Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to Get 500+ Connections on Linkedin

Tutorial for Dramatically Increasing Your LinkedIn Connections

The first step to getting over 500 relevant connections on Linkedin is to get 100+ highly relevant connections.  We have been discussing that over the past 4 posts on the days just proceeding this one.  It is also very important to have a great profile and several recommendations before you start inviting the world.  You don't want to open the doors to your restaurant before you've set up the menus. 

Once you have a bunch of your best possible connections set up, go to their list of connections.  Start by going to the contacts tab on the home page.  Pull down the menu and select connections.  This will give you a page that looks like this.  You will note that each person (obscured to protect the innocent) has a number to the right that tells how many connections they have.

Now evaluate the individuals as you proceed down the list.  Are they likely to have a bunch of folks who know you, get you, and can help you?  Or maybe you can help them.  You might want to concentrate on those with large followings as they are probably more naturally networkers and also are active on Linkedin.  If you feel that you want to see a person's connections, click on that persons name and you will get a detail shot about them off to the right of the list that looks like this:

Now you will see a spot where it indicates their total connections again.  This time it is a link to their connections.  Click on that link and you will get a page that looks like this (without the red blocks that are obscuring the names, of course):

From here you can just click on connect if you know them and hope they will accept your invitation.  If you're a little less clear on who they are, you can click on the name and see their profile.  You can, if you like, send an invitation to complete strangers, but there is a chance they will answer the invitation with "I don't know them."  If you get too many of these, you may get a warning from Linked in. 

You can also ask your friend to introduce you by clicking onto their profile and using the "send inmail tab."

Generally I have found that even when I am inviting folks who may or may not know me, I get about 66% connecting.  If you only send invitations to those who truly know you, the percent goes up to a much higher level. 

Once you have gone through your entire list in this fashion, you will likely be close to or over 500.  If you still want more, you can now start checking out the list of those who you have added until you reach the magic number of 500.

Did You Miss?

This series of articles on Setting Up LinkedIn began with a recommendation that you create a great LinkedIn profile first.  This way each new invitation that you send out will potentially review your profile and may decide to do business with you.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

How to get 100+ Relevant Connections on LinkedIn

Going from 20 fantastic connections and 10 recommendations to one hundred plus highly relevant connections on Linkedin.

If you have not read the three previous posts on this subject, I wholeheartedly suggest that you go back and read all three.
How to get hundreds of people to connect with you on Linked in

    1.    Explains the basics to Setting Up Linkedin
    2.    Gives Details on Setting up Your Linkedin Profile
    3.    Step-by-step Method to get First Connections and Recommendations

These three steps will allow you to create a professional looking Linkedin site where you can now be excited to invite hundreds of relevant business owners, managers, other likely buyers of your products and services to connect with you.  Not only will these new connections be more likely to buy from you after becoming connected on Linkedin, but they will also be more likely to suggest you to others they know both within the Linkedin community and those who aren't even web savvy.

So, where do we get that first 100 or so.  We go back to our personal directories, both online and off.  We continue to look up our closest friends, associates, classmates, professors, and others who we think are good prospects.  We look them up on the people search as pointed out in the last post.

When we find them in the people search, the job is easy.  We just invite them.  In that they are listed on Linked in, and should know you personally, you should receive a very high percentage that accept your invitation.  Keep this process going as long as you keep thinking of names or finding names in the people search.  Allow this to marinate for a couple of weeks.

At this point you might want to take advantage of the automated system offered by Linkedin to find individuals you might have missed by having them search your email records.  This is especially helpful in finding folks you may have contacted a while ago, but never added to your list.  Merely go to the contacts tab on the Linkedin home page, access the menu and you will see add connections.  Click on that, and the rest is obvious

Go to your Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest and other places where you have a following.  Ask your followers to send you an invitation to Linkin.  Add a link to your Linkedin site to your signature line on your email.  If you send out email blasts to a customer list, ask those on your list to connect. 

Remember that many of these potential customers and lead generators will be looking at all the cool stuff you just added to your profile. 

If you do all of the above it is very likely that within a month or so, you should have well over 100 connections.  Now it is time to jump to 500 or more.   We'll go over that in the next blog post.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How to Get Recommendations on Linkedin to Bolster Your Cred

Adding Recommendations to Your Profile on Linkedin Has Multiple Business Marketing Advantages

In order to give and get testimonials on Linkedin, you need to be connected.  So this can be step one in getting connected to over 500 relevant folks who will matter in your effort to use Linkedin as a marketing tool.  Time to make a list. 

