How To Generate Leads From Linkedin
by Melonie Dodaro
In this video, Melanie Dodaro shares her secrets with us on how to generate great leads from Linkedin. Specifically, you will learn:
founder of Top Dog Social Media and author of the #1 international bestselling book The LinkedIn Code. I specialize in helping businesses, entrepreneurs and sales teams use LinkedIn, Social Selling and Social Media Marketing to boost their visibility, attract new customers and increase their revenue.
Watch this exclusive 30 minute video by Melonie Dodaro now.
Facilitator: Welcome to another session in today's Social Selling Summit. For the next 30 minutes we have the pleasure to introduce our next guest, Melonie Dodaro. Melonie is the founder of the agency Top Dog Social Media and author of The LinkedIn Code, a number one international best-selling book. She specializes in helping businesses, entrepreneurs, and sales teams use LinkedIn, social selling, and social media marketing to increase their revenue. Melonie is now recognized all over the world as one of the world's top LinkedIn experts and social media strategists. Welcome Melonie. Take it away.
Melonie Dodaro: Thank you so much. Okay. So the topic today is LinkedIn. As I've found, LinkedIn is really the premier network for utilizing social selling. And there's a number of reasons why LinkedIn is so effective. I think the number one one is un-gated access to a wide variety of decision makers across all industries all over the world.
When I first got involved with social media though, I really had to dive into all the different networks to learn what I could about them and which was going to be most effective. And there was something interesting that I learned, and that's that despite the fact that there are all kinds of different social networks out there, there are really only two types of social media. The first one is the social networks that help you make friends. So this is like Facebook and social musings, social networks like that. The personalized one's like Facebook, even Twitter. Twitter is kind of a hybrid between business and personal, and can be great for business. But you can have a lot of conversations on there. You can make friends, and making friends is wonderful, but it doesn't always translate into an ROI. And then the other type of social media is one that makes money. And this is where I found LinkedIn to be really, really effective because when people are using LinkedIn, they're using it for business purposes. And so there's a lot of opportunity there to cut through the noise in a lot of other social networks, and really just get down to business. But it comes down to using the tool in the right way.
Now I just want to share a couple of the highlights about why LinkedIn is such a powerful social network. There are two new people joining every second. So the vast majority of the professional population now across the world is using LinkedIn. I think in Canada and the US the number ranges between 25 and 27% of Canadians and Americans are using LinkedIn. When you take out the seniors, and you take out the stay-at-home moms, and the young kids, and even the early college students, that's the vast majority of the population. So everybody is using it that's using it for business purposes.
The other thing that's interesting about LinkedIn is, it's got a much higher average household income than other social networks. Last stat I read was 109,000 average household income. People are two times more confident in the information that they find on LinkedIn. And I think that this comes down to people aren't sharing cat-memes and what they had for lunch on LinkedIn like they do on Facebook. So people actually trust the information much more. And the most interesting and most valuable side of all this, that it's 277% more effective for lead-generation, so this absolutely tells the story of why LinkedIn is such an amazing tool for social selling.
Now, there are mistakes that people make when they use LinkedIn. I'll get into that, and I'll share some tips and strategies on how to really lay the foundation for your success on LinkedIn. One of the things that's important to remember is that we're in a certain age where if people they want to find out information about you, they're going to Google your name. And so when somebody Googles your name, often the very first thing that shows up, or within the first three is your LinkedIn profile. Sometimes it will even show up above your website. And because people know that LinkedIn is a place that they can learn more about you, it's often the first thing they click.
So I will say quite often that your LinkedIn profile is often your first online impression, and you have to ask yourself what kind of impression are you currently making. Because although this is a fantastic tool for lead-generation and prospecting and social-selling, it's only effective if you look good on LinkedIn. So let me share some tips and strategies on how to do that. And the first thing to do is to avoid what most people do on LinkedIn. There are a lot of people out there that still perceive LinkedIn as a resume site, a place where you post your personal bio, or your resume, and that's all well and fine if you're looking for a job. But if you're looking to use LinkedIn as a powerful business building tool, you want to take a different approach. And you have to realize that your ideal clients, customers, prospects, they're not interested in learning more about you. They're interested in learning more about how you can help them.
So, I've developed a three step formula on really how to lay that foundation for a great profile, so that you can jump in to LinkedIn and start utilizing it as a social selling tool. The first step is getting found. Each day people are doing searches on LinkedIn for a variety of different things, and they might be doing searches for what you offer. So if you're not getting found, if you're not showing up at the top of the search results, it's a lost opportunity. Just like Google, when you're doing a search on Google, the people that are showing up, or the websites that are showing up on page one of Google are typically the only one's that are getting seen.
I remember doing an interview of a content marketer. He had this quote that said,"Where's the best place to hide a dead body?" And it's page two of Google because nobody is going to page two or beyond. They're always looking at page one. So that's key to getting found on LinkedIn.
The next step is to attract your ideal clients. So if your profile is all about you, if it's your professional resume and it talks about all your sales awards or stuff like that, it's not going to attract your ideal client. So you want to have a client focused LinkedIn profile.
And step three is to stand out. Of course we know social media is noisy. LinkedIn is no different. So you need to take some steps to really stand out. So I'm going to dive into each of these and give you a few tips and strategies on how you can maximize each of these three steps.
So when I talk about getting found on LinkedIn, you have to think about the keywords that people might be using when they're looking for what you offer. And you want to be showing up at the top of the search results for those. So there are a number of different places that you can put the keywords and I'll share those with you.
If you are located in a geographic region and you're only serving that region, you can also use your city name in there. So for example if you are in Toronto and you're serving only the Toronto or the GTA, you can use Toronto, greater Toronto area, and stuff like that in your profile. So you can actually keyword optimize your profile for the city name that you're in too.
Now there are a few places that you want to put these keywords, but the first thing that you need to do is figure out what those keywords are. And a big mistake that most people make when they're writing their LinkedIn profile or thinking about keywords, is they come up with all these creative or what they find is interesting or different types of keywords to describe what they do. Well, nobody is looking for those. So you want to be really, really careful in choosing the keywords that basically your ideal clients would look for.
So I'll just give you a random example. If you're a website developer or a website designer, and you were wanting to write your LinkedIn profile to get found, you're not going to want to use keywords like branding or branding-extraordinaire, come up with all these creative little terms. If somebody is looking for somebody to design them a website they're going to look for a web-designer or a web-developer or whatever language they know. So those are the keywords that you want to really stick with, the things that people would actually look for. And then there are a number of places to actually put those keywords in your profile so that you're much more likely to get found on page one of a LinkedIn search. There are four primary places. There are other places that you can add them to as well, but there are four primary places, and the first one is your headline. So in your headline you want to make sure that you include at least one to two of the keywords that you want to be found for. And then the other thing that you want to think about with your headline is incorporating those keywords into an attention grabbing statement. Something that will identify with your ideal clients about who you are, what you do, and how you could help them. So an example of this is a Kelowna accountant, I live in Kelowna British Columbia. He wanted to be found for Kelowna accountant and business adviser. And in his headline we basically say who he is, what he does, and who he helps. So he helps businesses, start-ups, real-estate investors experience growth, and process. Much more interesting than just Kelowna accountant and business adviser.
The next place that you want to put your keywords is in your current work experience. Now, one of the challenges that I see with a lot of people is that they'll use keywords that nobody is looking for. So for example if you're a sales professional, or an account rep. people aren't typically looking for those type of keywords if they're looking to hire you for the different services that you offer. For example, I trained a large media company in Canada, a company that owns and operated a number of different radio stations across the country. When I was working with their sales team, instead of having them as account reps, we changed it to marketing consultants, or advertising consultants, and just words that were more conducive to what somebody might look for. If you are an owner of the business, a lot of owners and founders of businesses will use the keyword in their current work experience that they're an owner or a founder, but nobody's looking for that. So this is where you wanted to be thinking about those keywords and putting them in the title of your current work experience, and also even the description.
LinkedIn, their algorithm also senses that if you were doing what you're doing now in the past, in at least one other job, that you're much more likely to show up in the search results. So if you've got a past work experience where you were doing the same thing or something similar to what you're doing now, use those exact same keywords in the title and in the description of at least one past work experience.
The next place to incorporate those keywords is the summary section. And I do want to just add, it's the same keywords. So you want to come up with a couple of keywords, maybe two, maybe three, and you want to use those same keywords in all of these places. Because if you mix and match, and you put two here and two there, you're actually not optimizing your profile for a search to get found.
Now when you make these changes to LinkedIn, when you optimize your profile, you're going to find that the amount of times that your profile is being viewed in a day or a week is going to substantially increase. You're also going to find that you're going to show up in the search results a lot more. So pay attention to what those numbers are currently, and as you make these changes watch how those numbers substantially increase over a very short period of time.
This is one of the best things about LinkedIn. Anybody that's built a website and tried to get on page one of Google knows that search optimization for a website can take a lot of time and a lot of money. Google doesn't like brand new websites, so it usually takes you a while to become a recognized website, and posting a lot of content to it to eventually get found. With LinkedIn, when you make these changes, they're instant. So you literally can go from page 5 or 10 or 50 to page 1 instantly with these changes.
Let's dive into step two because this is really important. You can show up in the search results all you want and you'll even see a number of people that have really spammy profiles where they just keyword loaded their profiles. Just very spammy looking. They show up at the top of the search results, but it's not going to help them at all because when somebody clicks on their profile, it's not going to speak to them. It's not going to attract them. So you want to make sure that your LinkedIn profile really speaks to who your ideal clients are and how you can help them. I'll give you a few tips on how to do that. The first thing is write in first person. You don't want to have a boring bio or resume that's all about you. You also want to be social. People forget that LinkedIn is a social network, because it is a business social network, but it's still social. So you want to be social and you want to speak to an individual in your profile. Instead of me saying Melonie Dodaro is a LinkedIn expert and social selling evangelist and author of the number one best selling book The LinkedIn Code, I'll say,"I'm the author of The LinkedIn Code. I help business owners and sales teams. I utilize social selling." So I'm speaking to them in first person.
The second thing you want to do is you want to identify exactly who your ideal clients are right within your profile and especially in your summary section. If you do this and they see themselves in it when they read your profile, it's going to resonate with them. If they can't see themselves in it or see how you can help them, it's not going to speak to them and they're going to click away very quickly. You want to also share how you can help them. Remember the only thing that they're interested in is what's in it for me. So let them know what's in it for them right in your profile. So when you're speaking to them, don't just speak to who they are, but also speak to the challenges and the problems that they have and how you can help them. And then you always want to end with a call to action. And this is just simply a sentence. This is just telling people what should they do next. Should they email you? Should they call you? Should they go to a website? Should they register for a webinar? What do you want them to do? Do you want them to schedule a call with you via your scheduling platform? Whatever that is. You want to just let them know. Give them a clear call to action because if you fail at this one step, somebody might land on your profile and think, "Ah, I need to re-touch with this person and talk to them. I'll do that tomorrow." And then tomorrow comes along and they forget, and then next week comes along and they remember, but they can't remember who the person was. So they're like,"Oh, who was that person I found on LinkedIn that I wanted to reach out to again? What was their name?" And they don't remember and nothing happens. So you want to make sure that there's a clear call to action so that they can take action immediately if they're interested.
The most important thing I want you to remember when you're writing your LinkedIn profile is that it's not about you. And that's very counter-intuitive to what we believe, right? Our LinkedIn profile's our resume, it's our professional bio. But it's not if you're going to use it as a business building tool because it's not going to resonate or speak to your target audience. So you want to make sure that you're always doing that. And the key to doing that is understanding who your ideal target market is, who your ideal clients are, what their problems are. The more you know about them, the more you'll be able to do this.
So I want you to think about and listen to the language that they use when you have conversations with them. Make notes of that because those are the keywords that you want to use, the language you want to use. You want to listen to how they speak about the problems that they have.
Now, the third step is to stand out. And believe it or not, despite how noisy social media is and how noisy LinkedIn is with well over 300 million members, it's actually really easy to stand out, and that's because most people do a lousy job with their LinkedIn profiles. So the key is completing your profile. Filling out all the different fields and not just with one sentence description. Really maximizing it. Taking advantage of the amount of characters that LinkedIn gives you. Because the more content you have in your profile, the more likely you are to be found.
The other thing that's really important is you need to have a professional head-shot. And this is a professional head-shot. It's not an action shot. It's not a family shot. It's not a shot with you and your pet. I was doing a LinkedIn workshop one time with a sales guy that was in it who had this picture of him and this big fish that he had caught. He was ever so proud of this fish. And I said,"That picture is completely acceptable and fine for Facebook, not for LinkedIn." So you want to have a professional head-shot with a nice clean background, closeup of your eyes and your smile. This is what people are going to see when you're sending a connection request. If they see a profile with a picture that's blurry or that they can't really see your eyes or your face, or the worse yet, there's no picture, chances of them excepting your connection request are slim to none.
The next thing you can do is you can add videos to your profile. Video really allows for an additional human element to your profile. LinkedIn profiles are very text based, there's no formatting available. So adding things like videos or slide-show presentations not only increase the visual appeal of your profile, but they also share more of the story about who you are and what people can look forward to, and learning a little bit more about how you can help them. So adding a video is a great idea, and again, it also adds that visual component to your profile.
The other thing that you want to do is add skills to your profile. There are a couple of reasons for this and there's a lot of controversy about this because people are like,"Oh, you know, how valuable is an endorsement that's just one click. You click the little plus button and it's an endorsement." And it doesn't hold a lot of weight in the whole social proof realm. A one click endorsement is not a big deal, but all those little pictures that show up next to each of the skills do subconsciously convey a message of social proof. Oh my goodness, if all these people are endorsing that person for this particular skill they must know what they're doing.
The other thing, and probably more important thing in this aspect is that those numbers, the number of endorsements that you get per skills actually do impact your search ranking. So you want to make sure that you add your keywords to this section as well. So if you want to be found for a specific keyword, add it here and as you get more and more endorsements for that skill, that will help with your search ranking. So this is like the little fifth spot out of the four spots I mentioned earlier. So make sure you add that there.
And then the next thing that's really important is to get recommendations. Recommendations hold some weight, right? Somebody is actually taking the time to write a recommendation about you. Very different than just a one click endorsement. So these are wonderful. The other great thing about this is, if you have clients or prospects asking for testimonials or references or anything like that and you've got a bunch of recommendations on your LinkedIn profile, it's a great place to drive them to. You can also use those recommendations as testimonials on your website once you've received them. So there's lot of opportunity to really leverage them. But there's something about that level of social proof when somebody goes to your profile and sees that somebody'с got a number of recommendations versus maybe one of the competitors that's got none or maybe one. So when people are in doubt of what's due, they look to what other people have done.
And so a perfect example of this is why are we using social media today? I started using social media because my family all lived out in Toronto and I lived on the west coast of Canada, and they kept bugging me to get on Facebook. Everybody in my family was on it and I very reluctantly joined. But I did it because my family was using it. People join social media because their friends are using it, or family is using it, or their colleagues are using it, or their competitors are using it. So that's what really got social media going. So you have to understand that level of social proof that's so powerful.
