The reason why I have decided to shrink my LinkedIn network

LinkedIn Network Face

The reason why I have decided to shrink my LinkedIn network 

Yesterday I downloaded my connections list from LinkedIn and exported it into Excel. There is a new service being launched by Edenchanges in March specifically for recruiters and I wanted to ensure that my sales and email database had all my recruitment contacts in it from all my various networks.

As I was processing the contact list and removing all the non-recruitment clients it struck me just how few actual recruitment connections I have given that I spend the vast majority of my time working with recruiters.

Whilst I have over 4,500 LinkedIn connections what I discovered yesterday was that only around half are in the recruitment field. If my connections more accurately reflected how my time is split then the number would be much closer to 4,000.

Yesterday it took me quite a while to filter through the non-recruitment contacts to generate a list of names and people who I could present the new service to. Like everyone I hate irrelevant emails so I I worked hard yesterday to ensure that everyone I will email about the new service is in the recruitment field.

As I was wading through the names I couldn’t help but think how much easier this would have been if I had been more selective in my networking on LinkedIn.  

Now it can be argued that simply having a large number of connections is a good thing. It’s something that early in my time on LinkedIn I strongly argued. Indeed I blogged about it (How Many LinkedIn Connections Should I Have?) back in 2011 but since then my thoughts have been shifting. In 2012, in this article (Removing LinkedIn Connections) I advocated a large network but I offered the thought that you might want to focus your network.

During 2013 I thought about this a lot and started to really examine how people use their LinkedIn networks and where business tends to come from. That thinking combined with my experience yesterday has brought me to the firm conclusion that the best type of network is a large one that is in proportion to a person’s target market.

Consequently as I do 90% of my work in the recruitment field so 90% of my contacts should be in that market and to that end I am now in the process of removing contacts that don’t fit with the aim of reaching a 9:1 ratio of recruiters to non-recruiters in my network by the end of the exercise.

Yesterday was a specific event – going through the contacts and sorting them out and as such not enough reason in itself to keep a focused network. Rather it was for me a practical illustration of what I have been witnessing during 2013.

In 2013 I either saw people win business through LinkedIn with established contacts who they already knew fairly well and were simply keeping in touch with via LinkedIn or people won business from industry specific contacts. I didn’t witness any business won in a new industry simply as a result of a connection on LinkedIn; either by myself or anyone I worked with last year.

Yesterday when I was going through the list the people I recognised were, for the vast majority, in the recruitment sector. And those who I didn’t know were mostly outside of the recruitment sector and on inspection didn’t look like they would be likely clients.

I had simply connected with them at some point. What I realise now is that has little value and is in fact a detriment. So it’s time to trim down and focus my network where the bulk of my business comes from – recruiters!

I will talk more next week about how I am selecting who to remove and who to keep in an article entitled “How to Create a More Focused and Profitable LinkedIn Network”.

So those are my thoughts at the start of 2014 – what are your opinions on this?

Until next time, be successful;

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com

How to Manage LinkedIn Skills and Recommendations

LinkedIn Guidance

How to Manage LinkedIn Skills and Recommendations

It’s important that your LinkedIn profile looks good to both the casual and more serious viewer. This then is an article on maintaining a tidy looking profile despite the best meaning intentions of your networked connections!

Last year LinkedIn introduced the ability to list specific skills that you feel you have on your profile in a way that your connections could then give you a ‘plus point’ against that skill. All good and straight forward. However your connections also have the option to give you a ‘plus point’ for a skill that you haven’t listed. In case you haven’t experienced that then it looks like the following:

Screenshot One

Image showing the LinkedIn endorsements that you can be given by your connections

The above is a direct screen shot from my profile this morning. None of the above skills are currently listed on my profile. All of the above skills are being suggested as additions by my connections. The next logical question should be –

Do I have the above skills or am I skilled at any of the above things?

Err … well yes … all of them in fact to a lesser or greater degree but and this is a really important – I don’t want to list them on my profile. There are a couple of reasons for that. And these are things that you should consider for yourself as well:

1) No list of skills is ever going to be totally comprehensive. You might be able to list all the attributes of a machine by component but you can’t do that of a person.

A person is far greater than their ‘skills’ and the smart person will be able to turn their innate abilities towards a new area with some success. Thus, it could be argued that we are all skilled at everything just to different levels of competency!

In all seriousness trying to fully outline yourself via the LinkedIn skills list is a futile exercise.

2) That said I do believe it is good to list some skills, so that people know what you might be able to help them with. The thing is only you truly know what your core skills are or exactly which ones you want to promote to your market place via your LinkedIn profile.

I would recommend you put some serious thought into producing a focused list of five to ten skills which should read well to your potential clients or future network.

3) I want my profile to look clean, crisp and smart. When you add more than ten skills to your profile they start to stack up underneath in, what looks to me, an ugly fashion – see below

Screenshot 2

LinkedIn Skills screen shot

As a comparison see what happens when you list ten or fewer skills:

LinkedIn Skills and Recommendations Compared

LEFT SIDE = More than ten skills listed RIGHT SIDE = Fewer than ten skills listed

Click the image to see it full size

4) People only read so much – if you list too many skills, regardless of any questions of aesthetics, it’s more for people to read and potentially it’s too much. Given a strong profile will use most of the 1000 characters available for the summary and current role you are looking at several hundred words of important text which have to be read, or skimmed past, prior to the skills being seen. Add in too many of those and I think it’s overload.

So in conclusion my recommendation would be to ignore the additional skills that people recommend you for. (Do this by clicking the Skip button which you can see in screenshot one) . The individuals don’t get notified and won’t realise that you declined their attempt at being nice.

For completeness let me mention that there is a third option and that is you can remove the skills you don’t want to accept a recommendation for and only accept the ones that remain. (You do this by clicking on the grey ‘x’ next to the skill – see screenshot one). I feel about that exactly as I do about accepting all of them and frankly I think the best route is to ‘skip’.

So what about you – do you accept all, accept some or skip all? Let me know in the comment section below.

Until next time, be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com
 

LinkedIn’s New Status Update Feature Explained and Explored

LinkedIn Guidance

LinkedIn’s New Status Update Feature Explained and Explored

The latest feature from LinkedIn is being rolled out at the moment. If you haven’t got it already then it should just be a matter of days before your LinkedIn system changes.

This new feature is very similar to Facebook in that when you type the name of a contact or company LinkedIn offers to link to that person’s profile or the company’s LinkedIn page.

The following screen shots show you what happens. 

Screenshot One

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 01

When your profile gets the new feature this will appear.

Screenshot Two

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 02

As you type your status update the system prompts you with likely matches.

Screenshot Three

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 03
Names that you select will be highlighted with a shading as you type you update.

Screenshot Four

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 04

When you post your update the names will be highlighted as a click able link. If a link is clicked on you will be taken to the person’s profile or the company’s LinkedIn page.

If you don’t want to make the name a link then simply don’t click on the suggestion when it comes up. You have to actively select for the link to occur which I’m pleased to say means we all get to stay in control of our own status updates!

Be aware of this Addition FeatureSay nice things

Feature LimitationsFeature limits

So that’s the new feature explained but the bigger topic perhaps is how to use this new feature to your best advantage.

I’m still thinking about this myself to be honest so the following are just my initial ideas. What I’d love is to hear how you might use this feature … please do add your thoughts in the comments section.

Use it to help people make connections with your clients or suppliers

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 04

So I posted the above status update which refers to a training session I delivered at the Larson Group. Now they are what I’d describe as a ‘progressive recruitment company’ i.e. they treat their staff well, invest in them and manage them like adults. They also have big expansion plans and have just moved to brand new offices in the centre of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

I know they are actively looking for new consultants, both experienced and newbies to the recruitment industry so I thought I’d be helpful and mention this in a status update. Because of this new feature people can quickly and easily click through to the relevant profiles.

So that’s one way you can use it.

Pro’s – your clients or providers will no doubt appreciate the shout out so you gain some brownie points also it might help others for whom the update is relevant and you get to mention that you are working with a particular company which shows your network you are busy

Con’s – all your competitors now know at least one of your clients so it’s best only to do it when you are happy that you have a really rock solid relationship with the company. A lot of recruiters read these articles and I wouldn’t recommend recruiters mention their clients by name in their status updates. Whilst it would help candidates look up who the role is with it would also potentially lead to the candidates applying directly or rival recruiters following up, what to them, will be a tasty lead.

Suggestion – Do if you can but use with caution.

Use it to highlight your colleagues and company

If you posted something like

“My experienced colleague Frank Smith at ACME Supplies Ltd is attending the NEC Conference on Digital Widgets today. He’s interested in talking to any Widget manufacture who needs a supplier of X”

Then you would promote to your network where Frank was, as well as them having a quick click link to his profile.

Pro’s – get’s your colleague and company name out there in front of your network

Con’s – if your network is not directly in the same market as Frank then it’s potentially a pointless advert which if done too often might lower your reputation

Suggestion – pick colleagues whose work your network might be interested in and always mention the company name in the status update to maximise the impact

Summary

Over to you now – what other uses can you think of for this feature? Comment below!

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com
PS The official LinkedIn blog about this feature can be found here

Another Easy Tip To Instantly and Easily Increase Productivity

Reversed out image of a watch - another efficiency tip

Another Easy Tip To Instantly and Easily Increase Productivity

So following on from the very popular article I wrote a week ago on saving yourself time online by using the Google book mark toolbar here is an equally easy and effective tip for saving yourself time in Windows 7.

