Mary Wu, Virtual Assistant

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3 Ways to Handle LinkedIn Connections

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a solopreneur that finds a great deal of value in LinkedIn.

Today, however, we’re going to focus on connections.

The first way to add connections is to go to your LinkedIn profile and click on “Connections”

connections

If you then go down to “add connections,” you can connect your address book to LinkedIn.

You can then add everybody in your address book. If you have an address book that is strictly for business, then you will only get business connections. But, if you use the same email for both (or have Gmail and it just grabs all of your contacts), then you will get a listing of

*E*V*E*R*Y*B*O*D*Y*

…your son’s soccer coach from when he was 6, your daughter’s third grade teacher, the health tech from the middle school.

You get the idea. There might be some people in there that might not really be considered business contacts.

So it might be time to step back and see who you WANT to actually add to your connections.

From what I can gather from what I’ve read and what I’ve seen, there seems to be three schools of thought.

  1. Grab for ALL the connections you possibly can. This is where you would add your son’s soccer coach and the ex-boyfriend of your second cousin once removed.
  2. Be purposeful and specific in the people you do or do not add.
  3. Change with your whim week by week. 

As you can see, I’ve put a strikethrough through #3. This plan doesn’t have any logic.

#1 has some benefits, and there are advantages to having a large number of LinkedIn connections. This is spelled out in the first article below (9 Reasons Why LinkedIn Friendship is the Mightiest of Magics). This was written by someone that does Online advertising so increasing the size of a market is a significant part of their business. (As a complete aside, as the mother of a “brony”, I have got to admire someone that manages to write a blog post outlining their professional services while using lessons from My Little Pony – props to Larry).

The second option is the one that I’ve personally chosen. I want to have the ability to speak to the business acumen or character of my connections.

As I was working on this blog post, a call came in from another member of the Virtual Assistant community looking for graphic artists. I sent her information about 3 graphic artists that I know and their LinkedIn profiles. This way she can see their experience and recommendations right off the bat.

Top Three Things to do on LinkedIn This Week

Hi, my name is Mary and I am a self-avowed LinkedIn fan girl. Time For Technology Message Shows Innovation Improvement And Hi Tech

As a Virtual Assistant, I help a number of clients with social media communication. I spend a lot of time on Facebook and other platforms like Twitter and Pinterest and Google+. While I spend fewer hours per week on LinkedIn, I find that LinkedIn has values that are not offered on the other social media sites. Some examples are:

  • E-introductions.    More than once I’ve referred to someone’s LinkedIn Profile when I was looking for that “just right” turn of a phrase for a virtual introduction.
  • Memory jogging. Have you ever had that person that you met once at a networking event six months ago contacts you interested in your services? And you realize that you don’t remember them at all? If you take a quick at their LinkedIn profile, you’ll find out who they are, what they’re doing, and you’ll even (more often than not) get a picture to go along with it.
  • Background Checks. Have you ever gotten a tip about someone who is “great” at “something.” You can look up the person on LinkedIn, find their history, read their recommendations, and see if you have any common connections.
  • Search. If you’re looking for a service and type in the proper search term (and then narrow things down) you might have luck finding a service provider. Just today someone I know was looking for someone to do mold removal – I found a local contractor who had 3 people in common with me.

So – what THREE THINGS should you do on LinkedIn THIS WEEK?

  1. Make sure your profile photo is up to date and recognizable. If you’ve still got the same selfie that you took when you first signed up for LinkedIn in 2009, it’s time to update (consider a professional profile photo).
  2. Make sure your summary is clear, current, and concise (in case anyone wants to use it to e-introduce you to someone.)
  3. ASK for (and give) recommendations. Request recommendations from former employers, current customers, or anyone you’ve done business with. And look for a person or two that has done great work for you, whether it be a lawyer, an insurance agent, a virtual assistant, or a mold removal service.

LinkedIn might not be the platform you spend the most time on, but it might be the platform you spend the most valuable time on.

 

Thursday Tip – The Why and How of LinkedIn Recommendations

If you’ve done business with a person and are extremely satisfied, you may want to tell the world. There are a number of ways to do this:

  1. You can pick up a megaphone (which will only tell a few neighbors).
  2. You can pick up a phonebook (that might take a while – heck in 2015 it might take a while to FIND a phonebook).
  3. You can post on their Facebook page (which will soon disappear further down on the timeline).
  4. You can post a recommendation on their LinkedIn Page. This will be permanently on their LinkedIn Profile page and easy to find for anyone wanting to use their services.

