Podcast

Episode: 235 |
Mark Williams:
Mr. LinkedIn:
Episode
235

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Mark Williams

Mr. LinkedIn

Show Notes

Mark Williams, aka ‘Mr. LinkedIn’, is the host of one of my favorite podcasts, LinkedInFormed – I’ve listened to dozens of episodes, and much of what I know about LinkedIn I know from Mark.

In this episode, Mark provides tips on key aspects of the LinkedIn profile: the headline, the photo, the about section, and the experience section.

At one point I mention a specific episode of LinkedInFormed on the types of posts that engage. That one is Episode 242, and it would be a great episode to start with if you haven’t heard this show before.

You might also check out Episode 211 of Unleashed, in which I share my perspective on each aspect of the LinkedIn profile.

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

Will Bachman 00:02
Hello and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional Unleashed is produced by Umbrex, the world’s first global community, connecting top tier independent management consultants with one another. And I’m your host Will Bachman. I am so excited today to have mark williams on the show Mark Williams, Mr. LinkedIn, his podcast, LinkedIn formed. That’s like LinkedIn and informed LinkedIn formed one word is one of my favorite shows. I’ve listened to dozens of episodes. Not all of them. He has, I think 250 280 plus shows out there. So excited to have you on the show today, Mark.

00:44
It’s great to be here. Well, it’s we’re obviously in doodles hiding away from Coronavirus at the moment. But funnily enough, all 281 of my episodes have been recorded in exactly this way. Just sit in my office. Some people like to record podcast live and video them and sitting around the table. But I’ve never ever done an episode like that at all in all that time. So Wow.

Will Bachman 01:11
So 281 episodes, some people who have not listened to your show might ask, what could possibly someone talk about for 281 episodes, just about LinkedIn. But every week you’re sharing news about LinkedIn about new tips on how to use it you share like the post of the week, which is always a feature I really like. And and other pieces. Let’s I have so many questions for you. So a few episodes ago, I I shared kind of best practices in putting together a LinkedIn profile for independent consultants, just based on my experience, but you know, I’m not the real expert here. And I wanted to probe with you on some some of them. So first, let’s talk about the your kind of your headline. Yeah, you know, I tell people, hey, if you just say like independent consultant, or freelance consultant, or management consultant, that’s just a terrible headline, because it’s like a book that just says book on the cover. Yeah, no, or even sort of President of the Bachman group doesn’t tell people much if they’ve never heard of the Bachman group. I encourage people to make it more of a description of what they do. But tell me what what is your perspective on sort of best practices for that headline section?

02:24
Yeah, I mean, the first thing to say about headline is, is incredibly important. So a lot of people underestimate how important that is, I don’t believe that it’s going to make much of a difference. But it makes a huge difference, I think LinkedIn themselves say is the second most important part in profile behind the picture. And that makes sense to me. So if you think about when you Your eyes are on LinkedIn, and you just kind of, you know, looking at your feed, or might be reading someone’s post or reading an article or whatever, you, you could be distracted by someone’s face and look at who’s this And who’s this mark williams guy never heard of him before. But none of it really has any context to at all. And to read the bit underneath, which is the headline. But that’s the bit that goes, this is for me, or it doesn’t. And that’s what you’ve got to achieve. So with the headline, your your aim is to go, right, first of all, who’s my target audience? And what are what they need to know about me to know that I’m relevant to them. And so out of all the things that you need to do the headline, that’s the number one quickly, succinctly Tell me what you do. And that isn’t usually a job title in a company, but it can be in some circumstances. But headlines by default are job titles and company names LinkedIn, make it that way. Largely, because they prefer your headline to be that because that suits recruiters who typically will search on job titles, and, and the headlines and Miss keyword sensitive party profiles. So we we don’t want to worried about that. What we want to do is make sure that when someone comes across us, they immediately know that we’re suitable, and someone that they might be interested in, I guess the headlines job, like any headline really is to get someone to say, Oh, I want to read this and go through into your profile and read more about you in more detail.

Will Bachman 04:16
So if if you have a very identified job at a well known company, so if you’re, for example, Vice President of procurement at Walgreens boots Alliance, or something, you could put that as your headline and people will pretty much know what you do. But if you’re running your own company or your entrepreneur, then people probably don’t recognize your company name. Are you suggesting then that you describe more what you do? And

04:45
yeah, so there’s different ways to do that. So for instance, if you were an entrepreneur running your own business, typically what will happen is when you create your LinkedIn profile, it’ll ask you what your current job is, and you go, Oh, well, you know, I’m co founder or I’m CEO or whatever and all Whatever it means, you know, whatever the name of the company is, you know, Mark Williams associates, right? And so what it would say if that was my company, my company’s actually called etn training, it would say, my job title is managing director by default, it would just say Managing Director etn LinkedIn training Well, okay, my company name because it says LinkedIn training is reasonably descriptive what I do, but that’s quite rare. And certainly your case, for instance, you know, if you if your job title and your company name the your headline, then I wouldn’t really know what you do. Now, some people will take an approach of giving a sentence that describes what you do. So I’m not against this, that’s not my favorite type of headline, but I’m not completely against it. But you’ll see some people will say, helping such and such professionals with X, Y, and Z, right. So it’s a description of what you do, and the difference that you make to your customers. The reason why it’s not my favorite type of headline is that you kind of, I don’t need to read that you’re helping me with, you know, I don’t really need to know that because that blinding the obvious, if you just tell me what you do, in kind of bullet point form, then I’m not stupid. I know, that’s what you’re helping with. It’s so I prefer headlines that are a lot more succinct than that. And if you’re like, or in bullet point format, that the nature of a headline and the structure of it, you know, it’s not a bullet point. But you can make it like that literally just by listing keywords or descriptive phrases that say what you do and break each one up with something on your keyboard that breaks one word, or one sentence or phrase from another. I personally use vertical lines, but there’s all kinds of other things that you could potentially use there. Just to break it up. I think that’s that, to me, is the ideal type of headline.

