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How to Use Your LinkedIn Profile to Build Your Personal Brand and Connect with Clients

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Listen To The Podcast


We Talked With Karen About: 

  • Why your Linkedin profile matters and how to best position yourself on the platform
  • Insights on fostering team participation and cultivating a Linkedin presence for your firm
  • Intentional steps you can take to develop business relationships and increase qualified leads

About Karen Yankovich:

Karen Yankovich, hailed as the “LinkedIn Queen,” stands out as a digital strategist extraordinaire. With a proven track record in online marketing, Karen’s mission is to empower professionals to leverage social media as the gateway for cultivating meaningful connections and standing out in the crowd. Throughout her career, Karen has honed her focus on LinkedIn, guiding clients to navigate the platform with finesse and build their brand for future success. Her philosophy revolves around authenticity and the cultivation of a simple, powerful, and intentional strategy—a blueprint for creating a unique “brand of you.” The outcome? Her clients learn how to effectively foster relationships, create connections, and actively engage with the people they want on their calendar to increase qualified leads. 

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Full Audio Transcript

Lauren (00:04):
Karen, welcome.

Karen (00:06):
Thank you. I'm so excited to be here with you, Lauren. Thanks for having me.

Lauren (00:09):
Oh my gosh. Yeah. So in the crazy world of LinkedIn, of course, which you are more than an expert and all-star in, is where we connected and I couldn't help but reach out and just wanted to dive into this world of LinkedIn with you. We have so many clients asking us about social media platforms and how to use them and get others involved, and LinkedIn is such a goldmine. So let's just start with you. Why LinkedIn? How did you find yourself here? Tell us a little bit more before we get into it.

Karen (00:44):
Yeah, so my background predates social media a little bit. I was kind of raised in old-school marketing, right? Timeless marketing, relationship marketing. And when social media became a thing, it was a lot of fun because I really love the right brain, left brain approach to that. There's a huge relationship, right? Brain left, but also left brain. What's the strategy? How does this work? What's the tech, all that other stuff. So right up my alley. But what I found pretty quickly was I was always driving people back to LinkedIn because at the end of the day, the further we get in the world and history, the more people want to know about you. They want to know about the people they do business with, right? About 50 years ago or 40 years ago, people didn't care about the guy who sold them copiers and who he was and what he did. The guy just came in, sold them a copier, but now we care. Now we're googling people, we're checking people out before we work with them. So I was finding myself driving people back to LinkedIn because there was a time that social media in general was a big thing. It still is, obviously but when I would ask people, where do you get most of your clients from? About 99% of the time they'd say, referrals. I got my biggest accounts from referrals.

Karen (01:59):
They're spending all their marketing dollars and all their money on Pinterest or TikTok or something. And I'm not saying don't do that. I'm saying, well, let's shore up this referral thing first. Let's make sure we're getting all the juice we can out of that, and then let's expand from there because I think we can get caught up. Or I could get caught up in shiny object syndrome, and I found a lot of my clients were doing the same thing. So I started to just keep bringing people back to LinkedIn and say, okay, well first let's talk about you. Let's talk about who's on your calendar. Let's talk about the biggest opportunities, not the $5 thing to the $50 thing to the $100 thing but what's the $50,000 thing? What are the biggest opportunities? And those conversations were happening on LinkedIn. So over the years, I really niched down even further to really be able to support people with that, because I think there's a big misconception out there that LinkedIn is just the place for your online resume. Your resume is all about who you want to be. The world we live in now should be the brand of you and you should be portraying your brand into the future, dressing for the job you want. So it is really a shift in thought in the energy of how you approach LinkedIn, from it's a resume and I just shove it in front of people to this is where my personal brand lives and who are the people I have. I want cool people on my calendar. How do I make that happen? And that all happens on LinkedIn.

Lauren (03:23):
So tell us more about that, right? I feel like sometimes it can be intimidating to people. I don't even want to put myself out there. What do I even post about? Why should I post? And also privacy issues too, right? I mean, how are you helping folks to put themselves out there to get the right people on their calendar? And could you share a little bit more about that as a lead gen tool?

Karen (03:46):
Yeah. Well, first and foremost, there's a lot of people out there, and I'm sure everybody listening is shaking their heads right now going, I can get you leads, I can get you leads, I can get you leads, I can get you leads. And at the end of the day, of course, who doesn't want a magic wand to get us leads? But at the end of the day, that's not where the value is. Random, unqualified people on my calendar do not help me. So I want to just ignore that and focus on the reality of, again, back to who are the people you want to have on your calendar. So how do you take control of that? Well, the first thing you can do is take control of your brand with your profile. Having a profile that positions you as if you’re peers with the most influential people in your industry. And so many people underestimate themselves when one of the things my company does is write LinkedIn profiles. It's the first thing we do when we work with people. It's hard to write your own profile. We'll do it.

