In this episode, Stacy sits down with B2B Development strategist and coach, Charlie Whyman. The two discuss how the most common mistakes people make every day on LinkedIn that stop them from winning new business inquiries, and how you can convert your connections into customers.
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Stacy Jones: 00:00
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influence for 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.
Stacy Jones: 00:16
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 are 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.
Stacy Jones: 00:35
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 very warm welcome to Charlie Whyman. Charlie specializes in LinkedIn and is a B2B development strategist and coach who has spent the last 13 years in international business, leadership, sales, and marketing roles helping drive innovation and bring new products and ideas to market with a special focus on highly technical industries.
Stacy Jones: 00:58
Charlie also is the host of the Curiosity Key podcast, where she gives other curious thinkers, innovators, and change makers a voice to help inspire and empower more people. Today we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes people make on LinkedIn that stop them from winning new business inquiries and converting connections into customers. We’ll learn what is worked from Charlie’s experience, what could be avoided, and where others are missing the mark. Charlie, welcome.
Charlie Whyman: 01:22
Hi. It’s awesome to be here.
Stacy Jones: 01:24 Well, I’m so happy to have you here because I love all things LinkedIn and it’s this whole magical mystery tour most of the time of trying to figure out how to make it work effectively.
Charlie Whyman: 01:34
Stacy Jones: 01:35
Yeah. So could we start off talking a little bit about your background and what got you to where you are today?
Charlie Whyman: 01:42
A whistle stop tour. I originally studied engineering, electronics/electrical engineering, at university because I love technology. I love to create things. I love to make things. And I was kind of funneled into this engineering degree because everybody was just like, “Oh, that’s the right path for you.” But what I found was that I was way more interested in human behavior, psychology, and business. So I was really not in a very amazing place at that time. I did two years at university and then realized, you know what? This is not for me.
Charlie Whyman: 02:19
I ended up in Sardinia. I was living on a property that had an olive grove and being a bit of a foodie I thought, you know what? I’ll use this opportunity to learn as much as I could about making olive oil. Then I thought, this is so good, I need to get this in front of more people. So I started my first business, which was 13 years ago, making and selling olive oil in the U.K. It was sold in market stalls with other Sardinian fine foods.
Charlie Whyman: 02:49
I kind of got really in to branding and marketing because, if you can imagine an electronics engineer branding and marketing olive oil. It was kind of like, “It’s clearly the best olive oil you’ve ever tasted in your life. Why wouldn’t you want to pay for it?” So it was a pretty steep learning curve. But the oil won. It went to Great Taste Awards two years on the trot and it was a really fun adventure.
Charlie Whyman: 03:17
But I kind of needed to learn more. I had a really bad experience with learning from school and university and I still wanted to kind of get more in to innovation and helping people. I’ve had a very colorful career. It’s been lots of different roles. I spent two years working in public sector in sports and health care specifically focusing on innovation and bringing ideas to life, getting them funded, bringing them to market.
Charlie Whyman: 03:45
I was actually offered a job for a company that sold laser scanning technology to surveyors, engineers, mining engineers, and I knew nothing about what a laser scanner was. I knew nothing about the surveying market. I knew nothing about that particular type of engineering, civil engineering, structural engineering, that sort of thing. I was way out of my depth, but I was like, You know what? This sounds really interesting, so I’ll get involved.
Charlie Whyman: 04:11
So I took the job as a marketing assistant. Nevermind that my only marketing experience was coddling together a brand in a company fair for my olive oil.
Stacy Jones: 04:19
Well, you leaned a lot from doing something like that, though.
Charlie Whyman: 04:22
Yeah. Yes, so fast I learned from new mistakes. That was amazing and I spent six years at that company where I went from marketing assistant when I joined to the global head of sales and marketing within a kind of a two and a half year period and then got very much involved in sales marketing and was a key part of the leadership team for well over three years.
Charlie Whyman: 04:46
Then I left that company, went to head of marketing role for a group of companies that served the global shipping industry selling innovative solutions for healthcare and performance monitoring, which then a year later kind of gave the motivation to say, “You know what? I really want to start my own company. I want to work with more individuals, more companies, to help them launch products. I want to get their brands out there, give them a voice, and basically make B2B marketing fun and interesting because I think it’s not always fun and interesting and it should be.”
Charlie Whyman: 05:21
Now, I think that brings me to where I am today. I’ve sort of made things up as I’ve went along for the last couple of years and I kind of definitely, it’s all about training and education for me at the moment.
Stacy Jones: 05:33
Yeah. I think that you hit the nail on the head that B2B is not always fun and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be fun because you’re still marketing to a person. There’s no difference, whether they’re a consumer or whether they’re a business consumer.
Charlie Whyman: 05:48
Exactly. In fact, I’m on a bit of a mission to help companies kind of humanize their marketing a little bit more and really appreciate that, you know what? From a marketing point of view, you are marketing to individuals. People buy because of emotional reasons. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling sort of 300,000 pound technical equipment or 3 million pound technical equipment, you still have that emotional buy-in. You still have to communicate with people, build relationships. It’s not all about that kind of like faceless marketing, broadcasting, and sort of, “We’re just going to tell people what they should know already,” style of marketing, which we’re very much used to at the moment.
