No longer is having a profile in LinkedIn enough to get you ahead.
LinkedIn has changed and those riding the wave of change on the newest social-media content platform are those that are winning with bigger reach and authority.
The recent change on LinkedIn is the addition of LinkedIn Pulse, a blog style portal on linkedin.com for professional content. On this episode we discuss how to use LinkedIn Pulse effectively inorder to grab the attention of your would be audience.
Our guest explaining all is Sarah Santacroce, a LinkedIn specialist from simplicitysmallbiz.com.
Sarah Santacroce helps busy small business owners and professionals get more exposure online.
Sarah, born and raised in Switzerland, started her career at McDonalds teaching soft skills to aspiring McDonalds managers. Her first online business was created whilst living in California.
In building her own virtual business over the years, Sarah has attended a huge number of marketing events and trainings, the knowledge from which she now shares with students.
She is the creator of the course LinkedIn For B2B Success amongst other social media training material.
When she is not in front of her computer, she enjoys reading and travelling.
A QUICK PREVIEW OF THE PODCAST:
Here are some of the highlights from episode 65 of the Traffic Jam Podcast…
- Recent Changes with LinkedIn.
- Choosing Your LinkedIn Connections.
- LinkedIn Algorithm.
- The LinkedIn Pulse.
- Social Media Visibility.
- How to Increase Exposure in LinkedIn.
- Content Attribution on LinkedIn.
- What Content Works Best on Pulse.
- Bringing Offline Content to LinkedIn.
- Newlse and SlideShare.
- The Ideal LinkedIn Profile.
- LinkedIn Groups.
If you enjoy this episode of Traffic Jam, please share it using the social media buttons you see on this page, or click to tweet this Sarah Santacroce quote from the show:
You can also get Sarah’s quote as exclusive illustrated artwork along with more special episode bonuses: Click Here To Download.
To see the full transcript of this episode in-page click show/hide transcript:
Show / Hide Transcript
Hey, what’s up listeners? Welcome back to Traffic Jam. This is show#65 of the podcast that teaches you how to get more traffic to your website and build a profitable audience online.
Today, we are going to be talking about LinkedIn, one of the most requested topics of our show in recent times so I think it is about time we revisited the topic especially since LinkedIn is such a fast moving platform of late and I really want to bring you up to speed with what’s working now straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak, bringing an expert on who gets really good stuff with the platform.
In just a moment we are going to be speaking with Sarah Santacroce but before that I want to give a quick shout out and thank you to a few loyal listeners, Lucas, Ernesto and Jim, all whom have stopped by the episode pages of Traffic Jam, either to leave a comment or a question and that too is where you should be heading because each and every episode comes with a bunch of bonuses, normally including a transcript and an MP3 download but in the case of today’s session, we’ve also got a LinkedIn checklist. A day to day cheat sheet that will tell you exactly the task that you should be conducting on LinkedIn, both daily, weekly and monthly. That has been provided by Sarah Santacroce, our guest on this episode. So to get access to that, go to TrafficJamCast.com/65. Go on over there right now, grab your bonuses and then listen on to the show.
Before we dive in to today’s interview, let us introduce our show guest. As mentioned at the top of the show, her name is Sarah Santacroce and she is from the website www.simplicitysmallbiz.com, which is a site where I was very lucky to be interviewed for just recently and then now I am returning the favor by interviewing Sarah for Traffic Jam so I am looking forward to diving in, tapping her knowledge on LinkedIn which is one of the main areas of expertise and she actually counsels business owners, entrepreneurs and solo-preneurs well all around the world on all aspects of internet marketing but LinkedIn is definitely her forte. She’s produced a couple of courses on the topic already and she’s been doing some really good stuff on the platform which is exactly why I wanted to invite her on to the show so I guess without any further ado, let us welcome to Traffic Jam, Sarah Santacroce from simplicitysmallbiz.com.
James: So hey there listener! It’s been a good six months since we last focused the show on LinkedIn so I think it is fit to invite on to Traffic Jam a LinkedIn specialist to talk about the changes and what’s working right now on the world’s #1 professional network so join me in welcoming to the show Sarah Santacroce.
Sarah: Hi James, thanks so much for having me.
James: Thank you for coming onboard. This is going to be interesting. We’ll I think touch upon a lot that has been happening on LinkedIn in recent times and I think we’ll start by talking about what seems to be a fairly big change on LinkedIn’s part and that seems to be the movement on the platform from what used to be your one to one networking platform to what’s now more kind of a broadcast or content sort of platform, what do you believe for the reason on LinkedIn’s part in the recent move and changing direction for them?
