Decision Vision Episode 175: Should I Overhaul My LinkedIn Profile? – An Interview with Angela Dunz, Cowgirl Creative Consulting
Angela Dunz of Cowgirl Creative Consulting says that even though LinkedIn is the smallest social platform, 72% of the time it’s the place a potential client will contact you. Given the efficacy of the platform, is it worth the work to overhaul your profile? Angela and host Mike Blake look at the effectiveness of LinkedIn, how to know if it is working for you, how to make the most of it, and much more.
Cowgirl Creative Consulting
Cowgirl Creative Coaching is inspired by the spirit of adventure and grit that both cowgirls and entrepreneurs have.
It takes speed and agility to get your ideas to market.
Safety and success for horses is in the herd. More eyes, more wisdom. Small business is the same. Together we thrive and create rich communities of collaboration and innovation. Small business is the backbone of what carries great communities. Cowgirl Creative has the grit and spirit to shift quickly in response to changing needs and conditions. They have the boots on the ground ability to address short-term situations. And, the vision and creativity to shape the future. They help their clients see beyond what they think is possible.
Angela works with coaches, consultants, and small businesses building a personal brand and business development using LinkedIn. What does that mean? Establishing a strong brand, building your networks, expanding your influence, increasing opportunities, strengthening referral partnerships, and discovering new ways to reach your ideal audience with connection and content strategies that get results. Her personal mission is to change the awkwardness of “self-promotion” to an act of service.
Angela Dunz, Owner, Cowgirl Creative Consulting
Angela works with coaches, consultants, and small businesses, building a personal brand and business development using LinkedIn. What does that mean? Establishing a strong brand, building your networks, expanding your influence, increasing opportunities, strengthening referral partnerships, and discovering new ways to reach your ideal audience with connection and content strategies that get results.
Angela’s personal mission is to change the awkwardness of self-promotion to an act of service. Angela is a former high school rodeo champion. She is a rock climbing guide and a current NFL fan, and she’s a big fan of the Packers.
Mike Blake, Brady Ware & Company
Michael Blake is the host of the Decision Vision podcast series and a Director of Brady Ware & Company. Mike specializes in the valuation of intellectual property-driven firms, such as software firms, aerospace firms, and professional services firms, most frequently in the capacity as a transaction advisor, helping clients obtain great outcomes from complex transaction opportunities. He is also a specialist in the appraisal of intellectual properties as stand-alone assets, such as software, trade secrets, and patents.
Mike has been a full-time business appraiser for 13 years with public accounting firms, boutique business appraisal firms, and an owner of his own firm. Prior to that, he spent 8 years in venture capital and investment banking, including transactions in the U.S., Israel, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.
Brady Ware & Company
Brady Ware & Company is a regional full-service accounting and advisory firm which helps businesses and entrepreneurs make visions a reality. Brady Ware services clients nationally from its offices in Alpharetta, GA; Columbus and Dayton, OH; and Richmond, IN. The firm is growth-minded, committed to the regions in which they operate, and most importantly, they make significant investments in their people and service offerings to meet the changing financial needs of those they are privileged to serve. The firm is dedicated to providing results that make a difference for its clients.
Decision Vision Podcast Series
Decision Vision is a podcast covering topics and issues facing small business owners and connecting them with solutions from leading experts. This series is presented by Brady Ware & Company. If you are a decision-maker for a small business, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure to listen to every Thursday to the Decision Vision podcast.
Connect with Brady Ware & Company:
Intro: [00:00:01] Welcome to Decision Vision, a podcast series focusing on critical business decisions. Brought to you by Brady Ware & Company. Brady Ware is a regional, full-service accounting and advisory firm that helps businesses and entrepreneurs make visions a reality.
Mike Blake: [00:00:21] Welcome to Decision Vision, a podcast giving you, the listener, clear vision to make great decisions. In each episode, we discuss the process of decision making on a different topic from the business owners’ or executives’ perspective. We aren’t necessarily telling you what to do, but we can put you in a position to make an informed decision on your own and understand when you might need help along the way.
Mike Blake: [00:00:44] My name is Mike Blake, and I’m your host for today’s program. I’m the managing partner of Brady Ware Arpeggio, a data-driven management consultancy which brings clarity to owners and managers of unique businesses facing unique strategic decisions. Our parent, Brady Ware & Company, is sponsoring this podcast. Brady Ware is a public accounting firm with offices in Dayton, Ohio; Alpharetta, Georgia; Columbus, Ohio; and Richmond, Indiana.
Mike Blake: [00:01:08] If you would like to engage with me on social media with my Chart of the Day and other content, I’m on LinkedIn as myself and @unblakeable on Facebook, Twitter, Clubhouse, and Instagram. I also host a LinkedIn Group called Unblakeabble’s Group That Doesn’t Suck, so please join that as well if you would like to engage.
Mike Blake: [00:01:25] So, today’s topic is, Should I overhaul my LinkedIn profile? And I’ll be very candid with you listeners. I wasn’t necessarily planning to do this topic. It’s not something that I sort of woke up and said three weeks ago, I got to do this topic. But then, last week I heard our guest speak and I attended her webinar, and I was just blown away by how good it is and how informative it is.
