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How even social media & social selling experts are getting LinkedIn wrong – Part 1

In previous posts, I shared how CMOs at Xerox, Lithium, G2Crowd, Wiley, and XOJet are getting LinkedIn wrong as they simply focused on brand awareness, reach, and filling the funnel. I showed how the actions of these CMOs and others are the reasons behind why 8 out of 10 sales and marketing leaders are unable to prove a clear social media ROI on LinkedIn. Click here to read the post on the blog.

Now, as I review the actions, thoughts, and ideas from some of the most recognized social media and social selling authors, experts and consultants, I understand why business leaders and sales and marketing professionals are failing to drive demand on LinkedIn. These experts including Jay Baer, Viveka von Rosen, Josh Turner, Christine Hueber, Brynne Tillman, Alice Heiman, John Nemo, David Meerman Scott, Dave Kerpen, and others are even getting LinkedIn wrong. Keep reading my most controversial and provocative article yet to see what I mean….

Jay Baer Wrongly Believes Shotguns Trump Rifles in Social Media

On his blog, in LinkedIn group discussions, on LinkedIn Pulse, and even in his presentations (including the one at Social Fresh), Jay Baer mentioned that shotguns trump rifles in social media. He mentions that a shotgun approach gets a bigger reach and has a better opportunity for going viral. He believes that social media should be a volume play, and that you should be focused on broadcasting the same content to the widest possible audience, regardless of the different needs, wants, and expectations of your followers or connections.

Jay’s approach is taking the “social” out of “social media,” and those sales and marketing executives that follow his approach are just seeing social media as another advertising medium to gain more brand awareness. When you have a high-priced solution with a complex sales process that requires strong relationships, you better be sure you’re focusing on specific audiences and that you are relevant. Rifles trump shotguns in this case!

Wayne Breitbarth and David Meerman Scott Thinks You Should Be More of a Resource

David Meerman Scott (best-selling author with more than 250,000 books sold worldwide, keynote sales and marketing speaker) believes that only 10% of the content you share in social media circles (including LinkedIn) should be your own. Wayne Breitbarth (author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success) believes that for every 10 updates, 6 should be for content you didn’t create!

This positions you as a resource rather than a thought leader! LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to go directly to key decision makers and communicate to them your business value. Your business value shouldn’t be that you can curate content that would be relevant to them!

Keep in mind that a recent LinkedIn study shows that 80% of IT buyers say that thought leadership content is crucial in their decision making process – and I’m sure that if LinkedIn completed the study in other industries, they’d get similar results. If thought leadership content was key, why would I focus on sharing other people’s content more?

Viveka von Rosen, Stephanie Sammons, Melonie Dodaro, Donna Serdula, Christine Hueber and Kurt Shaver Wrongly Use the LinkedIn Publishing Platform

These experts fail to understand that the LinkedIn publishing platform posts are tools that are meant to position you Using it ineffectively takes away from any positioning work that you may have done on your profile as they are linked directly from it. Most importantly, they should challenge thoughts and actions, and drive demand for an alternative option. The platform is not just another place to share content, despite what these experts may believe:

  • Viveka von Rosen, author of LinkedIn Marketing in an Hour a Day (and one of the most well-known LinkedIn marketing consultants) talks about how to customize your invitations on LinkedIn. Can’t that be found on almost every social media consultant’s website?
  •  Melonie Dodaro – a contributor to LinkedIn Sales Solutions blog (and the best-selling author of The LinkedIn Code) shares on the LinkedIn publishing platform “7 messages that you should not send on LinkedIn, including the default message” (like this hasn’t been written about a million times in the last 5 years.) In her posts about LinkedIn profiles (as well as the posts from fellow Social Media Examiner contributor Stephanie Sammons), you’ll find tips about having a professional photo, a strong headline, and a summary written in first person that is prospect-centric. Notice that this is the same old information, just written by another author.
  • Christine Hueber, who self-proclaims herself as the #1 LinkedIn All-Time Top Female Expert, mainly uses the LinkedIn Publishing Platform to promote her events, workshops, webinars etc. Most of the posts are blatant self-promotions, even though B2B buyers are calling for more value. They want relationships first. They want to see real, differentiated value, and how you turn their vision into results they want to achieve. When Christine provides any value in her platform posts, it is generic value. For example, in a post where she talks about how to increase your website traffic 500+% with a simple strategy – she talks about consistent, compelling blogging (like, no duh!) and then you have to sign up for a strategy session to learn about an effective system that makes blogging easy, fast, and fun.
  • Donna Serdula, a LinkedIn profile makeover expert – uses the LinkedIn publishing platform to share information about completely overdone topics like “Should Your LinkedIn Profile Be Written in 1st Person or 3rd.” She also discusses things like the Microsoft Acquisition of LinkedIn, the LinkedIn lawsuit, and how LinkedIn caps the number of searches you can complete with a free account. Now, how do these topics relate back to driving demand for LinkedIn profile makeovers?
  • Kurt Shaver (Founder of The Sales Foundry) and many others ineffectively newsjack and push out content. When the news broke about the Microsoft + LinkedIn acquisition, everyone started creating and sharing articles and posts about it. Kurt Shaver started writing posts about how it’s mostly a tactic to beat Salesforce (who cares? except for anyone in marketing automation) and “Why Microsoft Buying LinkedIn is Like the Warriors Signing Kevin Durant.” This may have gotten 2000+ views, hundreds of likes and comments, and even Jeff Weiner’s attention, but if there is no next step action, what good is it? If the acquisition isn’t changing anything now or in the near future for my prospects, why would I write about it?