Will Bachman 07:02
Alright, so here’s an idiot question. Wow, do you put in those little vertical lines that I see some people do and all those other kind of icons,

07:10
but it just depends on what, what you’re using to type it in. So I’m on a Mac, not on a Mac keyboard. It’s, it’s the sort of uppercase of a backslash. So on the right hand side of a keyboard next to the return key, but it does vary. I know I’ve worked with lots of different people that I’m helping them with their profiles, and they go, so where’s that? Well, actually, it’s not the same on your keyboard as it is on mine. And of course, if you’re using a tablet, it could be different again, etc, etc. So it’s one of those ones, you have to try and have a look and figure it out, depending on what you use. And you don’t have to use a vertical line. There’s all kinds of other things that you could potentially use. I remember a funny story four years ago, this is a long time ago. Pretty much when I first started LinkedIn training, which is back in 2008, this might have been 2009. And I saw this profile on LinkedIn. And what they’ve done is that they’ve done this this technique, but each point each bullet point that’s separated with a triangle kind of sideways triangle, you know, with the wider side on the left, pointing to the right, if you like, and, and I thought that’s really good, actually, that kind of brings it up nicely. And it also grabs the eyes. So when you see, I don’t know, you’re looking at someone’s profile, you see that section on the right hand side that says people also view because it had these triangles in it in sort of dark black triangles, this sort of stood out. I thought I like that’s a really good idea. But where’s the triangle on a keyboard? No idea. So I’m looking at the keyboard and I’m looking all kinds of different ways of finding this and trying to Google it and everything. In the end a thought table, I’ll just contact the person. So I sent them a message and I said, I really liked your headline in your profile. And I think I really like those triangles that you’re breaking up these different points. So where did you get them from? Where do you get a triangle from? How’d you find it and she is a woman who she said Oh, thank you for the compliment about my my headline. With regards to the point about triangles I’m really not sure I’ve had them in there for quite some time but here’s an idea. Why don’t you just copy and paste them from mine? Oh, yeah. Before that. But you know that that I don’t use those triangles anymore is that I use vertical lines. I think it looks a bit neater but that would be my kind of technique. Because the other thing that it does is it adds keywords into your headline that are important if someone was searching for you. And when I say searching for you, I don’t mean specifically you I mean they need some One that can help them with, they need someone who has expertise in, right. And so logically, if they’re going to go to LinkedIn and search for that type of person, they’re going to go up to that bar top that basic search bar and just type those words in. Right? If you do that the people that caught up in your search is anyone that’s got those words in their profile, okay? But the ones that tend to be at the top of that search result are those that have got those words in their headline, because it’s the most keyword sensitive part of a profile. Now, let’s be careful with this point, though, because I’m always keen to make it clear to people that the most important thing about your headline is the educate your target audience, when they read, or they come across, you don’t read your profile at this stage, they just come across you that you are the kind of person that they would be interested in that you are highly relevant to them. That is the number one objective in a headline. Now, it’s likely that the words that you use are going to be keywords that they would use to search with as well. But the most important thing is the education of the viewer. And the reason I say that is that, you know, it sounds great to say optimize your profile, or a LinkedIn profile optimization, blah, blah, blah. But how many of your potential customers are using LinkedIn in the way that use Google, there’s not seen or used in that way extensively. It might be occasionally, and therefore it’s worth optimizing your headline. But let’s be clear, the most likely scenario is they’re not searching for you. But because of your activity on LinkedIn, they come across you and they go, Ah, this person looks interesting. And that’s why the headline needs to educate them.

Will Bachman 11:53
Great. You mentioned that the number one aspect of the of the profile most important is the photo, tell me some of your thoughts about what makes a great LinkedIn photo.

12:05
It’s pretty simple, really. And I guess it’s the kind of thing that most people would know. But it’s it’s close up headshot, obviously, relatively current. It’s more about the mistakes that people make with it really. Yeah, typically, what you see are people trying to say something about themselves. So it might be that, you know, there’s a picture of them cycling, or swimming or climbing a mountain or something like that. And we’ll have to remember about those kind of pitches is that proper pitch is very small, it’s a tiny circular thing. In the profile, it’s quite big. But that’s not the bit you need to worry about when someone’s in the profile, they’re not really looking at your picture or your headline for that matter by that stage. But if you want to get someone’s attention, then they need to see what you look like, right? And all you get is this kind of color, can’t really work out what’s in the picture, because it’s so small. So a mistake a lot of people make is they’re just not zooming in enough on themselves. And that’s important. It’s not a selfie. So get someone else to take the photo, you need to get a professional to take it but don’t take a selfie selfie, get get someone else to actually hold the camera or the phone to take it close up, as I said, but if there is backgrounds that you can see, that shouldn’t be distracting. So it’s either out of focus, or it’s very neutral. And other than that, you know, people say what should I wear? Well, if it’s close up, it doesn’t really matter that much. But, you know, the answer to that is whatever you would wear for a business meeting in your normal work environment. So if it’s very formal, and you wear a suit, that tie, then fine wear a suit and a tie for your profile picture. If however, it’s not like that at all, then you know, just dress appropriately. Everything is about you know, and you can get over overly analytical about this. You know, there’s a lot of debate about what how should you look, you know, what kind of luck should you have? And I guess my advice on that would be, look, imagine, I’ve come across you for the first time, right? I’ve never met you before I’ve come across you on LinkedIn, I can see your name, but it means nothing to me, I can see your picture. And that immediately creates an impression in my mind, right. And that’s a little bit like meeting someone for the first time in business. Right. So you know, in person. And so let’s imagine that we’ve got a meeting, my office, you’re walking into my office, and we’re about to shake hands, what is the look on your face at that point? Because I didn’t think I would be too inspired by that meeting. If in that meeting, sorry if you were looking out the window as you came into my office to greet me, right. So I see these profile pictures of people wistfully looking out of the picture. I don’t think that’s the best technique. I think You really need to be looking at me eye contact. And a warm smile is difficult because when you say to someone, your profile picture should be looking at me with a warm smile looking friendly and interested, then, you know, you try and look friendly and interested in a pose, it’s quite difficult to do. But the best profile pictures are definitely people who look like that. Yeah, rather than sort of trying to, you know, look serious or, or sort of, you know, thoughtful or anything like that. Just a nice, warm smile is fine.