Mike Blake: [00:01:56] I say this in the perspective of somebody who’s been on LinkedIn for quite a long time. I actually generate a lot of business over LinkedIn, thankfully, and develop a lot of important relationships over LinkedIn. And, nevertheless, I thought I was pretty good at this stuff until I heard her speak. And then, I realized, “Oh my God. I’m probably leaving all this business on the table.” And I didn’t want to keep it to myself, frankly. And so, I wanted to bring her on and, thankfully, she agreed to do so.
Mike Blake: [00:02:29] And so, it is my pleasure to introduce Angela Dunz, who’s founder of Cowgirl Creative Consulting. And we’re going to learn why Cowgirl in a second. But they’re inspired by the spirit of adventure and grit that both cowgirls and entrepreneurs have. It takes speed and agility to get your ideas to market. Safety and success for horses is in the herd. More eyes, more wisdom. Small business is the same. Together, they thrive and create rich communities of collaboration and innovation.
Mike Blake: [00:02:59] Small business is the backbone of what carries great communities. They have the grit and spirit to shift quickly in response to changing needs and conditions. They have the boots in the ground ability to address short term situations and the vision and creativity to shape the future. Cowgirl Creative Coaching helps their clients see beyond what they think is possible.
Mike Blake: [00:03:19] Angela works with coaches, consultants, and small businesses, building a personal brand and business development using LinkedIn. What does that mean? Establishing a strong brand, building your networks, expanding your influence, increasing opportunities, strengthening referral partnerships, and discovering new ways to reach your ideal audience with connection and content strategies that get results.
Mike Blake: [00:03:39] Angela’s personal mission is to change the awkwardness of self-promotion to an act of service. Angela is a former high school rodeo champion. We have never had a rodeo champion on this program, and this is podcast number 174. She is a rock climbing guide and a current NFL fan, and she’s a big fan of the Packers – a team that broke my heart as a Patriots fan back in 1996. She is also the author of Conversations with Skunks #LinkedInBadAss, which I just love. LinkedIn Badass, Angela Dunz, welcome to the Decision Vision podcast.
Angela Dunz: [00:04:13] What an intro that was. And thank you so much for the comments about the webinar, Mike. I find that to be true about a lot of people. We don’t know what we don’t know if we don’t stay on top of things.
Mike Blake: [00:04:27] Well, it really was fantastic. Not good. Great. And LinkedIn is now such an important tool. I think the pandemic certainly underlined how important social selling is. And I’m going to use Brandon Lee’s term, he was a guest on our program about 20 weeks back. It’s such an important tool. And it starts with your profile, doesn’t it? I mean, that is sort of your shingle, that is sort of the doorway into the restaurant, so to speak.
Angela Dunz: [00:05:00] Yes. That is where you start to make an impression. So, if somebody Googles your name, the first thing that’s going to come up is your LinkedIn profile. So, often, their very first impression of you is whatever they see on your profile. And you only get five seconds before they decide “Yes. I want to look further” or “No. This isn’t the person.”
Mike Blake: [00:05:24] So, there are, of course, skeptics out there of social media. There are skeptics out there of LinkedIn. Make the case that LinkedIn is so important today.
Angela Dunz: [00:05:39] LinkedIn is the smallest social media platform out there. The smallest.
Mike Blake: [00:05:45] Huh? I didn’t know that.
Angela Dunz: [00:05:47] They are about 15 times smaller than YouTube. If you take all the traffic driven by social media put together, more is driven from LinkedIn, 52 percent of all social traffic to websites comes from LinkedIn, the smallest platform. HubSpot does not even include LinkedIn in their top ten platforms for social media. It’s too small.
Mike Blake: [00:06:17] And so, that enables you to stand out, I guess. And it truly is still fairly business focused, we’re going to get to that a little bit later if we have time. But it still is pretty business focused.
Angela Dunz: [00:06:27] It is. You know, personalization has definitely changed the way we look at professionalism. And communication has changed a lot in the newsfeed. But the reason why driving traffic to your website or a calendar link is so important is because, when we’re on LinkedIn, we have that “I will not be sold to” face on. And so, driving traffic to some place they’re more likely to make a purchasing decision is really what you want LinkedIn to do for you.
Mike Blake: [00:06:59] And I’d like to talk about what LinkedIn can do for me. And I know we’re talking about profiles, but I think we also have to make the case that LinkedIn is an exercise worth doing before we talk about investing in the profile. And I think LinkedIn sort of gets a bad rap, and I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times. I have. I’ve been on LinkedIn for six years. I’ve never gotten a bit of business on it. What have you actually done with it? Nothing. But I’ve never gotten any business, so therefore it’s a waste of time.
Mike Blake: [00:07:30] And I know you coach a lot of clients in this, so what is a realistic set of expectations for what LinkedIn can do as a business development tool? It’s not exactly just sort of set up your profile and then just sort of aggressively wait for the phone to ring or emails to pop-up, right?
