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Collective, a back-office platform that caters to ‘businesses of one,’ just landed a hefty seed round

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Americans and other global citizens are increasingly self-employed, thanks to great software, the need for flexibility and because skilled services especially can pay fairly well, among other reasons.

In fact, exactly one year ago, the Freelancers Union and Upwork, a digital platform for freelancers, released a report estimating that 35% of the U.S. workforce had begun freelancing. With COVID-19 still making its way around the country and globe, prompting massive and continued job dislocation for many tens of millions of people, that percentage is likely to rise quickly.

Unsurprisingly, savvy startups see the economic power of these individuals — many of whom aren’t interested in managing anyone or anything other than the steady growth of their own businesses. A case in point is Collective, a 2.5-year-old, 20-person San Francisco-based startup that’s been quietly building back-office services like tax preparation and bookkeeping for what it dubs “business of one” owners, and which just closed on $8.65 million in seed funding.

General Catalyst and QED Investors co-led the round, joined by a string of renowned angel investors, including Uber cofounder Garrett Camp, Figma founder Dylan Field and DoorDash executive Gokul Rajaram.

We talked yesterday with cofounder and CEO Hooman Radfar about Collective’s mission to “empower, support and connect the self-employed community” — and what, exactly, it’s proposing.

TC: You previously founded a company and, even before it sold to Oracle in 2016, you had jumped over to VC, working with Garrett Camp at his startup studio Expa. Why shift back into founder mode?

HR: What I saw across AddThis and Expa and my angel investing is that managing finances is hard. Accounting, taxes, compliance — all that set-up as a small business is annoying.

Two years ago, [Collective cofounder] Ugur [Kaner] came into Expa and he basically pitched me on a startup-in-a-box-type program that we were talking about building from an incubation perspective, but [with more of a pointed focus on back office issues]. He’s an immigrant like me, and because he didn’t quite understand the system, he wound up having tax penalties — penalties that are even worse when you’re a freelancer. Some startups have come up with a bespoke version of what we offer, but we were like, ‘Why do they have to do it?’ These are commodities, but if you put them together in a platform, they can can be powerful.

TC: So is what you’ve created proprietary or are you working with third parties?

HR: Both. We’re an online concierge that’s focused on the back office as the core, meaning accounting and tax services. We also form an S Corp for you because you can save a lot of money [compared with forming a business as an LLC, which features different tax requirements]. So there’s an integration layer plus a dashboard on top of that. If you’re an S Corp, you need to have payroll, so we have a partnership with Gusto that comes with your subscription. We have a partnership with QuickBooks. We work with a third party on compliance. Our vision is to make this easy for you and to set this on autopilot because we understand that time is literally money.

TC: How much are you charging?

HR: For taxes, accounting, business banking and payroll, for the core package, it’s $200 a month. We are piloting bookkeeping and a fuller service package that’s probably [representative of] the direction we’ll head over time, and that will be an additional fee.

TC: How can you persuade these businesses of one that it’s worth that cost?

HR: There are almost three million people in the U.S. who [employ only themselves and] are making more than $100,000 a year and if you think about how many of these [different products] they are already using, it’s a great deal. QuickBooks and Gusto is cheaper with us. You see savings through expensing. The magic is really running your S Corp the right way. Part of that is normal income tax, but you also have a distribution and it’s taxed differently than an income — it’s taxed less. So we pull in salary data and look at expenses and across states, and say, ‘This is what we’d recommend to you based on how your cash flow is coming in, so you recognize this distribution in a compliant way.’

TC: Interesting about this useful data that you’ll be amassing from your customers. How might you use it? 

HR: Our first concern is making sure the right people are seeing it [meaning we’re focused on privacy]. But there’s a lot we can do with the aggregation of that data once we’ve earned the right to use it. Among the things we could do, theoretically, includes creating a new level of scoring. If you’re a business of one, for example, it’s very difficult to get mortgages and loans, because credit agencies don’t have the tools to assess you. But if we have your financial history for years, we can represent that you’re a great person, you have a great business.

