LinkedIn isn’t just a network; it’s a launchpad for building meaningful connections that fuel business growth. In this episode, Scott Carson joins Clifton Corbin, Wendie Veloz, Flint Jamison, and David Barnett to discuss how each person is using LinkedIn in their businesses. Together, they discuss how to build your network and nurture genuine connections on this platform, where quality is the name of the game. They touch on several critical points of LinkedIn, such as maximizing your LinkedIn presence without falling into the trap of automation. Throughout the episode, these LinkedIn aficionados share their favorite tools, strategies, and proven pro tips to harness the full potential of this dynamic platform. Tune in and learn how to leverage LinkedIn as your trusted companion.
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The LinkedIn Advantage: How To Connect, Engage, And Prosper With Clifton Corbin, Wendie Veloz, Flint Jamison, And David Barnett
I am going to be your moderator for this LinkedIn panel. My name is Clifton Corbin. I’m the author of Your Kids, Their Money and The Richest Person in Babylon, a revised version of The Richest Man In Babylon. We’re going to be talking about what LinkedIn has done for our businesses and what it could do for your business. All the people on this panel love LinkedIn. We’ve all been using it but there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly and we’re going to try to get into all of it in this episode. I am going to pass the mic over to Scott to talk about what Scott does. I’m sure everyone here knows Scott but let’s talk about what Scott does and how he’s been using LinkedIn.
Thank you. I’ve been on LinkedIn for quite a while. I love the platform. For the many years that I’ve been an entrepreneur, probably in real estate lending, the last few years of it, I’ve been focused on the distressed mortgage debt space. I’m known across the country as the note guy for buying over $1 billion of distressed residential commercial debt.
I’ve used LinkedIn for a long time. I capped out my connections at 30,000 but I’ve used it in a variety of fashions to connect with asset managers at banks for those internal connections that we need in my niche. We use it also to help market our award-winning show, The Note Closers Show. I also use it to raise capital, get the word out to investors, and connect with their real estate professionals on there. I love it. It’s got pros and cons. It’s come a long way from when I first started using it but it’s been well.
We’re going to go over to Wendie. Can you tell us what you do and how you’ve been using LinkedIn to help your platform?
I’m a social impact strategist. I help businesses and nonprofits to level up not only their financial positions but also their ability to serve the community and others. What have I used LinkedIn for? I have used LinkedIn mostly to gain a pretty big following through newsletters and to connect to people in my niche. Not everyone cares about social impact but for folks who do, it’s been cool to see people opt into the conversation on LinkedIn in the various ways that have done it. Whether it’s live or helping different groups and commenting on things, it’s been neat to see all of the impact-making organizations and people on LinkedIn come out and be supportive. That’s what I’ve been up to.
Thank you so much. David, can you tell us about yourself and LinkedIn and how you’ve been using it?
I’m a former business broker. I work as a consultant helping people who either want to buy or sell a small or medium-sized business. Primarily, my social media channel that I use to promote myself is YouTube but the way that I use LinkedIn is as a tool to help grow that YouTube audience. However, there are a lot of real conversations that happen on LinkedIn. People who may find me on YouTube come over and talk with me on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the platform where people talk about business. I’ve found that it’s much easier to reach people when you try to reach them on LinkedIn. The people who make the effort to come and contact me on LinkedIn and have conversations with me are usually much more serious about doing some business. They’re interested in learning more because they have a need. The quality of the conversations tends to be a lot better than any of the other social platforms I find.
Thank you so much for that. Just a quick word on myself. I’ve been using LinkedIn mostly as a networking tool. In my early days, I wasn’t an author or a financial literacy advocate like I am now. I used it as my Rolodex. If I met someone at a conference or through work, it was a way to make sure I could keep in touch with them. It was easier and more professional way than trying to use any of the other social media platforms for sure. I also thought it was helpful.
An email is just an email but at least with LinkedIn, you have a profile you can remember. “I met this person. This person’s doing this or that.” That’s why I started using LinkedIn. As I started doing more of my book promotions and meeting people, I realized it was a way to have those deeper engaged conversations. I’ve enjoyed it for that. I don’t think it started being a platform for creators where you can have those communications and relations but they’ve been trying to go down that route. Wendie and Scott, I see both shaking your heads very vigorously.
You made me choke.
Why did you choke on that word?
It’s because I’ve been on LinkedIn forever and I think a lot of us have. If you were at it at some point in the late 2000s as a job seeker, you were probably looking on LinkedIn for a job. I looked on LinkedIn many times for jobs. The profile that I had was created for large employers to find me. It wasn’t created for small business owners and nonprofits to find me.
Even when LinkedIn decided to change its plan and I decided to change my plan for LinkedIn, there were a whole bunch of things that needed to happen for that to align because I had a job seeker profile for a long time. Unlike Facebook and things like that where maybe I’m not going to go back for 10 years and bother to change things, on LinkedIn, I’m going to go back 10 years and bother to change things. It was funny when you said that. I laughed because it reminded me of that moment when I said, “My profile is not aligning with this idea of creating content on a platform.”
I see everyone’s head nodding and I could relate to this but I want to go around to each of you. If you started with a profile that was more focused on job seeking and then you had to change it to lead creation or trying to get clients or whatever you were doing to build your business or your brand, what did you have to do specifically to change your profile? I’ll start with you, Scott.
The biggest thing that I do is rethink my plan of action. You have to think differently because each platform is a little bit different. While I’ve used it primarily in the past for the connection side or connecting with asset managers and professionals, I realized that LinkedIn was partly at fault. It was very late to the game to help people get on board and promote themselves a little bit more through content creation.
With LinkedIn Live and how slow they roll that out with video compared to everybody else and some of the other features that they’ve rolled out, it’s been disappointing because it’s like, “I don’t want to do all this extra work just for one platform.” I’m a big believer that if I can create something and reshare it across different platforms, it makes a whole lot easier.
However, having to come up with a plan of action that’s different for this one platform versus the rest is the biggest struggle but it’s much more where I can say, “Record one thing and reshare it there or leverage a live.” The newsletter too is one of the greater things. Wendie, you’re using that as one of the greater things to connect with people a little bit more intimately than posts online.
