January 26th, 2021
With Deborrah Ashley, Founder of Thrivoo Marketing, and a Marketing strategist, consultant, and LinkedIn trainer, who works with clients to develop B2B and B2C LinkedIn strategies that grow and develop not only their business…but their personal brand as well.
Deborrah has a background that includes two decades in brand management, marketing communications, and business development where she used her unique style of positioning and launch strategies to generate over $300 million for companies and start-ups. She has been featured in a variety of media including Oprah Magazine, Black Enterprise Magazine, The NY Times, on podcasts and CNBC for her innovative strategies on gaining a competitive edge and building strategic partnerships and has spoken at summits, conferences, and universities. Join us as we dive into Ashley’s experience with brand building, brand management, content creation, and how she left a 20 year career to start her own business.
She shares her own first hand experience on what it took to make her leap into entrepreneurship, how her early experience on Instagram and LinkedIn has shaped her work now, and how to use LinkedIn as a platform for building your business. Ashley shares why many people are intimidated by LinkedIn, what makes LinkedIn different, and some super simple tips on how to use LinkedIn the right way.
Ashley shares her strategy for being thoughtful in making new connections: focusing on clients, collaborators, and champions. You will walk away from this episode having some new strategies for showing up on LinkedIn, approaching your content creation strategy the right way, and interacting on LinkedIn in a way that will further connection and conversation, which is favored by the LinkedIn algorithm.
Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:
- “Make sure that it’s fire focused by a sentence, meaning you’re sharing your narrative, you’re sharing your story.”- On your LinkedIn profile.
- “But in essence, it’s a free platform. The entire job for LinkedIn is to build revenue, and they build revenue from the advertisers. So if you’re doing anything that’s going to cause the members to leave the platform, they’re going to cut your reach.”
Check out these highlights:
5:37 “And me with my fabulous, you know, decades of experience, I didn’t feel like an expert at that point.” – Deborrah on leaving her career in the fashion industry after twenty years.
8:44 Deborrah’s move into the online space.
21:11 What Deborrah encourages everyone to do on LinkedIn.
23:58 What holds people back from expressing their thought leadership on LinkedIn.
How to get in touch with Deborrah:
On social media:
Deborrah Ashley is a Marketing strategist, consultant, and LinkedIn trainer, who works with clients to develop B2B and B2C LinkedIn strategies that grow and develop not only their business…but their personal brand as well.
Deborrah has a background that includes two decades in brand management, marketing communications, and business development where she used her unique style of positioning and launch strategies to generate over $300 million for companies and start-ups.
She has been featured in a variety of media including Oprah Magazine, Black Enterprise Magazine, The NY Times, on podcasts and CNBC for her innovative strategies on gaining a competitive edge and building strategic partnerships and has spoken at summits, conferences, and universities.
Learn more about Deborrah here.
Imperfect Show Notes
We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below.
GGGB Intro 0:00
Coming up today on Guts, Grit and Great Business.
Deborrah Ashley 0:03
The entire job for LinkedIn is to build revenue and they build revenue from the advertisers. So if you’re doing anything that’s going to cause the members to leave the platform, they’re going to cut your reach.
GGGB Intro 0:16
The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.
Heather Pearce Campbell 0:46
Okay, welcome. Hello, I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I am an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit, and Great Business. Today, I’m super excited to introduce our guest, Deborrah Ashley. Welcome, Deborrah. I’m super happy to have you.
Deborrah Ashley 1:09
Thanks for having me. Heather. Happy to be here.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:11
Absolutely. So Deborrah is, first of all, she’s got a history in marketing. I’m so excited about this. Because Deborrah, I don’t know if you know this yet. We haven’t chatted for that long. But I’m a super fan of LinkedIn. Like I do so much connecting on LinkedIn. And I love it as a platform. And I’ll just be clear that I do not love the other platforms. I know for people listening. I’ll get on Instagram because I’m a former photographer, and I love pretty pictures. But LinkedIn is by far my favorite place to connect. And so for people listening, I’m actually super excited to have Deborrah here. She’s a marketing strategists, a consultant and a LinkedIn trainer who works with clients to develop b2b and b2c LinkedIn strategies that grow and develop not only their business but their personal brand as well. Deborrah has a background that includes two decades and brand management, marketing, communications and business development, where she used her unique style of positioning and launch strategies to generate over $300 million for companies and startups. She has been featured in a variety of media including Oprah Magazine, black enterprise magazine, The New York Times on podcasts, and CNBC, her innovative strategies on gaining a competitive edge, and building strategic partnerships and has spoken at summits, conferences and universities. So Deborrah was introduced to me through a mutual friend, and I know that anybody she sends My way is phenomenal. But never I feel like I have a lot to learn from you. So I’m super excited to have you here. Thank you so much for joining.
Deborrah Ashley 2:48
Well, thanks for having me. I’m excited to share especially about LinkedIn with someone who loves LinkedIn.
Heather Pearce Campbell 2:53
Right? Well, and I’m not a master at it, I will say that I’ve developed my own little strategy for connecting with people. And my goal really, primarily is to get any of my new connections onto the phone with me, like I just want to know them as a person I joke, I tell them like, I want you to be in my Rolodex. And I want to be in your Rolodex, like I don’t want to be just another online person on the list, right. And so I actually love connecting with LinkedIn, because when it’s successful, and when you make those connections, they’ve been really, really powerful connections. I feel like awesome, people are on LinkedIn, and they take it seriously. So let’s back up. I know LinkedIn is, you know, you’re an expert in that. And it sounds like it’s a lot of what you’re doing now. Talk to us a little bit about how you got started in marketing in business. Where did your roots begin?
