OLC attended NY Technology Council's event at Infor featuring Ruben Quinones who set out to present Advanced LinkedIn Marketing: Beyond the Request to Connect. Quinones is the Director of New Media at Path Interactive, providing forward-thinking leadership.
Ruben Quinones explained that this talk was more about inbound strategy than "just connecting." He continued, "What's happened over the last decade is pretty amazing. Social media wasn't around and people were identified by their employer. It brought an immediate association with a brand and that's tough to break. The umbrella has flipped now." According to Quinones, LinkedIn facilitates the transition from having the umbrella, or the company, over you to flipping the umbrella upside down, giving the employee the "opportunity to be a microbrand." Companies aren't what LinkedIn is about—it's concerned with individuals.
"You can usually only deal with four to five strategic alliances. Biologically it's not possible to deal with more than that. This is where loose ties come in," Quinones said. "Loose ties mean that the person in question isn't necessarily at the forefront of your mind, but might be because that person is the only one in that industry that you know." Quinones went on to say that loose ties are valuable because one can still be selective in connecting with the individual.
"So what's in it for you to market yourself on LinkedIn," he asked. "Well, people are Googling your name more and more because they want to know who this person is. Also, it creates some sort of social dichotomy—your online personal reflects your offline work and credibility. It allows people outside of your workplace or company to know what you've done. You become more relevant."
To Quinones, the future of social networking is going to allow people to screen who to connect with in real life. "We might be able to decide who we want to meet, possibly be able to filter out who not to meet. We already use social influence to segment influences and get them incentives or gifts for being an influencer, and we might see this used out throughout industries more frequently."
Quinones broke down the mechanisms of LinkedIn: "It sells you when you're not even there," he said. "It assists in solidifying relationships with your network and it helps others find you. It also helps you find professional contacts and connects them with you." Quinones also revealed that the success of becoming more visible on LinkedIn is to address the basic questions that people—potential employers or co-founders—have about you or your industry.
Quinones suggested that people not pay for LinkedIn if they are not recruiters and if they are not "reaching out to people," or in a "position where you want to send message to people you don't know."
To get business through LinkedIn, one must develop the profile. "You need to get endorsements, place keywords, make connections. Your positioning in search is influenced by your connections and key terms in your profile," Quinones said. "Think of LinkedIn as Google for individuals. Connecting with more people means appearing at the top of certain search lists."
"Make sure you have an image," he said. "No image means you're not going to drive click rates on to your profile. Also, make the image a picture of you—LinkedIn is not Facebook, it's where professionals connect with other professionals."
"Over 50 percent of searches are keywords that are relevant to your industry," Quinones said. "Places to introduce key words on your profile are: professional headline, your past and present position titles, fill out your professional headline to provide solutions to people who are searching. The summary has no bearing on the algorithm," he said. "But specialties does. Make sure you're filling out the maximum amount of key words relevant to your industry. Interests is another opportunity for key terms and work the recommendations system. Ask contacts to recommend you. Just one recommendation for each position will make a difference in positioning [in search]." Quinones revealed that he wasn't too sure about endorsements and how they impact the algorithm, but did concede, "it is a quick and easy way to see who is good at that particular skill." More ways to rank higher on searches is to start or participate in LinkedIn groups. "This shows thought leadership," he said. "It builds community, engages other like-minded individuals or contacts in sharing ideas, knowledge and opportunities. It also exposes you to the human emotion," he said, "most commonly, empathy." Quinones gave an example of a candidate selection for a job—both equally qualified—and coming down to one candidate graduating from the same school as the employer. "Search for school groups to connect with people," he said. "Look into the empathy aspect."
Quinones recommended CRM [Personal Customer Relationship Management] Software solutions to facilitate user integration with social sites. It gives the user the ability to see social connections and places context to who the person is. "Xonbi integrates with a number of social sites and will email addresses to other social conversations. Another CRM is Contactually. It sends reminder emails depending on the relationship you have with that person and does everything that Xonbi can do." Quinones also recommended that people use the LinkedIn app because it makes it easier and seamless to link up with someone.
"LinkedIn is a place to sell yourself," Quinones said. "It's a place to solidify your connections."