If you are already really good at creating contact books, your job is half done. I will admit that I am not very good at organizing my various lists that are on my phone, computer, and even paper.  But the next steps in creating your Linkedin connections might be the perfect time to seriously organize your other lists. 

Start by coming up with the top 20 friends, relatives, neighbors, associates, and customers who you would love to have give a testimonial about you.  Maybe they just think you are awesome.  Maybe they are good writers.  Here are two other things to consider in the decision making process.  Giving and getting testimonials creates bonding.  When someone does a testimonial about you, they are now even more "bought in" to your skill sets.  When you give someone a testimonial, you have provided a piece of art that will likely be read by the person reading it with great care and interest.  You are, after all, writing about the most important person in the world…to them.

How to get connections on Linkedin - Using the people search bar

Assuming you have set up your profile completely and with prose designed to grab attention, leave an impression, and get visitors to your profile to take action, you are properly prepared to move on to getting recommendations.  These testimonials will not only provide third party proof of your capabilities and talents to Linked in visitors for years, they can be copied and used on your website, blog, letters, and multiple other marketing locations.

In order to give and get testimonials on Linkedin, you need to be connected.  So this can be step one in getting connected to over 500 relevant folks who will matter in your effort to use Linkedin as a marketing tool.  Time to make a list. 

If you are already really good at creating contact books, your job is half done. I will admit that I am not very good at organizing my various lists that are on my phone, computer, and even paper.  But the next steps in creating your Linkedin connections might be the perfect time to seriously organize your other lists. 

Start by coming up with the top 20 friends, relatives, neighbors, associates, and customers who you would love to have give a testimonial about you.  Maybe they just think you are awesome.  Maybe they are good writers.  Here are two other things to consider in the decision making process.  Giving and getting testimonials creates bonding.  When someone does a testimonial about you, they are now even more "bought in" to your skill sets.  When you give someone a testimonial, you have provided a piece of art that will likely be read by the person reading it with great care and interest.  You are, after all, writing about the most important person in the world…to them.

Take your top 20 or so on that list, and start entering their names into the search bar to see if they are already on Linkedin.  If yes, you can easily invite them by stating that they are a friend or that you have done business with them.  Generally most people will accept your invitation to connect within a few days.
How to get a Recommendation on Linkedin

Once someone has connected to you, you can do a testimonial.  It is anything but obvious where and how to do this (Hopefully the folks at Linkedin are reading this).  Go to the Profile tab at the top left, click on this tab and the menu will drop down offering you the choice of recommendations.  Click on that and you will get a screen that offers you the option of managing your recommendations at the top of the page.  Scroll down and you will see the offer to Make a Recommendation.

At this point you can click on the link that provides select from your connections list.  Go select the person you want to recommend, and your screen will open for the actual writing to begin.

Don't hold back in your praise of your friend or the details of why they are outstanding in business, their personal life, or both.  Here is an example of a testimonial I did for my client who is a mortgage broker in the Los Angeles area.
I have been working with Bill Rayman for almost four years in the capacity of his virtual VP of Marketing.  During that time I have referred him to family members, friends, and associates for mortgages.  I've done that for one reason only.  In the course of those 4 years, Bill has produced over 40 videos to help educate the public about every aspect of the mortgage business.  In those videos he has impressed me that his knowledge goes far deeper then you would expect from a mortgage broker, and includes an inquisitive mind about every possible way to get mortgages done in a way that most benefits his client.

It is this depth of understanding, his unrelenting efforts on behalf of his clients, and his massive Rolodex of contacts that provide him with the tools he needs to get the job done in these times when lenders don't seem to want to lend.  Those around Bill know that he has one of the busiest desks in the office at Mortgage Capital, at a time when many agents and brokers have left the business.

I have had the pleasure of working with Bill in a business referral club, and spending some time with him socially.  You may not care whether you mortgage broker is fun to hang out with, or exceptionally gifted at getting business leads for his friends, but it speaks volumes to me about the man.
You then send the recommendation to your connection.  Before your testimonial will show up on their Linkedin site, they will need to accept it.  They might ask you for minor changes or even ask you to add more outstanding stuff.  At some point, almost everyone accepts.  When they do, they will get a gentle reminder from Linkedin that they should give you a recommendation back. 

