Your LinkedIn Profile: It’s Not About You with Sandra Long
Sandra Long is a global LinkedIn expert, consultant, author, and speaker. She is a professional member of the National Speakers Association and received her Certified Virtual Presenter designation from espeakers.
Her best-selling book is LinkedIn for Personal Branding, The Ultimate Guide. Sandra presented the first-ever TEDx talk about LinkedIn in 2019. The 11-minute speech is called, “LinkedIn Community: A Super Power Hiding in Plain Sight,” and is available on YouTube.
Sandra and her company Post Road Consulting focus 100% on LinkedIn education and thought leadership. Their clients include sales teams, corporate C-Level executives, HR teams, universities, job seekers, and business owners.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Building and optimizing your LinkedIn presence
- Adding threads of who you are to your professional profile
- Using the hero’s journey framework to introduce yourself
- Don’t just connect—strategically connect
- Overcoming the fear factor of networking
- Making your profile do the selling for you
- Rethinking and repositioning your LinkedIn content
- It’s not about you, it’s about the people you will serve
In this episode…
The future is digital, and your digital presence says a lot about who you are. So, what does your LinkedIn profile say about you?
In this episode of An Unconventional Life, Sandra Long discusses with Dr. Russell Strickland why and how she chose LinkedIn as her expertise. She talks about her book LinkedIn for Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide and also emphasizes the importance of maintaining a friendly and approachable online profile so you can build connections and help more people. The LinkedIn expert also shares some interesting tips in building a strategic network and her personal hobbies when she is not knee-deep in the professional platform.
Even in the digital world, making a difference in people’s lives is the greatest measure of success. Before you can begin to make a difference, you need to build yourself a great LinkedIn profile. Not sure how? Sandra Long, the LinkedIn Expert, has got you covered!
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Sandra Long on LinkedIn
- Dr. Russell Strickland on LinkedIn
- TEDx Talk: LinkedIn’s Community: A Superpower Hiding in Plain Sight
- Sandra Long on Twitter
- LinkedIn for Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide
- Dissertation Done
- Unconventional Lives: Books on Amazon
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Dissertation Done, America’s #1 authority in dissertation completion for working professionals.
Founded by Dr. Russell Strickland, Dissertation Done serves people in two ways:
- If you’re struggling with your dissertation, getting ready to start your dissertation, or just plain wanting to get your dissertation done as soon as possible, go to www.dissertationdone.com/done and Let’s Get Your Dissertation Done
- If you’re busy living your Unconventional Life and have a message that you want to share, maybe you should join our Expand Your Authority Program to become a published author. Go to www.dissertationdone.com/book and let me know that you’d like to talk about Expanding Your Authority.
Disclaimer: This transcript is here for your reading convenience. It was created by machines and may (a-hem) contain some errors. If you email us about these errors, the machines will undoubtedly find out. I hope they won’t get angry.
Welcome to An Unconventional Life, a podcast where we share stories about the crazy one percent out there, who earned their doctoral degrees, and then went on to use them in crazy, cool, unique and unconventional ways. Here’s your host astrophysicist turned teacher, author, dissertation coach, and more, Dr. Russell Strickland.
Dr. Russell Strickland [00:28]
Hello, and welcome to an unconventional life on your host, Dr. Russell Strickland, the founder and CEO of Dissertation Done, and I have with me today, Sandra Long, who is a global LinkedIn expert, a consultant, author, and speaker. She’s a professional member of the National Speakers Organization, and her best-selling book, LinkedIn For Personal Brands For Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide, she’s gonna she’s going to talk with us today about LinkedIn, about her, her TEDx talk, and she was the first person to present on LinkedIn only two years ago back in 2019, which I found very interesting. LinkedIn is obviously an up and coming platform. It’s been there for a while, but people are paying more and more attention to it, it seems like lately, would you agree? Would you agree, Sandra?
Sandra Long [01:12]
Absolutely. I mean, it’s been actually, surprisingly, around since 2003. But the trajectory has really taken off in the last few years.
