Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 12, 2015
In a post from last year I talked about reasons why business people need to be on LinkedIn. I hope some of you decided to check it out at that point, or some of the other articles I wrote about it since then. If you did, you might still be a bit confused on what you should do once you’re there. I’m going to give you 3 quick things you should do when you get there.
The first thing you need to do is fill out your profile, which includes adding an image. Many people, me being one, hates connecting with someone they don’t know if there’s no image with the account. But they really hate connecting with someone who hasn’t completed their profile, at least most of it. It’s actually very easy to do because they give you a step by step that’s easy to follow.
The mistake most people do is type in everything exactly how their resume reads and that’s not the best way to go about it. However, initially it’s more important to have information there that people can view than worrying about doing something special. We’ll talk about that another time.
The second thing you need to do is join at least one group in a field that would work best for you. Many people might say you need to join a group that does what you do, and that’s not a bad move, but it’s not your best move. Your best move is to join a local group where you have the opportunity to meet people that could one day use your services, or at the very least network with in some fashion, with the possibility of meeting some of them in person. This is the recommendation for almost anyone; I put it that way because if you never do work in your area then going with a group of people that do what you do, or are in your industry, moves up to the first spot.
The third thing you need to do is reach out to a few people. This can be done in two ways.
LinkedIn has a search function, so you can either search for people in your area or people in an industry that you might want to talk to. It’s hard to do if you don’t know anyone, but if you’re like most business people, you already have some kind of contact list that you work with.
Take that list and look up some of those people; you’ll probably find some of them. If you have an email address it works great; if not, you can still find a way to connect with some people. However, having an email address lets you connect with people quicker, and once you’ve connected with them you get to look at who they’re connected to, which also helps you out.
Those are down and dirty, but they’ll get you started. I believe anyone in business needs to be on LinkedIn, but if you’re not doing anything with it you’re wasting a great opportunity.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 13, 2014
Often on this blog, and in comments I make on other blogs, I talk about the concept of engagement. I use this term when I’m talking about meeting people and networking on social media because I tend to believe that it’s the most important thing anyone could ever do online.
What do I mean by engagement? Overall I believe it means that you have to either talk to somebody every once in a while or actually comment on something so that if either the person who generated a topic of conversation responds to you or possibly someone else sharing that information responds to you, that other people who may see it after the fact might respond to you.
This doesn’t mean that if you put something out first that you have to actually add something extra to it to get people to talk to you. As a matter of fact, other than blogging, even though you’re hoping that people will respond to things you put out that are original, the reality is that, for the majority of us, more people will respond to things that other people initially put up that we share.
Let me give you some examples.
On Twitter, I like to share different things that people post. Sometimes those things are a retweet from someone else. When it’s a retweet, I try to do what I can to get the name of the person I’m connected to who is retweeting the item into the tweet. If there is no room for me to make a separate comment then at least I’m acknowledging the person who I’m connected to and in my own way thanking them for sharing that information.
Also, at least half the times that I retweet something I will add a / and then comment after it. The person I’m retweeting will definitely know that I’ve commented on what they shared, and it’s my hope that other people will recognize that extra comment as mine.
By doing each of these actions, every once in a while someone will start talking to me. Whenever someone talks to me first I always respond, although I don’t get that back all the time. Still, at least the attempt has been made to get to know someone better and to generate conversation. Thus, the beginning of engagement.
As it regards Google Plus, I try to do the same type of thing even though it’s slightly different. Sometimes I just comment on what someone puts up. Other times I’ll reshare it, and when I do that I always have a comment before I share the item.
What sometimes happens is that people will come by after seeing I shared their item and give me a +1. Every once in a while they may thank me for sharing the item. Most of the time if I at least comment on the original they may just say thank you or they may start a conversation with me. That’s actually what I’m shooting for because, once again, I tend to believe that engagement is the key to getting to know one another. That’s what true networking is all about.
