Julie Mason - Leveraging Linkedin
Julie is a passionate LinkedIn expert and specialises in creating strategies that promote your brand, enhance your reputation and generate big money leads for your business.
Julie has over 25 years experience in traditional sales and 15 years in door-to-door cold calling prior to discovering social media and starting to use those tools to build two successful businesses herself using the methods she now teaches others.
In the past 12 months Julie’s clients have generated over $1,000,000 using simple strategies that are proven to work. Whether to position yourself as an authority in your niche or to generate quality leads and sales, Julie has a strategy that will be tailored for your business needs.
Her Story – Julie Mason
My background is in sales having spent 25 years in it, with 15 of those being in door to door cold calling across Melbourne and Brisbane. It was around 10 years ago that I first noticed a real shift in the way that people were responding to me when I was cold calling them. I noticed that the industry was utilising much more internet activity, that everyone was developing business websites and the online realm as a marketplace had started to become more mainstream. It was this realisation that influenced me to look more closely at how online marketing was working and I delved into learning all about websites and Search Engine Optimisation. It was at this point someone introduced me to all the amazing social media tools that we now have such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Upon seeing them for the first time I started salivating, especially upon looking at Linked in and seeing how immediately I would now be able to get in touch with the decision maker of a company instead of havening to go through all the gate keepers as I had been doing for the last 15 years of cold calling.
I was studying successful Facebook pages and profiles, looking at what was working effectively on Linked in and focusing on how businesses were utilising Twitter. I found that business’s optimisation of Twitter declined rather rapidly so I spent little time focusing on it. Instead I looked at the other major social networking platforms and asked myself ‘how can we use these?’
From learning how to both develop and effectively utilise websites I went on to start my own boutique web design business, I was really into this space and was able to use what I had learnt about the social media platforms to benefit my own business. I was using Facebook and LinkedIn to generate leads and was managing to generate a couple of grands worth of business every week for 10-15 minutes work a week; I thought that this was sexy stuff.
People around me began to ask what I was doing on social media and why it was working so well for my business, so I started teaching it. I evolved from being a web designer into a social media ‘expert’, focusing more so on the education side and teaching people how to really use these tools. It was during teaching that I was nicknamed the social media princess which is something I haven’t been able to shake since and which I have now adopted as my business name.
As I was teaching across all of the different platforms I noticed that all of my clients were getting great results on LinkedIn than any other platform, they were getting greater returns much more quickly than on Facebook where the leads often took more time and often saw client’s obtaining a much more favourable pricing point. The impressiveness of these results motivated me to focus solely on LinkedIn, especially as there were not many people focusing on it as this stage. I have been focusing on LinkedIn alone for the last 3 years now and have found that clients are still getting amazing results from it.
I studied the platform and applied the learning myself as much as I could, I have read 15 physical books written aboutLinkedIn and an untold number of eBooks, as well as thousands of blog posts over the years . I have now been teaching it for 6 years in total and have been utilising it for 8 years myself. I still find that I am constantly learning, I believe that the day you think you know everything is the day you die. In this space you need to be continually learning as these platforms constantly change, you can’t stop as they aren’t going to stop, they aren’t going to stay still. Businesses need to evolve their use of the platforms around the evolvement of the platforms themselves.
There are two distinct purposes for which you can utilise LinkedIn; firstly to advance your career and secondly to generate business leads and sales. There are however some basic principles that apply regardless of which purpose you are utilising LinkedIn for. Your profile photo needs to be a nice shot of your head and shoulders with no distracting background and which focuses solely on who you are as a person. You should be looking down the barrel of the camera with a smile on your face in order to create an energy that connects with people who view your profile. Under your photo should be your name and a title. I recommend that people put their value proposition as their title as people viewing your profile are going to be less concerned with the title of your current role and more concerned with what it is that you can do for them.
Every profile should then have a summary, while LinkedIn will tell you to write your story; you need to keep in mind that when people read your profile they will be doing so with the question in their mind of ‘what can this person do for me?’ To answer their question your summary shouldn’t be framed in terms of ‘I have’ and ‘I am’, instead it needs to be focused more on the people or the companies that you have helped as this shows what you can do for others. For example if you were job hunting your summary would be along the lines of the value that you bring to your current employer and clients that you work with, the problems that you are great at solving and how solving them benefits people. Remember that you have 2000 characters to play with so you don’t have to skimp or be brief.
Your profile should always have a call to action at the bottom of your summary, telling people exactly what you want people to do in order to get in touch with you; you might want people to call you directly, you might want to lead them to a website where they prefill in a quote form or download something or you might prefer for them to send an email. If you simply provide a phone number and email address and they have a choice, they won’t be sure of what they should do and you will find that you will have lower conversion rates; you need to be very specific about how you want people to contact you
Using LinkedIn to advance your Career path
My first piece of advice for those using LinkedIn for career progression purposes is to try to avoid just doing your standard resume on your LinkedIn profile. Here, the product that you are selling is essentially you, so you really want to focus on your strong points. There is a proven formula that I recommend to people when writing about their past experiences. You need to keep in mind that even if you are changing roles or career paths entirely, you are still you. That you generally still have the same ethics and morals that you had 10-15 years ago and we continue to carry these with us even through the average four career changes during our life. What you want to do is to tie your past to your present in your description, by following this formula-
The first paragraph for each of your previous roles should be a brief paragraph which provides context about the company that you worked for, the aim is to put context around the name of that company and what that company did, keep in mind you are not trying to sell the company.
In the second paragraph you need to talk about the role that you had in that organisation, in a conversational way rather than just in bullet points.
The third paragraph is about the greatest achievements that you had in that role. Australians tend to worry about tall poppy syndrome and try to avoid bragging, but we should be proud of and share the work that we do. These might be personal achievements or company based achievements such as having won a big contract for the company or you transforming one of their systems. List your achievements whether or not the company or your manager specifically acknowledged them.
The fourth paragraph should detail what skills you learnt in that role that will allow you to serve clients or the people that you work with at a higher level today. The skills that you bring with you to a new role that make you a better employee and a better person now. It is this paragraph that allows you to tie the past with the present.
Using LinkedIn to generate business leads & sales
Often writing about ourselves or even our own businesses is one of the hardest thing to do, I recommend that people follow the formula for lead generation that I utilise on my own LinkedIn profile.
Paragraph one is the ‘identify’ paragraph, you should identify the problems that you are an expert at solving and what problems your ideal client’s have which you are an expert at solving.
Paragraph two needs to motivate people to take action, we do this by holding the merit up to them about that problem and what it is costing them to stay in that problem. You need to stir their emotions around what it is it costing them financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Paragraph three then needs to offer the solution, after stirring up the emotions surrounding the problem you need to provide them with hope in knowing that it can be solved. You need to offer a solution to the problem in a contextual form, not the methodology of how you will go about solving it step-by-step but the context of what the solution is.
Paragraph four needs to provide them with the proof that the solution you are proposing will actually work.
Paragraph five focuses on your credibility, you need to provide the reader with a reason as to why they should choose you over any other person in this area.
And of course, as mentioned above, your summary needs to conclude with a call to action.
The value of understanding LinkedIn
The value of LinkedIn speaks for itself given that there are more professionals on it than any other platform, Linked in boasts that every CEO, COO, CFO, CMO of every fortune 500 company of the world is on it, so it is definitely a valuable business network not to be taken lightly.
There are 7.4 million Australians on LinkedIn alone, with 440 million users worldwide and of those only around 11% know how to use it effectively. LinkedIn is so much more dynamic than a resume holding website; they have instigated features such as the Influencer Program and opportunities to create published content to change it from a resume holding site to a business content hub.
We have more affluent and more educated people on LinkedIn than on any other network, the rule of thumb being that the more people you are connected to on LinkedIn the greater your income will be because of the opportunities that you have. There are only 500 influencers nominated by LinkedIn every year which means that you have to either have a great media presence or be pumping out amazing content which is bringing people back to your profile in order to be classed as an ‘influencer’.
One of the key things to keep in mind when utilising LinkedIn is that you want to build your connections and a really strong network, you don’t meaningfully connect by just hitting the blue button as many times as you can a day, you need to be building relationships and brand awareness around you, people buy people, people buy relationships so when you connect build relationships with people. If you are on the desktop version of LinkedIn, when you want to connect with somebody, you go to their profile and when you press connect a little box will come up asking how you know the person, always choose we have done business together. They won’t see that you have selected this option; you are the only person that will see what you have put in this window. Then personalise the message, don’t send the default message as it looks really lame, in writing a personal messageall you need to do is answer the question that is in their mind of ‘why is this person who I don’t know reaching out to me?’ If you can answer that question it will allow your conversion rate for your connection requests to go up dramatically, it can be as something as simple as mentioning that you are both members of a number of the same groups or that you see that you share common interests, itdoesn’t need to be a big pitch.
If you are on the app version of LinkedIn then when you go on their profile, you will see that there are three little dots in the top right hand corner. Click on these dots which will bring up drop down menu and one of the options is to personalise your connection message. This is my big tip if you are on the career path; you need to make that good first impression, which you can do by showing them that you know how to use LinkedIn above the 89% who don’t know how to use it properly.
LinkedIn is also a great way to connect with people who have common interests whether they be business related or not, groups attract people with familiar interest and like the old adage goes birds of the feather flock together. There are 2.3 million groups on LinkedIn from large groups for IT professionals and HR professionals all the way to the more obscure groups such as a group for people who love abandoned houses which had 13 members the first time I stumbled across it and now has over 300.
If for example you wanted to break into the mining industry, there are groups around job availabilities for mining professionals, there are groups for mining in Australia alone so there are groups that you can used to find opportunities and create brand awareness
A lot of companies only advertise their jobs on LinkedIn now; it is a vibrant job board. You can subscribe to receive job alerts for various jobs that you are looking for and can do advance searches on these to look for jobs in a certain location or within a certain company.
Advice to self and others
The best piece of advice that I have for people looking for new careers is that you are in charge of your own destiny so take that destiny by the horns, grab it with both hands and drive it the way you want to go. I would recommend that you make a list of the top 10 companies you would like to work for, be intentional about who you would want to work for and then start to build connections with the people who have the power to get you a job within those companies. Connect with the HR manager, connect with the department manager and start to build relationships, don’t hound them for a job but show them that you are a person of value, express your interest in working for them but don’t be pitching for a job every time that you speak to them.
In relation to LinkedIn specifically something that I say to people often is ‘Linked in is not a resume holding site, it is a relationship building site, that can transform your career, your business and your life if you actually utilise it correctly. Understand that it is not just a profile, that behind the profile is an actual person with the ability to help your dreams come true. If you treat it with that in mind, it is amazing what will happen.’
One of my favourite books is by Neil Shaver, who is part of Windmill Networking, Understanding, Leveraging and Maximising LinkedIn. It is a very meaty little volume, it is very comprehensive and Neil updates it fairly regularly. If you are looking to use LinkedIn for job hunting there is a book by Ron Nash around using LinkedIn to advance your career, How to LinkedIn. I think you will be able to find this on Amazon. He has really focused his intentions on helping people to develop their careers using Linked In.
I have two websites that you can check out;
Linkedsalesformula .com which is an online program that will step you through how to use LinkedIn for business, focusing on lead generation and sales which is ideal for those who work in sales or small to medium business owners. It has been built with 8 years of knowledge around LinkedIn condensed down into a very concise program with templates and coaching built into it, every month members of the program can jump online with me and have a live coaching session and can access me through our online forum. It is a very supportive program rather than a program where you are left to your own devices; I really wrap you up in support and want to make sure that you get great results through LinkedIn.
Juliemason.com.au is my personal website if you are looking for mentoring or advice, go to this website and you will be able to see how I can serve you there. I recommend requesting a complimentary strategy with me in order to get some clarity about what you are doing with LinkedIn.
The best way though that you connect with me is on LinkedIn as there is a strong chance that I will be publishing great posts from time to time, checkout the ones that I have got there already as they are awesome. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a message letting me know where you heard about me from, send me a message saying ‘Hey I was listening to the podcast of you and David from the MentorList.com’ , I would love to hear from you.