Hidden Gems in LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an amazing social media channel for professionals. You are probably well aware of that; however, what you may not be aware of is how much LinkedIn actually has to offer. It offers some features that are not so well-known but if you start to use them, you will not understand how you ever did without them in the past.

For the benefit of the user
It is not uncommon for business people to use LinkedIn in the most basic manner. That may be because they feel that they get what they need from those features and everything is fine or it might be because they are not aware of how much LinkedIn actually has to offer and how much it can benefit their businesses. Now is the time to delve more deeply into LinkedIn's features, common and less common so that you can bring your business to the next level.

However, it is important for you to understand that those LinkedIn features are not apparent when you go to LinkedIn. You will need to work to find them.

The recommendations and endorsements feature: When it comes to your professional relationships through social media, recommendations through LinkedIn are an essential contributing factor to your professional success. The same thing applies to endorsements. If a person is trying to find information on what you happen to offer, a great way for that person to determine if you are the person with whom he or she should interact, recommendations and endorsements will elevate you to the top of the search engine page.

The reason for that is probably obvious. It gives you and your business credibility and it makes the other person feel that he or she can trust that you know what you are doing because you are positioned as a subject matter expert. The truth is that it is generally pretty simple for you to obtain endorsements and recommendations. Of course, that is, assuming that you have a strong enough connection with the other person that he or she is willing to give you an endorsement or a recommendation. Of course, you have the control, once the recommendation or the endorsement has been written, to display it or to hide it (and to use it when you feel it will have the greatest impact. If you wish to hide an endorsement or a recommendation, go to profile (at the top of your screen) and select "edit profile."

Once you have done that, you will see "Skills and Endorsement and it will allow you to make changes to your profile. At that point, you should select "manage endorsements." At that point, you can eliminate what the skill(s) that you don't want to show. However, it is important for you to realize that your recommendations create a very important perception in the eyes of the other person. You want him or her to view you as knowledgeable and you want that person to come to you before anyone else when he or she needs what you are offering.

Contact information tab: In this tab, your online connection can enter his or her contact information. That is a beautiful thing when you want to synchronize your contact list on your smartphone with your contact list on your computer or other devices. Everything will be pulled into the right places. How convenient is that? In some cases, you will even receive an alert about certain pieces of information, such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. With this tab, the chances of your losing the connection with the other person is slim to none. Indeed, you are probably well aware of how important those connections are.

A personalized portfolio: The whole idea of using social media is that it gives you a way to stand out against your competition and it allows you to let numerous people know why they should build relationships with you. One of the effective ways to do that is by displaying a sample of your work on your LinkedIn profile.

If you happen to have a large number of portfolio items, you may want to choose the one that you consider the best. A portfolio should feature the best of your creative talents. Too much may not necessarily be a good thing. There are a few ways to show off what you can do. One is by adding still images. Another is by creating a video or a slide show in which you show off what you can do.

The feature to show how you are connected to your LinkedIn connections: This tool, which is on your profile page, will allow you to connect with other people who are second-tier (or beyond) connections to you. This is a great way to get to know those people and to begin interacting with them. This feature lets you see your connections' connections.

In addition to communicating how you are connected to your first-tier connections, it also allows you to see how other people are connected to their first-tier connections. After that, you can go about acquiring introductions to the people with whom you would like to interact.
LinkedIn is a fabulous social media tool that has tremendous capabilities and it is up to you to leverage whatever you feel is effective and appropriate for your particular business. It will be worth your while to study all that LinkedIn has to offer and then you will be in a position to pick and choose what you think will work best for your business.

Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company's Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.

His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.

Mr. Cohn earned a Master's degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master's degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.

Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

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Is Your Website a Profit Generating Machine?

Is your business website an active tool to bring custom and revenue in to your business? Is it the best sales tool your company has? Or was it something that was built because you thought you needed a website and infrequently thought about?

Never has there been a better time for online or "bricks and mortar" businesses to get more customers from the internet. Mobile phone and mobile device searches are higher than ever and search engines, like Google, are keen to promote local businesses in their search results. However, running a business in your field of expertise does not necessarily lend itself to being an expert in online marketing.

Your company website should be the best way for potential customers to find your services or products, choose you as the supplier and convert potential customers in to paying customers. Your website should be the best Salesperson in your organisation. Your website should be a "profit generating machine" for your organisation.

How to Make Your Website in to a Profit Generating Machine

There are 3 steps to ensuring your website generates revenue and profit.

Be Found

The structure and layout of your website should be such that search engines, like Google, can easily understand what products or services you are offering and in which geographical locations. This involves adding "behind the scenes" data that Google can read to fully understand the messages your website is trying to convey and which geographical locations you would like custom from. This information should be unique and relevant on EVERY page and image on your website.

Keeping your content "fresh" by adding news articles or blog posts will also benefit your website being found in the search results. If you care about your website and keep it relevant and interesting, Google will care more about your website. This activity is the start of "Search Engine Optimisation" or SEO.

To get your website found instantly you can invest budget in to Google AdWords. This is a "pay per click" service or PPC, where you only pay when a potential customer clicks on your advert and visits your website. The budget needed to be successful at PPC varies from industry to industry, but be warned unless you REALLY know what you are doing or using a professional PPC management service, simple mistakes can be costly.

Be Chosen

If your company is found in the search results or the paid adverts it should be structured in a way that will convert the customer. Each page of the website and each PPC advert should have text which directly relates to the search made.

If a search is made for "red shoes size 7 in Bristol" the page or product on your website should be structured to be found in the search engine results AND give reasons for the person to select your website.

For example, if a page on a Solicitors website is aimed at "Employment Law" and they would like customers from the Bristol area, the meta data (the two lines of text on the Google search results page) should say something like "Looking for employment law Solicitors in Bristol? Smith Solicitors offer a free initial consultation. Call today on 0117 123 456". Keyword and location specific, with an enticing reason to call. This approach will bring potential customers, ready to buy, to your website.


Once the potential customer has found your website for the relevant search, believe it or not, the hard work is done.

Converting the customer is as simple as adding wording or a video to the page that empathises with the problems they may be experiencing, offer the simple solution to solve the problem and why they should choose you to provide that solution.

An example for a plumber could be - do you have radiators that have cold spots, or rooms that never quite get warm enough? Having to wear a jumper in the house? Worried that your central heating is not functioning at its full potential or it not running economically? You likely have radiators that need 'bleeding' or your central heating system needs a 'power flush'. This is a simple task that can be done in an hour or so. Smith Plumbing can provide this service at an affordable rate. We do not charge a call out fee and offer a same day service.

The page confirms the issues the customer is experiencing or feeling, offers a simple solution that build trust and authority that you understand the issues, and provides genuine reasons why you are the company to call to resolve the issues.

Where the conversion rate of a website sky rockets is when 're-targeting' is used.

Regardless if the visitors to your website found what they were looking for on the first page they landed or they viewed multiple pages - on average only 2% of website visitors will interact with your business in making contact or visiting a store. 98% will leave your website and you have likely lost them as a potential customer.

Re-targeting is the process of advertising to the 98% that visited your website and didn't buy.

These are adverts on Google and Facebook that follow visitors to your website, around the internet as a constant reminder of your services or products. Highly cost effective and lucrative. If they have already bought from you - it re-enforces your authority. If they have not yet bought from you, it reminds them you are there when they are ready to buy. Have you ever been on the internet and thought "Wow, this company are advertising everywhere!" - they are not advertising everywhere, they are advertising to you wherever you go - they are re-targeting you. This is a tactic used by most large retailers in the UK including Marks & Spencer and John Lewis - it is equally effective for local businesses.

How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency to Work With?

To ensure your website is a profit generating machine you need to work with the correct digital marketing agency.

They should offer SEO, PPC, re-targeting, video creation and social media management to ensure a consistent message across all solutions and to tie all of your online presence together.

They should only work with one company, in one industry, in one location - otherwise they are competing with themselves and you can only get one company to the top of Google!

Martyn Lenthall is a recognised expert in 'digital marketing' in the UK. Owner of digital marketing agency "SEO Company Bristol", author of "Online Marketing Secrets For UK Local Businesses", Public Speaker and corporate website consultant. 0117 325 1099

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