In this episode Josh talks with JoAnne Funch from LinkedInForBusiness.net. They discuss the types of business owners LinkedIn makes sense for, some of the mistakes LinkedIn users make when trying to build their network, and what types of content you should be posting.
JoAnne Funch is a marketing consultant, digital marketing strategist. She helps business owners take the mystery out of marketing their business and she often use the analogy that “Marketing is like a recipe you cook, it doesn’t work without the right ingredients”
JoAnne comes from a family of small business owners, and one day she thought she could do something better than the company she worked for, so she ventured out into her own business and have been in marketing and sales since 1996.
In today’s episode you will learn:
- What’s so cool about LinkedIn?
- Should all business owners spend time creating a presence on LinkedIn?
- How to take advantage of your professional reputation and brand on LinkedIn?
- What kind of presence do you need?
- Who is LinkedIn really the best for?
Narrator: Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, how are you just a Josh Patrick and you’re at The Sustainable Business. Today, my guess is JoAnne Funch. And she has a company which is called LinkedIn for business. So by the name of the company, you might think that she is a LinkedIn expert and that is, in fact, what she is. And today’s topic is going to be the wonderful world of LinkedIn and how it can be valuable for your business. So let’s bring JoAnne on.
Hey, JoAnne, how are you today?
JoAnne: I’m great. Thanks for having me, Josh.
Josh: My pleasure. So let’s start with this stupid, obvious question. What’s so cool about LinkedIn?
JoAnne: Well, I think what’s cool about LinkedIn is if one wants to meet people and build a network of valued connections, kind of the place to do that.
JoAnne: Well, I think particularly if you’re in the B2B space, and you’re looking to build some kind of long term relationships, whether those be referral relationships, or directly prospecting LinkedIn absolutely is the platform in which to do that, you’ll find more people who are serious about doing business.
Josh: I will certainly buy that. That makes sense to me. So what’s the proper way to approach people on LinkedIn, because I will tell you that I can tell you the improper way of doing it because it happens to me almost every day.
JoAnne: Great, same with me. Same with me, I think what happens with most people is they miss the opportunity to make that great first impression, right. And so to me, that great first impression is a couple of things. Number one, if you are going to invite someone to connect with you, you want to send them a personal invitation and tell them why versus having us gas, which is I’m assuming what you’re referring to. The last two weeks, I got 30 invitations to connect. And out of those 30 only two of them actually wrote me a note.
Josh: There’s a LinkedIn note that automatically gets created.
JoAnne: Well, no, it doesn’t. Unless you actually access that and decide to type something in versus the canned, would you like to join my network, which really, in my opinion, makes a poor first impression?
Josh: I agree. I agree. So here’s my issue with this is that if I’m going to actually give somebody a good reason to connect with me on LinkedIn, this is one of my pet peeves about LinkedIn is that the connection request doesn’t have enough characters.
JoAnne: Well, I think you have to make it count, right. I mean, to me, you certainly in 50 to 100 characters can say something that would engage the person you want to connect with. It wouldn’t be as simple as this. Hey, Josh, I heard your podcast, really think it’s great, let’s connect, would be as simple as that.
Josh: Well, again, the only people I accept connections from are other business owners, so if somebody says, “Gee, they heard my podcast, and they want to connect and they’re a software engineer, I’m likely to not connect with them.” Because I don’t have a big interest in connecting with them, to me a better way to do this– and this is my complaint about not having enough characters, is to give somebody a reason that they should connect with me not a reason I want to connect with you.
JoAnne: Sure, that’s true. Absolutely, that’s true. And I think when you don’t send a personalized invitation, you’re making people guess. And two things are going to happen without either number one, they’re going to ignore you because they don’t know you. That’s the assumption that most people make. And secondly, I think you’ve already blown that first impression, and not introducing yourself in a way that’s interesting,
Josh: Right, should LinkedIn be used for all business owners? Should all business owners spend time creating a presence on LinkedIn?