(As an aside I’m advised by several IT professionals that you’re better off sticking with Windows 7 rather than upgrading to Windows 8 – their the pro’s so I share that without being able to judge but as every tech I have spoken to has said the same thing there might be something in it!)

This tip is going to give you instant, once click access to the programs of your choice and to the files of your choice!

Activating the Taskbar

The bar of icons that appears at the bottom of your screen in Windows 7 is called the task bar – it’s the glassy looking ribbon that has the windows logo in the left hand hand side.

To create instant short cuts what we need to do is set up the task bar so that we can pin short cuts to it. And this is very easy to do!

Step One

Move your mouse over the task bar and right click to bring up the following menu.

Windows & Task bar properties menu - activate it by right clicking on the Windows 7 taskbar

Make sure that the box next to Lock the taskbar is clear i.e. no tick in it. And make sure there is a tick in the box next to Use small icons – as we want to have as much space to work in as possible.

(Aside – if you have a widescreen computer screen or laptop then you should also locate the task bar on the left to maximise your up and down viewing area)

Second Step – Open up a program that you use a lot

I’m going to use Paint.net as an example (it’s a free drawing package that I use for photo-manipulations).

Once the program has opened right click on the program icon in the task bar and a menu will pop up as shown below – I’ve added the red box to illustrate the bit you want

Right click this

Left click on Pin this program to taskbar and the program will now be pinned to the task bar. That it – job done!

Now when you shut the program down the icon will stay in the task bar and the next time you want to open the program you can simply click once on the icon and it will open. 

No more having to click on the windows icon and navigating to the program you want. As as I talked about before saving seconds add up when you repeat the activity multiple times. Also having one click access to your most used programs makes for a more streamlined experience which reduces the stress of using your computer – which has to be a good thing doesn’t it!

Taking things further and making things even more efficient

So now you can have one click access to your favourite programs lets take it further and give you two click access to your most used files …

How to create a link to a specific program

If you regularly open up the same files, for whatever reason, it would be efficient if you have virtually instant access to them so let’s do that.

There are two ways to do this – the first is the way most of you will use so let’s talk about that one.

Step One

First open the file that you are wanting to create a link to. For my example I’m going to use a Powerpoint slideshow that I use when I deliver the first session of my Management training.

Then right click on the program icon on the taskbar which will open up the following menu.

Screenshot of how to pin a file to the toolbar in Windows 7 - which also lists a few of the courses that Edenchanges runs

You will see that it is split into three sections. The first section shows you any specific files that are opened by this program that you have previous pinned. In my example that is the course Selling through LinkedIn. The current file that is open, and the one that I want to now pin is the Management Introduction file.

Step Two

All you have to do is hover the mouse over the file name and click on the pin icon that will appear next to it. As shown below:

Pin icon

And now that document will appear, forever, in the Pinned section of the shortcut menu. As shown below:

Pinned now

And when I say forever I mean until you repeat the process but this time unpin it by click on the pin icon again. It really is that simple!

By doing this you now have two click access to any file of your choice or one click access to the program of your choice.

Link to Folders

As a final tip for this week you can also link to folders using the same process – simply open Windows Explorer – pin that program as shown above and then select the specific folder(s) that you want to have quick access to and pin them as I showed you above with individual files.

In Summary

If you have Windows 7 then you should be doing the above – there is no reason for anyone to be clicking through menu after menu to finally get access to the program or file that they want. Save yourself time and increase your efficiency by setting up some instant links!

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com

One Easy Tip To Instantly and Easily Increase Productivity

Efficiency through setting up online book marks

One Easy Tip To Instantly and Easily Increase Productivity

Okay so here are two questions for you – do you go online much and do you want to increase your productivity?  I’m just going to assume the answer is yes to both of those!

I’m also going to assume that you have certain websites that you use frequently – whether these are social media sites, forums or other web locations. Wouldn’t is be nice if you had instant access to those sites or your pages on those sites?

For example if you use LinkedIn wouldn’t it be great to be able to, with a single click, go direct to your inbox rather than that normal home page?

Let me show you how.

For this tutorial I’m assuming you are using the Google Chrome browser. (If you use a different browser I believe the principles are much the same.)

To start with you need to activate the Google bookmark tool bar and make sure that it is displayed on your machine as this will give you permanent access to your short cuts all the time you are using that browser.

Activating the Google Bookmark Tool Bar

Using the keyboard press and hold down CONTROL and SHIFT and then press B.

This toggles the bookmark tool-bar on and off. (If a tool bar just disappeared off your screen then press the above combination again to bring the bar back.)

