Liesbeth Jansen, LinkedIn expert at leads2connect
Become a LinkedIn expert and build your own business
Liesbeth Jansen is a LinkedIn expert and trainer. She runs the company leads2connect that helps employees to connect with Linkedln, making them explore and use better the social media for business purposes. On 14th February 2018 Silverside marketing team had the pleasure to have an interview with her about the use of LinkedIn for business and how she managed to become a LinkedIn coach.
Q: Please tell us something about yourself.
A: My name is Liesbeth Jansen, my company name is leads2connect. First, this idea came to my mind in 2008 or 2009 but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had my career always in sales, like account manager, selling IT solutions to companies. But at some point, I was fed up with this and I thought that maybe I could have started something for myself, having my own business. I had no idea about what to do, but I had my company name: leads2connect. Because everything I am doing, leads to connection, to connect people, business, thoughts, whatever. So this was how it was born, but I still didn’t know what to do to make money out of it. Then, I started talking about LinkedIn and I found out that I knew a bit more about LinkedIn than other people. And that a little bit more, became a lot more, because I was focusing on the website all day. So people started asking me: “Can you give me a workshop on LinkedIn?” So this is the story of my career.
Q: What was the reason why you decided to focus on LinkedIn?
A: My company name is leads2connect, about connecting people. For example, I can introduce people to each other and ask money for it, because I brought a good connection to them, but this is very hard, this is networking, but to ask money for it… doesn’t feel good. So what is next? By accident, I found out that I know about LinkedIn more than regular people. So, in 2009 I started thinking about giving LinkedIn trainings. I realised that I liked to stand up and teach, talk and communicate with people. I find it amazing. Now, it is 2018 and I still do LinkedIn trainings, it is so surprising!
Q: Why do people appreciate LinkedIn in your opinion? Could you tell us some advantages and disadvantages of LinkedIn?
A: I think LinkedIn has one thing that any other social media hasn’t: you can see who you know, on Facebook, Instagram or other social media, but on LinkedIn, you can also see who your network knows. And also the other aspect, you can like something they posted and people feel very positive about it, it is very human. Everybody likes it.
Q: How does your daily work look like? How do you prepare for your LinkedIn trainings?
A: I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn on my mobile phone, also on the website, I follow a lot of people from America and Australia to get to know another way of looking at things, because they can show how to be more exceptional.
Q: What do you like the most about your job?
A: Meeting people of course! Meeting people absolutely! I have always an interesting conversation with people about different topics. I like to make connections with people and I like the tool.
Q: So, does communication inspire you?
A: Absolutely! Communication and connection.
Q: Is collaboration also linked to LinkedIn?
A: Yes, if you find the right people, connect them, so they can work together, of course it is about collaboration. I think that LinkedIn is like a big telephone book, but with skills and personal achievements. You just have to use the right words, and then people will find you or you can be introduced to someone, and this is nice!
Q: What about user adoption? Do you work on user adoption? Do you see people who do not want to use this tool?
A: This is the hardest part. I can inspire people to use LinkedIn, but I do not have a program where I am holding your hand and make you use it. It has to come from you. However, the user adoption in the Netherlands is quite low, we have around 7 million LinkedIn users, but only 500 000 people use it daily, so Dutch people just don’t use it.
A: I guess that they got inspired at the moment to make the profile, they created it, but don’t use it, and of course, when the account is not active, they don’t see the benefits from it. I go to several companies and help them to make profiles better. Yet, using LinkedIn effectively it is a different thing… it is more about showing yourself and this is difficult for some people.
Q: Can you share your opinion about advantages and disadvantages of using LinkedIn? We believe there are plenty of advantages, but maybe you see some disadvantages of it? Can you think of any?
A: There are a lot of advantages, I think one of it, would be that you can use LinkedIn the way you want to use it. If you want to just have the account and don’t do anything, or make a profile and do something. But at the end, you have a profile and you can be found, so either way it is ok. I think this is an advantage, because if you have a profile on Facebook and it is not active, it has no value at all, but here it is different. So I see it as a big advantage, you can choose what you want to do with it. And an important thing is to communicate. If people add you on their connection list or if they send you a message, it is important to reply: this is the way to be connected to people. But if you do not reply, it would be a disadvantage, because people might think something negative about you… so if you have a profile and you are not replying to a message or any other interaction, it is a disadvantage. For example, if you have a phone and people are trying to call you, but you never pick up the phone, then what is the advantage of having the phone? You have to answer it. So if you have a profile, it means you opened one more way for people to connect with you. I don’t know any other disadvantage…
Q: And in your experience, what kind of help and support do your trainings give to people in the business sector?
A: First is to hear something new, not only to see what my boss is doing on LinkedIn or a manager does. Also, I think it is important to make connections at any level. I do not care what somebody is doing in the company, or for how long, or how old they are… you can always do something with LinkedIn, so I make it attainable for everybody. And be inspiring, of course, put high energy in it.
Q: You have many years of experience, so we are curious. Have you ever had some interesting, funny or bad experiences during your trainings?
A: Let’s start with an interesting one. So yes, I am quite judgemental, so what happened … I was giving the training in the company, there were like 9 or 10 people in the workshop. They said that one person has no LinkedIn account, it was 2017. I was curious about his age, he was a bit over 50, but at the end he can’t come in if he doesn’t have a profile, so the profile must be created before the workshop. So, we decided that he will be told to create a profile. At the day of the training, he came in and we started with the workshop and that person was so motivated, so curious about LinkedIn. He wanted to know more, he started to change things in his profile to make it better. The person was quite digitally capable, he was very good in working with a computer, he was very fast. I was so amazed. Then I had some coaching calls with that company and that person was always interested in my feedback, was willing to make the profile better and better. I was positively surprised. At the end, it seems that when you want to, everything is possible.
Liesbeth’s story shows us that social media has great potential and advantages for business purposes. LinkedIn in particular, is a powerful tool: it helps companies and professionals to grow their network, it offers new perspectives and, if used correctly and with enthusiasm, LinkedIn can also become an income and network generator. Yet, what also Liesbeth teaches us, is that we should not forget that technology and social media are not embedded only in the digital world, but they involve also people in their real life. At the end, if people are inspired everything is possible, even if we are dealing with the adoption of new technologies!