Social networks come (TikTok) and go (Google Plus), and some merely borrow the best features of other social networks to continue innovating (Instagram). The one thing about social media that has NOT changed since I began my career in social media marketing is that LinkedIn continues to be the best place for professional networking and B2B social media marketing.
Every year or two "newbie" marketers wake up to the potential that LinkedIn has for your marketing, but since I wrote two books on the subject in 2009 and 2011, I would argue that the potential has always been there. Similar to influencer marketing, marketers have tended to dismiss LinkedIn when they talk about social media marketing options. As part of my role as an educator, I have been creating a free ebook for sometime with best practices for using LinkedIn, and I'm psyched to announce that my newest version is now available for download. Listen to the full episode for an introduction and details on how to get your free copy!
This episode is being sponsored by Freshbooks and SocialBee, who have a special campaign for listeners of this podcast. You can see their special offerings by clicking here:
For those that want to win a copy of The Age of Influence, please make sure you send me a screenshot of your chosen review to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your mailing address.
[02:37] What is Freshbooks and Their Services
[05:15] How I Started My Career With LinkedIn
[07:04] Why LinkedIn Is Powerful
[11:05] LinkedIn Users Statistics
[12:39] Demographics of LinkedIn Users
[14:48] How Professionals Are Using LinkedIn Today
[16:38] Why LinkedIn Is Preferred By Professionals
[17:43] Major Ways Businesses and Professionals Can Leverage LinkedIn
[19:35] Few Ways Marketers Use LinkedIn
- LinkedIn is the only platform that continues to be focused on business and professional networking. It's where professionals go to showcase their personal brand, promote their companies, and in general, do business.
- While LinkedIn originally grew, without a doubt, as a place to connect with hiring managers, and be found for that dream job, it has become much more than that, and attracts the engagement of professionals looking for an outlet for professional networking.
- Every employee representing your company that is on LinkedIn increases the chances that your company will indirectly be found. And the more connected your employees are to others, including each other, the easier it will be for those wanting to contact any of your company employees to do so through the LinkedIn profile.
- And LinkedIn was the number one network for making professional connections for improving the effectiveness of my referral network for building my brand identity for cultivating client prospects for expanding professional knowledge for enhancing current client relationships, for establishing thought leadership in your field.
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Are you truly maximizing LinkedIn for your business? If not, you're gonna want to tune in to this special edition of the maximize your social influence podcast. Welcome to the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners grow their businesses using innovative marketing techniques, leveraging the concept of digital influence throughout digital and social media. Hey, everybody, Neal Schaffer here. Welcome to episode number 173. Of the maximize your social influence podcast. How the heck are you all doing today? You know, it's funny, I have friends in Japan, they're already going back to school companies that are opening back up. They're although work from home and still three to four days a week. And I continue to be in lockdown, as I'm sure many of you are, as well. It's going to be five months, just a week after you listen to this podcast. Pretty crazy times. But it only makes me appreciate those little things. Like my LA Dodgers and LA Lakers happen up to good teams here in Los Angeles, and being able to watch sports and life somewhat slowly, but hopefully getting back to more and more normal as time goes by. So this episode, we're going to talk all about LinkedIn. And when I go over the analytics, I know that there are a few different types of topics that resonate more than other topics do. And if I'm wrong, hey, I want you to call me out and let me know. But Instagram is definitely one have had some great Instagram marketing episodes. Obviously influencer marketing due to the fact that I wrote the book on at the age of influence, as well as I've had a few LinkedIn episodes that have really resonated with you all. So this episode is going to be all about LinkedIn. Before I get to the episode, I do want to mention that this episode is being sponsored by Fresh Books, and social be who both have special offers. For listeners of this podcast that you can only access through the link in the show notes. Whatever podcast app you're listening to, you should be able to read a description of this show this episode. And you'll be able to find the links where they're giving away free software that is worth money. So you'll want to make sure you check those out. For those that don't know FreshBooks is the leading provider of accounting software for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Social be not that well known. Agora Pulse is my main social media management dashboard that I use. Social media is a really interesting social media tool that I use for content creation. And they also have a lot of what they call concierge services that where they're actually do some of this stuff for you. And actually, if you click on the link, one of those incentives they have is to give you free services. So there is a monetary value. So