Alternatively - If you don’t like using the keyboard to do this you can click on the three line icon that is displayed on the top right hand side of Google Chrome. Then click on Bookmarks and Show Bookmarks Bar

However you have done it lets now add a short cut to your bookmark bar.

Adding a Short Cut to the Bookmark Tool Bar

Step One

Go to a website that you use frequently and would like to have an instant link to on your toolbar – I’m using Quora.com as my example.

Then highlight the web address until it is blue - as shown below

B2

Step Two

Left click anywhere within the blue highlight text area and, holding the left mouse button down, drag the address down until it is over the bookmark bar.

You can move it left and right along the bar and a black line indicates where it will be placed once you let go – as shown below - 

B3

My Quora link is about to be added to my Google bookmark tool bar between my Pinterest short cut and my tumbler short cut.

Step Three and Finished!

When you have the black line in the right place simply let go of the mouse button and the short cut link will be placed in the bookmark bar – as shown below and highlighted with the red arrow 

Google bookmark efficiency tip

Now when you want to go to the bookmarked site you can simply click on the icon shown on your tool bar – instant access!

Now we have done the basics lets look at using bookmarks cleverly…

Using Bookmarks Cleverly

A clever way to use bookmarks is to use exact ones – i.e. use ones that direct you not just to a website but to a specific part of a website.

So for example in the image above you can see that I have four blue W icons with different text next to them. Those are four different links to different parts of the Edenchanges website which is hosted on WordPress.

With the four links I can jump directly to the part that I want rather than just going to the front page and then navigating from there. All these things save only a few seconds but those seconds add up when you consider how often you are online.

Many of you reading this will use LinkedIn a lot so you might want to set up a direct link to your LinkedIn inbox rather than your main LinkedIn page – or indeed set up both.

The power of this technique is that you can set a link to any specific address on the internet. 

Editing Bookmarks - Let me now show you how to edit your bookmarks.

Editing Step One – Simply move your mouse over the shortcut that you want to change and RIGHT CLICK. That will bring up the dialogue box shown below

B4

You can edit a number of things about the link but let me show you one particularly neat trick which helps you save some space on the toolbar.

You can only have one bar of bookmarks so it’s possible to run out of space and not have all of the saved links displayed at the same time. Whilst they are still available via a drop down menu this isn’t as efficient as I want it so let’s save some space on the toolbar and thus make room for more bookmarks!

Saving Space on the Toolbar Example

Do Editing Step One above and then click on Edit as shown above.

This will bring up a dialogue box which lists the name of the link (which appears on the toolbar and the link itself – as shown below

The website name is listed ‘QUORA’ in this example and to remove that I simply delete all the name text using BACKSPACE. B5

The toolbar now looks as follows and as you can see the icon is still there – the Q in the red box.

Tip - For new links it’s good to leave the text in until you are familiar with the icon and then you can remove the text – which is what I’m doing with the RecBlogs link shown below.Google bookmark efficiency tip

Renaming the Link Example

If you do want to leave a text description then instead of deleting the name of the site you can enter in something more memorable. The toolbar will only show 20 characters of text however so do bear that in mind.

You can see in the following example that the Advanced Marketing Institute shortcut title has been truncated by the Google toolbar. That also isn’t very helpful for me as it’s not the site I’m interested in but rather one of the tools that is available on it. (A very neat headline marketing analyser, great for anyone who writes or blogs, that I blogged about here).

Anyway let’s make the title more useful – and shorter … as we did before right click on the shortcut to bring up the first dialogue box and then click EDIT. This will give you the name text dialogue box – as shown below

B6

Now instead of deleting the text you can enter something in that works for you – keeping it to less than 20 characters. I’ve chosen to call it ‘Headline Analysis’ as that’s what it does! Click SAVE and the result is instant – as you can see below.

B7

In Summary

We all go online a lot and revisit the same sites. By using the toolbar in this way you can save considerable time, make your online travels a lot more streamline and fundamentally increase your productivity.

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com

Finding the Beautiful Rachel Weisz In My Hotel Bed

Rachael Weisz looking gorgeous - from Esquire photo shoot

Finding the Beautiful Rachel Weisz In My Hotel Bed

So there I was, walking into my hotel room late one evening after a swim in the hotel pool, when I found Rachel Weisz in all her raven haired beauty lying in my hotel bed in a very fetching red basque … okay what I mean is …

and it’s important I clarify this quickly as my lovely wife reads these blogs …

that I found Rachel where I’d left her … as you can see below …

Rachael Finding Rachael Weisz in bed or how to write blog headlines that get attention

Yes that’s right. Nothing more nefarious than Rachel appearing on the cover of Aprils edition of Esquire, the well known men’s lifestyle magazine (still available in the UK at the time of writing). 

So what’s the point? Why talk about Rachel? Or perhaps the better question is why did I take a picture of the magazine in the bed? 

The answer to both questions is that I wanted to write an eye catching blog title and I wanted it to be true.

I realise that only a few of you reading this will be blog writers but I bet that a lot of you start discussions on LinkedIn. This article is for anyone who produces blogs, articles or discussions and wants more readers!

The golden rule to remember is that the better your headline the more people will read it. The more people that read it the more people that will discuss it and accordingly the higher your profile will rise amongst your peers.

Rules for Creating a Great Headline

Rule One – Devote time to crafting a great headline

Devote around 10% of your writing time to your title. 

I know that’s quite a chunk of time to devote to what will typically be less than ten words but I think the advice is sound. If your title doesn’t draw people in then people won’t read the article and all your brilliant writing will have gone to waste.

Your headline, and your first paragraph, form the gateway to the rest of the article … devote time and craft brilliance!

Rule Two – Tell the Truth

People don’t like being conned so try to ensure that your title raises fair expectations about what people will read.

I thought of this article and the headline before I took the picture. In fact I deliberately took the picture to support the headline that I had conjured up.

Without the picture to support the title, and make a joke out of it, I don’t think this article would have worked.

So you can play a joke on your audience with your title but they shouldn’t be misled in a negative way. If they feel conned you’ve taken the joke too far and you’ll lose readers.

Rule Three – Emotional Words

We are all emotional creatures and if you can speak to the heart of your audience then you will have them excited to read what you have written.

There is an excellent free tool available from the Advance Marketing Institute which can measure the Emotional Marketing Value of your headline.

Using the headline analyser we can try out different combinations of the same title and see how they stack up. I find that using the analyser helps me refine and hone my headings. My personal aim is not to find the highest scoring headline but to use the tool as an editing process to help me write better.

Here is a genuine example of a blog title and it’s evolution using the analyser. The percentage score relates to the proportion of emotional to non-emotional words. The Marketing Institute point out that average copy writers will hit a score of 30%-40% with great copy writers getting over 55%.

The headline is first with the score below – (this article is appearing next week on Edenchanges)

How to increase productivity with the Google bookmarks toolbar
33.3%
How to instantly increase productivity with the Google bookmarks toolbar
40%
How to instantly and easily increase productivity with the Google bookmarks toolbar
41.2%
One simple tip to instantly and easily increase productivity
55.5%
One simple tip to instantly and easily increase productivity with Google
45.3%
One easy tip to instantly and easily increase productivity
66.6%

As you see through the process of getting a higher score the headline has shrunk and yet is more readable and, I think, it makes a more powerful invitation for people to read it than the earlier versions.

The analyzer isn’t perfect. It can’t cope with names and sometimes what looks and reads well to a person gets a low score and that’s okay. Take the results with a pinch of salt and at the end of the day know your audience and the message you are trying to send.

Let me end by saying thank you to the folks at Esquire and the lovely Rachel Weisz for being my inspiration this week – the April edition is still on sale in the UK. It comes this month with the free gift of one of two types of men’s skin care products (I can vouch for the moisturiser) and you can see a preview here.

I leave you to get busy crafting brilliant headlines!

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com

Let’s take a social media test drive

Let’s take a social media test drive

It seems like hardly a week goes by without a new social media service or website in the headlines. Whether it’s a whole new service or simply a new feature – such as the timeline feature in Facebook.

Now whether or not those new features or services are useful to you or potentially profitable to your business is a good question but it isn’t the focus of this blog.

Today I’d like to offer some thoughts for when you do want to try out the new options – taking these new features out for a test drive if you will.

So what’s the best way to go about it without bashing the fender or stalling at the intersection?

Step One – Read Autotrader (sort of)

Let’s say you’ve heard of a new site that sounds interesting I’d suggest that you go online to your favourite search engine and run a search for

“[Name of site] review”

And read some of the reviews that come up. Reviews are a great starting point for a new service as they will compare the new site with previous ones – some of which you might have heard about – as well as giving you an indication of whether the site is any good or not.

It has been my experience that technology reviewers will be quite critical when reviewing new sites or services often for very small points that your average user won’t be bothered by so do take their reviews with a pinch of salt.

The best part about the reviews is that they should give you a good overview of the service, what it’s supposed to do and how well it does it.

I know that a lot of the time new social media things come up and people rave about them and new people hearing about the sites for the first time are often left thinking ‘err yes it sounds great but what does it do?’. Reviews can really help answer that question!

Step Two – Get into the car

Go to the site itself and set up your account. Now whatever it says on the site about the service I’d be very sceptical about. Just because it says it’s the greatest social media service ever doesn’t mean it is. After all it’s not as if they are going to say ‘we’re a bit rubbish but we are trying’!

It’s good practice to have a separate email account that you use to register with new websites. This way you can control any future junk mail that might come your way.

If the service turns out to be fantastic then you should be able to change your primary email address on the site at a later stage to something more convenient.

If I was buying a car then at this stage I wouldn’t be giving the dealer too many personal details and in the same way I would rather register with a new social media site individually rather than via any of my other accounts.

In other words it might offer to log you in or register you via say your Twitter or Facebook accounts. I’d decline that invitation in the first instance and register as a standalone new user.

Why? Because I don’t know the new site well enough to trust it yet!

Step Three – The test drive itself

I perhaps should have said prior to this that you need to have booked out enough time to test drive any new site or service thoroughly. Like trying out a new car it takes a little time and you don’t want to be rushed.

I’m old enough to remember the sound the old ZX Spectrum home computer used to make when you installed a new program. You had to wait as the cassette turned and the computer uploaded the data – and for those who haven’t had that experience it took a lot longer than windows turning on does…believe it or not!

Anyway that experience taught me to be patient with new software and set ups. You need to have the same patience with a new social media site.

Go through the registration process carefully, be aware that you often need access to your email to verify the account so make sure you can access it from where you are setting up the new site.

And then literally have a browse around the site or service, upload or publish something as a test. Let’s say you are joining a new site such as Pinterest. Well go around and find something that looks slightly interesting and pin it. See what happens.

The great thing with social media is that we are all learners. (Okay there are a few experts out there but the learners outnumber them a million to one!) People are generally very forgiving if you make a mistake or do something as a test.

Better to press all the buttons, wind down all the windows and pop the hood and poke around than just sit there and hold the wheel.

Most things you can do on social media sites you can undo and if somehow you make an absolute hash of things you could always delete your account!

It takes time to get used to a new car (it was my son who discovered the rear interior lights in mine some four months after I bought it!) and it takes some time to learn all the specifics of new websites.

For example if you are able to set up a profile on the new site I’d throw up a basic one and then return later to enhance it. I’d keep doing this over time so that your profile evolves as your knowledge of the site evolves.

One thing that can make that faster is if you have a standard profile photo that you use online and possibly a standard personal description. This is also good from a personal branding perspective as it creates consistency.

Step Four – To purchase or not

There isn’t always a step four in the sense of having to pay for something. Some free services provide optional extras or premium accounts and being a careful soul when it comes to my monies I really want to be sure I need to upgrade before I do so.

Really consider if you will use the extra features and only then part with your money.

Where you don’t have to pay for the site or service still take some time to review whether it is adding value to your life or your business. Or if that sounds too serious simply ask yourself “is it fun?”

Summary

Some social media sites can add real value to your life and/or business and others will simply not be right for you. It’s fine to test them out then return them to the showroom if they don’t suit you!

Until next time; happy driving!

Stephen

The photograph is from the extremely talented http://poorsouls-stock.deviantart.com/ and used with permission (some of her photographs are for mature viewers only and probably not appropriate to view at work)

 ♦♦♦ 

 Edenchanges

Corporate trainers and consultants  ♦  0333 121 4212  ♦  enquiries@edenchanges.com

 SPECIALIST AREAS

Recruitment  ♦  Sales  ♦  Management  ♦  NLP and Communication  ♦  LinkedIn

When sales meets social media on the football field

When sales meets social media on the football field

This blog started off life on LinkedIn as a discussion around whether cold calling was dead. (Killed by social media) It’s a discussion that has generated a lot of interest and debate with supporters for both yes and no.

Then there’s me and those like me who believe in a combined approach – cold calling and social media development combining to create the most powerful business development solution.

I chipped in with my thoughts and there was a degree of approval and support and then I explained my position using the following analogue and there was a loud chorus of approval including people sending me private messages saying they loved it.

So always being willing to be responsive to what works I thought I’d share my thoughts with the Edenchanges blog readers – I hope you enjoy it as much as the LinkedIn crowd did.

Sales and Social Media – one way to think of it is…

The whole sales vs social media debate can be thought of as planning to win a football match (I take a slight risk here as I’m no football fan!)

In that analogue social media is the equivalent of training your team, picking good players and getting them on the pitch in the right formation. 

If it’s really good social media activity then it might even be like taking a few pot shots at the goal or passing the ball around a little. 

Business development calls (cold calls if you want to call them) are the equivalent of actually playing with intent, working your formation, tackling and dodging the opposing team and hammering the ball in the back of the net. 

So…it seems to me that you do your social media bits and bobs and then play full out on the phone to get the ball in the back of the net! 

As I said at the beginning I’m no football fan but surely playing like that is the right way to play to win?

A challenge was then raised when I posted the above on LinkedIn (and a fair one I must say) when a person asked

Like the analogy Stephen – but for most, don’t the shots constantly hit the corner flag?!

