How to build a LinkedIn Community. Guest: Miranda VonFricken
If you want results for your B2B business on LinkedIn – trying to go it alone is not the answer. The real power comes from building B2B communities.
In this episode, Michelle J Raymond asks community builder extraordinaire Miranda VonFricken, host of LinkedIn Local and the 4:30am Club how she builds engaged LinkedIn Communities.
• What are the benefits to my business to build a LinkedIn
• 3 Best Tips for Building an Engaged LinkedIn Community
• How can I generate sales for my business by building a LinkedIn
• What is LinkedIn Local, and who can get involved?
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Good for Business Show Full Transcript
Michelle J Raymond: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Good for Business Show. I’m your host, Michelle J Raymond and today we’re here to discuss how to build a LinkedIn community and who better to help me answer that question than my guest today, Miranda VonFricken. Welcome to the Good for Business Show.
Miranda VonFricken: Hello, Michelle. Thank you so much for having me.
Michelle J Raymond: I appreciate you jumping in at last minute and volunteering your time today. You asked me the question, Michelle, what is it on the show that you haven’t spoken about before?
Whilst I spoke about, the importance of B2B communities, taking businesses away from just growing Page followers as a commodity, to really having a valuable audience. I did that with a friend of mine called Pablo and I enjoyed that. But what we didn’t cover was how do you build it? Why do you build it?
We’re gonna jump into that. For people that don’t know you, in your own words, who are you? Who do you help? What do we need to know about you?
Miranda VonFricken: I wear a lot of hats, but for this conversation, I’m Miranda VonFricken, I am a LinkedIn strategist and I help entrepreneurs and small [00:01:00] businesses, really level up on LinkedIn. With regards to their personal brand and building community in order to grow their business. I host a few different communities.
Michelle J Raymond: You’re a ‘LinkedIn Local’ host as well, tell me how you got into that?
Miranda VonFricken: It started in Australia. I actually saw on LinkedIn when I was a nine to fiver, maybe three or four years ago. I saw someone hosting a LinkedIn Local and I read his post. I think he was in Las Vegas and I reached out and said, can you bring that to New York? That looks fantastic. I wanna get to know my LinkedIn peeps and he said, “actually, you can bring it yourself to New York. I’ll connect you with Anna, the woman who started it.” So he connected me with Anna and we had a conversation about how I can bring the event to New York and get to know the people behind the profile in my capital region, the local community.
Michelle J Raymond: That is just amazing. So we’re gonna dive into that a little deeper today, but the first thing that I wanted to ask you if we are talking about how to build it before we even jump to that, what’s the [00:02:00] benefits of actually building a LinkedIn community, either on platform or off platform, but why should people do that?
Miranda VonFricken: What, aren’t the benefits? I can look at this from a few different perspectives. From the personal perspective, I always wanted sisters, so I’m building what I lack and it’s a sisterhood of entrepreneurs, of business leaders, of thought leaders and I love to bring them together to connect either talent to opportunity or to create collaborations. It really does increase.
The major benefit of course is growing our business. A community can be the top funnel if we’re talking sales and all about sales, so to me, it is the top of my funnel. It is bringing people together to do life together, to do business together and grow from each other. It’s free. It’s amazing. Some people have paid communities, of course, but I have a blend. I have some paid some free ones, but it’s all about getting to know other humans behind the profile, what it is we do, what makes us tick and how we can help each other be awesome in [00:03:00] life and online.
Michelle J Raymond: I’m all for making other people awesome and I love what you said. I realised when I set up my business, I go from managing a factory with about 30 people reporting to me and they were at me all day, every day, my emails would go off, everything would go crazy. I quit on the spot. I wake up the next day to silence. Silence is deafening in my world and I hated it. I really struggled, it was the hardest thing that I did. The biggest risk to my business was isolation and loneliness. I’m an extrovert, I get energized by people and then all of a sudden I was surrounded by four walls. Whilst my COVID cat helped, I needed more.
I really liked a post that you did earlier about the benefits of having a community and there were five that you posted, if you can share those five that would be amazing.
Miranda VonFricken: I said the five people you need to surround yourself with when building a community on LinkedIn are people you can mentor, so people, you can help bring up. People who can mentor you and learn from. People who [00:04:00] are, I would say, at your level and I put it in quotes because who knows that they’re really at your level. The fourth one was experts in your area, industry, maybe out of industry, but anybody who is considered an expert, that way you can really again, learn and grow and then share knowledge. And then the fifth one, and the most important one was me! You need to be connected to me if you wanna build community on LinkedIn.
Michelle J Raymond: Absolutely and I’m gonna echo all of those five for sure because, again, LinkedIn’s just this amazing platform for me, where I’ve got access to the best experts in the World. I have attracted an amazing community of people who help me on all different levels. For me personally, it’s like having my very own office space, it just happens to be everyone’s spread all over the globe. This is one of my favourite things.
So someone’s listening in, what’s your three best tips for what people should consider about creating an engaged LinkedIn community. So not one that just gathers dust not one that we’re collecting numbers, but one where people get [00:05:00] involved.
Miranda VonFricken: The engaged part is my favourite line in that question, because you can have tons of people in a group or in your LinkedIn community, but if they’re not engaged with you, are they really a community? Let’s define community. To me, it’s active, it’s alive, it’s helping you to feel alive too.
My tips and thoughts are very high level, but deep, right? So first and foremost is to really be aware of what people need and maybe even what you need. I jokingly said, I built communities first originally, cause I lacked female companionship in the entrepreneurial space. I didn’t grow up with an entrepreneur, had never been one before I started, so I needed to bring some and surround myself with some entrepreneurs. So what I needed was that. And I realised other people needed that too. Other people needed community to do life with. So I started ‘Masterminds’ years ago to bring people to me, but then from that point forward, once I had what I needed, selfishly, I started listening.
The next real big [00:06:00] step is to listen to what people are telling you they need, what are they lacking? Ask questions, be engaged in conversations, and just take mental note of what people are really asking for and do that, within the community. If you’re able to, if it matches your skillset and if you’re not faking it, of course. If it’s something you can provide, then provide that, create that space, hold space for people, bring them together and actively help them to elevate themselves and whether it’s life and business or whatever it is they’re really looking for.
So be aware of what’s needed, maintain that community, engage with them, give as much as they give and then just really commit to it, I think is the third biggest step. I’ve been a part of communities, that kind of disappeared after six months or they’re going real hot in the beginning and next thing they’re still taking my payments and I haven’t heard from them in a while. So even the free ones too if we become busier, free ones are a little harder to continue. It’s really just about being aware of what’s happening. Can you provide that type of engagement that they need and that space, and [00:07:00] then just maintain it, commit to it. Love on it.
Michelle J Raymond: I have to ask, what did you hear from groups that made you start the 4:30 am club? I’ve gotta ask because the fact that you got a group of people to join in 11 people joined in. Tell us about that because yes, we talk about LinkedIn and that’s our space, but it’s a tool, right? LinkedIn is a tool to drive new business or create communities or create relationships and maintain them, but 4:30 am club, tell us about that.
Miranda VonFricken: So my 4:30 am club started out of necessity for myself. My husband started getting up very early in the morning, more so than my regular 5:30 morning routine time and started running on the treadmill. I said to myself, I can’t read and pray and do all the things I need to do early in the morning when you’re down there running, making man noises on the treadmill, so I had to get up an hour earlier, so it became 4:30. I posted on LinkedIn, because it doesn’t happen if you don’t post it on LinkedIn, right? A picture of me with my coffee, my messy [00:08:00] bond, my laptop was the only light in the house and I said, early bird here I am, this isn’t typical, but let’s see how it works out. I actually had a gentleman reach out and say I’m up that early doing my podcast and a couple other things, like we should hop on a call.
I said why would I get on a call with you at 4:30 in the morning, I joked, but we said, let’s see who else joins in? I put a post out tons and tons of women were like I’m in. So it was very open in the beginning, like just here’s the link, whoever wants to come, a couple guys, mostly females.
It became a weekly thing because it’s early in the morning, we’re looking crazy, we’re talking about house stuff, life stuff, women stuff. The guys they fell off, which is fine. We ended up saying, no boy’s allowed and we said, just female entrepreneurs. I’ve got some locals, but from all over the United States, a couple from different countries, it was crazy to me because, your time is different than my time, so it wasn’t 4:30 in the morning for everyone but the majority of women, it was 4:30 in the morning and they were there, we [00:09:00] were drinking coffee and doing life together and it’s been two years that we’ve been doing this.
Michelle J Raymond: It’s really interesting, cause I think what you said there, there’s probably some other people out there listening that have these ideas and have an idea for a community specifically, but chop that idea down and think no one else might wanna come and join me and it’s not until we put it out there. I think that’s the power move that you did is you actually put it out there and let the audience decide as opposed to, so many good ideas get cut off before they even get a chance to live.
I love that you stood up to be that leader and be that person that put it out there, because I think a lot of the time in life in general, that people are looking for someone to stand up. They may not wanna be the leader. They may not wanna be the face or out in front, but they’re very happy to support others. That’s what I love about the world is that all kinds of different people, those that are supporters, those that wanna be out front. But I just think if we put the ideas out there, you will find that ideal audience that will wanna come and join and collaborate and start those conversations. I think [00:10:00] conversations about anything are really important on any level and it just connects us as humans, which is, the most powerful thing that we’ve got the opportunity to do.
Another question for you, if I build a community because I come from sales and I’m here to do business and I have a dream for my life about where I wanna get to and I’m pretty sure that most people listening into the show do as well, how do you take it from something that could take up a fair bit of time and whilst it’s rewarding on a human level, and I don’t take away from that, is it possible to take that community and find ways that actually turns into sales by having these communities?
Miranda VonFricken: A hundred percent. And let me just preface this conversation by, I had one sales job that was actually titled sales. It was an account executive and it was the only job I had been legit fired from. Because I was horrible at sales because I was always talking to people about solutions, right?
They don’t need my product or service. They could probably do this or go here and they’d be like, wow, that was, this was a great conversation. [00:11:00] So obviously we’re not gonna talk again, cuz I’m not gonna buy your service. And I’m like, oh man. So just, and not for nothing get into the current conversation. I do all of my business on LinkedIn.
A hundred percent of my business. Of course, referrals, recommendations, people talking about me or sometimes I’ll speak on stages, but almost everything is from LinkedIn. So I’m screwed if it goes down ever. Yeah. People are gonna come at me, build your email list. I was like, I know, but yeah, I’m just obsessed with LinkedIn and building community from LinkedIn.
I’ve been on it since 2007. And so clearly I’ve ramped up . Same way LinkedIn has grown, I’ve grown with them. So I’ve seen the ins and outs and the community aspect has been essentially the top of my funnel. That’s what we talked about earlier. Top of the funnel promotions. Think about ,if you have a community of people, they become your partners, it’s almost like your marketing team, but it’s free. So who doesn’t want a free marketing team with 18,000 people on it? Hello me, I know 18,000 people don’t actually see my stuff and promote me. Although we’re connected, [00:12:00] but being a community on LinkedIn where it’s very, we’re doing the same thing.
I’m not bringing in people who have nothing to do with what I do or don’t want to be a part of what I talk about. People who follow me are because they’re either drawn to me because of the conversation or what I can provide. So if I do provide through the community, whether it’s posting content or actually bringing them into one of my individual communities they’re getting a lot of value.
And they’re telling their friends and they’re telling their partners and they’re telling their social media, and it’s just, it’s promotion. It’s top of the funnel. It’s nurturing the people who have the ability to share and promote for you. It’s know, like, and trust factor. ‘Cause the community members end up buying your services eventually.
Or they tell their friends about it, which is my favorite part. So I think, the partnering part is also huge because if you can get five like real strong partners, they do what you don’t do. They compliment your services within your community, then you never really have to pay for [00:13:00] marketing again.
Sorry to my marketing friends, but
Michelle J Raymond: Sorry, not sorry.
Sorry, not sorry, but they do it too, right? Cause if you’re good, it’s word of mouth, relationship marketing. And it’s just a wonderful thing to build a community because these are your people who have your back, who doesn’t want people to have your back in business.
For me personally, how it plays out in a business perspective. I view my Page followers, that’s one, my B2B community. I’ve also got my personal connections. That’s another community. And that’s how I look at it. It’s like, how do I help these people grow? They help me grow. It goes around. But there’s nothing better than when I wake up in the morning to messages where I know that I’ve had friends, that it may have been on Clubhouse or in other rooms presenting in all kinds of different places. And I got a message that said last night, oh, Michelle, Billy said that I should reach out and connect with you because you’ve got really great content and this, that, and the other.
Yeah. And I. Wow. I haven’t spoken to Billy for a while, so shout out to Billy to let him know. But from that perspective, you just don’t know, [00:14:00] who’s your ambassador out there. That’s what I’m creating my own invisible ambassadors. So that if I help them succeed, they help me succeed and they can reach people in places that I’ve got zero chance of trying to take over the whole world as much as I’m trying , world domination.
Miranda VonFricken: You’re the only one talking about pages. So you may take over the world in that area.
Michelle J Raymond: Yeah. I’m gonna try, like I am going to definitely try. And so from that perspective. That’s what I love. And I love doing the same thing for other people.
Sometimes, you get a new connection, I think, oh, that person should really know that person. And so I’ll send them both a direct message and connect them. And I think the more that you do that and form these little micro communities it doesn’t have to be big and formal. It could be actually, and just this week I got a new connection that’s into photography of dogs.
And then I thought I’ve got someone that does photography of landscapes in the same country. Maybe these guys should actually, collaborate because I’m sure that there are. [00:15:00] Inquiries that each of them get that aren’t suitable, but just having someone that shares your knowledge or your expertise or your passion, that’s my favorite part.
I think the more people go out there and help other people connect, be that facilitator, it just comes back a hundred fold. I’m not gonna say tenfold. I think it just in waves. Yeah, is just blows my mind. It absolutely blows my mind.
Miranda VonFricken: The morning I was in bali. And then, and later on that afternoon, I was in Ireland. And then, now I’m talking to you in Australia and it’s just, we’re able to reach people, we probably would have never reached before. Had it not been for certain situations that happened in our world, of course. But building the community within LinkedIn, like there’s people who are only connect with people they’ve met in person and I’m like, wow, what is disservice to your business. Oh, wow. That’s crazy. Because I may never meet you in person, but I will be the first one to be like, you gotta follow Michelle, if you wanna learn more about Pages, so there’s just a magic about it, especially if you do it [00:16:00] right. You.
Michelle J Raymond: It is that whole, what goes around, comes around for me. And I’ve had to get better at this full disclaimer. Last year when I looked at it, I was probably doing too much and not much was coming back around because I wasn’t selective around where I should focus my energy. And then you get to the end of the year crawling to the finish line and going, whoa, I don’t know if I can keep doing this thing.
So I had to, revisit and look at. What am I trying to do here and be more strategic, because when a community’s aligned with your values and they’re aligned with what you stand for, and I know that you stand for your Christian beliefs and you share about that. And I love that you do that because I think it’s important to let people know what’s important to you.
So that later on down the track, you don’t end up in this space where we’re like, oh, we’re on opposite sides of this. Now I know everyone should be respectful and play nicely on the platform, but we can see right now there’s just stuff going on. That’s craziness.
Miranda VonFricken: The world’s falling apart, Michelle. So people gotta talk [00:17:00] about it and I’m down for the conversations.
I think that it’s all right to have these conversations and we should be having these conversations. And this is the place for it. It’s not oh, this is for Facebook. No, this is for LinkedIn. And it’s because we are professionals because we’re educated individuals that we are able to have these conversations and yes, there’s gonna be the crazies and the trolls, but they just push my content out further.
so thank you for that.
Michelle J Raymond: I think if we’re on the basis of respect, mutual respect on both sides. Yeah. And at times we’re never gonna agree, that’s just life. Yeah. But from that perspective, I think the fundamentals of respect, they go a long way in this world.
If you are on the feed and things are triggering you then just spend some time off LinkedIn. Like it’s really that simple. That’s if you wanna get involved, if you wanna get involved and make a stand, be you essentially.
Miranda VonFricken: Absolutely.
So I have to confess, I’ve never been to a LinkedIn local. So tell me, what are these things like?
Michelle J Raymond: What do they actually look like? What does somebody expect? So if I get invited, Anna’s probably, I get a [00:18:00] message from her later on going. Yes. What do you mean Michelle? You’ve never been to work.
Miranda VonFricken: I know she’s gonna be like, get over here. So it may look completely different for every host. Anna’s may look completely different than mine.
When I was a nine to fiver is when I actually started LinkedIn local. So I had it in like a corporate environment and we were suited up and we had a beautiful panel and we talked about LinkedIn and it was fantastic, but there’s always that piece of me, no matter what environment I’m in, that brings the crazy.
So we had a basketball hoop. We were doing sh we were doing shots. We were doing. Not like drinking shots, although that probably happened, but basketball. We always have head shots. I always bring my photographer to do headshots for people for LinkedIn photos. Last time I had a comedian open up, I called it with the show.
It wasn’t even the LinkedIn local. It was like, oh, she’s opening up the show. It’s always an experience. I think this time around when we do our next one, it’ll be, LinkedIn’s got talent. So I think I’m gonna do it like someplace with a stage and bring your crazy talent. I gotta approve it first of course, but, bring your talent because [00:19:00] not only does LinkedIn have it, but so does my local area.
So I think, for my experience of LinkedIn local, it is just getting, like Anna said from the start, it’s getting to know the people behind the Profile. We’re learning we’re growing together. And that’s what I do. So there’s an educational piece. There’s always a panel talking about whatever hot topics going on in the world.
There’s always a LinkedIn component. How can we do better on LinkedIn? And then there’s just always fun. It’s a networking event mixed with a backyard barbecue, mixed with I don’t know, graduation party, like you name it. It’s amazing. We have a blast and you are more than welcome to come, but it’s gonna be an expensive plane ticket.
One day. Don’t worry. I’m doing my global tour. Of my friends in LinkedIn and the US I’m gonna be there for a little while. Cuase I have made so many friends and this is the amazing part. My LinkedIn bestie, Michelle Griffin is sitting in Florida and her and I for the last, two years that we’ve been growing our business side by side.
You said that mentor someone that’s, the five people, the one that’s sitting right beside you, that’s her for me, and [00:20:00] the fact that she’s on the other side of the world like that blows my mind.
Did you meet her on LinkedIn?
Michelle J Raymond: Yeah, absolutely. In it’s a story from, it was from a comment. It is that simple.
I did a comment around company pages on a profile. Michelle saw that comment at the time two years ago, it was even more weird that I was talking about company pages. Absolutely. And she reached out and she said, actually, I’ve never seen someone share that perspective. Can we connect?
Absolutely. And you just don’t know when you connect with someone. I was like, it’s another Michelle, the power of Michelle Squared. Now, two years later, we’re working and collaborating on projects. And we in the background, what people don’t see is, we’re each other’s business support, and I’ve learnt about branding.
I’ve taught her about sales. And just, on those times when the roller coaster goes up and down as an entrepreneur, you need someone to, help you through. And I’m really grateful that I have a, an amazing community globally that are those people. That are a stand for my success. Are there to cheer me on. Are there if I need to vent, [00:21:00] they’re there that I can do that, all kinds of different reasons. But I just know you can’t do this alone. Like that is, the lesson I think in humility that I personally had to learn. Was that I thought I was pretty good. I’d just come from managing someone else’s business.
I’d worked in all kinds of different departments, huge amount of success in my career. And when I went out alone, I thought I’ve got this handled. I don’t need anyone else. And boy did that come crashing down. And I had to really understand. That if I was gonna be successful in this business, it was not something I was gonna do alone.
It was a hard lesson to learn. I’m not gonna pretend that it was something that came natural, but I do love being part of a team. Now that I’ve built that unofficial team around me. It’s just so much more fun and energizing and easy and light and yeah. So these are all those kind of things that I love.
The Good for Business Show is actually quite a practical one that I wanna leave people with a tip. So if they’ve been listening in, they’re inspired that little idea, that’s been niggling away that they’ve wanted to look [00:22:00] at, or they just wanna nurture their existing community of LinkedIn connections and followers.
What do you think is the best tip that you can give someone today about how that they can build their community? What would you say that they could do?
Miranda VonFricken: Just put it out there. You said that there’s an idea sparking around, like message me I’ll smack you around. I’ll tell you to do it. But no just do it . I don’t know if we talked about this or was at my last call about our introverted friends, right?
So you and I are not the introverted type. And my 4:30am club happened, ’cause I put it out there. Other things happened cause I just put it out there and I didn’t care what people thought if they were, I was crazy or it all worked out of course. But if I was crazy, who cares onto the next?
But there’s not always gonna be people like us. So our introverted friends, I don’t wanna tell them just put it out there, cause they’ll be like I’m not gonna do that. If you are, if you’re feeling yourself and you’re feeling the idea, I say, put it out there or polls, hello, they’re still working. Put a poll out there. Asking your audience for advice is huge on LinkedIn. People love to talk [00:23:00] about their expertise or their opinion on what you wanna do. So just put a poll out there for my introverted friends. But, talk to your community.
That’s close to you, right? Fish out the idea, small and locally, and then maybe branch out a little bit and put it out there, but maybe find somebody like Michelle and I, who will make it happen. Or will just encourage you to make it happen. Sometimes, one little phone call with someone like us or someone who you want to do business with on LinkedIn, but one little coffee chat with them can really change a lot. It can change your business perspective, it can change your connections. All of a sudden Michelle’s got Michelle squared, like one little comment. So I guess, I would just say, start engaging with people who are talking about the thing you wanna do or that topic and find your people and either do it with someone or put it out there yourself and they’ll join you.
Michelle J Raymond: And the funny thing is most of my collaborations in the last, two years have actually [00:24:00] ended up being with theoretical competitors. So also look in that space because they actually, if you come for an abundance mindset and you have a look around you and believe that there’s enough for all of us to go around. 830 million members on LinkedIn.
So 8 billion people on the planet, 58 million companies on LinkedIn. If there’s not enough to go around and two people who are theoretical competitors can’t get together. Because what I found was they shared my passion. They understood what I did instead of, when I try and explain to people, when I go out to a party and they say, what do you do?
And I’m like, Facebook for business , because by the time I explain all of it, and I’ve gotta get better at that. But. Think about who is it in your industry that you really like, and maybe that community just starts with two of you.
Maybe it’s easier, just one smaller conversation. Which is the spark that leads to bigger things that you can both achieve together. If I look back, yes, I’m an extrovert. But most success in my career came when I had two people I worked with and they’re in my [00:25:00] mind clear as day that were the classic introverts, but the power of the two of us together was better than I could have ever done on my own and vice versa. And so what I say is, if there’s some skills or some confidence or something that you think you’re lacking, then find somebody else that can compliment that and start to build your community together. Because the idea of community is not to do it alone.
And like Miranda, if you need a cheerleader I invented the Cheer Squad for Good, a LinkedIn group we’re there to support people. This is the kind of community I’m building. That it’s not just me supporting you, it’s my community supporting you. We have come to time, but I wanted to say thank you everybody for listening in today.
Miranda. I appreciate you sharing all these amazing tips and knowledge with the Good for Business Show and I can’t wait to connect and build more things with you in the future.
Miranda VonFricken: Yes, bye. Bye.