Level Up Your LinkedIn® Presence to Grow Your Business, Brand and Network
April 13, 2022 | Webinar
With 810 million members, LinkedIn® is the largest professional network in the world. It is often the first place people go to learn about you and your business. The B2B platform is a powerful tool in your marketing toolbox. Are you using it to its full potential? Digital educator Sulemaan Ahmed, of Servo Annex and Brian Tietje, Global Client Director of LinkedIn Corporation, joined the Wednesdays with Woodward lineup and showed us strategies to develop your brand on LinkedIn® networking services, engage your audience and grow your business in the new world of social selling.
Whether you’re new to LinkedIn® networking services or a seasoned vet, here are the top tips that industry experts Brian Tietje and Sulemaan Ahmed shared in Level Up Your LinkedIn® Presence to Grow Your Business, Brand and Network:
Click each key point to jump directly within the webinar to watch and hear more.
On creating your profile … first impressions count. “Imagine that your LinkedIn® is your biography. The front page … that’s going to get people to pick it off the shelves and start reading,” said Ahmed. The key ingredients?
- Professional photos. “Make an investment in having professional headshots taken,” recommended Tietje. “Having someone take a picture of you in front of a plain backdrop is also sufficient.”
- An impactful headline. “This is very valuable real estate that should be personalized,” said Tietje. “You don’t want to put up that best billboard in the most expensive place and not have something impactful, right?”
- A creative “about” section. “It’s your elevator pitch. How are you going to separate yourself from everyone else that does what you do?” Tietje remarked. “It’s your why. People don’t respond to what you do, they respond to why you do it.”
- Tell, don’t sell. “Think about the things that you’ve done that stand out. I want to hear about the story. I want to hear about the problem-solving. I want to know the depth of the person,” Tietje noted. Ahmed agreed. “Clients don’t care that you hit Presidents’ Club,” he said. “If you tell me that you’ve retained 90% of your clients over 20 years, now you have my attention.”
On growing your network … it’s not a popularity contest. “It’s about the quality of the network, not the quantity,” Tietje remarked. Connect with clients, and people you know and trust first. Leverage existing relationships. Follow influencers and thought leaders. “Think about the people who would come to your wedding and your funeral. These are people that love you, care for you, that will show up for you,” added Ahmed. “It doesn’t always have to be the person exactly in your industry. You don’t know who that person knows.”
On building your brand … focus on the individual over the institution. “People don’t connect with brands, they connect with people,” said Ahmed, citing data that shows higher engagement with posts on personal pages than on company pages.
On finding your niche … leverage your expertise. “Follow the market where it’s taking you,” noted Tietje. “What are the top three reasons someone calls you for advice? That’s a good guiding light. The audience you want to make an impact on is no different than you; they have the same meter that says this is quality or not.”
On engaging with your network … keep it real. How much, how often and what should you post, share, like or comment on? Both Ahmed and Tietje agree that there are no hard and fast rules. “The best practice would be to do something at least once a week,” Tietje recommended. Tag people. Use hashtags. Share content relevant to your audience. Whatever you do, just “be real,” said Ahmed. “If you’re sincere and looking out for people, helping them, people can see that real quick.”
On boosting search visibility … own your Google® listing, add value on LinkedIn® services. Having a LinkedIn® profile is one of the easiest ways to show up in search engines, noted Ahmed. “Google yourself from the perspective that a client’s looking you up and see what shows up. At that moment of truth, you better own what’s there,” he said. On LinkedIn® services, creating and engaging with content that’s relevant and helpful to your audience is the key to a top-tier listing. “If you’re always looking to add value and you’re willing to get out on the dance floor, once in a while you make an impact,” said Tietje.
On LinkedIn’s® premium services … master the basics first. Paid services like LinkedIn Sales Navigator™ and LinkedIn® Premium are great tools for generating leads and promoting your brand. But as Tietje cautioned, “make that investment after you maximize what you can do with the basic free account. If you’re not doing the basic skills correctly, it’s not going to miraculously go away because you bought a premium product.”
On getting started … it’s never too late. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the next best time’s today,” Ahmed encouraged. Take baby steps. Build your profile. Then connect, share, engage, evolve and grow — that’s what LinkedIn® networking services was designed to help you do. “Change is constant for all of us,” said Tietje. “Those that evolve with the constant web of change stay on top of our game.”
Presented by the Travelers Institute, the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, the MetroHartford Alliance, the Accion Opportunity Fund, the Young Risk Professionals Twin Cities Chapter and the Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) Women's Business Center.
Text, Wednesdays with Woodward (registered trademark) Webinar Series
Joan Woodward in a video window in the upper right corner.
JOAN WOODWARD: Good afternoon. And thank you for joining us. I'm Joan Woodward, President of the Travelers Institute, which is our public policy and educational arm of Travelers. Welcome to Wednesdays with Woodward, a webinar series where we convene leading experts for conversations about today's biggest challenges, both personal and professional. And today's session, talking about LinkedIn,straddles both professional and personal.
Text, About Travelers Institute (registered trademark) Webinars. The Wednesdays With Woodward (registered trademark) educational webinar series is presented by the Travelers Institute, the public policy division of Travelers. This program is offered for informational and educational purposes only. You should consult with your financial, legal, insurance or other advisors about any practices suggested by this program. Please note that this session is being recorded and may be used as Travelers deems appropriate.
So, before we get started, I'd like to share our disclaimer about today's program.
Wednesdays with Woodward Webinar Series. Level Up Your LinkedIn (registered trademark) Presence to Grow Your Business, Brand and Network. Logos, ACE, Women's Business Center; Metro Hartford Alliance; American Property Casualty Insurance Association; Accion Opportunity Fund; Young Risk Professionals, Twin Cities Chapter; c.b.i.a. Travelers Institute, Travelers
A really big thanks also to our partners for the program today, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the Metro Hartford Alliance, the American Property and Casualty Insurance Association, ACE, Women's Business Center, Accion Opportunity Fund, and Young Risk Professionals of the Twin Cities.
So today we're going to talk about LinkedIn, the largest professional network in the world. I'm assuming that most of you have a LinkedIn account. I know I'm connected with many of you already.
So, my question to you is this: Are you using this platform to its full potential? And I know I'm not. I have a lot to learn here.
So, it's a powerful business and marking tool for all of us. And it's going to help you build your credibility, engage prospects and grow your business. So, joining us today are two leading experts who will show us how to optimize your LinkedIn profile and how best to use this powerful B2B platform to grow your business.
Photos and text, Speakers. Joan Woodward, Executive Vice President, Public Policy; President, Travelers Institute; Travelers. Sulemaan Ahmed, Co-founder and Principal Educator, Servo Annex; Brian Tietje, Global Client Director, LinkedIn Corporation
First up, Sulemaan Ahmed is the co-founder and principal educator of Servo Annex, a Toronto-based company, which provides hands-on coaching to senior executives on how to use all digital platforms, social media and mobile tools. Sulemaan helps leaders and brands develop differentiated strategies and navigate the reputational challenges and risks of social media. He's worked with top companies across the globe, and has worked at Apple, Sears and Air Canada.