Click here to go to a page (on LinkedIn) that gives details on how to give a recommendation.

Let’s say you’ve given a colleague a recommendation but there’s something you want to change. Perhaps you’ve done more work with a person and you want to change some details, or maybe you were looking at their profile and noticed that you made a typographical error.

Click here to go to a page (on LinkedIn) that gives details on how to EDIT or REMOVE a recommendation.

NOTE: Olike-elements-glossy-icon_zy7r0hIdn the above link step 1 reads “go to your profile” and step 2 reads “scroll to the recommendations section.” This is missing step 1.5 which is “enter edit your profile mode.” If you go straight to your recommendations without entering “edit” mode you will not be able to edit.

Whether you want to give your colleague some “stars” or a “thumbs up,” LinkedIn is the place to go.

 

 

7 Ways to keep the “social” in social networking

social-network_110002683-012814-intThe ability to use insights and do statistical analysis on websites and for social media is interesting and can be endlessly fascinating (especially for nerdy people that love looking at numbers).

For day to day use of social media, however, we need to remember to keep the “social” in social networking.

Here are some tips.

  1. Find Your Tribe.
    When you are adding people to your social network, remember to add the right people. Find your ideal client or your people that are good joint venture partners. Remember that you’re addressing people, and not just analytics.
  2. Be Yourself.
    Yes, you want to portray your “best” self when you’re on social media. Just as people don’t go to meetings wearing coffee stained yoga pants, you do want to put your best “verbal” foot forward. Keep this in mind whether posting to your own pages or making comments on other pages.
  3. Maximize Information (minimize promotion).
    You want to share content and information that is of interest or helpful to your audience. Some experts recommend having 80% of your content being information or communication and 20% of your content being promotional. Some experts recommend having 40% of your content being informational, 40% being conversational, and 20% being promotional. Whichever way you look at it there’s always a maximum of 20% promotional content. If you wouldn’t meet someone at a coffee shop and spend 30 minutes saying “buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff,” then don’t do that on your Twitter account or Facebook page.
  4. Converse and Engage.
    In addition to being attentive to what you are putting on your page, also be aware of what you’re putting on other pages. Comment on pages of industry leaders, engage in conversations on your clients’ pages, and share information from your clients or your joint venture partners.
  5. People Before Tech.
    I’ve seen people get worried about how to handle ROI or SEO, and I’ve seen people avoiding getting involved in social media because they are afraid of messing up. Picture your social media platforms as a great big coffee shop (or networking event). “Walk” around, see what other people are doing, and say “hi.”
  6. Don’t Lose Time.
    Unless most of your clients are virtual, don’t devote time to social media networking at the expense of in-person networking. And, if you find it difficult to get “work” done without resorting to the temptations of crushing the candy or feeding the farm animals, find a way to walk away. You can use different windows for “work” and “personal,” you can have a set schedule for “work” time and “play” time, or (if all else fails) find yourself a social media manager or a virtual assistant to help with the business.
  7. The Internet – It’s Forever.
    A few weeks ago a politician (or, most likely, his social media manager) posted something insensitive and confrontational on his Twitter account. Ten minutes later the post was removed. However, in that ten minute time frame (on a Sunday evening — let’s face it people are always paying attention), someone from the opposing camp managed to grab a screen shot of the offensive post. Within 24 hours it went viral.

Just treat social media like a coffee shop, with pleasant conversation and a “give and take” mentality, and you’ll do just fine.

There are two articles below. One of them talks about in-person networking but some of the same rules apply to social media networking.

“If you seek to form personal, mutually beneficial connections rather than the comparatively parasitic kinds, networking may seem more palatable to you.”

Keep this in mind both online and off.

OH — and just for fun, read the article below about the Grandmas. Sometimes we really need to spend an extra moment or two on proffraeding. (<– Okay, that’s really not a good example because it would get highlighted as a misspelling, but you get the idea).

Outsourcing: Finding the right partners

Outsource Definition Closeup Showing SubcontractingFINDING THE RIGHT PARTNERS

Whether you’re working with someone on a temporary basis (such as the graphic artist I hired for my logo design), a seasonal basis (like a tax preparer), or a regular basis (your VA that does your weekly blog post and your monthly newsletter), remember that this person is a partner in your business. The first place to look for service providers is in your own networks. Ask people in your networking groups or ask other business owners if they can recommend someone. If that doesn’t net any results, ask your Facebook friends or ask around at church or other places you frequent. Often someone you know will know a service provider. Having a personal recommendation is your best option. (more…)

Tips and Tricks for October

Every month I will be doing a posting on timely tips and tricks. For the most part, these will be guided by the questions I run across from clients or while networking. In other words, if I have to dig out information, I’ll pass it along instead of having others need to look up the same information.

