How to Grow Your Business with LinkedIn [30 Minute Webinars]

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Hey, this is Rich Brooks, and welcome to another one of flyte new media’s 30-minute webinars. Today we’re talking about LinkedIn, one of the most powerful platforms out there. By the way, I’m just going to take a moment to thank Liz Bell, my Director of Marketing, who is listening in on this webinar, and when I complained that I forgot to bring in more water, brought me more water. That’s what having a great team is all about. And how else do you get a great team than from LinkedIn. 

So anyways, today, 30 minutes of straight content all about LinkedIn. And then I’m going to stick around as long as you guys have questions, I’ll answer all of your questions about LinkedIn. So this is being recorded. If you miss anything I’m going to be sending out a link in the next few days where you can watch this, share it with your team, whatever you want to do. 

Before we get started, I am going to add two minutes to this presentation, one now and one at the end. We are putting on our 8th annual Agents of Change Digital Marketing Conference. This takes place on September 19th and September 20th. The 20th is actually the conference, the 19th is the pre-conference. It takes place here in Portland, Maine live. We have 300+ people who come to the event, and then we get speakers and experts from all across the country, sometimes from around the world, to come and speak at the Agents of Change. You can see some of these people on the left hand side of the screen; Mark Schaeffer, Dana Malstaff, Jen Hermann, John Jantsch, the list goes on of just amazing presenters, digital marketing experts, coming to Portland, Maine.

On the right hand side you can see a snapshot of the agenda we have, we’re talking about chatbots, e-commerce, SEO, and the customer journey, and podcast launches, and Pinterest, and Instagram, and email copy, and a whole bunch of amazing things. If you’re a fan of digital marketing, if you want to reach more of your ideal customers, I ask you to please join us at The Agents of Change, either here in Portland or you can get a virtual pass and watch the live feed, and then also get every single session on demand. There’s a lot more for me to say about it, I’m just going to mention I’m going to give you a discount code at the end of the webinar on how you can get an additional $50 off those tickets. But let’s get to the LinkedIn webinar now. 

Part of LinkedIn and part of social media and part of digital marketing is all about developing a plan. We have something here at flyte called the B.A.R.E Essentials of digital marketing, and there’s 4 components to it. 

The first is “Build”. B.A.R.E. stands for Build, Attract, Retain, and Evaluate. Build is, how do you build a website that turns visitors into customers. A is for Attract. How do you drive people to that website once you’ve built it. And that’s primarily through search engine optimization, social media – which LinkedIn is a part of – and then also paid ads. Retain, or how do you stay in touch with people after they’ve left your website. And that comes down primarily to email marketing and retargeting, which is something you can do on LinkedIn. And finally, E is for Evaluate, or how do you measure all these things using tools like Google Analytics and Google Data Studio, and a number of other tools on different social media platforms to determine what’s working and what’s not. 

Now before we jump in, for those of you who don’t know who I am, my name is Rich Brooks and I am the President of flyte new media. We’re a web design and internet marketing company located in Portland, Maine with clients across the U.S. I also founded The Agents of Change, which I mentioned briefly, it is a digital marketing conference and a weekly podcast, and it’s all about how to reach more of your ideal customers through search, social, and mobile marketing. I’m the Tech Guru on 207, which is the evening news program on the NBC affiliates here in Maine. I wrote a book called, The Lead Machine – The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing, it’s available on Amazon both in Kindle and as a paperback. In fact, if you have Kindle unlimited you can read it for free. And then more recently I launched a new initiative called Fast Forward Maine, which is a podcast and in-person workshops all about growing Maine businesses. So that’s a little bit about who I am. Let’s talk a little bit about LinkedIn and why I’m so bullish on this platform. 

There’s a lot of reasons to like LinkedIn, and one of my favorites is, it’s a very small time investment. You don’t need to invest hours and hours on LinkedIn the way you might need to on something like Facebook. You can be in and out 5 minutes a day and you’re going to be in the one percenters of people using LinkedIn. It’s a great place to establish thought leadership for you or your boss or whoever it may be. It’s a great prospecting tool, andI’ll spend some time talking today about how you can use it for prospecting. It strengthens weak ties. And by that I mean that it allows you to stay in touch with people that you may not run into too often in other ways. And it uncovers connections and positions in other companies that you might be trying to get into. 