Angela Dunz: [00:07:49] Right. Right. And that’s an excellent question. But statistics say that 72 percent of your potential referral partners and prospects look at your LinkedIn profile first. So, number one use is attraction. You want to make sure that you’re getting them to your profile. And once they’re there, your profile is not about you, but it’s client focused. It’s talking about what you can do for that client.
Angela Dunz: [00:08:18] Another thing that LinkedIn can help with is visibility. You know, there’s a lot of traffic in the newsfeed, but are you in the mix providing value and staying top of mind with your referral partners and your prospects?
Angela Dunz: [00:08:34] There’s quite a few things that LinkedIn can do for you. Thought leadership is definitely an entire strategy. And then, using influencers to expand your brand. So, find out who are the movers and shakers in your field, and then go to their posting, and comment and join the conversation. Definite credibility builder.
Mike Blake: [00:09:00] And so, there are so many ways we can go, we can go with this. I want to start with this because I think this is a really important point, that writing the LinkedIn profile from the clients’ or customers’ perspective, extremely important. But in my experience, also deceptively hard to do. And I hope you’re laughing because you agree. Maybe it’s –
Angela Dunz: [00:09:28] Yes.
Intro: [00:09:29] As I’ve tried to do that with my LinkedIn profile and copy in our website, it is painful to do, not because I don’t believe in client centrism, I do, but we’ve all been trained in sort of an egocentric method of, “Not here’s what you need, but here’s what I am. Do you want some?” Writing in that way from the second person – we’re not even trained in school to think about second person perspective. It’s first or third – it’s really hard. It’s a challenge to write in that client perspective, isn’t it?
Angela Dunz: [00:10:03] Yes, it is. And, you know, I’m an introvert and I’ve been a marketer forever. And I’m of the school of thought that you should never be allowed to write your own copy. Because sometimes we’re so close to it, it’s hard to be objective. And market research is just so critical. It’s like, “What is the problem that you’re really solving for your client?” Because it may not be obvious to you, it may be something altogether different. So, you really want to find out what are the things that keep your clients up at night, and how is it that you’re solving that problem for them?
Angela Dunz: [00:10:44] Your LinkedIn profile is not about you until you can communicate clearly to your client. Who is your client? Name that audience. And then, number two, tell them what results you can bring for them and what problem you’re going to solve for them. That’s really what it’s all about.
Mike Blake: [00:11:05] So, I mean, a LinkedIn profile, is it reasonable to even consider hiring somebody to write your LinkedIn profile for you? Because you’re suggesting that somebody trying to write their own collateral material, that’s just very difficult to do. Does a LinkedIn profile rise to the level of potentially even outsourcing that copy?
Angela Dunz: [00:11:30] Well, it really depends. That’s an awesome question. And it’s one of those things where it depends. I work jointly with my clients on writing that profile, so it’s something that we craft together. And I sort of trick them into the kind of copy that’s going to be client focused with a writing activity that I have them do. And they don’t even realize that it makes it easier for them to start talking about the problems that they solve. And then, we incorporate that into the About section.
Angela Dunz: [00:12:08] So, the About section, that very first paragraph really has to be client focused. And I have two ways I like to have people start that. You either use some qualifying questions so that they can say, “Oh, yes. That’s me.” Or you tell a story. What was the challenge that you solved for somebody, and what were the results that they were able to enjoy because of working with you. Anybody can read themselves into a story and stories are memorable.
Mike Blake: [00:12:39] And that’s sort of next level writing, right? I mean, frankly, not everybody can write a story to begin with.
Angela Dunz: [00:12:47] It’s a joint project.
Mike Blake: [00:12:50] Yeah. So, you’ve actually started to answer the next question, but I want to make that explicit. Is the name of the game on LinkedIn to position yourself as the best at what you do or simply differentiate it in some way?
Angela Dunz: [00:13:07] Great question. And I really think – I’m of the school of thought, again – that there is an unlimited number of people who want to work with you. You know, it’s not I’m not taking business away from somebody else by attracting business to me. What LinkedIn is really good for is what is your special something, something.
Angela Dunz: [00:13:29] Now, I belong to a networking group that has four immigration attorneys in it. And a lot of people would say, “That’s insane.” But they each work on different pieces of the pie. One of them works on people who want to get married. And that’s very different than people who are trying to get visas.
Angela Dunz: [00:13:48] So, there’s lots of LinkedIn consultants. One of my specialties is optimization. So, if what you’re looking for is more inbound inquiries and people finding you for the right thing, then I’m the person you want to talk to. Now, if you’re a job seeker, I’m not going to be your best bet. There are other people that are much better at that. So, it’s two pronged, Mike. You want to make sure that people are creating an emotional attachment to you that you’re a real person and you’re very clear about what your specialty is.
Mike Blake: [00:14:31] So, I want to switch tacks here, because one of the challenges of all social media platforms, LinkedIn is certainly no exception, is that their algorithms will change periodically. And some would even argue, just when you think you got the thing figured out, bam, they’re going to change it up on you. But at least LinkedIn is fairly good about announcing major changes to its algorithm. Places like Facebook/Meta will just sort of do it, then you got to figure it out. When LinkedIn makes an announcement like that, should that prompt all of us to run back to our profiles and make sure that it’s now consistent with what the algorithm is going to find?
Angela Dunz: [00:15:17] And that’s another question where the answer is it depends. So, they did a major shift on algorithms for the newsfeed about a year ago, and one of the things that they had been doing is if you re-shared third party articles, like Harvard Business Review or E Ink, it was not going to get as spread around as something that was original material.
Angela Dunz: [00:15:45] Now, Harvard Business Review and E Ink said, “Hey, you attracted us exclusively to post our content on your platform and now you’re penalizing us?” They said, “That’s not playing fair.” So, they evened the board. So, I told all my clients that are sharing content, “Go ahead and share third party articles now because you’re going to get the same juice that you do from original content.” So, yes, adapt to the changes with that.
Angela Dunz: [00:16:13] Now, the way profiles are served up in searches doesn’t change significantly. Where the algorithms change the most is definitely the way content is served up in the newsfeed. And that’s some place where you do want to anecdotally observe what’s going on and adapt to those changes. But I wouldn’t say every time something changes, run out and change your profile significantly.
Mike Blake: [00:16:40] Okay. So, LinkedIn in the last year, I believe – I think it was late last year – introduced something called Creator Mode. And has Creator Mode changed either the opportunities or at least best practices in terms of how we position our LinkedIn profiles? And if so, how?
Angela Dunz: [00:17:01] I don’t think it’s made that big of a difference, to tell you honestly. Because for all the people that I do social media posting for, I kept all kinds of KPIs on exactly what was happening with their profiles and I did not see a significant change. Now, where I think the advantage of Creator Mode is, is that when people read your headline, just below it, are your five quintessential hashtags. Now, if you read that, that should really tell me the flavor of who you are.
Angela Dunz: [00:17:36] So, for me, I don’t work with job seekers, and that’s not included in my Creator Mode hashtag. So, you’ll very quickly be able to differentiate me from another LinkedIn consultant and what they do. So, Creator Mode, I think it has given us an opportunity to be more clear about what it is that we do. And it definitely is a part of the optimization. If somebody uses one of those search terms to find you, you’re going to get served up preferentially for that specific hashtag or those keywords, either way.
Angela Dunz: [00:18:17] So, there are three places in the profile that are more heavily weighed for keywords, Headline, Creator Mode, and the Skill Section. So, that’s where you really want to focus your optimization efforts.
Mike Blake: [00:18:32] So, let’s sort of open the floodgates here. In your mind, what are the most important best practices for creating and maintaining a great LinkedIn profile?
Angela Dunz: [00:18:48] Get some wonderful optimization and use every single one of the pieces and parts of the optimization. That is going to increase your inbound. So, any keyword that’s anywhere in your profile for something that you don’t do any longer, find a way to change that, so that you’re found for the current things that you do by the right people. So, the optimization would be the number one thing that I would work on for someone.
Angela Dunz: [00:19:18] The second thing that I would think about is –
Mike Blake: [00:19:20] Can I pause you there? Can I pause you there because I want to ask a follow up question on that? Sorry to interrupt, but if I don’t ask you now, I’ll forget. When you describe optimization, it sounds a lot like web page optimization, SEO optimization, is that a fair statement?
Mike Blake: [00:19:39] And if so, is building an optimized LinkedIn profile – and I sort of touched this before, but I think it’s worth going back to – a sophistication around LinkedIn search engine now becoming such that there may be a cottage industry, just like there is for SEO and web page optimization of optimizing your LinkedIn profile? Because this is starting to seem like a lot of stuff that’s away from the pay grade of the typical outside of the realm of technical capability for the typical LinkedIn user.
Angela Dunz: [00:20:12] It is a fair analogy. I mean, I try to explain to people that LinkedIn is kind of like an internet, because they have their own formulas for how people are served up in searches. Now, just like SEO, it’s a very complex formula. Density, do you have media, and video, and photos, and infographics incorporated into your featured section and your work experience? Those are really big pieces.
Angela Dunz: [00:20:45] You know, if you imagine your LinkedIn profile is just words, texts, the crawlers don’t care about that so much. It’s looking for density. Do you have video there? Do you have chunky stuff that are going to be so much more attractive to the crawlers and you’re going to get served up more quickly? So, it is a complex formula, and you’re right.
Angela Dunz: [00:21:12] You know, I have a friend who schedules an appointment with herself once a quarter to work on her LinkedIn profile. And that’s one of the first things that she does. Now, for my social media clients, every single week I add more media to their featured section. I add something new. Because it’s very similar to a website, you add a blog, and Google is like, “Ooh, fresh content. We’re going to go get us some of that.” So, there are similar things. You just have to think about it from a different point of view on LinkedIn. It’s not the same as a website, but it’s very similar.
Mike Blake: [00:21:52] That’s interesting. I think that’s an important learning point. So, I did interrupt you. So, after optimization best practices, you’re about to start a number two.
Angela Dunz: [00:22:00] And there is professional branding. You know, if somebody looks at your profile, are they going to ghost you forever or are they going to actually be attracted and engaged by your profile? If you are winning this optimization game, once they arrive at your profile, you want to stay there. So, do you have a profile photo that is up to date, and friendly and approachable, and professional looking? Are you using that banner space in an appropriate way to really draw people in? And if it’s really just a logo or words, no one cares. You want to try to incorporate people in. It’s the biggest piece of real estate on LinkedIn, use it well.
Angela Dunz: [00:22:49] And then, your Headline. Are you speaking directly to your entry level ideal client and piercing them through the heart with the problem that they have? And then, the About section, are you talking to them about what their problems are and how you can fix that? So, that is definitely number two.
Angela Dunz: [00:23:11] And then, are you staying visible? Linkedin’s best use is as a relationship building tool. It is an extension of networking. And whatever you’re doing to attract prospects and referral partners, it’s an extension of that. It’s social. Are you using it in a personalized social way to stay top of mind? And a lot of people think, “Oh, I post every day.” Well, if it’s generic posting, no one’s paying any attention. If you’re not saying, “Hey, happy work anniversary” or “I saw that you just got an award for the chamber,” or whatever it is, that’s personal. Posting every day is not personal.
Mike Blake: [00:23:58] And, again, it’s also egocentric, right? So, when you post every day that’s transactional. But when you’re engaging with somebody else, that’s relationships.
Angela Dunz: [00:24:05] Yes. Yes.
Mike Blake: [00:24:08] So, we talked about the good. Let’s talk about the bad. What are some things that are just obvious Linkedin profile killers? Things you look at and you just say, “Oh, my gosh. That’s just a minute of my time I’m not getting back.”
Angela Dunz: [00:24:25] Well, my biggest pet peeve is the people who are extreme extroverts, and it’s just all about them. You know, you’ve got their profile photo and their banner has six more pictures of them. Those are usually pretty much a killer. Or, “I just won this award. And I just appeared on TEDx,” and all of that. The killers are really talking about yourself.
Angela Dunz: [00:24:55] I think that the pandemic has changed LinkedIn forever. You know, you never used to see really personal posting and really personal things on LinkedIn. And, now, it’s part of the hyper-personalization. So, you really want to be careful about how far you go into the compassion and empathy and speaking directly to your ideal client. But you also do not want to be egocentric and bragging about everything that you do.
Angela Dunz: [00:25:25] The focus is, are you adding value to that person or are you wasting that one minute that they spent looking at your profile? Is there a resource in the featured section that’s actually going to be something that either inspires them, or educates them, or causes them to take some sort of action? Those are rules of thumb that are really good for, Are you wasting people’s time or are you actually engaging with them?
Mike Blake: [00:25:54] And, you know, you bring up a really interesting point, and I’m intrigued by how you link that to the pandemic. That doesn’t mean that I’m arguing with you at all, just I hadn’t thought that through. But I have noticed in the last six months to a year, and it may be happening longer, but this is just my noticing it, that Linkedin is kind of becoming a little bit more Facebook-y. And you’re seeing people share things that border on TMI. You’re seeing people that are now more willing to share political views, which, to me, I think is putting a fork in a toaster while standing in a rain puddle, by the way.
Angela Dunz: [00:26:36] They have no place on LinkedIn, in my opinion.
Mike Blake: [00:26:38] But why do they do that? And I speculate they’re doing that because a lot of those people are being canceled on Facebook. Or they, themselves, are leaving Facebook because, for whatever reason, they can’t take it. Some people see LinkedIn as more of a captive audience, where you don’t want to shrink your network, you don’t want to abandon the platform because of the professional ramifications. Or is it something totally different? What do you think is going on there?
Angela Dunz: [00:27:07] I think it’s something totally different. And I’ll give you a couple of examples. Right after the pandemic started, one of my friends said, “Well, I guess we’re all going to be stuck at home for a while, I’m just going to give you a little video tour of my work from home desk. Here’s the birthday card I got from my mom last week. Here’s my plants.” I thought it was so endearing. And she had thousands of views. And people shared videos of their own. It was touching people in a way. Now, that is a very ephemeral thing. It only has a window of a couple of minutes. It was the beginning of the pandemic. But it was business people connecting with each other in a way that was real.
Angela Dunz: [00:27:55] Now, I’m going to give you another example, and I hope this will help. I post once a week video on LinkedIn, and some of them, I think, are like golden nuggets of LinkedIn tips. And I don’t get that many views. I just don’t. I wish it was a lot more. But the people that do watch actually look.
Angela Dunz: [00:28:18] Now, same week, I can post a pixelated picture of my sister and I snowboarding, and talk about passion and commitment and get 4,000 views on that post. It was me sharing something personal in a business context. And I got business from that post, which is shocking to me. It’s taken me a long time to be able to share on a personal basis.
Angela Dunz: [00:28:48] Now, the other day, I saw a post that really knocked me back in my seat. A woman had gone to a conference in Chicago from out here on the West Coast. And as soon as she got off the plane, they told her to go back home because her son had died. Now, she has not gone back to this specific conference in three years. So, she posted on LinkedIn what happened.
Mike Blake: [00:29:16] I read that. I read that exact post.
Angela Dunz: [00:29:19] And what she did was she said, “Please talk to me about this situation. I’m giving you permission to use my son’s name. I’m so excited to come back and reconnect with all the people that I miss.” She was informing people of what appropriate etiquette was for her in this situation. And for most of us, we don’t want to be wrong and we don’t want to be awkward, but invariably we are. And it was just a really good use of PMI, but in a way that was proactive and informative.
Mike Blake: [00:30:07] Yeah. I thought that was a very interesting post and it was so raw. And as a parent myself, I just think there but for the grace of God go I. So, you cannot imagine that. But I thought that was fascinating that rather than going to that conference and having people sort of stay away because I don’t even know how to start that conversation, like, “How are you doing?” “Terrible.” Or it’s a silly question.
Mike Blake: [00:30:41] By getting in front of that, that’s the opportunity to sort of basically have a virtual sandwich board saying, “Okay. We’re just getting this all out now. And now I’m trying to move on with my life, please help me do that, feel comfortable doing that.” Now, that post could have gone very wrong.
Angela Dunz: [00:31:03] In a hundred ways.
Mike Blake: [00:31:05] And that’s sort of the courage behind it. But as a LinkedIn expert, I’m curious, do you think that that individual had somebody reading it before they posted it? Do you think maybe they sat on it, marinade for two weeks before they did it? Or maybe it was just, “You know what? I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine, I’m getting on this thing at 11:00 at night. Because if I sober up tomorrow morning, I’ll never type this out.” What do you suspect went on there? And what do you think is best practices if somebody in the audience thinks they want to post something similar to that?
Angela Dunz: [00:31:40] All of the above. I would definitely write it out and probably have one of my besties look at it and give me a second opinion. I would probably sit on it for several days and not pull the trigger until I had a glass of wine or a good whiskey before I actually sent it out at midnight and went to bed.
Angela Dunz: [00:32:11] And I’ve done all of the above. And I’ve done all of the above on the same post. But I think it’s good to get opinions about things like that that are potentially oversharing, and vulnerable, and sensitive. But I’ll bet you, there are hundreds of parents that appreciated that share because it informed them about how they could possibly respond in similar awkward situations and not be isolated in whatever they were going through.
Mike Blake: [00:32:51] The topic here, Should I overhaul my LinkedIn profile, which presumes that we want to overhaul it because we think it’s not working very well. What are some signs that the LinkedIn profile is not working well, is not performing as well as it could be?
Angela Dunz: [00:33:09] Well, you know, the bottom line is, are you getting referrals? And, in marketing right now, we say that we don’t know anything. We really don’t. Because consumer behavior has changed so dramatically. We know nothing seriously. We just don’t know what is inspiring people and motivating people to purchase anything these days. We’ve gotten so much more discriminating and so much more sophisticated about all of that.
Angela Dunz: [00:33:37] But I would say, and we also say, it’s 12 to 20 touches before somebody picks up the phone to get a hold of you. Linkedin is one of those touches in many cases, 72 percent of the time it’s the number one place that they touch with you. So, you want to make sure that you’re asking people, How did you find out about me? Did you look at my LinkedIn profile?
Angela Dunz: [00:34:07] Now, sure indicators that LinkedIn is not working for you is you have very few profile views. So, the Who’s viewed your profile? is something that I look at all the time. And if nobody’s viewing your profile, then you haven’t been networking, you’re not adding new people, you’re not getting out and about. No one’s engaging with you. You’re not posting whatever it is. You have to stay visible in one way or another.
Angela Dunz: [00:34:33] Now, the second thing I like to look at is Search appearances. That tells me whether the optimization is working or not. If you’re coming up in a lot of searches and they’re the right searches, then your optimization is working fantastic. But if you’ve got just a few searches and they’re not the right people, you’ve got some work to do.
Angela Dunz: [00:34:56] Now, the other indicator that I like to look at is the social selling index. And it’s interesting because, today, I sent out my newsletter and I explained the importance of all three of those little KPIs that I use with clients. The social selling index is mostly for people who are in sales. But I find that solopreneurs and small firms, business development people, get a lot of great information from the four different categories in the SSI score.
Angela Dunz: [00:35:27] But at the end of the day, it’s, Are you getting inbound inquiries in some way, shape, or form? Is somebody picking up the phone? Is somebody sending you a message? Are they going to your website from LinkedIn? And Google gives us analytics for that.
Mike Blake: [00:35:47] You know, you brought something up here that I think I want to make sure that we hit because I think it’s important. The LinkedIn profile is a keystone to a larger strategy, right?
