Accelerate The Pace

A good LinkedIn presence allows you to create an online professional brand that can help you open doors to new opportunities by connecting to targeted individuals and companies. We have a tremendous ability to showcase our expertise and knowledge but many still underestimate the importance of proper LinkedIn behavior.

This episode highlights the worst of LinkedIn, what to avoid, how to engage better, and a special recognition to a tremendous LinkedIn influencer that you must follow.

Show Notes

Welcome back to the Accelerate The Pace podcast.  I’m so glad you tuned in today.  
I don’t have a guest lined up for today because I wanted to address a critical issue most professionals have when it comes to their online presence.
We have this powerful platform that many fail to properly utilize.  
I’m talking about LinkedIn.  
LinkedIn is the largest business-oriented networking website geared specifically towards professionals.  
A LinkedIn presence allows you to create an online professional brand which can help open doors to new opportunities by connecting to targeted individuals and companies.
We can showcase our expertise and knowledge, but many people still underestimate the importance of LinkedIn.  The platform is viewed solely as a job search or product-pushing platform when instead it should be viewed and utilized much more widely.
LinkedIn helps people in the job search or selling products but it’s the way we go about it that’s completely wrong.  Leveraging the power of LinkedIn can give you greater insights into who to connect with, what’s important to them, their challenges, and how you can provide solutions for them.
All these benefits go hand-in-hand with your job search, connecting with potential buyers, or crafting key messaging.  But in the end, we should view LinkedIn as a relationship-building tool.
We all receive those pushy InMail messages that state, “We can deliver 10x ROI for your business.  Here’s a link to my calendar.”  These messages are sent through automated services and the sender hasn’t even looked up your profile, business, or even knows anything about you.  
Imagine walking into a networking event and immediately saying to the first person you met, “Hey!  I’ve got this great product.  You’re an idiot if you don’t buy.”  That’s essentially what’s going on in the LinkedIn world.
The biggest challenge sales reps and executives have with their LinkedIn presence is posting valuable content regularly.  Coming up with content ideas can be a challenge, but it’s critically important to showcase you as a thought-leader and keep you top of mind for your audience.
Some content has become so awful, a twitter user by the name of The Best of LinkedIn @bestoflinkedin has created an account with a profile describing himself as “dedicated to highlighting the heroes and influencers brave enough to share their stories in an effort to inspire others.”
Sounds like an account that will inspire your own LinkedIn presence, right?  Not quite.  It’s actually a parody account that showcases the worst of LinkedIn posts.  There are other parody accounts out there, but I only follow this one because they take the steps of hiding the poster’s identity.  I’m not into online shaming.
Here are some of the best:

So let me get this straight.  A global pandemic has ravaged our economy, put an overwhelming burden on the healthcare system, caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in our country, and this guy is trying to say this is a good thing?
Just an absolutely horrible, horrible post.
Quoted tweet:  “Hot take coming through!”

Ok, this guy is eliminating a possibly qualified candidate because he has a long beard?  Scott’s line of thinking is out of touch with the reality of today’s world.
The best of linkedin replied with:  “Scott, a boomer who hasn’t updated his picture in 25 years won’t hire you if you have a beard.”
While I give Scott credit for having a professional photo, by the looks of it, I have to agree with The Best of LinkedIn.  It looks like a glamour shot photo that was scanned in.
I would love to have read the comments in his post.

I’m not sure what Garland does for living but comparing a leadership lesson to the death of an unborn child is terrible.
I truly hope he deleted this post as soon as he realized how bad he missed the mark.
Quoted tweet:  “Everybody gets hangry sometimes”  #madeupkidmonday 

How many times can Denise say adult in one post?
Adulting is hard, but this post is not appropriate for LinkedIn.  Her post provided absolutely zero value and wasn’t even slightly entertaining.  And then to hashtag the post with #loanofficer and #alwaysbeclosing?  How do these hashtags remotely relate to a nonsensical post?
Quoted tweet:  “This feels very Live, Laugh, Love”