Another interesting direction as we reach more members — we’ll get to 2,000 soon — would be to use our power as a collective to get our members less expensive insurance, [help facilitate] credit, [help them with a] 401(k).

TC: There are a lot of other things you can get into presumably, too, from project management to graphic design . . .

HR: Right now, we want to make sure our core service is nailed.

Think about the transparency and peace of mind that Uber brought to ridesharing, or that Uber Eats brings to food delivery. You know when something is cooking, when it’s on its way, when it’s arriving. We’ve gotten used to that level of transparency and accountability with so many things, but when it comes to accounting, it’s not there and that’s crazy. This is your money. We want to change that.

TC: Going after “businesses of one” means you’re addressing a highly fragmented market. What kinds of partnerships are you striking to reach potential customers?

HR: We’re having those conversations now, but you can imagine neo banks make sense, along with vertical marketplaces for nurses and doctors and realtors and writers. There are a lot of possibilities.

Pictured, left to right, Collective’s cofounders: CTO Bugra Akcay, CEO Hooman Radfar and CPO Ugur Kaner.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/09/29/collective-a-back-office-platform-that-caters-to-businesses-of-one-just-landed-a-hefty-seed-round/

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Analytics Consulting

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Your analytics should tell you everything. 

Tools like Google Analytics are incredibly valuable for businesses. Once you’re setup, you’ll have everything you need to analyze your performance data properly. Instead, many companies have realized that their analytics tools have introduced a lot of unexpected problems. 

They’re not getting the kind of value they need. 

That’s the good news. Most companies think their data is clean; that they’re making good decisions with the data they have. Most of these companies are wrong; they just don’t know it yet. This is why companies need analytics consulting. They don’t know what they don’t know. 

Today, I’ll show you how to find the right analytics consultant for your business.  

4 Ways an Analytics Consultant Can Help Grow Your Business

Many companies make the wrong assumptions. Using a tool like Google Analytics, clients think all they have to do is drop the tracking code into their web pages, log into their account, and begin analyzing their data. It sounds easy, but it often isn’t. 

There’s more to it than that. 

This is why you need an analytics consultant. With the right consultant, you’ll have the education you need to grow your business. You’ll be able to pull insights out of your data using a variety of methods. Each of these strategies is important because they have a cumulative effect on your business. 

Here are four ways analytics consulting can help you grow your business. 

1. Exclude spam traffic via bots, scrapers, and spiders

How much of your traffic comes from real visitors? How much of it comes from bots, scrapers, and spiders? According to Imperva, almost half of all internet traffic is non-human. In 2014, Google introduced an obscure setting that enables you to filter out bots and spiders listed in IAB’s Interactional Spiders and Bots list. This low-key setting is buried in Google Analytics, but it’s incredibly important; many small businesses still aren’t aware of this setting. 

You’ll also need help to filter out referral spam.

Referral spam is basically fake website hits; these bots, scrapers, and spiders land in your site. Site owners send their spam to your site. They hope you’ll see these referrals in your Google Analytics account, clickthrough, and visit their site. 

This junk traffic poisons your data. 

It gives you false readings based on inaccurate data. Your site may be more or less profitable, depending on your visits-to-spam ratio on your site. This isn’t something many businesses watch for in their analytics reports. 

A good analytics consultant will consistently filter the variations of spam traffic (e.g., direct spam traffic, referral spam traffic, etc.) out of your reports, so you get a clear picture of your marketing performance. 

2. Help you analyze your data properly

A lot of companies don’t know how to analyze their data properly. According to Forrester, between 60 and 73 percent of a company’s analytics data goes unused. Companies collect lots of data on customer activity, but they aren’t using it, why?

There are lots of reasons. 

  • Companies don’t know what they have 
  • Companies aren’t aware of the value of their data
  • They don’t know how to evaluate or analyze their data
  • Their data isn’t available to those who can use it 
  • There’s too much data to go through and not enough time to use it

Think about it. 