I heard Sulemaan on a webinar not too long ago run by my friend Lisa Shalett, and I had to have him on my program. His insights were just fantastic. So, we're excited to have you, Sulemaan.
Today, we're also joined by Brian Tietje, Global Client Director for LinkedIn. He's been with LinkedIn since 2007. Brian was one of the earliest employees at LinkedIn. He was the first remote salesperson for the East Coast.
He now leads a global team of professionals, who highlight all of LinkedIn's broad portfolio of products and services. Prior to his current position, Brian was Global Account Manager for LinkedIn's Elevate platform, which enables businesses to curate content for their team members to share, thus boosting and broadening the business presence on that platform. And before LinkedIn, Brian worked for a number of tech companies.
So welcome to you both. Thanks so much for being here.
Woodward shares the screen with Brian, then Sulemaan.
So, I want to pose a question to our audience first.
When someone meets you or when you're going to meet a client, you Google that person, right? So what comes up when you Google yourself? Sulemaan, I'm going to go to you first. You called it the zero moment of truth, Googling yourself.
SULEMAAN AHMED: So, thanks for having me today on the show, Joan.
All three speakers on screen.
I think the first question I'd ask is that zero moment of truth, is when we look up a babysitter, or a client, or a hire, or a kid's soccer coach, what do we do? We typically go to Google and look them up. So, the zero moment of truth isn't when someone comes to one of your advisors, one of your broker's offices.
The zero moment of truth, it used to be that they'd come to their office, let's say they have an office in Indianapolis. Now what they're going to do is go to Google first and look them up. So, the question at that zero moment of truth, I'd ask everyone today is Google yourself from the perspective that a client's looking you up. What shows up?
JOAN WOODWARD: Great. Great. And are there ways you can help your Google profile? Search engine optimization on your own person, is that possible or you have really no control over what is out there?
SULEMAAN AHMED: No, you definitely do. And LinkedIn is probably, I would say, the easiest platform to leverage to make sure that that shows up. So, I don't know if your viewers remember that lady called the Octomom, she had like eight or 14 kids. And she was on the news. And she was an exotic dancer, I'll say.
And the challenge is that her last name was spelled like my first name. So, when you Googled me, she showed up. And that's not necessarily what I want to have. And Brian's laughing, because he remembers that. So, I just decided I have to take control of that and that's using things like LinkedIn, Twitter, my website and other platforms to control that first page, because Google's U.S.'s data shows 94% of people don't go past page one in the search results. So, at that moment of truth, you better own what's there, or someone's going to own it for you, like the Octomom.
JOAN WOODWARD: Wow. OK. All right, so, Brian, so you've been with LinkedIn for a very long time. How has it evolved? I remember having kind of a paper Rolodex, right, on my desk, several of them. And now you have this massive B2B platform. Tell us about that evolution?
BRIAN TIETJE: I would definitely say the paper-based Rolodex in the early days of LinkedIn is a very good comparison. I think that's really what it was. And what the key drivers are dovetailing into Google is as Google is to information search, LinkedIn is to people search, right? And so, you can really find the world's professionals on LinkedIn, right?
The power to access almost 800 million people almost instantaneously has never been possible before. And an index of people, companies and the content they engage is really where LinkedIn is today. But you have to have a plan to kind of get through all the clutter, right? Because there is a lot of information, a lot of data, a lot of red herrings, and so you have to have a game plan, like everything else to be successful in this world.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK. So now, we are going to ask the audience some questions. And the reason we're doing this is we want to tailor this conversation to you and what you might want to get out of this conversation with our experts. So, we want to find out about you, our audience.
So, the first polling question we have is, how active are you on LinkedIn? So, you can only answer this one way: I post original content weekly or more often. I like or comment on people's post a few times a week. I post monthly.
I have an account, but I am not active. I do not have a LinkedIn account. So just one answer, please, so we can get a sense of how active our viewers are on this platform. Give it a second here.
- So, it looks like about 43% of our audience post weekly or likes or comments on other people's posts weekly. And then we have probably an evenly split amount of 50% of the people say they have an account, but they don't know what to do with it, or they don't have an account, or they post monthly, which probably is not an effective cadence there.
So, OK. So, 50-50. We have some experienced users, and then we have some people that really can use our help. All right, next question. Give it a second.
How many connections do you have on LinkedIn? 200 or less. 200 to 500. More than 500. And I know LinkedIn says you could see up to the actual number of 500, then, once it gets passed, it just says 500 plus. So, let's get a sense of our audience here.
BRIAN TIETJE: And Joan, that was purposely done by Reid Hoffman, because he didn't want it to be a popularity contest of how many numbers can I accumulate, right? It's about the quality of the network, not the quantity of the network.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK. So again, it looks like of a third, a third, a third. 40% of 200 or less, OK. And then a third in the middle. Another third more than 500. OK, so very mixed audience, which is great, because we're going to talk about things that all of us can benefit from.
Last question for the audience. And I want to hear more about Reid Hoffman and how he designed LinkedIn in a second there, Brian. OK, so you can choose as many as you want here.
What do you use LinkedIn for? Networking, industry news, job seeking, recruiting, professional brand building, social selling, which is a very sophisticated way to use LinkedIn, or finding clients and growing your business. So, let's take a look at that and those results.
OK, so it looks like networking, industry news, job seeking-- kind of all over the map. Not a lot of people are using it for social selling, which is fine. Finding clients, a lot of people want to hear more about being able to find clients, et cetera. So, we have a variety of levels here.
And I want to mention at this point that we actually did kind of a little cheat sheet for my audience. And it's going to be thrown in the chat right now. I have two downloadable tip sheets that you can access right now during our session. One is for my agent and broker community friends, so that's a specific one just for agent and brokers. And the other tip sheet is for everyone else, everyone else who's a business professional.
So, I want to start out with the basics here. And we're going to go to Brian first. So, let's talk about the basics of LinkedIn.
There are four elements, right? Your photo, your headline, your summary or your “about” section, and your experience. So, we'll tick through these quickly just to get a level set for those people who are not that familiar with how to build your brand on the site. So, Brian, the profile pic. What kind of photo should this be? What kind of background?
BRIAN TIETJE: It should be a professional photograph, either a plain background or something professionally appropriate for your industry. You know, nothing inspires trust like a pair of sunglasses. And so, unless you're in the travel industry, probably you don't want to have a pair of sunglasses on, right?
And other things-- cutting out your former significant other in that picture or that old wedding pic that you use, also not a good representation, especially in a professional industry. So, make an investment in having professional headshots taken. I think it's a phenomenal investment for the value you'll get in return. If you don't have that in your budget, having someone take a picture of you or numerous ones in front of a plain background is also sufficient.
