How To/Social Media

5 Weeks to LinkedIn Success – Week 4 Recommendations

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

Week 4 in a Five-Post Series

In case you are just dropping by, this is a blog post series for beginners on how to quickly get started with the social media site LinkedIn.  In Week Three of the series, I asked you to start thinking of connections to ask for recommendations.linkedin-button1

(Here’s the first LinkedIn post, and the second in case you missed them.)

This week, your to-do list includes:

  • Ask 5 people for recommendations
  • Give 5 or more recommendations
  • Continue to connect with people you know

Everyone is nervous about asking for LinkedIn recommendations – you aren’t alone. LinkedIn Recommendations carry a lot of SEO weight. The theory goes the more recommendations (not endorsements) you have, the more your profile shows up in search results.

Think of recommendations as testimonials. The easiest way to get a recommendation is when someone mentions they like your work. Immediately ask the person if they’d be willing to give you a testimonial and LinkedIn Recommendation. If so, tell them you’ll send them an email reminding them what they said, and providing additional information on what skills you hope they might include.

When asking LinkedIn connections for recommendations, only ask people you have worked with for a while, and that you feel will do so willingly and freely. That may sound odd, but just like the people who ask you to connect that you really don’t know, getting a weak recommendation isn’t going to do you any good.

Ask managers and one or two colleagues at each place you’ve worked. Don’t overload your recommendations only with colleagues because if these are your only recommendations, they won’t carry as much weight.

Make sure to delete the generic, automatic wording when requesting a recommendation, and write a personal note instead.

Give Recommendations; But Don’t Give to Get

Another good way to get recommendations is to give them – but don’t expect one in return. Some people discount recommendations when they see one on your site from the person you also recommended. But I don’t.

If you genuinely recommend someone you enjoyed working with, they may feel the same way and reciprocate. That doesn’t mean you two got together and collaborated to earn more recommendations – although apparently, this is what some people have done.

Tips for recommending someone on LinkedIn:

  • Take a good look at their profile to see what words and keywords they are using.
  • Read the recommendations they already have to see where you can add value.
  • If you know this person well, send them an email telling them you are giving them a recommendation and ask what skills they may want you to mention.
  • Think about what you would say about this person if someone called to ask for a reference. Jot down these thoughts.
  • Begin a recommendation with the best thing you want to say.
  • Tell a short story or provide facts to back up what you say.
  • Provide lots of value, but be brief.

Once in a while, you may get a request for recommendation from someone you either don’t feel comfortable recommending or just don’t know.

Here’s how Chris Brogan words those rejections of a recommendation:

I’m honored you asked for a recommendation. Thanks for thinking of me. Because I haven’t worked enough with you professionally, I fear my recommendation wouldn’t be useful. I simply can’t vouch for your work experience beyond our casual interactions online. Best of luck in getting some stellar recommendations.linkedin-button1

How many?

How many LinkedIn Recommendations are enough? I don’t think there are any rules of thumb. Five is a good number, 10 is probably better if you are an independent contractor who works on a lot of projects and has skills working with small, medium and enterprise customers and who has many services to offer.

I’ll admit that my LinkedIn Recommendations have all come from people who have decided to recommend me due to the work I’ve done. I’ve only asked one person for a recommendation, and while she wrote a glowing one, it never came to my inbox. And I’m still hoping she’ll write one for me, but she’s an awfully busy woman.

 

Do you have any tips about making LinkedIn Recommendations? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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How To/Social Media

5 Weeks to LinkedIn Success – Week 3: Endorsements

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

Third in a Five Post Series

For those of you just dropping by, this is a series of posts for those just getting started with LinkedIn.linkedin button

As I mentioned previously, I’m helping a law firm get up to speed with LinkedIn. To help veterans and beginners, I’m creating a step-by-step cheat sheet that anyone who is just starting with LinkedIn can use to get up to speed quickly in a few bite-sized chunks that don’t take a lot of time.

Here’s LinkedIn Cheat Sheet for Busy Professionals – Week 3. You’ll find Week One here, and Week Two here.

 

This week, the five action items can be used by beginners as well as veterans:

1) Connect with 10 to 20 or more people, connecting with a handful each day this week. Think of past bosses, colleagues, clients and friends.

2) Check out LinkedIn’s new endorsement feature and endorse a few of your referral partners for their expertise. Your connections are bound to do the same for you.

  • When you pull up a profile of a connection, LinkedIn will serve up a blue box asking you to endorse them.
  • If you click on the “Skip” button, LinkedIn will serve up a box with four other people to endorse.
  • Either endorse these for the skills or click the “See More” button that will appear in the blue box.

3) Follow Two LinkedIn Groups. Start with something in your profession if referral cultivation is your goal, or if you are seeking new clients, figure out where your target market hangs out and join those groups. Don’t worry if the group isn’t perfect – there are a lot to choose from.

Within those two or three groups, browse the posts to see where you could be of value, and participate in one or two discussions. Be helpful and don’t sell. You only want to showcase your expertise and knowledge.

4) Start thinking about who the best connections will be to ask for recommendations – not endorsements, but recommendations. Make a list and save it for next week.

5) Revisit and revise your profile – Can you add any keywords, additional information or documents to make it even better? Your profile can be improved every time you visit. Think of ways to make it standout.

 

What success have you seen following these steps so far? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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How To/Social Media

5 Weeks to LinkedIn Success – Week 2: Make Connections

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

Second in a Five Post Series

As I mentioned last week, I’m helping a law firm get up to speed with LinkedIn. To help veterans and beginners, I’m creating a step-by-step cheat sheet that anyone who is just starting with LinkedIn can use to get up to speed quickly in a few bite-sized chunks that don’t take a lot of time.

Here’s LinkedIn Cheat Sheet for Busy Professionals – Week 2. You’ll find Week One here.linkedin button

1) Create a Custom URL for your Profile

Most people, like me, simply take out the numbers and use their name for the URL; however, you could use something like: Affordable Seattle Divorce Attorney. Please note that custom monikers such as Seattle Divorce Attorney are available on a first come, first served basis, and that no two can be alike. (Learn how to set the custom ULR at the bottom of this post.)

LinkedIn Sales Tip: Consider adding your LinkedIn URL to your email signature rather than only including your website or blog link. This is a great way to see who is interested in your services as part of the feature called “Who’s viewed my Profile?” I picked up this tip from Carole Mahoney.

With free LinkedIn accounts, you won’t be able to see everyone who’s clicked on your profile, but you will be able to see some. I reach out to those who have checked out my profile – more about how to do this later – to connect with prospects.

2) Set your Privacy Controlslinkedin button

You’ll find these by going to the LinkedIn navigation bar, looking all the way to the right, where you’ll find a tiny photo of yourself. Hover over the photo and you’ll see a drop down menu, with Privacy and Settings as an option.

Here you can turn on or off your activity broadcast settings. When building your profile, you will want to turn these off so you don’t drive your network batty. But you will want to turn them back on and keep them on when your initial profile is complete so that your network can see your status updates.

You’ll also want to set up who can see your activity feeds with options including everyone, just your network, only you or only your connections. I have mine set to only my network.

3) Connect with People You Know

Start connecting with a few people you know, maybe just 20 to get started. Set a weekly or daily goal for yourself to add 10 new connections a day or 20 if you can.

LinkedIn Tip: Don’t just use the canned response when asking to connect, but make it personal. Say something like, “Hey Sharon, Thank you for all the great LinkedIn tips. I’d be honored if you’d be among my first connections here.” Or “I enjoyed working with you at X, and would love to catch up with what you are doing now.”

4) Schedule Time to Work LinkedIn

Set aside 10 to 15 minutes on your calendar each week for the next two months to devote to growing your network.

LinkedIn Sales Tip: When growing your network, take time to think about who might be a good strategic partner, a possible referral partner, or prospect. Set up a virtual coffee and call potential partners to see how you might help them. Ask what projects they are working on and ask what they need help with. Then rack your brain to see who you know might be able to help them or whether you can offer direct help. Remember, you aren’t selling anything here. You are just finding out how you can help your connection.

Be prepared for them to ask you the same questions, and write down a list of things you need help with – either personally or professionally. You never know, they might just be able to help you.

