• BeverlyMay
    Beverly May on August 13, 2014

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  • For anyone who groans at the words "networking event" take heart: there's another way. This post defeats the idea that you can only get the network you want by doing the things you hate. Specific strategies for LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are included.

    If you're like me the idea of a "networking event" sounds about as appealing as helping a friend move heavy furniture into a high-rise apartment.

    Networking might as well be a foreign country; a place where social superstars impress with small talk and witty banter. In our minds, Networking is a place filled with cocktail parties, conferences and luncheons (that's right, luncheons).

    Fortunately, there's more than one way to succeed at networking. If you hate business cards and glad-handing, ditch them and don’t do it. With specific goals and a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish, networking can be fairly painless.

    Step 1 – Understand the Type of Networking You Are Undertaking

    It's helpful to split networking into two basic types:

    Perishable Networking: The networking mode of job-seekers, focused on short-term connections for the purpose of unearthing immediate (perishable) opportunities. This type of networking tends to be transactional and focused on getting a quick "in" at a specific company or industry. 

    Non-Perishable Networking:  Networking for those who are looking to open future doors, not identify immediate opportunities. For some, this type of networking is all about volume (gaining as many contacts, or as many potential future open doors, as possible), while others see it as working to identify the few key relationships worth growing.

    Defining the type of networking you are doing is the first step to homing in on your specific goals. Being outcome-focused is key, as a scattershot approach will pull you in myriad directions and build up half-contacts without a clear sense of how they fit into your picture.

    This post will focus on the longer-lead form of networking, however there's no reason why you can't conduct perishable and non-perishable networking at the same time.

    Step 2 – Leverage Each Network Differently

    Set aside all the parts of networking you hate and grow your network by tapping into your existing, familiar contacts.

    Friends and Family

    Your inner-circle should be your first stop for longer-term networking efforts. Remember there are contacts and then there are connectors. The former is anyone in your rolodex, the latter are those who can bridge you to the playing field you really want to be on, the one populated by hiring managers and business leaders.

    Here's how to leverage your family and friends to grow your roster of connectors:

    First, ask three friends/family members to put you in touch with one of their contacts whom they consider very successful (don’t limit yourself to those in your aspirational industry). Have an initial conversation with each new contact to pick their brain on their career path and recommendations for growing your career. Put each contact into coach mode; lure them into a de facto mentorship role and invest them in your success.

    Second, email each connection once every few months with an update on your career, how you've implemented their advice and/or new challenges you could use additional advice on. Deepen the mentor/mentee relationship. After you've developed a rapport ask each connection to introduce you to someone who will be even more directly helpful in getting you the opportunity you want.

    Rinse and repeat. Each bridge you take should bring you closer and closer to the most important people for your future success. Focus on sharpening your network as it expands.

    LinkedIn

    Each social network can be helpful in your non-perishable networking, but getting LinkedIn right is table stakes in today's environment. Don’t let that scare you—you'll be surprised by how much you can accomplish with an hour up front and 10 minutes a day.

    At a bare minimum, you need to do three things on LinkedIn:

    First, make your LinkedIn profile the perfect digital resume for your ideal job. Fill out each section of your profile using keywords that recruiters for your dream job would use to find candidates. Be skill-focused, not industry-specific in your description of your experience—show how your skills are transferable even if your specific experience is lacking.

    Second, maintain a light, but visible LinkedIn presence. Post two to three updates a week, to remain high in others' feeds. Your updates should mostly be links to articles that are interesting in the context of your target industry. Share content to show people that you're a thoughtful, well-read individual.

    Third, Share a comment or a "like" on someone else's update at least every other day. Remind your contacts that they are on your radar and implicitly that you should be on theirs.

    Facebook

    The most underrated spot for non-perishable networking is Facebook. Your Facebook friends ostensibly know that you're someone who has wants a good career, but they likely don't think of you in this way very often as Facebook tends toward sharing more personal, non-work content. As a result, potential job networking opportunities are missed because you and your friends aren't connecting the dots.

    At a bare minimum, you need to do two things on Facebook:

    First, spend five minutes, two times a day scouring your news feed and "like" every positive job-related update. Make simple comments, empathizing on a bad work situation, or asking a question about how someone achieved a particular work-related success. It doesn't matter if their jobs are close to your own—engage with friends’ work so they remember that you're someone who has his/her own career.

    Second, post two or three status updates a month that give your friends a sense of what you do. Keep it positive: the goal is to remind friends that you are a professional and educate them a bit about what it is you do. As your conversations progress, you'll get to the point where it feels comfortable to ask your friends about particular career opportunities or influential people they can connect you with. From there, see: Family and Friends section.

    Twitter

    On Twitter, networking is all about giving people a clear sense of who you are and what you bring to followers. Each tweet should be meaningful to someone in your network (or your aspirational network). Success is finding influentials to engage with and leaving a record of smart, meaningful tweets for potential employers to digest.

    At a bare minimum, you need to do two things on Twitter:

    First, follow 10-20 influential people in your target industry and add them to a Twitter list. Follow this list closely and start selectively engaging. Don't retweet or favorite every tweet they put out; earn their respect by engaging in a thoughtful dialogue over the subject-matter they're tweeting out.

    Second, Twitter also allows you to follow other people's lists. Target a few of the influentials that you really want to connect with, and subscribe to one of their lists. This lets you see the same things they're seeing, giving you an even greater opportunity to make commentary that will catch their attention.

    Step 3 – Embrace Who You Are

    We all have to do things in our careers that we don't like to do, but it's when we try to be someone we're not that things fall apart. If you're a confident extrovert then the path to successful networking might just be conferences and cocktails. Similarly, if you're an introvert and social gatherings are painful for you, don't resign yourself to doing them because you think “that's just how networking works.” More likely than not, your discomfort in this environment will cause you to give off a poor impression and undermine the entire point of the exercise. One size does not fit all.

    Try the low-intensity, non-perishable networking described here and you might just find that the exercise isn't so painful after all. 

    Blog posts need a little help to reach the eager eyes of your audience. Here are a few ideas on how to promote your content on social channels.

    “I’m publishing great content on my blog just like they told me to … but my traffic is abysmal. How can I get my audience to read my posts?”

    Much like the tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it — you know, the one with the lousy publicist? — blog posts need a little help to reach the eager eyes of your audience. The Field of Dreams axiom “If you build it, they will come” made for good cinema, but it has no place in today’s crowded, noisy blogosphere. If you want people to read your stuff, you just have to hustle. No two ways about it.

    Here are a few ideas to get you started. Each time you publish a blog post:

    Promote Your Blog Post

    • Post a link to it on each of your social networks (including Pinterest if it includes a strong, unique visual).
    • Submit each blog post URL to social bookmarking sites (StumbleUpon, Digg, etc.).
    • Submit each post to your content curation sites on Internet Billboards, ShareBloc, BizSugar, etc.
    • Post the link to your Facebook and LinkedIn Groups as applicable to the Group’s purpose.
    • Invite the people in your tribe to subscribe to your RSS feed so that each post will be delivered to their email inbox or feed reader. (Learn more about RSS and feed readers)
    • Include a link to your most recent blog post in your next e-newsletter.
    • Email the link to clients who may find the content particularly useful. (“Hey Paul, I seem to recall you asking me about [topic] last time we met — thought you’d find this latest blog post of ours helpful …”)
    • Bonus Tip I Learned From Guy Kawasaki: When you link to your post on Twitter, schedule four posts, eight hours apart, to make sure you hit all time zones.

    How about you? How do you tell the world about your latest blog posts? Tell us in the Comments — we’d love to hear from you!

    The value of Twitter goes well beyond selfies with your cat, and Hootsuite is a great tool to uncover the potential opportunities therein. Here's how to use Hootsuite for more intelligent Twitter management.

    As all social media marketers know, the value of Twitter goes well beyond tweets about dinner and selfies with your cat - and Hootsuite is a great tool to uncover the potential opportunities therein.

    As a social media marketer myself, I use Hootsuite to manage the Twitter account of Hallam Internet, as well as my own personal Twitter account and those of my clients.

    Here's how to use Hootsuite for more intelligent Twitter management.

    Claim Your Free Account

    Hootsuite is available free of charge to anyone who wants it. A great way to get started is to sign up with your own personal Twitter account and have a play around, before adding your business or client's accounts later.

    To sign up, go to www.hootsuite.com. Once signed up, you'll be presented with a blank Hootsuite account like this:

    [[{"fid":"152706","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"hootsuite for twitter management","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"hootsuite for twitter management"},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"hootsuite for twitter management","title":"hootsuite for twitter management","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]

    Add a Home Stream

    The very first thing to do here is to click on the 'Home' icon as shown above. This will create a 'Home Stream' in your Twitter account and this is where you see every tweet that comes through from the accounts you follow.

    You can also set up more 'streams' from the suggested list shown in the image above. Each stream appears as a new column within your Hootsuite dashboard. I've got streams set up for @ Mentions, DM Inbox, New Followers and Scheduled.

    Those are your basic streams. It's now really easy for you to see basic occurances on Twitter in one easy dashboard.

    Now it's time to get a bit more intelligent with Hootsuite...

    Add a Brand Mentions Stream

    Whilst @ Mentions are great for alerting you to people talking about you using your handle, it doesn't account for people who do not use your handle. Perhaps they don't know your handle, or they could be talking about you without necessarily intending to talk to you.

    Of course, you want to know about these mentions of your brand on Twitter, and Hootsuite lets you do this really easily.

    To set up a brand mention stream, click 'add stream' and then choose 'search':

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    Here, you can input a search term. You can use advanced queries within that, so for Hallam Internet my search query looks like this:

    "Hallam Internet" OR "Hallam Communications" OR "Susan Hallam"

    As you can see, I'm using 'OR' to specify that this search should include any of the three terms. Note that I've used our current brand name, our brand name from way back when we started the company in 1999 and also the name of our managing director Susan, who is very well-regarded in our industry and beyond, so I like to keep an eye out for people mentioning her too.

    Set this up for your own company and remember to include previous brand names and names of appropriate people from your business. You can also search for mis-spellings if your brand name is difficult to spell.

    This stream will now show you every mention of your brand on Twitter. You can use this stream to monitor brand sentiment and to engage with those people who are speaking about you already.

    Create a Custom Search

    Beyond searches for your brand name or important people, you can create any custom search you'd like to use Twitter more intelligently.

    For example, you might want to search for people talking about your products or services. This will enable you to:

    Identify potential customers

    If you see someone asking about 'holiday cottages in the New Forest' on Twitter and you happen to be a company like New Forest Living that sells holiday cottages in the New Forest, you'll want to reply to that person to let them know about what you can offer. Simple!

    Monitor your competitors

    You may think you know who your competitors are - but do you? By monitoring people talking about your products or services, you have the opportunity to see known or new competitors who are talking about those things too.

    Assess the popularity of a product/service

    This search will give you some very useful steer on the popularity of a product or service. You will see people discussing your products or services and how outside factors are affecting that, allowing you to better understand trends and what products/services to focus on in your marketing.

    Using Hootsuite to Schedule Tweets

    You can use Hootsuite to schedule tweets, making it easier to post tweets regularly without having to be sat on Twitter all day long.

    This is a feature which has the potential to be hugely powerful. I like to combine it with Followerwonk analyses, which show you what time of day your Twitter followers are active and as such enables you to schedule tweets to go out at the most effective times. Here's a shot of our Followerwonk data for those that haven't used the platform before:

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    From the graph above, I can see that Hallam Internet's users are active throughout the day, with peaks at 9:00, 11:00, 15:00 and 17:00, so I can schedule tweets for those times in particular.

    I can also see that our followers remain active well into the evening, so even after I've left work for the day, I can have tweets scheduled to go out at those times.

    Hootsuite itself offers an 'autoschedule' service which does this analysis automatically for you, sending out tweets at the times they have been best received before.

    The Dangers of Scheduling

    Do beware the dangers of scheduling tweets. Whilst the ability to let tweets run without your input can really save time, the essence of Twitter and its value lies in the fact that it is a conversation. This means you still need to check in regularly to ensure you respond to people's questions and that you engage with people on Twitter, perhaps retweeting or replying to their tweets.

    There have been some examples of brands getting this really wrong. Remember Tesco's mis-timed 'Hit the Hay' tweet, scheduled to go out and happening to go live just after the horse meat scandal hit the headlines? They certainly remember it - it was a PR nightmare.

    [[{"fid":"152746","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"tesco hit the hay","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"tesco hit the hay"},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"tesco hit the hay","title":"tesco hit the hay","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]

    Hootsuite for Twitter Analysis

    As any social media marketer worth their salt knows, none of this is worth anything if it's not helping you to achieve your/your client's business goals.

    Hootsuite is a handy tool for Twitter analysis as well as Twitter management. There are lots of reports available in the reporting tab which will show you things like popular tweets and follower growth.

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    The 'Twitter Profile Overview' is a great report to start with.

