So, we all know that visibility plays a huge part in creating a brand and getting it out there! But with all the social media channels out there, how do you know which to focus on? Being on every single channel is a surefire way to spread yourself too thin, and that’s why I’ve invited a series of guest experts to let you in on allllll the secrets – so you can make an educated decision about where to show up for your audience! In this episode, we dive into the world of LinkedIn.
Petra Fisher is the entrepreneur too shy for acquisition. You know, the one at a networking event who hovers in the corner and sneaks out when finishing her drink. Oh hang on, you don’t know that type, as they are invisible. To combat this problem, Petra started to become visible online. Doing what she loves most: helping out. Answering questions, sharing knowledge. What started out as a necessity, turned into a thriving business with clients on 5 different continents. These days Petra works with entrepreneurs around the world, to become visible on LinkedIn, to get noticed, mentioned and remembered, so that clients come to them. Not just any bill-paying-clients, but those clients that YOU love to work with.
TL;DR For those who want to connect with Petra, you can find her here:
Special offer valid until 16th of January 2021: Get Petra’s LinkedIn Profile course for just €97 (usually €197) plus she’s also throwing in her Seven secrets to authentically grow your network for free (valued at €47). Bam! That is a total of €147 in da pocket! Use discount code FABPETCHYFAN at checkout to get the special price. You are welcome to share this offer with one person who you think can really use this and will be a great accountability partner for you.
Disclaimer: The following transcript has been auto-generated and then edited by me and while the general flow of the conversation is there, it’s most certainly not 100% accurate.
Petchy: Petra, welcome and thank you so much for being here.
Petra: Thank you so much for having me. I always love talking to you, you know that.
Petchy: Oh, thank you. Well, you know that as soon as I had the idea to start this series on social media for your brand, I knew that I wanted to ask you to do the episode on LinkedIn. Um, a lot of people see LinkedIn as a little bit of a boring and stuck up platform to be on. You know… a place where you have to act all professional and I was one of them until I realised that I am the one who gets to decide what professional looks like to me.
Petchy: And on that note, I really feel like we can’t start this episode without mentioning your LinkedIn bio. I’ll let you do the honours.
Petra: Oh, right. My headline. The first thing people see. Okay. So on my profile, it says “Cranky old fuddy-duddy claims to know shitloads about LinkedIn. Says she can help global entrepreneurs attract clients.”
Petchy: I love everything about this. I love that you put cranky old fuddy duddy as the first word to greet people on your LinkedIn profile. I think that says it all about this episode, LinkedIn and your approach to it.
Petra: Yeah, it is actually the opposite of what I would teach people on how to write a headline.
Petchy: That’s funny that you should say that. But it works though for you, because to me, it makes you completely relatable. And it’s something really eye-catching. And it definitely goes to show that you don’t have to be as serious and “professional” as you might think on LinkedIn.
Petra: Yeah, see… and that’s the thing. You know, there’s always this thing about looking professional, being a business networking… formal… Really, when people say that to me, I say ”OK, when you first talk to someone who may become a client, you know you first meet them. What kind of clothes do you wear? That is what you want in your profile picture. Look what kinda works to use. What kind of tone of voice, how do you behave when interacting with prospects or when actually working with clients?” Because that is you doing business. So if LinkedIn is a business network – that is how you show up. And when I work with clients I wear a T-shirt. So my profile now has a T-shirt. And even when I go into corporate to deliver training, that’s what you get. And so that’s where yeah, like you say, I’m not always all that serious. And so people better know it straight away.
Petchy: And that’s what I really like. I think it’s because it’s what you see is what you get and I know for me, I don’t want to present myself as something I’m not. I don’t want people to think when they meet me in real life, or we have a video meeting, that I’m totally different to what I put out there in my social media channels.
Petra: Absolutely. And it goes, you know… is so important because what if you’re not, and you’re a business owner and you land a client where the work is like a dream assignment. It’s what you know you started your business for. And then it turns out that you and the client just don’t relate to each other. That makes it really, really hard. And I don’t think any money is worth the distress and uncomfortableness that that causes. So I firmly believe that your LinkedIn presence should be a filter, and it should really have a strong effect on people. And with strong, I mean people either gotta love it or they don’t. And that is cool, too. I have had people berate me for this headline. There’s people that talk about “Oh, so you felt you had to use the s word.” and honestly, I didn’t even think about it. I didn’t think shitloads was swearing to some people. Um, that’s one thing. The other thing is, this person really, really berated me and went on to talk about how online the first impression is made in seconds. And this was really gonna cost me clients and all that. And I thought “Mister, you totally get it.” Because, yes, that first impression is made in seconds and it’s this first impression that is going to make people think that I’m a complete idiot, that I’m unprofessional, that I use words I shouldn’t – whatever they feel that is ok. I totally respect that. People don’t have to be like me. But it also means that we should not work together, because both the client and I are not going to be happy. And that is what you want. I don’t put this out here for shock value. Actually, it was a joke at first. I put this headline up a few years ago before I went on holidays. You know, when you’re gone for four weeks… I came back and then suddenly I had so many invitations! And I had invitations by the exact people that I thought would be put off by this. People that, because I didn’t come from that world so I tend to call it high up in corporate, and they connected with me. Look, you are real. I have had people tell me “Look, this headline of yours, it’s all right when you work with solo entrepreneurs and all that. But if you still want to get corporate clients, I’d reconsider.” The first year I had this headline was my biggest year off attracting corporate clients because that all went like “We know if we bring you in, our people are not going to fall asleep. If we bring you in you’re gonna get our people, you’re gonna understand them.” And so the only thing it’s done for me is get me the exact clients that I think are an absolute blast to work with.
Petchy: This is gold. I love this. I think if anyone’s tuning in right now, and they have just listened to what you said, they are going to be intrigued to hear more about LinkedIn, because it might not be the kind of platform you think it is, and you might be able to do your own thing on LinkedIn, right? So if you’re someone, like, say, a small business owner, and you’re trying to build a brand. Why should you bother being on LinkedIn? What’s so great about LinkedIn?
Petra: Yeah, well, first of all it is the largest network of business professionals – and that’s just a no brainer. It is. There’s Facebook and Instagram and all that. But if you really want to know, where is the platform where people have somehow a work focus? It is LinkedIn. It is also extremely information rich because the way people use LinkedIn is by sharing information. So these things are good. It is where you can so much showcase yourself because there’s obviously the profile where you can talk about your work and your background, how you can relate it to what you do now. So there are a lot of reasons. And just a few stats (as of when we’re recording this because this changes so often) LinkedIn has 722 million users, so that’s already 163 million in Europe alone. It is where people hang out. So you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities If you aren’t on LinkedIn. Also, people sometimes say to me ”Look, my clients are not on LinkedIn.” I doubt that. I absolutely doubt that. I mean, there are dog walkers on LinkedIn. Look, everybody is on LinkedIn! And I don’t mean every single person, but in every single profession there are people on LinkedIn. I mean, when you set up your profile, you can choose an industry. And there’s a list with like 148 industries. But even still, the industry that matches me most is called professional training and coaching. Now, obviously, that’s only one of the 148 industries, but how many different kinds of people, professions, jobs… fall into a category. So really, I think everybody’s on there that’s a professional at work. It’s the quickest and easiest way to get exposure, to build your expertise. And the other thing is: if like me, and you’re not very good at networking in person…
Petchy: I’m raising my hand here, I’m just the same.
Petra: And it’s funny because people think I’m an extrovert because I love public speaking. Absolutely love it. I tend to forget to prepare, you know, I just do it. Training, workshops… put me in front of a group, the bigger the better. No drama. If you start talking to me, I’m a very chatty person, but I never take that first step because that scares the shit out of me! And that’s another thing where you can use LinkedIn. Because now a lot of it is online, but what do I do if I go to an in-person networking thing? I look up if there’s a list of the people attending, and if there is… I’ll look all of them up on LinkedIn the night before. If they’re already connected I’ll send them a message: “Hey, I see, we’re both going tomorrow. It’ll be so good to see you again!” or “It’s so good to finally meet you in person!” if we’re not yet connected. Because most people go to networking things and then afterwards connect with people. But I do it the night before and I send a message that says “Hey, I see we’re both going there tomorrow. Just thought I’d say hello here. How about we connect now and then let’s say hello tomorrow.” Because there’s always people that are not so scared as you and I are, and they’ll come up to me and say “Oh, you’re Petra! Thank you so much for your lovely message last night.” and they start talking and I don’t have to walk up to strangers – because they come up to me.
