21 Ways to Master Linkedin!

by Paul Castain on December 1, 2010

In the spring of 2008 I addressed the national sales force of a billion dollar company and told them they needed to get Linkedin! I told them it was the best thing since sliced bread and how their personal brand depended on a venue like LI. A month later, I scratched my head, clueless, wondering what all the fuss was about. 2 months later, I thought it sucked, wrote it off and moved on!

After some serious soul searching in November 2008, I had to face the hard, cold reality that I basically showed up to Linkedin, sat on the sidelines and expected the world to beat a path to my computer. I don’t think I’m the only one who went about it all wrong so it is in that spirit that I offer the following 21 tips!

Warning: This is gonna be a lengthy post. I wasn’t about to milk 3 blog posts out of this! I’ve made it all available in a Free E-Book because quite frankly, no one loves you more than I do 🙂

1) Change your expectation of Social Networking! There is no quick fix, instant gratification or get rich quick. This is a long term strategy to say the least. I tend to look at this like a courtship vs a “Hi I’m Paul let’s get married!”

2) Put some thought into your profile and make sure it does justice to the wonderful brand we call “YOU”!

Slow down and give thought to your profile. What do you want it say about you? What image do you want to present. Speaking of image, get a freakin picture. It’s not overly “social” to social network with the invisible man/woman. And please make it a real pic (of you) and not your dog (you get a serious WTF on that one) a logo of your company (not only does it seem odd that I’m connecting with the only living, talking logo, I think it violates some linkedin law or something) Also,  pics of you swimming in the ocean, partying or partying in the ocean might need to be rethought.

Want to improve your “Googleability”? Then by all means make your profile public by clicking here http://www.linkedin.com/myprofile?editwp= By the way, you Google potential clients, don’t you? Think they Google you? This will give you at least one good result that comes back. Consider using the privacy settings if you don’t want people to know that you viewed their profile. This way you can check out a potential client without them thinking you’re a stalker.

Tip: Do you want your connections visible to everyone in your network? Do you have some clients that may get a tad pissed if they find out you are doing work for their competitors? Then click on this link and change that bad boy!  https://www.linkedin.com/secure/settings?browse=&goback=%2Eaas

3) Use a cool title or tagline to set you apart from the masses. Example: Craig Wilson is the Chief Appreciation Officer of his Sendout Cards business. Mi amigo Hank Trisler isn’t the President of The Trisler Companies . . . he’s the Supreme Commander! My favorite is John Hudson who is The Dark Lord of Staffing. Our biggest challenge these days folks is being memorable. These people get it!

4) Join Groups: The biggest mistake many people make is joining groups in their industry exclusively. I think that’s great, but you better branch out. I mean how many widgets do you think other widget dudes are gonna buy from you Einstein!

Here are 5 types of groups you need to belong to

Industry Groups (don’t over indulge) . Always good to know what’s going on, perhaps you want to bounce things off of peers etc. Just know that at times, this can be like that familiar face you cling to at a networking event. It’s safe and can become a convenient excuse for you not to branch out. Don’t spend all your time here!

Vertical Groups you want to own. A Vertical Group is an industry that you are targeting. For example: If I am targeting IT, I would want to join a group from that industry.  Tip: Go where the money is! There are certain industries that are thriving right now such as education, healthcare, consumer food products etc.  By joining these groups you learn lingo, challenges, opportunities etc. You also begin to position yourself as an authority to your target audience.

Local Groups & Groups in areas you want to build up. For example, I live in NY so it would probably make sense that I belong to a few local groups. At the same time, I travel quite a bit to Houston, hence my membership in the InHouston group. Easy enough!

Professional Groups that help you hone your craft. As an aspiring sales rock star I belong to numerous sales groups, my recruiter friends belong to recruiting and HR related groups. Make sure you surround yourself with other professionals in your chosen line of work!

A Note About Sales Groups: Important on many levels. First, it will help you keep your finger on the pulse right now since sales people are pretty much out there on the front line. Second, you will pick up some good best practices and lastly, sales people can be a point of entry often overlooked in getting in the door.

