#18: How To Use LinkedIn To Grow Brand Awareness with Kevin Appleby

For some time now LinkedIn has been like the ugly duckling of all social media platforms. In reality though, it’s just gravely misunderstood.

The real problem is that most of us don’t truly know how to leverage its potential. Until recently, that’s exactly where I was. That is, until I met Kevin Appleby.

Kevin Appleby has a long and varied background of business experience. He specializes in management consulting and business coaching, primarily helping businesses develop transformational business plans.

Part of the way he strategically helps businesses is through The Next 100 Days Podcast. On the show, he interviews guests and covers topics relevant to small businesses.

Then he winds it all up by giving listeners a strategy that they should implement in the next 100 days to bring those tips to life.

Kevin Appleby.jpg

How he discovered the power of LinkedIn

Through the podcast Kevin interacted with social media a lot. His primary focus, though, was promoting his show on Twitter and thereby growing his audience.

Recently, Twitter changed its rules, preventing users from repeating the same tweet. Until this point, existing listenership had stayed steady, but then last year new listener numbers started dropping dramatically.

It was at this point that a listener called in to the show and shared a few tips about how to use LinkedIn more effectively. Through this, Kevin learned that especially if you have a B2B customer base, LinkedIn is where you’re going to find your clients.

When LinkedIn really took off for him

The first time he saw the power of LinkedIn was after a guest interview on his show. His guest posted about his experience on the podcast and what a great time it was. A number of his friends commented on or liked the post.

It wasn’t long before this post was being seen by 3,000 to 4,000 people. Kevin started asking himself, what does it take to make posts interesting and likeable? That’s when he discovered the methodology behind successful LinkedIn posts.

How group efforts change exposure

Not long after, Kevin decided to share his knowledge of LinkedIn with others. He created a group called Linked Professionally. Functioning much like a networking group, it brings together people who have a common need to get exposure publicizing their business on LinkedIn.

In particular, the group focuses on helping each other’s content get more interaction, and here’s how they do it. Everyone in the group plans to post to LinkedIn once a week. Those who are posting on the same day take time to like and post one thoughtful comment on the others’ posts.

And this is how posts gain traction on LinkedIn.

These tips really work to get you exposure

I have to say from personal experience that this really works. After I was a guest on Kevin’s podcast, he asked me how much exposure I got on LinkedIn and if I would like to try out the group. So I joined and was pleasantly surprised by the results.

Let me preface my results by saying that my market is a very targeted niche in health IT. In comparison, the LinkedIn group was a general business group.

Despite my niche and the broad business group, I got tons of views, interactions, and comments. We’re not talking spammy comments. We’re talking quality conversation points that add value to the thread.

The result of all this? Several new clients messaged me through LinkedIn interested in how I could help them get their message out. All this to say, this LinkedIn stuff Kevin is talking about REALLY works.

Best practices for posting on LinkedIn

Before getting into what you should do, let’s talk about what you shouldn’t do with LinkedIn. For now we’ll primarily focus on posts and comments.

What you shouldn’t do

The number one bad idea is to try to sell with your posts. LinkedIn absolutely doesn’t like sales. In fact, they have an automatic algorithm specifically to limit the exposure of salesy posts. So DON’T make your post a sales pitch.

The other thing you want to avoid is added links in your posts. LinkedIn has another algorithm that won’t promote links to other sites. As much as possible, they like to keep traffic in-site. So if you use external links, your post will suffer.

What you should do

The main thing you want to do with posts is to start a conversation. You can start by telling a story about a client with a problem. Then ask a question like, “have you experienced anything similar?”

What you’ve done here is create a friendly environment where it’s easy for people to comment. Plus, questions naturally encourage readers to formulate answers whether or not they comment. Either way, you’re building memorable, interactive material.

As your group comments on your content, you then get more exposure. This goes back to LinkedIn algorithms. There’s another algorithm that rewards posts based on how much attention they’re getting.

In particular, your first degree contacts (the people you REALLY want to reach) will start seeing your posts in their feed. Then if you get enough action on your post, it will spread to the first degree contacts of everyone who commented.

This is how group involvement can multiply the effectiveness of your post. For me, I’ve gotten so much more direct feedback from my target audience. In Kevin’s case, he’s seen lots of new subscribers to his podcast. In short, we both have different goals and markets, but we both benefitted from the same LinkedIn group.

Optimizing your profile to reach your target audience

Think about your LinkedIn profile like you would think about your “About Page” on your website. It should inform people about what problems you solve and then share credentials validating your help.

The reason this matters is because viewers will click on your profile as your post engagement improves. When optimizing your profile, it should not... I repeat, NOT be a resume. It must be a platform to tell people the things that matter most to them:

  1. Who you help

  2. What you do

  3. How you do it

  4. How you deliver results

Your profile should inspire trust and understanding, and it should explain why you’re the right person to solve potential buyers’ problems.

Easy things you can do to get LinkedIn working for you

As was just mentioned, optimize your profile so it communicates well to your target audience. Chances are, if you came from corporate, your profile looks like a resume. So come to your profile as if you were your potential buyer. What would you want to see? What would matter to you?

Quite honestly, you only need to update your profile once, and it will last for the first 18 months of your startup. And while you can hire someone to optimize it for you, Kevin recommends doing it yourself for the best results.

Next, you need to show up regularly. Sporadic posting habits don’t result in long term results. LinkedIn likes to reward those who are consistently active users.

And, finally, interact with comments on your posts. It isn’t enough to just post. If people are engaging with your content, you need to respond. Let them know that you’re a real person just like them and start creating relationships.

Again, this is not the time to sell. At this point, you’re building trust and inspiring confidence. As people want to go deeper, LinkedIn’s messaging system allows for great conversations and interactions.

The takeaway

This week’s takeaway is pretty simple. Join Linked Professionally. Really. Just do it. For $25 a month, you get ten lessons through the website and emails that you will see an ROI on. From personal experience, I have to say, this training was invaluable to me.

It’s all about boosting human connection. For instance, members participate in WhatsApp chats getting to know each other and learn from each other. By building these relationships and helping others make connections, you’ll start to see growth in your own LinkedIn network.

Must-read books

Kevin loves understanding how the human brain works especially when it comes to marketing and persuasion. The book he’s been fascinated by recently is Win Bigly.

While not directly a marketing book, it does delve into how human persuasion works. In the book, Scott Adams debunks the idea that we’re rational beings, and he proves this by looking at the Trump campaign.

In fact, Adams predicted that Trump would win the election back when he decided to run on the Republican ticket. In short, we’re a lot less rational than we think we are. If you’re in marketing, this is a great case study for understanding how people make decisions and why they buy.

Want to connect with Kevin? Find him here:

LinkedIn - Kevin Appleby

The Next 100 Days Podcast

Linked Professionally

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And, as always, if you need help with your marketing…

Let’s talk. You can book your free consulting session with me today.