When we get down to the headline, there's different opinions on this. My opinion is that it's very valuable real estate and it should be personalized. It should not be your job title, because I feel that your job title from a discovery perspective is already in your experience. So, if someone's going to put in a search for that job title, you're going to come up regardless.
And so why use that valuable real estate? You don't want to put up that best billboard in the most expensive place and not have something impactful, right? And I think that's the equivalent there.
And then summary-- this becomes the last bit of the 90% part of the battle, right? It's your elevator pitch. You have 15 seconds max to introduce yourself to someone, how are you going to separate yourself from everyone else that does what you do very briefly and succinctly and professionally? And I think that's something we should all rehearse in the mirror very often, because opportunities come in all shapes, sizes in front of us. And you should be ready to be able to meet your professional idol at any point in time, that's kind of how I frame it up for people.
And then experience, that's the last 10%. You know, you're not selling to a recruiter. You want to be available for your prospects and your clients, and that's very different than saying, hey, I'm a top producer.
A top producer is great for making yourself more valuable, but top producer to a potential prospect is a bit of a red flag. Are they really in it for me? Are they going to be my fiduciary? Are they looking out, or are they just trying to make money? You've got to take both sides.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK. All right, Sulemaan, I think you have some thoughts here on the different elements, too. So, the headline, arguably is, as Brian says, the most important real estate. Do you think we should put our titles there? Because a lot of people say I'm a dreamer, I'm a networker, I'm a connector, but that doesn't really tell people what I do. So, do you think the title should be weaved in there somewhere, or-- ?
SULEMAAN AHMED: So, what I would say is I love Brian. But I would say that, in my view, the headline section depends if you have a common name. Because if, let's say, someone searches on LinkedIn and it's a common name, and then I'm looking for that person and if in that search field if it doesn't show where I work, then I may not see with that piece. But that's an opinion.
I think, actually, what we recommend to our clients is ask your clients. We actually recommend to people take a draft of your LinkedIn profile-- like some of your participants here are saying they don't have LinkedIn profiles, that's fine, because maybe they never saw value to it. Like, let's start baby steps. Like, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next best time is today.
So, I think that if they build a profile-- but the profile, to Brian's point, where I do agree with him is LinkedIn, I don't think, is to find a job. I think LinkedIn is to find clients and have clients find you. And I think if you change that framing, it's a lot different for the headline.
The photograph, I agree with him. If you're in the sunglasses industry, then wear sunglasses. What I would recommend to a client-- like one of our clients is in insurance, and they deal with a lot of farmers with large farms. And so, he said if I wear my suit and tie, the farmers I deal with are going to ask me, where's the funeral? Like, why are you dressed up like that?
So, I asked him, I said, well, how do you dress when you meet your clients? He's like, seriously? I'm like, yeah, tell me. He's like, I wear overalls and a John Deere cap. I'm like, well, that's what you should wear in your profile photo.
JOAN WOODWARD: What about--
SULEMAAN AHMED: Go ahead.
JOAN WOODWARD: No, no, OK. I'm just thinking about my picture, which does not have a plain background. So, I probably need to change that.
So, let's talk a little bit about the summary section.
SULEMAAN AHMED: Yeah.
JOAN WOODWARD: This is 2,600 characters max. And should that be written in the first person or the third person? Should I be speaking as myself or about myself?
SULEMAAN AHMED: You're asking Brian or me?
JOAN WOODWARD: Both of you.
SULEMAAN AHMED: OK. My answer to that was I suggest to people I want you to imagine that your LinkedIn is your biography. So, the front page is your photo, title, the masthead image. That's going to get people to pick it off the shelves, and then start reading.
But before that, they're going to look at the summary section at the back. So that's exactly what Brian explained as the elevator pitch, if you will. But to use a term from Simon Sinek, it's your why.
So, people don't respond to what you do, they respond to why you do it. And I think that that's how I would position that experience, because once you look at the front, which Brian described, and then the back, then I start looking down and reading more. But you want to get people's attention in that moment of truth.
JOAN WOODWARD: All right, Brian, first person or third person?
BRIAN TIETJE: Well, I'm very, very opinionated about this. It's your profile about yourself, so it should be in the first person. I have a very personal disdain for third-person profiles. It's great if it's on a corporate website, awesome. But LinkedIn is not a corporate website.
JOAN WOODWARD: All righty. What about the experience section? So, people sometimes just drop in their resume and kind of call it a day. What do you suggest on the experience? Should you kind of wander off in creative language, or should you really just stick to the basics about I did x, y and z.
BRIAN TIETJE: Well, first and foremost, having your client or prospect in mind is important, right? And those are different audiences in which we're writing for from a resume versus trying to engage prospects. And so, think about the things that you've done that stand out.
One of the number one things I'll ask in an interview is what are the top three things you're most proud of in your last role? I want to hear about the story. I want to hear about the problem-solving. I want to know the depth of the person, right?
I mean at the end of the day, most of the skills I can train. But I can't teach someone to be passionate. And I can't teach someone to be passionate about client outcomes, right? And so, these are some of the subtleties that we can weave into our experiences if we're thinking about the things we're most proud of accomplishing in our roles, which is very different than just pure duties, and/or I was x number of percent, or I was in the President's Club.
SULEMAAN AHMED: Yeah.
JOAN WOODWARD: And what about using kind of rich media in this section, the videos or podcasts you may have done? Is that the right place to put it in the experience section, Sulemaan?
SULEMAAN AHMED: I think it is. But I would be judicious, because if you're putting up 12 videos, it's like you're overwhelming people with stuff. Pick one or two that really stand out.
And, people will laugh at this-- I actually at one point got three photos from my LinkedIn profile, and I sent them to clients, and asked them, which do you think’s the best? And they were all like, that one. And they're all like, this one never use. So, I used the one that they told me. And I think that's where I take the direction from.
And I'm a little bit different from Brian on this one, on the first and third person, my view is what does the client think? If your best clients feel that third person is better, then that's what I advise with. Or if they feel first person's better, there's arguments pro and for. My answer is in the event of "I'm sure or you're not sure," ask a client. They'll tell you.
And to Brian's point earlier, everyone should have a really clear view of who their client is. So, to his point, if I'm going after clients, they don't care that as an insurance agent I hit President's Club. That just means you can sell a lot. If you tell me that you've retained 25% of your clients. Or rather, sorry, 90% of your clients over 20 years. Now you have my attention.
JOAN WOODWARD: Got it. Good.
SULEMAAN AHMED: Completely different way of positioning it.
JOAN WOODWARD: Yeah. No, that's good. It's about measuring success for the client, not just your own personal success in your career you're saying, right?
SULEMAAN AHMED: It's exactly what Brian said. And that's why I think for the folks who answered the poll that aren't on LinkedIn, it's OK. I actually think it's better, because they can now build it up in the right way, as opposed to creating something of garbage. And it's like you're building a house, and now you got to rip up the floors down to the studs and clean everything.
Like, I had a client who just-- and one of the people asked this question, like, what do I do about connections, and we'll get to that-- but he just added everybody. And then it took literally days to clean out his network connections to remove people. So, I would be judicious in how I build it out. For me, I only connect with people I've met, like, and trust. That's my criteria. But everyone’s different.
JOAN WOODWARD: And how often should you update your profile, right? Every time you, obviously, get a new job or something, or if you get a new certificate, or--. How often should you look at your profile make sure it's correct?
BRIAN TIETJE: I would go with spring cleaning. I mean, at least once a year.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK.
BRIAN TIETJE: Is it still relevant, right? I mean at the end of the day, change is constant for all of us. And those of us that evolve with the constant web of change stay on top of our game. For those of us that kind of get lost in our ways and we don't want to change, then you get disconnected from the market. And I think the way you brand yourself is no different.
And I think especially for folks that are 50 plus, I think it's even more important, right? Because, unfortunately, there's ageism in the marketplace. And you have to be aware of that. And so, having that forward thought of, hey, I'm still consistently out there. I'm still innovating, I'm still making major contributions becomes even more important.
JOAN WOODWARD: That's really good advice for us 50-plus-year-olds. So OK, good. Let's talk about the way people get LinkedIn delivered to them. Mostly now on our phones, right, Brian?
You've been at LinkedIn a long time. Originally, it was just on the laptop or the computer, but most people are scanning LinkedIn on phones these days, correct? And how do we best capture what we want the audience to see when it's on this little device.
BRIAN TIETJE: Well, always use yourself and how you consume content and how you react to things, right? The audience that you want to make an impact on are no different than you. They have the same they have the same meter that says, [IMITATES BUZZER], this is quality or not quality instantaneously, right? Because we're all subjected to, what, hundreds, if not thousands, of subliminal marketing messages all day long, right?
Think about what would you find valuable-- and make sure you use that same measurement against the content you're putting out there, or engaging, or re-sharing. I think that's a really good barometer for conveying or conducting yourself on LinkedIn. That to me is the number one factor.
What I've always been amazed at is that leading organizations here throughout the U.S.-- I mean, look at the Fortune 100-- some of their marketing departments and the way they go about engaging their prospects, they would never fall for themselves. Right? It's like, you can't leave your intellect at the doorstep. And especially for us in the industry that Traveler supports, the people you're engaging are very successful, right? And so you've got to almost up the bar to meet that criteria.
JOAN WOODWARD: Yeah. That's a good challenge for all of us on the phone here. So, let's talk about building the network. And Sulemaan, you went there in terms of how you think about building your network, but just let's go back to the basics.
What's the difference between following someone and actually connecting with someone? And what should we be doing out there to strategically build our network, even if we've been on our jobs for a very long time? We know our network, it's very, kind of, small network, and we want to reach out to different people. How best to do that? And tell us about the difference between following and connecting with someone.
SULEMAAN AHMED: OK, so a couple of options. The first one I would say is-- for me, I think if, let's say, people watching today don't have a profile. So the question is, who do I start with? I actually, the way I answered the question, I said, I want you to think about the people would come to your wedding and your funeral. Connect with them first.
These are people that love you, they trust you, they care for you, that'll show up for you. Start with that. It doesn't always have to be the person exactly in your industry, because if we look at it from a digital networking perspective, you don't know who that person knows.
JOAN WOODWARD: Right. OK.
SULEMAAN AHMED: I'll give an example. I'm going to embarrass him, but whatever. I don't care.
Years ago, Brian works at LinkedIn, and he introduced me to a CEO of a large financial institution who became a client. But the CEO didn't work at LinkedIn. He's not in tech. He's in financial services. So, you don't know who's connected to who, and I think that's the way that I look at it.
In terms of following and connecting, you can follow certain people that you feel that are, quote, for lack of a better term, "influencers" or "thought leaders." The difference with connection is if you connect to someone, they accept. You will see their connections, unless they're hidden, and they can see yours.
So, that's the difference. And this was implemented, I think, a little while after Twitter had people could follow, so LinkedIn allowed that. So, people could follow a thought leader like Brian.
And I may not connect with them, because he's got 200,000 connections. So, managing that might be more difficult, but at least people want to see what he has to say. Or in your case, Joan, I think you have almost 10,000 connections or followers. So, people can follow you as a leader at Travelers, and what you're sharing, and what you're posting, and that kind of thing.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK. Brian, talk to us about groups. And should we be joining different groups in our industry, outside of our industry? How many people do you follow personally? I mean, is it great to follow a whole number of CEOs? Or, when I look at someone's profile it's just interesting to see who they're following, but what about joining groups?
BRIAN TIETJE: Well, so, one, just a couple of quick pieces. On the network, you can only connect to 30,000 people. And so, once that kind of became a thing, then LinkedIn added the follower. And so as Sulemaan has a benchmark of, hey, if I don't know you, I'm not going to connect with you, but if you still are interested in Sulemaan's content, you can at least follow him, right? And I think it's more designed for the public figures or large followers.
Groups is another amazing discovery area, right? But, like everything, there are some amazing groups that are super well-run by volunteers. And they're passionate about the content that they're contributing there, and the engagement, and, you know, curating the community. And there's a lot of dead-end groups, right? Just people joined and never came back.
And I think the challenge is a lot of people don't realize the amount of effort that goes into creating an amazing experience online. It is not trivial to make a compelling and impactful online experience over time, right? Even the amount of effort gone into creating this webcast for the benefit of everyone, consistently over a period of time, takes a lot of planning, a lot of resources. And the same thing would happen for a group.
So, what I suggest is opt into some of the groups that are aligned with your interests, both professionally and personally. See if they're delivering value, and if they are, great. Stick around, contribute, add on. If not, leave them.
And that's the same for your connections. You can weed the garden. With that same spring cleaning of your profile, go out and remove those connections that you wish you didn't have. No message gets sent to that member. Pull those dandelions out of your garden before they eat your string beans.
JOAN WOODWARD: Actually, that's really good advice. I'm going to throw in an anecdote. I wasn't going to say this, but we created a group at Travelers called SHE Travels.
And it's about three or four years ago, our CEO looked around and, you know, obviously, there's not a lot of women in the insurance industry. And we stood up this LinkedIn group called SHE Travels. And he said to us one thing, he said, if we're going to do it we have to be compelling. We have to make it a destination place for our female and male counterparts to want to go to get good, rich content about diversity, inclusion and how to help each other in this industry.
So, we stood it up. It was bumpy. In the first couple, we didn't have many followers. And now we have an amazing number of followers. And the content is very rich.
And we're very proud of that. SHE Travels, so check that out folks, men and women. We want that group to really flourish. And we're very proud of that. OK.
BRIAN TIETJE: That's awesome to get that C-Level support, because what I'll tell you is most executives early on heard: Social media. Free. Value.
SULEMAAN AHMED: Yeah.
