Dilemma for Senior Executives: Should you accept that LinkedIn request?

This is one question I’ve been asked multiple times by trainees whenever I’ve conducted my LinkedIn training sessions for various senior executives across the globe. The typical query is that, “I just don’t know that person, so why should I connect with him/her?” Well, for starters, LinkedIn is not Facebook. The one goal to keep in mind when interacting on LinkedIn is that we’re here to network. Yes, network is the key word here. But that also doesn’t mean you should connect with just about anyone and everyone—there’s some method to this madness!

LinkedIn is by far the world’s largest professional network, and it is a tool that helps you build your network for whatever professional purpose you desire. So, the fact that you need to actively build your network to extend your outreach is a no-brainer. But you need to be judicious in your approach to avoid being a spam target and your LinkedIn feed becoming a complete mess. Read on if you’re really serious about networking on LinkedIn.

Should you accept a request from a complete stranger?

There’s no straight answer to that! This will depend on a number of factors and will differ from person to person. To make things easy, there are a few criteria you can apply to filter out the crappy ones.

When is it best to ignore?

Ignore the request when,

  • The person is not from your company, function, or industry, OR
  • The invitation text is not explanatory/customized, OR
  • The person is from a competing company, OR
  • The person is a recruiter, and you’re currently not looking for a change.

When is it safe to accept an invitation?

Accept the request when,

  • The person is from your company, function, or industry, OR
  • The invitation text explains why it is relevant to connect to that person, OR
  • The person seems to be a competent recruiter AND you’re looking for a change, OR
  • The person is a senior executive from a relevant company you’d like to network with.

Should you be wary of accepting requests from competitors?

You might want to think twice before accepting that request if you’re in a sales function and the person is from a competing company. How does that make a difference? Well, if you don’t have the right settings in place, your competitor might be able to view all your connections and figure out your existing clients or prospects. However, there might not be much harm in connecting with a direct competitor too if you have the right settings in place.

What does a connection get to know about you?

This is a big fear that a lot of people have. A connection would get to know pretty much nothing apart from your public profile and activity if you have the right settings in place! Head straight to “Settings & Privacy” on your LinkedIn and click on “Visibility” on the right-hand side panel. Among the various options available, you have “Who can see or download your email address.” You can choose to even not let your connections view your email address—they’ll only be able to contact you through LinkedIn’s messaging feature!

It’s only if someone is outside your third-degree network would they not be able to view your public LinkedIn activity. Remember, if someone within your third-degree network needs to track your activity on LinkedIn, they can do that anyway by visiting your profile and without even connecting with you. So, fear not—if and when required, you can remove anyone from your connections without even letting that person get any notification.

Interested in getting personalized LinkedIn training? Want to get 10X impact on LinkedIn?

If you’re looking for a personalized online LinkedIn training session for yourself or your team, a training session can help you understand LinkedIn well and get 10X impact. Drop in an email to minhaj dot rais at outlook.com along with your LinkedIn profile URL(s) to know more.

How to tag your colleagues on LinkedIn without irritating them!

Has your colleague tagged you one of their LinkedIn posts? And do you keep getting irritating alerts from LinkedIn every time someone likes or comments on that post? Well, there’s a hack for that too! 😊

Tagging on LinkedIn

If you’re tagging someone because you’re mentioning them for their contribution or wanting to highlight them as a speaker for a conference or so, then yes, go ahead and tag them in your post. This will help people click on the tagged names to view their profiles an interact with them directly if needed. But if you’re tagging someone just to get their attention so that they can like, share, or comment on your post, it’s better not to tag them in your post. The best way out is to post your content and then post a comment immediately to tag your colleagues, friends, or acquaintances to attract their attention to your post.

It also helps if you also mention how would you like them to interact with the post. For example, you could say, “XYZ, please like and share my post,” or “ABC, check this out. This might be useful for you.” When you post a comment tagging someone, they get an alert about the comment but would be spared the irritation of getting repeated alerts whenever someone likes or comments on the original post. 😊

For those uninitiated, you just need to type “@” followed by the name of the person to tag them. Sometimes you might need to type the name of their company too if they’re several people with similar names.

