Your LinkedIn Headline Needs to be Interesting

By Jason Terry, talking about taking a few minutes to update your LinkedIn Headline.

I was doing a couple of days of LinkedIn training for a company in Wichita recently when I realized I needed to update my profile a bit. As I made those changes, I also thought it would be a good time to review my LinkedIn headline. Since helping companies with their blogging efforts is a primary source of income, I decided to add “Storyteller” to my headline. And during training, I noticed that 95% of the LinkedIn profiles I reviewed had the default headline… the title for their current position.

Blue Gurus: LinkedIn Headline

Why does your LinkedIn Headline need to be interesting? Because it’s an important part of the impression you make when someone looks at your LinkedIn profile for the first time. It’s an opportunity to start building a relationship with someone before actually meeting them.

Here are the reasons behind the terms I use in my headline…

Principal of Blue Gurus

My LinkedIn headline starts out with Principal of Blue Gurus. This is my current title. And by default, that’s what LinkedIn uses to create your headline when you initially set up your profile. I think your current title is a good place to start, but there’s an opportunity to let your headline do a little more work for you.

Storyteller | Web Developer | LinkedIn Trainer

The next part of my headline includes 2-3 business related functions. I chose to list what we do for our customers as my three business related ideas in my headline. It’s a quick way to let people know what I actually do for a living.

Scuba Diver | Guitar Player | LEGO Collector

  • The last part of my headline includes 2-3 things that I’m passionate about outside of work. I’ve been scuba diving since 1999 and I make it a priority to go on a dive trip every year. (You might be surprised to know how many business owners scuba dive.)
  • I listed Guitar Player next because I sing and play guitar at my church. Notice I didn’t list this as “Worship Leader” because I don’t want to alienate half my audience at the beginning of a new relationship. My recommendation is to stay away from religion and politics on your LinkedIn profile… those can be talked about once you’ve established a relationship (if it even comes up.)
  • Finally I listed LEGO Collector. I grew up playing with LEGO and still enjoy the more advanced sets as an adult, like the recently released LEGO Millennium Falcon. And lots of people have kids that love LEGO. It’s another conversation starter.

Your Headline Shows Up in Search Results

I did a search for “Jason Terry” and got 1,733 results on LinkedIn. You can see in the picture that my profile stands out from the rest because my headline is included in the search results. This makes it a little bit easier for people to find me, and also might draw people into my profile because it looks more interesting.

Blue Gurus: LinkedIn Headline

If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn headline in a while (or ever), please take this story as a friendly reminder. All you have to do is log into your LinkedIn account, click on Me | View Profile, and then click on the blue pencil to the right of your profile photo to edit your picture, name, headline and more!

LinkedIn Training for City Union Mission

By Jason Terry, talking about donating LinkedIn training to the staff at City Union Mission.

City Union MissionI’m not writing this story to promote Blue Gurus. I ‘m writing this post to promote City Union Mission.

We’ve been friends with City Union Mission for more than a decade. My wife and I personally support them on a monthly basis financially. Most of you reading this will have heard of City Union Mission, and you might already support their efforts (I would love to hear about it.)

Here is their mission statement.

We are an evangelical Christian ministry committed to sharing the
gospel and meeting the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs
of men, women, and children who are poor or homeless.

Every few years, my friend Dennis Chapman reaches out to see if we would be willing to provide LinkedIn training for their team. The last time we did so was at least five years ago, and their team has grown a lot since then. Not just in numbers, but in how savvy they are with social media. That said, there was a gap when it came to LinkedIn. There were some needed tweaks on some of their individual profiles, and they weren’t updating their LinkedIn company page regularly.