BRIAN TIETJE: They figured there was no resources associated with the project. And I would say is there should be an assumption for the investment of the technology, even though it's zero, you'd have to have an implied value of a million, two million. And then the associated formula for the resources to stamp out the implementation as a best practice. But a lot of executives didn't want to make that connection. So, kudos.
JOAN WOODWARD: Yeah. We're thrilled to work on the project. We have so many volunteers to keep that site valuable and content-driven. And all of our webinars are replayed there as well.
So, OK. So Sulemaan, I'm going to ask you this question-- this is more for lead generation. So, we have a lot of people on the phone that want new prospects, lead generation. How do you use that search filter for lead generation?
SULEMAAN AHMED: Well, I would say the first thing is-- and this happened, actually, just with a call earlier today with a client of ours, who's a wealth management advisor. First thing I’d actually ask people on the call is are you, first off, connected to all your clients? It's amazing to me how many are not.
And it's not about selling them. It's about taking information, and seeing what they're up to, and learning about them. And sometimes there's cues or life moments and things that come up.
And now I've noticed, and people maybe have noticed, LinkedIn people are now tending to share a little bit more personal information, as opposed to just work. And I think that's also a consequence of COVID. And everyone needs a shot in the arm these days. And I think that's good.
I think that that's the first step, is your profile, one, set for your clients? Two, then are you set with the clients? And then, three, once you have connected your clients, then take a look at who they're connected to.
And maybe they—and there's a way to do this. I won't be able to cover this right now on the call. But there's a way to look at their connections using the filters, so you're not looking for a needle in a haystack. You're actually, by using filters, you can reduce the amount of hay.
And one of our board members once told me when we did some work with a client, he said the best time to ask a client for something is when they're happy with you. So, when one of our clients was happy, I asked them to write a letter on letterhead to endorse us, and he did
And so I took that philosophy that every time a client’s happy, they send me a note, they're thrilled, they've had positive results working with them, that's when I'll ask them, by the way, Brian, I noticed you're connected to these eight or nine people. Is there anyone that you think that you could introduce me to? If not, no worries.
JOAN WOODWARD: No, that's great. That's great advice.
SULEMAAN AHMED: So, when you look at pipeline, you don't need Sales Navigator for this, even though I recommend Sales Navigator. But I think we've got to start with little steps first. And that's what I would say.
And then the second piece I think to that is engaging with people. I don't want to be sold to. No one wants to be sold to. I'm not that interesting. Nobody's that interesting to sell.
But if you're trying to educate people, I think that's important. That's one of the things-- and I'm sure this if people want to see it. I wrote this piece actually a few years ago, and I used Brian as an example.
This is back in 2014, with Huffington Post, where I said I think that when I look overall at social media individuals or companies, 80% of the content they push out, Brian alluded to this, is about themselves. Me, me, me, me, me. Twenty percent is about their network.
I actually think you need to flip it. I think you need to make 80% about your network, and 20% about yourself. And I think that's a better way to get engaged when you're not worried about content. And that I think amplifies things for you as well.
JOAN WOODWARD: So, when you talk about the 80-20 split. 80% more about other people, besides yourself. Talk to us about how often you should tag people in your post.
A lot of people say, I've been honored to get this award, or whatever, should you tag people often? Should you “like”? And at what point are we kind of spamming people if we're too engaged with them? Is that an issue?
SULEMAAN AHMED: That's a good question. I don't know. Brian, you can go first.
JOAN WOODWARD: Go ahead. Sure.
BRIAN TIETJE: Yeah. If you're tagging different people once a week, that's fine. I think, especially for this audience and considering the survey results, I think the best practice would be to do something at least once a week. And maybe that once a week is posting a piece of content, or simply liking or commenting on someone else's piece of content. I think that there's no sure and fast rule that says this is the best all the time, right?
But I would not be someone who's always tagging somebody else, because then it becomes not about them, or the people. You are really still doing it for yourself, right? I think having that balance is very important. Do unto others as you want done unto you is kind of the golden rule online, as it is in real life. And, you know, so I think mixing it up between liking, commenting on others, posting industry articles, right?
For me, if you look at most of my posts, it's never about me selling a LinkedIn product, it's about what's happening in the industry. You know, what's happening in talent acquisition, jobs reports, things of that nature, adding commentary. At the end of the day, I sell to a lot of talent acquisition leaders globally, so I want to provide news and information that impacts their lives.
JOAN WOODWARD: So, you're kind of a thought leader. You're not just selling the product, you're a thought leader on the topics that your clients care about, right? And you're posting those, kind of, informational, educational content.
BRIAN TIETJE: Yeah, just like the audience here is. Why do people come to you? Because you're an expert to advise people on their needs. And so, shouldn't you be posting about some of those things?
And another thing that's important: timing, right? There are certain things that this audience knows that come July and August, you should be doing these things, because of-- let's say going back to school. Something as simple as buying renter's insurance for your kids going to university, right? Most of us would never even think about it, but that's a great outreach to say, hey, I know your kids are going off to school.
And at the end of the day, are you trying to sell a $50 a year policy? Of course not. But it's all about the relationship and showing you care about that person, their family, the success of the people that they're connected to, right? That, to me, would be more impactful, that the person cared enough and remembered enough about my family to make that recommendation, than them talking about the individual product.
JOAN WOODWARD: Sulemaan, want to add something there? That's wonderful. That's really a great example.
SULEMAAN AHMED: I really think that if you're sincere with looking out for people and helping them that people can see through that real quick. Real quick. And so, it's overused a lot, like, “authenticity.”
Like, just be real. Like, enough with the BS terms. Like, just be real.
And whether you're in North or South Dakota, or you're in Toronto, or Miami, it doesn't matter where. And the other comment I would say is on posting. I go back to my original statement, look at your comments, or look at your clients, rather, in terms of when you're going to post and write.
So, what do I mean? Most of my clients are CEOs, and people in the C-Suite, board level. I know from working with them, once 8:30 hits-- and I'm sure it's the same with you, Joan—like, their day's done. They're in meetings all day. So, I post at 7:00-7:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
But, we also have to be thoughtful. If, let's say, you have a large geographic region, you don't want to post at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time if a lot of your clients are on the West Coast. Like, take that into consideration. I think test it out and look. That's what I would say.
JOAN WOODWARD: All right. All right.
SULEMAAN AHMED: There's no secret formula. Like, I'm not going to put out a chart, and say, oh, you have to post at Wednesday, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, because that's the optimum time. For what industry? For what clients? At what level?
JOAN WOODWARD: And do you think people look at their LinkedIn a lot on the weekends, or not? What does your data show, Brian?
BRIAN TIETJE: More often than you realize.
JOAN WOODWARD: I think that's true. Yeah.
BRIAN TIETJE: I would say that, yes, 75% of LinkedIn's traffic is during the business hour, right? And so, there's a business hour 24/7 around the world, right? So very much as Sulemaan was saying, where's the person located? You know, what industry are they in, right? People in hospitality may very well be working all weekend long.