So, there you go: Tag, but tag with care!

Power Tip 1: Posting a comment immediately after going live with your post is read as positive engagement by LinkedIn’s algorithms and helps in our post getting many more views than you would normally get.

Power Tip 2: Tagging a company page allows the page admin to engage with your post as the “Company page.” So, your company page can then like, share, and comment on your posts.

3 simple steps to multiply the impact of your LinkedIn profile

Do you know what is the most popular activity on LinkedIn? Yes, it’s viewing profiles! The fact that a huge number of recruiters are on LinkedIn and that they view dozens if not hundreds of profiles each day might be tilting the scales in favor of this metric. Nevertheless, this makes keeping your profile updated all the more important.

In this post, we’ll be covering three simple steps that will help you multiply the impact of your LinkedIn profile.

1. Add a photo to get noticed: LinkedIn says that profiles with photos get up to 21 times more views. Remember to add a professional close-up photograph that makes you easily recognizable.

Power tip: Search for profiles using any relevant keyword, click on “People” on the filters drop-down. View the photos accompanying profiles in your search results to understand how your profile photo will appear in search results. Will it stand out? If not, add a more relevant picture. LinkedIn provides some useful guidelines for adding the right photo to your profile.

2. Add a positioning statement: Refer to the power tip above. What do you see in the search results? Names, designations, and profile photos. You know what? You can simple add a positioning statement to your profile header. Just click on view profile on your LinkedIn profile and then click on the edit icon. Then, add a positioning statement alongside your designation. For example, “Senior Manager – Customer Care | Delivering enhanced value to our valuable customers.” This Hubspot blogpost has some very good examples and guidelines to help you write a very effective headline.

Remember that this positioning statement will help to draw more prospects and customers to your profile, help them understand your role and responsibilities at one glance, and make your profile stand out in search results. The snapshot below presents a good positioning statement.

This is a good example wherein a recruiter can use an image to add branding value.

3. Add a powerful background image: This is one aspect a lot of people miss out on. Anytime someone visits your LinkedIn profile, what they see at first is your photograph, your designation (plus your positioning statement as mentioned above), AND the background image. More often than not, users leave this blank, which then leads to the default LinkedIn image being showcased. Remember that the background image presents a very good opportunity to make a quick and lasting impression on the viewer thereby giving them more reason to read on further details on your profile.

The background image here gives a very good overview of how Don works at an important intersection of scholarly communication.

The examples I’ve showcased above are simply indicative of the potential of strong header images for making positioning statements. You can even choose to communicate certain aspects of your role or company using this background image.

Once you have completed these three simple steps, just begin engaging with updates and watch your profiles views shoot up! 🙂 Share your views through the comments section below.

How to improve your Social Selling Index on LinkedIn – Part 1

In a previous post, I’d written about what social selling entails and how to find out your social selling score (SSI) on LinkedIn. In this series of posts, we’ll explain how you can improve your SSI score based on parameters defined by LinkedIn.

LinkedIn’s SSI score is calculated on the basis of four parameters, namely, establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships. It is important that you focus on improving each of these parameters to improve your SSI score. We’ll elaborate on “establishing your professional brand” in this post.

Professional brand

What can you do to establish your professional brand on LinkedIn? Read on for details.

  • Complete your profile: First and foremost, ensure that you complete your profile with the customer in mind. Remember to emphasize instances that illustrate how you’ve provided value to a client. Take care to complete every detail on your LinkedIn profile, including your profile picture, headline, summary, and experience. Pay special attention to your headline because that is what makes your profile stand apart from millions of others in your domain. To understand the importance of your profile headline, just search for people using any keyword on LinkedIn, and notice how you’ll tend to click on profiles that have self-explanatory headlines.
  • Add rich content to your summary: This aspect is one of the most underutilized items among LinkedIn’s profile page functionalities. Add content that can make you stand out as a thought leader. You can add an image, video, or a presentation to showcase examples of your work or your company’s specialties. You can also upload a deck outlining your company’s products and services on Slideshare and host it on your LinkedIn summary. 
  • Post and interact with content: Always keep in mind that the basic foundation of a strong content marketing strategy is nothing other than relevant and useful content. The key is to post relevant updates on a regular basis so that you’re perceived as a thought leader in your domain. Make it a point to spend some time to curate high-quality content that can be helpful for your target audience, and then, post updates summarizing that content and explaining the importance of why should someone read what you’ve posted. Merely sharing links might not get the kind of engagement you’re looking for. If you post high-quality and relevant content, the likelihood of your content being shared and liked increases several notches. 

