Episode 63: SPECIAL: Maximise LinkedIn for your MSP
In this week’s special episode LinkedIn is a stunning tool for prospecting. And vastly under used by far too many MSPs On this week’s show Paul dives into why you should readdress your relationship with LinkedIn and how to maximise the platform to help find new clients Check out Paul’s simple but effective advice to make LinkedIn truly work for you. And more details about his ‘Three C’s’ – Connect, Content, Contact Show notes Out every Tuesday on your favourite podcast platform Presented by Paul Green, an MSP marketing expert Find out more about Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Edge for content to use on LinkedIn The Linkedin automation tool Paul mentioned was Dux-Soup Paul’s special guest on February 2nd will be Manuel Bruschi, founder of the incredible time tracking tool Timeular Please send any questions, ideally in audio-form (or any other feedback) to firstname.lastname@example.org Episode transcription Voiceover: Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world. This is an MSP Marketing Podcast Special. Paul Green: Our final January special this week. We’ve already looked at your website and we looked at your marketing priorities for 2021. This week, we’re going to be focused just on LinkedIn, why LinkedIn is so exciting and how you can make the most of it every single day. Voiceover: This is an MSP Marketing Podcast Special. Paul Green: I completely understand why many people are apathetic about LinkedIn. Sometimes when you go on there, it’s like being at the world’s worst networking meeting, where everyone is there to sell and no one’s there to buy, but a thing we always need to switch our mindset and look at the bigger picture with LinkedIn. Because if I said to you 20 years ago, “Hey, in early 2021, you’ll have access to a massive constantly up-to-date public database containing every single lead you could ever want to speak to, every potential contact, and every position of virtually every single business. Paul Green: Oh, and by the way, it’s free. Oh, and by the way, you can use clever computer bots that will exist in the future to automate the holiday work of using this database. Oh, and you can set yourself up as a thought leader, cliche alert, and you can stamp your expertise on this.” Now, 20 years ago, you’d have thought that was witchcraft, which is pretty amazing, and yet today we’ve got that. It’s LinkedIn. We’re all a bit sometimes a bit nah about it. And I get that, because sometimes I go into LinkedIn and I can’t be bothered. Paul Green: The messages from people I don’t want to hear from and the content. It’s almost like a business version of Facebook, isn’t it? Everyone’s doing so well on LinkedIn. Just like everyone’s doing so well on Facebook. Now, some of that content is not real. You know that person that you’re connected to on Facebook who has the amazing life? They don’t. They’re just posting the good stuff and not the bad stuff on Facebook. Anyway, I digress. You’ve got to look at the bigger picture with LinkedIn. It’s amazing. It’s a prospecting tool. Paul Green: Everyone you could ever possibly want to speak to is there, the vast majority of them are anyway. So for all MSPs, you should take LinkedIn as seriously as you possibly can. And there’s a number of things that you need to do to get the basics right, which we’re going to focus on now, and then we’ll talk about the daily actions to really sweat LinkedIn and really make it work for your business. So in terms of getting the basics right, that’s about getting your profile right, and your profile needs to be completely up to date. In fact, LinkedIn rewards you. Paul Green: I think it’s called all star status. It doesn’t really mean anything. I don’t know if you get a sticker or something. But all star status means that you’ve completed every single section of your profile. To be honest, it’s worth doing that anyway. Algorithmically, there’s bound to be a small advantage of doing that, but it’s also just good for people looking at your profile. So that starts with having a professional picture. Paul Green: And we mentioned last week when we were talking about websites about getting a wedding photographer or someone in to take professional photos of your staff. You as kind of the face of the business, you should have a professional photo done every year, so that the photo of you on LinkedIn actually looks like you in real life. Because we’ve all done it, haven’t we? Where we’ve looked at someone on LinkedIn and they look kind of young and healthy, and then we meet them in real life, a bit older and a little bit fatter. Paul Green: Actually that takes us out of our comfort zone because we realise that the public persona that we’ve been looking at isn’t the real person. It actually damages trust when that happens. I know it sounds like such a minor thing, but it really does damage trust. I would get your own personal photo redone every year. Do it in the summer when you’ve got a tan and you’re looking gorgeous and update your LinkedIn profile picture every year. Now, you also get like a cover thing as well, which is kind of like the background that goes behind you. Paul Green: Again, I would just get a designer to do that for you. It’s not a difficult thing to do or expensive. You can find tons of people on Fiverr.com that will do that for you, but don’t leave it as the default. Get something designed that’s got your business’ logo in there. Oh, and by the way, I always forget to mention this with LinkedIn because to me it’s such a basic thing, but actually it’s something that’s worth mentioning. When you’re building your LinkedIn, you’re doing it to a personal profile, not a company page. Paul Green: It’s really critical. So yes, you have a company page, but you kind of set that up once. Don’t have to worry about it from there. It’s the personal profile. That’s where all the action happens. Because if you look in the LinkedIn feed, you’ll see more updates from people than you will update some business. And one of the reasons