Friday, June 21, 2013

Using LinkedIn for Business

I received another question from a network contact today.

I am a commercial real estate broker and find LinkedIn a valuable tool for making connections with people I would like to meet. How can I give my company greater exposure generate more business through LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a great business networking tool, but I have to say first and foremost, in my experience it's best to use LinkedIn to establish relationships than for pure business prospecting. If you're using it the right way, you'll find leads by demonstrating your subject matter expertise, by making yourself and your company available to those seeking you, and by working through warm referrals. That said, here are a few tips I'd offer which may help:

  1. Be on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the #1 professional networking site for business professionals. You can connect with individuals up to two connections away and through common groups. By being on LinkedIn, you're adding yourself to the virtual rolodex.
  2. List Your Company on LinkedIn. LinkedIn offers a free service for companies to add themselves into the company directory. They have recently changed the requirements to set up a company page on LinkedIn, but most active LinkedIn users will qualify. You must have an email address that matches your company's web address. (ex: I work for Walsh College and my email ends in which is our College's website address)
  3. Update Your Status Strategically. Remember to share a blend of status updates, ranging from industry news demonstrating your interest and expertise, as we
    ll as periodic reminders of what you do and how you can help others. This will help your network contacts to offer endorsements based on your skills and expertise, which should be related to your industry if you're posting the right things. Yes, it's okay to be promotional on LinkedIn, but be careful it's not a dominant part of your efforts. Sprinkle your sales approach. Like salt, don't use too much.
  4. Build Your Social Media Karma. Pay special attention to the status updates of your first level connections, which are your best source to help with warm introductions. Reply to their status updates. Like them, share their asks. Help them. In turn, they will be more likely to want to help you in the future. 
  5. Join Groups Related to Your Industry. Yes, you may be networking with competitors, but you may also share and learn valuable tips and trends. 
  6. Join Groups Where Your Future Clients May Cluster. At Walsh, we offer business degrees. So I join MBA groups. In these groups, I may find posts from students who are looking around for MBA programs. In full disclosure, I mention that I work at Walsh and that we offer MBAs, both in metro Detroit and online. 
  7. Request Introductions (selectively) through LinkedIn. Sales people / business development professional may want to use LinkedIn to aggressively connect with prospects via their connections, but if you only talk to your connections to ask for introductions to leads, you're going to turn them off and find yourself being disconnected pretty quick. Now if you've been helping a connection and participating in their  status updates (see #4 above), they will be more likely to want to help you. 

If you'd like more tips on using LinkedIn for Business, check out this slideshare:

Hope this helps! If you found this post helpful, please share it along. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Customizing Your LinkedIn URL

Q&A from a network contact.

Q:- how did you get a spiffy, short link?
 aka How do I customize my LinkedIn page address?

A: follow these instructions from LinkedIn.

There are several reasons why you should personalize it.

  1. It makes it easier for someone to type in our LinkedIn URL if they are reading it off a business card, resume, flyer, etc.
  2. It shows you are knowledgeable about modifying your LinkedIn profile.  Okay, maybe this only interesting to LinkedIn geeks like me.   There. I've said it.   
  3. it makes it easier for YOU to remember it.  My LinkedIn URL is

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Pay it Forward - Give a LinkedIn Recommendation

Have you ever given someone in your network a #LinkedIn recommendation? You should. LinkedIn recommendations are similar to professional references, but the difference is that a LinkedIn recommendation is tied to someone's professional LinkedIn profile.

By giving someone a recommendation, you are paying it forward, and by "it" I mean you're creating positive karma. We all know the real power of LinkedIn is in our connections. Giving a well-deserved recommendation helps to strengthen those connections.

We all know that when you chose references on a job application, you're going to choose the three people who will give you a rock start reference. But as employers, we know that too. Plus, we don't always know what your relationship is with that reference, and how credible they are. The reference could be a brother in law, classmate, or neighbor.

LinkedIn recommendations are tied to a profile and that means it's their professional credibility on the line. I know that if I'm asked, I will think twice before giving a LinkedIn recommendation. If I don't really stand behind the person, I will not give them a recommendation. And I choose my words wisely if I am giving a recommendation.

All of that said, there are a LOT of great people in my network to whom I have given recommendations. Who comes to mind for you? Think of rock star team players. Phenomenal clients. Managers who could themselves write books on inspirational leadership. Or interns who have worked their tails off.

Here are a few selected recommendations I've given. I hope this inspires you to write someone a recommendation today. Also, while you're at it, check out their profiles and consider inviting these individuals to connect to you. Make sure in your invitation you mention that you read their glowing recommendation from Brenda Meller on her blog. It will make their day. :)

David Leo, MSPA, CC
Club President
David is the president of our Toastmasters Club and a true servant leader. He inspires me with his level of professionalism and compassion. It has been a pleasure to have been among his officer team and I am glad our paths have crossed.
May 1, 2013, Brenda reported to David at Toastmasters at Walsh College

Cam Walters
Marketing & Public Relations Intern
I was impressed with Cameron from his very first interview through the end of his marketing/PR internship and beyond. Cameron has a great work ethic and is eager to learn and open to feedback. I'm honored to have been a mentor to him during his internship and look forward to watching this marketing rockstar throughout his career.
March 28, 2013, Brenda managed Cam at Walsh College

Tember Shea
Director of Membership
Tember is dedicated to growing and supporting the membership of Inforum Michigan and it shows in all her actions. I receive support from Tember as an Affinity Group Leader. She demonstrates her professionalism and passion for the organization in all communications to members and prospective members alike. I know I can always count on Tember for a fast response and complete answers, and support when I need it. She is thorough in her follow-up and responsive to my inquiries. I give Tember a strong endorsement and happy to have the pleasure to work with Tember. Her dedication will help to strengthen and grow the membership base for Inforum Michigan.
March 31, 2011, Brenda was with another company when working with Tember at Inforum Michigan

Sherry Kenyon, MA, SPHR
Human Resource Generalist
I had the pleasure of working with Sherry while at Pitney Bowes. From the very first presentation to our group, Sherry was a true professional who worked to help realize the corporate vision at the business unit level. Sherry is focused on employee engagement at all levels within the organization, while ensuring that all parties are in compliance with corporate guidelines. I am proud to have had the pleasure of working with Sherry. She is an asset to the organization.
January 12, 2009, Brenda worked indirectly for Sherry at Pitney Bowes

Keith Woodman
Every company needs a person like Keith in senior management. He provides his associates with inspiration, guidance, and independence and helps them to pursue their career goals while working together to achieve the company's vision. He is a kind, genuine person who cares about his team, respects his colleagues, and always seeks to exceed the clients' expectations. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with Keith.
July 4, 2008, Brenda reported to Keith at pmh/Pitney Bowes