you'll want to check out those links, and FreshBooks and social be were kind enough to in addition to sponsoring this podcast is offering my community those great discounts. They also bought a number of copies of the age of influence. So once again, I am continuing to giveaway while we still have copies left, which we do, it's really easy. I'm going to ship this out to you wherever you are in the world. I know that pass giveaways were restricted to the United States. All you need to do if you haven't read the book yet, is to do a very, very simple review on whatever podcast player podcast site that you're listening to this podcast on. For lack of better words, I want to give a shout out to Nick 0008, who left a review that reads something like this for real marketers. If you're a marketer, and willing to be helped to become even better at your craft, you should listen here. Neil covers the topics you need to learn and does it in a friendly style with examples. Thanks. I appreciate that. I tried to do that. I've seen him speak several times and know his work. I've read his books. These podcasts are an investment in your future as a digital marketing expert. The industry changes so quickly pen so there's my voice, we all need to stay on top of the changes. And Neil helps with that Nick 0008 Help them out leaving out a zero there. Thank you so much. For that review. All you need to do is leave something like that, take a picture of the screenshot, send it my way, and I'll send a copy of the age of influence out to you wherever you're on the world. If you've already read the book, but you want to give a copy to one of your friends. You can do the same thing but this time, just write a review on Amazon or wherever you bought the book. One or two sentences is all it takes. But ladies and gentlemen, just like when you're in business, customer testimonials is everything. For me reviews of this podcast reviews in my book on Amazon. It is the fuel that keeps my Engine humming. So thanks in advance for that, once again, the instructions will be in the show notes, you can send me those screenshots to Neil at Neal schaffer.com. And we're going to put the email address in the show notes as well. So let's move on to our topic of LinkedIn. Now, if you were to ever do a search for me on Amazon, for those of you that don't know, before the age of influence, there was maximize your social. In fact, for a bit of time, this podcast was called the maximize your social podcast, if you ever go back and listen to earlier episodes, and with the publication of the age of influence, I conveniently added influence onto that so that it would adapt to my current branding and what I currently talk about now, before maximize your social, which is way back in 2013. Why did it take me so long to write my fourth book, that's a whole other conversation. But if we go back even further, I have two other books. And both of these books were on LinkedIn. LinkedIn was my first love in the social media world. I came out with windmill networking, understanding, leveraging and maximizing LinkedIn in 2009. And then in 2011, I came out with a book on social selling and employee advocacy, before we even had those concepts that was called maximizing LinkedIn for sales and social media marketing. So since then, I don't write books on specific social networks. But I do like to update my fans, my followers, my readers visa via LinkedIn, with a free link in ebook that I've done over the ages, it used to be called 30 minutes to maximizing LinkedIn. And then I changed it to maximising LinkedIn for business. And most recently, like, within the past few weeks, I actually published a second edition, I completely revised this free ebook. And if you listen to the end of this podcast, I'm going to tell you where you can download that eBook for free. But this is a major investment of time. This is like a 46 page PDF. I'm sure that there's a lot of Kindle ebooks on LinkedIn, that might not even have as much information, as this ebook does, yet, they're asking for 99 cents. So I want to spend this podcast to go over actually the introduction and maybe a chapter or two, so that you get a better understanding as to why LinkedIn is so powerful. You know, these days, it's really funny, a lot of that, quote, unquote, cool kids and social media, now that they see that Instagram has changed the algorithms, and it's harder to manage bots. And it's harder to get more followers all the sudden everybody is like, you've got to be on LinkedIn. But the funny thing is, LinkedIn has not changed. It's always been powerful. You just haven't realized it. I want by the end of this podcast, that you actually download the eBook. And you take my advice to action. And I really think it will have an impact on your business, even if you serve a b2c industry, because there's always b2b aspects, right. And even in b2c, I work with real estate agents with insurance sales agents. And yes, they're prospecting on LinkedIn, not just Facebook, and Instagram. So the e book is divided into sort of those areas where I think you all need to have a better understanding or confirm your current understanding just to make sure we're on the same wavelength, Visa V, the value of LinkedIn. So just very briefly, I go through in the first two chapters, I'm going to go over today in this podcast, chapter one, the latest statistics about LinkedIn, because I think it tells a lot about the power of the network. Chapter Two is how LinkedIn is used today for business. Once again, I think this will give you some ideas as to how you might not be but should be using LinkedIn, in your business. I go into optimizing your profile, all roads lead back to your profile, it really is critical. Building your network establishing credibility, how to engage on LinkedIn, how to prospect on LinkedIn, if you're in sales, I know a lot of you are how to create a company page on LinkedIn, this is critical how to do it the right way, how to promote your LinkedIn everywhere. And then finally, creating your LinkedIn playbook. This really brings it all together to give you a custom recipe of what you can do on a daily basis to have the maximum impact in as little as five to 10 to 15 minutes a day. And no, I'm not making that up. It really is possible. So as an introduction, I already mentioned this, but since I wrote two books, something to nearly a decade ago. Believe it or not, I have used this ebook as a way to keep my pastor readers as well as president community educated on best practices in using LinkedIn for business. As a digital sales and marketing expert. My goal has always been to help other people prosper through the effective use of this powerful medium, as the needs and trends of its users continue to change with demographic shifts, the prevalence of video and the growing amount of non professional content that has emerged on the platform. And some people don't like it, but it's a new reality. This ebook, this PDF, this book will show you what old LinkedIn practices still work as well as what new things you should be doing to leverage the power of LinkedIn to further your career and benefit your business. So we go into chapter One looking at LinkedIn by the numbers. And only when you do this, do you understand its power. Now LinkedIn has been around since 2003. About the same time as Facebook, I'm very fortunate to have been one of LinkedIn first million users. So I joined back in 2004. Now, like LinkedIn, Facebook used to be a restrictive network, you originally needed an academic email to open an account. For those that remember, of course, you can open a Facebook account with any active email. Now LinkedIn used to be only for people that knew each other. It started as a very, very small professional network for trusted professionals in existing networks. Now, LinkedIn continues to have that culture, right, it continues to use that privacy feature that has degrees of connectedness, and restrictions on the expansion of your networks. This has had several effects on their statistics. First of all, LinkedIn is not the largest social network, they could have become it, maybe. But since expanding your network isn't a free for all on LinkedIn, it stayed much smaller. Right. In fact, there are only and I put air quotes around only, there are 690 million members in 200 countries and regions worldwide have those 690 million, only 169 are in the United States, there are about as many in Europe, with 157 million users as there are in the United States, there are certain countries, China has 50 million members, India has 66 million members, Brazil has 43 million members. You know, LinkedIn is as global as any social network gets, and 690 million people is a heck of a lot of people. So I know that that's in contrast to Facebook's 2 billion members, and the newer Instagram, surpassing 1 billion, but 690 is still huge. It's bigger than Snapchat, it's bigger than Pinterest. It's bigger than Twitter. And LinkedIn obviously is focused on professionals. It is a very special social network. Unlike nearly all the other players, LinkedIn is the only platform that continues to be focused on business and professional networking. It's where professionals go to showcase their personal brand, promote their companies, and in general, do business. So traditionally, LinkedIn has been that social network that mainly attracts businesses, and professionals who are interested in growing their careers. Now, while LinkedIn originally grew, without a doubt, as a place to connect with hiring managers, and be found for that dream job, it has become much more than that, and attracts the engagement of professionals looking for an outlet for professional networking. Amazingly enough, it is estimated that 51% of college graduates in the United States are members of LinkedIn. So if that's the sort of demographic that you want to reach, then you obviously should be on LinkedIn. And what's really interesting as we dig deeper into the demographics of LinkedIn, is that LinkedIn has a huge decision maker demographic. So if you're looking to do business with other professionals, or project your corporate image where it matters, this is one of the best places to do. So that's because the LinkedIn demographic includes 90 million senior level influencers, 63 million decision makers 10 million C level executives 40 million, what they call mass, affluent people, 17 million opinion leaders. And it goes on and on and on. So in other words, around 10% of LinkedIn users are in position where they might be able to help you as a corporate decision maker. So sales professionals have access to corporate buyers, and marketers have access to influencers and over 90 million influencers can be found on LinkedIn, there's something for nearly everyone in business. Now. The LinkedIn demographic is also strategically important for businesses because of the wealthy demographic. Did you know that in the United States 45% of online adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or more, use LinkedIn. This indicates the high level of professionalism the LinkedIn demographic, and hence at the wealth that its demographic has. So the bottom line here is that LinkedIn is not your typical social network. Unlike Facebook, or Instagram, or Tiktok, or Twitter, the people you'll find here aren't a cross section of society. Instead, you'll find a near total absence of teenagers, or kids that aren't even teenagers pretending to be teenagers so that they could be the cool kids on social media, as well as those who aren't necessarily salaried employees or business owners. If there isn't a reason for someone to build a personal brand and engage with other professionals, they're probably not going to use LinkedIn. Right. So now that you understand what makes LinkedIn a fundamentally different social network, that's dive into how professionals are using LinkedIn today. Let's go back to 2011 When I wrote my second book about LinkedIn, maximizing LinkedIn for sales and social media Marketing. And I quote from that book in order to maximize your company's exposure on LinkedIn, every sales and marketing employee that represents your business needs to have a LinkedIn profile. This talks about this employee advocacy aspect, which now is employee influencer. So while the book was geared towards sales and marketing professionals, obviously, the reason for having a presence on LinkedIn was clear. And once again, I'm going to quote myself from 2011. Every employee representing your company that is on LinkedIn increases the chances that your company will indirectly be found. And the more connected your employees are to others, including each other, the easier it will be for those wanting to contact any of your company employees to do so through the LinkedIn profile. So that was then fast forward to today, where social media extends well beyond the sales and marketing departments, where companies are finally realizing that their employees are a huge untapped source of brand advocates, and that social media usage by professionals has truly become mainstream, as digital native Millennials are now a majority of the workforce. So regardless of what department you're in, it's becoming more likely that you can use LinkedIn as part of your job. So understanding the holistic value that LinkedIn offers businesses is really the first LinkedIn skill that every professional should possess. As companies have become more involved with LinkedIn, so have individual users not only are more professionals now on social media, they are consuming more information fed to them by their networks, and sharing more information to their networks. Companies can take advantage of this trend by having employee share their brand message. After all, Edelman's Trust Barometer, being one of the most famous data studies from the PR world reminds us that and I quote, employees rank higher in public trust than a firm's PR department, CEO or founder. So whether you're receiving internal training on LinkedIn, or merely want to better utilize LinkedIn to meet your professional objectives, you'll be glad to know that LinkedIn can help in several ways. This is a graphic, it was some research done by LinkedIn together with cogent research. And they compared what do professionals do on LinkedIn, and Facebook and Twitter. And LinkedIn was the number one network for making professional connections for improving the effectiveness of my referral network for building my brand identity for cultivating client prospects for expanding professional knowledge for enhancing current client relationships, for establishing thought leadership in your field. Right. So the conclusion is clear. LinkedIn is preferred by professionals for every single professional social media activity measured, and most professionals have a compelling reason to log on somewhat regularly. So here are the major ways businesses and professionals leverage the power of LinkedIn today. The first paragraph that I go into here is recruiting I'm going to bypass recruiting, because I know that all of you are more interested in the sales and marketing. But there are compelling ways of using LinkedIn in a very organic and natural way to fulfill your recruiting needs, should you have them. So you'll want to make sure that you download the ebook, not just for that, but for the remaining eight chapters. But I want to go into what I think are most compelling to the listeners of this podcast. So sales, and social selling, networking on LinkedIn is highly useful for sales and social selling goes without saying, as with recruiting, it's one of the oldest and most important uses of the networking business. Now, arguably, this is one of the better tools in the sales professionals toolkit, especially when selling businesses. Here's how it could work. A software sales representative is looking for potential buyers in the civil engineering field. So he or she will look for the buying decision makers in engineering firms, infrastructure contractors, and public works departments. These buyers might be found in his own network or her own network through people he or she knows or by using LinkedIn searches. With the people identified and contact information acquired, he's able to make a sales pitch or she is able to make a sales pitch. In a less direct approach. Someone in sales can use LinkedIn to get to know people in an industry. He or she might attend trade shows, conferences and other today these are virtual events and add new contacts to his or her LinkedIn professional network. Although these people might not be the decision makers, networking with them on LinkedIn might turn up more sales leads them when the time comes, he or she might be able to depend on the mutual contact to reach out to their prospect. Now what a lot of people don't realize is LinkedIn can be equally powerful for marketing. Some sales and marketing go hand in hand, it's not surprising that LinkedIn is a invaluable tool in the marketer shed. There are a few different ways that marketers use LinkedIn first, the simple presence of a company and its leadership on LinkedIn is highly useful. It gives