Angela Dunz: [00:36:02] I like to call it the centerpiece.
Mike Blake: [00:36:04] Okay. The centerpiece. Great. We’ll use your term because you know more about it than I do. So, it’s important to understand the limitations of a LinkedIn profile could be awesome. But if there’s no other activity behind it, it’s unlikely to generate a whole lot of results. It’s part of a broader commitment to the platform itself, right?
Angela Dunz: [00:36:26] Yes. And, you know, there are so many different ways to look at the LinkedIn profile. For attorneys, their end users, the client, usually don’t come to them directly. It’s usually a referral from another attorney. And so, for them, I have a different strategy than I do for coaches. Because they just need one that’s adequate that really lets people know, “Hey, I’m credible. I’m a leader in my field.” So, when the client actually looks at their profile, that they’re not being repelled, they’re being attracted, or they at least say, “Oh, he’s adequate. And he’s been recommended to me, so it’s going to be okay.”
Angela Dunz: [00:37:06] Now, a coach is a completely different situation. They have to establish immediate rapport. And have that person know, like, and trust them well enough to put their vulnerable self in a coach’s hand to solve a specific problem.
Mike Blake: [00:37:23] Well, let me rephrase this, my observation is I think LinkedIn as a platform is becoming a bit spammier than it has been in the past. I’m receiving more connection requests, more Inmail, more, frankly, people that I have to block. Because it’s okay if you want to sell to me, but at least be honest about it. Don’t tell me how interesting I am, connect, and then start to sell me whatever. Do you see the same thing? And is there anything that you can do to your LinkedIn profile that might deter spam?
Angela Dunz: [00:38:07] There isn’t a lot that you can do to deter it other than what you mentioned, the blocking. And I applaud you for doing that. They are repeat offenders. These are very aggressive people. Now, LinkedIn last year limited the number of invitations that can be sent in a week. It used to be 100 a day. It has been reduced to 100 per week per profile. And part of that was to eliminate third party automation and the spray and pray method of trying to get a hold of people.
Angela Dunz: [00:38:43] Now, I think that everyone should have a connection strategy. So, if you take five seconds and you look at who it is that sent you an invitation and you think that they’re going to tell you, “I’m going to make you a seven figure coach within the next nine weeks,” it’s an automatic no. But everybody should have a connection strategy. If they’re not a potential client or referral partner or just an influencer in your field, then it’s a no.
Angela Dunz: [00:39:13] And blocking them is very helpful because if somebody gets X number of blocks, and I believe it’s ten, they get their profile pulled for three days. They go in LinkedIn jail. So, by taking the time to actually block some of these repeat offenders, you’re doing all of us a favor.
Mike Blake: [00:39:35] Okay. I’m glad I’m contributing to the common good by doing that because I do like blocking people that annoy me. So, let me ask you this question, this is probably going to be it depends answer, but that’s okay. I found that one of the stronger features or more useful features of LinkedIn is a LinkedIn Navigator program, because I can see who’s visiting my profile. It ain’t cheap, 80 bucks a month is not an inexpensive investment. But on the other hand, for me, I find just knowing in terms of KPI, and then if there’s somebody that I could actually actively follow up on, it’s worth the price of admission. But I’m curious what you think of it as a true LinkedIn expert.
Angela Dunz: [00:40:26] Sales Navigator, if you are a sales professional, it’s an absolute must. There is no stronger tool for sorting through things on LinkedIn and really drilling into a specific industry, a specific type of relationship.
Angela Dunz: [00:40:44] You know, when I used to teach sales training, I would say, “Go back to anybody who lists some place that you used to work at as one of their former places that they worked, you’ve automatically got a connection. You have a permission to speak to that person sort of situation. There’s so many strategies that are so successful once you make the investment for Sales Navigator.
Angela Dunz: [00:41:15] Now, Sales Navigator is not a CRM. You want to use it in conjunction with something that really helps you sort through your different buckets of ideal clients, and where is that person at on the client journey. So, those are really helpful tags and things that you want to use to segment your lists. But there is no stronger tool than Sales Navigator.
Mike Blake: [00:41:42] Now, it’s my observation that LinkedIn, like almost every other social media platform, is increasingly promoting video content. For whatever reason, they’re doing that, and I’m not a social media expert. Tell our listeners, is there a way to actually integrate video into your profile. And if so, is that a worthwhile undertaking?
Angela Dunz: [00:42:10] Yes. And there are a number of ways that you can do that. Actually, I think it’s two years ago, you can actually add a video to your profile photo and you could say, “Welcome to my profile and I’m so glad that you’re here. And please make sure that you read my About section,” or something like that. It’s a 30 second – I think it’s actually 29 – and you can only do it on your phone. So, that is one excellent way to include video. It adds some chunkiness to your profile.
Angela Dunz: [00:42:46] The other way is I really encourage people to add video to their Featured section, and add it to your posting, add it to your work experience. You know, it’s just like a welcome video on YouTube. You want to let them know who you are, who you work with, what you’re all about, and what problems you solve. And video is the fastest way to know, like, and trust.