What about you, David? Did you have to make any big tweaks to your profile over the rest of a couple of years?
Wendie mentioned the late 2000s. I was on in the early 2000s. I can remember logging on to LinkedIn when I used to go to the certain office that I used to work in. I can remember being on the website in that office. It was a website where it was a resume. The basic LinkedIn profile is set up like someone’s resume. It might be with their work history and everything. That’s what my LinkedIn profile looked like.
I remember as I evolved and got into different business-to-business sales jobs, I would call people on the phone, and leave voicemail messages for them. Do you know how LinkedIn shows you who’s looked at your profile? I would log into LinkedIn and see that the person I left a voicemail for had looked at my profile. That was a big eye-opener for me because what it indicated to me was that people were using it to snoop and investigate who people were.
As soon as I realized that, I said, “I need to work on this.” Your headline in your LinkedIn profile is often your job title at your most recent job. In that sales role, I said, “What’s the number one message I’m trying to get across to people when I call them?” I reformatted my headline to address that need. Magic started to happen. I started to get people returning my phone calls more regularly. I would call somebody and then instead of calling me back, they would send me a connection request on LinkedIn.
I would learn that if someone didn’t return my call, I would send a connection request to them on LinkedIn. Sometimes I was able to open up a conversation through LinkedIn that I couldn’t open up on the telephone. As that developed and my network grew through that sales job, I was trying to connect with everyone I had contact with later when I went out on my own. It was instrumental in getting initial clients through the door to help me build a cashflow before the fruit of those YouTube seeds that I planted a few years ago bore fruit.
I was going on there sending messages to people and letting them know what I was doing to try to get more clients. That led to the third iteration of my LinkedIn profile, which was much more about thinking about who my ideal client avatar was from a consulting client point of view and reformatting everything to speak to them. That headline changed again and that biography box, the main information box went from being about me to being above them. I will talk about what issues they might have and how my services could help them.
Things like uploading media, for many years, I’ve had a LinkedIn introduction video. It’s the only place that particular video stands. It’s an unlisted video on YouTube that I plugged in there so I can go over on YouTube and see how many people watched it. It’s interesting. People are looking at it. They’re watching that video that’s only on my LinkedIn profile. It’s evolved.
That was phenomenal and you brought some big points up that I want to highlight in case people might have missed it. LinkedIn is an amazing resource to get around the gatekeepers. It’s a way to go directly to your target, whoever that may be. Whether you’re trying to connect to a podcast host, the CEO, the sales, marketing, or business director. It can get you right to that person. I see in your story that you’ve been able to use it for that. You also highlighted the value of that headline and changed your profile to speak to your audience.
Wendie, I’m going to come to you because I’ve seen your profile and that you’ve done that very well, especially since you’re so focused on making an impact and helping people who are also making an impact. If you wouldn’t mind talk a bit about how you have to change your profile from those job secret days to as a creator and how you’ve been able to manage using the headline. Talk a bit about your newsletter as well.
I need to say that the last change was a pro tip right there. It’s changing your bio to be about your buyer. I’ve been meaning to spend time doing that but after this, I will commit to making a change on my profile. You had to look at my work experience and see what is it I’m doing as an entrepreneur that wasn’t even necessary as a worker for someone else but it’s a skill that I had or learned somewhere else. I went back into each job and looked for where was the impetus of this skill that I’m using. Where did I first get the skill of marketing?
I didn’t talk about that I had done marketing in the government with my office of communications because it was part of my job that was a different function. I had to go back and see what parts of my experience I didn’t highlight enough. After I did that, I went through and looked at the layout, the headline, the better image, and all of the different pieces of where people are looking at the profile and what am I doing.
I also realized that my picture was this headshot that I had gotten from somebody standing in front of a white background. It doesn’t particularly stand out. It was a nice and great photo but it didn’t stand out. I went through and took a picture in a very bright color. I had a dark background. I changed all of my social media to that one picture and put it on LinkedIn. I also added a different version of that picture but the same dress to the header so it looks like it’s the same me and the same day but it’s two different pictures.
They did little things to make sure it was consistent that these are things that you see big brands and big branding experts tell you to do but until you take the time to redo your profile and look at the details of each section, LinkedIn’s profile is very complex so you have to do it section by section. That’s essentially what I do I went, section by section. Let’s come back to the newsletter because we want to welcome Flint.
Flint, thanks for joining us. We’re doing our LinkedIn panel and Flint is another LinkedIn high profile user. We want to have him here as well. To get him looped in and get everyone connected with Flint, can you tell us a bit about what you do and how you’ve been using LinkedIn to help you and your brand?
I raise capital for real estate like apartment buildings and development. We give investors double-digit returns. That sums it up at a very high level. On LinkedIn, I try to provide as much value as possible. I do lots of posting. I have started doing outbound. I have generated a lot of conversation which is quite fun. Whether it’s been fruitful, it’s still up in the air.
Thank you for that. We’re going into some of the ways that we’ve had to change our profiles from the early days of LinkedIn to the current days of LinkedIn. I want to give a couple of tips here as well to folks who might be reading. If your brand and you’re a business owner or a content creator, one of the things that you need to do on LinkedIn if you haven’t already done it is click that creator mode. That changes the way you’re seen by your audience. That will make sure that you get to say what part of your content they see first instead of seeing your resume as we were saying before. That’s a big piece.
It’s making sure that you’re seen as a creator. It also gives people the ability to follow you. Most times when you start on LinkedIn, you are connecting with people. You’re saying, “I know you from this career or that job. I want to connect with you.” As your profile gets bigger, people might want to follow what you’re doing and then maybe connect with you in some way or somehow. The following is only available once you’re into that creator mode as well.
There are a couple of other things that I want to highlight and everyone’s spoken to it already. You want to focus your profile on your end user. How are you solving their problems? What is your job? What are you doing? What’s your role? What outcomes are you trying to help them achieve? That’s the way that you should be making your profile, especially your headline because the headline follows you. If you make a comment on someone else’s post or feed, that headline is shown. They see right away, “This is an influencer. This is an author. This is a public speaker,” or whatever you might be doing.