Parallel Groups: These are groups that share the same target audience as you but are in different industries. Example: When I owned my sales training business, I networked with recruiters who placed high level senior sales leaders. I benefited because I had a newly anointed sales maverick who was open to my Jedi ways. My recruiter friends benefited because I knew sales leaders who needed talented sales Jedi. You can do the same in building your network through the various parallel groups!

Did you know . . . You can join up to 50 groups. When you share a group with someone you can usually send them a direct email without paying for inmails!

Cool Fact: Did you know that (according to a study published by Epsilon) emails sent through social networks have a 24% higher open rate than traditional email? Can you leverage that as a sales rep? Damn right you can!

5) Get off the sidelines! This is where I screwed up big time! I joined groups but didn’t participate. Get the feel of your group. Contribute! Add value! By the way, doesn’t this help make you more visible and help with the whole branding thing? If you do it right it does! Start your own discussions in those groups. This is how you stand out! What are some thought provoking, appropriate discussions you could start in your group?

6) Want to look like a Grade A A-Hole? Then spam the discussions with ridiculous infomercials on your company or start discussions that are blatant self promotions. That’s how you build a brand as a Jackass real quick!

Do you belong to a group that is littered with spam and self promotion? Tell the group manager and if that doesn’t work, then put your efforts in elsewhere. They aren’t worth your time!

7) Facilitate your discussions for God’s sake! This is by far one of my biggest pet peeves on LI. If you start a discussion and then disappear, you come across as an idiot. Its not only bad displays bad manners, you are allowing your discussion to go inactive sooner. Why wouldn’t you want your discussion up at the top of the first page of discussions? Isn’t that a great visibility position?

Tip: Don’t be so quick to start new discussions that you don’t your existing discussions an opportunity to bloom.

8 ) Show appreciation for those who contribute to your discussions 2 ways. First, you should always thank people publicly. By the way, do we all enjoy being acknowledged in front of our peers? Do you think acknowledging contributions encourages additional contributions as well as folks following you to other discussions and groups? The other way I show appreciation is by sending a TY in an email. Its a great door opener and helps me differentiate from the masses!

9) Avoid ninjas like your online life depended on it! It amazes me how many otherwise intelligent adults will attack someone online in front of thousands. Trust me when I tell you it will happen to you and if you are like me you will want to stick your virtual foot up their virtual assets. In a word DON’T! You can’t change stupid and you will damage your brand in the process. Doesn’t mean you have to like it folks!

Tip: Always be mindful of your “Main Thing” that is, what you want to be known for. Now if online ninja is your main thing, then by all means rock on bro chocho!

10) Use a hyperlink in your signature when you contribute to a discussion. If all you do is put the old “www” in it won’t read as a link (you won’t be able to click on that mofo) Here’s how you do it the right way: Put a handy dandy http:// in front of your domain and viola!

Caution: Be careful with this one! It borders on self promotion. I’ve seen some people really get carried away and stick every freakin bit of info into this and fall just short of blood type and their sign! Go light on this one folks!

11) Don’t use the automated invites. They are lame and you will sound like every other clueless person. Take a moment and make your invite personal! Think about the power of first impressions and more importantly, the power of being memorable. Reference something you have observed about them in the groups, a point they made, their company, some common ground or simply:

Dear Jake:

I would be honored if you would join my network!

12) Confucius Say “Just because clueless dude/dudette send you lame invite doesn’t mean you can’t be social” We’ll talk more about that one later! Meanwhile, reflect and discuss that one amongst yourselves. I’ll wait for you right here!

13) Start your own group! One bit of advice I always give in conventional networking is to get on a board in a leadership position. The same can be said for LI. I waited until I had enough involvement in the groups and started my Sales Playbook Group. It’s grown by more than 16,000 members and it has dramatically enhanced my brand. I’m also happy to say that I have done so by enhancing the brand of others. There’s some serious food for thought in that last statement if you care to embrace it!

