What makes a LinkedIn expert? How do you know what you’re getting when you engage a LinkedIn specialist, trainer, or consultant?
When engaging any expert, it is important to know how to choose the best expert for you. Anyone can call themselves an expert, but can they back it up?
LinkedIn is constantly changing and innovating. Being an expert means staying up to date in order to use it effectively, efficiently and ethically as it evolves.
Do you choose the person with the loudest most confident voice, the most expensive, the person with the most connections, or the person with the most experience? Or is it the person who is recommended by a peer?
We love to recommend someone we know – a friend, a colleague, someone we saw online, it makes us feel good to connect people and help a colleague. When an expert is recommended to you, be sure that the person recommending understands their area of expertise and do your homework.
How to Select your LinkedIn Expert
How do you choose who to work with? How do you tell the difference between a real social media expert and a ‘fake it until they make it’ wannabe expert?
Do your research. Look at the facts, the experience, the credibility, and more importantly listen to your gut. If you aren’t an expert in LinkedIn, you may not know what to look for. Here are a few considerations;
- How long have they been specialising in LinkedIn?
- Do they have plenty of relevant experience? Have they been using LinkedIn themselves for many years and specialising for at least 3 years? Their profile will show how long they have been specialising in LinkedIn. If a role from 20 years ago mentions being a LinkedIn specialist, run away fast – it didn’t exist!
- Do they have work examples or success stories? Ask to see their work to validate their expertise and get a feel for how they work.
- Do they have recent and regular recommendations from clients they have helped?
- Do they have a background to support their current focus? (Use LinkedIn to look into their career history to see what they did prior to becoming a LinkedIn expert)
- Is their profile complete, branded and professional?
- Do they create content, engage with content and respond to engagement? (warning signs are copious amounts of content, but no engagement from their network and no engagement activity with their network)
- Are they published by respected media sources, blogs and podcasts?
- Do they comply with the LinkedIn User Agreement? Are they walking the talk by participating in good practice?
- Do they have a decent sized engaged network? Having less than 1000 followers shows they are either new or not well connected. But having 30,000+ followers and no engagement, or spammy engagement could be a sign of dodgy practice such as using automation tools to connect, or buying connections (sadly that is a thing!)
- Are they up to date with LinkedIn changes and statistics? If they are talking about 500M members and the power of Groups, then they may not be as up to date as you think.
- Is their profile written all about them or about the problems they solve for their clients? Look out for too many statements starting with ‘I’ and a Summary that starts with a big claim.
- Is their profile written in the first person, with personality and credibility? LinkedIn is a person to person network and the recommended way to write is using your voice, not having someone write about you.
- Do they commit to regular professional development in and around the LinkedIn services they offer? This may be evident in what they share or what shows up under courses and certifications.
- Are they a good listener and a good researcher?
- Are they actively using LinkedIn to share and engage?
This list is by no means exhaustive but aims to give you insight into what to look for.
You may not have read the LinkedIn User Agreement yourself, but familiarise yourself with Section 8, the ‘Do & Do Not’ section. For instance, according to point 8c, you must use your real name on your profile. If the expert you are considering has a positioning statement, special characters or a phone number in their surname, they aren’t in compliance. This article goes on to state “We believe that any information other than first and last names in the name fields undermines the professional nature of our site and services.” (Relevant credentials after the surname are the exception).
How do you quantify experience?
It is said to be deemed an expert you must have at least 10,000 hours of practice. If a person hasn’t specialised in LinkedIn for at least 3 years, working entrepreneurial hours, are they really an expert?
LinkedIn and social media tools are constantly innovating. Continued practice coupled with curiosity is critical. Learning from other well-respected experts, attending events, and staying up to date with LinkedIn news and updates, and taking time each day to press buttons, check the settings and functionality and having the agility to adapt is essential for any LinkedIn expert.
At this time there is no accreditation issued by LinkedIn for trainers or specialists. The tertiary education systems include a qualification to become a certified trainer, but using ‘Certified Trainer’ and ‘LinkedIn’ together, can be a misrepresentation. It is stated in point 8J of the User Agreement that you agree not to “Imply or state that you are affiliated with or endorsed by LinkedIn without our express consent (e.g., representing yourself as an accredited LinkedIn trainer).” There are certified programs created by well-respected experts, but these are not endorsed by LinkedIn.
Which LinkedIn experts do I endorse?
As a specialist myself, with over 8 years experience, peer recognition, and social proof, I love to get to know others in my field. I can’t help everyone, and sometimes a potential clients needs a certain type of expertise I don’t have, so I make it my business to know the LinkedIn specialists whom I deem as experts, in order to refer and collaborate with.
There are so many experts around the world that I follow who tick the above boxes and walk the talk. If I can’t help you, one of these highly talented, knowledgeable and experienced LinkedIn specialists possibly can.
The people on the list below are generous with their knowledge and expertise (another quality I feel is essential in an expert) and open to connecting to others in the same space. Each person has their own niche and professional journey which is part of their unique story and value proposition and maybe the right expert for you.
LinkedIn Experts in Australia
- Jo Saunders (Perth WA)
- Darrel Griffin (Perth WA)
- Jillian Bullock (Sydney NSW)
- Karen Hollenbach (Melbourne VIC)
- Sue Ellson (Melbourne VIC)
- Leanne Isaacson (Adelaide SA)
- Kylie Chown (Brisbane QLD)
- Adam Franklin (Brisbane QLD)
LinkedIn Experts in New Zealand
- Kate Nankivell (Auckland)
LinkedIn Experts in Europe
- Mark Williams (Warrington)
- Angus Grady (Hemel Hempstead)
- Greg Cooper (Bristol)
- Steve Phillip (Harrogate)
- David Petherick (Edinburgh)
- Bert Verdonck (London)
- Marcus Boswell (Nottingham)
- Charlie Whyman (Nottingham)
- John Espirian (Newport)
- Nigel Cliffe
LinkedIn Experts in North America
- Beth Granger (New York)
- Sandra Long (New York)
- Brynne Tillman (Philadelphia)
- Victoria Ipri (Philadelphia)
- Donna Serdula (Philadelphia)
- Brenda Meller (Detroit)
- Jeff Young (Ohio)
- Crystal Thies (Ohio)
- Teddy Burriss (North Carolina)
- Andy Foote (Chicago)
- Wayne Breitbarth (Wisconsin)
- Mike O’Neil (Greater Minneapolis
- Viveka von Rosen (Fort Collins, CO)
- AJ Wilcox (Salt Lake City UT) – LinkedIn Ads expert
- Sid Clark (Orange County CA)
- Neal Schaffer (Irvine CA)
- Kurt Shaver (San Francisco CA)
- Jared J Wiese (Wisconsin)