JoAnne: Well, I think they should firm one primary reason. And that really, is to establish your brand. I think people that have lousy LinkedIn profiles says a lot about who they are because as you and I know, business has changed, and people are meeting us online before they meet us offline. And so it’s about reputation management, how am I showing up? So I think having a profile that really talks about who you are, what you do, and who you serve, is really important.
Josh: That would definitely be true, I think, for professional service people, if you’re a consultant, or you’re selling a service, if I’m a contractor, why do I care about my LinkedIn profile, because people aren’t doing business with me they’re doing business with my company.
JoAnne: That’s true. But if, for example, if you’re the leadership in that company, I think it’s really important to manage your brand, as a leader, want to manage your brand you also possibly hiring folks. And so what are people going to think about you, as a leader of this company, to have a lousy LinkedIn profile. I see that a lot, somebody old people years ago, you should have a LinkedIn profile. So they throw up their name and the name of their company, and that’s it.
Josh: [inaudible 00:06:14] if I’m buying an air purifier for my stereo, I’m not looking at LinkedIn for information about the owner of that manufacturing company that makes amplifiers. I’m going to their website. So for that person, I really don’t quite understand why LinkedIn is important, because nobody knows who they are.
JoAnne: Let me rephrase it in a different way. Also, again, getting back to the people are finding us online before they find us offline. If you were to do a Google search, you know, LinkedIn profiles come up pretty high in Google search. So we’re all being checked out one way or the other. Now, is the President of the manufacturing company you just referred to being checked out? I don’t know. Why would you take pants on that? Me, it’s simple enough to establish one’s brand online, and a good way to do that is through LinkedIn.
Josh: The issue here and I know I’m being a bit argumentative about this. But the issue is all small businesses have limited resources. And I can tell you for a fact that I don’t do all social networks, even though I’m told I should do all social networks, because I don’t have the time. Nor do I have the staff, nor do I have the budget. So if I’m going to make a decision about whether I’m going to spend my time and effort building my corporate presence, through my website, or building my personal presence through LinkedIn, and I don’t have time to do both, I get to choose one or the other. I think it makes sense to understand what type of business you’re in, and the size of your business, and whether the business is named after you or not. You know, for example, if I’m a contractor, and it’s John Smith contracting, that person better have a good LinkedIn profile, because it’s going to show up. But if its quality construction and John Smith happens to be the owner, more people will likely go to his website than his LinkedIn profile.
JoAnne: That’s true. I guess my response to you, Josh, in today’s world. Most leaders know that they have to be online socially. So I agree with you in terms of we don’t need to be on every social media site. But if you had to choose as a business person, me, it would make far more sense that you would establish your professional reputation and brand on LinkedIn. That’s just my opinion.
Josh: Okay, that’s fine. So now I’ve got a presence on LinkedIn, how do I take advantage of it and what kind of presence do I need?
JoAnne: So I think a little bit of that depends on what are your goals? What are your business objectives? I think you have to align your business objectives with what you want to do. So what are you looking for a referral partner? Are you looking to build brand awareness? You know, what is it that you’re trying to do? Because, obviously, your activities and that limited amount of time that you’re referring to would be spent on focusing on what your objectives are?
Josh: My objectives are creating customers.
JoAnne: So if you’re creating customers, then I would use it as a lead generation tool. How do you do that? Not sure. I can go through [inaudible 00:09:31] of that in a short period of time. But the ideal tool within LinkedIn is that it’s a search engine, I think people kind of forget that or don’t realize that. So you have the ability to really focus and search for those people that could be your ideal clients and prospects. I always come from the opinion that it’s so important that you build a relationship.
Josh: Okay, so you just said something, which I think is probably important, is it? Okay, find my ideal relationship, a person I’m dying to do business with? Once I’ve identified that person, what should I be doing with them?
JoAnne: I believe that you want to be nurturing that relationship. How do you do that? Well, I think there’s a number of ways. Number one would want to do your research and follow that person on LinkedIn, what are they posting, they post anything article–
Josh: What if they don’t post?
JoAnne: They don’t do many things on LinkedIn, then my, I would use it as a research tool, and I would take the business offline. Ultimately, you’d want to do anyway.
Josh: My experience is lots of people want to do business with have a LinkedIn profile. And if they post anything it’s maybe once a month, but most of the time, they don’t post anything,
JoAnne: Then what I would say about that, Josh, is that you would simply use it in your case, in that specific example, as a tool in which to find people, you can take that information from their profile, their contact information, then contact them offline. You’re saying to me, this person is not active, then you’re correct, it’s a waste of time want to take the business offline.
Josh: So who is LinkedIn really the best for?
JoAnne: Technically it’s two things. From a business perspective, its people who want to build awareness for their brand, they want to build their own credibility in their niche, want to know how to do that through content, that’s a big part of what I do for a lot of people contact me for that. And secondly, people contact me for sales, and they want to use it as a lead generation tool and how do I do that.
Josh: So what type of businesses are you most successful with?
JoAnne: I would say, any type of consultants, any organization that does business development, quite frankly, doesn’t matter the industry.
Josh: We’re sales consultants.
JoAnne: Pretty much.
Josh: Okay, so those are the people you have the most to talk with.
JoAnne: I would say so, yes.
Josh: If you’re a consultant, and you’re on LinkedIn, what would be their best practices, they should be following?
JoAnne: I think the best practices, number one, are making sure that they have a profile that is client centric. And what I mean by that is, if I came to your profile, would I know what you do, would I know who you serve, do I know your services that would be number one. And number two, to be posting regularly, engaging with people regularly?
Josh: So when you say posting regularly? Does that mean stuff you write or stuff you find or both? And what relationship should we have between the two?
JoAnne: I think it’s a combination of things. First of all, I don’t believe that everything you post should be about me, me, me–
Josh: I understand that. But for example, I create a ton of content. It’s almost never about me. But almost all my posting is stuff I create not stuff that other people create, it was probably [inaudible 00:13:08] but that’s what I do.
JoAnne: So, I think you should have a combination of content. So that’s content that you create, your original content, I think it’s also great if you were to let me give you an example. You had a client. He was a great client of yours. And they produced a good piece of content, whether that’s a video or a blog, or whatever form of content that is, and if you shared it with your audience, and you gave that person a shout out, for example, because you thought what they produce was of value and it could be a value to the people in your network. I think you need to think differently about content
Josh: If I post, which I take a piece of your content, I post it, do I have to tag you like I do in Facebook that I posted something about you, or you automatically get some sort of notification,
JoAnne: You do not automatically get a notification. You would need to tag that person.
Josh: Okay, so how do you go about tagging somebody, because I’m really sure that people have no idea what we’re just talking about.
JoAnne: Okay, so if you want to tag somebody you use the @ sign, and you start to type in their name, and it should auto populate. Now, I will tell you this, that doesn’t work 100% of the time. So I’ve also found that if you’re connected to the person, they are a connection of yours, then typically it works 100% of the time. So just use the @ sign start typing in their name and wait it auto populates and click on their name. It tags then you’re notified.
Josh: If I run across somebody who I think would be a really good prospect of mine. First thing I should do is try to connect with them. So when I do link to them, they’re going to see the link to them. Is that correct?
JoAnne: If you tag them you mean?
JoAnne: Yes. Correct.
Josh: Okay. So I think that’s a good key is that just following somebody without trying to have a connection with it was not going to be as efficient as having a connection. Once I have a connection with somebody, should I be sending them regular messages about stuff they might be interested in?
JoAnne: Yes. LinkedIn, to me is absolutely no different than if you went to a networking function across town. Or you have any of your business relationships, right, you have to nurture them. So that means checking in with people. That means making a phone call that means, Josh thought you might be interested in this article, stay top of mind that’s nurturing a relationship. You’re not asking for anything. You’re nurturing that relationship, right?
