Dennis Brown is a podcaster, an author, and a serial entrepreneur who is a LinkedIn evangelist and consultant as well. Being big fans of his podcast Growth experts, we decided to bring him over to chat about one thing he’s truly passionate about – LinkedIn. In this post, we have documented our chat with Dennis Brown on LinkedIn Marketing.
LinkedIn is different from other social media networks. It has over 575+ million users, with more than 260 million monthly active users. Of those LinkedIn users who are engaging with the platform monthly, 40% access it on a daily basis.
LinkedIn is used more than as a plain networking site. Many brands and individuals use LinkedIn for lead generation, engagement, branding and more. It’s a complete marketing genie if you get an effective hang of the platform and learn to use it optimally. After all, users spend an average of 17 minutes every day on LinkedIn.
Our guest Dennis has an interesting story of how he got interested in LinkedIn. His journey started with having an aversion towards social media to becoming a LinkedIn consultant. He talks about how LinkedIn proved to be different from anything he had ever seen or used before.
One day, he got a connection request from an old college buddy on LinkedIn, and he had never seen anything like it before. He found LinkedIn to be unique.
“I don’t know, the conversations were different. The people were different, the design was different. It just appealed to me. And so a combination of two things. One, it was compelling, because it was different than what I had seen on Facebook and these other platforms. And number two, deep down inside, I wanted to try it just so that I could prove to everybody that they were wrong. So it’s kind of a double-edged sword, right, I wanted to do it just so I could check it off the box and say, You know what, you guys were wrong, it didn’t work for me. And within just a couple of months of, of joining LinkedIn, and just throwing a whole bunch of mud up against the wall and not knowing what the heck I was doing. I landed my first six-figure client, and it didn’t take a whole lot of coaxing after that.”
Even though it might look like a ‘love at first sight’ story, Dennis definitely traveled with LinkedIn to scale up his business and was highly successful in getting leads and making conversions using the tool. We decided to dive into the tactical and strategic questions to get a deep understanding of the platform to grow and scale businesses.
As far as LinkedIn strategy is concerned, we wanted to know, what according to him is a great LinkedIn profile. Obviously, there are different requirements and there are different recommendations that different kinds of people talk about in the market. In terms of search discoverability and otherwise, we wanted to get tips from him on creating a great LinkedIn profile. And this is what Dennis had to say.
“I try to keep things really simple. And what I find is that a lot of people try to over complicate these things. And so, there are a few things that you need to do in order to have a profile that basically allows you to make a good first impression with whoever your target market is. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is they try to appeal to everybody. So they’re worried about everybody that lands on their profile, liking them, or connecting with them, or engaging with them. And I’m the exact opposite, I could care less what 95% of the people on LinkedIn, think of my profile, I only care about what my target market things. So I designed the entire profile with that in mind.”
According to Dennis, here are a few of the fundamental things that you need on a LinkedIn profile in order to make a good first impression with your target market:
Goal-oriented content for your header
LinkedIn header is a very powerful real estate. If you look at Dennis’ profile header, you’ll see that it says, he has generated over $20 million, using LinkedIn. And has a CTA of asking him how he did it. So what happens is invariably, almost every single day, he gets an inbound request from somebody that says, how’d you do it.
I’ll be extremely honest with you, I think that custom LinkedIn header has generated me hundreds of thousands of dollars in business because I designed it with that goal in mind.
“I see a lot of people not leveraging the header space, or they’re using it very generic, right. So I think customizing that LinkedIn header matters the most because it’s literally and undoubtedly the first thing you see when you land on someone’s profile.
The next most important part of real estate on your profile is your headline. Your LinkedIn headline is not necessarily your title. And that’s the mistake that most people make. They’ll put CEO or vice president or director of HR or sales executive or whatever. Whether you’re commenting on someone else’s post, whether you’re posting content, whether you show up in a search result, whether they see you in a group, anywhere you go, your picture and your headline, basically follow you.
“My headline says, again, over 20 million with LinkedIn and social selling. Hosted the growth experts, podcast seven Time Inc, five, Inc. 500. So, you know, I created that title in such a way that it was engaging, and then it got people’s curiosity. And that’s really the first step — to make a good first impression. So those are a couple of the biggest things.”
A summary that piques the interest
Your summary is very important. Again, a very simple strategy, as opposed to getting into a full story would be to talk about how you can help your target audience.
“You know, as if you’re using this for business, and you’re using this to connect with your target market, and lead gen and in personal branding, from the perspective of business, I take a very simple approach I do I say what I do, how can I help? Who can I help, and then I do a very short about Dennis Brown at the bottom of that. So it’s not all about me, I make my profile and my summary, very customer-centric. And I think that’s a really important distinction. Yeah, people want to learn a little bit about you, but they want to learn a little bit about you from the perspective of what’s in it for them.”
Leverage multimedia on your profile
Leverage multimedia as a part of your profile, you can add that to your summary, you can add that to your experience section. A picture is worth a thousand words. And if a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is probably worth 10,000 words. So try to leverage multimedia as a way to engage your prospect and try to draw them closer to you. So those are a few things.
We then dove into optimizing your profile for keywords. Is it at all possible to ensure that your profile or your brand’s profile comes up first when you type a particular keyword?
“I’ve been on LinkedIn for over a decade. So years ago, I don’t know how many years ago, maybe it was six or eight years ago, I played around with the whole LinkedIn search algorithm and did a lot of testing on how to get ranked for certain keywords. And back then it was pretty easy. It was very similar to, you know, to old school kind of gray, black hat SEO, when you just keyword stuff, your profile with those keywords. So if you wanted to come up in the search results for growth hacking, you would add growth hacking multiple times throughout your profile.
Now today, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t spend a whole lot of time focusing on keyword optimization for LinkedIn. I’m sure that there’s a certain amount of keyword density that they’re looking for, and relevance within your profile. But I don’t really spend a whole lot of time on that.
I think the better strategy that I use today is one of these two strategies, either I do outreach to that target market, where I’m doing a targeted outreach campaign, or I’m focusing on using content to generate inbound leads. And the thing that’s changed the most on LinkedIn in the last couple years, is being able to leverage content to you know, to develop those relationships with your target market.”
Perfect example, last year, in 2018, I generated over 3500, inbound leads from my content on LinkedIn, 100%, free, no paid ads, all organic. And so, you know, I think that the discovery through content has been way more valuable and robust than I ever saw, or could imagine the discovery using SEO on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is great for networking and lead generation. We wanted to know if it had more capabilities. Can we use LinkedIn for customer marketing as well?
Dennis said that LinkedIn is an avenue for salespeople and marketers to engage with their customers’ content. And one of the best ways to initiate a conversation is to engage with their content. Because, if someone took the time, energy, and resources to put a piece of content together, whether it be a video or some sort of an image or a microblog, text posts, and they put a lot of time and energy into it, and they’re looking for engagement. So if you give them engagement, and you give them meaningful engagement, it doesn’t take long to stand out from the crowd.
The interview branched into things that work and don’t work on LinkedIn; what matters and what doesn’t. Dennis also spoke about LinkedIn Ads, LinkedIn Live video, tech stack for LinkedIn and the conversation cloaked in a lot of tactical pointers. This blog covers only 40% of the interview, to give you a glimpse of the conversation we had with Dennis. Tune in to ‘Mind the Gap by Freshchat’ to listen to the rest of the interview.