Angela Dunz: [00:43:14] I love it when clients come to me and they say, “I watched a couple of your videos,” because I know that that appointment is probably going to be a slam dunk. They already trust me. They’ve already decided that the way I think and the way I operate is going to resonate with them.
Mike Blake: [00:43:36] So, I want to switch gears here. I think my sense is that one of the most overlooked components of the LinkedIn profile is the background image. And I think part of it is that it’s actually not all that easy to put a background image in. There are licensing issues. You’ve got to have the exact dimensions of the photo correctly. It takes some effort. Is it worth the effort?
Angela Dunz: [00:44:05] It is more than worth the effort. It is one of the most converting pieces of your LinkedIn profile. And best practices for that is pictures of people. And interestingly enough, the SSI score, one piece of that is, are you using that banner and are you using it well? So, LinkedIn, themselves, thinks that that is important enough to put into their Social Selling Index. And it is the biggest piece of real estate that you have on LinkedIn. You know, that is your first opportunity to create an emotional connection with your ideal client. So, if you can incorporate the know, like, and trust factor, that is an excellent use of that banner space. It is a very odd size. It’s really hard to get that right. But when it’s well done, it’s amazing.
Mike Blake: [00:45:07] I’m talking with Angela Dunz. And the topic is, Should I overhaul my LinkedIn profile? What about putting your complete contact information on the LinkedIn profile, is that a safe thing to do? Should you put your cell phone on there or limit it to a generic work phone number, for example? What in your mind is best practices in terms of contact information on the LinkedIn profile?
Angela Dunz: [00:45:33] One of the things that I advise my clients is, if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your phone number, make sure that you keep it out of the contact information. It is the little extra box that you click. If you put it there, it is a little more likely to get scraped by people who are scraping LinkedIn. So, if you want to keep it more secure, I have clients that actually put their cell phone number in their headline, and put it in as a call to action in the About section. It’s a little safer place to put your contact information.
Angela Dunz: [00:46:11] But what I recommend to most of my clients is a call to action that’s appropriate is a calendar link. And if they don’t share enough information or answer your questions, that might be a red flag for you. So, a calendar link is sort of keeping things a little bit removed from actually getting a hold of your cell phone number.
Mike Blake: [00:46:33] Okay. And one of the question I want to get to is, one thing that LinkedIn makes very easy, and I’m not sure this is good or bad or not, it’s very easy to update and to edit most of your profile. And I know people, and I am probably one of them, I am a serial tweaker of my LinkedIn profile. Is that a healthy thing? Or how much tweaking or updating is too much, if there is such a thing?
Angela Dunz: [00:47:03] I don’t think there is such a thing. And tweaking your profile, changing things, fresh content refreshes the algorithms. So, I don’t think there’s a downside. And I think there’s a huge upside to that. Now, people that don’t update their profile for a year or two, they’re just not coming up in searches. When I start working with the client, that’s the first thing I do, is I do a search of their name or I do a search of what their main function for their job is. And if they don’t come up, we have some serious work to do together.
Mike Blake: [00:47:40] So, that’s interesting. I mean, that gets back to really just old fashioned SEO is that fresh content is content. Everything else is constant. That’s going to be what gets to the top of the list. So, it sounds like that even a fair amount of tweaking or updating is actually a healthy thing, potentially.
Angela Dunz: [00:47:59] Yes.
Mike Blake: [00:48:01] Well, that’s cool. I would not have guessed that, so I learned something today as I expected to do. Angela, this has been a great conversation, a deep conversation on a fairly narrow topic. But, nevertheless, one that I think applies to a very broad audience. I’m sure there are people that wish I would have asked different questions or maybe that we would have spent more time on a particular question. If somebody wants to follow up with you for advice on how to improve their LinkedIn profile, can they do so? And if so, what’s the best way to do that?
Angela Dunz: [00:48:35] Well, of course, I would love for them to connect with me on LinkedIn, and send me a personal message that they listened to this podcast and that they’d like to ask some further questions. And your URL on LinkedIn needs to be a clean URL. Mine is my name spelled exactly the way I say, no dots, no dashes, no spaces. So, that’s the easiest way for somebody to get a hold of me. The second easiest way is to go to my website, angeladunz.com.
Mike Blake: [00:49:09] That’s going to wrap it up for today’s program. And I’d like to thank Angela Dunz so much for sharing her expertise with us.
Mike Blake: [00:49:15] We’ll be exploring a new topic each week, so please tune in so that when you’re faced with your next business decision, you have clear vision when making it. If you enjoy these podcasts, please consider leaving a review with your favorite podcast aggregator. It helps people find us that we can help them.
Mike Blake: [00:49:31] If you would like to engage with me on social media with my Chart of the Day and other content, I’m on LinkedIn as myself and @unblakeable on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, check out my LinkedIn group called Unblakeable’s Group That Doesn’t Suck. Once again, this is Mike Blake. Our sponsor is Brady Ware & Company. And this has been the Decision Vision podcast.