Josh: Yes. So there’s always this conversation going with social media, about the fact that you’re doing all this work, but it’s not on a platform that you own? Should you take this stuff that you’re posting on LinkedIn, and also put it on your website, which is someplace you own? And should you have a method for trying to get email addresses that are legitimate for you to mail stuff to off your system in that LinkedIn system.
JoAnne: I would agree with both points you just made. Yes. So I’ll give you an example. Oftentimes, people will connect with me on LinkedIn, because they’re interested in learning more about LinkedIn. And so I will oftentimes, our messaging will go back and forth a few times, they might ask me some questions. And I say to them, if you are truly interested, and staying up to date on LinkedIn changes and some strategies, would you be interested in receiving my newsletter? If you are, send me your email address? And oftentimes people will do that. But I asked their permission to do that, in terms of content. I would also recommend that if you create a blog post, yes, you could duplicate that blog post as a post on LinkedIn. So it certainly would extend your reach, although post are getting kind of reach that they used to a couple of years ago, what I think that does for you, if you have current content that is actually hosted on your LinkedIn profile on their posts, then I think it just shows that you’re relevant and you’re present.
Josh: What about written versus audio versus video? Which type of post should you do?
JoAnne: I think you should do a combination of all of those posts. Number one right now video is very hot in LinkedIn. LinkedIn is doing right now is they’re giving preference to video because they want to promote video. So if you want better organic reach, right now, the thing to do is to video, if you do video, you want to make sure that you have some captions on your video, because most people will scroll that newsfeed and they see that video and they don’t have sound turned on. That’s one.
Josh: And the other issue with video is make sure it’s native, which means you take your raw video file and upload it to LinkedIn, if you use a link from YouTube or link from Vimeo or a link from anywhere. LinkedIn pretend it’s not a video.
JoAnne: Agreed. So think back to the combination of content second to video, I would be doing text only posts, text only posts are performing really well. The posts that really don’t get as much juice and that algorithm are a thing with a link that’s taking you off of the site. Because LinkedIn’s goal is to keep you on their site not to take you off on to somebody else’s site.
Josh: So if I’m doing a written blog post, and I have a link to a piece of content, somebody might want to download which is gated, which means you have email address before you get that piece of content. LinkedIn is going to punish me because I put a link outside the site inside of the post.
JoAnne: Correct. So where I would do that, actually is I would put it in the comments. So at the bottom of your text, you’re describing your post, I would make reference to the fact that they can get your download. The link is in the comments below. If you add it in the comments section, you’re not penalized for that.
Josh: Interesting. That’s a piece of information. So JoAnne, unfortunately, we are out of time. And I’m going to bet there are going to be some people they’re going to want to know how to find you. So let’s assume that’s true. And how would they go about doing so?
JoAnne: Obviously, you can find me on LinkedIn. I don’t think you’d have any trouble finding JoAnne Funch on LinkedIn. You can also connect with me on my website linkedinforbusiness.net. And I’ve also got a great download for your listeners called Seven Ways to Transform your LinkedIn Network. I think they’d find it super helpful. They can get that at linkedinforbusiness.net/podcast
Josh: Cool. I also have an offer for you. I have been obsessing about cash flow in a business for well over 40 years now. And I bet if you own a business, you’re obsessing about cash flow too. So I developed this thing we call The Success Path, how to get the cash flow freedom. It’s five steps along the way is really important to know what stage you are to keeping cash flow freedom. And I put together a free info graphic that you can get really easy to get you just go to our website, www.sustainablebusiness.co/cashflow. Give me your email address and we will be glad to send you our free info graphic.
So this is Josh Patrick, you’re with JoAnne Funch. You’re at The Sustainable Business. Thanks a lot for stopping by.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.