Right now, your company has valuable data about your customers. This is data you can use to attract more customers, lower expenses, grow faster, jump ahead of competitors, etc. 

If you’re unaware of the data, you can’t use it. 

A good analytics consultant will help you analyze your data properly, showing you what you have and how you can use it to grow your business. 

3. Identify the list of problems you’re trying to fix

Your data isn’t as valuable without context. 

If you know the problem you’re trying to solve, you have a pretty good idea of the answers you’re looking for in your data. 

That’s the problem though. 

A lot of companies treat their analytics tools as a technology issue. They focus their attention on the obvious issues like hardware or software. They rarely treat their analytics as a question and answer tool. That’s exactly what it is, though. 

Target had the right idea when they started their analysis with a problem/question. 

Remember the story?

“If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that?” It’s a creepy story that shows the power of questions and problems. A great analytics consultant will help you discover the issues you’re trying to solve and the questions that need answers. 

4. Focus your attention on the metrics that explain why

Analytics tells you what happened — what visitors did when they arrived on your site, the ads they responded to, what they read most often, etc. It doesn’t tell you why visitors do the things they do. Understanding what is important, but it’s more important to understand why something happens. 

Focusing on the right metrics is the answer. 

The right analytics consultant will help you answer the “what” — basically looking in the rearview mirror. But they’ll also help you look ahead; They’ll dig deeper, showing you the why behind visitor and customer behaviors. 

Your analytics consultant should provide you with the education and support you need to squeeze more value out of your data.

How to Get Started With an Analytics Consultant

Avinash Kaushik has a three-step framework he uses to help analytics consultants support their clients. He calls it Data Capture. Data Reporting. Data Analysis. The nice part about this framework is the fact that it’s easy for both clients and consultants. 

Consultants can use each of these buckets to analyze your goals, objectives, and the results they want to accomplish with each. 

You’re basically goal setting with this framework.

Here’s a closer look at each of these three buckets and the goals for each of these. 

  1. Data Capture: Work in this bucket is focused on audits or updating data capture methods (e.g., updating, editing, or customizing tags). This step is especially important because it determines the quality of what comes afterward. If you’ve done a good job with your data capture methods, you’ll have accurate data and reporting you can use for your analysis. 
  2. Data Reporting: Your consultant sets up the reports you need on the intervals required. Your consultants help you identify the reports you’ll need, and they provide you with the reports you need regularly. 
  3. Data Analysis: This is what Avinash calls an open-ended assignment, but it’s one you’ve provided to your consultant. You’re asking them to answer specific questions for you — your consultant should be able to show you what to measure, what your data is saying, what to do based on your data, and why you should do it. 

Here’s what this means for you. 

You’ll want to find an analytics consultant or agency that can handle all three steps in this framework. This also means you’ll need a clear idea of problems you’re dealing with ahead of time. 

Measuring the ROI of Analytics Consulting Services

Many companies don’t understand analytics.

If you don’t understand analytics, that’s okay; you just need to know whether you’re generating a return on your analytics investment. According to Nucleus Research, analytics returns $13.01 for every $1 invested

Your consultant should be able to calculate your return on analytics investment

This obviously much easier if your consultant is focused on the data analysis bucket. Suppose they’ve made several data-driven improvements to your site over three to six months. Their recommendations have lead to an increase in revenue, profit, or a return on investment for you. They should be able to verify your return on investment using the worksheet I’ve linked above. 

The good news is the fact that analytics, as a discipline, is data-driven.

Checklist For Finding the Right Analytics Consultant

Choosing the right analytics consultant requires a very different set of skills. If you’re working with an independent analytics consultant, you’ll need to approach this in one of two ways. 

  1. Choose a consultant with all of the skills needed to perform across all three buckets (data capture, reporting, analysis). 
  2. Choose an agency with analysts and implementation specialists needed to generate the results you need. 

