LinkedIn Optimization: The Best Way To Maximize LinkedIn Results With Donna Serdula
Your LinkedIn profile not only acts as your online resume, but it’s also the story that you want to share. Discover how you can optimize it to its full potential so that you will show up in more searches. Join your host Mitch Russo as he talks to Donna Serdula on how you can build your LinkedIn profile. Donna is a LinkedIn profile writer and Founder of Vision Board Media. Learn some tips as Donna analyzes Mitch’s profile. Find out how you can build engagement so that you can get that job you always wanted.
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LinkedIn Optimization: The Best Way To Maximize LinkedIn Results With Donna Serdula
I have something special for all my coaches in the audience. As a coach myself, I realized that I’ve been spending about 30 minutes per session on admin because I had all these applications open on five different browsers and screens. All I was doing was taking notes, calendar, spreadsheet, browser and Zoom. All these things were open. I would conduct my sessions and then I would have to move all of my notes into an email.
When I send that email the following week, I would have to find that email again, figure out what it was we talked about, and then open up all those screens. I said, “I’m going crazy here. It’s taking me too long to do the admin side of coaching.” This happens during your peak cognitive time of the day. Here you are at your peak. You are working with your clients and now you’ve got to take care of crappy $10-an-hour work.Pick a background image that illustrates who you are, what you do, and how you help. Click To Tweet
I looked for professional software to help me. I downloaded and tried all these different products. Nothing worked for me. If it did, it was so complex. With hours of videos to learn it and hundreds of dollars a month, I said, “Enough, I’m going to write my software.” Having built software companies in the past, I thought to myself, “I could do this,” and I did.
I created a product called ClientFol.io for coaches. It’s $19.97 a month. It does everything a coach needs. It turns your sessions into joy and pleasure because it only takes five minutes to admin every session. All you got to do is go to www.GetClientFolio.com and you will be able to admin your sessions in five minutes or less as well. Now on to my guest and her incredible story.
Working for a tech company back in 2006, she struggled to fill the sales pipeline. After trying over and over again to discover ways to get more leads, something we all struggle with, she stumbled upon her own Google search, which returned only LinkedIn as the results. The light bulb went off and then she started to focus all of her efforts on uncovering the gold in LinkedIn and has since perfected the process to use the platform in a unique and productive way. She is here to show us how. Welcome, Donna Serdula to the show.
Mitch, thank you so much for having me.
It’s my pleasure. It’s a delight to have you, Donna. You certainly have accomplished a lot and we want to know all about it. Why don’t you go back to the beginning and tell us how this all got started for you?
I joined LinkedIn back in 2005. It was a long time ago. They promised the world tons of opportunities, leads and jobs hitting you left and right. I remember joining, copying and pasting my resume into the LinkedIn profile area because it looked a lot like a resume. LinkedIn was back then saying it’s your online resume. I copied this dry, dull, out-of-date, plagiarized resume into those fields. I leaned back and nothing happened. What a waste of time.
I’ve changed jobs. Thanks to LinkedIn. I found myself in a very doggy-dog, high-pressure type of sales environment and I’m feeling, “I have to build this territory and fill my pipeline.” I was doing a lot of cold calling, like 80 calls before noon every day. That was what forged my belief and understanding of LinkedIn. It was the cause of what I like to call my LinkedIn epiphany. As I was looking for people, calling people and networking, I was oftentimes looking them up. I wanted to know who it was that I was talking to and who I was meeting with.
Each and every time I would put a person’s name into the Google search engine, their LinkedIn profile would pop up and it was always as bad as mine was. That’s when I realized your LinkedIn profile should tell a story. People want to know more about you. This is your chance. You can control how others perceive you by deciding how do you want to be presented and then presenting yourself in that manner online. It was in 2009 that I realized that, “This is what I wanted to do. I wanted to help people because it’s hard to write about yourself.”
I want to go back to something you said before because you talked about being in a doggy-dog sales environment. That’s exactly what I created when we built Business Breakthroughs with Tony, Chet and I. Some people would complain about that environment and those are the people that left but the people who thrived in that environment were the best.
