LinkedIn can be an underrated and important way to increase traffic to your website, and thus, increase business! I spoke with Daniel Alfon, a LinkedIn specialist, to learn more about how you can leverage the platform to help you grow your business. Read on for some of his biggest tips:
Daniel: I'm a LinkedIn specialist and I help business owners and consultants leverage the world's largest business platform.
Natalie: LinkedIn is continuing to grow in popularity and it's obviously relevant to anyone in business. When did you start doing this and how did your journey get started?
Daniel: I joined LinkedIn in early 2004, and the first time I gave a real training was probably 2007. I used LinkedIn when I was in sales and it helped me shorten my own sales cycle. And then I started helping friends, and I gradually morphed into a LinkedIn specialist.
Natalie: So what do you do as a LinkedIn specialist specifically?
Daniel: Get revenues and forwarders and clients. And if we think about business owners who are in the photography business, or may listen to this episode, then quick suggestion: instead of trying to think of Linkedin as just another [social] platform, try to think about LinkedIn a bit differently.
I worked with a photographer and I asked her a couple of questions. 10% of her business was business portraits…a series of photos for the website. And what we realized is that it didn't make sense to try and target the end-user on Linkedin.
If you're a photographer and you have a small portion of B2B, then that's what you should do on LinkedIn. And she tripled her revenues just by doing this.
Natalie: What kind of approach do photographers take on LinkedIn versus other social media? Because with Instagram, for example, you're really focused on the imagery. Is it the same on LinkedIn or is there something else that people sort of emphasize on LinkedIn versus other platforms?
Daniel: Well, one key differences being a frequency of sharing. Think of Instagram there.
They may share a few times a day would be normal. And even some people would do more than that. On LinkedIn, if you share twice a day, you're almost unnatural. It doesn't make sense for most of the people to see.
Think of your LinkedIn profile as a website that should make people understand the services you offer. Build a decent profile first. You don't have to share a lot.
If the profile doesn't work, no one will reach out to you. If we run a Google search for the photographer's name, in many cases, their LinkedIn profile tends to be the very first result. The very first result.
Natalie: That's fascinating because I think a lot of people do think of just their website. Thinking about your LinkedIn profile as a website is a really interesting thing. Do you have a tip for someone that is just brand new to LinkedIn to either make sure you do or make sure you don't do?
The first question is, who's your ideal reader on LinkedIn.
If I were into photography, then the marketing manager may be my ideal reader. And because this will be business portraits [for example], then if I'm based in new Minneapolis area, I would try to imagine the someone working at United health or Sweden or US Bank Corp.
When I think about those people, we ask ourselves the second question.
The second question is: what action would will like those people to perform if they visited in your profile.
Natalie: What do you think is the most efficient next action?
Daniel: It could be a whole bunch of things, but generally speaking people convert better on your websites. Simply making sure that our, our main photo website is well-represented on our profile is an action that would take 30 seconds. Maybe we worked on a website for four years, but just to add to the LinkedIn profile to feature it, it will literally take less than a minute. It will make a lot of people understand the services you offer.
Because you're dealing with photographers, you could also leverage the banner on top of your profile photo. And that's free real estate. It's easily leveraged, a thin image with a stunning photo. Maybe your logo or your name or something to make people stop and say, “I want to check this out.”
Natalie: What is question number three?
Daniel: The third and last question should be: “if I were a manager in that company and I visited my own profile, would I feel compelled to visit your website and understand that you offer those services”?
Natalie: That makes perfect sense. I am curious for folks that might be sitting there looking at their LinkedIn profile for the first time in a long time, what is something that you recommend not doing.
Daniel: One quick tip would be to try and ask someone who's not connected with you on LinkedIn to show you how your profile looks. What matters is not what we see in our own profile, but what other people see.
So that could take literally a minute. Then you would notice that, for example, you are sure that you uploaded a profile photo, but that person, when they look at your profile, they don't see the profile photo. You can understand that there is a setting on LinkedIn that you made your profile photo private for only your own connections.
So if you have say 900 connections, those people will see a photo, but you know, LinkedIn has close to 1 billion users and two people sign up every second. 90% of the world's population will not see your profile photo.
Natalie: Is there anything else sort of just top level that, that folks do that you see where you're you would recommend not to do.
Daniel: What I would suggest you start is to start connecting only with people you know well.
Then the minute you start accepting invitations for people you don't know, you'll lose the opportunity to get a referral. And in our businesses, sometimes referral is the best way to gain new clients.
Natalie: Speak a little more about that sort of why it's important to just keep people in that circle of organic connection . Are there other benefits to keeping your network or growing your network that way?
Daniel: The other benefits, your feed is going to be a lot more interesting from the people you're connected with. So what they do on LinkedIn is relevant.
Natalie: That's a really great tip for people starting out and you're right. It is kind of annoying when there's just all sorts of stuff coming at you from people that you don't know. It's not really relevant and it's not really helpful. So well, before we wrap up, I'm curious about the messaging part of LinkedIn, because I do get messages from all sorts of random folks. Do you have any high-level basic suggestions about how to use the messaging tool?
Daniel: You may be surprised, but I would actually advise her our audience here not to use the messaging link title on LinkedIn at all.
If you don't want people to read your messages, message them on LinkedIn. It's so clunky. Like when you send someone a message, that they see your name, but they can see the message itself. They need to click, they need to log it to LinkedIn.
They see tiny little window with maybe the first word…it's not easy for them. If they hit reply, it doesn't give back to you. It's not one of the best parts of the LinkedIn platform. And we're never want to message someone with whom you are connected then by simply visiting their profile and clicking on their contact.
You will see their primary email in 99% of the cases. Grab that email, go to gmail, go to outlook, whatever you use and the chances of their message being delivered, read understood and replied to are tripled.
Natalie: I agree with you. One of the exercises that I have in my coaching program is to, to ask for the sale, but doing it directly.
So not just blanketing people with a message. That appears more intentional to me and not as spammy too, because, it is a direct contact. So, a few posts a week would be the best is sort of the best way to, you know, reach out and let people know that you're you're there?
Daniel: You could share…anything that would educate your ideal reader.
Also when you write such content, and also show examples in your visual photography, that strengthens your thought-leadership on LinkedIn. And then people are likely to remember you, when they need a photographer. Even once a week would work.
Being consistent on LinkedIn is also a very good way of behaving in a way that will grow your business. If you can only publish or share something once a month, that's fine, but do it once a month.
Natalie: In everything you want to achieve, consistency is key. So I always recommend with all of the things that people are managing, just pick a day, you know, maybe Wednesday is your LinkedIn day or something. And, and that way you can just stay consistent with it.
Do you have a final piece of advice, just LinkedIn related or in general, that that helps you in business?
Daniel: It took me a long time, but at one point I decided to fire clients I didn't enjoy working with.
Though I had less revenues, I slept a lot better. And I found that attracting the sort of clients that have become friends, it makes everything easier on my end. You don't have to accept everything. Pick the ones you'd like, cause they would appreciate your skillset a lot more than people who are only interested about price or not fair in the way they behave with you.
Natalie: Well, and that's excellent advice.
Daniel Alfon is the author of Build a LinkedIn Profile for Business Success.