You want to make sure you’ve got that headline match to what you’re doing and not just the founder of. It’s not enough content so you need a little bit more. Those are some things that you could do to make sure your profile is happening. Everyone here on this call on the panel uses LinkedIn very differently. Scott, you use the Lives. Wendie, you’re using our newsletters.
David, you are connecting with people. Flint, you started doing a lot of outbound as well. I want to talk very specifically about some of those different things and I want to start with Scott with the Lives. I’m curious. Are you creating your content strictly on LinkedIn or outside of LinkedIn and importing it? Talk a little bit about how you’ve been using Live.
We’re celebrating our 800-episode recording for The Note Closers Show. We are the number one show and YouTube channel for note investors out there. As Flint was saying, we do raise a lot of capital but we also raise a lot of awareness with these bank asset managers. A lot of direct outbound reach out like David was talking about. I love that video attachment David talked about. You only have 300 characters to make a first impression for most people but if you add a video link, you’ve got minutes which has been a secret thing.
It’s a replication of it, making sure that our videos get in front of the right people. If you go back and compare the views on our videos on LinkedIn Live, it has a much higher saturation rate versus Facebook Live or even YouTube Live where we’ve got over 7,000 subscribers to our YouTube channel. We still get a bigger hit off of LinkedIn Live because we’ve tailored that LinkedIn audience to be the ideal clients we’re looking for. It’s bankers, investors, and other real estate investors.
I have to tell you this. I was on a call with a bank asset manager talking about an apartment complex they had for sale on a note deal. We get to talk and he calls, “We’re connected on LinkedIn.” I’m like, “I think so.” I look back and we’ve been connected for about three years. “You’re that note guy. I love your videos, your short ones and long ones. You taught me something about note investing that I didn’t know as a president of a bank for twenty years.”
I found that hilarious. I had a call with a guy who’s read my blogs and came across it eight months ago on a LinkedIn post in a LinkedIn group that we share. He’s like, “I’ve been following you. I want to get into this more so.” He’s looking to invest $100,000 with us in some note deals. The biggest thing and most people fail to realize is that 80% of sales are made after the fifth contact.
LinkedIn is more effective on that touch basis or contact basis than anything else. Whether it’s outbound phone calls or email, the whole following up on LinkedIn and connecting there is something we’ve been doing for a while. It gives you the opportunity to touch base and people to see what you’re doing so you expedite that conversion
Especially from all of you but anyone who’s creating content on LinkedIn, you’re building that trust factor very quickly. Also, the expertise. It’s rare that you’ll see someone who’s posting something who doesn’t feel like they at least know what they’re doing. Whether you convince the other person that you do know what you’re doing or not, that’s up to your content to do that.
However, people will say, “If this person’s willing to put themselves out there, they probably know what they’re talking about.” Having that LinkedIn Live, I could see how it’s worked out well for you. Flint, you missed a couple of minutes so I’m going to get you in here. Can you tell us a little bit about specifically what factor, component, or tools you’re using on LinkedIn the most that you’ve seen drive your business?
We all talk about there’s an algorithm and you got to understand the algorithm so you how to play the game right. Others say that if your content is good enough, you can ignore the algorithm which is in large part true but I’m not a natural content builder and my content doesn’t go viral all the time like Codie Sanchez so I do have to play it by the rules. I’m giving you guys a background story because everybody goes through this level of learning.
When I was purely doing posts and creating value for others, I was getting a lot more organic inbound. That organic inbound is some of the most powerful you can create because they’re already pseudo-warmed up and they’re willing to talk to you. Outbound is much harder because you’re reaching out to someone cold and you have to work these sales messages that are hard to not be spammy.
LinkedIn is super spammy. Everyone’s getting hit with spam. You have to somehow stand out and that’s where I’m trying to figure out not only create value but also how the algorithm changed over the years. My inbound has been reduced but how do I also create a message that stands out to others? It is creating these personal relationships. To crack the code a little bit of what I’ve learned, I’m using this software called Octopus.
It does this automated outreach. You give it your message so they are canned messages because you give it one message. Every day, I have it send 35 contact requests with a message. In large part, I say, “LinkedIn is spammy enough. I’m going to be straightforward with you. If you connect with me, I’m going to hit you with a sales pitch. If not, I’m going to move on.” I got a 20% acceptance rate.
What Octopus does is it sends me, “These people accepted.” I can turn around and say, “Send all these people might pitch,” but I don’t do that because that’s when you get too spammy. You’re sending this non-personalized pitch. With the 20% I get, I go and look at their profile. The Avatar is like me. I come from Aerospace. I designed aircraft for twenty years before doing this real estate thing.
My avatar is an engineer. In leadership or whatever position, I go and look at their profile and I find something that’s similar. Most of the people that I’m targeting come from the Aerospace industry so there’s a common language that we speak. I send a very tailored message, “I see you do this and this. Thank you for connecting. As promised, here’s the pitch.” I leave the pitch super short. I wait for it to go.
Both of you and Scott talk about creating content. Yours used to be a little bit more post-based or text-based. You’re doing a little bit more of the outbound. I’m going to get into the automation for sure but I like what you said that you’re creating value. We all know this. As soon as we start talking about the audience, the audience is receptive. When we’re talking about ourselves, no one cares about us except for us and our moms.
We need to make a very concerted effort to put out content that is focused on helping our audience get from point A to point B. If that’s the LinkedIn Live or post, we see there’s value in both. David, we’re coming back to you to talk about newsletters in a moment but I’m not sure how are you using LinkedIn and what features you’re using most often.
Every Wednesday morning, I put out a new video on YouTube and also take that video and make it into a LinkedIn article, which is attached to the LinkedIn newsletter. It gets pushed out to a few thousand people who have subscribed to that newsletter. There’s a push element to it. When you create that new article, you also put a post out that says, “I’ve got a new article about this.”
There are a couple of different things that I do. Number one is I use groups. I’m a member of probably well over 150 groups. What I’ll do then is look at my list of groups and which groups have topicality that might be interested in the content of that video. I’ll go into those groups and put a post about that new article. I don’t do it to every group every week. It’s only if there’s a topic related there.