Will Bachman 15:33
Mark, I imagine a lot of folks are now working from home may have some time on their hands, and maybe thinking about, oh, well, I should update update my LinkedIn profile. Before, I would love to get your recommendations on just overall how to approach that. And some people might just start in with specific aspects of it. But you know, maybe you would say, before you start trying to edit different aspects of it, you need to do some strategy of Who are you trying to? What message Are you trying to convey? What’s your goal with your LinkedIn profile? What audience you’re trying to reach? And what what do you want them to know about you, you know, some kind of strategic session before you start going in editing, love to hear how you think about how you work with clients on improving their LinkedIn profile?

16:22
Yeah, 100%, I’m always amazed at how often people get because LinkedIn is only a part of their whole marketing mix. And so by the time I’m speaking to them, I would have thought they’ve already done this, but quite often happen. And I’m saying to them, so tell me, you know, what a customer looks like. And they can’t always answer that. And that, to me is the most fundamental part of anything before you think about a profile is for whom we’re trying to reach it. And of course, you might have a whole variety of different types of customers, or target customers. But you know, you look at that, and you go with regards to LinkedIn. So there might be some people that you do business with, that you’re less likely to find on LinkedIn, and there’ll be others that you are more likely to find on LinkedIn, in which case, that is your customer avatar, for your LinkedIn profile, right. And then you pick, you know, a kind of midpoint of someone that you think fits an exact type of customer. And then you understand about what they would wish to read in your profile, because you are writing it for them. And that’s your starting point. Okay, once you’ve got that, then everything becomes a lot easier. So for instance, the headlines I’ve already mentioned, that’s very much written for them in mind, what words are going to make them go, Oh, this looks interesting. I need to, I need to click on this profile and find out more about this person. You’ve also got other sections of your profile that relatively recent changes to LinkedIn, you’ve got this providing services section, which is very high up in your profile sheets is quite high, you are a bit limited in that section, LinkedIn give you a list of services that you can say that you’re providing. And for many people, it won’t necessarily fit. But it’s worth using. Because it’s right at the top of your profile, when they first go in for the first things they say, See, try and pick the nearest two of the categories that you’ve got the newest to what you do. So you’ll see that it’s like a gray section when you’re in edit mode right at the top of your profile. And then you’ve got the about section, which is your opportunity to introduce yourself. And I think a good about section is written in an authentic way that gives people a real flavor for who you are and what you do. But what you do from the perspective of why you do it, I think that makes much more interesting reading for people, there is a danger with profiles that people write them a bit like a resume. And, and it’s understandable that people do that, you know, they do it partly because maybe they’re on LinkedIn initially to get a job, and then never bother changing their profile afterwards. Or they do it because you know that the next section after the about section is your experience section. And that is a bit more like a resume. But you’re also asked to give information about you in a professional capacity you and your career. And so you naturally I think fall into resume mode. But remember, that’s not going to be a very good impression to someone who is looking at your profile, you know, from the perspective of is this someone that I want to work with? Is this a company that I want to work and then you know, so if I if I look at your profile, and it’s written in a way that was suggest you might be looking for a job and that doesn’t give me any great security in terms of actually doing business with you. So be careful about that one and it’s always worth a check you know, just actually look like I’m looking for a job is so often the about section and the experience section. So things like for instance, you know, a customer, potential customer does not need to know about your career achievements. They You might talk about career achievements and reframe them as things that you can do and have done and enjoyed doing. And therefore, they would read that as all they could do that for me as well. Now, it’s different for you say, you know, I agree to the cheat my career was or things like that. That’s resume talk, right? You don’t want to see that in a LinkedIn profile, unless you’re looking for a job,

Will Bachman 20:21
or context. You know, in or a lot of times I see, just cliches that 90% of executives in your industry might right it’ll be a seasoned executive motivated by results driven to lead teams and overcome great obstacles. It just, I mean, it’s just, it seems like a copy and pasted from, from anyone, it doesn’t tell me anything about you.

