LinkedIn and social selling expert, Melonie Dodaro, makes a bold statement in this edition of Social Selling TV.
Melonie claims content marketing may hurt your business.
Yes if you don't have a content strategy and simply post content to post content, your business reputation may suffer.
Melonie shares lots of other great LinkedIn and social selling tips in this interview.
You can learn more about Melonie at www.topdogsocialmedia.com
Ted Prodromou: Hey, welcome everybody. Its Ted Prodromou. This is Social Selling TV. We have a special guest I'm actually meeting for the very first time, but we've been kind of following each other for years on social media. It's Melonie Dodaro, who is the author of LinkedIn Unlocked, one of the best LinkedIn books out there.
Prodromou: There's a lot of
LinkedIn “experts” out there, and there's only like a handful that –
you can probably count them on one hand – the people I actually trust, and
Melonie is definitely one of those. She's really great. She did me a huge favor
this year, and she wrote the intro to my book, the foreword to my new book,
Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business. Welcome, Melonie.
Dodaro: Welcome, thank you.
Yeah, I love that. Because one of the things that is different about the social
media industry, or the industry that we're in, is we're much more
collaborative, right? So here I am, a LinkedIn author, writing the foreword for
your book, and with pleasure. Thank you for asking me, by the way. It's
interesting, because not a lot of different industries would do that.
Prodromou: Right, no. Most
LinkedIn people I know are pretty cool like that. We help each other out,
because other ones are like, they want to destroy us.
Prodromou: You're one of the
Dodaro: Well, thank you. Thank
Prodromou: How did you get
started in LinkedIn?
Dodaro: Like everything else, by
accident. So I started my company – Top Dog Social Media – years and years ago,
and in the beginning, we were doing all social media. So, from blogging to
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. I very quickly saw that the vast majority of the
results that we were getting as a company, as well as our clients that we were
working with, were coming from LinkedIn.
Dodaro: Over the following
couple years, really kind of reluctantly stopped using everything else. When I
say stopped, I mean from a company level. Not us individually, but helping others.
So really just focusing with my clients on the things that were actually
working, so content creation and LinkedIn. So now, it's predominantly what I
do. I don't really focus on any of the others. If somebody comes to me and says
‘Hey, can you help me out with Facebook?', I'm like ‘No, I'm not a person that
… there's somebody better than me on that topic', and so I really believe in
specializing. You know, there's so many people out there that say that they can
do everything. Nobody can do everything well, right? So if you want to have
somebody that's very generic that can generically help you with a lot of
different things, then you are never going to get success with any one of them.
So I really believe in specializing, and so I focus 100% on social selling and
Prodromou: Yeah, that's kind of
like me. On Facebook I just use it for fun, post pictures of skiing and, you
know, me having fun. On LinkedIn, it's more business.
Dodaro: Well you know, there's a
big difference between Facebook and LinkedIn in terms of how people use it.
Like if you look at Facebook, for example, and if somebody posts anything about
business, it's crickets. Nobody is really interested, you get very little
engagement. Whereas on LinkedIn, people are hungry for it, they're interested
in it, they want to see business-related stuff. There's a lot of engagement
with it, so it's a totally different environment. If you're using it for a
business, why not go to the platform where people are embracing it, they're interested
in it, they're hungry for it, they're engaging with it. It just makes sense.
Prodromou: They're in the
business mindset on LinkedIn, so it makes perfect sense.
Prodromou: So, what's working
for you on LinkedIn right now?
Dodaro: You know, really, the
same thing that's always worked. I think that, and I'm not really 100% sure on
your philosophy around this, Ted, but I know that a lot of social selling
experts out there will say that the secret to social selling is sharing
content. I personally completely disagree.
Dodaro: There's going to be a
pause, everyone's going to be like, ‘What? I thought sharing content was so
important!' Sharing content is important, there's no question about it. I'm a
huge content creator. I create long form, in-depth articles on a weekly basis,
I create all kinds of different content on a regular basis, so I'm not saying
that content isn't important and it doesn't have its place. But in terms of
generating business, generating leads and generating clients, it's a passive
Dodaro: You essentially put out
your content, you hope that Google's going to show it, you hope that LinkedIn's
going to show it, and you have to wait for people to come to you. Then they see
it, and then you have to wait for them to actually initiate the conversation
with you. I personally don't think that that's a really good business strategy.
Passively waiting around. Waiting around.
Prodromou: [crosstalk] You
don't know when they are going to show up.
