Why You Should “Like” LinkedIn Content

Content Marketing, LinkedIn, Networking, Social Media, Social Networks

“Dear Theresa, Loved your post How To Increase Engagement on LinkedIn. I’ve already implemented several tips to great success. Thanks so much!”

I receive messages like this weekly. Here’s my response.

“Thanks for the feedback! Glad to hear you “loved” my post; however, did you”like” it?”

Yes, that’s right—I ask for ‘likes’ when people message me about how my posts helped them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for their compliments. Yet I find that there is confusion about what it means to “like” something on LinkedIn.

So here’s my anatomy of a “like”

A LIKE is a way to give feedback. If you found the content provided value, taught you something, made you laugh…then go ahead and “like” it!

And you don’t have to love someone’s content to acknowledge it with a ‘like.” If the author made a good argument or presented diverging points of view, and it was well-written, then you should show that with a “like.”

A LIKE is the beginning of something going viral at scale. Nothing happens until someone “likes” a post. You could write the greatest article in the world, but it will not get the eyeballs on it if someone doesn’t “like” it. When you like a post, it gets pushed out to your network, and the network of the reader who liked it. A simple thumbs up is how content begins to go viral at scale.

A LIKE is a way of expressing thanks. Often people reach out and ask for advice on LinkedIn. I always respond and direct them to a post of mine, or someone else’s that further expands on the topic. A simple and effective way to show appreciation and return the favor is to “like” the content.

A LIKE is an acknowledgement. It takes time to produce and find quality content. If no one “likes” it then you take it as a statement against what you shared. This may be the case, but often it’s just an oversight on the part of the viewer. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and be generous.

A LIKE is a way to gain attention. Social selling on LinkedIn allows you to warm up the cold call by first doing your homework on the person. That would include reading their LinkedIn Published Posts, status updates and viewing their profile/company page. When you like any of their content, they get a notification and see your name. This is your first point of contact.

The only caveat here is don’t be disingenuous. Social media is all about being authentic. Add a comment to the post that demonstrates your knowledge of the topic and positions you favorably. Then when you follow-up with an invite, or call, the person will be familiar with your name.

A LIKE is a tracked proof of engagement. It demonstrates that someone didn’t just see scroll past your post, but took the time to read it and express support of your content. It is measured and adds to your SEO, search engine optimization.

People overthink likes. I notice that it is the Influencers on LinkedIn that tend to be generous with their “likes.” Makes sense if you think about it. They get it. That’s why they are thought-leaders. They know that a little “like” goes a long way.

Be generous, be thankful and let your network know        you appreciate their effort.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about “likes!” Please add your comments below. And thank you for “liking” my post, as well.

If you “like” this post please follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter @sellsocialmedia or email me at merrill.theresa@gmail.com to learn about how I help people like you. 

Why You Should Connect with People You Don’t Know on LinkedIn

LinkedIn, LinkedIn Connections, Networking, Social Media, Social Networks


Imagine this. You’re at a networking event and a professional approaches you extending their hand to introduce themselves. You quickly turn your back on them and walk away. Sounds crazy, yet millions of LinkedIn users do this when they ignore invitation requests from people they don’t know.

Why would I accept an invitation from a stranger?” is the response I get when I advise clients to accept most of the invites sitting in their Inbox. On LinkedIn you have connections, not friends, and that should be your first clue.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point he references sociologist Mark Granovetter’s classic study about connectors. “Granovetter’s research showed it was your acquaintances, not your close friends, who introduce you to new ideas and opportunities.” If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Your friends travel in the same social circles as you, after all, and are therefore exposed to the same information. Social power comes from your “strong, weak ties” or the acquaintances that introduce us to worlds in which we do not belong.

Granovetter’s study makes the case for accepting invitations from people you don’t know on LinkedIn.

It’s a social network after all, not a private country club—be inclusive, not exclusive. The more connections you have, the more relationships you will forge. There’s a ripple effect that takes place. Each LinkedIn member is one, or two, degrees of separation away from someone who could potentially be a future client. If you say no to that one person, you’re simultaneously turning away their entire network of second and third degree connections.

Does this mean you should accept every invitation you receive? No, you should evaluate the merit of the invite and then decide.

1. View their profile. Simply going to the person’s profile can provide insight as to why you received an invitation. If you share a connection, college or group then you might show up as a suggestion from LinkedIn’s “People You May Know.” In my last post I spoke of keywords; the keywords in your profile serve as a prompt for all these suggestions from LinkedIn.

Study what they do, gauging if you could benefit from this relationship—although it is often the person I least expected who surprises me. Take note if they have a strong network. You may not want to connect with someone who has 15 connections (although we all have to start somewhere.) You definitely want to connect with someone who has 500+ connections. There’s power and influence in a large network. If the member has his settings open, you have access to those connections. And you get a SEO boost from being part of their network.