Here’s a list of the skills needed for each of the three roles in your buckets. Avinash breaks these skills down in detail in his web analytics consulting framework post

Here’s a quick summary. 

  • For the data capture bucket, your consultant should have the skills of an implementation specialist. They’re experienced with tag managers; they understand data dimensioning and working knowledge of tracking variables. 
  • With the data reporting bucket, your consultant should be familiar with report creation in your analytics platform; they should also have a master list of the custom reports you’ll need for various options. It’s also ideal if your consultant has a working knowledge of his own set of customizations. 
  • For the data analysis bucket, your consultant should be a web analyst. Your consultant should be comfortable with advanced statistics and analytical techniques. They should be experienced in descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analytics. 

If you’re working with an independent consultant, they should be an industry veteran with the skills I’ve listed above. If you’re working with an agency, they should have employees with the skills for each bucket. If you have implementation specialists, you can handle data capture and possibly reporting. 

Just make sure they’re a fit for that role. 

Conclusion

Many companies aren’t familiar with analytics consulting. They’re not entirely sure how analytics impacts their organization. That’s okay, as long as the ROI is there. 

Using a tool like Google Analytics, many companies assume that all they need to do is customize the tracking code, drop it onto their web pages, log into their account, and begin analyzing their data. It should be that easy, but it isn’t. 

There’s more to it than that. 

With most companies, their analytics data goes unused, they collect lots of data on customer activity, but they don’t know how to squeeze value out of their data. Analytics consulting can help you evaluate your performance data properly. Choose the right team,  and your data will tell you what you need to know. 

Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/analytics-consulting/

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10 Tips For Writing a Winning LinkedIn Headline

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LinkedIn’s 690 million members include 180 million senior-level influencers, 63 million decision-makers and 10 million C-level executives. 

Hence, there are a lot of influential people on LinkedIn that have hiring power and purchase power. Whatever you hope to achieve from using the network, you’ll want to make a good impression.

Your headline is the first thing that people see aside from your profile picture. It’s how decision-makers will find you. It’s how you get people to notice you and what will make them want to visit your profile to learn more. Thus, it’s safe to say your headline is pretty important.

So, I thought I’d share my top tips for creating an effective headline with you. But, first, let’s look at the basics:

What is Your LinkedIn Headline?

Your headline is the tagline that appears under your name on LinkedIn and at the top of your profile page. The headline used to be limited to 120 characters. But, here’s some good news, LinkedIn extended the headline to 220 characters in 2020. So, you have a little more space to sell yourself, share your vision or whatever it is you’d like to express via your headline.

What Makes a Winning LinkedIn Headline

There are some important criteria for creating an impactful headline. The best LinkedIn headlines do the following:

Make Use of Keywords

Keywords aren’t the only thing your headline should include. But they are key to helping the right people find your profile. Keywords can include your job title, skills and areas you specialize in. Place keywords towards the beginning of your headline and then expand with further information.

Express Your Value

Expressing you or your company’s value means sharing more than the tasks you carry out. Your headline should be driven by the benefits of the services you provide and the kind of results you achieve. For example, rather than saying you do tax planning, you’d say you help businesses to save money.

Are Unique

A winning LinkedIn headline is one that stands out from the crowd. Think about how many people do the exact same job as you or offer similar services. You can give yourself a competitive edge and encourage more people to visit your profile by making your headline different.

Help You Meet Your Goals

You need to think carefully about why you’re on LinkedIn and what you hope to achieve. This should inform what you include in your headline (and the rest of your profile). If you’re not sure about what you can accomplish on LinkedIn or how to go about it, you may wish to speak with a social media consultant.

Now let’s look in more detail at exactly how you can create a winning headline:

1. Get Inspiration

By default, LinkedIn uses your job title and employer as your headline. What a snooze fest. If you want to do better, the first step is to get inspired.