What will happen is my post will appear and some new people who are part of that group might be able to see that content. They might subscribe to me on YouTube, decide to come and check out my profile, or any of those things. However, audience building primarily through the connections is key because if you join someone as a first-order connection, the people who are their connections, your second-order order can also sometimes see posts that you put into LinkedIn. Growing your first-order connections is important.
You want to talk about the automation thing. I’d like to give a big reason why someone should not get into LinkedIn automation. Number one is it’s against the terms of service. They specifically say that if you let any kind of automated tool into your account, they can close your account. My LinkedIn profile is way too valuable for me to risk it in that way.
Flint, you get about 20% of people accepting. I get over 90% of my connection requests accepted. Here’s how I do it. I do them one at a time myself. If I see someone putting a post in a group that’s relevant to me, I’ll comment on that post, and then I’ll send that person a connection request. I say, “I read your post that you put in this group. I thought it was great. I’m also doing stuff that in some way relates to what you’re doing. I thought it’d be great to connect with you.” One hundred percent of those connection requests are accepted.
Also, if I’m reading a magazine. Here where I live, we have a regional news magazine that comes out every month that’s all about business stuff. They’ll have articles about businesses. I’ll go through that with a highlighter. I’ll highlight names and then go on to LinkedIn. I’ll cut and paste a message that says, “I was reading the latest edition of that magazine and I read that article about you. I thought it was cool. I wanted to connect.” Almost 100% of those are getting accepted.
Having a real reason, even if it’s like, “We graduated from the same school,” you’re going to get a high connection acceptance rate. The more of those first-order connections you have, the more second-order people there are going to be. The more second-order people there are, the more inbound connection requests you’re going to get. I’ve seen that grow over time as I implement these strategies. Yes, I do invest some time in it every week. The downside to not using automation is it costs me time because I have to spend time doing this.
It sounds like a significant amount of time too. I want to talk about the value of growing your network and how everyone’s doing it but Wendie, I need to come to you because I love your newsletter and I want you to talk about how the newsletter has become the way that you use LinkedIn.
I’m trying to think of the origin story for the newsletter and it is with the podcast so they go hand in hand. I started my podcast on social audio before I went on to LinkedIn so I already had the podcast, the branding, and all of those things. I decided I was going to turn some of those conversations into repurposed LinkedIn content. I started repurposing blog posts and some other things in that newsletter.
I use it to drive a lot of traffic back to my website and my email list but I haven’t used it a lot for inbound marketing on the platform. A lot of the time, I’m trying to get people to things that are either off the platform or repurposed there for them to consume and think I’m this wonderful guru expert. That’s what the newsletter has been for.
At some point, when it started growing bigger and bigger, I was like, “I’m losing a lot of money here.” I still have not fully monetized this newsletter but it got to 10,000 on me all of a sudden and I was like, “What am I doing with this newsletter?” Instead of doing anything, I stopped doing the newsletter but it’s partially because I’m redoing a bunch of my marketing things and it’s going to be a bigger part of my marketing.
With that being said, I learned a few things along the way. Everything that you said, David, is valid. The newsletters are pushed out via email. What I realized is that LinkedIn sometimes chooses not to push out your newsletters. There’s been a couple where I have 10,000 subscribers. One edition will get 4,000 opens. The next edition gets 27 opens.
On the platform, what happens to this one is not normal. The only thing that happened in between then was the people who subscribed to the newsletter. I had gone through and engaged in a lot of their posts. I started looking at their things. I followed a few people and connected with a few people. I did not do it in a spammy way. It’s manual because you can only do it manually with the newsletter.
That made the algorithm tank my entire newsletter outreach and my profile for a little while. My posts were not going anywhere. I was getting 200 views on my posts. What I realized when I reached out to LinkedIn was that they do not want you to in any way try to take those subscribers from that newsletter. There’s no good way to do it in an automated way or in a manual way. I don’t recommend that anybody do it. That’s the point.
I recommend that folks use the newsletter to drive people to you but the second that you start trying to drive yourself to those newsletters, the platform squashes you down. It is interesting. A forewarning, I’ve tried it multiple times and don’t do it. The other thing I do that we haven’t talked about but it’s still part of creator mode is the social audio component. When I created the newsletter, it was all part of this social impact level of the collective that I created. I wanted people from the collective to not just consume from me but be able to connect to each other.
As social entrepreneurs, it’s as important for folks to support each other and get that collective impact piece. I created these spaces once a month for folks to come in and network. I call it social impact networking. I’ll have a general topic that I’m going to talk about to keep it lively. I’ll host the space and facilitate, have people come up, and join.
I could do it all over again having known one of my friends who’s known as America’s SuperMom. You might know her on LinkedIn. She’s amazing. She taught me a couple of things about this. One was I probably should have done the newsletter via my business page and not my personal profile because that would have grown my business branding on the platform versus my Wendie Veloz branding on the platform. That was one thing I would have done over.
The second thing is in the social audio space. When you do a social audio room as a person, only one person can be in charge and can help this space. If you do it as a page, multiple people can facilitate it. You have to have 100 people on your business page to get creative mode on your business. I didn’t grow the newsletter or anything on that business page so I’ve got 30 people.
I can’t even do any of these things over there. You are still in that early mode. If you have both a business page in a personal page, you should decide what you’re trying to invest in growing because if I had to do it over again, I would have invested in growing the network of my business and not the network of myself.
That’s a huge tip. I found that challenging as well. I started on LinkedIn as an employee and then I changed into the creator entrepreneur space. I’ve had that challenge. I have a couple of different businesses. I was like, “Do I build my network around my name and keep it all under my personal profile or do I start building these business pages?” I’ve done something similar that I’ve said, “It’s always going to be me. The business made income. They may be sold. There’s all these other options.
I’ve always said I want my network to stay under me but you bring up some good points about where these different assets should live. I’ve heard other people say something similar. Sometimes it makes sense to build up that business page and sometimes it makes sense to build up your personal page. The takeaway is to be very intentional about which one you decide to build.
