Episode 32: Leveraging LinkedIn to Build Relationships With Janice Porter
Janice Porter is all about relationships, and she specializes in cultivating them on LinkedIn as a primary business growth strategy. LinkedIn training is a huge part of Janice’s business. She believes all business professionals need to have a magnetic LinkedIn profile and that LinkedIn is THE platform for attracting new clients, strategic partners, and referrals.
In this episode, Janice explains the importance of the three Hs:
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[01:01] Deirdre Harter: For Janice, it's all about relationships. We are here to welcome Janice Porter. Now, Janice has an innate curiosity which she has leveraged into building business relationships and teaching others how to do the same. Her passion is working with people who want to build their businesses through relationship marketing and networking, and she does that using online and offline strategies.
LinkedIn training is a huge part of Janice's business success. She believes all business professionals need to have a magnetic LinkedIn profile and that LinkedIn is the platform for attracting new clients, strategic partners, and referrals. Staying connected and nurturing relationships comes next, and Janice shows clients how to implement a tangible, touch follow-up system to do just that.
Janice really values the friendships and business relationships she makes, and when she meets someone new, is always thinking, ‘How may I support you?’ And that is exactly the experience that both Carmen and I have had when we met Janice. And we are building an amazing friendship and business relationship, and we are super excited that she is here to give you guys some really excellent things that you can use to grow your business when it comes to building relationships. Welcome, Janice.
[02:34] Janice Porter: Thank you so much. Deirdre and Carmen, and I feel the same way that we are building a relationship, and who knows where it's going to go. I love the idea of collaborating with people who are like-minded and care about others. So I'm excited.
[02:50] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah. And Deirdre hit the nail on the head that we both feel the same way. You're obviously relationship-oriented, and that's what aligns really well with us because we believe in the same thing. And one thing that we're excited to bring you on to talk about leveraging LinkedIn for building relationships and growing your business, because we know that's your specialty. So can you talk about that in the context of building relationships and using LinkedIn?
[03:20] Janice Porter: Absolutely. I think that the first thing I always talk to about with my clients is why do you want to be on LinkedIn and what are your thoughts around it?
First of all, and quite often, they're on the right track, but sometimes there are people who say, well, I have to be on all the platforms, and I need to have my social media, blah blah blah blah blah. And they don't really know. They just feel the pressure of what they hear other people say. And I think there's two reasons to be on LinkedIn. One, first and foremost, is it is a business platform. It is a professional platform, and therefore, if you're in business, you want to be there.
And why? Because when anybody Googles you, which of course they're prone to do, the minute that they think they may do some work with you, your LinkedIn profile shows up really high on Google because Google indexes it that way, and it will always be in the top three usually. And you want it to be the best it can be. So that's the first thing you want to be there for that reason. But more importantly, your audience is there. So if your audience is there, if your target client potential is there, then you want to be there. And then once you've decided that, and once you have worked on creating the most optimized profile for yourself that attracts that audience or audiences, then it's what are you going to do when you're there?
So for me, I focus more on there's two pieces. One is the messaging strategies on LinkedIn, and the other is the content strategies. And I believe that there's room for both; there's probably a need for both. But my focus is always on the messaging strategies because I'm looking to build relationships with people, whether those people are going to be clients, prospects clients, or strategic business partners, or I'm just interested in what I see on their profile. And because of my innate curiosity, I want to know more because I never know where it's going to lead. And because I, too, have a podcast, it quite often leads me to possible podcast guests as well. So that's what generally I see as the potential of LinkedIn.
[05:47] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: There's so much to unpack with what you just mentioned. So I think one thing that many, many people are missing out on is the optimizing their profile aspect. And you talk about the messaging, which is Deirdre, and I teach our clients, and through our Marketing Methodology Workshop, that you've got to connect with your audience on an emotional level, and that's so key in what you write in your profile. And so, what do you find is the biggest mistake you see people making with their LinkedIn profiles?
[06:21] Janice Porter: That's a great question. I think what I see people doing quite often, and we're talking about, I just want to clarify, we're talking about business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, that type of business owner correct? As opposed to somebody looking for a job, right?
[06:38] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yes, in the entrepreneurial or business owner aspect.
[06:42] Janice Porter: So the biggest mistake I see them making is making it all about them. And I know that sounds crazy. It is about them. It is their personal profile and about what they bring to the table. But it's more about what they can do for you and who they serve and how they serve them that is needed to be in there.