Deborrah Ashley 3:45
Absolutely. So my roots actually began in the fashion industry. This was from undergrad, I’m from New York. I grew up in New York. So naturally, well, I’m not going to say that that’s every little girls dream to play with fashion, right. But it was one of my dreams. It was either sports because I was a manager for the men’s basketball team, or it’s to play in fashion in New York. So I actually ended up working in economic development for fashion designers in New York, obviously made in America type fashion designers. And it’s always so it’s always been that entrepreneurial spirit. But I’m also quite a nomad. So I left New York, I went to Philadelphia and I went to Atlanta, then I went to Tampa, Florida, I worked for a while for a different variety of companies. And one was an ideal image, where I spent 10 years and then one day I woke up and I was bored. So and during that time to work for the Small Business Development Center, so I know how to build businesses and I know about brands. So I figured I have this 20-year background in marketing, why not do this on my own and build my own business. And then I discovered this whole amazing world of you know, online business owners. I didn’t even know it existed. I was actually on Instagram. So I was on Instagram. I’ve always been on Instagram and I was just sharing content. This is what I was doing the, you know, the corporate quote-unquote, corporate world. Yeah, someone tagged me in a post, it was a realtor looking for someone to help them with marketing. And I was like, oh, wow, people are actually reaching out to people that they’ve never met in their life to help them with their business. So six months later, I gave my notice, then I left a 20-year career to start this on my own. So oh, clearly, it was nothing like I expected. So of course, I just ended up being online. And I was just lurking, I wasn’t doing anything, everyone was screaming it up from the mountaintop that they were experts in their field. And me with my fabulous, you know, decades of experience, I didn’t feel like an expert at that point. So to make a long story short, I went over to LinkedIn, just update my profile, and just to change from the corporate world to business owner, and I made a lot of different updates. And within two days, someone reached out to me, and they wanted help with a marketing plan. So once again, like I almost went into self-sabotage mode, but I realized there’s this whole world on LinkedIn of people who are great at what they do. They’re just not great at marketing, what they do, but that’s where it began. That’s pretty much where it began.
Heather Pearce Campbell 6:12
Awesome. Well, there’s a couple pieces I want to dig into. One is the leap you made, right? You had all this experience, you’re not like that’s a big leap to leave that and walk away and go out on your own. What was that? Like? What did it take for you to make that leap?
Deborrah Ashley 6:28
Here’s the interesting thing. I had people telling me, oh, my gosh, you’re so brave, you’re so ambitious. And it didn’t feel like I was, it didn’t feel like it was a big deal. I was probably that bored, like I was probably one of the top revenue generators in the company. And I’m an innovator by nature. So I get bored by things. So the great thing about what I’m doing now, it’s a challenge, because I’m working with a lot of different people and their business. But when I was working for one company, I was doing the same exact thing every single day. And, you know, I just knew how things were gonna turn out. So I just needed to do something different. So no, it was just I had enough money saved. So I think that’s a big deal. When you have that level of income, I, you know, paid off my car, paid-up a few things. And I had about a year’s income to kind of play around with. So no, it was just a it was just almost like an everyday thing for me. But I think that’s also my personality, where, you know, I was told I just celebrated my 50th birthday. And I had a virtual birthday party and everyone, you know, they kind of like had friends and family came on. And they’re like, Oh, you know, Deborah, always, you know, she moved to a different beat up a different drum. I never knew I was like that. But yeah, I don’t think twice about things. When it’s time to make a decision. I think that makes a great CEO and a great business owner.
Heather Pearce Campbell 7:46
Oh, I love that. Well, and I love that it was just the obvious next thing for you. Yeah, it seems like it does suit your personality. If you are an innovator, like I could imagine being in one spot for too long, feels a little constraining. Yes. Well, and this, you know, I find it fascinating, this online world of business, right people, and I call it the information entrepreneurs, right. And it’s the industry that I serve coaches, consultants, online experts, and educators, speakers and authors. But I find that so many people are either aware of this world, or they’re still not like, they’re not even aware that like, there’s this whole massive sub-economy of what I call, information entrepreneurs, like doing amazing business in this space, right. So talk to us a little bit about your early foray into that world of like, figuring out like, oh, my gosh, this whole online world thing, and people need me and I can do this. What was that like?
Deborrah Ashley 8:44
So yeah, so I was on Instagram, I got clients almost immediately, just because, you know, there’s this whole conversation people have to, especially when you work with certain coaches, don’t give it all away, tell them the what, but not the how, but I didn’t know anything about that. So I would just share everything. And this is a great thing for others to realize when you share others, everything, and we have a large percentage of people who don’t know what to do anyway because they’re overwhelmed with a lot of information, so they’re gonna reach out to you. So yeah, I was doing really good on Instagram. And then someone told me about this group on Facebook. And I was like, what’s the Facebook group? So I got into the world of Facebook and Facebook groups, and of course, it’s a rabbit hole. By the time I was just in two groups, and within three weeks, I was in maybe 20. So that’s where I ended up. You know, it’s like, almost like you develop this imposter syndrome. I didn’t even know what that was. But everyone was an expert, and everyone was talking about how much money they were making, lying on the beach and sipping cocktails and all of that fabulous thing. So So of course, I was just lurking and I didn’t think that I could measure up to what everyone was accomplishing, because it’s not like I was making a lot of money. You know, I was still just starting out in business, but I would start to answer questions about Instagram and marketing when people would put up things out there. And you got a lot of bad advice in these groups too, by the way, not afraid of saying no, this is actually the right way. And one day this woman said to me, You seem to know a lot like how do you know all of this stuff about marketing and business? And I told her about my background. And so she said, Why are you lurking? If I had your background, I’d be fully booked right now. And that kind of woke me up. And so from there, I, I was still self-sabotaging with a few things like people would reach out to me, for me to be in their summit. And I just wouldn’t fill out the forms. So I was sabotaging myself in that manner. But I just started to put myself out there a little bit more.
Heather Pearce Campbell 10:38
Well, in this concept of sabotage, because what I’m curious, I mean, you obviously came with all this wonderful experience and knowledge. But anytime we’re making a shift, and I think we’re looking at like a new area, it’s really easy, especially when it comes to work like a new area or niche of work, I think it’s easy to have our blinders on and think like, Oh, it’s just this, like, this is the work, this is what I need to bring to and we forget, like about the richness of our histories and our backgrounds and all the skills we can bring to the table. So I’m curious if it was really self-sabotage, or just that kind of natural process of easing into a new area of work, where it just takes a bit to realize like, Oh, can bring your whole self to your work, you’ve got all this other stuff that you can show up with, right?
Deborrah Ashley 11:26
Yeah, most likely. That’s why I think I think it took an almost like, I think this is what happens as women, we almost have to give ourselves permission to not be modest, because I, you know, for me, I’m Caribbean too. So it’s almost like, don’t brag about everything you’re doing it. So I went from like someone who’s super modest in the corporate world where I would close, like, you know, like, six-figure deals. And I would just go back to work because that’s natural. And there would be like, you know, like men, men versus women, how that dynamic is one guy would change his voicemail. And all of a sudden, there was an office party, because he changed his voicemail. And so I had to learn how to and I’m no longer at all, I have to learn how to be okay with hearing that I’ve been in Oprah Magazine and all of that stuff, and now feeling uncomfortable. And I never see that as a big deal. But I remember I would go to networking events, and I would just share about how, you know, Oprah Magazine called me to do like a feature on XY and Z. And like, I would see women with their mouth, like wide open for like three seconds. And I was like, okay, I guess it’s a big deal. Yeah. So yeah, it’s just I think, especially with high achievers, I think we don’t realize that the work we do, how impactful it is, after like, connect with different people, for them to almost give us permission. That is.
Heather Pearce Campbell 12:49
Yeah, absolutely. I think there is something to that the high achieving aspect. And I think there also is a gender dynamic there, right? I think that for sure. As women, it takes, for whatever reason, it just takes a little bit more effort to put ourselves out there in a way of like, yeah, this is who I am really good at doing this thing. Or I got, you know, whatever. I got where I am today, because of my skills and my smarts and whatever else, why it’s it’s so much easier for men to be really forthcoming about that stuff. And I feel like it’s just a slightly longer road for women to get there often, right. But once we’re there, we’re there. We’re there. And things really change. Right? Talk about the difference between being there versus being on the journey there. Right? How do things shift in business?
Deborrah Ashley 13:40
Sure, yeah. Here’s the interesting part about it. So this comes with pricing your products too, because and this is for those who are kind of just starting out online, you don’t you think you’re a beginner online, but you’re not, you could have 10 or 20 years of experience, but you think you only have one year of experience. Then you kind of I went from pricing like three-month projects for $800. Which just ridiculous. And I remember when I was working on a project for someone I did their marketing plan for you know, just to get in front of a corporation. And he closed a $15,000 deal with it. So that’s when it kind of smacked me in the face like, oh, so he put in $800 and he got 15,000 back. Of course, he wants to know the market and plan for me and I quickly increased my prices and he was happy about that. So you know, I think it’s about understanding and I think we all have to experience this in our own way because I had never coached, just not necessarily that they wanted to take me on as a client. They were just in my inbox saying listen, you have this amazing experience. Why are you charging so low? Yeah. So I think it just it everyone gets through it at their own time. Yes, you’re able to get to it whether having a conversation you know with you or listening to us talk about it. It’s going to be a good thing. But if you’re not, something’s going to happen that’s going to make you wake up. And in, some people probably need to learn differently.
Heather Pearce Campbell 15:09
Well, and it’s true that you know, the, something’s going to happen to part it, you know, often and what I see, especially on the legal side, because I end up helping people with problems and, you know, resolving things. I mean, we all do in our own way we’re helping somebody with some type of problem. And for me, a lot of the some of the additional coaching that I provide in the legal work is around business boundaries. clarities, like fostering relationships that are healthy, being able to identify like, a red flag client, right. And when we don’t know our value in business, and when we’re not priced appropriately, what ends up happening is we have a string of what I call red flag clients that quickly inform us that, like, that’s not what we want to be doing at that price level. Right? And so yeah, sometimes we just get there through experience, and we realize our own value through some other painful, painful paths. Yes. So how did you end up becoming focused on LinkedIn?
Deborrah Ashley 16:10
So what I was doing, so I was still playing around on Facebook, because that feels safe for most people. My you know, I met a lot of people in Facebook groups there, but I was doing my business on LinkedIn. And this just was just for myself, that’s where I would get a lot of clients. And then of course, I would, and I’m a giver and a sharer. So I would start to tell people and everyone, most people are intimidated by LinkedIn, you have to come on LinkedIn, it’s almost like, people just want help. No one wanted to do it. And I almost wonder, too, if people were wondering, okay, what’s the scam? Why is she telling us to get on LinkedIn? Like, why is she giving this away for free, because I know other people were on LinkedIn, but they weren’t sharing that information, almost like, I’m gonna get all the, you know, the pot of photos. So then I started to have people reaching out to me, and I was just inviting them to come to LinkedIn to see what it was about. But then they started to reach out to me to ask me, How can I help them get to where they need to go on LinkedIn and get in front of the right people? And I didn’t think anything off it. But then I started to see some, you know, you know, the overnight experts, I started to see the overnight experts talk about just some really horrible bad advice on what to do on LinkedIn. I said, No, that’s not the way it works. It doesn’t work that way. So then I started and I’m not afraid to use my voice. So then I became this voice of LinkedIn. And, you know, making sure that you’re getting the right information, so you’re not falling on your face and all that stuff. And all of a sudden, I became like, the LinkedIn black belt.
Heather Pearce Campbell 17:39
Well, I yes, I love it. And you made a point about people feeling intimidated about getting onto LinkedIn. Right? What do you think that’s about?
Deborrah Ashley 17:49
I think it’s about that safety of organ included, they don’t feel that they know enough. So I’m probably the same as how we all feel when we’ve kind of first thought online. So they may think that LinkedIn is too stuffy, that LinkedIn is too professional, that people won’t respect them because they don’t have enough education or experience or XYZ. First is, when you’re on Facebook, I quickly realized it doesn’t matter that you have 15 degrees, or it doesn’t matter that you have 15 years of experience, kind of like if they if they see that you have results, or if they like you, they’ll do business with you. But clearly on LinkedIn, they pay attention to certain things. So I think, action of the whole, you just don’t know if you know enough more huge fields of the stuffier crowd, which LinkedIn used to be it used to be about resumes, and recruiters and all that stuff. But once Microsoft bought it, and of course, the past three years, it’s been this amazing shift of content creators, and now it’s just like, just, it’s a cool place to hang out.
Heather Pearce Campbell 18:51
Yes, it’s, well, it’s my favorite place to hang out when I have time to, you know, go do stuff in social media platforms online. And, like, Facebook is fun for me to hang out. Like on a personal perspective, I, the reason I started Facebook is so I could get on and like see pictures of my sister’s kids or whatever, you know what I mean. But LinkedIn is super fun for business. It’s really, really fun for me for business. So for people that are new-ish to LinkedIn, or wanting to explore it more, first of all, talk to us a little bit about what makes LinkedIn different. And what is one thing that they can be doing to utilize LinkedIn the right way.
Deborrah Ashley 19:30
Sure, definitely. Well, the great thing about LinkedIn and it’s growing so quickly. Now, up until today, I do a lot of presentations. Well, at least I used to good before this, right. But we could play outside. I saw a lot of presentations to different groups on LinkedIn and what to expect and how to get started. So up until February, there were only 660, I should say only but 660 million registered users on LinkedIn clearly with a plus endemic and a lot of company shifting onto LinkedIn, it has grown up until last month, air is now 700 million. So that’s a lot not to say that everyone, obviously, who are registered that they’re using the platform actively. But I think the great thing about LinkedIn, it is the largest, you know, global website or platform for business only. So you may think of Instagram, you know, the pretty pictures, you do business there, too. But it’s mostly pretty, pretty pictures and everything else. Same with Facebook, you can do business there, but then you have your dogs and your kids and your cats. But LinkedIn, people are only there for business. So there’s no mistake about it when you’re there. No one’s gonna waste your time on things I had to learn. And these are kind of like the differences between, you know, any other platforms and LinkedIn, if someone reaches out to you, and they say, Hey, can you give me a call today, I’d love to talk to you about my product, my business, it’s not about giving them a link to your calendar. Now, if you’re available, give them a call, because that means they’re ready to go. So I’ve lost a lot of business doing it the other way, well, Hey, why don’t you book with me with something next week. And of course, they wanted to start right now. So one thing that most people that I would always encourage everyone to do, if they are just starting on LinkedIn, whether they’re just starting or if they’ve been on there for 10 years, go in and make sure your profile is updated. Make sure it’s not reading like a resume, make sure that it’s fire focused by a sentence, meaning you’re sharing your narrative, you’re sharing your story, but it’s very focused on what your potential customer your potential buyer is going through right now. And how you’re the solution to the problem. I always talk about making sure that you stand out as an industry expert and a resource because once you become that resource that they want to go to each and every time they trust you and you’re naturally on top of you stay top of mind. So the biggest thing you can do right now, if you have not logged into LinkedIn, or if you have not updated your profile, make sure it’s not in the third party. It shouldn’t be Heather likes to do X, Y, and Z. And Heather has a podcast like, let’s leave that up to the box, right? Make sure that there’s a little section on top is your URL that’s part of the LinkedIn URL, make sure that is not just you know, there are numbers after you’re signed by you have that brand, make sure that your cover image is not the default background, create something, it’s almost like your prime real estate, create something that’s going to really speak to your story in a visual way. And those are the main things I would say if you want to start getting engaged so people can start to see you. I would say find maybe three or four major influencers that your market looks to for advice and engage on their posts. But if you don’t want to start posting anything, because oh my gosh, I don’t know most people are afraid of content. Anyway. I’m a I guess I’m considered a content creator. I put out content every single day, except weekends. But if that’s fair if you if you need to figure out what type of content to put out, I would rather you share something from someone who’s an influencer and not as an Instagram influencer. But like, for me, my people. They love Rene Brown, they love Mark Cuban. So people like that comment on their posts, typically. And Gary Vee is another one that people love. But typically, I can comment on someone’s post, and I’ll get a bunch of people who reach out to me to connect with me. I’m just conversations that I’m starting based on that pose.
Heather Pearce Campbell 23:38
Oh, that’s such great advice, because I feel like people are intimidated by LinkedIn, and especially around using it as a platform for sharing content. While they might use it to connect even like myself, I’ve really underutilized it as a place to share content. And I’ve mostly utilize it as a connection tool.
