There are a lot of misconceptions about what exactly it is that LinkedIn does and how it can help you and your business. Using LinkedIn properly can prove to be a challenge if you don’t know what it is you’re doing. Angela Dunz, a renowned LinkedIn consultant, joins Elizabeth Bachman for a chat about the potential of LinkedIn for you and your business. LinkedIn can be an incredibly useful, powerful platform for growing your business. Let Angela guide you towards confidence in what you’re putting out so that you can make full use of this incredible social media platform.
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Getting Better Results With LinkedIn With Angela Dunz
You’re about to read an interesting interview with Angela Dunz, who is a LinkedIn expert. She’s telling us all sorts of useful things like how we can use LinkedIn to improve our businesses, our personal brand. What’s the difference between a company brand and personal brand, whether we should change the background pictures in our profile? Especially, what do you do about those people who connect with you on LinkedIn and then immediately try to sell something? It’s useful information. She’s a delight. She’s one of my special go-to people when I have LinkedIn questions.
I’d like to invite you to go to our free assessment, www.SpeakForResultsQuiz.com, and take our free assessment. It takes 4 or 5 minutes. There you can see where your presentation skills are great and where you might need a little bit of support. I am happy to have my wonderful friend, Angela Dunz joining us. Angela, welcome.
I’m excited to be here, Elizabeth. Thank you.
We’re delighted to have you here. Angela has done many things. She’s my go-to person for LinkedIn. She builds herself as the introvert’s guide to LinkedIn. I find that I personally am a situational introvert. Fundamentally, I’d be happy curled up on the sofa with a book, my coffee and maybe a cat at my feet. I could spend my whole life in that way. Getting out in business, I can be extroverted at business. I’ve learned much from Angela. She always wonders about, “Do you feel awkward about self-promotion?” She works with coaches and consultants to refine their personal brand, expand their influence and increase opportunity. She also has been working with businesses. Anybody who needs to improve their profile on LinkedIn, she has an amazing ten-day challenge, which has helped nearly 100 people.
You’ve already helped 100 people, completely transformed their businesses and the way they use LinkedIn. For several years, she’s been working as a LinkedIn consultation coach, trainer and social media strategist. She’s also a former high school rodeo champion and author, a hiker and an NFL fan as long as it’s the Green Bay Packers. She has a book called, Conversations with Skunks. First, let me ask you the dream interview. This is something that all my guests have talked about. If you were to interview somebody from history, who would it be? What would you talk about and who should be in the audience?
I’m mostly viking and I’m fascinated by the shield maidens. The evidence says that women were generals and queens. They were leaders. Gender didn’t have as much to do with leadership as it does in some cultures. I am massively curious about their beliefs, their values, their ideas, their gender roles, the way their society was structured and what women’s role was. I would love to interview a shield maiden who was also a queen in the viking society.
Who should be listening?
We can all take something away from different perspectives. I’m such a global person. There’s something to learn from every culture. They were in a harsh environment and I think the shared leadership is a big piece of that.
A lot of this show is international, so conversing with different cultures and so forth. I think that would be fascinating. That would be fun. I definitely come to that one. Angela, I’ve taken classes from you and I’ve done a lot to improve my LinkedIn. There’s a lot more I could do, but every time I do a little bit more. You’re patient with me. I keep coming back. Does LinkedIn really work?
Here’s what I hear when I go to networking events, “What do you do?” I say, “I’m a LinkedIn consultant.” The first thing I hear from people is, “Don’t look at my LinkedIn profile.” People put up a LinkedIn profile because somebody told them they should, “You have to be on LinkedIn. You’re not on LinkedIn? You need to be on LinkedIn.” They don’t know how to do that. They don’t have a purpose or a focus for their LinkedIn profile, so they throw something up there and leave it because they don’t want to do it wrong. They’re confused by social media. They want to avoid the whole thing altogether. Their profile is hurting them more than it’s helping them. I hear a lot from people, “LinkedIn doesn’t work,” and it is not build your profile and they will come. That’s not how it works. It’s the same thing with websites. You could build a great website, but you have to do something with it. You have to promote it. You have to invite people to have a conversation with you or it doesn’t work. You have to work it, but then you have to have a strategy and an idea of what you want LinkedIn to do for you in your career.
