Camera fear, collaboration and community with Michelle J. Raymond

Finding community and collaboration opportunities
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John: Hi, I’m John Lacey and this is Build a Presentation Muscle.

Today I’m talking with Michelle J. Raymond, who’s a global LinkedIn pages expert, the host of the LinkedIn B2B Good for Business Show, and the co-author of a couple of books, Business Gold and The LinkedIn Branding Book.

I’ve got so much to talk to you about today, Michelle, but welcome to the show, first of all.

Michelle: Excited to be here and even more excited to Aussies. I don’t get to do that very often.

Working with a global audience

John: Absolutely. I guess before I even get into my questions, I understand that you work a lot with a global audience and Americans, particularly.

Is there things that they’re looking for that might be different to local clientele?

Michelle: Yeah, it’s been really interesting. I never intentionally set out just to predominantly work with the US, but it seems to be the way that it’s happened.

And I think that was because when I first set out doing my business three years ago, all of a sudden, Clubhouse was a big boom, especially in the US. I was in those Clubhouse rooms, and I think that’s where my community started to get built.

What makes them different? I think they’re action takers. That’s what I love about the US. They’re on board, they’re just looking for, tell me how to do this, make it happen. No holds barred, let’s just go and dive in. And that’s me to a T.

So I think that’s why I resonate so much with them. My friends over in Europe, they’re quite a little bit different. They’ve got some hesitations, and it’s a bit different process.

But what I love about the US is that, maybe it’s because LinkedIn is a US based company, but they really see the value of it. So I don’t spend my conversations going, you should be here. They’re like, “no, we should be here. Just tell us how we should do it.”

So it’s one of my favourite things is people that are eager and keen. They’re my favourite kinds of clients to work with.

Dressed for success

John: Absolutely. And I was going to ask you to introduce yourself, but I think I’m going to take a different approach.

And I’m hoping this is something that nobody has ever asked you on a podcast before, but what is your favourite Roxette song?

Michelle: Oh, I’m glad that you asked me. And no one has asked me this. Dressed for Success, and I am a tragic Roxette fan, so I appreciate you doing that research.

“Dressed By Success” by Roxette is one of Michelle’s favourite songs.

But it’s something that I will never forget the first time. They were my first ever concert when I was about 14 or 15, and I didn’t grow up in Sydney. So it was one of those things where we made the track to Sydney, and I’d never seen that many people in one place. So yeah, we’ll never forget that moment.

And that whole soundtrack to my life still is with me to this day.

John: It’s funny. I think of the late 80s and early 90s, and I always think of Roxette. And I guess I think of Eurythmics as well a little bit too. But it was just a beautiful time in music.

And obviously, Marie is unfortunately no longer with us, which is quite sad. But what an amazing back catalogue that they had.

Michelle: When I start looking at their greatest hits and it is literally the soundtrack to me high school, going into those early 20s, I was very cool, I’m sure.

But when I look at it, there’s just so many happy memories attached to it. And that’s what I love about their music is that it makes me happy. It makes me feel stuff. And maybe that’s what content does, too. I love content that makes people feel things, whether that’s laughing, whether that’s crying, whether that’s angry sometimes.

I think any content is powerful. Now, I can’t sing, so I’m not going to go down that path. So content creator it is.

Overcoming camera fear with LinkedIn Live

John: Sure. And speaking of content creation, look, I see you everywhere on LinkedIn. I know you’ve got your own podcast and your own video show. I see you on LinkedIn Lives. You seem like someone who’s just an absolute natural on camera and on microphone, but I understand that wasn’t always the case. Can you paint that picture for us?

Michelle: Yeah. I love that people assume what they see today is how I started. And I’m very much someone that’s transparent about how it began.

And as I mentioned earlier, I set my business up three years ago. I used to sell raw materials and ingredients that go into skincare and hair care and all those kinds of things.

And then all of a sudden one day I wake up and I’m going to be a LinkedIn trainer. Now, there’s a bit of a bridge that goes between those two things.

But essentially I thought, oh, I should go out and get a piece of paper and go and do some digital marketing course that will back up what I already know that I’ve been learning on the job for the last six years at that time.

