Is It Really That Important To Have 500+ Connections On LinkedIn?

500. That’s the golden number when it comes to LinkedIn. Pretty much every professional on the site is trying to get to that number connecting with friends, family, coworkers, even coworker’s friends and families. LinkedIn has set the bar that 500 connections makes you a great networker and someone with influence on their website. But how much weight does that 500+ on your profile really hold?

Image source: Flickr

Image source: Flickr

Well, none if you don’t do anything to interact or take advantage of those 500 plus connections. Having that distinction on your profile is just that, it’s just a status symbol that only works as hard as you do. Those 500 connections could be the key to your next job, client or referral. Are you taking full advantage of them?

Sharing interesting articles with your network is a great way to communicate and stay on connection’s radars. Best-case scenario, they share your article and spark more connections with people in your industry. When your connections share a good article, engage with them. Comment on it, thank them for sharing it or even share it with your connections. This is a great way to start a conversation with a former coworker or potential hiring employee at a company you would love to get the chance to work for.

Look through your 500 plus connections to see what groups they are a part of and what they are saying. Don’t go crazy joining hundreds of groups, join just a few that are interesting to you and that you could realistically interact within. Then actually spend time each week interacting, not selling, with the group members. There is a group for anything on LinkedIn so whether you’re a member of the C-Suite or an entry-level marketing assistant, there’s a place for you to meet and network with likeminded professionals.

Having 500+ connections on LinkedIn is just the beginning. Staying connected and influencing through communications are what really make those 500 plus connections worth the time and energy it took to get them in the first place. There’s no doubt that out of those 500 people you have connected with, at least a few could help your professional or personal goals.

How often do you connect and communicate with your LinkedIn connections?

Thank you, Teddy Burriss

One of the most exciting aspects of  social media is how a connection can lead to a friendship, a business opportunity or just the ability to connect with someone that has shared experiences and abilities.  Teddy Burriss would fall under the categories of friend, colleague and in some ways a respected mentor.  I have been friends with Teddy for a couple of years now, after initially connecting virtually on Twitter.  Thankfully, we have expanded our social media relationship to one that has included meeting face-to-face whenever possible.  I encourage you to do that as often as you can; meet face-to-face with your connections.

Earlier this year, Teddy reached out to me and asked if I would share a social media success story for a book he was authoring.  I am no fool, of course I said YES to his request!  What followed was a book I highly recommend; and its not because I am featured in it, but because it is a valuable resource on social media and networking. Success Using Social Media hits the nail on the head:  Start By Building Relationships! 

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Click the link, buy or download the book and start building those relationships!  I encourage you to start by connecting with Mr. Burris.

Update Your Social Bio’s

A few weeks ago, I asked the following question on my Facebook Page:

“How often do you update your social media bio’s?”

Responses to the question ranged from, “not often enough” to “not lately” to “just last week.” But the response that made an impact to me was from Amanda Wright, CEO of Learning Connections. Amanda stated that she updated her bio’s the first of every month. I thought, what a great idea! Now normally I update my bio’s every month or two , but thanks to Amanda, I have actually scheduled it as a task on my calendar  month.

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Used under Creative Common License via Flickr

So, how often do you update your bio’s? I suggest you follow Amanda’s suggestion as I have, schedule the update on your calendar!

Why would you want to update them monthly?  Here are three quick reasons as to why:

1. You gain new followers and friends on a monthly basis, so make sure they have the updated information about what is important about you.

2. You may want to attract a different group of followers. As an example, if you work in education, you may want to focus your bio on your field of study to gain followers or connections in education.

3. Hobbies and interests change. If your new hobby is sailing, then use some keywords that related to sailing in your bio.

Social media, just like business, changes on a daily basis. You gain new followers, you lose followers, interests change, or your market can change. Change with your market and your interest; update your bio’s monthly.

Let me know in the comments below when you last updated your bio’s!  In the meantime, please excuse me; I need to update my own bio’s!

25 Blogging Tips on List 25

Thanks to my friend Misty McPadden, (@mistygirlph) I was recently included in a terrific resource post: 25 Blogging Tips You Need to Learn Today.  List25 was started by David Pegg (@iamdpegg) and Syed Balkhi (@syedbalkhi). The site compiles lesser-known intriguing information on a variety of subjects.

John-Lusher

My tips for this post encourages bloggers to  “Use Your Voice” when writing.  Allow me to expand on what I submitted for the article.

  • Write as you speak. When you write, make sure you are writing the same way you speak, using your words and your manner of speaking. For some reason when most of us sit in front of a screen to prepare an article or blog post, we try to write as someone else, not as ourselves.  Think about how you speak; how you carry on conversations with your friends or colleagues. Write in the same manner and vocabulary that you use daily.
  • Write for one person. As my manager told me when I was a new DJ at a radio station; picture yourself talking to one person, or having a conversation with one person. Obviously you want a lot of people to read your blog, but write it as if you were writing for just one person. This goes along with writing as you speak; if you write your posts in the same manner that you would speak in, the readers will get to know you.
  • Record yourself.  Yes, we all hate to listen to ourselves, but this can be a very valuable process. Recording yourself talking about the blog topic will help you to write as you speak and can help you avoid writers block. Relax and talk about the topic, then listen back to the recording and write your post! This can also help you to make sure you are not forgetting an important point in your post.
  • Don’t Post Just to Post. Regular blog posts are essential for your business and can greatly improve your search engine rankings; however, posting just to post is wasted time and space. It can also potentially alienate your readers.

Those are some of my tips; what are your favorites? Thank you again to Misty for asking me to be part of List25!

Insignificant? Not at all!

I was blessed today to have another morning on this earth, and to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee on my deck as the sun started it’s journey across the sky.  I snapped this photo of the moon agains the backdrop of the blue sky and clouds and started pondering our significance in the universe.

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         Watching the final Space Shuttle mission and the landing of Atlantis took me back to my childhood; like most boys, I wanted to be an astronaut!  I still want to fly into space and look down upon the earth.  That would be so cool! Alas, that is not an option at this point, so I will just keep looking towards the Heaven’s and keep that dream alive!Looking to the stars and the vastness of the universe, or even our own lives, it is easy to feel insignificant, but that is not the case. We all touch countless lives as we live our life.  The people we see each day and interact with, our family, friends, co-workers, we impact them all.  Are you impacting those lives in a positive manner?  Am I?  That is the constant question.Working in and spending a considerable amount of time in social media, I communicate with thousands of people. I am always aware of this and strive to make a positive impact in those lives.  I hope I do.  If you spend time in social media or social networking, you have a similar opportunity.  You have the opportunity to  make a significant impact or difference in the lives of others. Before you send that next Tweet or post something to one of your profiles, think about that.  Think about how it will impact your friends and followers, as well as your own reputation.  Will it be positive and supportive or negative?  However you choose to impact others, just know you do, and treat those “virtual” relationships with care; these are real people on the other side of the screen.How do you make a significant difference in the lives of others? 

Rememberances, Connections & The Power of Social Media

On April 21st of this year, I attended the funeral of a friend and former co-worker Tommy Hall. A man that I had the enjoyment of knowing and learning from and the person I credit for my life long Apple Computer addiction. When Tommy and I worked together several years ago, he sold me his Mac PowerBook; that was the first stage of my addiction. Fast forward to today; I own a MacBook Pro, an iPhone and an iPad; with more purchases planned!Tommy left behind an incredible wife and two beautiful daughters. The funeral was hard, as all funerals are, but it also taught me about how we grieve more publicly now than ever before. Many of us that knew Tommy posted remembrances on his Facebook profile as well as on our own walls. I was touched and humbled by the number of my friends that offered love and condolences on this day; many of these people never knew Tommy, but they knew me, and I am very thankful for their friendships.I posted this photo that I sent to Tommy after a trip back home to West Virginia; we all smiled at the fact that he had a road “named” after him in WV.

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       Tommy, you will be missed my friend.It just so happened that on the same day as Tommy’s funeral, our local Meetup 2.0 Group hatched a new Group of professionals to discuss and promote social media.  The Floyd Meetup Group‘s inaugural meeting was both exciting and bittersweet for me due to the events earlier in the day; however as a founding member of our Roanoke Meetup 2.0 Group, I was committed to attending.  Once again being the social person that I am, I posted on Facebook and Twitter  that I would be attending the meeting, and I was genuinely excited to be there and meet new people.When it came time to pay, the waitress asked my Meetup partner, Patsy Stewart who John Lusher was.  Patsy laughed and introduced me, thinking the waitress had heard of me.  The waitress proceeded to inform us that some jewelry lady had called and provided a credit card to pay for my dinner!  It took us a few minutes to figure out that it was my dear friend, Julianne Paulsen or @YrJewelryGal on Twitter.  Julianne owns a jewelry store in Minnesota and is Founder and CEO of Viaggio Bracelets.  Julianne had noticed my posts throughout the day, including the information about Tommy’s funeral as well as the location of our Floyd Meetup meeting; she then found the number of the restaurant and left information to pay for my dinner.  Talk about a humbling experience.On the drive home, my friends tweeted about the woman that bought John’s dinner and I called Julianne to thank her.  Julianne answered the phone laughing because she knew what had happened.  I thanked her profusely and related the story to her about the waitress; but also discovered she has done this to friends before just to surprise them.  She did this for me just to give me a smile and pick-me-up due to the events of the day.  I have not yet had the pleasure to meeting Julianne in person, but I will one day and I will buy her dinner and supply the cigars!  Although we have not met yet, I consider Julianne a dear friend and trusted professional.My reason for this post is to shine the light on how we live now:  socially.  More so than ever before, if we choose to. Whether we are grieving or celebrating; we do so publicly with our extended friends and followers.Thank you Tommy for all you taught me, and thank you Julianne for everything you are to me; I am most certainly blessed with the best friends in the world. 

Roll With The Changes

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At the outset, I apologize to the readers of my blog; my updates and posts have been very sporadic lately and I committed to blogging more frequently.While life sometimes throws us curve balls that we don’t see coming,  most likely these pitches allow us the the opportunity to knock one out o the park! That’s a good description of what has been happening in my life and in my business.  Changes that I will explain more completely soon, but opportunities for partnerships and strategic alliances have arisen that otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to embrace; trust me, it’s all good!So, while we may not always expect the changes; we should roll with them and embrace what is going to happen next!  We should Roll With the Changes.Saddle up friends, it is going to be a fun ride!Oh, and if you love classic rock, you know why I used the REO Speedwagon album cover; if not, click on the  link in the picture to listen to the song.As my Twitter brother @VincentHunt would say, et’s GO!

What is a QR code?

Guest Blogger – Phil Tucker, Internet Marketing Strategist & with Tucker Hosting

Welcome Phil Tucker, an Internet Marketing Strategist, to JohnLusher.com. I have known Phil for several years and have the pleasure to speak with him often at local events.  Phil knows the Internet and has been helping businesses harness it’s marketing power for years.  Long before we all hung out on Facebook and Twitter together!If you are curious as to what QR codes are and how they can be beneficial, check out his post below.

Thanks Phil!

 

What is a QR code?

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QR Codes are 2 dimensional barcodes that are easily scanned using any modern mobile phone. This code will then be converted (called “dequrified”) into a piece of (interactive) text and/or link. For instance, you walk around in the city and notice a poster for an event that seems interesting. You take out your mobile phone, scan the QR Code and will instantly get more information and a link to a website where you can book your tickets. You don’t have to type or remember anything and because QR Codes can be very small, this saves a lot of space on the product as well. The QR Code was patented by the Japanese company . Rather than strictly enforcing the patent, they chose to create an international standard with the QR Code and allow anyone to use or generate them without requiring a license or fee. QR Codes can be used to store all sorts of information including website URLs, map locations, contact information, text notes, and product identification. I first starting seeing practical uses of the QR Codes when Google Maps create a promotion in 2009 for business owners by sending them display stickers that say “We’re a favorite place on Google” and offer a QR Code for cell phone users to scan and easily add the business Page Place to their phone. You can see the sticker Google sent to business owners on the front door of one of the Google Places I set up for. What to do with QR Codes? By creating your own QR Codes (called “qurifying”) you can make whatever you want more interactive. Put one on your business card, on flyers for a party or poster to promote your products or services. Or use them to help sorting your books or CD’s, put them on your keys or tools so you know what they are for. Just qurify any text or website url, put the QR Code on a product and make everything you have more interactive!

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So, are you ready to start generating your own QR Code yet? The is a Google Code project that creates QR Codes for maps, URLs, calendar events, and more. But I found BeQRious, which is a company is based in New York City & Europe that has a very slick and robust online QR Code Generator: generator BeQRious.com is focused on supplying news, information, technical solutions of QR codes. They seem pretty passionate in what we do and evangelize the World in possibilities of use QR Codes. So what will you use QR Codes for?

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Phil Tucker is an Internet Marketing Strategist with Tucker Hosting, specializing in local search optimization. Phil Tucker has helped hundreds of companies and individuals “make the web work for them”. Phil Tucker continuously educates himself and his clients on new techniques and trends, much of which he shares on the Small Business Marketing BlogTwitter: @philtucker

Never Underestimate

I posted on Facbook this morning that you never know where a connection can lead.  My dear friend, referral partner and all around incredible soul, Suni Heflin, re-posted and added to my comments.  As you can see from the comment flow below, many people believe in connecting, building relationships with integrity and the power of networking; especially in a smaller community.This got me to thinking; how many times do we underestimate the potential power of a connection.

  • Do we overlook someone due to the way they dress or look?
  • Do we miss a potential connection because we are too wrapped up in our own world?  Or our smart phone?
  • Do we avoid connecting with someone because we didn’t agree with a Tweet or a Post or a Blog Article?
  • Do we realize the potential power of others network?

Every person we meet could be a potential connection, an opportunity to assist or help or a business opportunity.If I hadn’t connected with Suni, I would have missed an incredible friendship and the opportunity to watch her write the next chapter of her life and career!  Stay tuned for more on that!Put yourself out there; in person, and online.  Make a connection; never underestimate where it can lead.Those are my thoughts.  What about you?  How have you seen the power of connections enrich your life?

                       

Social Media Misconceptions

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If you are a business owner, I strongly suggest you stop resisting social media as a platform to build relationships,  your brand and to connect with clients!  Just as businesses resisted building and promoting a website, a portion of them are now resisting social media.Why?  Is it because you don’t understand it or you think it’s a fad?  It isn’t a fad. Is it fear of the unknown?  You have more resources available at your fingertips to learn about social media and how it can help your business starting today!  Guess what?  Your competition is already involved with social media and if you can’t be found online today, you are not found period.Before you jump into social media, let’s clear up some misconceptions.Social media is inexpensive, or even FREE! We need to put this misconception to rest once and for all.  Yes, many of the tools and the sites that are involved with social media are free to sign up and use.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendfeed and others do not charge you to sign up and create an account, but you will discover, that is where the free part ends.It takes time to properly create these profiles and to maintain them.  It takes time to develop and produce content; to refine what is working and what is not. Social media is and should be part of your marketing campaign.  As a business owner you need to make this plan part of your overall business plan.  Some companies spend as little as a few thousand dollars on a social media campaign. Others spend upwards of $50,000 to $100,000 or more.  This is a form of advertising and marketing your company; tools for building your brand.  Treat it as such, budget for it and plan for it.  You didn’t go into business without a business plan (did you) so do not start a social media campaign without a plan.Anyone can build your campaign for you. Well, if you spend any time on Twitter, you will realize that thousands of “experts” on social media are promoting themselves.  You will discover social media “experts” that barely have two-thousand followers; so remember this, there are no experts.  We are all students of social media and it changes so quickly that no one can become an expert.I recall a conversation with a retail store owner about his website.  In an effort to save money, the store owner was having a local high school kid design and launch his site.  I visited his store six months later and the site had just launched;  three months behind schedule.  Approximately one year later, a Google search, with specific parameters included that relate to his business and that should have been keywords for his business, resulted in his site being found….on page three. Was the cost savings worth the amount of lost business to his shop because consumers couldn’t find his site or his store?  Do you go past page one on a Google search?  Hint: consumers typically do not.I use the previous story to highlight the importance of hiring a true professional to build and launch your successful social media campaign. A campaign that is integrated with your marketing efforts as well as your website. You should also interview the person or firm that you decide to choose as a partner! Have they created successful campaigns in the past? Do they integrate video into their campaigns? What does their portfolio look like? Ask for references and specifics of those clients they have worked with successfully.You can make a big splash in short amount of time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and typically your social media campaign will not make a big splash or build a strong or loyal following in a short amount of time.  It can, but those are exceptions to the rule, not the norm. If you are already a star or have a big name in business, then you can make a big splash; if not, it takes slow and steady work. Twitter is great for building a following and driving traffic to your site, your blog, your website.  Use video to acquaint your followers with your company, products, services and staff; but remember it takes time!You can handle a social media campaign internally. Maybe. Most companies rarely employ personnel that are well versed and experienced in social media campaigns.  Even if they have the experience, do they have the time?  What do you pay them to do and how much?  Run the numbers and then hire an experienced person or firm.  Another advantage to using an outside person or firm?  Their contacts and their network. Chances are, it’s larger than yours.  Do you do your own business taxes?  Do you represent your own company in legal matters?  Why would you try to run a social media campaign internally without the right people, with the right experience?People will automatically find you. That misconception reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, Doing a good job around here is like peeing in a dark suit, It makes you feel warm but nobody notices” Jason Bolt. People will not automatically find you, but word of mouth, or spread by the click (mouse) can help!  Using tools like Twitter, StumbleUpon or Digg helps, but your network, combined with traffic driven by the professional you partner with for your campaign, will help the world find you!You can’t measure social media results. Sure you can. Just as you can measure traffic to your website and responses to advertisements in traditional media, you can measure social media results.  Using Google Trends along with other analytics can provide you specific statistics on who is finding you, who is clicking on your links and sites and how well your campaign is working. With the recent changes, you can find out the number of views, clicks, demographic breakdowns and more on your Facebook Fan Pages.Approach a social media campaign just as you would any other aspect of your business; carefully, with planning and the right professionals involved.Those are my thoughts. What say you?