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A lot of people say they’re on LinkedIn, but they don’t know why they’re on LinkedIn. Viveka von Rosen answers that question and more.

People joined LinkedIn because they were told that they needed to or they were looking for a job or something like that. There are a couple things about LinkedIn that you should be aware of. First of all, it’s a perfect place for personal branding. You don’t have to pay for a website, you don’t have to pay for SEO, search engine optimization. You just show up on Google. So, it’s a really good idea if you’re on LinkedIn to have a good profile. Take a little bit of time to complete your profile bio. The second is, once they join, they may upload their contacts and they do nothing with it. The power of LinkedIn is using it’s different features, you can find, and pretty much connect or engage with almost anyone that you want to engage with. Whether it’s a potential client, customer, vendor, employee, strategic partner or someone in PR/marketing. You can get introduced to them through a mutual friend or send them a message after you’re connected, which has a better open rate than email, or pay for an InMail. Whatever method you choose to use, and LinkedIn has a lot of them, you really can find exactly who you’re looking for and reach out to them.

The advantage that LinkedIn has over the other social networks is that you’ll find more potential business contacts that you want to reach out to or connect with, on LinkedIn.

Although you have the option to send an invite to someone you don’t know to connect using the default LinkedIn message, it is better to write a custom note. If you don’t have their contact information, you can go to their profile picture and click on it. An even better method is to save their profile as a prospect and save them to contacts. If you use this method, you do not have to provide the “how do you know this person” information. Then from your contact list, you can create a custom message.
Most people feel uncomfortable reaching out to someone they’ve never met. Viveka suggests using introductions from common contacts to connect with someone on LinkedIn.
In real life, if you’re at a gathering, you could just walk up to someone and start talking with them, but it would be nicer if they were talking to someone that you already knew who could introduce you to the person.

In regards to building your LinkedIn profile, they offer two options for your contacts to tell others about you. The first is Recommendations and the second is Endorsements. Endorsements are similar to Facebook Likes. It as simple as clicking a button. Most times you’ll get endorsements from people you don’t know very well for skills that you don’t have. As a test Viveka added “underwater basket weaving”. She got 78 endorsements for that before she deleted it from her profile. Nonetheless, it’s an opportunity to get in touch with someone. If you’ve gotten an endorsement from someone you’ve lost touch with or who would make a good connection, you can hover your mouse over that endorsement and reply with a thank you for endorsing me. That may lead to a conversation which would lead to more business.

Recommendations are long form testimonials. So someone who knows you well, hopefully, would write a recommendation for you. A good practice is to contact people who have given you testimonials in the past that are currently on your website. If you’re not already connected with them on LinkedIn, connect with them, if needed, remind them of the recommendation and and ask them to update it on LinkedIn. This will accomplish three things, first, gets you top of mind, refresh your connection with them and lastly, gets you another recommendation. The overall advantage of recommendations is that the more recommendations that you have the higher your profile will rank in a search for the keywords contained in your recommendations.

Follow Viveka on Twitter
LinkedIn.com/in/LinkedInExpert
LinkedIntoBusiness.com

Bruce Himmelblau is lead producer and YouTube Marketing Strategist at Blue Sky Video Productions, Lake Forest, IL.
In addition to producing BSVP On-Site, promotional videos and corporate communications, he also manages YouTube channels for businesses.

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