“And then I looked at the first assessment, and the first assessment was record a five minute video. […] And I freaked out.”

So I signed up for this digital marketing course, I printed everything out, ready to go. And then I looked at the first assessment, and the first assessment was record a five minute video.

And it was a pretty simple introduction of yourself. There was nothing exciting. I didn’t have to research. It was just a five minute warm up.

And I freaked out.

That course is still sitting in the cupboard beside me. I see that stack of papers and I almost rock in the corner. It cost me a lot of money to sign up. And I threw the whole course away. I didn’t go any further.

That’s how much the thought of recording that five minute video freaked me out.

Fast forward a little bit. I got invited to do a LinkedIn live. It was actually in the format of almost like a boxing challenge where two people, myself and someone else, got on opposite sides because I loved company pages, they hated them, and off we went into the ring.

Linkedin Live somehow seemed a little bit different. And that really took off and we just kept doing weekly shows. And for me, there’s something about live shows that I especially love. But I’ve now done so many of them that that moved into recording videos so I could help more people.

That led to things like the YouTube channel. But if I go back to who I was roughly two and a half years ago, and there’s no way I ever imagined that I would be doing video so much in so many different ways and just having such an impact with it because it’s so powerful.

But that part is not lost on me where I began.

John: And do you think it was just the sheer repetition of showing up and doing it that got you over that initial fear?

Michelle: Partly. There’s a couple of things.

Back in the beginning, I would rewatch every single live show that I did and look for ways that I could improve things.

And that, I think, probably comes from growing up playing different sports and always wanting to be the best. And so I’m driven to try and do things to the best of my ability.

But I would watch back these videos in the early days, and I’d be rocking in the corner going, “Why would anyone want to listen to my voice? It’s so girly. It doesn’t match me. My mom would make fun of my voice.”

And I would go through, “Oh, my God, what do people think about my hair? What do they think about my background? I don’t have a microphone. I don’t have a green screen.”

And that’s all I could hear back in the beginning.

But over time, when I realized I’m not making those videos for me to look good, I’m trying to impact someone on the other side and teach them what I know.

And the second that I shifted out of my head and into the other side, the rest of it disappeared.

And so practice is one part of it, but remembering why I’m doing it was probably a bigger part back in the beginning.

John: That’s some great advice. And I think it’s almost become a bit of a cliché to start with the why, but I think there is so much power in understanding your motivation. And if you have some more concrete goals, I guess it’s easier for you to assess how well or badly things are going.

But I do recommend people actually do watch and listen to their own content. And I know it’s so cringy when you start, but it’s really important that you do actually get that feedback.

So, bravo.

Michelle: Yeah. Look, when I first started, I didn’t know what to look for. I didn’t know what would make a difference.

So for instance, when I first went on my very first podcast, I was doing that whole “mhmm” “a-ha” active listening like we do when we meet someone to show that we’re listening. But on a podcast, when you listen to that back, it sounds so loud and you’re interrupting and talking over the other person. I was like, “Michelle, never do that again.”

And I’ve seen what it’s like if you talk too much or you don’t bring your energy to the show. And there’s just lots of little things. If you rock back and forth on your chair. And these are things that I used to do in the beginning that now it’s almost become second nature. I don’t do them as much most of the time, certainly not perfect.

But it’s just been brilliant to learn from people like yourself that put so much content out where I can learn about this because this isn’t my full-time job creating. This is something I do to help other people within my business and help my clients. So it’s fun.

I just love creating now and I can’t imagine not doing video anymore, which is mind boggling.

Is AI the answer? That probably depends on the question…

John: I mean, it’s quite a transformation. And I didn’t have this in my notes and I don’t necessarily want to go on this particular rant. Although I understand you have some slightly different feelings about this, but everywhere I look at the moment, people are like, “Oh, I don’t want to create content anymore. I will just outsource to the AI tools.”

I find it’s actually good for my wellbeing to go off and think about things and synthesise my thoughts and express them. I certainly don’t want to be replacing myself with ChatGPT anytime soon.

But I guess along those lines, I understand there are some AI prompts coming to LinkedIn, and I know that you have a particular view on that. Can you share that with us?

Michelle: Yeah. Look, I was a pretty hardcore no to AI in the very beginning because I want to know why people don’t want to do it for themselves or what’s in the way because I’m a trainer at heart. I love helping people and I wanted to know what is it that made them think that the AI was better than them. But then I started to think, and I’ve actually got a real life example here of not everyone enjoys writing.

And I just look at my partner, she’s writing some comms at work at the moment, and the thought of writing something terrifies her.

But with the help of ChatGPT and putting some stuff in there, all of a sudden it’s given her confidence.

Now, I would never in a million years have imagined her being confident writing things because in the whole time we’ve been together, it’s never been that way. And so I can see that playing out for many more people on the platform.

Now, it’s only as good as the prompts that you put in and there’s still an art form to it. And I still want to address why people are drawn to it to avoid their own personal thoughts and creativity. And I think it’s driven by thinking that they need to be perfect. Now, if I can stamp that out in social media, that would be a life’s legacy worth doing. I don’t think I’ll get there, but I’m certainly going to try.

But ChatGPT, AI tools, all these things, I found ways that I can embrace them to take away the parts even I don’t like doing in my role.

So give me podcast show notes? No thank you.

Ask me to come up with headings and titles for episode details? I sit there and stare at the screen just like everybody else.

But the middle bit I absolutely love.

So I think if it can let me focus on what I love and take away some of these pain points so I can do more of it, I think there’s upside. But yeah, there’s going to be a lot of rubbish out there in the meantime.

John: And it’s funny, the sheer number of times when I’ve said to somebody, “Which AI tool did you use to write this?” And they’re always initially indignant, but they always concede eventually that, yes, that was the case. And I don’t think people realise how obvious it is to most people.

And I just worry a little bit that if the things you’re putting out can be that easily replaced, maybe they weren’t that great to start with.

I guess there’s a school of thought that maybe you just need to keep posting stuff to be front of mind for an audience. But I don’t know.

It’s funny. I think as an introvert, which I definitely am, I like to go really deep on the topics that I’m interested in. But I think that can be so overwhelming for the average person. So I’m trying to rein myself back in a little bit and just give you one little thing you can learn today and not overwhelm them.

Mindset and Branding

Michelle: When we wrote The LinkedIn Branding Book, Michelle Griffin and I, when we wrote that together, we started with mindset. And in that, we came up with almost 28 fears of why people don’t want to put themselves out there. And that fear is really real for people and holds them back in so many ways.

And introverts and extroverts, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re CEO or back at the beginning, it’s been really interesting. And we started with it because we figured if you can’t get in that right mindset, the rest of it doesn’t happen.

And people were like, Mindset, Branding, how do those two things go together?

Well, if you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t put yourself out there. You won’t create content. You won’t send someone a direct message. You won’t comment. There were so many stepping stones that came after it.

The LinkedIn Branding Book: The Power of Two — Build Your Personal and Business Brand on LinkedIn for Exponential Growth by Michelle B. Griffin and Michelle J. Raymond

Well, if you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t put yourself out there. You won’t create content. You won’t send someone a direct message. You won’t comment. There were so many stepping stones that came after it.

Michelle J. Raymond

And so it’s probably the most popular chapter in the whole book that people always comment on. They always can see themselves in some of those fears, and we’ve all got them.

I still have them. I’m worried that people are judging me just like everybody else.

But at the same time, like we just said, that whole cliché or “cli-shay”, as our friends in the US will say, it’s all about why am I doing this? And I have to just keep coming back to what does it look and feel like for the person on the other side when they have that light bulb moment? That’s what I’m doing this stuff for.

And if I can keep focused on that, the rest of it will sort itself out.

But for others, when you’re still trying to figure out what is that thing, it becomes about what are people thinking and what are they going to judge me and what are they going to say about whatever I post. And honestly, no one cares.

For as much content as I put out there, I’d be crazy to think that actually people care about it as much as what I do. They just don’t pay that much attention.

John: Absolutely. And I guess you’ve nailed it on the head right there because the fear is how people are going to react. And especially when you get started, there is nobody watching to react in the first place. So it’s probably a good idea to put that to one side and just work on developing your own craft if that is something you’re going to do.

The Power of Collaboration

John: So you did mention Michelle B. Griffin, who you co authored The LinkedIn Branding Book as part of Michelle Squared. And I know that you’ve also worked with Lynnaire Johnston for the Business Gold book. Collaboration seems to be a really powerful force in your life and work.

And I’m imagining that it makes life less lonely and you can share audiences and have some accountability as well. But I’m just wondering if you can talk to us about the power of collaboration.

Michelle: The LinkedIn Branding Book is built on the power of two. And it started, John, three years ago. I never intended to be a business owner. I left work one night thinking I would come back the next day. An event blew up. I quit on the spot and decided the next morning I would never work for anyone again. Now, I had zero clue what business I would have. I had no intentions of ever setting up my own business until that moment.

This is March 2020, peak COVID. We are about to go into lockdown here in Sydney for what would turn out to be pretty much the rest of that year.

Now, I’m an extrovert. I love people. I’d just come from a place that I had 30 people reporting to me. I had people at me all the time, and I loved it. I thrived in that environment.

Fast forward, I’m home alone. It’s just me in the four walls, and I went crazy. Winter kicked in and I was not in a good place. I eventually came up, obviously, with my idea of LinkedIn and how that all played out.

But what I discovered was the more times I could have conversations with other people, I would feel better. And that building a community started with virtual coffee chats. And then that led to other opportunities to work together and discovered some really amazing friends around the world.

But for me, it was loneliness in the beginning. It was very much, what does an extrovert who now works from home alone do? And so building community for me was a lifesaver.

It was when I weighed up the pros and cons of building my business, my partner and I, we looked at it. Lots and lots of pros. I was going to be great. The cons list: Michelle working from home by yourself because I literally go crazy.

Now, of course, we got the COVID cat and now I have a dog to match. That was a short stop.

But fast forward, what’s happened is I’ve also had to discover as a business owner, there are parts about my personality that make it difficult for me to do things if I’m not accountable to somebody else.

Now, collaborations are my way of having that accountability partner so that I will make things happen. So I was really lucky when Lynnaire approached me to write the book, and I nearly fell off my chair as the answer. She’d heard me on a podcast and reached out. And she’s like, we’re in our first phone call, and she says, “do you want to write a book?”

And I fall off my chair and in my mind I’m going, “Is this woman crackers? What is wrong with it? Why is she asking me? I’ve never written a book.”

And I just remember my brain just going on overdrive. Of course, what came out of my mouth was, “Sure, no worries. Of course, I can do that.”

And I was so glad I did. And I’m so grateful for the process that she stepped me through because she’d written a book before. And that was the beginning.

So I was really lucky when Lynnaire approached me to write the book, and I nearly fell off my chair as the answer. She’d heard me on a podcast and reached out. And she’s like, we’re in our first phone call, and she says, “do you want to write a book?”

Michelle J. Raymond
Business Gold: Build Awareness, Authority and Advantage with LinkedIn Company Pages by Michelle J. Raymond and Lynnaire Johnston

And then Michelle came to me about writing the second book, and it was the same thing. It was, she wanted to write a book. I’d been through the process. Could I help her? And it’s that whole pay it forward concept that I’m a huge fan of. And so off we went.

And I find even with my podcast or my LinkedIn Live show, I always have guests and there’s people that come to me and they’re like, “Michelle, why don’t you do more shows by yourself? You’re a good talker.” And they give me all the reasons why.

I know if it’s left up to me, it doesn’t happen. I see it in my calendar and I go, “Yeah, maybe later.” And so by having guests, I have that structure and away I go. And it’s about finding what works best for you and for me until I get myself sorted in other ways.

Having those collaboration partners, on one hand, keeps me accountable. But the other thing is I’ve learned so much from other people that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn because I don’t have coworkers, so to speak. Michelle, with her marketing side of things, has taught me so much. Lynnaire taught me how to write a book.

I don’t know. I could rave on about the power of collaboration all day, which I won’t, don’t worry, but I really could.

John: It’s very apparent to me, witnessing the benefits of that work that you’ve done with both Michelle and Lynnaire. That’s amazing.

It’s great that you know your own strengths and weaknesses and you can play to those a little bit. I think that’s great.

Your audio and video setup…

John: You did allude to the LinkedIn Lives, I just wonder if you could talk to us a little bit about your video and audio set up.

Michelle: Yeah, no problem. So like everybody, when I first started back when we’re talking about that first video, I had the awkward iPhone trying to look at how do you make your eyes look straight on instead of that awkward sideways look. That took me a while to work out.

But then I moved on to using my laptop camera, and then I was like, no, we’ve got to upgrade here. So I have a Logitech Brio camera is what I use.

My microphone, same thing. I did my research going, What microphone should I get? And I didn’t want to spend a million dollars, but my next one might be a bit more. But it’s an Audio-Technica 2100X, which has just turned out to be a really great investment for I think it was around $100 or something at the time. Maybe it’s a bit cheaper now. It’s nothing exciting.

But over time, of course, I don’t know, John, do you have the,” ooh, I just need another toy-itis when it comes to tech?” I can’t be the only one in this conversation.

John: Yeah, I mean, honestly, and I’m sure you’ll mention this in a second, but I certainly use some Rode equipment and they’re an Australian company. They make some beautiful things. They’re releasing some beautiful things very soon and I just keep looking at it and going, “It’s amazing, but I don’t need it. But I don’t know, Christmas is coming up, maybe I’ll treat myself.” I don’t know. We’ll just wait and see how that unfolds.

Michelle: So I did buy the Rodecaster Pro 2, and I’ll tell you when I bought it and why I bought it. It was this time last year, end of financial year is coming up. I had done really well in my business personally and financially hit my goals. And I was like, I don’t need it, but I want it. And it was my recognition of all the work that I’d done.

But more importantly, that I’d done the work to know that this was going to be a big part of where I was going in the future. It would have been an absolute waste of money for me to have spent money on this equipment back in the beginning. I still don’t even know how to use most of it, to be honest, let’s be clear.

But it was like a tick the box achievement. It was an acknowledgement of actually, I really love podcasting. I really love video podcasting and LinkedIn Lives.

And if this actually helps me give my message to others in a way that it just removes a couple of things that might interrupt them receiving my message, then that’s why I invested in it.

And it’s one of those things that sometimes I look at it and I just go, “I like the pretty colours on the buttons.”

But sometimes you got to do things for yourself as a creator because it can be a lot of one way giving, as I’m sure you can relate. I record a ton of content. I write a lot of content. I got, like you said, a couple of podcasts, a couple of books. A lot of that is “give, give, give.”

I think it’s important when you’re in business, sometimes you got to do things just for yourself and take back. Otherwise, I think that’s where burnout starts to kick in.

John: Absolutely. I think some people are just naturally gear enthusiasts. Honestly, if you can afford it, by all means indulge.

But I guess the danger sometimes I think is that there are people out there that are going, “I’ll start when I’ve got the $10,000 studio.” And it’s like, no, you really need to start with whatever you’ve got lying around just to see if it’s even something you want to do in the first place. So it can be a trap.

And I just encourage people to try to develop that proof of concept for whatever podcast or video show or whatever the case may be moving forward.

LinkedIn as a destination and opportunity

John: So I know that you’re deeply invested in LinkedIn and LinkedIn company pages expert.

I’m also quite invested in LinkedIn, but I’ve got to be really honest with you, I find LinkedIn a really curious place to be online. And a lot of the advice I hear is about “just commenting, just commenting. You’ll get on famously with everybody.”

I like to use this as an example, but I see a lot of weird thought leadership. I see these articles where people are like, “I dropped a brick on my toe, and this is what it taught me about thought leadership”, or things like that.

So I get the feeling you probably have a much more positive spin on LinkedIn than I do at the moment.