    Use the most popular links report to gain valuable insight into the content that works – and that doesn’t. Look at the links here – what type of content has been most popular? Is it news? Product updates? Whitepapers? Use this information to plan what content you’ll create and share in future. Also look at the tweets themselves – the structure, the tone. What works? How can you learn from it?
     
    Take a look at the other standard reports from Hootsuite too – there’s lots of great information available.

    You'll see here that you can also pay for more reports; this is part of the paid Hootsuite service, which you may consider investing in if you are managing multiple accounts or want to access these extra features.

    Hootsuite Paid Account

    The Hootsuite paid version provides a number of extra services that you might like to invest in, including, as mentioned above, the ability to access more reports.

    The paid version of Hootsuite also enables you to give multiple users access to the same social network through Hootsuite.

    Hootsuite is a really useful tool for social media marketers who want to manage Twitter more intelligently. Take a look today and let us know what you think and your tips and tricks in the comments below.

    According to Jenny Halsz, President of JLH Marketing, "The funny thing about SEO is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The tactics shift, and the penalties increase, and the black hats get smarter, but SEO is still fundamentally just marketing." Here are some strategies to help your SEO take off in 2014.

    The funny thing about SEO is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The tactics shift, and the penalties increase, and the black hats get smarter, but SEO is still fundamentally just marketing. The biggest difference between SEO 15 years ago and SEO today is that the search engines (especially Google) are better at spotting “pigs.” - Jenny Halsz, Columnist at Search Engine Land and President of JLH Marketing.

    There are a handful of people who had a monumental impact on my professional life, and one of them is certainly Jenny Halasz, whom I’ve known since 2006 when I was just getting started in SEM. I cannot speak highly enough of Jenny, both in terms of her SEO expertise and character, so I am really excited to publish her Q&A with SearchDecoder.

    jenny halasz smx

    Jenny’s a true SEO veteran who’s been giving solid advice to brands since 2000 and, unlike many other consultants, her sober, common sense instructions have stood the test of time, through Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, and every other change that’s come down the pike. She is a regular columnist on Search Engine Land, where she writes about SEO, SEM, and content marketing. 

    Jenny Halasz is the President of an online marketing consulting company offering SEO, PPC, and Web Design services. She occasionally offers her personal insights on her blog, JLH Marketing.

    Originally, I was going to close my recent book, SEO Like I’m 5: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization, with a chapter on how to make money online, but I couldn’t do this in good conscience without including this article by Jenny Halasz, which provides a great 2014 SEO playbook for businesses and entrepreneurs. So, I included a large chunk of Jenny’s insights below as a bonus chapter in my book. Hope you will enjoy it!

    Which SEO Strategies to Stop, Start, and Continue in 2014?

    The funny thing about SEO is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The tactics shift, and the penalties increase, and the black hats get smarter, but SEO is still fundamentally just marketing. It’s always been the case with traditional marketing (print, TV, radio) that instead of just marketing to the customer, you’re also marketing to the channel.

    What I mean by this is that ultimately your product or service should be appealing to a target customer, whether it’s B2B or B2C. But you have to consider the channel you’re promoting it in. In print, you had to squeeze your message into a single 8 ½ by 11 page, or on TV into a 30 second spot. In SEO, it’s a certain number of characters, or a certain format. The search engines have rules for websites the way that magazines have rules for font sizes and typefaces.

    But here’s the thing. I’m from the South, and we have a saying here. You can put lipstick on a pig, and it might make it prettier, but it’s still a pig. If you have a website that fundamentally sucks in terms of layout or structure, or a product that doesn’t deliver to a need, or a service that talks big, but fails when it comes to keeping people happy, it’s just a pig. And you need to examine what underlying issue has to change.

    The biggest difference between SEO 15 years ago and SEO today is that the search engines (especially Google) are better at spotting pigs.

    If I had to give advice on three things to stop, start, and continue with SEO, it would be these:

    stop

    photo credit: iNkMan_ via photopin cc

    STOP trying to game the system

    Studying Google’s algorithms, patents, and updates is fun if you’re into data. But if you’re doing it just to reverse-engineer the algorithm, you’re going to fail. Google now makes something like 500+ algorithm changes a year. And most of those go unnoticed by everyone except people who were trying to game it.