Petchy: That’s a genius idea. It’s like a very early icebreaker.
Petra: And it’s way less scary.
Petchy: Yeah, if you’re like me… if you’re listening and you’re like me or Petra and you go to real life events (when we’re not in the midst of a global pandemic, that is!) and you find it scary… just know, you know… you’re not alone. There’s more of us, and there are ways to handle it.
Petra: Yeah, and the other thing is of course: You could skip those networking things altogether if you just use LinkedIn. It is so easy on LinkedIn to become really visible for your knowledge and expertise. And it doesn’t take very long. You can write short little posts, we’re hearing bits of your expertise. I actually tend to say if you want to spend a little time on LinkedIn, the real power is in commenting. I even set up a mini course the other day about building your brand one comment at the time, because when you post something, you still depend on the algorithm and who is online if people are actually going to see it. But if you comment, you pretty much shove yourself in someone’s face: “Hello, I’m here!” And if you do that in a nice way, if someone posts something and you add value to that in your comment. If someone wrote a really interesting article, don’t like it. Liking kills your brand. While we’re talking about branding, listen up, people I’ll say it again. Liking kills your brand. Because when you like stuff, I have to guess why you liked it. And it might be logical for you. But if I go and see a clear line in there and it seems all over the place. I’m not going to stop scrolling next time I see your face because I have no idea what’s gonna happen, what you want to do. You want the people in your network, and not everybody because you connect with more people, but the people in your network that connected with you because of your expertise… those people need to stop scrolling as soon as your face pops up. Blindly. They just immediately need to think ”Ah, Petchy! This is gonna be about branding. I’m going to read this. This is gonna be good.” without even thinking about what they’re going to read. With liking you don’t get that. The other thing is, if you like something the person has posted, they might see it. But the other people that see that post don’t see you. Whereas if you comment, they see your face. They see the first part of your headline and they see your actual comment. This is what I said earlier, that my headline goes against all my own advice because every time you comment, people see the first part of your headline. So ideally, that bit should make it immediately clear what you do and who for. But then again, in my case, the first part is so crazy that I commented once and someone liked my comment. Saw a bit of my headline, clicked through to my profile. Read my profile. Thought “Yep, my kind of person!”, connected, started following me – and two months later, I was training both directors of their company. So that is how easy it can be to get business through LinkedIn.
Petchy: Yeah, but that intro of yours… It is a scroll-stopper. We have to say that. What I found on LinkedIn is that it’s becoming increasingly more enjoyable the more of my kind of people I connect with there. And in the last six months to a year, I have connected with a lot of like minded people. And people who are very much in the same mindset and have the same personality, not necessarily doing the same kind of things in the same kind of business sphere. Just, you know, people I would happily go out for a drink with or, you know, just people I would hang out with outside of LinkedIn as well. And that has made my LinkedIn experience a lot more fun and has made me want to spend more time on LinkedIn because we end up now commenting on each other’s posts because we recognise that you know “Hey this is someone I’ve had a conversation with before. I like this person. I like what they write, I like what they bring to the table. Let me go in and comment there and have a conversation with them.” And that’s been a revelation to me in the last year or so that, you know, LinkedIn can actually be fun.
Petra: Absolutely. I mean there are 722 million people there, you know. We’re not all the same, and the interesting bit is that you say that now you’re connecting with the right people for you, it becomes more fun. Because too often I hear complaints of people openly posting about how “LinkedIn is going down the drain. You know, there’s all this rubbish on my feed…” and this and that. Well, if there’s so much rubbish on your feed, why did you connect with these people? You built that network, you connected with them. You know… you’re only seeing this stuff because it’s people in your network posting it. And so there’s a few things there. I do advocate large networks because like you say, commenting also means that post then gets exposure to your network. So obviously: the bigger your network, the more likely people engage with it, the bigger your second degree network becomes. And that’s where the real power is, right? Because if you keep a very small network and only connect with people that you know really well… actually you don’t even need LinkedIn if you already know them really well. You can refer each other so easily. But the other thing is, if you connect with people because you’re hoping they might comment on your stuff, or they might follow you. Maybe they’ll become a client one day. But the way they use LinkedIn doesn’t really resonate with you, because maybe they just post funny memes all the time – or people who post really great stuff, but it is not stuff that you’re interested in. It is extremely relevant to their clients. Their network… you can then just when they post something, click the three dots in the top right corner of their post and you can unfollow that person. So then you’re still connected, but you don’t see their stuff. So you can really clean up your timeline. I think LinkedIn is about to make a change there, I have no idea when and since we’re airing this a month later… I say click the three dots and you can unfollow, but I’ve seen screenshots from people where it doesn’t say “unfollow”, it says “mute”. But the good thing is, if this thing I’ve seen, if they’re going to roll that out… at the moment if I’m connected to Petchy, and you comment on someone else’s post – then I get to see that you commented on that. But suppose you had commented on some influencer’s post and I think “I don’t want to see your stuff. You’re not my style.” then I can not connect with that person, I can unfollow them… I can do whatever I want, but if my network keeps engaging with them, I keep seeing it. At the moment, if you comment on it I can only unfollow you. I don’t want to unfollow you, but I don’t want to see that stuff. What this new thing with the mute will do is that if you comment on something and I click on the three dots I get the option to mute you or that other person that you commented to.
Petchy: That’s beautiful. Because then you can start to curate your feed and make sure that you get more of what you like, I guess?
Petra: Yes. So I’m excited about that. Look, I haven’t got it yet, but I saw it when I was working with a client. Because I kept talking about unfollowing and he’s like “There’s no unfollow, there’s mute” – and he shared his screen and I was like “This is good.” But the thing is, what you just said about now that you have more like minded people you find it easy to engage with each other and to comment on each other’s posts. There are two things I have to say there: One thing is, when you post something; the algorithm doesn’t show it to every person in your network. And just as well… because, you know, once we start getting bigger, networks we’d get overwhelmed. But what it does, and although they never tell us about the algorithm… we do know that it shows it to a small part of your network. And then if within the first two hours those people that actually see it comment, like click show more… then the algorithm says “Okay, so this must be valuable content. We’re going to show it to a broader audience.” If this happens often enough, then your starting bucket is already bigger. Some people think “Okay, so let’s just have a small group (they’re called pods) and they sort of have this thing where I have a little group, a little pod and as soon as someone posts something they send the link of all the others and everyone agrees to comment within the first hour. That it’s another thing that will absolutely kill your brand. Because suddenly you’re commenting willy nilly in all kinds of topics that may or may not be related to your expertise, to your brand, etcetera. And the latest algorithm change (October 2020) is cueing into this more – so a post that has all a lot of comments and all these comments are just “Well done! Great job! Good post!” The algorithm will think “This is a crap post. We’re gonna give you less exposure.”
Petchy: Because they’re just like auto generated?
Petra: Even if they’re not. But it is meaningless. So always make sure your comment is more than two or three words, but also… Comments are gold. That deep place where you can share a little bit more of your expertise. But you can start a conversation, so it would be silly to… if you read a really interesting article. Don’t say “Great article!” – get a point from that article and comment on that, and always do it in a way that it relates to your area of expertise. And when I say always, I mean nine times out of 10. There’s always going to be a bit of fluff around because we’re all human.
Interesting… I say Interesting, because that’s pretty common on other social networks as well. What I’ve done a lot in the last year or two is to try and add value in the comments that I add to other people’s content, and when people ask questions or they ask for input. What I have found is that, yes it’s a kind of marketing that takes a long time, but once you start to see the results from it and you get those real connections it’s a really solid connection. It’s quality over quantity, I feel.
Yeah, and that’s the thing. I’m glad you said that. It is a long term strategy and it is work. It is part of your marketing, and because it’s a long term strategy and because you have to put some time into it, it has to be fun. I don’t necessarily mean like ha ha, funny and rolling around, having so much fun but you need to enjoy it. And so it’s easy for me to say “If you just put 30 minutes a day, five days a week into LinkedIn, you’ll see how quickly a reputation grows.” But if 30 minutes a day, five days a week, just the thought of it is draining. If it does, then do it twice a week, find what works for you.
Petchy: If it feels like a chore, you’re not going to do it.
Petra: Yes, absolutely. And LinkedIn is only gonna work if you make it work. And this is also something… when I work with clients… where I’ve worked with people one on one or more in a small group programme. The reason that even in the small group programme I start off with a one on one session with each participant is because I want to figure out when we work on a strategy: what is gonna work for you on different levels? I mean just totally practical; what is going to fit in your calendar and your schedule? How much time can you dedicate to it? How much time can you spend so it doesn’t feel like a chore, but it’s still fun? But that also depends on what you are going to do. You hear a lot these days about video. All the way we need to do video. Sure, but if you’re uncomfortable doing video, then you’re not going to do it. You know, some people say “I want to do more written posts, but I am useless at writing.” Okay. Well, call a friend, talk about your work, record the call and then transcribe it. You need to really think about it as if you are talking to your ideal dream client. How would you answer them? These conversations can be broken down into either a written post or a video or images… or anything. So find what works for you. You know, there’s so much out there in general, in life, in business… about getting out of your comfort zone, and you have to challenge yourself or you’re never getting anywhere… I don’t believe that. I believe that I am successful. I have clients on five continents because I really honed in on the things that I absolutely love doing. Because I love doing it, I’m comfortable with it. It’s where I get my enthusiasm, and that’s why I get good at it. It’s why I get results for clients and they talk about me and that’s snowballs. Sure, sometimes you can challenge yourself a little bit and try something. But the other day I had a client, in my membership. Which is sort of a low key thing. You know, it’s not a very high fee. And then every week I put a quick training video in there and a worksheet and then a bit of a challenge. Just to keep people on their toes and to not have the one set training. But it’s all the different aspects. And so one week my challenge was for people to do video. And one person said “I never wanted to do a video, but I thought I should give it a go because you know… having watched the video it sounded like a great idea. I went for it, tried it, recorded it, I absolutely hated it.” And that is totally cool. Because then, you know, that is where I say “Okay I may step out of my comfort zone to try something.” But I do not believe in pushing through. I believe in trying things to find out where you’re in your element, because that’s what you want to see on LinkedIn. And that comes back to what you said earlier. What you do online, people build their impression about who they think you are. And when you then hop on a call or meet them, it has to feel like they’ve known you for years.
Petchy: Thank you. I can’t thank you enough for that perspective because I feel like in the online business world, we… Well, I am sick of being told how I should do things. And you’re talking to the person who started a YouTube channel because everybody said video is the big thing. And you really should. I ended it after two episodes. I hated it so much. It just wasn’t me. I didn’t want to record another video. I was making up excuses not to do it because I hated it so much. So I just decided to let it go because it was stealing all of my energy. It was making me cranky and irritable. And I thought “Well, that’s not gonna put me in a very good light, is it?” And then I discovered podcasting – and podcasting is fun!
Petra: Brilliant. If you’re going to do something that your heart isn’t in and you don’t enjoy, it’s gonna make you slightly uncomfortable and you’re gonna push through and do it anyway… then why run your own business? If you’re gonna do things you don’t enjoy, then at least go for the security that a job gives you with your annual leave and your sick pay and your benefits. And I’m not saying that working for a boss should make you miserable, but if you’re gonna do things you don’t actually enjoy, then something else needs to compensate for that, you know, and that’s either working as an employee, where you have all the securities and fewer responsibilities – or say if your two videos got an extreme exposure and your phone was ringing and you got booked solid for four months and what not. Then maybe I might have thought “Well, this is the most miserable thing I’ve ever done. But if I do it for another hour, I have two more videos. And if that’s going to book me solid for the rest of the year, maybe.” But in general, I don’t believe in that whole out of your comfort zone thing. And especially not on LinkedIn, you know? Look, a friend of my one said “Yeah, LinkedIn… you know… I love Facebook, but on LinkedIn I feel like I’ve got to put heels on.” And that’s how I started my business.
Petchy: I don’t think your friend is the only one to think that, which is also why I am loving this episode. I think it’s gonna open up the world of LinkedIn to people who otherwise maybe wouldn’t have considered it. Or maybe they’re just there with a profile, but they’re not actually active.
Petra: Yeah, that’s a thing, you know. And first of all, when you post something, the majority won’t see it. So who cares if you stuff up? And you could always go into your own post, click those three dots in the top right and hit delete. Sure, I make these mistakes that when I stay up too late and I have this brilliant idea and I post something at one or two in the morning – and then the next day I see it and quickly click the three dots and edit that all the typing mistakes or almost say “Well, that wasn’t actually my best idea.” And yeah, of course you have to be careful online because people may have already seen it and may have taken screen shots, but also don’t overthink it. You know, you can always make amends, so that’s a bit about being active. But obviously, when I say only a small percentage of your network is going to see it at first, it makes a big difference if you have 100 connections or if you have 1000 connections. But there’s another reason why I advocate large networks. When you do a search on LinkedIn and you see the results… next time you do a search, pay attention to the results because it doesn’t tell you “this many results”, it says, “showing this many results.” So that doesn’t necessarily mean those are all the results to your search. Out of 722 million members. What it is, it’s showing you the results from your network, and in this sense the network is a bit bigger. It’s your first degree connexions, then it’s all their connexions. So your second degree connections, and their connexions: your third degrees, and it’s also members of the groups that you belong to. So obviously, if you want to search for people, the bigger the network, the better. But also, the bigger your network, the more searches you can show up in.
Petchy: This is interesting. I’ve heard people say about their LinkedIn presence that “Oh, I don’t want to connect to that person. I deleted their connection request because I haven’t done any business with them or I don’t know them.” And I think that goes back to what you spoke a little bit about at the beginning of the episode: if you already know them you don’t really need them on LinkedIn.
Petra: Yeah, and that’s it, you know. And I really believe that the people that you may already know… if you connect with them on LinkedIn and they regularly see your content, you stay top of their mind. But there is so much more. You know, if one person comments on something then others will see it. There’s this theory about the six degrees of separation, how we are connected. That we know every single person in the world in six steps. You know, whatever way I go that every single person in the world they say is only six steps away from me. LinkedIn uses that same principle, except they only go three steps: the 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections. OK, quick little anecdote: I went to a birthday once. I live in the Netherlands and the standard birthday parties are a bit boring. You come in, you sit down in the living room, the seats all form a big circle, depending on how many people are there. You know, you get a coffee or a piece of cake. Depending on the time of the day, later on you might get a beer… But you’re pretty much stuck. It’s not like people are hovering in the kitchen, people are in a circle, so you can only talk to people next to you. A lot of common topics are obviously talking about the weather. And when you’re finished talking about the weather you find something else to complain about, right, complaining always works. So you’re sitting there stuck between people you don’t know and that don’t have any related interests. What can you talk about? Well, the gutter on the house was leaking and the plumber came to fix it. But a week later, when it rained… turned out it wasn’t fixed. And then this lady says that her son in law just started his own plumbing business and she’ll get him onto it because he only just started his business. He’ll come back over and over again to make sure it’s properly fixed, because he needs to build his reputation. Now, I would have never known that my next door neighbour has a friend,who has a daughter who has a fiancee who just started his own plumbing business. On LinkedIn this is so much easier because I said it here to the person next to me, and it may have been 10 people in the living room, but if I say on LinkedIn that “Hey, I need a good plumber in Amsterdam” there might be hundreds of people seeing it, and obviously people also start talking behind your back in a good way: mentioning you, referring to you. So yeah, it all sort of works together. You need a network, you need to be active. So you post stuff, you comment, you do both – but for that to be seen by people, you need a network. But if that all starts to work and take off, then people are going to go to profile.And your profile then needs to be really, really convincing that you are the kind of person they’re looking for.
Petchy: And that’s when we start to think about messaging, I guess. And like what messages you put out there on LinkedIn. You know, I’ve had episodes previously on the podcast where we’ve spoken about brand messaging and brand voice. So for LinkedIn. I think this would be equally as important to bring your brand voice in through everything that you talk about on LinkedIn and how you present it and how you write about it. How you how you come across.
Petra: Yeah, and exactly what you said. That is the key when you’re writing a post or when you comment. But when it gets to your profile, there’s a few things. So first, we’re talking all the time about being the real you, and obviously part of that’s also your brand, what you do. If you have brand colours and a logo, make sure you use that in your banner. But your choice of words, your tone of voice is all part of it. And the one big thing I want to give people with their profile is: everything you’ve ever done work wise is relevant to what you do today. Some people will say, “Oh, I used to do that, and I’ve, you know, done a 180 and I’m doing something completely different.” But you know, when we look at a butterfly, it goes from being the caterpillar to being sewn up in a little cocoon, and then the butterfly comes out. That’s no way that we can say for the butterfly that it was never relevant to spend part of life as a caterpillar. So anyone who’s bored and wants to rewrite their profile, this is what you need to do: You need to sit down and really think “What do people need to know about me and believe about me to hire me? What is it that I offer today?” And then you look at every single thing in the past and think “What did I do there? What did I learn there? What have I achieved that contributes to where I am now?” And the interesting thing is, one of my most recent clients worked at a really big corporation, a brand everyone in the world knows. And there was that job there and another job, but not a company. And he said “Well, I suppose the other company doesn’t need to be there because in a way they’re related. Then it’s all just one thing?” As we were working together, it turns out that one role that he thought we could just amalgamate was the most important, because that is where we could really talk about the leadership skills and being involved with people and where he is in his life and career now. Because that was the first time where he actually also got to meet the factory workers and their families whilst being that quiet person – and that really changed a lot of the perspective. In my case, the first half of my career is all social work, and it’s working with women escaping domestic violence, and shelters, drug use, and young people that have been placed out of home. You know, that kind of stuff that may not seem relevant when I first started delivering training for teams in corporate. What I did was I rewrote every single thing to not just have the little responsibilities of that job role, but everything that relates to my role is a trainer. So it was working with people, understanding people’s needs. The question behind the question. How to facilitate people from different backgrounds or levels into one thing… all these kinds of skills; the communication skills, the support skills… All these things I translated to what I do now, so that if anyone ever reads through my whole profile, everything makes sense to what I do now.
Petchy: …Because it all leads up to where you are now, and links together.
Petra: Yeah, yeah.
Petchy: I think that’s true for most people. We are shaped by what we go through in our lives, whether that be professionally or on a personal level. And, you know, we wouldn’t be the people we are today if it wasn’t for our past. So it makes total sense not to leave stuff out. And I guess the reason why people would want to leave stuff out might be because they feel it doesn’t fit in or it gives a wrong kind of image of them?
Petra: Yeah, and it doesn’t. But sometimes that’s hard to see, and that is one of the things I love most about my one on one work or even in a small group programme, I still start off with an individual session because to talk to people and to get to a point that they really think. Then I talk to them and I often feel that all I do is feedback with people. People will say “Oh, you really put your finger on it, and I’ve never realised that and you’re so spot on” and I’m thinking “But you just told me this!” Obviously I listen differently because I’m looking for where I want to go and how to make everything relevant for that. So that is really also a reason why you want a description with every job role. The other reason is that you can then also weave in keywords that help you being found through searches. Oh, God. We could talk for days.
Petchy: I think we’ve been talking through a lot of things, and I can’t imagine why anyone listening now would not want to be on LinkedIn after this!
Petra: Hey even just to connect with me and see all my craziness.
Petchy: Yeah, definitely you should all connect with Petra. But, you know, just before we start rounding off here… for anyone listening, how do they know if LinkedIn is the right platform for them to be on?
Petra: Um, look… on the one hand, I believe it can be the right platform for everybody. Right? Because every single job is there. You can act the way you want. People can say “Oh, but I only work with children between newborn and four year olds and they’re not on LinkedIn.” True. But their parents are, you know. Yeah, but the best reason to be on LinkedIn is if you like to build genuine relationships. I mean, of course you can use advertising. That’s another side of LinkedIn. It’s just that I don’t do that. And I don’t train that because I don’t find it interesting. That aside; if you love to build and grow your business in an organic and authentic manner, by just talking about what you love talking about most (which might be your own business) in a way that’s genuine and that builds relationships, so you don’t have to do salesy posts. To pretty much be able to just always talk about what you love talking about, share your knowledge, build relationships, engage with a lot of people… and then: Ah! Client! Where did that come from? That is when you’ll really, really love it. When’s LinkedIn not for you? If you absolutely hate social media?
Petchy: I mean, they could be some people out there who absolutely loathe social media, and want to do everything in person locally. I totally get that. But: their local people are still probably going to be on LinkedIn, the people they’re going to meet in real life, right?
Petra: Of course. But if some people just don’t feel it and they don’t want to… then you don’t have to. I’d be the last person to convince anyone to useLinkedIn, I don’t want to be pulling a dead horse. You know, if you really, really don’t want to, then don’t.
Petchy: There’s no point if you don’t want to.
Petra: No, because you have to enjoy it.
Petchy: Yeah, if it feels like a chore, you’re not gonna be consistent. And if you’re not gonna be consistent, you may as well just not.
Petchy: So… if you could give our listeners today your top three tips to get started on LinkedIn, you know something that they could really get proactive with and start to implement right away. What with those three tips be?
Petra: How about instead of my tree top tips… three random tips? Because there so much to say.
Petchy: Random tips work perfectly as well.
Petra: OK. So we’ve talked a bit about your network and how size matters. So what you can do today is to sit down and think of all the people in the world that, you know – that may sound a bit big. If you’re fairly organisedI, you can have a spreadsheet, but you can also have a scrap piece of paper. Just do it in categories. Think family… is your mom on LinkedIn? And some people laugh at me, but I got a client because someone’s mom worked with me.
Petchy: Your mum is a person. You know, your mother knows people!
Petra: First, without thinking should or should I not have them in my LinkedIn network, just do a total brain dump. Who is everybody in my family, just who do I know? Friends? Who do I know? Partners? Um, which people can I remember from high school? What people could remember from my student days? You know, just do as big a brain dump as possible. And the… this is the biggest thing, this might take you, you know, an hour or two, you go on LinkedIn and you see if they’re on LinkedIn… And if they are, send them a connection request. This is actually one of the things I have in my really little course: “Seven secrets to attentively grow your network.” And one of the secrets is this. So, people, you really got something out of my training for free here. But this is the real start to fill that gap. So that is step one. You said three tips. Well, the other thing I think is what we talked about last. Your profile is not about the past. Your profile is about now and the immediate future. You’re writing it now. It doesn’t have to be like a historical document. You can even make links. So this is a thing. I work with clients and we go as far back as your education. We don’t literally write “I started this, that and that.” But we think about what really influenced me in that time. And then you can literally say “Doing my my student placement abroad I got exposed to different cultures, which gave me these insights would still influence the way I work today.” Or in your case “I quickly have to grasp the culture of a company to get the right brand”… you know, even in all the old things. So that’s tip number two. And the last tip, is just to always add value, because that is what really resonates with people. That is why they start paying attention to you.
Petchy: This has been brilliant. Thank you so much. Probably people are listening and thinking “Oh, I really want to go and connect with this brilliant LinkedIn expert.” I’m guessing they can find you on LinkedIn? And if there are any other places where you want people to go and connect with you feel free to mention those.
Petra: Yeah, obviously there’s LinkedIn. And if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, do send a personal note. Say “Hey, I listened to this podcast, and that’s why I’m reaching out to you.” So I know where you’re coming from. The other thing is, I have a Facebook group: Linkedin tips for global entrepreneurs. That is where we talk about LinkedIn stuff. And I’m even on Instagram.
Petchy: I know that you have very, very generously got a special offer just for the people listening. Tell us about that.
Petra: Yeah. The offer is because, you know, I really, really like your work. And I like being on this podcast. And I’ve known you for a while, so I know what kind of people you’ve built your community with. And I want to give something to that community. And we talked about so many things today, but we’ve also barely touched on them. So what I’ve got… I’ve got an online training to transform your profile. We just talked about how to do it, but this goes through it step by step. For three weeks, every weekday you’ll get an email telling you one thing and how to do it. It also gives you videos and worksheets. This course is normally €197. For three days you can get €100 off. So you can sign up for that course for €97 instead of €197. And then it also has a Facebook group where for each assignment, you can talk to other people if that’s your kind of thing. And you know what? That little course that I mentioned about growing your network? That’s normally €47. Why don’t we throw that in there just for free too? What do you think?
Petchy: I think that is bloody amazing, to be quite frank. For anyone listening, this is incredible value. Petra really knows her stuff. She’s the person I turn to when I wonder about something about LinkedIn, so you should go and grab this. Definitely.
Petra: Thank you so much for having me on the show. As always, I’ve enjoyed talking to you.
I hope you all enjoyed that conversation with Petra as much as I did! Until next time.
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