To which I replied

That’s okay – if I remember my football correctly a corner can be developed in to a winning position to have another shot at goal – if done properly a score will follow!

The point was well taken by the other gentleman and several other people also commented positively.

The whole discussion indeed was very interesting and I think the consensus was clearly in favour of a mixed approach. The only challenge to ‘cold calling’ was really the difference in perception between making a traditional ‘blind call’ and a modern ‘researched call’.

As one person put it

If you are a specialist in your market, have done extensive research on a company, got key intelligence they are hiring, leveraged contacts to name drop, genuinely have a network that can add value and pick up the phone to proactively reach out to this decision maker and make contact for current or future needs – is it still a cold call? If so then YES cold calling lives on.

So blend your approaches, take a modern, intelligent route to market and boot the ball into the back of the net!

Until next time; good luck scoring!

Stephen

How to use box.net and share files on LinkedIn

How to use box.net and share files on LinkedIn

Being able to share files on LinkedIn through your profile is one of the most powerful ways of giving away information to your network. You can upload virtually any document or file and create a link to it via the box.net application.

Everyone can do this but I know that some of you reading this might feel a little outside of your comfort zone – I have made the guide as straight forward as possible so it should guide you through okay!

That said this is slightly more advanced ‘how to project’ than some of the other LinkedIn Guidance blogs so if you are going to follow it through then make some time free first!

Before you get started it does help if you have some information to share – a brochure, information leaflet or other such document that you might want your network to have access to.

UPDATE – As of 11 December 2012 LinkedIn has removed all third party applications

– read the following for more guidance:

http://edenchanges.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/linkedin-applications-are-dead-heres-how-to-compensate-for-their-demise/

I suggest that you go directly to box.net via your browser and set up and account and then follow the advice in the above blog as it supersedes the rest of this article.

Step by Step Guide To Using Box.net

First you need to set it up on your profile on LinkedIn as an additional application so log into your LinkedIn account and click on the MORE option on the main toolbar.

Then click on GET MORE APPLICATIONS as shown below

This will bring up the following. Box.net might not be listed at the top of the page so simply scroll down until you find it and then CLICK on it

You will then be taken to a screen that will ask you to INSTALL the application. This is perfect harmless and you can always turn it off later if you decide you don’t want to use it!

Once you do that it will open the application and you will see the following

The public folder is where the files you want to share should go in. Any file uploaded to box.net and not put in that folder will remain unseen by anyone apart from yourself.

(One of the nice things about box.net is that whilst you might mainly use it for LinkedIn purposes but you can also use it entirely independently as an offline cloud storage system.)

I have renamed mine – from memory the default name is Public Folder – however it will be the only folder that is showing so Click on the folder.

When you click on the folder it opens to show you the files that are inside. Naturally as this is the first time you have opened the folder it will be empty. Mine looks like the following

What you want to do next is CLICK on the UPLOAD button as shown. Then find the file that you would like to share with your network and CLICK on it. I selected a pdf entitled 93 Self Development Books to Super Charge You.

The application will show you which file is uploading and the upload is progressing as shown below

When it is finished loading you will see the following

If you then click on PROFILE and then VIEW PROFILE from the main LinkedIn toolbar you will be able to view your profile and when you scroll down you will see the application has appeared in your profile with the uploaded file.

You can see mine below with the new document one listed at the top (they are listed alphabetically).

Anyone now viewing your profile can simply click on the link and either view the document online or download it. This is a great way to make your brochure or other marketing / sales literature available to your clients. Or simply give away helpful information as I have done with the list of self help books.

I didn’t write any of those books but as a professional trainer I work in the work of professional development. It fits me to pass on knowledge about good books and for yourself I bet there is specialist knowledge you have that you could neatly package up and pass on to your network.

I wouldn’t upload thousands of documents but rather cherry pick a few great pieces that your network can benefit from.

Also realistically you probably won’t get hundreds of people downloading your documents but the point is that they are available for those who are interested!

You can also link people to the documents directly. For example this link takes you directly to the 93 Self Development Books pdf.

Until next time; happy uploading!

Stephen Hart

PS If anyone gets stuck doing the above just drop me a line and Id be happy to help out.

What Does Your LinkedIn Profile Picture Say About You?

What Does Your LinkedIn Profile Picture Say About You?

When you were growing up you were probably told by your parents “Don’t judge on first impressions” and “Never judge a book by its cover”.  Well whether your parents were right or not isn’t important; what’s important is that you’ve been ignoring that advice ever since!

I mean be honest now – when you meet someone for the first time you make assumptions and draw conclusions. You might be open-minded enough to park those first impressions until you get to know the person better but the point is you made initial judgments.

