In this episode, Stacy sits down digital marketing expert and CEO of Ajax Union, Joe Apfelbaum. The two discuss how to become an authority on LinkedIn, and dive into why less than 1% of the 600 million professionals on LinkedIn globally actually post regularly.
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- Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer marketing and branded content agency, Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for topics for us to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well-versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom-line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy, or money, whether you’re doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.
- Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.
- Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones. I’m so happy to be here with you all today. I want to give a big warm welcome to Joe Apfelbaum, the CEO of Ajax Union, a B2B digital marketing agency based in Brooklyn. Over the last 11 years, Joe has positioned himself as a business strategist, digital marketing expert, speaker, podcast host of Breakthrough Maze, and is a certified Google trainer, as well as author of his new weight loss book, High Energy Secrets. Joe has been featured in Forbes, Fox Business, Business Insider, Inc, and the Wall Street Journal, amongst others. Today we’re gonna talk about how to become a global authority on LinkedIn and dive into why less than 1% of the 600 million professionals on LinkedIn actually post regularly. We’ll learn what’s worked from Joe’s experience, what maybe could be avoided, and where other professionals are just missing the mark. Joe, welcome. So happy to have you here today.
- Thank you for getting me on the show. I’m so excited about being here.
- Well, I love your energy and you’re a lot of fun. I know our listeners today are going to be in for a good time and a lot of education. Can you start off by telling us a little bit more about your background and what got you to where you are today and how you are an expert in LinkedIn?
- They say if you build it, they will come, right? You ever heard that term, “If you build it, they will come”? But the truth is, if you build it, ain’t nobody coming. You gotta learn how to market it. I used to be a web designer and I build hundreds of websites, and people would say, “Why am I not getting any traffic to my website?” I had to learn how to get people traffic to their website. Now, small business owners don’t wanna pay for traffic. They want free traffic, organic traffic. I had to learn the art of SEO. The reason I call it an art is because it’s constantly changing. You gotta figure out how to reverse engineer Google.
- In my process of learning that, over the past 10 years, I’ve serviced over 1100 companies. I’ve literally worked with clients of every single type. I’ve worked with websites of every single type. We were featured as one of the fastest-growing companies in America in 2012 in Inc 5000, so we grew very, very quickly. At some point, I realized that servicing small business and doing SEO is great, but it’s not really what’s gonna be able to sustain me long-term. What I need to do is I need to get into the relationship game. If I wanna close bigger deals, I need to get into a relationship game.
- I started researching to figure out, “Okay, how do you network? What do you do?” I read books like Knockout Networking and Endless Referrals by Bob Burg. I read all these books. I started realizing that networking is really the key to building really big accounts; accounts that are spending 100, 200, half a million dollars a year with us. I need to start networking in order to do that ’cause nobody off Google is gonna just come and start spending tens of thousands of dollars a month with me just off them doing a Google search. It doesn’t work that way. It works with reputation, with networking. Would you agree that networking’s important for business?
- I think it’s absolutely the number one way businesses succeed.
- I always tell people, “If networking is important to your business, you got to make LinkedIn a priority.” When I made networking important to my business, ’cause in the beginning it was just transactional, right? It was all SEO, but then I realized that right now, Microsoft paid $26.2 billion for LinkedIn. They switched it from just being a website that just has resumes on it to a website that’s a content-marketing machine. What that means is they enable people to post videos and articles and posts and all that type of stuff. People say that LinkedIn, the experts are saying that LinkedIn is more important than your website now. Because when somebody’s searching for your business, they search on Google for your business name.
- Most people that are searching for you are searching for your own name, and your own name, your website’s typically not gonna come up. LinkedIn’s gonna come up number one. You gotta make sure that your LinkedIn profile’s properly optimized so that people know what you do, why you do it, and why you’re the best at doing that. In addition to that is if you want to stay top of mind with your network so that they refer business to you, you gotta start updating your LinkedIn on a daily basis. Now, if I take a look at statistics, out of the 610 million people that are on LinkedIn, how many people are actually logging into LinkedIn? Well, according to LinkedIn, 40% of people are logging in every single day.
- That’s incredible.
- It’s incredible, right? Every single day they’re logging in to LinkedIn. It’s crazy. The reason they’re doing that is because LinkedIn has built in a way where you can’t see messages anymore when you get an email. They’re constantly emailing and emailing and emailing and emailing. Every time someone likes on your thing or someone comments on your thing or somebody messages you or there’s a birthday, they keep emailing. I look, on average, I get like 20 emails or 30 emails every single day from LinkedIn on accounts that are not even active. You get a crap load of emails from LinkedIn. That’s how LinkedIn is getting a lot of traffic. They’re using email marketing to get people to come back on to the platform over and over and over, also with the app and all that stuff.
- People are constantly logging into LinkedIn. Then I said, “Okay, cool. People are logging into LinkedIn, but how many people are actually posting on LinkedIn?” Then I looked, and I saw there’s only a million posts going up a day, and most of them are coming from me. The question is why. Why are people not posting? I said, “You know what, I need an engaged group of people. People that are posting. I need to start pulling them.” I created this meetup called the AJAX Union B2B Engage LinkedIn User Meetup. I brought over 400 people into my office or into various different offices of clients. I started asking them questions, “Why are you not posting on LinkedIn?” Or, “Why are you posting on LinkedIn?”
- What I found was a majority of people that are not posting LinkedIn are not doing it because they say they don’t have time, or because I’m not sure what to post, or because they don’t think they have anything of value, or they get a bunch. There’s 10 popular reasons that I got. The reality was that the matching thing for everybody was they didn’t have a strategy. When I said, “Do you have a strategy?” They said, “I don’t have a plan.” If you don’t have a plan, if you fail to plan, we all know that missing plan to fail. But the reality is, the right strategy is going to save you a decade, a decade of just wasting time spinning your wheels. I decided I’m gonna write up a strategy, a three-step process on how to be able to have an actual plan so you can post every single day.
- That strategy includes understanding what your goal is. Because when you’re going into something and you’re know what your goal is, you’re not gonna be able to get there. If you don’t know where you’re going, you might get somewhere else. The second thing we look at is what exactly who you’re targeting, what is your target market? If you’re going after everybody, you’re going after nobody? Then finally, what is the messaging that resonates with that target market that will help you to your goal? Once you have that setup correctly, then you can start creating an asset library with the right type of post, right types of articles, right types of media, video, audio images, and people. I’m like, “Where’s your asset library?” They’re like, “What?” “Where’s your asset library?” They’re like, “What?”
- You need an asset library. You need to have all your assets ready, because otherwise, you’re gonna procrastinate. Because if you don’t have everything prepared in front of you, you never going to do it. Then I say, “Where’s your content calendar?” They’re like, “What content calendar are you talking about?” I was like, “Exactly. You don’t have a 13-week content calendar with exactly what you’re gonna be doing when. You’re not gonna execute. You’re gonna log in. You’re gonna get sucked into the feed. Then, you’re gonna wonder why you’re not getting results from LinkedIn.” Most people show up to a networking event. They hand out a bunch of business cards, and they never follow up. On LinkedIn, showing up to your feed and liking random posts, and then leaving is like going to a networking event giving up business cards and never following up.
- The money’s in the follow up. That’s where the money is. I’ll say this again, the money is in the follow up. In LinkedIn, doing it properly is like following up on networking. Number one, posting the right types of messages that go to your target market, that speak to the pains and gains of your target market is key. Understanding what your goals are, ultimately, and understanding exactly what you need to have prepared in advance and when you’re going to be doing it. What to who, and when is really gonna be the key for you to succeed on LinkedIn. Then, once you’re doing all that, then the question is, how much time can you afford to invest on LinkedIn? Because people say, “The truth is, I don’t have time.” I say, “Do you have 15 minutes a day, yes or no?”
- They’re like, “What am I gonna do in 15 minutes? I could barely eat lunch in 15 minutes.” I say, “Stop eating so much. Stop eating so much. You’ll be able to finish in 15 minutes. You don’t have to eat 17 platters of food. You can eat one sandwich or something. You don’t have to eat the whole thing.” What I tell people is 15 minutes, there are three things you can do in 15 minutes on LinkedIn. I write it over here on my wall, if you guys can see this. There are three things. The first thing is posting. The second thing is engaging, and the third thing is messaging. The reason why it’s important to post on LinkedIn every day is because you need visibility. If you want success, you need visibility on LinkedIn. You want people to see you.
- People only see if you show up in their feed. Otherwise, no one’s going through their connections to see that you exist. When was the last time you went through your Google Contacts or your LinkedIn contacts to see if your friends, your business, your coworker or whatever? Nobody knows that you exist unless you’re constantly putting yourself out there. Doing it in a valuable way with the right strategy is going to be the key. The second thing you need to do is you need to engage. That means you need to like, comment, mention, tag. You need to do things the right way, engaging every single day because that’ll build you credibility. Whereas posting builds your visibility, engaging builds your credibility.
- Then the third thing, which is really important, which is outreach. Because if you build it, they will come? No. No one’s gonna come. You gotta reach out to people, which means you need to be direct messaging. I call it Operation DM, where we have a strategy of the three different types of DM, direct messages, that you could be sending out. There’re greeting, feeding, and meeting. Those are the three types of messages you wanna be sending people. Greeting as in telling people thank you and appreciation, and just happy birthday, and that type of stuff. Feeding people is giving them value, valuable insights and feeding them with things that they need. Then, finally, meeting. Once you have a relationship and you establish rapport with people, get them on the phone, take the relationship offline, invite them to events, and have them be part of your world. Because ultimately, having a connection on LinkedIn is not gonna help you succeed.
- You have posting, you have engaging, you have outreach. We’re talking here right now about your own LinkedIn feed. We’re not talking about your company feed, which is probably a different topic, a different approach a little bit to it. This is how to build you, yourself, as an expert. By doing so, you’re building the company that you’re representing as an expert in the same way, correct?
- There’s a big distinction between a company page and a personal profile. I’m talking about a personal profile exactly. People say, “Joe, why? I don’t want my profile to be public. I don’t want to share myself with the world.” I always say, “As a business owner, as a leader, as an entrepreneur, as a director of sales or marketing, you already are a person that’s out there. The question is, how are you looking?” Because they say that people, on average, spend eight hours on social media every single day. Eight hours out of their 24 hours, they’re spending somewhat to be on social either on their phone, or their computer, or some other way. They’re on social media. But the question is, what are they looking at when they’re on social media? Are they looking at company pages? No.
- When you go through your feed, when you look at your email, the first thing that I do when I look at my email, I see who sent me this message. If it’s coming from JetBlue, I’m deleting it. If it’s coming from the flower shop, I’m deleting it. If it’s coming from a random company, I’m deleting it. If it’s coming from one of my customers, if it’s coming from a potential customer, if it’s coming from Mr. Jones, I’m gonna look at it. Or if it’s coming from Mrs. Nancy, I’m gonna look at it. Why? Because it’s coming from a person. I know that I don’t do business with other businesses. I do business with people, even if I’m B2B. I’m doing business with people. When I’m looking at my feed, I don’t look at company pages’ updates. I look at updates from my friends, from my family, from my connections, from my referral partners, from real people.
- If you’re not updating your profile on a daily basis, you are missing out on the exposure. The 96% of the eight hours that people spend, they’re not spending it on your company page. That’s where your company page never gets likes, never gets comments, never gets engagement, never even gets seen unless you’re spending advertising dollars. Even in that case, who’s gonna like it and comment it? Irrelevant people. The key is for you to build authentic relationships with other people. That means, you gotta put yourself out there. I get it. I get it. You’re afraid, ladies and gentlemen, I get it. It makes sense for you to be afraid if you don’t have a strategy.
- When I was used to be afraid of public speaking, do you know why I am scared of it? Because I never prepared for it. Because I did not know that if I have an actual script, if I actually prepare and I know my material really well, then I could just put on a beat and start rapping. I could literally do that. I could just go find a random awesome beat like a nice little mellow beat like this. You know what I mean? I could just, “Yo, check it out, check it out, check it out. My name is Joe and I’m LinkedIn pro. Everybody out there, they just want to grow but they’re not posting. They’re just coasting. Don’t be like them and get your LinkedIn toasting.
- To be an influencer and not just a lurker, you need to start to post and don’t be like most. You might say that LinkedIn doesn’t work. You don’t work because you dabble alert. 500 million people lurk. They don’t network, a small percentage even acts like a jerk. But you’re really smart. You’re the expert in your field. Now you need to get real deal sale, but you need that blueprint. You need those plans. You gotta [inaudible 00:13:41] then you just need them. People to comment, like, and to share. Put yourself out there if you dare. Now, I used to be afraid, then I used to be scared. People would judge me and I will look weird. A strategy, a blueprint, that’s what helped me. Easy, so be there. Get your LinkedIn authority blueprint. Get your blueprint. Get your blueprint. That’s basically the idea because I prepared I can do that.
- You are the only one in my history so far who has rapped to a beat, and I wanna thank you because that was awesome. That was really, really awesome, Joe. You have some talents that I hope you share with the world, even outside of podcasts.
- Let me explain to you something. I would be terrible at that if I didn’t do that 100 times.
- Of course, of course.
- Just think about it.
- Yeah, there’s no doubt. The thing is, you’re preparing … Got that. I think the big thing that overwhelms people you’ve touched on it, is that to come up with content, come up with what you’re posting. Is this something that people need to come up with a unique content? Is it something that they need to do something around their business and shares, the videos they produced? Is it blogs they’ve written, articles they’ve written? Is it thoughts that they’re gonna had? Is it something that has to be unique to LinkedIn’s platform? Or can they be repurposed, say a content created for other things around them so that they don’t get overwhelmed and they can easily find that 15 minutes you’re talking about?
- To answer your question a very short way, if you prepare everything in advance, you’re not gonna be overwhelmed about the content that you need to create and about the content you need to curate. There’s creating content and there’s curating content. Curating content is sharing other people’s content. It’s perfectly okay to share interesting information on LinkedIn. You could share mine. I’ve over 160 articles that are very interesting articles. You can log into my profile, and you can just share my articles. You can share your friend’s articles. You can share other influencers’ articles, or their posts, or their videos, or their information, or images you find on Google because LinkedIn is a private network. That means your post are not public. Your articles are public, but your posts are just to your network. Google doesn’t see your posts. Google can see that. It’s a private network. You can share whatever you want on LinkedIn.
- Obviously, speak to your lawyers. Speak to your attorneys, just to make sure. Don’t take my word for it. Obviously, look at the terms and conditions and see. Do your own research. Call your medical doctor or whatever before you take any advice for me. The bottom line is, what you wanna do is you wanna make sure that you’re not overwhelmed by preparing in advance. What can you be sharing? You could be sharing stories. You could be sharing experiences. You could be sharing images of what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve done. You could be sharing videos of yourself and of other people, or videos that you found that are interesting. You could be sharing slide shares. You could be sharing audio clips, like little parts of your podcast, things that you said things that you heard.
- You could be sharing quotes, things that are inspirational, things that are engaging. There’s so much that you could be sharing on LinkedIn and it can get really overwhelming. I always tell people, take a step back and ask yourself, “What is your target audience want to hear? What do they need to hear right now?” That’s what you should be sharing. What do they need to hear? What is your target? If you’re targeting real estate agents, what do they need to hear? If you’re targeting mortgage broker, what do they need to hear? If you’re targeting IT guys, what do they need to hear? If you’re targeting moms, what do they need to hear? That’s number one.
- Number two is, what gets you motivated? What gets you excited? What gets you pumped? That’s what you wanna share. If you think about those two things, number one is what problems are you going to solve for the people? What do they wanna hear? What value can you add to other people? Number two is, what get you pumped and excited? You’re good to go. Don’t worry about anything else. Worry about those two things, and then you’ll be off to the races.
- If you’re sharing other people’s content there, obviously, you’re wanting to jump in there with your own point of view, or something you’d be saying, something that gets your personality across so that people actually match someone else’s content, potentially to you that you’re sharing and understand the value that you’re doing.
- If you’re sharing a quote, for example. Let’s say you’re sharing an interesting quote of, let’s say you’ll share my quote, “A 5% drop in hydration is a 30% drop in energy. If you wanna get motivated, you gotta get hydrated.” Then you’ll put your two cents of how much water you drank and whatever it is. The idea is you wanna be … I do 15-second videos on LinkedIn. I’ve over 115 second videos. I call them 15-Second Motivations. 15 seconds is two sentences that I say on video, and I just publish it. People appreciate that so much. They’re like, “Joe, I needed to hear that today. I really needed to hear that.” For me, it’s about staying top of mind with my network. I have over 19000 people following me, 5500 people are waiting to connect with me on LinkedIn.
- I have a very powerful network, a very engaged network of people that are watching and connecting and messaging and liking. I’m getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in new business from it because I’m putting in the effort. If you’re not putting in the effort and you’re hoping for something, I’m gonna say hope is a great thing. It’s just not a great strategy. Have a plan. We actually have a webinar, a free webinar that we give out. If you go to ajaxunion.com/blueprints, you go watch the webinar. You can learn how to create that three-step strategy for yourselves. You don’t have to stress out about how to write a strategy up for LinkedIn. It’s really simple.
- That’s great. You just touched on something, where you said that you have gosh 19000 followers. You are a true micro influencer. You said you have 1500 waiting to connect with you. Are you picky about who you let into your network?
- Absolutely. I wanna connect with people that either know, people that I’d like to know, people that are fans of mine and engage with my content, or people that could refer business to me. Those are the people that I wanna connect with. Now, if somebody connects, if somebody sends me a connection request, they don’t have a profile photo. It clearly states that they’re a sales rep from a different country and we have no mutual connections. I don’t want to connect with that person because I have a limited amount of slots of people that I can connect with. The maximum connections you could have on LinkedIn is 30000. I don’t want to just fill it up with random people. I’d rather fill it up with the right people. You see, it’s not about who you know. It’s about who knows you. Think about that. It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you.
- The key is, for you to connect with people that can get to know who you are, so that at the right time, they’ll refer you. At the right time, they’ll connect with you. At the right time, they’ll do business with you, in some way or form. I wanna be picky with who I connect with, but I don’t wanna be too picky. You don’t wanna be too picky. You’d only allow your mother because then it’s just going to be your mother. She doesn’t want you Happy birthday, you’re gonna get all bent out of shape. You wanna connect with the right people, which means the people that can do business with you, people can refer business to you, people that engage with you, people that are fans of you, and so on.
- Then you also touched on the fact earlier. You mentioned articles versus hosts and links, right? Can you explain a little bit more to our listeners what the difference there is?
- An article is a place on your profile. It’s also known as LinkedIn Publishing, where you can post a document, or an article that’s up to 40000 characters. A post is where you can post up to 1300 characters on your profile. The difference in article on a post is that a post goes out on the feed for everyone else to see. An article just sits on your profile. When you post an article, it just sits on your profile. Google can see that, which is great. It will rank on Google, but nobody in your network can see what you have going on in your profile unless they go to your profile and look. You gotta have the right combination of articles and posts. I recommend doing an article at least once a month. I recommend doing a post every single day.
- Again, a post is a short form content, like a blog post. It’s up to 1300 characters. Then articles, more long-form content. Somebody would spend five to 10 minutes reading an article, where, as opposed to spend 10-15 seconds reading a post. I want you to think about the type of equity that you get from an article. If you only get 100 views in an article, it can be the same amount of equity as getting 100000 views on a post. Articles might not get a lot of exposure, but the exposure they do get or the right type of exposure.
- How important is it? LinkedIn is obviously a very business network, social platform. It’s not Instagram. It’s not Facebook. It’s not Twitter. It’s not Pinterest. We’re not creating pictures of our backyards and our smiling babies and dogs necessarily.
- Or cats.
- Or cats, yes. Should you incorporate any of your own personality, your own actual life, into that business profile that you’re creating?
- In our course, we have something called a social selling course, where we’re teaching 1000 entrepreneurs how to be able to properly leverage LinkedIn 15 minutes a day, going from an order taker to a rainmaker. I teach in that course, that there’s a very big difference between being personal and being private. Don’t share the details of your broken relationship on LinkedIn, but do share the lessons that you can learn from a broken relationship. You can tell your story in a way where you’re not giving away details, but you’re giving your personal experience. Now people love to connect with other real people.
- The way that you build trust is by being personal. I share a lot of personal things on my LinkedIn. I talk about my children. I talk about my marriage, I talked to my business partnerships. I talked to my previous jobs, but I’m not gonna talk about the details of an employee and mention a name. Talk about the dirty details of what happened there, if something happened that was dirty. No. I’m not going to talk about all that because that’s not for public consumption. You can get personal, but don’t get private.
- You think that getting personal could be sharing a birthday or sharing something that’s not showing dirty secrets, but is showing who you are.
- There’s a combination of content and entertainment that you have to mix in to everything that you do. Whenever you’re sharing something that’s entertaining, let’s say you share a picture of a cat or something, you wanna make sure to figure out how to add some content to that so that it makes sense for that to be in a business center. You can post a funny picture of a dog doing something, but then write an article together with that or a post that has to do with the silly mistakes that we make in life and how to learn from a dog in order for us to be better at recovering from silly mistakes or how not to take things personally. When a dog barks at you, do you actually take things personally? No. Why are you taking personally when your boss barks at you or whatever.
- That’s the idea. The idea is to mix it in and give people a good time. You see. I rap, right? You might say, “Oh, it’s not appropriate to rap, but the content I’m rapping about is actually business content.” I mix entertainment with content, in a creative way, that keeps people’s attention, but at the same time, those that make them feel like they’re wasting their time. That’s the balance that you have to play. If you’re too boring like an accountant talking about numbers all the time, no one’s gonna wanna watch that. If you’re too silly and always have comedy is no one’s gonna take you seriously. You got to mix up silliness, and fun, and being playful with adding real value.
- What about LinkedIn groups? I mean, here you are. You’re talking about posting on your own feed. You’ve talked about articles, doing that once a week. What about groups? Is this a magic place to meet people? Is this where you should also be posting? What is your advice?
- If you find a group that you like, and they have engaged members, great. I haven’t found that yet. There’s millions of groups out there that people start, and they abandon. There’s a lot of spam going on in groups. I haven’t seen any successful groups that are really taken off. There are very successful Facebook groups, some of them which I run myself. Facebook groups really have taken off. LinkedIn has very limited features in their groups and there’s a lot of garbage there. I would say the reason why you would wanna join a group is so that you can see who is part of that group. For example, if you wanna target realtors, or if you want to target CPAs, you might wanna find a group that CPAs join and then connect with all the CPAs, but they’re not really gonna be active in that group and they’re never gonna log in there.
- People look at their feed. They don’t look at their groups. Sometimes things come up on their feed from groups. The purpose of a group is to bring people that are like minded together. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of really great groups that I found myself. Again, like I said, there might be some great groups out there that are good for your business. You might wanna start a group. Let’s see, can you get people to actually log into the group? Can you get people to post, engage, and comment? If not, just use your feet. That’s the idea.
- Okay, fair enough. There’s, obviously, less than 1% are actually using their feed right now. Asking people to use their feed and post on groups might be asking too much.
- I’d say do less. Spend 15 minutes a day. If you only have 15 minutes a day, what are you gonna do? Don’t go into a group. If you have 15 minutes a day post, engage, and message. Spend five minutes posting something, spend five minutes engaging with the right people, and spend five minutes direct messaging potential clients or people that can refer business to you and so on.
- What do you think about this new thing, that I am sure you and I know our listeners are getting, in their inboxes filled every day with solicitations to help you grow your network through LinkedIn?
- Yeah, a lot of people are doing that. I say you don’t have to grow your network on LinkedIn. That’s a complete waste of time. You don’t want to grow your network as your primary thing. What you wanna do instead is connect with the people that already know you like you and trust you. That’s how you’re gonna make money. The way that I make money is by getting the people that I already know to think about me every single day. Sure, I wanna expand my network. People think that if you add 20000 connections on LinkedIn, you’re gonna be rich. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s the same thing as getting number one on Google is gonna make your business successful.
- Trust me, I got many people to be number one on Google, and they still went out of business. If you get number one on Google, you just gonna get more traffic. It doesn’t mean you’re gonna get more sales. It doesn’t mean your business can be more profitable. It doesn’t mean you’re gonna get the right employees that you can have the right value proposition, right? What you wanna do is you wanna build real relationships with the people that you already know for years. That’s what’s going to refer business to you. Not some random person you just connected to on LinkedIn that might refer somebody to you. No. He’s not gonna refer anyone to you. You have a 500 people that you know. Well, go start with those people by posting, engaging, and messaging. It’s such a shock to see how many people are falling for paying people just to add connections to them. We can get an app to do that. You want buy list. Buy a list of random people and spam them and get banned and then quit, like most people do.
- With our podcast, with Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them, I also like talking about the mistakes you can make. Where can you go wrong? Where can you become too spammy? Where can you just mess up your LinkedIn profile?
- Well, it’s very easy. If you try to sell somebody something, and you haven’t built a relationship, that’s gonna screw things up for you with that person, especially if they’re a friend of yours. Don’t sell on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a networking place. It’s not there to sell. You’ll sell a lot if you build relationships, but don’t go in there with the mindset of how can I sell something to you. That’s number one. Number two is don’t waste people’s time. I can’t tell you how many times I get a message from somebody that I don’t know. Well, that just says, “How are you?” I look at that I’m like, “WTF, what is how are you mean? I’m busy.” That’s how I am. I am busy. Don’t say how are you to me. I have no idea who you are. You’re obviously just trying to strike up a conversation to get my attention and waste my time. Don’t waste my time. Don’t waste people’s time.
- The third thing you wanna is don’t just hide. If you hide, you’re not gonna go for the ride. You’re just gonna be stuck. You’re not gonna do anything. Get out there, take a risk. What’s the worst that can happen? Don’t worry that you’re gonna screw things up. The worst thing that will happen is you’ll make a mistake, apologize, and learn something from it. There is no losing in life. There’s either winning or learning. That’s what I want you to know. Take a balance between risk. Don’t do things stupid, but also put yourself out there and be willing to take a social risk. Be willing to post something that you’re not sure is perfect, that you might get judged for because that’s how you’re gonna be able to get the rewards. If there is no risk, there’s no reward. Put yourself out there a little bit and don’t be afraid of screwing up. Don’t do things like selling or wasting people’s time because those things are just not okay.
- One of the things you mentioned, besides posting all of your content that you’re gonna do every day in your 15 minutes. Part of that, you’re gonna engage. You’re going to actively communicate. You’re going to actually chat. You’re gonna talk. You’re going to communicate and not talk to someone, but try to talk with. What is the best way to do that? Is it commenting on articles? Is it just saying, “Hey,” because you don’t want to do the, “Hey, what’s up,” because you’ll get the WTF response that you just gave, right? What should you do?
- When it comes to engaging on LinkedIn, I always tell somebody as part of our engaging thing, engaging is super important. There are four main ways to engage with people on LinkedIn. There’s obviously direct messaging, which is messaging behind the scenes. If you’re engaging publicly with people, it’s about liking, commenting, sharing, endorsing, mentioning, and tagging. Those are the ways to do it, right. There’s a lot to do. I would say start by liking things. It doesn’t take much to like something. If you see your connections, your trusted relationships, go to their profile, find their posts, and like those posts. They will notice that. Another thing that you can do is comment. Leave a thoughtful comment, one that either adds value, or a comment that’s kind. I say, either add value or be kind.
- Those are the two things that you can be doing on LinkedIn where you can go wrong. Then the third thing is share people’s information. Share people’s content. I sometimes share people’s information on my profile. I say, “Hey, check out this amazing person.” I take a photo with them. Then, I share their information and say, “Hey, if you’re looking for appliance repair guy, he’s an amazing guy. He just came to my house and blah, blah, blah.” I’ll promote the guy a little bit. Or I’ll share my friends article, or I’ll share a picture of me holding Nathaniel Brandon’s book or whatever. I’ll share people’s information, and I’ll put them out there because that’ll show me as a contributor, as a giver. I’ll mention people’s names. I’ll give them gratitude. I’ll like comment, and share, and endorse. I’ll connect with people in the right way, which that’s how you build community. You build community by supporting other people. It just gives good karma. That’s what you want. You wanna be putting out good karma.
- What about hashtags? Are those important with LinkedIn? Everyone goes hashtag crazy and a lot of other social platforms.
- A lot of people ask me about hashtags. In our course, we talked all about how to use hashtags. Well, I would do a three different reasons why we’d wanna use a hashtag. Reason number one is you wanna use a hashtag because you want to get something popular, because there are certain hashtags that are popular hashtags. Some people are following those hashtags. Whatever gets posted with that, goes into their feed. That’s number one, popular. Number two is categorization. I have something called MoJoe selfie or I have Joe Raps or I have a bunch of different private hashtags that I use just to categorize my post. If you post videos, you might wanna hashtag your first name with video in it. This way, you can click on that hashtag and quickly see all your videos.You can organize your posts in that way.
- Then the third thing is just to be expressive. You can do #so cool or #ohmyg, #omg, or #whaaat. You can do a bunch of different hashtags, just to be expressive and just to express yourself. Those are the three reasons why to use hashtags in general, but I would say is, you’re not gonna get rich overnight by using hashtags. Don’t worry about it so much. The key is to add value. Hashtags are just an ancillary support tool that you can use to support what you’re doing, whether to categorize, whether it’s to express yourself, or whether it’s to promote something but don’t worry about too much about hashtags.
- Where do you think this is going in the future? How is LinkedIn going to evolve?
- Microsoft plans on growing LinkedIn to be three billion users. I believe that LinkedIn is gonna be much more popular than Facebook very, very soon because people need to make a living and they want to network properly. Facebook’s more about family and friends, whereas LinkedIn is about business. As they continue to evolve, and more people start joining the gig economy. More people, we’re lose a lot of jobs as a result of artificial intelligence, and all that other stuff that’s going on, and automation. Uber is going to be automatic, all the truckers are going to be automatic. All the factories are gonna be automatic. People are gonna have to socialize much more to connect with each other. There’s gonna be a lot more creative work being done, in general. So, a lot more people are gonna migrate to have to network together.
- That’s why LinkedIn is gonna be so much more important moving forward, because people have to network. That’s what’s gonna end up happening. A lot of knowledge work happens when you’re networking. I believe that now’s a really great time for you to get involved while there’s still only 600 million people on it. Because once there’s three billion people on, it’s gonna be very hard to cut through the clutter. Again, focus on your network. That’s the key. Focus on your personal network right now. Build that now or get used to it. So that when it blows up, you can be one of the people that really know it well.
- Fair enough. You’ve mentioned that you’ve had tremendous success on LinkedIn. Do you think the ROI? There’s no question about this, but have you seen, with people you work with, then get such unbelievable return for spending time, doing what you’re saying, and posting, and engaging, and building on LinkedIn? What type of results do you see other people’s get?
- I mean I just had a woman just started literally. She put up her first five posts, and she closed a $40,000 deal from it an event planner. I mean I see people all the time that are just getting in front of the people they already know. They’re like, “Oh, my gosh. Yeah, I have a deal for you.” “Oh, my gosh, I could refer you to a new mortgage.” “Oh my gosh. Yeah, totally, I would love to hire you as a speaker.” Then turns into a $20,000 speaking gig. I see it happening over and over and over, not only for our clients but just for the people that I’m influencing, in general because I’m teaching this stuff to a lot of people for free just on my feed.
- People are out there. They’re like, “Joe, ever since I started posting, I’m getting a lot more exposure. I’m getting a lot more referrals. I’m getting on the phone with people.” It’s about networking. Marketing’s about testing. If you’re not in front of people, you’re not gonna get an ROI. If you’re in front of people, you’re gonna get more referrals. You’re gonna get more business. It’s just common sense that it’ll happen. I’ve seen it happening for myself. I had this big euphoric statement. All of a sudden, a big epiphany I had about LinkedIn, is when I wonder. I posted something, a marketing director saw what I posted, and then they introduced me to another marketing director at a publicly-traded company and ended up being a client.
- They’re spending $200,000 a year with us. I was like, “How did this happen?” Just because I’m top of mind, just because I’m top of mind with the people in my network. You already know all the people that you need to know in your life that will help you get to your goal. The question is, are you being top of mind with them. If you’re not, LinkedIn is a great place for you to do that.
- That’s awesome. Are there any last bits of advice that you have to share with our listeners today?
- Absolutely. Don’t worry about your fear. Everybody has fear. Everybody has fear. What you need to have instead of worrying about your fear is tap into your courage. Because what is courage? Courage is action in spite of fear. I say be a little courageous. Put out your first video. Be a little courageous. I know that you’re afraid to post, but post any way. I know that you’re afraid to like because you might look stupid for liking that or you’re afraid to engage because you might look stupid for leaving that comment. “Oh, I should just write cool, or something like that.” Have courage to put yourself out there. Just send a direct message to that CEO, to connect with that senior vice president of sales, even if you’re afraid that they might reject you. Because guess what, 90% of people are going to reject you. You only need 10% in order for you to make it. Have courage even though you have the fear. I pledge to you that if you have the courage to be able to go after your dreams, you will get mojoevated. Yes, yes. That’s what’s gonna happen.
- That’s awesome. You mentioned your webinar, your class that you have, can you give us any more details again, that people can find it out so that we can make sure people actually check it out? I don’t think it’s a webinar. It’s I actually a class.
- We have an online course called socialsellin.com. So socialsellin.com. No G at the end, social sellin’ because I’m rappin’, because I’m postin’, because I’m engagin’ because I’m messagin’, because I’m buildin’, brandin’ and boomin’. I’m doing all those things. So social sellin with no G. That’s the website. Go there. We have webinars there. We have all types of information there about our course. Then, if you want to learn more about the blueprint, we have a webinar replay at ajaxunion.com/blueprint. You can watch our blueprint webinar and learn how to create your very own digital marketing strategy. Of course, you could find me on LinkedIn, just search Joe Apfelbaum. I’m the only one there that has five stars on my profile. Just check me out and go see what I’m up to. Read my articles. Look at my post. Let me know that you saw me on this podcast, and that you heard me. Let me know what resonated with you so that we can connect.
- Well, Joe, I am definitely going to do that because I think you have a ton of valuable advice that I wanna learn from. I wanna make sure our team continues to learn from. Again, I wanna thank you for all the time you spent with us today. All of your energy, you are such a positive person and I love having positive people on our podcast. That was a treat we had. Listeners, thank you for tuning in today. I look forward to speaking with you guys on our next podcast. Thank you all.
- Thank you, everyone. Bye.
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