Dodaro: So where the results
have always come from for me, and for the clients that I work with, is a direct
approach, like an outreach. So it involves finding those idealist prospects on
LinkedIn – through advance search or other mediums – reaching out and
connecting with a nice, personalized message, following up my connection
requests with additional messages, to really start to have a conversation,
build rapport, provide a little bit of value and ultimately move the
Dodaro: Because in the B2B
world, business happens offline. People should not be trying to sell via social
media, via LinkedIn. I'm not talking about if you've got a low-ticket product,
or even a book. Something like that, absolutely, you can sell those things. But
if you're selling a service, a high-ticket service, it needs to happen during a
phone call, it needs to happen during a conversation. You need to find out
first what the problems are that somebody is facing, and then if you have a
solution to that, then you can bring it up, but you have to get to know them.
You have to understand that nobody is interested in a pitch via any kind of
message, whether it's Facebook message, LinkedIn message, Email message …
Prodromou: Right. I was just
talking to one of my clients yesterday, and he does marketing for local
businesses. He's been trying LinkedIn, he's been trying Facebook, and he goes,
“You know, I found this local networking group. I go it every Friday now,
and I'm getting lots of business”. Base human to human communication.
Dodaro: Yeah, I've always been a
proponent of that. I always say, old school works. What's not working from an
old school perspective is cold calling, or cold emailing, because there's too
many guards up around that. Face to face, human to human, person to person,
belly to belly, whatever, yes that's always going to work. Here's the thing
too, people forget that online tools are just a tool. That's what they are,
they're a tool to build relationships. What you need to think about – in every
way that you use a tool like LinkedIn, for example – is would you do it in
person? Ask yourself that, every single time you take an action, would you do
this in person.
Dodaro: For example, would you
go to that networking event on that Friday morning, would you walk up to
someone and say “Hi, my name's Melonie. Buy my stuff”. Or, in your
case, “Hi, my name's Ted”. So, why would you do that on LinkedIn?
What makes you think that's acceptable on LinkedIn, if it's not acceptable in
real life? If you talk to people the way that you would talk to them in real
life, and you show interest in them the way you would have a conversation in
real life – listening to them, asking them questions, getting to know them –
why wouldn't you do that on LinkedIn?
Dodaro: That's what's going to
work, we forget that.
Prodromou: That's why I
appreciate you, what you do and how you teach it. Because it's the same thing,
I'm getting so many templated messages now, basically they're asking me to buy
before we even connect.
Dodaro: You know what? Five
years ago, those templated messages worked, because not a lot of people were
doing it. If I look back at my first book that I wrote on LinkedIn, which was
in 2014, those templated messages actually worked.
Dodaro: But today, they don't.
Because marketers kill everything, things get overused, sales people too. We
overuse things, and then they stop working. We are now in the era of
personalization. If you're not personalizing those messages, if people don't
think you've done your due diligence – you've looked at their profile, or their
content they've shared and you're actually referencing that specifically, so
that they know it's not a template – you're not going to go anywhere.
Prodromou: Right. Find
something interesting in their profile and ask them about it. Ask questions,
and they tell you, it's amazing!
Dodaro: Yeah. It's just like a
real life conversation.
Prodromou: Right. I'll send a
message to a new connect and say “Hey, tell me something interesting about
you that I wouldn't know from your LinkedIn profile?” 25% of the people
reply and tell me something.
Dodaro: Yeah. I wouldn't be one
of them, but that's because I get a lot of messages. That would irritate me.
Prodromou: Right. [crosstalk]
Dodaro: But, somebody that's not
getting a lot of messages, they would like that, that's kind of cool.
Dodaro: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Prodromou: Just kind of break
the ice, get to know people.
Dodaro: That's a great point,
what I just mentioned. I wouldn't like that, that wouldn't work with me. You
have to understand who your target market is. If you were trying to reach out
to a high level executive, or an influencer, or somebody that's getting
inundated with messages, you have to approach it really differently.
Dodaro: If you're approaching
somebody that's not inundated with messages, certain things are going to work
with them that won't work with others.
Dodaro: Some people will accept
connection requests without a personalized message.
Dodaro: Many won't.
Prodromou: Right, exactly. Just
take a moment and find something about this person, show them that you care,
you're interested. Send them a custom message, they'll reply and the
relationship starts at a deeper level than just a cold call.