Power Tip: Like I’ve mentioned in a separate post, LinkedIn’s algorithm tends to promote content with links to content on LinkedIn rather than that with links to content off LinkedIn. That apart, write long form articles on LinkedIn to share your personal experiences and industry insights. This can go a long way in establishing your brand value as a thought leader. The bottom-line here is that if you do things that please LinkedIn’s algorithm, you’ll see your score zoom up! 🙂

  • List skills & get endorsements: The “Skills” feature of LinkedIn is among the lesser used features, especially by industry leaders who don’t have time for these nitty-gritties. I’m not a great fan of this feature, but like I mentioned in the paragraph above, LinkedIn likes it if you engage with their platform the way they want you to!

    So, if you’re really serious about networking on LinkedIn, make it a point to add relevant skills to your profile. You can do this by clicking on “Add a new skill” in the “Skills & Endorsements” section. Once you add skills, your connections will view requests to endorse your skills from time to time. Make it a point to endorse the skills of your colleagues, friends, and acquaintances to expect favors in return. Now, this is a separate argument altogether as to how reliable these endorsements are. This situation has arisen from random endorsements by random people who haven’t even worked with you once. LinkedIn doesn’t seem to have figured out a way yet to address these concerns. That said, skills and endorsements remain a factor that can influence the aspect of “establishing your professional brand” on LinkedIn.

Now, all these pointers just constitute one of the factors, i.e., establishing your professional brand, that can influence your SSI score on LinkedIn. Keep watching this space for more details on how you can ace social selling on LinkedIn.

Also, don’t forget to share your thoughts through the comments section below.

Do you know your Social Selling Index on LinkedIn?

Do you know how well you’re placed to drive social selling via LinkedIn? Are you in a sales/marketing role with a need to extensively network on LinkedIn and are looking for some metric to measure your success? Or in other words, would you like to know how effective you’re on LinkedIn? There’s a simple answer. LinkedIn has devised what they call the Social Selling Index (SSI).

Essentially, as per LinkedIn, your Social Selling Index (SSI) measures how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships. These four parameters are monitored and your SSI is updated on a daily basis. You can check your SSI score simply by clicking on this link (you’ll need to log in to LinkedIn to know your score).

 

Minhaj SSI Score

Although some experts are sceptical and feel that the SSI has been devised by LinkedIn simply to promote their Sales Navigator offering. More so because LinkedIn claims that Sales Navigator helps users in improving their SSI score by up to 20%. Which is why you’ll find some views asking users not to bother too much about it.

That said, the four parameters that lead up to the final SSI score for an individual are actually quite indicative and necessary to determine your social selling skills. This article on how important is the LinkedIn SSI score weighs the different aspects quite well.

The SSI score feature was launched sometime in 2014 and must have definitely seen several refinements already. But it’s quite intriguing that despite being around for some time, SSI hasn’t been so popular with LinkedIn users. In fact, a huge number of frequent LinkedIn users are completely unaware that something like SSI exists! I’m certain that with continual feedback, LinkedIn will continue refining the algorithm that determines the final SSI score.

So, what can you do to improve your SSI score? LinkedIn has clearly outlined details for each of the four abovementioned parameters. We will be covering this in detail in a separate blog post soon. Keep watching this space for more.

PS: My SSI score is 75. What is yours? Do you feel that the SSI score is truly reflective of networking capability for social selling? Share your feedback through the comments section below.