Search for people in your field or who have similar roles to you. Take a look at how they’ve formulated their headlines. See what appeals to you and what doesn’t. Of course, you shouldn’t just nab somebody else’s headline. But, doing this will help you come up with ideas for how you want your headline to appear.

Also, pay attention to those who appear at the top of the search results for your industry. What keywords do they use? Note these keywords as they likely contribute to why these pros are doing so well in the search results.

2. Ask Yourself These Questions

When you decide to upgrade your LinkedIn headline to maximize its impact, it’s a good idea to have a little brainstorming sesh. Here are some questions that will guide you when you’re coming up with ideas:

  • How would you describe yourself to a new colleague if you only had five seconds?
  • What makes you different from others with the same job title?
  • Why should users click on your profile?
  • What are your most in-demand skills?
  • What are your biggest accomplishments?
  • What makes you unique?

3. Choose the Right Keywords

Include relevant keywords in your headline so that you appear in more search results. 

To do this, you’ll first need to think about who you want to find your profile on LinkedIn. A recruiter? A potential lead? Influencers you hope to connect with? And so on…

This will guide you in figuring out the right keywords to use. For example, you may include your specific skills or specialisms to get found by recruiters with the most relevant job opportunities. 

In this example, we don’t just have a “developer”, nor do we just have a “chatbot developer”, the user goes even more specific with the terms “Facebook Messenger Marketing” and “Automation Practitioner”:

Whereas, if you’re using LinkedIn to network and boost your authority, you may want to use broader terms. Your job role might be “Artworker” but in order to be found by more people, it’d be a very good idea to include the term “Graphic Design”.

4. Include Your Unique Selling Proposition

Keywords alone aren’t enticing enough to get users to visit your profile. State the value that you provide by doing what you do, in particular something that makes you stand out from the crowd.

There’s a simple formula you can use to express this: I help X do Y by doing Z. Here’s an example from an accounting consultant:

When she says “I help women build profitable businesses”, she outlines the beneficial results of her work, not just the tasks that she performs. You should do something similar.

You can also use data to drive your point home. Here an email marketer shares the average results he achieves:

There are tons of relevant data points you could include to prove your value, such as the number of customers you’ve helped achieve a particular outcome or the results of an impressive case study.

5. Share Your Achievements/Credentials

When you make self-aggrandizing claims on LinkedIn, people will either think you’re arrogant or full of it. Instead, you should go by the old adage, “Show don’t tell”. Show that you’re great at what you do via your achievements or credentials.

What’s your most impressive achievement? Have you won an award perhaps? Been featured on top media outlets? Sold a bunch of books? Grew a well-known company? Those are the kind of things you’ll want to share.

This professional shares the fact that he’s been a LinkedIn Top Voice honoree four times and sprinkles in some serious social proof by mentioning his work with Mark Cuban:

Furthermore, certain credentials that are recognized by people in your industry will give you clout. For example, in the marketing world it’s good to be Google-certified, like this pro:

Share credentials relevant to your position to show that you’re not just messing around, you really know what you’re doing.

6. Use Natural Language

Keep your headline free of jargon, particularly if you’re using LinkedIn for sales or lead generation. If a prospect doesn’t understand what you’re selling, you won’t have much luck.

Similarly, make your job title clear and simple unless you’re seeking a specific job role. Again, users you want to connect with may not understand what you do. Even if you think the term “Business Development Manager” is clear, trust me, simplifying it to “Sales Manager” is much more transparent.

Also, avoid buzzwords. After a time, every Tom, Dick and Harry will be using the same trendy terminology to describe their services. Thus, your words become meaningless.

And saying that you’re a “Guru”, “Ninja” or “Wizard” is a bit cheesy and old-fashioned. It won’t help you in the search results either. When was the last time you searched for a ninja on LinkedIn or anywhere for that matter?

Try to use simple, everyday language to explain your role or value proposition. Here’s an excellent example from a marketing professional:

Her target audience, small businesses, may not be familiar with or fully understand industry terms so she offers a straightforward, benefit-driven value proposition.