Amazon is another great example of this. Years ago Amazon realized that, "My gosh, people aren't buying our products based on a manufacturer write up, or our great marketing copy, they're buying products based on the customer review." So this is really important. You want to remember this because if you don't have any endorsements, if you don't have any recommendations, it's going to lower your level of social proof. And as you increase them, it's going to increase as well.
I'll leave you one last example for a social proof. Imagine you're in a new city, and you're walking down the street and trying to figure out where to go for dinner. You see a restaurant and you think, "Oh you know, Italian restaurant. I'm craving some Italian food." You peek through the window and you see a table for two, but nobody else is in the restaurant. You are like, "Ah, I don't know. I don't know if this restaurant is going to be any good." Then a couple of doors down you see a restaurant with a lineup. We automatically assume that the restaurant with the lineup is the better of the two, but the reality of it is, that restaurant with only two people in it may be fantastic. They may have great food, but they just haven't marketed themselves and nobody even knows that they exist. And that is continuing to negatively impact them because if people are walking by and see nobody in there, they're like, "Oh, I'm not going there." So really important. Social proof is a really important part of really differentiating yourself from your competitors.
Now, I want to share a few principals that I wrote about in my book The LinkedIn Code. And just give you a few tips on how you can really attract more business on LinkedIn by following these really simple principals. I created a little anagram for The LinkedIn Code, and the first one is "L" for listen. You want to really listen to the language of your ideal clients. The language that they use when they describe their challenges and their problems, because this is the language that you want to use in both your LinkedIn profile, and any messages that you send out.
The second one is invest. You want to invest the time that's needed to complete a really great LinkedIn profile, because a fully completed and optimized LinkedIn profile will really set you apart from your competitors.
The next one is needs. You profile really needs to speak to the needs of your ideal clients. It needs to be client focused and you want to really especially focus this on your headline and your summary section, because those are the first two things that people are going to see when they land on your profile.
The next one is keywords. You want to make sure that you have your keywords throughout your LinkedIn profile to ensure that you're showing up at the top of the LinkedIn search result. "E" is enhance. You want to visually enhance your profile by adding multimedia such as videos, slide-show presentations. You can even add PDF documents. You can upload different documents. So if you've got a nice brochure or product or service offering, you can upload that.
"D" is for develop. You want to develop a series of LinkedIn lead-generation messages. You want to basically have a LinkedIn lead-generation campaign by following your daily checklist, and having some relationship building messages that you've pre-written, that you could actually put on autopilot. Now, when you're pre-writing these messages, it doesn't mean that you can't personalize them further for each individual. You absolutely can and should. But having the structure of them in place allows you really to put this on autopilot. You can start reaching out to people as you connect with them and follow up with them.
The next one's Initiate. You want to initiate new relationships and dialogues by personalizing all of your messages, your replies, and your connection requests.
And "N" is nurture. You want to take the time to nurture your relationships on LinkedIn by creating a series of value based messages that you can send to your connection. So instead of just collecting connections, once you connect with somebody new, you want to have something that you can send them that will add value to them, and will also establish some rapport with them and really start to position yourself as a credible authority on your topic.
The next part of this is Codes. So the first part is connect. You want to make an effort to regularly build your network and connect with new prospects, and even strategic partners. So look at LinkedIn and look at where can you benefit, and who should you be reaching out to on LinkedIn. And if you have a different strategic partners that you can align with that share some more audience with you, there are ways of reaching out and building connections with them, and basically becoming referral partners for each other that can be just as effective as prospecting. So you want to think about that and think about who could you partner with that could help you build your business, while you send them some referrals on things that your clients will be benefiting from.
So the other thing that's really important to remember is that your ability to find prospects, or to be found by those same prospects, is limited to the size of your network. So you don't want to guard your network too closely. You want to expand it and grow it, because if somebody is not a part of your first, second or third degree network, or a member of the same group, you are actually not going to show up in the search results, and they're not going to show up in the search results if you're looking for them. So growing your network is really important to being able to really utilize this.