    STOP spraying links all over the web

    If you’re treating your link building efforts like ‘skunk spray’ – stinking up the entire area in the hope you’ll overtake predators – then you are absolutely doing it wrong. Think about the way you party now compared to the way you partied in college. Moderation! Directory listings are good – in moderation. Guest posts are good – in moderation. Articles are good – in moderation. Do any one of those too much and you’ll be the guy passed out in the corner while the party goes on around you. Think about what will help your business, and do that instead.

    STOP treating the Internet like a get-rich-quick scheme

    The Internet has matured. People expect companies to have great features, great service, and great product selection. It’s unlikely that you’re going to be the next Facebook or Apple without a tremendous investment in time, technology, and capital.

    CONTINUE embracing the power of reviews

    70% of people rely on reviews to make purchasing decisions, according to Google. Companies only get good reviews when they surprise and delight their customers. The old adage is true – make someone happy, they’ll tell two friends. Piss them off, they’ll tell twenty. Except on the Internet, the ratios are more like 200 to 2,000.

    CONTINUE being amazing

    At the end of the day, make sure you’re building, making, creating, and selling something great. Make people happy or help them solve their problems. Make their lives just a little bit easier. Make sure your site is not just readable on mobile, but mobile friendly. Go the extra mile to provide a pleasant experience with your email campaigns, your coupon experiences, and your customer service. There is nothing better for SEO than a bunch of happy customers.

    START thinking about the future

    Think about wearables like Google Glass and the iWatch. Realize that the Fitbit, the Garmin, and myriad other tools will become more advanced. Consider critically how your product or service fits in. How will you leverage this new technology in your business?

    START developing your entity relationships

    Everything is related to something. If your name is Sam, then Sam ‘has’ car, Sam ‘has’ house. House ‘has’ Sam’s wife, wife ‘has’ children. Children ‘have’ computers, computers ‘have’ apps. Start thinking in this way to understand why and how schema works. Whether we have to keep tagging everything ourselves or search engines just get more advanced at discovering the relationships themselves, entities are the future of how we’ll search.

    START bending to the search engines’ whim

    If they tell you to nofollow, do it. If they give you a new schema tag to use, use it. If they tell you to stand on your head, ask them for how long. Like it or not, the search engines rule SEO. We are free to ignore their recommendations, to block their robots, or ignore their penalties. But it’s like the kid at the playground that you don’t play nicely with. He will just take his ball and go home. Google doesn’t need you. So feel free to question, criticize, or even get irritated by what Google requires. ‘But do it anyway.’

    START focusing on real metrics

    Rankings are nice to track, and they can tell you a lot about things when you view them in categories. Visits are cool, but there’s a lot of noise from affiliates, pay to click programs, and DOS attacks. But what really matters at the end of the day is money. So make sure your analytics is set up to track actual goals. Assign a monetary value to them or don’t, but make sure you know what contributes to real, actual customers instead of just a first place ranking for your CEO’s name.

    I think the biggest mistake new SEOs make is taking things at face value. Dr. Pete wrote this amazing open letter to SEOs, where he hits this right on the head.

    Question. Test. Test Again. Build. Destroy.

    Just because someone you respect says your Title tag should be 56 characters for maximum click-through doesn’t mean it’s going to be that way with your business, your industry, your clients. A caveat though. Unless your purpose is purely academic, be careful of falling into the trap of testing all the time and never creating. You have a responsibility to your clients and to yourself to deliver results, not just the results of tests.

    What’s your favorite thing about SEO?

    Everything. Seriously, this is an extremely hard question to answer for me. I love everything about SEO. It’s how I define myself. Many people don’t know that I actually started my career in affiliate marketing. Then I shifted to event marketing, paid search, account management, copywriting, and finally SEO. SEO was where I found my home.

    To me, it’s the perfect combination of creativity and writing, technology and data mining, analysis and implementation. The community is so welcoming, and I’ve found so many people who I call my friends even though I only see them at conferences and on twitter or Facebook. There’s nothing like being able to find someone to talk shop with at any hour of the day. This is such a male-dominated part of the industry, but I feel welcome. The men are just as supportive and friendly as the women. And while there’s a fair amount of sexism in the industry overall (like there is in any industry), my fellow SEOs speak a common language. I’ve never felt anything but welcome and loved by my fellow SEOs. 

    And that brings me to probably my most important piece of advice. Don’t compete, collaborate. There is plenty of work to go around. SEOs are amazing at sharing – tools, ideas, spreadsheets, concepts, case studies, stories. Most of us collaborate with each other and we are better for it. We don’t worry about things like intellectual property or trade secrets. We sub work to each other, and pay each other as consultants when we know we need help. Sharing elevates all of our skills, and we know it. It’s just one more thing to love about SEO.