I like that. It’s like speakers. I’ve got a couple of speaker clients who have been working on getting their script fine, but they’re not out there giving this speech. How can you tell if it’s going to work unless you’re getting feedback, reaching out to people and say, “Did this work? Did it make sense?” I love strategies. I’m all about strategy. How should we best brand ourselves on LinkedIn? It is a brand thing.
It is part of your brand. Even if you have a personal website that has great SEO, if I google you, the first thing that’s going to come up is your LinkedIn profile. That is a tremendous opportunity for you to present yourself to your entry-level client. I tell the people that I work with, you have all kinds of different services and functions that you can offer to people, but how do people come to you first and you design your entire profile around that. I work with lots of financial planners and it’s such a tough competitive world for them. The one I worked with, his entry-level product is life insurance. Don’t tell me about the sixteen other things that you can do on your LinkedIn profile. Sure, that’s great, but speak to me about your entry-level product and I might book an appointment with you. You want to focus it around your entry-level goods or services and you’re speaking only to that audience. Because once they’re in your world, they love you and trust you. You’re no longer speaking to them with your profile.
I think that makes a lot of sense. You don’t have to say everything that you’ve done, “That time that I sold seeds door-to-door taught me a lot about sales.” Maybe it doesn’t belong on the LinkedIn profile.
How did you get there? They do want to know a little bit about that, but you’re speaking about that entry-level good or service.Many people put up a LinkedIn profile because somebody told them to, not because they have a specific purpose. Click To Tweet
Can you talk a little bit about the difference between how you brand yourself on LinkedIn versus Facebook?
Facebook is an interesting medium and it’s changing rapidly, but it’s a lot more casual. Research says that people are much more likely to make a purchasing decision on Facebook than they are on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is all about your credibility and your target audience. Your branding should focus on what problem you solve, what makes you special that you can solve that problem and what results are you going to bring for me?
Telling us what we can do with LinkedIn, I get that. Facebook is casual. I find often if I’m talking to somebody for the first time, I will check out their business credibility on LinkedIn. I go to Facebook to see where they live. Is there something I can make a personal connection with?
It’s their personality. Do you vibe with them in some way? The people who are winning LinkedIn are including some of that on LinkedIn as well. I am often surprised when I meet somebody for the first time at a speaking event and they’re like, “You’re a Green Bay Packers fan or tell me about Conversations with Skunks. What is that about?” It’s shocking to me. People do read your little profile before they come to a speaking event to see what you’re all about and maybe make a decision whether they’re going to come to that event or not. The people that are winning on LinkedIn are the ones that are brave enough to be authentic and be themselves. If you’re generic on LinkedIn, forget about branding. My favorite thing to tell my clients is whatever your freak flag is, if you’re a stock car racing enthusiast or whatever it is, get your freak flag up there at full mast. I’m going to put a little something out there. It’s the people who are loud and proud about being authentic and who they are that win LinkedIn.
That’s interesting because one of the things I’ve often wondered about is the picture across the top of LinkedIn. Should it be branded? I noticed that you have a nature picture. I have a picture of the lake at my Austrian office because I spend large chunks of the year in the Alps, so I have a picture of the Alps. I’ve often wondered, “Should I have a picture of speakers or leadership or does the lake help?” What should we do?
It depends on you. It has to be something that resonates strongly with you. I changed my banners a lot. I have several different vendors. I encourage people to find something that resonates with them. One of a couple of quick examples, I have a friend who’s a copywriter and he took a box of number two lead pencils and threw them on the kitchen table and took a photograph of those. That’s what he popped in his banner with a little bit of customization, a tagline. People make the mental connection, “He’s a copywriter. There are number two lead pencils.” We have a romanticized idea about number two lead pencils if we’re of a certain age.
Another friend of mine who was a financial planner and just having a heck of a time building his practice. He said, “Angela, I want to work with dog owners.” I was like, “I can work with that.” He’s like, “I have this gentleman’s dog-walking club in Tiburon on Saturday mornings.” I’m like, “That’s perfect. Do you get a lot of your clients from that?” He said, “Yes, I do.” I said, “That’s the angle you’re going to work.” He got his wife to take a picture of all these guys walking their dogs along the beach in Tiburon and he put that as his banner.
Tiburon is a high-end suburb of San Francisco. People who are walking on the beach in Tiburon, they’ve got money for him to have finances for him to plan.
Here’s what happens when they look at his profile, “There’s my dog.” There’s recognition. It’s instant trust and likeability.