If this recommendation is an important one to you, and you don't get that recommendation back in a few days, just be direct.  "Hey Bill, if you have a minute, I am trying to build my business, and your recommendation on linkedin would be a huge benefit to me."

The more recommendations you give and get, the better.  But a nice goal would be ten for now.  If you eventually get 30 or 50, it sends a pretty big impression that you are well connected and that a bunch of folks think you are amazing. 

In the next post we will discuss how to move on to amassing hundreds of relevant connections on Linkedin.com.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

How to Set Up Your Profile on LinkedIn To Create Marketing Benefits for SMB

Secrets to Setting Up a Fully Optimized Profile on LinkedIn

This series of blog posts are going to provide you with the absolute best way to create a Linkedin marketing engine for your small business.  It will take TIME.  It requires some WORK.  But by the time you complete this exercise, you will almost certainly have a social media platform that will actually be adding dollars of profit to your business with only minor maintenance. 

Before You Start Adding Connections to Linkedin

How to Set up a Linked in Profile
You only get one serious bite at the apple as new people decide whether or not to connect with you.  When you send out the invitations, some folks will know you well, and just automatically click on the accept button.  Another group may be unsure or can't remember who you are, or wonder what you are doing now.  They will want to see your profile.  This may be the only time they ever look at your profile.  Therefore you want your profile to leave an impression or result in action!

Create a Fantastic, Action Producing Profile for Linkedin

Write your title, summary, and experience sections as discriptives that are likely to make folks want to do business with you.  Use my profile as a template.  I could just say "marketing consultant."  But instead I have "Marketing Consultant Helping Small Businesses Increase Sales and Profits Across the USA."  If I was only interested in my local area I might say, "Los Angeles Marketing Consultant Helping Small Businesses Increase Sales and Profits."

Write the summary in the first person.  Don't be dry.  Provide some interesting examples of your work, or of how you have helped others.  Here is mine:

Give me the ball and let me run. Whether you want to grow your legal practice, your nail shop, or your manufacturing business, I have done it before, probably several times, and can help you do it again. 

Besides pure marketing, I have helped several of my clients to turn around their business from near bankruptcy or -0- profits to being viable and very profitable. 
I use a combination of analytical skills and creativity to find the smartest, least expensive way to success of products, people, and businesses.
In a similar way for your experience, do not merely create something that looks like a resume' unless you are looking for a job.  Even then, consider something like I have done on mine.  Note, even the title of my position is designed to generate an image beyond my simple job title of marketing consultant. 

Outside the box Marketing Strategist for Small Businesses Online and Off 
Randy Kirk & Associates 
2008 – Present (4 years) Greater Los Angeles Area 
I have spent the last three decades researching, writing eight books and countless magazine and online articles about, and helping small businesses to grow through marketing. But in addition to pontificating, I have also created and managed over 30 businesses.

Over the past four years I have turned my attention to working one-on-one with company owners to help them maximize their business opportunity through marketing. 
Marketing, in my opinion, includes goal setting, strategies, tactics, and logistics. All need to be addressed to be successful.

We are most effective with bicycle dealers and other retailers, lawyers, manufacturers, importers, and personal services companies. We especially like owners who understand the importance of online marketing, but know they can't keep up. We are unique in that while over 60% of our effort for the average client is online, close to 40% could be trade shows, print, mailing, or bus bench ads.

Check us out online on Amazon or Google, then give me a call. I answer my phone. No long term commitments. Affordable.
Continue this process with your previous jobs or companies.  Then add your education, awards, and other information about you.  Make sure to add as many tags in the "skills and expertise" area as possible.  This is how folks will find you when using Link in's search bar. 
You can add as many as three websites, and that includes blogs.  And you can add applications which will provide you with all kinds of additional possibilities.  When you have really filled out the profile very completely, move on to adding your first 100 connections.  We'll cover that in the next post.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Take Your Linkedin Account to Stratospheric Levels of Profitability

How to Set Up Your Linkedin Profile Account for Best Results

And a Properly Set Up Linkedin Profile Will Feed Relevant Traffic to that Blog
Over the course of the next week or so, I am going to give a detailed tutorial on Linkedin as it stands today after major new products have been introduced.  You now have a truly robust business environment where you can tell your story like no place outside of your own website or blog.  With the addition of the company page and product pages within the company page, and the expansion of the profile, you can create a massive commentary on your personal and business capabilities.

if you would really like to fully follow the materials to follow, may I offer you the opportunity to connect with me on Linked in so that everything is open to you to see how I have done my own site. 
To be certain that you get my correct Linkedin site (there are a lot of Randy Kirks) paste this shortened url into your address bar.   bit.ly/RKLinkedin

Once there, send me an invitation and I will connect with you.  Then, if you like what I've written about this process or have enjoyed other aspects of my blogs or books, I would certainly be appreciative of your writing a recommendation. 