    If you enjoyed Jenny’s insights on my blog (or in my book), you want to check two of her latest blog posts:

    5 Tiny SEO Hacks I Use Every Day

    An Open Letter to the New SEO Generation

    Top image credit: jurvetson via photopin cc

    They may call you a sellout or a hustler, but when it comes to LinkedIn, it pays to be generous with your connections. As much as marketers lecture on the importance of quality over quantity, there’s no denying there are some major benefits to accumulating hordes of followers and friends, even if admittedly they couldn’t even pass for acquaintances IRL.

     

     

    They may call you a sellout or a hustler, but when it comes to LinkedIn, it pays to be generous with your connections.

    As much as marketers lecture on the importance of quality over quantity, there’s no denying there are some major benefits to accumulating hordes of followers and friends, even if admittedly they couldn’t even pass for acquaintances IRL.

     

    Social Media Networking Rules & Regulations (Unofficial)

    There are some social networks that generally hold a higher standard for connections, but sometimes rules are made to be broken.

    • Instagram: Most of us don’t care much about our friends’ beautiful, delicious ramen noodle bowl lunch. We certainly don’t want to see a stranger’s half-eaten tuna salad. Instagram tends to be a real-friends-only network.
    • Facebook: While Facebook is lax to some degree, most people still aren’t likely to add blatant strangers. Maybe you only add them because they took one Poli-Sci class with you in college or they were on your intramural bocce team, but you’ve probably had at least some kind of minor human interaction with them.
    • Twitter: Twitter is extremely generous when it comes to establishing connections. On Twitter, it’s perfectly normal to follow people you know absolutely nothing about. That’s a natural result of not requiring a confirmation to establish a connection (AKA I do what I want). Twitter is a numbers game. User’s unabashedly broadcast their follower number as a key indicator of their worth.
    • LinkedIn: LinkedIn tends to be more like Instagram and Facebook in that people are more critical of their friend requests. It makes sense – the professional social network expects you to act, well, professional. Not like a child at his first day of Kindergarten, hugging every new “friend” he shares a Fruit Roll-Up with (everyone knows true friendships revolves around the exchange of Jawbreakers).

    Turns out, this is all wrong. You should be self-promoting on LinkedIn like it’s the last dance a senior prom.

    TLDR; you should be treating LinkedIn more like Twitter.

    Twitter connections are unilateral – you follow anyone you find even remotely interesting. I decided to try this Twitter-specific approach with LinkedIn. I think, like me, you’ll be surprised to see the results.

    Pros of LinkedIn Connection Binging

    1. You’ll Have Top Spot in Most Viewed Connections

    The more connections you have, the more likely you are to show up in a user’s “most viewed connections” section.

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    I know what you’re thinking – who cares? What’s the point of showing up in a user’s most viewed connections? Well, I was at an industry networking event recently and two different people recognized me (even though we had never met) from their most viewed LinkedIn connections!

    2. Your Profile Gets a Lot More Views

    More network connections means a ton more profile views. After I started being more lenient with adding and accepting connections, my profile views went from a handful here and there to thousands per week!

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    While there are no obvious advantages to profile views, you’re getting more notice and attention. Isn’t the point of networking to get your name out there? I consider that a win.

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    3. More Endorsements Than a 5 Star General

    Since I started my connections binge, I’ve been collecting endorsements like bottle caps. Previously I had an embarrassingly low number of endorsements from my measly 300 connections. Having the 99+ endorsements looks fantastic, but it’s almost impossible to get there if you don’t have a ton of connections, since it would require a huge percent of your connections to endorse you.

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    Even in fields where I’m considered an expert, like SEO and SEM, I had pretty low numbers. Now with 10,000 connections, I get around 300 new endorsements per week! My profile is more decorated than a 5 star general; I have more badges than a homeschooled Eagle Scout. That’s some serious online street cred.

    4. You’ll Become the Popular Kid: More Connection Requests

    There’s definitely a snowball effect when it comes to connection binging. The more connections you have, the more connection requests you’ll find flooding your dinky little LinkedIn Inbox. I get 100-300 connection requests each week now!

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    Looks like someone in town is wearing their tight pants.

    5. Boost in Post Engagement (+Likes, Comments, & Shares)

    Now that I’ve racked up +10,000 connections, I’m treated like LinkedIn royalty. Every status update I post on LinkedIn generates a ton more engagement than my old status updates as a LinkedIn peasant. In the past I’d be lucky to get just one or two thumbs up. Now my status updates have an average of 30 – 200 likes. Not too shabby!

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    Engagement with posts drives even more engagement, since LinkedIn gives timeline appearance preference to talked-about content. It’s a beautiful LinkedIn loop.

    6. More People Devour Your Published Content

    As a high-ranking LinkedIn gigolo, you’re LinkedIn published content gets consumed faster than an MIT student in a zombie horde.

    Part of this success is due to the LinkedIn blogging platform, which notifies users when a connection publishes a post. The more connections you have, the more notifications other users will receive. The result? Heaps of engagement with your published articles.

    More connections leads to more content engagement, which increases your chances of getting featured in LinkedIn Pulse (which, in turn, boosts engagement even more)! My LinkedIn articles now get anywhere between 1-55k views. A recent piece got 132 likes and 49 comments! That’s a huge improvement prior to my LinkedIn connection binging, when just a handful of likes or comments was something to celebrate.

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    7. More Connections on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.

    When people see and engage with your content on LinkedIn, they usually also share your content on other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  There’s always a spill over. When I have a very successful LinkedIn post, I’ll often discover a truckload of new Twitter and Google+ connections.

    8. More LinkedIn Followers

    When users see the high levels of engagement with my posts, many decide to follow me. Followers are people who subscribe to your content updates, but are not LinkedIn connections. This means more individuals committed to your content and reading your posts. No downside there!

    9. More Website Traffic

    Increased post engagements also leads to more website traffic! I’ve increased traffic to WordStream from LinkedIn by 4X in just a few weeks! That’s the true power of LinkedIn connection binging.

    Should You Be a LinkedIn LION?

    Some users choose to become LinkedIn Open Networkers (LIONs), connecting with anyone and everyone they see on LinkedIn.

    While I’ve suggested many benefits of generous networking on LinkedIn, it’s a far cry from blindly adding connections indiscriminately. Really, LinkedIn connection binging only works when connecting with a relevant audience that will have at least some interest in the kind of content that you’re posting. Random connections aren’t all that beneficial.

    This should be obvious by now though – haven’t you watched Game of Thrones enough to be wary of those Lannister lions?

    When I see a LinkedIn user that wants to connect with me, I examine their profile to see:

    • Are they a premium member? There are a ton of spam accounts on LinkedIn, so seeing that a user has a paid premium account means they are more likely to be a real person.
    • Do we have trusted connections in common? Having a few connections in common is always a good sign.
    • Does the user have related skills and interests? If they have no related skills, no relative interests, and do not work in any industry similar to mine, I probably won’t add them.
    • Does the user’s profile look impressive? The user should have a profile picture, at least some endorsements, etc. Otherwise, no way José.
    • Is the user in a country where I do business? I love Bangladesh, but my company doesn’t do business there. It’s important that I focus on networking in the countries where I conduct business and want to grow.

    The Downside to Being a LinkedIn Streetwalker

    Selling yourself cheap on LinkedIn has serious side effects, and not all of them are good. The cons:

    • Spam. The spam train will hit you hard. The Monty Python crew will have nothing on you. You’ll get a lot of folks trying to sell you stuff, so be prepared and try to develop a system for weeding out the undesirables.
    • 30k Connection Limit. LinkedIn limits you to 30k connections. I currently have 10k and am adding hundreds of new connections each week. Eventually I’ll hit the limit. At that point I plan on deleting the bottom 25% of my connections to make room for new, better connections. You’ll have to be ready to send some connections to the chopping block. LinkedIn is a merciless battleground.
    • Implied Endorsement. If anyone I know connects to one of my 10k LinkedIn connections, my face will appear as a connection in common. Some may view my connection as a character endorsement, even though the connection could be a complete stranger. So if someone ends up being a serial killer, you might wind up labeled an accomplice. That’s going to be some tough paperwork.

    LinkedIn connection binging has some pretty powerful implications. While there are risks, I think they’re pretty minimal for what you’re getting in exchange.

    Conclusion: LinkedIn Whoring Pays the Bills

    Let’s face it – self-promoting on LinkedIn provides some big time benefits.

    Friendship is a delicate, fragile thing to be treasured; but you’re not looking for real friends. You want a crowd at your party, and LinkedIn connection binging promises a wild ride.