It’s nothing to do about the business office, that comes below the banner. That’s helpful. That’s something that I have been worried about for quite some time.
Sometimes, it’s the things we do in our off hours that people identify with. Even volunteering the things that we do for free that we’re passionate about, that’s how we get the emotional connection with some of our clients.
There’s nobody who’s doing something that’s truly unique. It’s all been done before at some point. Creating an emotional connection that people will say, “This is someone I want to hear more about. This is something I want to know about.” I’ve been having several conversations about how you promote yourself and how so many women, especially in the corporate arena, they sit at their desk and they have lunch at their guests because they’re going to get more and more done and output. It’s the people who’ve been going to lunch with the power brokers who wind up getting promoted because they are a known quantity and people buy what they know. It’s an emotional decision. Speaking of companies, there’s an interesting intersection between your company brand and your personal brand. Can you talk about that a little bit?
I think this is what a lot of people in sales get wrong to a certain degree. They don’t quite hit the mark on this. They say, “The company brand is strong. I’m going to live off of that.” That’s great. It’s wonderful to have a strong company brand and name recognition, reputation, automatic trust and likeability. We don’t buy things from glass buildings. We buy things from people. You need to have a strong personal brand, likability, trustability or there isn’t a transaction. There’s not a possibility. There’s no opportunity there. A company brand that strong is fantastic. It’s a wonderful asset. Your best asset is your own personal brand. Do you create instant rapport? Are you somebody that I want to know? Are you somebody that I can trust and tell what my real situation is so that you can problem-solve and provide a service or a product for me?
This then gets to how you focus your profile.
It’s your personal brand and where that intersects with the company’s personal brand.
I know you’ve done work with companies as well. How does that play out in terms of the company versus the employees for instance?
The employees are an integral part of the company brand. I used to do posting pre-IPO for a start-up in Sunnydale. The posts that would always get the most attention would be the ones where there were employees. They had some of the top brass had a pajama party and that post went 12,000 views or something completely ridiculous. That is real and human. It created such a flurry, they had to hire a VA to follow-up on all the people that responded to that post. It’s when we put a human face on the company and what we do. When we put real human stories and interaction onto the company, that’s where the magic happens.
I always often think that people will make an emotional decision backed up by logic. They say, “You don’t have to deliver once you’ve got the job,” but people will first do because they like you somehow. They feel better. Here’s another question I get sometimes. Is LinkedIn better for men than women?
Not necessarily. What I see is women are much more willing to take off that corporate facade and be real. Somehow it seems to be easier for women to do that. Even the men who are willing to be authentic, real and sometimes raw, that’s what it takes. I don’t see a lot of huge gender differences between success on LinkedIn. It is about who is being real.
I’ve got another important question because any of us who worked with LinkedIn, how do you respond to the people who say, “I see that you do this and this. You need to buy my program. You need to buy my product.” Question number one is how do you respond to the people who sell on the first message? Secondly, how do you not be that person? How can you reach out on LinkedIn and use it for prospecting without being one of those horrible people who try to sell you on the first conversation?
Those horrible people, the connect and pitch. I have a lot to say about that, but I’ll try to make it super simple. Generally, if somebody sends me an invitation, I look at their profile and try to suss out whether they’re going to be a connect and pitch person and I won’t connect with them. If I do take a chance and connect with them and they do that pitch on the first message within 24 hours of me connecting with them, I simply send a message back and I say, “We don’t have a relationship yet. I am not going to buy anything from you and I don’t appreciate you pitching me before there’s any kind of an opportunity. I’m going to disconnect with you. I’d appreciate it if you never connect with me again.”
What if that’s someone who might be a good connection?
Their behavior tells me that they probably won’t. I’m an introvert and I don’t appreciate, that is not good business practices. A lot of LinkedIn consultants think we’re the LinkedIn police. We probably go the extra step to change the way people are using LinkedIn because LinkedIn is getting such a bad reputation from this whole connect and pitch thing.
There are a lot of trainers out there who do recommend it.
With that in mind, how can we connect? If you’ve got 8,000 followers on LinkedIn, you can’t connect with them all. You can’t have a personal relationship with them all. How can you use LinkedIn for prospecting without pitching? How do you find the gold amongst all the sand?
There are a lot of different ways. I have a content strategy that’s pretty specific and there are several topics that I talk about. On Friday afternoons, I go through all of the postings that I did during the week, and if there are any second or third connections that engaged with my content, I reach back and say, “Thank you so much for liking my article, I’d love to have you in my network. Let’s connect.”
