Back to Basics Tuesdays, Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to basics Tuesday: Who can I ask?

There’s a vast body of knowledge on LinkedIn, in the Help function, that is available to you, 24x7x365.

Always up to date, straight from the LinkedIn horse’s mouth!

Never sick, never sleeping, never on vacation. Although the usual suspects you’re inclined to ask the same questions may be.

And it’s easy to use and contextual, meaning you put in enough pertinent keywords in the search bar in Help and it replies with 5 or more replies that may just fit the bill.

Some even have links in the answers to give you access to deeper nuances or other aspects, from which you can learn.

So when a client asks me a “how to” question, I reply with a “lookie here” link in my answer. Point gently made.

Please use the Help function.

Back to Basics Tuesdays, Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to basics Tuesday: knock, knock, who’s there?

A question came from a client:

Sometimes I get these invitations to connect from people I may not be interested in connecting or may be suspect of their business. What is the LinkedIn Etiquette about accepting invitations?

And in checking to see if I ever covered this topic in my blog, I found I answered the “what to do if you want to correctly make a connection request” part, but never addressed what to do if you receive one and how to handle it correctly.

So here goes, with a live example that I have in process right now:

If someone asks you to connect on LinkedIn, it registers on your “My Network” tab.

I have 2 inbound requests currently pending, 1 from W and 1 from S. We will concentrate on S for this blogpiece:

I can ignore S, or accept S as connection.

Always my advice: there’s some vetting for me to do before I connect.

So to start I click “See all 2” in the top right corner. It opens up another box:

For S, when I click “Message” under his name, I get the opportunity to either

1) key in my usual open-ended questions, “Have we met? How can I help you?” or

2) I can customize the message, depending on the situation

I think the 2 open-ended questions are professionally direct and honorable in many cases where there is no nexus.

But since I already know where S and I met, (or in other cases, via a connection who e-introduced us), I will always add a more personal message referring to names and any other clues where and when we met, and my suggested next steps:

The rest of this process takes varying amounts of time: awaiting a reply from S, my coordinating the zoom chat, and then hosting it.

You can always go back to review the last installment in the chain of messages and add to the conversation along the way, and remind them of the appointment the day before the scheduled chat.

Hint: Messages are searchable by keyword or name, immensely helpful especially if the messages started a while ago.

Ahead of the scheduled zoom chat, I’ll review S’s LinkedIn profile for clues to make it more productive, and hopefully he’ll do the same for mine. I said hopefully.

I am anticipating a great chat this week.

There you have it, another glimpse into the basics of making LinkedIn more effective to build what could just well be your next great connection for success.

I wish you well using this once, or hopefully, more often. Practice makes perfect.

Back to Basics Tuesdays, Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to basics Tuesday: changing mindsets

I hear a lot of skepticism about LinkedIn, yes all the time.

It’s easy to criticize: it’s hard to use. Its graphics and sections change a lot. Or others lament it’s a time suck. It’s {this}, it’s {that}, but you know what? It’s essential to business branding today. Period.

No one comes close as a competitor. Not with 800+ million people in 200 countries, 25 languages (now including Hindi!) chatting and sharing and connecting and collaborating and conducting business and chasing job openings and branding and….

So why resist or fight LinkedIn?

Rather, take that energy and learn to use it well and I assure you that once you book a piece of business from it, you will be a raving fan.

So if I can’t change your mind, here’s another opportunity to change your own mindset.

Try harder to rebrand, accomplish, and succeed–then you will have praise and stories to tell.

Build on small wins to make them amazing-er, and re-employ your tactics to build further. Evolve. Embrace change. Imagine success.

Like I and others have, all from knowing how to use LinkedIn well.

Back to Basics Tuesdays, Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to Basics Tuesday: killing 2 social media birds (1 literally) with a post

Did you know that just as quickly as posting on LinkedIn, you can simultaneously post to your Twitter account?

Three simple steps:

  1. If you have not already done so, add your Twitter account to the settings on your LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/2754
  2. On your Home Page, at the top of the page, first click “start a post” to get the ball rolling. Then click the dropdown box and select “anyone + Twitter” as you see below.
  3. Be terse (especially for each tweet’s 280-character limit), and intentional in choosing the words on your post/tweet. Refrain from abbreviations (like “b4” for “before”) since that looks too Twitter-y and not normally used on LinkedIn. Remember to use 3-5 hashtags that serve both your LinkedIn and Twitter audiences and add a link or graphic if you want the respective audiences, and just perhaps, the algorithms to notice you.

Don’t forget to “post” your work with the blue button at the bottom of your entry.

Done! Instantly you have posted in two very high-flying social media places at once. Check both to be sure they each appear as you intended.

I hope this post helps you gain additional audience attention to quality posts you share on both platforms.