Sarah: That’s a good point. I think what they announced, probably already a year and a half ago is that they want to become the number one platform for professional content. So that was really their goal in order to change that mentality that LinkedIn is just a place where I post my profile, my CV, and then never go back to it. Well, they want their users to go back to it in a daily basis and in order to achieve that, they needed to create a real but social but professional platform. And so that was really the move that they have in mind and I think they are doing a decent job because as you said, more and more content are being shared professional content and we can go in to the different kinds of functionality in a little bit but that was really their goal. To have people come to LinkedIn to get their dose of content on a daily basis.
James: Two of my prior guests in fact, Larry Kim and Neil Patel have both been very successful in generating a lot of traffic essentially by using LinkedIn like they would do Twitter and by that I mean basically accepting and adding as many connections as they can in order to build a large audience for their content. Do you kind of agree with the shotgun style approach that those two guys have adopted?
Sarah: It definitely helps with visibility. I always say a small network gives you small visibility so it always depends on your business modules and on your objectives. Obviously if you have an online business like Neil Patel, yes it makes sense. However, if there are listeners here who are in the corporate and they are just using LinkedIn to build their own personal brand where you have a business but it is a local business, then I wouldn’t agree with that connection strategy because you really want to build a network in this case yes have that decent number of connections but also take note where you are at you value the relationships more than the numbers. For me LinkedIn, if you really want success, it’s about building relationships. So the way Neil Patel is using it for the visibility and he has got more success with that but I’d say he’s more about the relationships that count in LinkedIn.
James: Does LinkedIn operate in a similar fashion to Facebook in terms of its algorithm? I’m sure that the content that is popping up in yours and my newsfeed is based on some form of algorithmic structure, the people that we have been potentially connecting with much so if that is the case, can it actually affect us if we build too large an audience and a few of those people are actually engaging with the content and engaging personally on the platform?
Sarah: That’s a good question. LinkedIn doesn’t really disclose that much information about their algorithm but yes, I am sure there is an algorithm in place and it will affect interactions and engagement will affect how successful you are with the platform.
James: Yeah, I guess it is always the marketing case that you really should be connecting with those people that are either your ideal target audience or your ideal audience in terms of content connectors or whoever else. You’ve got to really know who you’re trying to talk to because anyone outside of that is essentially noise for you, isn’t it?
Sarah: Exactly, yes. And I think that’s what’s different on LinkedIn, when I teach LinkedIn to those sales professionals for example, a lot of people still have that mindset that oh, I have to mass produce or mass blast links out. LinkedIn is not like that, you can get so much information about an individual that you can then really target your information and so if you are prospecting on LinkedIn for example, you don’t want to prospect with 200 people and send them all the same information. You want to get in to the details and see if this is an actual fit for whatever it is you are trying to sell them.
James: Yeah, let’s continue our discussion around LinkedIn Pulse because that has been the major development, at least in recent times and I think it is not just open to influencers as it was originally but it has opened to everyone. I can see that you yourself have been posting regularly to LinkedIn Pulse, can you share any of your success stories or results that you’ve been able to achieve with the 35 articles you’ve posted so far by looking at your LinkedIn profile. What sort of results have you got?
Sarah: It is interesting! As you said, when it first launched it was still closed and so you have to submit some kind of thumbprint, they wanted to look at it and back then the results were just amazing and I hear that from other colleagues that you could get really big views on your posts. Because it was still closed. Not that it has opened, you can do quite a bit and get good results and what is nice is that you can reach outside of your LinkedIn network so people always think I am just going to reach my connections but now they can go viral and if it gets picked up by LinkedIn themselves so it gets added to a category in the Pulse then you can really hit the jackpot and go really big. But I’d say just like with Facebook, there is so much content being shared in Facebook that eventually the numbers went down and I kind of see the same thing happening with LinkedIn and yeah, touch wood, hopefully we are not going to have a Facebook situation where you actually have to pay to get visibility.
James: Yeah, well I guess it is a big topic, we are approaching this point, not just on the social platforms but really that internet as a whole where we are facing content shock, the idea that there’s more content out there than can ever be consumed so it is going to get diminishing returns as we go on but I certainly do see myself being in LinkedIn that I am certainly getting far more notifications now than I have ever before about content pieces being posted. I am just wondering how much visibility over time they can possibly get because we are limited in terms of our capacity to consume content as consumers. Well, let’s talk about how we might craft and effective post for Pulse. What are your top tips on both creating a content piece that could hopefully get viral, at least some increased exposure and perhaps your tips on promoting it to get a large audience.
