Level Up Your LinkedIn Game

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Level Up Your Linked  Game

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You’ve heard all about Facebook and it’s billion users. But you also know who those users are. There’s your mom and dad, you kid brother, and that cousin you see once a year and desperately try to avoid. There’s the guy who you used to work with, the girl you met in college, and a bunch of people who seem to have incredibly interesting lives, at least according to the photos they post. All of this makes for a diverse and sometimes even enjoyable social networking experience. But it isn’t professional. Luckily there’s a social network that is professional, and that’s LinkedIn. With more than 350 million members and a user base that includes most of the executives and managers at US-based companies, LinkedIn is the social network for people who want to avoid the fluff, games, and family revelations of Facebook and, instead, grow their careers. Using LinkedIn is not difficult and the onboarding process is really a cinch. But mastering LinkedIn? That’s a different story. But don’t worry: DOZ has you covered. In this eBook we help you lift your LinkedIn game and give you plenty of tips on how to: • perfect your profile • make the best connections • avoid the LinkedIn spammers • find, join, and participate in LinkedIn Groups, and • join the publishing revolution that is LinkedIn Posts LinkedIn is the place to build your personal brand, develop the networks and connections that matter in your career, and share the content that your boss won’t mind you reading during the work day. If you can master the platform, you’ll reap the benefits in your professional life, your financial life, and enjoy a more rewarding career trajectory. Ready to get started? Let’s start by taking your profile from zero to hero. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 2

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1 Crafting the Perfect Profile  LinkedIn is one of the world’s most influential social networks and, when it comes to professionals, it stands heads and shoulders above the rest. With more than 350 million members around the world, and claiming one in three professionals in the United States as a member, LinkedIn is the perfect place to connect, network, search for a new job, and be headhunted for jobs you never knew existed. But all of this depends on having a profile that works. What do we mean by works? Well it needs to be three things above all else: • Complete • Attractive • Optimized Get them wrong and you’ll be left twiddling your thumbs in the same old career and dreaming of what could be. Get these three things right and you’ll be on your way to LinkedIn success. Constructing a profile on LinkedIn is not difficult. Just like a Facebook profile, a Twitter profile, or any other social network the company has an onboarding process that will walk you through the basics. You’ll enter your name, add in details of your work history, some more details of your education, and be pushed to make some initial connections. If you work though this onboarding process you’ll end up with a profile. But if you’re reading this then we’re guessing you’re not going to be satisfied with just ‘a profile’. More likely you are the type of person who wants the perfect profile, the one that will gain attention from your network, help you communicate your experience in an effective way, and maybe even open the door to new career opportunities. And if that’s the sort of profile you’re looking for, we can help. Here’s ten tips representing a step-by-step guide on moving from LinkedIn user to LinkedIn superstar, a roadmap to the perfect LinkedIn profile. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 3

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Professional Picture You do have the option of using LinkedIn without a profile picture - but why would you? Remember that LinkedIn is not about gathering friends but about making connections, and who wants to connect with a faceless individual? Your photo is one of the first things that people notice about your profile and, as such, should be one of the first things that you optimize. Ideally your photo should be a professional, head and shoulders shot that shows your whole face. Don’t use a ‘selfie’ (it’s far from professional) and don’t use a full body shot - these render horribly as LinkedIn thumbnails. Keep it crisp, clear, clean, and demonstrate that you understand the difference between social networks that are all about fun, and social networks like LinkedIn that are about business. Professional Headline Your LinkedIn headline follows you across the site: everywhere your profile turns up in a search, every post that you make, and every group you join it’s there. Indeed, along with your name and your profile picture, it is one of the only pieces of information that almost everyone using LinkedIn can see about you. As a result, you need to be sure that the message it presents to the world is the one you want to present. If you are happy in your job and not looking for anything new, then leaving it as your current position and company can work well. If you are looking around for new options then changing up your headline to align with certain keywords can be a good idea. Ensure that you avoid grammatical errors and that you can back up claims you make in your headline with the details in your profile. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 4

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Contact Information LinkedIn allows you to add contact details to your profile and you should take advantage of all of the channels that are available to you. After all, if LinkedIn is about connecting and networking, people need to be able to find you. Adding your email address is mandatory, but make sure you add additional email addresses, too. For example, if you’ve signed up to LinkedIn with your professional email, add a personal one so that prospective recruiters can contact you away from work. Add your website, your Twitter feed, links to your SlideShare account, too, if you like. And also don’t neglect the ‘old school’ contact information such as a physical snail mail address and a telephone number. Not all businesses will contact you via Twitter, so make it easy for them by giving them plenty of options to choose from. Personalized URL LinkedIn will automatically assign you a URL but be warned: it’ll be ugly. Luckily LinkedIn allows you to personalize your URL to make it a little more memorable and a whole lot cleaner for business cards, resumes, and inperson networking. When you personalize your URL make sure to use your full name (first and last) or some derivative of this. Hence, personalizing to johndoe, jdoe, or johnd are good options. Personalizing to something like marketingwizard, networkingkingmaker, or johndoelookingforwork are all to be avoided. Like everything else on the site, you need to keep things professional and your personalized URL should reflect this professional approach, too. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 5

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Profile Summary At the top of every LinkedIn profile is a summary. It’s here you get a few lines to explain to people viewing your profile who you are, what you do, why you are on LinkedIn, and what they can expect from connecting with you. To optimize this summary there are a couple of points to keep in mind. First, write it in the first person. Don’t be tempted to speak about yourself in the third person (‘John Doe exceeded all his targets in Q1 2015’) and, instead, own your achievements (‘I exceeded all my targets in Q1 2015’). Second, be sure to use the keywords that you would like associated with your profile. This will help you appear higher in searches that recruiters and users make on LinkedIn. Third, as your summary is available to some users you have not yet connected with, be sure to include at least one means of contacting you in your summary. Add a phone number, a website, and email, or another social media account so that a user who has not yet connected with you and so therefore lacks access to your full contact information - can get in contact with your directly. Work Experience Completing the work experience section on your LinkedIn profile is often difficult. Some users with extensive career histories don’t know exactly how far to go back, and others with less extensive resumes are tempted to pad their work history with jobs and experience that don’t exactly match the reality. As a guide, all significant positions in the last ten years should be included in your profile, which probably means the summer jobs you worked when you were 16 can be excluded. For younger, less experienced users, include your internships and work placements; this will help demonstrate that you are willing to work, and that companies are willing to work with you. Don’t inflate the job title of describe the job responsibilities in terms that are unrealistic. Be clear, be honest, and don’t forget to use and re-use those keywords that you want associated with your profile here, too. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 6

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Projects As well as demonstrating your practical work experience with your job titles and job responsibilities, LinkedIn also gives you the chance to present specific projects that you were either responsible for delivering or on which you worked as part of a team. Including these on your LinkedIn profile is a good idea because it adds weight to the claims you make in your work experience section. Hence, while in your work experience section you explain that you were responsible for web design, in your projects you can list the specific web design projects you worked on, connect the LinkedIn profiles of others who worked on the project with you, and provide real social proof as to your capabilities. Be selective in the projects that you mention and be sure to include dates, team members, and company details in each of the projects you list. Endorsements LinkedIn allows - and even encourages - other LinkedIn users to endorse you for skills. These endorsements take only a click of the mouse and so, all alone, are not that valuable. However, when dozens of your connections have all endorsed you for the same skill, this speaks to your ability in a way that recruiters and future connections can quickly understand. Your connections can endorse you for skills you have listed yourself or for skills they believe you have. While it is gratifying to have people endorse you for skills you never thought to include on your profile, a word of warning is in order: keep your endorsements relevant to your profile, and to the professional environment of LinkedIn. if someone endorses you for ‘swimming’, ‘being super friendly’, or ‘emotional maturity’ and these are not things that will improve your profile, you can remove the endorsements from your profile with just a click. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 7

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Recommendations Consider recommendations the reference letter of the LinkedIn world: they are personalized, professional assessments of your competence and written by connections of yours who are willing to put their name and face alongside it. They can be earned unsolicited but, more commonly, you need to request them from colleagues and former colleagues. The two most recent recommendations for each position that you have included on your profile are listed underneath that position in your Work Experience section, and all recommendations are displayed lower down your profile. The best way to get a good recommendation? Well, apart from being just good at your job, the best way is to go out and recommend others. Find a colleague or a former colleague who you enjoyed working with and offer an unsolicited recommendation of their work...and then follow up with a request for their own, honest assessment of your work, too. Media LinkedIn allows you to offer additional social proof of your skills to visitors of your profile in the form of media uploads. You can upload images, documents, slide decks, and more to your profile, and these can help support the claims you make in your profile. Of course, the best strategy is to choose your best work and include it (tip: check with your company to ensure that you are legally allowed to share documents externally before uploading) but you need to be careful where you put it on your profile. By default the media will be included in your summary section but it is far more likely to be relevant to a particular work experience that you have had, or to a project you have worked on. Moving it there is easy: simply upload to the summary, then click to place the media somewhere else on your profile. What you are aiming for is to make it easy for the person viewing your profile to connect the media with the section they are reading. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 8

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2 LinkedIn is about connecting with people. Making Connections  You will connect with colleagues, former colleagues, people that you meet at networking events, and people you share common interests with. You’ll also, almost inevitably, connect with some people that you’ve never met before. Sometimes these people will turn out to be great contacts in your network, and other times they’ll turn out to be spammers, salespeople, and very selfish sharers. Avoiding these sorts of people is one way that you can improve your LinkedIn experience. Indeed, knowing who and when to connect with on LinkedIn is a key to optimizing your use of the social network. In this post we’ll explain what connections you definitely need to make, and which ones you should consider - or even definitely - avoid. First, though, let’s start with the basics WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 9

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LinkedIn Connections Explained. Before we get too deep into who to connect with and who to avoid, let’s go over the notion of connecting in the first place. Every social network has their own term for referring to the people with whom you have made a link. On Facebook it is all about friends. On Twitter and Instagram the term is followers. And on LinkedIn the term is connection. While similar in nature, all of these actually represent different levels of networking. A Facebook friend is not necessarily someone that you’ve met more than once, and perhaps maybe just crossed paths with at a social occasion once. Having hundreds or even thousands of Facebook friends does not signify any efforts towards networking, and might only signal a person who refuses to say no to even the most random friend request. A Twitter or Instagram follower is someone who has access to your public tweets or images. Assuming that your social media account is public, a follower doesn’t need your approval to follow your Twitter stream or Instagram feed. There’s no real connection here and, while direct messaging is possible if you both follow the other’s Twitter account, the networks are not made for networking. LinkedIn, though, is different. A connection on LinkedIn has to approve your request to connect, much like Facebook. Additionally, though, before you even submit your connection request you must justify to LinkedIn how you know the person you wish to connect with. Is it via a common work experience? A common university or high school? Are you friends? Without a justification LinkedIn will likely explain that it will not let you connect. What’s more, even when you do know the person as a friend, you might be prompted for their email address - LinkedIn is not going to take your word for it. For these reasons, a LinkedIn connection is a lot closer to a professional connection than either a Facebook friend or a Twitter follower. It remains a social network, but the connections are more serious, require more reflection from both parties, and are acceptable only when a relationship of some sort already exists between the pair.  WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 10

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Connections You Should Make. So who should you be connecting with? There are three groups of people that should definitely be on your list: your company, your email contacts, and connections you make via groups. Here’s why and how to get those connections made. • Company Connections The number one group of connections you should make are those within your own company. This is important for a few different reasons. First, these are the people that you are working with everyday. They know you well, will be enthusiastic about endorsing and recommending you, and if you’ll find that their interests will often overlap with yours - you are in the same industry after all. Second, company connections mean that you’ll have a chance to connect with people with significant influence that you might otherwise not be able to add to your virtual Rolodex. The company CEO, the CTO, anyone on the C-suite, really, is just a quick click of the mouse away. Third, when it comes time to look for that new job you can bet recruiters are going to consider how well integrated you are in your current team. No one wants to hire someone who doesn’t work well with their colleagues, so get ahead of the curve and connect with your workmates today to open doors for tomorrow. • Contact List Part of LinkedIn’s onboarding process includes a request to connect your email contacts with LinkedIn. When you do, LinkedIn will send an automatic contact request to anyone in your list that you choose to keep ‘checked’, speeding up significantly the time it takes to get to LinkedIn’s minimum recommendation of 50 connections. Honestly, if someone is important enough to be sending email to, they are probably close enough to add as a connection on LinkedIn. However, it is worth going through the list carefully before blasting hundreds of people with connection requests. For one thing there may be people or organizations that you don’t particularly want to connect with on LinkedIn like the utility company, a distant family member, or a student you tutored in math. For another, some of those emails in your not-so-organized Gmail account probably all go to the same person, and it is not very professional to shoot an invitation to connect to the same person at four different addresses. Do add your email contacts to build up your connections quickly, but do so with a little oversight. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 11

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• Groups. As you begin to take advantage of LinkedIn you’ll start joining LinkedIn Groups. Groups will be the focus of tomorrow’s post but, in simple terms, Groups are a way for people with common interests to share, network, and learn from each other on LinkedIn. For example, people who are interested in online marketing might join the Online Marketing People group and exchange with others on all things digital, content, and social. Group members can request to add each other as connections even if there are no formal or existing ties between the two users - this is an enormous benefit when looking to add people who might benefit your career in your chosen field. By the same token, accepting the connection requests of Group members can help you expand your network in industry or interest specific ways, another benefit. In short, adding connections through groups is a perfect way to expand your network, improve your reach, and connect with others working on similar challenges to you. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 12

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Connections You Should Think Twice About. Nobody should automatically reject connection requests that come from certain groups; rejecting potential connections without reviewing their individual merits is likely to lead to missed sales, lost opportunities, and a professional life that is less rich than it could be. So instead of explaining which connection requests you should always avoid, here are three groups of people for whom you should think twice when that LinkedIn notification flashes on your smartphone. • High School Buddies Some of the people you went to high school with have probably made some amazing careers for themselves. Successful, enterprising, and near the top of their field, a connection request from one of these former classmates is one to quickly jump on. But then there are the other high school buddies of yours. You know, the ones that never really got a real job, content to let life slide by. The ones whose Facebook photos you occasionally glance at to remind yourself of what could happen if you lost it all overnight. The ones whose predilection for seeing the world as in the early stages of a race war have you feeling uncomfortable just reading the latest status update. Yeah, those ‘buddies’. It’s important to always keep in mind that LinkedIn is your professional social profile and that, yes, you are judged by those you associate with. Believe us when we tell you that people have lost jobs because their LinkedIn connections explained “everything an employer had to know” about them. So choose carefully which connection requests you accept from people you haven’t seen since that reunion 4 years ago. As the saying goes, LinkedIn is not Facebook - keep things professional when it comes to accepting or sending out connection requests. • Unknown People with Impressive Sales Credentials LinkedIn is not Tumblr. LinkedIn gathers more than 350 million people in one place, and almost all of them have jobs and, with it, some level of disposable income. It brings together most US executives, and managers and decision makers from around the world. Is it any surprise, then, that LinkedIn is prime hunting ground for the sales people of the world? WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 13

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It won’t be long before you are approached by someone you don’t know looking to connect with you. If you click through to their profile - you can see the extended profile of anyone who requests to join your network - you’ll likely be impressed by an A-grade profile. A great smiling face in the profile image, a direct and to-the-point summary, a bunch of recommendations and endorsements and...ah, there it is, right under the word experience. It’s a salesperson. While it is possible that this salesperson really wants you in their network so that you can share with each other, mentor each other, and help the other move up in their career, it is far more likely that your new LinkedIn connection request represents the first step in a sales strategy that will turn you from confused potential connection to confirmed customer. Accept these requests with caution, and the moment you get a message inviting you to spend $1000 on the latest in digital marketing, disconnect. • Spam Connections OK, so maybe there is one group that you should always reject after all. It used to be that spam connections on the internet arrived via email and from a Nigerian Prince with cash to burn (in exchange for your credit card details or a large Western Union transfer, of course). Today the spam has evolved and finding a spam account reaching out to you on LinkedIn is a regular part of using the network. LinkedIn do what they can to counter the spam accounts an all users can report a spam account when it reaches out. It takes only a few clicks of the mouse to send the details of the account to the customer service department and - finest crossed - ensure that the spammer is quickly barred from the network. Unfortunately, just as it is easy for you to create an account on LinkedIn with nothing more than an email, it’s just as easy for a spammer to do the same. Keep your eyes open, review each connection request as it arrives for the value it will bring you and your network, and if you get a connection request from President Barack Obama and you aren’t a US Senator, double check to make sure it isn’t spam. Conclusion LinkedIn connections explained in a single phrase? How about ‘add professional value’. Before you send or accept a connection request, make sure that it will add value to your network, to the network of the person you seek to connect to, and that it does so in a professional way. If someone wants to connect, make sure they are bringing something - experience, connections, a network - to your table, and seek to add that same sort of value to others. LinkedIn is the professional network, and its important that like any business network you maintain the same sort of standards you have offline when you’re online. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 14

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3 LinkedIn is so much more than just a place to host your professional resume, or an online repository of CV’s. At its heart LinkedIn remains a social network, and this means that social interaction is a big part of what LinkedIn is about. LinkedIn Groups Some of this social interactions comes from the sharing of (let’s face it) self-serving updates by individuals seeking to move their online reputation up a couple of notches. You’ve surely seen this sort of thing: someone sharing that they were mentioned in newspaper X, or that a TedX event is coming up soon and they happen to be on the speakers list. This sort of interaction is perhaps to be expected given LinkedIn’s role as the the place for professional reputation building online, but it’s not the only sort of sharing that goes on.  Others, for example, will share genuinely interesting articles that are relevant to their industry, sector, or niche. This sort of sharing is more akin to content curation, and if your LinkedIn connections are active and engaged in their fields then your feed can be a goldmine of relevant, interesting, and useful information. On the other hand, if you are just getting started on LinkedIn or if your primary feed - perhaps as a result of some poor choices as to whom you should connect with has somehow devolved into a Facebook-like stream of memes, quotes, and math questions that are meant to be easy for third graders but impossible for anyone on the C-suite to solve...well, it might be time to start investigating one of the most valuable but still often overlooked parts of the LinkedIn network: LinkedIn Groups. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 15

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What are LinkedIn Groups? LinkedIn Groups - or just Groups - are spaces on the LinkedIn platform where people sharing similar interests can come together, exchange, debate, share, and learn from each other. There are tens of thousands of Groups on the network and almost always one that will suit any hobby, interest, or working sector you might find yourself in. What’s more, if you happen to have an interest that has not yet seen the founding of a Group you don’t have to worry: starting a Group is easy and, with a little work, can soon connect you with others in the same boat. Groups can be either public (open) or private (closed). The functioning of the Group is similar in either case, the primary difference being that a public group can be joined by anyone with the click of a mouse, while a private group requires the approval of a moderator. Generally the moderator will review your profile, check to see if you look like a good fit for the group, and then accept you. The moderation process helps private groups to avoid spam accounts, but it also does cut down on their potential reach. Once you join a Group it is automatically added to your LinkedIn profile (you have the option of not displaying a Group on your profile, and this is probably a good idea if your current employer might raise their eyebrows at a group aimed at tips for finding a new job) and updates from the Group begin appearing in your primary LinkedIn feed. You’ll also have the option of receiving emails from the Group, either daily or weekly, and contributing to Group discussions. How do I find relevant LinkedIn Groups? Finding a Group to join is simple. Got to the top of your LinkedIn page and, in the search box, enter some keywords relating to the sort of group you are hoping to find. Think broadly; for example, if you are interested in web marketing you might try searching for Groups using the keywords: • • • • • • • • web marketing digital marketing online marketing e-marketing internet marketing inbound marketing content marketing social media marketing WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 16

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You can choose to delimit the search before it launches to return only Groups and avoid companies, people, networks, and other parts of the LinkedIn network. Alternatively, after you run your search you can choose Groups from the sidebar menu to modify your completed search and highlight only results from LinkedIn Groups. After running your search you’ll have a list of Groups, perhaps dozens of them, to click through and explore. if they are a public Group you’ll be able to see the most recent posts and discussions and get a taste for what the Group is like. If it is a private Group you’ll get more limited information, but you’ll still be able to see what sorts of people are included in the Group and read a little about the Group from its description. You’ll quickly note that some Groups are large. Tens of thousands of members, even a hundred thousand members is not uncommon for general interest or industry-level groups. There are also smaller, niche groups organized around a certain topic or local area. Obviously, if you are interested in web marketing but not in the San Diego area, you’ll want to avoid the San Diego Web Marketing group, and head to either a Group close to your home or choose a larger and more global Group. How do I join a LinkedIn Group? Once you’ve found what looks like the perfect Group for you, joining is a cinch. Public Groups require only a click on the yellow button on the top right of the Group page. Wait a second and your screen will refresh and you’ll be officially a member of the Group. Shortly after you’ll normally receive an email from the Group’s owner officially welcoming you to the Group, perhaps explaining a few of the Group’s rules, and letting you know what sort of standards the Group has for posting, sharing, and commenting. Every Group is a little bit different so be sure that you read this email carefully and, where you have questions, direct them to the owner directly. Private Groups work in much the same way, though the action of clicking the yellow button refreshes the screen only to inform you that your application has been submitted to the Group owner. The time taken for the owner to review your application depends a lot on how active the Group is, and absolutely on how active the owner of the Group is in checking there LinkedIn emails and messages. Don’t worry too much about the waiting time: a couple of days is not uncommon and doesn’t mean that the Group is inactive or that the owner of the Group doesn’t care too much about their project - it might be that the owner is just as busy as you are, and approvals take a little time that the owner may not always have. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 17

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How do I start off on the right foot in a LinkedIn Group I just joined? Perhaps the best advice for getting started on a LinkedIn Group you’ve just joined is...don’t. That is, when you first join a Group you should treat it in much the same way as you would any professional conversation or meeting that you’ve been invited to. Take some time to watch how things work, get a feel for the norms of conversation and commenting, try and understand what the Group considers useful and valuable discussions and content, and what they consider spamming, self-promotion, and of little value. See which members are the most active, see what discussions are the most popular, and see what the tone of the respondents is. Does the group bleed positivity or is a more aggressive, argumentative forum? Are ideas shared on an ‘as is’ basis, or do Group members add their own opinions to any outside content piece linked to or re-published on the Group? Importantly, too, look to see if there is a way that new members introduce themselves to the Group. Perhaps new members make an individual post, perhaps they introduce themselves in a certain discussion specifically for that purpose or, like some Groups, there might be a weekly or monthly post where new members can tell the rest of the Group about their background, interests, and reason for joining the Group. In short, your first interactions with any new LinkedIn Group should be tentative, focused on learning the norms of the Group, and preparing yourself to dive in only when you understand exactly what sort of Group you have joined. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 18

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What are LinkedIn Groups best practices for posting, sharing, and starting discussions? Every LinkedIn Group is different and each will have either formal or informal rules about what is considered valuable to their Group community, and what is not. When deciding to post a comment, an article, content from the web, or kickstart a discussion on a LinkedIn Group you should always consider whether it is in line with the general tenor of the Group you are posting to. Assuming it does past muster, here are some LinkedIn Groups best practices to keep in mind: • Choose the best quality content you can find on the topic you are posting about. Sometimes this will be something that you have written yourself or that your company has produced - but those times are going to be rare for most people. You might be an expert in your field, but you aren’t the only expert in your field. if someone else has expressed an idea better than you have, deliver that value to the Group instead of your own less-well-delivered thoughts. Sure, you won’t earn any clicks for your content, but you will earn reputation points in the Group and avoid the tag of ‘serial self-promoter’. • Add your thoughts to any content you are posting. The people in your Group have the same interests as you do - why else would they be in the Group otherwise? But this does not mean that everyone will react to the content that you are posting in the same way. Give people a taste of what you think about the content you are posting by explaining in the post what is valuable about the link, why you posted it, and what you gained from reading, viewing, or listening to it. Give people an insight into your thinking, and demonstrate you are more than a bot posting anything slightly relevant on the Groups they subscribe to. • Add a Call to Action in your comments. When you post to a Group you are trying to start a discussion, engage the other Group members, and network with them. Just as in real-life, simply stating something and walking away does not open a conversation. Instead, you need to ask for the Group members input and give them something to respond to. As well as letting them know what you think about the content you link to, ask them a question: ‘what do others think?’ or ‘is this really where we are headed?’ work well to stimulate replies and conversations and can help you connect with similarly interested Group members. • Follow your own discussions. When you start a discussion or post content you should keep an eye on how the discussion is progressing. LinkedIn makes this easy with its notifications: if someone responds to, likes, or shares your Group post you’ll see that notification flag tun red on your LinkedIn dashboard. This is your cue to return to the discussion and keep it going. Again, the parallel to real life is instructive: only the very poor networker asks a question and then walks away when people start to answer it. Keep an eye on, and participate in, the discussions you start. It will demonstrate interest and engagement and help you secure your place in the Group as a valuable asset. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 19

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How can I avoid the charge of self-promotion in LinkedIn Groups? The simple answer is ‘don’t self promote’, but perhaps this is a little too simple. LinkedIn allows users an almost unparalleled opportunity to present themselves to the professional world in a positive light. You can tailor your profile until it is perfect, you can share only positive, feel-good stories, you can earn reputation as a valuable contributor to Group discussions and perhaps even take on the role of a thought leader if you take advantages of LinkedIn’s Post feature. In other words, LinkedIn is to a certain extent all about putting the best version of your professional self out there for the world to see, and that means you and every other LinkedIn user are self-promoting. When it comes to LinkedIn Groups, though, you should avoid the blatant self-promotion that your profile allows. Don’t share things you’ve written elsewhere unless you are confident it is the best take on the issue. If you are sharing something you’ve written elsewhere, be up front and honest about your authorship and explain what the link contains. Think of this as a sort of full disclosure on your part: you provide people with the information, your argument, explain you’ve written about this further elsewhere, and invite them to click if they are interested. There’s no baiting here, no pushing traffic towards your site without divulging that it is, indeed, your site. You are being up front and honest, and this will be appreciated by others - and help you avoid the charge of self-promotion, too. Conclusion LinkedIn Groups are one of the least-used but still best networking options for professionals on LinkedIn. Connecting with others from around the corner or around the world who share your interests and challenges is an incredible opportunity, and LinkedIn Groups make it easy to take advantage of the common experience to expand your knowledge, your reach, and your network. What’s more, joining Groups enhances your experience on the social network as a whole, and not being limited to the smaller group of people you have connected with already opens up a real world of possibilities for career growth, and even career changes. The benefits of LinkedIn Groups are many, so what are you waiting for? Dive into LinkedIn Groups today! WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 20

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4 LinkedIn Posts  Back in October 2012 LinkedIn launched a new feature on their site: LinkedIn Influencers. LinkedIn Influencers were a group of the most influential business and thought leaders on the planet, all of whom shared their knowledge, wisdom, and insight with LinkedIn’s audience of hungry professionals. The influencer posts - sometimes short, sometimes long - ran the gamut from genuine posts-on-the-run between business meetings, through to interviews, book extracts, and sneak previews of things about to launch in that influencer’s business. Needless to say, LinkedIn users loved it. Even today the Influencer posts are shared by thousands every time a new one hits LinkedIn’s Pulse content network, and influencers like Bill Gates and Richard Branson are each followed by millions of LinkedIn users. Indeed, Branson’s personal following easily outstrips President Barack Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron, and businesswoman Arianna Huffington combined, with more than 8 million LinkedIn users having his every post pushed to their feed. But while LinkedIn Influencers was a successful program for building the LinkedIn brand, and while it remains one of the most popular features on the social network as a whole, it also offered LinkedIn an insight into a new opportunity for the company when it came to content. In the same way as Influencer posts could be pushed to a wide network of LinkedIn users, why not allow individual users to post their own original content to the LinkedIn network? Thus was LinkedIn Posts born. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 21

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LinkedIn Posts and the LinkedIn Publishing Platform Together with LinkedIn Influencers, LinkedIn Posts represent part of the larger LinkedIn Publishing Platform. Though both the features fall under this one umbrella, there are some significant differences between then two. First and most importantly, LinkedIn Influencers are invited to join the Influencer program. Invitation only means exactly that: it’s not like waiting for the first ever Gmail invitation from your buddy with a hookup in Mountain View - it’s a true invitation. Of the more than 350 million LinkedIn users only around 300 are invited to be Influencers. if you aren’t Richard Branson, Bill Gates, or Arianna Huffington, you might be waiting for a while to find that magic invitation email in your inbox. LinkedIn Posts, on the other hand, are open to anyone. If you have something to say, something to sell, and idea to share, or content that you think will benefit the LinkedIn network, then you can make a LinkedIn Post. All it takes is a couple of clicks of the mouse. The second major difference is in terms of automatic reach. For LinkedIn Influencers the reach extends to each and every one of their followers. Hence, a Richard Branson article gets pushed to 8 million people automatically, appearing in their primary feed and inviting them to click to read the entire thing. When it comes to reach, then, influencers like Branson rival a major newspaper, and Branson’s own reach represents something like 6 times the circulation of the New York Times! The automatic reach of a LinkedIn Posts is far more limited. It will appear in the feeds of all of your connections, again with an offer to click through and read more. If you have only a handful of connections then, sadly, that’s going to be the extent of your reach except - and this is important - your post gets some attention from those who read it. Remember that LinkedIn remains a social network, if a professional one. If a post gets read, liked, shared, and re-shared, LinkedIn will take notice and push it to more people in the networks of your connections. Write well enough and push the right sort of content and you’ll quickly go from sharing with friends to sharing with the world. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 22

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A Blogging Platform - But So Much More LinkedIn Posts allows you to add text, pictures, links to videos, and do some basic formatting. You can use h-tags to head and sub-head your posts, you can place pictures (including animated GIFs) in the body of your work, and you can block quote important material that you want the reader of your post to take special notice of. You can prepare posts in advance, save them as drafts, and publish when you feel is best. You can even track the performance of your posts either live and on the site or by regular email updates from LinkedIn. In some ways, then, LinkedIn Posts resembles a blogging platform: you can post content, it will be read by those who know you, but you rely on sharing of your work or searches for keywords in your work to bring it to a larger audience. While this is all true, at its heart LinkedIn Posts is more than just a blogging platform: it’s a way for professionals on LinkedIn to grow their influence, to demonstrate their thought leadership, and to establish a personal brand in a professional thought still social setting. Grow Your Influence We’ve already explained how to go about making connections and the best practices to employ to avoid accepting valueless invitations (and by implication, how to avoid extending valueless connection requests of your own). We’ve also looked at the best practices for joining and participating in LinkedIn Groups, and how to avoid being a self-promoter, perhaps the worst sort of LinkedIn Group member. Following the guidelines that we’ve laid out, growing your influence on LinkedIn is likely to be a slow and steady pursuit. LinkedIn Posts, though, give you a fast track to that influence. Unlike your status updates or updates to your profile that are shared - or can be shared - with only your own connections, your LinkedIn posts have the possibility of going viral. Should the post be valuable enough, well written enough, thought provoking enough, or (let’s face it) controversial enough, then it will get liked, shared, and shared again. Every time it does your name, your picture, and your LinkedIn profile is shared, too. In addition, there’s a box at the bottom of each post where even people who are not your connections can ‘follow’ your future posts. All of these people will find your future posts in their feed without having to connect with you (you really didn’t think that Richard Branson approved 8 million connection requests personally, did you?). You will have grown your influence measurably through simply reaching out and publishing a LinkedIn Post, and on a social network where networking is king, this is the first of the three great advantages of the publishing platform for users. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 23

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Demonstrate Thought Leadership When you post a status update you have a couple of lines to get a message across, caption an image, or headline a link you are sharing. When you participate in LinkedIn Group discussions you are usually responding to others or, where you are posting your own discussion, keeping things short enough and on-topic enough to pass moderation muster. LinkedIn Posts, on the other hand, are an opportunity to embrace the sort of longform content that allow you to truly explore an idea. You can present a statement, tease out the implications, explain how it makes something new, better, out of date, or changes the world, and then you can tell people what will come next. The longform format allows you to tell stories instead of just passing on information. You can set up the challenge, explain the pain-point, draw on your personal experiences to provide a solution, and explain why it will work - or even how it is already working for you. In other words, LinkedIn Posts provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate real thought leadership in your field. You shouldn’t be afraid of thought leadership and - whatever you do - don’t assume that only a CEO or an upper level manager can be a ‘thought leader’. Even if you are working in the metaphorical mailroom of your organization, you can demonstrate leadership in addressing the challenges that face an industry you know well. And, as explained above, if you make good points and people share them with others, you’ll find your way out of the mailroom real quick. WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 24

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Establish a Personal Brand on a Professional Network There’s a good chance that if you built yourself a blog you’d have the chance to grow your influence (eventually) and demonstrate some thought leadership (to the readership you attract, anyway). While LinkedIn Posts do both of those things in a particular way, it is really this last point that separates LinkedIn Posts from other blogging and publishing platforms. LinkedIn’s fundamental nature as a social network for professionals presents all users with a secure, high-profile space to build their personal brand. Yet a LinkedIn profile - even a perfect LinkedIn profile - is not enough to truly establish a personal brand. In marketing terms, having a LinkedIn profile is like having a website: it is a great start but it can’t be your only tool for building your brand. LinkedIn Posts are the means by which you develop and support your personal brand. For example, if you mention in your profile that you have interests in marketing? LinkedIn Posts allow you to write and publish on this theme, and prove to anyone visiting your profile that it is more than just talk. Or if you added a bunch of causes that you believe in to your profile, a longform LinkedIn Post on the topic can reinforce this in the mind of recruiters as something that truly matters to you. If you’ve claimed experience in project management then reviewing a new book with a LinkedIn Post will help demonstrate your knowledge of this field in the minds of your readers. All of your LinkedIn Posts are available to anyone who visits your profile right under your name and summary, and the images that are attached are a great incentive for those visitors to click through. As such, they represent a clear opportunity to and obvious path towards building a personal brand - and doing this on a social network for professionals is incredibly useful for your career, both now and in the future. Conclusion LinkedIn Post are more than a simple blogging platform. LinkedIn Posts allow you to reach your peers, colleagues, and network, and - with well written content - extend that reach across the entire LinkedIn network. They allow you the chance to grow your influence in ways that other blogging platforms can imitate and perhaps overpower in gross numbers but without the targeting potential and networking links that LinkedIn provides. More than that, unlike other blogging platforms LinkedIn Posts allow you to develop a personal brand in a professional space, supporting very line in your perfect LinkedIn profile with evidence that you’ve shared yourself. Making a LinkedIn Post is simple, and after it is drafted it is only the work of just a few minutes to publish - so what are you waiting for? Get posting on LinkedIn Posts today! WWW.DOZ.COM Level Up Your LinkedIn Game • 25

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In 2013 DOZ was launched as the world’s first crowd-powered online marketing service. DOZ’s innovative platform helped brands to connect with a network of marketing experts around the world and draw on the local knowledge of professionals to run effective and profitable campaigns. More than 300 brands around the world have connected with experts through the DOZ platform and worked with the DOZ team to manage their campaigns. DOZ is the complete software service solution for every marketing team. Brands can take control
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