LinkedIn – Good or Bad? Or are you just being advised/educated incorrectly?

So, it’s the last day of the year and maybe the audience for reading this might be very low but my question for you……

Is LinkedIn Good or Bad as people say?

or….

Are LinkedIn very forward thinking?

The reason for asking is that over the last couple of years, I’ve seen some people who are “Social Advisors, Experts, Coaches or Trainers” complain so much about what LinkedIn are doing. Such as:-

  • Killing Products and Services
  • Changing the Premium Subscriptions rates
  • Changing what the subscription offers
  • Changing the platform and the way it operates
  • Splitting into various Mobile App’s

Yet, these same people, whilst they continue to moan/complain, but still offer you courses on how use LinkedIn. Maybe I’m wrong but when I’ve been fortunate to speak to LinkedIn Staff during this period and actually discuss things with them, a lot of the changes they have done make perfect sense and I see them being very forward thinking. I will admit that I do think some of these are good and bad like:-

  • Yes, some of the changes they have made didn’t transfer well from the Desktop version to the Mobile App
  • Yes, when they updated the Desktop version they messed up features, removed some – some restored some and some still missing – and altered the way things operated
  • Yes, made changes to the subscription packages/offerings and this is not at all helpful with enticing new paying members. Some of the real LinkedIn Influencers had a subscription which LinkedIn changed without notification and they lost a lost of features and thus changed their pricing package! This also happened to myself too, meaning lots of chasing Customer Services to rectify! Most of us all lost our “Grandfathered Pricing” too!
  • Yes, still haven’t listened and introduced services that many have constantly being asking for
  • Yes, still won’t clamp down on annoying features that people are constantly moaning about
  • Yes, still not enforcing their Terms and Conditions which mean a lot of profiles are breaking these rules

But I ask you to….

Step back and actually think about what you are wanting to see and see how this compares to how you operate/portray yourself and your company in real life.

As, in my honest opinion, you’d be surprised how much of what you do in real life can easily be seen and portrayed on LinkedIn yet too many LinkedIn users aren’t embracing all the facilities it offers – mainly, I think, due to them listening to some of these “LinkedIn Advisors, Coaches, Experts, Trainers etc” who are just moaning about the changes that LinkedIn have done!

One of the main things that in my opinion a lot of them are complaining for, is about how LinkedIn have changed things which means change!

They are annoyed at what they have lost and aren’t prepared to adapt or change with not what LinkedIn have done but with how society has changed and adapted to the #NewWayToWork!

Well what have they lost?

Simple answer in my opinion about some of these people – is the easy, simple way and ability to make money out of you!

I say this because if you look at what they have (and this applies across the whole Social spectrum and not just LinkedIn) to offer, they are providing/selling you services that they have been offering for several years with hardly any changes or updates over this period!

All other business educators update their offerings/training due to their industries changing and specialise. Yet within Social and in this instance LinkedIn, they continue to offer the virtually the same methods/ethos just like they have done for many years!

But you are different – everybody is different!

It’s not like they are a bookkeeper or accountant for example!

Your bookkeeper or accountant knows what you have to provide and in what manner to enable you pay the right taxes and pay your suppliers. Whatever your business, you can approach any bookkeeper or accountant and they will do your books and returns for you because they know what to do and provide this service in their country because they know they have to apply the laws and regulations so your company does everything right.

Yet these some of these people are offering LinkedIn services, need to understand that not everyone is same, live in the same town, sell the same services/products and don’t have the same audience either!

It’s not just these points but what they could be promoting maybe the wrong thing to do in certain countries whether due to culture or regulation!

Many will say that the way you promote or sell your services/products is the same irrespective of what you do!

Really???

Are they in a way saying you and every other person is clone?

Think about what you buy – what makes you go to that place and buy what you need?

When you go shopping, you’ve probably got two or three supermarkets in your town, all offering the same names/brands but you choose one and keep going back.

So what makes you loyal?

The distance to travel?

The layout of the store?

The staff?

Yet whilst the store may be selling the items you want, are they selling what you like/enjoy about them, across every single one of their stores across the country?

You may say yes because of the products but wait – do they sell exactly everything in your store in every other store across the country?

The answer is NO because they know that each store knows their local market and what consumers want/require.

So, whilst the ethos of how they do things, market the items via the same Point of Sale literature/signage, decor and uniform maybe the same – following the instructions/directions from Head Office – the way they do things is localised/personalised to each store to accommodate their client base, hence why they have Regional and Store Managers to make comparable to client base across say an hour’s travelling distance.

Why an hour?

When people buy from you, they work with or have family in the high majority of cases all located with an hour’s travelling distance.

Thus, when they are at home or work and are discussing/chatting about things, they will share that experience and the person they are sharing it with, could be a potential or is a customer. Therefore, whether their experience is positive, ok or negative, they are Social Selling that business with their audience.