The last one I’m going to touch upon is blogging. If you read this blog often enough you know that I am always saying that you should respond to comments. I also say that there are times when people leave lousy comments, or comments that there’s really nothing to respond to.
There’s someone who’s been leaving comments on this blog that, by the time this article goes live, I’ve either started to delete or the types of comments have changed, where the words “thanks for the informative post” are in every single comment. Even though my name is used, since there’s never anything else that’s new it looks like a spam type of comment.
Engagement begins when someone leaves a comment and mentions at least one thing in the article or addresses at least one thing that was in the article that either they want to agree with, disagree with, or specifically say whatever they want to about it. Without addressing anything that’s either in the post, or give a point of view on something that’s related to the article, or even telling a story that the article reminds you of, you have lost your opportunity for any kind of engagement and look like you’re just trying to get a backlink.
Maybe I’m just being a bit pigheaded when it comes to this concept of engagement, so I’ll ask you. Do you write your blog, or produce anything else that you send out to the masses, hoping for engagement, or just because you want to talk to yourself out loud and hope others will check it out? If you don’t want to engagement, then how do you know they’re even reading anything you put out? If you don’t care then it’s no big deal. If you do care, then you have to follow the concept of giving to get.
Let me know your view on this topic.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jul 7, 2014
Some of you know I own a blog about financial stuff. Some of you also know I used to accept guest posts on that blog, but ended it last December after being bothered by the types of requests I was getting, the lousy editing and, well, just the time it was taking away from doing other stuff.
Even though I still get those requests, I can easily deflect them. However, if the offers are good, I still entertain letters about advertising, although so far I haven’t found any of them to be up my alley. I’m just not going to allow links or banner ads to any businesses or companies that aren’t aligned with finance on that site; that’s the smart way to do business right?
One type of email I get, that most people get, is the form letter. You know it, where you see the same language all the time, the lies about how they’re impressed with your site, yada yada.
One rule I’ve always had, even with the guest posts, is if my name isn’t in the email I ignore it and move on. When I was accepting guest posts, if I got a second email I’d write back quickly informing them that they hadn’t read the guest posting policy; yup, I had one of those, fairly extensive. Nowadays I’ll ignore that second email and move on with life.
Well, the other day I got a third email from someone. However, in both the second email and the third, instead of writing something new, and still not having my name anywhere in it, the emails said “contacting you again; see message below.”
Since I got a third email from the guy, I decided to write him back. This is what I wrote:
I’m responding to this email because it seems ignoring it hasn’t taught anything.
Yes, I saw the other emails. Why have I ignored them? Because every single email is proof that you or nobody else who works with you has ever visited my website. If you had you’ve have seen that I have a name, I have an about page and I have an advertising policy.
Frankly, it’s always been my assumption that if people who say they want to work for me show that they’re too lazy to look at anything on the site that I don’t trust them to keep their word on anything they have to say, thus I’m not working with them. I’m only writing you because you’ve sent this more than once.
If you’re actually representing the company you state you are, you’re doing it poorly. Maybe you’ll treat your job and give the people you hope to work with a bit more respect after this email. In any case, at this juncture I’m not interested. I wish you well as you pursue your career, hopefully with a bit more circumspection on how to contact potential customers and partners.
Was that too harsh? I didn’t think so, and I actually felt it was a good lesson that might help make this guy a little bit better at what he does and how he works.
Y’all know I’m an independent consultant in health care. Because I can’t call all the hospitals within a 7-state radius all that often I have a set of marketing letters to help introduce myself to the people I need to talk to.
What I have done is researched every hospital I wanted to send something to and found the names of the people in the position, as well as the actual title they hold, and that goes on the letters I send out; almost never email. I do that because I know if a letter is a bit more personal there’s a better chance it’ll at least be opened, and hopefully read. I also try to mention something about the hospital that I’ve learned that might flatter them in some fashion, such as acknowledging a new service they have or an award they’ve recently won.
Sometimes you get a name wrong because, in health care, people move around pretty fast. But that’s not a big deal because you’ll get the correct name when you follow up by phone. And that’s interesting because at least someone will talk to you, maybe not your intended target, if you have a name.