20:46
Absolutely. And it’s difficult, though. Well, because people do struggle with this. And I understand why it’s, it’s a unique situation, we’re asked to write about ourselves, people are often uncomfortable doing that, as I say, the best advice I can give you on it is to say, think about it from the perspective of why I do what I do mistakes, think about why you do what you do, and talk about that. Now, if you can write a story, even better, I’m not talking about war and peace here, just a short story that introduces you to the reader. In a way that is interesting, right? In my about section I talk about the first time I ever when networking in person, once I decided to be a LinkedIn trainer, you see, because I had this, this is way back in the days 2008. And I had this idea that LinkedIn training would be an interesting and good thing to do, and that LinkedIn was going to grow at the time, I think LinkedIn had about 32 million members. And there wasn’t in the UK where I’m based, there wasn’t any other LinkedIn traders at all, there were a few over there in the States, but across the world, you could count the number of LinkedIn trainers in the world on one hand, right. So it’s a bit of a gamble. But it’s in my character to get very enthusiastic about something when I really believe in it. So and one of the reasons why I do what I do is that I love sharing something that I think is really good, right? So if I come across an app, I can’t help but share it with everyone. This is really cool that you know, see all the skills that I don’t guess LinkedIn, to me is like the coolest app ever. People don’t necessarily see that. But I do. So I thought, right, I’ve got this great idea. But I need to test it right. So I’m going to go to a physical networking event. And I’m going to tell people about what I do and just gauge the reaction, you know, because it’s, I’m getting all enthusiastic about it. But maybe everyone else thinks it’s a dumb idea. So I went to this relatively local event, first person on that list queued up to get a coffee. And this guy wants to get out six for you by have to translate that into into a measurement that makes sense to people in the US. So six foot four, tall anyway, put it that way. And very smart, right? And that very impressive looking guy shook hands with him. And he kind of looked down at me and said, Ah, so my name is such and such, blah, blah, blah. And I said, I’m Bob Williams. And he said, so what do you do Mark? And I thought, well, here you go. Here’s my first time I’m ever going to say what I do. So I said, I’m a LinkedIn trainer. And he went, Oh, yes, LinkedIn. I know that. Yes. I bought it. I don’t, I’ve never used it, but I am on it. So what else do you do? And I know, that’s it, LinkedIn train, that’s my profession. That’s what I do. And at that point, he laughed very loudly, so loud, actually, that everybody else in the room, which is probably about 50, people all turn around to see what was so funny. And I seriously felt about two foot tall at that point. And I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed by the fact that he thought that this great idea that I thought I had was so comical that he laughed out loud about it. But I kind of got through the rest of that meeting and you know, went home and I remember driving home feeling sick, you know, in the pit of my stomach thinking, what was I thinking? You know, why did I think this was such a good idea? I mean, that guy clearly knows what he’s talking about. And he thought it was rubbish.

24:34
My confidence was shattered. But the next morning I woke up feeling very differently, haven’t slept on it. I thought, what does he know? He’s never on LinkedIn. And anyway, most people at this stage don’t really understanding tip. So actually, I’m going to get a lot of that and that’s okay. And I found it a motivating force. And I turned that around. And it gave me a real driving force to get out there and start to prove to people that LinkedIn is an important tool and they should learn how to use it better. Now, that story, admittedly, an abbreviated version is in my about section. And the point of that is that when people read that, they start to read it in the first three lines, which is on desktop Anyway, what you see in the about section, but the story isn’t finished, so they have to click on see more to read the rest of it. And that’s good news. Because every time somebody views your profile, the algorithms looking at that and going, all right, okay, so you’re quite popular. But more than that, when someone clicks in your profile, right, because then they really are reading it, they just didn’t go into it, and then move on and take a call or, you know, whatever, they are actually reading your profile, because they’ve clicked on something. And if you open up the about section, fully the algorithms looking at that, and going this person is definitely interesting, right? So it’s a good technique, as she’s think of a story that demonstrates who you are what you’re all about. Now, that story. Obviously, it’s true story that happened to me, and it’s very descriptive story of who I am. So people that know me, well, when they read that go, yeah, that’s you all over, right. prone to moments of self doubt. Now, I’m happy to say that openly to everyone, but at the same time, someone that can turn that into a positive motivator, to then become a LinkedIn trainer for 11 years. And you know, and be very successful on the back of that. So that’s me all over. So that ABOUT SECTION explains what I do through the medium of a story, but also gives people real insight to the person that I am. Having said all that, well, it’s not easy to do a good about section isn’t easy to do. And if you’re not a good writer, and I wouldn’t suggest I’m a good writer, by the way. But if you’re if writing doesn’t come naturally to you at all, and he struggles with these principles, then it might be an area where you might want to speak to a copywriter about doing it, and they will interrogate you. And they will ask you questions, and they will pull out the stories from you. And they’ll write something that’s compelling and interesting. And, you know, I’ve worked with people who have done that in the past for other people. So, but that’s a good about section. And that’s quite important, because that is quite high up in the profile. As I say, if you get people to click on it, then that can be really advantageous to you.

Will Bachman 27:19
Yeah, I really like your point about kind of framing it from the perspective of your current customers. If you’re not primarily focused on getting a job right now, you often do see profiles of people that it’s much more calibrated to that. And your idea about writing a story, I learned that from you. And I updated my own profile to make it more of a story that people would click on talking about how what influenced my whole career was this episode of The Paperchase? Yeah, I saw when I was nine years old, season one episode 22. I guess he checked it out. And he says, You know, I was inspired by this. And then you have to see more to see why that, you know, episode I saw when I was nine, has, you know, led to what I’m doing today? Yeah, brilliant working in collaboration. So we’ll go through some of the other key sections. You know, and by the way about us, do you recommend first person or third person?

28:17
Oh, first every time? All right. Yeah. I mean, the only thing I would say different to that is there are some cultures, where people look at a first person and they think you’re showing off and boastful. Certainly, I would say in the US in the UK, that’s not the case. But in areas like Scandinavia, I’ve had feedback from people that they don’t like that. I mean, that’s just a straw poll of about three people. So that might not be accurate, but be mindful of the culture that you’re in, and that you’re serving. Occasionally, in certain professions, it can be important, I’ve worked a lot with lawyers. And on the whole, I would say they should write in first person. But I’ve had one or two say, Oh, no, in my field, everybody writes in third person. And I have to take their word for it. I’m never completely given stuff to say, from this third person looks like someone else has written it. And a good profile should read as an authentic picture of who you are. And trying to write a story about you in the third person just isn’t going to be very effective at all. So that’s definitely the case. I would say for the vast majority of people with the about sexual

Will Bachman 29:27
experience sections. A lot of times I’ll see people in the experience section and it’s more about describing the job responsibilities, which is often kind of obvious. I mean, if they were the finance manager, it’ll say, you know, responsible for supervising the accounts receivable and accounts payable team and getting the reports out and like me, no kidding. What is your recommendation for making a really powerful experience section?

29:54
Well, look, I mean, the first thing I would say, Well, this is not particularly important section, right? It depends what you’re trying to do if you’re looking for a job in Israel. Very important section. If you’re not, it’s less important, right? People want to have a little bit of an idea. I mean, typically the mindset of people is what happens is they go, Oh, this guy well looks interesting to me, as find out all about him. So I can see those headlines that is relevant to me as readers about section is interesting story. Featured section, which we’ll come to in a minute, actually is quite important new section. And then there might go down to your experience. And I think a lot of the time this scan, read it just to look at the picture of how you got to where you are. Certainly, that’s what I did and about you, but I’m kind of not looking for a lot of detail here. I’m just looking for the so where did you come from? Well, you know, so this is what you’re doing now, right? But how have you got to that point where you could do that? You know, and so that’s what I’m interested in more. So a lot of detail about specifically what you did, or what even what you do is not that important to live in, what I’d like to know is a broader picture of, you know, what you could offer, it’s, again, it depends on the context of what you’re trying to do. But let’s assume that we’re writing a profile for customers, right? So then you focus it around what you can do for that, okay. And that is what I’m interested in. And I’m interested in your credentials that put you in a position where you will be someone that I would want to work with, or a company that I’d want to work with. And so be clear about your backgrounds, make sure that the information is in there, who you worked for, and what your role was more important than huge amount of detail. Obviously, as you get back further, the less detail is necessary. So the experience section is kind of important. But I think people scan read it. So I’m not sure you need to go into a lot of detail. The featured section that I briefly mentioned, then, which is new, and some people won’t have it yet, because it’s on rollout at the moment, LinkedIn will be bringing new features out, randomly rolled them out across the network. And so if you haven’t got it, it’s something that will come soon to your profile. This is what this actually sits underneath the about section but quite high up in your profile. And this is where you can feature your work either on LinkedIn or content, either that’s from LinkedIn, or from outside of LinkedIn. And so this has replaced in the about section used to be able to put media at the bottom of your about section as well as in other sections of your profile. And they’ve got rid of it in the about section is no media in there now. And it’s been replaced with it replaces featured, first of all, just to look at it’s much bigger. So it stands out a lot more and looks much more impressive. It thumbnails probably five times the size of the media, as was in the about section. In here, you can if you have written an article on LinkedIn or a post at any stage doesn’t have to be your last post, it could be a post in two years ago, if you want, you can actually feature that in this section. Or you can use media as you would have done before. So you can feature videos, or PowerPoint presentations, I use an external links to whatever it might be YouTube or Vimeo, or in the case of a PowerPoint presentation SlideShare, you can still do that as well. Or, and probably most importantly, you can use this section as a website link.

33:39
And if you think about what you’re trying to achieve with LinkedIn, that could be very powerful for you. We do have website links that we can add into the contact info section further up, but you have to click on it opens up a pop up box, whereas this is in the featured section, you just click on the phone now and you’re straight into a website. So you’ve always been able to do that with the media section in about but the problem with that was it was a it was a small, little thumbnail. But secondly, you have to click on the thumbnail. And then you had to notice that there was another little button, bottom right corner that said view and then click on that see, which is a terrible way of getting to your website asking Saul to do two clicks with a second click wasn’t that obvious to people? Now you’ve got a huge great big thumbnail sitting right in your profile. And you can get people to click straight on that one click there straight into your website. So if you’ve got products that you want to demonstrate or even sell, it might even be a sales page. It may be a sign up to an email newsletter or something of that nature. You can bang that into the featured section and get people straight into an area where you’re capturing their information or even get them to buy a product. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think people are likely to buy products or order services direct from your LinkedIn profile. Normally But that is definitely an option with this new feature section.

Will Bachman 35:05
Well, that sounds really powerful. And I I hadn’t seen that yet. I don’t know if I’ve received it yet, but I’ll keep my eye out for that feature.

35:12
Yeah, I’m looking at the way it works well is a funny one this because if you haven’t got it, when you view somebody’s profile, what you will see is the about section at the bottom, you’ll see media, okay? Now, when you have got it, what you see is featured even in someone’s profile, that hasn’t got it. Alright. So when I look at your profile, what I see is a PDF that says strategy reading summaries, okay. And that would have looked good on a small thumbnail, but on a big film that doesn’t look so good. Because it’s, the words are all kind of it doesn’t look clear, it’s not, it’s sort of bit pixelated. And this is the problem, you can’t see that yet. Because you haven’t got it, I’ll do a screenshot for you and show you what I mean. But, but the potential is massive, right? So it could be really good. But I would suggest everyone straight away whether they’ve got the feature or not change your most recent media. So the one on the far left hand side of your list of media in your about section, change that to the most important thing that you want people to click on. Now, for many people that will be their website, or it could be their latest article could be a post, or it could be a YouTube video or something of that nature.

Will Bachman 36:41
And okay, and if, if you have instructions on how to do that, or just a link explaining how to do that, Mark, we can include it in the show notes of this episode.

