Blog Post #4: Make a True Connection Between Your Website & Brand to LinkedIn

 

          The Great Web Bear

Blog Post #4

Make a True Connection Between Your Website & Brand to LinkedIn

By: Shando Darby – Senior Vice President & Marketing of Ursinet Hosting

During my first year of marketing for Ursinet Hosting, the main tool I have found useful and fulfilling is my LinkedIn profile. I cannot stress enough that if you are in business for yourself, you need a LinkedIn profile, both for you as an individual and for your business enterprise. Let me say it one more time: YOU NEED A LINKEDIN PROFILE IF YOU ARE IN BUSINESS FOR YOURSELF. I know all-caps can be scary, but in this case I’m not yelling at you (maybe a little), to get a LinkedIn profile.  If you already have one, make sure it is up to date and regularly maintained!

There are so many ways to utilize LinkedIn for your company, your brand and yourself. No, LinkedIn is not paying me to be a spokesperson (although if someone from LinkedIn is looking for a spokesperson, contact me at shando@ursinet.com).

I spend a good deal of time on LinkedIn and I realize not everyone has that kind of time to put into it, between the demands of running your own business and getting new clients for said business, but if you can, take thirty minutes to an hour every morning to connect on LinkedIn, I can almost guarantee you are going to see results, not only for your business, but for business inspiration.  LinkedIn is a great source for following those whose values you share.

All Star Status on LinkedIn

On LinkedIn profiles there is a metric called “Profile Strength.”  One’s goal should be to get that to “All Star” status. To see how one can achieve this status, check out this article by Lisa K. MacDonald “LinkedIn All-Star Status Rocks & How To Reach it in 7 Steps”. She is an executive resume writer, brand strategist and career coach. She helps people with their LinkedIn usage.


Some extra steps I take beyond reaching All Star Status

I find it imperative to stay connected to people on LinkedIn, because you can only imagine how they might facilitate business growth, refer or recommend to potential clients, or even become your next client! I also don’t want to solely look at my LinkedIn connections as “the next sale” or even worse, I just see them as a “$”!  Everyone should be treated as a human being first, and client subsequently, if it comes to that. You want to be trustworthy and authentic. You don’t want to seem like a sleazy business person/ambulance chaser who is just trying to sell, sell, sell. I try to share a little of my personal life and humor with people, and in return, I give back what I get from others. Of course there is going to be the occasional uncomfortable interaction, but don’t let those get you down or discourage you from connecting with others.

Another step to make through your connections are to endorse people on their skills within their profiles. They in turn will endorse your skill too! This is a great way to let the world know what you are the best at when it comes to your skills. Endorsements are usually found at the top of a connection’s profile page or sometimes about a 4th of the way down. Not everyone has their settings set to have endorsements so don’t worry if you don’t see someone’s skills. 

A non-intrusive way to keep in touch with LinkedIn connections is to use the site’s suggestions like “Ways to Keep In Touch”. This is found on your home page of your profile at the top right hand corner. Everyday you will see your connections there who have either started a new job or have an anniversary at their current job. It comes with a very generic, pre-written, boilerplate statement. For example, upon clicking on a connection with a new job, the generic message says “Congrats on the new job!” I supplement this with a specific name for a personal touch, and then I add a salutation with a sentence like “Hope you’re doing well!” together with my signature block:

“Sincerely,

Shando Darby

www.ursinet.com (Web Hosting)

www.shandopics.com (Photography)”

I have not only personalized the generic greeting, but I also let them know me and my companies, so that they might take a peek at the sites and become a potential client or share their interest in these subjects. When I do a whole batch of these on a given day, I copy and paste the message, so that I’m not typing those words hundreds of times, but still, I manage to personalize and let myself be known as well. Another area you will find “Ways to Keep In Touch” are under the tab “Connections”.

How to Choose Who to Connect To

Personally, I do not have a lot of criteria to connect with someone. But that also doesn’t mean I send out a connection request to everyone on LinkedIn. Here is my criteria:

1.We have to have at least ten or more connections in common.

I used to live in Boston, MA and in New England, they like to meet you through other people. It is just the East Coast way of things in my personal experience, but this comes in handy on LinkedIn cause the best way to connect is by seeing you already have other connections in common. It eases people into connecting and takes you out of the “creep/stalker” zone if you catch my drift.

2. You must have a clear profile photo of your face and your real name in your profile.

We all like to see who we are talking to, so if a person can’t even have a decent photograph of themselves on a website that is supposed to be about business connections, then it implies they are already hiding something. I also don’t connect with people who look like they took a photo of themselves in the bathroom trying to look “sexy” or “scandalous” as that is just unprofessional. There are other websites for that behavior and I just feel LinkedIn is not one of them, even if you are in the adult entertainment industry or a personal trainer. This is a place where one really should put one’s best foot forward; that means keeping your clothes on.

I also try to steer clear of those who do not share my core values. For example, I’m a vegetarian. Therefore I obviously don’t eat meat so I don’t want to connect with you if your photo is of you with you “new kill” of Bambi, or some other animal. Now if you hunt and that isn’t listed in your profile and I find out later you hunt, I’m not going to disconnect from you, but if I can tell by your photo we aren’t sharing similar values, then I am going to pass on that connection. I also try to steer clear of “political” profiles. If all you spew on LinkedIn is more extreme conservatism, then we aren’t going to make a great connection. Once again, there are other places to talk politics, and I feel LinkedIn isn’t one of them. You don’t want to get into political debates with people when you are trying to promote your business and brand. Let people ask you your values perhaps and what you stand for, and they can make their own decisions to be your client or not.  Blatant politics to spur on a debate is just not a great idea in a professional social networking site..

I hope this blog has helped you think about LinkedIn in a new light.  Start on a path to success for yourself and your business!

Connect with me on LinkedIn right now!

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