The Secrets of Building a Thriving Network on LinkedIn – @jenrgy
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Social media is not only a benefit, but an absolute must for any business. Sure, you can send a few tweets, shoot out a couple Facebook posts and blog like your life depended on it, but it’s actually a bit more nuanced than that.
Just because you’re sending content to the people on your lists doesn’t mean you’re connecting with everyone you could – or should – be reaching. Sometimes you need to give people a little tap on the shoulder before they’ll knock on your door. Knowing the right techniques to reach out to your desired audience – and get them to check out your profile in return – can translate to more names on your email list and hopefully future business opportunities.
Jen Lehner is a digital marketing strategist who uses her skills and passion to help entrepreneurs utilize all of their marketing tools to grow their business.
Rich: Jen Lehner is a digital marketing strategist, President of the Posner Lehner Group, founder of the Facebook community The Front Row, and speaker who works with entrepreneurs to help them use digital tools to grow their business. Her signature online program, Social Media Summer Camp, is the comprehensive, one stop shopping social media school that will launch again in May.
Jen’s always been an entrepreneur and early adopter of technology. She met her husband on America Online back in 1998 and has been a social media enthusiast ever since. She lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio with her husband, three kids and a golden retriever. Jen, welcome to the show.
Jennifer: Great to be here, Rich.
Rich: So Jen, before we dive into LinkedIn, let’s talk about how we met online. Do you care to tell the story to people on how we met?
Jennifer: I would love to tell the story about how we met. So I was taking a walk listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Amy Porterfield’s Marketing Made Easy, and she was talking to you. You were talking about event planning and it was funny because that’s was exactly where I’m at right now is planning events, and I was really into it. Suddenly you started talking about how you didn’t have a LinkedIn expert for your upcoming Agents Of Change Conference. So I stopped exactly where I was, I ran home – which is not unusual when I listen to one of Amy’s podcasts – and I ran home and I tweeted you and I said, “Hey, I could be your LinkedIn expert and you won’t regret it.” And you replied and said, “Thanks so much, we’re pretty much booked but maybe I could have you on my podcast.”
So I followed up with a video tweet – one of my favorite things to do – and said, “Absolutely, I’d love to be on your awesome podcast, you say when and where”, and I spent most of Saturday creating an animated video that basically told you a little about me and then I sent it to your email address and Monday morning you said I could be on your podcast.
Rich: That’s absolutely true, and so the animated video – I would have had you on my podcast anyways – before we started recording, Sue B. Zimmerman gave you a stamp of her approval, which means a lot to me. But it was definitely a very clever and interesting video and I’m just wondering, do you use that kind of video in other parts of your marketing to increase your business and to close sales, or was this the first time you had tried it?
Jennifer: No, I’ve used that technique lots of times, not always with animation but different sort of things. It’s just amazing. Even if I didn’t have your email address, I could have tweeted that to you and we can reach anybody that has a Twitter handle. I could have tweeted that video to the Pope or Queen Elizabeth, too, if I wanted to.
Rich: Absolutely. It was a very good way of breaking through the clutter. Like I said, I was going to have you on my show anyway. But just from a marketing standpoint from separating yourself, what was the software that you used for that if you don’t mind me asking?
Jennifer: Oh, I would love to share it because it’s so fantastic, it’s called GoAnimate.com. They have a yearly subscription, so I just get that which I think is $39. If all I do is create one video and they cancel my subscription after a month – which is typically all I would do – it was completely worth it. There’s a bit of a learning curve, it’s very user friendly, I love it.
Rich: And I often think that video – whether animated or true life – is a great way of making a connection with people. I got to hear your voice which made me more willing to have you on my podcast, anyways, it is a great way to break through the clutter. Not why I called you on the show today, but thank you very much for sharing that.
Let’s talk about LinkedIn. That was actually what I told you the topic was when we first started. When you’re working on LinkedIn to network and to build your business, do you start with a free account or are you using one of those premium accounts?
Jennifer: I actually started with a premium account but now I have a free account and I think I’m going to stick with it for awhile. I really don’t do a lot of Inboxing, but if you do what to do a lot of Inboxing you have to sort of step up, but for right now free is working very well for me.
Rich: And for those people who haven’t tried any of the premium services, what is Inboxing on LinkedIn?
Jennifer: With a paid account you’re allowed to send a certain number of direct messages – like emails – on LinkedIn that go directly to their Inbox for basically anybody on LinkedIn. The problem is, so many of the things in your inbox are spam, or at least I find that so many of the things in my inbox I don’t even read, so that’s why I’m not such a huge fan of spending the money. There are so many ways to reach people that I haven’t felt a need to do that.