Dr. Russell Strickland [01:23]
I want to also mention that your company is post road consulting, and it focuses 100% on LinkedIn education and thought leadership. So you serve clients with you know, in terms of sales teams, corporate C level, executives, HR universities, basically, anybody who might interface with LinkedIn, it’s fair game, huh?
Sandra Long [01:41]
That’s right. That’s right. A lot of people need a lot of help with LinkedIn. So we’re happy to do it.
Dr. Russell Strickland [01:46]
And I cannot wait to share all this with our folks today, it’s going to be exciting. I’ll let you guys know real quickly that today’s episode is being brought to you by Dissertation Done, where we help adult pool students through the dissertation process. So if you are approaching a doctoral dissertation, or stuck in the middle somewhere, reach out to us at DissertationDone.com/done. And we’ll have a conversation and see if we might be a good resource for you to help you fast track your dissertation, get to graduation as soon as possible. If perhaps you’re on the other side of the fence, you’ve earned your doctoral degree, and you really want to be an expert out there in that coaching or consulting space. Obviously, first of all, pay attention to what Sandra has to say today about LinkedIn, it’s going to be incredible. But I’ll tell you that there’s no better way to become the recognized expert in your field than having a first name, “Doctor,” and literally having written the book on your area of expertise. If you’re interested in doing that, we take people from the blank page to publish author in no time. And we you can find out more about that on DissertationDone.com/book. So we talked about the trajectory of LinkedIn. It’s been around for a while, but really coming into his own. Now tell me, why LinkedIn for your focus, Sandra?
Sandra Long [03:00]
Well, LinkedIn is the number one professional platform by far. And there are about 750 million people across the globe that are leveraging LinkedIn. And when you compare LinkedIn to other platforms, these are the folks that are the most affluent, and the most educated, and the most informed people on social media. So they’re definitely the people that are in the sphere and universe of your audience..
Dr. Russell Strickland [03:29]
And I have found that just anecdotally, but I can’t wait to hear what you have to say, because I know that LinkedIn is a very powerful platform. And I feel like I’m not getting anything out of that I could be so I hope everybody’s listening, because this is going to be fantastic today. How did you become an expert in LinkedIn, LinkedIn expert?
Sandra Long [03:49]
Well, I actually this is my second career. My first career was sales business. A little bit of marketing, but mainly really client focused selling. And I had a very wonderful career. And I started this in 2013. What I learned in my my first business, I worked for a large company, that a lot of people were coming to me for questions. They had questions about LinkedIn, and I was was sort of naturally gravitated toward it became very knowledgeable, started helping people informally. And then it occurred to me that wow, a lot of people need help with it. And this could be a business. So that’s what happened to me in 2013. And it’s been fantastic. Since then,
Dr. Russell Strickland [04:31]
Yeah, I had the same sort of experience with Dissertation Done. It seems like when you’re out doing things you enjoy the opportunities, just find you, right? I was helping folks in working at the university level, and I was hearing people have the same kind of questions and same kind of problems. And I thought, well, let me hang a shingle out, you know, and Google at the time, and see if anybody’s looking for help out there. And sure enough, the phone started ringing.
Sandra Long [04:54]
That’s right. That’s exact solving a problem and especially if you enjoy solving that problem and helping people it works out great.
Dr. Russell Strickland [05:02]
Awesome. So what people are you working with? I remember, you know, in the bio, we talked about a lot of different folks. But who’s your kind of primary client? Would you say?
Sandra Long [05:09]
Well, I mean, the thing is my, my core focus is LinkedIn. So what that really means is a lot of come I do a lot of work with companies. So a company would hire my team, we either come in and work with the sales team, the HR team, or the leaders of the company. Because, you know, I think a lot of people assume that companies have this all figured out. But you know, they, no one really has it all figured out. So the leaders of the company have got to have a good presence, as well. And then, of course, I work with universities, associations, and even individuals who need help the either job seekers or individual business owners.
Dr. Russell Strickland [05:48]
and what is it that they’re trying to accomplish? Like our audience, honestly, they’re probably going to be more of the individual business owners, or sometimes the leaders in organizations, or folks are, you know, their own expert, you know, in me.com, sort of thing. So, what are those folks trying to accomplish?
Sandra Long [06:06]
Well, I mean, every one of those groups is trying to leverage LinkedIn. And they’ve heard through the grapevine that this is what this is where it’s happening, right. So if you’re on the business side, whether it’s from a company or small business, then you’re trying to grow your business. And LinkedIn is a great way to do that. I mean, and so whether it’s growing your business, getting more clients, or whether it’s getting a job, which is job seekers, or you know, universities are helping their their graduates and their students, it’s a lot of the same threads that go through it. So you have to have a great presence. For any one of those situations, you have to have a great presence, your brand, which is partly your profile, but also how you connect and the content, all of that is part of your brand. And it matters now, because buyers, and hiring managers are definitely going to look at people’s profile, people. And if you’re getting referred as a professional, like many people here, whether for whatever scenario, you want to be referred, like that’s the best way to get into opportunities. Well, you’re getting referred, and people are gonna look on LinkedIn to validate to say, is that really someone I want to talk to?
Dr. Russell Strickland [07:16]
Or even pick up the phone? Yeah, so yeah,
Sandra Long [07:19]
Right, people are busy, they’re gonna, they’re gonna say they’re gonna hear your name, and they’re gonna be like, well, I’m gonna check that person out.
Dr. Russell Strickland [07:25]
And when they do check that person out, what are they going to want to see? Or we’re flipping around, you know, what might they see that they don’t want to see that people need to clean up or focus on right away?
Sandra Long [07:38]
Well, I mean, you see a real mixed bag on LinkedIn, you know, you see people that have spent the end focus their time on their brand, and they have a great profile. It’s very professional. And it’s very, you know, it demonstrates their expertise and in a nice, friendly way. And then you see people that are sort of skeleton type profiles, and we see a lot of those skeleton type profiles were basically, they might just list their jobs, and they list their school and they maybe have a photo. But other than that, they’re not sharing anything about themselves. So they really, to me, that’s a really big missed opportunity, because they’re not, you know, they’re not developing their brand, because the brand is what’s going to attract people,
Dr. Russell Strickland [08:22]
Right. And one of the things that I think is important in marketing, a lot of times, you know, people, particularly the doctoral level, forget about, I have all this expertise, right, people don’t come to me for help, because they have all this expertise, you’ve got to remember that it’s not about you, it’s about them. And so that profile, you need to think about what people who are looking for me who I would like to work with, what is it that they’re looking for, and give them what they need. It’s not an ego stroking thing for your LinkedIn page. It’s a way of people connecting and saying, that’s someone I want to talk to?
Sandra Long [08:55]
Well, I mean, that’s 100% true. And, and that’s exactly the advice I give. In fact, one of the things about companies, a lot of times you’ll have all these company executives, or even the sales team, their profiles look like a resume, they’re not. So what we do is help them reorient that toward their perfect client. Right? So you know, because you really you are, you know, you really need to think about who is that avatar? Who is that perfect client that I want to focus on? Or if you’re a job seeker, you know, really, how do you really attract that hiring manager. So that’s wonderful, what you just said,
Dr. Russell Strickland [09:28]
What, um, I mean, any tips or techniques that you would, you know, tell people to do maybe a little exercise, they can go through that to help figure some of this stuff out or, or to be able to read their profile from their avatars, you put it their avatars point of view for their own.