potential consumers and investors a picture of corporate values and personality. Another thing that marketers can do is carry the corporate branding through a company page. However, the two biggest uses of LinkedIn for marketers are content and paid social through post publishing content on LinkedIn either through your company page, or your personal profile, or the personal profiles of your employees, you can influence decision makers and buyers in the learning more about your product or service and hopefully converting them. Second paid social is especially value on LinkedIn. One reason for this is that there are better targeting tools. And they also allow something called InMail. If you have a paid subscription account, and sponsored messaging, these go to particular users who might be interested in a product or service. A shout out to two previous podcast episodes that I'm going to link up in the show notes. One was all about LinkedIn ads with my friend AJ Wilcox, who is really the most famous thought leader in the field of LinkedIn ads worldwide that I was so honored to have on this podcast, you're gonna have to go back to episode number 147 LinkedIn ads, a comprehensive look, then Episode 163, LinkedIn message ads, the convergence of influencer marketing and paid social, I give you a detailed look of a case study of how I am using LinkedIn messaging ads for my own influencer marketing visa V influencer outreach for my new book, The Age of influence. So well, I'm not done yet, right? We have employee advocacy. One of the biggest advantages employees have over corporate executives and PR departments when delivering messages about the company is that comparative credibility that I already talked about, right? The thinking behind this is simple. People at the top are always gonna paint a rosy picture about a company, even if it isn't deserved. On the other hand, employees know what things are really like on the production floor. And if a company makes great products and treats employees like royalty or as influencers, they'll be happy to brag. public surveys also always remind us that people trust people like themselves or employees and businesses, their executives and their PR marketing. As a result, companies are increasingly using their employees as brand advocates, and hopefully, as part of a employee influencer or general influencer program. As I preach in the age of influence. Smart companies will encourage employees to have a LinkedIn account and talk about their jobs. This puts a human face in the company and gives potential customers employees and investors more good reasons to choose a particular company for their needs. And finally, the other way that businesses can leverage LinkedIn is for thought leadership. For many higher level professionals. Leadership in their industry is essential to further advancement in their careers. It also obviously helps you build more influence in doing whatever you want to do with your business with your career. bank executives want to be seen as financial experts, department store owners to be on top of retail trends, and consultants current in their field of expertise. My own example is current knowledge of digital and social media marketing trends. So leaders often express their mastery through posting on LinkedIn. Sometimes they'll even publish to LinkedIn Pulse, which is the equivalent of operating a blog inside LinkedIn, no matter the approach. However, LinkedIn is increasingly the place to find thought leadership in any industry. So ladies and gentlemen, it's really time to rethink your view of LinkedIn so that you can take full advantage of it the following chapters, the remainder of the e book, explore the features that LinkedIn provides to every free account member to enable you to achieve all of your objectives for using the site. So the moment you've been waiting for, I'm going to have the link in the show notes, obviously, to download the book. But if you go over to Neal schaffer.com, you'll see a link at the very bottom for maximizing LinkedIn for business, which is the name of this ebook, or you can simply input Neal schaffer.com. Hopefully, you know how to spell my name right now. I am the real Neil and EAL sh FF er.com. And then it's maximizing hyphen, LinkedIn, hyphen, for hyphen, business, go check it out. I would love to hear your feedback. If you think that something's missing, let me know so that I can work on it on the next edition. And I do have plans to come up with similar ebooks for other social networks. So if there's one that you're dying to read that is of the same sort of content, hey, let me know. Reach out to me on social media, on a comment on Amazon review, comment on you know, review on podcast, wherever it is on social media, on my website, my email, you should know how and where to find me. Alrighty, well, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'm really passionate about LinkedIn. And it kills me when I meet with entrepreneurs, and business owners and marketers that are just so focused on other networks that they miss the value. And it is a completely different value than what you get on a Facebook, on an Instagram, on Twitter on Pinterest, not to say that those networks don't have value because they do. But LinkedIn is in a completely different arena, I guess would be the best way to say it. So everybody, I want to thank you so much for listening. It really means a lot to me. Make sure you subscribe, got some great guest episodes coming up as always. And wherever you're in the man, wherever you are in the world, make it a great virtual social day. We'll be back at you again. Next week, hopefully same time, definitely same place. Until then. Sayonara everybody