Dodaro: Ultimately, a
relationship is really going to be established once you move that conversation
offline, but you do have the opportunity to use these tools to start to build
one enough to earn the trust to move that conversation offline. I look at
everything digital, from a specific goal and objective. So, what do I use
Twitter for? I used to use Twitter for different reasons than I use it now, now
I actually use it to stay up to date on the news. I post far less than I used
to, I'm far less engaged in it that I used to be. What it used to be my primary
tool for was driving traffic to my blog, it did a fantastic job of that. I find
that's diminished over the years, and I don't worry about that so much anymore.
Not to mention, now I make up for that traffic times 10 with Google, with
organic search, because I've got an old blog, old in a good term, it's been
around for a long time-
Dodaro: … Google likes it.
Established, yeah. That's a much better phrase, much better word. You just look
at everything for what is the purpose. LinkedIn, the purpose is not to sell.
The purpose is to book phone calls.
Ted Prodromou: Yeah.
Dodaro: And stay top of mind, so
that's where the content sharing comes in to play, content sharing has its
place. It's just to stay top of mind, and you have to hope and pray that this
results in business.
Dodaro: Don't hope and pray,
take business into your own hands, control your results by having a system and
a plan to take control of that. Reach out to a certain amount of prospects that
ultimately turn into a certain amount of leads, and turn into a certain amount
of offline calls, which then turn into a certain amount of clients.
Prodromou: That was the big
theme in Social Media Marketing World this year.
Dodaro: Oh, yeah?
Prodromou: Quality over
quantity. It's not about getting millions of likes now, it's about putting out
one piece of quality content, even if it's once a month.
Prodromou: Your posts are just
awesome. You actually write really great articles, you're not just writing
articles to write articles and get in the search engine.
Dodaro: Right, yeah. Exactly.
There's so much confusion and myths around content creation, oh, content needs
to short because people have short attention spans. Well, my content is on
average between 1800 and 3000 words. Each and every single blog post, on
average I'd say about 2200, so that's far from being short.
Prodromou: It's high quality
content that you put out, and it's on a regular basis is what I noticed, too,
once a week I'm going to see an email from you with a new blog post.
Dodaro: That's right. It's
clockwork. Every Thursday, you get that email about my featured article for the
week. Yeah, it's in depth, it's substantial, so that people actually feel like
they're getting value. If people don't feel like they're getting value from
your free stuff, they'll never pay for your paid stuff.
Prodromou: Right. So how long
does it take you to write an article each week?
Dodaro: A long time, and I just
recently hired an editor. So, coming up with the idea, structuring the article,
writing the article, editing the article and then now I have one more set of
eyes. Because there is never a time, when you're writing your own content, that
there won't be an edit that you miss. Ever. I'm actually learning how to write
better with hiring this editor, because she's editing down the number of words
I use. I might have a sentence with 15 words in it, where it only needs 12.
Prodromou: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dodaro: She takes out three
words. That's really good. The word count of my articles is actually going
down, I just added up todays, I just got her edits back from it today, I sent
it to her and it was 1986 words. She sent it back to me and it was 1790, so
almost 200 words gone.
Prodromou: I learned that with
my books being edited by entrepreneurs, they're like you don't need that, nor
Dodaro: Right, yeah.
Prodromou: Certain words, like
you don't need to say that.
Dodaro: Yeah, depending on where
you are in your business. Obviously, I have an editor for my books and stuff
like that but not normally for blog posts. Not to mention, sometimes, because
I'm like clockwork with my blog posts – they're posted Tuesday or Wednesday of
each week, Thursday the newsletter goes out – sometimes that article's not done
til Tuesday. Like today, it was finished back from the editor though. I had it
to the editor several days ago, but there is circumstances where I'm traveling,
or something's happening and I can't get it to her on time. That's not
something you need to focus on right now, if that's not in the budget. Just
editing it yourself is certainly important, and you're going to miss things.
Dodaro: I have fans who love my
content, and they'll literally send me an email, “Melonie, you made a
mistake”. What I hate, is when they send me an email saying I made a
mistake on my newsletter. That, I cringe, because I can't fix that, it's
already gone out. If they find a mistake on my blog post, no problem. Quickly
go in, edit that, but I almost don't want to hear if I have a mistake in my
Prodromou: Yes, I had that
happen yesterday. I sent out an email, and it had a link in it. In the test
email it worked fine. I sent it out to like 5000 people and the link didn't
Dodaro: Yeah, it's painful.
Prodromou: Yeah. So, do you
post these articles on LinkedIn too, or do you just keep them on your blog?
Dodaro: Yeah, great question. I
post them on my blog, I used to post more frequently on LinkedIn publisher but
as you probably know, LinkedIn published is not getting the exposure and the
views that it used to. What I do is now like once a month, I'll publish an
article on LinkedIn publisher.