One of the things we see regularly with not-for-profit organizations is that they have a good handle on Facebook, maybe an email newsletter, and a decent website. Unfortunately, there’s usually missed opportunity when it comes to a LinkedIn strategy. The reason it matters? People that donate money often have jobs at companies in the community. And the majority of those people are on LinkedIn. It’s a trend that these people don’t use Facebook nearly as much as they used LinkedIn, so it’s important for City Union Mission to tell their stories on LinkedIn. The last time they had updated LinkedIn was six months ago. But they are updating Facebook almost daily.

City Union Mission LinkedIn Training - 2018

So I said YES to Dennis about donating LinkedIn training.

We got together recently for about an hour and a half. I covered profile best practices, how to use LinkedIn on a regular basis and then touched on some research methods using the data that can be found in LinkedIn. We also talked a lot about telling stories and strategies to do this consistently across their website and social media accounts.

I was really impressed with how engaged everyone was. They asked great questions, and gave me great feedback after the training. I could tell they had learned some things that they were going to act on, the most important being to do personal status updates on their LinkedIn profiles. And the plan is for the marketing team to start updating their LinkedIn company page regularly.

On a personal note, as I was driving to their offices, I passed a man sitting under a bridge that was likely homeless. I usually go through conflicting emotions about giving someone in that situation some cash, and then worry about what they would do with it. I’m confident that supporting City Union Mission financially is a really good answer to that dilemma. The dollars will be used in the right way and make a difference where the money is needed.

So if you go through that same dilemma when you see homeless people in the River Market or downtown, consider making a donation to City Union Mission. You can make a donation to City Union Mission here.

As always, thanks for reading!

Leaders Have to Lead, Especially on LinkedIn

By Jason Terry, talking about Owners, Partners, CEOs, Vice Presidents and everyone else in leadership roles needing to lead on LinkedIn.

We write a blog post every week. And my favorite source of inspiration is when we get feedback, suggestions or questions from our audience… in other words, YOU.

Recently, I got an email from my good friend Ken Bramble that became the inspiration for this story. He’s a fraternity brother and in one of my peer advisory groups. He’s also a leader for Truss in their Employee Benefits practice. This is what Ken said:

Good morning, Jason. I thought of you when I read this. Q4 is an organization I follow that helps Insurance agencies get better. The article linked below specifically talks about the importance of having leaders of those agencies maintaining a social media presence.
Q4: Who Leads Your Agency Communications?

I loved this article! It talks about one of the core truths we teach in our LinkedIn training sessions. Leaders have to lead, especially on LinkedIn. One of my favorite quotes from this article is, “Leaders lead. They lead their team and their clients. They lead by example. They set the standard. If the leader isn’t doing it, why should anyone else? If the leader is doing it, then everyone else should be showing up ready to keep up.”

Leaders Know a Ton of People

LinkedInLeaders are usually the most recognizable in their community as representatives of their company. And when I use the word community, it’s not just based on geography. It could be relationships across the country based on industry. In my experience, leaders know so many people. And the big problem I see is that some some leaders choose not to use LinkedIn.

Think about that. A recognized leader of a company choosing not to use LinkedIn.

Here are some reasons this matters…

The Sales Process

One reason that this is a problem is it makes the sales process harder. I’ve seen this happen so many times. The sales team is trying to do business with a new company but they’re having trouble getting a meeting. It turns out that the owner in the company is good friends with a decision maker at the other company. Sadly, they didn’t connect on LinkedIn. If the sales team would have known about the relationship, they could have asked their leader to make an introduction.

Company Perception

Another problem with a leader choosing not to spend time on LinkedIn is perception. When a company is considering doing business with you, they’re probably going to check out your website and LinkedIn profiles. Your website looks awesome, you just had it rebuilt last year. And then they start looking at LinkedIn. Imagine what their perception will be if the owner of your company has no profile picture and 12 connections? Or half the executives are in the same boat. What if the salesperson they’re talking to has 42 connections and a profile photo that looks like crap?

There’s a real risk of brand disconnect when people at your company choose not to use LinkedIn, or don’t use it well.