As I said earlier, step back and look at what you do and the way you see the way you promote your business and how your colleagues/staff operate – can this be done on LinkedIn?

Take a look how things operate in your company and then on LinkedIn…….

Your business card or name badge:-

If you look at either, you have your name, position and company – LinkedIn offers exactly the same!

Plus, at the top of your profile, they offer you an added bonus of brief introduction/overview to yourself under your name – the opportunity to self-promote yourself!

Note – your name is your name! You don’t have words, symbols, phrases or phone numbers in your name – so why do you have it in your profile name? By the way, this does break LinkedIn terms and conditions yet many of these so-called LinkedIn Coaches, Trainers, Experts etc, promote this – shouldn’t they know this breaks these the profile rules? Ask yourself, why are they promoting you to break site rules?

Your Company:-

You work for your own company or are an employee at a company which has a location where you work from plus people can come to you or you send items from meaning you exist – LinkedIn offers exactly the same!

LinkedIn provide the facility of a Company Page and this is where people can see/discover more about your company. The added bonus of your LinkedIn Company Page, is that you can update and make announcements quickly to your audience. Once you have your Company Page set up, you can update it every day or several times a day if you wish

Your staff or Colleagues:-

When you are in work, you have colleagues and co-workers you work with every day and your customers/clients know this – LinkedIn offers exactly the same!

So the question is, why aren’t you making sure everyone in your company is on LinkedIn? If people are saying to you, how many work at your company, you tell them. Your company page on LinkedIn provides the option of bands of how many employees you have (Myself only, 2-10, 11-50, 51-200, 201-500, 501-1000, 1001-5000, 5001-10000 and 10001+). So, if you say, you have 12 employees/colleagues are you using the 11-50 band? Also, if someone searches your company and then on the search page results or lands on your Company Pagethey will only sees 3 employees listed working for you – does this create the right image if you say one thing but are promoting something different?

Your literature:-

If you produce product literature, you may have leaflets/brochures for these products/services or if people come to your company, have sections for the various products/services – LinkedIn offers exactly the same!

Within your Company Page, LinkedIn has provided you with Showcase Pages where you can showcase what you do. With LinkedIn offering you up to 10 Showcase Pages, if you have three product/service offerings for example, then you can showcase each one with its own page! Thus, any news, announcements and special offers you provide for that product/service can be announced on that page.

Promotion:-

When you want to announce or promote something, you either produce literature, places adverts, update your website – LinkedIn offers exactly the same!

How? Simple! Once you announce something on your Company Page about your company or place the news of your product/service on it’s own Showcase Page, then your staff will see this. Thus, if they like it or share it, then this appears on their timeline, so their connections see what your company is doing. Remember, your staff, colleagues, co-workers aren’t just that – they are your own Brand Advocates and Brand Ambassadors! This is the cheapest (as it is free) and best form of promotion. As after all, these people are working their because they enjoy the company and when people ask them what they do/where they work – they tell them about the company, what the company does and what they do! They – without you paying or asking them – being your Brand Advocates/Ambassadors and are helping to create that Social Selling environment. If you’ve got a happy company where the staff are love working and what they do – this form of endorsement is the best advertisement you can get.

Newsletters/Email Marketing:-

When you are wanting to keep people informed and up to date on what you are doing, you most likely send out Newsletters or Emails keeping people informed about what you are up to – LinkedIn offers exactly the same!

If people are wanting to know what is happening, they may have a question but don’t always get around to asking it – how many other members of your audience do the same? Well the LinkedIn solution to this is simple – Groups! Why not create your own Company group where you can announce the latest post that you have done on your Company Page or Showcase Page, maybe you are wanting some help on something, want to ask for feedback or looking for staff/new supplier – then you can announce this there and your clients/audience can join the conversation. Alternatively, they may have a question about something or a question off the back of what you have shared and thus all of a sudden you are creating the foundations of your community.

Recruiting:-

Looking for new staff and having to advertise or engage Recruitment Companies to fill positions – LinkedIn offers exactly the same!

With LinkedIn Jobs, you can post the vacancies you have on LinkedIn and then share this across your pages and thus your staff can promote it too! If you are thinking long-term about growing your company, you can even create a Showcase Page around recruitment and what you are looking for! (This lays another foundation for you within LinkedIn with their Decision Board offering too).

Education:-

If you are looking to enhance the skill set that you have or your staff, you’ll be looking to send them on courses – LinkedIn offers exactly the same!

With the addition of Lynda – LinkedIn now enables you or colleagues to be able to take courses that will take you all to another level by being able to add this skill set. By utilising Lynda, you can allow your staff/colleagues to actually take the courses whilst at work, thus meaning if there is an issue within your company, then the staff are on site to actually help when that issue arises. (Plus, if you are looking long-term around recruitment for your company, LinkedIn also offer another foundation with Education that can help too).

