About the Author

Who is Robyn
Robyn Braley is committed to helping Rotarians grow their clubs to become better equipped to help people who need help. He has led two club teams that were awarded RI PR Awards and served as the District 5360 PR Chair. He has been a Rotarian since 1999.

Rotary Speaker
Robyn draws from his experience as a Rotarian and as a Communications Professional to share ways to more effectively tell the Rotary story to your community. He starts by asking the questions, "Is your club ready to grow, and why does it matter?" The ultimate focus is on attracting new members.

He is available to speak at District Conferences and Rotary leadership training institutes. Content also applies to other not-for-profit organizations.

Free Content for #Rotary and NFP Use
Please use any posts for Rotary District or club Newsletters. Include the profile at the bottom of each article, Robyn's headshot and a link to this blogsite. Let him know and he'll promote it to his social media followers.

Contact him at robyn@unimarkcreative.com

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Creating LinkedIn Profiles for Rotarians; Connecting With New Members

Written by Robyn T. Braley
Connect with your network and millenials. Introduce both to Rotary

LinkedIn has become a powerful social media tool for growing your professional network, enhancing your personal brand, and building meaningful relationships. The platform provides excellent opportunities for attracting new Rotarians. 

A new member recently joined the Calgary West Rotary Club. I didn't have a chance to introduce myself and welcome her, but within days I received an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. 

New members have traditionally been found within our personal and business networks. 
Here is the problem. As we grow older, our networks tend to age with us. People in their 60's often do not have many personal or business relationships with those in their 30's.

Tool for Connecting
Social media has opened exciting new channels for communicating across age and other social barriers. LinkedIn offers a make-sense tool for professionals wishing to establish online networks with existing colleagues and new contacts. It is meant for professionals, so age is secondary to the value professional relationships can offer.  

So how does it work? A recent conversation with a client pretty much summed up why LinkedIn has rocketed to the top of marketing must-haves.

He observed, “When one of our sales people cold calls a prospective client or replies to an email inquiry, before the process goes to the next step the first place both parties go to learn more about each other is LinkedIn.”

He concluded, “By the time they meet face-to-face, both have learned a lot about each other.”

Relationship Building
To be clear, LinkedIn is not for overt selling; products, services or Rotary. It is, however a place for letting people know who you are and the value you offer your relationships. It is also a place to profile organizations you care about. 

The first way to profile Rotary is to note that you are a Rotarian in your headline. Include the Rotary logo in the bottom section. You can also insert links to Rotary International and your club's websites.

If you have won Rotary awards, list them along with other volunteer, professional, sports and any other awards. All make a statement about your commitment to excellence. 

Makin' It Work As you develop relationships, you can invite individuals to meetings and promote Rotary events through postings. As an added value, you can connect with Rotarians around the world.

As the former Chair of my club's program committee, I found speakers in my LinkedIn network. I used the LinkedIn messaging system to contact them. 

But, if you don't have a LinkedIn profile, here is an quick scan of why you should consider setting up one as a professional.  

LinkedIn Goals

  • Generate leads through social prospecting (not stalking)
  • Benefit from advanced social selling techniques
  • Increase your online presence and raise awareness of your brand
  • Be found at the top of search results
  • Market your expertise and brand through regular posts
  • Respond to connections when you receive notifications about benchmark career changes and anniversaries
  • Leverage existing connections to make new ones through personal introductions
  • Signal potential connections that you are up-to-date and use social marketing tools

First Impressions
A carefully crafted profile paints a picture of who you are. Based on my first impression, I usually take 3 seconds or less to make a decision about accepting or deleting a request to connect.

If you are on LinkedIn, you've seen weak profiles. I have connected with business, political, community and other leaders who have profiles that in no way accurately reflected the people I knew. I connected because I knew them personally, not because of the quality of their profile.

What LinkedIn is Not
  • It is not the place for photos of you and your cousin fishing near a quiet mountain stream
  • It is not a place for your full resume that includes your complete work history beginning with part time jobs in High School
  • It is not the place for informal information about your personal life; that would be Facebook  
  • It is not the place for rants about politics, pets or children
5 Key Elements 
LinkedIn IS the place for carefully crafting your story. Building your personal brand should drive everything you do online. LinkedIn is an excellent tool for shaping your persona. Building online relationships follow five basic principles;
  • Know
  • Like
  • Trust
  • Engage
  • Close the loop
Content is Key
In developing your profile, think about the overall quality, value, relevance and authenticity your content communicates. Ask yourself these six questions;

1.    Is there enough content to encourage visitors to spend time getting to know me? 
2.     Does the quality of my profile speak to the quality of my work?
3.     Does the content clearly state that I can be trusted?
4.     Do I come across as an authentic professional?
5.     Is there enough content to merit inviting me to link into the visitors network? 
6.     Will visitors be motivated to contact me in order to take the next step in our relationship  
Strong Statement
Your network connections also make a statement about you. Connected visitors will browse your network and gain a sense of your influence within your industry and community.

It sounds harsh, but people you want to do business with often judge you based on the folks you hang out with. 

Other important elements include;

  • A photo or graphic image header that speaks to branding and context
  • A quality headshot focusing on the eyes
  • An optimized, plain language headline
  • A summary that is short and to the point
  • Information about education, volunteering, hobbies and things you care about
  • Information organized for flow and easy reading
  • Content optimized for search engines
  • Meaningful photos, videos or audio clips that help tell your story
  • Links to websites, other social media sites, and organizations you feel advance your brand story
  • Evidence of a focused connecting strategy
  • Follows of relevant groups
  • Recommendations and endorsements
To wrap it up, the one word that should guide everything you choose to include in your profile is, "RELEVANCE!" In other words, why should anyone care! To amuse yourself, count the number of times I've used the word in this post. It's relevant!

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Robyn Braley is a marketing specialist, keynote speaker and writer. He is also a Rotarian who is passionate about Building the Rotary Brand. Robyn has led two teams that received the Rotary International PR Award. He has also served as the PR Chair for District 5360. 

Contact Robyn