Say “Hello” to my little friend…

Financial Services Professionals LinkedIn Mobile App Update

I thought one of the greatest acquisitions by LinkedIn was in 2014 when they brought Connected into their suite of products. Since then, I’ve been reminding every financial services professional I encounter to download the separate Connected app to their iPhone/Android as a quick and easy way to stay in touch with their LinkedIn connections. Why would I do this when there was already a main LinkedIn mobile app? Well, to be honest, it kind of sucked…and this separate app was great for us in the relationship business.

Then they heard our cries…

Well, LinkedIn heard our battle cries and redesigned their mobile app. When you have million of users wanting something, you listen! So effective March 21, 2016, they will be retiring the standalone LinkedIn Connected app. Everything you need will be found in the newly redesigned LinkedIn app. Go ahead and delete it today because the new and improved LinkedIn mobile app is pretty freaking awesome!

Download LI appDownload LI app 2

 

 

So, Sheryl, where are my contacts now?

With the new LinkedIn mobile app, you’ll find all of your contacts under “My Network”. Here, you’ll see work anniversaries, new positions, birthdays, etc. With a tap of your finger, you’ll be able to reach out quickly and congratulate your connections on any changes going on in their professional lives. And yes, you can customize those messages, which you couldn’t do previously on the old app.

While in there, you’ll also be able to add people and search for current connections; all within one application versus several standalone products. The LinkedIn Help Center is a click away for any specific questions too. Simply go to https://help.linkedin.com and look for anything which might be eating at you!

Change is good for everyone even if it’s a little uncomfortable at first. The social media networks do listen to our needs and build/rebuild products to more closely answer the challenges we face. This application change is an example of crowd-sourcing requests at its finest.

If you have any questions about this or any other social media-related needs, feel free to reach out and ask. We are all in this together!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite

Advertisements

SSI: It’s the PSI of Your LinkedIn Profile

Financial Services Are you Paying Attention to Your Social Selling Index

It’s winter in the Midwest. Brr – I’m not a fan of the cold at all, what about you? My husband, however, is a tire manager for a major tire distributor and if the weather is really hot or really cold he loves his job…why? Depending on the temperature outside a tire can be underinflated or overinflated and folks bring their cars in to get services, thus causing sales. Guess what? Your LinkedIn account is exactly the same way.

You can stop by the Sales Solutions site of LinkedIn and grab your Social Selling Index easily by clicking here: https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/social-selling/the-social-selling-index. (Being transparent, mine is 73.) So what does this number mean?

The Social Selling Index (SSI) is the pounds per square inch of your LinkedIn profile tires. LinkedIn measures your influence on their platform and rewards certain behaviors. Today, we will kick around their suggestions and make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your SSI at the right PSI and get the most mileage on your account.

Branding – yeah, it’s pretty important

When you go into your LinkedIn profile and fill it out, yes – it helps you be found, but that’s not branding. A shiny new paint job on a car doesn’t make a Pinto any better of a vehicle, right? If, however, you fill out the profile the way your client would consume the information, then you’re thinking like a brand! This encompasses everything from not only what you put into your profile (aiming for it to be filled out completely), but also thought leadership, value-added content, consistent posting, interacting with others, and skillset endorsements (which is a sore spot for registered reps, I know!). Basically, go big or go home.

The heat is on

I attribute my lower SSI (it was 93 at one point – yikes!) because I momentarily lost my mind two years ago and connected with people I didn’t know well or even do business with – see, I make mistakes too! Every car has a limit on how many passengers it can take on the journey, and so does your LinkedIn profile. Now, I have to work on correcting this – gah!

If you’ve ever watched a racecar, did you ever notice during down time the driver swerves the tires back and forth? You can’t create heat for the tire when going slow and LinkedIn wants you to leverage their warm environment by providing you with a succinct way to search and find the best leads.

Value – you have helpful stuff to share

Whether you join a group (and trust me – there is a group out there for everyone!) or you’re posting updates and using the Publisher feature of the platform, only do this if your intention is to add value. If I asked you to name a beautiful car, you’ll have a variety of answers. If I ask you to name a trustworthy car though, it’s probably not the same car, right? LinkedIn is the same way. People are looking for someone they can trust who will add value immediately to their situation. Respect this and LinkedIn will reward you.

Building a relationship is easier than ever

One of the things I see most often is the lack of colleagues connecting in an organization- huge mistake. Huge! Connect with each other and leverage your ability to get in front of more people.

Also, how many of you need to get to decision makers? The gatekeepers are still out there. Well, what if you can get a referral into someone? All of this can be accomplished through LinkedIn and if you use their platform, they reward you through the Social Selling Index.

In years past, the SSI appeared to be this arbitrary number which meant little to many users of the LinkedIn platform. Now you have some insight on how this works and can work on measuring your influence. If you need assistance, let me know.

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite

 

I said, “Happy Birthday!” and they said, “Share this with your followers!” Wait…what?

Wait whatI love holidays of any kind and if the opportunity presents itself to say, “Hello!” to someone I know then I’m all about it!  Birthdays, Anniversaries, new babies – you name it. Everyone loves to have someone see them through the busy-ness of the day.  It feels good!

It takes time to really see that person too, doesn’t it? I mean, between the phone calls, emails, and other daily transactions – we really have to stop what we are doing and write a few meaningful lines to someone.  We want to make an interaction unique, or at least that should be our goal.

Happy BirthdayRecently, I reached out to wish someone a happy birthday.  Rather than do it through traditional methods of mailing a card, I sent them a message on a social media account and told them I was thinking about them. I made it very personal too, writing about our last visit together and hoping to hear about their past year. Their response perplexed me a bit, though.  They did say “Thank you” (which was nice and let me know they got my message) but then they sent me a link to a publication asking, “Do me a favor and share ____ with your followers!”

Wait…what?

Are we really moving so fast that we have to ask someone to help us share something in the same breath we said, “Thank you!“?  Are we so much about so-called “efficiency” that we can’t let a thank you note rest on its own laurels and then send a separate message requesting our help?  If there was a dislike button when I received that, “Do me a favor…” post, I would have pressed it!!

I saw a stat on Buffer.com that said:

On Twitter, over 80% of customer service related tweets are negative or critical of the brand in question,

…this is important to absorb. If you or your company is a “brand”, the fact that 80% of sentiment on brand’s Twitter accounts is expected to be negative hits hard, so a positive sentiment should be embraced!  Don’t let those moments pass by! That’s some good vibes and mojo someone is sending you – – you never respond asking them to do you a favor.  No – no – NO!

The busy-ness of financial services is ok as along as we still embrace each interaction with a personal touch, especially when it comes to social media.  I couldn’t give two hoots about the conformity of brevity in social if it means having my messages make me look more jerky than genuine.  It’s simply not ok to be in a hurry when talking to someone; everyone wants a little bit of your time. If you don’t have the time to talk to someone, why are you connected to them in the first place?

It made me really question whether the connection I have with this person is right for my unique audience.  Is this person someone that is helping me grow as a person?  Am I helping them be a better person through my interactions?  Does this relationship still make sense today?

There are seasons and reasons for everything.  Be sure you know which one you’re in with each connection, fan, follower, and friend.

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite

Narcissism is TOO alive and well on LinkedIn

Expert - ugh, stop using that word!As I was going through my LinkedIn requests to connect last week, I noticed a growing trend on professional headlines that I pray will disappear faster than parachute pants in the 80’s did.  What about those professionals who feel comfortable calling themselves “experts” and “gurus” and even the ones that say “ninja” and “master authority”?  Hmm…really?

Expertise is a funny thing.  I’m all for taking the time to maintain your profile on LinkedIn. It is super important and we all want to put our best foot forward so people know we are dynamic human beings, but should people feel THAT comfortable with these sorts of words?  To present themselves as the ‘guiding light’ of their profession?  Who are these individuals REALLY trying to impress: themselves or potential clients?

Out of sheer curiosity, I went to three very familiar people’s profiles to see if they even had a LinkedIn profile (they did!) and then wondered, “What does it say about them?”  Here we go!

President of the United States, Barack Obama

President Barack Obama – his professional headline merely said, “President of the United States of America”.  Regardless of what you think of him politically, he’s legit one of the most powerful people in the world and yet I looked – trust me, I read every single word – and nowhere does it say “expert” or “guru”.  Nope, not there and he has more than 2 million followers.

Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines

Next up was Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Airlines.  I checked out his LinkedIn profile too and he admits he is a tie-loathing adventurer, but nothing about being a “wind warrior” or that he owns more than 400 companies. What about his net worth which is estimated at $5.1 billion dollars?  Surely that qualifies him as a “guru”?  Nope – he just hates ties. [My husband does too!]

Reid Hoffmann, co-founder of LinkedIn

That leaves Reid Hoffmann.  He’s the co-founder of LinkedIn, is on the board of Airbnb and is the partner of Greylock.  Now he must be using these words because he helped create LinkedIn, right?  I read the profile from top-to-bottom.  His only reference is that LinkedIn will help you FIND experts, but not that he is one.  Hmm… I would have thought for certain we would find it here!

So, if these accomplished individuals are not using these words,

WHY ON EARTH IS ANYONE ELSE? 

Next, it led me to Google the phrase, “What makes someone an expert?” and in less than a second 153,000,000 articles were returned by people, who probably think they are experts.  The only reasonable explanation was from Wikipedia which cracked me up because anyone can change that to suit their needs, so now it begs me to question for financial professionals, “Is there anyone wondering why compliance officers hate this word so much?”  An expert cannot be deemed by one person to someone else.  Collectively, we need to stop using these terms to make us feel better about ourselves and start using words that make clients want to work with us.  Let’s all get over ourselves!

Also, I’m not sure if you noticed that in each of the profiles above, they all did have one thing in common.  The word “Influencer” was assigned by LinkedIn to their profiles.  Why did LinkedIn strategically use that word versus “Ninja”?  Dorie Clark explains it quickly and concisely in this recent Harvard Business Review Tip of the Day:

Influence Others Even If You’re Not an Expert

One of the most powerful forms of influence is authority, especially when it comes from your expertise. If you have 20 years of experience or you write for a certain publication, you have an increased ability to influence others. But how do you influence people if you don’t have those credentials? The first step is to borrow others’ expertise. If you’re a thoughtful curator of the best ideas in your field, people will turn to you for guidance. Another technique is to find commonalities with your audience. Having something in common can create a powerful psychological bond. It’s also important to be strategic with your persuasion. If you can’t directly contact the person you’re trying to influence, try talking to someone close to them instead. Finally, create original content. Choose a platform that makes sense for you, then share about the issues in your field to build your reputation.

Adapted from “Get People to Listen to You When You’re Not Seen as an Expert,” by Dorie Clark.

Don’t get me wrong.  Authority is a drug.  Presidents of countries and companies can certainly command a room, but that is mostly due to their influence over others rather than their expertise alone.  Once anyone gets to that level, they depend on teams of expertise and not on their own smarts.  So, when you depend on a team of expertise, does that warrant you to say you’re an expert?  I definitely think not.
Wouldn’t you rather be known as an “influencer” than an expert?  Start thinking about how you influence others in your practice.  Look at your words and ask others how they feel when they read your website or bio…and you need someone who will be grossly honest with you and honor the term “truth over peace”.  Be ready to hear the real deal.  It might sting, but it’s for your own good.  Influence your connections, forget about being a know-it-all.
Be bigger, better and more BIONIC!
Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite

If at first you don’t succeed….

Perseverance

…you know how the saying goes, right?  Someone…a teacher, a parent, a mentor of some type pressed on you to try, try again.  Perseverance: it’s a forgotten skillset.  Why do so many give up so easily these days?

LinkedIn is terrific for meeting people, but I often time will hear members say, “I sent them a connection request, but they didn’t accept.”  I wait for an awkward moment and think, “…and you gave up that easily?  Why?”  If this is someone you want to connect with and you feel you can offer real value to their lives, then don’t give up!

The Harvard Business Review recently sent out their daily stat with the following:

If you assume that someone who has turned you down once is unlikely to grant a subsequent request, your assumption may be incorrect. Research by Daniel A. Newark, Francis J. Flynn, and Vanessa K. Bohns shows that saying “no” makes people feel guilty and therefore raises their likelihood of saying “yes” to an asker’s next request. For example, in an experiment, people on a university campus who refused to do a stranger a favor by filling out a questionnaire were subsequently 30% more likely to agree to the stranger’s second request, which was to mail a letter.

SOURCE: You’re Already More Persuasive than You Think

That’s pretty impressive when you think that 30% of those who refuse the first time are more than likely to agree a second time around.  So for example, if you reach out to connect and the person doesn’t accept – don’t assume they don’t want to connect, instead think, “Maybe they didn’t receive my request because…”:

  1. …they have notifications turned off.
  2. …they rarely check LinkedIn.
  3. …they forgot how you are both connected.

…the list goes on and on.  Instead, be resourceful!  There are ways to find email addresses and you can send them a second note to connect.  Maybe you can send them an email and tell them you’re trying to reach them on LinkedIn.  Keep trying and ask me if you need new ideas!

