Tag: Personal Branding

How I use LinkedIn to Generate 80 Percent of My Business Leads

March 9th, 2017   •   1 comment   

Original photo from Freepik

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network. Unfortunately, it’s also probably the most misunderstood.

With a total network size of 467 million users (Jan 2017), LinkedIn has over 108 million active users per month. About 57 percent of LinkedIn users are male, compared to 44 percent female.

LinkedIn is also the “richest” social network in terms of demographics.

44% of LinkedIn users earn more than US$75,000 a year, and 41 percent of millionaires use LinkedIn. The average CEO has some 930 connections on LinkedIn.

Common Misgivings About LinkedIn

Despite its massive size and business potential, few have used LinkedIn effectively to build their professional networks, generate leads or grow their business.

Here are some of the common reasons I’ve heard from friends and acquaintances explaining why they’ve neglected their LinkedIn accounts:

  1. LinkedIn is only for job seekers looking for jobs
  2. LinkedIn is filled with estate agents, insurance agents, trainers and agencies trying to spam their way into my InBox
  3. LinkedIn is the boring version of Facebook (snigger)
  4. LinkedIn is just an online Rolodex to keep all my contacts handy
  5. LinkedIn is full of wannabes posting gratuitous and ego-inflating content
  6. I don’t have time for LinkedIn!

While some of the above may be true – especially point number 3 – I strongly encourage you not to give up on LinkedIn. As the world’s number one professional social network, it has a lot to offer.

My LinkedIn Credentials

I wouldn’t consider myself a LinkedIn expert by any measure of the word, but I have experienced how powerful this social channel can be in generating business leads, attracting talent, and forming professional partnerships.

Here are some of my “vital statistics” on LinkedIn:

  • 2,913 followers and 2,679 connections
  • 70 articles published
  • Over 40,000 views on my most popular article
  • 18 recommendations received
  • Over 99 endorsements each for Social Media Marketing, Corporate Communications, Public Relations, Marketing Communications, and Media Relations
  • Approximately 80 percent of business leads from LinkedIn (averaging about 2 a month)

And the funniest thing is this – I didn’t pay for advertising nor did I upgrade to a “Pro” account!

So how did I do it?

Connect with Friends, Ex-Colleagues, and Acquaintances

Like some of you, I started my LinkedIn account out of curiosity back in 2006/2007 during its early years.

As a business blogger, I found it interesting to connect with my fellow bloggers, friends on social media, colleagues, and alumni contacts through LinkedIn.

I also realised that it was more efficient for me to reach out to my professional contacts through LinkedIn rather than dig out their name cards to email, call or Whatsapp them.

Over time, I encouraged my business associates to connect with me on LinkedIn. This worked well as LinkedIn is considered less intimate and afforded greater privacy to those who preferred not to mix business with pleasure.

Through LinkedIn, I also found that I could stay in touch with my contacts. I could congratulate them during their work anniversaries or when they found new jobs, and reach out to them if I needed help in a specific area.

Here’s a very small sample of the folks I’m currently connected with on LinkedIn.

Write, Rewrite and Re-rewrite Your Profile

It goes without saying that your profile on LinkedIn is the most important piece of content that you should create.

Everybody who has an inkling of interest in you would check it out:

  • Potential business partners
  • Potential employers
  • Potential employees (yes, talents are particular about who they work for)
  • Potential clients
  • Potential suppliers/ contractors

Thus, it makes a lot of sense to pour your heart, mind and soul into writing a kick-ass profile.

In my case, I paid attention to my headline, used keywords which best described what I’m good at (and why you should work with me), and also included as much of my professional achievements as I could.

Source: Walter’s LinkedIn Profile

Oh, and don’t forget your photograph. Nothing beats a professionally taken photograph to make your LinkedIn profile stand out (or at least not suck).

Get Your Most Important Skills Listed and Endorsed

Have you used the LinkedIn Featured Skills and Endorsements function?

It is a feature where you list down the different skills that you’re good at. Or approve what others have endorsed you for.

Mine looked like this. You can see that my areas of strength are balanced between social media marketing, PR, and marketing communications.

Do these skill endorsements work?

Well, according to LinkedIn, a person whose skills are listed receive 17 times more profile views than those who do not have their skills listed. This would be valuable not only for those looking for a job, but entrepreneurs seeking business partners.

As in anything on social media, the trick here is to both give endorsements and receive them. When doing so, however, it is important to be authentic – ie only endorse the skills of your associates if you’ve seen them in action (either online or in-the-flesh).

Writing LinkedIn Articles – My Best Investment

In March 2014, I experimented with writing articles directly on LinkedIn using the LinkedIn Pulse app (now defunct). Prior to that, I used LinkedIn primarily as a social sharing channel to promote my own blog posts.

(At that time, I was working in a senior Corp Comms position in a government body and only left my job in May 2014.)

That was when things started to move up a few notches for me.

As a blogger, LinkedIn Pulse provided an additional channel for me to promote my thoughts and ideas.

Initially, I wrote anything which inspired or triggered me. It could be on social media, blogging, personal development, or leadership.

Over time, I decided to focus my LinkedIn articles on the hot topics of interest, especially those related to career or HR issues. At the same time, I pivoted my own website Cooler Insights to focus more on social media and content marketing topics.

Here’s my most popular article to date – a piece I wrote to highlight why employers regardless of affiliation should consider hiring public officers.

Source of article

Here’s a snapshot of how well this article did, and who my readers were. It is interesting to see that many of them came from GovTech Singapore and San Francisco!

Of course, not all my articles do that well. Quite a few have less than 500 views.

However, that hadn’t stopped me from writing – and neither should it stop you too.

The Art of LinkedIn Engagement

Now, as an introvert, I don’t particularly enjoy schmoozing at parties or networking in face-to-face events. I can’t really drink, and my hearing has deteriorated over the years.

(Having said that, I’m far from socially awkward as those who met me in the flesh would attest to.)

Fortunately, schmoozing on LinkedIn is a different thing altogether.

As a geek and a nerd, I like to read what my connections on LinkedIn are sharing – especially if they are thought leaders and influencers in specific fields. I can also chip in with my two cents worth of comments, and stay in touch with occasional messages.

Typically, this is what I do.

Daily

  • Read through my LinkedIn feeds, like a couple of posts and updates, and comment on one or two
  • Share an article on LinkedIn
  • Congratulate friends/connections who were promoted, got a new job, or celebrated a job anniversary

Weekly/ Fortnightly

  • Write an article or draft one
  • Schedule my LinkedIn posts for the week
  • Reach out to like-minded influencers and connect with them
  • Visit some of the Groups which I’m a member of, and read the more interesting posts

More in My 3rd LinkedIn Personal Branding Workshop

What I’ve shared above is just the tip of the ice-berg.

Together with my buddy and Super Brand Me founder Eugene Seah, I’ll be conducting my 3rd LinkedIn Personal Branding workshop on 21 March (Friday) evening.

During the three hour session, I’ll equip you with in-depth insights and learning materials so that you can achieve the following outcomes:

  • Define your personal brand on LinkedIn
  • Create a rock solid LinkedIn profile
  • Write engaging LinkedIn articles to build thought leadership
  • Incorporate LinkedIn into your lifestyle
  • And much more…

Early bird tickets ($98) are flying fast – I hear from Eugene that we already have 17 places confirmed! Thus, do hurry and sign up here to confirm your place.

I guarantee that it’ll be a fun, engaging and enriching night, with lots of valuable tips and tricks that you can use to accelerate your LinkedIn marketing efforts.


How You Can Rock a Gig Economy

September 6th, 2016   •   no comments   

ready-to-rock-the-gig-economy

The good old days of double digit economic growth and abundant choice jobs are over.

We are now entering an unusual stage in the global economy characterised by slow growth and painful economic restructuring.
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10 Habits to Power Your Life

February 28th, 2016   •   no comments   

10 Empowering Life Habits.jpg

Have you wondered how some people lead such joyful and fulfilled lives? What is the secret sauce behind their success?

After studying the behaviours of numerous successful individuals and reading a tonne of motivational and self-help books, I believe that it all boils down to pursuing empowering habits.
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What multi-millionaire Adam Khoo taught me about leadership

January 26th, 2016   •   1 comment   

Adam Khoo Talk 1

Have you heard of Adam Khoo? I’m sure you would if you are a parent or an entrepreneur!

Co-founder of Adam Khoo Learning Technologies – one of the largest training and educational outfits here in Singapore – Adam Khoo was famous for becoming Singapore’s youngest self-made millionaire at the age of 26. Together with his partners, Adam runs several businesses in education, training, learning centres, pre-school education, fund management and advertising, yielding a combined annual turnover of $50 million.

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5 Ps of building your own rock star brand

November 2nd, 2015   •   no comments   

Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury of Queen (Courtesy of Queen Photos)

Larger than life, rock stars like Jon Bon Jovi, Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen have captured the hearts of millions worldwide. On and off stage, their passion for their craft has led them to become legends in entertainment.

What are the success strategies of rock stars? How do they build such powerful personal brands?

Thanks to former radio personality Steve Jones, we now have the answer.

Narrating “rock star secrets to unleash your personal brand and set your career on fire”, Jones’ book Start You Up is part rock music nostalgia and part personal management guide. Boosted by fascinating tales from rock stars themselves, the book drew upon Jones’ deep knowledge and intimate experience of the music industry.

So what are these 5 Ps?

Positioning – discover your brand story

Inspired by Jack Trout and Al Ries classic work, positioning is highly relevant to personal branding. Through positioning, we can define our importance, and craft a personal brand based on discovering, refining and telling our unique story.

Jones also advises us to work super hard, learn while on the job, pay attention to the details and focus on the one thing which differentiates us.

The most memorable story highlighting the importance of details centred around the popular 80s rock band Van Halen.

In their rider (contract) with concert organisers, Van Halen always included a simple clause. It stipulated that no brown M&M candies were to be found in the backstage area.

Should a single brown M&M be discovered, lead singer David Lee Roth would throw a temper tantrum. He would literally trash the dressing room. The band could also skip playing in the concert.

Before you think that Van Halen was being thuggish, consider the three reasons behind their odd requirements:

  1. Test that their concert promoter is meticulous and rigorous to a fault.
  2. Provide band with a system of checks and balances to ensure their own safety (Van Halen concerts can be quite physical),
  3. Ensure safety of their fans are not compromised by promoters taking short cuts to save money.

Presentation – communicate your unique brand

To publicise our personal brand, Jones urges us to play up on our “weirdness”. Using the example of Buddy Holly and his unmistakable pair of glasses, we should find a way to define our “rock star visual identity” and seek to “be different or be invisible”.

Making mistakes and taking risks are also par for the course in personal branding.

Here, we are told the story of how Steve Jobs deftly responded to the “Antenna Gate” issue back in 2010. What happened then was that the hidden antenna of the newly launched iPhone 4 wouldn’t work when held in a certain way.

Instead of hiding behind his team, Jobs himself called a press conference. In front of the world, he admitted: “We’re not perfect. Phones are not perfect. We all know that. But we want to make our users happy.”

Despite offering a free return policy, the return rate for iPhone 4 sets actually dropped instead of increase compared to normal periods!

This showed how revealing one’s imperfections and vulnerabilities can endear a company and its leaders to consumers.

Passion – toolkit for personal brand building

Straddling topics like creativity, partnership stress, planning, and gut instinct, passion covers the nuts and bolts of personal brand building.

This section was enriched with “weaknesses to strengths” stories. It included how rock groups like Fleetwood Mac overcame personal adversities like break-ups amongst lovers to create haunting yet beautiful songs.

Some of the lessons covered include the following:

  • Embracing chaos to turn insanity into opportunity
  • Finding harmony by partnering others
  • Treating everybody with respect
  • Diversifying one’s personal brand
  • Creating a unique identity in the shadow of others

The story of Bruce Springsteen and his tour director George Travis best epitomised passion. A crazily hard working performer, Springsteen aka “The Boss” is extremely customer-centric. He made sure that every interaction with his concert goers can touch their hearts.

George Travis also played his part. Working behind the scenes, he ensured that the coffee is hot, the beer is cold, and the food arrives on time. This was on top of the many other things a tour director needed to do.

Purpose – meaning guided by values

In the world of rock stars, few can beat Bob Geldof. Purposeful and mission-driven, the founder of Irish band the Boomtown Rats brought together the biggest names in pop to raise millions of dollars for the Ethiopian famine back in late 1984.

I’m sure all of us born in the 60s and 70s can remember that iconic album “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and the fantastic “Live Aid” concert beamed around the world!

Beyond Geldof’s heroic act, purpose is also about giving to one’s fans. Here, the Grateful Dead’s act of encouraging their fans to record their concerts and spread them around is legendary in building their immense and dedicated following.

To navigate our purpose better, Jones urges us to find a mentor, know when to make a comeback, and quit if we need to.

While “Bat Out of Hell” singer Meat Loaf rose from the ashes of a drug and alcohol fueled life, others like Australian group INXS stayed around way too long. By not knowing when to quit, they literally watched their star slowly fade.

Profits – personal brand to leadership

The last chapter on Profits focused on two areas:

  1. Using one’s obstacles to define oneself; and
  2. Looking at how rock star leaders compare with CEOs.

The story of one-armed Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen was the most memorable in the entire book.

Driving a Corvette to a New Year’s party one day, Allen got into a horrific accident. The severity of the trauma tore off his left arm at the shoulder. Overcoming incredible odds with the support of his team members in Def Leppard, however, Allen made a huge comeback. He turned his obstacle of being a one-armed drummer into a unique personal brand for himself.

On leadership, Jones took a leaf from Jim Collins’ book Good to Great. He described how rock legends like Jon Bon Jovi, George Harrison, Freddie Mercury, and Mick Jagger possessed the traits of “Level 5 leaders”, namely:

  • Possessing humility;
  • Being unafraid to ask for help;
  • Taking personal responsibility for their actions;
  • Developing discipline;
  • Surrounding themselves with the right people; and
  • Leading their teams with passion.

Branding it like Bon Jovi

Packed to the brim with tales from the halls of rock and roll, Start You Up is a fascinating read.

Beyond the heroic and legendary stories of rock stars through the 60s, 70s, and 80s, one is also reminded that the journey to building one’s personal brand is never easy. Often, it is littered with failures, mistakes and screw ups.

While the 5 Ps provide a kind of scaffold for personal branding, I found that the inspirational stories themselves which created the greatest impact. By reading and absorbing them, we can ask ourselves questions such as “What would Bono do?” or “How would Bob Dylan respond to this situation?”

While we may not be as musically talented as these rock stars, we could try to emulate their example. Hopefully, doing so helps us to achieve “Nirvana” in our own personal branding journey.

Start You Up Steve Jones


Have You Googled Your Name Lately?

August 29th, 2015   •   2 comments   

 

have-you-googled-your-name-lately

Everybody is on social media these days.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, YouTube, SnapChat… The list goes on.
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10 Steps to Reinventing You

July 12th, 2015   •   no comments   

10 Steps to Reinventing You by Dorie Clark
Dorie Clark wants to reinvent you (image via HBR Facebook)

You’ve slogged hard for years. Maybe even decades. Somewhere along the way, you lost your mojo.

Maybe work isn’t as fulfilling or meaningful as before. Or you realise that you haven’t made any progress in years.

What should you do under these circumstances?
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NTUC wants to make you a future leader. Here’s how…

June 28th, 2015   •   1 comment   

Future Leadership Summit NTUC

Calling all Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs)! The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) wants to make you a better leader.

Happening 24 July 2015 (Friday) at NTUC Centre from 8 am to 7 pm, the Future Leaders Summit 2015 is the union movement’s effort to cater to the growing numbers of PMEs in its membership.  Through the event, NTUC hopes to equip PMEs with leadership skills designed for the fast moving digital age.
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8 Ways To Grow Your Social Influence

May 25th, 2015   •   2 comments   

Taylor Swift Social Influencer
How would Taylor Swift grow her social influence? (courtesy of Hypable)

Can anybody become a social influencer these days? What are the steps needed to build your personal brand online?

Well, the world isn’t quite the same as before.
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Developing Your Unique Selling Proposition

April 17th, 2015   •   no comments   

Unique photo

Courtesy of Branketing.com

What is your Unique Selling Proposition? How do you create a dent in the Universe?

Many of us are familiar with the concept of the Unique Selling Proposition or USP. According to Entrepreneur magazine, the USP is defined as…

The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.
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