Stick to the rules with these LinkedIn tips

Its all very well researching what you can do with LinkedIn but often the things we forget are the things that are frowned upon so here are 10 short tips to help you. Think of LinkedIn as a huge database or a research tool for job-seekers and to help develop your business. Linked-In is definitely both of those things. You could think of Linked-In as an online public area where people can post billboards about themselves and their services.

LinkedIn tips

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You could also think of Linked-In as a networking event that happens online with no time restraints, so it never sleeps! You don’t want to be viewed as or labeled a rude networker, so be careful not to overstep the bounds of politeness on LinkedIn. Here are my top 10 tups for you:

  1. Never send someone a connection invitation and then, the minute they join your network, send them a request for them to introduce you to someone they know. There is no better way to signal “You’re just a means to my end!”
  2. Please don’t ask people beyond your dear close friends to endorse your skills on Linked-In, that includes  writing to them to say “I’ve endorsed your Skills – now you endorse mine!’
  3. Don’t send someone a connection invitation simply in order to write to them a few days later to ask about job opportunities at their company. They will tell you “Look at the company website.” That could have been your first move — that, or researching the organization in order to identify your particular hiring manager and send him or her a pain letter
  4. If you’re a Business Development person, don’t send someone a connection invitation merely in order to then inundate them with sales information the minute they join your network.
  5. Don’t use an InMail when you have a mutual connection and could ask your mutual connection person for an introduction, its so much better then a InMail which is really the equivalent to a cold call telephone call. What else are you going to use the introductions option for?!
  6. Please don’t view your first line connection list of contacts, then email everyone on it and say “We have Ali Penfold  in common –  can we talk!”. Just ask Ali Penfold for an introduction, instead?
  7. Don’t invite people to connect with and then add their email address to your newsletter subscriber list. You need to build a relationship.
  8. When you’re job-hunting, wait until you get to the end of the process before inviting the people you met during the job interviews to connect with you on  Linked-In. If you get the job, they’ll  be your colleagues and if you don’t get the job you will have egg on your face.
  9. Don’t assume that everyone in your first line of contacts is hoping to become a referral source for you. You need to stay in touch and ask permission from individual contacts before sending your business messages into their Linked-In inboxes.
  10. Lastly, remember that everyone has information overloaded and can be overwhelmed on a hourly basis while working. Everyone’s To-Do list is exhaustive. Don’t create extra work by bombarding your contacts or casual business acquaintances with messages/blogs/information that way you stand a better chance of keeping your integrity in tact and keep your connections happy at the same time as being an excellent networker.

If Ali Unlimited can be of any help with your Linked-in account please do get in touch. We’d also really appreciate you leaving a comment below.

 

 

Linked-In etiquette …. 5 points to help you

5 points to help you with Linked-In etiquette, I know it can be a mind field so I have tried to keep them short.

1. Whats the first thing people see when they look at your profile? how do people recognise you? Yes by your photo, so to say your LinkedIn profile picture should appear “professional” is really stating the obvious. I would strongly recommend paying a professional photographer to give you a few head shots to choose from is worth it and really not expensive.  Don’t use a photoshopped holiday snap, it really won’t reflect  you in a  professional light. Also be warned that if you photoshop the picture those you have networked with won’t necessarily recognise you, how embarrassing would that be!

2.When you read an article whether its in a newspaper, magazine or on a website, many good stories don’t get read without a good headline. This being true Ali Unlimited strongly recommends that you be very concise, engaging and specific in the summary field of your Linked-In page. If the summary doesn’t draw people in, all the success  you had achieved  during your career might not receive any attention as people don’t keep reading through the summary to the experience section if is not grabbing their attention. You will want to show who you are, what you do, and why you’re unique.

3. Filling out your bio, one of the finer things about LinkedIn, at least from a recruiting standpoint, is that it not only encourages honesty in your CV, it essentially requires it, since your profile is viewed by your bosses, colleagues and customers. Accentuate your strengths and highlights, while providing context around your job responsibilities. But the one main difference between a regular CV and a LinkedIn profile is that you’ll have a wider range of people viewing your Linked-In profile. As such, you will have to be slightly more pragmatic in summarising the points that you think might satisfy a variety of sectors connected to your industry and that interest you. Its important to get the LinkedIn URL you want. Most LinkedIn profiles URLs will have be a slash and then your name (/your name) at the end of them. Names can be common, so try to get yours first.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is public (check in account settings). If you want to use all aspects of Linked-In, and be able to have people search for you and examine your career experience, you need a public profile. Remember if Google can’t see you then neither can anyone else!