Stacy Jones: 06:32
Yeah. It’s interesting that the Hollywood Brand, at my agency, we do a lot B2B partnerships for brands and people don’t think about that because we work with movies and TV shows and just as much as we could put a car in or a watch in or any sort of consumer-driven product, a lot of times we’ll put in roofing materials, like GAF, which is specifically targeted to a buyer who’s buying roof. It’s a B2B, right? Or law books that are going to the legal industry.
Stacy Jones: 07:03
We’ve found ways that we’ve actually made it fun to interact and connect with a brand that other people otherwise would be just, “It’s very boring. It’s very staged. It’s very matter-of-fact.” So I love that that’s what your mission is as well.
Charlie Whyman: 07:16
Stacy Jones: 07:17
Yeah. So, LinkedIn. I know this is like your favorite tool.
Charlie Whyman: 07:23
Stacy Jones: 07:25
Why do you love it so much? Why do you think it’s this godsend of marketing for B2B companies?
Charlie Whyman: 07:35
I attribute a lot of my success to LinkedIn because I think if I look back, I didn’t finish my engineering degree. I’m not a trained marketer. I’ve never done a formal marketing qualification. I’ve been on a few sales training workshops. I’m not specifically trained in that, yet somehow I manage to go from just being a marketing assistant to running the sales and marketing for a global company and then going and getting a job as the head of marketing for a group of companies.
Charlie Whyman: 08:11
All of that is coming through LinkedIn. My sort of methodology is all around curious thinking because I’m a very curious person. It was the inspiration for starting my podcast. I teach a lot of people to kind of like unleash their power, the natural power, of curious thinking to do more because it’s all about asking questions and being interested in what the people that you are talking to does and is about.
Charlie Whyman: 08:38
My agenda as that marketing assistant, if I go back sort of 11, 12 years ago, was never to become a head of marketing or head of sales, whatever. It was never to sell. It was to find out how I could help people be successful through whatever it was that I was doing. I used LinkedIn to originally, I was just making it up as I went along. I was traveling the world going to all sorts of different B2B events in the mining industry, surveying industry, sort of talking to engineers.
Stacy Jones: 09:06
Very sexy industry.
Charlie Whyman: 09:07
Oh, yeah. And if you imagine back then, I looked about 12. So I tried to be taken seriously as well, which was also a bit of a challenge, especially in countries like South Africa, for example. That sort of the tells the [inaudible 00:09:23] of the time.
Stacy Jones: 09:24
And it’s a male dominated industry that you were working in too. So you look 12 and you are a woman.
Charlie Whyman: 09:30
Yeah. I had everything going for me.
Stacy Jones: 09:31
Charlie Whyman: 09:35
Which was a lot of fun. But I think because I was going to all these events all around the world, the thing that didn’t make sense to me was that you were relying on building relationships with people that you only communicated with once a year at these particular events and I was involved in selling them marketing equipment where the sales cycle was sort of, it could be as short as six months or it could be as long as three years.
Charlie Whyman: 10:01
I was like, you know what? If you can keep the communication channels going so you’re not waiting for a year to meet that person and reestablish trust and rapport, how else can you keep in touch with these people and communicate that’s not email, because everybody’s email inboxes, it was like you needed a reason to email people or if you didn’t have a reason then it was considered spam or just that boring marketing stuff.
Charlie Whyman: 10:24
So I used LinkedIn. I connected with everybody I had a conversation with and even if they asked me a question I didn’t know, I went off to find the answer. And instead of just kind of keeping that response to that one person that asked it to me, I posted it as an article post on LinkedIn.
Charlie Whyman: 10:42
At the time I didn’t really realize what I was doing, but what I now realize is that I was essentially growing my own personal brand. I was kind of driving a content strategy, which then reached more people, that was helping educate people, and then positioning myself and the brand that I was working for as a real expert in that field.
Charlie Whyman: 11:01
It kind of evolved from that a little bit. And then more and more over time people saw me as that kind of trusted expert or that person that they could go to that was approachable that was not going to try and sell them something that they didn’t need. It was a case of, well, if the advice that I was giving you, or rather, if your need was what I could help you with then I would continue that conversation. If not, I put you in touch with somebody that I knew that could help you.
Charlie Whyman: 11:28
I think it’s that kind of, building relationships has been a very natural part of life for me. I grew up, both my parents had small businesses. One of them went bankrupt and the other one was a car dealership, so it was kind of, my dad used to sell cars to people in the community that came back five, 10 years later to buy their next car because it was all based on relationships. For me, that was jus the natural way of doing things.
Charlie Whyman: 11:57
I just found that through LinkedIn I was able to find new people to talk to. I was able to keep conversations going with people I’ve met and it didn’t feel forced. It didn’t feel unnatural. It felt very genuine. And location was never an issue, whereas working for a global company, location, it was a bit of an issue.
Stacy Jones: 12:19
Right. So, that brings us to LinkedIn today.
Charlie Whyman: 12:24
Yes. [inaudible 00:12:25].
Stacy Jones: 12:28
It obviously is a platform that I think most of our listeners probably at least have a username on, most likely. But most likely too, they might not be utilizing it quite to the extent they could be.
Charlie Whyman: 12:45
Stacy Jones: 12:46
Where is it that people could be better utilizing LinkedIn?
Charlie Whyman: 12:52
Very good question. We were talking about people buying from people as a first initial step. Everybody should have a LinkedIn profile and also understand that users of LinkedIn are using the platform for one of two different reasons. They’re either on the platform because they want to grow and develop a business, or they’re on the platform because they want to grow and develop a career.
Charlie Whyman: 13:22
If you even look at people that are either involved in recruitment, in sales, lead generation, whatever, they’re trying to achieve one of those two different goals. You can always track it back to those two things. You have a very captivated audience. You have a very focused and specific audience. And also have an audience that’s not distracted by family photos, cat videos, groups about organizing sports meetups and things like that as well, so it’s very focused and very targeted.
Charlie Whyman: 13:52
Back on to the fact that people do business with people is that on LinkedIn, if you are in a marketing role or sales role and you’re communicating with people as an individual, your target market are much more receptive to talking to you because they’re not talking to a faceless brand, they’re talking to an individual.
Charlie Whyman: 14:12
The first thing to do is to make sure that you have a profile that speaks to the audience in which you want to communicate. Actually understand, who do you want to start conversations with on LinkedIn and does your profile speak out to that particular type of person? Instead of the historical perception that your profile is an online version of your CV or your resume and start to look at it as, how can you set yourself apart? How can you identify or rather, how can you make it as easy as possible for your target market, your target audience, to understand that you want to speak to them and why they should take time out of their day to connect with you or send you an inquiry or speak to you in the first place?
Charlie Whyman: 14:57
That I would say is the main focus, which is get that profile right, because if you do nothing els on LinkedIn, people, especially in your target market with you’re a marketer, you’re an entrepreneur, you’re a business owner, whatever, people will be looking you up on Google and on LinkedIn and then going to have a look at your profile. They will be assessing how credible and trustworthy you are. It will be another one of those tick-box exercises at the very least.
Stacy Jones: 15:22
Yeah. I know that as an agency owner and employer, whenever someone is doing a job inquiry with us, the first thing I’m doing is looking at their LinkedIn profile. And then, same thing goes if someone wants to do business with me and they email. One of the first things I do is look at their LinkedIn profile. I’m very driven to learn more about people by opening up LinkedIn, doing a search, and seeing how many followers they have, how active they are in the platform, if they ever comment, and reading more about their bio and seeing if the actually spent some time.
Stacy Jones: 15:56
And of course, actually a lot of times, just seeing the picture and just trying to figure out who it is I’m speaking with or about to speak with or about to meet with.
Charlie Whyman: 16:04
Yeah. And I used to use that a lot for events because I used to arrange and setup meetings before I went to the events because I think B2B events, we would talk about B2B marketing being very boring, and it doesn’t need to be. B2B events, I think it was so many things that companies get wrong at events, one of which is that they turn up at the event and then hope that everything’s going to go right. They’re going to start all these conversations.
Charlie Whyman: 16:33
Whereas, from my point of view, if you can put in the effort beforehand, set up those impulsive meetings before, so you’re at least guaranteeing them. It just makes life so much easier and you can get a lot more from that particular event. But when you’re doing that, in may case, because my name is Charlie, especially internationally, Charlie is not a common female name. So what I found was that if I went to meet with somebody, a common misconception was that people were expecting to meet with a man, which is always like, “Well, you’ve got me. Sorry.”
Stacy Jones: 17:05
I had that before I looked at your picture on LinkedIn because that’s where I went to learn about you before this podcast.
Charlie Whyman: 17:11
Exactly. I always get, “Dear Mr. Whyman,” and, “I was expecting to meet a man.” But also, I would say about 50% of the people that I went to meet that didn’t make the mistake that I was going to be a man would actually look me up on LinkedIn because they would look up to see who they were expecting to see so they know who to look out for. Who’s coming to meet with them.
Charlie Whyman: 17:34
Yeah, having a profile photo that looks like you as well is just so, so important. But it’s just a little way that you can leverage the tool. There’s so many opportunities that businesses can leverage LinkedIn. It’s a free tool and it just makes the whole business development process so much easier and so much more human and you don’t need to be paying for Premium, you don’t need to be paying for LinkedIn Sales Navigator. You can do a lot with the free version. Yes, there are advantages for having the paid tools, but you don’t always need them.
Charlie Whyman: 18:09
I think that’s kind of why I love it so much, because especially when you go in business for yourself, or especially if budgets are tight, you need to be able to leverage as much as possible without spending huge amounts of money on your marketing. And so many companies don’t utilize LinkedIn and it’s this free tool that puts them in front of their ideal market.
Stacy Jones: 18:31
There’s two different things. You can have your own profile. With Hollywood Branded I have Stacy Jones, CEO, Hollywood Branded, her profile, right? Then I also have the Hollywood Branded business profile. Can we talked a little bit about the differences between those profiles and what people use them for and how to best leverage?
Charlie Whyman: 18:50
Absolutely. I’ve gotten a bit geeky. I’m a raving geek. Don’t be scared. I think of the technology side of things and I think, “Oh, I’m such a geek.” But LinkedIn has released quite a few different updates to LinkedIn company pages recently, which are making them a bit more of a focus than they’ve ever been because my recommendation is to always focus for 80/20 rule. Focus 80% of your flows on your personal profile, building that personal brand, building those individual relationships, investing your time in people. And then 20% of your effort on your company page.
Charlie Whyman: 19:26
And then, if you’re a marketer, you’re running marketing teams, or if you’re running sales and marketing teams, make sure that you are also understanding how your employees can advocate for your company page and actually use the people working for you to promote your brand and to bring that human element to it.
Charlie Whyman: 19:48
So in terms of your company page versus your personal page, the same rules apply. It’s all about engagement. All about engagement. The more you can understand what motivates and drives your target market, and you engage with those behaviors, the more that you will get your brand across, the bigger the impact that you will have on your target market.
Charlie Whyman: 20:15
One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make on their company page is that they use their LinkedIn company page as a driver for website traffic. So, it’s like, “Oh, I’m just going to post a link to a blog post every single day or once a week to try and get more traffic to my website.” That’s not why people are using LinkedIn.
Charlie Whyman: 20:33
People are using LinkedIn because they want to engage with the brand. They want to find out what the company culture is like. They want to find out who, what type of customers are using your products. They want to engage, not be broadcasted to, not be told what they need to be looking at and what they need to be thinking. I think that’s kind of one of the biggest differentiators.
Stacy Jones: 20:54
Oh, yeah. I’m sure. We totally use it incorrectly right now. But after this podcast, we’re going to be fixing that, right?
Charlie Whyman: 21:02
Stacy Jones: 21:03
But I think most people do that. I think it’s very easy to look at social platforms like LinkedIn as a business and you just kind of throw your stuff out there and you forget that it’s supposed to be social and you forget that it’s supposed to be a two-way street of conversations and education and information.
Charlie Whyman: 21:23
And LinkedIn have made it quite easy for marketers now to really take advantage of the people using LinkedIn. You can link hashtags to your company page. You can link groups to your company page. Now you can comment on individual posts from your company page that’s helping you get your brand out there a little bit more. Then your employees start talking about your brand. You can share their posts to your feed.
Charlie Whyman: 21:57
You can create custom buttons now on the homepage on your company page so it’s not just, go to the website, it’s like, contact here, download some thing, send us an inquiry. And more recently, a new feature as of a couple of months ago, if you as an individual send a connection request to another individual, LinkedIn will now prompt you to follow, or at least go and have a look at their company page that’s linked to their experience.
Charlie Whyman: 22:28
So, for example, if I want to follow you, it would say, “You’ve just sent your connection request to Stacy and we recommend that you follow Hollywood Branded, the company page.”
Stacy Jones: 22:39
Right. That’s great.
Charlie Whyman: 22:41
So it’s actually putting me in front of your company page.
Stacy Jones: 22:44
Yeah. I think that part of that is, LinkedIn has realized that company pages don’t get a whole lot of follows sometimes and so they’re trying to help that with companies.
Charlie Whyman: 22:54
Yeah. LinkedIn published, it’s like, Best of LinkedIn Company Pages every single year and it always makes me laugh because the featured companies are their huge, huge brands where they’ve got like millions of followers, but all of their engagement, or their post likes, very few comments, all come from their staff. It’s like, well, they’re not really engaging with their target market, they’re just telling their staff what they should like and what they should comment on.
Stacy Jones: 23:25
So you’re saying if you have 1,000 people who work for you and you require that they like and post onto your company page all of this, then you’ll be a top 10 LinkedIn page.
Charlie Whyman: 23:35
Yeah. It’s just like, it’s not quite how it works.
Stacy Jones: 23:37
Charlie Whyman: 23:39
A client of mine, I always use them as an example because they’ve got a business that’s been around for 40 years, an innovative business, and they’ve got offices worldwide. They’ve got a strong partner community, reseller network. They only have three and a half thousand followers on their company page. So if you compare that to some of the bigger brands, then it’s not a huge amount, however, they don’t spend any money on advertising, but they get over 50,000 impressions on their posts. They get lots of comments, lots of likes from people that are existing customers, existing partners, and also prospects, so they’re getting inquiries as well.
Charlie Whyman: 24:17
They get over 300 clicks back to their website per month just from that custom button at the top. And it’s that they’re building their brand, they’re growing their brand value, they’re engaging with their community. I think nothing has changed so much over the years and a lot more brands are acknowledging that individuals want to be part of a community and brands can create those communities.
Charlie Whyman: 24:44
And also, that’s kind of like where a lot of our brand loyalty comes from as well. For me, you can’t do that through a LinkedIn company page. There’s a lot more opportunities now than there have ever been before to utilize and leverage LinkedIn company pages. One of my favorite things about training companies, because I do a lot of training around employee advocacy, so how sales marketing teams can work together to help each other with the content, how marketing can help sales actually with their prospecting activities, how sales can help marketing by sort of putting them in communication with the customers by case studies and other things like that as well.
Charlie Whyman: 25:27
If I normally have at least two people that are in the training that know, “LinkedIn will not work for me. It’s a waste of time. It’s too much effort.” And at the end of the training session, they’re like the biggest users and they’re like, “Yes, I can completely see the point.” And then after that they’re engaging, they’re talking, they’re posting really innovative content that really does hit the mark. It’s really engaging. That’s what I love to see all the time. I love ti.
Stacy Jones: 25:55
You mentioned a minute ago that getting your employees, not necessarily like these Fortune whatever companies where they have a 1,000 employees liking and commenting, but getting your employees involved in your company pages. What are some of the best practices to do that? Quite frankly, employees are not always, I think we all know this, quick to jump on the bandwagon of another thing they have to do. It’s the last thing anyone wants to do is, another thing you need to do for the company. Another thing on top of that in your eight hour work day.
Stacy Jones: 26:29
What are some of those best ways? How can you effectively leverage and get your employees to make themselves more involved on LinkedIn and get them to be more involved in your company as well?
Charlie Whyman: 26:40
It’s a great question and the first thing I would always recommend that every company does is really outline the, what’s in it for me? We talk about this from a marketing point of view. When you’re marketing to your audience, you have to make it, what’s in it for them to engage with your brand? So, exactly the same when you’re looking internally, because internal marketing is also just as important.
Charlie Whyman: 27:02
When you look at your sales team, for example, and your marketing team, it’s like, what is in it for them for them to be using LinkedIn? From a sales team point of view, it’s that if they’re not using LinkedIn, then they’re missing a huge amount of opportunities and probably leaving a lot of deals on the table. Because from a sales point of view, you can shorten your sales cycle, for one. That’s normally the biggest one.
Charlie Whyman: 27:25
You can have a better relationship with your client. You can address objections and follow up with your prospects a lot easier, a lot less demanding and forceful, so there’s a lot more toys available that you can leverage from that side of things. And also, you can use it as a way to keep in touch with your marketing team without marketing constantly hounding you for information.
Charlie Whyman: 27:48
From a marketing point of view, for what’s in it for me is that it helps them feel a bit more connected to sales and the customer, because this was always one of my biggest bugbears, is that because I worked as head of sales and marketing for three and a half years and then moved to a head of marketing role, is that I didn’t have as much control or contact with the end customers and with the sales team.
Charlie Whyman: 28:14
In my opinion, that you are much better and more effective marketer if you speak to customers, if you understand objections, and you really get in to the behaviors and the motivations of your target market. You can’t do that from the sidelines. It’s completely to let their staff know what’s in it for them and then they need to either incentivize them by educating them as to how to leverage LinkedIn, motivating them by saying, “There’s different rewardings, ” if you need to reward your staff.
Charlie Whyman: 28:47
Creating like a LinkedIn advocate within the company. Having a little meeting every now again just saying, “How are you using LinkedIn? How is it coming along?” Because one of the biggest barriers to individuals using LinkedIn is not actually how to use the system, it’s implementing regular habits and being consistent across the platform. The more consistent you are, the more visible you’ll be and the better the brand and the trust and the visibility that you’ll have. Having somebody to say, “Have you done anything on LinkedIn this week?” Just to remind you and give you that accountability really, really helps.
Charlie Whyman: 29:27
And then, actually again, it’s that education side of things because if employees tag the company in a post, so if they’re talking about a customer demo, if they’re talking about a customer case study, if they were to tag that company, then the company page has access to that post because they’ve been mentioned and if somebody uses a hashtag with their company name, again, the company page will be notified of that post and they can link the two.
Charlie Whyman: 29:57
It’s just like that education as to the little things that they can be doing to then help the marketing team get visibility as to what sales are doing and also for sales to then get visibility as to how to get in front of the target market and jump on those sales opportunities. Because a lot of times prospects can be commenting on some of these posts and unless you’ve got somebody from sales taking advantage of those, you’re going to be missing those opportunities.
Charlie Whyman: 30:25
Hopefully that’s a kind of like whistle stop tour of things that you can do. But if you visit my LinkedIn profile, I think you’re going to put a link in the show notes, it’s just LinkedIn.com/in/charliewhyman, I’ve got an article which is all around how to create and grow a company page.
Stacy Jones: 30:45
Charlie Whyman: 30:45
Loads of information on there.
Stacy Jones: 30:47
Perfect. And we’ll definitely put that in the show notes for everyone so that’s an easy thing for people to reference.
Charlie Whyman: 30:52
Stacy Jones: 30:54
When you were talking earlier about… It’s interesting, you have the same strategies I had. We started our blog back in 2012, and the reason I started it is, I would have a conversation with a potential client or an actual client and then have something that they just didn’t get and I’d be like, “Oh, they’re not getting it.” I could have talked until I was blue in my face about it, and I don’t think they necessarily wanted to listen, or I took another approach where I would write them an email and I would explain everything to them.
Stacy Jones: 31:25
When I would write these emails, I’m like, “Wow, this is really cool content because this one person is asking me this question and I have this awesome answer that I prepared. What can I do with it?” And so I turned those into blogs. Eventually, those got turned into podcasts. And we have a super active blog on our website, which for an agency, we get 20,000 reads a month, which is fantastic for us.
Stacy Jones: 31:49
But that doesn’t necessarily correlate back over to LinkedIn because we are that agency, we are that company, that does exactly what you said not to do where we post stuff and, “Here’s the blog. We wrote this today. Everyday we have a new blog. Here’s our blog. Here’s our blog. Here’s our blog. Here’s our blog.” I know LinkedIn has really developed themselves to be able to be the content holder. So instead of linking out, LinkedIn actually values content that is created and posted on LinkedIn, whether that’s a video or an article.
Stacy Jones: 32:21
Is that something that you would suggest doing where, let’s say you actually have created lots of content, would you suggest bringing it into the world of LinkedIn, or do you think you need to create totally new content for the world of LinkedIn?
Charlie Whyman: 32:36
If it’s still relevant and it’s still timely content, then absolutely. Bring it in to the world of LinkedIn and start to leverage that. I think that’s another way that you can really help your employees because from a company page point of view, you can link back to articles that your employees have written and published on their LinkedIn profiles. So from an employee point of view and a personal branding, if I’m the employee of a company and I write an article that was very specific to my industry, my area of expertise, it helps me set myself up as a thought leader in my industry, it helps me build trust and credibility.
Charlie Whyman: 33:15
And then also, the marketing team can then link back to that article on the company page, which then helps your overall market understand that you value your staff, the intelligence of your staff, and you’re not being penalized because you’re linking within LinkedIn. So you’re helping promote the intelligence of your staff, which I personally think is a wonderful thing to do and I think a lot of companies really miss out on the opportunities of really enabling and empowering their staff to really showcase their skills and giving them the tools and the resources and the support that they need to be able to do that.
Charlie Whyman: 33:55
The companies that I’ve worked for in the past, I’ve worked with some incredibly intelligent people who are full leaders in their field and it was just a case of finding out how I can then empower them to be able to write their own content or help them write their content that showcase those skills that put them up there. So it’s not about the company wanting to be the brand ambassador, it’s the company that wants to empower its staff and put its staff out there a lot more as well.
Charlie Whyman: 34:24
So, yes, creating content within the LinkedIn platform is very important, especially if you upload native videos, so if you upload videos directly to the platform, if you upload article information to the LinkedIn Pulse login category. If you already have great content on your website, obviously from a Google point of view, don’t replicate the thing word for word. Change the headline, keep it fresh, maybe give it a bit of an update, but don’t need to spend a huge amount of time on it. And then you’re kind of repurposing that content, getting it in front of more people.
Stacy Jones: 35:01
And I think that’s my other question. With Google SCO, obviously you just touched on this, you don’t want to duplicate content because you’ll get penalized potentially because Google likes to have one origin source of content and if it’s going to be used elsewhere, they want to use all these canonical, I can’t even say it, canonical, maybe?
Charlie Whyman: 35:20
Don’t ask me.
Stacy Jones: 35:21
Yeah. It’s canonical, I believe, it’s a way of actually designating who is the origin point of source for the content and so it links back. So, if you’re posting on a blog on your website as a business and then you’re also taking that content and putting it on a platform like Medium, Medium allows you to designate that your blog is actually the parent of it so that Google’s not giving your Medium blog post more authority than what you have and discrediting and lowering you in the scale of what page you would be showing up on for those detailed keywords.
Stacy Jones: 36:02
But do you know if on LinkedIn, is it a closed platform that Google can search or not search? Is Google actually getting in there and seeing the content, the articles, the words that are being put in there and searching it and comparing it to your website, or is it really a stand alone beast of its own?
Charlie Whyman: 36:26
I’m not a Google expert. I can only go off experience, what I’ve learned, what I’ve tested myself over the years, is that Google does crawl LinkedIn, so if you do a Google search, then there’s a good chance that you’re LinkedIn profile or one of your latest LinkedIn articles will pop up on their top three search features if it matches those keywords.
Charlie Whyman: 36:51
What I’ve found personally is, if I keep the title different and also link back to the website, so I also say, “This article was originally published on my website. Here’s the link,” I’ve not been penalized myself and for the companies I’ve worked with and some of my clients as well. They’ve never had any problems with duplicate content on Google.
Charlie Whyman: 37:14
I always say, yeah, just you don’t need to worry about anything like that. Mainly the thing for that is, just keep an eye on Google rules and regulations because as we all know, Google changes every now and again. [crosstalk 00:37:27].
Stacy Jones: 37:28
Overnight in the blink of an eye, everything is now panda, bear, dolphin, whatever it might be.
Charlie Whyman: 37:36
That, again, is the beauty of having an engaged network and I always suggest as a marketer, unless SEO is your bread and butter, is your area of expertise, is make friends with experts in the SEO space. Keep them close. Help them out when they need help and they’ll help you out when you need help.
Charlie Whyman: 37:57
I think one of my biggest bugbears about marketing agencies, especially in the U.K. based on my own experience is, they kind of try to be masters of everything rather than sort of specialize in a particular field and then instead either spread themselves too thin or end up with out of date, especially from an SEO point of view, and out of date SEO knowledge. And then you end up just end up paying for something that is not relevant anymore. My experience of SEO is, always work with an expert.
Stacy Jones: 38:29
That’s good advice.
Charlie Whyman: 38:32
Stacy Jones: 38:33
How do you use LinkedIn for yourself, like with your podcast as an example? Are you replicating content on that, or what are you doing? What’s your best practices with that?
Charlie Whyman: 38:43
My podcast is really new. I’m only 11 episodes in to my podcast, so it’s a little baby at the moment.
Stacy Jones: 38:53
You started it and that’s all that matters.
Charlie Whyman: 38:55
Yes. I’ve started it. I talked about it for way too long and now it’s just like, you know what? I’m going to get it going. It’s all good, yeah? I have my own company page on LinkedIn, which is kind of like, it’s far more difficult to promote a company page when it is your name. If you have, like I have, a brand being developed at the moment, which will launch later this year, it’s very exciting. However, the last few years I’ve been trading under my own name, which is Charlie Whyman.
Charlie Whyman: 39:27 So what I’ve done for my podcast is, I’ve created a showcase page. If you are a brand or a company and you target lots of different market verticals, you have different product offerings, then you can have a main company page that represents your brand, but then you can also create showcase pages, which have kind of had a bit of a bad rap recently. It’s very difficult to build engagement, but I’ve started to sort of see a trend where they’re getting a little bit more.
Charlie Whyman: 39:54
My showcase page has only existed for about six weeks now and it’s already starting to pick up traction. Slowly, but it’s picking up traction. And also, again, it enables me to share podcast content without then diluting the content I’m posting of my personal page and my company page because it’s not all the same. It is the same target market, but it’s not the same sort of content and I want to be promoting across all platforms because I also don’t recommend posting the same content across every single platform to try and reach more people.
Charlie Whyman: 40:25
It’s a case of understanding how people interact and use each different platform and how you can tailor that content to suit each different audience. So, yeah, I do think share your content, because the best part about LinkedIn as well is, that you can tag your guests. For example, I could put out some content this evening that basically says, “Oh, I’ve just been on this great podcast with Stacy from Hollywood Branded.” I could tag Stacy and I could tag it Hollywood Branded, the company page, into that post and you can then like or comment on it from your company page and from your individual post as well.
Charlie Whyman: 41:03 So it’s kind of like you’re still getting the message across and you’re still promoting those two things. But it’s more, again, it’s understand the human element of it, because again, people, when they’re using LinkedIn, are less likely to then sit back and listen to a full podcast episode, but they may want to discover new podcasts that they can then add to their list or learn a key takeaway from a podcast interview or something like that and it’s just a different way of showing the information out there.
Stacy Jones: 41:30
All right. So cutting down snippets of a podcast interview or creating quotes, et cetera, a lesson takeaway from that, is probably more in line with the audience who’s engaging with LinkedIn as they’re bouncing around.
Charlie Whyman: 41:43
Yeah. There’s so many video and things on LinkedIn as well that when users are digesting video, watching video, a lot of people will be watching it in a busy space, so either when they’re on the move in a public area or whether they sat at a desk in an office, it’s always good practice to include subtitles on your videos and to try and keep them short and sweet.
Charlie Whyman: 42:08
I was quite lazy when I first got going with video. I didn’t use subtitles, whereas now, for all of my videos I try to use subtitles and they perform a lot better.
Stacy Jones: 42:19
That’s good to know.
Charlie Whyman: 42:21
Yes. But the same with, there’s a really cool app called Headliner.app where you can create audiograms for your podcast, which I’ve literally just started exploring, so I haven’t shared anything yet, but you can create like one minute snippets or up to 10 minute snippets of your podcast episode and then add graphics, add subtitles, make it a little bit animated. It’s just another way of engaging people with what is it you’re trying to do.
Stacy Jones: 42:53
Yeah. We also used, and have used over the last couple of years, Waave.
Charlie Whyman: 42:56
Oh, yeah. I think it’s definitely [crosstalk 00:42:59].
Stacy Jones: 42:59
Yeah, W-A-A-V-E. And that allows you to do some of that as well, which is, even if you have an audio podcast which is not video, you can lay in graphics or it can give you some neat little, you know, you see the sound bars going up and down so you have something visual versus just static nothingness.
Charlie Whyman: 43:20
Exactly. We are all curious beings. We’re all very naturally curious beings, so that little bit of movement that kind of distracts you, it just helps you become noticed a little bit more. I think in terms of it being noticed, it’s one of the biggest mistakes I see people make on LinkedIn, both on company pages and personal profiles, is that it’s all statement driven. A lot of LinkedIn users make it all about them. All of their content is me, me, me rather than, what I say is, it should be you, you, you.
Charlie Whyman: 43:55
It should be all about the people you want to start conversations with. You should make it all about the other person, not about you. Because nobody, in the nicest possible way, nobody really cares about you, they just care about what you can do for them.
Charlie Whyman: 44:10
Understand what sort of content in what type of format do your market consume the most. If you’re selling products and services to a highly technical market and you’re targeting the technical lead for that, they may be more interested in long form articles for really detailed technical information. They’re not going to pay attention to short sharp snippets.
Charlie Whyman: 44:37
But another audience, if you’re targeting C-suite, you’ll adapt that content to target C-suite. They’re not going to be interested in all the technical detail. They’ll just be interested in how that product can help make them more money, save them more money, solve problems and things like that. The more you can understand who you’re targeting and the more you can target your content at that audience and make it about them and not about you, the better you will do.
Stacy Jones: 45:01
Do you have any knowledge of how much posting is too much for LinkedIn?
Charlie Whyman: 45:07
I think, again, it depends on the audience. It does depend on the audience because in highly regulated markets, in highly technical markets, you don’t really need to be posting more than once a week really. And also, people in those markets are less likely to like and comment on your content. I think it’s a very traditional old school approach that if they were to like and comment on your content, that’s a kind of public endorsement or approval for it, so they don’t do it, which doesn’t help the algorithm because the algorithm considers good content the more people that like and comment.
Stacy Jones: 45:45
Charlie Whyman: 45:48
I always say to anybody, “If you’re listening to this podcast or if you follow my content in any way, if you like content that people are putting out, give it a like at the very least or put a comment on it or something because then you’ve got more chance of seeing that person’s content more often.”
Charlie Whyman: 46:02
Again, it’s understanding how frequently your target market are likely to be using LinkedIn. Are they likely to be daily users or weekly users or less. If you’re targeting entrepreneurs, then post every day because a lot of entrepreneurs are daily users of LinkedIn. Personally, I advise posting more than once a day because I just think that’s a bit spammy and it’s hard to maintain quality of content if you’re posting more than once a day.