Employee Engagement

Finally, another big problem with leaders not leading the way on LinkedIn is employee engagement. This was in my quote from the Q4 article… if your leaders aren’t willing to spend time on LinkedIn, why should your employees? Salespeople often do a pretty good job because their work on LinkedIn directly impacts their bottom line. But there are LOTS of people in a company, and you never know when one of their relationships is going to make the next opportunity happen.

So Yes…

So yes, I believe that everyone in a company (especially leaders) should spend time on LinkedIn.
(And no, I’m not sponsored by LinkedIn, but I do own some stock.)

Business happens based on relationships. LinkedIn helps people understand the intricate layers of relationships that exist. Assuming your company wants to continue selling products or services, how could a leader in your organization choose not to spend time on LinkedIn?

Your LinkedIn Profile Changed. Time to Clean Things Up.

Post written by Mic Johnson, talking about recent changes to the LinkedIn Profile. 

Recently my friend Doug Seaberg sent an article to me he’d seen talking about recent changes LinkedIn made to the profile page. I had seen the article previously but hadn’t had a chance to read through it.

And, as so often happens, I don’t recall LinkedIn sending any notification that the changes were being made. Maybe they wrote a blog post about it and I missed it, but it seems like they change things all the time and don’t really go out of their way to notify their users.

At any rate, it’s always good to take a look at your profile periodically and see what’s changed or, more importantly, see what you need to change or update. With that in mind, here are a few items you’ll want to take a look at:

LinkedIn ProfileChanges to the “Top Card”

Several items in the “top card” section are now left-aligned instead of centered.

Your picture, name, professional headline and location are in a more natural place and will be one of the first things people see when they look at your profile.

The cover photo, if you have one, remains centered.

Additionally, your current company, education, contact info, and connections are all listed together as well. All of those sections are also clickable which is a nice touch.

How Does Your Cover Photo Look?

Since your picture is now left-aligned, make sure it didn’t impact your cover photo in any way. For example, make sure your picture isn’t in front of words or images in your cover photo.

I know a lot of people haven’t taken the time to upload or create a cover photo, but you might give it some thought as it really does make your profile more engaging.

Is Your Contact Information Complete?

Now that your contact information is front and center and clickable, be sure everything is up to date. Here’s what mine looks like as one example:

LinkedIn contact info

How’s Your Summary Looking?

There’s now a little more space that’s viewable in your Summary before a person clicks “Read More.” With that in mind, it’s a great time to take a look at your Summary (assuming you’re not one of those people who still have NOTHING there #LINKEDINFAIL) and see what you’re communicating in the first few sentences.

LinkedIn Summary

Do a Final Review of Your LinkedIn Profile

Since you’re in your profile, take a bit more time to review the rest of it.

Have you “claimed your name” in your public profile URL so it looks like this? https://www.linkedin.com/in/micjohnson (if you haven’t put your name in there, you’ll see a bunch of numbers and letters at the end of your url #LINKEDINFAIL)

Have you filled out your work history, using “I” language to describe your responsibilities, accomplishments, etc.?

Is your Education history complete?

Have you added links to company videos, presentations, etc. that can help illustrate how you and your company help people?

I hope this post was helpful. You never know when LinkedIn might change something again. So do me a favor right now and go to your calendar and set an appointment to check/update your LinkedIn Profile every 3-6 months. It’s your personal and professional brand after all. Be sure to give it the attention it deserves.

Is LinkedIn Filtering What People See If You Don’t Have a Paid Account?

Post Author: Mic Johnson, talking about whether LinkedIn filters what people see if they don’t have paid LinkedIn accounts.

I post status updates to LinkedIn a few times a week and have for years. Sometimes it’s a blog post from Blue Gurus or MJMeetings. Sometimes it’s a #micnugget. Sometimes it’s a question. Sometimes I’m sharing content from my connections or other people/companies I follow.

The other day I got to thinking how it seemed like the level of engagement I’d been getting (LIKEs, comments, views, etc.) seemed to be less and less over time, regardless of what I posted.

Now I’m not saying every one of my status updates is life-changing content, but I’ve become accustomed to a certain amount of engagement/interest in things I choose to share.

I recently downgraded from a paid LinkedIn account (I just wasn’t using the features enough to justify the monthly expense) to the free LinkedIn account, and I wondered to myself…”Is LinkedIn filtering what people see from me because I don’t have a paid account anymore?”

So I decided to run a little experiment.

I posted the following status update (click the link or the image if you want to see the actual post on LinkedIn):

LinkedIn Filtering

I also emailed LinkedIn Customer Service and asked them if they filtered things based on whether a person had a paid account or not. To their credit, they got back to me quickly, even it was with a response that didn’t really answer my question…a non-answer answer, if you will:

“Hi Mic, Thank you for reaching out about your post. The feeds of your connections are personalized for them based on people they follow, their connections, and their engagement on LinkedIn. The more engaging and relevant your post is, the more likely it is to appear in their feeds. We work to keep the platform focused on discussions relating to professional interests and activities. Content that doesn’t appear to relate to these topics may not reach a wide audience. Lastly, any content that doesn’t comply with LinkedIn’s User Agreement
(https://www.linkedin.com/legal/user-agreement ) and Professional Community Guidelines (https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/34593 ) may be subject to removal. However, if this is not the case, please provide the URL of the post you are referring to so we can check further. I would look forward to hearing from you Regards, Pooja LinkedIn Consumer Specialist”

Finally, I tagged LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner on the post hoping that he might chime in and provide a little rationale. I’m still waiting on that.

So what did I learn from my LinkedIn experiment?

  1. While LinkedIn didn’t specifically say they increase/decrease the visibility of status updates, etc. based on whether a person has a paid account or not…well, let’s just say I have a healthy dose of skepticism and intuition that those who pay, likely get a little more play.
  2. LinkedIn DOES control what you do or don’t see in your feed from your connections. They say “The feeds of your connections are personalized for them based on the people they follow, their connections, and their engagement on LinkedIn.” So, and I understand this to a certain extent, LinkedIn is determining what THEY think is relevant content that your connections will see. Of course it makes sense if a person is spamming, trolling, etc. but outside of that…I DON’T LIKE IT. I’ve chosen to connect with the people I’m connected to. I don’t like that LinkedIn is deciding what THEY think I will be interested in…nor do I like them deciding if my content is relevant enough to my connections. That should be left up to the USERS…not LinkedIn. (Facebook does the same thing and I hate it there too.)
  3. I really had no idea what the outcome would be of this experiment. My initial expectation was that I would get quite a few “LIKEs” because all I asked was for people to simply hit the LIKE button. I have over 1200 LinkedIn connections, so I was expecting at least a few hundred to take a second and LIKE the post. As of this writing, it’s been about four days and the post only has 149 LIKEs.
  4. Many of the LIKEs I got were from people OUTSIDE of my connections. So when some of my connections LIKE’d the post, people in their network saw it and joined in on the fun. That’s how social works. That’s how things go “viral”. But that means that even more people saw my post than just my connections, so I still would have expected to see more than 149 LIKEs.
  5. As of this writing, according to LinkedIn, there were 6,534 views of my status update, which makes it that much more unbelievable that only 149 people took a second to LIKE the update. Did that many people really see it? Are people really that lazy? Was it just not that interesting?
  6. Ironically, the 149 LIKEs and the 6,534 views of my update are BY FAR the most engagement I’ve ever received on any status update or post/article I’ve ever shared in all of the years I’ve been on LinkedIn. Did LinkedIn boost this post? Did the 149 LIKEs set off some behind the scenes mojo at LinkedIn that kept increasing the visibility of my status update? Was this really the most relevant and engaging thing I’ve ever posted (at least in the eyes of LinkedIn)? Was it because I asked people to do something so simple and easy? Do I need to ask more questions like this to see increased engagement? The answers to those questions are YES (I think?).
  7. A lot of people were at least interested in the same question I had based on the responses and engagement the status update received.

Unfortunately, while this experiment was fun and will probably keep going as the status update continues to get LIKEs and views, I find myself feeling almost as confused as I was when I first wondered about whether LinkedIn was “pay to play”.

LinkedIn Customer Service really didn’t answer the question.

Jeff Weiner didn’t answer the question.

And so I guess we may never know.

LinkedIn (and Facebook and other social platforms) always change things and are always fine tuning things…and most of the time they’re not good (intentionally or not) about letting the users know what changed or why. It’s one of the most frustrating things for me about how these companies run their platforms.

In the end, my instincts tell me if you’re giving money to LinkedIn via a paid account, then your status updates and other content you post on their site will probably get more love than those of us who have a free account.

I just wish LinkedIn would have answered the question.

Maybe if I get a paid account again, they will.

It’s Time to Spring Clean Your LinkedIn Profile

Post Author: Mic Johnson, talking about tips to spring clean your LinkedIn Profile

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year!

The air is full of optimism. Buds are starting to appear on the trees. Flowers are starting to pop up around the neighborhood. Yards are starting to green up. More and more people are out taking walks, riding bikes, and enjoying the sunshine. And everyone is getting ready for the annual tradition of spring cleaning their homes, offices, cars and more.

Spring is also the perfect time to clean up your LinkedIn profile. If it’s been awhile since you took a good, honest look at your LinkedIn profile, here are five easy ways to spruce it up this Spring:

Spring Clean Your LinkedIn Profile1. Add/Update Your Cover Photo

One of the first things people see when they look at your LinkedIn profile is the cover photo.

If you’ve never uploaded or created a cover photo (LinkedIn recommends a photo that is 1584 x 396 pixels), there’s no time like the present!

Take a photo of your own, find a free photo on a site like Pixabay, or if you’re feeling adventurous, create a free cover photo like I did using a tool like Canva. (Once you created an account and sign in, you click “Use custom dimensions” in the upper right-hand corner, and start creating!)

2. Add/Update Your Personal Photo

If your LinkedIn photo was taken 10 years ago…or 30 pounds ago…I’m sorry, but it’s time to update it.

The point of the photo is to help humanize your profile and to also make it easy for people to identify you when they’re looking you up on LinkedIn before that first coffee meeting, that first sales appointment, that first conference you’re both attending, etc.

If your LinkedIn profile photo doesn’t look like you anymore, set your vanity aside and get a SMILING and current picture uploaded today!

3. HUMANIZE Your Professional Headline

Your professional headline (which appears right below your name) should give people a snapshot of who you are professionally and personally. You’re so much more than just an Accountant, or Sales Rep, or Attorney, or CEO, or Professional Hand Model.

What are your passions? What do you do outside of work? Share those with people by a few simple items to your professional headline. Take a look at mine in the attached photo for some inspiration.

4. Write/Update Your Summary

I’m disappointed when I see a profile on LinkedIn where the person never took the time to write a Summary. A well-written Summary is your opportunity to “welcome” people to your LinkedIn profile and share your professional story with them.

It’s also completely fine (and encouraged) to include a little bit about your passions and interests outside of work. Again, it’s about humanizing your profile and making sure it educates visitors to your profile about your personal and professional journey.

5. Update Your Work Experience

One of my #1 pet peeves is when I see LinkedIn profiles that have several job titles/dates listed and NOTHING ELSE. What you’re telling the reader is “Hey, I worked at this company for 10 years and did nothing!

Your Experience section should include what your job responsibilities were, what your accomplishments were, what you learned in that position, etc. And use “I” language when you write it…do that throughout your profile…it feels more natural to the reader.

I hope this information was helpful. If you take a few minutes to do these five things, I guarantee you’ll feel better about your LinkedIn profile…and even more optimistic about Spring!