But I guess what would you say to somebody who is interested potentially in exploring that platform? And what is the potential opportunity there?

Michelle: Sometimes I feel like LinkedIn is that swamp pit that you talk about where people talk just absolute nonsense and rubbish. And I myself, for as much time as I spend on there, look at that stuff and just go, “What are you going on about? You don’t even know what you’re talking about.”

This is just sometimes outright lies, which really press my buttons. Sometimes I’m all for fun. That’s not a problem. And I know everyone’s got their own way of doing things, but there’s some stuff out there that really is cringeworthy and the lies really press my buttons. I am so anti that stuff.

But what I found is my secret power and why I love it and why I can spend so much time on there is because I spend a lot of time.

If you have a look at the posts that are in your home feed in the top right-hand corner, there’s three dots and the magical three dots open up a new menu where you can unfollow, mute or get rid of things that you don’t enjoy, that don’t inspire you that for whatever reason trigger you in a negative way, I unfollow.

Simplified LinkedIn post user interface showing the contextual menu that appears when you click the three dots, showing the Unfollow option.
Michelle recommends unfollowing people who post content of little value or who otherwise trigger you.

I am so ruthless with that and supporting the people that I want to support so that I’ve built a really amazing community that supports me and I support them, minus all the noise. Because if you end up, just like on any platform, on the wrong side of LinkedIn, oh, man, I’m out of there in a heartbeat just like everybody else.

But when you build an amazing community like I have, you can’t get enough of it.

Some may say I’m addicted, I’m happy to take that on board, but I just get so much joy from the people around me. And it takes time to build that. When I first started on LinkedIn, that was around nine years ago, selling raw materials and ingredients in the beauty industry. I built up an amazing community in that space.

But when I quit my job and decided to set up as a LinkedIn trainer, I almost had to park that whole community and start again. Now, I got to tell you, that first six months was hell on earth for me. I went from the top of my game with this amazing community who knew me, I was the only one on LinkedIn doing it in that space, to all of a sudden back at the beginning, crowded listening to all these other LinkedIn trainers.

And part of me was looking at, no offence to some of my… Some of them are really my good friends, but there’s some rubbish out there that people are saying, and I just didn’t agree with it. And I found over time, I’ve moved away from where I was to where I am now. And that’s okay. It’s not right or wrong. It’s not good or bad. It’s just how things evolve over time.

And so be ruthless with who you connect with, be strategic around it, and also mute and unfollow and remove connections on anything that triggers you.

For me, that competitive self that I mentioned earlier, sometimes when people are 5, 10 years ahead of me, it really, I call it ‘a side swipe.’ I’ll be scrolling, I’ll see their success and I’ll want it, but not in a positive way where I’m happy for them.

Now, it’s not on them, but I know every time I see their posts, I go through the same thing. Now, I’ll work on myself later, but for now, it’s just unfollowed. Get rid of it. I’ve got to be in the moment now. So it’s been a journey. It’s not easy. I can see why you would have that experience on the platform. But yeah, unfollow relentlessly.

John: I think that is good advice.

LinkedIn personal profiles, company pages and groups

John: So we know that you’re particularly interested and invested in company pages, but I guess on LinkedIn, we have our personal profiles, our company pages, and our groups. How do you talk to your clients about those three separate things and when to use which?

Michelle: They’re all really important and they all work differently.

Now, I fell into company pages by accident. I’m not going to lie, it was not the very first time. How I got into my business, I decided to write a training program for the beauty industry on how they could sell on LinkedIn. I went to the first person and they said, they just looked at me with desperation and said, “Can’t you just do it for us? Whatever you’ve been doing for you, we’d love that. Just do it for our company.”

I was like, “Is that even a job?” I’m not even lying. I didn’t even know it was a job. And I was like, “Okay, let me just have a look and see how I can do that.” Oh, I could be a company page admin. It’s not against the terms and agreements. Okay, sure. Company pages, here we go.

But it actually started because no one else was talking about them. Or if they were, they were put in hate on company pages pretty bad. But the way I saw it, if no one else was talking about it, I was thinking, you need a company brand just as much as you need a personal brand.

