Monday, June 28, 2010


Are you using it? I am.

How to Use LinkedIn to Prospect and Sell

Podcamps are conferences held in cities around the world. Registration to attend is free, speakers give of their time, and participants enjoy learning and networking. Podcamp Ohio took place this past week and featured a session by Crystal Thies, Social Media Strategist and LinkedIn Consultant.

According to Thies, LinkedIn can be used to promote your business, brand yourself, and find new prospects and connect with them. She says 41% of LinkedIn users have found at least one new client through LinkedIn. If you are not using LinkedIn now, or not using it fully, you may want to incorporate these suggestions into your profile.

What's In a Name?
When creating your profile, use only your first name in the first field and last name in the last name field. Do not include additional words like your title or your company hoping Search will more quickly find you. The fact is Search will less likely find you when someone searches for you only by name, the most common method. Use Maiden or Former Name field to plug in your business name if you want it to appear between your first and last name.

LinkedIn gives you up to 120 characters for a headline. Don't simply put in your title. That will not help position you with prospects and clients. Instead, include at least 2 of these:

  • What you do
  • Who you serve
  • Your successes
It is not helpful to include words in the headline that you think people may use to search for you or your services.

Do not use the dropdown choices to name your listed websites (My Company, My Blog, My Portfolio). Instead, click on Other so you can customize the title of your links. You may include as many as 3 websites. These are valuable.

Optimize For Search!
Choose a 2-3 word phrase to use throughout your profile. You may want to use Google AdWords keyword tool to pick a phrase that people often use when searching, but is not what you would think people would use. Your phrase should be in headline, summary, specialties, title of current or most recent position, title of at least 1 other recent past position; use as often as possible in position descriptions.

Summary and Specialties
Write your summary in first person. It is not your bio. It is your elevator speech or branding statement. Make it 200-300 words max. Try to build in some whitespace. It's all about "what you can do for me today and tomorrow"...not what you have done in the past.

The specialties area is for search engines only...use keywords, use common misspellings, think of as many as you can and list them all.

You can try to import your resume using the LinkedIn feature, but it won't accept bullets and strip away formatting first then try it. If it still doesn't come out the way you would like it to look, copy and paste.

Ask for recommendations. They are important. Some groups require a minimum of 10 to enter. Ask a lot of people because most will not respond. It is best to balance both personal and professional.

Applications will give you a chance to take your profile to a whole new level. Common ones: Reading list (LinkedIn uses this feature to make money from selling books through Amazon -- don't use it if you want to link to Amazon to sell books through your own website), WordPress (to display your WordPress page within LinkedIn), (to allow downloads of your one-sheets, brochures, packages, resume, bio, PowerPoints and other files), BlogLink (to connect your blog to LinkedIn), SlideShare (for PowerPoint presentations. Links in PowerPoints work, too, so you could link to a video. If you use this, set up to show only one video, not all the thumbnails of your shows), GoogleDocs (allows YouTube video to display in your LinkedIn profile).

Note: WordPress allows only one pull-through. Choose if LinkedIn is the best place for you to embed it.

Note: in, use PDF format for everyone's ease of use.

Joining Groups
In Groups, most of the time you will want to show the logo of the group on your profile, but there may be occasions, such as if you are in a competitor's group, that you will want to uncheck the box that allows the group logo to display in your profile.

Status Updates
Increase your functionality and help improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by often updating your LinkedIn profile and updates. Your profile should not be static. It should be a living document. And when you add something into your profile all of your contacts will get an e-mail saying you have made a change.

Beyond Creating Your Profile

Create a Networking Strategy. Do you want to be a closed networker or do you want to share all of your contacts as a LION (LinkedIn Open Network)? As a salesperson, you may think you want all your contacts open to anyone to view, but that may keep some advertisers from wanting to accept your invitation to connect.

Build your LinkedIn contacts by exporting your Outlook Contacts to a CSV file, clean all fields except name and e-mail address, load it into LinkedIn and LinkedIn will show you who is on LinkedIn. This is the fastest and easiest way to build your network.

Because of LinkedIn, you may never need to make a cold call again. Look at your list of 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree contacts. See if there is a 2nd or 3rd degree contact you are trying to reach and ask your 1st degree contact to make an introduction.

Managing Connections
Tags are a new feature you can use to sort connections. If you tag connections (like family, clients, auto dealers) you can e-mail up to 50 at a time sorted by tag. You can check a box to disallow displaying all e-mail addresses in your e-mails.

Advanced Search Capabilities
This is brand new. You get 100 search results with free membership. You can search by keywords, geography, industry. Additional filters and additional searches require membership. Business membership is $25 per month, Pro membership is $500 per month. Use search to find prospects: As an example, financial planners who want to sell 401k rollovers search on "in transition" that those out of work often use.

Save searches in your browser by running the search and bookmarking your results. It will save in your browser until LinkedIn makes a software change.

You can search on LinkedIn companies as well. You could run a search on all companies or companies where you have 1st & 2nd degree connections. You can get a ton of information, find common connections, and former employees. Start following the company and you will get notices of changes -- new people (connections), or people leaving...

Get Introduced Through a Connection
You can contact a connection and ask to be introduced to their connection (your 2nd degree connection). They then forward your request to their 1st degree connection. If they don't forward, you can "poke" your connection by sending a reminder if you don't get accepted by the 2nd degree.

You can belong to as many as 50 groups. You should join as many as possible. You want to be in groups with your target customers...not just your own industry. Selectively allow daily digest email or weekly digest email. You'll find some groups are heavy into spam, others are not. The owner of the group sets the rules. You may want to create your own group. Name it something that relates to your prospects, not your company name. Ex: Marketing Small & Medium Size Businesses.

LinkedIn Answers
If you ask a question, anyone can answer. If you answer someone else's question and are chosen as the best answer, you are considered an expert. Then you will be listed as an expert if someone searches that topic and LinkedIn puts an "Expert" badge on your profile.

(Source: John Potter, VP/Training, Radio Advertising Bureau. LinkedIn profile:

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