There are three biggest pieces for a first impression on your profile. I call them the three Hs. And then there's the fourth one that's kind of sort of an H. So there's your header, which is your background image. Take advantage of that. Put something up there and make it useful.
There's your headshot, which should be professional, and there is your headline. And the headline is the piece directly under your name, which people don't do enough to make that speak to their target audience.
And then the fourth one I call the hook. And the hook is the beginning of your about section. And the biggest mistake I see people making is writing their about section about, ‘I've done this, I've done that, I am this, I am that. It's not all about that. It's all about you, and it's how I help you, and it's how I serve you, and the pain points that I help you with. And so when I work with my clients on that section in particular, I like to work with them together. And I have a three-part formula that I draw out the best of who they are and the best of what they do for people, and we put it in a way that speaks to their target audience. And I think what that does is it allows people to self-select because they read that, they get an emotional reaction to, oh, my goodness, she's talking to me. Right? That's the problem I'm having. So now I want to go talk to her. And so I think that is the biggest piece that people misrepresent themselves with.
[08:45] Deirdre Harter: I think that is such a great point, Janice. And LinkedIn has been around a long time, and a lot of us in the entrepreneurial space, we maybe started out on LinkedIn, and it was either for being a job seeker or it was our presence representing our employer, right? And so we're used to it being like a resume type of situation, but then we have to completely turn that around. So it's a whole different way of going about setting that up.
[09:15] Janice Porter: Exactly. It's not a resume for any of us in that situation. It's really your narrative around, as I said, what you do and who you serve and how you serve them. Yeah.
[09:28] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: And I'd like to know your input on the background image. So you had mentioned that the header image, and to make it useful, can you go into that a little bit about what you mean by make it useful?
[09:41] Janice Porter: Well, there's so many people that don't even take advantage of putting one up there, period. But you see the default. And so when I say make it useful, I mean make it easy for people to kind of get a sense of who you are and what your business is about and use it as an easy place for them to see right away. Oh, that's your website. So put your website on there so they can go look at your website, because you can't link people to your website except in your contact info piece, and if you put it in your about section to encourage them to go off LinkedIn, LinkedIn doesn't really like that, but it's not a link there.
So it's not as bad as if you did it somewhere else, like in a content piece. But I say keep it simple. Maybe match it to your website colors. Or if you are for me, I just have a similar look on my LinkedIn profile that I have for my website in that it says my benefit statement of people working for me increase sales by building relationships. And then, I have my three kind of tagline words inspire, engage, connect. I have my logo in the background, and I have my URL on the bottom of it. I skew things to the right. What one mistake I see people do is put things behind their headshot, which appears on the left-hand side of your LinkedIn header. And if you get it too busy there, it's distracting. And I don't think it looks that good, but some people have images going all the way across and it can work. It just has to be connected to what you do and make sense for who you are.
[11:25] Deirdre Harter: I think yeah, I think that's such great advice, Janice. One of the things that I hear a lot from entrepreneurs who've never really paid much attention to LinkedIn or they're thinking about going on LinkedIn, and they're thinking that, well, unless my client is a corporation, then LinkedIn can't help me. So what would you say to that?
[11:51] Janice Porter: Well, I would say that there's now over like 860,000,000 people on LinkedIn now. And the reason I encourage people to think about LinkedIn is because, and I'm not saying this to be rude or anything, but a lot of people are just discouraged with Facebook and are moving over there.
[13:17] Janice Porter: And when I say a lot of people, I mean small business owners and entrepreneurs and network marketers. They're moving over to LinkedIn because things aren't working anymore for them, they feel, on Facebook. But when they come over to LinkedIn, they're not taking the time or effort to understand that it's a different culture there. It's a more business-like culture. And so there are indeed many small business owners, coaches, consultants, network marketers on LinkedIn. You just have to, if you're going to be one of those people, do it properly and come across more business-like than you would on Facebook. And that goes from your first impressions to how you interact with people there, I believe. But it's definitely more than just corporations.
And I think that it's also easy for you to see that if you start doing some searches on LinkedIn to find the kinds of people that you want. But just to go back to the 800 plus million people on LinkedIn, they skew just under 50% female, just over 50% male, and their socioeconomic levels are higher than anywhere else. They are decision-makers. Now, I know that comes initially from the corporate, but it's not all just corporate people there. They are decision-makers. And so when you talk to somebody there, you can go to the heart of business faster than on other platforms, and usually, you can get a decision. So I find that really useful, yes.