I have found the press loves Twitter…so if both places work for you, fly with them.

Back to Basics Tuesdays, Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to basics Tuesday: LinkedIn shiny penny syndrome? A better idea…

LinkedIn is always changing. Believe me I know from the book manuscripts I submitted, days later only having to make last minute changes–even once while it was on the press!

You can keep up with major changes by subscribing to LinkedIn’s blog announcing coming attractions. Or you can see what I and my fellow LinkedIn coaches update you with, here, and on LinkedIn.

But is it changing for the better? Are the changes being used well?

Yes, it’s mindful to be on top of all the latest.

But it’s mindless IMHO to use them to excess (however you define that) as soon as they are introduced, like shiny pennies you feel you just have to pick up and use. You know what I mean, like polls and newsletters and any of the other enhancements that seem to be all the rage. Including emoticons (don’t get me started).

I always say I can teach monkeys to click the “like” button, but it’s business intelligent to tell WHY you liked it! Where’s your value-add, your branding?

These days, monkeys seem to create the polls and other distractions I am seeing and shake my head at. Digging further, their profiles are anemic and resume-y. They missed the point of LinkedIn as a powertool in your branding toolbox.

I would much rather you distill your creative juices and disburse your quality time tweaking your profile, yes, in everything you post and comment, as a high-quality source of inspiration, curation, ideation, and contemplation. Be “amazing-er” (my word) than the competition.

Then you will not flash, sputter, flame out, but rather radiate consistent warmth that will bring people to you as a memorable and reliable source of thought leadership and valuable content.

In the end you have to evaluate what’s your goal on LinkedIn:

1) attracting fleeting, low quality visual attention, in effect being annoying, by aping others’ similar antics,

or

2) being a cerebral brand, true to yourself, your business contribution, and for others to willingly refer, in the long game of being a professional.

Your choice. I’d go with door #2.

Back to Basics Tuesdays, Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to basics Tuesday: facilitating connections on LinkedIn

photo of people near wooden table

I say this all the time: all the good people in the world know each other.

And it was yet proven again. A friend took a new position at a company. The company name sounded familiar so I looked it up on LinkedIn and there it is: a friend of mine also worked there.

So I e-introduced one to the other via LinkedIn by sharing both LinkedIn profiles with my warm note indicating the connection that you perceive one could have with the other.

Here’s where you can start that process with either person. Find one of the LinkedIn profiles and share the personal profile URL of one to the other :

An unsolicited, curated e-intro is a gift. It shows you care about all parties enough to initiate a relationship that you facilitate.

My personal note is customized to the situation and the recipients, in this case:

X meet Y, Y meet X.

Y just took a new position at {company name} and I hope the two of you get to know each other there. Contact details:

linkedin.com/in/x

linkedin.com/in/y

Let me hear great things coming from this.

Best to you both,

Marc

Then, within minutes I received this message back, and once again, it proves my earlier impression that all the good people in the world know each other, or at least I can help make that happen more often:

Marc, thanks for thinking of me. I have known Y for some time and knew of his move to {company name}. He is going to do great!

Y-give me a call when you are settled into the new role. Looking forward to hearing about it! Speak to you both soon….X

I am pleased at the outcome and know I made a difference in that both know that I thought enough of them to make this effort.

The rest comes back to me pay-it-forward style.

Back to Basics Tuesdays, Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to basics Tuesday: you really can do it….

I run into a lot of people who self-describe as not being “tech-savvy.” In reality “tech-competent” or “tech-confident” is more like it, to adequately use technology, making themselves more business savvy in what they are projecting online.

But you have to be brave enough to want to make mistakes, fix them, and learn from them. That may or may not mean you can design your own website. But it does include being able to market yourself and your company on LinkedIn. You only learn and retain new skills to build upon, if you want to.

Yes, it can be scary and confusing. But so is everything else you shirk and then come into midstream. Playing catch-up is a frustrating game.

Thankfully, LinkedIn skills are easier than being able to navigate a jet and less risky than performing remote control brain surgery. Let’s leave those to the highly trained.

All you need is the self-confidence and desire to learn some new tips and techniques surrounding best practices on LinkedIn, from me or another coach, or via online course (just look on YouTube to make your head swim with the possible offerings), or from a dummies-book (not that you are dumb). It all depends how you learn best.

And how you implement these new-found skills, as the graphic suggests. Everything in the ISTE graphic can be applied in the context of LinkedIn.

Think about it.

You want to appear your best on LinkedIn, to make them fall in “like” with you enough to want to get in contact you. The rest is up to you to seal the deal.