36:50
Yeah, I actually covered it on a recent episode. So probably the easiest thing is just to link to that episode, because there’s some clear, you know, direction with screenshots on how to do it. As I say, if you haven’t got it, you’re not going to see that in your profile. It’s very simple. both mobile and desktop, it’s very straightforward to do. But LinkedIn have an improvement on LinkedIn in recent times, is when they bring out a new feature on your profile, they do highlight it too. So when you get it, you go in it, there’s a big box that kind of opens or says, Have you seen this new feature? And it kind of walks you through it? So if you’re thinking, I don’t know if I’ve seen that or not, that would mean you haven’t got it because you wouldn’t be able to miss it.

Will Bachman 37:33
What is your perspective mark on posting on LinkedIn, you’ve got a great episode on how to write a compelling post. I think it’s Episode 241. I’ve often pointed people to Yeah, I don’t think it’s two for one, but I’ll have to look it up. I’ll include a link. So 41242, the question I often get is, Hey, is it really worth my time to post on LinkedIn and to comment? Like, is it? Is it actually going to drive business eventually, you know, and generate business? What what’s your thought on that? Do you see people who post consistently, you know, actually does result in in generating, generating business?

38:13
Absolutely, I mean, obviously, everything else has to be right. So if you’ve got a terrible product, and you got a terrible website, in, you’ve got a terrible profile, and nothing else fits. And you’re really good at posting that isn’t going to help, obviously, but but assuming that you’ve got something that is of interest to people that you’re aiming at the right audience, the profiles in the right way, and everything else fits, and you post successfully meaning high visibility, high engagement, which brings high visibility, then without question that has to work. I mean, to me, it’s a very obvious point, you know, if you’re really good at what you do, then assuming that let’s say you provide services, right, and and you’re good at what you do, but you can be very good at what you do and be known by very few people. So a very easy win is to suddenly become visible to significantly more people, right. And LinkedIn is a brilliant place to do that. Because if you apply the rules of posting, and get out there, and really produce great content that people actually want to want to comment on, then more and more people are going to get to see you. And assuming that everything else is in order, then that’s got to bring business. Hasn’t there. plenty of examples out there? It does. In fact, I was reminded of this very recently, and I talked about this on the podcast, you may have heard it, but I’ll repeat the story for your listeners. I was literally driving home from somewhere with my girlfriends were chatting away in the car and I said oh, I’ve got this client on board this morning. Quite a big client as well. And, and they, they’ve been referred to me from somebody and the guy that referred me. I think I might have met him about five years. years ago, but I don’t remember him at all. But thing come at me at a networking event because I looked back at when we were connected. And I noticed, and I remembered, you know, an event that we might have both attended. But anyway, this went, client contacted me, they said, Oh, we’ve spoken to data there. And he says this about you and that about you and that about you, and very clearly was making it known to this company, this representative of this company that they knew me really well. And what I said to my golfer is I feel slightly uncomfortable with this, and obviously grateful for the referral. And also grateful for the client, the new client is quite a big company, the great, but I almost feel like we’ve got it on false pretenses because I don’t know this guy at all. I mean, I might have met him once, but I definitely don’t know it. And, and she said, It’s funny, isn’t it, you know, this is what I do for a living, right. And I talk to people about this kind of stuff all the time. And yet, it’s right there in front of me. And I didn’t, it didn’t register this point. My girlfriend had pointed out to me, and she said, but he probably does know you very well, because he sees you all the time on LinkedIn. And he sees your posts, and he’s read your profile, and he sees the kind of stuff you put out, and he sees your comments sort of people’s posts, it also probably helps, they might listen to the podcast, although Actually, I’m not sure whether he does have a lot still to this day. But he’s certainly someone that follows me on LinkedIn, and has probably seen lots from me. So he actually just feel justified in referring me to sum up the point, the bottom line is that if you’re successful in posting on LinkedIn, you’re going to be significantly more visible. And as you become more visible people understand more about who you are. And when they do they feel that they want to do business with you, or they want to refer you to someone, there’s only good that can come out of that, provided you do it in the right way.

Will Bachman 41:55
Yeah. And one thing I learned from you is the importance of commenting on other people’s posts. You know, I learned from you that if you post even once a day, it’s mostly your followers that are going to see it and you help remind them that you exist. But if you comment on someone else, then their followers are going to see you and maybe they check out check you out.

42:16
Yeah, but it’s even more than that. Because if you comment on other people’s stuff, the algorithm reads that as very positive activity. So the algorithm is always trying to work out I did an episode recently on relevancy. And the algorithm is constantly trying to work out relevancy meaning how relevant MIT you and you to me, right? And it’s looking for signs that we are relevant to each other, because I follow you, and you follow me, but how often are we going to see each other’s content. So if I comment on your content, and you then reply to that, which any good post would always reply to every comment, then there’s a two way communication there that the algorithm reads. Now that might be followed up by direct messaging as well, which also helps with relevancy. But the more that I comment on other people’s content, not only is seen by this audience that don’t necessarily know me, but also the algorithms going, like this person that you’re commenting on their stuff, there’s a higher degree of relevancy now. So next time you post, we’re going to make sure they see it. Now, when they see if they comment, then obviously that goes out to that audience again, and those people that saw my comment, now see my post as well. So gradually, the building blocks of visibility are happening time and time again. There’s a someone I had on my podcast a long, long time ago, for Kate Lister, and she’s a florist and works from home. And she kind of stumbled on LinkedIn really, uh, but he’s very successful and sells a lot of flowers on LinkedIn. And she adopted this philosophy some while ago now. And it was more based around what she thought was fair, as opposed to clever tactics. It was just what she thought was fair, right. And what she does is she, if she’s going to post that she post two or three times a week, if she’s going to post, she will make sure that she has commented on at least five other people’s posts, before she posts herself. Now, there’s also something in that. So if I’m doing a post, it’s really important post. If I’m disciplined in often, you know, I’m not always, but if I am, what I do is I go, I’m going to do this post that I don’t know, 11 o’clock, from nine o’clock at nine o’clock, I’m going to get on, and I’m going to start searching for people who aren’t following and their content, I’m going to start liking and commenting their stuff right now, that’s a little bit false in that I’m going I’m going to post at 11 o’clock. Just before that, I’m going to make sure our comment. It doesn’t have to be just before, if you have the kind of philosophy that Kate has. She’s always constantly looking for content that she can comment on. And by doing that, she read He has to worry about the five to one ratio. Because by the time she posts, she looks back and she goes, Oh, yeah, I’ve actually commented on 10, no problem at all, I’ll do my post. But it’s a really interesting way of looking at it. And she didn’t realize the effect that it has on the algorithm. But the algorithm really reads into that and goes, this is relevant. And therefore, when you post more people are going to see it as a result of that.

Will Bachman 45:22
And in that other episode, which I’ll include the link in the show notes here, where you go on in more detail, you had, I think, five different types of posts. Could you recap that real quick? Like what are what makes a compelling post because so many people make them such so boring and dull.

45:39
Because I mean, there’s the types of posts that you get on LinkedIn are, you can have a text only post, you can have an image post, you can have a document posts, you can have a video post, right? And all four of those are very effective if you do them the right way. Okay. But if you could only do one question I always ask when I want to do a talk, I say to people, right, especially for different types of posts on LinkedIn, which do you think everything else being equal? Right? So the content would be same, the audience would be the same? Which of those four do you think is most likely to create the most engagement? Which is your objective? And most people would answer that video or image normally split 5050. Between that so hardly anybody gets it, right? Because the right answer is actually text only. So that doesn’t mean that you should only do text only, and I’m always clear with people look, different types of posts appeal to different people. And so should always vary the type of content that it is. But the reason I make that point is that people typically estimate text only posts and things are they, they’re not going to really attract much attention, because there’s just font, there’s nothing to see rarely. But that kind of is their strength. Because provided and you know, on a text only post, you only see the first five lines, and then you see the See More link to click on to open it up. And it can then go to 1300 characters from there. Well, what happens, of course, is someone’s flicking through their feed, if that first five lines is written in a way that grabs their attention a little bit later, the point I was making before about the about section, if it’s something compelling, maybe a story that doesn’t finish, then they click on see more now to see more, we believe, has never been confirmed by LinkedIn. But we believe that’s pretty important, because that’s a clear sign to the algorithm that somebody is really eating this post. And the algorithm will therefore be motivated to want to send it out to more people. So your distribution, your view numbers go up, and therefore you’ve got a greater chance of engagement on that post, right. And obviously, the engagement gives you the secondary boost to distribution of that post. So text only a very good post, but they have to be written in the right way. And I’ll come to the general rules of post in a second. But image documents and video posts, although you can write something above them, and you can write it long enough to trigger the scene where which on those is actually only three lines rather than five. The reality of it is that the viewer is focused on the content. And the content is of course, the image, the document or the video. So they often don’t click on the see more. And that I think is one of the main reasons why text only posts would typically do a bit better.

Will Bachman 48:32
Yeah. And then. And then in terms of what to write, you know, some posts are Oh, so proud and so humbled to be you know, on this panel today, you know, just boring stuff. Whereas you had one where you talked about like, do one is either debatable, or one that’s just purely helpful or posts that are, you know, conversation and ask a question. So the goal is really to get comments.

48:57
The goal is always to get comments without question, right? So, so comments are what helps distribute your posts, which gives you the visibility that you desire. So we’re going to try and do is start a conversation. And but when people do content, they they often take a mindset of kind of advertising to the advertising is just talking at people, but you’re not developing any conversation there. So try and take a more networking approach to things in a networking environment, face to face networking, if you just preach to people at a networking event, it wouldn’t go very well. But you really need to listen and talk and get people talking. And that’s what you’re trying to do with the posts. So that’s your first objective, the way you write it. And by the way, that doesn’t have to be a question. I mean, our questions, the most obvious way of doing that, because obviously that gives people a reason to want to comment. But quite often just making a statement gets people comments, and it has to be a bold statement. And you have to be a bit careful with that because you don’t want to upset people. But at the same time, the bolder the statement, the more likely you are to get comments right. It also needs to be a subject that is Gonna have wide appeal, right? So wide appeal to your target audience but wide appeal. So you don’t want it to be too specific. And something that’s going to be a broad interest to people always remember an example, someone once did a post on LinkedIn, that there was actually an image post if I remember it and had a picture of Starbucks cup. And with a name on it, and and the starting line, which was a question post as well, what name do you give in Starbucks? Then it went on to say, you know, I was in Starbucks either day. And I was slightly taken aback when they asked me what my name was, I wasn’t quite sure what they were asking. But for some reason, I immediately reacted by giving them the completely sold snake. And then, and when I read this, and I just saw this post off the bat, I thought, like the thought of giving a false name, I always give my name, how bizarre and I thought, I’m missing a trick here. Maybe I need to think of a different membership. Or maybe I need a Starbucks name. But the point was, that was an engaging post, because most people can relate to that, right? They’ve been in Starbucks, and the first time they were asked their name, they’re a bit like, What? Why do well, but they. So people, because they can relate to that kind of reaction. It’s obviously a few years ago, something that we’re all used to now but and as a result that posted really well. So it’s a very good example of just triggering something that makes people go Oh, yeah, I can relate to that. And therefore, they’re gonna want to comment and get involved in any discussion around that. So anytime, anything happens to ideally business related, but you might say Starbucks isn’t. But you’re most business people I know, go into Starbucks, at some point during most many working days. It is kind of business related. But like, the kind of thing was that a topics of conversations that you know, do well at dinner parties, right? But with a business audience that so if you were there at a conference, let’s say, and or let’s say an awards, dinner, there’s a Business Awards dinner, and you’ve got a table of 10 people, right? Imagine the scenario, you’ve probably been to many of these sort of events. And somebody says something that gets everyone around the table all contributes. And it’s interesting, right? That’s good content, that what you’re trying to do is trigger that level of interest. There are other types of things like educational posts do well, that doesn’t have to be educational in the sense of I’m telling you how to do this, because this is what I’m an expert in, because that’s a bit promotional then. But it might be that you understand your target audience and the challenges that they have. And then you provide assistance with those challenges through an educational could be video could be a text only post doesn’t really matter. But they’re going to find that useful. He tends to find educational posts are more likeable than comment worthy, and comments are more valuable than likes, but likes are still very valuable and good things to get. So that could that technique can work as well.

