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Welcome to Futureforth

We teach companies how to reach their people.

We are a social media strategy, digital marketing consultancy, and communications company based in Nashville. Our goal is to teach you inbound marketing, social media best practices, and everything you need to succeed with content marketing including your blog, email newsletter, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other favorite social networking platforms.

Don't have the time to produce content? We can help with that too.

The Futureforth Blog

Helpful tips and articles about social media strategy, content marketing, and business networking. 

Filtering by Tag: LinkedIn

10 Years on LinkedIn

Dave Delaney

10 years on LinkedIn

Did you know today is the iPhone's tenth birthday? I'm celebrating my own ten-year milestone today too. 10 years on Linkedin! It's not much of a celebration really, it's not like LinkedIn noticed. I have all of my first dates on my calendar to remind me. I will celebrate my first post on Facebook on January 22, and my first tweet on Twitter on February 18th (both were parenting related). Both dates will also be ten-year anniversaries. I wonder if Facebook or Twitter will remember.

My relationship with LinkedIn has been good. I had a wonderful time as a keynote speaker when LinkedIn had the LinkedIn Live Conference in Nashville. I also advised Refresh, a company that was later acquired by LinkedIn. Both are LinkedIn-related milestones I am proud of.

LinkedIn Recommendations and Profile Optimizations

One of my main uses of LinkedIn is to give and receive recommendations. I always ask for one from my speaking and consulting clients. This is how I have accrued nearly eighty recommendations over my ten years on the professional social network.

I believe recommendations are one of the most important parts of a profile because they add social proof. If you want to get more recommendations you should check out my article, What You Need To Know About LinkedIn Recommendations.

I also put together a guide to help you optimize your profile to get the most return from your time spend on LinkedIn. Download your copy of "10 LinkedIn Profile Optimization Tips" here.

How long have you been using LinkedIn? What do you enjoy most about it?

What You Need To Know About LinkedIn Recommendations

Dave Delaney

LinkedIn Recommendation Secrets

I recently received a LinkedIn message from a friend, who wanted to know how I have received 70 recommendations on LinkedIn. Recommendations are an essential part of your profile because would-be clients or employers want to learn more about you before working with you.

The following is my strategy for growing the number of LinkedIn recommendations on your profile.

When I complete a speaking event, training workshop or client engagement, I always ask for a LinkedIn recommendation. If you want to improve your LinkedIn profile, you must add recommendations. This is how I do it.

5 Steps to Rocking LinkedIn Recommendations

Step 1. Ask your client for a LinkedIn recommendation via email. Do so this way because not everyone uses LinkedIn regularly, so they may not see your request. Don't be presumptuous — ask them to do so only if they are totally satisfied with your work.

Step 2. When they agree to leave you one, request the recommendation using LinkedIn. Be sure to assign the recommendation request to the correct company where you currently work.

Step 3. Wait. Be patient. Give your client time to submit their recommendation. If you do not receive one in a couple of weeks, it is fine to follow up to remind them via email.

Step 4. When the recommendation has been submitted you can choose to make it appear on your profile. Be sure to activate the "Notify your network?" button, so the recommendation may appear on the feeds of your connections. Share this on your profile. You can also share a link to your recommendations by adding "#recommendations" to the url like: www.linkedin.com/in/davedelaney/#recommendations.

Step 5. Send a thank-you email. It takes time to think of kind words to compose. Be sure to thank your client. A written card is even better.

Bonus tip. If you have a testimonials page on your site, consider copying and pasting their recommendation to your page. Include their name, title, headshot and link it to their LinkedIn profile. You can see how I have done so here: futureforth.com/testimonials.

For every recommendation you receive, try to write two (or more) for people in your own network. Review your recent emails, messages, and social network interactions to find people whose work you respect. Whether you believe in karma or not, what goes around does come around. In networking it is always best to help others, so do so with a few LinkedIn recommendations today.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessean Newspaper.

6 Simple Steps to LinkedIn Promotion

Dave Delaney

I developed a content strategy for a client recently who was confused about how LinkedIn should be used. Many people create LinkedIn profiles and think of them only as online resumes. In addition to using LinkedIn as a powerful networking platform, it is also an excellent place to promote the blog content you create.

The following is a step-by-step guide to help you use LinkedIn to drive traffic back to your site.

Step 1. Write the blog post. Obviously, you need content to promote. Futureforth can help you develop this content if you don't already have it.

Step 2. Promote the blog post. When you have published the blog post on your blog, share a link on your LinkedIn profileTo do this, go to Home and select Update Status. Paste the link into the update box and wait for it to load. Be sure you have included an interesting image. Now, remove the link and write a brief update using the title of the blog post. You can also tag brands you mentioned in the article, so they will be aware of your post.

Step 3. Promote the blog post to groups. Take a moment to share the blog post with fellow members of groups you participate in. Don't spam groups with links to all of your posts. Only share content you feel the members of the group will benefit from.

Step 4. Publish your blog post to your LinkedIn company page. The followers of your company page will be notified that a new article has been added.

Step 5. Like the post. When you like the post on the company page, your connections are notified. This can pique their interest and have them click through to read what you liked.

Step 6. Re-publish the post as a Pulse article. Wait a week or longer to use LinkedIn's blogging platform, Pulse, to copy and paste the full blog post. At Futureforth, we help our clients optimize this content to help you achieve your goals. These goals can include growing your email newsletter, increasing free trials of your software and selling your products.

Following these steps will help you increase exposure for your original blog post. More qualified readers will lead to more conversions. While I have you thinking about your LinkedIn strategy, be sure to download our free LinkedIn profile optimization tips guide.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessean Newspaper.

My LinkedIn Tips on BBC

Dave Delaney

A few weeks ago, I had a wonderful conversation with BBC journalist, Alina Dizik. She reached out for my comments on the types of people you should avoid connecting with on LinkedIn. I believe she came across my presentation on The Worst LinkedIn Profile In The World

Her article, Why Less is Much, Much More on LinkedIn, is now available for your enjoyment. It also includes thoughtful quotes from Andy Headworth, the founder of Sirona Consulting, a social media recruitment firm, and Andrew Stephen, a marketing professor at Oxford University’s Said Business School.

Check out the full story on the bbc.com. If you have questions about LinkedIn for your business or career, please don't hesitate to contact me.

The Secret Way to Get LinkedIn Connection Requests Accepted

Dave Delaney

Have you ever sent a connection request on LinkedIn and not had it accepted? Not being accepted can happen for a few reasons, like the person doesn't remember you or you're missing a profile photo. 

I am certain you frequently receive connection requests from strangers like I do. Your parents taught you not to talk to strangers, so it makes sense that you ignore the requests. I recently wrote a post about how I handle requests from people I don’t know. In this post, I will teach you how to send requests that get accepted.

If you want to have your connection request accepted, you need to consider a few things. The person may not use LinkedIn frequently, so sending the request through LinkedIn is often not the best first move.

I always email the contact before I send them the connection request. In the email, I remind him who I am and how we met. Perhaps we met at a networking mixer or a conference. I use his email from his business card, or I go to his site to find his contact information.

I write a follow-up email within 24 hours of the conference, so I am still fresh in people's minds. It doesn’t take long for people to forget who you are, unless you left an impressive impression.

In closing the message, I add that I am going to send him a connection request on LinkedIn. I explain that I am happy to provide him with an introduction to someone in my network should he need it. How’s that for value? Isn’t this better than just blindly sending a request to connect?

After I send the email, I send the connection request via LinkedIn. I always avoid sending the default connection request. I send a personal message and refer back to the email. I will write something like, “Hi John. It was a pleasure meeting you at XYZ Conference. Let’s connect on LinkedIn please. If I can provide you with an intro to one of my connections, let me know. Cheers, Dave. Futureforth.com

I always include my business URL in the signature on LinkedIn, so he can visit to learn more about my services.

LinkedIn: Now boasting more than 360 million users.

If John does not accept my request after a couple of weeks, I will reassess. I will ask myself why I wanted to connect in the first place. Obviously, networking is key with LinkedIn. John could provide me with an introduction to help my business or career. Perhaps John isn’t that active on LinkedIn. It’s OK, because I still have his email address and can follow up that way.

One of the best ways to grow and nurture your professional network is by using LinkedIn. Now boasting more than 360 million users and a new user every two seconds, it’s clear that LinkedIn really is the professional social network. It makes sense to do everything you can to get connection requests accepted, so you can grow your network.

Happy networking.

Photo from Flickr by Alessandro Valli liquene

The Worst LinkedIn Profile In The World [WEBINAR REPLAY]

Dave Delaney

I recently produced a brand new presentation about common LinkedIn mistakes. To have some fun with it, I created a fictitious character named Jerry Larry. The Worst LinkedIn Profile In The World showcases Jerry's terrible choices using the professional social network. 

My friends at Contactually presented the webinar last week. A number of you have asked for a replay, so here it is. Sit back, relax and take notes. Don't be a Larry!

My presentations are always more fun, live and in-person. I would love to come to your conference or company to present The Worst LinkedIn Profile In The World. Let's talk about it.

How To Handle LinkedIn Connection Requests From Strangers

Dave Delaney

To accept or not to accept, that is the question. Like all social networks, LinkedIn has it's fair share of scammers, spammers and spambots. It's easy to never accept connection requests from strangers, but you may be missing out on opportunities to connect with good people. When someone doesn't have a profile photo or they send the generic, default connection request, it's hard to know if they are worth connecting with right away. It takes too much time to click each profile and snoop around to decide if you should accept their request.

Here is how I handle LinkedIn connection requests from strangers

Step 1.

I send a standard reply to anyone I don't immediately recognize. This only gets a little embarrassing if I just met the person recently, this is seldom the case.

Sorry for not accepting your LinkedIn request yet. Please remind me where we met. My head is foggy today, not enough coffee yet.

Cheers, Dave

Looking for LinkedIn tips? Check out http://www.futureforth.com/blog

That's right, I plug my blog right there in my message. Why not?

Step 2.

LinkedIn Connection Requests from Strangers
LinkedIn Connection Requests from Strangers

I do this to the page of pending connection requests. Once I have done this I select to ignore all of the messages (tick box on the top right side). I skip the option to indicate why I'm ignoring them and move on to the next page of requests.

Step 3.

I eagerly connect with the people who write back. This is a little bit of a pain, because you have to return to their original connection request message. Search for their name in the LinkedIn Inbox and accept their original request.

You will find many won't reply, which means they were probably a spammer or spambot. Some will virtually slap you upside the head to remind you that you met them recently. Others will admit they don't know you personally, but wanted to connect for networking purposes or to pitch you their wares.

At the end of the day it's up to you how you handle connection requests.  I have found this method works well, because it starts a conversation that may otherwise not occur. Of course, you won't have this problem if you send a personal connection request in the first place. ;)

Whether online or offline, networking is about quality over quantity.

How do you handle requests from people you don't know on LinkedIn?

Custom LinkedIn Mobile Connection Requests, At Last!

Dave Delaney

How to send a custom LinkedIn connection request message on mobile.
How to send a custom LinkedIn connection request message on mobile.

LinkedIn drove me crazy for a long time. I hated the way you could not send a personalized connection request on their mobile apps. I have written here before about the importance of sending a personal message and being human on LinkedIn.

How to send a custom LinkedIn connection request message on mobile

I am happy to report that issue has been solved in the current version of the LinkedIn Connected application.

To send the message click the three dots on the top right corner of the person's profile. You'll be given an option to send a customized invite. You can also forward their profile if you choose.

This is your chance to send them a friendly reminder of where you met and what you talked about. Be specific, so they will remember who you are. Don't forget to include a call to action in the message. Schedule a coffee, lunch or a phone call.

LinkedIn Star List

In the latest update of the iOS app (Version 2.4), you can now add a star to contacts that matter most to you. LinkedIn will give you more opportunities to keep in touch. The app note mentions this feature may not be available straight away, but should be rolled out fully soon.

Advising to Acquisition

Dave Delaney

I am proud that I advised a company that was acquired by LinkedIn. I joined Refresh last July as an advisor after I met co-founder, Bhavin Shah. With enough guidance and insight, your company can go to great places. I first learned about Refresh from my friend, C.C. Chapman, who showed me the app at a conference we were speaking at. I was blown away by how much information Refresh could find on a person.

Refresh finds common ground with the people you meet. It searches the web and social networks to deliver insights about your contacts: mutual interests, shared passions, and important moments. Refresh lays the foundation for better relationships and prepares you to connect in every meeting on your calendar. It’s all the research you need to be prepared but don’t have time to do.

Each day the app would email me a dossier of the people I was meeting with. Refresh would reveal popular tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and it would provide links and details from other social networks and content the person had created. In some cases it would even give me insight to sports teams, political parties and religions that person was associated with.

Refresh app acquired by LinkedIn
Refresh app acquired by LinkedIn

I was so impressed, that I reached out to Bhavin to see if he would be a guest on my podcast (listen below). He kindly agreed to speak with me about the history and future of Refresh. We had no idea at the time that the company would end up being acquired by LinkedIn. His amazing story even led me to write an article in my column in the Tennessean newspaper.

A short time after the interview, Bhavin visited Nashville to speak at a conference. He reached out and we met for dinner. During the dinner I came up with ideas to help promote the app. Shortly after, I was offered a role as an advisor for Refresh.

During my time advising, I was privy to Refresh's announcement of Salesforce integration. I helped develop planning for Refresh to exhibit and network at Salesforce's massive conference, Dreamforce. I also was an alpha tester on the updated app and desktop site.

Launching Futureforth, I knew I would be helping companies understand and use LinkedIn, but I had no idea a company I advised would actually be purchased by LinkedIn. I'm so proud of this achievement and happy for everyone at Refresh.

Special thanks to Bhavin Shah, who left me a wonderful recommendation of my work on my LinkedIn profile.

"Dave Delaney was an advisor for Refresh from July 2014 until our acquisition by LinkedIn in April 2015. During this time, Dave provided us with valuable insight and feedback as a thought leader in the area of networking.

In October 2014, we attended Salesforce's Dreamforce Conference, where we revealed our integration with Salesforce’s AppExchange. Dave provided guidance and recommendations on strategic ways we could promote our news before, during and after the conference.

Dave played a strong role in helping us make Refresh a success. I recommend you reach out to him for marketing, social media and promotional strategy assistance."

Let's talk about how I can help your company too. You never know where it will lead.

What are LinkedIn Showcase Pages?

Dave Delaney

Back in November, LinkedIn introduced Showcase Pages to a number of large companies. Shortly after it began to roll out the new feature for all LinkedIn Company Pages. Here is a reminder of what they are and how to use them and some Linkedin Showcase Page examples. In the past, by following a LinkedIn Company Page (you're following us, right?), you would see all relevant updates they were posting. This was fine, since you were following them in the first place. However, what if the company had many brands to manage?

The case for managing multiple brands

Not everyone wants to hear and see every piece of news from large companies with multiple brands. PepsiCo’s Company Page is dedicated to all areas of the company, which includes a product portfolio of 22 brands. What if I only want to follow news from Pepsi-Cola, and I don’t have an interest in the other 21 brands such as Tropicana, Gatorade, Quaker, and Frito-Lay?

LinkedIn’s blog describes the new Showcase Pages

“...dedicated pages that allow companies to highlight different aspects of their business and build relationships with the right community. Whether it’s a brand, a business unit, or an initiative.”

LinkedIn provides company page owners with an easy way to create Showcase Pages to send updates to the right audience. It also includes an analytics tool to keep an eye on how well your content is performing and who is interacting with it. Specifically, the analytics includes: engagement, trends, and demographics.

Smart move by LinkedIn

What are LinkedIn Showcase Pages?
What are LinkedIn Showcase Pages?

I have seen plenty of large companies create sub-brand Twitter profiles and Facebook pages, so this makes sense. It’s a smart move on LinkedIn’s part, because in the past large companies only had one place to post their content on LinkedIn. I’m certain many Xbox fans aren’t terribly excited to receive info on Microsoft Office. Speaking of which, Microsoft is one of the first companies to use Showcase Pages, you can take a look here: www.linkedin.com/company/Microsoft.

When you visit Microsoft’s LinkedIn page, you will see a section on the lower right side entitled “Other Microsoft Pages“. Companies can have up to ten Showcase Pages. Other examples include Adobe, Cisco, and HP. You will also notice that companies can advertise on Showcase Pages using Follower Ads. Sponsored Updates are also ads that a company can purchase to promote their Showcase Pages to those who are not yet following. Futureforth can help you make sense of this all.

Can you handle managing yet another profile?

Like everything we do online, the more channels we create, the more we need to pay attention. This means that it is crucial for LinkedIn page administrators to keep a watchful eye on their Showcase Pages, so they need to be sure they have time for this. It is certainly worth doing if you manage multiple brands with multiple audiences, but don’t just create a Showcase Page because the big kids are doing it.

If you feel like you may be driving your LinkedIn Company Page followers nuts by sending too many mixed messages regarding a number of brands that appeal to different people, Showcase Pages is for you, and did I mention it’s free?

Have you seen good examples of a Showcase Page? Will you be using Showcase Pages for your business? Let's chat how we can help you with this.