[14:48] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: And I'm going to raise my hand and admit that at first, I did not like LinkedIn, like for a long time. And Deirdre and I were just talking about this the other day, where I had to force myself to go over there. Not that the people aren't nice, but I didn't like the feel of it or something. I didn't like it. But now and so, this is a lesson for everybody; Deirdre and I always talk about doing something for a long enough period of time that you can see and get results from it. If you just go over there and let's say I'll use me as an example, and I go over to LinkedIn, and I'm like, well, I didn't really like this as much as Facebook and blah, blah, blah, whatever my reasons are, and then I stop. Well, I'm never going to know, right?
And being a business strategist, I know that our clients are on LinkedIn, and just for some of the reasons you just said, Janice, you can get to business quicker. And they are decision makers, and they're more professional. So I have kept up on LinkedIn and kept up on it, and I think one of the things that helped shift my mindset, because now I completely appreciate LinkedIn for what it is, and I completely appreciate Facebook for what it is. So I forced myself because, at first, that's what it took to go on there and look in my feed and join conversations and see what was happening.
And one thing that people might not be aware of is we are always curating our feeds based on our activity on any platform. So if you want to see more of something, engage with more of that. When you find and make great connections, connect with those people on LinkedIn, and you're going to start seeing those people. And I think that's what happened to me is I ramped up my networking game and made a lot more connections on LinkedIn of people that I really like. And then I see information from them and from their connections, and it's a lot more curated to what I want to see. And then I can now appreciate the business aspect of it. And it's not all cold business, there's some personal stuff on there, but on Facebook, you can kind of go down a rabbit hole of, besides the videos, it can get into politics, it can get into all these things that you don't want to get into. So there's a real plus for LinkedIn and a real plus for Facebook. They're just different, and I think people just need to give it time.
[17:07] Janice Porter: Yeah, that's a really good point. I think that for me, it was the opposite. I had felt very uncomfortable on Facebook, and I didn't know what to do with it. I didn't want to tell people my personal stuff on there all the time and put my husband and my anniversary up there and things like that. I know that the public like those things, but there's just some things that I don't know. I just didn't think it was me. And when I saw LinkedIn, I saw it was more, I thought, left brain, more logical, more straightforward. And that's what I liked about it initially. And so once somebody shared with me how it worked and I found myself sharing it with other people, I knew that I could then teach it because that's my background, teaching, and training, and I love doing that. And so it became my thing for being able to still be in that realm, training people.
[18:00] Deirdre Harter: I think that is fantastic, Janice, and that really brings up something Carmen and I know to be true. When it comes to building a business, we can be told, oh, you need to use this strategy. Oh, you need to be on this platform. But really, it's about finding what works for you. It's not just about what works for your business because there's a difference between getting out of your comfort zone and then doing something that's out of alignment with who you are and knowing the difference between those two. We have to get out of our comfort zone, but it doesn't mean that we have to go and do things that we just really can't get ourselves to enjoy doing. But as Carmen said, we have to give it enough time.
[18:43] Janice Porter: Right?
[18:44] Deirdre Harter: So what would you say if someone's listening to this, and maybe they don't have a profile, or they haven't visited it in forever, or they've been thinking, maybe I should get out on LinkedIn. What would you say their first step should be?
[19:00] Janice Porter: I think, first and foremost, you need to be presenting the best you. And so, your profile might need an update. Your headshot, when was it last taken? You need to have a current image up there. And I do mean a professional headshot. I really do. I think if you're in business, then you need to have a professional headshot, and it needs to be current.
I just did a session for a group of about 45 mortgage brokers in the room, and we actually had a photographer there to take headshots because the owner of the company who organized this with me wanted me to come and speak about LinkedIn. He said, ‘I can't admit it; my headshot is ten years old.’ You could tell just to look at them and the difference. So you need to be current. You need to show your best foot forward. And so that's the first thing you need to do before you do anything. Because what I see people doing is they think they have to get content out there. Well, I don't feel that's the most important thing. I think you need to put your best foot forward first. That's the first thing you have to do. Then you can decide how you want to use LinkedIn.
[20:08] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, I think that's excellent advice, and that speaks too, to the messaging that you're talking about. How are you putting your best foot forward out anywhere, right. It comes with clarity. And if we don't have the clarity for our own selves, we're not going to be able to relay that to anybody else. And it doesn't matter what the platform is.
[20:27] Janice Porter: That's right. And when I talk about messaging on LinkedIn, though, I'm talking about outreach, I'm talking about searches, I'm talking about messaging like an organized strategy of message one, message two, message three. Depending on who you're reaching out to and serving and not having they're not cut and paste completely. You have to pay attention to what is in that person's profile that you're reaching out to, to build rapport. And that's something that people don't often do, and that's what I like to share with people.
[21:03] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yes, that's true. I think we've all probably gotten the spam messages that you can tell we're a cut-and-paste job, and they don't even know who you are.
[21:13] Janice Porter: Exactly.
[21:14] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: I just block those people.
[21:17] Janice Porter: Sometimes I turn around and try to talk to them and say, I'd love it if you'd really pay attention to my profile and see what I'm about before you message me again. But of course, they'll never see it because it wasn't them that did it. Exactly.
[21:33] Deirdre Harter: I know. I think we've all done that. Carmen and I've done it too. We want to try to course-correct them and say, hey, I can't help myself.
[21:42] Janice Porter: That's right.
[21:43] Deirdre Harter: All right, so one other thing, Janice, is if someone is going to let's say that they're going to optimize their profile and they're starting to put out some content, and they're going to start the messaging. I know for me, when I first started, it seemed so overwhelming, like there's so many people, and where do you even begin? And then, all of a sudden, your feed fills up, and you're getting all these connections. So do you have any tips that you can share on managing the overwhelm?
[22:18] Janice Porter: Yes. Don't try and do it all at once. I like to talk about the power of three. Start small. If you want to do some outreach for yourself, you have to think about who you want to be connecting to. And when you do, let's say, an advanced search. Let's say I'm looking for people in the insurance industry, and I can do a search for an insurance agent. And when I do a search for an insurance agent, I'll bring up a number of people in that search. Now I have to start looking at their profiles before I actually connect with them because some of those people that come up in the search will be active on LinkedIn, and some of them will not be very active. So why waste my time with someone who's not going to actually see the message or connection request that I send them? Because they're not active.
So it's really important that you focus on people who are active on LinkedIn. And then, when you reach out, the first message will just merely be to connect with them. I'm expanding my LinkedIn reach to your area, or I'm looking to speak to more insurance agents. Would you be open to connecting? That kind of thing. Just keep it simple.
And then you do three of those a day or three of those a week. It's your schedule. Okay. Power of three. But remember, when you do three new outreaches a day or a week, you've got to remember that when they do accept them, that's when the work begins. So now you have what I call the thank you message. Thank you for connecting. Now your work begins to build a relationship, so that's when you really look at their profile; that's when you really ask them something that would encourage them to respond and engage.
And so now you're starting a conversation, just like in the networking event, in person, just like in a Zoom breakout room, you're just looking to start a conversation with them. Now you've got three new ones that respond. Then maybe one day later, three days later, you're going to do three more. So you have to have the bandwidth to be responding to each of those as it multiplies, right? And as you start to build conversations with people, you should keep track. Maybe on a spreadsheet or a notebook that's saying where you're at. Because the point being, the goal being to find the people you really think there's some leverage with and take it off LinkedIn into a zoom call or a coffee date, or a phone call or whatever. So that's the idea is starts on LinkedIn, builds some rapport, we'll see if there's some mutual interest and curiosity, and then move it to the next step.
And so that's the power of three there. When it comes to content, personally, I can't focus on too many things at the same time, and I don't do a very good job when I'm doing that. So maybe start with posting something once a week. Okay. And then be conscious, though, that when you post something, because this is what I see happens a lot. People think they have to post things, so they're posting, posting, posting. And then I say to them, are you getting any engagement from those posts? Oh, well, I haven't really looked. Well, it's like throwing mud at the wall, then, right? You have to put things up that are working, that people are engaging with. And then, are you taking those engagement pieces and turning those into new connections and conversations? So you see how it all kind of spirals together?
[25:57] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Definitely, yes. And it comes back to the whole messaging piece. So knowing that when you were talking about messaging of people, we're also talking about messaging of our profiles, and that flows into messaging of our posts.
[26:12] Janice Porter: Right.
