Having lost her corporate job in 2009, Judi Fox placed her belongings in storage, rented out her townhouse, and began traveling the world. While away, she hoped to network with acquaintances, with the goal of reaching two people per day.
She told me, “I made a list of everyone I knew. I started connecting with them on LinkedIn. Pretty quickly, within the first year, I grew my connections to that 500-plus level.”
Fast forward to 2022, and her LinkedIn profile has nearly 39,000 followers. Her business, LinkedIn Business Accelerator, advises companies and professionals on strategies for that platform. And, yes, #FoxRocks is her hashtag.
How could I promote Beardbrand, my company, on LinkedIn? I recently asked her that question and more. Our entire audio conversation is embedded below. The transcript is edited for clarity and length.
Eric Bandholz: Tell us about your journey on LinkedIn.
Judi Fox: I joined in 2009 during the financial crisis. I lost my corporate job early that year as an environmental engineer. Two days later I packed up my belongings into a storage container and started traveling around the world. I networked that whole year, not looking for a job, but just visiting with people, getting to know them. To make ends meet I rented my townhouse.
While traveling I tried to talk to two people a day. I made a list of everyone I knew. I started connecting with them on LinkedIn. Pretty quickly, within the first year, I grew my connections to that 500-plus level.
The world has changed since 2009. My “Connect” button on LinkedIn is now “Follow.” “Connect” is still there, but it’s buried.
Bandholz: I go to LinkedIn only once a month or so. I love building relationships, but mostly on LinkedIn I hear from folks wanting to sell me something. It gets exhausting.
Fox: To attract the right audience, think about your content strategy. Try to adopt a leadership voice, which is actually three voices. One is to be a curious leader, wherein you publish posts that generate comments because you’ve come across as curious, such as “What do you think about my new ecommerce site?” People love responding because it makes them look smart.
Next is the creator’s voice. Perhaps you provide steps for starting an ecommerce store.
Then there’s the voice of a resource. You’re posting news on LinkedIn about your industry.
Bandholz: Give me an example of how I could promote Beardbrand on LinkedIn.
Fox: Talk about how you got started. Explain your concept of an Urban Beardsman. Turn that into a hashtag. Ask, “Are you an #UrbanBeardsmen?” “How has your beard helped you at work?” Or, “Has your beard gotten you a promotion?”
What about a “Beard of the Week” on LinkedIn where you spotlight a professional?
Bandholz: Let’s get into the weeds a bit. Is it better to post photos, links, videos, or just text?
Fox: What matters is creating trust and consistency over the long term. LinkedIn users will become familiar with how you show up. For example, I followed someone who uploaded every Monday a one-minute video repurposed from Instagram. She grew to 22,000 followers in a year and became a top voice in her category, which is sports.
Bandholz: You have nearly 39,000 followers. When do you post?
Fox: Consistency is less about date and time and more about the tone and brand recognition. The person in the example I just cited used the same visual, the same framing. We all recognized her every time.
My audience expects spontaneity and energy. I wanted to build a brand that allowed me to create season one of Judi Fox, take a break, come back with season two.
Plus, I run a room on Clubhouse every Wednesday. That’s provided a lot of interaction and visibility. It has served me like crazy.
Bandholz: Let’s talk about a LinkedIn profile. What’s necessary for 2022?
Fox: The first thing is to turn on creator mode in your profile. With creator mode, you get a 30-second video instead of just a picture of yourself. You have to activate it on the LinkedIn smartphone app. Upload the first video from your phone. Then you can do it from your desktop.
The next thing is to record the 10-second audio to pronounce your name. I have three calls-to-action in those 10 seconds — “Hi, I’m Judi Fox. Follow my hashtag. Go to my features section.”
The next part is to pick your hashtags. Mine is #FoxRocks. Over 1,000 people now follow that hashtag, which means I’m at the top of their newsfeed every time I post.
Another profile tool that I love is the bell. My banner has an emoji-like bell with an arrow beside it with the word “Ring” — to read “Ring my bell.” Anyone who clicks on that bell gets notified when I post.
You won’t see it on your own profile. You can’t ring your own bell. LinkedIn just launched that feature, the bell, a few weeks ago. Not everyone has access to it, I don’t think.
Next is the featured section. It was once called “Media Files.” It’s now called “Featured.” It’s a much better user experience for potential clients. They could click through to a course, to your podcast, to your calendar, whatever journey you want a prospect to take.
Bandholz: Here’s the thing. My most active social media platform is Twitter. I post twice a day. It’s easy. It’s quick. Should I re-post everything from Twitter on LinkedIn? Otherwise, it becomes overwhelming to produce unique content for both channels, not to mention TikTok and other social sites.
Fox: I feel the same. Think about the audience you’ve already built. Ignore what everyone tells you to do on LinkedIn. The only thing I would emphasize for LinkedIn is to make it positive. Don’t ask followers to admit to a weakness, such as, “I didn’t take care of my beard this week.” Give them rock-your-beard vibes. You’ll generate more business with positive framing.
Bandholz: How can our listeners connect with you?