Sarah: It always comes down to the title just like in any other blog post, the title is what makes the reader click on not click or to read it so obviously the title needs to be sexy and appealing to the audience you are writing to, and I think the errors that I see most often is maybe because people are not used to writing blog posts so they just go on LinkedIn and say hey, I can just write my text in here. It is just like any other blog post, you need to create paragraphs, you need to use the headings; different headings. You can embed image or media. So for example a YouTube video. That stuff obviously is important. It needs to be appealing to the eyes of the readers. When he reads it, it’s not just one big blog of text otherwise nobody is going to read your post. I always recommend also at the bottom to include a small bio. Yes we know already at the top it says this has been published by Sarah Santacroce and they see your picture but if they are at the bottom of the post, they don’t know who wrote this article, if they just come via a link for example so it is always good to have a bio at the bottom and remind them who’s written this article. There is a whole discussion going around about duplicate content, if you’re probably the right person to ask you this but my opinion is yes, it is duplicate content but it doesn’t matter that much as long as you always link back to the original post and you kind of adapt the content in LinkedIn to your LinkedIn audience a little bit so even just the audience, duplicate content would be if you copy a post that you’ve originally posted on your blog and republished it on LinkedIn. I am curious to hear your opinion James.
James: From what I understand if basically you use a hyperlink that might say something like originally posted on as you would do typically with other content syndication platforms, that should be enough to tell Google and other search engines that that is where the originating piece of content lives, I am not quite sure if you can post a canonical URL to LinkedIn which is technically the technical term –
Sarah: You can’t.
James: So you can’t? I think based on that then the other method of just saying hey, this was originally posted on should be enough for the search engines to determine that. But it opens up an interesting conversation, would you typically use Pulse for syndicated content so almost like an outpost for a really good core piece of content that was originally created on your blog, perhaps you can then maybe adjust it, rewrite it, reformat it a little bit for LinkedIn and give it a new audience there?
Sarah: It is funny because I kind of changed my opinion. In the beginning I was saying and telling my clients, no, just create unique content on LinkedIn, but let’s face it, there’s just not enough time in our week to create that much content so most clients told me well, we just don’t have the time. And so now I am telling my clients, okay, go, look at your Google analytics and kind of search for the content on your blog that has been previously posted that got a lot of traffic and so you know this must be a good content and then you can republish it but just not copy paste it but maybe create a couple of new paragraphs and then link back to the original post on your blog. I think for most of my clients who are small business owners, this is a strategy that works for them. Of course, ideally, yes you would create unique content for LinkedIn, that would be the best.
James: Yeah, and I guess final question around Pulse, what type of content works best? Is it just purely blog style content or have you found the perhaps like image assets like infographics perform also well in the platform? What can you post there?
Sarah: Yeah you can definitely post infographics. I am not sure if just an infographic, I don’t think that would work on LinkedIn. The LinkedIn user is a professional user who wants to get more details rather than just a visual so I would go in to a bit more detail. It would have to be content obviously that fits that LinkedIn audience and really gets them interested. It depends again on your business as well, if your business is in the creative and you are a jewelry maker, well, obviously, your LinkedIn audience is not on LinkedIn so don’t even waste your time writing on LinkedIn publisher so I would say it is professional content.
James: Well, let’s lay out some action steps perhaps for our listener around pulse so your advice is to go and check your website analytics and find what content pieces are performing well. I guess some other places you can go to would be things like Buzz Sumo which might tell you about the social traction that your content has generated, that might be a good place to look. Then reformat the content for LinkedIn, make sure it’s chunked down but using appropriate headers and titles that you have a compelling headline to your article and then importantly at the bottom that you include a bio and a link back off to the original piece of content. Will that seem fair?
Sarah: Yeah, that sounds good. Sometimes also business owners have submitted articles to print magazines and they don’t have anything on their blog about that so that would be a good strategy also to repurpose the content on LinkedIn Publisher.
James: Yeah, definitely. Well a couple of other additions to LinkedIn recently has been the acquisition of Newsle and Slideshare which I guess also supports their new direction toward a content platform. As a marketer, where do these applications fit in our LinkedIn strategy and should we indeed be using them?
Sarah: Well, I actually do not know about Newsle so that would be new to me, I would have to look that up. But Slideshare that is definitely another content platform but that is more visual but it is also a very professional platform that gets a lot of business professionals use PowerPoint presentations, do presentations in business and so it is nice to have those together and be able to embed presentations on your profile for example.