Next, go to the link for my company page and follow that page at http://www.linkedin.com/company/2700892 

Finally, check out one of my product pages at the short url bit.ly/productYouTube 

We will start with the next post on this subject to set up your profile page in a way that will be more likely to be found on Linked in search and Google Web Search.  The changes we will recommend will also result in a greater likelihood that folks who come to your profile page will decide to do business.  If you don't want to miss these coming tutorials, you may want to subscribe right now.

Check Out How to Get 100's of Relevant Connections on Linkedin

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Revealed. Google and Yelp Reviews Are Rigged

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WeHateYelp
Google the phrase: lawsuits against Yelp.  There is this amazing recurring coincidence that companies who ignore Yelp's sales effort or who stop paying Yelp, see their positive reviews go into a filter, and their negative reviews pop to the top of the listing.   Hundreds and hundreds of small business owners have seen their sales go off a cliff due to rearrangements of Yelp reviews.  In this economy, one wonders how Yelp lives with themselves knowing about these horrible results.  Even if they aren't doing it on purpose, you wonder why there is no effort to fix it or even to reach out to business with a hope for a better method.  Even a forum like Google has would help.

Google+ and Google Places are now merged.  So how is the great Goog doing on reviews.  They have no axe to grind and no dog in the race.  No money coming in that would taint their decisions.  One would expect that SMB's would be much happier with Google on the issue of reviews, and they are.  The good news is that it is rare for anyone to claim on forums or blogs that Google is screwing up the reviews on purpose.  The good news is that Google has offered their own help forum that sometimes provides a way to resolve these issues.  But here's the bad news.  Many, many bloggers and guru's feel that Google is just plain incompetent on this subject.  And, yes.  Companies are getting hurt by Google, too.

So what is a small business to do. Reputation management is of enormous importance in this environment.  Here is the short list.  Details do exist on this blog and http://www.Help4smallbusiness.blogspot.com

    ✓    Be aware of your reviews.  Use Google Alerts for your company name in every variation so that you know quickly if something shows up, positive or negative.
    ✓    Ask your best clients to post reviews.  Don't grow weary when some get lost or filtered out.  Keep asking. 
    ✓    Respond immediately to negatives by reaching out personally to the customer and seeing if you can work out something that results in a moderation or withdrawal of the review.
    ✓    If that fails, make a public response to the review.  Use kindness and show that you empathize with the reviewer and that action steps have been taken.
    ✓    Assume that your review stats are representative of the real world.  Take action internally to improve customer service.  It will help you on many levels.
    ✓    If the same employee's name keeps showing up, get rid of them immediately.  One bad employee could cost you your business or at least substantial income.

If you would like help with these aspects of your business, it is just one part of what we do for our clients. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Small Business Owners: Don't Try This at Home. For Professionals Only.

Did you go to Business School? Get your MBA? Did you even take marketing classes in undergrad school? Have you held a marketing position with a professional somewhere else before you opened or purchased your own business? Have you read at least five marketing books this last year? Ever? Do you spend five or more hours a week studying marketing to stay up to date? Are you generating some of your understanding of how to spend scarce marketing dollars and time based on knowledge of how others are doing?
Over the past month or so, I have given you a foundational class in small business marketing via http://www.Help4SmallBusiness.blogspot.com.  I'm guessing it would take you about 2 hours to read.  Probably 60 pages maximum if it were in a printed book.  These basics are not some wild eyed ideas of a professor who has never actually done the work.  They are not new, untested theories or the latest fad.  These are the basics that come from my 40 years of experience starting and running small businesses, 35 years of writing and speaking on small business, four years of consulting with small businesses, and 7 years of education with degrees in psychology and law from UCLA. 

