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Mary Fain Brandt: How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business

ROCK your BRAND! There I said, Rock out your Brand on LinkedIn! Yes, it’s a professional platform , but people do business with people. Be relatable! Be authentic. I have a saying, “It’s too hard to be two different people: one online and one offline. You should be the same online as you are offline.” Authenticity creates empathy and helps you be relatable to your audience. Remember there is a person behind the profile, speak to that one person. One of my highest viewed posts was me sharing a personal story and being authentically myself. Do not apologize for who you are, embrace it and work it into your brand. For me, I am energetic ,fun and informative, casual and conversational, joyful, bright,and strategic. All of this is weaved into my brand with colors, copy, and the tone and style of my LIVE shows.

As part of my series of interviews about “How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mary Fain Brandt

Mary Fain Brandt is the CEO and CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) at the LinkedIn Bakery and Mary Fain Brandt Coaching & Consulting where she serves up Bite-Sized Tips on how to turn your LinkedIn Profile into a lead magnet. She is an International LinkedIn Strategist, Speaker and Consultant who works with savvy business women who want to stand out as experts in their industry and get more clients through LinkedIn. She is also the co-host of LinkedIn Local San Diego.

Entrepreneurs, business leaders and sales teams call Mary when they’re ready to use LinkedIn to increase their visibility, boost their credibility, and fill their pipeline with qualified leads.

Having worked with over 300+ clients worldwide, hosting the multi-platform LIVE Show, “Bite-Sized Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs”, as well as creating a multitude of online courses has equipped Mary with the knowledge and understanding of what it takes to create successful summits.

In 2019, Mary started producing LinkedIn Live summits for other experts, allowing them to focus on what they do best: be a host and expert in their field. She brings in thought leaders from around the world and various industries to provide the latest trends and hot tips for a variety of attendees and target markets.

Known for her fun and informative style, she is an energetic remote live producer, emcee, workshop facilitator and speaker who creates engaging learning environments for attendees with actionable tips they can implement immediately.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Truth is I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. I saw my Dad go through “highs” and “lows” when he owned his own appraisal company. I started my business in 2014 when my mom got sick. She was officially diagnosed with Alzheimers. I was working full time and taking care of her and it all came tumbling down when she went missing on a cold raining Friday night.

Luckily for us, we found her. But it was that event that made me realize I needed to be there for her and a J-O-B wasn’t going to give me the flexibility I needed to do that.
So I started off as a career coach for women understanding first hand their pain points of finding a purposeful career that aligned with their talents and skill set. I worked with women over 40 looking to pivot in their career. One thing that ALL of my clients had in common? They needed to create or revamp their LinkedIn Profile… so I did what I do best, research and learn.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Professionally, Facebook showcased my company at their Facebook Community event in San Diego, that was pretty awesome! Out of the blue Facebook contacted me and said they were impressed with my business page and the value that I was bringing to my audience.

A few years ago, I volunteered for Social Media Marketing World (you know when in-person events were a thing) and I did a video in the morning about how excited I was to be volunteering and giving back my time and what a great conference it was.

During the training session while in the lunch line, Michael Stelzner (Owner of social Media Examiner and Founder of SMMW) turned to me and said, “Nice video Mary” to which I replied, “You watched my video? You know who I am?” insert big smile on my face. I was

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I had someone reach out to me that was pretty well-known. She was a best-selling author and international speaker.

She asked for a proposal for LinkedIn Training for her and her team. I thought OH MY this is it, my big break! I’d been working with clients one-on-one at this point and only had a few clients under my belt.

I wrote up the proposal (first one I had ever done) , sent it off and waited. She got back to me rather quickly to let me know that I misspelled her name! Imagine my embarrassment! I’m dyslexic and always need to double check everything. My brain works twice as fast as my fingers, and my eyes don’t catch typos. I actually have to say it out loud. Lesson learned, re-read everything before you hit send!

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

All social media platforms have their purpose and place. But for me, wanting to have more professional connections and work with specific types of professionals — LinkedIn hands down is the most effective platform to do both of those things; build a strategic network and find qualified leads. With over 700 million users and the average user making over a 6 figure income — -well those are people who can afford my services. Sure, I’ll buy make up for $29.99 on Facebook or Instagram, but I’m not hiring a coach from there. I vet everyone over on LinkedIn.
For example, I ask clients when onboarding them how they heard about me? 80% say, “ Oh I’ve been following you on LinkedIn for 6–7–8 months and decided I was ready to work with you.
LinkedIn is a long game, not a short game. You use the platform to build a strong and strategic network, showcase your experience, highlight your talents and provide value (tips and industry trends) to your audience.

Let’s talk about LinkedIn specifically, now. Can you share 5 ways to leverage LinkedIn to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Communicate: Stories are a great way to engage with people. Truth be told, I wasn’t a fan when they came out. I thought “Oh no, LinkedIn is going to become just like Instagram and Facebook!”. But then I replied to a story by Judi Fox and we ended up setting up a Zoom call to get to know each other better. It’s through the conversations with others which can lead to future opportunities. It’s a great way to start a conversation with someone that you might not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with.
  2. Comment: By engaging on your connections posts you are opening a door to connect on a deeper level with them. Don’t just hit the like button. Read their post and comment on what resonated with you. By doing this the author will see your name, it’s also great a conduit to sending a formal connection request to someone that you are not connected with. You can mention a post of theirs that you enjoyed reading or learned something from and if you commented on that post, they just might recall your name and accept your request to connect. If content is King, then Engagement is Queen (said by Mari Smith at SMMW19, but still true now.)
  3. Cultivate your Connections: Don’t connect and forget. Where’s the value in that? Wait, let me answer that for you- there isn’t any value. Each month choose 3–5 connections that you don’t know well or haven’t connected to in a while and reach out to them. You’d be amazed at the magic that can happen in a conversation. Each month I have a goal of setting up 3–5 Zoom calls with people from my network. It also becomes a piece of content for me. I snap a photo of us on Zoom and then create a post on LinkedIn about how great it was to learn more about them and tag them in the photo. I also challenge my audience to do the same thing. Now more than ever, we are in need of connecting with people. WFH has isolated many people and this simple act of reaching out to someone can brighten their week and strengthen your network.
  4. ROCK your BRAND! There I said, Rock out your Brand on LinkedIn! Yes, it’s a professional platform , but people do business with people. Be relatable! Be authentic. I have a saying, “It’s too hard to be two different people: one online and one offline. You should be the same online as you are offline.” Authenticity creates empathy and helps you be relatable to your audience. Remember there is a person behind the profile, speak to that one person. One of my highest viewed posts was me sharing a personal story and being authentically myself. Do not apologize for who you are, embrace it and work it into your brand. For me, I am energetic ,fun and informative, casual and conversational, joyful, bright,and strategic. All of this is weaved into my brand with colors, copy, and the tone and style of my LIVE shows.
  5. Stay on top of new features and use them! Instead of sending a text style message through InMail, send a voicemail or even better a video message. I frequently do this after a call with a potential client or collaboration partner and everytime they are surprised and delighted! Stand out.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

In college I wrote a paper titled, CSR: Corporate Social Responsibility. I believe that ALL businesses of any size should have a Volunteer-Give-Back component. Whether that be one hour for an employee to volunteer, or one day. If everyone in the world gave back with their time and talent, we could solve some of our biggest problems: elderly care, tutoring to children to help them succeed in school, community clean ups, etc.

From day one, I set up to give back a percentage of sales to the Alzheimer’s Organization and I hope to increase what I give as well as add other organizations into the mix. I also regularly volunteer where I roll up my sleeves and clean out parks or paint classrooms.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

Ellen DeGeneres- She’s overcome obstacles set by society, stayed true to herself, created her own space where she has had great success, gives back to many and is funny and a great dancer!

Business: Amy Porterfield- just love her and the way she shares her success without it being all about her. I had the chance to meet her at SMMW and she was just as great in person.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!

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