So let’s turn our attention to LinkedIn and the sometimes dreaded profile picture. The first thing to accept is that people are going to look at it. Not only are they going to look at it but  they are going to click on it in an effort to make the picture bigger and see you better.

You can upload a smaller picture if you like but I know for myself, and I suspect you will agree with me,  that when you click on a profile picture and it doesn’t expand it’s a little disappointing.

And I strongly suspect that when you created your LinkedIn profile ‘disappointment’ wasn’t the emotional reaction you were aiming  to create  in your audience!

So people are going to click on your picture, enlarge it and then draw conclusions. Totally mistaken, inaccurate or biased those impressions might be but at that time, without knowing you personally, those impressions will form the basis for the viewers opinions of you.

So with that thought in mind what type of picture should you use? Well first up let’s consider the rules. In the User Agreement that you accepted when you joined LinkedIn you will find the official rules for profile pictures; namely:

Don’t undertake the following:

Upload a profile image that is not your likeness or a head-shot photo;

Clause 10.B.6 LinkedIn User Agreement Amended 16 June 2011

So that immediately rules out logos, group or couple shots and in fact even full body shots of yourself!

Now you might be tempted to say ‘So what?’ well LinkedIn are within their rights, and I have known them do it, to freeze a person’s account until such time as they upload a more suitable photograph. You have been warned!

My observation is that whilst the rules are very clear i.e. ‘head-shot’ only, LinkedIn only tend to take action when either the picture includes other people or it contains a company logo.

The good news is that even with a head shot you can convey quite a range of impressions and, if I’m really honest, this isn’t 1984 and an Orwellian state so you should be okay to have an upper body shot which gives you even more scope for creating the impression you want. (Please note that if you go this route and LinkedIn take exception to it I accept no liability – break the rules at your own risk!)

Before we go any further it might be good for you to quickly have a look at your profile picture and consider how closely it follows the rules above.

And…

Consider what your current picture says about you

So what type of impression do you want to create? First up it should be the ‘real you’ and by that I mean the real work you. Consider what you are actually like in business. Are you a formal, by the rules individual, a serious business professional who is always keen to promote the right image or a dynamic individual who is full of energy?

The following three pictures accurately portraying each of those character types. Notice how the background, lighting and pose have been chosen to create a specific impression.

Gerald’s full profile                        Paul’s full profile                          Richard’s full profile

(As an aside Paul’s company GrassGreener, based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England is recruiting (as at 8 March 2012) for graduate headhunters –

Click here for details

CASUAL PHOTOS

Some people are just fun to be with, naturally full of life and bubbly – even at work! That’s the rare type of person who can pull off a casual photo on LinkedIn

Patrycja’s full profile

I believe the above is a holiday snap yet it perfectly capturing this Patrycja’s friendly and open personality.

And whilst it doesn’t say ‘formal corporate’ it really doesn’t want to be as the audience she is looking to attract are not ‘formal corporate’. As a recruiter in a specialist field she is seeking to attract candidates who might be put off by an image that was too formal. A very popular and successful consultant; this picture works well for her.

BLACK AND WHITE

I like black and white photographs and I think if you are looking to add a touch of class and difference you can easily do it by taking the colour out!

Chris’ full profile 

Also with this picture the angle creates an original image. Many years ago when I was at art college my photography tutor gave us all a hard time for taking portrait pictures that were head on to the subject. He made the point quite forcibly that

“a photo booth in Boots will take your photo for your passport like that – surely you can be more creative than a machine!”

Only do it if it fits your personality though – Chris likes to think outside of the box when he recruits so it fits him.

PERSONALITY PHOTOS

Ahem…well here we go quite far away from the rules so I repeat that I’m not necessarily recommending taking a photo like this but it is worth considering the impressions they make. Each of them creates an impact and reflects the personality of the individuals to a degree.

Dan’s full profile 

Kathryn’s full profile

Jason’s full profile

If you chose to use a picture like the above then be aware that people are going to talk to you about the picture – very often as the first thing that they say! If you don’t want to have that conversation then don’t use that type of picture!

As an aside I’ve taken screen shots of the photos above to give you a feel for the true impression these pictures make when first clicked on. Click on them to see them at the full size they appeared on my screen.

ACTION POINT take some time to consider the impression you would like to create with your profile picture and then take some time to create that perfect photo!

SECOND ACTION POINT I’m always happy to accept LinkedIn invitations so if you’d like to connect then click the picture below (I do wonder what impression it gives you!) and send me an invitation (and if you need an email address then use stephen.hart@edenchanges.com)

THIRD ACTION POINT (This one is optional) Email Edenchanges and ask for details of our personalised LinkedIn and social media training and consulting – we’d love to work with you! Email at enquiries@edenchanges.com 

Until next time;

Stephen Hart