So today, here’s what I want to make sure we cover. I’m going to spend some time showing you how to build your profile in the best way possible. I’m going to show you how you build your network, how to get seen, how to prospect and connect with other people on the platform. And then I’ll mention a little bit about your company page and maybe some LinkedIn advertising at the end. 

LinkedIn all starts with your profile. And like every social media platform, the more time you invest in your profile, the better the results are going to be. Almost every social media platform is free, so really what you want to do is focus on how do I make this profile look as lived in and as full as possible. 

So this is the most up to date version of the LinkedIn profile right here, and you can see I’ve done a couple things. One is, I’m using a background image, something that far too few people use. And even when people are uploading an image to the background header, they’re using very often a very generic image which doesn’t really add to their profile. Now the background image should be 15,084 pixels wide x 396 pixels tall, or basically a 4:1 ratio. And you see that I’ve done a little bit extra here because I want to position myself as a digital marketing/social media expert, so you see using Photoshop I’ve superimposed some text on top of this. But there’s plenty of tools if you don’t have Photoshop that you can do something like this in where I mention I speak, I’ve written, I consult, and then some of the logos of the brands I’m associated with; my company, my conference, and then my new project, Fast Forward Maine. 

As far as headshots go, you obviously want to have a professional looking headshot here on LinkedIn, it’s a professional platform. Don’t use a photo of you at a party with just an arm around you where you cut away your friend all but their arm, which is now just hanging over your shoulder. You want it to be a professional shot, you want to use your face. This is definitely a place where it’s very much a human to human platform. Even though it’s a business platform, it really is about making personal connections. So put your face out there whenever possible. 

Next is kind of like your name is not going to change, but then it’s your title or your headlines. So basically right here you can see that I could just say, “President of flyte new media”, but then I’m not going to be found so much in the searches. Because when people are doing searches, I want to come up in relevant searches, and “President” is probably not the #1 thing I want to be found for. SO I put into my description, “Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant, Author of The Lead Machine, Founder of flyte new media and The Agents of Change”. So that gives people a better sense of who I am. And if people are looking for digital marketing or social media consultants – something I want to be found for –I’m going to appear in that search, and the same can be true for you. 

Now you’ll also notice down here that there is the “About” section. You can put in whatever you want here. And some of the mistakes that people make is they talk about themselves in the third person, that always sounds very distant, it always sounds better when you talk in the first person. And then also, it’s not a place to put your resume. You kind of want to talk about something interesting, either what value you bring to the table or whatever it may be. 

As you can see, mine is a little bit unique. At a company party years ago my boss hired a psychic who told me I needed to trust my gut more. So the next day I quit my job and started helping companies generate more leads online. True story, by the way. And a number of people have reached out to me over the years and said they were really taken by surprise by my story and they decided to reach out. So the “About” section is important. 

An important thing to know is, the “About” section can be about 2,000 words long. So don’t just put in about 5 lines of copy and be done with it, because this is another area where LinkedIn searches through to pull you up for search results, and part of LinkedIn is to be found. So I make sure that I put some of my best keywords – or the keywords I want to be found for – in my profile. And you can see here that there’s not any way to format your text, there’s no bullets, bold, italicize, so you’ll notice that I have included things like those little carat symbols – or greater than symbols – to kind of represent arrows or bullet points. And so I’m able to break apart paragraphs and make it look more interesting, and make it pop a little bit more.

Down at the bottom of that you might notice that there’s a “Media” section. And this is where I can take videos of presentations that I’ve done and upload them here. And this is a great underused section of your profile. Again, the more you put into it, the more you’re going to get out of it. But you’re showing people here you are presenting, or speaking, or whatever it may be, maybe presentation, you can put all that sort of stuff into your profile. 