James: Yeah, and I have also seen that they can rank quite well in search, often above LinkedIn profiles themselves. I don’t know whether there’s full follow links there at play or what is happening but it seems to perform quite well in Google search, that’s another little technique you might want to look out for. Aside from Pulse, Slideshare and a few other things, I guess the core of LinkedIn is still the LinkedIn profile, that’s where we base most of our activities. What advice do you have for optimizing your LinkedIn profiles to attract more search traffic and then perhaps also to move that traffic away from the outpost of LinkedIn to your home base such as your company website or your personal website?
Sarah: A lot of people don’t realize that the LinkedIn profile is kind of like a mini website and so apart from having to be complete and visually attractive it also needs to be search engine optimized because LinkedIn has its own internal search engine and so that means using keywords, breaking them in strategic locations as for example the headline, that’s probably the biggest mistake I see people make on their headline, that’s the line beneath your name, they use that as a chopped title so they would say owner at Traffic Jam for example. Well, why is that wrong? Because the owner is very generic, every company has an owner and people are not going to be searching for owner in the search bar if they are looking for someone like you as an SEO specialist, and using the company name on the headline because it is like on Google, people tell me you show up for Simplicity, yeah okay I understand that but that’s not what people are searching for. On LinkedIn, it is the same. You don’t put your company name because people don’t know your company name if they don’t know you yet. So that’s the one thing, in your headline you need to describe what it is that you need to bring to the table and what your specialties are, use your keywords in that area.
James: Yeah, I am just looking at yours now and I can see that you state that you’re a small business digital marketing consultant which I guess could be the type of terms that the people are searching and then you’ve also stated who you help and why which is also I guess a positioning statement that you just list what you want to do and how you can help which obviously is effective. But I am also scrolling down your profile, I can see some unusual things that I haven’t necessarily noticed elsewhere. If I go down to your interests, I can see there that some of your interests that you’ve listed there are probably chosen with LinkedIn search in mind for instance, would that be the case?
Sarah: Yeah, I am totally against keyword stuffing in LinkedIn profiles. That just doesn’t look good if you look keywords in every section, but the interest section is kind of the nice way to hide some keywords because it is all that is. It is just a list of interests and most people use it for hobbies and yes it is nice to add some personal interests in there. It is also a nice place to hide some keywords. What I usually tell my clients is to copy all your skills and paste them in to the interests section so that you kind of have your keywords in both locations. Another tip there is to use common misspellings of your name so my name is really sort of difficult to spell and I have hidden some misspellings in that interest section as well.
James: Interesting, I also see that just scanning through the profile itself you’ve got numerous calls to action to various places, be it LinkedIn groups that may be of interest to people, you’ve got email, you’ve got telephone number and it is not often used right? I mean if you look at the average LinkedIn profile, it very much is a biography or a CV or that information but it doesn’t really compel anyone to take a course of action so what would you recommend as a good strategy to move people away from LinkedIn to appropriate places that might move them along that customer journey with you?
Sarah: The first thing you could do is to optimize your website links. At the top of the profile we have the option to send people in different pages and by default it would say company page or blog or personal website. That’s okay, some people might click on it. But if you actually customize it you can make it in to a call to action and I think I have something like a free e-book or check out this and that. So you can send them to a specific page, so that could be for example a landing page and so you send them to the landing page and they sign up to your list, we all know that that’s the one place where we want our people and send them to our email list. And that is a good way to send people over. Unfortunately those website links are now much more hidden than they used to be so it is good for people who are already connected with you but otherwise people won’t see that hidden section there. So there’s other ways to use links, for example in reach media you can add a link to a landing page and LinkedIn will then automatically pull in the picture of that landing page and so when people click on it, it will link them forward to your landing page so different options to send people to specific pages on your website.
James: Excellent! Well I am going to make sure that your LinkedIn profile of course is included in the show notes page as a mini case study and an example for our listeners. I am sure that there are plenty of learning that they can gain from checking that out. Before we sort of wrap things up on LinkedIn itself, where else should we be spending time on the platform? I think there’s still quite a lot of advocates of LinkedIn groups and a few other things, where would you suggest our listener spend any other time they might have for LinkedIn?
Sarah: Yeah there’s definitely the groups. Search for groups where your target audience hangs out. A lot of people or clients still spend too much time on groups where their peers hang out. You want to think about your clients, customer prospects, and that is the group that you want to be active on. So that’s definitely a big thing, and then we don’t have time to talk about the company page. If you are bigger company or agency that is another thing that you need to be using and it is nice because you can use it as a team so it is not just you publishing content but your whole team and your employees can also publish content through that company page. Often I see company pages that have been created but companies don’t really understand that once you created it you should actually be using it just like your personal profile to share content so it all comes down to building an editorial calendar and make sure that there’s valuable content and being shared with the followers.
James: Excellent! I always love the conversations that we have before these interviews because I often find out about little gems and I found out about a new tool today which I have never seen or heard of before and that’s Listly and I think you have been getting good results with curated lists. I think before we round out the episode you should probably tell us what you’ve been doing there.
Sarah: Listly is a tool where you can build lists, so you would have a top 10 list LinkedIn experts or you can have a top 10 list of best LinkedIn posts for business and things like that and then you can just blend in to the articles it will generate a nice list for you and you can then embed on your WordPress website for example, they have a nice little plugin that you can use and so it generates traffic to your website and also on Listly itself and you and I both know that people love lists so it is really a tool that works great and keeps sending traffic to you.
James: Very nice! I guess it is a tool that expands on the concept of the roundup posts where you call on experts perhaps that may contribute to and that’s a fantastic traffic source. You could be mentioning influencers, there is a good chance that they might want to go and promote your content themselves. Good tool, we’ll make sure that that’s linked off to in the episode page of Traffic Jam#65 but before we round things out Sarah I am sure there are listeners wanting to find out a little bit more about you and perhaps what you’ve got to offer. So where should we send people off to?
Sarah: Different things, my website is simplicitysmallbiz.com, you can look me up on LinkedIn. One thing I didn’t mention is customization of invitations. I won’t accept your invitation if you just send me the customized ones because I don’t know if you’ve listened to this podcast so make sure that you mention the podcast and I’d be happy to connect with you. So yeah, check me out on LinkedIn. We also have a LinkedIn challenge that I host twice a year but now I am changing one of them to French because I also have French audience so the next one won’t be until December but you can look up the LinkedIn Challenge LinkedIn group, that is a group that I am running close to a thousand members now and we just answer any kind of LinkedIn question so I look forward to seeing you on that Group and what else? Did I give you any other links, James?
James: LinkedIn for B2B success was something that you mentioned to me so I guess we should probably include that as well.
Sarah: Yes, that is an online video course that I created for small business owners and entrepreneurs wanting to use LinkedIn for their business and so it is a 15-part video course.
James: Excellent! Well you the listener if you’ve been listening to Traffic Jam for some time you will now where all of those links live and that is on the episode page of today’s show which today you get to by going to TrafficJamCast.com/65. Awesome! Let’s wrap things up there Sarah. And it has been beneficial certainly to me to kind of get up to date with what is happening on LinkedIn. I am sure our listeners have also gained as much value as I have so thank you!
Sarah: Thank you James! It’s my pleasure.
So thank you to Sarah from simplicitysmallbiz.com and thank you to you the listener for listening in to episode#65 of Traffic Jam. We’ll be back next week with another awesome episode and awesome guest as well.
In the meantime, remember that we have a bunch of goodies available for this show which you can access by going to TrafficJamCast.com/65 where Sarah has kindly donated a daily LinkedIn task sheet. Want to know what you need to do in LinkedIn daily, weekly and monthly? Then you’ll find out in a very convenient checklist provided by Sarah so get your hands on that. Also on the episode page you’ll find a full transcript of today’s session plus an MP3 download as well.
Of course we end the show with the traffic jam. It is chosen by our guest by our guest today and she has gone for a song call I Need My Girl and it is by The Nationals so enjoy the track and I will see you back here in about seven days from now. See you then!
THE TRAFFIC JAM:
The soundtrack for this episode, or the Traffic “Jam” as we like to call it is a song called “I Need My Girl” by The National, an American alternative rock band. It was recorded in 2013 for the their album “Trouble Will Find Me”.
The band is made up of Matt Berninger (lead vocals), Aaron Dessner (rhythm guitar, keyboards, vibraphone, harmonica), Bryce Dessner (lead guitar, keyboards, e-bow, orchestration), Bryan Devendorf (drums, percussion) and Scott Devendorf (bass guitar).
YOUR NEXT STEPS:
To help you maximise your results on LinkedIn with minimum effort, Sarah Santacroce has provided a special LinkedIn Marketing checklist for you.
The checklist is a simple one page “to-do” list that will show you exactly the right things to be doing on LinkedIn daily, weekly and monthly.
Act on each item in the guide, tick off the items as you go and watch your results explode.
The LinkedIn Marketing Checklist is available for immediate download below: