Sat, 3 September 2016
Welcome to episode 127, I hope you all had a fantastic week.
In this episode I attempt to get my head around the millennial problem - i.e. Why don’t Millennials use LinkedIn?
Firstly though a few things I found interesting this week;
Video is much more user-friendly, especially for millennials so LinkedIn should produce a series of videos showcasing examples of how millennial's have had great success using LinkedIn. I would suggest they use a different company/production team though as most Millennials I know would cringe at their normal style of video!
Sat, 27 August 2016
Welcome to episode 126, this week was a special week for me as I had the opportunity to attend a two day InStruct course at LinkedIn’s office in London.
In this episode I want to address two topics;
InStruct is a training programme designed to assist those responsible for implementing and managing the adoption of Sales Navigator in their organisation. It is in effect a ‘train the trainer’ course but is really aimed at corporate in-house trainers rather than an independent external trainer such as myself.
Sales Navigator is a premium upgrade version of LinkedIn designed for sales professionals with a focus on a social selling methodology.
In the 8 years I have been a LinkedIn trainer my relationship with LinkedIn has had it’s ups and downs.
In the early days of the London office I met some great people who I developed trusting and productive relationships with.
Things seemed to change around 2011 when the company went through an IPO and people like me seemed to be ostracised, I still had contact with LinkedIn but always felt a sense of distrust, defensiveness and blatant secrecy from them.
So you can imagine that I was feeling an interesting mix of excitement and trepidation as I signed in as a visitor this week.
First impressions were equally mixed, the reception area was very cool with funky iPads required to sign in that sent a message to the person you were visiting, on the negative side though part of the signing in process involved signing an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) which immediately had me wondering if nothing had really changed beneath the surface!
And then I met Miguel and Donna.
The amazing Miguel and Donna at the traditional London phonebox in LinkedIn London’s reception.
I can’t speak highly enough about Miguel and Donna. They both have a deep understanding of social selling and a genuine passion for LinkedIn, they also made me feel extremely welcome and valued.
Within an hour all my reservations about secrecy and distrust were dissipated.
These guys are great ambassadors for LinkedIn because they are honest, open, funny and knowledgable.
Cultures do not change overnight and I’m sure there are plenty of things that LinkedIn can still improve but if these two are an example of the ‘New LinkedIn’ then we have a lot to look forward to (so long as Microsoft don’t decide to change things!).
The offices are some of the nicest I have seen (and I have seen many), each floor has a different theme but all based around London/England.
We spent time is a Musical themed room, a Fish and chip shop room, a Sweet shop room and my favourite of all, the classically English ‘afternoon tea’ room.
On the second day I had to deliver a 30 minute presentation on Sales Navigator that was assessed, a score below 70% would result in failing the course so I spent some time the night before practising!
Fortunately I managed to pass with flying colours - Can you image the embarrassment if I failed?!
So now I just have to complete a post course assignment and I will be a LinkedIn-approved Sales Navigator Trainer!
Whilst that will be nice, the most important goal for me was to establish a more productive relationship with LinkedIn and thanks to the attitude of Miguel and Donna, I’m confident that has been achieved.
This is an update to my original review of Sales Navigator (SN) in episode 83.
The main difference I see now is that they have improved on the most important element of this social selling tool - focus!
This is critical and I’m impressed that LinkedIn have improved it in this way.
The home page in SN has no distractions, just a stream of updates, comments and news articles from and about saved leads (people) and Accounts (companies).
You can create status updates of your own (including images) from the SN interface and comment and like your leads and accounts updates. The only thing you can’t do is create a published post, which is probably the next thing they will address.
I also gained a better understanding of the unique TeamLink function.
TeamLink helps you find the strongest path to someone you’d like to meet by
For instance if a colleague in your sales team used to work at ABC plc and during that time your target (prospect) also worked there then SN will show your college as a TeamLink introduction opportunity. They (prospect & colleague) do not have to be connected, just ex colleagues.
Again this is only likely to be required in large sales teams but in effect you are growing your range of possible introductions exponentially.
Unfortunately they still have a separate inbox for SN, the argument also being focus but I have a problem with this.
What happens if an individual sends you a message on LinkedIn enquiring about your services?
This message will land in the messaging area of mainstream LinkedIn.com and if you are spending all your time in SN then you might miss something critical. They do provide a link in SN to messages but it does not indicate you have an unread message as it does for replies to your messages sent from the SN Inbox.
My sense is that this is far too convoluted to work and a more simply unified inbox is required.