14) Add value to your network! One of the best ways you can do this is to become a matchmaker to your network! Introduce people who need to know each other. With so many displaced workers in these challenging times keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities. Not a bad idea to have a recruiter or three in your network while we’re at it. Neil Wood replied to me privately when I asked for advice on some good branding books. He told me he had an extra copy of a really good book and sent it to me. I try to give of my time, unconditionally, whenever I can. When you do these types of things ladies and gentlemen, you don’t create followers, you create evangelists spreading the good news of your brand!

Tip: Do you think its more powerful when you promote yourself or when you have people who dig you so much they do it for you. Ponder that one sista!

15) Use LI as part of your meticulous pre call planning process. I thinks its an incredible way for me to get inside my prospect’s head by getting a feel for how they think in the groups, perhaps they link to their blog etc. You can follow companies and the handy dandy RSS feed is a way cool way for you to organize your data via a reader! This a great way for you to get the inside track!

16) Let people get inside your head by using the applications such as amazon bookshelf, slideshare and links to your blog!

Tip: People buy from people they trust. One of the first steps towards trust is familiarity. Make sure you give your network every opportunity to experience “Brand YOU”!

17) Cross pollinate your efforts by putting a link to your LI profile in your email auto signature.

Tip: Whenever you connect with someone, always do your best to immediately connect with them on the other venues where you participate! Example: When I connect with someone on LI I immediately check their profile for their Twitter info and bring that freakin party over there as well!

18) Status Updates: This is a great way for you to stay on your prospect’s radar screen. Donna Highfill puts inspirational quotes in her status updates. Others will put a link to a timely article, links to article and/or blogs you have written. The key here is to stay on the radar screen by continuing to add value and avoidance of over saturation and taking it easy on the self promotion. You also need to use your head. Trust me when I tell you that your network doesn’t find value in a status update that informs us that a bottle of cuervo has your name on it or that you are having a “meltdown” (I don’t make this stuff up) Make sure you comment on status updates from your network. Example: If you see that someone was just promoted at the ABC Company, by all means comment, like and send a congratulatory note. People dig that stuff. Go figure!

Tip: Scan the home page daily. There are tons of opportunities for you there but you have to remember . . .

Everyone has a story and wants to be heard!

Your mission from this point on is to leverage that simple little phrase!

19) Be consistent! You won’t build your brand worth a damn if you show two days in a row, take two weeks off, come back for a day or two. This needs to be a daily investment. Remember, this is a long term investment. Don’t ever forget that Grasshopper!

20) Recommendations: Use your head on this one. Please! One of the quickest ways for me to yell Jackass is when someone I barely know hits me up for a recommendation. When I call them out on it, I’m usually given an explanation that they used the automated send to all feature which is just plain stupid if you ask me. Be selective in who you ask and be selective who you give recommendations to, Remember, it’s your credibility dude!

21) Ask and answer questions to further position yourself as a thought leader by clicking here: http://www.linkedin.com/answers?trk=hb_tab_ayn

Did You Know: That when you answer a question on Linkedin Q & A it allows you to share up to 3 links? Might be a cool opportunity to gently guide someone by the hand to some cool content you have written. You’re welcome!

Cool Tip: Want to get a better response and greater visibility when you ask a question? Choose the option to send the question out to up to 200 people in your network.

Hook a fellow Jedi up: by suggesting someone from your network as an expert to a question. This is a nice way for you to continue to add value to your network and encourage a really cool thing called reciprocation!

How To Transition Your Linkedin Relationships To “Real Time”!

As many of you know, one of my social networking strategies is to transition at least 5 of my “virtual” relationships to “real” time each week. Needless to say, the relationship is worth more, once I move it off the computer screen.

Let’s start with a quick statement of what I don’t do.

“The Linkedin Two Step”: This is when you’ve either agreed to connect with me or you commented on one of my posts and I take that as a buying signal. You immediately get an email from me in “Pimpmaster” mode giving you my best infomercial.

And just to get this one out in the open, I don’t like to have a virtual handshake with someone and immediately suggest a phone call. I’m sure its just me but that has way too much of a “Hi, Wanna screw?” vibe to it!

So What’s An Aspiring Linkedin Rock Star To Do?