5 LinkedIn No-Brainers To Help You Look Like You Know What You’re Doing

LinkedIn No BrainerPost written by Mic Johnson talking about 5 LinkedIn No-Brainers To Help You Look Like You Know What You’re Doing

1.Humanize your LinkedIn Profile

People look at your LinkedIn Profile every day. What does your profile say about you?

Does it say “I’m awesome!” or does it say “I have no idea who I am or why anyone would want to connect with me.”? If it’s the latter…

Upload a smiling, current headshot. Personalize your professional headline. Write a thoughtful Summary using “I” language. Update your work history showing people where you’ve been and what you’ve accomplished.

A great looking profile goes a long way in making you look like you know what you’re doing.

2. Personalize EVERY connection request.

If you’re on your laptop/desktop, go to a person’s profile page, click the blue Connect button, click “Add a Note”, and write something meaningful telling the person WHY you want to connect.

If you’re on the app, go to a person’s profile page, click the three little dots near the blue Connect button, click “Personalize Invite”, and write
something meaningful telling the person WHY you want to connect.

LinkedIn Public profile URL3. Claim your name.

If you haven’t claimed your name, your public profile URL probably looks something like this:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/I-Look-Like-A-LI-Noob-383aa427/.

Go to your profile on your laptop or desktop, click on “Edit public profile & URL”, and then enter your first and last name. If someone has already claimed it, get creative or use your first name, middle initial and last name.

Here’s mine:https://www.linkedin.com/in/micjohnson

LinkedIn Status Update

4. Update your status at least 2-3 times a week.

Share an image, an inspirational quote, an article you read that helped you, information on a business event going on in your community, or better yet…write an article and share some original content of your own with your network.

5. LinkedIn isn’t a dating site. Act accordingly.

This one should really go without saying, but it happens. LinkedIn is for business purposes. Keep it that way.

Was this helpful? If your team might benefit from LinkedIn Training, drop me a note at mic@bluegurus.com to get the conversation started. 

Here’s How to Respond to LinkedIn Invitations from People You Don’t Know

Post written by Mic Johnson, talking about how to respond to LinkedIn invitations from people you don’t know

We’ve all received countless numbers of these generic LinkedIn connection requests:

“I’d like to join your LinkedIn network.”

It’s an annoying daily ritual that every LinkedIn user experiences. Even worse, the default invitation verbiage wastes time and discourages engagement, which is the exact opposite thing a social network is supposed to do.

add a noteA big reason why this happens is because LinkedIn hasn’t made it a requirement to personalize connection requests, but they have made a little progress.

When you’re on your computer or laptop, go to a person’s LinkedIn Profile Page and click the blue CONNECT button. From there, click the “Add a Note” button and type a personal message, letting the person know why you want to connect, etc.

When you’re on the LinkedIn app on your mobile device, click on the three little dots to the right of the Connect and InMail buttons and you’ll see an option to personalize the invite.

Now if you’re like most people, when you get a connection request with the default “invitation” message and you don’t know the person, you hit the IGNORE button.

But I’m here to tell you there’s a better way…

Take the following steps when you’re on your computer or laptop. Inexplicably, as of the writing of this post, this isn’t currently an option on the mobile app.

  1. Click on My Network at the top of the page when you’re logged into LinkedIn.
  2. Manage AllClick on Manage all. A list of your outstanding invitations will appear.
  3. Go to one of them and click “Message“.
  4. Type a message asking the person why they’re interested in connecting with you. Here’s a message I created that has resulted in responses from people about 95% of the time.

    Hi X,

    Thank you for the connection request. As a general rule, I typically connect to people I know, trust, respect, can vouch for, etc.

    It’s nothing personal…just how I choose to grow and protect my network.

    I was curious as to what interested you in connecting with me. Were you interested in one of the services that Blue Gurus offers?

    My apologies if we’ve met previously and I’m not remembering.