The point is not to give up.  There are lots of reasons why someone may not be connecting, the least of which is to not accept. Shucks, they may not even know how to do that!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite

Financial Advisors and the LinkedIn Summary

whyWhen working with financial advisors on their LinkedIn profiles, a majority of them do not have a LinkedIn Summary. My inclination is to believe that the clean slate leaves many feeling overwhelmed with the daunting task of talking about themselves. What do I say to not sound dumb? Do I write this in first person or third person? Why don’t my connections just go to my website to see what I do? Let’s help you get answers (and some help!) on getting this important task off your social media to-do list!

What do I say to not sound dumb?

This is a real fear. I know many highly decorated advisors who are very smart chaps (and chappettes!) and when you hand them a pen and paper to write a few sentences about themselves, they freeze up. Think about it for a moment. We know what we do for a living, but how do we say this so we don’t sound conceited, or worse, dumb to a potential client?

First, let’s talk about what the LinkedIn Summary is there to do. The biggest mistake I see people doing is going right into what they do at their job…wrong! The Summary section is your chance to tell your “why”. Why are you in this business? Why do you like working with people and businesses? This is what make you human and people really do want to get to know you on a deeper level.

So how do we make sure you don’t sound dumb? Just be yourself. Honestly, just be you. Come from your heart and say why you do this work. That’s much more important than trying to sound super professional and probably unapproachable. An example is my own:

As the Manager of Advisor Engagement Services at Ash Brokerage, I want to share my passion of social media with the financial services professional. As a six-year-old child, I lost my mother to lung cancer. It’s a mission of mine to tell the insurance story every day so it helps others plan for unexpected events.

I’ve used a lot of keywords in this (my title, my company, what I do which is  ‘social media’, financial services, insurance).  This helps optimize my profile so Google can find me in searches, but you can read this and get a sense of who I am as a person.

Our “why” will evolve over time too.  When I started in the insurance community more than twenty years ago, I did not come in with a ‘why’ that is as strong today. It developed through those years, and so will yours so updating your profile is very important.

If you come from your heart, you won’t sound dumb – I promise you.

Do I write this in first person or third person?

You always write in first person.  Always, always, always.  This is a conversation of sorts.  If your name is John, you wouldn’t go into a cocktail party and say, “John likes music.  John likes horseback riding.  John believes every young family should have term insurance.” That would make you sound dumb (look at the first question of this article!).

Write in first person.  Be conversational.  Use words from your heart.

Why don’t my connections just go to my website to see what I do?

If you’re counting on folks to go to your website for everything then you’re not being realistic. With the shortening attention span of consumers today, you’ve got seconds to make an impression.  Use your profile landscape to be interesting, heartfelt and informative.  If clients go to LinkedIn to find out what you do, then be sure you’re there.  You’re not guaranteed they will go back to search for your website and not get caught up looking at cat videos or making Amazon purchases, forgetting they were supposed to be finding out information about you.  Seize the opportunity to be relevant!

If you have questions about your profile, let me know. I enjoy talking with advisors and seeing them be more active in social media.

Be bigger, better, and more BIONIC!

Sheryl Brown – the @BIONICsocialite

#RANT: Don’t you ever do this!

Rant Rant RantLast week was my birthday!  I turned 44 years old and was amazed by how many people reached out on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to wish me incredible blessings in the coming years.  Thank you to all who made my day –  I was honored!

Through all these incredible blessings received….you guessed it.  I received the below message and immediately wanted to make sure you knew….Don’t you ever do this!  Incoming #RANT!

never do this.png

You see, Terry and I have never met.  This was someone who requested a connection on LinkedIn.  I accepted as she is connected to one other person I know well, so I thought I would check it out and see if we had anything in common, except the only two messages she has sent me is about her business.  Not once has she tried to get to know me (remember SHE friend requested ME on LinkedIn, not the other way around).  Who does this?

The operative word in the term “social media’ is social.  This is where you chat and get to know people.  Do you think this person would walk into a dinner, meet someone for the first time and say, “Contact us for a free 15 min consultation for career coaching!“?  If she did do that, wouldn’t you walk away and think, “Weirdo!”   So why do people think this is OK to do on anyone’s LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook?  It’s not ok!

Please, don’t ever do this!  For goodness sake, be human!  Get to know people and once you’ve developed a base in that relationship, then you have the ground to stand on to talk about your business.  No one should ever just go in and start selling you – that just feels slimy and is a huge turnoff.

If you have questions on ways you can reach out to new folks – ask me.  I’m more than happy to help you get your foot in the door with people.  The above message is most certainly NOT the way to do it.

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite