Getting More from LinkedIn With Daniel Alfon

Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the episode today, we have Daniel Alfon. Daniel, welcome.

Thank you very much, Thomas, I’m glad to be part of the podcast.

Glad to have you. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do?

It’s a pleasure. My name is Daniel Alfon. I’m a LinkedIn specialist. I joined LinkedIn in 2004 and I use it to help people leverage LinkedIn better, entrepreneurs, coaches and executives.

Thank you for the introduction. I’ve got tons of tons of things I want to ask you about LinkedIn, but when someone finds out what you do, what’s the first thing that you lead with in terms of, should we say best bits that you would tell someone?

Okay, many people are on LinkedIn and don’t ask themselves basic questions about what they like to get from the platform, and that’s my first piece of advice. Are you interested in creating thought leadership?

Are you interested in clients? Are you interested in promotion when you know the answer to that question? It’s a lot easier to leverage the platform. So you need to have clear goals first. I can I am guilty of perhaps going on platforms specifically because I feel like I have to rather than saying what’s the what’s the thing I want to get from this? Why are you on LinkedIn? The invitation? I got back then was from someone I trusted and I think networking and trust are key in the way I perceive LinkedIn. It’s one of the top results whenever someone googles your name and she used it strategically. You could network pre-Covid. Post Covid, it’s a very powerful business tool. There’s a couple of things that I wanted to follow up on there because there were questions that I did want to ask you. The first thing was in regard to when you first joined, which is 2004 I was gonna say when did you start thinking that you were gonna for example make a living from LinkedIn so you’ve been on there for so long but when did you think, okay, I can help people with this?

Certainly not. In 2004, truth to be told. I think by 2006 I started using LinkedIn in order to cut my cell cycle. I was selling. I was a salesperson and LinkedIn enabled me to shorten the sales cycle simply because I knew the name of the distributor I wanted to reach in North America and then I started helping friends and those friends became entrepreneurs themselves and ask them to train their sales force. At one point I realised this has become a significant part of my revenues and I decided to specialise if you’d like social was becoming too big and LinkedIn was conservative and professional network and in a way it has stayed the same. So I morphed into this and suddenly woke up realising that this has become my like I had had the best job in the world without realising that’s cool.

And you also mentioned in your answer about networking. One of the things I wanted to ask you about is has LinkedIn replaced networking? What I would say is that LinkedIn enhances your real life networking and I wouldn’t use the world replace. It’s too tempting to think that LinkedIn is replaced by networking. But networking is far more important than linking. There’s there are people you met in real life people who serve people you worked with and some of those people are linking, I was listening to an episode you released with Ryan Warriner and he mentioned that before he discovered LinkedIn and so that everyone and their brother was a consultant and coach. His business was strictly based on referrals and so is mine. And the way I leverage, LinkedIn is simply by connecting to people I know well and then whenever I run a search, whenever it looks me up and we share a mutual connection, then I could ask that person for an introduction.

So we have to make a choice. It’s not a popularity contest and you can ask yourself what’s right for me and not necessarily what’s popular. Well, that kind of goes straight into the, the connections question of should I get 500 plus connections or should I say yes to everyone that connects with me, what’s your take on that approach? What is your verdict? I think that your position would be that you should connect with people who are, as you say, it’s not a popularity contest. So you should connect with people who you know or have the potential to do business with you, but based on what your first answer was today with regards to your goals, I would say it depends on what your goals are. So if you’re trying to look like a big influencer, you may want to connect with tons and tons of people regardless of whether they’re going to do anything with you or if you’re, if you’re specifically going on there for sales, then there’s no point in connecting with people who are never going to be your customer.

So I’ve asked you a question and then I’ve answered it for you. I feel somewhat statistic by this. I think your answer is great and probably better than the way I would phrase it. Just asking ourselves what we’d like to get from LinkedIn is, is have the trouble. You have to basically pick either quality trust or exposure quantity and naturally thermos most people want both. And the sad truth is that when you aim for both, you often end up having very little of either, I’m sorry because 1500 plus or even 3000 is not a large enough quantity to get exposure on the internet because most of our connections will not see the stuff we share on anything most of our connections visit LinkedIn occasionally and that means only a few of them will ever notice what is it you share. So if you do have 30,000 connections, then that could mean exposure.

But if you don’t have 30 k then stick with people, you know, because if you have 499 and you’re waiting for some magic to happen when the 500 plus appears, I’m sorry to break it to you. Nothing will happen where suspects we will not become a different place and television is not going to be different when you reach 500 plus. Have you got any stats or has anyone asked you about the fact that when I post something out, what percentage of people see it? Have you got any thoughts on that LinkedIn hardly discloses any anything about the algorithm or the numbers? I would actually advise our audience here not to pay too much attention to what LinkedIn calls views. So when you share something, the number of views is inflated because if you go to your home to your home page Arlington and scroll what anything that was there is counted as the view whether you actually viewed it or not.

And the metrics I think make more sense to follow. Are the comments, the shares and the likes or people reaching out to you saying, you know I read what you shared and I have this to ask you this is something I would like to mention. But the views is highly inflated. It’s a vanity metric and I wouldn’t count too much on that number. The last thing to mention about this is that recovered the average time people he spent only 16 was 17 minutes a month, which is nothing compared with Facebook, Instagram, twitter or other channels. And that’s the main reason why people will not see the stuff that you share. It’s not that they don’t want to, but there is often a real life trigger. Someone sent them an invitation and then the mix of the invitation and checklist in four minutes. They wanted to see who Thomas green in green is and they will check you out on LinkedIn. But chances are they will not see what you share because that will not happen 30 seconds after you shared it.

So it’s phew 2-5%. If I had to pick or to give an estimate, not more than 2, 5%. Unless many people comment on it and it becomes sort of viral if you’d like. Have you ever or do you frequently get the how often should you post question? Yes. And let me let me see if you can provide with a better answer than mine for the second time. What is your opinion on that? Is it going to be based on your goals again? So and quality versus quantity. So are you the type of person who wants to only put out quality or do you just want to always be seen. So you should put out quality quantity all the time. What happens is that when you go to your homepage and save short scroll down, you will never see someone mentioned more than once. So what happens is that if you were to share something on Tuesday and you were to share something else on Wednesday and Thursday, those two last posts are going to cannibalise the first?

Yeah, you will not be seen more times. Your shares are going simply to be distributed between the first share and the second share and the third share. And if I can suggest a quick way of, of thinking about this, ask yourself, why are we sharing? Why do I have to share this? And is it relevant for my audience? Is it relevant for my connections if you want to be seen as a thought leader? There are many other ways to share content on LinkedIn without leaning on your connections to heaven. They’re linking communities, LinkedIn groups going there and share interesting articles about ethics. Maybe more relevant and may bring you more leads then sharing it with your own connections. May have worked with you or maybe you provided google ad services to them, but they’re not necessarily interested in that specific content. Most people are not that interested in seeing what we share. So the quick answer less than we think, do you think there’s an awful lot oven following going on then?

I think there’s a lot of blindness we developed when we know that that person shares the same sort of content, then we become almost blind hood and we don’t check it out because we anticipate, we understand that it’s system and they keep sharing the same things and at one point it becomes less relevant and you, you write some in some cases, if you feel that someone has hijacked your feed, then you may, you could disconnect or unfollowed that person. So think twice before sharing, interesting. Just coming back to networking for a moment, I’ve got the good phrase here, which is the good, the bad and the ugly, what brings to mind for you there you have a real life reputation and if you consider the way you network on LinkedIn and in real life and the way you build your presence on, linked in your profile of the page, I could think or suggest 33 questions you could ask yourself first question is, am I happy with what I’m doing on that social platform, Am I happy with sharing this?

Am I happy with having that headline and that description, that photo of that banner? The second question you could ask is when people who know me, see what I’m doing here, are they likely to be surprised or will they not and say yes, Thomas Greenis exactly like that? But he’s aligned with the way I know him as a person. And the less friction there is, the better it is for you because if people sense that you’re faking it then your reputation might be hurt. Your real life reputation, you’ve worked decades to earn it. And the 3rd and last question, your ideal prospects. We’re looking for someone with your skill cells, but I have never heard of you. What are they going to think when they see the stuff that you share and the way you build your profile. If you manage to answer all three questions in a good way, you’re happy with it, your network, see it’s aligned with you as a person and people who you want to work with when they see what you do.

Their only question is how do I get hold of that Thomas green as soon as possible? Try to think about all three questions and then your goal is interesting. And have you answered those questions for yourself? I tried and I even asked other people to, to give me some feedback because we’re not necessarily the best judges for ourselves and I’ve changed things that I thought were interesting and so some people, so the people like trust told me they did appreciate it and explain why and I did find a way to have something I’m happy with, I can sleep at night having this, but it also better aligned with the way they perceive me as a person. You should always ask yourself that question and what, what are the, what are your goals for LinkedIn for the company?

Just from your LinkedIn activity? What do you want to get from the platform? Leaders who want to leverage LinkedIn themselves or train their organisation, their staff is the sort of prospects and clients I’m looking for and LinkedIn has enabled me to, to help people leverage the platform and since my business is based on referrals, when you read the content, I share Ellington or when you read the way I wrote, created my profile, you could have a good idea of is that person, someone I could benefit from, I could work with or not. And all our listeners here could simply ask themselves two questions: who is my ideal prospect and what action would I like those people to perform when they visit my profile?

If their answer Thomas’s reach out to me then ask yourself, have I provided the information that is likely to turn a stranger into someone interested in working with me or reaching out and in many cases they have that content, but sadly it’s not reflected on it, you don’t have to create that content, you just have to use it Arlington and try to build converting profile. So a selfish question here, I know it probably wouldn’t take you very long to establish a good quote unquote LinkedIn profile from a bad one. I saw that I got a notification that you did check out the profile? How am I doing? Doing great. Doing great. Because whenever someone visits your profile, they’re bound to see. The first thing that they were going to see is the banner and you have a banner that has the same photo and the book and the google partner text here and all sorts of locals that we see on the left.

So it’s the first, the fact that you created a banner already stands out from most linking users and the banner I think is aligned. And like the way you’re you look, you look up in the in the photo itself. The second thing that’s most important in terms of texts is the headline and most people would be the default headline would be a director ethical marketing service. But instead of that, you changed it and tweaked it into improving client businesses through digital marketing expertise and then director ethical marketing services service. And lastly google as partner and author. So I think you managed to pack a lot of interesting information into the headline and I can’t stress this enough. The headline is the most important real estate we have on our LinkedIn profile since the ban on both the banner and the headline do the trick.

Now, most people are likely to scroll down, see the about section, See the post you featured on your profile, scroll down to see the activity and end up in the experience section. The education and the recommendation. There are many people who could look at your profile and adopt and get inspired and, and improve their own. Okay, thank you. I feel better. I feel a sense of worth now from that from your expertise saying that I’ve done well. You touched on something, which is about the fact that I’m a business owner. And do you differentiate between normal people using LinkedIn? Like employees? For example, I say normal people. I don’t know why I said that. And people who are business owners, their needs may differ, but it’s like learning to drive, you should like, so the business owners are interested in leads and the employee, it may be interested in promotion or finding a better position.

The way they will use the engine or the car is different, but it would work in the same way was your ideal reader. If you’re an employee, then you’re a deal reader. Maybe the next hiring manager would like to work with. Okay, if you’re a QA manager then maybe the hiring manager will be head of QA or VP are in theatre company. If you’re chief operation officer, maybe the having measure is the, is the CEO. When you have a business then your ideal reader, Arlington becomes your prospects, who would I like to serve? What is their position? Where are the best based and thinking about that ideal prospect in your ideal reader, Minton is the first step into converting profile? Come back to your three things that you mentioned initially about who is it for and what your goals are exactly. Before we started the call, I checked out the website and there was a cool little video.

