Today's LinkedIn Nugget

“I’m not breezy,” he said.

wow-2780232_1920In a phone call to help a colleague express his “why” I was met with the standard boomer-age resistance: “I don’t express myself like you want me to. I’m not breezy.”

Well, first It’s not what I want you to do, as it’s your profile. My job is to cajole (aka coach) you to do better.

So if being more conversational on your profile is not in your core, or if your industry is not given to breezy narrative (like law firms, accounting firms, etc.), at least be interesting to read.

If you have a sense of humor or playfulness within your business personality, don’t be afraid to be a bit more fun than you colleagues, who may be less personable in real life. Be real. Be different, Be interesting. Recall that readers of your profile are consumers, lay people, artists, parents, etc. who buy with their hearts and their minds.

I use this quote as a graphic in my presentations when I urge attendees to be a bit, or a lot, more interesting than their competitors to be memorable and approachable:

“If you’re going to develop your brand, the last thing you want to do is follow the beaten path.

 You want to head down your own road.

Your brand has to plant itself in the hearts and minds (especially hearts) of prospects and customers.”

whyabrandmattersThat’s wise advice and an illuminating thought changer from Lois Geller in a 2012 article she wrote in Forbes.

I recommend you read and heed the article.

Be yourself. But be interesting for heaven’s sake.

I’ll be taking next 2 days off from blogging. Happy new year to all who celebrate it.
Today's LinkedIn Nugget

‘Till the cows come home

cows

I am patient. OK, sometimes.

OK, not too often when it comes to my outstanding business proposals.

Some get immediate attention: accepted, hurrah, or alas, rejected.

Some proposals sit and sit. It’s my job to keep the embers warm under the decision-maker to move glacially forward.

Often, they asked but something intervened to deflect the momentum and they were not yet deciding, not ready, not in their budget, not in the radar.

But once in a while, they reignite their interest and they return to me for a new proposal, or they return a 1 and 1/2-year-old proposal, signed, out of the blue.

The latter just happened. They admitted they see me on LinkedIn all the time and never forget me and my proposal. That’s another glorious reason to use LinkedIn, to be top-of-mind.

Luckily the proposal rates were still valid, so I am inking them in for November.

I have to let the cows wander home, somehow, someway, sometimes.

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Tech job seekers, test yourself; #LinkedIn will grade your skills and show potential employers

skillassessment1Note: If you are not seeking a new job, you can stop reading here. Come back tomorrow.

Or, better yet, share this post with someone who is looking.

LinkedIn just opened up another new facet, called Skills Assessments, to allow you to select a technical skill, be tested in it by LinkedIn, and then you are assessed a proficiency level.

Computer languages, Microsoft programs, etc. are the extent of the test subjects as of now.

This can be another differentiator to an employer, only if he/she relies on LinkedIn Recruiter and/or LinkedIn Jobs services (that they pay dearly for), who thinks this little bit of star quality helps place you over another candidate to make the search more efficient.

Think about this as a qualifier, a “feather in your cap” as my father used to say, a badge of courage to take a test and show your level of knowledge in various subjects that you select and then can strut in your “stuff.”

Here’s what it will look like on your profile once the testing is completed:

skillassessment

Note that you can show the badge or not on your profile.

Launch ahead and challenge your knowledge base with a test. It’s pass-fail, so why not? If you do not achieve over 70%, you can retake the test in 3 months.

It also seems to be a marketing lead-in to other courses you can take, some for a fee, on LinkedIn Learning, formerly Linda, so you see where that’s going, right? So the techies in the world will get best benefit from this. For the rest of us. stay tuned.

But techies, be brave. Go where few others have gone before (so far).

Stand out in every way. Brand yourself.

Full disclosure, I took the Microsoft PowerPoint test and I might retake it in a few months (read between the lines!)

PS, the illustrative graphic at the top is NOT what the hiring manager sees on your profile.

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Advertising savvy on #LinkedIn

LinkedIN adsI have to admit, I do not know any clients who have success advertising on LinkedIn. Perhaps they did not know how to use it well.

I admit that I do not either. I am always learning!

So when LinkedIn Marketing Solutions produced reference guides to advertising techniques on the platform on its blog, I paid attention. In 15 pages, it’s all explained to you. I have attached a link to the PDF for you to review.

I know I am going to consider using ads for more notice, especially on LinkedIn. Perhaps you should too.

Let me know if you use LinkedIn ads successfully. I may soon start working on a second edition of my book and would like to include your story. 

Back to Basics Tuesdays, Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to Basics: list your services on ProFinder!

toolbox

Entrepreneurs, listen up. A new tool for your LinkedIn brand marketing toolbox is here.

It is being cycled out to all LinkedIn members, so if you do not have it yet, it’s a-comin’.

You will find it just below the Headline: a new add-on function to further allow people in need of your services to find you better in ProFinder.

