The Best Content I Managed to Churn Out in May 2012

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May was a busy month, we had our first anniversary and the wife and me were featured in Cosmopolitan UK which was cool. It’s been very hot here in London and everything is building up to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. If you’re in the UK, do check out our LinkedIn Masterclass workshops in London – […]

The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha [Book Review]

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The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn

Reid Hoffman is the co-founder and chairman of my favourite social network LinkedIn. He was kind enough to send me the new book "The Start-Up of You" he has written together with Ben Casnocha, which I have just finished reading.

What's the Start-Up of You all about?

It's about the power of networking and how relationships matter (yes, that was LinkedIn's first tagline). It's a quick read that draws on Reid Hoffman's own business experience and that of his, uhm… network. The author was part of the team that sold PayPal to eBay and made a fair bit of dough. Instead of retiring, he realised there was a gap in the market for a networking tool and he used his strong connections from the PayPal circle to set up LinkedIn in a jiffy. That was back in 2003, things have progressed well since then and last year they had a successful IPO and the company is firing on all cylinders.

The book covers how Silicon Valley operates and how you get investment for your tech company (you have to know someone that knows someone). Reid Hoffman would never invest in a company that wasn't introduced to him by a trusted contact. In fact, Sean Parker introduced him to Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 but Reid decided not to invest as much as he could have back then. Instead he invested along with a friend he trusted well, this friend is of course rather happy to have got that introduction today.

My Social Media Interview for a University of Hertfordshire Dissertation

I was recently asked a few dissertation questions by a student from the University of Hertfordshire (that's just north of London in case you are wondering). The questions were about how Link Humans was set up and how we move things forward. Here are my answers:

What's the background information about Link Humans?

Link Humans was set up in 2010, the objectives are to consult, train and advise companies on the use of social media for recruitment, marketing, brand building. There were two of us starting out in London and we are currently four, based in London and Paris.

What issues did you face in marketing and promoting your business during the early days?

No brand awareness for Link Humans to begin with but we did have our personal brands to leverage (still do!). No budget for marketing so we have done it all ourselves on social media and networking events in London.

What social media tools you use to promote your business and how effective are they to reach your target market?

We blog about once per week on the Link Humans site, these blogs posts are then broadcast to Twitter via the @LinkHumans account and our personal accounts. We also share our blog posts on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Blogging has been very effective as long as we write relevant articles about the target market and make sure that industry people see the posts. We try to ensure the content is inspirational, the idea is that potential clients will see what other clients have done successfully and will want to work with us.

How To Talk To Complete Strangers

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I was interviewed in the Mail on Sunday newspaper today, on the off-piste topic of talking to total strangers. Because I'm the organizer of three meetups here in London and run a few workshops on personal branding I guess I'm somewhat qualified on the subject of speaking to complete strangers. These are some of the ideas I shared in the interview, for the full story you'll have to get the newspaper in January (or I'll just link to the article once it's up).

Why speak to strangers in the first place?

You might wonder why on earth you should speak to strangers. I mean afterall, we're taught by our parents never to speak to strangers and the only folks that do seem to be the village idiot and local yokels. I guess the reason I speak to strangers is to network, by running events you get to know very useful and interesting people – and the only way to do this is by talking to them.

In business, the ability to small talk with (and get on with) anyone is very useful. If you want to be seen as an all-rounder that can get on with multi-national and cross-sector teams, you'd have to have the ability to speak to strangers. Here are the stranger talking tips that I came up with for the interview today:

21 Ways To Build Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn

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As both a Personal Branding and LinkedIn trainer, I get a few recurring questions in my workshops and seminars. I thought I would compile a little list with questions and answers here, hopefully they will be useful to you. Most questions are related to sales, marketing and recruitment which is basically the type of professionals I tend to train.

Here goes the 21 LinkedIn questions and answers:

1. How do you boost your LinkedIn profile SEO?

LinkedIn operates a bit like Google did 10 years ago, the more keywords the better ranking you will get for a while. The algorithm of the search rankings are that you will be bumped up and if people actually take action – click on your profile in the search results – that tells LinkedIn you are relevant for those search terms. IF users don’t click on you, you will be sent down to page 16 in no time and classed a spammer by the LinkedIn search engine.

To get better ranking make sure to insert relevant keywords in your headline, in your job title and in your summary. Use keywords such as industry, location, company names (if that’s allowed), and even names of people. Bring it down to a micro level with versions of software and even post codes.

See more at How to Make Google Love Your LinkedIn Profile.

2. How to use advanced X-Ray searches to find anyone on LinkedIn?

On LinkedIn, you can only see the people that are three degrees away from you or members of the same group.