for this is I believe that LinkedIn is Microsoft’s version of Facebook. I have no proof of this, but I believe that Microsoft, their modus operandi in all of their operations is to either buy or copy the market leader. Paul Green: Hence, Slack couldn’t buy Slack, even though Salesforce did in the last year, couldn’t buy Slack or didn’t want to buy Slack, so they built Teams. And Teams, of course, being their interpretation of that kind of collaboration and instant messaging. And Microsoft owns LinkedIn. I believe they’ve looked at the market leader, which is very much Facebook, and they have made their own versions of how they believe Facebook’s algorithms work. And that has prioritised content. It’s prioritised people above businesses. Paul Green: You absolutely want to focus on a personal profile. It should be your profile, assuming you’re the owner of the business. Never let your salespeople use their own LinkedIn, because that has a major disadvantage when they leave you and they go to the MSP across the road, which is all the hard work they’ve been doing on LinkedIn walks with them. If you must have salespeople with their own LinkedIn profiles, then set them up some separate profiles that belong to you and stay with you if ever they leave, but the most robust thing is just to focus all the effort into the owner’s LinkedIn. Paul Green: You personally don’t have to do any of the things that we’re talking about here. Someone can do it on your behalf on your LinkedIn. So you’ve got your professional profile picture. We’ve got the cover image behind. You should claim your personal URL. Just Google how to do that. And you should make sure that you’ve got all your basic contact info in there. Then you come to a bit where you have a headline and the headline should be full of impact. It should grab people’s attention. Paul Green: And essentially it should say what do you do, who do you do it for, and what are the benefits of this. Now, the number of characters you have in the headline it went up. It was last year or the year before, but it’s now 220 characters. So it means that saying something like IT support for town name businesses is a bit weak, to be honest, when instead you could put something like 1,082 town name people trust me and my team to keep their business IT running every day. And you’re welcome to go and pinch that one. Paul Green: I mean, that’s a great one to use, 1,082 town name people trust me and my team to keep their business IT running every day. That number, by the way, is the number of users that you actually support. So that headline is absolutely critical because it’s the first thing that people see when you make a connection request to them. They see your photo and they see that headline, and they will decide whether or not to join you based on that headline. You also then get to tell your story in the about section. That’s almost an extension of the headline. Paul Green: Remember we were talking last week on the podcast about how important stories are in your website. It’s no different in LinkedIn. The human brain responds better to stories. So tell a story. The trick is, and this is what really good writers can do, the trick is to tell your story in a way where it’s most relevant to the people you want to reach. You’ll have heard marketers say before that you should make your marketing about them, the prospects, and not about you. And that’s absolutely correct. Paul Green: But at the same time, you’ve got to tell stories and use your story to be about them. It’s a very difficult thing to pull off, but good writers can do it. Next up, give LinkedIn all of the information at once. You put some media into the featured box, media like videos, infographics, that kind of thing. List all the relevant jobs that you’ve had. Your paper round when you were 10 is not relevant. List your experience, your accomplishments, list your skills, and you could ask people for recommendations. Paul Green: And LinkedIn will help you get those recommendations because it wants everyone recommending each other all the time. The one final basic to get right is a clear call to action. What do you want people to do next? Now, I believe that your call to action on LinkedIn should be exactly the same as on your website, which last week we were saying is to get them to book a 15 minute video call with you. Paul Green: Now, you can’t embed your live calendar into LinkedIn, but you can absolutely have a link to your Calendly page or your Microsoft Bookings page, or even to a page on your website, which explains a little bit more about you, so put some context on I, and there is your live calendar. Now once you’ve got the basics right, which is pretty much a one-off job and then just checking it every, I don’t know, every few months or so, LinkedIn then becomes a daily activity. And I really do think it’s something you should do daily. Paul Green: In fact, there are three C’s that you should be working on every day, and they are connect, content, and contact. So connect is about growing your connections. It’s about growing your audience on LinkedIn. Now, we use the free version of LinkedIn and we’ve been able to grow… Well, last year we grew my LinkedIn connections from about 400 something to well over four and a half thousand. And you could do exactly the same thing if you wanted to do that. And I’ll tell you about the automated tool that we used in a second. Paul Green: Even on the free version, you can connect to I think it’s up to 20 people a day, or you can certainly put in up to 20 connection requests a day, but that’s been fine for us. And I’ve got to be honest, unless you’re on LinkedIn for multiple hours all day or you want to be constantly messaging people all the time, the free version is probably good enough for you. They have their sales navigator version, but it seems quite extreme, unless, as I say, you’re literally on LinkedIn all the time. You should try and connect to people every single day. Paul Green: I’ll tell you about the automated tool to do that in a second. The second