Will Bachman 53:05
Mark, could you tell us just a bit about your practice and where people can find you online? I’d love to hear about, you know, can a double click on LinkedIn training? What are the different types of trainings that you give? And how do you how do you work with your clients?

53:20
Show I kind of breaks down into various broad areas, really, but it’s only LinkedIn that I do. And so I purely specialize in LinkedIn. I work with different types of people who approach LinkedIn with a different purpose. So I work with job seekers. A lot of my work with job seekers, though, is at corporate level, which may sound odd. But there may be organizations that are going through an outplacement process or letting people go or putting people under threat of redundancy. And they’ll bring me in to help those people that are under threat, get themselves a new job. I do do one to one online coaching with job seekers, they usually people in the more senior level. And that’s a small part of what I do. I work with recruiters, so the other side of that recruitment table, if you like, and that’s pretty much my background. So I know a lot about that. I’ve been in recruitment for many, many years before doing LinkedIn training, so the corporate recruiters or agency recruiters, but the biggest part of my work is with sales marketing professionals. And what that’s a very loose term. So that could be someone working in a law firm, who’s not in a sales role but needs to generate business. It could be someone working in accountancy practice, who needs to generate new clients, it could be someone working for themselves, entrepreneur, starting up their own business, who needs to get out there and get momentum in their business and wants to learn how to use LinkedIn. Now if it’s a small business, then that tends to be one on one stuff. So just online over zoom calls, but obviously with a large, larger, the organization The more it tends to go towards in, in house sessions in person sessions where I’m delivering training, I half day sessions to people. So that’s broadly what I do. It’s all focused on LinkedIn. And that covers all aspects of LinkedIn. And it depends where someone is. So a typical coaching client will have a 15 minute chat. First of all, I’ve looked at their profile, and I might say to them, look your profiles, okay, there’s a few bits and bobs we need to do, but it’s half an hour at max, but, but we’ll get your profile so that it’s really good. But what I’m gonna focus on with, you might be posting an activity, right, because you get nowhere with the post that you’re doing. And we can definitely improve on that. And then we’ll go through all the techniques, and then we’ll build on that in a kind of coaching format, meaning that, you know, we go through the techniques that you need to apply to what you’re doing. And then they have to go away and do it. So session two, and they’re looking at their posts and go, right, let’s now analyze those posts. Let’s look at them. Let’s break them down. What could we do to improve them? How could we do it differently next time? What kind of response did we get? How did we deal with that response, etc, etc. The reality is, there’s rarely a solution. That is an overnight success. I’ve seen it occasionally habits, but most people that I work with, it’s a process, right? And eventually you get to a point where they’re starting to get really good visibility. It’s not about being viral. By the way, it’s not about getting 100,000 views to a post. It’s much more about engaging I comments from a targeted audience, the right kind of people. So that allows you to be seen more, because every time you comment, to either reply or comment on someone else’s stuff, the audience are learning about who you are. And it’s through that process that they decide to want to do business with you.

Will Bachman 56:44
And Mark, where is the best place for people to find you online? if they wanted to, you know, sign up and get your help on get your help on on one of these things?

56:52
Yeah, I mean, the obvious answer is LinkedIn. That is actually the best place, you know, my profile is linkedin.com, forward slash in forward slash Mr. LinkedIn. So that’s quite easy to remember. Or just search for Mark Williams, Mr. LinkedIn, on LinkedIn, you can send me a direct message free of charge. You know, just contact me there. You don’t necessarily need to connect with me, just send me a message. And we may collect later on. Alternatively, the podcast is LinkedIn formed.com. That’s the website that accompanies the podcast, there’s contact ways of contacting me on that website as well. And obviously, that’s the podcast as well. So,

Will Bachman 57:36
Mark, I am so grateful for you, you know you coming on the show today. You are one of my heroes, and I’ve been following you for a while. So it’s been such a thrill to speak to you. I feel like know you. So well listening to some of your shows and really appreciate you spending time today. It’s a pleasure. Well, and

Related Episodes

jay-altizer-bain-alum-dallas-tx

Episode
440

Food Industry 101

Jay Altizer

Episode
439

Craig Beal on the Travel Business

Craig Beal

Episode
438

Rob Ristagno on Customer Segmentation

Rob Ristagno

Episode
437

Equity Research

Neeraj Monga