Scott Aaron is the Human Connection Expert.
He is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning network marketer, author, podcaster, and speaker. He is a specialist in establishing connections, creating residual income using LinkedIn Lead Generation, and building personal brands.
In this episode, we will be taking a deep dive into LinkedIn and how you can use it to build your reputation and expand your network.
Scott will also be talking about the benefits of LinkedIn and the features that make it easier to connect with the right people.
But what is LinkedIn? LinkedIn incorporates Upwork’s professional feel. You can showcase your expertise, attract customers, and ultimately apply for jobs or connect with clients. But then it also has the engagement and interaction capabilities of Facebook and Twitter.
Thus, it is a professional social networking platform that gives you access to about 600 million people. That means 600 million people that you can connect or work with.
The possibilities are endless. From job hunting to creating a professional brand online, LinkedIn is a must for professionals in any industry. It is a powerful professional tool.
If you do not have a website, LinkedIn is a simple way to put yourself on the map. And so, word choice and the kind of content you share are critical in attracting your target audience.
With that said, let us listen to Scott’s journey, how he turned significant changes into lifelong lessons, and how it led him to where he is now.
As entrepreneurs, we need to remind ourselves that everybody has to start somewhere. Every expert was once a beginner. Every journey serves as a reminder. The first step is to overcome fear, and the next step is to realize that there is nowhere else to go but forward.
I took away so much from Scott. Not only will he be speaking to LinkedIn mastery, but we will also go back to the ongoing theme of GetCoached360. It takes a change in the way you perceive things and an active desire for personal development.
Covered in This Episode
[1:47] Lifelong Lessons Come from Big Changes
[6:40] Take Matters into Your Own Hands
[9:13] The Power of Multiple Streams of Income
Personal Development Journey with A Compensation Plan
[11:22] Keep learning and growing
[12:41] Promoting your business on Facebook
[14:46] The Law of Conversation
[15:53] Fail more often, fail faster
[18:06] Connect and Grow Your Network on LinkedIn
[20:19] Unfinished Business and Filing for Bankruptcy
Principles, Practices, and Beliefs
[24:19] Everything had to happen the way it did
[28:05] Practicing the act of gratitude
[29:41] Taking responsibility to become better for self and others
[32:29] Gratefulness and positivity mindset
[35:16] What You Shouldn’t Do on LinkedIn
What You Should Do on LinkedIn
[38:43] 1st: Optimize your profile (keywords, keywords, keywords)
[41:24] 2nd: Build your network around the most relatable connections
[43:11] 3rd: Genuine and authentic messaging
[51:25] Should I Be Selective About My LinkedIn Connections?
[53:57] Hashtags for LinkedIn
[55:30] Recap: What is Okay to Post?
[56:35] How Often Do I Post and What Kind of Media?
[59:19] Nurture Your Network and Be Present
[1:01:50] Recap: Failures Open Doors to Your Successes
[1:03:11] How to Contact Scott Aaron
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ScottAaronCoaching
Facebook Group: Network Marketing Leads For Life
Chris Ippolito 1:17
Scott Aaron 1:19
Chris. Good to see you.
Chris Ippolito 1:21
It is great to have you. Welcome to the “Get Coached Podcast.” I probably say this every episode, but I am genuinely excited for this episode. I don’t record episodes unless I’m excited for them. Before we get into what we’re going to be talking about, I’d love if you would do us the honor of sharing your story. Where has your journey taken you, beginning to where you’re at now?
Scott Aaron 1:47
Well, first and foremost, thank you for having me, it’s an honor, a privilege. I also get really excited when I actually come onto a podcast and the host is actually really excited to hear what I have to say. Not that I’ve been on other podcasts where they’re not, but it’s humbling for me to have a host really excited to hear my content. I just want to share that with you first.
My name is Scott Aaron, originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I now reside in Marlton, New Jersey. For location purposes, if anyone has been to Atlantic City, I’m about 45 minutes west of downtown Atlantic City near the beach.
I have an interesting background and I love, love sharing my story because, Chris, I think you know the adage, “People see the glory, but they don’t know the story behind it.” I think it’s also imperative in being a human connection expert, which I really feel I am, I need to connect to my audience or the listeners to understand how I got to where I am today.
My entrepreneurial journey actually began when I was 18 years old, I just turned 41. I’ve been in the entrepreneurial game for 23 years. I tell people that I’ve been psychologically unemployable since day one. I have never had a boss, I’ve only worked for myself. I had little odd jobs going into college and in high school.
How I got introduced to entrepreneurship was a very unorthodox way. I was an athlete, but I was more of a hippy, free spirit. I used to travel around the country seeing a band called Phish. When I had hair, I had a really big afro and I was just really enjoying my time. A lot of that came crashing down with some bad business decisions that my father made. My father was also an entrepreneur, owned various businesses through my childhood. He actually left partnership of one and started working for someone else in managing physical rehabilitation companies that were obviously put in different gyms and chiropractic offices. This was back in 1997, 1998.
After my freshman year of college, I was at the University of Pittsburgh, my family was having a barbecue in the backyard. It was just myself, my sister, and my parents. My father said, “Listen, I need to share some information with you guys.” He said, “I’m leaving the company I’ve been working for and I’m going to be buying a gym, a fitness club, in downtown Philadelphia.” Now that wasn’t really strange to me because my father still to this day, he’ll be 68 in December, he is actually a world record holder in the bench press. In the raw bench press, he doesn’t use equipment. He actually was ranked number one in the world in the 65 to 69 age category at his weight.
He was always into bodybuilding, he was always into lifting. It wasn’t like, “Oh my god, you’re going to buy a gym.” It seemed normal. What he followed up with was a little bit out of the ordinary. He said, “Well, the reason why I am leaving the company is because they are under investigation by the federal government and I am also being investigated. There is the chance that if everything goes down the way that the picture was painted to me it could, I may be on house arrest for a few months.”
My dad left that company, he opened a gym, six months goes by, and we are at my dad’s sentencing. He pled guilty to lessen the charges. Just to make a long story short, it wasn’t house arrest, he was actually sentenced to 24 to 36 months in federal prison. This didn’t mean that the gym was my dad’s, this meant the gym was going to be mine. I think my dad knew that. At 18 and a half years old, just before I turned 19, I was handed over the keys to this gym. I didn’t know how to run a business, I didn’t know how to lead people, I didn’t know how to manage anything, let alone myself. Now I was thrown into the lion’s den, so to speak. Someone asked me the other day, “Do you think it hurt you or helped you being so young when this happened?” It absolutely helped me.
Chris Ippolito 6:28
Yeah, I was going to say what an awesome opportunity at such a young age when you’ve got time on your hands to make mistakes, really.
Scott Aaron 6:40
It was that, plus I was at that age, Chris, where you want to make your family proud. There’s no, “Oh, woe is me,” I wasn’t complaining. There was definitely some resentment and anger that was building up over the years, but I took it head on. In the two and a half years that my father was away I grew the gym from about 300 members to just about 1,200. In that time period I also got my certification in sports nutrition and personal training, I myself became embedded in the industry, became a very successful personal trainer. One gym turned to two gyms. In 2003 we actually sold both of them to another family for a million dollars.
At 24 years old I became a millionaire. I just trained for the next year and my father got the itch again to open up another gym. In 2004 we opened up our third and final gym on the outskirts of Philadelphia. But with everything that happened years prior, my parents’ credit was bottomed out. Everything had to be financed in my name when we opened up this gym, which I didn’t understand and didn’t know what that meant. But financially I did three years later when I found myself in $1.5 million of liability debt. Literally within four years I went from a millionaire to being over a million dollars in the hole.
I always tell people that you’re always going to be faced with obstacles, you’re always going to be faced with things that you’re going to have to overcome. What I can tell you is that all of those bumps, bruises, scrapes, and cuts that we take, it just makes us stronger.
Now I was able to slowly crawl out of that financial hole, but on a personal level, between 2009 and 2015, I was married and divorced twice. I had a lot of emotional maturity to do. I became more emotionally mature, I became more emotionally aware. I don’t regret either of those relationships. My second relationship landed me one of the greatest gifts that’s ever been given to me, we were talking about this in the pre-show, my seven-year-old little boy Taylor. But also it gave me the emotional maturity to attract the woman of my dreams into my life, my soon-to-be-wife Nancy, we’re getting married in a few months.
Chris Ippolito 9:12
Scott Aaron 9:13
Thank you. I learned a lot about myself, but here was the big turning point. In 2013 I was introduced to network marketing. Now a lot of people may be listening to this and they’re like, “Oh, one of those Ponzi schemes, one of those pyramids, one of those get-rich-quick things.” Listen, people can think whatever they want. Because, like I mentioned earlier, I was psychologically unemployable, I knew the power of multiple streams of income.
Here’s how it happened, Chris. A friend of mine reached out to me and he said, “Hey, haven’t been to your new gym, would love to come up and work out.” I said, “Absolutely, come on, let’s catch a workout.” He was just asking what I was doing and I told him, “Still running my nutrition business and my personal training in the gym.” He asked me a really interesting question. He said to me, “If you got sick or injured where you physically could not train people, what would you do for income?” When I mean that was one of the biggest mirror-turning moments in my life, that was it. Because I realized at that point that I had done one of the most costly things that any entrepreneur can do, and that is put all their eggs in one basket.
I realized at that point that I needed to diversify my business. I remember reading somewhere that the average millionaire had four to six streams of income. I had one. I was one illness, I was one injury away from losing everything. I was open. I said “yes” to the opportunity, I dove in head first. Between 2013 and 2017, over a four-and-a-half-year period, I earned close to $400,000 of income. I learned a lot from that experience.
Number one, I truly understood that it was a personal development journey with a compensation plan attached to it. What I mean by that is the more work I did on myself, the more money I started to make. Just to quantify how much personal development I did, prior to picking up the first few books that I did in 2013, the last book I had read was the first Harry Potter. Just to date how long it had been since I read a book, it was that long. But you know just as well as I do when that entrepreneurial personal development spark is lit, it’s not going out. You just want to consume as much as you can. You’re on YouTube listening to Les Brown motivational videos, you’re listening to podcasts, you’re reading books, you’re running out of highlighters because you’re highlighting so much in your books. You feel like a kid again, you’re learning something, you’re tapping into an area of your life that it’s always been there, you just didn’t turn over that rock yet.
Now as I exited my second marriage, a couple years prior to the success really hitting, it was 2015. I was at a personal development event. What people need to understand, when you’re building your personal brand and when you’re really building a network “back in the day,” I’ll put that in quotations, everybody was using Facebook, that was the jam. You were on Facebook, you were promoting your business. You didn’t have a Facebook business page, you just blasted out what you did. You know what? It was an open market, I mean the engagement was insane.
For the first few years of my business, I grew it organically through Facebook. Warm market, extended market. Then at around 2014, 2015 Facebook came to a screeching halt. Something changed and I wasn’t getting the engagement I was getting before. I was still working really hard, I was still succeeding, but people just weren’t engaging with the stuff that I was doing and a couple things happened.
Number one, I remember one of my first mentors Susan Slye, she said, “Scott, listen. You need to wake up each day, look yourself in the mirror, and you have to ask yourself one question, ‘How am I going to connect with myself today?'” It was another big aha moment. I realized if I really wanted to build the best business, I wanted to build the best brand, I had to connect with myself, the business version of myself, other trainers, other sports nutritionists, other gym owners, other small business owners, people that I could have a relatable conversation with. Which they were out of my warm market, we didn’t have any other connecting point outside of that. But I couldn’t find that on Facebook.
I was sitting in this personal development event and the leader of the event called some of these people up on stage. It was basically going over the law of conversation. For those that don’t know what the law of conversation is, the more people that you speak to, the more yeses you’re going to get, the better the business and the brand you’re going to build. You can’t talk to 10 people and expect to have a million-dollar business, you’ve got to work it just like a muscle.
All these people were up there and they were writing all of these numbers of how many conversations they had to have to earn the money and to create the impact that they were creating. The smallest number I saw was 7,000 conversations.
Chris Ippolito 15:29
Jeez, that’s crazy.
Scott Aaron 15:31
I said to myself, “Well, I’m in trouble.” Because you’re only allowed 5,000 friends on Facebook. More than half of them want nothing to do with what you’re doing business-wise because they’re not on there for business, they’re on there for social networking, they’re on there for social entertainment.
Everything is so coincidental, at the very same time I was in the middle of reading a book called Go for No! It’s a book by Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton. Andrea has become a really good friend of mine. It’s the number one sales book probably ever written, they’ve sold close to a million copies. The cover is what got me. On the cover of the book it says “Yes is the Destination, No is How You Will Get There.” Something clicked. I said, “If I really want to succeed in business, if I really want to grow a great business, I want to leave a lasting legacy, if I want to impact a lot of people, I need to have a hell of a lot more conversations.”
I was reading this book and it was talking about your failure quotient. Fail more often, fail faster. Get your no’s because the no’s open the doors to the yeses. Don’t have a goal for yeses each week, have a goal for how many no’s you’re going to hear this week. Because if you set a goal for 25 no’s a week, there will be yeses that show up along the way.
Then I remember LinkedIn. I originally had signed up in 2009, did nothing with it, as most people did when they signed up for LinkedIn. I’m sure there’s a lot of listeners right now that are like, “Yeah, haven’t blown the dust off of that in about seven years.” I got on there and I was reading some statistics on the avatar, the average user of LinkedIn. 30 to 55 years old, they make anywhere between $75,000 to $100,000 a year or more, and you’re allowed 30,000 organic connections. Then I looked at Facebook and Instagram. Where Facebook the average age, and Instagram, is 18 to 29 with a yearly income of $30,000 a year or less. I was putting all of the pieces of this invisible puzzle together, I’m like, “Okay, I need to dig into this.”
In 2015 I started to work LinkedIn. Self-taught, I changed my profile around, I started messaging people that were just like me, other trainers, other nutritionists, other gym owners, and people started responding back, “Yeah, would love to hop on a call.” I’m like, “What’s going on here?” I started having 5 calls a week, 10 calls a week, 30 calls a week. Still to this day, Chris, I have at least 25 calls every single week. My business started to grow.
I reached out to a friend of mine, my good buddy Joe Alonzo. I said, “Joey, listen. You’ve got to get on LinkedIn.” I said, “This is a gold mine, this could change your business. I want you do to A, B, and C.” He did. A week later he texted me and he said, “Call me.” I called him and I said, “What’s up?” He goes, “Dude, whatever you’re doing, it really works.”
Chris Ippolito 19:11
What were some of the results he got?
Scott Aaron 19:13
He had 14 calls booked after the first week.
Chris Ippolito 19:16
Oh, jeez, that’s pretty good.
Scott Aaron 19:18
He said, “You should be teaching this.” He goes, “You’ve got something here.”
About four months later, it was February of 2016, I was on a podcast. It was my first business coach. At this point it wasn’t a traditional podcast like this, it’s when people still had live dial calls. You would call conferencecalling.com and you would punch in the code and people could listen in and say “hi.” I was going over all the stuff that I had learned about LinkedIn over the last six months. I got off that call, I went onto Facebook, and I had eight inboxes of people that wanted to hire me. I’m like, “What do they want to hire me for?” I opened up each one and it said, “Can you teach me LinkedIn?,” “Can you teach me LinkedIn?” I didn’t have a website. I scrounged that weekend, I filmed myself on Zoom, I downloaded a free account. I recorded some videos, started selling them, and that was the birth of my business.
Now around the same time I had uncovered a document from my gym, because I still had my gym at this point and it was bleeding at this point. The building was falling apart, my landlords had no money to fix it, I was losing about $2,000 a month. My new coaching practice and my network marketing business were basically getting funneled into this just to cover my payroll. My overhead was like $19,000 a month. I found this document, it was the lease of the gym, and I found out that I was the guarantor. For those that don’t know what that means, when you own a business and you’re the personal guarantor of the lease, you are then financially responsible for every dollar that’s owed on that lease, whether the gym survives or not.
I had a meeting with my business attorney and I said, “Listen, I need to make some change.” Chris, just to let you know, this was my father’s dream. The gyms were not my dream. I made the best of the situation. My business attorney looked at all the paperwork and he said, “Listen, you have two options.” He goes, “You can ride this out and see what happens or you can file for personal bankruptcy.” When I heard the word “personal bankruptcy,” I didn’t hear “your life is over,” I heard “your life is about to begin.” Because this was going to be my opportunity. The first time in the last 16 years that I was going to be able to wake up every single day, live life on my own terms, and do what I wanted to do.
On July 1st of 2016, almost four years ago, I filed for personal bankruptcy. The end of that month of July, closed the gym, locked the door, turned the lights off, and I never went back. On August 1st of 2016 is when I truly started living life on my own terms. The reflection of that has been the success of my two bestselling books, my podcast, my thriving coaching practice, and the impact that I’m now having on those around me, helping people believe and give them hope that there are other ways to build your business, your brand, and your impact which leads to your bank account growing, outside of Facebook and Instagram.
That’s why I’m so passionate about LinkedIn. Because I don’t just teach LinkedIn, I teach the art of human connection. Which is the number one business building tool that we all possess, we’re just not using it, and I’m teaching people how.
Chris Ippolito 23:08
Yeah, there are so many things about that story that I love. Because when you had mentioned that your personal development and the more you did, basically the more success that you started seeing, I felt the same way when I really went on my personal journey of really investing in myself. I did see more financial success, I didn’t even really think about it. It wasn’t astronomical, but definitely my income was starting to climb. But what was the biggest thing that I noticed was just my mindset, the shift that I had, and the success. Because I think success is a very broad term and it doesn’t always have to be financial. But the success I started experiencing in relationships with my spouse, my friends, my parents, stuff like that, just all of a sudden it shifted quite a bit and I was just in a happier place.
Yeah, I 100% agree. The more you invest in yourself, the more success you’re going to have, and success means a lot of different things.
Scott Aaron 24:19
Success, it means something different to each person. I quantify success along the same lines of impact. Sometimes success and impact are not seen, they’re felt. You feel successful, you feel someone’s impact. Someone asked me a few weeks ago, and I love using analogies, they said to me, “Do you wish you could go back in time, do it all over again, and change the way that things were?” I said, “Absolutely not.” I said, “Do you remember the movie ‘Back to the Future’?” The said, “Yeah.” I said, “Do you remember what happened to Marty’s picture the more that the past was starting to change from the actual reality?” They said, “Yeah, his siblings started to disappear.” I said, “Exactly.” I said, “If I went back in time and changed anything about my journey, I wouldn’t be talking about this with you right now.”
Everything sequentially had to happen exactly the way that it did. I have no resentment, I have no anger, I have no hatred about my journey. I am 100% grateful for every aspect of it because I truly know that one of my super powers is resiliency. I know for a fact if I am thrown something, that maybe the old Scott, the un-personally developed Scott, wouldn’t know how to handle it. But the man that I am today, and I’m still becoming who I am, I’m never going to stop growing. Once you’re on this journey, you are ever-evolving. I know I can handle any single thing that I am faced with.
Chris Ippolito 26:26
Yeah, that was a big shift for me, too. Realizing that a personal journey is not something you do for a few months, a year. It’s a commitment that you make for the rest of your life. Maybe out of the gate that feels daunting. But, you’d said this earlier too, once you get into it, you see the results and your own success, again being however you define it, you get hooked on wanting to continuously want to keep investing in yourself and growing.
You actually get to a point where you’re like, “Why would I stop? If I’ve made this kind of impact in my own life and other people’s lives in the three years I’ve been doing it, what is it going to look like in 30 years from now?” We’re both young. We’ve got 30, 40, 50 years, hopefully anyways, left in our lives and I get excited thinking about where am I going to be in 30 years from now of continuously investing in myself, reading these books.
Then now with a son I look at I want to help him in that journey, but have started it much, much sooner than I did. Because I only really started when I was in my mid 30s. Where could I have been if I had started at a much younger age? But, like you said, I’m here because of everything I went through and I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.
Scott Aaron 28:05
Yeah. I mean when my ex and I split, my son, he was only about two years old. I started doing gratitude with him every night before we go to bed, and I have been for the last five years. Every single night we read a book. Now myself, my fiancée, and him, we read a page until we finish a chapter, we all go around and we say three things that we’re grateful for.
It’s funny, he’s gotten into this rhythm and he says the same thing every single night, he goes, “I’m grateful for you, I’m grateful for Nancy, I’m grateful for my mommy, I’m grateful for Daisy,” his dog that passed away, “Joy,” which was a dog that they fostered that they gave back because they found a home, “Mortimer and Ben,” which are our dogs. But that’s a muscle that’s being worked. I mean his DNA has changed forever, that’s ingrained in his DNA, the feeling of gratitude.
I love gratitude, people talk about it all the time. People really don’t understand the power of gratitude. It’s been physiologically proven that when you are practicing the act of gratitude, you cannot feel any other feeling. You can’t feel sad, you can’t feel anger, you can’t feel hate. When you are thinking about what you are grateful for, it takes over everything.
Just like you, I think about, “What if I would have started doing personal development a while ago?” I mean who knows? But that was not my journey, my journey is right now. Just like you said, we have 40, 50, 60 more years. Who knows how long people are going to live by the time we’re in our 80s and 90s? But all I know is I have a hunger just to strive forward and become a better person. Not for me. I have a responsibility to show up every day because there are people out there that look up to me. That’s a gratifying feeling knowing that people are waiting for my morning mantras, they’re waiting for my evening mantras, they’re waiting for my Facebook Lives, there are people that I give them hope. With great influence, with great impact comes great responsibility. I have a responsibility to constantly develop myself to become better for me and all those around me.
Chris Ippolito 30:44
Yeah, it’s servant leadership. John Maxwell, an author I’ve read quite a bit, talks a lot about that. Where when you get to a certain level of leadership, what you’re doing is you’re providing value to other people because it’s now your responsibility. Then it just ends up feeding itself in a sense because you develop your leadership as you do more of it. It’s an interesting process, but I feel like that’s all personal development in itself. The more you do, the better you get, the more you can help. The more you help, the better you get. It’s a beautiful cycle. Unlike the downward spiral that a lot of us can find ourselves in, it sounds like you’ve gone through that, I’ve gone through it myself, and most people do. It is tough.
When we’re talking right now is the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m sure there’s a lot of people who are feeling like they’re in this downward spiral. But I feel for them because those are the people that I want to reach out and be like, “Hey, I’ve been there, I know what you’re going through. Our journey looks different, but I feel the same way you do as far as when you feel low and whatever those negative feelings are. Just come with me. Come with me and I’ll take you on a little journey that will hopefully help you out and elevate you.” It sounds like you’ve got that same spirit in you in now, especially with your business.
Scott Aaron 32:29
Yeah. I heard something Simon Sinek say a couple weeks ago, he said that every dark tunnel has a light at the end of it. You have to have hope. We don’t know how long this quarantine is going to go for, we don’t know how long this pandemic is going to go for, but at the end of all of this there is something beautiful and amazing waiting for each and every one of us if you see it that way.
Again, it’s all about what flows through the six inches between your ears. Your mindset will either hurt you or it will either help you. Again, this is the time to thrive. Again, this is also the time for empathy, sympathy, community, love, connection, all of that. I give that out every single day. Because, you know what? I’m grateful and blessed that I can still continue to work on by business from home without any interruption, as my fiancée can, and I’m grateful for that. But I’m also very empathetic and sympathetic to those people that have lost their jobs, that don’t know where their next dollar is going to come from. I just continue to just send out as much love and empathy and sympathetic thoughts to all of those individuals because we will get through this. Again, we don’t know when, but we will get through it together.
Chris Ippolito 34:01
Yeah, absolutely. Let’s get into LinkedIn, let’s dive into that. Because I think, with everything we’ve covered so far, if somebody is feeling like they don’t know where to go, they’re a little stuck, there is a platform out there that allows you to legitimately grow any business that you want because you can reach and connect with the right kinds of people.
One of the things we talked about in our intro call on the topic of LinkedIn as well as network marketing, I had made the comment that the problem with both of them and why sometimes there’s a bit of a negative stigma around the use of those business tools is how bad some people use them. Do you want to share some examples of what not to do? If you’re going to use LinkedIn to grow your business, to connect with people, let’s share some of the examples of what not to do. I think that will help people realize, “Okay, as long as I don’t do that, I should be okay.”
Scott Aaron 35:16
It’s really funny you said that. There’s a lot of things that people should not do, but I’ll give you the number one thing. Actually, two things, I’ll give you two things.
First, never ever sell or pitch openly in your posts. That will never ever work, that drives people away, it does not bring them closer to you. I will explain in a few minutes what you should post on LinkedIn. Number one, do not pitch, do not sell.
Number two, this is even more important. If you guys are using some sort of message bots on LinkedIn, please cancel your service because all they’re doing is sending 17 paragraph-long drunkalog messages pitching and selling people that you’ve never even spoken to on the phone before. The number one thing that pisses people off on LinkedIn most is when they have someone disingenuinely and inauthentically reach out to them on LinkedIn messenger. “Hey, Chris, great to be connected. Here’s a video to check out, let’s schedule a call. You want a free download? Here it is, click the link.”
Chris Ippolito 36:49
I’m laughing because I made the mistake.
Scott Aaron 36:50
You’ve gotten that message.
Chris Ippolito 36:52
I’ve done it. I was that nob on the other end going, “I wonder if this will work.” I had some success, I’m not going to lie, a lot of it is how I started the podcast. But I learned really quickly when I had accidentally messaged a LinkedIn expert, he was a LinkedIn coach similar to you, and he ripped into me. He was like, “Are you kidding me? Did you even look at my profile? I’m a LinkedIn coach.” I was just like, “Oh.” I took over the conversation from the automated system I was using and I said, “You’re right.” I owned up to it, some maturity on my part. Like, “You’re right.” Then we ended up having actually a really good back and forth dialog after the fact. But yeah, I was laughing because I’ve done that.
Scott Aaron 37:43
I mean we’ve all been there. I mean I’ve learned from my mistakes, too. But I’ve gotten people like that before, like, “Hey, do you need more leads?” I’m like, “Do you not read my profile? I actually am a lead generation specialist focusing on organic growth.” Yeah, same thing.
Those are the two biggest no-nos for LinkedIn, and let me throw a third one in there. Please, please, please, for the love of god, do not treat LinkedIn like Facebook and Instagram. It is not where your selfies go, it’s not where your beautified, picture-perfect Instagram photos go. It’s not pictures of your dogs, your cats, and all that stuff.
Chris Ippolito 38:24
Or your food.
Scott Aaron 38:25
Or your food. It’s a business networking platform, do not treat it like Facebook and Instagram. It’s for building your personal business brand, not your personal personal brand. There’s a big, big difference.
Chris, I would say those are the three biggest no-nos. Now let’s cut into now people are wondering, “Well, what should I do then? If those are what I shouldn’t do, what should I do?”
You and I were talking last week and I call it the layer cake of LinkedIn, because I want to give people a visual. I want you guys to envision, that are listening to this, envision a wedding cake. Where the base is the biggest tier, then it gets smaller. Then at the very top of that cake is that nice, cute, little manikin figurine of the husband and wife that are newly married. Now I want to take you up, from the bottom up, of what’s most important on LinkedIn, starting at the bottom.
The base of what you need to do on LinkedIn is your profile. That is first and foremost the most important starting point for anyone that is looking to grow their business, their brand, their bank account, and their impact on LinkedIn. When Microsoft bought them out about four and a half years ago, they took the capabilities that Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Amazon have, they embedded search engine optimization on every single one of our profiles. You must have keywords. Now I’m talking about this a little bit early, but if anyone goes to my website, which I’ll talk about at the end, I actually have a free download. It’s called “Six Steps to Perfecting Your Profile.”
This is the mistake. If your profile is not filled out the right way, you don’t have the right keywords, the experience section is not clear and there’s no descriptions, the “about me” section is not filled out, your school, your education, your licenses and certifications, awards, literally filling every section out, you are invisible. Here is how you’ll know you’re invisible. On your profile there’s a section right below your profile picture and headline that says “Your Dashboard.” If those numbers are low and basically at zero, your profile is not optimized.
Again, you want to fill this out top to bottom, you’ll start appearing in more searches, and you’ll have more people visiting your page. Because here’s the amazing thing. People are using LinkedIn right now like a search engine. If someone wants to connect with other podcast hosts, they’re actually using the search engine and they’re typing in “business podcast host.” Then they’re connecting with them, then sending them a message, which I’m going to get into.
Now that’s the first part, the second part is what I was just starting to touch in, which is the build of your network. Like I mentioned previously, you’re allowed 30,000 connections, which is six times larger than Facebook and it’s incredible. I’ve grown my network organically from 500 connections to nearly 28,000. No tactics at all, just my system. Again, Chris, you’ll see this post, it goes out, you’ll see it at least once a week, “Want to know how to grow your network? Number one, like this post.”
Chris Ippolito 41:59
Scott Aaron 42:00
Yeah, I know. It makes you want to throw up.
Chris Ippolito 42:01
I was going to ask you about it, I’m so glad you brought it up. Okay.
Scott Aaron 42:04
“Number two, type ‘I’m open.’ Number three, send a connection request to everyone that says that they are and watch the magic happen.”
Chris Ippolito 42:13
Scott Aaron 42:15
Yeah. Or, “#RollCall, where are you from and what do you do?” It’s a business platform, that is not organic. You shouldn’t have to entice people. I get connections every single day from people because they’re seeing my content and they see my profile.
When you’re building your network, you have to go back to something that I said earlier in the episode, which is you have to look yourself in the mirror and you have to ask yourself, “How am I going to connect with me today? Who’s your ideal person? Who’s your ideal client? Who’s your ideal customer? Who’s your ideal avatar? Who is that person that you can relate best to?” Your network should be built around people that you can have the most relatable connection to. If you’re looking to connect with more podcast hosts, then you search and connect with them. If you’re looking for business coaches, you search and connect to them.
Now the third tier is messaging. I’ve developed something that I call the magic formula. It’s a three-step process to genuinely and authentically messaging people and it gets a very high response rate. One of my coaching clients, I have my clients e-mail me stats just to give me a little heads-up, and she sent 31 messages last week, 16 people wrote back that they wanted to talk to her. Here’s the magic formula, here’s the infrastructure of it.
Step one, when you message a new connection, number one, you don’t do it right away. You wait two or three days. I know that sounds weird, but here’s why. When people have automation set up, as soon as someone accepts the connection, that auto-responder sends a message out right away. Someone knows that it’s not even them messaging because no one can get a connection accepted that quickly, log on, and send a message within three seconds, it just doesn’t happen that fast. You want it to marinate a little bit. Because the more that they know that it’s you, the more likely they’re going to respond back.
Now here’s what you say. Number one, you state the person’s name. “Hey, Chris. Great to be connected to you.” I know it sounds very simple, but saying the person’s name, letting the person know. You don’t want to use any automation type verbiage. “Hey, Chris. Great to be connected to you.” You want to speak like a human being.
The second part is letting the person know why you’ve connected without trying to sell or pitch them anything. “I noticed that you also had a business podcast, as do I. Would love to hear about yours, share more about mine, to see how we can best support each other here on LinkedIn.”
Now I’ve done two things there. Number one, I’ve bridged the gap between why we should talk. He’s got a business podcast, I have a business podcast. You always have to put yourself in the shoes of the person that’s receiving the message. “If I was Chris and I saw this person reaching out to me, I’d be like, ‘Hell yeah, that makes sense. He’s got a podcast, I’ve got a podcast.'” But I also used the magic word, “support.” People want to be supported. This is proven, when someone reads the word “support,” it triggers an emotional chemical response. Oxytocin is released. It’s ease. Because they know they’re not trying to be sold to.
The third part is finishing with something called a CTA, call to action. Questions lead to answers. You have to A-S-K to G-E-T. You have to ask in order to get. But if I just say, “Chris, let me know when is good for you to talk,” guess what? You’re never going to let me know because I’ve never asked. But all I have to say is, “Do you have any time this week or next week for a call?” You state the person’s name, reason for reaching out, “Any time for a call?” That’s the magic formula.
Now the fourth and final part, which is that little manikin on the top of that cake, is content. Content is absolutely most important on LinkedIn. Because now you’ve built the profile to represent what you do. You started connecting with people that are your mirror image and now you’re reaching out to them in an authentic and genuine way with a massage that is connecting to the dots of why you should connect. But half the people are not going to respond. How do you connect with them? Through your content.
Now there’s a couple things you need to know about content. Number one, you need to post at least one piece of content every single day. Not two or three times like Facebook or Instagram, one piece of content a day. That’s it. Now it doesn’t matter if it’s a post, if it’s a video, or an article, just put a piece of content out a day.
Number two, you want to do one of two things when you are putting content out there. Number one, educate. Number two, inform. You are not selling and telling, you are asking and listening. You are educating your audience on something they may not know. You’re informing them something new that maybe they need to know about.
But here’s the thing, the mistake that people make, Chris, is when they’re on LinkedIn, they typically talk about things that they want to talk about. They don’t talk about what actually people want to hear. You need to put yourself in the shoes of the end user. “If I was that person that was following me, what would I want to hear that’s going to organically allow me to engage back with them?”
But here’s the other thing. In any of my content, whether it’s a video, it’s an article, it’s a post, I always end with a call to action. “How do you feel about human connection? What are you most grateful for? What’s your best morning routine?” Just a question like that. Because here’s what that does. It gives me more ammunition to create more content. Because now my audience is actually telling me what they want, what they crave, and what they want to know more about.
When you engage with your audience the right way, you have this well-oiled machine because your profile is matching what you do, you’re building a network around the types of people that you want into it, you’re messaging them in a genuine and authentic way, and you’re being the authoritative leader, you’re being the content creator, you’re being the impactor for those people in your network where you’re bringing them closer to you and not pushing them further away by selling and telling because you’re asking and listening.
Chris Ippolito 49:21
Right. I have so many questions, where to go? All right, let’s start with I accidentally commented on one of those “hey, let’s connect” type of posts. I didn’t realize it, to be honest I had never really seen a lot of them, probably because I was quite intentionally with the majority of my connections. But somebody in my network, I think, posted a comment on that post, I saw it, and it was like a congratulatory message. I was like, “Oh, cool. I’ll say ‘congratulations,’ too. I don’t know this person, but they’re pretty excited about whatever this was.” I write, “Hey, congratulations on the milestone,” it was something like reaching 9,000 connections. I didn’t clue in that that’s all they care about. All of a sudden I get six connection requests and I’m like, “That’s weird. Why get so many out of the blue? I’ve not been very active recently.” Then I investigated a little bit and all of a sudden it was this.
Now to summarize the story, it’s been about a week since I did this originally, I’ve now had 37, 38, maybe even 40 connection requests all because of this one comment. I was like, “Should I accept, should I not?” Today I actually was like, “You know what? Whatever, I’ll just accept.”
The question is if somebody went down that rabbit hole and they’ve got a bunch of connections that they’re not real connections, it’s a numbers game for a lot of these people, would you advise them to go back and try and clean up their connections, or you just leave it and you go, “You know what? I’m just going to focus on the proper stuff on a go-forward basis”?
Scott Aaron 51:25
There’s two trains of thought. Number one, if it was someone like me in the position that I’m in, I mean I have 260 connection requests sitting in right now because you’re allowed 30,000 connections. I’m very selective of who I let into my network. I only allow people into my network if I see two things. Number one, they could add value to my network by what they do. Or we can add value to each other’s networks by doing some sort of collaborative effort, creation, or maybe they can utilize my service. If I don’t see fit for my network, I don’t accept.
Now on the flip side of that, the power of the second connection. For people that don’t know what that is, your first connections are your actual connections, your second connections are your “friends of friends,” like on Facebook. That person may not be a good connection, but you then are able to tap into that person’s network. There may be a hidden gem or a really great connection within that person’s network. If you’re in the beginning phases of growing your network, 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 connections, you don’t have to be as picky as you get to where I am right now, I am definitely more picky right now than I’ve ever been before because I really seek out true, meaningful connection and collaboration.
Honestly, the only time I would ever withdraw someone’s connection, which I have done, is if they are just blowing up my posts with negative trash. I don’t have time for negative energy, or energy vampires. Or they’re on there to try to date me, which has happened before, I will remove the connection. That’s the only real time I do that.
Chris Ippolito 53:32
Okay, cool. Thanks for the feedback. Another question was are hashtags as valuable on LinkedIn compared to Instagram and TikTok? Those two platforms I know it’s all about the hashtags, but is LinkedIn, would you say it’s the same as far as there is a lot of usability there and functionality?
Scott Aaron 53:57
Absolutely. Two reasons why. Number one, people actually now follow hashtags on LinkedIn because they actually want to customize their newsfeed. If they follow certain hashtags, #entrepreneurship, #business, #motivation, they want their newsfeed filled with just those things. It weeds out all of just the regular posts.
Number two, if you’re really impacting your network the right way, you will have what’s called a trending post. Which means your post is appearing number one in that hashtag, which gives you so much organic visibility, so much organic reach. It’s an unbelievable way to get more exposure and actually grow your network even more.
I usually suggest at a minimum 5 hashtags, no more than 10 if you’re going to put it in your post. You can spread it out throughout the content and the body, or at the end of it. It should be related to the content that you’re pushing out.
Chris Ippolito 55:01
Okay, cool. Now a very personal one. Because there was the no-nos, you were talking about don’t sell in your posts and make it about your audience. For me I’m wondering would promoting the podcast on LinkedIn, would that fall into that category, or would you say that’s an okay post?
Scott Aaron 55:30
That’s an okay post because there’s no monetary attachment at the end of it. I post about my podcast all the time, when I hit 50,000 downloads and my new episode just released, that’s a great way to self-promote. Because don’t forget your podcast is doing two things, it’s educating and it’s informing people, it’s not selling.
Chris Ippolito 55:53
True. Yeah, that’s true.
Scott Aaron 55:54
It falls within that category of doing the right things for your network.
Chris Ippolito 55:58
Okay. Yeah, I think the big thing for me that I’ve been struggling with is because I dropped off significantly. I used to do one a day, I was like, “That’s my goal, one a day, one a day, one a day.” Now I’m like one a week, which is sharing the podcast of the week. I’m like, “No, I’ve got to do more than that.” Because I typically would do Monday through Friday. Actually, there’s a good question. Is that how you would suggest most people operate?
Scott Aaron 56:28
I’m every day. Every day.
Chris Ippolito 56:30
Yourself personally? Okay. Seven days a week is better, but five days would be okay, as well?
Scott Aaron 56:35
Yeah. I mean it’s one post a day. Listen, if you have time to scroll and troll on social media and you can watch a couple episodes of “Schitt’s Creek,” you can get onto LinkedIn and you can drum up a post for five minutes, you could do that. It’s funny, Chris, I do a lot of talk to text. If anyone follows me on LinkedIn, I have a lot of long-form posts with emojis. I use my cell phone and I do a ton of talk to text because I don’t want to type it out. If I have a really good thought, I’ll just hit the little speakerphone and I’ll just start jamming out. I’ll go back, I’ll edit, space it out, and I’ll post it. It’s easy. Because I can talk faster than I can type. If I have a great thought, I’ll just talk to text for like 30 seconds and boom, spread it out, then I’ll post it out.
Chris Ippolito 57:24
Right. I think you had mentioned earlier you have a blend of text posts, video posts, and you mix it up. Is there one that you feel is of higher value?
Scott Aaron 57:39
Chris Ippolito 57:40
Scott Aaron 57:40
Chris Ippolito 57:40
Yeah, I was going to say I’ve heard video is becoming really popular.
Scott Aaron 57:44
Chris Ippolito 57:45
Scott Aaron 57:47
Making sure that you’re not linking it to YouTube or anything else, make sure it’s native to the platform. What I typically do is I will record it right on my iPhone, minute and a half to two and a half minutes. I will then upload it through an app called MixCaptions, which it’s an app, it’s like $3.99 and it will auto-caption your video. Then I will upload it onto the LinkedIn app, do talk to text to add some verbiage to what the video is about, and I’ll upload it. I’ll do two or three of those a week.
Chris Ippolito 58:21
How accurate is that transcription app?
Scott Aaron 58:24
I said “physiologically.”
Chris Ippolito 58:27
And it got it?
Scott Aaron 58:28
Chris Ippolito 58:31
That’s pretty good.
Scott Aaron 58:32
What I’ve learned about these transcription apps, you have to speak very clear. If anyone sees me on video, because when I get fired up, I can talk really fast. But when I’m doing a regular video, I talk very clear, I take pauses in between what I’m saying. Because then it’s really easy for it to transcribe. But you can also go back and you can edit something that needs to be edited. It gives you the proof before it’s ready to get posted.
Chris Ippolito 59:01
Right, you can clean it up if you need to.
Scott Aaron 59:03
Chris Ippolito 59:04
Cool. Let me see. Any questions on LinkedIn in particular that I haven’t asked that you would want to share, like any hot tips that you feel people need to know?
Scott Aaron 59:19
The one thing that I always tell people is don’t be afraid to reach out to people just because you’ve gotten spammy messages. I mean there are 600 million people on LinkedIn and you haven’t spoken to all of them. I’m just being honest, if you really take the time to nurture your network, you provide value, and you give them something to take away each day, it’s not going to happen overnight. You have to treat LinkedIn like a retirement fund, not like a lottery ticket. Just like you said, you’ve got to get back on there, just deposit something once a day. One piece of content a day, it compounds over time.
The success that I’m having in my business is due to one thing, consistency. I’ve been doing the same thing every day on social media for the last seven years. I mean I now have a team, but that’s only happened in the last year and a half. But you can ask anybody from my team, you ask them, “What’s Scott’s number one rule?,” and it’s do not touch my social media.
Chris Ippolito 1:00:36
Scott Aaron 1:00:37
No one. Anything that people see on my Facebook page, Instagram, or LinkedIn, that is coming from me every single day. I don’t use a scheduler, I post in real time every single day. Because that’s how I want to show up because that’s duplicatable. I want to show people that human connection is everything, being present every single day with how you feel. Because everything I post about is how I’m feeling. I’m just very aware and very present with how I feel because I know that I’m not the only one feeling that way, I want to give that to my audience.
Chris Ippolito 1:01:22
Yeah, that’s really good. Well, we’ve definitely covered a lot. I like asking this question at the end of every episode to put a nice bow on things. With everything that we’ve talked about, what would be that one piece of advice that you would want to share with the audience to help them level up? Really not necessarily on LinkedIn, because we did cover a lot. But what’s that one piece of advice you would want to share with the audience?
Scott Aaron 1:01:50
Your failures always open the doors to your successes. The more often that you are willing to fail, the more often you’re going to figure out how to succeed. It’s simple math. Success does not happen overnight. Think about all the successful people in the world. Do you think they hit it on the first try? No, they had to fail, they had to mess up, they had to learn how to succeed. As long as you keep going, whether you move forward a millimeter or a mile, you will achieve every single one of your goals, I can guarantee it.
Chris Ippolito 1:02:31
Yeah, that is really, really good advice. I’ve heard it before, I feel like that’s one of those types of things that needs to be repeated literally on a daily basis. I think that should be something of a daily affirmation for most people, is that whatever you’re going through, it’s part of the journey, but just make sure to have some forward progress. Like you said, even if it’s a tiny, tiny amount, just keep that forward momentum going. Yeah, that’s really good.
If people wanted to connect with you, Scott, where is the best location for them to reach out to you?
Scott Aaron 1:03:11
Yeah, I’m very omnipresent on all social media, you can find me there just by my name. But my website www.scottaaron.net, it houses my books, my social links, my podcast, free downloads, call scheduler, that’s where you can find everything.
Chris Ippolito 1:03:29
Awesome. Yeah, I’ll include that and all the other stuff in the show notes, for sure.
Scott, that was an awesome conversation, I’m so glad you shared the four levels there of LinkedIn, I thought there was a lot of value there. It’s really reminded me of what I need to do if I’m going to leverage LinkedIn to help grow the podcast and the business. Thank you very much for that, I’m sure the audience took a ton of value out of it, too.
Scott Aaron 1:03:56
Yeah, Chris, again, I just really appreciate you, just feel grateful and honored to be here, and happy to provide value. Just want to wish you continued success and thank you, again, for having me.
Chris Ippolito 1:04:06
I appreciate that. Thanks, Scott.