    Thank you in advance,

    Mic

Here’s Why Responding to LinkedIn Invitations Matters

If you just ignore connection requests from people you don’t know and don’t take the time to engage with people, you’re potentially missing out on real business opportunities, career opportunities, new subscribers/audience for your blog, new LinkedIn followers, the chance to add quality relationships to your network, and who knows what else!

The good news? Now that I’ve shown you exactly what to do, you don’t have an excuse anymore to not engage people who are interested in connecting with you!

Does your business need help with LinkedIn? We’ve been helping companies for the last 9 years learn how to use LinkedIn more effectively. We’d love to help you. To learn more, give me a call at 913-645-6650 or email me at mic@bluegurus.com.

5 Things Executive Teams Worry About When Considering LinkedIn Use On Company Time

By Jason Terry, talking about some common questions and concerns we hear when executive teams are considering allowing LinkedIn use on company time.

LinkedInI was talking to a good friend recently about push back they were getting from their executive team about supporting LinkedIn use on company time. I’ve heard the concerns before. And it was a great opportunity for me to put some responses to those concerns in an email. The goal was to give them ammo to use when trying to convince the team to move forward.

My email was well received. And after reading it again I thought it might make a good blog post. Primarily because lots of companies are struggling with some of the same issues and concerns. My hope is that if you are hearing these kinds of things in your organization, that you can use some of my ideas to break through the roadblocks.

1) LinkedIn is a way for people to hack into our network.

HackersThere are thousands of ways to hack into a network. Emails with bad links that install malware. Firewalls and routers that haven’t been updated in years. Servers running web applications with known security holes. And yes, LinkedIn is another possible way. The truth that any knowledgeable IT person will agree with is that the best defense is a layered approach of software, anti-virus, employee training and robust backups.

Blocking LinkedIn use to protect your company network is a big problem from a risk vs. reward perspective. Yes, you might make your network a bit more secure. But you lose all of the business benefits that your company can realize if they use LinkedIn effectively. Growth through referrals. Improved company culture. Stronger talent acquisition. And more.

2) Our competitors will steal our employees if they’re on LinkedIn.

If another company wants to poach your employees, it will happen regardless of whether or not someone has a LinkedIn profile.

Sure, a strong profile with lots of connections makes any employee more desirable, but so do all the other things like their reputation around the city, them showing up at events and not-for-profit participation, etc. In most cities, and in most industries, everyone already knows the good people working for other companies. Having a LinkedIn profile doesn’t make much of a difference in this situation.

Yes, LinkedIn does make it easier for someone to pull together a list of your employees. So what? I’ve always said if you take care of your people, they will take care of you. And the good ones will give you the heads up that they are getting calls from headhunters or competitors if/when it happens. If they leave you for a competitor, the reasons are usually compensation, job satisfaction and growth opportunity. Having a LinkedIn profile (or not) won’t move the needle when a competitor wants to attract one of your top employees.

3) Social media is a waste of time, and I don’t want my team wasting their time during business hours.

Waste of TimeI can tell you from personal experience that Blue Gurus has grown every year since 2009 using nothing but storytelling in our blog, networking and linking in with people on LinkedIn. We’re staying top of mind with all our referral partners. LinkedIn is a proven business tool for growth and reputation building. I think using LinkedIn should be part of their job responsibilities!

And yes, there are people that will abuse access to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and more during work. But the ones that truly want to waste time are going to use their cell phones in the bathroom every hour if they can’t do it on their work computer. And good employees (that you hired because they have a good work ethic) can use social media interaction to give their brain a break and recharge a few times a day. If they’re getting their work done, it shouldn’t be an issue.

That said, trust but verify. If you’re worried about people spending too much time on social media sites, check with your IT people. You may have the ability to run reports about time spent on social sites by team member. Run those reports to see if your concerns are valid. If they are, have a conversation with the problem children. In most situations, simply making your team aware that their internet use is being monitored is deterrent enough.