{A refresher on ProFinder: if you want to be found and offered an opportunity to bid on business in your area of expertise, register for ProFinder. I briefly discussed that here 3 years ago.}

Businessfocus_LItop.jpg

Last week, LinkedIn added some new oomph to the keyword services you can list, for others to better offer work opportunities to you directly on ProFinder. Here’s what you have to do: choose a general “business focus” area, and then specific sub-areas from the dropdown list of topics they allow you to select from. Takes a few seconds!

Businessfocus_LI

Perfect? Not completely as I would prefer to specifically name my own subspecialty areas, but it’s a start.

Now hopefully I will not continue to be offered work in SEO optimization and Facebook advertising copywriting, services I am no expert in; rather I will be found, considered, and asked to bid on LinkedIn training and coaching as a consultant to business, professional practices, nonprofits and individuals. This is another reason to be very clear and specific in the narrative of your profile coupled with these generic ProFinder buckets you see above.

For a list of specific subspecialties within these “business focus areas” that you can personally select from, click here.

And oddly, there’s a dropdown next to the “public” sharing button, but that’s the only choice you get. Ah, LinkedIn, how did you miss this detail?

Anyhow, progress continues to refine and customize the LinkedIn experience, even so in fits and starts.

Nonetheless, use every opportunity to brand yourself, right? Be a cutting-edge user of LinkedIn.

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Up close and interpersonal

rodin

A few days ago. I attended an opening for a Rodin sculpture exhibit, which started with an art historian discussing his life, techniques, and the impact of one of his best-known works, The Burghers of Calais, left after him.

I was quite fascinated at her explanations and slides, but when we entered the exhibit hall, I truly felt the impact of seeing this 1908 model study of Jean d’Aire, one of the Burghers, when I saw it in real life in 3D, rather than on a screen in 2D.

Yes, it’s a large bronze, dark, but it was well lighted to show the contours. Yet in its larger-than-life size, Rodin chose not to add extra detail. He let you explore it, so you want to observe it longer, and get the total effect.

Brilliant.

The LinkedIn hook, you wonder?

Plan, study, and execute your various LinkedIn sections piece by piece, so one part goes with the others. Make a reader want to go from the 2D version of your career story on the electronic screen to the 3D version of meeting you, observing you, allowing you to have a visual and intellectual impact on their needs, thoughts, and impressions. Let them impute in real life the details from your delivery of conversation with them.

Be artistic in all you do to show in your career story on LinkedIn why you do what you do.

Perhaps you are not a Rodin, and I am not either, but you and I have our own style and approach to how we each want to be cast, spotlighted, displayed, recalled, and referred. 

And hired and rehired.  

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Meeting the competition, head-to-head

spockYesterday I mentioned speaking to another LinkedIn expert and comparing notes.
Well, we did more than speak, we charted a new friendship because we agreed in the course of the conversation on so many things that we observe, applaud, and take exception to in our field.

We had a Mr. Spock-worthy Vulcan “mind meld.”

In comparing thoughts and opinions, we became “coopetors.”

I now cherish a few such relationships with competitors I can truly cooperate with, hence the word coopetition.

We think openly and deeply together. I am selective with whom I share trade secrets.

But in a world of abundant, cheap advice, the dearest advisors-peers-colleagues are especially worth nurturing and holding on to.

Do you have this beneficial relationship with others in your direct field of vision?

Competition is a good thing. Coopetition is far better. 

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

10 situations when you call in a #LinkedIn expert

ambulanceHelp is an email or a call away.

Helpers abound, and as I discussed with a fellow LinkedIn expert on the phone last week (yes, we do collaborate), there are good ones with loads of experience, charlatans, and everything in between.

There will be times you have to select one (or two) to bounce a question off, as in situations like these:

  1. you don’t know where to start to renovate your profile, to make it look and sound like you, as interesting and engaging as you are. Objective coaching is available.
  2. you don’t know why your posts and articles are not getting notices, likes, shares or commented on. There’s black magic for this, and each expert has his/her own opinion.
  3. you need more recommendations and don’t know how to ask for them, to get best results, with minimal editing back and forth. Manage your recommender, as suggested here often.
  4. No one seems to be looking at your profile. Dull boring profiles rarely get noticed. Wallflowers never get to dance, as I always say. Buy some dancing shoes and invest in some lessons.
  5. no one calls or emails you based on your profile. Check your contact details; I’ll bet you failed to include your mobile number, email address, office street address, twitter handle, website and blog URLs. No one spends time searching for these anymore–you must supply them on LinkedIn!
  6. someone mentions they don’t still know what type of work you do, after reviewing your LinkedIn profile. Uh oh, profile rewrite time, unless they were braindead at the time they read your narrative. You have a narrative, don’t you, in your About section and after each of your jobs, right?
  7. the reader admits they stopped reading past your Headline. You’re in a heap o’ trouble! A coach can loosen up ideas for you to place in this all-important spot. It should never (!) read {title} at {XYZ Company}; that’s a snorer!
  8. your headshot looks like it was taken in high school: dark stormy background, you are grimacing, and you just don’t look like that anymore. All LinkedIn experts know and recommend a great headshot photographer (and videographer too!)
  9. You lack any multimedia and yet own some, but they are on YouTube and all around the web but don’t know where and how to place it on LinkedIn. Call that expert. Now.
  10. Your job may be in jeopardy in the coming econmic downturn and you just want to be prepared for a possible job search. Be ahead of the game. Start now, beat competitors. Get advice and help.