Charlie Whyman: 46:30
But it’s whatever feels right for you. If you can put out quality content that’s relevant, that’s engaging, that’s timely, then crack on. Yeah.
Stacy Jones: 46:41
Another thing that I want to say that I’ve learned recently from LinkedIn, because I’ve been trying to spend a little bit of time on all social platforms. LinkedIn is the one I’m going to, as a business owner, actually try to spend time with. I don’t do Instagram that much and I really don’t post on Facebook except for celebrations that my husband and I are having or friendships that are coming together and we see each other. That’s what we use it for.
Stacy Jones: 47:06
But with LinkedIn I love actually going through and reading what people are posting in their articles or their comments and I found that when I actually comment back, I don’t just say, “Hey, yes, great. Love the article. Love your thought,” but actually give feedback and my point of view to what someone else is saying, sure, the person that I wrote that on, maybe they’re a sales target for me or our company, but what I’ve actually been finding out, it’s less about them being a sales target and more about other people seeing my comment and reaching out to me because of my content that I wrote and the comment I said and connecting and saying, “Hey, I liked what you said. Would love to explore,” blah, blah, blah.
Stacy Jones: 47:50
And so it really is a sales opener that people are not taking advantage of to the level that they could be.
Charlie Whyman: 48:01 I talk about this idea quite a lot because there’s a big misconception on LinkedIn is that you need to stuff your account and collect connections. So, the more connections you have, the better you will do on LinkedIn and the more chance you have on winning business, whereas exactly what you said. If you’re engaging with other people’s content and you’re writing thoughtful comments on other people’s posts, you will start to attract the interest of your target market.
Charlie Whyman: 48:30
That’s how you’re going to start attracting really decent leads and inquiries and opportunities. And you don’t need to be connected to everybody and anybody to be able to come and to comment on their content. You can search for relevant hashtags to do with particular topics of interest and you can go through and you can comment on people’s posts that you’re not connected to.
Charlie Whyman: 48:52
You can explore and learn about what other people are talking to. You can keep an eye on your competitors, see what they’re doing. You can learn from others. You can follow market trends, market insights. There’s so much you can use LinkedIn for. It’s way more than just a lead generation or a prospecting source.
Stacy Jones: 49:10
Charlie Whyman: 49:12
And I think loads of people just keep talking about, “Oh, it’s this amazing lead gen tool, so fill your network full of [inaudible 00:49:19] prospects, post our content, and then that’s how you’re going to win business, or spam them with messages.” It’s like, that’s how marketers were building email lists years ago. Let’s not replicate that model on LinkedIn. Let’s instead try to get to know people that we’re connecting with. Let’s start conversations. Let’s add a bit more meaning into the relationship that we’re driving.
Stacy Jones: 49:41
Yeah. 100% agree. Okay, Charlie, we’re getting near the time that we need to call it because we have used up all of our listeners minutes, but I know that you have some really cool things for everyone that is tuning in. Can you share a little bit more about that and how people can get in contact with you? Although we’ll also have all of this in our show notes.
Charlie Whyman: 50:00
Splendid. Yes, I do have lots of free stuff. I am very much, my attitude to business and marketing is a very much a give first approach. I have a free blueprint, which is like a step-by-step guide to using LinkedIn, which you can download on my website. It’s just charliewhyman.com/blueprint. I also run training webinars, which is all about how to convert your connections into customers. If you go to charliewhyman.com/webinar, then you will get the next training option there.
Charlie Whyman: 50:36
And then also, if you are interested in my podcast, The Curiosity Key, I basically interview innovative people, change makers, leaders, disruptors, and people that are using their curiosity to kind of change the world, change their section of the world in a way that they can make an impact. So it’s a bit like curious conversations every week. Then you can go to charliewhyman.com/podcast or just look for The Curiosity Key podcast on YouTube or whatever podcast platform that you’re listening to.
Stacy Jones: 51:10
Or look at our show notes where we’ll have all of this summarized to make it super easy.
Charlie Whyman: 51:15
And then also, connect with me on LinkedIn. But what I will say is that if you’re listening to this and you want to connect with me, just let me know that you heard this podcast and that’s why you want to connect with me, because I get hundreds of connection requests on LinkedIn and I’ve got no context or meaning, so I’m getting a little bit more picky as to who I’m connecting with. So if you just say, “I heard your podcast and I would like to connect,” then please let me know because I would love to connect with you.
Charlie Whyman: 51:44
But I warn you now, I do like to have conversations with my connections, so if you just want to follow my content, then you can follow me on LinkedIn rather than connect, but it’s up to you.
Stacy Jones: 51:57
Oh, that’s awesome. Are there any last parting words of advice that you have for our listeners today?
Charlie Whyman: 52:04
Just be curious. Have an open mind. Ask questions and be curious about who you’re speaking to, what opportunities surround you, and you will have much more fun throughout life, in work, and in business.
Stacy Jones: 52:16
Well, Charlie, thank you so much for all of your very valuable advice today and help and insight. And I know that I’ve learned a lot that we’re going to be taking back to the drawing board and looking at our own LinkedIn, so I’m sure our listeners are also getting quite a bit of ideas generated as well.
Stacy Jones: 52:35
Listeners, thank you so much for tuning in to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them and I look forward to speaking with you on our next podcast.
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