I wanted to bring that up because it’s negative in the sense that it is competitive and potentially stressful. If you are cut out for that environment, for heaven’s sake, you could do great. You can make a lot of money and excel. Frankly, that’s what employers are looking for, when I say employers, even though we were not an employer because people were paid on performance.
From that perspective, we had people that were making $300,000 and $400,000 a year because they were paid on their own performance. We had people who could barely make $2,000 a month. It’s individually based on skills and maybe charisma but at the same time, for the people who are not cut out for sales, it’s important for them to read this interview because they are able to use LinkedIn to find what is right for them.
Clearly, you are not a doggy-dog person and that’s fine. You don’t have to be. Honestly, I don’t know if I would survive in that environment anymore. I did it in my earlier years. What I love about what you are doing is you are taking something that is already there that potentially is completely free. You are helping people truly understand and optimize that experience. Would that be a good summary of what it is you are doing?
I like to think of us as empowering people to understand what they bring to the table, what their story is, help them articulate it and then present themselves in a way so they can collide with the right types of opportunity.
The other thing that you mentioned before is this whole, use my LinkedIn profile as a resume approach, which you still see plenty of those folks too. What we’re going to be doing is I’m going to be putting you in the Your First Thousand Clients Hot Seat. What we want to do is I want you to spill the beans, reveal the secret sauce and teach us all what we’re doing wrong and what we can do to take a profile from being dull and boring and supercharge it into a money magnet for our readers.
Why don’t we direct everyone to your LinkedIn profile? Go to Linkedin.com and type in Mitch Russo into the LinkedIn search box. Truthfully, Mitch, yours is a pretty strong profile. Let’s talk about some of the things that you are doing right and some things that you could do to improve it. When I pull up your profile, the very first thing I see is a background graphic.
Most people who are reading, at this point, maybe go back to your profile really quick and see if you have a background graphic. If your graphic is grayish or greenish, that’s the default and we don’t want to stick with the default. We want to reject the default at all costs with LinkedIn because the default is simply not good enough.
In this one, I see you, your brand colors and tagline, “Your Fast Track to Exponential Growth.” That does produce something inside of me. I’m like, “He is going to help me do better.” For me, I’m thinking as a business owner. To me, I feel like this does a good job of at least illustrating your brand and what you do. That’s an important thing.
For those of you who might be doing something different, find an image. You can find one on your website. You can go to Unsplash.com or any of the other image sites out there. Get something in there that illustrates who you are, what you do and how you help. The next thing I see is your profile picture and you are smiling. You look confident, well-adjusted and friendly. Those are good things. It might have been professionally taken. Was it professionally taken?
That’s the other thing. Get a professional to take your headshot. If you want to come across as a success and you should because people do business with people who are successful, get a professionally taken headshot. If right out of the gate you simply cannot afford it, I would almost probably say you can if you check it out and call around.
If you truly can’t, then have a friend use their phone and take a picture of you well-lit. That’s going to be very important. Make it just your head. Don’t have your elbows, knees, ankles or feet in there. One of the reasons for that is when we look at the web or app, it’s so small. We want to see you. That’s one of the other things. The next thing is your headline, Mitch. Do you know what your headline is when you look at your profile?In LinkedIn, you're given 220 characters for your headline. Try to cram your keywords, but also answer how you will help. Click To Tweet
I believe it says, “Your Fast Track to Exponential Growth.”
It’s right underneath your name. It’s Chief Executive Officer at Mindful Guidance, LLC. This is the default. This is what LinkedIn has pulled up for you. The default is always your current title and company. This right here is something that you can do to improve your profile. The headline one should compel a person to want to learn more, keep reading or click on your profile. It also should have your keywords in there because this is a sensitive place on your profile for the LinkedIn search. We want to make sure that your keywords are in there.
