In How to Build a Smarter LinkedIn Profile for MSP CEOs, I explain that building trust is more important for managed services providers than for a typical business. MSPs interact with one of the most critical resources for businesses — their IT operations, hardware, and software. Law offices store client and case information on servers. Healthcare providers use electronic medical records (EMR) to keep track of patients’ histories and they need to be HIPAA compliant.
Effective MSPs make sure businesses have data recovery and business continuity plans ready for execution. Should anything happen to their clients’ data, it won’t be the end of the business as they stand by ready to put the plan into action. MSP clients’ technologies depend on managed services providers to keep them going. That requires a lot of trust.
It’s surprising how many MSP CEOs and business owners have very little information on their LinkedIn profiles. How can prospects trust you if they don’t know about your technical background and commitment to customer service?
Here are some of the best LinkedIn profiles of MSP CEOs. Depending on your connection to the person and your membership, you may not be able to view some of the LinkedIn profiles. You can work around that by doing a Google search for the person’s name. Coming in through Google will allow you to find the person’s public LinkedIn profile.
President and CEO, BEL Network Integration and Support, LLC
Bell’s detailed profile includes a video, publications, recommendations, and links to resources. In his summary, he lists the locations his company supports explaining that service is limited to those areas to ensure his engineers can be onsite within two hours. Reading the summary, you can tell he’s enthusiastic about the work and understand what his business does for clients.
Armando P Binelo
CEO, Trust Technology Solutions Inc.
As MSPs need to gain the trust of prospective clients, having many recommendations can help with that. Binelo has 12 recommendations in his current role from a variety of clients and colleagues. He also provides details about the causes and organizations he supports. If you’ve seen a good action movie lately, you might tell Binelo about it as it’s one of his interests.
President and CTO, Triada Networks
“When your technology isn’t working, your business isn’t either,” Jamgotchian writes. His summary goes on to say why he founded his company and what it does for businesses. He includes a brief example of how his company helped when Hurricane Sandy hit. It means they know disaster recovery. Jamgotchian’s profile includes videos, volunteer experience, organizations, and recommendations.
President, TBJ Consulting LLC
Oryszczyn opens with a great story of how he helped a client over the weekend. Then he reveals the truth about technology in an amiable way: “Needless to say, technology is forever messing up.” His comprehensive profile can help you find inspiration for yours.
Owner, TruMethods, LLC
“It all started on December 12, 1996 when I quit my job to build an IT services company. Thus, one of the first MSPs was born,” Pica writes. The rest of his summary is a fascinating read. He includes an article in which he is mentioned and a video. In his spare time he likes “Rocking out with my guitar.”
Sobran’s summary highlights a few things. First, she opens with brief overview of her position and company to lead into what jobs she has open. Next, she describes her passion to give you insight into what she cares about. She goes into how she got where she is today and closes with more details on what she does in her current role. She hits four points in a clear, concise way with personality.
She has three recommendations for her current role from people in different roles: client, consultant, and someone who worked with her while he was at another company. It helps to have recommendations from your current and most recent roles from a variety of resources: managers, direct reports, clients, and colleagues in other companies.
More great LinkedIn profiles
President and co-founder, Business Solutions Unplugged
Owner, Brainlink International, Inc.
President and commander-in-chief, Kobargo Technology Partners
President, MIS Solutions, Inc.
CEO and president, ManageIT Inc.
President, Katy Computer Systems
What makes a good LinkedIn profile for MSPs? Please share your thoughts and any notable examples you’ve seen.
A small technology company doesn’t have time to search thousands of contacts to find the right people who can write a blog post or article, share information on social media or invite them to write a guest post on their website. These right people are influencers who have a large following that allows them to amplify your reach. When they mention your business in any shape or form, it sends traffic, retweets and mentions soaring.
Influencers aren’t necessarily celebrities. They’re well-respected and trusted people in their fields. They can be thought leaders, executives, connectors, journalists, bloggers and authors.
How do you find and engage the influencers who cover your industry and reach your target market? You can do it the old-fashioned way by searching the Internet and people’s social media lists. This comes with a high price of your time.
The other option is to use influencer marketing tools. These tools can help you find influencers in less time and provide tools to help guide and manage your influencer marketing efforts. Because of all the influencer- related platforms available out there, it’s clear that influencer marketing is working for a lot of businesses.
But some are too pricey for the small business. Here are three free or low cost options that would work for small tech companies. For a comprehensive list of influencer marketing tools, please see the end of this post.
3 influencer marketing tools for small tech companies
These three influencer marketing tools have little in common, which should make it easier for you to choose the one that might meet your needs.
BuzzSumo finds the most shared content by topic and influential authors. It can also find this information by URL. (Think competitors.) For example, if your software can sync Outlook, you’d search for “sync Outlook” to find the most popular content as shown in Image 1. The results list the shares for five social networks.
Now that you know what kind of content does well for “sync Outlook,” you want to find the influencers who might talk about this topic. Image 2 shows the list of influencers BuzzSumo provides based on your keywords.
These options aren’t exactly what is needed. Keep playing with the keywords until you find the right influencers. Once you do, start following them and listening to what they say. Retweet their content, answer their questions, and engage with them with the goal of helping them without expecting anything in return. This mindset will build the relationship to the point where you earn their trust and they might return the favor.
You can use BuzzSumo free, but it has limitations on the number of searches and the results. A 14-day free trial is available to see how of all of BuzzSumo’s features work. The Pro account has a monthly fee, but there’s a discount if you sign up for one year. For a small tech company, one month might be enough to kickstart your influencer marketing efforts.
Commun.it is a Twitter community management tool that provides Twitter analytics and tips on who to follow or unfollow as well as what content to tweet. The well-organized dashboard suggests tweets to share, people to re-engage, influencers to un/follow, and replies to consider. Before un/following, you can a Twitter user for to view the bio for more info as Image 3 shows.
The Monitoring feature shown in Image 4 watches for tweets that mention your brand, site, blog, hashtag, and more. The Leads feature suggests top people to connect with based on their interests, bio, recent tweets, and frequently used hashtags.
The service is free with limits on the search keywords, scheduling tweets, and reports. The Pro account offers unlimited weekly engagements, eight twitter profiles with no ads, and unlimited reports. A free trial is available.
Klout scores social media users’ influence on a 100-point scale to measure their online impact. The average score is 40. The web-based app provides suggestions of influencers to follow and content to share for your selected topic as shown in Image 5. For small tech businesses, this could be computers, information technology, gadgets, technology and science, or a combination.
When you find content you want to share, you can schedule the content and track its impact. Everything in Klout except for Klout Business is free to use. Klout Business allows companies to create campaigns in which Klout connects your brand with influencers. For example, you might create a campaign that sends 1,000 copies of your software to relevant influencers in hopes of generating authentic earned media. You’ll be able to track and measure campaign statistics.
23 more influencer marketing tools
The prices and options vary greatly. Not many of these are ideal for small tech companies. Most target marketing agencies and teams. If you’re working with a marketing agency, they might be using these tools and you can ask about it.
Appinions: Identifies what issues and topics are important to your target market to help you figure out what to write about, who is influential, where to distribute content and measure content marketing effectiveness.
Augure: Identify your influencers, manage contacts, share content, engage with your target market, monitor social media, organize your clippings, and measure your impact.
CommandPost: Monitors, measures, and provides insight into the people, content, and platforms that drive your company’s social value.
Exposely: A social advertising platform that connects brands with engaged online influencers. You set a budget, select the influencers and tell your brand story.
FindTheRipple: Identify influencers based on topics, profile influencers, measure results of your influencer engagement strategy, and gain insights about your target audience.
GroupHigh: Blogger outreach tool to identify influential bloggers who write about topics related to your brand. Rank and evaluate influencers, coordinate outreach efforts and measure results.
Influitive: Find, organize, engage, recognize, and reward B2B customer advocates and measure results. Works with Salesforce.com.
Inkybee.com: Helps agencies run campaigns for clients that engages influencers, tracks interactions with them, monitors mentions, measures outreach efforts, and provides traffic data.
InNetwork Inc: Find and invite influencers to your campaign, and track traffic, engagement, impressions, conversions and ROI each influencer generates.
InPowered: Find engaging content, promote stories to target audience most likely to engage, and receive alerts when new content is written.
Insightpool: Find and connect with new influencers and prospects, create personalized messages and track results.
Kred: Scores social media users’ influence on select networks using a 1,000-point scale to help you create an influence network, share content and grow your influence.
Little Bird: Find and engage relevant influencers, discover and share content, monitor industry trends and measure the results of efforts.
Markerly: Track users engaging with your brand advocates and influencers, create a strategy, identify influencers. Content amplification distributes content, tracks engagement, and helps optimize campaigns.
NeoReach: Launch campaigns on cost-per-click model in which you create a campaign, get matched with influencers, and track results.
Onalytica: Influencer relationship management tool that helps identify industry influencers and improve relationships with them.
Social Chorus: Helps employees and brand ambassadors consume, share, and create branded content.
Salesforce – Social Studio: A Salesforce feature that helps you listen, analyze, publish, and engage with customers.
Tap Influence: Find relevant influencers, create content assignments, invite influencers to collaborate, publish content, and measure results.
Tellagence: Identify people with conversations relevant to your brand or product, build content for target audience, and distribute content through influencers.
Traackr: Find influencers, nurture and manage influencer relationships, and measure the impact of relationships.
Voziq: Finds industry influencers, tracks their online activity, builds a profile for each influencer and discovers engageable moments where the influencer’s activity matches your company’s goals.
Zuum: Shows marketers what type of content will maximize impact through benchmarking, content publishing and community.
What do you use? Any missing from the list? Let us know in the comments.
Do you have a good LinkedIn profile that includes a LinkedIn profile picture and all the important fields filled in? Before you start doing regular activities in LinkedIn, you want to make sure your profile is in tip top shape. To help you along, you might check out 10 great examples of CEO LinkedIn profiles.
LinkedIn profile all good now?
You know you can do a lot of things on LinkedIn. But your time is limited. To help you along, use this checklist as your Daily LinkedIn Action Plan. It’s OK if you can’t do it five days a week. Try to make it a habit to work through the list two or three days a week.
On some days, you won’t need to do a couple of these activities. Most don’t take more than a few minutes. Checking everything on this list on a weekly basis ensures you do a little bit of all the important things in LinkedIn: nurture leads, build relationships and stay top of mind.
- Check Inbox messages.
o Respond to inquiries.
o Set reminders for follow-ups.
- Do follow-ups.
- Accept new connections.
o Tag new connections.
o Send personalized welcome message to new connections.
- Check “Keep in Touch” in the Connections menu.
o Wish happy birthday.
o Congratulate on promotions, job changes and news.
o Give them a reason to respond by asking a question or suggesting a meeting.
- Follow up with people who accepted your connection requests.
o Send a personalized welcome message.
o Set reminders for follow-up.
- Post a status update.
o Share interesting articles.
o Post a quote.
o Provide a tip.
- Check your notifications (see the flag icon at the upper right of the page).
o Respond to comments on your blog posts, group posts and status updates.
o Like or post a comment on a connection’s post.
o Send connect requests to people who are engaging with your content.
- Send connect requests to five to 10 people who fit your criteria.
o Check your saved searches for connection ideas.
o Run new searches to find new connections.
o Review group discussions to find new connections.
- Check one or two groups.
o Look for discussions you can comment on.
o Respond to questions you can answer.
o Share content relevant to the group; formulate your title as a question.
- Check your activity feed on home page for news and updates.
o Like or comment on info shared by people you want to nurture.
o Share anything interesting.
- Look at tagged list in “Keep in Touch.”
o Open profile page of someone you want to nurture.
o Endorse him or her for one skill.
What do you think of the Daily LinkedIn Action Plan? What would you add or change?
Get more LinkedIn tips
- 6 Excuses to Stay in Touch with LinkedIn Contacts
- 8 Tips to Write a Compelling LinkedIn Profile Summary
- Advanced LinkedIn Search Tips and Tricks
Building relationships on LinkedIn requires a different tact than with people you meet in person. You might attend a conference or a networking event. There, you work the room introducing yourself and learning about others. Before moving on, you exchange contact information and follow up.
With LinkedIn, you’re in a room with millions of other professionals. Who do you talk to? What do you say? Should you send a message? Start a conversation in a forum? It’s almost like trying to clean an overflowing garage. Where do you start?
First, know that there are no shortcuts or speedy ways to cultivate relationships in LinkedIn. The good news is that following this process will ensure you take a direct path to building relationships on LinkedIn.
Start with the reason why you’re on LinkedIn. What do you want to get out of it? Grow business? Find partners? Connect with investors? Invest in startups? In answering this, it’ll help you define your target audience.
And now you’re ready to start the process of building relationships in LinkedIn. Here’s the process:
1. Search for new connections.
Begin searching LinkedIn Groups to find the people who meet your defined target audience. For example, if you want to connect with managed services providers (MSP), look for MSP-related groups to join. Be careful. If you’re not an MSP and the group is specifically for people who work for an MSP, it would probably be best not to contribute. Still, you can listen.
Look for groups with a decent amount of members and lots of activity. For every group, LinkedIn displays the group’s activity level. After joining a few groups, monitor the discussions while noting the names of people you may want to contact.
LinkedIn’s search tool gives you another way to find people. Its search tool allows you to save searches, search by keywords, company, location, job title and more. Read Advanced LinkedIn Search Tips and Tricks for more ideas on how to maximize your searches to find the right people.
LinkedIn Groups can open the door to an introduction. When a contact you’d like to meet posts something you found intriguing, send a message that references the post. Use it to introduce yourself with a request to connect.
For people you find by searching LinkedIn, where you don’t have a group in common, you’ll most likely need to look up their email address. (LinkedIn Premium Members can send InMail.) Check the person’s profile and contact info for clues on how to contact the person. Once you’re able to send a message, explain why you want to connect while including a benefit for the recipient. Your message should include:
- Why you chose them
- What you have to offer, or how you might be able to help
- What you would like them to do
Do you and the prospect know someone in common? Ask your mutual friend to connect you. People tend to follow through when receiving referrals from people they know.
3. Build Credibility
Yes, it’s harder to build trust online when you can’t look someone in the eye and shake hands. But you can show you’re reliable, likeable, and competent through your actions. An easy way to do this is with education.
You gain trust by sharing useful resources like case studies and articles, forwarding news, sending analyst reports, and letting people know you saw their company mentioned in an article. Every time you stay in touch on LinkedIn by providing valuable resources, it nudges up the trust meter.
Another way to build credibility is to make and follow through on promises. Most people fail to follow up or are generic about how they will follow up. A good promise is one that you know you can deliver, is under your control, and doesn’t rely on other people to make it happen.
A promise can occur in an email, phone call or tweet. When you make a promise, be specific about when you’ll follow up whether it’s tomorrow or by next Monday. Then, deliver on the promise.
Life happens. Sometimes you can’t keep a promise for whatever reason. Contact the person as soon as possible, apologize, and make another promise that you know you won’t miss.
If you have an email list, you can add new LinkedIn connections to the list. When people accept your LinkedIn connection request, it gives you permission to stay in touch with them. But you don’t want to abuse that. Yes, you can add them to your email list. But it’s better to ask them first if it would be OK, and explain why the emails would be useful to them. Respect them enough to give them the choice.
Nurturing is the process of building relationships with non-sales-ready leads to keep them your funnel. LinkedIn provides some tools to support relationship-building.
You may get notification emails from LinkedIn letting you know who’s celebrating a birthday, a work anniversary, new job and so on. If not, you can see this in your Connections section on LinkedIn, under Keep in Touch, where you’ll find all of your LinkedIn Contacts. Use those and these six excuses to stay in touch on LinkedIn.
Check your home page for news, articles, and content from your connections. Like, comment, and share their content. Little things like this build warm fuzzies.
Endorsements offer another quick way to do something for others. Visit a person’s LinkedIn profile and simply click the skill you wish to endorse. If someone endorses your skills, that’s another excuse to send a message of thanks and check in.
You can go further as a lead moves along in your sales funnel.
Eventually, when the lead moves from cold to warm, you’ll mention your product or service and explain why it’s the right one. Education works well with prospects in the awareness phase of the customer decision journey. It also helps overcome potential objections and teach them what they need to know.
You can invite serious prospects to webinars and events, a great way to demonstrate your expertise. Effective companies have a marketing strategy that identifies what content they share with the leads based on where they fall in the sales funnel. When your LinkedIn connections reach the next phase of the customer decision journey, be sure to include them in the activities for that phase.
At the right time, you can share video customer testimonials, podcasts, white papers and product demonstrations.
Remember that you can enter notes about connections in LinkedIn. No one else can see these notes. You can also use tags. When meet someone, you can tag that person with “Awareness” or whatever you call the first phase of the funnel. When someone moves from “Awareness” to “Consideration,” then you can drop the “Awareness” tag and replace it with “Consideration” or your name for the second phase. Do this for your connections to know where they are in your funnel.
Do consistent nurturing to keep your company in front of prospects. That way, when they need you, they’ll remember you.
5. Move offline.
You’ve reached the end of the line. Your prospect is sales-ready. Take the relationship to the next level by requesting a phone call or in person meeting. Before you connect offline, prepare to share what you have to offer that benefits the other person. It’s easier to create value when you focus on giving rather than receiving.
The most successful LinkedIn users stand out because they always offer value. There’s a reason why answering “What’s in it for me?” still works. Thank them for their time.
Don’t forget – keep nurturing the relationship even after you move it offline. Sharing warm fuzzies never gets old.
What other ways can you build relationships on LinkedIn?
I recently received an unusual message on LinkedIn. Let’s just say it was the kind of message you expect from Match.com, not LinkedIn. It made me uncomfortable, so I promptly removed that person as a connection.
Every social media network is different and has its own unwritten rules. It may not be black or white, but with experience, you get a sense of what’s right and what’s not. Sometimes, it doesn’t become obvious, especially with a professional network like LinkedIn.
Clients often ask questions about LinkedIn like “If people endorse or recommend me, should I endorse or recommend them back?” and “A competitor sent me a connect request. Should I accept?”
For endorsements and recommendations, you can simply thank them. Only endorse and recommend if you know them and would be comfortable with everyone seeing what you said on their profile.
As for competitor connection requests, you can accept it if you think their network would be useful to you. On the other hand, if you’re worried about them connecting with your clients, you may not want to connect with your competitor.
You can manage your LinkedIn Profile privacy controls to dictate what the public and your connections see in your profile. It’s also possible to control what your public LinkedIn profile displays.
Here are 14 rules to help you remain professional on LinkedIn.
1. Avoid using the default connect request.
When sending a connection request, personalize it by letting people know who you are, how they met you, and why you want to connect. Be careful sending connect requests from the LinkedIn mobile app because it typically doesn’t allow you to include a customized message. This can also happen on the website on the “People You May Know Page.” For these, click the person’s photo or name instead of “Connect.”
2. Skip clicking “I don’t know” or “spam” for connection requests.
Not even when you’re contacted by someone you don’t know. Either ignore it or click “Ignore.” Clicking “I don’t know” or “spam” can hurt the person’s account. It’s better to leave it alone.
3. Limit status updates to one or two a day.
This prevents you from dominating someone’s LinkedIn news stream. People want to see updates from a variety of people, not the same person repeatedly.
4. Share useful news.
When posting news, think business news or information of value. Personal news doesn’t go over well on a professional network like LinkedIn.
5. Post appropriate photos and graphics.
Posting photos, images and graphics can increase engagement. Just remember to keep it professional. While there’s nothing wrong with cute cats making mischief, these cutesy photos aren’t appreciated on LinkedIn as they are on Facebook or Instagram.
6. Skip the hashtags.
LinkedIn doesn’t convert hashtags into clickable links. Because of this, it looks like you’re reposting a Tweet.
7. Write recommendations when it’s appropriate.
If someone recommends you, it is polite to recommend them back. However, don’t do it unless you are comfortable having other people view your recommendation on that person’s profile.
8. Respond to endorsements as you see fit.
You do not need to endorse people back if they endorse you. Instead, you can send a quick thank you message.
9. Shun asking for endorsements.
And especially don’t endorse someone and then send a message saying you endorsed them and ask them to endorse back. A better way to get endorsements is to endorse others as appropriate. Many will return the favor.
Don’t ask for recommendations from strangers or casual acquaintances. The people you ask should be familiar with some aspect of your work.
You’re more likely to get a good recommendation if you draft one for them, and let them edit. You can bring out the aspects of your work you most want them to mention, and quote stats if you have them. Just say “I was hoping you would be comfortable saying something like this…”
11. Ignore recommendations and endorsements from strangers.
If people you don’t know ask for recommendations or endorsements, you don’t need to get back to them. Just ignore their request.
12. Manage your recommendations and endorsements.
Remember, you can choose which recommendations and endorsements appear on your public profile. If you accept an endorsement or recommendation, you don’t have to show it.
13. Disconnect from people who make you uncomfortable.
If someone spams you repeatedly, hits on you, or sends other inappropriate messages, disconnect from them. If their message is particularly abusive or illegal, report them. Don’t feel pressured to respond to an off-topic request. For example, someone said I was perfect for a job for which I had no experience.
14. Provide value in LinkedIn Groups.
Unless a LinkedIn Group says it’s OK to post self-serving content, don’t do it. Focus on providing responses that add value. People are more likely to contact you when they see you share your expertise and do it in a positive way.
Ensure your posts are always positive, even those that express disagreement. It’s fine to disagree, but not when it comes across as critical or negative.
Focus on building relationships and providing value with the people you want to connect. It will pay off.
What LinkedIn etiquette would you add or change? Or have an experience to share? Share it in the comments.