Volunteering/Charity Work:-

How are do you and your colleagues do something for Charity or wanting volunteers to help with something and aren’t sure what to do, so to get a solution, you ask the question in the media, on-line or through your staff and friends – LinkedIn offers exactly the same!

Through LinkedIn’s Volunteer facilities, you can ask for volunteers or look for Volunteering opportunities that either you, your colleagues or company are wanting. Again this can be further highlighted by your company if you have a Showcase Page on this topic of Volunteering or Charity Work.

Engaging with clients, friends and maybe ex-colleagues:-

Sometimes you get to hear an announcement from someone has a new job, have a birthday or are celebrating a work anniversary and you wish them luck/say congratulations – LinkedIn offers exactly the same!

Through Connections, LinkedIn allow you to do all this and besides the Birthday message, it is public. Thus, by congratulating people on their Work Anniversary or New Position, this is something that is shared on both your timelines – which in turn, promotes you as an engaging person with your connections and when it appears on their timeline, their connections get to see you and could in turn view your profile and ask to connect or view your company. Therefore, make sure you are personalising your message.

All in all – LinkedIn have really taken what you do in your everyday working life and created that part on-line with the facilities your profile offers to engage with your connections and through Company Page, Showcase Pages and groups. LinkedIn is changing the way the platform operates to accommodate the way people are working and companies are operating.

The days of email are in some cases numbered with more people using messaging services, collaboration platforms and forums, thus LinkedIn have now changed the way Inbox works to become a Messaging service. Many people including LinkedIn Coaches, Experts and Trainers etc really moaning complaining on this but LinkedIn are adapting these people aren’t! More and more people are using Text Messaging, Message services like WeChat, What’s App, Facebook Messenger, Twitter Direct Message etc to communicate and ask questions – even Microsoft with Skype and Skype for Business have updated (and continue to update) to enhance the message/chat facility!

If you now look at what LinkedIn have done over the last 2 years, LinkedIn have looked at the way Generation X and Y are operating (and the way Generation Z are starting to behave), thus are adapting the platform to meet the growing audience and the way they work. With more than 50% of internet usage being done by mobile devices – ie Smartphones and Tablets – the usage of desktop application is dropping.

So, with now over 10 different Mobile Applications on offer ( and more to come in 2016), LinkedIn have provided these, so that users can jump in and out quickly of LinkedIn. As users want to be able to go to the parts they want to use there and then.

Add to these that reports state that in excess of 50% of the workforce by 2019 will be made up of Generation X, Y and Z and mobile device usage possibly being in excess of 75% of all internet usage – LinkedIn are giving you foundation stones and keys to be ready and start adapting your business for this. Just look at Facebook, during this year (2015) in test status, Facebook have over 600,000 people at hundreds of companies already signed up to the business offering – Facebook At Work – to enable staff to communicate and share things that are happening. This is just like a company having a Closed LinkedIn Group, using Microsoft Yammer or Slack.

So LinkedIn are adapting and changing to provide services to help you, your business and your audience by having the facilities and App’s to create engaging communities by internally and externally.

And for those that are complaining and moaning about what LinkedIn have done, there are a lot more changes that will arrive through Project Voyager during 2016 which are really going to show that LinkedIn is an all-encompassing platform for the Business Community.

Plus, LinkedIn have been very forward thinking, with the joining age being 13 here in the UK (certain other countries are 16 whilst the remainder are 18), they have now produced a platform which can cover those in Generation Z for the next 60 plus years!

So are your LinkedIn Advisors, Coaches, Experts, Trainers etc or even your company looking ahead to the next 60 plus years for your audience/clients like LinkedIn are?

If you are wanting to understand what the full LinkedIn future is available for you and your company and how it all combines with what The Social Family offers, then feel free to contact myself via the form below:-

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Are you using or playing with LinkedIn?

Why LinkedIn?

#IanCalvert #Ian-Calvert #IanMCalvert #Ian-M-Calvert #ServiceAddress #Service-Address #Anonymous #LinkedIn #Viewing

What is the benefit of this platform?

Is it just a professional Facebook?

Is there a point to it?

The above are just some of the comments I receive on a daily basis when I ask people “Are you on LinkedIn? Can we connect?“; and it makes me wonder why people are not seeing how we can all have something that is just so much more than a Professional Networking Platform. It has grown so much from the early days when, yes, you could say that it was just platform to look for a job, but even then it was so much more.

How do I explain this? I can’t fully because I am not here to tell you why you should be using it but highlight some ways and how you can help yourself in so many ways. Just think, when you search the internet, it is to find information on anything and everything. Well with LinkedIn, I can undertake many things including….

