The LinkedIn Diaries: Super Users Share Their Secrets

This following article by Write On The Money’s President, Andrew Brown, was originally published on the Financial Post:

In a recent entry of the The LinkedIn Diaries, I identified some practical lessons that you can apply to optimize your  success with LinkedIn by focusing on the profiles and practices of ING DIRECT Canada’s President, Peter Aceto and Claymore Investments’ President, Som Seif.

In this entry of the LinkedIn Diaries, I focus on the secrets of LinkedIn super users. These senior executives use LinkedIn more frequently, more consistently and more fluently than the vast majority of users. These super users, who have unearthed or reinforced, some of the most critical LinkedIn practices include the following:

Phil Soper. As the President and Chief Executive of Brookfield Real Estate Services and Royal LePage Real Estate Services, Phil Soper inspires a group of over 16,000 real estate professionals throughout Canada. Because many of these real estate agents have enthusiastically embraced social-media tools, Soper needs to serve as an example of best practices.  As a result, several of his teams (e.g. Human Resources, Marketing) lead the industry in social media planning and execution. For LinkedIn, Soper’s super user secrets include the following:

  • Establish measurable goals. Whether you are focused on reducing the time required to find strong job candidates or increasing social mentions, set a goal that can be tracked. And then, track it.
  • Always remain authentic. Because LinkedIn connects people so well, it is essential that the image that you present online truly reflects who you are.
  • Share good news. Look for opportunities to profile good people, good news, exciting events and corporate success stories. For example, when a recent Royal LePage Shelter Foundation fundraiser exceeded expectations, Soper and his team enthusiastically shared the news via LinkedIn.

Jacoline Loewen. You wouldn’t necessarily expect that an internationally renowned author would be a LinkedIn super user. But, the fact is, Jacoline Loewen, Partner of Loewen & Partners, and writer of three highly-regarded business books, considers LinkedIn to be an essential tool for her short- and long-term success. For LinkedIn, Loewen’s super user secrets include the following:

  • Network Up. If you choose to share your updates with your connections, recognize that they see who you connect with. That means that if you want to be seen as being associated with leaders, only connect to those people who make your network look stronger and more compelling.
  • Broadcast your physical location. While any application that broadcasts your physical location needs to be used carefully, Loewen finds that by announcing her travel plans via LinkedIn, she  gets invited to local events with business associates, clients and prospects.
  • Integrate with your other contact databases. Most busy executives have contacts and related information located in several applications, for example, a CRM application (e.g. Salesforce or ACT!), a database (e.g. Access), a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel) an email program (e.g. Outlook) and other social media tools (e.g. Flickr or Facebook). As a result, keeping tabs on new developments can be cumbersome. Because LinkedIn arguably has the most current updates, use it as your primary source for contact information.

 Ayelet Baron. One of the first people to adopt LinkedIn when the application was developed 10 years ago, Baron,  who is the VP, Strategy and Planning of Cisco Systems Canada refers to LinkedIn several times per day. Her LinkedIn super user lessons include the following:

  • Schedule LinkedIn time. Devote time to check in with LinkedIn regularly. One option is to keep a web browser open and logged into LinkedIn so that you can quickly review and asses your connections’ posts and profile updates. Doing so arms you with the ability to re-connect with people, send them useful links and build your own community by making connections within your network. Also, use the News and Signal functions to keep you up-to-date on topics of interest that you and your connections share.
  • Monitor competitors. Your competitors are following you, your colleagues and your company. So, use LinkedIn to do the same. Check to see what positions they are hiring for. This could hint at what new products or projects they are planning.
  • Leverage networks within your company. Identify a community of social media adopters within in your organization. When you see an article that captures your interest, use LinkedIn to share it with this community — while adding your insights, opinions or questions. Taking this approach typically sparks responses and connections with people in your social community and extends beyond. Also, actively promote and share posts from people within your network.

In the next issue of the LinkedIn Diaries, I will tackle the most common and thorny questions that executives face when optimizing their LinkedIn strategies.