Back to Basics Tuesdays, Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to Basics Tuesday: Message in a Bottle

“My name is Diego, I am an Attorney here in Madrid, Spain.I want to let you know that I have a good transaction that will benefit the both of us”

Force fields up. I am not acting upon a blind message from an unknown person enticing me.

Nope.

If you received this message, you would trash it too.

Similarly, think of any boilerplate connection request you send someone to connect with you on LinkedIn the same way.

Like a message in a bottle, the sender is still languishing on his desert island, the message has probably expired, or expired himself. Alone, needy, too little, too late, too pathetic.

Just don’t.

Back to Basics Tuesdays, Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to basics Tuesday: choose your words carefully on LinkedIn

stressed male worker covering mouth with hand against gray background

For weeks I was looking for, and finally found an article of clothing, which I ordered online from a large, global, highly reputable brand’s website (note use of adjectives).

Waiting patiently for a couple of weeks for notification it shipped, I finally received an impersonal machine-generated email confirming that I had cancelled the order.

Me? Uh, not quite.

The next day I called the customer service number, expecting to receive some.

They admitted that although they had previously accepted my order, now that item was actually out of stock, unknown if or when they would get more, so they could not fill it. “I am sorry,” I heard lamely repeated a few times. Ineffective.

But while I had them on the phone, I perused the item online, and voila! that item was in stock (a modern miracle) and I could order it. I asked them to place the order for me but honor the same price as the now-cancelled one since the price of the item had gone up.

I was placed on hold to get price approval and–you know where this is going–the call was disconnected. Even though I had already given them my contact details including my phone number, once in the order, and once on this phone call, they never called me back. 29 minutes wasted and I had gotten no where!

The next day I started over again, was promised by the person on the other end of the phone that the price needed to be approved by the now-out-of-the-office supervisor and I would get a callback upon approval and yes, this time I reconfirmed they had my number).

Did he ever call me back? Nope. 36 more minutes wasted!

Now, loaded for bear, I called again the next day in try #3 for that elusive customer service. “Oh yes, that price was approved and will be honored, and the item was shipped out already,” I was told as if this was obvious and why was I upset? No evidence of any of this online, I asked for all this to be emailed to me. Promptly received, but the final insult is that the subject line of the email was “Appeasement refund.”

Appeasement? Was that the right word? Was that adjective needed?

In each stumble along the way, each empty promise, they sparked my disdain and distrust. But the crowning use of “appeasement” is a word I think is inappropriate in the context of customer retention.

One of the word’s definitions in Merriam-Webster online is “a policy of appeasing an enemy or potential aggressor by making concessions.” Perhaps accurate in cold fact but not in the squishy marketing spirit of customer satisfaction, and certainly not worth further teasing a disgusted repeat customer, don’t you think?

A “we’re sorry for your inconvenience” email costs them the same (nothing) as an appeasement one and would have been a better choice of words and net effect.

Proper use and selection of words have a philosophic economy all their own, in every customer service case.

The LinkedIn moral? Use words throughout wisely.

Select adjectives (and verbs) for your LinkedIn profile. It’s not that you said it, but how well you say it in your recommendations, your posts, your articles, and/or your comments to others with forethought and proper usage. Appropriate usage. Leave out inferences when they add nothing but disbelief, distrust, dissuasion, to “dis” the reader.

The promise of a great experience with you as trusted advisor, intelligent consultant, and/or dependable supplier is your brand. It’s the mental plus emotional impact they think and feel being referred to you, hiring you, later recall working with you, and want to repeat that process again.

Not that you appease them as in you tolerate them and try to throw cold water on them to cool them down from boiling over…

Make them warmly “feel the love.” No water provided on LinkedIn, just what they read.

It’s a long process to earn your brand and book business, so leverage LinkedIn intelligently to reinforce reliability, relatability, and relevance.

And it’s a short process to lose business opportunities forever for words poorly chosen.

Back to Basics Tuesdays, Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to basics Tuesday: how to really write a beautiful LinkedIn article

No, this will not be a lesson in the steps how to write a LinkedIn article. That’s summarized in the LinkedIn Help Center here.

Rather, it will be an example for you to emulate, pull out once in a while when the mood strikes you, and reflect on, as you express your ideas in the best place on LinkedIn that allows you 40 thousands characters (not a typo!)–the Linkedin article.

I have written here about articles before: https://connect2collaborate.com/2018/09/18/pathfinding-on-linkedin-with-your-own-article/

So I want to twist the title above, I can tell you that the next link is is really HOW a master wrote an article-and you MUST read it, it’s so powerful and spellbinding that I had to share it with you!

The author is my friend’s son and I have to say, it’s a beaut!

Enjoy! Take style notes from this.

Share it with others who enjoy excellent writing.

That’s what I call learning by LinkedIn example, a little different orientation to today’s Back to Basics Tuesday post.