Rich: I agree with you. And I’ve used on occasion when I get a free premium trial for a month, I’ll switch over to the premium services, and I myself haven’t seen that much difference. There’s nothing I need that premium gives that I can’t get from the free account. I think if someone is a headhunter or they run an organization, those type of services would be worth paying for. But other than that I think for most people who are like you and me and our listeners, a free account probably is going to give them 99% of everything they need on LinkedIn.
Rich: So I don’t know what the user base is on LinkedIn – obviously it’s huge – you may know. There’s obviously a lot of people there so there’s a lot of competition. Jen, how do you get your LinkedIn profile to stand out. What are you doing to kind of stand out and differentiate yourself from everybody else out there?
Jennifer: Well just like the strategy that I used to send you that tweet with that video, a lot of people don’t realize that LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to basically stick anything and everything on there. So whether you just graduated from college and you don’t have a whole lot of experience but you maybe you did a killer Powerpoint presentation, you can stick the Powerpoint presentation right there in your summary. You can put images, you can drop hot links, you can put movies, animations.
So it’s funny, I recently spoke to some college seniors, I was asked to come in for networking, they were being taught how to network, it was a panel that I was on. My role was to talk to them about LinkedIn and it was sort of, “Raise your hand if you have a LinkedIn account”, and about ¾ of the room raised their hand. And then it was like, “Raise your hand if you have any sort of other media on there other than just text”, no one raised their hands. A lot of people didn’t even have a profile picture.
But what you can do to really differentiate yourself is add some rich media. It’s not a place to just park your resume, what a snooze. Nobody has time for that anyway, people come to your LinkedIn profile and they need to see really quickly what you’re about and that’s how you differentiate yourself. You write it in the first person, you include video, you can even turn nice things that people said about you into a slide deck and post that. And then it becomes a slideshow of your recommendations.
Rich: Well I love this idea of putting multimedia on the page to make it jump out. I know years ago it was pretty difficult to actually do that, you had to be a little technically savvy. Has LinkedIn made it easier for people to share their Powerpoints and their animations and their videos on their profile page?
Jennifer: It’s 2 clicks. It’s literally you click on the edit summary and then it has boxes that say “upload photo”, “upload image”, “embed a link”, it really couldn’t be easier.
Rich: Alright so there’s no reason why when these people are done listening to this podcast they don’t go to their LinkedIn account and clean things up. All of us have images or videos or Powerpoint presentations out there that can be shared.
Jennifer: Absolutely. And if you don’t, just create something. In fact, that’s on the top of my “to do” list, I do want to make an animation about some things that I’m offering right now in my own business and I’m going to put that right on my profile.
The summary should be written in the first person and also interesting, you can tell a story. We don’t have to hear all about your accomplishments in your summary. Let the person know what you’re about, why they would want to work for you and what you can do for them.
Rich: Alright, cool. Now you’ve talked a little bit about making some connections, outreaching and getting people to come back to your profile to learn more about you. What’s your technique for that, how do you go about getting people to check you out on LinkedIn outside of obviously having this dynamic profile, but how do you get them to visit you in the first place?
Jennifer: This is my favorite thing right now. As you know, when you go on your LinkedIn profile you can see it says how many people viewed your profile and you can click and see who viewed it unless they chose to be anonymous. One great way that you get people to view your profile is there’s a Chrome browser plugin, it’s free and called Linkclump and you download it one time and you never see it again, you don’t see the icon on your browser bar. When you set it up you have to set it up with a hotkey, I actually have a tutorial for this that I can send you the link for.
Rich: Yeah, we’ll make sure we put those in the show notes.
Jennifer: Yeah, because it’s easier to show than to explain how to actually use it. But essentially what you do is you do an advanced search to find your people. So maybe I’m looking for “life coaches”, so I go into an advanced search on LinkedIn – it’s right there at the top next to the browser bar – and you type in “life coach”, and then everybody who has the title “life coach” is going to pop up on the screen and there will be 10 people on a page. I then click and drag a highlight all those names and immediately this software allows all of those LinkedIn accounts to pop open at one time and in one window. It takes 2 seconds and I don’t even have to look at them I just close it in the upper left corner and close out all of them at one time and I do it again.
You can do this, this is completely legit and completely within LinkedIn’s terms and conditions – it’s kosher – and as soon as you close those out you can do it again. And you can do 400 in a day and if you do it inside a group you can get 20 up on the page so if you go into a group that you know is filled with your target audience. You can just pop open 20 profiles at one time.
So what happens when you view someone’s profile? When they see that you viewed their profile, what do they typically do? They click back to look at your profile. So I’ve gotten more profile views than I’ve ever gotten with this technique, and about 30% of the people that click back to look at you will want to connect with you. Here’s where your profile becomes very, very important.
Let’s suppose, Rich, that you’re looking for sponsors for your conference. Even if you just do it for that day, you create a very specific targeted video that talks directly to your potential sponsors and then you go out and you look at all the people who you’re targeting as potential sponsors. When they click back to your profile they’re going to see that video right away. You want something really loud and clear up in the header like, “Two days left for sponsorship opportunities for…”
Rich: That’s a very clever, very specific way of using that technique. I love it.