For those who may not be aware, you can have a personal page and your business can also have its little asset within LinkedIn, a business page. That page could build newsletters. It can put out articles and it’s all under that brand but you get to own it and run it as a business page. Be intentional about where you put your assets and how you build your brand.
For everyone who is reading that’s maybe new to LinkedIn, the last thing anyone should do is create a personal profile, give it their business name, and put their business logo as the picture. That is the biggest noob mistake that anyone could make. Most long-time LinkedIn people will never accept a connection request from someone who’s dressed up a personal profile to look like a business. We need to say that for people who may not be on the platform. I get it all the time. I get a connection request from someone who’s got a logo of their company as their picture. They’re not getting LinkedIn at all.
There are two things I was going to bring up in a moment but I’m going to double down on that statement and say LinkedIn’s benefit is that it’s a way to go one-on-one with somebody else. As soon as you change that relationship from me and this person to this person in my business, the relationships are different. If it’s just the connection, it may not happen. Going back to what we’re saying with Wendie, be very intentional about where you set these things up.
Thank you for that, David. You’re right. I would never accept a connection request from what looks like a business trying to reach out to me. I want to get into a few things. 1) Automation. 2) The value of building your connections and network. There are a few other things and we’ll see if we have time for it. David and Flint, I got your take on automation. Wendie and Scott, where do you both stand on the automation piece?
I am the one who doesn’t even know how to do it. Going back to the outbound thing, I get those automated messages a lot. I hate and detest them. I like the humorous ones. I appreciate that. I also get the coaches all the time. There are some of these pieces that I don’t like about LinkedIn which makes me not want to participate. Even if automation wasn’t against terms of services and could save my life, I don’t know. I still feel icky about it. That’s maybe a personal thing but I suspect, I’m not the only one.
Nobody likes to be pitch-slapped which is what happens in a lot of automation. Flint, thumbs up on that. I use the same tool that Flint talked about, Octopus CRM, but I do it a little bit differently. We do pull lists of profiles but I’m very specific like, “Real Estate Investors Georgia. Note Investors Texas.” I’ll pull a list of people who have used their IRA to buy a deal that I can pull off the county records. I’ll then have my VA go out and find those people’s profiles. We’ll put it in a list and then upload that list.
I sent the message. I can merge it so it sounds much more personal. It’s not a pitch like, “I see that you’re an investor in Georgia. Are you looking for more deals for your IRA? I’d love to talk about it. Here’s a video on a case study we did there,” or something similar. It’s not pitchy. I’ve used it for booking podcast appointments for myself. I say, “I see that you have a real estate podcast. I would love to talk with you. I’ve got a great audience. I might be able to help your show this way. Check out the video with my two-minute pitch of Scott as a guest,” and stuff like that.
I try to take it away from that very AI-driven pitch to make it much more personable and add a little humor and myself to it as well. When you see people clicking on you, if you share some of that personal side as well, I like to make sure if I’m doing this automation that I’m sharing something a little bit different. A show episode or even posting on the weekends is what a lot of people don’t do and I get a huge engagement on Saturday and Sunday on there with either a photo, a short video, or something that I’m doing fun to add a little bit difference on the business side of LinkedIn.
It seems like we’re about 50/50 on the automation. David, you already highlighted it. It is against the terms of service. There’s another tool called Linked Helper. Octopus is very popular. They’re done in a way that it’s supposed to not seem to the app that it’s automated but you do run the risk of the app saying, “This looks automated.” As David said, you could lose your account. All of us see the value of our accounts.
This isn’t to say do or don’t do automation. Just be aware of what you are risking if you do that way but the point of the automation and it sounds like Scott, you’re doing it the same way that Flint is doing it, is to build your connections. It’s a way to reach out to people and say, “I see that you’re doing something here and I may be able to help or maybe there’s some connection here. Let’s connect.” Can we talk about the value of building those connections and why we’re trying to build our networks the way we are? Let’s start with Flint because I want to get you involved here.
I want to hit back quickly on automation. LinkedIn is watching, as long as you don’t abuse the amount of automation. LinkedIn is looking for 200 actions in a day. I’ve made LinkedIn think that I was automation because I worked super hard one day. I was like, “No, I did that.” It’s a number of actions. That’s why I only send out 35 connection requests a day. I got a bad boy message after two months of doing this. I’ll dial it back. I’ll do 30 a day and I won’t trigger those.
An interaction is commenting on someone’s post or requesting a connection. Anytime you hit enter, that’s considered an interaction.
If you start opening up a whole bunch of LinkedIn windows or tabs, it will trigger it faster and that’s where I got in trouble. I opened up a bunch of tabs.
The value of building those connections, why would you want to build your network automated or manually? What’s the value there?
David pointed out that the bigger your network, the more reach you have. That’s not only the first connection. That’s the second connection that starts to see it. You get people commenting. It’ll go off and ping their network. It’s quality over quantity but at some point, you can find a lot more quality if your network is bigger.
If you only know ten people, you’re not going to have much reach even if they’re high quality. You need more. There’s a balance there. I would love to have 100,000 followers because I could have 2,000 super quality leads and that would be epic for me and a lot of people. It’s balancing and building those quality relationships but getting as much visibility as possible.
That sums it up for most folks. It’s about being able to reach your target demo and typically, your target demo also has people in their network that’s also in your target demo. As soon as you have that first-degree connection, their connections and their connections’ connections start seeing your content. The value of building your network is that you get more reach and whatever you’re reaching your network for, whether that be for leads or landing podcast opportunities, all of that can come from that. Is anyone here using Sales Navigator?
No, but I want to go to something that Flint mentioned before we go to another tool. That’s an important point that people shouldn’t get wrapped up in though. You see some people on LinkedIn and their numbers are big. They probably have a ton of connections who will never be a qualified lead because they connected with any old folk who sent them something on the internet.
You have to be discerning about if you only have so many invites to give to the party, who are you going to invite to sit around the dinner table? Even then, if you only have so much food to feed those mouths because your kitchen is only yay big, are those qualified leads going to go anywhere in your funnel anyway? From a business strategy perspective, it’s to me much for a tool for intentionality of how am I connecting with the appropriate leads to get them into the appropriate stages or just building awareness.