7. Don’t Put “Unemployed”

Even if you’re currently looking for a job, you shouldn’t put “Unemployed”, “Seeking New Opportunities” or similar in your headline. 

The thing is, recruiters or companies aren’t searching for the term “Unemployed” on LinkedIn. You only get a couple hundred characters for your headline, so it would be better to utilize that space for keywords that they are likely to search for, and your experience, specialisms, credentials etc.

You can show that you’re looking for work on your profile instead. At the top of your profile, you’ll see a section that says, “Show recruiters you’re open to work”. 

Simply, fill in details about the type of role you’re looking for and the location. You can even change the settings so that your current employers won’t see that you’re seeking work.

8. Share Your Mission

Maybe you’re not looking to promote yourself. Perhaps, you’re in the process of growing a startup or maybe you or your company are trying to achieve a wider goal that you want people to know about.

If this sounds like you, then you should definitely share your vision in your headline. In this example, the professional shares what he does “mass transit” but also why he does it “to reduce our carbon footprint and create a more connected community”:

You could use a similar formula. Start with the what and then go into the why. If you’re unsure about how to phrase your goals, you can always take inspiration from your company’s mission statement.

9. Show Your Personality

Like with any other social media platform, users skim through their LinkedIn feed, groups and even search results at speed. So, you need a headline that’s going to make somebody stop and take notice.

Get creative and use your headline to express your personality. Not only will it make you stand out but it’ll also make your profile memorable.

Here’s an example from an SEO manager with a quirky sense of humor:

Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to be the Kevin Hart of LinkedIn. There are other ways to express your personality via your headline. Perhaps, you want to project positive vibes or enthusiasm. 

You could even share a little personal tidbit about yourself. Maybe you do PR during the day and rule at Settlers of Catan by night… This kind of thing will also help start conversations between you and new connections.

10. Keep Your Headline Updated

It’s easy to set and forget your headline. But to get the most from it you need to keep it up to date.

Firstly, be sure to add new skills, achievements, career developments and so on when they arise. Your skillset will develop over time and your headline should reflect this.

Moreover, you may wish to test the impact of your headline and update it accordingly. When you make an alteration, keep an eye on the number of people who have viewed your profile. 

With LinkedIn Premium, you can also see who has viewed your profile. Therefore, you can discover if your headline is attracting who you want to attract or your target audience.

Conclusion

You can use your LinkedIn headline to get noticed by influential professionals and encourage more people to visit your profile. A winning headline combines relevant keywords and your unique value proposition.

Don’t forget to think carefully about who you hope to attract with your headline. And don’t be afraid to sell yourself as long as it doesn’t come across as too boastful.

Take the first step towards creating a great LinkedIn headline. Do some research to see what works well in your industry and brainstorm ideas for your own headline.

Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/linkedin-headlines/

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The Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn Stories

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The Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn Stories

LinkedIn Stories are here, and the first thing you might be thinking is, “How can I use them to grow my business”?

We all see how powerful stories are for brands on platforms like Instagram. Over 500 million people use Stories each day, but how can you use this social strategy to boost your professional reputation on LinkedIn?

In this guide, I’ll show you how to use LinkedIn Stories and share strategies you can start implementing today.

What Are LinkedIn Stories?

If you’ve ever made a story on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, LinkedIn Stories operate in pretty much the same way. You create a short video of up to 20 seconds, and once you upload it, the video is available for people to see for 24 hours, and then it goes away.

LinkedIn Stories updated

Users can post as many Stories as they like, making it easy to quickly jump in, record a quick update with what you’re doing, and then allow your connections to check it out.

So, why stories? Why do I think LinkedIn is starting to roll out something so casual on a platform geared towards networking and digital resumes?

Because we’re living in the “age of sharing,” and the more you share, the bigger your brand becomes. Stories are a great way to share all of those imperfect moments in your professional life, and I think that’s what the Senior Director of Product Management, Pete Davies, is going for.