The next part is offline. And this is where a lot of people make mistakes. They keep relationships online. They've developed a relationship via social media, LinkedIn, Twitter, whatever. They just keep continuing it online. And in order to really move a relationship to the next level, especially with a prospect, you need to move it offline because this is where you convert a prospect to a client.
The next thing is dedicate. You need to dedicate as little as 15 minutes a day to as much as 30 or 60 minutes a day to your LinkedIn campaign for best results. By doing this you're going to see a dramatic increase in new leads, prospects and clients. And the amount of time that you devote to this is going to be very dependent on what are your goals? Where are you in your business? Do you just need to add a couple of new clients a month or you're being more aggressive. If so, then you're going to want to spend more time on this.
And the last one's etiquette. You want to always make sure that you're following good LinkedIn etiquette and best practices. I wrote an entire chapter in my book on etiquette, because one of the things that I found is that so many people just absolutely destroy their chances in the first interaction by not following best practices and LinkedIn etiquette. Example of this is, if you want to reach out to a stranger, especially a decision maker in a company, and you send a generic message that's not personalized, what makes you think they're going to accept it? So that's one of the main items that I talked on LinkedIn etiquette. Make sure you personalize everything so that they're much more likely to accept it. And the other thing to consider is, if you don't and they hit that report-spam, or that I-don't-know button after they ignored your connection request, you'll find that LinkedIn is going to restrict your accounts. So you want to be careful, and you want to make sure that you're following different best practices basically, to leverage the best result.
Now, those items that I just mentioned, you can actually download that and have that as a handy little resource, that you can go to licodecheatsheet.com, and you can download those items that I just talked about so that you can have them for quick reference.
What I'm going to do now is I'm just going to recap, just in case you missed anything in your notes at all at the different points that I talked about in the three step formula to creating a great foundation with your LinkedIn profile.
So the first step was making sure that your optimizing your LinkedIn profile to get found, so that you're putting your keywords into your headline, to your current work experience, your past work experience, your summary. I also mentioned adding them to your skill section. So add that as a fifth.
The next one was step two to attract your ideal client. You want to write in first person. You want to identify who your ideal clients are right within your profile so that they can see that. So for example if your target audience is engineers, you want to speak to engineers. You want to say I work with engineers and here's how I help them, or here are the challenges that some of them face and here's how I help them. And then of course ending with your call to action.
The next one that I talked about was standing out. Having a professional picture, head-shots, filling out your profile in it's entirety, adding video or other multimedia to your profile, and adding skills so that you can get endorsements, each of those endorsements adds a level of social proof, whether we want to acknowledge that or not, having those little pictures but also for the search optimization, to help you show up higher in the search results for those specific skills.
So that is everything. I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn. You can also follow me on Twitter. And both of my LinkedIn and Twitter URLs just consist of my name, Melonie Dodaro. And I want to leave you with one final thought. And that's don't just collect connections. Build relationships. This is the challenge that I see with most people. They use LinkedIn and they're wondering, "Why is LinkedIn not working for me?" And it's because they're just collecting connections. They're not building relationships. And there's a lot of talk about your network is really essentially your net-worth going forward, especially in the era that we're in today. And I just want to apologize for that URL at the bottom of that slide where it says download your LinkedIn cheat sheet, that URL should be licodecheatsheet.com. So you're welcome to download that, and again, you're welcome to connect with me here on LinkedIn, or Twitter, or even Facebook. Whatever your preferred network is, but mine of course is LinkedIn.
I do ask if you're going to send me a connection request though that you personalize it. Let me know, because I am very selective about who I add as a connection now.
So thank you. Hope you found this very helpful, and to your social selling success.
Facilitator: Thanks so much Melonie.
Melonie Dodaro: You're welcome. My pleasure.