If I’m simply building awareness and getting people into my pipeline, that’s one set of actions but if I’m working a qualified pipeline and making sure that I’m moving them from one part of the funnel to another, I’m not going to want 200,000 people in there. My backend is there. You can see it. I’m a solopreneur. There’s no automation back there behind the door either. What you see is what you get. I can only process so much work. That to me means being more intentional about the connections that I have on any platform.
That comes back to making sure that you’ve got some type of content strategy. It was Flint and correct me if I’m wrong. Did you do the McDonald’s versus Burger King post before?
That was a long time ago. That’s my only post that went viral and it was worthless. I put out a poll of McDonald’s versus Burger King. That was in my early days to see what works. LinkedIn took it viral. It went around the world. I got probably 200,000 views and hundreds of comments. India picked up on it and that’s when it went viral. I was like, “That doesn’t help me at all”. Going back to intentionality, you have to focus on quality.
David, would you have anything to add here because you’re the one who brought up the point of reaching those second and third-degree connections? I’d love to hear from you.
I’m curious to know what everyone else thinks about these paid accounts because every time I go and look at it and consider whether it’s worthwhile for my use to have those paid upgraded accounts, I honestly don’t see what the benefit is. Do any of you guys have an upgraded account?
I’ve used it on the note investing side getting up the higher food chain to a bank president and CEO when we can’t get a first-level degree connection. That’s come in handy and we don’t run it yearlong. We may run it for a month and then drop it off. We run it for another month and drop it off to do that but that’s been the biggest advantage of that.
Another thing is to go find where that individual’s at or any groups they’re in and then you can connect with those individuals a lot easier but a lot of those higher-ups aren’t spending a lot of time in groups. They aren’t spending a lot of time digesting a lot of content on there but they are on there because it’s the platform. We need to take it to an upper-level connection and we’re not getting anywhere with our current asset manager that we’re talking with. I can’t get inroads into somebody at that bank or hedge fund we’re trying to buy from.
For those who may not be aware, when we’re talking paid accounts, there’s an add-on tool that you can add to LinkedIn. I would say for this audience, the most popular would be Sales Navigator. Sales Navigator allows you to do more filtered searches. LinkedIn has a wealth of data like all these social media platforms on all of us. It can drill down to finding a bank manager in this city to go very granular.
Buying access to these tools like the Sales Navigator gives you access to that data so then you can start drilling down. If you’re trying to connect with certain people in certain roles, this gives you a way to find them and aggregate them a little bit quicker than if you were to try to use the groups and the other tools that are available on LinkedIn proper. It sounds like Scott, you do use it a bit. I’ve used it. It gives you that chance to get a little bit more granular faster and I’m a data guy. I was curious.
I don’t know if it was worth it for me. Scott, you have the best approach where it’s like, “Do it for a month and then cancel it, and if you need to do it again as supposed to buy a year of membership or what have you.” That’s a good approach. Flint, I saw you shaking your head. Are you using Sales Navigator or any of that?
Scott and I are of the same opinion. For anyone new, follow Mandy McEwen. She’s a LinkedIn marketing specialist. She’s also very good. She gives you lots of good tips but she has an affiliate link. You can get three months free of Sales Navigator if you find her affiliate link. I did that and then I shut it off but at least, I had three months to practice and see what it could do for me.
I’m using Octopus so I turned it on for one month. I downloaded a whole bunch of lists. The biggest thing about Sales Navigator is you can refine it down to how frequently people use LinkedIn. There are people who will dial in once a month or once every six months. They’re probably not the person you’re targeting because you’re never going to be on it. You get the list and you can dial it into that. The most valuable is you find the people that are active.
You’re capping at 2,500 invites at any given time. We’ve sent invites to people sitting around. One thing I like about the automation tool too is I can mass cancel invites, all of them at once or half of them at once. If a list gets beyond a month and they haven’t connected with me, I go ahead and remove them so I’m not holding any of those invites up for more valuable people. I want to throw that out there.
For clarification, you’re only allowed so many invites into your network and if those invites are outstanding, it doesn’t reset your number of invites until the following week. If you cancel invites, then you get to restart using those invites again. Be aware. If you’re doing a lot of invites, manage it. Be careful with the number of interactions. If you’re a high user, you could be seen as a bot so be aware of that.
Let’s go over the pro account also because that is the other type of paid account that people readily see on the platform advertised as soon as you get on. There are monthly trials for that. When I did the monthly trial, the only advantage versus the Sales Navigator was that you could do more manual searches so you’re not aggregating a bunch of data if I’m looking for podcast guests without the pro account search. Much a day or a week, they unlock more options for you to get more searches in. It’s all like, “What are you using the platform for? What is your purpose?” Whatever one you want to pay for, if you’re going to pay it has to serve your purpose.
Thank you for that, Wendie. I’ve not used the pro account so I don’t have much to speak on it. I’m glad that you brought it up because you’re right. That is one that most people see. We did talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly at the beginning but what are some frustrations that the four of you are having with LinkedIn and its platform? I’m not saying I could get this to the LinkedIn engineers but if I can, I will. Scott, I see you laughing there so let me hear from you.
It’s exactly what Wendie mentioned in her newsletter. I find it frustrating that they wouldn’t want you to connect at least to those who are subscribed to your newsletter. They’re already listening to you and getting an email from you. I do like the fact that it does push an email into their inbox, which is nice. I’ve started inserting some links into my newsletter to get them to subscribe outside of LinkedIn to mainly grab that stuff.
It’s the same thing. It’s putting a subscribe link to our YouTube channel to drive YouTube subscribers as well. It is very easy to add a sub-confirmation link to your YouTube channel or stuff like that. They’ve been slow to the page and it’s always aggravating. Nothing was more obvious than when COVID kicked in and they dragged out LinkedIn Live. I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason to how they roll a lot of their features out too.