The format will help kickstart conversations and nurture the relationships that are core to everything that happens on LinkedIn.

Why Should Your Business Create LinkedIn Stories?

Now let’s talk about some of the reasons why you should consider implementing a LinkedIn Stories strategy in your business. If you’ve been using Instagram or Facebook Stories for a while, you’ll likely be able to come up with a plan pretty quickly; if not, here are some reasons to take notice.

Pull Back the Curtain

One of the best ways to generate attention for your business is to show people what’s happening behind the scenes.

Show your network there’s a personality behind the business. This helps create a more personal experience. When people see you’re more than a “brand,” you’ll build the trust that’s so necessary when trying to get someone to do business with you.

Taking this even further, you can use this strategy to give your connections some insight into your process.

For example, if you run a print on demand shirt store, use LinkedIn stories to show people how you make your shirts and why they should choose you over someone else.

There’s a great opportunity here for you to separate yourself from the competition without having to hard-sell anyone.

Document the Hustle

In years past, we were so focused on making everything perfect. We needed to buy the best equipment and do everything to ensure no one ever saw us make a mistake.

Those days are long gone.

We’re living in a world of constant connection, and we can’t be afraid to document what we’re going through as it’s happening. For those of you who are already doing this, that is excellent news. If you’re not, now is the time to get started.

Don’t be afraid to show your connections that you’re a real person with faults. If something is going wrong, do a story and explain to your colleagues what happened and how they can prevent the same thing from happening to them.

Doing this shows authenticity, and people don’t hire a brand; they hire people.

On the flip side, share your triumphs and successes as well. If you just closed on a huge contract with a big client, create a story explaining how it went and what you think you did well.

You don’t have to give away sensitive information, just let your network know what you’re winning, and it might motivate them to reach out and connect with you.

Increase Engagement With LinkedIn Stories

Stories on LinkedIn provide the most significant opportunity for engagement. On Instagram, as much as 25% of users swipe up on branded stories. Now we’re taking this same thought process but moving it to a platform entirely dedicated to business networking.

There’s a lot of power here.

Keep in mind that, even though your stories might not result in a direct sale, you’re generating awareness around you and your brand.

LinkedIn allows you to engage with the people you need to directly talk to for access to new opportunities.

For example, let’s say the Director of Marketing at a company posts a story about their SEO strategy, and you are interested in working with them. Here’s your chance to directly reply to that story with some tips and ideas you’ve used in your own business.

Keep in mind that you may get a generic response to something like this, but you’re increasing the person’s chances of checking out your profile to see what you do. If you’re active on LinkedIn and your profile is well optimized, you just might find a message in your inbox.

How to Create LinkedIn Stories?

Creating LinkedIn Stories is simple. It works the same as every other platform.

You’ll go into your LinkedIn app and click the “post” button at the bottom. Once you do that, you’ll see a new button titled “share a story.”

LinkedIn Stories Post

When you click it, you’ll be able to record a video or take a picture and customize it to your liking.

The story uploads, and once it’s done, you’ll find it at the top of your LinkedIn home with all the stories from your connections. This is a fantastic way to put your name at the top of everyone’s page.

Keep in mind that LinkedIn Stories are only available on the mobile app. You can’t create or view them from your desktop.

What Makes a Successful LinkedIn Story?

If you’re sitting there right now, wondering, “What steps do I need to take to create the best story?” Selling with LinkedIn Stories is easy, and I’ll guide you through it.

Looking at Instagram as an example, 50% of businesses worldwide create an average of one story per month. So, you can see where the low hanging fruit lies here. You have an excellent opportunity to generate a lot of free attention for your business — with the right strategy.

Here are the most important metrics to consider when determining the success of your LinkedIn story.

Grab Their Attention

The first thing you’ll notice about LinkedIn Stories is they don’t offer a preview at the top of the screen like Facebook and Instagram. This makes getting the initial click a bit more difficult.

You can’t create a clickbait thumbnail to get people to click on your story. So, your LinkedIn profile picture needs to get the attention of your audience.