Jennifer: Yes, It won’t mean anything if you go and look at all these profiles and then you don’t have anything for them to jump on when they get back to your profile, it has to be really loud and clear, really right in their face. Nobody has time to dig through your program to figure out what it is you’re looking for.
Rich: No. Because nobody has that much attention anyways. The bottom line is they’re going to see you checked out their profile and many of them will have that knee jerk reaction where they want to check you out, too, and so you’ve got to hit them right over the head – the attention span that of a flea – to get in front of them right away to get that specific offer. I think that’s a brilliant approach.
Jennifer: Well, thank you.
Rich: So once you’ve connected with somebody on LinkedIn do you have some sort of follow up that you do? What is your next step after I have connected with you on LinkedIn?
Jennifer: So instead of an Inmail, what I will do is so that I can see the people who looked at my profile if they didn’t connect with me after viewing my profile, then I will find out their email address. Which is really so easy to do. So here’s an example of a search I did the other day. So I am completely obsessed with all the live streaming right now, especially the Blab platform.
Rich: I love Blab.
Jennifer: It’s amazing. But nobody in my local market really uses it around here. So I want to be the one who goes on all the local TV shows and tells everybody about it because I just think it’s so great. So I am looking for morning show news producers – and they’re very easy to find – so I did some of the Linkclumps with this. Sure enough they looked back at my profile and I made it very clear what it was that I was after. And then if I could see that they looked at my profile, then I went to the TV station and looked them up and found their email, email them directly, “Hey it’s Jen, I noticed you looked at my profile on LinkedIn and this is why I was looking at your profile.” And I got a couple of appointments.
Rich: Great. Great opportunity and way to take advantage of that. Now are you using some of these same techniques in other platforms or are they specific to LinkedIn?
Jennifer: Yeah, I use them on every platform because essentially the technique is what I call a tap on the shoulder. So it’s not a hard sell, it’s not a cold call, it’s not hypey, it’s just,
Hey, I’m gonna tap you on the shoulder and then maybe kind of walk away and it’s up to you if you want to turn around.”
So on Tiwtter the way I like to do this is with Twitter lists, which are the most underutilized, powerful tool on Twitter, other than advanced search. So I like to create really provocative, enticing titles for my lists that will make people curious. So if I create a list that says, “ People Who I Would Like To Collaborate With On A Blab”, you also have the opportunity to add a pretty detailed description to the list. As soon as I add someone to this list – assuming that it’s public – they’re going to get a notification that they were added to a list and then there will be a longer description in the description box that tells exactly what I’m thinking in regards to the collaboration. And then they’re going to click back and see who I am. When they get to my Twitter profile, Twitter has the most ginormous Twitter banner in all of social media if you’re looking from your laptop – again, so underutilized. So a lot of people just have that blue bar on their banner, so make sure your Twitter banner has a really clear call to action and tells what you’re about and is graphically pleasing to the eye.
Someone’s going to click over to your profile and see a pinned tweet – make sure you pin a tweet to the top of your page – because you’re able to do not only a graphic telling who you are, what you’re doing, what you’re looking for, etc. But you also get to add your 140 characters above that and that you also have a space around the left hand side of your bio where you can enter an additional link than the one that Twitter allows below that. So a huge opportunity to drive people to whatever it is you want to drive them to. And all I did was add them to a list.
Then Facebook’s sort of translation of this method over there is, what I like to do is I spend a dedicated 2 hours a month where I do some serious sleuthing and really research. And what I do is I go into Graph Search and I’ll say, “Groups Joined By People Who Like Amy Porterfield”, because that’s my target audience. So all the groups will pop up, I’ll join those groups, I’ll listen to those groups, I’ll make a point of going to those groups and seeing what people are talking about. A lot of people will do these surveys and go into a group and ask, like, “Your top 3 frustrations with WordPress” . Well you don’t need to do that, all you have to do is look because that’s all people talk about is their problems and frustrations. So I organize that stuff, I use Evernote web clipper and keep that stuff organized. Then I go in and create content based on that. Then I just help the people, so I go in and say, “Here you go, maybe this will help.” No hype, no pitch, no callback action, no nothing. But if it’s helpful – and I’m not going to put it in there if it’s not super helpful – they click back on my Facebook profile and again what do they see. In my Facebook banner it says, “Click here”.
So let’s say people were struggling with Twitter. I go in and I give them some Twitter information, a pdf, a short tutorial video for free, no call to action. But it’s so helpful they want more, so they go back to my profile and they click and they see in my banner it says, “Click here for my Twitter masterclass”. Now even though that button on the Facebook banner is not clickable, you click anywhere on the Facebook banner and a whole other box is going to pop up, you can practically write a book they give you so much room to write text in there, and then I have a link to my opt in.