Scheduling multiple people. Okay — first I have to admit that I didn’t find this on my own. I found it on the blog at barrymoltz.com. Doodle is an easy scheduler. You create a poll, invite participants, and then confirm the date and time that the most people are available. Instead of having multiple emails flying back and forth, you can get all of the information in one place. And it’s free. The only question I have is, “Where was this when I was trying to arrange meetings for multiple professors when I worked at the University of Illinois?”

Emailing multiple people. Every now and then you’ll want to send the same email to more than one person. Some email programs allow you to do this automagically, but Google doesn’t have a “mail merge” button (like Microsoft Access does). However, if you know where to look, Google does have a way to do mail merge. This 8-minute video gives a clear step-by-step how to. (Thank you Anson Alexander).

Limit your reading time. There are quite a few blogs that I follow. I get resourceful and timely productivity tips from Evie Burke at One Insight Closer. As mentioned above, I find useful information at Barry Moltz’s blog. It would be nearly impossible to keep up with the social media industry without reading Social Media Examiner. There are others. But I do not have time to visit all the blogs I read every day. I do spend a few hours a week checking all the postings by using Feedly. It took a bit of organizing to group the information I read into different categories, but now I can take a few minutes to an hour with a cup of coffee and read all of my news or short bits of it.

Comparing email Services. There are many email service providers out there. I have used MailChimp and AWeber, but those are the only ones I have first hand experience with. I found this article from April 2013 (before the MailChimp change) that describes some of the providers.

“E-troducing” people. One way to be known as a person that is a valuable resource is to help connect people. You may often meet someone that you think would be a great client, provider, or power partner for another person (for instance, a realtor and a mortgage broker).  I spent some time struggling with the right “formula” for doing email introductions. One day I decided that I was going to write a template for doing introductions, but (as I often do when trying to figure something out) I wondered if someone had already done this. I did a search and found a great article on the Forbes site about email introductions.

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Doodle Saves Time (barrymoltz.com)

Create a Mail Merge with Gmail and Google Drive / Docs (YouTube.com)

Comparing email services: Aweber, iContact, ConstantContact, MailChimp, and MadMimi (changetheworldmarketing.com)

How to make the perfect email introduction (forbes.com)

Building Your Business Through Networking Part 4

ID-10066404Part 4 – After an Event

You’ve gone out, you’ve met some new contacts, you’ve collected some business cards. Now what?

Business Card Organization

One of the first things I do is organize any business cards I’ve received. I have an earlier post that goes into business card organization in detail. It’s worth your time to read it.

Follow Up

If you said you were going to get back to someone, do so within a day or two*. If someone expressed interest in your business, send them some more information or a link to your website, (LinkedIn, Facebook page). Last week I talked about keeping notes when you’re meeting people or when people are giving their introductions. This would be a good time to review your notes and contact people.

I have a basic rule in that if I can figure something out in 10 minutes, I’ll gladly send information to someone. Once I was at a networking event and one of the people was commenting on how they were overwhelmed with how to handle business cards. I came home and wrote up an email with links to my two business card organization postings. I’ve also sent e-introductions to people who that I thought could have a mutually beneficial relationship. Don’t ever be afraid to help people out.

Sometimes it’s hard to call someone because you don’t know exactly what to say. There is an article from Freelance Switch that gives some scripts for particular situations. To give credit where credit is due, I did not find this article myself but found out about it in a blog post from Evie Burke at One Insight Closer.

Meet Up

Sometimes you’ll meet people and you’ll want to know more about them or their business. Talk to someone or call or email them to set up a one-on-one. This is a good chance to get to know more about them and their business and for them to get to know more about you and your business.

This is not a time for “selling” but a time to build a relationship. I’m sure most people have stories about meeting with someone who spent 30 minutes trying to “sell” them something that they were not interested in buying. Don’t be that person (please).

As I mentioned last week, listening is one of your most useful networking tools. You might not be a client or a customer for every person that you meet, but you might know a good contact for that person. Every person you meet is not a potential client. But every person you meet might know someone that does need your services. Be professional, polite, and a good resource. And then …

MEET, GREET, REPEAT

Related Articles

*Sometimes you don’t get back to a person right away. If not, contact them later. This is less awkward if you pass along an article or idea that relates to your conversation.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net