1)   Get Social From “Hello” I never send someone one of those invitation templates. Seriously, could you get any F’n lazier. Take the 30 seconds and write a two sentence note. This positions you as different from the get go because apparently the rest of the world has gotten lazy too. When someone sends you an invite, take a minute to write an actual response (even when you get a template invite) Doing this inspires someone to not only remember you, but shoot you a note back. At that point you’re starting to get “social” and that puts you one step closer to real time!

2)   Get On Their Radar Screen: Update your status update daily (no play by play por favor) More importantly than your status update is theirs. You might want to circle this next sentence: Everyone has a story and wants to be heard. Seems like we’ve all gotten used to the world not having the time to hear what we have to say. That aint how Uncle Paul rolls! I make it a point to comment on status updates where appropriate. Sometimes I’m congratulating someone, other times I will agree with a statement publicly, if they shared a resource that I found useful, I let them know with a “like” and a comment.  You can also get on their radar screen by commenting on their discussions. How about inviting them into one of yours? If they contribute to one of your discussions, acknowledge them publicly and with an offline “thank you”. Here’s a freakin cool idea: When you see a discussion where someone in your network has the expertise to really shine, hook them up! I have this odd feeling that people really dig people who have their best interests in mind!

3)   Take Advantage Of “Social” Clues: I make it a point to see if my contacts use the amazon.com feature where they list what they are reading. If I read the book or want to, that gives us something to talk about. If they use the tripit feature, I might wish them a safe trip or get real jealous that they are off to Europe. I might even compare notes with them about cool places we’ve both been to!

Time Out! Are you spotting a trend yet? I basically get “Social” before I transition to “real time”. Isn’t that more of a natural progression?

OK, I could go on and on about how to get “Social” but I still haven’t told you how to transition.

Once we’ve had some communication, I will do one of a few things:

–      Shoot them a quick email, suggesting a brief “get to know you” call. I tell them I would like to find out more about them and their business. Note: When I get on the phone with them, I rarely talk about my business which is rather counterintuitive  for a sales professional. I don’t talk about my business because quite frankly, most people as so busy trying to network their business that they aren’t ready to hear about mine. I could get ultra competitive and try to dominate our conversation, but it kind of goes back to my statement earlier “everyone has a story and wants to be heard” My mission on this phone call is to not only understand my “friend” its to think about how I can be a “matchmaker” for this person and leverage my network.

–      Get Embarrassed. Sometimes I will send someone an email telling them that I’m embarrassed that I haven’t reached out sooner. Note: Doesn’t work so well if they just accepted your invite 10 mins earlier!

–      When someone asks you a question via email, suggest a quick call instead. Nice way to move it to real time girlfriend!

–      I’ll use tripit to see if anyone is visiting my area and offer to meet for coffee or a shots of Tequila (wanted to see if you were paying attention)

–      I’ll search my network for local contacts when traveling. The “I’m visiting your neck of the woods” thing is an easy way to transition.

–      I host “Virtual Mixers” once to twice a month.

So how long should this all take? Well let me ask you this. In a relationship, how long does it take for love to happen? Is it the 7th date, 7th week, 7th year? Why the hell don’t we have a definitive answer? Probably, because it happens, when it happens.

Think “courtship”!

Don’t screw with the sanctity of social networking by thinking this is a short term strategy. Take the time to get “social” and actually have a courtship and then watch how freakin cool the marriage becomes.

Confessions Of A Social Networking Snob!

So there you are minding your own business and low and behold someone sends you a request to connect , be “friends” or for the Twitterati, you’ve been “followed”.

Do you accept, “friend” or go off the deep and “follow back”?

Before we continue, you need to know something about me and its not easy for me to say so here goes . . .

My name is Paul (Hi Paul) and I’m a recovering Social Networking Snob.

And like anyone else who kicked a bad habit, I’m back, complete with some annoying self righteousness to point out 3 big mistakes I see when it comes to the burning question . . .

To connect or not to connect?

Mistake #1: You are engaged in a line of worked that has nothing to do with my line of work, so . . . See Ya!