A few years back, I called it the Thanksgiving Day Massacre where if you downloaded your list of contacts, he could have your first name, last name, and email address. They changed that on Thanksgiving when nobody saw it. Now, you have to have the creator mode on if you’re going to do a contact download that they have any type of email campaign and stuff like that.
I’m not saying use it to build a newsletter list and spam them. I’m simply saying it with one of the things. It’s always tricky. I posted a post similar to Flint. “Who loves Brussels sprouts?” It did pretty well. It didn’t get to 200,000 viral like Burger King and McDonald’s but the biggest thing is the spam aspect of it. I wish people would invest a little bit more in that initial reach-out. “We’re connected here. I’d love to talk. Let’s schedule a call.” Versus that straight-up connection, let’s go straight to trying to slam a sale down here. That’s the most frustrating thing.
What about you, David?
I sometimes do events and they introduced an event feature a few years ago, which is great because you can integrate it with Eventbrite if you’re going to do an actual live event and people need tickets. My one wish, if Santa Claus was here, would be if we could somehow do some notification to all the people in a certain city to say, “This event is in your city. Here’s a heads up.”
I understand how that might be abused if people could do mass messaging but if you could do a post or an article that got pushed through the people who met filtered criteria like everyone in a certain city or state, that would be golden because it would help people that have a lot of followers and connections if they were going to do a Live thing or they were going to be in a certain city and they wanted to let their connections in that geography know they might want to come out.
There are two things. One is the repost function. For some reason, LinkedIn does not like its function. They have it there. If someone wants to repost your content because they love it and they want to share it with their network, LinkedIn doesn’t push it when someone reposts. It never goes anywhere. If you want to share someone’s content, don’t repost. Copy the link to their post. Do a clean fresh post and put your comment. “This person did cool things.” Leave a link within your post. That is the only way.
For some reason, LinkedIn created something they don’t like. The second thing is external links if you want to do external links to an article that has great information. If you put that link in there, it automatically populates and gives you a cool picture of the article. LinkedIn scales back on how far that goes. Everyone takes the link and says, “Look at the link in the comments.” We’ve all hacked it. LinkedIn should grow up and allow us to put a link in the post so that it’s nice and clean. Yes, they’re going to lose people to another site but we all hacked it.
I’ve talked to a content creator person at LinkedIn, and I know Flint, that you’ve experienced it. Her statement was, “We don’t dissuade people from putting links in their content and negatively affect those posts.” The algorithms are not supposed to but it’s the ratio of blue text to black text. Blue text is any link outside or any hashtag.
They said, “If the ratio is a certain way and it’s probably mostly black text to blue text, it shouldn’t affect it.” A lot of people have been putting the links in the comments and she said it won’t make a difference if you put it there or not. I can’t say it does. I’m not there and I don’t work for LinkedIn. I’ve got no affiliation with LinkedIn so I don’t know how true that is but that’s what I heard from someone at LinkedIn. Maybe they figure that one out. I don’t know. I can’t say.
The algorithms are always changing and we’re trying to keep up. Maybe that’s new.
Wendie, what are any LinkedIn pet peeves of yours?
I am on the comment. It can’t even be the first comment. It has to be the second comment. You have to have a buddy to comment first so then you can reply to the comment with your actual link. I don’t know that I’m doing the right thing anyway but it’s okay. One of the things I would change is the inbox. That thing is so messy. I shouldn’t have to pay you for you to allow me to sort things. Give me a folder option or some organized way of like, “Friend messages, business leads, or stuff I don’t need.” Something in the inbox drives me crazy.
I feel like if you want that to be a bonus feature, it can’t be the only thing. It’s like an organized inbox. Somebody needs a lot more than that. I also think about the generic posts and how they get pushed out. It’s wonky. Some things go far. Some things don’t. I can’t ever figure that out. Sometimes polls work well. Sometimes they don’t. To me, it’s about being authentically what you like to create and being you. Whatever’s going to happen on LinkedIn, it’s almost like it’s going to happen to you.
There are people who are like, “You can hack it and do this. You can be intentional.” The one thing that I have seen work is the engagement thing. You are putting your face and somebody else’s comments. They are commenting, liking, and doing that over and over again. It does get seen. There has to be some way to reconcile that whole thing. It’s time-consuming to do that. I know they want you to build community and that’s the purpose of it.
I’m like, “Am I doing it because I want to make these genuine connections or am I doing it because I want you to see my face on somebody else’s comment?” It doesn’t even get to the authenticity of the connection on the platform. It’s that people are doing it as a practice to be seen. I don’t like that the business helped the platform in what it’s trying to do to build community. I’m going nuts.
I’ve noticed this too. I’m going to go around the table in a moment to close out and give your pro tip on why you like LinkedIn and something that you want a new person on LinkedIn to take away. I’m going to start with this. The reason I like LinkedIn and why I gravitate to it is that you have a text-based option. As a writer, I appreciate that. I can do more videos and images but I like text. I like writing in long form. I don’t feel like, or at least not yet, that I’ve been punished on LinkedIn for writing that type of content.
I like the fact that I could do that. It’s simple for me and it’s received. I can’t do that on Instagram. I don’t care how much I write on Instagram. People are looking at that picture and swiping. They don’t care. On LinkedIn, I’ve seen it. People read the post that I write and they’ll comment on the post that I write. We could start a relationship. We can build that relationship, which is why I like LinkedIn.
If I was going to give my pro tip, it’s exactly what you were saying, Wendie. Find the content that you like to build on the platform. If you want to use the platform, stick with it. They’ll say to try this or that but find something that you like and stick with it. With LinkedIn like all other platforms, it’s the consistency. As we can see from all of you here, the reason you’ve been doing so well on LinkedIn is because you’ve been so consistent with it. If you can find a format that works for you and you can do it consistently, it will pay off on LinkedIn. I’m going to do a round table to close out with a pro tip on what you want someone new to LinkedIn to do and I’ll start with David.
The reason I like LinkedIn is because it’s a business platform for business people who are thinking business stuff and are talking the talk of business. If you serve other business people, investors, or any other professional or sophisticated person, that’s the platform you need to be on. It’s not a place for silly cat videos and a lot of other stuff that clogs up a lot of other social media platforms.
