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Inbound Success Podcast

What do the most successful inbound marketers do to get great results?

You’ve heard the stories about companies using inbound marketing to dramatically increase sales, grow their business, and transform their customer relationships, but not everyone who practices inbound marketing knocks it out of the park.

If you want to know what goes into building a world class inbound marketing campaign that gets real, measurable results, check out the Inbound Success podcast. Every week, host Kathleen Booth interviews marketing folks who are rolling up their sleeves, doing the work, and getting the kinds of results we all hope to achieve.

The goal is to “peel back the onion” and learn what works, what doesn’t and what you need to do to really move the needle with your inbound marketing efforts. This isn’t just about big picture strategy – it’s about getting actionable tips and insights that you can use immediately in your own marketing.

Mar 9, 2020

How do the world's best marketers and salespeople use LinkedIn?

This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, DigitalMarketer Head of Partnerships Marcus Murphy takes a deep dive on LinkedIn and shares his tips for using the platform to effectively connect and start conversations with your audience.

In addition to his work at DigitalMarketer, Marcus also teaches the "Intro to Marketing on LinkedIn" course on LinkedIn Learning and is a member of LinkedIn's customer advisory board for LinkedIn sales solutions. 

When it comes to LinkedIn, Marcus really knows what he's talking about, and he shares all of his tips in this episode.

Highlights from my conversation with Marcus include:

  • Marcus joined DigitalMarketer after helping companies like Yelp and InfusionSoft (now Keap) scale and build out partner programs.
  • He is an avid user of LinkedIn and teaches a training course on how to get the most out of it.
  • While most online LinkedIn trainings focus on how to optimize your profile, Marcus says the key to success on LinkedIn is all about the content you create.
  • There are about 9 billion content impressions a week on LinkedIn and that content is driven by about 1% of LinkedIn's user base.
  • Marcus recommends that you begin by using your profile summary to tell your story and start a conversation (check out his profile for a great example of this) rather than simply list the places you've worked.
  • When it comes to creating content on LinkedIn, Marcus says not to wait until you have the perfect post. Share what you're thinking, ask a question, or ask for help. These are all great ways to start a conversation.
  • You also don't need to come up with something new to say every time. Some of the biggest thought leaders on LinkedIn (think Gary Vaynerchuk) have been saying the same thing for years and it is their consistency that makes their message so powerful.
  • Marcus says to find one tip that you think is useful, and go and implement it. Don't try and do everything at once.
  • When it comes to posting things on LinkedIn, Marcus recommends using whatever format (text, video, pictures, etc.) makes the most sense given your content, but he did say that text-only posts seem to be performing particularly well right now.
  • He doesn't think it hurts post performance to include links in the post itself, but he strongly advises against including more than one link as it can get very confusing.
  • Marcus likes to use emojis to convey tone in his LinkedIn posts, but warns against their overuse.
  • LinkedIn gives users the option of setting the button in their profile to say either "follow" or "connect." Marcus says you should have it say "connect" until you have a very strong following and then you can determine if it makes sense to switch it over.
  • He does not advise connecting with every single person who sends a request - instead, he says you should look at the context of the connection request and engage with the people you want to have conversations with. 
  • LinkedIn is introducing a number of new features, such as newsletters, and Marcus says to be on the lookout for more episodic content in the future.

Resources from this episode:

Listen to the podcast to learn how Marcus has mastered LinkedIn for sales and marketing - and how you can, too.


Kathleen Booth (Host): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast.

I'm your host, Kathleen Booth, and this week my guest is Marcus Murphy who's the head of business development and partnerships at DigitalMarketer. Welcome, Marcus.

Marcus Murphy (Guest): Hey. Thanks for having me.

Marcus Murphy and Kathleen Booth
Marcus and Kathleen recording this episode.

Kathleen: I am psyched to have you here. You are like my LinkedIn guru. I've been following you on with what you do on LinkedIn, and then I see that you're on LinkedIn's Customer Advisory Board. You're teaching classes. You are like Mister LinkedIn these days.

Marcus:You know what's kind of funny? I fell into it, because honestly I loved the platform when I was way back in the day when it was kind of like just for your resume. I was like, "Wait a minute. I can start sharing stuff, connecting with people," and now it's my pipeline.

So, it was way back in the day when I was a sales guy, and then now still a washed up sales guy, but I use it now for way more than that, like content distribution. Being on the board, I get to see some fun tools.

So, yeah, I'm all in. I'm super in.

About Marcus Murphy and DigitalMarketer

Kathleen:That's so cool. I can't wait to just pick your brain about this topic. LinkedIn is my favorite platform as well. It's the one I'm the most active on.

But before we do that, if there is anybody out there who's listening and maybe doesn't know who you are or isn't following you on LinkedIn or isn't familiar with DigitalMarketer, can you talk about your story, what you do, what DigitalMarketer is, and just how you got to where you are today?

Marcus:Yeah, absolutely. It's a fun story. My wife and I got married in 2009, so we just celebrated 10 years of marriage, which was pretty cool.

Kathleen:Happy anniversary.

Marcus:Thank you. Went to Italy and literally I'm trying to get rid of all that weight we gained over there.

But, yeah, basically we were like ... Man, we did something crazy. We got married. We started it a company, and we moved from New York to Phoenix, Arizona for no reason at all, didn't know anybody, but kind of ran that company for six years and then finally sold it, because my wife was like, "You know what? We want to start a family. Why don't you think about maybe joining another company? It'd be a little easier for us." So, we did that.

I joined a little company, like a little startup called Yelp at the time, and I immediately kind of start to rise through there. I was in sales, account management. Then I became national trainer there and a bunch of different stuff.

I left that go join another small company at the time called Infusionsoft and went through that growth period, which was cool, with them as their partner development manager, so to build out their channel sales.

Then there, I met this guy who ... I was speaking somewhere, and I met this little guy. I saw him, and it was really funny. They were like, "That's Ryan Deiss," and I was like, "Yeah, whatever. I don't care."

Kathleen: Who's that dude?

Marcus: I don't care who that is. There was a huge crowd around him, and I didn't really want to meet him. I saw him speak on stage, and I was like, "Man."

I went home that night. It was probably 2:00 in the morning back home. I was in London at the time. I remember telling my wife, "I think I found the guy I want to work for. I think I just saw him. He blew my mind."

So, just so happened to be that Infusionsoft had a partnership with DigitalMarketer, and they put me in charge of that strategic partnership, which was really cool.

So, I flew down here. Ryan and I became friends. We spoke together, did some initiatives together, did some deals together.

Then when this idea of DigitalMarketer needs to build out a kind of customer-facing sales team, partner program, customer success care, they needed all of that, and they were looking for somebody to build it. I remember seeing that job description and texting Ryan. I was like, "What do you think?" He was like, "Absolutely not."

I think he didn't want to ruin our friendship, but I also I was kind of like forbidden fruit, being that I worked for a company that was kind of a partner. He's like, "You'd have to get your C suite to say yes to that," so I literally got my C suite to say yes.

I walked in, and this is actually to Clate's benefit, the CEO and founder of Infusionsoft, now Keap. Yeah, I said, "Hey, if there's an executive position here available where I could grow into this, let me know," and he said ... To their core values, he stuck.

He said, "You know what? I want you to succeed. I think this is a huge opportunity." And I said, "Great. If I don't get the job, can I come back and work here?" He was just like ... He said, "Yeah. You're pushing it, but yes."

I went and interviewed, and that was almost four years ago. I came in, and I built out all those teams for about two and a half years, and then transitioned. I hired my replacement. I stole a friend of mine from Tableau in Washington, DC, to come and be the head of sales, and he's doing a fantastic job about a year in.

Since then, I've transitioned into partner development, business development, strategic partnerships.

I speak a ton. Ryan and I and a couple of other people, we actually are more personality, forward-facing on stages and all that good stuff. Yeah.

And here I am today, just finally getting on your podcast. I've actually made it. You know?

Kathleen: Oh, I don't know about that. I think I've made it by getting you on as a guest.

Marcus: No way. Yeah, that was a very abridged version of the story, but it's equally ... Sometimes it's kind of funny how you end up where you're at, and it was just a series of little, tiny decisions, and I'm just the most fortunate person on the planet to land where I did.

Kathleen: That's awesome. As you were telling that story, there were so many things where I was like, "Ooh, I want to talk to him about that, and that, and that," the first one being I did not know that you owned a business with your wife for six years right after you got married.

Marcus: Yeah.

Kathleen: Here's what's interesting. I got married, within two months, started a business with my husband, which we had for 11 years.

Marcus: And it was smooth sailing and you guys didn't fight at all.

Kathleen: Oh. Oh, yeah. No, I still say til this day that my greatest accomplishment in life is that I am still married after owning a business with him for 11 years.

Marcus: It's so true.

Kathleen: We figured it out, but there did come that point, and that was part of why we actually exited our businesses. It was like we need to change gears. So, three years ago, for the first time in our marriage, we didn't work together.

Marcus: Wow.

Kathleen: Which was great, but also it was a little bittersweet, because we do work well together.

Marcus: Yeah. Yeah, I think my-

Kathleen: But that's okay.

Marcus: My wife is the opposite of me in so many ways, which is great. I am just gregarious and out there and whatever, and Gina's a planner. She takes her time. She's all those things that where friction ... Friction can create a rub that's not great, or it can create fire, and a good kind of fire, and I think we really harnessed that for a bunch of years.

We were traveling a ton. Then when we started to think about kids, it really just slowed down. We're like, "You know what? I think we should focus on our family," and that was great. That actually pushed me in the right direction to end up here, and so that was the coolest decision we made.

Kathleen: That's awesome. I love it. I've seen you speak. You're really great, as is Ryan. You guys are like a power duo.

Marcus: The best.

Kathleen: No, really.

Marcus: He's phenomenal. I always laugh, because he is ... We obviously have different styles. I think I'm so much more ... Ryan's a little irreverent. I maybe go way over that.

I think we also kind of really lean on this edgy humor, kind of we think we're funny and so we need people to laugh and whatever. But we've sat in enough audiences over the last 10 years to really think, "Man, people are coming there to, one, learn, but they're really coming there to be entertained."

I think there's an entertainment element that we lean on heavily in our camp and, just everywhere we go, we like to leave an impression. Hopefully somebody walks away being like, "Wow, I really enjoyed myself, and I learned something." That is the ultimate compliment.

Kathleen: I can definitely say that's the experience I've had. So, mission accomplished.

LinkedIn is making a comeback

Kathleen: Now, with LinkedIn, it's been interesting to me, because I feel like in marketing it's sort of like ... Marketing's a little bit like fashion where, if you wait long enough, everything comes back, right?

Marcus: True.

Kathleen: If culottes can come back, then anything can come back.

Marcus: Yes.

Kathleen: In marketing, I think LinkedIn is really ... Not that it ever totally went away, but it's really having almost like a golden age.

Marcus: A resurgence. It is. It was. It was. It was literally just a site that you'd put your resume, and why would you go on there unless you were trying to get a job or looking for someone to hire?

I think when Jeff came in and really took over, he really started "Oh, well, why don't we add ..." The first acquisition they had was like, "Why don't we add an article component? Why don't we add ..." Then it turned into like a full newsfeed. Okay, people are coming here every day to consume content, to learn, to connect, and they're doing more than just using it as their online resume or CV, and that was like the major twist.

But for a while there, it was just ... It wasn't going anywhere. It was completely stagnant for a really long time.

Kathleen: Yeah. It was boring.

Marcus: Yes, boring.

Kathleen: I mean, I'll be honest. Almost every update you used to see, at least what I used to see, it just seemed like somebody was auto-posting their blogs.

Marcus: Totally.

Kathleen: There was not a lot of interaction.

Marcus: Stuffy. It was like, "Oh, I'm on Facebook. My mom's on LinkedIn." You know what I mean?

Kathleen: Yes.

Marcus: And her coworkers are on there, and that's kind of how it felt. It's been around for a long time, so it's not like this is just some new, hot thing. They've got about 645 million people on the platform, but the majority of that came in this resurgence period.

The last five years has been a major uptick when they started to add a bunch of things to make it sexier and more appealing for people to want to be there every day. That was a big, big difference.

Kathleen: Yeah, no, I've had a lot of business owners, marketers, entrepreneurs say to me in the last year or so that one of their goals is to really invest more in LinkedIn and in their personal LinkedIn presence.

It's easy to kind of cover the basics and be like, well, flesh out your profile and make sure you're following people and checking people you should follow and posting things, but there's so much ... As you say, there's so much more to it.

How to get the most out of LinkedIn today

Kathleen: So, if somebody came to you and said that to you today, with all the functionality that LinkedIn has and knowing how it works today, what would you say to them about how to really build a robust presence on the platform?

Marcus: Yeah. You know, it's funny. People ask me to do a lot of things. I have a bunch of trainings out there for optimizing your profile and whatever. In fact, you can go do all of that stuff for free on Google. There is a million people talking about the 10 things, the 5 things, to optimize your profile.

But what people aren't talking about and what's really helping people win on the platform is obviously ... It's not a secret. It's content.

But it's not just content. People are putting things out in the world for sure. There's literally nine billion content impressions a week on LinkedIn, which blows people's minds.

The other statistic that's staggering is the one that, of those nine billion content impressions, all of those are being driven by almost 1% of the population on there. So, it's about five million people pushing all the content.

That literally equals viral, by the way, and the reason why it's viral is because, if you put out a piece of content to ... Let's say I have 15,000 followers on LinkedIn. If all of them see that I put out a piece of content, and they engage with it, so they comment or they like it, that'll show up in their activity feed. Then it just kind of trickles to a second and third connection.

So, all these people, the 100,000 views that my post got ... I'll share some of the content strategies I have, but a lot of them go really far, hundreds of thousands of views because it's not about the ... It's the people who are engaging with it and who they're connected to, and then those people see it and consume it and pass it along. I just becomes this amazing thing.

But the one thing I'll say that people aren't talking about with content is that it's not about content. It's not just about putting things out. It's about putting content out that creates the right types of conversations online.

And what I mean by that is literally, if you're not putting out content that is starting a conversation, then it's literally just noise. It's just another thing that just clogs up our brain and our feed and whatever, but if you happen to leverage your content with the right audience and create a space for them to have a conversation or engage you or be able to engage one another, you are now a catalyst in that. You have a ton of power. People start to see you as an authority or a thought leader.

That's where people are starting to take those online conversations off and do amazing things, partnerships, business, sales, et cetera, and they're moving that forward, because they've figured out that the real kind of equation is I need to find really good content that's relevant to a very specific avatar that I'm trying to target that will elicit a response that is a conversation.

And you need to know what to do with that conversation in adding enough value and relevancy to get that to come offline and turn into an opportunity. That is what people are doing that are winning with huge followings, and they're doing it every day. So, it's not just about the content. It is about the conversation, for sure.

Kathleen: What's really interesting about that, the way you describe it to me, is that it echoes some of what I say to people about their blogs as well. There are so many companies out there that are blogging, I feel like, unlike 10 years ago and you had to convince people to blog.

Marcus: Everybody's got a blog.

Kathleen: Now everyone has a blog, but there's a lot of "I'm just checking the box and phoning it in" kind of approach to it.

I was saying this to somebody the other day. I'm like, "If people can go to your blog and find information that they can find anywhere else, why should they come back? Why should they subscribe? They can find it somewhere else."

So, you have to be creating content that's somewhat unique, that is provocative in some way or another, but you have to give people a reason to return or engage.

Marcus: Totally.

Kathleen: It sounds like there is something there to that as well on LinkedIn, but I really like the way you're connecting this to a conversation, because it's one thing to provoke and to be unique. It's another to get a response.

Marcus: Totally. And here's the thing. Be proactive enough to reach out and start conversations with people as well.

It's one thing to get people who want to start a conversation. It's another thing to reply. Also, it's very interesting. There's a lot of missed opportunities with just wanting to have a conversation.

I know that everybody ... This is very common knowledge for a lot of people, but on LinkedIn you can see who's viewed your profile. That's a really common thing. So-and-so viewed your profile. You had this many people who came to your profile.

The only thing we don't do is we actually don't act human. We don't take humanity online with us, because in reality, if someone stopped and looked at you, they would probably look back and be like, "Can I help you with anything? What's going on?"

Kathleen: Why are you staring at me?

Marcus: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. But in an online space, we don't really think that. So, when someone looks at your profile, they didn't just accidentally come to your profile. They were looking for something.

They might have come there for a certain reason. They might have saw you in a feed somewhere. And that is the opportunity to engage people in a human way and be able to take advantage of the opportunity.

The other last thing I'll say on it is that your profile, great, optimize it, but optimize it to start conversations as well.

It's not just about the content you put out. It's your summary. It's your headline. People don't understand there's a lot of real estate that, when someone sees your photo and what you do, not your title but what you do, "I'm here to double the size of 10,000 businesses," or "I'm looking to connect with agencies that I want to help grow," those little lines are allowing people to quickly understand what you want to talk about, and it really helps target that conversation.

So, I think it is about optimizing your profile, because you never want to have great content that points back to a really terrible ... I don't know. That's like having a really bad website with ads.

Kathleen: Exactly. Yeah.

Marcus: But it is an opportunity to not only optimize it but optimize it for the conversation, and don't be afraid to be human and follow up and really kind of push that.

Kathleen: Well, you are definitely drinking your own champagne, as I like to say, because I'm not a fan of eating one's own dog food.

Marcus: Yeah, I like that.

Kathleen: Your summary is a really good example of that, because it's not the usual, "I worked here, and then I worked there. And now here's what I'm doing here."

It's "I'm on a mission to overcome the stigma of selling," and I love that you end it with a question, because it goes back to what you said about starting a conversation.

So, I'm curious how often do you get people who visit your profile, and then they reach out to you and say, "Hey, I saw your kind of manifesto and your summary, and I'm in."

Marcus: It literally is a weekly occurrence, and it happens a lot. I use it when I speak, because I share that example, because people are like, "Well, I'm going to optimize this summary, but it's just there for SEO."

No, people literally read them, and they want to kind of get on board. They won't get on board unless you tell them what to do. So, my summary is set up in a very narrative format. I wrote it to be a story. I wrote it to be engaging, to allow me to put some personality into it.

So, yeah, I state my mission. This is what I'm here for.

Then as you work your way down that summary, I also talk about how ... Because most people are salespeople who read my stuff, sales and marketers whatever, but I basically say in there that I didn't ask for a sales costume for Christmas. I didn't dress up as one as Halloween. I didn't ask for training for Christmas.

Because we all kind of accidentally become salespeople, either by function or just necessity. It happens. If you own a business, you kind of have to.

I realized that it comes with a stigma of just every single terrible salesperson that was thoughtless before me, and I need to overcome that in order for people to see, no, I'm a human being. I really want to connect with you, and I want this to be meaningful.

At the end of it, I add a CTA that is like, "Hey, who wants to join me? Who's trying to join me on this journey?" And I just get people all the time that are just like, "Hey, I read your summary. It stuck out to me. I am on that journey as well," and those are the kinds of conversations that I want.

I'm creating a summary with 2,000 characters, so that's a lot of real estate to elicit that type of response to have somebody who reaches out and goes, "I'm in. I'm all in. What do we do? Do you want to meet? Do you want to have coffee? Can we have a call?"

I take them all the time, because they're my tribe. Those are my people. I can't do it alone. Most of those people really expedite this whole movement anyway, and many of them are business partners and friends forever and ever.

Kathleen: That's awesome. It's a great example. So, if you're listening and you want to see how this is done in the wild, go search Marcus Murphy on LinkedIn and check out his about section, which is his summary. It's great.

Marcus: Thank you.

How to get started with creating content on LinkedIn

Kathleen: Assuming somebody is listening, and they're thinking, "All right. I got you. I'm going to work on my summary, but then I need to start to post content," going back to what you talked about earlier, my guess is that a lot of the people that might be thinking that have been either not posting much, or they've been phoning it in and just posting links to their company blogs with minimal commenting or anything like that. How would you advise somebody like that to get started?

Marcus: Yeah. It's interesting. It's a 1,300 character limit, meaning you've got to be somewhat concise, but you can definitely tell a story.

I like using posts that ... My opening line is definitely somewhat provocative. This one I just did ... I wrote that the majority of people reading this are going to not hit their goals this year. That was my opening line.

The reason why I said that is I went down, and I said, "We goal plan. We put a ton of time and energy and effort into doing that. We lock ourselves in rooms and make these big proclamations, but many people that I talk to, the one thing that's keeping them from their goals are the people they surround themselves with."

I had an exercise that I put in there, saying, "Here's a list of three lists that you need to make." One of people that you need to go deeper on the relationship and show up more and go kind of obviously expand upon that relationship.

Then there's a hard one, which is like here are the five people that are not helping you get there. These are the people that literally don't believe in you. They want you to fail, because misery loves company, and these people are just absolutely ... You're like one relationship away from succeeding and one relationship away from literally failing.

I was trying to make that point, being like, "Plan all you want, but who you surround yourself with will literally affect that in massive ways," but I opened that and started to give people not only the provocative statement and the thought behind it, but I gave them the resource.

I like to use the space to say, "Here is the thing that I want to catch your attention, which is for sure. Here's the little bit of stuff I've been thinking about that got me thinking about this question. And here's the resource. Here are the 3 things, 5 things, 12 things. Here's a link to et cetera." So that people understand, "Oh this is ..."

That thing has ... There's just so many comments on there, because people are like, "Oh my gosh. Yes," or they'll tag other people and they'll start making that thing go. It's because they can relate to it, because it's a broad topic.

So, I would say, if you're starting out, the only thing I would tell someone to do is be consistent and talk about something you actually care about.

What you're going to realize is that you connect with a really amazing community of people that totally serve your purposes, or people that are either in your industry or people that you want to get in front of, but the interesting part is that, if you don't put out information that you're passionate about, you won't ever start a conversation.

If you think that you want to put out every entrepreneur link or some Forbes article, cool, but you better have your own unique thoughts around it, and it should be something that you're passionate about, because people can tell.

Kathleen: Yeah, it's interesting. The pushback that I hear the most on that ... It's actually the same pushback I get when I talk to people about why they should be doing more video. They say, "But I don't feel like I'm enough of an expert in topic X to put it out there." What would you say to do?

Marcus: I don't think everybody's a thought leader. I'm going to say it. Everybody out there tells you ... You see it everywhere. It's like, "I'm a thought leader," and then this, "I want to share all this information and build a tribe and get a following and be an influencer."

It's like, no you won't, and we don't need everybody to be one. What you can be is vulnerable. What works really well on this site ...

My buddy David Gerhardt ... If you're not following him, you totally should. I think over the last year he gained almost 30,000 followers on LinkedIn, and one of the reasons is because he gets on there, and he shares his reality. He shares all kinds of things that are happening to him in his day-to-day.

One of them he shared we like, "Here's my calendar, because I'm not willing to sacrifice my family for my job," and he was a really incredible job. He's a CMO. He talked about "I wake up here, and I dropped the kids off here. Here's my schedule."

Oh, man. It got a million views, a million, that post. He was just sharing what he knows about.

Here's the thing. You're saying, "Hey, I don't have anything. I'm not sure." Well, go ahead and tell people that. Ask for people's opinions to help you fill the void of what you don't know.

There are so many people that are willing on this platform and in life to give advice. Some of the most viral posts that I've ever had are asking people, "Hey, you know what, I'm getting ready to go into a heavy interview season. I really want to hire quality candidates. What are some of those questions that you ask during your interview process?" There were 197 comments on that post.

Everybody has an interview question, everything from what kind of Crayola crayon you'd be to more like, "Hey, what's your weaknesses? No, really, what's your weaknesses?"

I think that if you don't have anything to share, ask good questions, because people want to engage, and they want to help you.

So, helpful posts, you don't have to be the most creative. You don't have to be an expert or a thought leader. Not everybody is.

It's funny. I'm the LinkedIn guy, but really what I love is when people ... When I have a need, I will go on there and ask and say, "Man, I feel completely ... I don't know the answer to this. Can someone help?" There's just an amazing response and flood of advice.

Kathleen: Yeah. I also like to tell people, if you wait until the day where you feel like the world's foremost expert in a topic, that day is never going to come.

The people that seem like experts are 99.9% of the time not the world's most foremost expert. You don't have to be. For everyone who feels like they have a certain skill, there is at least 10 other people who don't have that skill. And as long as you can impart your unique point of view about it, then somebody out there is going to find value in it.

Marcus: I made fun of ... So, I was speaking at an event in New York City called Digital Agency Expo, and I was hosting it.

Gary Vaynerchuk was there doing a keynote. We're backstage, and I'm like, "Gary ..." We've had a bunch of funny interactions. If you ever get the chance to meet him not online, like Gary, FU, go get hustle, or whatever, get some time with him. He's an incredibly genuine human being.

But one thing that he said was ... I was like, "Gary, you've been saying the same stuff for like six years." He hasn't deviated. He says the same few things that are just ... He beats them to death, and he just continues to say them.

When you find your thing and you see that it elicits a response from people, people are giving you feedback and they're saying, "Wow, you really understand this thing," you should just keep saying it, because there are so many people out there that want ... You'll think it's old hat, but it really is this new information to so many people, and you just kind of beat that drum.

I really love that, because we'll all kind of wrestle with that, and be like, "Oh, I need something new and hot."

When you're an influencer, a thought leader, in any way, you're like, "I just need a ... Maybe it's the next thing."

No. You need to be an expert in that thing that everybody wants to seek you out as an expert in, and the only way you can start doing that is being consistent about the stuff that you were talking about and you're getting that really popular response. Then you just double, triple down on it. I think that was really cool.

But, yeah, Gary ... We can't all be Gary either. Here's the word of advice for anybody that meets Gary offline. Just don't match his energy, or you'll look like an idiot. Don't do it. Don't try and just go with the ... Just be yourself.

Kathleen: It's funny that you say that about sticking with the thing that works, because as you were talking about, who came to my mind was Marcus Sheridan, who I've gotten to know over the years and worked closely with.

He started talking about They Ask, You Answer years ago. He just released the second edition of the book, and it's just as fresh as it ever was, not only because the principles haven't changed but the truth is, and I'm sure this is true about Gary V. too, you can tell people time and time and time again the way they should do things, and 99 out of 100 people still aren't going to do it.

Marcus: 100%! It's never the content. It's never the problem. It's the implementation.

Kathleen: Right. Totally.

Marcus: People will never make the capacity or the space in their lives to do the things that they're hearing about.

When you go to a conference ... We have Traffic & Conversion Summit coming up, and the number one thing I'm going to say when I walk out on stage, because I'm going to host it this year, and it's 10,000 people, by the way, which is pretty dope, but one of the things I say to everybody is like, "Hey, don't have a dusty ass notebook by the time we're done with this thing. Just don't."

Find one or two things you can implement into your business, and just do it. Just go home and do it, because every idea and every big ... How many pictures of slides do you have on your ... Of every event that you've been to. You're not doing anything with those. They're just going to occupy space.

You need to find the one thing and just implement, because 99% of people won't do it. They just get overwhelmed, or for whatever reason it just gets brushed by. And all that momentum and all the euphoric feeling, all that stuff just dissipates really quickly after you learn it.

So, yeah, I think the one ... Man, find something you can just implement. Then you'll be better than half the population, which is crazy.

Kathleen: A-freaking-men.

With that, I'm going to actually just challenge everybody who's listening, because that's why I started this podcast. I used to go to marketing conferences, and I'd hear people talk. So much of the talks would be really exciting and inspirational, but I would leave feeling like, "I don't understand. I don't have enough tactical knowledge to be able to go and do stuff." So, whenever I interview people, I always like to cover the exciting, the inspirational, the strategic, but also leave people with some really concrete takeaways, which we are going to do before we're done here.

So, my challenge to you as listeners is, as you are listening, find one thing in this conversation that you're going to leave and do today, because there will be some small things that you can do immediately, like make one new LinkedIn post that follows some of the things that Marcus is saying. One thing.

Marcus: Love it. I'll like it. Tag me. I will comment.

Kathleen: All right.

Marcus: I'll make it go further.

Kathleen: Awesome. So, with that, we're going to go from the ... We've talked about the why and the exciting stuff, and I want to start to get into a little bit of the nitty gritty-

Marcus: Awesome.

Kathleen: ... because there is a lot of nitty gritty that is really interesting about LinkedIn these days, at least to me, but I'm kind of a nerd about this stuff.

Marcus: No, yeah. Let's nerd out.

Text v. video posts on LinkedIn

Kathleen: I've been playing around with LinkedIn also, and I'm nowhere near at your level. Some of the things that I've found really interesting is ... One is the difference between just plain text posts versus posts that have pictures, posts that have videos.

Do you see any difference in performance between those three formats?

Marcus: Yes, absolutely. You know what was really funny? When they added native video, it was like the hottest thing, and it was like a TV in a bar effect. You're going through your feed, and you see a video. You're like, "Oh, crap. A video. I didn't know they could do this." So, they got a ton of engagement.

Now, videos are interesting. If you have good content, you're going to get eyeballs. If you don't have good content, it's not going to just be like because you've got a video on there you're going to get engagement. I always think it's really crazy. It's like have good content. Have good, relevant content, and you don't have to worry about what format.

But, I'll tell you, I'm getting a huge response, a massive response from text, just straight text. It's working for everybody. It's 1,300 characters, and I space it accordingly.

I usually have thought, space, thought, space, thought, space, because our brains work in a way of consuming data like it's a book. So, books have space between lines where, if you have a chunk of text, whew, it's just, unbelievable how fast people can scroll past that in the feed, because typically what happens on the actual text is that you start with your statement, what you're trying to catch someone's attention.

Then if you continue to space it correctly, it'll have a see more button so somebody has to click that see more button to get down there.

The video part, for me, I still use when it's man on the street interview. If I'm just going to pop open my phone, I've got a really important thing to say, and I just ... It's happening to me, and I want someone's help, or I share it.

Those get a lot of engagement, because they're pretty authentic. That's the nice part. Some people like to see this.

They love to see the "Oh, you're like a human being. Not just behind a keyboard. You have emotions, and I can relate with you." Even if it's the way you look.

Most people, if they've never met me, they don't know I'm racially ambiguous looking, and I'm bearded and whatever. I think that sometimes that's really important to add the authenticity and that trust element is to leverage things for that: pictures, videos, and sometimes infographics and stuff like that.

They're great, because infographics can tell the story of what you have, but you still have 1,300 characters, even when I put up a video.

When I share our blog, like this actual podcast right now, I will put up my thoughts about it and the link to it, and that gets a lot of engagement because I'm giving people the big takeaways and what I really enjoyed about it.

The one thing I'll tell you that's been detrimental, which is it's opposite of what we thought it was going to be. Probably a year and a half ago, I was sitting on an advisory board, and they were talking about live video. They were like, "Facebook has this live element. It's doing really well. Instagram's got obviously this live element. LinkedIn should have this live element." And it's only been ... Some people do really well, like Harvard or business pages. They're doing really well because of really important interviews and that kind of stuff.

Most people it's just annoying. I realized I was losing followers when I was just popping up, because the notification that someone's going live is the most annoying thing on the planet.

It's like, "Someone starts going live." It's like, "I don't care. I don't want ... That's not what I want to consume at the moment. It's not anything that's interesting."

Now when you're connected to all these different people, it's anybody. It's like I don't want to know about how to sell brooms. That's the thing that I care about.

Kathleen: It's not breaking news.

Marcus: Yeah. So, until LinkedIn can modify that where it's like I'm following these specific people and the rest of it's noise, and I don't want to see these notifications but only from these people who produce this type of content, then it just becomes a thing that is annoying and disruptive.

That's my feedback, by the way. I was just there about a month ago, and I told them these things, but I'll tell you nothing right now is beating written for that 1,300-character, no picture, no video. It's just doing really well, especially when you tag relevant people into it, you're using appropriate hashtags. Those things go bananas.

I actually, every once in a while, which is pretty fun, it's a nice test, but I'll get notifications like, "You're trending in this hashtag," which is usually business or sales or sales leadership. Those are the three that I trend all the time in, and it doesn't take a lot. It's just the fact that most people are engaging with that post and it has a hashtag.

If you don't have a hashtag, it won't trend. That's crazy, because it shows up in people's inboxes when it starts trending. It'll say, "Hey, Marcus Murphy is trending on this hashtag," and then you click on it. It takes you to the post. It's super.

Yeah, writing. Writing is hands down ... Heavy word posts are what's winning on LinkedIn right now. I think that, yeah.

Like I said before, the only caveat that I have is that good content wins. It just totally does, regardless of the format. In this case, we are seeing that there is a bigger life in just the good old text-heavy posts.

Kathleen: There was a couple things that you said there that I just want to call out for people who are listening as far as takeaways. One is you have 1,300 character limit. Two is that it's going to cut off what you write, and there's going to be like a see more kind of a link. So, you need to put something that's going to catch people's attention right up front.

It was interesting. I did an interview with Goldie Chan a few months ago, and she talked about-

Marcus: Yay! My homie. I love Goldie.

Kathleen: She's awesome. She was the one who got me started doing LinkedIn video, because I was so inspired by her.

Marcus: Oh, that's awesome. She's the woman.

Kathleen: Yeah, she talks about something similar where she puts a question in her first line, because you do need to have something right up front that hooks people, that draws them in.

Marcus: Yep.

Kathleen: Then I liked that you talked about breaking up and having spaces. I noticed that too, that it's much easier to follow. You gave the example of Dave Gerhardt. He definitely does that as well. If you're putting one sentence or maybe two at the most per paragraph-

Marcus: Yep, that's right.

Kathleen: Then hashtags. It's funny. You're so right about the trending thing, because I don't have ... I have like the fraction of the percentage of followers on LinkedIn that you do, and I still get, "Your post is trending," and I'm like, "That's so cool!"

Marcus: Yes. It's awesome! It's so cool, because it also shows up that way for everyone else who you're connected to. So-and-so is trending right now, and you're like, "What are they ..."

Because trending on Twitter means something completely, right? We use the same terminology, so it makes it important. There's an elevated sense of this thing is super important, and I love that. And you'll see it.

I honestly believe ... That's the reason why I mentioned Dave Gerhardt specifically is because he posts constantly, and he goes against the status quo, which most people are like once or twice a day at max, but he posts everything that he's thinking about.

Kathleen: Almost every single time I open up LinkedIn, probably 9 times out of 10, he is the first post, and it's a different post every time.

Marcus: Yeah, that, but that's a part of it. He's posting things as he goes and he learns and he's reading, and he's doing a lot right now in terms of content.

He even has a private, paid content, which is amazing. So, you can check that out too. I feel like I'm just plugging Dave, but what I want you to do though is actually pay attention to what he posts and how he posts, because he's figured out.

If you look at people when things go viral or they get a response on LinkedIn, they have figured out what people want to read, what they want to consume, what's helpful, and we test things.

I'm constantly testing content. I am trying to figure out what that perfect thing is for my audience.

So, Dave has figured out for his audience. He speaks to marketers. He speaks to very specific people that he is dialed in and knows exactly what gets a response.

I work through, and I get big responses, and then I'll have some that are okay. They just did okay. I'm like, "Okay, that's too specific or not broad enough," or "How do I bring people in?"

I constantly kind of play with things, because there is going to be one post that you have ... Just hear me now. There's going to be one post that you have, and it's going to ... Something's going to happen where it's just like, "Oh my gosh. That got like 150 likes and all these different comments."

All you have to do is pay attention and try to replicate that experience with all of your content and try to work backwards. Dissect that and think about it, or look at other people who are getting a big response and be like, "Man, how are they speaking to their audience? What kind of content are they? Would that work for my network?" Because it's so different from person to person.

Yeah, and hashtags are just great. I think people don't use them enough. It's the one thing I keep telling everybody to do. It doesn't look bad at the end of your post. It's okay. You're just trying to connect with a bigger community, and that is where people find you. That is how you grow your following on LinkedIn.

Should you use emojis in your LinkedIn posts?

Kathleen: Totally agree.

Now, I love that you raised do the thing that's right for your audience. That leads me to the next question I was going to ask, which is directly relevant to what is right for your audience, which is, what is your position on using emojis in your posts?

Marcus: Ooh. I use emojis all the time. Super basic like that. No. I think emojis are fun.

Okay, I'll tell you my first job out of college I worked at Syracuse University, and I was an admissions counselor, which is a glorified salesperson who goes out and gets applications and does those presentations where you want to take a pencil and stab yourself in the eye with your folks, when you go check out universities.

I had someone give me terrible advice once. It was very bureaucratic, very stuffy, suit every day kind of job.

The dean told me one time, "Hey, don't put smiley faces in your emails. Don't do that. That's not appropriate."

I sat there for a long time, and I was like, "You know what? It's not appropriate. I've got to stop doing that. I can't believe it."

Then as I started to get older, I'm like, "How the hell is anybody going to figure out how I feel and what my tone is?" I'll tell you that emojis, while they're still funny and some of them are wildly inappropriate, which I like to use in my personal life, not on LinkedIn, I do think that that tells a ... It adds texture to the post.

So, I think they can be overdone. I don't like when people put it in their headline or near their name. I think that's totally tacky, and it doesn't help you. It just makes me think that you're wearing Hawaiian shirts at home or something.

I think this is more about, hey, I need to add texture here so people can understand my tone, whether it's a fire symbol or whether it's whatever.

I totally like that, because people will read through it, and they'll go ... But I do think that you can overdo it. You can put it where it's just a thing that you think is helping you get more eyeballs on your posts, or you're thinking that it just makes you more relevant. It needs to make sense for the post.

Like I said, it's just appropriate when you're adding texture or you need someone to understand that you're being sarcastic. That's a really popular one.

Like your face, or you say something that people would miss in context if you didn't have something that was emoting and sharing what you're trying to get across.

So, yeah, I am for them. I use them, especially if I'm posting from my phone, because obviously it's way harder on your computer to do that.

Then I also just think that I've seen them done poorly, and I've seen people do it where I'm like ... I'm very sensitive to overusing them, but I only use it when I'm trying to add context and make sure people know this is my tone, this is what I'm trying to get out there. Don't miss it.

Kathleen: Yeah. I am for emojis as well. I'm team emoji.

Marcus: Yes.

Kathleen: What I've also found is that, because you can't format the text in your posts on LinkedIn ... You talked about it when you talked about leaving spaces between what you write. Visually, sometimes it can all just bleed together, and sometimes emojis are a nice proxy for text formatting.

Marcus: Totally.

Kathleen: If you bookend a really important line with emojis, it's almost as good as bolding it.

Marcus: Oh, it's awesome.

Kathleen: Things like that.

Marcus: I wish they would let us bold. It's so funny. When you write it, when you actually write the post before you actually hit post, it'll allow you to bold everything, but then when you post it, it goes away.

Kathleen: Yeah. They're faking us out.

Marcus: Yeah. Oh my gosh.

I do another thing that some people don't love, but I emphasize very specific words. I will capitalize a but. I will capitalize a you. I will make sure that I'm showing emphasis on the things that I want to elevate.

And I do that, but I'm not yelling at people. It's not like all caps on. But I like to do that.

Anything that you can add in, like I said the texture, or you can add in an element where you want someone to make sure that this is what you pay attention to, like you just said the bookend emojis, super popular. It makes sense, especially if it's like, "This is the thing." Like the sirens. I see people do that. It's like, "This is the thing! Don't miss this! If you don't read anything else, this is the thing right here that you can't miss."

So, yeah, I'm super pro emoji. And I don't even care who knows that.

Kathleen: Yes! Wear it with pride.

Should you add links to your posts on LinkedIn?

Kathleen: The other thing that I hear people asking a lot is should you or should you not put a link in your post, or should the link be in the comments.

Marcus: Right. It depends. I put links in my post if I want that thing to show up with the image.

So, there's a link image that goes underneath posts if you only put that one link in there. Sometimes I think that that's interesting that people don't want ... Because it breaks a bunch of classic rules, right? You want to link away from a post, or you want to link ... You take people away.

A lot of people will put that link in the comments, which is an interesting move. I think if there's multiple links, I would absolutely not put those back to back, because you only get one shot at that image of what you want people to go to.

I use this all the time, because I share ... I do a ton of podcasts, and I have a lot of content out there. I will share that thing that I want people to go look at.

Or if it's an article, I'll put it right in there, and I'll even put emojis around it to make sure people click it because it's the most important part. I'm adding context to it. But I have no problem with putting the link in my post.

It's funny, because you'll get someone equally as passionate about not doing it. I've just never seen it do something ... It's never taken people away. Engagement hasn't dropped.

I think that it's only bad when you bifurcate it with two so that somebody's attention might not be in the right place. But if you've got the one thing and that really great thumbnail that comes up where it really catches someone's eye, or it's like you on a podcast so it's your still ...

When I actually launched my first LinkedIn Learning course, the link brought up my LinkedIn author photo. It was the coolest thing to put that in the post, because obviously people could see "Oh, that's his profile on LinkedIn Learning. That's pretty dope."

So, yeah, I'm pro link in post. I don't need to-

Kathleen: All right.

Marcus: I'm not going to apologize for it.

Creating conversations on LinkedIn

Kathleen: We're putting our stake in the ground here. Now you talked in the beginning about how you want to start a conversation, but then you mentioned something in passing, which I think was really important that we haven't talked about yet, which is you have to then know what to do with that conversation.

Marcus: Right. Yes.

Kathleen: So, I'm just going to lob that ball over to you and let you run with it.

Marcus: Conversational frameworks are super important. It's funny, because I went and spoke somewhere, and I don't remember where it was, but I had these students come up to me afterwards who were at college somewhere, and they want to get into the workforce. They wanted to get into sales. They're like, "So, how do we start a conversation with ... How do we talk to people?" I'm just like, "How do you do it in real life?" Because I feel like we miss that.

A conversational framework typically starts with somebody saying something and the other person responding, and then it actually should go through steps.

The part that's really wild about online conversations is that we treat them so differently. We treat them in a way where it's almost like in a sales ...

Let me ask you this, and this is going to be a funny question. People online, raise your hand in your brain here. But how many of you have gotten a terrible sales prospecting message on LinkedIn?

Kathleen: Oh my god. Like a thousand of them.

Marcus: So, why? You know why? Because no one is actually treating it like a human to human conversation. It's not B2C. It's not B2B. It's H2H.

And people are forgetting that humans have a way of building basically intimacy. They build relationship in a very specific sequence. We are animals. Animals do it too. You can literally observe us and watch how that progresses to get to a place where somebody's like, "I know this person. I trust this person. We are in a relationship. This is us." I'm not talking about romantic, just I know this person enough.

I think that we don't translate that well online. Most of us show up like those sales messages. They're basically like, "Hey, I'm Marcus. Let's go back to my place." That is what they feel like.

Kathleen: Let's do it.

Marcus: Yeah, let's go. I've got pizza.

I don't know. It's just terrible. You've added no value. You've added no context. They don't know why they want to go back with you. You have built no trust in your communication.

So, the first thing that people get wrong is that they literally get online and say, "Hi, I'm So-and-so. Here's all my crap. Do you want to buy it? Here's who we are."

It's like, cool. Great. That has nothing to do with what I'm doing.

You haven't identified any of my themes. You don't know what I care about. You have taken no time to think about how to start this conversation, because you don't know me at all.

But based off of some assumptions, I can have a better conversation with you online if I start to look at all of the information that's out there for you.

So, there's no excuse. There is zero excuse to have a thoughtless form of outreach because of how much information is out there, especially on LinkedIn.

If somebody is replying to you or you are putting out content, you're already giving them an arsenal of things that they could be starting a conversation with you about.

If somebody replies to your post, and they're like, "Man, this is ..." Let me just give an example. This the best post. I totally ascribe to this. Click on their profile, find out who they are. If it's relevant or if there's something in there where you really want to connect with them, go ahead and go connect with them.

Then use this real estate, which is super popular and everyone does it wrong ... You get to add a custom note to any invitation that's 300 characters.

Now, what you can do there to stand out from everyone is not talk about yourself. Don't talk about what you can do for them. Don't ask them who in their organization can help you.

That also makes them feel bad, by the way. That's a belittling statement. Ask them, "Hey, I saw you comment on my post. I looked at your website. I love this thing about you. I have identified this thing that I think is interesting, and I would love to be connected with you." That is a very normal introduction, very first interaction, human conversation.

Then you can start ... Guess what? You can start having more of a conversation that allows you to learn more about them, and they learn more about you, because typically what people don't understand is, if I talk ... If I was talking to you, Kathleen, and I was just talking to you about you about you about you the whole time, asking questions, eventually you're going to do something very human. You're going to go, "Hey, what do you do? Who are ..."

Kathleen: Yeah, enough about me.

Marcus: Yeah, it's like, what's going on with you? That's a very human thing, but people online typically don't follow the same cadence as in real life.

If they could just take their normal how they would interact with people on a daily basis in a bar, on a plane, even though most of you need to stop talking to my on airplanes. Okay? If there are some plane-talkers listening to this, please stop it. It's like I put a blanket over my head.

Kathleen: Yes. Big headphones. That's a signal.

Marcus: Then somebody still leans over like, "What's your life story?" It's like, no. Stop it. I'm just literally trying to read my book.

No, but I think the majority of us just don't take those interactions and make it an online kind of how ... What would the cadence of an offline conversation sound like, and how do I replicate it online? You are going to be a guru. You are going to stand out in a million ways if you can just get that little, tiny piece right and understand that ...

To succeed in B2B, take a lesson from B2C

Marcus: You know, it's funny. I'll say one last thing, because I talk a lot. But B2B, everyone's all super obsessed, because LinkedIn is like the B2B platform. It totally is. What's winning right now in any B2B kind of how you start a B2B conversation is to go super hard on B2C.

If you understand that you're actually talking to people within the organization and you understand that you're a business and you're trying to get in touch with other businesses, but that business, that point of contact, is a human being, B2C the heck out of that B2B, all right?

Figure out a way to continue to add that human element, and take that offline conversation to an online space. Everybody's going to want to talk to you, because you're going to be so different than everybody else and all those thousands of terrible prospecting messages that we get.

By the way, Kathleen, I stop and I write them back all of the time. I give them advice, or I say, "Hey, does this really work for you? Do you understand that this is your reputation?" I try. Probably like 1% of them ever take me up on like, "Hey, go fix these things and prospect me again, and I'll give you a meeting." And like no one does it.

Kathleen: Yeah. It's so true. Email marketers really have a similar trick they use called the rule of one, which is when you're writing an email, you picture one specific person, often a friend. When you're writing that email ...

And I do this all the time. I have this particular friend named Jen, and she's in my head. Whenever I write any marketing email, I'm like, "Would I ever send an email to Jen with a subject line that's like brackets, webinar?"

Marcus: Oh, that's so good.

Kathleen: No. I'd be like, "Hey, thought this might be of interest to you," dot dot dot. And I may or may not capitalize like the first word. I don't know. But I think it's the same principle. I always tell people, if you're having trouble operationalizing this, pick a friend and pretend that you're conversing with them. 

Marcus: Yeah. Or people want to write a novel in the first engagement, the first interaction with people.

Our best performing sales email of all time was written by Ryan Deiss, and it literally said this. It said, "How can I make X business go faster?" Question mark. That was the highest performing, highest open rate, and most responses, because we weren't trying to get them to go to a website and pull out their credit card and buy something. We were trying to start a conversation.

When you try and start a conversation, it sounds a hell of a lot like you would send a text to somebody or you would send an email to your friend.

So, that's super important, man. We just miss it. It's just so missed, because we all want to ... I don't know. We overkill. We just...

Kathleen: Yeah. I like to say we go to work, we put our marketing hats on, and we forget that we're human beings.

Marcus: It's so crazy.

Follow v. connect on LinkedIn

Kathleen: Okay. We're running out of time.

So, I have another question for you really quickly. Somebody raised this to my attention recently, and I'm sort of interested in it, which is that now you have the choice on your own profile to make the button follow or connect.

The advice that somebody else gave to me was that, when you surpass a certain number of connections or you're reaching a certain level of activity on LinkedIn, you should change that button to say follow, because it's a lower bar and more people are likely to hit follow than connect.

I would just love to know have you thought about this, what's your feeling about it?

Marcus: So, they're kind of right and wrong. Basically, depending on what level of connectedness you are.

So, if you're a second connection ... You'll see people, when they show up and you're not connected to them, it's like second, third. Usually if they're outside of those two, they won't even show up. You can't even connect with them, because you still get the follow button. It's still there. You hit the little dropdown on the right, and there's an opportunity to connect.

Now, the follow is interesting. A lot of people, mine shows up as follow. I think that what I realized though is the amount of views I get to my page, or to my listing, my profile, is a direct correlation with how many people request to connect with me.

Here's the deal. I don't connect with everybody. I think that's kind of foolish, because it's a quality over quantity game for me. If it's 15,000 followers, of those are half of the people that I really want to be connected to who I'm happy to be able to message and have them message me, because that really is the real significant difference between a non-connection and a connection.

It's not like Instagram. It's not like Facebook. There is no way to have a private profile on LinkedIn. Your information is there. It's just the ability to engage with people, and you have to be connected to just send that message.

So, I don't have a strategy for once you're getting going. It's funny, because Dave and I ... I don't have it. If you want to connect with me, send me a connection request. If you want to add a note in there, I'm going to-

Kathleen: Tell him you heard him on the Inbound Success Podcast.

Marcus: Yeah. Usually I totally connect with people, because I'm not afraid of those messages. It doesn't always mean that I'm going to respond to them.

I get thousands of messages a month. I literally just showed somebody the other day. I was like, "Here is December." They were like, "How many do you get?" It was 568 by the time I was halfway through, the 17th.

Kathleen: Wow.

Marcus: But it's not like a bragging thing, by the way, because some of that's hard to keep up with. I have to have people in there, making sure that there's opportunity versus someone who's trying to solicit me, like all these different things.

But the majority of them are pretty thoughtful, people that just want to say thanks and "Hey, I really enjoyed this," and "Hey, I'm connecting with you because we're pretty similar."

I do think that I can tell the standard you copy paste that line that we're very similar networks, or "Hey, you look like a really great, ambitious person. I want to connect with you." Great.

The next message after you connect with them is going to be "Here's my stuff. Do you want to buy it? Come back to my place."

Kathleen: Totally.

Marcus: So, I think that there's something in the fact that connections should mean more and have more weight.

It used to be even a cap on it. LinkedIn used to cap it at 30,000 connections, and now that's kind of gone, because David actually just told me that a little while ago. That is not the case anymore. So, they're not actually ... They're not throttling that in any way.

But I would be really cautious, because who you're connected to is important, because that shows up and shows other people who you are connected to as well.

This is a personal thing, but we have people in my office who will go on, and they've just got tons of connections request. The only way they'll connect is if they see that Ryan, myself, or somebody else shares a connection. So, if I'm just out there connecting with anybody, any person, and that's their ... That's probably a lot of your employees, by the way, are doing the exact same thing. If that's the case, then you have a responsibility to care about who you're connected to.

That follow button really helps a lot with that, by the way, to answer your question. The follow button is a really good opportunity. People can follow you, your content. They don't necessarily need to be connected to you.

If they want to be connected to you, it means they have something and they'll take that extra step and hit the dropdown and do it.

So, you're not going to hurt yourself either way, but if you're looking to build your initial ... You're going from 500 connections, and you're trying to make an impact.

I would lay off that follow button for a little while, because you really want to start building your network with connections, and letting people connect with you is really important, because you don't have anything to really give them to follow anyway. You haven't really amassed anything to quantify that. And it won't even really let you have that option.

Yeah. I don't know if I answered your question, but I feel like that-

Kathleen: Yeah, you did.

Marcus: Okay, good.

Kathleen: The answer is an it depends answer, which makes sense.

Marcus: Yeah. Yeah.

Kathleen: All right. One more question about LinkedIn, and then we'll go into our wrap up.

Marcus: Cool.

What's new on LinkedIn

Kathleen: I want to talk briefly about what's coming, what's next, what are some of the new things, because one of the newest things that I've noticed just in the last two weeks was ... I think it was another power LinkedIn user, Sangram Vajre from Terminus, had started a LinkedIn newsletter. I was like, "What is this LinkedIn newsletter thing?", and I googled the heck of it.

Sadly it is currently invitation only, and I have not gotten an invitation. So, that's just an example that I noticed really recently as something that's new that LinkedIn seems to be testing.

What are the things that you're watching with LinkedIn that are kind of coming that the rest of us might want to just kind of have on our radar screens?

Marcus: I am looking for truly programmed, curated content. What I mean by that is I'm looking for TV shows and those types of things come out a lot more, like native podcast integrations. You're going to see them double ... You're going to see them quadruple down on content.

The newsletter play is something that's really funny. I talked to the marketing managers for that specific part that came out. So, it was like I don't even have access to it yet. I was like, "Guys, I need this in my life."

Kathleen: I know. We've got to find out what Sangram did, who he paid off to get that.

Marcus: Oh, no, no, no. He totally deserves it.

Kathleen: He does.

Marcus: The way they make decisions ... Because they roll out different beta groups, so I had LinkedIn Live way earlier.

They do it based on either the marketing team is working with you. You're somebody that they're putting forward, and you're ... A lot of authors got things way early, because we got to play with them and use it. They like that, because they know what our content's going to be, but they also now go by connections.

So, they'll look at followers. They'll look at, oh, you've got over 20,000 or 30,000 followers. We're going to go to these people first, because that's the biggest ... They're going to get the most data points on that, because if a newsletter goes out and they've got 50,000 followers on LinkedIn, they're going to get so much more than giving it to somebody with 500.

It makes a ton of sense on the way that they target that.

Then they usually have a first beta, second beta, and then they roll it out to everybody on the platform.

So, newsletters is definitely coming. It's an interesting thing to think about, because everyone's talking about newsletters. Ryan Deiss talks about newsletters.

We're actually getting ready to launch a new SaaS product called, which is just an internal newsletter tool.

So, all of these things are happening, and you're going to see new cones of content distribution. You're going to see that LinkedIn is finding new ways for people to express themselves and create.

Back when it was Pulse, that was the acquisition, and now it's article. If you have it turned onto newsletter, by the way, you go into where you would write a post. Under article, now there's a newsletter option. It gives you different tools and ways to position that and add photos. It's just a really cool, robust way to share content.

So, what I pay attention to is what are the new things that are coming out that I could leverage that are going to allow me to present my content in a new way to the audience that follows me, and then how do I use that again to start conversations, or how can I use what I'm currently doing. Because I podcast all the time. We do a ton on video here. I'm in front of cameras every week. We're on stages.

I would love for LinkedIn to continue, which they are, cultivating that and finding new and better ways for people to easily share content in different formats. It doesn't have to be a video. It doesn't have to be a 1,300 character post.

But I don't necessarily want to write an article, but I want to start a newsletter, because then I can control who I am sending that too. Then people can start to subscribe to it, et cetera.

You're going to start to see that a lot more, and it's something I pay attention to all the time. I can't wait. I bet you you're going to start seeing live TV and curated content from people that have full production studios. They're going to start using LinkedIn as a platform to distribute that content.

Kathleen's two questions

Kathleen: Oh, that's awesome. I can't wait to see what's coming next.

All right, switching gears, there's two questions I always ask all of my guests. I want to make sure I hit you up on these.

The first one is this is the Inbound Success Podcast, so we talk a lot about inbound marketing. Is there a particular person, an individual or a company, that you think is really killing it right now with inbound?

Marcus: I almost made a joke and said, "Obviously HubSpot." But I was laughing.

I think that the people ... Okay. So, if you don't know who these people are ... Have you ever heard of Erik Huberman before?

Kathleen: No.

Marcus: Erik Huberman started this company called Hawke Media. They started in LA. They're about a $75 million company now. They expanded like crazy. They've got another office they just opened in New York. They are probably doing this better than anyone, and they're technically an agency, but it's funny, because I told Eric ... I'm like, "You own restaurants too. This is a weird ... I don't know what this coverup company is.

No, but they do it right, and they also use ... Inbound is really a fun way of saying they're attractional. They get a ton of people's attention, and then they literally bring them all the way down the line and warm them up to have that conversation.

That's a major acquisition play for them, and they're doing a great job. I freaking love hearing what he's doing. He's thinking in outer space, and I love people like that.

So, Hawke Media, Erik Huberman. You've probably never heard of him, but go look him up. He's a genius. Yeah.

Kathleen: Oh, I love when I hear new names. I'm definitely going to check him out. Google him right after this.

Second question. Digital marketing changes so quickly, and biggest complaint I hear from marketers is they can't keep up with it. So, how do you personally stay up to date and keep yourself educated?

Marcus: This is going to be funny. It's a weird plug for our blog, but ... DigitalMarketer Blog,, is a full team, nonstop. We are trusted all over the world to be the people that crack the story and the people ... We're tactical. We're heavy practical. I'll tell you that that is something that we hang our hat on.

If it's not DigitalMarketer, which is good, I honestly ... I have something ... I literally go on Google, which I do all the time, is I'll just go follow very specific people, or I'll follow a word.

I follow digital marketing. I follow LinkedIn. I follow sales. I follow a lot of different things so that it just curates and sends me an email every time.

Every morning, I have an email with multiple different people. It pulls articles from online and on the internet. Then I follow.

My Instagram is so funny, because it's mostly my girls and me traveling and stuff, but ... I have got two little girls, Florence and Pearl, and it's mostly them dancing around and yelling and stuff.

Kathleen: Aww.

Marcus: But it's also me. It's my opportunity to go follow everybody in our industry, from the Dennis Yu’s of the world and Forleo and all these cool people who are doing great stuff in their respective field.

I just love it. I'm such a voyeur though, because I don't ever really say anything or comment. I just glean like, wow, they're doing some cool stuff, or they're caring about this. Man, they're talking about that a lot.

I get an opportunity to see that, because I only follow practitioners. I don't love theologians in any way. I don't think people ... Unless you do it, don't talk to me. Unless you've done it, I don't care how theoretical you want to get.

So, I really look for people that are out there doing it and taking their failures and their triumphs and sharing them openly with people so that they can learn. I like to follow those folks. That's a big one for me.

How to connect with Marcus

Kathleen: That's a great tip. All right. Well, if you are listening and you want to get in touch with Marcus or learn more about DigitalMarketer, Marcus, what's the best way for somebody to do that, to connect with you online?

Marcus: Yeah, literally you can ... Marcus Murphy on LinkedIn ironically just goes to me, which is hilarious. There's more, but for some reason I'm always the first one, which is fine for now, until it's not and I'm just Marcus Murphy out there in the world.

Then also is what we ... We have a ton of free content. We have a lot that you can learn. The blog is totally free and has tons of information on there. Please go check that out.

I also think that this is a totally appropriate time. We have the biggest marketing conference in North America called Traffic & Conversion Summit, and that is going to be March 31st out in San Diego, beautiful, sunny San Diego. This year it's 10,000 people. We have a lot of fun. We have musical guests. They, for some reason, never take my suggestion of Boyz II Men, but someday it's going to happen. I'm going to be up there doing Motownphilly with them. But we have 143 sessions, and we just really go all in on practitioners and people that are ... What's working now in their business. So, that's a really great one.

But, yeah, we're all over the place. But, yeah, I would love to connect on LinkedIn. That's where I play most and obviously love to connect with anybody who wants to get connected.

Kathleen: Absolutely. I definitely second check out DigitalMarketer. Check out Traffic & Conversion Summit. You guys have built an amazing, amazing educational resource in your events and your site.

Marcus: Thank you.

You know what to do next...

Kathleen: Of course, if you're listening and you like what you heard, or you learned something new, please head to Apple Podcasts and leave the podcast a five-star review, because that's how our new people find us.

That's it for this week. Thank you so much for joining me, Marcus. This was awesome. I could talk to you forever.

Marcus: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.