Whether you’re new to LinkedIn or have been on it a while, you can learn a thing or three from Trevor Turnbull.
Trevor has been in the LinkedIn space for around 10 years.
In that time, he’s taught thousands of entrepreneurs and professionals how to get tangible results from the platform.
Tune in as he tells us what makes Linkedin a powerful sales engine for the right kind of business.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 35:52 — 33.0MB)
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01:17 – Where we currently are with LinkedIn
02:58 – No automation, just real conversations
04:43 – So who should be using LinkedIn, and how?
07:37 – The numbers you needn’t obsess with
08:44 – How to make the content work for you
10:39 – The lowdown on hashtags
11:19 – How to link to your advantage
13:11 – What tools to have in your arsenal
13:56 – The two main prospecting areas you want to target
15:47 – Try referencing – it works
16:52 – How useful are groups on LinkedIn?
19:12 – Business pages – important, or don’t bother?
21:04 – Audience creation and repurposing
22:52 – Can someone do LinkedIn for you?
24:28 – On connecting with just anyone
25:25 – What’s the plan if LinkedIn goes away?
27:22 – We’ve covered all this – what else?
28:55 – Becoming a believer
31:53 – Some crucial parting advice
33:41 – What wasn’t asked
Expand your marketing reach with help from James
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. This is Episode 728. Today we’re talking about LinkedIn. And for that, I brought along a special guest, Trevor Turnbull from Canada. Welcome.
Trevor: Yeah. Thanks, James. Looking forward to chatting about this topic. Hopefully, I can offer a few little tidbits that people haven’t heard before.
James: Well, I’m sure you can. It seems like you’ve been helping people with good LinkedIn advice, recognizing that it is a tremendous sales engine for the right type of business.
Where we currently are with LinkedIn
And from a personal perspective, I wasn’t really into LinkedIn a few years back, and I have had my opinion change. Firstly, there was a member of my own community, Julie Mason. When I sort of said, “LinkedIn isn’t working for me,” she said, “Let me try and fix that for you.” And she turned my opinion around on LinkedIn. And we started to take it seriously, and we did some of the basics, which I’m sure you’re going to cover, and we’ve covered on the podcast before, and then we’ll go into more deeper stuff. But for us, she had me rewrite my profile, update the picture, then start making more connections. And then what we really added was to put video content, and I found video content’s worked great.
Now what I’m not doing, but I’m sure it’s part of your plan, is using the private messaging thing to make sales. I do it only from one perspective, and it’s probably an unusual one. And that’s my reverse cold funnel. And that’s, when people pitch me, which happens every single day, I start selling to them. And I’ve made a few sales now to them. And so basically, it’s just like a fresh insect lands on the spiderweb, and I’m able to help them out. Because especially when they do a terrible cold pitch, which is most common, I start a conversation with them about if they would like to improve their results from their campaigns on LinkedIn, and they ask me more about that. And then I’ve actually been sending off leads to one of my clients who writes cold emails and is particularly prolific on LinkedIn. So there you go, if you send me a pitch, you might end up buying something.
But I’m really interested in your perspective. What is your assessment of LinkedIn in terms of where it’s at as a platform? And what sort of changes have you seen over the last few years? Because for me, it’s definitely improved as a place where I can do business compared to what it used to be like.
No automation, just real conversations
Trevor: Well, I think you really just hit the nail on the head with that, which is by actually paying attention to the conversations that are going on inside your messaging box, you start to stand out. Like, when you reply to somebody and they can tell that you read their message, it actually stands out compared to the, you know, mass marketing, automated tools that are blasting messages out there into the world. Like, we can get into my background, and kind of like how the evolution of what I’ve seen on LinkedIn is, but honestly, you know, in the last year in particular, we’ve been telling people how to use LinkedIn in a way that, you in theory or in thought doesn’t sound scalable, because it’s quite honestly not. Like, there’s no automation in anything that we do. We do use virtual assistants, and there is a lot of things that you could script that would lead a person into your funnels and into your regular sales process and getting people on the phone to sell your services. But ultimately, it’s about going a little deeper and actually having conversations with people. Imagine that in today’s world, right? You can actually engage in a conversation.