The other thing here is that this follows you around no matter where you are on LinkedIn. If you are in any way producing any type of activity, we’re going to see your picture, name and headline. The next part of this is in 220 characters. We need to be able to give a person that sense of who you are and what you do. In this situation, it gives us CEO of Mindful Guidance but I don’t know much more. This is something that you want to concentrate on.
What would you suggest as a headline for my profile and for readers who are probably having their own LinkedIn profile open and are looking at things like that? What do you think is best for a headline here?
In this situation, I will tell you that I have a free app under Free Resources that will walk you through. It will generate it for you, but we’re not going to generate it for you and me. Anyone who is reading this can go to Linkedin-Makeover.com, click on Free Resources and access the app. In this situation, we want to think about, “What does your target audience need to know about you? What is it that you are helping them do?”
If to you being a CEO is important, we can certainly keep CEO but maybe we want to say consultant, coach, entrepreneurial coach or maybe helping coaches fast-track their business to exponential growth. We might even put in certification programs, the other things that you are doing to help. We have 220 characters and we want to try to, in a very small area, cram your keywords but also how you are helping.
Check my headline.
“Accelerate your revenue through optimizing your revenue system through certification,” I quite like that. Who do you work with specifically? Is it mainly coaches and consultants or entrepreneurs?
It’s anybody who has intellectual property that they want to optimize revenue from. In other words, when I build a certification program, what I’m doing is I’m looking for the way that my clients can take their best customers and empower them to go into the field and make money using what it is that my client does. As an example, if you have a CRM program, if you are a SaaS platform or a coach with intellectual property, we will build a system that will train others on how to deploy your intellectual property to their clients, paying you a percentage of what it is that they do while they’re doing it.
I like this. The one thing that we might want to add would be getting that target audience in the beginning, coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs or business owners. It sounds like yours is a little bit bigger. It’s not as finite as I was thinking. “Accelerate your revenue through optimizing your revenue system through certification.” That’s fabulous. It’s a true benefit statement.
I did change it to, “Accelerate your business through optimizing your revenue systems through certification.” The word revenue isn’t in the same sentence twice.
I like that better. It makes it a little bit clear. There you have it. That right there is going to help. If there are certain other terms that you want to use, you can use a bullet and then add a few more keywords if you want to. This is quite strong and it does a very good job. If we keep going down, it looks like you’ve got your contact information in there. You could add your email and phone number if you would like for people to reach out to you. That, to me, is always an important aspect. A lot of times, people say to me, “I’ve been on LinkedIn for years and my phone never rings.” That’s because you don’t have your phone number.
To be clear, I do have all of my business websites and email addresses on there, but I don’t have a phone number. The reason is because there are a lot of companies that scrape these profiles. When I did have my phone number some time ago, to me, that was a problem. I chose not to do that.
As long as you have made that decision and you are not omitting it without the thought of why, I myself keep it out there. I’m willing to take some telemarketing calls, if people are calling me because they want to do business with me. For me, it’s a balance that I’m okay with.
It makes sense and I get that. Thank you for clarifying that. That’s great.
As we scroll down, you are open for business and you are providing services. That’s fabulous. That’s something that a lot of people aren’t using but if you are a business owner, you can certainly add that to your profile. You’ve done that. That’s a great job. If we keep going down, there’s the About section. Yours says, “If you are excited about making rapid progress but are not sure what steps to take to grow your business, then I can help you.”
With that said, there’s the See More. I do feel compelled to click See More there because I’m curious, “Is that it or is there more here?” I was correct. I hit the See More and I’m seeing a full write-up here. I read this prior to our interview and you did a good job. This is written conversationally. It’s a narrative. You do have a little bit of a bulleted list but to me, it doesn’t feel like you are doing it because you have nothing left to say and you are pasting something in there just to paste it.
To me, it’s easy to read. There are things that grab my eye. I’m seeing words in capital and a lot of dollar signs. It’s an easy-to-read About section. You did a fabulous job. Most people don’t do this kind of job. Most people are copying and pasting the top part of their resume. They may be putting in a very brief description. This is an area where you want to tell your story, who you are.