I think this is a huge mistake for many reasons:

–       They might not be a part of my target audience, but they may know someone who is. They might also be able to get me in front of someone in their company who is my ideal prospect.

–       They might be someone I can connect to someone else in my network to further enhance my virtual real estate.

–       And what’s with the freakin selfish “What can you do for me” attitude? Would it bankrupt us to help someone unconditionally?

To All The Thought Leaders Out There  (the rest of you earmuffs)

You’re screwing yourself!

Seriously . . . you’re screwing yourself. Think about it.

You want to be visible. You write articles, blogs, perhaps a book or two. Someone approaches you and then you give them a virtual middle finger all because . . .

They basically aren’t relevant to you or (everyone else take your earmuffs off) there is a judgment that the person is just haphazardly collecting connections.

For those of you who feel that accepting a “stranger” is a possible security risk, think privacy settings but with a caveat: This idea of selfishly guarding our network like the Holy Grail goes against the grain of Social Networking. Note: I have over 2100 Linkedin connections and I’ve never had one person write me and tell me that some rogue member of my network defiled the freakin sanctity of their network.

Mistake #2: You approached me the wrong way so I won’t connect. This one has “Uncle Paul” written all over it because I hate, and I mean really hate those Linkedin invite templates. You know . . .

Joe Numbnuts wants to connect with you or

Because you are a person I value I’d like to connect

Because I’m mindless I’m sending you this template to show I’m a tool

I thinks its lazy and will be the first to tell you that you are so much better than that. I mean the only way we could get lazier would be if Linkedin had a template for a sound like a grunt or a high pitched “over here”.

So then we get mad and decide to fix the glitch by ignoring them.

Suggestion: Instead of taking this as a deliberate insult to your virtual ego, I would suggest that you look at it this way.

They just don’t understand the nuances of social networking yet and to that end, perhaps you could accept the invite and show them how a true professional rolls. Here’s how . . .

“Hi Mr Numbnuts (Awesome name by the way, bet you grew up tough) Thank you so much for the invite. Wishing you an awesome Wednesday or Wishing you continued success or rock on my social networking brother from a virtual mother!

The point is to be sociable!

Oh, and congratulate yourself because hardly anyone does this!

Here’s what happens next about 80% of the time. They then write you back with a sort of thank you and a few kind words and viola, you are connected and communicating thanks to your awesome lead!

Mistake #3: “I don’t see this going anywhere so I shall ‘un-friend’ that MOFO” In other words “What have you done for me lately” Wrong attitude! In fact, I’m curious as to what they were supposed to do for you? How quickly were you expecting this and What have you done for them?

Short of getting complaint emails that one of my connections approached the rest of my network and gave them all wedgies, I don’t see the point in parting ways just because we haven’t gotten anywhere.

Methinks building an army of evangelists takes time!

Let’s concern ourselves with how we are going to provide value to them and stop being so selfish. And let’s lose that scorecard while we’re at!

Oh and let’s remember that the irony of this whole limited mindset is that we’re supposed to be engaging in

Social Networking

Today, you are cordially invited to learn from my mistakes and become more Social in your Social Networking!

I want to leave you with a bit of a challenge. One that I wish someone told me about when I left Linkedin after only 60 days of half assed effort. Try these things that I mentioned for 90 days. Give it your all. Be consistent and do something daily to enhance your online brand. Give value to people unconditionally and don’t keep a scorecard. Learn everything you can and if at the end of 90 days of you getting off the sidelines you feel it was a waste of time, then move on.

I, for one am quite pleased with my results. The Castain brand is alive and ticking and as a bonus, I’ve made some wonderful friends along the way. Also been talking to a few publishers so its nice to be moving toward that important milestone in my life!

I want you to think about something else that many people don’t realize. Your linkedin experience is about community. All human beings want to belong to or be a part of something. Can you leverage that?

There’s your million dollar question to chew on!