And I was absolutely rock solid in my belief on that, even though the noise around me was quite different. And the best way I can explain it to people, you really need a strong personal brand. How you stand out in a really noisy, crowded platform. It’s what you want to be known for.

And as an employee, I had to build one. And I didn’t even know what I was doing back then, let’s be clear. I built it over time just by repeating behaviors almost.

But then if you think about it, I built up 5,000 strong community in the beauty industry. That got me attention. That got me new opportunities.

And so I left the company I worked for. Now, I took those 5,000 followers niche community, and I went and worked at the next company. And the one I left had nothing. So they went back to invisible on LinkedIn. And so this is what happens with the turnover rates that we’ve had over the last couple of years is that you have to create a place that if staff turnovers, the company brand keeps ticking over on LinkedIn.

The same way if you want to attract the right staff to come and work for you, it’s really important to build a company brand. Then you’ve got employees, their brand, so you’ve got to build it all up.

So for me, it’s like this triangle of places. Have the enterprise level, your executives, that’s really important, and your employees. And so bringing them all together, not just cutting off company pages because they’re uncool and you don’t get as much reach as what you do on your profile. That’s just naive to think that they’re meant to work this thing. They don’t and they don’t get as much reach. There’s nothing I can do about that. They’re not designed to.

But groups, on the other hand, are something that making a small Renaissance on LinkedIn, they were good probably about six or seven years ago, not so good for the last five. But we’re starting to see some investments.

Why? Linkedin want brands, people, community is the answer, branded communities, just communities for people to gather in. And that all became because of COVID when we were working from home by ourselves.

So groups are unique on LinkedIn. I’m not sure that… I have one, but it’s not something that I hang out in all the time because they’re too hard to get even… They get even less traction than company pages. So it’s not where you go to hang out with friends as such. But hopefully with the new features that they’re bringing in, we’ll start to see that change, but not anytime soon from what I’ve seen.

John: And again, it’s very much early days, but I guess I’ve been interested in groups lately. The sense that I have is that there are certain things that I’d like to talk about that just aren’t of any great value to my personal connections.

And I thought if I could take this outside of the personal profile context and just move it somewhere that people could opt in or opt out of that information, it might be worthwhile. But like I said, it’s very much in the early days of that.

So I’m curious to see whether that pans out in my favour or whether I end up doing something else.

But I guess in some ways I think LinkedIn is predominantly about that networking. And as you say, it’s really about finding the people you do connect with to literally connect with, if you know what I mean.

Michelle: Yeah, it’s like that.

I have a group called Cheer Squad for Good, which is only for women business owners. It sounds quite exclusive, and it is because I almost handpick who I want to come in. And I talk about content that I don’t talk about in my normal everyday stuff.

But I built that because I liked the support. I have so many people around me in similar size companies running them. And just sometimes it’s just nice to have someone else high five you when something comes off rather than your immediate family or those around you. They get a bit sick of it, or they’re not interested in what you do, or have no idea what you do, which is what most people are like, “How do you make money off LinkedIn? I don’t get it.” So to have people that understand it can be great.

So I think it’s great on a niche topic. I think the deeper you can go on something, the better that they’ll work. Or the other way is super duper generalist and broad and public. Either of those two ways will work, but not in every situation. But it’s my one little piece of paradise on LinkedIn that I’m like, it’s away from the noise. It’s just a bit of a pain to actually [do] the admin side of it. Just with the tools that we’ve got make it a bit tricky. But yeah, like I said, that will change.

Connect with Michelle

John: So I guess where is the best place that people can connect with you or learn more about the many, many things that I know that you’re doing?

Michelle: Look, I’d love for any listeners to come over and just connect with me on LinkedIn and look for Michelle J. Raymond.

The J is there not to make my name any longer than it already is. But there are lots of other Michelle Raymonds on the platform. So I’m the only Michelle J. So that’s how you’ll find me.

And I’d love to hear from people that have enjoyed the episode.

John: Great. Thank you so much for joining us.

Michelle: It is my pleasure. Cheers.

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