James: Yeah, something we talked about a lot is, automation is great until it’s not, and it can be definitely depersonalized. And you can pretty easily tell when you’ve been sent a robot message on LinkedIn, especially the untargeted ones, like when they say stuff like, you know, tell me a bit about what you do. I’m thinking, Why don’t you flick over to my profile and have a little read before you flick me off an autobot message? You know, like, it isn’t that hard to stand out. It’s like the classic job hunter who’s sending out 1000 unpersonalized resumes and getting no jobs, versus the person who sends like a super hyper-relevant, targeted with context, clearly thoughtful, put-some-effort-into-it type of approach, and they get the job off of a much lower campaign threshold.
So who should be using LinkedIn, and how?
We’ve spoken a few times about cold email in this podcast, we’ve spoken a few times about LinkedIn. So what I’m really interested in, of the things that – well, firstly, LinkedIn – should we use LinkedIn or not? Who’s it good for?
Trevor: Well, the kind of clients that we work with, which is typically the coach, consultant, speaker, kind of the solopreneur, you know, they’re wearing all the hats in their business, this platform is amazing for them if they use it in the right way.
You know, what I’ve taught people over the years is really about just getting more focus than anything. Like, it’s the key critical factor of making LinkedIn work for you. So I’ve got like a methodology that I’ve created called the solo method, which is really around choosing your one audience, having one clear offer, and then one campaign that you can run them through. And the one audience thing is the most important critical point on LinkedIn, and it’s usually the point of resistance for most people. When I say one audience, I say, who do you best serve? And if they say – you know, like, we have leadership coaches, for example, that are in our program, that’s one of the demographics of people that we serve. And they’ll say, well, “We can help any business that has X amount of employees to improve the leaders within the organization.” I say, “Well, that’s great. Now, tell me an industry that you best serve.” And they go, well, “It’s a lot.” I say, “Well, pick one.” And there’s usually a really strong resistance to that.
“Deeper conversation and niching are key to making LinkedIn work in its current state.”
So one of our clients for example, when we were asking them and digging, we’re like, “Tell us some of your best clients, like the ones you like working with, as well as what you can get the best results for.” And he mentioned pharma and biotech. We said, “All right, let’s go there.” So we started digging to see like, how many people are there in pharmaceutical and biotech that are in senior positions that they could support from a leadership perspective. And when we found out the audience was big enough, we customized his profile to say that he supports leaders in the pharma and biotech space to be able to create leaders within the organization. And what it does is it separates him from the thousands of people that are also doing leadership training. And I’m sure you’ve seen this as well, James, especially in the last few years, that there’s no barriers to entry to become a consultant now. So how are you going to stand out? Without niching down and utilizing a platform like this to stand out, it’s very, very difficult to build up that consulting business. So going deeper on the conversations and niching is really kind of the two key components to making LinkedIn work, now, in its current state.
James: Seems like on LinkedIn, you’ve got the option for people to endorse you for certain skills. And that might be another way to become known as a person who’s good at a particular thing.
Trevor: It’s another component for sure, when people are, say, checking out your profile, you know, just the social proof elements of other people saying that you’re good at what you say you’re good at. So you can definitely spend some time there.
But you know, you mentioned before, too, around content. This is one of the areas that we’ve really leaned into ourselves and actually teach and work with our clients on, is what kind of content and how often should you be publishing on LinkedIn.
The numbers you needn’t obsess with
And then the other side of it, too, is should you be fixated on the algorithms of how many views you get, and the likes and the comments and the shares. And I’m a very strong proponent to say, don’t worry at all about the engagement on LinkedIn. Yes, that’s a nice thing to have if you can create content that goes viral, and it’s got tons of shares and likes and everything else. But if you are using LinkedIn properly, and your perfect clients are coming to your profile and seeing your content, you don’t need thousands. Like, most people that we work with, they don’t need thousands of clients. Heck, they don’t even need hundreds of clients. So they just need the right message in front of the right person at the right time. And they have to show up consistently and speak to all the pain points that that client has or that prospect has, so that they become a logical choice for them to work with.
So it takes a lot of pressure off of people when they think about creating and publishing content on LinkedIn, without the worry of going, quote, unquote, viral. You know, just create it for the sake of actually, like, addressing the problems that your audience has and how you can solve them. And there’s a lot of details that we can dig into on that. But content is very powerful, especially in video format on LinkedIn, like you were saying before.