Sandra Long [09:44]
Well, so as far as profile tips, there’s a lot of profile tips. I mean, I that’s, there’s a lot there. And let me just let us start with some of the big basics. How about that? Sounds good. All right. So you know, first of all you want it’s a first impression And there’s something called an introduction card, which is the very top part of your profile. And there you’ll see your name, your headline, your photo, your background banner, you’ll see a link to your, your company where you work, and a link to your school and a link to your contacts like that’s, that’s called the introduction card. And that’s really first impression. So what that tells me is, I want to have a great headshot photo that I’m smiling. And you know, that’s don’t underestimate that, it’s very important. And the other piece is your headline. So your headline, oftentimes, people just have, they default, and have their last job title. But your headline is a big opportunity, especially for your audience, you have an audience that’s doing a lot of really interesting things, they have a lot of expertise. Some of them are doing multiple things. So that headline, and they’ve just expanded, it used to be 120 characters. So some people that have maybe they had a pretty good headline, but now it’s, it’s a chance to rethink about your headline, because you can make it longer. And you want to use keywords in there that are going to be attractive to the people that you want to attract, then of course, so you’ve got your photo and your headline, the background banner is very visual. So I like to think that your background banner kind of matches your brand. And it’s related to your expertise. So that it all is in sync. And it’s very visually appealing. It as far as when you start opening up the profile, there’s an essay, which they call the About Section, it used to be called the Summary. And that section is extremely important. I mean, think about it, you’ve got these amazing experts as your audience, Dr. Strickland right there. They’re all PhD type folks. And, you know what? I have to say is oftentimes you see people that sort of, just don’t fill in that section. And it’s an opportunity to just to, to write about yourself or about what’s important in in your career in your professional journey. And so by leaving that blank, it’s really a big missed opportunity. And then of course, there’s all the experience sections, your education and all that. The thing about many folks that are in graduate and graduate school, since I know you’ve got a lot of those folks, the thing about the experience sections, where sometimes you might want to break those up, you know, depending on what you’re doing. So like, if you are a graduate assistant or graduate researcher, you can, you can take some of those and use those different experience sections in kind of creative ways. And then of course, your name, once you get your PhD. You can put your name your PhD, after your name. And LinkedIn actually doesn’t allow you to put others you’re not supposed to put anything else you’re not supposed to put keywords. And sometimes you see people making that mistake on LinkedIn, the only thing you’re allowed to put in your name field is a professional designation. So it could be PhD as an example.
Dr. Russell Strickland [13:08]
And that’s a pretty strong one to be. It’s big, it’s huge, right?
Sandra Long [13:12]
Yeah, um, you you were just asking me before we went on the air, like, do you go by Dr. Strickland, or Russell or whatever? And I said, well, listen, look as a professional capacity. I go by Dr. Strickland, because you know, when I worked hard for that, and I invested a lot of money in that. And that’s something that I want to make sure our folks in our audience understand. And listen, when you do put the time and effort into that. It’s not being ostentatious or arrogant, or anything to say, that’s who I am. Because it is. So make sure for those of you particularly who are new, newly graduate, graduated doctors beep make sure you get that out there. Now, like I tell folks, whenever they ask this question, I don’t make my kids, friends call me “Dr. Strickland.” But, but you know, in a professional capacity, that’s how I introduce myself. And I think it does carry a lot of weight. It’s one of those instant “wow” factors. It’s fantastic. I mean, so you’re so for someone with a PhD, they’re going to have it in their name, they’re also going to make sure that they enter all their colleges that they attended. And so each each university should be listed with the degree. Oftentimes, I see universities listed without a degree. So that’s where you would want to also add your your doctoral degree, and that’s in that space. And it’s something that you can write about in your essay, like, maybe you’re talking about these dissertations. I think a lot of people would be very interested. Maybe there’s a spin on that, like, you know, you know, the journey of your dissertation or the origin or something really compelling and interesting, like the human interest part of your dissertation. I think that’d be an amazingly interesting essay that you could write.
Dr. Russell Strickland [14:50]
I don’t know if this is how people tend to use it. But a lot of times when we talk to folks about creating their own introduction generally like what you would use that when you’re saying, hey, who am I? when you’re giving your introduction on stage, not someone else, you use the hero’s journey framework where you know, you were struggling, you had this problem, you figured out a solution. And now you’re sharing that with other people is the idea. And it’s a way of telling the story that hopefully is interesting to people, because it’s your story. But it’s not just you telling your story for no reason. It’s you telling your story so that they feel connected with you and say how this person can help me because they know where I’m, you know, what I’m dealing with, they know what I’m going through. And so if you have experienced the problem that you help people to solve in your own life, that’s a good place to put that sort of introduction is your hero’s journey, how you had this problem and dealt with this problem. And now you can help others to do the same.