Okay, so this guy is attempting to set up some kind of big reveal in hoping that you sit on the edge of your seat waiting for his next post.
Brandon is sitting across a boardroom table from what appears to be two younger subordinates.  And he has earbuds in, with his book in plain sight easily readable by the camera angle.
Do y’all remember before smartphones when we had those flip phones and you would see people clipping them their belt?  They looked completely ridiculous.  Earbuds are today’s version of the flip phone clipped to the belt.
I thought The Best of LinkedIn came in with a hilarious tweet response:  “Airpods in a meeting (check), Self publishing book visible (check), Biggest douchebag on LinkedIn (check).
These are some hilarious examples of what not to post on LinkedIn.  
Listen, we never hit the mark everytime, but some posts that sound good in your head just need to be thought out a little bit more before you hit that post button.
Before we dive into what you should post, we must address some general rules of what should and should not be posted on LinkedIn.
You should post:
·       Ideas that connect with your target audience, wither it’s related to work, life, or anything that provides value
·       Special occasions that allow your audience to celebrate a success, such as a milestone or transition in career
·       Advice that exemplifies your knowledge in your industry
·       Post that show your human side or provide insight into what guides your actions
·       Lessons learned that are informative to your audience
This is a wide-range of topics that you can have a lot of fun with.
What you should avoid:
·       Spam – stop spamming your potential clients.  It is a major turnoff.
·       Politics – unless you have a narrowly defined audience that is of a certain pollical mindset, stay away from posting anything about politics.  Also, be careful not to post anything that may turn political in the comments section.  
·       Shameless self-promotion – you should be posting valuable content that engages your audience.  It’s too easy to get caught up into shouting “look at how great I am”.  
·       Hard-selling approach; Only posting with a call-to-action to buy
What should we be posting?
Here are some ideas of what you should post.
1.       Advice and commentary that showcases your knowledge in your industry
2.       Posts that show your human side, but be careful not to get too personal.  You want you audience to know you are human just like them.  A good post would provide insight into how you or your business operates and what guides your decisions.
3.       Ideas that your audience can use to help them in THEIR business.
4.       Highlights of lessons learned that are informative.  These posts should be useful for your audience when they are faced with similar decisions.
5.       Repurpose your company’s content and provide your unique perspective.
6.       Trends and statistics.  Everyone wants to know what to expect before it happens, so sharing what you think and why will show your knowledge and confidence.
7.       Answers to common client questions.  Chances are, your potential clients have had the same questions as your current clients.  Why not provide answers up front?
8.       Explain a misconception in your industry.  It may be informative to anyone in your audience who might not have thought about it.
9.       Articles and industry news.  
10.   Polls.  When done correctly, you can ask your audience questions that might be on the top of minds of others.  Be sure to socialize the results and provide your own thoughts.
If you want a great example of a thought-leader, look no further than Stephanie Stuckey.  Stephanie si the CEO, and granddaughter of the founder, of Stuckey’s Corporation.  If you’re from the south like me and you’ve been around long enough, roadtrips were so much more fun when you got a chance to stop at a roadside Stuckey’s off the interstate.
Stephanie recently acquired her family business and is working to bring the brand back to life.  Her posts are entertaining and inspiring.  She is completely transparent about her journey and how she is rolling up her sleeves to build the Stuckey’s corporation.
There are a few things that stand out when I read Stephanie’s posts.
1.       Most of her posts include photos.  These photos are generally of her in front of the Stuckey’s logo, their product, or the process of creating the product.  Including herself in the photo humanizes the brand and makes it more relatable.
Some of her photos include rundown Stuckey buildings.  Just the sight of those old, unique buildings take some of us back to when we used to stop at those roadside retail stores.
2.       Stephanie is an outstanding storyteller.  She tells her story of why she is where she is or how she got to this place.  Her storytelling ability makes it seem like you are a part of the journey.
3.       Her posts are real, authentic, and imperfect.  Some videos she posts are probably recorded with an iphone in a warehouse showcasing the products.  Sometimes her videos don’t go as planned, but that makes them even more relatable.
4.       Stephanie educates her audience on moments in history and ties it back to the Stuckey’s brand.  The history in her story makes you even more compelled to follow and crave more.
Who knows where the Stuckey’s brand will be in 10 years or so, but her efforts on LinkedIn have people taking notice.  As of today, she has over 64k followers.  That’s a large audience to speak to.
I encourage each of you to follow her on LinkedIn.  I’m sure you’ll get some inspiration for your next post.
We each have a unique story to tell.  I encourage you to create meaningful engagements online and use the LinkedIn platform the way it was intended.
That’s it for today.  Thank you for turning in and I hope you join us next time on the Accelerate The Pace podcast.

What is Accelerate The Pace?

Marketing and Selling for Ambitious Brands.

Buyers have become numb to traditional marketing and sales tactics. I founded ATP Strategies, a marketing and sales firm, to help small to mid-size businesses to level the playing field against the industry giants.

Over a decade ago, I was working full-time at a large bank while attending business school at night to earn my MBA. My loving wife, an OB/GYN physician, decided to run her first (and only) marathon. Since I my time was fully committed to work and school, I was only able to cheer her on from the stands. Like many married couples, we know exactly how to get under each other's skin. After her race, she would respond to any question I had with the following, "Only a marathoner would understand." That's all it took to get my blood boiling.

After graduation, I ran my own marathon and I immediately told her, "You can't say 'only a marathoner would understand' to me anymore." Without hesitation, she replied, "yeah, but you didn't beat my time!"

I spent the next 7 years, running 8 marathons to beat her time. Some races I was just one minute shy of beating her. That's less than 3 seconds per mile! I finally surpassed her by getting strategic about my approach, through training, nutrition, and running an intentional race. I essentially was able to Accelerate The Pace in key areas throughout the grueling 26.2 mile race.

I took these valuable lessons learned and applied it to ATP Strategies. If you are able to Accelerate The Pace in strategic planning, marketing, and sales strategies, you will see substantial growth.

My podcast focuses on all things marketing and selling. No topic is off limits and I give a brutal assessment of what I see in the market, what to do, and what to avoid.

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