Quite honestly, I will get solicited on my personal Facebook page by people who are trying to do business. I even replied to some of those people saying, “Why are you sending me this message on Facebook? If you’re trying to do business with me, you should be connecting with me on LinkedIn.” In my opinion, Facebook is where I put my family pictures and vacation stuff. That’s not the place for business and LinkedIn, specifically. My big tip would be to keep it business-oriented. Don’t go on there and try to do any of the engagement strategies that you see on these other platforms and think that it’s going to help you in that crowd on LinkedIn.
There are 950 million users on LinkedIn. I was reading a stat here because I wanted to make sure I was right. 16.2% of users log in daily to LinkedIn while a huge amount are monthly users. Be consistent, post on a regular basis, and keep it professional. We don’t need to see the old glamor shot videos, your banana hammock, or bikini photos and stuff on there. You might get some engagement but that might not be the right engagement for you.
There’s no better platform to reach the right type of clients and folks to look for. I’m always amazed when I talk to content creators on podcasts who are like, “I don’t want to be on LinkedIn.” I’m like, “You were hamstringing your success and growth potential. You are delaying success immensely.” Get out there, see what people are doing, and mix it up for what works better for your audience. Decision-makers and folks with investment capital, the high ends are on LinkedIn and Twitter. They’re more on LinkedIn than ever before on a regular basis.
Wendie, pro tips?
Let me counter and say, “Put your bikini photo up if you want.” I am dead serious because you don’t know whose niche you’re talking about. If your niche includes bikinis, put that bikini on. You are all over LinkedIn so you will sell it. I put wellness posts up because I do wellness things. Me walking in the forest is related to the content that I need to be creating. You’re going to see it on LinkedIn but you have to know your audience.
It’s important to think that your connections are not just your connections. They are also your audience. Know how you’re connecting with them and what your intent is. The big pro tip though with the weekly newsletter was what got us to 10,000. Every week, we’re pumping out newsletters. People enjoy the consistency. If you can be consistent and you can commit to whatever it is you’re creating on the platform, then deliver it up because people will look at it.
You said pumping it out but I want to make sure people recognize that that is a quality piece of content and very intentional. It’s not only about making sure you hit publish.
It’s not an AI blog post that you got on ChatGPT. It’s a quality post on a regular basis.
Flint, any pro tips that you want to share with the audience?
We did talk about business pages. I view my business page as something that I forget. It gathers dust. It’s there. At the heart of things, even if it’s a B2B business, it’s person-to-person. You post add value and talk about business but in there, people also want to connect with a human. You have to put human stuff in there. I often post something about me and my family. You can correlate it to business. I did a post where my son thought it would be great if the Boy Scouts sold tacos rather than popcorn. It’s an entrepreneurial post with a picture of my kid. Those are things that people want to eat up and then it shows a little bit more like, “I’m human. I have a family. I’m like you.”
Thank you, all, for that. I’m going to finish off with you pointing out that you need to use LinkedIn to make those connections. That is the beauty. Both the joy and frustration of LinkedIn are that we’re using it to connect with people on an intimate level. I haven’t seen it on any of the other platforms. I wanted to thank all of you for being so open and honest in sharing your experience with our guests. I want to thank you, especially, Scott for organizing this and getting this going. Thank you all for contributing. This was great.
Thanks for having us.
It’s my pleasure. Until next time
- Your Kids, Their Money
- The Richest Person in Babylon
- The Richest Man In Babylon
- Wendie Veloz
- David Barnett
- Flint Jam
- America’s SuperMom – LinkedIn
- Wendie Veloz – LinkedIn
- Linked Helper
- Sales Navigator
- Mandy McEwen – LinkedIn
About Clifton Corbin
Cllifton is a dynamic and driven financial literacy advocate with a passion for empowering children, young adults, and parents with the essential tools to secure their financial futures. As a successful author, his first book, Your Kids, Their Money: A Parent’s Guide To Raising Financially Literate Children, has been a game-changer for many families, providing them with the practical skills and resources to navigate the complex world of personal finance. His second book is a modern adaptation of the timeless classic, The Richest Man In Babylon. I breathed new life into this masterpiece, making it accessible and relevant to a 21st-century audience.
About David Barnett
David work’s with people to help them prepare and sell their businesses privately or buy a business privately or via a business broker. I coach clients through this complex process and do the tasks that they cannot do for themselves. I determine the values of machinery, equipment and businesses for buyers, sellers and bankers. He helps you learn through books, videos, podcasts and live presentations about business and the processes connected to buying, selling, organizing, and financing them.
Specialties: business buy/sell, mergers and acquisition, certified machinery & equipment appraisals, business valuation, deal making, arranging financing, capital structures, company analysis, engaging presentations, small business systematization, the sale of small business seller-financing notes.
About Wendie Veloz
Wendie is the founder of Wendie Veloz Enterprises- a boutique social impact consulting firm. She also founded Wellness Grind, an online community that helps people identify their wellness needs and define their unique wellness recipe. She has over 15 years of experience in Public Health and prevention working with individuals and local, state, and federal government agencies. Wendie is a motivated, high performing public health professional with experience in international social work, public policy, program monitoring and evaluation, community outreach, health promotion, education, research and analysis.
About Flint Jamison
Flint Jamison helps engineers earn passive income through commercial real estate investing. Flint spent 20 years in aerospace as an engineer and program manager. The most recognizable part of his career is designing the wing structure on the Boeing 787. He finished out his career managing a $120 million program modifying aircraft for the military.
As a former engineering leader who has endured a great deal of burnout, Flint started building a new financial future for his family by purchasing cash-flowing real estate in 2018. After his first duplex, he quickly pivoted to commercial real estate, where he found the most efficient path to financial freedom. This allowed Flint to reclaim his time and quit his day job. He now lives his life by design, choosing to work when he wants and spending time with his young kids, where it matters most.
Flint founded Vestus Capital to help educate other engineering leaders on how they can grow and protect their wealth by passively investing in commercial real estate. Flint’s investors have broken free from the Wall Street rollercoaster and found financial peace of mind through real estate investing.
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