SULEMAAN AHMED: Yeah.
JOAN WOODWARD: Right. Right.
BRIAN TIETJE: And there's different days off for religious observances around the world and stuff. So, ya know, again, chase your clients and your prospects.
Where are they? When are they up? When are they doing their business? And that's kind of when you want to dovetail into. And there is no fast rule of Tuesday at 3 o'clock or whatever.
JOAN WOODWARD: Got it. Got it. All right, let's move on.
Let's talk about hashtags. So, how do we best utilize hashtags? How many hashtags should we put in our post? I see some people putting like 20 hashtags. What's the rule of thumb in your view? We'll go Sulemaan first.
SULEMAAN AHMED: OK. I'll share an example about hashtags, but I'll keep the party involved nameless. One thing I recommended, when you do a hashtag-- and you can follow them on LinkedIn too-- is search for the hashtag first and see who is using it and what content comes with it.
Now, in this case, the client wanted to have a hashtag for their national sales conference. And they had-- it was at the Four Seasons. They had two big screens on the side. And they wanted people to tweet and use LinkedIn to post the conference and share it with the hashtag. The problem was they didn't check the hashtag before the conference.
So how do I put this? The hashtag actually was one that sometimes is used in the adult industry. So, if you can imagine on two large screens, photos and videos start showing up. And people couldn't run fast enough to pull the plug out of the wall to kill the AV. So, we kind of chuckle about it, but I would first off look at that. And I would also go back to who are you looking at as a client, and who's actually using that hashtag.
If you were targeting farmers, for example, then what are the type of hashtags that farmers use? So maybe you look at some of your farming clients and see what hashtags do they use or what are they searching for. Because if I'm using a hashtag and just marketing people-- and God love marketing people-- but if marketing people are just following me, and that's not who I'm targeting as the insurance broker or as a sales rep, then, to me, that doesn't make sense.
I would also be careful, to Brian's comment, about tagging. I wouldn't tag or have 20 hashtags. That's spam. [INAUDIBLE] have a couple. That's what I would say.
JOAN WOODWARD: All right. All right. Brian, do you have a thought there, or should we move on?
BRIAN TIETJE: No, I wouldn't post more than three hashtags. Definitely double check them, so you don't get that crazy content. And again, use your client’s and prospect’s language, right?
SULEMAAN AHMED: Yeah.
BRIAN TIETJE: Much easier to go to them than to have them come to you. I see so many corporate marketing departments fighting upstream, like salmon, and it really doesn't make any sense, right?
So, I had a recent client that wants to talk about decarbonization, right? Really important. And all of a sudden, three days later, Jamie Dimon comes out and talks about green technologies or whatever. And they were really trying to talk about the same thing.
And so, for that client, I'm like should you be trying to educate people to speak the way you want to or just follow Jamie Dimon, who's already got this huge audience, and use the same terminology he's using. It's much easier to meet the market where it is. I think you're going to get faster and better results at less investment when you do that.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK. All right. We are going to get to lots of audience questions. We have almost 60 audience questions coming in, but I want to hit a couple of quick things first.
So, Brian, to you. What is the LinkedIn Sales Navigator? And how should we be using it to prospect? What other ways are there to find-- generate leads?
BRIAN TIETJE: Well, first and foremost, what I will say is everyone on this webinar is-- you should consider making that investment of Sales Navigator after you maximize what you can do with the basic, free account.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK.
BRIAN TIETJE: When you get that glass ceiling, I think, that's when it's time to investigate that. Sales Navigator is a SaaS-based software, built on LinkedIn, that is designed to make people who were prospecting and tracking business much more efficient than on basic, right?
There's just all of the things that you would expect, like building notes, great search capabilities, ability to integrate it with salesforce.com, and dynamics and other CRMs, it really makes it much more seamless. So, it's a great ROI for that investment in your efficiency gains, but only after you maximize what you can do for basics. Because if you're not practicing and doing the basic skills of LinkedIn correctly, it's not going to miraculously go away, because you bought a premium product.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK. OK. And the Premium LinkedIn for individuals, so that was the Navigator for more business, but what about the premium for individuals? If say you're posting once or twice a month, and they're always asking you do you know this?-- to join Premium. What does that get me?
BRIAN TIETJE: Again, just as I recommended for the investment in Sales Navigator, maximize what's available for free first, because premium will allow you to engage more people, like you can send InMail. So when you're purely prospecting, and you may not know the person, that's where the value is going to come in.
But I think once you're maximizing your first-degree network connections and messaging for free there, groups, where you can message other members for free, alumni, you can-- like, there's so many opportunities if you understand the basics of LinkedIn, you can do a lot. And again, when you hit that glass ceiling, you're searching too much you can't message people, that's when you convert to premium.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK. All right. Sulemaan, we're going to go to social selling.
And we want to hear from you about how do you define it? Is it effective? What's it all about?
We have a social selling index. We know that LinkedIn you can rate yourself. We're going to throw it in the chat if everybody wants to see what their social selling index is. But what is it, and how do we effectively use it?
SULEMAAN AHMED: Well, so, LinkedIn has created an algorithm that ranks your score out of 100, and places you against people in your industry, people in your network. So, it shows out of 100 what your score is. What I would say first, though, is if people-- like half the audience is-- don't have LinkedIn accounts, just start with what Brian is saying, like build out the account.
Like before we're going to stick you into a Ferrari, so whether that's a Sales Navigator or LinkedIn Premium, or looking at your LinkedIn SSI score, just get the fundamentals done first. And I think, so before you're going to go in a Ferrari, let's get you on a Corolla or an automatic first, and get kind of comfortable. Then once you get to a certain point, then I think it makes sense.
I don't like the term social selling, personally, I find because that infers selling to people, and I don't advocate that. I think you're trying to educate people. Selling is a bit more subtle in that if I'm connected to people, then I may connect with someone, and ask, oh, Joan, I noticed you're connected to Jenny, do you think you can make an introduction, right? So maybe I'll do that after this call.
Now, if the call's a complete disaster, then maybe I won't ask. But you see what I mean? Like, there's a timing perspective of when you do things.
And I don't think that any kind-- and I've built my own business for 10 years. I respect brokers and advisors. It's hard work.
You've got to build your book yourself. No one's there for you. You've got to do it, right? And it's thankless work sometimes.
But over time I think if you think about the clients, and for those people that have built up their books over time, how do they get their clients? Did they sell them? I don't think so. I think it was different.
So, not everyone agrees with me. There's tons of people on LinkedIn who have a different perspective, but that's mine. And that's been effective for me.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK. We're going to go to audience questions because we got a lot of them. And a lot of them are the same.
But here's one I thought would be interesting. So how do you establish the company on LinkedIn and not yourself as an individual? This comes to us from Maria Andrews. She probably has a small or a mid-sized company. How do you establish that company LinkedIn profile versus her individual profile? What's the difference there?