How to make a Custom LinkedIn URL

To make a custom public profile URL:  First, decide whether you are just going to have your name or something else, using your keywords, for example. Remember, it can be between 5 – 30 letters or numbers, but not spaces, symbols, or special characters. Then:

  • Select Edit Profile from your main LinkedIn navigation bar.linkedin button
  • Under your photo, you’ll see the URL, Click Edit.
  • In the bottom right of the Your public profile URL box, click “Customize your public profile URL”.
  • Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
  • Click Set Custom URL.

Some URLs may be taken. If a member uses a URL and then changes it, the URL they first chose will be unavailable for use by another member for several months. So check back from time to time if you really want something specific – it might just become available. LinkedIn does not make URLs available upon request.

Miss the LinkedIn week one? Find it here.

Are you following along? If so, I’d love to know if this weekly post is doable. Please let me know in the comments below.

 

 

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How To/Social Media

5 Weeks to LinkedIn Success – Getting Started

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

First in a Five Post Series

I’m helping a family law firm with their content marketing efforts, and learned that some of the attorneys do not have LinkedIn profiles and that others have profiles but aren’t doing much with them. These attorneys are very busy people, and the common reason they haven’t done anything with LinkedIn is due to the time crunch they believe is involved.linkedin button

As with anything, you get out of it what you put into it. Many high profile sales people like Jill Konrath, Lori Richardson and those in content marketing like Ardath Albee and Carole Mahoney have been highlighting the success businesses and professionals can achieve using LinkedIn. They provide tons of social proof.

What I’m creating is a step-by-step cheatsheet that anyone who is just starting with LinkedIn can use to get up to speed quickly in a few bite-sized chunks that don’t take a lot of time.

Here’s Week One. I’ll be sharing the other weeks over the course of the next four or five weeks. I’d appreciate your feedback.

Week One: Getting Started with Your LinkedIn Profile

Set up a profile/account

1)      Use your personal email to sign up so you always have access throughout your career.

2)      Find (or take) and upload a good professional headshot also known as a photo to accompany your profile. People want to know what you look like, and if you don’t have a photo, people will wonder why not or what are you hiding. A photo builds trust.

 

3)      Write a headline using your top keywords. Don’t just put your title but tell pepole who you are and what you do.

Here’s Mine:  B2B Content Writer | Freelance Journalist I create compelling content that helps companies connect with customers.

Read this great blog post, Crafting an SEO- and Human-Friendly LinkedIn Headline if you need more help in crafting a headline.

 

4)      Fill out this guide before you fill out the rest of your profile. Carole Mahoney wrote it to help folks like you. She is a LinkedIn expert who coaches people on how to use LinkedIn for sales.

5)      Upload the information you created from the Optimize your LinkedIn Profile worksheet.

No. 4 will take you a little bit of time. If you are feeling stumped at what to include in your profile, take a look at what other people have included in your profession. Don’t worry if they have a lot more information, links, connections and endorsements. Focus on what they have said and how they said it.

As I mentioned, I’ll be posting the additional weeks quick bites over the next four to five weeks. Since I’m delivering emails along these lines to my client each Tuesday, I’ll upload the posts that day as well.

Beginners: Please leave me questions about what might not be clear.
Veterans: I’d love to hear how I can improve this Cheat Sheet or what else you would have started off with. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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blogging/How To/Writing

Blogging Cheat Sheet

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

I’m setting up a blog for my client and overseeing 6 or 7 people who for the most part, haven’t blogged before.

In addition to setting up an editorial calendar, I’m also creating a Blogging Cheat Sheet, which I wanted to share.

 Blogging Cheat Sheet

  • Posts should be around 350 to 500 words.
  • Stick to one topic/idea.
  • Try to think about what your clients might be interested in knowing.
  • Try to create a catchy headline.
  • Graphics, pictures, charts and links are encouraged.
  • Subheads help the reader along.
  • End with a call to action that invites comments.
  • Remember to respond to each comment.
  • Promote via social media in a way that’s engaging.

 

What other handy tips and ideas do you keep top of mind when you are writing blog posts? I’d love to add your thoughts to my cheat sheet.

 

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