It’s just a short one, maybe a minute long or something where you do screen share. Do you mind sharing for people who haven’t seen it? What that’s about the screen share with replying to link to meditation or is it something request? Excellent. So when you visit my network tab second from left in the LinkedIn home page, you could see all incoming invitations. And if you look at the top right, Clinton will tell you see all three invitations, see all five invitations. When you click there, you will see a message that enables you to send a reply to whoever it was that sent you a Thomas a LinkedIn request. And that means you can reply to them without accepting their invitation. And one good way to, to do this is to simply say thank you very much for inviting me to join your network.

I don’t think we’ve met before. Can I be of help to you or your company? Mm hmm. And if the person replies and says yes, I would like you to help us with X, Y and Z. Then treated like it was an email or uncle qualified that person and build that relationship. And maybe eventually you also connect with him or with her on LinkedIn that you could treat the incoming invitations as opportunities. And maybe one out of 10 would be intriguing enough for you to reply to. It will take you 20 seconds and it’s worth doing it. Yeah, that sounds very sensible. But I think when people use these platforms, they just kind of integrate into what the, maybe what the norm is. Um, what do you think more people don’t do that particular action? Many of them can’t see the message option at all because LinkedIn or LinkedIn shows us are basically two options except to ignore. So naturally, um, they think they have either to reject it or to accept.

But under the hood, there are many possibilities there. And um, if you managed to understand the power that LinkedIn has, it enables you to build a trustworthy network, to become a thought leader, to network to gain clients if you do it in a systematic way. And the video you describe is the bottom of my website and anyone can check it. It takes less than a minute to understand the whole film. What’s your opinion about the company in general? If LinkedIn were doing a great job, I wouldn’t have a business. And when you think of it, it’s a platform that has close to one billion members and 90% of them may have no clue what they’re there for. Which is amazing because when they are looking for a job and they understand maybe they understand what they want to get out of it, but the minute they don’t have any short-term objective, they forget about it or don’t get anything cried.

Even when you don’t look for a job, you could use meeting include leverage, linking to nurture the relationships with people, you know, or to strengthen your leadership because there will be a time down the road for three years. You could leverage that reputation. I got a really meaningful one for you now. Really, how many connections do you have? Less than 1000? Really, wow. I’m surprised by that. surprised based on your time frame within the platform, but also not surprised based on what you told me today about, you know, what am I here for? Yeah. whenever I reply to income invitations, like when I give a lecture, then many people end up sending me an invitation request. And I basically reply and say it’s not fair, like you heard me for 90 minutes, I heard you maybe for 90 seconds, I can’t vouch for you.

I can’t even if someone asks me I can’t really help you. Maybe we could grab coffee and most of those people don’t reply. So if it’s not important, if the relationship is not important enough for them to even decline, then I’d rather not do anything on LinkedIn. For me, the connection is the end of the process. Now, you could also do it completely differently. You could say that connection is the beginning of the process and have a system nurturing those people and that’s fine. Most people don’t do either. You don’t have a system. They accept randomly. They accept because they were looking for clients now they’re looking for a job but maybe six downs that down the road. They would, they would behave differently. So just think about your long term plans and your long term objectives and use Clinton in order to help you achieve that. So would you say that you treat connections in a way that LinkedIn advises that you do because I know that the whole idea of connections I think from LinkedIn perspective is that it is your community, your network.

It’s an excellent question LinkedIn has of schizophrenic about it if you like because whenever you send an invitation LinkedIn will the small the fine print says connect with people, you know well, but when you go to lengthen the connect button is prominent whenever you run a search and LinkedIn will encourage you to upload your address book from Gmail or outlook or yahoo and send hundreds, if not thousands of connection requests back in the day. It was, it may have the idea was to build the network and make more people aware of LinkedIn, but now it has backfired for some people because if everyone is connected to everyone else, you no longer know whether they actually know each other in real life. And if your business is based on referrals and word of mouth, it’s you that needs to call the shots, not other people and not linked to, you do have one on your profile regarding the upside and the downside of connecting with people.