4. Your contact/connection list. There are two main arguments about the merits of how one chooses connections on LinkedIn. One is upheld by Linked-In itself,  which does believe you should know your contacts before you connect with them. The argument is that it reflects badly on you professionally, if you don’t know who people in your contact list are, if someone you know asks you to connect with one of your contacts. On the other end of the spectrum sits the LinkedIn Open Networkers, who will generally add most people as a connection (whether they know them or not).  Linked-In discourage the use of the “I don’t know” button. “I don’t know” was designed by Linked-In to discourage random, unknown connections.

If you are the one sending a connection, try personalising the standard invitation of “I’d like to add you as a connection”, especially if you feel you don’t know the person incredibly well or that their memory might need some prodding! At the very least, even if they decline it, they’ll be less likely to hit the dreaded “I don’t know” button. Don’t forget to make your connection list public, otherwise you are defeating the purpose of Linked-In. It’s a social network, and there isn’t anything more unsocial than not allowing your contacts to connect with one another. The only exception  is if you feel showing your connections would undermine your company’s competitive advantage.

5. Recommend and getting recommended feature on Linked-In can be a powerful way to show that your work has been endorsed by influential people and decision makers. With this in mind, Ali Unlimited suggests  “360 degree strategy” that shows the various ways in which you do your job and the people you work with, work for and your customers. If you want managers, peers and clients to recommend you, these should be people who know you well and who can really speak to your competencies.

Though it’s nice to be recommended, it’s vital to build up your own social capital by recommending others, a key to good Linked-In etiquette would be to bear in mind  that what goes around comes around. If you go and write a good recommendation for a colleague/client/peer, odds are they will do the same for you in the future.

I hope you have found this blog useful, if Ali Unlimited can be of any help or you would like to leave a comment we would love to hear from you.

 

LinkedIn Etiquette – it’s a minefield.

Get a great headshot

We all know that a picture says a thousand words, so believe me, it’s worth paying a professional photographer for a decent photo (find one through a LinkedIn recommendation!).  Don’t make the rookie mistake of trying to save money by photoshopping a holiday snap, it really won’t show you in a professional light.

 

Get a great headline

An eye-catching headline will draw you in.  Who, for example, can forget “Gotcha”?  While I’m not expecting you imitate The Sun, I strongly recommend that the summary field of your LinkedIn page is concise, engaging and specific.  People simply won’t waste their time ploughing through tedious waffle to get to the experience section and your career success will not receive the attention it deserves.  My best advise is say who you are, what you do and why you’re unique.

 

Sharpen up your bio

Honesty is essential as your profile will be viewed by your bosses, colleagues, customers and potential customers.  Accentuate strengths and career highlights and provide context around your job responsibilities.  Don’t forget that unlike a standard CV, a LinkedIn profile attracts a wide range of people, so you be ruthless in summarising points you think might satisfy a variety of sectors connected to your industry, and that interest you.  Get the LinkedIn URL you want; most will have a slash and then your name (/your name).  Try to get yours registered quickly as names are not always unique. If you want to use all aspects of LinkedIn, allow people to search for you and examine your career experience, make sure your LinkedIn profile is public (check in account settings).  Remember if Google can’t see you then neither can anyone else!

 

Contacting and connecting

How to connect effectively falls into two camps.  The LinkedIn organisation believes you should know your contacts before you connect.  It argues that it reflects badly on you if you don’t actually know the people on your contact list and if someone you know asks you to connect with one of your contacts you look unprofessional.  At the other end of the spectrum sit the LinkedIn Open Networkers, who will generally connect with almost anyone (whether they know them or not). LinkedIn discourages the use of the “I don’t know” button, which was designed to discourage random, unknown connections.  If you are the one sending a connection, make sure you personalise the standard invitation, especially if you don’t know the person very well or think that their memory might need prodding!  Even if they decline it, they’ll be less likely to hit the dreaded “I don’t know” button.  Don’t forget to make your connection list public, otherwise you are defeating LinkedIn’s raison d’etre.  As a social network, there isn’t anything more unsocial than not allowing your contacts to connect with one another. The only exception is if you feel showing your connections would undermine your company’s competitive advantage.

 

Recommend and be recommended

This feature can be a powerful way to show that your work has been endorsed by influential people and decision makers.  I suggest a “360 degree strategy” that shows how you do your job, who your customers are, who you work with and who you work for.  If you want managers, peers and clients to recommend you, these must be people who know you well and who can speak honestly about your competencies. Though it’s nice to be recommended, it’s vital to build up your own social capital by recommending others.  Good LinkedIn etiquette suggests that what goes around comes around.  If you write a good recommendation for a colleague/client/peer, odds are they will do the same for you in the future.

 

I hope you have found this blog useful.  If Ali Unlimited can be of any help or you would like to leave a comment we would love to hear from you.

 

I keep getting asked about LinkedIn so let’s explore …..

At any event I attend, I can guarantee I will be asked about LinkedIn and generally the first question is: “Can it really help my networking?”  I invariably respond with: “LinkedIn is not merely a vehicle for networking – in a way it’s a vehicle to help you keep track of the success of your own networking.”

If I were to say to you: “It’s your professional rolodex” how many people would know what I was talking about?!  Your online activities are truly driven by your offline successes while networking.

When you step away from the office and attend networking events, you are always building much-needed connections.  It is absolutely true that people buy from people they know, like and trust.  Networking events are therefore ideal for fledgling business owners who are ready to start growing and developing their businesses.  Without them, it would be very difficult to develop useful, productive, professional relationships.

When you have attended a networking event and collected a stash of business cards, don’t waste the opportunity!  Get straight onto LinkedIn, look up all those new people you have just met and send each one a short message asking them to connect with you (not forgetting to remind them where you met). Each time you have some news about your business post it on LinkedIn, so your contacts get to hear about what your business is doing.  When you stop and think about it, you’ll be surprised by how much you have to shout about and although it’s a truism, success really does breed success.

LinkedIn is there to help support you and to expand your contacts. You will be amazed by who knows whom!  I have always believed that if you haven’t physically met a person you shouldn’t randomly try to connect with them on LinkedIn.  There is an etiquette to follow – but I’ll save that for another blog!

If Ali Unlimited can be of any help to you with your LinkedIn account please do get in touch and we’d love to hear from you so please do leave a comment.

 

Twitter – keeping you on track with your account

Can I hear you saying “when did you last look at what you had written in your Twitter bio”? Is your Twitter bio still relevant, focused on your business goals, interesting, informative, and possibly with some humour? Your Twitter bio is one of your best opportunity to impress potential followers, introduce them to your business, let them know why they should follow you, and to really stand out from the crowd.

The challenge is you only get 160 characters to do this. You will need to be brief and use your words wisely. Every letter needs to count. I personally don’t like to see text abbreviated in the bio e.g. some people may use ‘ur’ instead of ‘you are’ although I would find you’re acceptable!

Here are my two top tips to impress followers and take your all important bio to the next level:

  1. IT’S YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO TELL THE WORLD WIDE WEB WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU DO.

People who follow you on Twitter, will do because of who you are and what you actually do. Even if in your research you discover it’s cool to be creative and sound clever in your bio, you also need to be accurate and differentiate yourself from others in your field go work.

Its good to keep your message crisp, interesting, as well as informative, you may find you don’t need to use all 160 characters.

  1. USE SOME STRATEGIC KEYWORDS.

Google is constantly scanning your Twitter bio. In order to improve search visibility you need to include your business’ primary keywords. So for me who offers business support including administration support and social media to help you raise the profile of your business, its imperative that works like ‘Business support’, ‘Outsourcing’, ‘Administration’, ‘Social Media including the obvious Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus’ in the text.

Think about what your target market as well, search for and incorporate those words to make your business description grab the attention of potential clients. For me it would be phrases like “not enough hours in the day’, ‘not enough time to complete all that necessary business admin’, ‘cost effective to outsource the time consuming job leaving you free to……’ .

Also, make sure that your bio connects you with your followers and potential clients, say something about yourself making you human and interesting. I might put something like ‘keeping fit is important to me’, ‘keen golfer’. You can also include a hashtag, for me it might be ‘keen #golfer’ and you can also add a link to your website, or a blog you want to tweet about.

I’d love to hear from you if you try out these tips in your #Twitter bio. Please do click on the comment button and let me know your thoughts

 

 

Useful tips about Facebook

I wanted to share some useful tips about Facebook and how to use it for positive promotion within your business.

Facebook is a modern phenomenon.  It is frequently an integral part of our personal lives and has got a firm grip on business lives as well – mainly as a speedy and effective method for a brand or organisation to communicate with its publics.

The key to using facebook successfully for your business is to know and understand your target market and audience. Grasping who your audience is – its age, interests, demographic, etc means that if you use facebook to communicate your message, you must tailor your posts to speak directly to them in an interesting and engaging manner.  One size will not fit all!

If you want a really good example of getting it right in terms of exposure and reach, I suggest you look at the facebook page for Marmite.  The brand really understands its audience and creates captivating content, which increases its reach exponentially because its audience will like, share and comment.  This in turn allows posts to be shown on friends’ timelines/walls and in some cases causes posts to go viral.  This kind of positive exposure is excellent for any company’s profile.

Additionally, the brand uses facebook to exploit and increase Marmite’s presence organically by taking current and popular events and making them relevant to their product.  For example, on Shrove Tuesday, Marmite posted a picture of a pancake with Marmite on it and a pot of Marmite with a kitchen as the background with the comment: ‘Can’t believe it’s  Pancake Day again. It just crêped up on me…’ this one post got 1,705 likes, 151 comments and 411 shares. Wow!  How powerful is that for your business?

If you want to create compelling facebook content, you need to follow FIVE main principles – and stick to them.

  • Be authentic – share what you are really interested in and genuinely excited about.  Give your posts a personal “voice”, so that they feel and sound like you are really saying the words.
  • Be responsive – make sure that you reply to everyone who interacts with you on facebook, even if their post is not positive. Remember, this is primarily a social media platform, so you need to make sure that you reply to everyone just as you would in person. If you need more time to reply to a post let them know that you need more time before you get back to them with an answer – and then MAKE SURE YOU DO!  No-one likes to feel that they have been fobbed off or ignored.
  • Be consistent – the more regularly you post, the more engagement you will get from your audience and the more your page likes will increase. Setting a schedule to post, or using scheduling software can help to keep your posts consistent.
  • Do what works – take notice of which posts get the most engagement and then replicate them.
  • Make successful posts into successful promotions; if you see that a post gets a lot of engagement, promote it so that it has more reach.

Keep your posts current and engaging to your audience; this will broaden your reach.  And that is how you use facebook effectively to promote your business.

Ali Unlimited joining up the dots ….  I’ll be busy working on your business while you are busy working in your business.

The Evaluator Pitch

When you are at a networking event, mingling with friends or discover you know somebody who knows somebody who’s able to help you take your company to the next level, you’ll inevitably hear a variant of one of these two questions: “So, what do you do?” or “What exactly is your company about?”

BE READY TO RESPOND!

This is the perfect opportunity, not necessarily to “sell” your business but critically, to make people want to know more. The infamous “Elevator Pitch” was created for just such an occasion.

An elevator pitch is a conversation or an ice breaker that should lead to a more detailed dialogue about the functionality and speciality of you and your company. Typically, you have just 60 seconds to leave an exciting, impactful and meaningful impression. So make every one count!

I have FIVE easy tips to make your elevator pitch stand out. I’m going to leave you with the first one today and share the others with you over the next couple of weeks.

1. Ask, Listen and Learn

Work out if they have a business need that your company can address then start your elevator pitch by responding quickly and intelligently. Engage them. Feed back to them their key business need and address it right away, outlining how your company can support theirs.

2. Blow your own trumpet

If you don’t who will? If you have worked with some big name brands/company/people already, shout about it. If you’ve worked with the competitors of the person that you are pitching to, don’t be afraid to tell them. It shows your credibility.

3. Leave them wanting more!

Elevator pitches are meant to be short, so don’t try to pack in too much. Hook them with a teaser, give them an overview, explain briefly why you are best suited for the task. The secret sauce should be saved for later! All you are required to do is be able to confidently broadcast that you know exactly what you’re doing.

4. Have a call to action

You made this pitch for a reason, right? Let your goals be known. It’s vital that within those 60 seconds you say what you are looking for – is it new clients? Is it help with a particular aspect of your business? Do you want personal recommendations from satisfied customers

5. Be natural

Get comfortable with your pitch. Practice it in front of the mirror or to a trusted associate, so that you know it off by heart and can respond quickly and easily to any questions. Although you don’t want to sound like a machine, it’s important to feel confident and comfortable with what you are say. Make sure your passion and commitment comes through. Most of all, relax! If you stumble that’s fine. Just smile and start again.

I hope you can make use of these five golden nuggets but if you need help, call me. Ali Unlimited can help and support your business.

The Digital Revolution are you a part of it ….

I don’t know about you, but almost every conversation I have, whether business or pleasure, eventually touches on the online community. This is so frequent that we don’t even really think about the fact that even 10 years ago we would have thought we were discussing cutting edge technology. “I bought them online from a designer”, “I voted online”, “I googled it”, “I got my phone fixed through my provider’s website”, “I complained on the company’s website”, “someone on my facebook page recommended her”, “I got my contract through a LinkedIn contact”. Nowadays, people of all ages, young and old, expect to be able to access information instantly, to get a response instantly, to buy instantly. We’re all available, all the time.

Or are we? I heard an astonishing fact on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the other day. Dido Harding, CEO of the Talk Talk Group, and a key speaker at this year’s Institute of Directors’ Annual Conference told the programme that a third of SMEs and Charities don’t have basic online skills, despite the fact that: “Every business is going to be transformed by the digital revolution”. Backing her up is Martha Lane Fox, Chair of Go ON UK and entrepreneur extraordinaire, who claims that: “The digital economy accounts for over 8 percent of GDP, greater than education or construction . . . but not by SMEs and charities in the UK. Just 18%of firms and charities allow customers to purchase products, services or make only 18 per cent of SMEs and charities allow customers to purchase products, services or make donations from their website”.

That’s a huge slice of money. How can you get a share of it?
It’s clear that if you don’t get involved with the digital revolution, you’ll lose out and eventually you’ll be left behind. Be reassured that it doesn’t have to be difficult, even if you’re a business or charity that’s an SME with an emphasis on the “S”. Ali Unlimited can help you be a part of it by doing the work for you.

Ali’s fourth blog

Golden Nugget

I want to share with you a useful little nugget about social media. If you’re not using it, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to talk to your target audience – get online today!

 

More and more of us are turning to the internet for shopping, business and accessing services. It’s quick and it’s convenient.  There is an argument from small business owners, particularly sole traders, that if they aren’t actually working, then they aren’t being paid.  While this is technically true, with clever organisation, it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes a day for you to keep your finger on the digital pulse. You can post a message of your own and comment on others’ which in turn encourages others to comment and start a conversation.  This helps to raise your profile in your business community and sometimes further afield.

 

Keep messages short, light and informative. Here is an example for a hairdresser: “Morning all.  In need of a little “me” time?  Unexpectedly need your hair washed and styled today? I have a gap between (put the time in) please call me on (phone number)”.  Or perhaps, for a plumber: “Coming to the end of a big contract, will shortly be available for smaller domestic jobs.  Desperate to get your washing machine plumbed in properly?  Been promising yourself an outside tap? Please call me on (add phone number)”.

 

Getting to grips with social media is not hard.  All it needs is a little time and thought to make it work for you.  If you need a push to get started, call me and I’ll gladly help.

Ali’s third blog

Building Relationships Great!  You have attended a networking event and talked to other business owners. You have collected business cards and/or contact details and you want to know more about their businesses. DON’T put them in a drawer thinking: “I really ought to follow up on that”.  DO make time the next day to capitalise on your new contacts with the following highly effective strategy, commonly known as a 1-2-1 (one-to-one).

  • Pick up the phone and your new contact for a coffee
  • Arrange a mutually convenient time and place
  • Meet up and talk
  • Make sure you spend half the time talking about your business and half the time talking about the other person’s business
  • Listen to what they have to say

You never know when your new contact may refer others to you, buy directly from you, or talk positively about you and your business to other decision-makers. These are all possibilities for you to increase your sales and become better known in your business community.

 

 

It may seem old-fashioned, but building solid, professional relationships with other business owners is a sure-fire route to success. It has been shown time and again that people buy from people they know, like and trust, and that is exactly what the 1-2-1 is all about.

 

If you need help getting started, call me.  I would be delighted to introduce you to some of the networking groups I belong to.

 

Remember – people buy from people they know, like and trust.