A content strategy talk, does that mean the articles that you post or that’s not the same as the connection strategy?The people winning on LinkedIn are the ones that are brave enough to be authentic and be themselves. Click To Tweet
It’s not. The content strategy is what topics and what kind of content are you going to post on a regular basis? It is focused on your ideal client. What are their needs, concerns, challenges? You post content that would be appealing to them. When they do interact with your content, then the connection strategy kicks in because you want to first of all, invite them into your network and then stay top of mind by sending them birthday greetings, work anniversary, did they get a promotion?
That sounds like it takes a lot of time.
It doesn’t, I probably spend 10 to 20 minutes twice a day. I’m held to a different standard so I probably do a lot more on LinkedIn than most people need to do. Most of my clients, I try to teach them how to win at LinkedIn in ten minutes a day or ten minutes, twice a day.
That’s possible. This is one of the things I love about what you teach, Angela, and this is why I wanted to have you on this show because you’re some sense of all about it. It does make sense of how we’re going to do this and how we can make something helpful. You are posting something that will reach your target audience. If somebody engages and somebody shares it or whatever, then you reach out to them.
I at least connect with them.
What about if they’re looking at your profile?
There are 600 million people on LinkedIn. If they looked at my profile, I probably came up in a search or my name came up in a conversation or they saw me speak once upon a time and they remembered my name and they’re interested. I always reach back and if I’m not connected with them, I’ll say something like, “Thank you for looking at my profile. Is there anything I can do to help you professionally? I’m curious what prompted your attention. Let’s connect.”
Do people follow up on that?
Yes, there are a lot of times that will start a conversation, “Thank you so much for your webinar that you did for the Gratitude Network,” or whatever it might be and the conversation goes on from there.
That’s a good way of having a conversation and not yet another follower who isn’t necessarily the number of the following as opposed to the people who are truly actively engaged. Should we have LinkedIn groups or LinkedIn business pages?
A LinkedIn business page for sure. A LinkedIn business page has an external link to your website or your company’s websites, whatever that might be. Company pages are important. They 10X your SEO because it has that internal link to your LinkedIn profile. It has an external link to the company website. I put three assets there. Probably one of the next things that’s going to go at the top of my newsfeed on my company page will be this show because it’s one of the most things and it’s one more way. It’s amazing to me. I did a training at a Caldwell Banker and three people came up to me and told me what they had checked out on my LinkedIn profile. One person said, “You’re a Green Bay Packers fan. I’m from Chicago.” Another person said, “When is your book coming out? I’m curious about it.” The other one said, “I listened to all three podcasts that are on your profile.” I’m like, “You took the time to listen to all three podcasts?” She said, “Yes, they were interesting. I listened to the first one and I had to listen to the other two.”
Does that mean times you’ve been interviewed on people’s podcasts? Do you put that on your profile?
Yes, it’s on my about section and I have a sentence about that. I invite people to listen.
It’s a good way of leveraging your publicity.
They’re assets, use them.
Having a link to a podcast or a video, does that make your profile show up more?
Yes, I always talk about the density of your profile. The more external links you have, the denser your profile is. Thus, the more find-able to the crawlers and algorithms.
It’s easier for the machines to find you.
You are going to pop-up before somebody who has nothing on their profile.
What about LinkedIn Live? Should we be sharing on LinkedIn Live?
Yes, LinkedIn is interesting in the way they share content. If you’re sharing from a third-party app like Hootsuite, they rather suppress your content because they try to penalize third-party apps. If you’re sharing a YouTube video, they’re going to suppress that because it takes you to YouTube.
They want you to stay on LinkedIn.
It’s like Facebook. They want you to stay on LinkedIn. LinkedIn Live is something that accelerates the sharing of that and the viewability of that. I highly recommend using LinkedIn Live if you have that feature. They’re still rolling it out.
It’s still in beta mode but is going to be more and more important.
The word on the street is they may take it away. If you have it, use it while it’s available.
Any audience who is reading will know whether it’s still there or not. The last major question is what is Conversations with Skunks about?
Conversations with Skunks is a book. Each chapter is a different outdoor, extreme adventure. Some of them are near-death experiences. The preface is I left for a week and I had somebody taking care of my kittens and somehow my kittens refended two skunks. The night I got home from my vacation, I’m in bed with both of my kittens and I hear crunching in their bowl. I look over and here are the two baby skunks that they have invited in to live with us. I rather freaked out. My tuxedo kitten goes over to the two skunks and she starts licking them. I’m like, “You invited them in? How does your world get like that?” It’s all about extreme outdoor adventures that I’ve had throughout my life.
Indoor in this case.The magic happens when you put a human face, human stories, and interactions on a company. Click To Tweet
That’s where the outdoors come inside uninvited by me. I ended up giving stitches to a friend on a boundary waters canoe trip. He was a medical student.
Does this have to do with business or are these stories you needed to tell?
It makes a great hook to have people pay attention to saying, “Conversation with skunks.”
It’s one of those personal connections things. If you’re an outdoor person, it’s something that you might be curious about and it’s coming out in 2020.
Let me ask you as our final thought. Suppose I’m one of the people who go, “Don’t look at my LinkedIn profile.” I’m not one of those people because I’ve hired you. Angela, as something we can take away, if we have a decent LinkedIn profile, how often should we update?
I have a friend that she schedules in her calendar every three months to update her profile. I think that’s a fantastic strategy because this business climate, everything is changing fast. What we do, our roles, the products that we’re promoting, the services that we’re promoting, changes all the time. Your target audience changes all the time. Every couple of months you should take a look at it and see what still resonates and what’s working and switch it up.
For instance, I’ve been teaching presentation skills for some time and my ideal clients are the same people that they were a few months ago. If you don’t have any major changes, does it help your SEO results if you at least change the picture?
Even if the vein information is the same, what should we change?
Sometimes people will tweak the headline. They come up with a better way to express what they do, who they serve and how they help. The headline is a great one. If you’re looking for more visibility, if you leave your notifications on, that is a change that your entire network will be alerted that you’ve made a change or turn them off, whatever feels more comfortable to you. I tell women especially if you change your glasses, your hairstyle, your hair color, people need to be able to recognize you. If they’re seeing you for the first time in a coffee shop or for a meeting of some kind. If you don’t look like your picture, trust is broken immediately.
I’m not because I’ve worked with you, I’ve hired you for various things, so you’ve helped me. Suppose I were one of those people that came up to you at a cocktail shot party and said, “Please don’t look at my LinkedIn profile.” Where could we start?
I would start with your profile photo, the banner, the headline and your skills section. Most of the time when I work with people, their skills section is very outdated and you’re being found for those words. Those are searchable terms. When LinkedIn was bought by Microsoft, they automatically loaded people’s skills section according to what was in their profile. Microsoft Office Suite is a common one and unless you’re going to do pivot tables, I would recommend getting that out of there and having it reflect what you currently do in your job. The skills section is the first place I would recommend somebody pay attention to so that it reflects who they are and what they’re doing as a business person.
This is great and I have to say that Angela has this wonderful ten-day LinkedIn challenge to upgrade what you’re doing with LinkedIn. I want to make sure that every people can reach you, whether you’re still doing the challenge or not. What’s the best way to reach out and say they found you through the show?
Definitely reach out to me on LinkedIn. Send me an invitation and tell me that you read this blog. The challenge is something that I’m offering once a month in 2020. There’s a link on my profile and a promotional code.
I highly recommend it. It’s amazing. Angela Dunz, this has been great. Be careful of skunks coming into your house or I hope at least you will have good conversations with them.
I’ve petted her. She still lives here. She’s in the Canyon. I see her on occasion.
Angela Dunz, author of the book, Conversations with Skunks, but most importantly, LinkedIn expert, especially if you’re an introvert and you need some help. Getting your profile out there and letting LinkedIn work for you. Angela Dunz, thank you so much for being on the show.
Thank you, Elizabeth.
Thank you, everybody. We’ll see you on the next one.
- Angela Dunz
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About Angela Dunz
Angela Dunz is the Introvert’s guide to LinkedIn. She works with Coaches & Consultants to refine their personal brand. expand their influence and increase opportunity. Her 10 Day Challenge has helped nearly 100 people completely transform their businesses and the way they use LinkedIn.
She has been working for 7 years as a LinkedIn Consultant, Coach, Trainer, and Social Media strategist. Angela, a former high school rodeo champion, is also a hiker, author and NFL (Packer) fan. Watch for her upcoming book, Conversations with Skunks.