Who are you and what is your Story?
My name is Alex Wain and I currently live in Sydney, Australia. I’m from the UK originally, but I’ve now been here for 20 years so it’s definitely my second home now. I’ve been involved in digital media for over 16 years, from working at popular social networks and entertainment brands to government agencies, not-for-profit and recently health tech.
That passion and drive, led me to building my own successful digital publishing company called So Good Media. It was there that I co-founded the pop culture sites So Bad So Good and Nothing Cooler. In total, we generated in excess of 50M visitors, attracted 1M social followers and secured a six-figure investment.
I’m a big believer in sharing your experiences to help others. Nobody has all the answers and Every single individual and brand started at zero. Nobody has all the answers but by sharing your learnings and offering insights, you’d be amazed at how many people respond in kind.
How often do you use LinkedIn?
Daily and at pretty distinct times too. First thing it’s always good to read the latest trending articles to understand what’s happening in your chosen industry. Then during the middle of the day I did to look at the types of content my peers are sharing and offer feedback.
Just based on my own experience in my personal network, I feel there’s a spike of activity around 8-10am and then 12-3 so if you’re going to post – target those times.
I’m also a big fan of LinkedIn Learning – I try to find the time at least once a week to watch a new course and area of interest – you’ve got to continually adapt and upskill in the digital place and it’s a great way to do it.
How to stand out on LinkedIn?
Aside from making sure every element on your profile is filled in and completed I’d also recommended these four things:
1. Be authentic
2. Blog directly on LinkedIn (your content will automatically surface higher in the feed vs linking off to your own site)
3. Prompt your audience and drive engagement by asking topical questions
4. Post consistently and share insights, and use photos that rank higher alongside your status updates.
5. Simple I know, but use a recent, well lit and accurate photo – first impressions count.
How can we optimize your LinkedIn profile?
LinkedIn actively encourages you to add more and more information to your profile to aid their advertising efforts and networking capabilities.
We’ve all seen the “You’re only 20% of the way from completing your profile!” but you’d be amazed at how many people put very little effort into their profile.
Remember, it’s a reflection of your working life – so do it justice. If you’re not proud of your work. achievements or career – why would someone want to hire you? That being said, it’s a fine line between promoting your achievements vs talking in 3rd person and sounding smug so do be careful.
Take their advice if you want to rank high in their search results. Upload examples of your work, ask for recommendations from colleagues, use the banner space at the top, use accurate and compelling keywords in your bio, be personable, add your achievements, include external links etc
How has the way you use LinkedIn changed over the last couple years?
I find it far more collaborative and personal now. Before it was seemingly a place filled with company spam and faux enthusiasm about the latest company numbers. I think people have come to find that exhausting.
Today, I see lots of people commenting back and forth – usually around a topic or trend, which is great because it means everyone is sharing their opinion vs shouting and then logging out. There’s lots of really empowering and inspirational stories – usually in video – that drive back to that notion of being authentic and open.
Example: I shared a personal post a few weeks ago and it received over 8K views – far outside the reach of my own network and people that know me. https://www.linkedin.com/posts/alexwain_its-2020-might-as-well-add-this-to-the-activity-6696729606885666816-2y8l
I saw a friend of mine share a post saying that he had officially graduated as a solicitor. He was there with the gown and hat on looking really happy. People were over the moon for him in the comments and rightly so, because that takes a tremendous amount of work, focus and effort to achieve that accreditation. That’s fastly different from “I’m a solicitor, hire me now!”.
You write and edit your own profile on LinkedIn, is it a trustworthy place for information?
I think that’s a great question. I’m sure some people exaggerate on their profile – but if you do, I’d like to think you’ll get found out pretty quickly either through reference checks or during your probation period!
What makes a LinkedIn profile look professional? Can you give us some tips?
Avoid: emoji’s / spelling errors / broken links / acronyms / jargon / your life story / a bad profile photo / writing in caps / talking in 3rd person
Do: spell check / use terms relevant to your experience / showcase your stats or impact you’ve had / upload examples of your work / Share your knowledge through posting on the platform / be honest in your intro / make full use of your About section / List your accomplishments
How important is it to have recommendations from others on your profile?
I think it’s vital – whilst it’s lower down on your profile, I’d imagine it’s a place where a lot of potential employers and recruiters look. If you can, go for quality here. A few quotes from the CEO / CMO / CFO / Management will carry more weight that a dozen from people in lower positions. If you can’t secure those recommendations, always ask your direct manager or someone above you. They’re more believable.
Are you actively using LinkedIn to share and engage with your high-value prospects?
Not currently, but I think all social networks are touchpoints for any potential lead. I wouldn’t say it would just be one. Nothing beats meeting in person one on one over a coffee though.
How to create a strong personal brand?
Firstly, have your own site. It doesn’t need to be overly complex but it means people will take you seriously. Wix.com is easy to use, just make sure you get the premium version vs the version with the logo and ads floating about.
From there link to your social channels or portfolio. One central location that serves as a one stop shop for all your platforms. I built alexwain.com using about.me
Speaking of platforms, know what works for you – don’t waste your energy designing content for an audience that isn’t there. If Twitter helps you connect with your industry, invest more time there, if your audience is likely to be on Instagram – craft content for that medium. But don’t feel you need to be on every single platform, every single time.
Platforms evolve (some fizzle out entirely like MySpace, Vine, Bebo, Tumblr) so it’s a good idea (even if you don’t use them at first) to register your username across all of them. That way if in 6 months time you think Tik Tok might be for you – you have a username that is consistent across all your channels.
How to build a broad AND relevant LinkedIn network?
Follow people you see value in, deny requests from people who want to waste your time. I know that sounds like a very simplistic way of putting it, but it’s that simple. If you are an architect, follow hashtags and groups that are unique to that field.
From there, you will find people to connect with who might have similar networks or skills as you. If you are getting random requests from people industries that aren’t relevant – don’t accept. It will keep your LinkedIn timeline clean and relevant.
What is your process to generate quality leads from LinkedIn?
I would definitely look to add value and insight around a particular topic that’s being discussed on LinkedIn. If others see you as an authority / trustworthy – they are far more likely to interact and potentially do business with you.
Let’s say you run a mobile dog grooming salon.
On LinkedIn, someone has posted a photo of a very muddy dog with the following caption:
“Mental health and exercise is important. That’s why today the Nike Australia team all went and played a game of football in the park. It was hilarious, I can’t remember who won but our office dog Pablo got a bit muddy!”
You could write back:
“It looks like the team (and Pablo especially) had a lot of fun. It’s great to see. Pets can really help reduce stress and anxiety, especially around the office. We’d be happy to drive over and give Pablo his much needed wash anytime! Or future walkies for that matter. He’s so cute. Just drop us an email via dogmobile.com.au”
Authentic, contextual, lead generating.
What is the best way to engage with your audience?
See above 🙂
How do you create content to add value and amplify your expertise?
Often at work, you’ll have a million tasks to focus on at once – so naturally our attention spans can suffer.
But if you’re able to distill complex information into something that is snackable and instant – instant enough that I can see it in my feed and gain value in a few seconds – that’s a huge plus. I will engage with someone like that, because you’re adding value, you’re sharing an insight and it’s relevant to my industry.
Here’s a good example:
If you commit to that consistently, people will tag their friends, share your updates and begin to follow you. There’s no magic wand (we can’t all be Bill Gates sadly) you have to consistently be in people’s news feeds in order to raise your own profile and build that following.
When someone comments on your update, always without fail acknowledge and reply to them – it’s a great way to build up a rapport with someone and also a great opportunity to share your knowledge to new audiences reading those comments.