BRIAN TIETJE: So, depending on the structure, if you are an employee of a larger organization, you probably should check with the marketing compliance team before you try to do something like that. If you have your own individual company, then you can create a company page for free.
And you have to be able to upload a corporate email domain. We're not going to let you create one with a Gmail, or Yahoo, or Hotmail, or whatever. And so that’s-- you also have to recognize that other people in your office, would now become affiliated, right? They would select that company page as the employer.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK. And Sulemaan, do you believe having the company page is-- put all your content there, and build out that robustly? Or, say you're the CEO of a smaller insurance agency, should you have more of that on your personal page? How do you think about that?
SULEMAAN AHMED: So, what I would say is that, in my view, even having worked with some pretty big brands, you know like Apple, people don't connect with brands. They connect with people. Like, if there is a corporate account, I'm not going to be as engaged with it as I would be if, for example, you know, Alison [INAUDIBLE], she posts something on her page, because I know her. I don't know who's running that page.
And if you look at the data, actually, people that post on their personal pages have a lot higher engagement than the company pages do, even if the company pages has 300, 400, 30,000, 3,000 followers. I bet if a lot of the attendees actually took everyone in their office, let's say they have 23 people in their office, and they're in Montana. If you added up all of their connections or followers, I bet you it would outpace the number who are on the company page. I'm not saying the company page isn't important. But I think the personal page is much more important.
So, if we have to focus on where we invest our time and our resources, I would focus on the individuals first, not the company page. And now, LinkedIn marketing's probably not going to be thrilled with me saying that. But, you know, hey, I got to be me.
BRIAN TIETJE: I think for SMBs, when we're talking organizations of under 20 people, I think that there's got to be that same amount of effort put into manning or supplying the resources on a company page as you would a group. So, everything that I said earlier about creating a group or maintaining a group applies to a company page. If you don't have the resources and bandwidth to make it stand out on its own, is it worth even doing in the first place, right? It's better not to have a digital dead end.
JOAN WOODWARD: Right. Right. Right. It's got to be really impactful and powerful.
- Next question coming to us from Greg Daniel. Any tips for using LinkedIn to find talent, employees, producers, other agents, et cetera? How best do we find talent on LinkedIn?
BRIAN TIETJE: It's all the same. The workflow of talent acquisition, and the talent, and the workflow of sales is the same, right? You're trying to create a match between an ideal candidate or prospect versus the offering that you have in creating a match, right? So, using the search feature, joining the groups. And in the same way you'd prospect for clients, the same way you're going to prospect for talent.
And this makes the content you share even more impactful, right? Because you're asking someone potentially to invest the majority of their life with you, right? If you want someone to join your office for 35, 45, 55 hours a week, what culture are you providing in your office that's attractive to the talent you need today to survive, especially where there's a huge war for talent everywhere. You know, everywhere in North America there's a “help wanted” sign right now. Every industry, top to bottom, left to right, all challenged by having enough resources to get the job done.
JOAN WOODWARD: Got it. Got it. So, we have a question coming in from a person who runs communications. Sam Tapper runs communications for a small nonprofit. I'm curious if you have any tips or advice on how we can utilize this platform as opposed to other forms of social media, Twitter, Facebook. Tell us the compelling reason to use LinkedIn versus Twitter, Facebook, and other forms, Instagram, I guess?
BRIAN TIETJE: Well, it's about audience specificity, right? I think that. I always used to-- CNBC I go there for my stock news, but I go to NBC to get entertained. It's the same network, right? Same medium in television.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat they all have a slightly different audience. And you have to think about the mental state of what that person wants to accomplish when they're on that platform, because very often people are on multiple platforms, maybe not all the same platforms. So, make sure that your content is different from Twitter or Facebook than on LinkedIn. Make sure it's more professionally relevant or impactful, or more data-driven on LinkedIn, and not necessarily as entertaining, or other ways of going about engaging. That's my opinion on it. Sulemaan?
SULEMAAN AHMED: Yeah, I agree with Brian on that. I don't have anything else to add there. You got it.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK. All right. We have someone who is paying for Sales Navigator. So, Brian Lewis is asking: I pay for Sales Navigator, haven't had much success with InMail. Are there best practices for InMail Navigator?
BRIAN TIETJE: Yes. Number one, lead with education. Make sure that it's short and succinct.
I will tell you, I get a lot of prospecting messages. And so, the ones I really dislike are the, hey, Brian, similar industry, blah, blah, blah, want to connect? And as soon as I connect with that person, they try selling to me.
JOAN WOODWARD: Right. That happens to me all the time.
BRIAN TIETJE: And I hate it, hate it, hate it. I will give-- I want to build my network. I want to get to know somebody. And I hate getting sold to right away, because you don't even know what's interesting to me yet.
Right? And so, if the person wants to send some InMail to me, I would happily look at them, and give them some advice on their messaging. But my suspicion-- without looking at it-- I'm just going to go out there on a limb and assume. We know where that takes us, but the messaging is probably very marketing-driven. It's probably pretty long--
SULEMAAN AHMED: Yeah.
BRIAN TIETJE: --and not delivering any value to the recipient, and it's all about them. That would be my judgy guess on it. Prove me wrong.
JOAN WOODWARD: All right. Sulemaan, anything to add there?
SULEMAAN AHMED: No, I think, though, the other thing is that if people just write InMails and try to sell people right away. Your open rate is going to reduce. And the engagement rate’s not there, right?
And, I think if you build up enough of a network, odds are, usually, if you build it up over time, you'll know someone who knows that person. And so, I would always ask for introduction, a warm lead versus a cold call or cold InMail. Now, in the event that I don't have a mutual connection with that person, then I might use an InMail.
But I think there's enough mutual second connections that I can focus on there first from a personal pipeline perspective. And that doesn't just mean the introduction, I may call and ask someone, you know, I might say, Jenny, can you give me some thoughts on Alison? What should I know?
When should I contact her? What are her pain points? What do you recommend? Best time to contact?
Like, do your due diligence, as opposed to just send them an InMail and say, oh, I want to connect and sell you my insurance products. Yeah, good luck with that.
BRIAN TIETJE: Yeah. And I would also say that everything Sulemaan says I agree with. I'll regret that later, I'm sure.
SULEMAAN AHMED: (laughing)
BRIAN TIETJE: But for me, Sales Navigator automates a lot of the rote activities of, hey, where are people in my network moving and changing? What are they interested in? That's where it makes me a lot more efficient.
It lets me know that Sulemaan is in the news three weeks ago. And I could reach out and congratulate him, so I don't miss those types of things. Like, I'm looking for reasons to engage my network, or my prospects, or my clients that are non-sales engagements.
SULEMAAN AHMED: Yep.
JOAN WOODWARD: Exactly. Thought leadership, right? Adding value. Right
OK, another question coming in from Douglas Young. Thoughts on sharing personal information on LinkedIn? Some people feel they need to be authentic and add once every six months or something, something a little more fun and mix it up. Do you like that or not like that?