4) None of our executives have profiles.

That may be true at your company, but if you do research on other companies, I think you will find a very different story. The majority of the companies in Kansas City benefit from their executives and salespeople using LinkedIn.

In some situations, based on the size of the city or the industry, there might not be as many executives using LinkedIn. This is an opportunity to be towards the front of the trend… not bleeding edge, but leading edge. And what a great opportunity to beat your competitors to the relationship market by embracing LinkedIn with some training and a good strategy?

5) Our executives see very little benefit from using LinkedIn.

How can they see benefit if they’ve not invested any time in the tool?

In terms of sales and marketing expense, using LinkedIn for relationship building and storytelling through blogging are two of the lowest cost, farthest reaching methods for getting your message into the minds of your clients, referral partners, employees and prospects.

Mic likes to make the analogy about going to the gym. It’s like someone telling you that the gym has no benefit for them. Even though they’ve never bought a membership (set up a LinkedIn profile) and never worked out (connected to people, shared stories.)

Does your company block LinkedIn at the office? Are there any other concerns you’ve heard from management about using LinkedIn or social media while you work that I didn’t cover? I would love to hear your thoughts. And I hope this story was helpful to you in some way. Thanks for reading!

Who Is Your Accountability Partner?

Author: Mic Johnson, talking about the importance of accountability.

Over the nearly 9 years that Blue Gurus has been helping companies share their stories through blogging, better leverage LinkedIn, and create websites they can be proud of, I’ve come across several instances where organizational accountability issues have occurred.

Here are a couple of real world examples we’ve seen too many times over the years:

Accountability Example 1 – LinkedIn Training

We train employees on how to create a great LinkedIn profile and how to better leverage it for sales and content marketing. Companies pay us to do this and give their employees the opportunity to participate in the training.

But sometimes some of the people who went through the training never update their profiles. Even worse, they go back to not using LinkedIn effectively/regularly.

accountability

I often joke during the sales process, “Look, if you aren’t going to implement what you’re paying us to teach your employees, then just cut us a check and save all of us the time.”

Obviously it’s said in jest, but I want to get the point across. If you’re paying for us to train your employees on LinkedIn, then it’s important to hold them accountable once the training is complete. I’ve yet to hear a good reason to do otherwise!

Accountability Example 2 – Blogging Clients

We’ve been working with clients for years to help them share their stories and execute a weekly blog strategy. When we start working with a new client, the process is designed to be as simple as possible.

Here’s how it works: We meet with clients monthly to brainstorm ideas and topics. Next, we assign people on the team to write the posts (and they have an ENTIRE MONTH to write those posts). Finally, the content is due when we get back together a month later and repeat the process all over again.

The goal is simple: Give us four rough drafts a month, and we’ll do everything else. We edit, proof, come up with titles, publish the posts to their website, and then share them on their social media accounts.

Even though the process itself is simple, we’ve still had clients who struggle to get four rough drafts written per month. Sure there are legitimate reasons sometimes as life and business get in the way, but a big part of our job is to hold them accountable every month.

I often say “I’m a personal trainer for your blog.” Why? Because most of the companies we work with have told us that they know their blog wouldn’t get done if we weren’t their accountability partner. We don’t drop balls. And our job is to make sure you don’t either.

It’s easy to put it off or not do it when you’re trying to hold yourself accountable. But when we’re showing up every month, and you’re paying us to do what we do, then you’re going to feel more of a responsibility to get it done. That’s just human nature.

But again, I’ve yet to hear a good excuse why companies wouldn’t want to share their stories on a regular basis. How else will people know what you do, how you can help them, what you do in the community, etc?

What About You?

Do you do a good job of holding yourself accountable or do you need an accountability partner to make sure you do what you say you’re going to do? What other examples do you have of accountability issues? Leave a comment below or drop me an email at mic@bluegurus.com.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read. We appreciate it!