As you scroll down your profile, when you’re logged in as yourself you’re going to see things like how many people viewed your profile, and all this other information that’s only available to you. And you can actually click on it. And I just want to mention that recently – LinkedIn is always playing around with what it gives away for free and what it charges you for – and recently it’s really pulled back on a lot of the free options that we used to enjoy. I never used to pay for LinkedIn, but because I was using LinkedIn so much and doing presentations on it, I actually upgraded to Premium. I think it’s $59/month. You don’t need to do it, but if you find yourself constantly hitting your head on the ceiling with LinkedIn, you may need to spend some money and upgrade to Premium or one of the other paid levels that they have there at LinkedIn.

But here you can see interesting things like how many people viewed your profile, whether it’s up or down from last week, and then even some things like all the people that viewed your profile, and also some people that viewed it that may be interesting to you. And you can see there’s 3 people in this screen capture. The first one is not somebody I’m connected with so I might reach out to them and ask if they’d like to connect. The other two people are connected with me, and I can message them as well. 

Further down your page people can see your Articles & Activity, what you’ve been posting, what you’ve been sharing. You can see people’s Experience as well, and this is something you can change. And I recommend strongly that you put in your last few jobs, or volunteer experiences. Again, try and fill this up as much as possible, because the more connections you have to somebody who’s searching for somebody with your skillset, the more likely you are to appear higher in the search results. 

So here you can see I’ve got my flyte new media, Agents of Change, and I’ve done some work with Social Media Examiner over the years. If I want to add, edit, or delete anything, then I can just always click on that little pencil icon and then basically get a popup window like this where I can change or update any of the information in there. And then I can choose to share any changes I make with my network, or just kind of change them but not necessarily alert the media. 

Further down the page, Skills & Endorsements. For a while Skills & Endorsement were something that they really pushed on LinkedIn, and basically anytime you visited someone’s page they gave you the option of endorsing them for like 27 different Skills. Luckily they have kind of dialed that back a little bit. But you can kind of see – based on what you’re doing and what other people are doing – what your skill sets are. So if you see a skill that you think is important, you can add that skill and then get endorsements for it. Likewise if you find that you are being endorsed for a skill that does not seem relevant and might be distracting, you can get rid of that skill, too. 

Further down the page is another thing that I think is underutilized, Recommendations. Recommendations are, in my opinion, a little more important than Skills or Endorsement, because someone actually has to write something for you, so it means more. So I’ve got a number of Recommendations, but you’ll notice that I’ve given more than I’ve gotten. And this is actually a purposeful tool that I use, because when you write a Recommendation for somebody – I strongly recommend someone you’ve worked with, worked for, or maybe you’ve done some work for – is give them a recommendation that they deserve. Write up something nice because the very first thing that LinkedIn will do is it will alert that person and say “Rich Brooks wrote a recommendation for you, would you like to include it on your page?” They can say yes or no, but it just kind of increases your visibility for that person.

A lot of my activity on LinkedIn is about increasing my visibility and getting seen by more people and reminding them that I exist. So if my company finished a website project or a marketing project for somebody and I liked working with them, they were professional, I’m going to write a Recommendation for them. And if they write something back, great. But if they don’t, that’s fine, too, because the benefit is in giving. 

And down at the bottom of the page you’ll also see people’s Interests, and you can add and delete your own interests, too. 

Back up at the top of the page, this is something I don’t see enough people doing. You can create a vanity or a custom URL for your LinkedIn profile. Before we started recording I mentioned that if people wanted to connect with me they can find me at LinkedIn.com/in/therichbrooks. Therichbrooks was not something LinkedIn chose for me, they chose like Richbrooks479210, or something like that. That’s not really my brand, my brand is The Rich Brooks. So in the top right corner you click on that link and then you can go in there and edit it to whatever you want it to be, as long as it hasn’t already been taken. So that’s something you want to do. Now if you have a lot of links going to your LinkedIn profile, just keep in mind that you’ll be breaking those links if you change your URL. But for most of us, that’s not that big an issue. So I’d go ahead and I would give yourself a custom URL or something easy for people to remember. 