I have grown my list with this organic sort of tap on the shoulder technique. I still do plenty of paid advertising, don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook ads to death. But this has really served me well because the only people that are opting in are people who really want to know what I have to say, there’s no waste you could say.
Rich: Right, well that makes a lot of sense. And are you doing that Facebook technique on your personal page or on your business page? I noticed you have one of each.
Jennifer: Right, so you’ve got to be very careful with the personal page thing. What I do on my personal page – and I beg and implore people to do this – how many times have you clicked on somebody’s profile and you can see their personal stuff but there’s nothing about the business, you cannot figure them out. And then you’ve got to go and look them up on LinkedIn and everything else, they don’t make it easy for you.
I learned this from Amy Porterfield, when you go in your profile the only thing I really do there is where it says “your position” in your “about” section, you can delete that. Facebook autopopulates that position, delete that and put, “Find me on my business page at…” and then put a link to your business page. So that’s how I do that, and then if I have a really big launch like my summer camp on my Facebook page, I might put a hint to that like a picture. But you have to be very careful about that because Facebook can cancel your account if you use your personal page for business.
Rich: Alright, awesome. Let’s shift back to LinkedIn just for a little moment here. We talked about you using LinkedIn’s advanced search, I know one of your other technique’s is to publish directly to LinkedIn, is that correct?
Rich: So tell me a little bit about that.
Jennifer: Ok, so I’ve never really done a good job about keeping up with my blog. I do a lot of video tutorials and have a blog on my page. I never got a ton of traffic there but as soon as LinkedIn introduced this publishing option, it’s such a game changer. So essentially it’s like a word processing software right there inside of LinkedIn. It’s not the status update, it’s called “publishing tool”, and you click on it – it’s like a little pencil inside of a square – and a window opens up and it gives you the opportunity to type whatever you want in there, put in video, all the multimedia and hot links that you want, and then you post it.
There’s a couple of tips that I’ve tried that do seem to make a difference. If you publish something and you post it after 8:00PM – this seems counterintuitive – but if you post it after 8:00PM and you get a couple of “likes” and shares on it, the next morning whenever LinkedIn does their algorithm they see this and you have a better chance of getting into the pulse publication, and that’s LinkedIn’s own magazine. What they’ll do is they’ll send that article out to everyone who matches up to your keywords.
Jennifer: Yeah. So I did a post awhile back on Meerkat and Periscope and I got 900 views – which was huge for me – I’d never get that on my blog. I got lots of comments and shares and really everything I post on there gets more traction than anything I post on my blog so I recommend this to everyone. It’s not a place to just paste a link, it’s a place where if you do want to multipurpose a blog entry, then you need to literally copy all the text from your blog post and then paste it there.
And one other thing, as soon as you publish it it automatically alerts all of your connections that you’ve done this.
Rich: Alright, awesome. I have not yet tried that out, mainly because I’m struggling to keep up with my own blog and I need to put some content there. But that is something that I definitely want to try out, maybe even repurposing some old content or rewriting some old blog posts that were successful and that are evergreen, just to be able to share them on LinkedIn and kind of see how that works. I strongly recommend that if you’re listening today and you think that this is worth trying out, write something fresh for LinkedIn or repurpose an old blog post. Andy Crestodina often talks about doing the reverse blog post, whatever you just wrote about, do the opposite of the same idea and post that somewhere else. Those are all good approaches.
Jennifer: Whatever Andy says, I do.
Rich: There you go. The guy is brilliant. So Jen I want to thank you for your time. You’ve shared with us that you’re on a lot of these social media channels today, where should people go to learn more about you?
Jennifer: I think the place where I hang out the most is my Facebook community called The Front Row, and that’s Facebook.com/groups/inthefrontrow. And I’d love it if people would shoot me a tweet and that’s @jenrgy. And then my website is jenlehner.com.
Rich: Awesome. And of course we’ll have all those hot links in the show notes in case you missed any of those. Jen, thank you very much, I learned a lot today. I know that I need to add multimedia to my LinkedIn profile, I know that I need to tap people with that Linkclump, I know that I need to have something for them when they come back and I can use that technique that you shared with us on all the different social platforms.
Jen, thank you very much for sharing your expertise today.
Jennifer: Thank you so much for having me, Rich, I really enjoyed it.
- Find out more about Jen by hanging out with her at her Facebook community.
- Be sure to shoot Jen a tweet, she’d love to hear from you!
- Check out Jen’s website for more information about her, how she can help you and her online program.
- Jen recommended a plugin called Linkclump which allows you to open, copy or bookmark multiple links at the same time.
- Try making your own animated videos like the one Jen sent Rich that wow’d him into having her on this podcast.
- Transcriptions services provided by Jennifer Scholz Transcription Services.