LinkedIn expertise is an art, not a science, and everyone, titled LinkedIn Expert or otherwise, has an opinion.

Choose your expert wisely and ask for references. Read their recommendations and look at work they have done for others, and especially for themselves. Check their teaching and delivery quality on their videos. Peruse their books, articles, white papers, blogs, videos, etc., to establish a basis to believe what they say and do could be valuable to hire for your needs.

Call them and converse, get a sense for their persona, then ask for a proposal.

And in all cases, caveat consultant. Cheap is just that. You will get what you pay for. 

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

“I wanted your opinion on this…”

feedback-2313803_1920I was scheduled to chair a networking meeting a couple of days in the future and she will be the spotlight speaker. It was smart of her to schedule a phone conversation with me, not an email or a text as that would not allow creativity and spontaneity, but a phone call.

She started the call with “I wanted your opinion on the presentation I am giving.” Good sign #1. Not to feed my ego, but to ask my honest opinion.

Then she forwarded me the slide deck she wanted to present and asked my verbal input. So I listened to her to roll through the material as a practice run and jotted notes, about 15 minutes for the 10 minutes she would be allowed. It was very good. But there was some alteration neeed.

At her conclusion, I was able to offer my professional opinion and she graciously accepted it and saw why I suggested what I did. I added value to her value and I could tell she appreciated it. Good sign #2.

A day later as I sat through the presentation she gave in my meeting, I heard her own interpolation of my input, in her words and intonation. I complimented her on a job well done, and the other attendees engaged her in a number of pointed constructive questions and obviously appreciated the expertise she shared.

Later that day she emailed to thank me. Good sign #3.

The LinkedIn hook? Take these 3 good signs and use them to ask your most esteemed colleague(s) to review your renovated LinkedIn profile. Get a/some objective observation/s impression/s on the effort your spent time planning, executing, and further perfecting your profile.

But a renovated profile is not a finished masterpiece:

  1. ask for verbal help on the phone to elicit true creative give-and-take,
  2. accept their valued observations and suggestions on your work, and
  3. offer thanks for helping you write your career story more clearly.

Mine is still under construction, as should be yours.

Ask the right people who can be honest and open for input, invoke deeper conversation around their opinions, evaluate and incorporate to your LinkedIn profile.

Back to Basics Tuesdays, Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to Basics: don’t go AWOL

abyssSome people get frustrated with social media and drop using it for a while; that attitude may be your choice for Facebook or Twitter, but I advise against it on LinkedIn.

Or they have other reasons to drop out. Sudden onset of sickness or emergency hospitalization are always reasons as well. 3 cases in point:

  1. A colleague took a week off for a personal family event (thankfully a happy one) and deferred all contact to and from LinkedIn for that period. He was missed, since his content and commentary is high quality, and was inundated with messages about what happened to him, is everything all right, where did he disappear to, etc.
  2. Another friend used to post about every upcoming business breakfast, business lunch, and business dinner she used to schedule, mostly 3 a day. Like the little boy who cried wolf, no one bothered to read her posts, as she found out when (at my suggestion), she stopped posting her gustatory schedule. Guess what? NO ONE contacted her or wondered what happened to her, is everything all right, where did she disappear to, etc. She was not missed as her input to her connections was not deemed valuable or high quality.
  3. A new colleague and LinkedIn connection failed to respond to my appointment confirmation so I messaged her on LinkedIn. She managed to message me back just to tell me she was admitted to the hospital and out for an unknown time but would be back in touch upon her return.

Moral of the story? Absence from LinkedIn is not advisable, assuming you use this amazing brand marketing tool well, smartly, and in hopes of routinely nurturing your connections. Absence, in that case, makes the heart go yonder. Manage your use. Just stay in touch.

In the first case above, for my friend who attended a family event that took her away from the office, since it was foreseeable, I suggest any or all of 3 ideas:

  • Pre-advise your connection group of your impending absence from LinkedIn and since it’s a happy occasion, mention who’s getting married, etc., as connections do really care enough to congratulate you. Tell them when you will return and when to expect you to restart feeding your thought leadership they have grown to rely on.
  • Use a scheduling service such as Hootsuite to “bank” content and disseminate it on a preset schedule while you are away. I routinely store up blog posts on WordPress for 2 weeks at a time, with set days and 8:00 as the time to publish.
  • Chime into LinkedIn from your mobile phone app at least once a day and add some small comments or “atta-boys/girls” to stay on the radar. Don’t go off LinkedIn cold-turkey when you have a great device and a (passable) app to stay in the mix no matter where in the world you are.

Then absence makes the heart grow stronger.