That’s a lot of what we want to do with the profile. You definitely want to make your profile as attractive and findable as possible. Once you’ve done that, then it’s time to start building your network. 

So on the Network side of things, basically just go in the menu to My Network, click on that. And then down in the left hand column you’ll see more options, I want you to click on that. And that’s going to take you to a page that looks something like this. Basically you can connect your Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, or AOL here. But what I find is easiest – for me at least – is to take all of the email addresses in my database, or maybe it’s my Mailchimp or Constant Contact email list, export them into an Excel spreadsheet and then upload that file to LinkedIn. And then what LinkedIn is going to do is show you all they people they found based on those email addresses that you’re not yet connected to on LinkedIn, or that we don’t even have on LinkedIn. And sometimes they automatically select everybody, but lately I noticed they don’t select anybody, which is better. But here’s the list of all the people you may be connected to in real life, and now you can go through this list and connect with those people, which gives you a great opportunity to quickly grow your LinkedIn network. 

Now one thing I will say is LinkedIn sometimes connects you with people before you’ve had a chance to tell you why you should be connected. So whenever possible I like to tell people why I’m connected. SO if you are on a page that looks like this in the My Network section and you see someone you really want to connect with, what I would recommend is right clicking on that person and opening up their profile in another tab, rather than just clicking on the ‘connect’ button. The ‘connect’ button will just say, “Rich Brooks wants to connect with you”, but if you go to their page and you click on ‘connect’, you get a little popup window that says “you can customize this invitation”.  And so you can leave a little message to that person on why you should connect – “Hey, remember we worked on this project together”, or “I used to work at the same business as you” or “I notice we’re doing the same kind of work here in Portland, Maine, I thought we should connect”. So based on that, all of a sudden you’re getting a better chance that person is going to accept your invitation and say yes to your connection. 

This is a great way to really increase quickly the number of contacts you have. You may have noticed that LinkedIn will show the number of contacts you have until you get to 500. And once you get to 501 it says, “This person has 500+ contacts”. Maybe just because I spend so much time on the platform, but whenever I see somebody without 500 contacts, then I think that they just don’t invest a lot of time on LinkedIn. So I would work hard to get to that magical 500 number. 

So let’s talk a little bit about getting seen and a little bit about LinkedIn in general. When you get to LinkedIn you’re going to see something like this. It’s not unlike Facebook where you’ve got your feed right here. So this is like the “guts”, if you will, of LinkedIn where people are posting new things and they get pulled into the feed. 

To post your own stuff – of course you can like, comment, and share on somebody else’s work – but you also want to create your own content on LinkedIn. So at the top you might notice the “share an article, photo or idea”, it’s just like Facebook you can start typing in or share a URL, whatever you want to do. And unlike Facebook, LinkedIn doesn’t seem to penalize you for sharing content from off of Facebook. So feel free to pull in a YouTube video, or Facebook post, or a blog post, or a podcast, and share it here. LinkedIn seems to be totally fine with that, there’s no penalty as far as we can see in the algorithm here. That’s one way to share content. 

Another way is, listen, you’re probably surfing the web most of the day anyways and you’ve got some content that you stumble upon that you think is great for my audience, my network on LinkedIn. And so you see that little LinkedIn button and you just click and you get a popup that looks something like this. And you can just share this as an update, you can add some additional content here, you can tag somebody in here if you really want somebody to notice this. Just like on Facebook you at the little “@” sign and start typing their name or their business and you get a little popup and you can choose who they are. And then they’ll get an alert through LinkedIn. You can also post this to specific groups or individuals as well on LinkedIn, but then you’re not getting into the feed. And then just go ahead and click on the ‘share’ button and that’s going to get that content into LinkedIn’s feed. 