2. Ask why the person sent you an invite. My life’s mantra is “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Did you know you have the option of selecting “reply” before accepting an invitation? Try saying “I’m sorry would you remind me how we know each other?” You can’t anticipate the response you will receive. Maybe they heard you speak at a conference, or were referred by a mutual connection, or read your blog and decided to reach out. Don’t assume; ask. If you don’t get a response, then you shouldn’t accept.

3. No photo? Don’t accept the invite. If someone doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile photo it says two things. Number 1. It might be a fake profile. Number 2. The person is not savvy enough to understand social media is about transparency and authenticity. I reply, “I don’t accept LinkedIn invites from invisible members.” Many profile photos have been posted due to this comment.

4. “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” ~ Sun Tzu ~ Is my response when asked by clients, “Should I accept invitations from my competitors?” Don’t forget you have access to their profile, too. And you’re more likely to show up at the top of their profile page under “People Similar To…” when someone is viewing it.

Look at it as an opportunity to partner with your competition. I have a reciprocal relationship with a LinkedIn coach, Emily Miller based in London, who referred a client to me after we connected.

If you still have doubts about accepting invites from potential spammers, remember you can always “disconnect.” Try it first though.

I hope to receive invites from you in my Inbox, too.

5 Tips to Optimize your LinkedIn Headline

LinkedIn, LinkedIn for College Students, Social Media, Social Networks

Your LinkedIn headline is the most important piece real estate on your profile. It communicates your professional brand, determines if you will be found and whether someone will click on your profile. Creating a compelling,keyword-rich headline is crucial to your success.

 The concept of keywords starts with a search. LinkedIn is a search engine, like Google. The results are determined by SEO, Search Engine Optimization: the art and science of getting found when someone enters a keyword, or phrase, into a search engine. Like Google, there is an algorithm that determines the rank or results when someone conducts a search on LinkedIn. Rank is driven by the relevancy of a keyword in your headline, and throughout your profile, to match what people are searching for.

LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn profile

Every time you communicate on LinkedIn your headline appears next to your name and profile photo—it travels with you to comments you make in Groups and Status Updates on the Home and Company pages. Use its 120 characters to clarify what you do and how you help. It’s a reduced version of your value proposition.

Here’s how to make sure your profile will be found when someone does a search:

Create a keyword-rich, optimized headline: Keywords in your headline drive internal and external search on Google. If you have an optimized LinkedIn headline and a 100% complete profile, when you “Google” your name your LinkedIn profile will likely be the first or second result. Don’t use your job title (no one is searching for a Vice President) but the keywords someone would search by to find a professional who does what you do.

How to find the right keywords to use in your headline:

  1. Use the free Google AdWords Keyword Tool to gain ideas. See what keywords people are searching by on Google.
  2. Search the profiles of your competition and other LinkedIn users in your industry. Leverage a database of 235 million professionals; study how they position themselves.
  3. Do a job search on LinkedIn of what you do; study the job descriptions noting the words that appear often.
  4. Use terms your customers would use that resonate with your target market. What language do they use? Ask your customers how they found you. Don’t assume, confirm.
  5. Do “test” keyword searches on Google and LinkedIn and evaluate the amount of results. Simply enter keywords into the search engine and see what comes up. For example, if someone was searching for Real Estate, would they enter the brand name of a real estate firm, terms like realtor, or would they search by “real estate in Westport, Ct.” It would be the latter.

Once you’ve determined the best keywords to use, you need to strategically pepper them throughout your LinkedIn profile. Include them in your Headline, Summary, Experience and Skills section to gain keyword density. Keyword density is the percent of time that keyword appears among all the other words on the profile page.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional business network; it is a platform for you to find and be found by prospects, partners and like-minded professionals. Optimizing your profile Headline will position you to accomplish this.


I See You Viewed My LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn, Social Media

“Are you lookin’ at me?” this paraphrase of De Niro’s iconic line came to mind last week when I received an email from LinkedIn congratulating me on having“one of the top 1% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012.” Not since Endorsements were enabled has there been such an outpouring of messages in my Inbox. My client connections were incredulous, questioning the validity of LinkedIn’s acknowledgement “Is this for real or a scam?” they wondered “This can’t be true?” and “I find this hard to believe, but you’re the person I know who could tell me if it was true.”

They were the recipients of this email:

Congratulations! You have one of the top (fill in the blank with either 1%, 5%, 10% or 20%) most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012.

Feedback works. To reinforce good behavior you want to provide feedback when people perform that action, this creates a positive habit loop. LinkedIn did that with this email marketing campaign acknowledging their most active users. After the initial shock people went on to post this email on their profile, which increased the behavior that brought them recognition. My connections should not be surprised, but realize they are on the right path.This is a good thing, and a brilliant marketing move on the part of LinkedIn. Create the habit loop and increase that behavior. It’s a win/win; you can’t be active on LinkedIn and not be rewarded for your efforts.