They have also added tags and notes to profiles in SN and the likelihood is that these will become a lot more useful (maybe searchable) although at the moment they are for information only.
I still take issue with their pricing though, It is pretty clear that LinkedIn are focussing on Enterprise clients and the pricing reflects this, especially now that they have removed the Navigator Basic account that I currently have.
If a company with a substantial sales team (over 50) is serious about social selling then I believe Sales Navigator is a no brainer. The tool os designed to help you win more customers through greater engagement and introductions.
For smaller businesses the verdict is less clear. If they still had the Basic level product and pricing I would be more tempted to recommend it but at £650 per year for each user, it’s a much closer call.
Social selling is relevant and important to all B2B businesses, large and small but LinkedIn are just not (yet) focussed on SME’s.
So I’m on the fence but it’s definitely worth taking a months free trial.
As for Recruitment, if you believe your job is about finding people and advertising jobs then Recruiter or Recruiter Lite are your most suitable upgrades. If however you believe that relationships are key to successful recruitment (as I do) then I actually think SN is more tailored to your needs. It also has a fantastic search function plus a reasonable InMail allowance but most importantly it focuses on what is more important - people and engaging with them.
If I had my old job back and was running a 30 consultant recruitment business, I would be investing in Sales Navigator licences.
Sat, 20 August 2016
Welcome to episode 125, I’m back from an amazing holiday in Italy and the English Cotswolds so plenty to catch up on this week……
Whilst away my Linkedin messages built up and it occurred to me that LinkedIn could really do with an ‘out of office’ auto reply feature similar to that which you get with emails. LinkedIn is unique in that being work related, people are less likely to login whilst they are on holiday.
LinkedIn are renown for copying features from other social media sites but on this one I would like to see them innovate.
What do you think?
Due to a string of problems I have stopped using Autopilot for LinkedIn and can no longer recommend it. I still believe in the idea of auto viewing though and I am looking into a couple of alternatives.
I will keep you informed.
The data scraping bots issue
LinkedIn sues 100 individuals for scraping user data from the site
LinkedIn suffers huge bot attack that steals members’ personal data
LinkedIn are saying very little about this but the lawsuit they have filed suggests they are trying to discover the names of people who have created false accounts and used sophisticated bots to circumnavigate LinkedIn’s security to obtain information that is being sold on. I suspect this might be email addresses or possibly full profiles for out of network members.
LinkedIn Quietly Publish 2nd Qtr results
These results were released with little fuss and no earnings call, I assume because of the proposed Microsoft takeover. After all investors really don’t care how well they are doing now that a price has been agreed!
I still care though as the quarterly results are one of the best ways of finding out what is going on at Linkedin.
The financials spreadsheet
2nd quarter announcement
The Welcome Return of the Hashtag
A few years ago LinkedIn had a wonderful feature called LinkedIn Signal. It was a very popular tool that allowed you to search for status updates via keywords and is still greatly missed.
The good news is that we can now search status updates again via hashtag searches.
This is important for two reasons;
It’s not as good as Signal was but it is definitely a step in the right direction.
The only downside is that the hashtag only becomes active (a tappable link that creates a search) on the mobile app.
This may just be a feature they are testing so it might disappear or it might be rolled out to desktop soon as well….let’s hope so!
In the meantime I would advise adding hashtags (just a couple) to every status update you post.
LinkedIn Influencer Videos
A big fuss was made about this while I was away…personally I think it’s rubbish!
So someone from LinkedIn sends out a question to a select list of Influencers who (via a specific new app) post a short 30 second reply….whoopdeedoo!
Don’t get me wrong, this could be a positive move if LinkedIn A) roll it out to all members and B) allow people to post what they want (rather than answer a stupid questions such as the shown one below)
What’s the first thing you do every morning to prepare for the day?
Sat, 6 August 2016
Welcome to episode 124, this week I’m relaxing in Italy on vacation so I thought I would pre-record this episode of questions that I have been asked recently.
Below are the 5 questions I covered in this episode, you will need to listen to the audio for the answers.
Hi Mark, as an active job seeker I am curious to know what Recruiters think of LinkedIn endorsements?
Hello Mark, I have a question I hope you can answer.
Hi Mark, I have a question about invitations.
Sat, 30 July 2016
Welcome to episode 123, I’m back in my office this week with plenty to talk about.
Interesting stuff I saw this week
LinkedIn are in the process of rolling out a new feature that automatically makes you a follower of someone when you invite them to connect. If that member subsequently rejects your invitation by selecting ‘ignore’ then you will cease to be a follower.