C is content. That’s about drip feeding content, putting on stuff daily. And it should be daily. I know it feels like so many other people are putting so much content on. But remember, a lot of marketing is about being in the right place at the right time, because people only buy when they’re ready to buy and their brains are just not open to talking to you until it’s exactly that right moment. So drip feed content every day. Blatant plug alert. Paul Green: If you don’t have any content to drip onto social media every day, go onto mspmarketingedge.com. See if your area is still available. That’s my content marketing service and social media content is a big part of that. We give you content on a monthly basis, which you can schedule ahead, and then we give you fresh up-to-date content every week as well. But you can, of course, also generate your own content or indeed just get a writer off Fiverr to do it for you. You could do things like translate technology for them, because they don’t know about technology. Paul Green: In fact, they don’t know what they don’t know about technology, do they? You can come up with stuff that’s relatable to their lives. You can use humour. Just because it’s technology doesn’t mean it can’t be amusing. You can use client success stories. You can scare them. That’s the easiest thing to do. There’s so much cybersecurity stuff in our world that they just don’t hear. You can challenge conventional wisdom. So you can say that perhaps how people think it should be done isn’t the same. I mean, look at passwords, for example. Paul Green: You probably know that Microsoft has declared that it wants 2021 to be the year that the password dies. And that’s challenging conventional wisdom about how things are done. Maybe you’d want to jump behind that. Maybe you wouldn’t. It doesn’t really matter what your view is on that. You can turn it into content for LinkedIn. The other thing you can do is you can ask questions and you can definitely do how to’s. How to’s and asking questions are both great content suggestions for LinkedIn. So we’ve got connect, we’ve got content, and then the final C of LinkedIn is contact. Paul Green: And this is about messaging people. It’s about using the inbuilt messaging ability within LinkedIn to message people, message your contacts. And don’t be a spammer. Don’t just send them random messages. Add value to their lives. Offer them free stuff. Send them towards useful things. If they’re an accountant and you found a great tip that you’re working with other accountants, other CPAs that you’ve been dealing with, give them that tip. Drop them a message and say, “Hi, I didn’t want to post this publicly on LinkedIn, but I can see that you’re a CPA. Paul Green: I see you’re an accountant. One of my accountants I’m working with has recently discovered XYZ on Sage or whatever software they use and I thought you would find that useful as well. I did actually write it up on my website. Here’s a link to it.” That’s not spamming people. That’s adding value. And in fact, that’s adding value in a way that’s going to get that person onto your website. It’s a wonderful thing. The goal really with any contact that you have is to move the conversation offline. Paul Green: You want to move them to a point where you’re having a chat with them either across the phone or on a video call, or of course, when you can and it’s safe to do so to actually physically go and meet them, because nothing beats those in-person meetings. And that’s the power of LinkedIn. You see, it’s just a prospecting database. It’s there to provide you with the ability to go and talk to these people. That’s very exciting. It really, really is. The one final thing with LinkedIn is to apply the rule of DOA, which traditionally stands for dead on arrival. Paul Green: And that’s what you’ll be if you try and do everything yourself. So instead, delegate, outsource, and particularly on LinkedIn, automate. There are very many automated bots that you can get for LinkedIn. My favorite is one called Dux-Soup, D-U-X-Soup. There are many others. If you just Google alternatives to Dux-Soup, you can find them. Most of them act as a plugin to your Chrome. Once they’re plugged in, they just automate your actions so you don’t have to do them, like connecting to people. It will literally visit 20 profiles. Paul Green: Scroll down as if it was you, looking at the details there on the profile, then it will go up to the connect button. It will press that button, paste in a message, personalise it, and send it off. And because it’s working in your version of Chrome, it can’t be detected by LinkedIn, because technically automation is against LinkedIn’s terms and conditions. I’d really recommend you go to have a look at one of those plugins. Pick your favourite one. Whatever you do, follow their rules. Paul Green: If you follow their rules, you should be absolutely safe and you can achieve a hell of a lot on LinkedIn without personally having to do all of the work. Voiceover: Coming up next week. Paul Green: We’re back to our normal format next week. And for the first MSP Marketing Podcasts of February, we’re going to be talking about your staff, particularly that they might not be as busy as you think they are. That’s quite an interesting one we’re going to explore next week. We’ll also look at the format for an effective staff one-to-one, and we’re going to be kicking off a series of interviews throughout February to help you improve your productivity. My first interview next week is with Manuel Bruschi. He’s the creator of Timeular. Paul Green: It was something I was talking about in my podcast last year, because it completely changed my view of what I was doing with my time. And I was delighted to interview Manuel. It’s a great interview talking about how you can get more done just by tracking what you’re actually doing with your time and what you’re doing at work every day. I’m going to play that interview for you in next week’s podcast. See you then. 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