Lauren (04:41):
You're in the forest. Yeah.

Karen (04:43):
Yes. It's something you can do because when people google you and they are searching, we'll just use the word search. No matter what search engine you're using, people search if they're going to invest in you in any way, shape, or form, even if it's 10 minutes of their time to get on a call with you, they're checking you out first. And you can control what they see by creating a LinkedIn profile that positions you as somebody who they're like, wow, I really do want to get to know this person. And it's not about bragging, it's more about owning all the things you've done. So many people I speak to come to where they are today with many, many years of expertise.

But often they're in a new thing, maybe it's a new job, maybe they were incorporated in, now they're starting their own consulting firm or something. So they don't necessarily feel like they have the experience or they don't necessarily feel like they have, maybe there's a little imposter syndrome, but they've got that expertise that doesn't go away. So we help them craft a profile so they're leaning into that expertise and showing they're worthy of these conversations. Because before you can be worthy of people's investment, you have to be worthy of the conversation, right? So being really, I like to call it micro-targeted with that, not 100 times, five maybe a week.

With five people you'd love to see on your calendar by the end of the month, and reaching out to 20 people to see if we can get five of them on the calendar. Never in a cold calling way, oh, there's never a reason to do cold call with this. It's just shifting your strategy from throwing a lot of spaghetti at the wall to seeing what sticks, to just taking a step back, taking a beat and saying, well, how do I get to this person? Who do they know that I know? Maybe we went to the same conference. Maybe for example, Lauren, maybe somebody has been listening to your show, connect with Lauren on LinkedIn and say, Hey, Lauren, loved episode 52, blah, blah, blah. Loved me talking about this or not. That's such a great way to build a relationship with you if they think you are somebody they want to have on their calendar. So find ways to do that but you'll take them more seriously if they come to you with a profile that's been done first.

Lauren (06:52):

Karen (06:53):
Otherwise, if it's like dust bunnies are on it, you're not going to be so quick to say, sure, let's talk. You're going to be like, no.

Lauren (06:59):
That's right. If it's cold, even if it's a warm outreach, people are going, wait, who is this person? Is this the right fit? That's such a great point too. I feel like there's the immediate, we have to fix our website, we have to do all these things but as someone who's potentially doing business development and using LinkedIn as a tool, I don't want to call it an easy quick fix but I liked what you said earlier about you're really owning it, right? And you're really putting that energy out there to really show off what you've done. But then this idea of giving that facelift to your profile, if you will, but then really doing that warm outreach, it's not about this massive piece.

Karen (07:33):
But also Lauren, it's really important to remember too that when you're creating your profile and the brand of you that you're projecting into the future, people don't really care about you. They care about what you could do for them. So an example I use, and those of you who are listening who have licenses around this are going to say, I can't say that, but I'm going to say it anyway. And you modify this, but if you say, I'm a financial planner and I've got all these great letters after my name, you are just like everybody else on LinkedIn. But if you say, I'm a financial planner with all these great letters after my name, and my goal is to help more women over 50 create enough wealth to retire at 60, right? You're telling me the same thing but you're telling me about you, but you're making it about me. That's right. And now you're going to be like, okay, tell me more about that. Right? You're standing out from the crowd, and in this world that we live in right now, it's so noisy. The digital space is so noisy. If you don't stand out, you're invisible. So you have to stand out. And one way is by thinking about the people you want to attract to your profile. What do they care about? And that's what I want you to put forward when you're creating the profile; you still make it about you but couch it in a way that it's telling me why I should care about that.

Lauren (08:41):
Yes. So it sounds like that's an opportunity for improvement you're seeing as a common thread. Are there other things you see as common tripwires folks are coming into when you're looking at their presence on LinkedIn and opportunities for improvement?

Karen (08:56):
Yeah, yeah. Well, it's interesting. We've been algorithmed to death, right? The algorithm changes what we post, we post 100 times, we post, and I don't know it somehow all gets melded in this, what is an algorithm placed in this cloud in the sky, right across all different profiles. The thing about LinkedIn that has been consistent, and it can change the minute these words come out of my mouth but the thing that's been consistent about LinkedIn is the algorithm favors people who have a more focused approach to their content.

In fact, if you post more than once a day, LinkedIn will reduce the reach of your posts. So don't worry, don't overthink this. It's all part of being genuine. Just be genuine. You don't have to have this big complicated posting strategy. If you have a piece of content you could publish every week or whatever that looks like for you, talk about it on Monday, talk about it on Wednesday. On Tuesday, put something out there that says, have we met yet? Let's talk. Let me tell you more about me on Thursday. Maybe post a question. And that's it. You're good. You don't have to have this really complicated content strategy on LinkedIn. You want to have an intentional content strategy on LinkedIn but it doesn't have to be complicated and extensive. It can be simple and powerful, and you can now schedule a post directly into LinkedIn. So you can pick a half an hour once a week and schedule a couple posts and you're done for the week. And now you just go in and be you and engage and start to build relationships.

Lauren (10:35):
Can you talk a little bit more about the engagement piece? What are you encouraging folks to do? Is it direct messaging that's authentic? Is it just engaging on posts? I mean, of course I would assume it's driven by the end goal but I'd love to hear a little bit more about that and what advice you're giving to folks.

Karen (10:53):
Well, I mean, listen, imagine yourself in a room, like a networking room. This is networking. So if you're in a room and you're networking and all you're doing is standing on stage with a microphone saying, listen to my podcast, watch my thing, nobody's listening. After a while they're like, oh, here she comes again. She's going to tell us about a podcast, more noise. Nobody wants to talk to that person, the people who are interested in them. So schedule some content and then engage with the people on that content. But at the same time, again, I talked about being intentional. If you've got a list of five people you want to talk to before the end of the month, make sure that you're like, there's an opportunity. Everything we'll talk about here is in the free version of LinkedIn. There's an opportunity in the free version of LinkedIn to ring their bell.

And what that means is there's a bell underneath my headline, and if you click that bell, that means anytime Karen posts, you'll be notified of that post. So if those are five people you want to get on your calendar, then ring their bell so when they post, you're notified of it and you can jump into those conversations and you can just be a part of their world and provide them value and support them and share their stuff and engage with them. When you're doing this, if you think of one great opportunity for yourself, just one great opportunity, let's say, I'm not even going to pick a dollar amount but let's say it's a $10,000 or $100,000 opportunity, something juicy. Just think of like, okay, that's it. I'm solely focused on that. Who are the people I need to get that and then land that and then do it again?

Do you know what I mean? So you don't have to talk to a thousand people to do that. You just need to think about who very specifically are the right people to speak to about this? Ring their bell. So you get notified when they post and jump into those conversations. And if the people you want to speak to are not on LinkedIn, find new people. Know what I mean? There's plenty of people on LinkedIn. So people say, well, my people aren't on LinkedIn. I'm like, how many people do you need? There are a lot of people on LinkedIn.

Lauren (12:46):
There's a lot of people. Yes.

Karen (12:48):
Wait, find new people. Find the people who are there and are active and be a part of those conversations. And that right there is probably a big key to success. And being a part of those conversations doesn't mean saying “great post.” It means saying, you know what? I never thought about what you talk about in the second paragraph. Never occurred to me. I think of it this way. You do it that way. That's really interesting. I'm going to try that next time. Something like that is a true conversation. And again, you're looking to build actual relationships with people who can give you referrals. And by the way, when I say I want you to get on the phone with people, sometimes you're engaging in conversations with people who when you get on the phone with them, the conversation you want to have is, here's what I do.

Because now that's where this strategy becomes magnetic, right? We're still doing outreach but we're doing outreach to people who can send people to us because that then is slam dunk opportunities as opposed to cold pitching and cold objection handling and things like that. So conversations around, listen, you got an audience of these kinds of people, I'm looking for these kinds of people, do you have anybody I should talk to? And by the way, who are you looking for? Let me see if I can introduce you to anybody. This is world-class networking, and this is what people who are multiple seven-figure business owners are doing. They're not throwing spaghetti at the wall and talking to 100 people hoping one of them is going to be a client.

Lauren (14:19):
So with that, we've got some of our clients where it's mostly folks who are in the C-suite and they say, you've got a great sales team but we want to encourage them to use LinkedIn more. Some of them are using it, some of them aren't. Some of them really don't see the power of it. What advice would you give to that audience to be able to help encourage their team to be able to better utilize it?

Karen (14:44):
That's a good question. It's such a good question because I work with corporations and I've had corporations hire me where I've literally said no, I want to take your money but this isn't enough if you are not the company. It starts at the top. The company has to model this behavior. They have to invest in the profiles. They have to be engaging. And by the way, when I say invest in the profiles, I mean all the way down to the inside people, not just the outside people. If you're a company and part of your success is your collections, if your accounts receivable person has a great LinkedIn profile and is connecting with the people, your customers on LinkedIn, it’s a lot easier for her or him to collect that money. If they have a personal relationship. So this is what I mean by diving deep. And when companies embrace this thing and companies are coming around to this but there's still companies out there going, well, why would I pay for my team's LinkedIn profile? They're all just going to go get new jobs. That is not how this works anymore. If you invest in your team's LinkedIn profiles and make sure everybody's showing up like rock stars and they all get new jobs, it isn't because of their profiles. You know what I mean? There's something else you need to look at when you are investing in this and helping them build relationships from this place of wanting them all to be rock stars.

I believe if you focus on the company brand, of course that's important, but when you focus on the brands of the individuals in the company, it immediately elevates the company brand and they're all attached to the company page on LinkedIn. So it's not just about encouraging your people to use LinkedIn, it's about creating a company standard, maybe a company policy that says, here's what we're looking for. We post on our company page once a day, and we would love you to share two of these posts a week with your audience but with your perspective, with your point of view, encourage your clients to come to our events and use it encouraging all their employees to connect on LinkedIn with all their customers. This is how it's best used, not just use LinkedIn to get more leads.

Lauren (16:56):
Right? Yes.

Karen (16:56):
It's to deepen the relationships. You get more referrals.

Lauren (16:59):
I hear what you're saying too. We were on a chat the other day with one of our clients, and he dropped this great line that was just basically, we're all in sales. It doesn't matter if you actually are in sales but everyone on the team represents the ethos of the company and the brand to a certain degree.

Karen (17:16):
So true.

Lauren (17:17):
Especially when you're in customer service, when that's part of your core differentiator. So I feel like it's inspirational. You say it's not just about the salespeople and about sort of that face but it really is this effort across the board of how we show up and the brand consistency. But I think part of the key to that is the authenticity you were alluding to earlier, because people aren't brands. We're each an individual person.

Karen (17:42):
Exactly. And each individual profile is going to be very different from the next person's, even if they're in the exact same role because they have different experiences. So I have a quick funny story about what you're talking about with everybody in the company. Years and years ago when I owned a company, one of my clients was Aerosol shoes, and they were in New Jersey and their company policy is we sell shoes. And every time you went there, the minute you went in, the receptionist said to you, how many pairs of shoes do you need today? When you went to get to the C-suite, you had to go through the warehouse to buy their shoes. Every single person's first thing on their task list was to sell a pair of shoes today. Do you know what I mean? No matter who they were. And I've never forgotten that.

Lauren (18:24):

Karen (18:24):
Because to me it was, I mean, they're still in business how many, it's probably 30 years later, they're still in business. So it's so true but sometimes we can get in these little tunnels and forget what's at the heart of business.

Lauren (18:38):
Yes. And I mean, I feel like it goes into bigger conversations around just communicating the company ethos and brand and upsell; I mean that happens across everyone you would interact with. So I hear you in using LinkedIn as a platform to really show up in those ways across the board, not just from that inbound lead, and then being able to have that conversation.

Karen (19:03):
And we have this tool now that we didn't have 20, 30 years ago. People will leave the company they're at, go to a different company and then come back to you and say, hey, I worked with you guys when I was at ABC company. I'm now at XYZ company and they need to know how great you are. But that will only happen if you're connected, if they know if you're communicating. And honestly, you have to do it from a place of confidence in your team and the people who work for you. If you do it from a place of, I'm afraid they're going to leave and do something else and bring my clients with them, that's the wrong energy.

Lauren (19:39):
Yeah, I hear what you're saying. It's the wrong place to be operating from.

Karen (19:42):

Lauren (19:43):
So to sort of deviate the conversation a little bit, we talked a little bit about the algorithm, and I feel like so many folks have questions about that, and I absolutely hear you on being authentic. Is there anything, just to help folks understand the algorithm about how it works, are there any differences you could talk to from the company page versus an individual page or anything like that? Just because it is a beast and it sort of feels like a very black box. So I'd be curious to get your thoughts on that and if that impacts any ways people show up or don't to gamify it.

Karen (20:16):
No, no, I get it. So there's your company page and then there's your personal profile, right? I teach this stuff. So I happen to have a lot of connections on my personal profile because I teach this stuff, right? Let's say there's like, I don't know, 15 or 18,000 connections I have on LinkedIn. Personally, I don't have 500 on my company page.

I say that because a lot of people put a lot of time and effort into their company page, say, how do we make it work? The vast benefit of LinkedIn is the personal profiles, the relationships. It doesn't mean you don't want to use your company page—you absolutely want to use your company page but you need to manage your expectations around what you're going to do with that company page. The company page is great to be the hub of content for your team. It's a great place for all your team to be connected so all your employees can be found through your company page and things like that. So you want to set it up properly. You can use your company page to advertise. There's now an opportunity to boost posts of the employees and their personal pages if they choose to allow it. So there's a lot of interaction between the two. But understand the vast benefit comes from the personal profile and the company page. You've got to really be careful too, because you don't know who's posting on the company page. If you give access to the company page to everyone, you don't know who posted it.

You just know somebody posted it. So you have to be careful with who you give access to that to. And I speak to nonprofits and things that might have a board and give access to a lot of people. And then you're like, wait a minute, what are they posting on this page? This is not really relevant to what we do. It's more relevant to their personal thing.

So just be really careful that you have a strategy around the company page and post there consistently. You don't have to post there regularly but post there consistently so it looks like people know you're active. You probably can copy and paste from your website to get that set up. If you haven't set it up yet, you absolutely want to do it. But then your strategy really is around and how do we use the information there? How do we have the people use the information there? Because if I post on my personal page, potentially those 15 to 18,000 people will see it. If I post on my company page, the most potential I have is that couple hundred people on it are going to see it. So if you've only got 25 people on your company page, you can post there all you want but nobody's going to see it besides those 25 people unless your team is sharing it and you're trying to grow the visibility of that page.

Lauren (22:40):
Yeah, such good advice. Appreciate that insight. It's great. I know we're wrapping up here. I feel like it's just flown by. It always does. This is a great conversation and I'm excited to continue to follow all you've got going on. I know you talked recently, I think it was at Finovate, the conference, was it a few weeks ago or so? And then I know you do, is it your Thursday LinkedIn, the miniseries? 

Karen (23:04):
That's been daily. I've been doing it daily for September, October. It's a new thing. I'm always testing things so I can share. So I decided I wanted to do some daily videos. I did one every day in September, and now I'm doing it every day in October. Well, we'll see how long it lasts. But it's been a lot of fun and it's been an interesting experiment for me, and I'm really loving it in a lot of ways. I don't know that I would recommend it. It's certainly not something I'm going to do forever. It doesn't make sense. But I'm always testing, again, testing the algorithm. And I think the benefit of that is going to be less about the daily posting and more about having that daily list of content. But I do have a weekly podcast also. Good Girls Get Rich.

Lauren (23:47):
Oh my goodness. So fun. So with that, I know we mentioned right before the call that you also have a LinkedIn marketing sort of personal style assessment for how you would personally be a good fit to what's the right style for you? Is that right? For how to engage?

Karen (24:03):
Yeah. So what I found was sometimes we don't realize we're speaking in a silo to the same people. And the people who listen to my podcast or the people who are in my world right now, they kind of already know how to get started on LinkedIn. They've been following me. So I really wanted to have something that people who are just like Karen, I know there should be something I could do but I don't even know where to start, so I just do nothing. So we created an assessment very recently over the summer in 2023 to help you get started. Some people are more analytical and they're more comfortable talking about white papers and other people are more relational, relationship based. So we created a What's Your LinkedIn Marketing Style? assessment you can take. And it'll give you some tips on things to focus on that are your strengths but also maybe some things to watch out for that might be your weaknesses. And just to get you started, I want people to just dip their toe in. I know at this moment in time, this is where the opportunity is in digital marketing, and it breaks my heart a little bit how many people are leaving money on the table; they don't know where to start. So we created this assessment to help you understand how you can take the first couple steps and just tiptoe into it and see how you're feeling.

Lauren (25:14):
Oh, great. Well make sure to include the link below in case folks want to check it out. This has been really fun. Thanks for giving us a sneak peek into your world and sharing knowledge about this platform. And there's some really great takeaways—just looking at your profile and making sure you're owning that platform. So thank you again.

Karen (25:36):
Exactly. And on my podcast and on these mini marketing minis I'm doing, there's tons of free tips for your profile there.

Lauren (25:42):
Perfect. And for those of you who are listening, we'll make sure to include those links below, and we'll include Karen's LinkedIn profile as well. Thanks again. Awesome.

Karen (25:50):
Thanks, Lauren.