How to boost your numbers on LinkedIn

So you’ve heard that this new fangled social media lark is the place to be. Myspace is where it’s at. Bebo is amazing. Not Habbo Hotel though. That ones just for kids.

Seriously though, each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses and its own audiences.

I’m not likely to find my clients on TikTok, and to be honest, they’re probably not on Pinterest or Instagram either.

So the very first step is to figure out who your audience is and where they hang out, so you concentrate your efforts on the place that will make the most impact.

For me, that used to be Twitter (and I’ve been on Twitter for twelve years now and I love it a lot). But Twitter has changed and now it looks like my audience is on LinkedIn.

I never liked LinkedIn.

I found it stuffy and boring.

But these things are what you make it.

And I’m going to make it work for me.

The strategy I’m using was taught to me by a LinkedIn expert (hi Claire) and then I’ve added bits to it I’ve learnt from others (John Espirian and the amazing Janine Coombes). It takes me about half an hour per day and in three weeks, I’ve gone from about 300 profile views to around 450.

First thing you need to do – make sure your profile page actually sells your services. Make it a sales page. I use a simple copywriting formula called “Pain/Dream/Fix” – what problem does my audience have, how do they wish things were and how do they get from problem to solution? Then end on a call to action – download my free stuff, visit my webpage, message me – choose one.

Then change your headline. When you comment on someone else’s post, the first five words are what people will see – so make sure they grab your target’s attention.

I then have a daily routine (weekdays only):

  • I send out ten connection requests to my ideal audience. No personalised message, just a request.
  • I do at least one post per day – a question, about my mission and values, a video post, a general post and then another question. Two of these should include a call to action at the end.
  • I update my statistics every day.
  • I comment on at least three other people’s posts every day – and the comment needs to be a full sentence of at least five words.
  • Every now and then I like or comment on my own post – this is because people are often reticent to be the first to interact
  • Every now and then I tag myself at the bottom of my own post – this makes it easier for people to get through to my profile
  • At the weekend, I post a quote from a client – but I do it as an image.

About the posts I do

  • Nearly all of them are text posts. These seem to do best in terms of reach.
  • Occasionally I use image posts, but only sparingly.
  • When I do a video post, I always upload the video to LinkedIn directly – never link out to Youtube or somewhere else.
  • In fact – never include a link in a post at all – because LinkedIn wants you to stay on their site, not go elsewhere. If you do want to link somewhere else, write your post, submit it, then go back and edit it to include the link. That way LinkedIn’s algorithm gets fooled and promotes your post as if it didn’t have a link in it.
  • I’ve stopped using automation tools (Buffer, Hootsuite, SmarterQueue) as LinkedIn seems to downgrade those posts so they don’t get seen.

I’ve also switched my profile to “follow first” – there is an option in settings somewhere that replaces the “connect” button on your profile page with a “follow” button. People can still connect, but it’s now hidden away on a menu. I don’t know if this makes a difference or not yet, but the idea is “following” is less of a commitment than “connecting” so more people will follow me and it should share my posts further.

Once a month I clear out old connection requests so I don’t have a huge queue of unanswered ones sat there.

When I’m tracking statistics, I have a spreadsheet with the following columns:

  • Post (the first few words, so I can identify it easily)
  • Type (text, image, video, share)
  • Date posted
  • URL (I keep the link to the post just so I can find it again easily – I’ve never actually needed it though)
  • Review on (seven days after it was posted)
  • Views
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Profile views
  • Searches
  • Connections
  • Followers

Each day I fill out my profile views, searches, connections and followers.

Then I look at any posts that are due for review (that is, ones I posted seven days before) and fill out the stats for those.

What I’ve found so far – my profile views, searches, connections and followers are steadily increasing. And pure text question posts get the highest levels of engagement. I’ve also noticed that if you have a badly performing post, the one after it also tends to do badly, and vice versa. So you need to guard any reputation you build up with the algorithm and work it.

That’s what I’ve been doing – it seems to be working so far – but I’ll keep you updated.

How about you?

FEBRUARY UPDATE TO THIS POST: If people comment or like your post – especially within the first hour or so – make sure you respond. That grows the engagement and then LinkedIn seems to promote it further

PS: And if you want to say hi, my LinkedIn profile is here.

Working alone: how to combat the isolation

There are a lot of benefits to working alone. 

Nobody telling you what to do. 

Nobody holding you up with their incompetence.

And nobody distracting you with office gossip or personal dramas. 

Working alone is great. 

Or is it? 

Running a business can be a lonely place, and it helps to have someone to bounce an idea off, discuss a problem with or get advice from when we need to make an important decision. Even the most anti-social of us can find ourselves missing human company from time to time.

So, if your only conversations in the last week were with Alexa, your cat or the guy that called about mis-sold PPI, then it’s time to get out and mingle.

Attend networking events

Networking is a great way to meet people and build connections. There are loads of events on offer – each with different formats and different people. 

Referral based networking groups are good for building long term relationships and getting more business. 

Peer-to-peer boards tend to be smaller and are beneficial if you have specific obstacles you need help overcoming. 

Industry meet-ups are good if you want to stay up to date and share advice with people in your field.

And, if you really can’t bear the idea of formal networking, then attending an exhibition might be a less daunting option.

Attend a few different events to find the ones that work for you. Even if you’ve had a bad experience of networking, give it another go. Think of it like eating out – just because you’ve had a bad meal at one restaurant doesn’t mean you’ll never try another one.

Work in a public place

Co-working spaces are brilliant for business owners and freelancers who work alone. Not only are they far cheaper than an individual office space, you also get to network with the people you share the space with. 

If co-working feels like to much of a commitment, try working out of a coffee shop, bar, library or even the train station once or twice a week. You get the feeling of being around people all day, but interactions can be kept to a minimum. 

Get training or coaching

Personal development is essential if you want to succeed in business. Look for training courses in your area. Not only will you learn a new skill or build your expertise, it’s also a great opportunity to make some new connections. 

If you want someone to help you get your business to the next stage, a business mentor or coach is hugely beneficial. They will be there to bounce ideas off, hold you accountable and help you reach your potential. Different coaches and mentors have different personalities and styles, so find someone who feels like the right fit for you. 

Need some help?

When I first started out, networking was a scary prospect. Now I regularly attend networking events and training courses. I have also worked with various coaches at different stages of my career and have taken advantage of co-working spaces. 

If you’d like to take control of your time, escape the constant firefighting and build a business that works for you, the easy way to get started is to build a 12 Week Plan. My free planner shows you exactly what you need to do.

Download your free planner now

A confession

You probably subscribe and listen to a load of people who have job titles like “Consultant”, “Coach”, “Expert” and “Maven1“. These are people who are constantly posting in-car videos on LinkedIn, giving out advice, releasing podcasts and writing blogs. They’re obviously amazing at their jobs – why wouldn’t you want to hand over thousands of pounds in cash to them? Don’t you want that fantastic life too?

  • You can tell their lives are fantastic because they’ve sorted out their own work-life balance2.
  • You can tell their lives are fantastic because they then went on to save the lives of at least three of their clients3.
  • You can tell their lives are fantastic because their profits are going through the roof, and they’re recording that in-car video in a Lambo.
  • You can tell their lives are fantastic because they spend three months of the year hiking through the rainforest. For fun4!
  • You can tell their lives are fantastic because their team never makes a mistake and is always happy and smiling.

I’m not like that.

  • I’ve worked for myself since 2007, because I thought my boss was making a mistake and should have been listening to me. Eleven years later and the jury’s still out on whether I was right5.
  • I am very very good at what i do – especially when it comes to sorting out problems for my clients – but I’ve not really managed to sort myself out and have been winging it ever since.
  • I was really really lucky at the start, so I didn’t have to learn about how to run a business for years – no sales, no marketing and as for finance, well…
  • I then started a company with friends and we got a load of money from investors, which we spent very quickly. And that’s when things started to go really wrong.
  • I was sick of working alone, so I hired a team on the cheap6.
  • They didn’t do a great job as I didn’t know how to get them to do what I wanted7.
  • I spent all my money on these people working with me – they were cheap but took ages to get things done.
  • I was using up my evenings and weekends fixing mistakes8.

All of which meant I was ready to jack it all in.

Several times.

So this is the bit where I turn in to one of those amazing perfect consultant types.

Because I sat myself down, gave myself a good talking to and …

  • spent a load of time and effort learning about sales
  • went out networking even though I found it really uncomfortable at first
  • I read that to do sales, you need a CRM system9. So I tried out 11 different ones and eventually found one that I liked
  • I suddenly realised that I had my sales process all wrong

The sales process that I had built for myself, that I implemented in my CRM, was based around the idea of promoting myself to people. This is what I do, I’m really good at it, it will save you time and money if you hire me. Please hire me.

Then I realised that actually, the clients I worked well with were the ones where we had a relationship. Where we trusted each other. So I switched my process around to look for people I thought I could work with. And it meant I was looking for excuses to say no at every opportunity.

That was when I had another revelation – the CRM isn’t going to help you. Your process has to be right first.

This inspired me to put together a process for my team – a seven stage software development system – and I used expensive project management software to track it all.

But I totally failed to heed the lesson from before. The process didn’t work for me. The software didn’t work for me.

It just meant that I did the work I didn’t like and the team did the work I did like.

The project management software was lovely. I could keep track of my overflowing to-do list and see how late every project was – and it updated in real-time so everything got later and later right in front of my eyes.

Again – my realisation was that the software doesn’t fix things for you. I needed to get the process right before even thinking about software.

So I reset.

Now I’ve got a really small team who work on the things I don’t really like doing and I’ve kept the things I like doing to myself.

I still pay for various bits of software but I’m very careful about how I use them.

And I don’t set myself a ton of deadlines, which make me unhappy as they whizz pass, unfulfilled.

I have to say that I still don’t make very much money – I have a problem with pricing my services which mean I give away a load of valuable work for cheap.

And I still don’t have that much time – I take on too many projects and then get caught up trying to deliver them all.

And, despite all these revelations, I’m still rubbish at saying no. Which is why I have too many projects on.

But this is my story about how I’m working my way out of these things. Unlike those other consultants, those bloggers and vloggers and podcasters, it’s not a picture of a perfect life.

It’s messy and annoying and nowhere near where I want it to be.

Because I’m very good at solving problems for my clients – not so good at it for myself.

So, I’m Baz and that’s what I’m going to be talking about over the next few weeks and months.

If you want to subscribe to the audio so you never ever miss my beautiful voice, just choose your podcast app and click below:

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

  1. I have no idea what that means
  2. if such a thing even exists
  3. they literally wrestled alligators
  4. Of course, they also adopt and save a whole village of brown children at the same time
  5. I was right
  6. Low wages in exchange for lots of training
  7. Don’t get me wrong – all fantastic people and good at what they did – but I was crap at looking after them
  8. and weekdays grovelling to clients
  9. basically a giant address book mixed in with a sales process