Mark White Fails to Recognize the Importance of Mixing Content with LinkedIn Marketing

As of this writing, we’re at the end of August, and Mark White (who has been training UK businesses how to use LinkedIn before I even founded only has 4 LinkedIn publishing platform posts and 3 blog posts for this year. He hasn’t blogged since March 14.

This LinkedIn consultant fails to understand that content plays an important role in:

  • Getting prospects to self-identify themselves inside LinkedIn groups as a prospect who is in need of your services or solutions
  • Challenging your prospects’ current approaches and opening their minds to alternative options
  • Communicating and demonstrating your unique business value
  • Making connections and nurturing key relationships with B2B decision makers as you move them through the buyer’s journey

Judy Parsons and Alice Heiman Try to Sell How Quick and Easy It Is For Sales Leaders to Use LinkedIn.

Judy Parsons, a UK LinkedIn trainer, has a free ebook: One Hour to a LinkedIn Profile That Gets You Noticed! If she truly understood LinkedIn and how important it is for your profile to not only get noticed but to drive next steps, then she would not be promoting getting it done in just one hour. Recent studies show that most sellers are out of sync with buyers, and that most sales people fail to communicate business value in person (and we find that even more fail on LinkedIn!) That’s why most of the time we spend on providing LinkedIn profile makeovers (10 to 14 hours overall) is actually spent on the positioning and messaging strategy. This is not something to be rushed, as your personal profile is the foundation to your LinkedIn success.

Alice Heiman, one of the top sales consultants, coaches clients that they can achieve success on LinkedIn in just 15 to 30 minutes a day. Do you really think that you can make the right connections, engage in real conversations, and nurture relationships in just 15 minutes per day? These experts are speaking to their potential prospects’ lack of time to show sales professionals that they can do it. LinkedIn is becoming a shopping list of tactics for sales professionals rather than strategic actions that are leading to real outcomes. LinkedIn ROI should be qualitative, with results that can be traced to activity, as opposed to actual time on the site.

Now, This Is Only Part 1 of My Series on How Social Media and Social Selling Experts Are Getting LinkedIn Wrong. 

In part 2, I’ll be talking about Brynne Tillman, Josh Turner, Judy Schramm, John Nemo, and others. These experts may get mad at me for calling them out – but I am trying to initiate change in how we approach LinkedIn for sales, marketing, and business development. It’s time that we go beyond awareness, reach, and pushing out content on LinkedIn. It’s time that we stop focusing on “time spent.” It’s time we focus on creating real relationships and, most importantly, on driving demand and revenue.

In my Biznology webinar with Mike Moran, I show how to go beyond brand awareness and drive demand. Click here for the slides I shared.

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  1. Avatar David Meerman Scott

    So is leaving a comment here wrong? It isn’t original content so in your opinion I shouldn’t be commenting on your post?

    I do believe that sharing and engaging and like I am doing here, commenting, should be 85% of your social strategy, 10% original content, and 5% or less something promoting a product and service.

  2. Avatar Kristina Jaramillo

    I never mentioned anything about commenting. I am a strong believer in commenting – but your blog posts specifically say share other people’s content 85% of the time, which puts you as a resource. If my status updates and discussions continually show other people’s content, then how can I be thought of as an expert (unless you continually to add your 2 cents).

    And, since you brought up commenting, the way most people comment – it’s nothing more than brand awareness. Why? Because it’s not backed by additional, original content that drives action. If I am debating someone’s ideas, I discuss what the issue is with what the person is writing about and then take them to a post that talks about the issue further. If it’s something I support, I comment why I support their thoughts, show my additional proof that supports the concept or argument and link to my original content. I’m not just about showing up, educating and inspiring. I’m all about giving up-front value but I want to drive action that leads to ROI. You can’t translate brand awareness to revenue and that’s what we need to focus on.

  3. Avatar David Meerman Scott

    I think you misquote me. My blog post says “85 percent sharing and engaging”. That is what we are doing now, engaging.

    The Sharing More Than Selling Rule

  4. Avatar Krishna De

    Kristina – I appreciate the fact that you have researched people internationally who provide LinkedIn advice and guidance to others.

    Unfortunately I am disappointed in your article – I personally respect the guidance that many of the people you mention in your article. I do not know, nor have I read the work of off all those you quote, but many I have followed for many years and some I have spoken to in real life.

    I recall reading your own work and attending webinars in the past that you have hosted, but I have not come across your work for some time for what ever reason. Yet I do not recall you taking this approach in your previous work.

    I won’t go line by line, person by person through your article to give an alternative point of view on the statements you make. Perhaps your article was to provoke conversation here? I would however like to suggest that unless we know the exact circumstances of the people referenced, we do not know what is working effectively for them. And as the people referenced (as you point out in the article) are social media experts, social selling experts and LinkedIn experts, I am sure they are optimising their own use of LinkedIn to support their business objectives along side other marketing tactics that they use.

    To your point about some of the people sharing introductory tips, I personally think what ever field we are in and what ever our area of expertise, we will always find people who have not yet either used the platform we are talking about or who are still looking to get the basics right. I am sure many readers of the articles referenced (myself included) have found them of benefit, and it is always good to have another persons perspective on a common topic and how they handle things, if for no other reason than it reminds us of what we can do to improve our effectiveness.

    I look forward to reading your past article on this site about how brands are using LinkedIn.

    1. Avatar Kristina Jaramillo

      Hi Krishna,
      I am sorry that you are disappointed in my approach. However, as much as you respect the advice of the social media experts mentioned and others- you should also be questioning their thoughts, ideas and actions. As I share in the above article, only very few sales and marketing leaders can translate their LinkedIn efforts to revenue. So we really need to question why – and question those we follow. And for the basic advice, it’s OK for your blog so you have a balance of content for different audiences but why would you want content that’s linked from your profile (which is supposed to position you as an expert) to be generic. It’s not about reach, it’s about driving actions beyond the click, like etc.

  5. Avatar Steven Pofcher

    Controversial to get clicks….?

    1. Avatar Kristina Jaramillo

      Hi Steven,
      Not controversial to drive clicks because I believe in going beyond the click. It’s controversial to make people aware of the ideas of these experts and how it can be leading you down the wrong path.Its making you question the advice you follow and the approach you take. And, because we are marketers we are wanting to drive demand for the webinar where we will discuss a new approach.

  6. Avatar Kristina Jaramillo

    Hi David,
    I’m sorry for not catching the “engaging” part. But even when commenting, I in many cases believe in interjecting and linking to your original content. I want to create the disruption and grab the attention so my comments don’t get lost. It’s the 10 percent of original content that I’m disputing especially since most people comment and like basically to just show up than drive a conversation forward

  7. Avatar Jack

    I’d say I have a little credibility in this space… David Meerman Scott is spot on with his advice. I’d advise listening to a guy that has helped large companies increase massive revenue time and time again… Also, when someone is hand picked by Tony Robbins to be one of the lead Business Mastery instructors… It usually means something ?. Oh… and I follow that same strategy and did 1.5 million in revenue on an average deal size if 12k over a 2 year period… It works! #JustSaying

    1. Avatar Kristina Jaramillo

      Hi Jack,
      Yes, I know that David Meerman Scott is well recognized – and that he is an expert. I know he has helped large companies with social media and social selling. However, it doesn’t mean that he truly understands LinkedIn as he’s treating the different platforms the same. 10% original content is not usually a good strategy for those companies that are not massive and do not have the thought leadership status of a Fortune 500 company. I’m glad that his strategies worked for you – but as my studies have shown when it comes to LinkedIn, most people are just getting reach. They’re getting connections but they are not driving demand. I find that it comes down to the content they’re using and sharing. They’re just pushing out content and becoming a resource.

      I follow David Meerman Scott and will agree with many things he says except for the 10% approach that works better on platforms like Twitter. As I mentioned in the post, I’m challenging these expert’s ideas and actions – and opening your mind and their minds to alternative approaches.

  8. Avatar Jack


  9. Avatar Michael Stelzner

    Try shining the light on others who are doing things right and maybe you’ll get the kind of exposure you want Kristina. Instead you’re going around and judging others.

    In one of your comments you say, “you should also be questioning their thoughts, ideas and actions.”

    Well one thing is for sure, I have no question that this is very poor form and will do nothing but build up walls between you and people.

    1. Avatar Kristina Jaramillo

      Hi Michael,
      If we don’t challenge the experts – and start questioning the approaches we’re using on LinkedIn then we’ll stay status quo! Reports show that most sales and marketing leaders are unable to clearly prove a social media ROI and every time I run a study I find that sales and marketing leaders are stuck on brand awareness or they’re playing a numbers game instead of focusing on relationships and revenue.

      The experts have every opportunity to defend themselves and their approaches. I’m open to dialogue and a debate. They just haven’t stepped up to the plate to get the kind of exposure they want. I am getting the exposure I want as I’m building a community of sales and marketing leaders who want change. Because I was honest with the “social media experts getting LinkedIn wrong articles – part 1 and part 2”, I’m getting sales conversations. People are asking to learn about the approach we use at and I’ll be creating a LinkedIn ROI course with the Digital Marketing Institute.

      I’m not slandering. I’m not revealing anything that’s not public. The information I’m challenging can be found in their speeches, on their websites and within their articles. I’m going to create waves – and I’m going to bring about change in the industry as it’s time we focus on revenue.

      1. Avatar Michael Stelzner

        The issue is you are criticizing social media people who are NOT LinkedIn experts. Had you simply given examples and then showed how to improve them it would have been a whole different story.

  10. Avatar Steve Dotto

    Nice try:
    Build up your number of clicks on the back of those who have done the hard work of building brands and supporting their communities.
    It is pretty transparent to me. I would say you are the one who has lost touch with the word “Social”.
    Regardless if you have good original content or not, I will not read any more of your trolls.

  11. Avatar Steve Dotto

    Nice, generate buzz by linking your post to successful community leaders who have built their brands the hard way. Ensure reaction by cherry picking ideas that they shared that are common and pointing out that EVERY tip they share is not 100% original, or, if taken out of context can be challenged.
    And try and build your reputation by undermining the hard work they have put in.

    Yep you are the sort of community leader we all need.

    1. Avatar Kristina Jaramillo

      Hi Steve.
      My “Social Media Experts Are Getting Social Media Wrong – Part 1 and Part 2” articles were not about generating buzz. I don’t do anything for clicks. 3000 views doesn’t mean anything if there are no next step actions. As a result of these posts, webinar registrants increased. I have sales conversations going on, People are thanking me for having the guts to tell the honest truth about these consultants – and for giving them a fresh perspective that they didn’t have before. They’re wanting to learn a new approach.

      I’m about creating change. I’m about challenging the status quo – common ideas, thoughts and actions that even the experts are believing and engaging in.

      Did I cherry pick ideas – Yes! I’m not saying that these experts are wrong in every way. Am I undermining their hard work – No, despite what you may think and what they may think. I challenged certain ideas and I challenged how they are using the platform or how they are playing a numbers game instead of focusing on the relationship. If we don’t challenge and we don’t question, how are we going to improve? I’m not here to inflate egos or sugar coat. I’m here to bring change as my studies show that there is a real problem. Sales and marketing leaders are getting reach on LinkedIn and in social media – and that’s about it.

      So, yes, I’m going to question the social media consultants and experts these sales and marketing leaders are following. Because I question and challenge – it doesn’t mean I lost touch with the word “social”. As I have mentioned to others, they can step up and defend their thoughts and actions. They have an opportunity to prove me wrong and show their thought leadership. I’m sorry if these articles rub you the wrong way – and I’m sorry if you think I’m arrogant. But, organizations are investing lots of time and money on social media so it’s about time that someone shows them why they’re not demonstrating a clear ROI from LinkedIn and what they must do.

      As I mention in the article – it’s time we question the experts. Yes, even question my content, ideas and actions. Just don’t take their word for it – seriously question and see if the approaches they are taking will really work for your business.

  12. Avatar Linkedin

    Thank you for this article, learned a lot about the Linkedin commercial use. looking forward to reading more of your work!

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