Sat, 23 July 2016
Welcome to episode 122, the weather has been amazing this week so I thought I would venture out and record the show in one of my favourite spots in Delamere forest…I think the BBC call these things an ‘outside broadcast (OB)’!
I tend do this once or twice a year as I’m really unproductive when I try to stick behind my desk in hot weather!
Using LinkedIn with Empathy
Some people are naturally empathetic and some find it more of a challenge, I believe it is a great strength to have when using LinkedIn.
The ability to share someone else's feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person's situation (Cambridge dictionary)
Some people just have an instinct to know how someone else would feel whereas others need to stop, take a step back and think about it. Whichever you are, it pays to practice empathy in social media and especially on LinkedIn.
In this episode I talk about some examples of where empathy can be important on LinkedIn;
“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others succeed”
Other interesting stuff I saw this week:
Koka Sexton announces he is leaving LinkedIn
Sat, 16 July 2016
Welcome to episode 121, we are back after a break last week which was due to work commitments requiring me to be out of the office every day in Ireland.
Interesting stuff I saw this week
I was interviewed for another podcast this week. Andy Paul interviewed me for his Accelerate podcast which is a show for sales professionals;
How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Sales. With Mark Williams. #198
LinkedIn profiles are just too boring!
I want to encourage everyone to realise just how important your profile is and that, by just listing boring facts you are doing nothing to impress the reader…on the contrary, you might be sending them to sleep!
Why not take a look at your summary and try to write something more interesting about yourself, something about you in a professional context but something that authentically shows how interesting you are.
I think Gareth Burton does a great job with his profile
It also occurred to me recently that profiles are going to become even more important soon as Microsoft start to integrate them into Outlook email, the 365 dashboard and Skype profiles.
Sat, 2 July 2016
Interesting things I saw this week
Following on from the news that LinkedIn are now in forcing the 30,000 connections limit it has now been announced that all connection above the limit will be converted to followers
This interesting thing is that for the first time LinkedIn have admitted that large networks cause them problems.
Microsoft takeover. I was at a TEDx Event over the weekend and one of the speakers was Steve Clayton from Microsoft. It was interesting to hear him say that Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella is much more collaborative than his predecessors.
Perhaps this could be a positive sign for LinkedIn?
LinkedIn published posts and Pulse. It seems that the new format for published posts has now been rolled out to everyone with many people contacting me to ask about the new format.
The Pulse page no longer shows under the Interests menu so you have to go to your home page feed and change is the order to recent
Alternatively you could do what I did which is to create a bookmark for the Pulse page.
If you want to find the Pulse channels you have to scroll down this page until you find some recommendations to personalise your news. Click on "Discover more to follow" and you will find the channels.
It's been a very difficult week for those of us based in the UK following the ‘Brexit’ vote. I have never seen this country so divided and this has inevitably spilled onto LinkedIn.
Whilst you may have strong views on the subject I would recommend avoid discussing such an emotive topic as this on LinkedIn. At least for now and, perhaps in time it will become and easier subjects to discuss.
Sat, 25 June 2016
Working with Ali
Ali is short for Algorithm, in this case LinkedIn’s algorithm.
Whether we like it or not LinkedIn is constantly collating data about us. Which groups we join and which conversations we get involved in, what skills we have and how often they are endorsed (and by whom), which companies we follow, who we connect with and how much we interact with them.
Ali also measures which status updates and publish posts we click, like or comment on.
It may sound creepy but that's just how things are in social media and the wider Internet.
Understanding this and understanding how to use it to our advantage is one of the key aspects to been successful on LinkedIn
LinkedIn can only react to actions, it can’t (as yet) interpret feelings or opinions - just actions.
I was reminded of this recently when someone contacted me to complain about the amount of inappropriate posts and status updates they were seen on their homepage. When I asked them what they were doing about it, their answer was that they were commenting in order to show the person that posted that they disapproved….BIG MISTAKE!
Not only does this ensure that the post is distributed further it also teaches Ali that you are interested in this type of content….no wonder they were seeing more and more inappropriate content!
In the links below you will find a link to a fascinating list of patents that LinkedIn have filed over the years, the most recent one relates to this very issue - i.e. how LinkedIn decides what to show you on your feed.
Sat, 18 June 2016
The Microsoft Acquisition
Welcome to episode 118 of the LinkedInformed podcast at the end of a truly historic week for LinkedIn.
As you would expect I am going to concentrate all of this episode on evaluating Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn.
Advantages for Microsoft
Advantages for LinkedIn
Advantages for Members
Disadvantages for Members