It’s just lazy marketing if you don’t try to find out someone’s name, or if you haven’t even looked at the website or blog of a person or business to see if maybe the information you’re looking for is there already.
Add this to the process of networking, where you reach out to someone without even attempting to know something about them. At many networking events I go to people only talk about themselves, and are pushing their business card at you before they’ve even told you their name. Sometimes I don’t even reciprocate by giving my card out because I know this is someone who could care less about me. Who wants to spend money, or sometimes even make money, working with someone who doesn’t care about you in the least?
Am I in the wrong here? Am I not being forgiving enough to those who obviously don’t know any better? Or do you see where I’m going, what I’m saying, and possibly agree? Let me know, and thanks for reading.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jul 21, 2013
It appears that the last time I wrote anything really positive about using LinkedIn was March 2012; now that’s a shame. The real shame isn’t that I haven’t written anything positive about it; the shame is that it’s not quite what it was back then, thus it’s a bit more difficult these days to be as positive as I was then.
As I wrote in my previous post regarding social media in general, LinkedIn is supposed to be for business networking. To a degree it still is that. For instance, they have groups like Facebook does but you won’t see a group on there talking about Harry Potter or reality TV. However, within some groups the lines are blurred a bit here and there and you wonder if you’re actually there to talk business or be a captive audience for carefully (not always) crafted sales messages from both companies and individuals.
Part of it’s problem is that it knows what it wants to be and yet it’s in direct competition with two other monoliths, Facebook and Google Plus. Sure, Facebook really doesn’t concentrate on business, but many businesses are there, including me, and we’re competing for the consumer as opposed to other businesses to work with. Overall, who’s more likely to buy, consumers or businesses? After all, everyone is a consumer, but not everyone is a business. And Google Plus hasn’t really defined itself either, but when you’ve got nearly 300 million people and, well, you’re Google, the numbers are only going to increase and they’re going to increase fast.
One of the strangest things LinkedIn has done is set up this thing where it makes recommendations to people as to what to recommend you for, making it easy for your connections to share your expertise with everyone else. The thing is that many things you end up being recommended for aren’t your expertise, and it’s not only people you don’t know well who are recommending you for those things. To that end, why do people I don’t know all that well but have connected to through some entity or another recommend me at all, especially if they’ve never been to my website or read a blog post? Maybe it’s because when you recommend someone for something you get your picture listed next to it; I’m not really sure…
You can be recommended for up to 50 things by other people. If there are other things you’re recommended for but don’t break through the top 50, you have to remove something to let something else in. That sounds simple but the fact is that if you pay much attention to it at all you’re always deleting something that LinkedIn itself came up with, and it’s over and over; so strange. And sure, they picked out a lot of stuff that does fit me as far as what I can help people with, but I can assure you that “volunteer management”, “creativity coaching” and “entrepreneurship” aren’t really specialties of mine. Not only that, but some things I’ve been recommended for multiple times, once with capital letters, once without; that takes away from things doesn’t it?
LinkedIn did add one new feature that’s kind of neat. You get to add a link or video to whatever business you mention. Because I have two different businesses listed, I got to add one for each, and I took full advantage of that, though I wonder who the heck will be watching them. No matter; links are links if they’re legitimate, and both should give those who may stop by and not know so much about me an idea of what I can do for them or with them; never miss taking advantage of an opportunity to promote yourself for free is it’s a legitimate offer. 🙂
Finally, let’s talk about the main page when you sign in. Used to be you’d see some names listed and that was it. Now it looks just like the Facebook page, and things move by so fast that, like Facebook, you just can’t keep up with it. And they now have sponsors; well, I guess they had to find a financial model like everyone else. On my home page right now is an ad for a phone app, recommendations of groups I should join, people I know who got endorsed the new way (there’s still the old way of endorsing people, which I highly recommend), recommendations of people I should connect with “that I know” (that I DON’T know), and lots and lots of links that go on and on.