How to make the content work for you
James: Is it because people are generally quite serious on LinkedIn, and when they see a video, it’s a nice little welcome relief from their day to day?
Trevor: Yeah, I think so. And then also, you know, like all platforms, LinkedIn, of course, is looking for ways to get eyeballs on their platform. And they’re going to reward people that are creating media-rich content.
And that’s one of the other things too, it’s, you know, kind of in the details of how to do content marketing on LinkedIn, is make sure you’re uploading your videos right on LinkedIn, not sharing YouTube videos or anything like that.
“Be consistent with your content.”
And then they got the limit of 10 minutes and stuff too. So you have, you know, you got to kind of think about what types of content you’re going to produce as well. So like, what we do is like, two to five-minute videos that are around a specific topic that are meant to address challenges, pains, tell a story, and then give some type of a solution and a call to action, which in a lot of cases isn’t to an opt-in or a call. It’s just leave a comment below and let me know if this is something you resonate with, and if you could use help. So yeah, just creating content consistently is a key component to making LinkedIn work nowadays.
James: I just want to back you up on that. Because in our two years of doing videos that are typically short – in fact, I didn’t even know there was a 10-minute limit because virtually none of my videos are more than 10 minutes, they’re more like two minutes, five minutes, seven minutes, nine minutes, maybe – we put them up every day. We do have different types of calls to action, but again, I’m not that fussed about that. And we don’t get bazillion views. And they’re not virally shared that often. But some, some get a lot more views than others. But it’s enough to generate a lot of sales. Like we got, we have actually had the most views on LinkedIn of all the platforms.
We do upload natively. We do encode them with captions. We do try and make them catchy. And one thing that was interesting, we were told at some point not to put any sort of URL or call to action link in the actual post, but put it in the comments. But we found zero difference in the posts, whether we put it in the description or under it as a comment. So that that was something I thought was interesting. And then we put a few hashtags.
The lowdown on hashtags
So I’m curious, how important are hashtags? Do you get penalized for putting a link away from LinkedIn in the box or not?
Trevor: Yeah, the hashtags. If I can address that one first, you definitely want to use them. It’s one of the ways that LinkedIn is filtering the content. And of course, people are finding content through this. Typically three is like, the defaults that they suggest on LinkedIn. I’m looking at some of your videos here right now. I see you use more than that in some cases, which isn’t the worst thing. I think we want to try and find the balance between, you know, having enough hashtags that it’s showing up in those kind of searches, and not going too far on the other spectrum of like, say Instagram where you have 40 or 50 on there – it’s definitely not to your benefit to do that.
How to link to your advantage
As far as linking, from my experience, what I’ve learned and been told and seen ourselves, you know, any kind of links that are going outside the LinkedIn platform, of course, are not going to be seen as favorably as versus you linking to, say, something internally.
And it actually leads to one of the strategies that we do, which is, with content publishing on LinkedIn, in the form of articles – so not posts, not the stuff that’s showing up in the newsfeed, but rather the articles that get attached to your personal profile – we always want to make sure that our clients have at least one pillar piece of content. So we refer to it as an MVP article or a massive value piece. And that article is used in our follow-up strategies on LinkedIn. We will link to it from our content pieces, and it keeps the links internal on LinkedIn.
And it allows for an opportunity for you to have a piece of content that really speaks to who you best serve, how you can serve them, why they should trust you, the pains that they may have, the challenges or the pains that people try and solve and why it doesn’t work the way that they do it, and then ultimately explaining your unique methodology of how you can help that person. You know, if somebody asked, what do you do and for who, you could actually send them to that content piece.
So the more you can keep your content sharing within a LinkedIn ecosystem, definitely LinkedIn prefers that. And it actually leads to a better buyer’s journey as well. Because people don’t trust links nowadays, right? Especially if you get them in text message or email. It’s the same kind of thing with LinkedIn. If you get a message on LinkedIn that’s linking to a LinkedIn article, you’re more likely to click that versus some third party sites.
James: Gotcha. Okay. Well, it’s interesting to see how the data can be there. What we do find, we actually track the link and we can track back sales from that video content. And it’s really added up for us, like hundreds of thousands of dollars. So it’s no joke, the video content.
What tools to have in your arsenal
So let’s think about tools in the toolkit. We’ve talked about a couple. Obvious one is the bio, having a really good bio that’s client-focused, you’re suggesting around one particular type of client. Your picture, your link to wherever you link to – we’ve got a few options there. But the name of the game there is when people are interested in you, they’re going to click on your bio, and that’s where you do the sale.
We’ve talked about content marketing, so updating your profile with good content. We’ve talked a little bit about the private messaging. I’m not doing cold outreach, but a lot of people do, and it can be extremely effective. How important is that tool in the toolkit?
Trevor: Yeah, well, I’d say there’s two main components. I actually just got off a call previous to you and iHopping on this, and we were talking about, like, the two main areas that if somebody was to use LinkedIn for prospecting that they should focus on.
The two main prospecting areas you want to target
One is incoming or inbound connection requests, which, as you start to get more active on LinkedIn, you’re going to see that you’re going to get a lot more people connecting with you. Ideally, people that may do business with you, of course. So what most people do, though, is either ignore those incoming connection requests, or they just click Accept, and then they end up in the, you know, the neverending black hole of they’re in my connections now, I don’t know what to do with them. So we actually recommend that people use some type of a script, even when you’re getting incoming connection requests. So perhaps, you know, just to give you an example, “Hey, (first name), great to connect, wondering how you came across my profile. Perhaps you happened to see this article that I wrote on LinkedIn,” and then again, link them to that internal article. We find that gets a lot of traction, right? Because it opens the conversation and of course, it sets them down that journey of learning more about you. So that’s one component.
And then, like you just mentioned, on the messaging side of things. So what we do and recommend and teach and do for clients is “LinkedIn campaign prospecting,” is what we refer to it as. And typically, this is focused around connecting with your ideal target prospect, 50 to 75 connection requests per day, monitoring the responses closely, following up with a quick handshake, virtual handshake type of a message. And then there’s a couple of approaches to take. But the one that we found is most effective is what we refer to as a survey method. So you’re simply asking those people, what is most challenging to them in their business? with the intent on finding out that answer and then creating more content.
And it serves two purposes. It allows you to know who is actually active on LinkedIn, and responding to messages. And two, you may even get some insight that you hadn’t thought about around what kind of problems you can solve with the products or services or offers that you are presenting. And it gives you an opportunity to follow up with a content piece.
Try referencing – it works
Obviously you can publish content on LinkedIn. But even if you can reference, I know when I’ve done this before, I’ll reach out and say, “Hey, I’m writing an article for Entrepreneur,” because I’ve written numerous articles for Entrepreneur in the past. When I reference saying, “Hey, I’d love to get your professional opinion on this topic, based on your current status or your leadership in this space. I’m writing an article on Entrepreneur, I’d love to be able to include the feedback in my data collection for this article,” you’d be amazed at how much interaction you can get on LinkedIn. And then it comes back to, you know, that’s half the battle, is just getting into conversations with people and finding out how you can best serve them and seeing where the fit might be. And that starts the sales process, right? Getting your foot in the door in a non-salesy, spammy way that separates you from all of the automated bot tools is step number one. Get in the door, start building a relationship with people.
James: Yeah, and get in the door with something that’s actually interesting for the customer. I imagine they would see themselves being written up in Entrepreneur, and that’s the cheese, as Dean Jackson would call it, rather than the trap, which is what I get sent every day. I get sent mousetraps.
James: So that’s really interesting.
How useful are groups on LinkedIn?
What about groups? We haven’t talked about that yet. But is there a place for groups in LinkedIn? Do you find they’re useful?
Trevor: Well, it remains to be seen if groups can be resurrected, James. But I can tell you from my own personal experience, I’ve been in the LinkedIn space here now, like, doing trainings and teachings and stuff on this for almost 10 years now. And there was a time, as most people know that have been in the platform for a while, where groups were amazing, especially if you owned that group or you set up that group and you had the ability to send a blast out to them. We used to fill up, like my background in all this stuff is I worked with Lewis Howes. I’m sure most of your listeners know who Lewis is. Do you know Lewis is, James?