Dodaro: I'm not diligent with it
anymore, like once a week. Just so that nobody's looking at my profile and
seeing that I posted an article six months ago, right?
Prodromou: Or 2 years ago.
Dodaro: Or 2 years ago, yeah.
So, once a month. I don't even know that I'm doing it because my assistant just
goes in and does it, and I never even tell her to do it. I never tell her what
article to publish, she just does it. I'm always like.. all of a sudden I'll
get these comments from people commenting on a new article and I'm like
“oh, I guess I just published a new article on LinkedIn publisher. I had
no idea. Awesome”.
Prodromou: What's working for
me is I write the article and put it on there, and then I do a status update
with hashtags in it that points to the LinkedIn article.
Dodaro: That's key to share it
as a status update, for sure.
Prodromou: Yeah, they want to
keep you on LinkedIn. They want to keep you on Facebook. They don't want you
linking out anymore.
Dodaro: No, exactly. So linked
posts are performing very, very poorly on LinkedIn right now. LinkedIn's just
not liking them. I used to get far more attraction on links that I would share
on LinkedIn, and now they're extremely low.
Dodaro: What I do is, and I'm
sure you know this and you've probably done this, so you can post a linked
post. You share your content, you have the link in there and then the box of
the image in your blog and the link shows up. If you click the little x on
that, you tricked LinkedIn into believing it's a text post. What I do is every
time I share a link post, I'll do two posts per week of the blog post that I've
shared. One will be a traditional link post, because I'm measuring the numbers.
One's the traditional linked post, where I let it populate. Then maybe two days
later, I'll share it again, where I'll click that little x and trick LinkedIn
into thinking it's a text post. The faux text post gets four to five times more
visibility and views.
Prodromou: Isn't that amazing?
Dodaro: Yeah. I was surprised
that LinkedIn's actually not that savvy. That they can't figure out it's still
a link post.
Prodromou: Yeah. A lot of
people are saying put the link in the first comment, but you can't pin the
comment on LinkedIn so it's buried.
Dodaro: Yeah, I know. So if you
get a zillion comments, people are going to have to scroll through and…
Prodromou: Yeah. Somebody did a
test like that. They put in the post “link in comments”, so people
would have to scroll all the way down. But if you get 20 or 30 comments, no-one
is going to scroll through that.
Dodaro: Yeah, right. It would be
nice if the comments were always in chronological order.
Dodaro: It's one thing that
drives me crazy, even from a… I like to engage with people who have engaged
with my content. If they just say “hey, great content”, I might get a
zillion of those. I'll start just clicking like, versus acknowledging each and
every single one. If there isn't a substantial amount of in depth comments,
then I'll respond back. It drives me crazy because I'll want to go through and
see, of course they're showing the top comments versus the recent… just leave
it in chronological order for me. I'd like that.
Prodromou: Yeah. This is great,
I want to respect your time, and not take too much of your time. This is
Melonies' book, “LinkedIn Unlocked”. It's awesome, highly recommend
it, so grab it off Amazon. Or, your website, right?
Prodromou: How can people get
in touch with you to learn more, and read these awesome blog posts?
Dodaro: Yeah, so topdogsocialmedia.com
is how to follow the content that I publish each week, and if you do want a
great deal on my book, you can get it for 40% off the price of Amazon. I have a
special page set up, it's for the digital version of the book. You can go to LinkedInUnlockedBook.com
and get it for 40% off the price that it's listed on Amazon.
Prodromou: Awesome. Hey, thanks
for your time.
Dodaro: My pleasure, it's so
nice to be here with you today, and congratulations on your book!
Prodromou: Yes, thank you very
much. I'll have to come to Europe and visit because I just love Europe, and
Dodaro: Yeah, yes!
Dodaro: Dutch is my project for
next month, to start learning.
Prodromou: Oh, just in one
Dodaro: No, to begin, to begin.
Prodromou: Yeah, thanks again.
Melonie Dodaro: Bye.
For more LinkedIn and social selling tips visit these past posts:
Would you like me to help you? I'm the #1 best-selling author of Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business and Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business. People call me America's Leading LinkedIn Coach. I'm the founder of Search Marketing Simplified, LLC, a full service online marketing agency. The SMS team designs and implements advanced LinkedIn and social media lead-generation strategies for small to medium-sized businesses. SMS will set up and manage your marketing funnels using organic, social and paid traffic. Did you know I've been working with the internet since 1991, long before Al Gore invented it?