  • search for companies and see what they are like, do they deliver what I (or my clients are/) am looking for, what information to share, do they have someone there that could benefit myself or my clients?
  • search for information that I am looking for – call it doing a professional Google search for what I need. Yes I know I could just Google it, but doing it here, I get information from the people within my network, so the chances are it is more update and valid than just a Google search with results driven by SEO!
  • should I meet someone at an event and want to discover more about them and their company, I can undertake a quick search and see what they are saying and connect with them
  • where am I and what is generating that people wanting from myself? Well, yes you go to your website and use tools that will show which page they viewed, where they came from etc – but for me it is their “Who viewed your profile?”facility. Why? Simple, I get a breakdown that shows:-

– Who has viewed myself
– Are they level 1, 2, 3 or outside of my network
– What industries are they from?
– Where did they come from? For an example, a recent search showed that my viewers were:-

  1. United Kingdom – 890
  2. United States – 478
  3. India – 119
  4. Canada – 51
  5. Australia – 35
  6. Netherlands – 35
  7. France – 33
  8. China 21
  9. Pakistan – 20
  10. Germany – 19
  • Having groups that I can actively take part in and communicate in, whether with my Peers, Competitors or people I have never interacted with before

The above are just a few points to consider but there many other points to consider, such as extra to tools to help (and yes I do use most of these) you fully utilise LinkedIn as explained here in this article called “8 Great LinkedIn Tools For Business” written by Pam Dyer and published in Social Media Today. Some of these 8 tools are so very key and important for me in so many ways that helps me to keep engaged with my connections; they include:-

Also, one that is not listed but I do use every day is LinkedIn Contacts, which really does help me engage with my connections in an in-depth manner. So these are just a few points and I haven’t even gone into Company Pages or Showcase Pages either. Or, I haven’t even mention the benefits of how you can search for your target decision makers to help with your sales growth. Just think of the above as the main filling to your cake and these points I haven’t gone into as being the icing.

Also, I have met on-line with LinkedIn (and been fortunate to meet some in person), some truly amazing inspiring people, who have helped me both personally and professionally to move forward. Now, does it do anything else?

Well, yes, some of my connections whilst they do have a website, they actually put 95% of their effort into LinkedIn and when people ask them to explain about their business, they drive (direct) people to their LinkedIn profile 100% of the time as it clearly shows them and what they do. A good example is Richard Sink who does this and it truly creates so much more understanding for his prospective clients when they come back to him to ask about working with him and his team.

I do hope this as given you some thoughts as to why you should be using LinkedIn and in my opinion why this platform is developing into such a strong all-purpose tool, that it should be one of the first Social Platforms you name as being in your portfolio – I would say it should be one of your Top 3.

[Please note – this article was written by myself and portrays my thoughts and observations only, they don’t represent the views of LinkedIn or neither have they or anyone else paid me to write this Blog Post]

To learn more about myself, either contact myself here or complete the form below….

The images contained within this article here were taken via a word or terminology search on www.google.com and images found via the images tab

Is content king? Has “Content Marketing” now come of age?

Is your content being Showcase‘d?

http://www.linkedin.com/company/linkedin-mentoring-services?trk=biz-brand-tree-co-name

Well it has been nearly six weeks since certain companies were asked to trial Showcase pages then four weeks again before other companies were asked to trial them and then LinkedIn opened Showcase Pages up to all companies a fortnight ago, but what are they?

With more and more Professional People using LinkedIn not just as a networking or connection facility but also as a search and research platform, then information does really need to stand out. So with information and content becoming richer and richer, the aspect of Content Marketing within LinkedIn needed improving. So with LinkedIn having:-

something was needed to deliver a way of producing information that was relevant, rich and full of content – so, the marketing of what companies could offer was crucial. It had to be something where “Content Marketing” was king and beneficial to promoting that company’s services or products in a rich vein.

However, Companies could already just post new status updates or add/update Products and Services on their page but not a way of making something stand out that was rich in content. Thus, a focused facility was needed, which had all the aspects of a Company Page but was not only a sub-section of the Company Page whilst also being a page that stood out on its own. Hence Showcase Pages were created which where effectively sub-pages of the Company Page together with being able to deliver rich Content Marketing of products, programmes, services, etc via a direct link or page.

So, if your company has a wide range of products or portfolio of services which you want to promote separately, then Showcase is the solution. By being able to label your Showcase page with your specific name, wording or branding, people entering those in to the search bar on the LinkedIn page will be able to discover your Showcase page.

The building of a page which allows for focused content and a page which is rich of your Content Marketing creates a facility on a Social Networking platform which delivers greater visibility and the creation of deeper engagement between all parties – prospective client, client, customer and supplying company – which enhances and takes the brand to another level.

Examples of Showcase pages include:-

For more information on this, ask any questions or take part in a training session on this subject, contact myself via here or fill in the form below:-

Data and information taken from various sources including:-