James: Of course I know who Lewis is. I hung out with him in the Philippines at Chris Ducker‘s event many years ago, when he was just about to launch his book.
Trevor: Ah, there you go. So yeah, Lewis and I connected like 10 years ago, because we were both kind of running in the sports and social media world. And at the time, I registered the domain LinkedInfluence, and we didn’t even know each other. And it just happened to be that him and his business partner came up with the same name. And that’s how they ended up.
So they took that domain, they went and launched their first course on that, and I basically ran Lewis’s sports recruiting website for four years. And we launched and built a group on LinkedIn that ended up being almost 200,000 members. And there’s like, to date, right now, there’s like 60,000 people pending to get into that group. But it was left behind like five years ago, because as soon as LinkedIn changed up some of their policies on how you can join groups, as well as, as an owner, how you could market to those people, they basically killed groups.
So I know there’s some strategies out there that people teach that talk about, like, build a group, make it, you know, industry-focused or topic-focused, where you become the center of influence. And I’ve got to say, it’s a terrible idea. I would not put any time or effort into groups right now. That being said, there’s always the big asterisk that LinkedIn changes things so frequently that they may actually resurrect groups at some point in the future. But right now, James, my honest opinion is don’t spend any time in groups, either publishing content in there or trying to build your own.
James: Well, you’ve sold me on that concept. I’m not going to be starting a group. I don’t even have a Facebook group, just to put that in perspective, because even though they’re the hottest thing under the sun, it’s not where I want to spend my day.
Business pages – important, or don’t bother?
The other thing that I want to ask you about is a business page. I had similar advice on the business page was like, just don’t bother. And we get nothing happening on our business page. It seems to be a very personal platform, like a person-to-person platform.
Trevor: Yeah, so the business page on the LinkedIn side of things, so the company page, is definitely an important thing to have and have it set up properly and branded properly. And then most importantly, is to get your team connected to it. Because one of the things with LinkedIn is it’s a little wonky that way, right? Like you’ve got to basically type in the name of the company and it pulls down in a drop-down menu, and then you select it to attach yourself. Many people will just type it in manually, and they’re not actually connected to the company.
So if you think of the buyer’s journey, say you have multiple people on your team, they land on your profile, they dive in to go and check out the company. Maybe you have a 50-person team, but there’s only six people connected to it. Well, you know, you kind of lost that opportunity to show the power of your team in addition to just you, right? So that’s one component of it.
The other side of it is just from a content-publishing standpoint. Yeah, you’re right. Like, most people aren’t following companies like they do, say, pages on Facebook. And you know, it could be argued that that’s kind of dead too. But I wouldn’t prioritize it as a number one thing that you need to focus on, it’s just one of those foundational things of like, get it set up, make sure you’re connected, you and your team are connected to it to show the power of your collective group of experts that you may have on your team. And then if you want to add it into your arsenal of places that you can be publishing your videos, in addition to LinkedIn posts, then absolutely. But the impact and the reach of it, I wouldn’t say it’s as effective as focusing solely on just posts on LinkedIn through your personal profile.
James: Yeah. And you know, we don’t want to join our team onto our company page. They’re all operating in the background, seamlessly and quietly. We’re a small business and we’re not trying to strut our size. We’re more ninja than that.
Audience creation and repurposing on other platforms
James: I want to ask you if you’ve had experience with creating audiences and being able to do any sort of cross-platform pollination.
Trevor: Yeah, for sure. So one of the benefits of doing these LinkedIn campaigns and the way that we teach it and do it ourselves is that when we get the information off of LinkedIn, so we do use some automation to be able to pull that off LinkedIn. And this is a whole other topic we can go down. But one of the things that you get when you have first-degree contacts is you do get the email addresses. And we don’t ever advocate or do ourselves any kind of cold email strategy from that because just quite honestly, it just doesn’t seem worth the squeeze, especially if you’re trying to get good clients that come in through the right path.
But you can definitely utilize those lists in other ways, right? So there’s custom audience building both on the LinkedIn platform, if you ever do decide to go down the path of LinkedIn ads, as well as other platforms, right? So like, Facebook has the ability to upload email lists and create custom audiences. And LinkedIn is a great source of data where one of the best parts about LinkedIn is that, you know, people willingly fill out their information to basically categorize themselves. Like, you want to go and find people based on their title and their industry and all that. You can micro target them without having to scrape them from some third party list. So you can build very, very good lists that can be repurposed for ad purposes as well.
James: Nice. So you can load that up with a custom audience on Facebook.
Trevor: Yep, yeah, exactly. And then ideally, you know, then this is getting down a whole other rabbit hole. But from an ad perspective, you may create a lookalike from that, right, knowing that if you get 3,000, 4,000 super targeted leads, prospects on LinkedIn, into an email list and upload it as custom audience, and then create a lookalike from that, you’re going to get a pretty well-targeted lookalike audience that you can run ads to.
Can someone do LinkedIn for you?
James: Nice. And in your experience, how easy is it to have a virtual assistant operate LinkedIn for you rather than you having to manually do some of the things that obviously get a great result when you do it by hand, but maybe not by your hand.
Trevor: Yeah, well, it all comes down to process and having the scripts and everything pre-built for them and then giving them the authority, like, there’s different levels when we work with clients, as well as when we teach this stuff inside of the program that we have. There’s different levels of engagement, that you may have somebody speaking on your behalf, right? So like, having somebody simply sending a message, a connect request, monitoring responses, that type of thing, it’s a pretty easy task to teach somebody and there’s no interaction whatsoever with them speaking in your voice.
When you get to that next level of some back and forth happening, because ultimately, that’s what we teach, to try and get you to do and the outcome that you’re looking for… But it creates work, right? So like me, and you, and most people that are listening to this, you don’t have time to answer 30, 40, 50 messages a day on LinkedIn. So you need somebody to interact on your behalf that can help keep conversations moving, and maybe point people in the right direction on how you can best serve them. That can very easily be done by an outsource virtual assistant. It just requires a little bit of structure and some scripting, to give them the flexibility to know how to answer certain questions. We’ve been very successful with this. And it’s not a massively scalable solution, but again, most people that have real businesses, they don’t need hundreds or thousands of clients. They are operating as consultants and coaches and if they had a dozen clients, they’d be filled. And they’re making good money.
On connecting with just anyone
James: Nice. And should we accept connection requests when they come through from just anyone?
Trevor: Well, that goes back again to having that extra layer of qualification there. So like, I have an assistant, for example, that will look at all incoming connection requests. And if they fall under a bucket of they are a consultant, a coach, a speaker, an entrepreneur, we will accept connection requests, and then follow up with a certain script that says, “Wondering how you came across my profile, perhaps you saw this article that I published on LinkedIn,” and we’ll drive them that way.
If we find that those people are working for a company, so they’re an employee, but you know, perhaps senior, like VP of sales for some Fortune 500 company, we’re going to send them a completely different follow-up message. We’ll still accept them, but we want to send them down a different path. So you can see that’s another area where if you had an assistant and just a couple of scripts and somebody to manage all your incoming connection requests, you can feed your funnels all day.
Trevor: Free content, and even opt-ins. Yeah.
What’s the plan if LinkedIn goes away?
James: What backups do you have in place for when LinkedIn does make changes, and it’s no longer viable to do this?
Trevor: Oh, well, that’s knocked me out. We’re aware of it constantly. Being in this space for 10 years, you can imagine the changes that I’ve seen, because this is all I’ve done for 10 years, right? You know, we’re fully aware of it. And we’re constantly looking at other avenues and strategies to be able to create traffic and get connected in multiple ways. Eventually, LinkedIn will either be shut off or evolve and adapt. So that’s why we’re always experimenting with different content strategies, how we can pull the data off of there and use it in different ways. I don’t know how long that’s going to be before LinkedIn is obsolete, but I do know one thing – that it feels like, James, that there’s a window here. It feels like it’s a one-year window, maybe a little bit longer, but I think it was Gary Vaynerchuk said a few years ago about how marketers will ruin everything. There’s going to be a point where you’re going to have to really have a unique selling proposition and a unique approach to stand out in the busy marketplace. Because a podcast like this, people are going to find out about LinkedIn, and they’re going to start doing it and eventually, you know it, marketers are going to ruin it. So we’ll have to find new ways to adapt and different platforms. It’s just part of the game.
“If you build your entire existence on one platform, you can expect the ground to fall from beneath you at some point.”
James: Yeah, I think marketers ruin it because they go in with the wrong approach. I mean, recently, some of them ganged together, and they were having a whinge about the large platforms having all the control and the ad costs going up and AI is going to destroy business owners. Well, that’s their agenda. That’s what they were going to do from day one. We have to build our own assets. I’ve been talking about own the racecourse for over a decade. And having that, yeah, protection from any one particular platform. Like, if you build your entire existence on one platform, you could expect the ground to fall from beneath you at some point, it’s just most likely. And I think, in this case, LinkedIn did get bought by Microsoft at some point.
Trevor: Yeah, yeah.
James: So you know, ownership changes, policies change. The communities don’t work as well as they did before the group aspect. You should expect changes.
We’ve covered all this – what else?
So for now, if we’re approaching this, we’re listening to the podcast, we think, yeah, I’m going to give LinkedIn a go, it sounds like it’s the right place for me. We tune up our bio, we start having more intelligent, personalized connections. We’re publishing some good content, and we’re using three hashtags. We are gathering some data, building a little database and starting to cross pollinate our list on a different platform. We’re using the search tool to strategically find the perfect people who we should be connecting with. We’ve trained up our team member to use some of the logic there, but in a human way. And we’re starting to do some surveys to people to really enhance and maximize it. What other things should we be doing to get the best out of LinkedIn?
Trevor: Ah, you just put together a very good summary there. That was pretty much everything that we talked about. But honestly, though, that list that you just put together there, a lot of times is very daunting for people. Like, where do I start? What’s the first step? You know? And I always say, well, start with the profile – that’s essentially your online platform. It’s your sales page. It’s your first impression, right? And then all those other pieces, they really just, you can continue to layer on and eventually get yourself out of the process as much as possible.
The area that we’re really leaning into, for additional opportunities, aside from incoming connection requests and outbound and just managing conversations, is really around that content side of things. I really believe that, you know, there is a big opportunity there to not only just create content that converts, because like you said, it’s resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars, you can actually track it. And I’m the same way, like I actually just did a bit.
Becoming a believer
And I wasn’t saying this stuff four months ago, James, let me be clear, too. I have not been publishing on LinkedIn up until, I think it was like December 26 of 2019 that I actually published my first video on LinkedIn.
Trevor: Because I wasn’t a believer, I was just like, you know what? LinkedIn is all about direct messaging, content, whatever. But since I’ve done it, and I tracked it very closely, I actually posted a video on this. We’ve closed that we know $125,000 in new business, and probably at least put a half million dollars into our sales pipeline that could close in the next three to six months. Like, it creates real ROI. So the more that we can lean into creating original content that actually captures people’s attention and allows them to get to a new level of understanding and trust with you as a potential provider for what you do, it’s huge. And it’s the thing that you can do to differentiate yourself. I believe content creation is the one thing that everybody should really lean into, and finding their voice and really defining a unique methodology of how they can stand out in the marketplace, especially with the consultants and the coaches of the world. Because there’s just so many people joining these platforms, and marketing themselves exactly the same way, because they’re all going through the same courses. So you need some way to stand out, and content and your personal brand is really how that’s going to happen, in my opinion.
James: Yeah, that’s nice. We’re in it since April 2018 to February 2020. We got something like almost 80,000 views of our videos, and we went from 1729 connections to 7094 – actually 1335 connections to 7094. So our audience got bigger, our views came through.
James: But we tracked the sales from those videos, then plus the other platforms all added up. I calculate we’ve made over a million dollars in sales just from these short videos that we’re publishing across our social media platforms. But the big thing is we’re publishing natively, putting the native video, giving the platform what they want, and we get what we want, which is that continual exposure. And at the moment, if you publish videos on LinkedIn, you can stand out. It’s not the same for Instagram, and it’s definitely not the same for YouTube. And Facebook, you know, it’s a pretty busy place these days.
But you’ve got to balance it out. Like, we’re on this podcast. I’ve been podcasting for a decade. And I can tell you it was way easier to rank a podcast 10 years ago than it is today when there’s 700,000 podcasts. And it’s, you know, I would never have published my content natively on other platforms five years ago, but that just became what you need to do. And now we’ve still been able to hedge our subscriptions and build a good database and reach people in multiple platforms. But I really appreciate the tips you have given us, Trevor, for how we can get the most out of LinkedIn. Of course, you help people over at ExpertSelling.com, that’s your website.
Trevor: Yeah, yeah. That’s probably the best place to find out a little bit about what we got going on. And, you know, I’ve got trainings where I dive deeper into all this stuff, if people are interested in going and checking that out.
Some crucial parting advice
And, you know, James, if I could just give one little piece of advice to people kind of taking away from this, too, it would be as it relates to the content side of things. Please, anybody listening to this, don’t focus on the volume, focus on creating some quality content. And then we’ll leverage the infrastructure and the ecosystem that is LinkedIn. So what I mean by that is like, connect with your perfect prospects, engage in real conversations. If you’re trying to think of how you can follow up with that person without trying to be a salesy salesperson, publish a video on LinkedIn as a post, and then link up the video to them in your message. The videos actually play right within the messenger section of LinkedIn. Like, it’s a really engaging experience. If you do that, you’re actually going to stand out from how everybody else is using LinkedIn. And that seems really easy and manageable for most people, right? Create a handful of pieces of content, start connecting with people, and send them your content in a direct message. Try that for a couple weeks. I bet you’d be surprised.
James: Yeah, that’s really great advice. And you’ve been doing it for around about 10 years, you said, on LinkedIn, and you’d know what’s been working or not, and I appreciate it. I think I read somewhere you generated somewhere around 45 million dollars in revenue so far in the last few years, just from these strategies.
Trevor: Yeah, yeah. It’s been a wild ride over 10 years, and we’ve seen a lot of changes happen, for sure. And, you know, LinkedIn is definitely the core tool that we use to be able to build our lead databases and start those conversations. Of course, there’s other components to everything that we do that have helped generate those results. But it’s definitely an effective tool, if you know how to use it properly. And a lot of people have always thought about it. They’re like, Yeah, man, you know what, I should be using that LinkedIn, but I just haven’t figured it out. Well, I think maybe it’s time to figure it out. And I’d be happy to help people, anybody wants to learn more.
What wasn’t asked
James: Great. So in summary, what do you think I should have asked you? You know, you’re sitting there with all this LinkedIn knowledge. What have I overlooked? What’s the random wild question that would be fun to answer?
Trevor: Well, you know what? I thought for sure. You might start going down the LinkedIn ad questions, which my answer was going to be, I don’t know enough about it to really give you an educated answer that has any kind of data behind it.
James: That would have been my guess. I’ve got plenty of clients who have nibbled at it. They’ve tried. I tried LinkedIn ads. Many, many years ago, when I had my SEO business, we could make it convert them to a $20 report that turned into a recurring subscription customer. However, I’ve not yet found a customer who’s saying “Yep, I’ve got LinkedIn dialed, I’m absolutely nailing it.” You know, I put it up there with people experimenting with TikTok right now. It’s like, it’s early days, and probably not as effective as loading up a bit of good content and using that cold or warm email technique is where you’re going to get instant rewards.
Trevor: Yeah. And I’ll stay in touch with you on this, because it is something that we’re dipping our toe into now. We honestly, just like with content, you know, we have so much. We had such great results with just doing regular connection requests and messaging and stuff, that we just didn’t even think about these other options. And then we had the resources and the time to start investing in the content. So now we’ve dove into that space. And then now we’re starting to go into the LinkedIn ads side of things. And I’m seeing potential there. But I’m also seeing a lot of really frustrating aspects to it. So there’s ways to go for sure on it. And yeah, like I said, I’m happy to keep you posted as well on anything that we discover that may work for you or the people that are listening to your podcast.
James: Great. Well, I’ve connected with you on LinkedIn now, so I’m sure I’ll catch your feed. Thank you so much, Trevor. Always a pleasure.
Trevor: Yeah, excellent. Thanks so much, James for the opportunity. I appreciate it.
James: There you go. Episode 728 at jamesschramko.com. We’ll also put a little checklist for you, a summary of the things Trevor talked about, and we’ll also link to Trevor’s site ExpertSelling.com, so you can check out what he’s got as well.
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