a mass invite with the benefits of a personalized invite.

Connect with Care. A general rule of thumb is to send connection requests only to people you have something in common with. LinkedIn makes this very simple by graphically showing you what you have in common with each user. If you focus on things you have in common, you’ll realize that, in many ways, this feature eliminates the dreaded “cold call.”

Find more people to meet. Join groups that are in your area of expertise and niche markets. You may already have their acquaintance through discussion groups. Check out their profiles, and find other points in common. Create as much common ground as you can with your target or niche markets and prospects in the invite. Extending your awareness opens up opportunities for lead generation.

Rule #30: Effective Effort Creates LinkedIn Success
Lorraine Ball’s Success; Generate Results by Understanding the Difference Between Activity and Productivity
LinkedIn success. Millions of people talk about it, but how many have actually achieved it? It really does happen! The important thing to keep in mind is that when it happens, you typically see someone following a productive, focused path versus someone simply haphazardly participating on LinkedIn.

A great example of this is seen through following Lorraine Ball, or the “whirlwind” as she is affectionately known in her business RoundPeg.biz. She leads a team of “crazy, passionate” people that help small businesses become big businesses with simple, cost-effective marketing strategies.

Simply spend two minutes talking with Lorraine, and it will become very obvious why she has successfully leveraged LinkedIn to generate a series of successes for her business. The secret? She doesn’t focus on herself. She is genuine in her interest of engaging the people she is communicating with in terms of sharing items that provide them value. She is never “selling” anything to anybody. Make no mistake, she doesn’t like being sold to either. You spam, boast, or advertise your way into her inbox, and you take the risk of being her ex-LinkedIn connection.

A 140-Character Update Leads to Ongoing Revenue from All over the United States
Serendipity and strategy usually work hand in hand to generate success on LinkedIn. Perhaps, a quote from Oprah Winfrey states it best, “Luck is simply preparation meeting opportunity.”

The seeds for most success on LinkedIn can start simply but only in the context of an effective strategy.

Lorraine’s successes on LinkedIn exhibit this well. Throughout a typical day, she provides three status updates that flow into her activity stream seen by all of her connections. She also checks in with the groups she participates with. At one time, like many other LinkedIn users, she was a member in numerous groups but that was very inefficient. Now to increase the effectiveness of her group participation, she only focuses on three groups in which she can add the most value.

While a daily update is a fairly simple and common thing, Lorraine ensures that her updates offer elements of significance to her connections, and this is what led to one of her biggest LinkedIn successes.

As is Lorraine’s habit, she checks LinkedIn first thing in the morning and provides her first update. A former coworker she was connected to saw her update and invited her to speak at an upcoming sales meeting. Lorraine accepted and presented to a sales group that included over one hundred distributors from all over the United States. Based on that talk, some of the sales leaders in the audience approached her to hire her to present to their home districts. Three years and thousands of dollars later, the phone is still ringing, and Lorraine is still receiving revenue, generating work that stemmed from that one particular update.

Lorraine’s Tips
1. Connect, connect, connect. The more connections you have, the more potential people you can relationship-build with. Reach out to former bosses, coworkers, colleagues, and friends. Reestablish and nurture these relationships. Whom do people tend to do business with? Those they trust and have relationships with.

2. Avoid the auto-feed tools. Yes, it saves time, but it tends to eliminate the ability to effectively engage connections, which in turn severely limits your LinkedIn success.

3. Don’t contribute to the noise on social media. Focus on sharing insights and communicate directly with your audience in ways that add value to them. Share tips, insights, best practices, “likes,” etc., that your audience can benefit from.

Lorraine helps business owners incorporate LinkedIn into a comprehensive online strategy. Learn more at www.LeadGen2020.com/roundpeg.

7 Oprah, “Be Prepared – Oprah – Quotes on Luck – Oprah.com,” Oprah.com, accessed August 2013, http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Thought-for-Today-Luck.

Rule #36: Engagement – 10 Tactics that Take Less than 10 Minutes
The goal is to help you create a sustainable participation on LinkedIn.

There are numerous ways to create engagement on LinkedIn by using your time efficiently. If you are building out a 15-minute-per-day participation plan, these tactics should fit perfectly. In this rule, we are going to discuss 10 tactics that can each be performed in well under 10 minutes. (Note: these are all online techniques. You could always integrate offline techniques like writing a note and mailing it and sending a card.)

Quickest Tactics: Each Takes Less than a Couple of Minutes
  1. Start your day with a quick glance at your notifications tab (located, as of this writing, at the top right of your page). In a couple of seconds, you can see who has most recently interacted with you. Based on that, you can respond accordingly.
  2. Check your morning e-mails with group activity. Scan to see which posts you are interested in and can comment effectively toward.
  3. Open up your Google Alerts, and scan for interesting information to share with your connections. (Note: if you haven’t already, set up Google Alerts to monitor keyword phrases that are important to you, your industry, or your target audience. Each day, Google sends you an e-mail with a list of articles related to your search. It takes less than a minute to initially set up.) Always add a sentence or two to the link you post. Just posting links without comments does not create the engagement you want people to make with you. One note of caution: be cognizant of articles that you come across that may be sitting behind a site’s paid side (i.e., paywall). Some recipients won’t be able to read these links.
  4. Scan your activity stream. Depending on how you have your filter set, this can show all the activity occurring within your network. Find items to comment on in a value-added way. Making relevant comments keeps you and your company name in people’s thoughts and reinforces the connections between you. If you can’t find something to comment on, then find something to “like.” As we discussed in Rule #24, it can still be a powerful tactic.
  5. Endorse someone in your network. Consider the points we shared in Rule #32.
Quick Tactics: Each Takes Less than Five Minutes
  1. When people endorse you, thank them. If they commented on your update, respond. If they viewed your profile, send them a message.
  2. Skip the e-mail in item #2, and go directly into your key groups. Open each one and post a comment, comment on a post, or add a “like.” Always add value to the discussion. Just do this in your main groups. Spreading yourself too thin will dilute your effectiveness.
  3. Post an update on your company page. It is a great way to engage with a highly targeted demographic.
  4. Focus on one-to-one communication. Check out specific profiles in your network. You can see the last time you’ve communicated with them via LinkedIn’s little CRM function. Take a quick second to send a short message.
  5. Invite people. Take a few minutes to find new people to add to your network. They may be people in your target industry, region, or company. Make a connection request with a personal message. Perform this wisely. Remember to connect with care and with those you have something in common with. Don’t spam invites; LinkedIn is watching

Next Steps

Take a look at these tactics. Try them. Refine them and figure out what works best for you. The goal is to help you create a sustainable participation on LinkedIn. These are quick and can be very effective tools to engage with your target audiences.

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