Be sure to get a copy of my new 90 page social networking E-Book “Paul Castain’s Social Networking Playbook” by clicking here

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  • Leonardo Helton

    Wow, Paul! Always great information you provide. You singularly inspired me to boldly go from the very beginning ~two months ago.
    I thank you, sir! Most respectfully,

  • Putting a real pic of me was the first thing I learnt when starting my social media “adventure”, so I chose to put a consistent image across all networks paired with a consistent bio of myself, written in 4 versions. Short and Long, 1st person and 3rd person. I think it’s important ’cause, depending on the various occasions, you might need any of the 4 at any time.

    Your groups suggestions is very meaningful, I realize I really need to step up on that part, ’cause I am slowly drifting apart – yes, even if I am very active on your blog, you may have noticed I am not as much in your LinedIn group, apologies!
    When I *am* active though, I try to behave on them as I would behave anywhere else, on and offline, especially for what regards picking fights, namecalling and thanking for help. As much as I think these recommendations are ridiculously over the top (as one would think *everyone* agrees with them), I can’t help but notice that sadly many just don’t get it.

    For the “putting a link in your signature” part, one good way not to let it border on self-promotion is to put not just a link to your corporate/main website, but a link to one of your social profiles, or even LinkedIn one. Personally, I think I’d go with putting a link to a social profiles aggregator like About.Me (if you haven’t heard about it, I wrote something on the topic on my blog).

    Automated invites are dreadful! I am glad we agree on that, I don’t require for someone to know me personally from 1st grade to add me to their network – I personally think being too closed is somewhat hilarious on a social network, professional or not – but if someone I never heard about sends me a default connection request… gah I really have to be in a very good mood in order to accept it.

    Status updates, I believe updating once a day is a good way to show activity but avoid cluttering in one’s homepage. I like to put interesting links I find around, from the many blogs I follow, or, if that day I published a post on my blog, I’d put that instead, hoping it can be considered an “interesting link” as well 😉 I am honestly not sure of the amount of inbound links from doing something like this (haven’t checked throughfully in Analytics I admit) but it feels good to do so.
    What I am not good at – so far at least – is commenting on others’ status updates, it’s something I set as a goal for the immediate future and I definitely gotta work my ass some more to get the hang of.

    Recommendations, I gotta say I don’t fully get the “how” of them. I mean, what I fail to understand is when is it acceptable to ask for one, or if you should ask in first place at all, is it better to wait instead? And are recommendations meant just for real-life interactions? So many questions I am still trying to find an answer for.

  • Two words I have for you Paul – “Sales Genius”. Another great reading material as always. RESPECTO !!

  • @ Leonardo: How cool is that? I had no idea Leonardo! Rock on!

    @ Gabriele: You raise several awesome points. With regard to the recommendation thing, I’m with you on that and would add that things are changing so rapidly in social media that what is weird today will be perfectly acceptable tomorrow. One thing that probably won’t change (hopefully) is the WTF moment I have when I get a request for a recommendation from someone where (at best) I may have had a few RT moments on Twitter and shared a discussion or two on LI.

    @ Devaiah: That was very kind of you to say that and thanks for the RT on Twitter too 🙂

    Leonardo, Gabriele and Devaiah . . . thank you for taking the time to comment!

    Paul Castain

  • Paul,

    The quantity and QUALITY of the material you bring forth every day is incredible. I subscribe to lots of stuff, but yours is one of the very few that I read every.single.day.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Awesome post my man. I need the ebook just to digest all this. Blimey, amazing contribution.

  • Paul, When I first found your stuff I was inspired by your tag line-> “Everyone has a story and wants to be heard!” so much so that I printed it out in large print and posted it on my desk…

    this post about taking action on linkedin expands that philosophy exactly…

    Helping others share a story is what social media is all about…listening for their story and responding to their interests is contributing and will help you “Know Your Customer”..

    and knowing your customer is the secret sales strategy that always gets results….Thanks for helping us contribute on linkedin…. John

  • paul

    Thanks for your tips, I am about to lauch a financial services online business and realise I need to understand more about how to market through social networking sites, it’s all very new to me and a real minefield.

    I am sure your tips will help.