The other thing you can do with that little box is click on ‘write an article’. So everything else has been a quick little post, but now we’re going to write an article. And you may say you can’t even keep up with your blog post, how am I also going to write articles. Well here’s the thing, I’m a big proponent of repurposing content, so if you are blogging on a regular basis – or podcasting on a regular basis – you can and should repurpose that content for your LinkedIn audience.  So you can click on ‘write an article’, then you get this little window which looks like a very stripped down WordPress interface, and you can see there’s a place to put your headline, and a place to put a big image up top, and you can just start putting in content.

So let’s say that I don’t want to write something fresh, so I go over to my Agents of Change website and I see a post, “How to Get the Most Out of Conferences and Business Events”, I copy all the copy there, and then I just paste it all into this article here. I grab an image that I’ve used before, and now I’ve got an article that LinkedIn is going to share with my network and beyond on my behalf. I can even click on this little image and add additional media, maybe I created a video or this is a great place to put your podcast in here as well. So I can start to share different types of media within my article, and then share that out. 

One special important thing to keep in mind, for search engine optimization benefits, I recommend first posting that blog post, article, or podcast to your website, and then waiting several days – maybe even up to 2 weeks – before you repurpose it onto LinkedIn. Because we always want Google to know that the best content is found at our website and not on LinkedIn. 

Down at the bottom of the page you can add some calls to action, links back to your website, connect with me on LinkedIn, a whole bunch of other stuff as well. 

Now LinkedIn Groups is something where you can find like-minded people. I will admit, I think the Groups have kind of gotten to be mediocre on LinkedIn, they’re just not as powerful as they used to be because they’re so filled with spam. But I’ll spend a minute or two just mentioning them. 

You can find this under the Work tab navigation, then click on Groups, and you can see basically a digest of your Groups here, you can see which Groups you belong to, which Groups you manage, you can discover new Groups. And then when you go into a Group you can see that they’re kind of like the rest of the newsfeed, just all the posts are all the people in that Group. 

This used to be very powerful, it’s not my favorite part of LinkedIn anymore. I’ll talk about my favorite part in just a minute. But before that, a lot of people are using LinkedIn to prospect, and I want to show you how you can use it to prospect, how to find people that you want to do business with. 

So you can just some into the search box and start typing something out. I’ll type in “social media manager”, and you can see based on that – and this could be any job title – and then you get a bunch of choices there. I’m looking for people who are social media managers, in this example. So then it pulls in all of these different results for social media manager that I’m either connected to as a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd contact. 

Now maybe that’s too big a group, but I can use the filter to start to filter maybe only my local people that I’m interested in talking with. So I can apply the filters and now I’m down to a more manageable 454 results. This works in so many different industries, and you can actually take a look at all the different filters here. So you can filter by name, by company, by school, location, education, gender, yeas at the company, previous companies. There’s a heck of a lot of tools here for you to find just the kind of people you want to be in touch with. So if you want to talk to the office managers for data corporations, you can find those people using the prospecting tools at LinkedIn. Definitely one of the more powerful underused tools at LinkedIn. 

My favorite tool, however, is Messenger. I use Messenger basically as a way to stay in touch with people one-on-one. You can find this under the Messaging tab, as well as other places. But this is basically Facebook Messenger, but I just find it to be a very powerful tool. You can also get to it from somebody’s specific page as well if you’re connected to them, and you can Message them. 

I use Messenger all the time and I use it to connect one-on-one to people, when I’m doing outreach for The Agents of Change Conference, I’ve got a couple of scripts that I copy and paste and then tweak for different people; whether they’ve gone in the past, whether they’re new, depending on their position. But it’s a very powerful tool to connect with people. 

And unlike Facebook where I’ve had Facebook say I’m using Messenger too much and they think I’m a bot, I’ve never had that problem with LinkedIn. LinkedIn seems to love when you use Messenger. SO it’s a very powerful tool. And what happens when you send a message to somebody, it ends up in their Messenger so it shows up as a little highlighted link at the top of the page. But also for most people, it will also generate an email to their actual inbox. 