I guess I shouldn’t complain all that much. After all, recommendations even coming from people I don’t know all that well means people are possibly thinking of me in some fashion (not actually…) right? Having the opportunity to show your expertise in a particular business by commenting in a group helps some right? Seeing all those links to website and blog posts and news posts are kind of interesting, and you can do it as well so it’s all good right?
By the way, you can also now “like” stuff; now where have I seen that before?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 19, 2013
Y’all know I’ve talked about being influential in the past. I need to talk about it more because, as I always say, the more influence one has the better opportunity one has to make money and make a difference. There’s nothing wrong with either so if your mind is in that place leave it immediately and never go back there.
A couple of days ago I was watching a video of Marie Forleo’s, and if you’re looking to grow your business and also need boosts of positivity you have to check out her video page on YouTube, which I check into often. She was interviewing a lady named Sally Hogshead, who has a business that teaches people how to evaluate how fascinating they are and how to become more fascinating in the eyes of others.
Now, initially that can sound strange until you hear her talk about it. In essence she sees the topic of fascination as a way to be in people’s minds so that you’re the only thing they can think about at certain times, if not all the time. It’s kind of like the fascination people have with certain musicians or actors or models. Her premise is that everyone is born being fascinating but over time we start to diminish ourselves, either by our own means or by listening to the words of others. Then when we need to be more fascinating, such as those of us who work for ourselves, it’s hard to turn back on. So she teaches people how to recapture that and gives 7 triggers to getting there in her latest book which is called Fascinate.
Here’s where things get interesting. One of the things she said in the video, which I’m putting at the bottom of this post, is that we need to look at ourselves and determine how other people see us, then figure out how to be more fascinating. My interpretation on this is that we do this to either try to figure out how to impress those people enough to want to hang onto our every word or buy from us or to even like us.
In other words, self reflection time; scary isn’t it? I’ve written on this blog & another blog that one thing most people hate to do is self evaluation. It’s scary because we’re all critical about ourselves and find it hard to find or talk about the good things that are within us. We’re not smart enough or tall enough or pretty enough or anything enough; isn’t that how it goes? Sure, every once in awhile we start feeling special, and yet it’s not often that many of us can sustain this. And that’s a shame.
If I had to go first, and I do since I’m writing this, I’d have to admit that more often than not I’m not feeling fascinating at all. I’m certainly not feeling influential. And yet, a few days ago I went to another local event where bloggers in the area got together and talked and networked, and I had a great time. Not only that but I can truthfully say that I felt a lot of people enjoyed my company and were happy to see and meet me. Heck, I got hugs all around; what’s better than that?
And yet, there are other meetings I go to where I feel like I’m the pariah in the room. Sally actually mentioned in the video that people get feelings from others and often ignore them in one direction or the other, but that we really do know what we’re feeling. Trust me on this one, often in my professional networking ventures I feel like people are working hard “not” to see me. That’s disconcerting and bothersome, and I either react by leaving pretty quickly or looking hard to find someone I know well enough to hang with. That means I don’t meet as many new people as one would hope, thus limiting the possibilities of being influential in any way or even attempting to be fascinating.
That’s part of the key, isn’t it? If one demures and doesn’t say anything, how will anyone even have the opportunity to see if you’re fascinating or not? For all the stories I have and the experiences I’ve been a part of, if I keep them all to myself who would ever find out if I was someone worthy of knowing? For that matter how could I ever determine whether I was fascinating or not, or what I might need to change? Blogging’s a nice thing, but is it enough to express oneself? Not in public it isn’t.
Enough about me; your turn. Do you think you’re fascinating? If so, why, and if not, why. What holds you back and what are you willing to do to try to break out of it? As you’re reading this I’m in the middle of 5 videos in 5 days, an experiment I’m trying out. My attempt at opening up some, being more personable, seeing if I can be fascinating or if I’m just goofy. You can check them out here if you have the guts. lol Meanwhile, check out the video below; both of these ladies are fascinating: