This posting is influenced by an article in today’s New York Times that deals with family brands in politics. There’s a lesson to be learned from the first 2 paragraphs of the article.
The upshot? You must have an established brand that you reinforce daily to your audience.
LinkedIn allows you to reinforce who you are and the image you want to project, but you must do so regularly and do so effectively. These two imperatives are not the same.
This is not easy: be reliable, relevant and valuable so that you are gladly referred by a colleague to a potential client. (The “persistent” part of the title of this posting…)
If that potential client reviews your LinkedIn profile, do see your quality trending and do they want to pick up the phone to ask you more? (The “brand preference” part of the title of this blog posting…)
Now put the 2 phrases together–each and every day and in your LinkedIn persona and in your other social media platforms.
He died the other day and only the New York Times can carry an obituary to sum up the hugely rich, and enriching, life Vignelli led.
He saw complex ideas and simplified them. He touched all of us, although we may not have known it at the time. Many of his works from 4 decades ago are still in use, as a standard.
You have to admire a man who is quoted in his own obituary as saying:
Mr. Vignelli said he would have liked the job of developing a corporate identity for the Vatican. “I would go to the pope and say, ‘Your holiness, the logo is O.K.,’ ” he said, referring to the cross, “but everything else has to go.”
Today, I will let the life of a great designer and thinker speak for itself.
Long story. We attended a Bat Mitzvah in New Jersey this weekend. How we were invited is my <2 degrees of separation connection story with a LinkedIn twist!
In high school, my synagogue youth group was affiliated in a region of synagogues throughout the VA-DC-MD area. I was friendly with Pam that way.
Nancy, to be my spouse/whom I met on a teen trip to Israel, was friendly with Nina from my hometown: Nina also knew Pam well.
Nina introduced Nancy to Pam and they became friendly in high school.
But as things turned out we lost touch with Pam over the years.
We were friendly with neighbors Dave and Jodi up the street who later moved to NJ and altho we were unaware, lo and behold they became friendly with Pam and her family, who also had moved to the same town/same synagogue. Jodi mentioned Pam one day to Nancy and Nancy made the mental connection that it was the same Pam. Lightning strike…We reconnected and stayed in touch. Well, the women did. You know…
Pam’s daughter turned 13 yesterday and we were invited to celebrate the happy occasion with them. We spent the better part of the 2 days with Dave and Jodi at the ceremony and the party.
It also turns out that my-son’s-friend-from-college’s-parents (also friends with Pam and Dave and Jodi) were present at the weekend events. We met and spoke for a while. Both our kids are deep into their careers, which is a nice thing to discuss.
At the party, neighbor Dave introduced me to David, a very enjoyable friend of his and when I got home, I decided to invite him to connect with me on LinkedIn. I see he is connected to Susan, a CT friend and colleague of mine. So I asked Susan via LinkedIn and it turns out Susan and David have been business colleagues for years!
Is your head spinning with all these entanglements?
Everywhere I go, I find connectivity with great people. Life in this decade is just that way, with everyone connected to one another in the most fascinating ways.
LinkedIn is one of those power tools in your toolbox. To be clear, it works even better with old-school tools like getting out and meeting new people.
It was a great way to slip in a business card to keep contact details handy for your connections, alas, a relic of the pre-electronic age. It worked, but not as well as LinkedIn (which goes well beyond static information, and allows the user to maintain an ever-changing relationship with his/her peers).
I know Memorial Day is about the servicemen and -women who gave their lives for our freedom, and I am certainly not minimizing their contributions, but in my own personal way I am remembering those wonderful people I have been fortunate to know, but are now gone.
In my own rolodex, I just came upon a business card, and then searched for the LinkedIn profile, of one of these friends and business colleagues who died very suddenly last year.
His profile is still on LinkedIn, frozen in time, as is his card in my rolodex.
If you are in the unfortunate position of having to remove a LinkedIn profile of a now-deceased loved one, here is how you do it. Sorry for the somber thoughts. It is a fact of life, after all.
When I look at who is ranked similar or above me, they are power users. No surprise. Without meaning to sound snooty, we play in the same sandbox.
My dear reader, I think you should rather work harder on expressing “why you” vs. where you stack against views of your peers. First things first.
My fear is that this new tool will inevitably become most people aiming to be higher in this stack ranking, with little regard to how they come across in their profile.
Why? Being found in a search doesn’t mean a meaningful connection or a potential for business dealings. It might, don’t get me wrong, but only if your profile reads truly great. Being in the search results just means you have the right search engine keywords for that particular search.
I would offer this: your popularity will jump when you make your profile look (as I call it) “amazing-er.”
For most of the people I come across, they need a lot more work on the fundamentals rather than the finer points. One step at a time.
There’s a process in everything that comes out good.
Behold the lowly cucumber. Like a weed in a garden, it can take over and wrap itself around anything it can get its tendrils on, yet nearly tasteless, so much so the animals prefer to eat something else, but full of water and seeds.
But somewhere along the way an accident must have happened and some prehistoric gardener decided to mix in salt water (and garlic and dill for better taste) and seal them from the air.
Preserved, they taste better. Preserved even longer and…full sour pickle nirvana.
So it is with your LinkedIn profile…you knew I would get there eventually…take the raw ingredients of who you are, add your own words, mix in some spice and make it read more fluidly, then preserve it for the world to savor. So delicious!
Make some amendments to the recipe of “why you” along the way but please share it to spread the wealth of why you do what yo do.
Your fans will refer you and new tasters will crave you. They may emulate your recipe.
Linking to people you know is a fundamental aspect of what I try to convey in my classes. Even Linkedin suggests this:
“Only invite people you know well and who know you.“
If you always link to those you have vetted or want to know better and you are comfortable to be seen with in the electronic public (not mutually exclusive), then you will be linked to a great entourage.
But linking is not a single act then relegated to a passive presumption. To be referred and respected, you have to nurture those relationships, constantly and as equally as possible.
Even at the minimum if it’s a brief “how ya doin’?”
Keep the chain strong and it will enliven your best collaborations.
Don’t let this happen to you (see the big picture).
Yesterday’s blog mentioned that LinkedIn provides a tool to keep notes and sort your connections. Going further…
I met a great new colleague over coffee yesterday and as a result of that meeting, here is a screenprint of reminders I placed on my view of his profile (only I can see it in realtime; he can’t and no one else can).
By taking the time to use the Relationship tab, and the routines under it, I have achieved 3 things:
I tagged him into subgroups I use to communicate to
I created a history of how I was introduced to him, where we met, and my followups
I also have made 2 reminders to myself, one for next week and one for next month
No more need to rely on memory or notes or middle of the night reminders on scraps of paper!
One piece of news that further enhances this and will soon be available: LinkedIn has hooked up with Evernote to provide much of the same (and more!) functionality.