I just want to mention Company Pages briefly. Unfortunately, Company Pages are not as robust on LinkedIn as they should be, but there’s still a purpose for having them. I would recommend that you get it set up, that you customize it a little bit. It’s just one more way that you can promote some of the other things that you’re doing online through a Company Page. We have one set up for flyte, we have one set up for Agents of Change, and another one set up for Fast Forward Maine. And when we’ve got a new blog post or a new podcast or a new event or something worth promoting, we put it through the Company Page as well. We do have followers to that page and it is something that I’m looking to get some more followers for. 

LinkedIn did play around for a little while this year, allowing people to invite people to ‘like’ their Company Page, but they’ve since reeled that back and they’re re-evaluating it so it’s not currently available. If you’re looking to get people to follow your Company Pages, there are LinkedIn ads that you can target people to get people to follow your pages. I’m going to do a separate webinar, maybe next month, on LinkedIn advertising. Which is not for everybody, but can be a powerful tool, and I’ll be talking about that in one of our upcoming webinars. 

I also just want to mention that when people think about social media on their mobile device, they usually think about Twitter, and Facebook, and Instagram. But the mobile experience on LinkedIn is really great. So if you are in the B2B world and you’re stuck in a long line at your favorite coffee shop, open up your LinkedIn and just feel free to play around with that a little bit. You can scroll through the news feed, you can find out who’s invited you to connect with them and then connect back and leave a little message for them, you can go through all of your messages and use this like a regular Messenger, and then also just see what are all the new notifications, what’s going on in your arena at LinkedIn and just stay on top of this.

And again, if you invest 5 minutes a day of LinkedIn, you will get incredible results. You don’t need to spend any more time than that. Five minutes a day will put you in the 1% of LinkedIn users out there. 

Now we’re about to get into some takeaways. I will mention that I’m going to stick around after the hour is up to answer any Q&A. So if you got questions for me, please feel free to stick around and I will answer your questions.

So the things I want you to think about most when you walk away today is, first of all you want to build an attractive profile. And that means really filling it out. That header image, your headshot, a really descriptive title, and putting in a really deep description of what you do, and making sure all those fields are filled out. That’s what’s going to help you get found on LinkedIn. That’s what’s going to help you make those connections. 

Once you’ve done that, upload your database to LinkedIn. Find out who your connections in real life are on LinkedIn, and make those connections with those people. 

Post updates and articles. If you post something every few days on LinkedIn, again, you’re going to get so much visibility from that. It doesn’t take as much time as Facebook does.

Prospect as I showed you with the search tools and the filters that I mentioned, those exact perfect candidates for your product or service. And then once you’ve made those connections, really dig deeper with Messenger.

Connect with Messenger and start those conversations. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve made a connection with somebody and sent out some information via Messenger, and then taken it to either a phone call or email. Now obviously you can get a little too aggressive on Messenger. I’m not a fan of when I make a connection with somebody and they send me the 4 paragraph introduction with links to all the resources and how I can sign up for their free coaching course or whatever it is. Don’t be that person, but Messenger is a way to really make a good connection via LinkedIn. 

And before I switch over to Q&A, I just want to put in another pitch for The Agents of Change Digital Marketing Conference coming up this September in Portland, Maine and online, so you can watch it no matter where in the world you are, both the livestream and on demand. But really, we’d love to see you here in Portland, Maine. It is a full day – both days actually – you can buy just the conference on Friday, or attend some of our more in depth Thursday pre-conference workshops that are half day workshops on a number of topics. We go much deeper into them, but an amazing lineup of speakers, how we get them to come to Portland, Maine… well I was going to say is beyond me, but Maine is so awesome they just love coming out here and they’ve got great content. I really would love to see you guys. And if you use the promo code “LIWEBINAR”, you’re going to save $50 off the price of your ticket. Normally the tickets are $349 for the physical ticket, but right now it’s $100 off, $249, and you can save another $50 off that. It’s a great deal, just make sure you do this in the month of August. It’s also normally $199 for the virtual pass, right now it’s only $149, so this same promo code will knock down your virtual pass to $99, but you do want to jump on that quickly. The bottom line is, great conference and we’d love to see you there.

And at this point I’m going to thank you for your time and ask you if you have any questions.