  • Thanks Paul. Well worth the time invested to read it. I left NY 18 years ago, but still appreciate an in your face truth-teller. I needed a refresher and reminder – much appreciated!

    Speaking of appreciated, just saw that you listed my blog under your “Blogs I follow” – I’m totally humbled and honored. You’ve inspired me and provided a ton of value as I’ve tried to learn the social media ropes and launched my blog this year. So a big-time thank you for the endorsement!


  • Thanks forthis great post. Having just started out as a freelance consultant I need to totally overhaul my LinkedIn profile and these tips will help me for that and for the future. Keep it up! [PS website above not up just yet]

  • Dear Paul,

    do you ever sleep man? As all the others have noted this is a spectacular post from you my friend, and we are all indebted to you for your ceaseless generosity.

    Months ago, I read a riff from you about how to, or rather how not to invite people to connect. I took your advice to heart and can’t tell you how many times folks have said — ‘thanks for the nice invite.’ The things we shoulda learned in kindergarten, eh?

    As a fellow who knows he is one homely hombre, I hope most people will understand the importance of a profile pic as you so correctly nail into their noggins. This is social networking pilgrims. The pic adds a level of intimacy and comfort that is truly important. In my speeches, and in my in-the-client’s-home meetings with my estate planning clients, I like to “put a face on” problems, solutions and opportunities. Folks relate better when they see the human side.

    There is not a point in your epistle that I disagree with, so from the frozen tundra of MinnySnowta, this bald barrister is bellowing:

    huzzah huzzah for Mister Paul Castain!

  • Damn, you’re good — and just getting better. Consider pacing yourself before you tell us more than you know. You’re a treasure, Pablo.

  • Hat tip and a hug Paul…found you on a linked in group and linked over to here…I’ll be sharing with my team.

    Have fun do good,

  • Hello Paul,

    Fantastic post! Lot of ideas and tips. Lately, i trace all posts about Linkedin on the web and this is by far, one of the best Linkedin posts of the year.

    The Portuguese Linkedin Blog http://www.linkedportugal.com

  • Hi Paul, I have read “21 Ways to Master Linkedin!” from first to the last word. That fact speaks for itself. Thanks Paul, I have sent link to your e-book with advices to my son (24) who finished study few months ago and recently have asked me if there was a sence to put up his profile in LI.
    Best wishes.

  • Josh Margolisj


    Absolutely ask for the recommendations. For some reason sales reps have a hard time with this. A study in the Harvard Business Review many years ago concluded that business growth is directly related to customer referrals.

    When you ask, you’ll get one of two replies: yes or no. Yes is cool. Thank your client and ask how you can reciprocate. No means you did something along the way that displeased your client. This is a great learning opportunity. Yeah, you’ll feel like crap, but find out what you need to correct to get that recommendation. Today, more than ever, you want to resolve any issue before it shows up on Yelp.

  • Quite long as you said. But worth the read.


  • Uncle Paul

    That seemed like a lot more than 21 tips to me 😉 but what a wealth of good advice, backed by your own hard earned lessons building one of the best known brands on our social networks!

    I couldn’t help but pick up on the dominant thread that runs through each one of these tips: BE SOCIAL. It’s interesting to me that people need to be reminded of this. How is it that we are naturally social sometimes, but when it comes to something like LI, suddenly it becomes awkward and the pressing subject of many lengthy blog posts and workshops?

    At any rate, know that we truly admire and appreciate your efforts toward helping us be more social. Moreover, we genuinely acknowledge your sincere concern for the welfare of budding business professionals.

    Anxiously awaiting that book,

    Don F Perkins

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  • i’m only half way through the article but i had to share it, this is so great! I’m a linkedin newbie and this is such a helpful write-up on how to handle and “master” linkedin, thanks for this Paul!

  • A belated thank you to all for taking the time to contribute.

    Linkedin is something I’m extremely passionate about so it was a real joy for me to be able to put these tips together.

    Thanks again for reading!

    Paul Castain

  • Adhar Kanungo

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for writing this blog and making it free. I am sure to use this as a handbook for all the social media be it LI or FB.

    Thanks once again.