Deborrah Ashley 23:57
Heather Pearce Campbell 23:58
So what holds people back from expressing their thought leadership on LinkedIn?
Deborrah Ashley 24:04
So two things, good and bad. Typically, when I first get a client, it’s so interesting, when I first got client and say, we may not start for another two weeks, they’ll stop doing everything. Like they almost don’t want to mess it up. And it makes sense to me, because here’s the thing, there is a potential that if you’re putting the wrong things out there, and there’s not necessarily a right or wrong, but sharing content that’s not relevant to your market, you could potentially water down your friends. I think having a great content strategy, having a great flow, understanding why you’re in everything should be strategic and intentional. So understand why you’re putting out a particular piece of content and who you’re looking to target with it is going to be key. So I think a lot of people, they just don’t do anything because they think they’re gonna mess up. And yeah, I think LinkedIn is a popular platform. You don’t want to mess upright. Yeah. That’s a big reason.
Heather Pearce Campbell 24:56
Yeah. No, it’s true. And I think, you know, Maybe you can talk to us a little bit about this, people get a little bit afraid of the algorithms, right? Like if I don’t understand how this platform does it differently from these other platforms like, yeah, I’ll get shoved to the bottom or get penalized or whatever, for being a terrible content creator. What do you know about the algorithm on LinkedIn? Like, what is working for people right now?
Deborrah Ashley 25:22
Okay, so we’ll talk about some do’s and don’ts
Heather Pearce Campbell 25:25
Yes, I would love that.
Deborrah Ashley 25:27
I have this in my book, too, which is kind of cool. Like I have, what are the things that get the most engagement? Is it video? Is it long-form content? Is it a slide deck? Are there images, so when we think about the algorithm, obviously, the job just like on any other platform, LinkedIn is a free platform, when we think about it, you can get Sales Navigator, which is $80 a month, which can get you really connected to like the CEOs and get you really targeted. But in essence, it’s a free platform, the entire job for LinkedIn is to build revenue, and they build revenue from the advertisers. So if you’re doing anything that’s going to cause the members to leave the platform, they’re going to cut your reach. So one thing that I see a lot of people doing that will cut their reach is they put a link to wherever into their actual content versus in the comments gonna happen when the algorithm sees a link. And obviously, a link is it’s clear what a link is, it’s going to say, I’m not going to share with this with too many people, because now we can’t say to our advertisers, we have 80% of CEOs making $500,000 a year that spends, say, 20 to 30 minutes on the platform, they’re gonna say, spend five minutes on the platform. And that’s what advertiser cares about that, right? That’s one thing. Another thing that the algorithm loves. And you know, hashtags are fairly new on the platform. They’re about a year and a half old. But hashtags are a great way for you to not only track what content you’re putting out, so you want to create your personal hashtag, like mine is hashtag the LinkedIn black belt. So if someone goes and searches that they can see everything that I’ve ever put out, well, they’ll find they won’t find everything because of how LinkedIn set up. But mostly everything that I’ve put out is under that hashtag. So you want to put your personal hashtag, and you want to put maybe two or three that’s going to be relevant to your market, and you can change it up at different times. So the great thing is as say, someone, let’s say, someone if they’re in finance, and they want to see what’s the latest in finance news, and you report on that, and I always say treat yourself almost like it’s a media platform, and you’re the reporter, because you have your target audience, and you’re going to show up for them at this educator, and, and advocate, and you want them to now see you as the person that go-to for all of their news, and their resources and their strategies. So now you want to find that hashtag that’s going to target your market. And then just you’ll probably have two or three and but of course, leave your personal one, the great thing that I love with your personal one, you can have people follow the hashtag. Yeah, so you can say, follow me at hashtag the lake and black belt for more LinkedIn tips and strategies, and you can have people to start to follow you. So that’s another thing to hashtag, super important. What’s gonna happen with the algorithm? And it’s all about is this person, a desirable person? are they keeping more people on the platform? So when you think about how they kind of rank it a life is okay, right? You can scroll by and like someone’s post, it doesn’t take much effort. However, if someone likes and comments, now that’s going to take some time because they’re actually putting thought into it. But then you have that third level, you like, you comment, and then someone else is sharing your work. Now the algorithms like oh, wow, more people are interested in this, this is relevant. Let’s give this girl another push. And then you have people having conversations within your contacts. So and then a great way for you to kind of do this, if you reply to say a post that I put out, and you say, oh, great tips. Thank you for sharing. I can either say You’re welcome. Like sometimes I’m an introvert. So sometimes I’m like, You’re welcome. I don’t want to have an excessive conversation. Or I can say what tip was your favorite. And now you’re encouraging more conversation. So those are some ways that you can get the algorithm to get going. I would say if you don’t normally post, do not get down on yourself, if you don’t get engagement. I mean, there’s just there’s a lot of noise out on LinkedIn. So you have to make sure that you’re standing out I always call it as the obvious choice and the resource in your market.
Heather Pearce Campbell 29:38
Well, if some of those and I haven’t heard, like the personal hashtag before, that’s fun. That’s something to think about. And I didn’t actually know that people could follow hashtags on LinkedIn. I knew that they’d added hash tagging. And I’ve used that pretty consistently whenever I do post but I love that and I think just being aware of obviously, the principle All of LinkedIn is to keep people there, you no longer have to like just paying attention to that is like, Oh, well, then it’s obvious that a link outward would go into the comments not into the main body of the post, right and doing some of these other things to drive engagement versus the fly by likes.
Deborrah Ashley 30:17
Right. Another thing that I used to do is, you know, because after you kind of get you, your momentum on the algorithm, just naturally things that you share with everyone. So once I get about 1000 views, I’m more like midday, if not within two or three hours, I will then go and edit my post, and I will attach the link there, because the algorithm, the algorithm has already done its job with me, they love me. So they’re not going to bother me that with a few posts, especially if I’m trying to bring someone back to say, a freebie that I have, or if I’m trying to bring them back to book a call with me. And I don’t want to be bothered, because once a conversation starts happening in your comments, it can get lost us. I’ve had a freebie before I did a video and I did a freebie. And so many people reached out they didn’t reach out they left comments, how can I get this freebie? How can I get this freebie? The hard thing? You’ll lose some people because you may link it to their comments or you may reach out to them and they never come back on the platform for weeks. Yeah. So yeah, that’s that’s another trick you can do.
Heather Pearce Campbell 31:22
You know, I like that. That is a super ninja trick, adding it back into the main post, as well. And I have had that experience I get on at least weekly, but usually multiple times per week on LinkedIn. And, but regularly, like when I reach out and message folks, I’ll have people you know, get on a month later and be like, oops, sorry, I don’t get on here that much. Right. That’s a pretty frequent experience.
Deborrah Ashley 31:47
Yes, funny the other day, and I must have been launching a course. And this is kind of cool. It’s something you can do, too. I reached out to this lady who was pulling my target market and I said, Hey, can we jump on a call? 2018 By the way, can we jump on a call? I’d love to ask you a few questions about something that I’m launching. I’d love to get your insight into X, Y and Z. Money Monday, she replied, yeah, absolutely love that. I had to be I couldn’t help but I had to be sarcastic. I smarter. For example, Marjorie, I sent this in 2018. Thanks, anyway.
Heather Pearce Campbell 32:19
That is hilarious. years. She’s like, perfect. I’m finally ready.
Deborrah Ashley 32:26
I didn’t do that. But two years later, like how?
Heather Pearce Campbell 32:30
I don’t know, truthfully, because I have some of my like, with the way that the LinkedIn messenger works. I can lose comments that are just a few days old, right? Yeah, yeah, I bet you have the same experience. Oh, my gosh, that’s hilarious.
Deborrah Ashley 32:44
Yes. Let’s jump on a call. Oh, my gosh, yeah. LinkedIn is funny. That way, there is really a wide diversity of how people use that platform. Right? Yeah. I’m almost guessing to that. Obviously, this year has been the year that a lot more people have had to use LinkedIn, whether you’re an employee or a business owner or anything else. So now probably people are playing catch up. I don’t know. Yeah, that’s just one guess.
Heather Pearce Campbell 33:10
Yeah. Well, and for people who haven’t, because I’m curious, for people that haven’t been using LinkedIn, like I’ve learned it fairly well as a tool that, you know, does a great job of connecting me to people that I want to connect with. But for folks that are new to it, what are your recommendations around how to initiate the connecting, right? Because you see people also using different strategies, you see some of the folks that I think are like, an open network, or whatever they’re called, and they will accept connections from anybody and everybody. And for me, I have a more kind of definitive strategy where I want to connect with either people that I can directly serve, or who our audiences are similar enough that we’re going to be really valuable connections for each other.
Deborrah Ashley 33:52
Right? Yeah, I’m the same way I always talk about three C’s of potential clients, as potential collaborators and people that work on something together, and there are potential champions, and the champions are the people who are well connected, and they have access that you don’t have access to, and they’re just going to champion for your brand, that’s all. So I always make sure whether someone reaches out to me to connect and whenever you reach out to someone, you always leave a note. You know, I have our I heard your last podcast about X, Y, and Z i really loved and very, very specific entities enough information that you could say something to someone because here’s the thing, people are starting to get a very I’m not defensive, but they’re very cautious about accepting connection requests because there is a spam party going on on LinkedIn with the wrong people learning the wrong thing. So if you leave a note and you share something very personalized for them, there’s no way you can’t get connected to the right theme like you can get connected to. I don’t have any idea how I’m connected to the CEO at Hershey. Hershey chocolate was not just a chocolate company now. But yeah, Things like that. So you can get connected to Gary Vee. This was like a long time ago, maybe you know before he got big on LinkedIn. Yes. There was an instance where I was doing a show I used to talk about leveraging your effect a lot. So I was doing a Facebook Live show there was this one guy who reached out to me was a speaker. He sent me his speaker reel because I was just asking him to send me their speaker reel. And because I wanted to help them as a speaker, leverage LinkedIn as a platform, he sent me his speaker reel, and I was like, I got intimidated right away. I was like, Whoa, who is this person? I don’t know who he is. But he is, like, amazing. His last name was Robbins.
Heather Pearce Campbell 35:44
Deborrah Ashley 35:46
He said yes to a Facebook live interview with me. By the way. That’s amazing. Yeah, but I was like, it’s so hilarious that I didn’t connect it to the last name I said, but of course, that’s why he’s so brilliant. So yeah, um, simple things like that. If you come off as yours, they’re human beings. We always put people on pedestals. I don’t even do that at this point. But if you treat them like they’re human, then they will reciprocate. Right? I found something quite interesting. I found like, you know, the Tony Robbins of the world. And I’ll reach out and say something like that. And he’s like, sure, that sounds like a lot of fun. Just let me know, I’ll send it to my assistant. But then you have regular people on Facebook who are into themselves, and they’re like, Well, tell me who else you’ll be interviewing? Nevermind. It’s not like, I don’t have to tell you that I’m interviewing Oprah to okay. No.
Heather Pearce Campbell 36:39
You raise a really important point, this point about treating other each other like we’re human, right. I like the one thing I find fascinating about LinkedIn is even though I love it, and I’m also glad you raised this issue of the big spam party going on is that there are times where I’m like, who is giving this advice to do this thing this way. Like, this is terrible advice. You know, in one week, I got connection requests, you know, from like, five different people that all had the exact same templated language. And I was like, what platform? What little mini, you know, back end bot system are you using that is sending the safe? Like, that’s when I will get like, nope, nope, nope. Like you are not because I, I’m on here to create actual connections like I am not interested in somebody else’s stuff.
Deborrah Ashley 37:29
Yeah. Because they’re clearly not interested in you. And, like, even like one thing I do when I kind of, you know, filter out my people, I look to see if they’ve been active on the platform. I had someone reach out to me who’s a LinkedIn at LinkedIn expert airports amusing. They had 282 connections, and they have never even posted once on the platform. No, like, okay, yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:53
Right. No, and I’m the same way if they’re, if they’re not, they’re like showing up and being legitimate and doing business on LinkedIn. Like, it’s just not going to be a great connection for me. So yeah, I’m good. Glad to hear that people have standards. But for me, it is I like I get very curious about who’s out there in the marketplace teaching people like, and I’ve heard whole strategies and systems around, like, send the first message and show them all the ways that you can be helpful for them. And you know, and it’s like, who loves to receive a link to like five different articles, like the first time you meet somebody? Would you do that to them in person? No. Right.
Deborrah Ashley 38:29
And you even asked if they were interested, like, suppose I’m not that interested, right? Yes. Yeah. So I know that, you know, I know of one Facebook coach who is like giving out these LinkedIn templates as part of their freebie. And I’m like, No, it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work that. Hi, Heather, I see that you’re an attorney. I help attorneys get five to eight clients per day. What would another client in your world feel like? No, when interest?
Heather Pearce Campbell 38:59
Yeah, when you’re being sold right out of the gate, it feels like ah, but you do this to somebody to their face? Like that’s the question, would I do this to somebody’s face? Like, if the answer is no, I shouldn’t do it anywhere online, either.
Deborrah Ashley 39:12
Absolutely. And if that’s the way that you’re doing business, now, you, I know you’ve been watered down my brand. If you’re my lead gen person, are you going to be spamming other people with my offer? So no, no, no, no.
Heather Pearce Campbell 39:25
Yes, I have to laugh a little bit. Because I tell people like Yeah, I love LinkedIn. And some people have horrible experiences like that. And they’re like, Oh, I don’t know what to think about that. And I’m like, Oh, you just disconnect or don’t accept the connection or whatever. Like, it’s no big deal. Move on.
Deborrah Ashley 39:39
It’s about being very discerning with who you connect with in the first. You don’t know that when you first get on the platform because you’re supposed to connect with people. Yes, yes.
Heather Pearce Campbell 39:49
No, I love that well, and I love the search functionality of LinkedIn how even on the free version, you can save searches that will then automatically deliver lists, you know, to your email. So for example, The folks that are in the industry that I either love to serve or connect with our information entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, online educators, speakers, authors, right and den podcaster than me people call themselves different titles, but that’s really the group of people. And, you know, I’m not looking for an electrician in Virginia, like, I probably can’t help him with his business or be a powerful resource for him. Right. And so I think some people make the mistake of feeling like they have to accept every connection, right? I’ve talked to people, they’re like, Oh, I just, you know, but you know, for me, by I choose to use it very intentionally. And so far, it’s worked really well, I’ve still got lots to learn about it. But I’ve loved it as a platform.
Deborrah Ashley 40:44
Heather Pearce Campbell 40:45
So talk to us a little bit about because you have I mean, you’ve got some phenomenal highlights from your career, right? You, you’ve got a long, rich background, you’ve been featured in various places, talk to us about how you’ve done that, how you’ve gotten these big features, right? You’ve been featured in The New York Times, you know, you are very popular on podcasts, you know, you’re an innovator. So I would love to hear a little bit more about that storied background.
Deborrah Ashley 41:15
Well, here’s my strategy. I’m the youngest child, and I expect to get what I want. Alright, so let’s let’s be real, so that might be a little bit of it. I love surprise when someone says no to me, like I’m getting used to it now clearly, because when you’re a business owner, everyone’s gonna say no, at least once. A lot of things, it involves putting myself out there. You know, there’s a lot that I’m afraid of when I’m doing it, but I do it anyway. Especially when you know, you can help people, you know, I have a background in public relations, obviously. So that helps a lot. I don’t like writing press releases. That’s why I never really went into the PR field. But I know how to use words to have conversations, and understand what people really want. And I love the aspect of human behavior. So I think it’s more about understanding, especially I’m sure you get a lot of people picking you up, I could read on your podcast, and this is what I can do. And I can do, but no, what can we do for the audience? So I think when you’re having conversations with people, it’s making sure that they understand the benefit that that would work for them. So I think the big thing, obviously, is positioning yourself as an industry expert, because who doesn’t want to be in the same world as an industry expert in industry resource? So I think that’s it, that’s the important thing, put it out. To me, it’s putting out content that’s going to make people think, and give them enough information that they can and I, you know, there’s a there’s a point of giving too much information because some people who are do it yourselfers they think they can figure it out. But I think LinkedIn is not one of those things where you just figure it out on your own. So I make sure I say that all the time. But it’s given me enough information that someone can get to the next step. And others see me. Like the event organizers see me, the podcast hosts see me and different people see me that I’m giving and I’m sharing with my audience and that my audience, they’re, they’re really engaged, and then they reach out to me. There’s a lot more I can be doing to, to show up, I’m going to start doing a lot more video, I would encourage people to start doing more video, it doesn’t get the highest engagement. But when the right people find your video, they connect with your voice, they connect with your eyes, they connect like I use my hands, a lot of New Yorker, people love when I say New York. So I think just people being able to get to know you because they can’t get to know you otherwise help.
Heather Pearce Campbell 43:40
Yeah, well, and that, yes, the video, I find the same thing. There’s really nothing else you can do in lieu of video except be face to face, right, that gives you the same experience of the person. So it is really powerful when you can use that. And I see that and I have not yet utilized video on LinkedIn the way that I should. Right. Yeah, What tips do you have about going live or posting videos on LinkedIn?
Deborrah Ashley 44:04
Well, as we, you especially I don’t know, if you convert any of your material into video, you can actually repurpose bits of your podcast right. And you know, they did the audiogram. So whether it’s just showing a picture of yourself and just doing like little snippets and a link to the actual podcast, I think that would be great. Obviously, you have the platform to interview people who are experts in their field. And when you do that, then of course, you’re associated with that expert. So I think the big thing and it doesn’t necessarily have to be live LinkedIn live is an interesting format, because I don’t think they have it necessarily figured out yet. There’s still that you have to go through a third party. Yeah, I think it could be as simple as recording something with someone else. And not only now you’re getting in front of their audience because they’re going to share it with others. But then your audience sees that you’re associated with that person and you naturally kind of elevate your brand.
Heather Pearce Campbell 45:00
Well, and I particularly appreciate the point that you said about because I think it’s easy, especially to see somebody like yourself who’s a thought leader who’s used to like showing up in big ways and be like, Well, you know, that just must be easy for them. But you said like, it’s still hard. And I still do it. Like, there are times where it still feels like a lever or a challenge, and I still do it.
Deborrah Ashley 45:22
Oh, yeah. Yeah, most of the only because like I said, I get bored easily. So I have something new has to happen. Like, it’s so interesting. You know, obviously, everything’s virtual now. And so I’ve been serving clients. That’s cool. I do LinkedIn profile overhauls. I do consulting with clients, but I was like, I want to do like a speaking engagement. By the way, I only got to speak in about two years ago, I was definitely afraid of speaking, I never even wanted to do Facebook Live. And I love it now. And then. So I need to do things to really put myself out there. And someone reached out to me this morning to be a moderator for this panel that they’re doing. And so I was like, Yes, something different. Right. I love that. Yeah. So that’s kind of like one of the reasons I do it. Because I like to have shifts.
Heather Pearce Campbell 46:11
No, that’s fine. Well, I’ve got a couple of questions for you. One is, where do you like to connect online? Is it LinkedIn? Is it other places, like for people that are listening, and are like, Oh, I want to go connect with Deborrah, I want to see what she’s doing. I want to follow her. Where do you recommend they find you?
Deborrah Ashley 46:28
On LinkedIn, obviously, the primary spot, they can connect with me by of course, looking up Deborrah Ashley with two R’s, or they use hashtags on LinkedIn black belt, I will be doing a lot more on Instagram now, especially with videos so they can search for hashtag, you know, my name on Instagram as a LinkedIn black belt, or they can do the hashtag. So those two are going to be the main areas to find them.
Heather Pearce Campbell 46:50
I love that. And I’ll drop your social media links into the show notes. So for people listening, go to legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Now Deborrah, did you have a gift that you wanted to share with those who are listening at?
Deborrah Ashley 47:04
I am a new author, funny No, thank you. Up until last year, people kept telling me to write a book, but innovator here, or maybe I was a little afraid. I kept saying I’m not gonna write a book because it’s on-trend. Everyone’s writing the book, I don’t want to write a book. But then I realized we’re here on this earth to create this unique experience for people. And our voice is so different than anyone elses. So I decided I’m going to put out a book. It’s called insider how to leverage LinkedIn to stand out as an industry leader. So I will be giving out the first two chapters to your audience. And the great thing about what I put out there, there’s no fluff. It’s only 98 pages, I always say a book doesn’t have to be 200 pages if it’s a 98. Page, well, full of war content, both strategies, and I think that’s, that’s a great thing for them.
Heather Pearce Campbell 47:54
So I love that. I love that. So be sure to grab, I’m gonna go grab it. I’ve got way more to learn on LinkedIn. But I’m already such a fan of it as a platform. So make sure that you check out her gift, the first two pages of your book and Deborrah, what’s your book called?
Deborrah Ashley 48:09
Insider how to leverage LinkedIn to stand out as an industry leader? The first two chapters?
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:14
Yes, no, I love that. I just wanted you to repeat the title because it’s a great title. So you like change, you get tired of being bored. What what’s next for you? What do you see coming next in your journey?
Deborrah Ashley 48:27
I think next we’ll be doing more video. Like that’s a big challenge. For me. The big challenge initially was to do the public speaking but to do video I want to have on at least twice a week, I want to do video on LinkedIn. Maybe I do it once a month at that much. So that’s gonna be the big thing for me. And I don’t like to plan anything else. Like I was like a beach house in Costa Rica. Right? But I’ll see what comes to me next.
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:57
Real video sounds like a good challenge. That’s still one that I’m working on as well. Never so great to connect with you and hear a little bit about your story. I know. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. But I love I’m so glad that we got to connect and share some of your expertise with my audience, especially around LinkedIn. Like I’m a fan of it, and I know that I’m still not utilizing it fully. So super excited to follow you online and check out your first two chapters of the book. Really appreciate connecting with you today.
Deborrah Ashley 49:27
Thanks, Heather. Thanks for having me. Absolutely.
GGGB Intro 49:31
Thank you for joining us today on the guts, grit and great business podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. four key takeaways links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more see the show notes which can be found at legal website warrior.com slash podcast, be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on iTunes. Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts so others will find us to keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.