You don’t know, you got anything out there. It’s part of the seminars that run. I don’t think it’s part of my profile, but very, very quickly. What, what, what, what we can say is this, You could leverage LinkedIn in a phenomenal way with 120 connections, you know well, And you could have 5000 connections and gain no revenues or promotions thanks to LinkedIn because what happens is that most people start with a quality approach. They start by connecting with people they know well, and then at one point they think that they must get to the other side to the quantity. But the problem is they never crossed that bridge. They stopped at 1000 2,005,000 And even if they have 5000 connections all linked to them, what, what has happened when they share something, maybe 2% of those people will see it. So it’s 100 people that’s not exposure.

And on the other hand, they have polluted the quality of their network and they can no longer gain a meaningful introduction to their next clients. Had they gone the hallway to 30 K, they would have gotten a lot of exposure and instead with the quality they could get referrals, but the the center zone is the weakest place or the worst connection strategy out there and I would advise our listeners to pick a side for the long term. If you don’t, if you’re not sure, think where would you like to be in terms of quality or quantity in three years’ time? Are you on the other social profiles on the social platforms? I use Twitter a lot. I read a lot of stuff from Twitter and I used quotas and Chloe is maybe the best kept secret in town where you could read interesting answers about all sorts of topics and also highlight your expertise.

I provided one answer about a killer LinkedIn profile and I was fortunate enough for Quora to highlight it when they enable LinkedIn to feature Quora content. So, so quality itself featured my micro answer. I think we’re always an interesting place to consume content to learn really to learn and also to increase your thought leadership, but if you’re not interested in that just learn, that’s a very powerful platform and the future of LinkedIn, what do you see when it was acquired by Microsoft? I was thinking maybe that’s the beginning of the end, but Microsoft has been very active, very cleverly. And we were very careful not to change the link.

The LinkedIn DNA. And not to change the LinkedIn looking field. LinkedIn is still growing each second to people sign up. It’s an amazing stat. And the challenge the company faces in the long term. I ask myself every quarter should I still provide? Should this, should this be the centre of my business or is LinkedIn in danger of disappearing? I don’t think there will be some dark horse that Beats LinkedIn within two months. But if LinkedIn doesn’t provide a good service to its users as then there may come a day with where specialised communities take bites out of LinkedIn. A community, for doctors, community, for researchers and each of those could provide a better service for their community. And LinkedIn should try to listen to its users a lot more than they do in terms of your goals.

Would you like to share anything there? With pleasure. I’m working on an online course. I hope to complete later this year in 2022 and I also added the articles to my website and digital downloads and the program to my store. And I look forward to finding partners who could help me reach more people and help more people and in terms of people you typically work with. What’s the normal person that gets in touch with you who wants to hire you? Yes, would be entrepreneurs who want to gain clients from maintain. It’s a, it’s a significant segment for me. Anyone who’s typically – I don’t do introduction to LinkedIn courses. You should like most of people. Most of the clients that I work with have been on LinkedIn for years, but something happened in their life that made LinkedIn a lot more crucial for them.

One type of client would be a 40 plus our corporate refugee people who have left corporate America have left um are no longer employees and start their own business. They could be so entrepreneurs, they could be consulting, there could be coaches and their clientele is all maintain and the good news about it is that they have built some sort of network when they were employees and now they don’t need to dump you. They can leverage that platform and that network when they offer their new services. So this is a significant portion of my clientele as well. No, and if people want to find higher you, where’s the best place to find you other than LinkedIn? Of course the best place is my website that’s I have long form articles there an email as LinkedIn 2% typically once a month and also give away kick it really about improving our profile, elected our headlines profile.

Any closing thoughts today? Again, in the episode you had with Ryan Warriner, he said that he spoke with the people who gave the speeches there and said, don’t start with what you’ve been doing for the last couple of years. Let’s start with what they need. And I think that can apply to what our listeners and ourselves can do anything, especially if we’ve moved away from being an employee and we have become consultants or coaches or entrepreneurs. Think about your LinkedIn profile, not as a CV, but it’s a website. The fact you’ve worked for a company is meaningless. Forget about what you did and highlight what you’d like to do now. And if you do that, you’re likelier to become a magnet for the sort of clients you’d like to work with.

Good stuff. Daniel, thank you very much. Thank you very much.