Sandra Long [15:45]
Yeah, absolutely. And all of what we’re talking about whether you whether you tell the journey of your educational journey, or your dissertation or whatever other journey that you want to talk about, the hero’s journey, I’m writing it in the first person making it making it, there’s a little thread of personal so yes, this is professional, but it shouldn’t just be only professional, there’s a little thread of who you are, because who you are, as a person is, is who’s gonna, you know, you people are going to be attracted to hire you and work with you based on who you are. By, I don’t remember what the numbers are. But my business coach, she talks about the fact that, you know, Richard Branson has these many followers, and Virgin has this many followers. I can’t remember there was another example or two that she listed. Tesla, Elon Musk is up here, Tesla is down here. So the point is that people buy from people and have that personality out there and say, I’m the person who’s going to be helping, I lead the teams, I put these teams together, you know, by hand, if you’re not working directly, one on one with folks. That’s what they’re going to connect with. So and that’s the reason why I mentioned tell your hero’s journey as a way of showing them that you can help them it’s not about you and what you overcame, it’s about this is what put me in a position to be able to help you it’s a everything’s about them. It’s not about me. I love it. Totally Great.
Dr. Russell Strickland [17:07]
So we talked about, you know, how doctors use this, to some extent already people with their their PhD, anything else that you would say that people with a PhD would use LinkedIn for success?
Sandra Long [17:19]
Well, I mean, the profile is just the beginning. Okay, right. So you know, once you know, whether you have your PhD, or you’re about to get your PhD, you really want to be thinking, you know, profile first, but really, your strategic network is important. So all the people that you have come across or, you know, worked with in some capacity should be part of your strategic network, I think people make the mistake of thinking, well, I just need to connect with all these people that I don’t know, that are in this certain profession. And I would actually advise them focus really first on people that you do know, because those people are ones that are most likely to refer you and introduce you. And so so starting with that, who is at your university, right, all the Think of all the people you know, from your university connections, it’s unbelievable, and you probably have had two or three universities that you’ve been at. And even going back to high school, I mean, I think we have a lot of connections from an educational perspective. And then you add in any other professional connections, either places, places where you’ve worked, calm, you know, conferences that you’ve attended, or professional organizations that you belong to, all of those are great places for you to be connecting. That’s on the professional side. And I really also believe you want to use LinkedIn to connect and this might surprise you, but connect with your neighbors, your friends, your relatives, because you people that you know from the soccer field if you’re a parent, because not that, not that I suggest, and I do not suggest connecting and trying to pitch or sell in any way. But it’s really just friendly, connecting and showing interest in other people. And just by doing that, people will be interested in you and you never know that person who is three doors down who they are best friends with, or who they went to college with. Like, it’s just there’s so many things just by being friendly, connecting, it opens up a lot of possibilities.
Dr. Russell Strickland [19:17]
That’s really interesting. Because I I always think of trying to connect with folks that I feel like I might be able to help in some way. But you’re right. Some of those. Some of those people might be connections for you. They might be hubs, people who can introduce you to other people. So that’s a good way of thinking about it.
Sandra Long [19:33]
Well, also Dr. Strickland, so if you do what I’m suggesting you do that first, then you go look for those opportunities. So like, perhaps if you’re looking at a company, or you’re trying to do even if you’re trying to do a people search and you’re trying to say I want to these are the kinds of people that are my prospects or this is a company I’m interested in. Once you do that kind of search. If you’ve done the first part, which is the strategic connecting, you’ll see who you know, that is cionncted there. But if you haven’t done the first part, you’re just randomly searching, and you’re just seeing strangers. So I want to go to a company page, for example, if maybe it’s a company that I feel that I can help, or maybe it’s a, whether it’s a company or group or whatever it is. And I want to see that, oh, jeez, I have three people that I know that work there, or that I have friends that have friends that work there. But if again, you have to do the basics of the beginning, the strategic connecting to see the pathway. Awesome. Okay.