Viveka von Rosen is internationally known as the "LinkedIn Expert" and is the author of 2 best-selling books on LinkedIn. We had a chance to chat with Viveka about how to make LinkedIn profiles more attractive and effective, and found out which premium LinkedIn features are worth the investment.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How and why did you become an expert on LinkedIn?
To be honest, I really lucked into my LinkedIn career. I was running a coworking space and had managed to double our membership through face-to-face networking. Since we had a lot of entrepreneurs at the business center, I invited my friend Laurie Macomber to come and speak to them about Web 2.0 (which shows you how long ago it was.) At the end of her speech, she mentioned a little network called LinkedIn that had 7 million members. I imagined how I could really make business explode with an audience of 7 million people.
By this time, it was 2007, and I was beginning to teach and train locally on LinkedIn. I got my first big break when ABCN (Alliance Business Centers Network) invited me to speak in the Waldorf Astoria Ballroom to their group of 500 millionaires and billionaires. That's when I realized that I had found what I wanted to do with my life.
I started doing a lot of virtual training and establishing myself in the LinkedIn space and social media in general, After about a year, I was able to quit my day job and focus solely on LinkedIn.
Why has LinkedIn remained so popular when compared to all other professional networking sites on the Internet?
I think LinkedIn has stayed pretty steady because it doesn't pretend to be anything other than it is: a social business networking site focused on the growth of its members' businesses. You know what you are getting with LinkedIn. It's not terribly sexy, but it works.
How can LinkedIn users easily improve their profiles?
I think because it's not as exciting as Facebook or Snapchat, people forget that it is still an important place to establish and promote your business brand. Doing simple things on a regular basis can make a world of difference, such as:
- Add a background image to your profile to promote your brand and share contact info
- Add rich media to demonstrate your product or service and prove your expertise
- Share updates to stay top of mind and create (personal) brand awareness
- Use LinkedIn Publisher to position yourself as a thought-leader
At what point should an individual consider purchasing one of LinkedIn's premium packages?
Some of LinkedIn's best features (Advanced Search, Saved Search, Tagging, and Notes) were just removed from LinkedIn's free account. So now more than ever, it is worth investing in the premium account - and not just any premium account, but Sales Navigator. And even though I have not, traditionally, been the biggest fan of Sales Nav., now that I have been forced into using it, I am really discovering value in its features. While it is not cheap, it only takes one new client to pay for it for the year.
Is an InMail message perceived to be more important by LinkedIn members than a regular email message? [What are other advantages of using InMail?]
One of the added benefits of Sales Nav are the 15+ inMails a month. (An InMail is simply a message to someone who you are not connected with.) InMails really give you the opportunity to reach out to anyone on LinkedIn. It's a pretty powerful tool.
The problem is that most people waste their InMails with a sales pitch. Like any sales transaction, you have to warm your prospect up a bit. Get to know them. Use your InMail to ask for a connection request, and use it to demonstrate that you have taken the time to research your prospect by referring to something in their profile or something they have shared on LinkedIn.
What types of traditional online marketing techniques can be effectively used for text message or SMS marketing? When crafting a marketing text or SMS message, what is it important to avoid doing?
Last year, LinkedIn switched from a traditional inbox to LinkedIn messenger (copying Facebook). It allows for more responsive and casual conversations on LinkedIn. While the responsiveness of this chat-like feature can certainly stimulate conversation, I would warn not to go "too casual" (or add too many emojis.) to your conversations. This is still LinkedIn after all, and the average user is 41 years old - not your kid's age.
Will LinkedIn continue to be one of the leading social media platforms in the coming years?
Time will tell as to whether LinkedIn will maintain its position as the premier business networking site. It was recently acquired by Microsoft, and my hope is that the resources MS brings to the platform will continue to help it to improve. My fear is that MS will try and monetize the platform to the extent where the average business person will no longer want to use it. This latest user interface make-over seems to suggest the latter. But since there really is no competition (for the time being,) it's most definitely worth investing your time (and maybe some business dollars) on LinkedIn.
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