  • I have seen the light, in order to participate in a Social media site… you must be SOCIAL! Thanks for the tips and recommendations for using LI the right way. I am now one step closer to Sales Rock Star!

  • Paul,

    You have really hit on a lot of great points on your post “21 Ways to Master Linkedin!” What a great post and is much needed by all LI users to think about including myself. Ha!

    Have been using LI for 1 year and just joined your “Sales Playbook” group. Look forward being in the group to give feedback and to listen what others have to say in the group.

    Great job and thanks Paul…


  • Great article Paul. Excellent advice. It really does take time and a committment to leverage the social power of LinkedIn if you want to become a “Jedi”. I liked your advice on adding your twitter, blog and linked in accounts to your signature line in an easy to click format with http://

    Keep up the good work.


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  • Great post Paul. I especially liked your point about connecting with the people you find on LI, on twitter too. Great idea. We did a survey of about 1800 students and around 54% had never heard of Linkedin. I was surprised that the number was so high. Great tips, especially for students and new grads people.

  • I am serious, this is the best linkedin tips that I’ve ever seen.

  • Thanks for these tips and it is amazing how a little common sense in anything incuding networking can go a long way.


  • Very Impressed. This is like a blueprint of how to use linkedin. I have a much clearer picture of what I should be doing. I am bookmarking this article to have as a go to source. Thanks for your work.

  • Great input. Thanks!

  • Paul, This is truly great stuff! I am an avid Linked In user but even for someone fairly well schooled in the ways of LI, there are some great tidbits in here. Thanks so much for sharing and I’ll anxiously await your next post. On another note, I write a blog targeted at helping people succeed with their 21st job search. I am about to launch a post on using your social network to enhance your chances of securing a plum job. I’d love to recommend this blog and add a link to my readers if you’re cool with it. I know you are speaking primarily to sales professionals, but SO much of this is relevant to people trying to “sell themselves” and build their online reputations to find a next opportunity. Let me know – thanks!

  • Pure sales genius Paul, love it.

    Cheers Rich

  • Nicole T

    Excellent. But I’m sure you knew that. This article was so spot-on, even the author must recognized sense when he wrote it. I don’t have my own company (yet), and I’m not a the Dark Lord of a company. But I’m working on the those two most important aspects of social networking: being social and networking- in preperation for when I do become the Chief Inspiration Officer of my organization. Again, fabulous advice in an eloquently put fashion this literature is.

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  • Liz Bissell

    Great writing style – a really fun (and, of course, useful) read!

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  • Patti Wubbels

    Great tips and insight!  I hope a lot (A LOT) of Linkeninites read and act! Thanks Paul for sharing~

  • Brad Boyles

    I tried LI before and like you, I left before giving it time to work.  I recently switched industries and am back using LI again building a new network.  Your post was helpful and will be book marked for future reference.  Thanks!

  • Greg Parker

    Great content, practical ideas delivered in a down to earth conversational tone. I am implementing several parts of the program immediately. Thank for the insight Paul.

  • Joanna Conti

    Thanks very much for the good advice, Paul.  It isn’t obvious how to build relationships with folks via LinkedIn, and I appreciate your sharing your ideas!

  • Thank you for the kind words Joanna . . . I really appreciate it!

    When you have a moment, come back to my site and click on the “Free Stuff” tab. There are several free (no strings attached) E-Books that will help you on your social networking journey.

    Thanks again and have a wonderful weekend!

  • A belated “Thank you” for taking the time to stop by and comment Ben.

    Wishing you continued success with Linkedin.

    Please reach out if I can be of help!

  • Thank you Ericka 🙂

  • Great ideas, as always!  Thanks for bringing this to our attention.  My dad told me time and again, to look before you leap and engage brain before putting mouth into gear.

    Think about what you do, BEFORE  you do it.  Think about what you want to accomplish and think about the consequences of your actions.

    Thanks again, Uncle Paul.

  • A belated thank you Marc!

  • Sam

    Nice,very informative and very humourous – the perfect combo!

  • Thank you so much for the kind words Sam!

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