In order to obtain the greatest benefit from having your LinkedIn profile viewed — you need to shift into social selling mode. I regularly check the LinkedIn homepage to see how many people have “viewed my profile” and turn this into a conversation starter. Sending a brief, polite message to the person stating “I see you viewed my profile, thank you. Is there anything I can help you with? If not, please accept my invitation to join my network.”

As a social selling strategist here’s what this message accomplished:

  1. Acknowledgement. (which is exactly what LinkedIn did with their email)
  2. Asked a question. My motto in life is “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Why assume to know why someone viewed your profile, ask and find out. It could lead to a new client if they were “shopping” around which is often the case.
  3. At the very least you gain a new connection.

7 steps to get a greater percent of the 200+ million LinkedIn users to view your profile and generate interest for you and your business.

  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile with keywords to improve your SEO
  • Complete your profile to “All-Star” strength
  • Invite connections to increase the size of your network
  • Share relevant content in status updates – several times a day
  • Join in Group discussions – establish yourself as an authority
  • Add Skills and ask for Endorsements
  • “Like,” comment and share other people’s status updates

If you do all this, you will drive more people to your profile and increase your influencer status on the world’s largest professional social network. And next year, I doubt you’ll be surprised when you receive an email from LinkedIn.

Theresa Merrill | Social Media & LinkedIn Consultant | Twitter:@sellsocialmedia | 201.566.1351 merrill.theresa@gmail.com | Anovick Associates

Got Skills? Get Endorsements.

LinkedIn, LinkedIn Recommendations, Skills & Endorsements, Social Media

LinkedIn recently removed Recommendations as being a requirement for having a complete profile.  Then in September they added the ability to endorse your connections for the skills listed on the Skills & Expertise section of their profile.  What!  You don’t have any skills listed on your profile?  Better add them, or risk not being found.  I predict Endorsements will ultimately replace Recommendations.

All things being equal, a LinkedIn profile with Endorsements will outrank a similar profile without them.

Use these six tips to add the right Skills to your profile and obtain Endorsements:

  1. Be judicious with the skills you choose.  Select Skills & Expertise from the drop-down tab under “More” on your navigation bar. Enter a relevant skill in the search box.  Your exact skill may not show up, but you will be given options. Click on the skill closest to the one entered; you’ll be redirected to another page describing it.  My favorite item is the graph indicating the y/y “Relative Growth” of this skill.  If it’s not trending well, you can select from the “Related Skills” offered.  For example, C Level Selling is up 16% y/y, while C Level Management is down 16% y/y–if you do both, use the former.  Select a skill your audience would use to search for someone who does what you do.  Is it Tax preparation or accounting?  Home loan or mortgage?  Think in terms of your client’s language, not yours.  You can add up to 50, and need a minimum of five skills for a complete profile.
  2. Prioritize your skills. Did you know you could rearrange the order of the skills as they appear on your profile?  Select edit profile and go to the Skills & Expertise section to click and drag each skill to arrange in order of importance.  This is significant as people will tend to endorse the first couple of skills they see, just as they read the headline or first sentence of a blog or article.  Once a skill is clicked-on it can’t be moved.  Others will follow suit and click on the ones that have the most endorsements—“groupthink.”
  3. Ask to be endorsed.  You have to drive people to your profile to obtain their Endorsement. What I do is share something of value to the person—maybe an update I recently posted, a blog I wrote, or a Group discussion I started which they could join. I’ll send a private message and close with a classic Columbo line, “One more thing…would you please go to my profile and endorse my skill of “LinkedIn.”  And tell them how to do it.  “Just place your cursor over the + to the left of the skill and click on it.”
  4. Tell which skills you want endorsed.  While you have prioritized them you don’t just want everyone endorsing the top three.  So tell your clients, which skill would be most applicable to the work you did with them and then add “or any others that you think appropriate.”  Tell them what you want, while letting them add something further.
  5. Accept new skills that LinkedIn users have recommended for you.  Your network is also able to endorse you for skills that you don’t have listed on your profile.  Based on keywords in your profile, they will receive prompts asking “Does Theresa possess these skills…?”  You will receive notification of these Endorsements and just like with a Recommendation, choose to show it on your profile.  You can always add skills from your profile page.  You need a minimum of five skills to have a complete profile and can add up to 50.
  6. Give Endorsements.  LinkedIn is all about doing what Reid Hoffman, Executive Chairman and co-Founder of LinkedIn, calls “small goods.”  Whether that be “liking,” commenting or sharing a person’s update.  Take time to visit your network’s profiles and endorse them when appropriate.  Don’t endorse someone for a skill you never saw them exhibit and don’t do it just to be reciprocated.

If you do all this, you will have a profile that will clearly speak to your strengths and reflect why someone would choose to do business with you.  Oh, and one more thing…if you found these tips helpful would you please go to my LinkedIn profile and endorse me?

Theresa Merrill | Social Media & LinkedIn Consultant | Twitter:@sellsocialmedia | 201.566.1351 merrill.theresa@gmail.com | Anovick Associates