Keep in mind that LinkedIn is a professional network, so use a professional headshot on your profile. This is not the place for a picture of your cat or your car; you need to dress and look the part.

Think about your target audience and dress to get their attention. An agency owner pitching agriculture businesses might not look the same as one pitching boutique coffee shops, right?

Start Strong

The average person only watches 40 to 60% of your story, so you must grab their attention right away. If you start with a boring message, chances are they’ll swipe away and assume your Stories aren’t worth watching.

Consider starting your story with the most exciting part of the video. While you only have 15to 20 seconds, take those first five seconds to speak directly to the camera and call out your audience.

If you’re trying to reach agency owners making $100,000+, call them out right away. Address a pain point or issue they might have within the first five seconds, and you’ll increase the chances of keeping them around for the next 15.

Keep Their Attention

At around the 10-second mark is where you will start losing people. They’ll swipe to your next story or move on to a different profile. You need to hold their attention by keeping it as interesting as possible.

Consider using props, bring in other people, and utilize statistics that draw in your audience and speak to them directly. Every business should have a customer avatar. If you don’t, now is the time to start!

Figure out exactly who your ideal customer is and bring them to life with personality traits, demographic information, pain points, and desires.

You should know exactly who they are, what they want to hear, and what you need to say to make them stick around.

Close It Out

While Stories are meant to be informal, it doesn’t mean you can’t have an objective in mind. You should always be looking for ways to convert the people watching your Stories.

These are great opportunities to get free attention, so make the most of it.

Keep in mind that a lot of people have likely swiped away by the time you get to your last five seconds. That means these people are highly interested in what you’re saying and may want to learn more.

For example, you could turn a blog post you recently posted into a Story. Take the three most important points from the post and highlight them in a story. In the end, tell the viewers where they can find the blog post and prompt them to check it out.

There are a million different options, but you want to have some type of call to action at the end of your story.

You don’t have to ask someone to buy something directly, but you should always tell them what to do next.

Tips on Converting LinkedIn Story Viewers to Clients

If you’re on LinkedIn, I can bet you’re there to get clients. Why else would you use the platform? Networking and building connections are great, but the end goal of those efforts is to add more clients to the database.

Here are a few quick tips to help you get the most out of your LinkedIn story viewers.

Stay on Brand

On Facebook, users move 41% faster on mobile than desktop. While we don’t have data from LinkedIn yet, we can expect the numbers to be similar. You need to be quick in establishing your brand and representing it the right way.

When someone taps your story, they should get hit immediately with something that makes your brand stand out so they’ll remember it.

Even if you’re just quickly recording a story about going for a run before hitting the office, talk about how it impacts your performance at your business.

Provide Value

The best way to convert traffic is by giving something away. You don’t have to overcomplicate this. Provide free information, offer a short how-to, or show them how to solve a critical problem.

Revisit your customer avatar here and think of something that might be on their to-do list. What’s something that your ideal customer hates doing? Chances are it might be the very thing you do and offer to take care of it for them if that’s the case.

Always Have a Plan

Just because LinkedIn Stories are casual doesn’t mean you need to improvise all the time. Never fill the story with something that doesn’t have an objective.

Doing this one time will hurt your brand, and people might just swipe by you because they think you have nothing to offer.

Every time you put something out to your audience, you should have a plan in mind to provide value. Give yourself enough time to plan ahead and even consider developing a content calendar for your LinkedIn stories.

Conclusion

LinkedIn Stories are an exciting addition to the networking platform. Based on what the Senior Director of Product Management said, they’re trying to make LinkedIn appear less intimidating and more informal.

Have you ever had the opportunity to stand out and become an early adopter? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t. Either way, LinkedIn stories offer a unique chance to jump ahead of the competition and get your content in front of your target audience first.

Why wait? Create your first LinkedIn Story right now and get ahead of the pack!

Have you tried LinkedIn Stories yet?

Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/linkedin-stories/

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