Don’t think of it in terms of, “These are all the places I’ve been.” That’s your trajectory that comes down lower in the Experience section. This is where you want to talk directly to your target audience. That’s something that we didn’t talk about when we first started looking at your profile but we want to be very strategic. We want to say, “Why are you on LinkedIn?” I understand that you are on LinkedIn because you want to educate people. You want to let people know who you are and what you do and you want more clients.
Donna, what’s the next step?
The next step is understanding why you are on it because some people are on it for a job search. Some are on it for sales and prospecting. Others are on it because they want to be seen as an expert. Some are doing it for reputation management. Understanding why, who that target audience is, what do they need to know about you and what are those keywords a person might be searching for if they’re looking for someone like you. Knowing that, then you can write this About section. You want to write it as a narrative in the first person.
When I say first person, I’m talking about saying, “I do this. Hello. My name is.” Not writing in a third-person bio because it doesn’t feel right. People know that this is you. We want this to sound warm and friendly. We want it to sound like you are talking to that person specifically and they feel that warmth and knowledge. They have a good sense of why you are doing this and why they should be listening to you.
To me, when I read this, I get it because you worked with Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes. You’ve done some massive growth at these other companies. We’re going to pay attention to you. That’s very impressive. This is the type of profile About section to aim for but it is hard to write about yourself. You did a good job there, Mitch.
Thank you. You mentioned getting a professional headshot taken and having it be economical to do so. I have found an app called Snappr. I know it’s an iOS app. I don’t know if it’s an Android app but I would assume it would be. You can hire a professional photographer for about $200 who will come to your location, do a professional headshot for you and give you all of the files that you want without any additional charges.
I used them for a complete rebranding project that I’m doing. Many people know the amazing Rey Perez, who is a professional branding superstar. He is redoing my brand and he advised me to use Snappr. I did it and the results were fantastic. Donna, if someone does need a headshot photographer for a couple of hundred bucks, for heaven’s sake, give them a try.
I like HeadshotCrew.com. It’s a similar idea. It’s a database, so you put in where you are located. There’s a ton of certified photographers that you can look up and use. I don’t know if they’re as affordable as the $200. One of these two will get you where you need to be. We want a profile picture that makes you look like money and success. We want it to be something that a person will immediately take that first glance and they’re immediately impressed. That’s what we’re after.
If we keep going down, I see you have a Featured section. Very few people have a Featured section. This is a great way of adding multimedia and links out from your profile. This is very important. I like how you have testimonials. That’s a fabulous use of the Featured section. You can also have links back straight to your website or podcast page. There are so many different ways of using this. For those who are reading, check to see if you have the Featured section and you are using it. It’s such a fabulous area and very few people do.
Moving down even further, I see the Activity section. I’m happy to see that you are sharing items on LinkedIn, which means that you are engaged and active. A lot of times, when I look at this, it says, “No activity in the past 90 days.” With LinkedIn, if a person wants to reach out to you and they’re looking at you on LinkedIn, they want to see the relevance and that you are active.
This is something to pay attention to. You can’t simply like every now and then. That doesn’t create enough activity to add this area to your profile. You need to like, comment and post on LinkedIn. This is something that’s a little bit beside just optimizing your profile but it’s an area of LinkedIn where it’s that activity that fuels the engagement, eyeballs and views. You are going to turn up more often in search because LinkedIn recognizes that you are active and a good search result listing to have. It is an important area to have on your profile.Have a profile picture that makes you look like a success. Click To Tweet
Donna, one question. A lot of people like me will post on LinkedIn. For example, I post all of my podcast episodes and they get a couple of views, 15 or 20 usually but I have no engagement. How important is engagement? How would you build engagement on LinkedIn profiles?
Truthfully, engagement is the hallmark of LinkedIn and the activity. If you want to get more views, you need to get that engagement. It’s a one-to-one type of situation. How often do you go onto LinkedIn and simply scroll through and comment on other people’s posts?
Every day you’re commenting on other people’s posts?