BRIAN TIETJE: One, always use your own personal comfort level as your guiding light. Anything that we shared today, if you're not necessarily comfortable with it, honor yourself, right? At the end of the day, it's your profile, so you should do what you feel is comfortable.
And I would always keep it professionally relevant. Yes, under the guise of authenticity there's more personal content on LinkedIn. I get why people do it. I don't necessarily like it myself, personally.
I think that there's other platforms for that. And I try to keep all the content I share very professionally focused, right? A little bit of separation of church and state for me. But again, that's my personal preference.
And, you know, again, is your audience resonating with it, right? I think the amount of engagement, if you're getting a ton of likes, and comments, and re-shares, keep it going. If you keep posting personal info, and no one's engaging it or liking it, listen to your network. They don't want to hear about it.
SULEMAAN AHMED: Yep.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK. Another question coming in. What's your recommendation when we post, but get no interactions and no likes? So, this is just what you said. It's obvious.
But seriously, I mean, if someone's new to LinkedIn-- and I was new. I was not on it five years ago. And I didn't know what to post. I didn't know what was going to be interesting. I mean, is it kind of just throw things up and see what sticks?
BRIAN TIETJE: At first, yeah. I think--
SULEMAAN AHMED: Yeah.
BRIAN TIETJE: But then listen to your network, right? I personally love to geek out on technology. And, what I found is, over time, I listened to my network, when I do industry news and things of that nature, I get great engagement. When I talk about anything technology-wise, I get zero engagement.
So, one, my network doesn't-- I'm not one of the guys they're going to call when it's, hey, ask a friend, when it comes to tech, because I don't have a brand there. Even though I am a closet geek. I love it. And I actually do have value, but no one believes that. I don't have a brand there.
And so, I think, again, don't be a salmon swimming up river, right? Follow the market where it's taking you and what people perceive you. What are the top three reasons someone calls you for advice? And what are the three things people wouldn't call you for advice for? That's a good guiding light.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK, good. Another question. How can we increase our search visibility and popularity on LinkedIn? This person wants to be more in the flow. What could they do?
SULEMAAN AHMED: So, I think that that's a function of the level of engagement with the content that they're putting out. That's where I think that's a function of it. And I think that goes back to the point we've reiterated before is are you providing value? Not selling, are you valued? I actually prefer social value versus social selling.
BRIAN TIETJE: Well, and also there's a great time for an assist, right? You could read someone's actual really compelling article-- and let's say it's financial services and branding, and then, all of a sudden, I'm tagging Sulemaan. I'm like, hey, Sulemaan, I think your clients may like this.
SULEMAAN AHMED: Yep.
BRIAN TIETJE: Right? And so, I'm just in the stream of wanting to share good information with whoever my contacts are, and I think it's going to be professionally relevant to someone else, I pull them in. That helps increase your popularity without looking like you're working too hard for it.
SULEMAAN AHMED: Yeah.
BRIAN TIETJE: But you're still adding value to the network. If you're always looking to add value and you're not a wallflower, and you're willing to get out on the dance floor once in a while, you make an impact.
JOAN WOODWARD: Good.
SULEMAAN AHMED: I look at, when you mentioned earlier-- the last comment I'll make is when people say I got this award, maybe you want to share something with pride. If I know someone's got an award-- I've done this-- where I'll tell them: I'll share it for you.
Let me share it. I'll congratulate you for it. So, you don't look as self-promotional, maybe, or risk that.
JOAN WOODWARD: That's a great tip. That's a great tip. So, if I have a colleague that just got an award, I would post tag her, and say, join me in congratulating, right? Do that for other people.
SULEMAAN AHMED: The article that-- and I'm going to regret saying this-- the article that we shared where I wrote that piece about 80% we, 20% me, I was congratulating Brian on-- when he was leaving LinkedIn to go to a tech startup. People were taking him out celebrating, because he's got great relationships, but I didn't see anything.
And I thought this guy's helped a lot of people. And it's not because he's one of the first employees at LinkedIn, and he's done well financially. And Brian is not going to like me saying this, it's the fact that he has gone to unemployment centers in different places and helped people, for free, to learn how to use LinkedIn. [He] just quietly does that.
So, I posted that congratulating him. But now the bad news is it was one of the most successful posts ever. So now he's telling me, well, you have to post about me all the time, Sulemaan. I got the great engagement. So that's why.
JOAN WOODWARD: I will post about you, Sulemaan. Let me know what you receive, and I will post every award, and re-share it.
SULEMAAN AHMED: Thanks, Joan.
JOAN WOODWARD: Listen, guys, we have come to the end of our program. The hour just flew past. And we have a lot more questions here, and we're going to try to get back to folks with some answers.
But I can't thank you both enough. You care deeply about helping others. And this is what our show is all about today is trying to help, actually, my network.
So, thank you for helping my network on our Wednesdays with Woodward webinar series. And we just appreciate all your ideas. And I'm sure everyone's going to be following you, and just really interested in seeing what you post and tag. And these are all great practices for all of us to learn. So, thank you, again. We're really just grateful for your time.
SULEMAAN AHMED: You're welcome.
BRIAN TIETJE: Thank you, Joan. You're welcome.
JOAN WOODWARD: All right, so--
Wednesdays With Woodward Webinar Series. Upcoming Webinars: April 20 - The Future of Fighting Insurance Crime. Featuring the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s David J. Glawe and Travelers’ Nick Seminara. May 4 - Lessons Learned from the Front Lines of the Pandemic. Featuring Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams. May 11 - Live from the 19th Hole: Behind the Scenes at the Travelers Championship. Featuring Travelers’ Andy Bessette and the Travelers Championship’s Nathan Grube. Register: travelersinstitute.org
Now we're going to talk about the upcoming sessions we have. On April 20, we're going to talk about the future of fighting insurance crime. We have a terrific ex-government person who was in charge of fighting lots of crime in the federal government. He now runs the National Crime Bureau.
May 4, we're going to talk to U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams. He was Surgeon General during President Trump's administration, and talking about the COVID rollouts, where he sees things today, where he's sees things headed, and thinking about vaccines for the future. That is on May 4.
And then May 11, we're going to take you behind the scenes of the Travelers Championship, which is a PGA tour golf event at the end of June in Hartford. So, live behind the scenes with our Tournament Director Nathan Grube and Andy Bessette of Travelers. So, you can register for any of these programs, travelersinstitute.org.
Watch Replays: Travelers Institute dot org. Connect: LinkedIn, Joan Kois Woodward. Take Our Survey: Link in chat. hashtag WednesdayswithWoodward
I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn. If we're not already connected, please do that so we can keep you up to date on all of this. And thank you, again, to our terrific speakers. We really wish you well and thank you for sharing your tremendous knowledge with us.
So, have a terrific day my friends. Stay safe out there. And we'll see you next week.
Logos and text, Travelers Institute, Travelers. Travelers Institute dot org.
Principal, Servo Annex
Global Client Director, LinkedIn Corporation
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