It is all free for the taking.  And starting tomorrow, I will be adding another 71 posts over the next three months which will be about 150 more pages if in a book.  In those pages I will go beyond those basics and fundamentals into the details of such things as how to stage an event, what matters in a website, how to motivate salesmen, and how to launch a new product.  All free.  Just your time. 

If you decide to read the foundational 30 posts, and if you should decide to apply most of it to your business, you will be prepared to kick your business up a notch.  After a few months of application you will be really ready to do the details that follow in a way that will bring you the income you deserve for the time and energy and risk and sacrifice that you make to open those doors each morning. 

I know you.  I have spent my entire career meeting, befriending, helping, and being helped by guys and gals just like you.  Most were bike shop owners or locksmiths.  Some hardware stores and restaurants.  But we entrepreneurial types are more alike than different.  One thing we have in common is that we will overcome our lack of knowledge or experience and find a way to make our companies work.  But far too many of you are making $60,000 or $80,000 in the good years and not nearly that in the soft years. 

There is no reason that this has to be the case.  Read these materials.  Start putting the ideas into practice.  If it isn't your cup of tea to be a professional marketer, call me.  I am affordable and approachable.  I answer the phone.  Make me your part time VP of Marketing. 

No matter what, subscribe to my blog, Google+, and YouTube channel.  Connect with me on Linked in.  Let's get your company going.  DIY or do it with me.  Either way I'm excited about your future success.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

YouTube for Small Local Business Marketing Is a Useless Waste of Time and Money . . . Unless

As I wrap up this section on Social Media and its connection to Google Places and Google+, I come to YouTube. Yes YouTube is Social Media, and is becoming ever more so.  But should you use it?

That's right!  I am going out on a limb here and going against what you are hearing from everyone else.  The claim is that YouTube has the highest ROI of any type of marketing available to day for small businesses.  But I'm saying that YouTube is a waste of money for small local business…unless you are:
    ✓    A retailer
    ✓    A service provider
    ✓    A manufacturer
    ✓    An importer
    ✓    A restaurant


If you do YouTube marketing without following the basics. 

So, I'm thinking that gas stations, convenience stores, and wholesalers might not be able to make money on YouTube marketing.  Sellers on online commodity items without differentiation might not be able to take advantage of the power of YouTube.  I might be able to think of a few more areas like investment guru's who cater to folks with a portfolio over $1m. 

Here are the basics. 

1.  You have to do a lot of them (30 - 50 a year)
2.  Therefore you want them to be inexpensive to produce
3.  The material needs to prove your value
4.  Spokesmen need to be "authentic" and appear highly knowledgeable
5.  The videos need SEO and promotion through blogs, websites, and social media

If you follow those basics, you will generate traffic and you will see a huge ROI. 

You may already know this, but I try to get 30 - 50 videos of my clients per year.  The hardest part is getting the shy ones to do so.  The cost is minimal.  The results are amazing.

Send me an email if you would like to see examples of our work.  There are, of course, examples of my videos that generate half of my incoming calls in the columns of this blog.  There is one example here in this post. Call me if you want to discuss our services.  310-910-1848.  I answer the phone.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

New Google Plus Taking Shape Sept 1, 2012. Now Wha

I'm looking at one of my client's fully merged and optimized Google Places page.  Believe me when i tell you that there are almost no fully merged and optimized pages to look at.  But even so, I'm not getting a thrill, here.  Not saying that Google Places isn't or won't be of enormous importance to small, local business owners, but this could be so much more.

You have some of the same basics as has been true for a while.  Company information?  Just the very basics.  Reviews get a major piece of the page.  So what is new.  The tabs.  For now there are potentially four tabs that we have found.  Posts, Pictures, Videos, and About.  Potentially there is room for one more tab.

The post section provides you with the current stream of posts from the business page stream.  Pictures can be uploaded.  Videos are uploaded, not as YouTube videos, but as MP4's.  As before, there doesn't appear to be any way to title or describe the videos, so the visitor has to take pot luck as to what he might see. 

Contrast the effort by Google and that of Linked in.

165,000,000 folks are turning to Linked in for many of their local service provider solutions.  And as noted in a recent blog post about Linked in, their content opportunity for the local business owner is fantastic.  In fact, retailers might soon find this is a great place to show their wares.  This is especially true when you realize that the Linked in member is much more affluent that any other directory or social media site. 

One has to ask themselves why Google, with all their size, power, and money, has produced such a lame business page when the stakes are so high and others are leading the way to more robust and interesting approaches.