I’m not commenting on them every day but I’m certainly scrolling through. Occasionally, I comment on them but I’m on there all the time. Tell me what I could do to increase my own.
What I would suggest for you is this. When you go onto LinkedIn and you scroll through the LinkedIn feed, don’t just scroll and like. Make a concerted effort to join the conversation. What I would like for you to do is maybe think of some people who are active on LinkedIn, people who maybe are part of your tribe or you want to forge a stronger relationship with. Maybe there are ten business owners, coaches or people out there. Bookmark their posts and activity.
Don’t bookmark just their profile but go to their profile, click on See All of their Activity and bookmark that page. Once a week, go there, click all through all ten and see what they’ve done. Actively comment and engage in their activity. Once you start doing that, they will see it. They’re going to start to see your posts because LinkedIn likes to make that LinkedIn feed people you know talking about the things you care about. By you engaging with them, they are going to start engaging with you.
Are you done with the profile or is there more that you wanted to comment on that?
There is so much about the profile that we could talk about. I was looking here at your feed to make sure and you are using hashtags, which is fabulous. That was the other thing I was going to say. You may find that you might need to tweak your hashtags. If you are finding you are not getting a lot of engagement, it could be the hashtags that you are using as well.
Let me ask you a question about groups. LinkedIn has been woefully deficient in promoting and supporting LinkedIn Groups. What do you have to say about that? Is there a strategy that we could use to maybe get better engagement through the group process?
Back in the day, the LinkedIn Groups were such a thriving place to go. There were business and relationships to be had. It was fabulous and then there was almost like a death note that LinkedIn gave to them. To be honest with you, I still haven’t seen that engagement come back. Join groups to extend your network. When a person who is not paying for LinkedIn is searching LinkedIn, utilizing a keyword, they’re searching their 1st, 2nd and 3rd-degree network. Anyone outside of that network can’t see that profile.
If you want to use LinkedIn for search and get found, use the groups to extend your network because those group members are considered third-degree connections. That’s how I would use LinkedIn Groups at this point. If you can find a group that’s active, have at it but it’s very hard as a group administrator to have that active group.
It takes an awful lot of work. It’s more work than most people are willing to put into it. I wouldn’t worry too much about the LinkedIn Groups. If you want to find what’s going on in a certain area, explore the hashtags, follow hashtags, go in there, click on the hashtag once a day or once a week, read what people are posting and utilize the hashtag almost as a group.
Donna, I can’t thank you enough for a $5,000 consultation. If you are reading this conversation and you’ve been following along and updating your own LinkedIn profile, then this is the beginning of what Donna does. I would urge you to reach out to her and take a look at what she does. I will attest to the fact that my LinkedIn profile has played a large role in my success over the years. I didn’t get it to this stage or at this level by accident. It’s taken many iterations with the help of many people as well. This is one of those things where you can’t ignore it. It can’t be an afterthought. It is a billboard on the superhighway for you. Think about it from that perspective.
Donna, what we’re going to do is we’re going to transition to the second part of the show, which is where we get to know a little bit more about you. The way we do that is by asking some questions that, on the surface, don’t seem to be very important. In fact, maybe even silly but the readers and I have discovered over 300 episodes that these questions are quite revealing and can change the profile of how we see another person. Let’s start with the first one. Who in all of space and time would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?
There are probably some people who would say find a celebrity, business leader or someone in that capacity but I would love to spend another one hour with my father who died in 2011.
Many of my guests have mentioned parents who have passed. The reason I like that answer so much is because it is an illustration of who we are. It’s how we got to be who we are. Like it or not, we carry the values of our family and parents with us every day. My dad was a hustler. He hustled and built candy stores all throughout New York City. On holidays, we would jump in the car, find an old door being thrown away, set up two sawhorses, turn it into a sidewalk shop and sell candy.
This is how I grew up. My sister and I grew up as entrepreneurs and it shaped who I am. I’m sure that if you had this conversation with your dad, it would be mostly his admiration of what you’ve accomplished as well. Thank you for sharing that. Here’s the second question. We like to call this the grand finale question. It’s the change-the-world question. What is it that you are doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?
I love what I do. I love working with professionals, executives and entrepreneurs and helping them tell their stories. I found that when we do it, even though we’re doing it one by one, it does have the power of changing maybe not the world but their life. It can magnify, empowering people to know what they do and what they bring to the table, shaping the way others perceive them. When we do it, we do it right. We found that people change jobs. They get promotions, start new companies, get better investors and awesome things happen.
One of the things I am working on and it’s a drop in the bucket of changing the world but over the years, we’ve worked with over 6,000 of these executives, professionals and entrepreneurs. I always asked, “What is a motivational quote? What is your secret to success?” We’ve asked that on all of our questionnaires. I’ve gone through all of these questionnaires. I’ve collected all of those quotes and their secrets to success. I’ve been able to boil it down into different keys. I plan on writing a book and publishing it to let other people see what our clients have done. Hopefully, that will empower others to be motivated, find inspiration and change their world.
Changing the world is a very personal thing. I remember it was the eve of Thanksgiving and I was on the phone with Tony Robbins. Tony said, “What are you doing for the holidays?” I said, “Tony, our family has a tradition. Every Thanksgiving, we go to a local church here up in Woodstock, New York, where my sister lives and we feed the membership of the church with about 300 people.” Tony said, “That’s wonderful, Mitch.”
I said, “Tony, what are you doing?” He goes, “We feed people too.” I said, “That’s wonderful. Do you do it locally at a church?” He goes, “No, we feed two million people at Thanksgiving throughout a network of institutions and churches.” The point I’m making is that everybody can change the world in their own way. Donna, you are changing the world and I want to thank you for doing so because it makes the world a better place.
Thank you, Mitch.
You are welcome. You have something that is a fantastic free giveaway because it will help anybody tune up their entire LinkedIn profile. What is your free giveaway?
It’s my LinkedIn Headline Generator App. It will tune up the entire profile but it will tune up the headline. The headline is super important, as I told you how important yours is. We want to make it such that it gets caught in the search engine that people see it. They feel compelled to read more and click. You’ll get more views, turn up higher and find more opportunities with a strong headline. It’s a generator. You go in and click a few boxes. Tell us who you are and what you are doing. It will generate a beautiful headline that you can copy and immediately paste into your profile and you will see results.
How do we get that generator?
Visit LinkedIn-Makeover.com. Click on Free Resources and you’ll see it in that drop list.Engagement is really the hallmark of LinkedIn. Click To Tweet
Donna, what I would like to do at this point is talk a little bit about your show. You have an incredible podcast that people can access by going to www.DreamBigConversations.com. Tell us about the types of guests you bring on and what you discuss on your show.
Dream Big with Big Dreamers is the name of the podcast. In it, we talk to people who do dare to dream big and understand what gave them that ability. How are they dreaming big? What are they dreaming big about? What do their lives look like? How did they get to that point in their careers? When I interview my clients, I always find that I’m so inspired by who they are and what they’ve done. I want other people to hear these stories and not just read about their LinkedIn profiles.
Dream Big with Big Dreamers was built to let people see that there’s this world out there. The real reason why I created it is right before my father died, he had said to me that his one big regret in his life was that he didn’t dream big enough. That was something that always stuck with me. I married that regret with what I was seeing with my clients and I want to give people that ability to start dreaming big.
Readers, you can go to DreamBigConversations.com and access the show. I strongly suggest you tune in and see what Donna is up to. Donna, this has been delightful. I enjoyed our conversation. We only scratched the surface as to what you are capable of. I know that there’s so much more that you can help others with. Thank you for the time. I am excited about getting a chance to talk to you again soon.
Mitch, thank you so much.
- Donna Serdula
- Mitch Russo – LinkedIn
- Mindful Guidance, LLC – Facebook
- Free Resources
- Rey Perez – LinkedIn
- LinkedIn Headline Generator App
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