[26:13] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: So what Deirdre and I always like to teach, too, is that you've got to connect with them on an emotional level so that when they look at your post, it is something that matters to them. And you're not just posting for the sake of posting. But another aspect to that, too, that a lot of people forget is it's not just a one-way street. So if you want engagement, you actually have to engage too. Part of that is when you find those people, and you connect with them, and there's something that resonates with you, is make sure that you're viewing their profile and commenting on their posts and all of that because that supports them and that gets them to notice you even more.
[26:48] Janice Porter: Yes, I hadn't even mentioned that part, and you're absolutely right. I mean, there's you posting, but there's also spending time on your newsfeed without putting a timer on. Don't go down that rabbit hole, because you can do that LinkedIn as well, but just enough time each day too. Actually, the best way to do that, I think, is to look at your menu at the top of the LinkedIn profile. So you go to your home, wherever there's red dots, red numbers, or a red circle, you need to be dealing with that.
I seem to right now have a lot of notifications on mine that I haven't looked at yet because I didn't come to my computer most of the weekend. I took some time off on the weekend, and so I've got 93 notifications there. So now I have to go through, which is all newsfeed stuff, that I could be interacting or engaging with other people. Then there's some direct messages, and then there's some invitations to connect under my network. And then there's the home feed, which has got some new content there to look at. So just spend 20 minutes, a half hour each morning or the end of each day to do all of that that will allow you to go in and do that engagement that you need to do.
[27:56] Deirdre Harter: I love how you just framed that, Janice, and putting those time boundaries because it can go on forever and ever hours. So I think that's the key.
We know that consistency, and everything in our business is what's really important and what really helps us grow. And I think a lot of times, we don't do the thing we believe we should be doing because we don't know how to be consistent. We don't know how to let it not eat up our whole day. And we think we don't have time. So I love what you just said, and that's a great strategy, is to set a timer and don't try to do it all. Just do it and do it for a period of time and get the value out of it because it's always quality over quantity. And I think that's something people forget. It's not about how many connections you have; it's about how many you are really engaged with and how many are actually mutually beneficial relationships.
[28:54] Janice Porter: That's so true. I mean, I remember somebody I know very well. She started to really ramp up on LinkedIn. She went crazy. She ended up with, like, 20,000 connections. And I'm like, well, why? What for? So you know what she ended up doing? She's now cut them all down and moved away from that and started to engage with the people. Like, I don't have that many. I've got, like, 4800 connections, which isn't that many in the big scheme of things. But I also admitted that there were a lot of those people that I hadn't connected to or talked to or really knew. So I've started a reconnection campaign. I started it about two months ago. And I tell you, it's really interesting. It's bringing people back into my world that are saying, hey, the timing wasn't right then, but now it might be. Let's take a look at something. Give me a call. And these are warm calls. These are warm leads, basically, right? And we always think we have to be out there looking for new ones. You know what? Just nurture the ones you have.
[29:57] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, I love that. That is such a good strategy because more is not better. And when you're talking about 20,000 or whatever, and you bring up a great point, how can you possibly be having touchpoints with 20,000 people unless they're coming to some event of yours or something like that? But, yeah, I think. That's a great point. So we've talked about so many different aspects of optimizing LinkedIn. If you had to give our listeners one getting started tip, what would that be?
[30:33] Janice Porter: Well, if they're getting started, I still go back to have your profile speak to who you are and who you serve and be up to date.
[30:42] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, I think that's a good one. And I know that you've got a free resource for our listings. I did. Well, can you share that? Because that will help them with that.
[30:50] Janice Porter: Yeah. So I think I gave you the link to that to perhaps add to the show notes. But basically, on my website, which is Janiceporter.com, there is on my LinkedIn training page, at the bottom, there is a free checklist for 16 steps to an optimized profile. And so it gives you all the basic steps that need to be in there, that need to be filled in, that need to be put on your profile. I would also add to that that if anybody already has a profile, but they want to have a refresh, or they want an audit done, I'm happy to do for your audience a 30 minutes call with a quick overview if they want to know what they need to do to make it better, so to speak. So if anyone wants to reach out and book a time with me to do that, that would be absolutely fine, as long as they tell me they came from your podcast.
[31:44] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Well, thank you so much, Janice. It's been wonderful discussions with you, and I hope our listeners are getting a lot out of it.
[31:51] Janice Porter: You're very welcome.