Interview with LinkedIn Maven – Viveka von Rosen

Interview with Viveka von Rosen

Today we have a very special guest with us. We are joined by one of the most influential women of Social Media. She has been named a key social media influencer by Forbes for four years running. She is an internationally renowned LinkedIn expert and author of the bestselling book, ‘LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day’.

Have you guessed who our guest is? If not, then you’d be amazed to know that she has taught a whopping 100,000 (and counting) people how to create business relationships and how to generate business leads using social media. Without further ado, we would like to welcome Viveka von Rosen to our blog.

Branex: Viveka von Rosen, thanks for taking out your time for Branex. You are a LinkedIn expert, a challenge itself, how do you think LinkedIn training can help corporate professionals online?

Viveka: I think a lot of professionals feel like all they need to do is throw their resume on LinkedIn and then expect it to work.  But just like any tool, you need to learn how to use it and then you actually have to use it.  So to Viveka your Branex, at Vengreso we teach corporate professionals, SMB and enterprise sales teams, Influencers, and executives how to create a powerful brand on LinkedIn, how to search and engage with prospects, how to drive visibility and conversations with the right type of content, messaging, and social selling strategy.  

Our analogy is “Not only are we going to teach you to fish, but we will also make sure you are at the right fishing hole, have the right bait for the fish you want to catch, and have the right pole to make it happen!”  

What we have found is that, like any useful skill, you can’t learn effective LinkedIn skills in an hour or even a full day of training.  Our programs offer training, coaching, and community help for at least 30 days (and up to a year) so that your team not only learns but gets into the habit of social selling.

Branex: LinkedIn is important for businesses, and yet many companies are not able to leverage it. Why do you think LinkedIn Marketing needs to be pushed to the next level?

Viveka: Absolutely!  I think the mistake companies make is thinking, “Oh LinkedIn Marketing- that’s for the Marketing team to do.”  In reality, while the marketing team might design a nice company page and create some content to share, it’s really up to the rest of the employees to amplify that content. 

A company page might have 1 or 100,000 followers.  But it will never have as many followers as it has employee networks.  Think about it; if you have 10 employees, with 1000 connections each, then you have the amplification to (potentially) reach 10000 people!  Most companies don’t take that into account.  So, your marketing department, or a marketing agency like Branex, can create a company page, feed it with content, and then simply ask employees to share 1-2 times a week.  You don’t even need to run ads to push your LinkedIn Marketing to the next level – just use the resources available in your employee network.

If you have a healthy-sized sales team, I would recommend investing in an employee advocacy tool (we use EveryoneSocial – but GaggleAm and Elevate are good too!). Combined with excellent content marketing resources that are aligned with your buyer persona and the buyer’s journey, you have a win combination.

Branex: Having so many years of experience comes with lots of challenges, who do you think inspired you to pursue this field?

Viveka: I remember in the early days when I was just getting started, Jason Alba (who wrote the first LinkedIn book, “I’m on LinkedIn, Now What?”) was extremely generous with his time and mentoring.  I was honored when he wrote the Foreword for my first book, “LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day”

Other Social Media and business gurus who supported and mentored me in my early days were Bob Burg (The Go-Giver Series, Endless Referrals) Mari Smith (Queen of Facebook), Mike Stelzner (The Social Media Examiner), and many more awesome people. 

This is the wonderful thing about Social Media – the community is just amazingly supportive.  I have made so many good friends throughout my career in Social Media and LinkedIn.  In fact, it’s such a supportive community that three competitors and I got to talking one day and eventually decided to create a new company – and Vengreso was born!

Branex: You were listed in Forbes among the Most Influential Women on Social Media for four consecutive years. When you first started out, did you ever think you would reach there, and what was the driving power behind getting you to where you are?

Viveka: LOL- never!  I was just enjoying teaching some local entrepreneurs how to use LinkedIn when an association, I was a member of, asked me to speak at their annual conference in New York. That’s when I realized there might be something to this LinkedIn thing. Eventually, I got more and more speaking, training, and consulting gigs and realized I could actually do this for a living. 

I was fortunate enough to get the LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram moniker “LinkedInExpert”.  That helped with SEO.  And a big shift came when John Wiley and Sons reached out and asked me to write my first book.  And shortly after that, Mike Stelzner asked me to speak at the first Social Media Marketing World conference. I was lucky to get in and establish myself early.  I’d hate to compete with the likes of Goldie Chan and Michaela Alexis and all the wonderful new up-and-comers on LinkedIn!

Branex: What are some of the challenges faced by the Digital Marketing arena in the first world countries as compared to the third-world countries?

Viveka: On one hand, it’s easier to come by “live” training and resources in first-world countries.  On the other hand, it’s a REALLY saturated market.  I find when I speak in other countries, my audience is much more engaged and enthusiastic.  I think there is a good amount of Social “burnout” in the US. 

There is so much GREAT content and it’s so easy to access, we are a little spoiled!  One benefit of third-world countries is that Human Resources are often less expensive than their US counterparts. Six of our creative and support contractors are based in the Philippines and they are AWESOME!  I doubt we could run Vengreso if we had to pay them all 6 figure salaries!

Branex: Being the LinkedIn expert, what would you suggest to startups who are in the throes of devising their digital media strategy?

Viveka: We actually have an award-winning 10-step process that you can look at and adopt. It’s important to have the right mindset and buy-in from ALL the folks you are going to involve, from your C-Suite to your sales folks. You will also need to set KPIs so you can measure success. 

Then it’s important to build a strong brand – which could mean not only a company page overhaul but creating a profile template for all your customer-facing employees.  You will, of course, need training to teach the new skills and coaching to sustain them.  You might consider some form of gamification in order to motivate your employees.  You’ll need to have monitoring and measuring in place to make sure your KPIs are being reached.  And adjust accordingly.  You will need to establish a realistic budget for resources, software, and training. And of course, make sure you have the right sales stack and software. 

Some very careful planning at the onset can save you an enormous amount of time and money in the long run.  We see way too many companies throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours away because they are just “throwing something at the wall to see what sticks”.  You don’t need millions of dollars – just a good plan and the human resources to succeed.

Branex: What are the best options for a marketer who is just starting out with LinkedIn? What courses do they have to take to nail LinkedIn marketing?

Viveka: Well, of course, I think you should take our course:!  However, there are other inexpensive courses on LinkedIn Learning. (I have a few: Employee Branding on LinkedIn and B2B Marketing on LinkedIn). Or you can also visit our YouTube channel for free:

Branex: Lastly, Branex is a full-service digital agency that helps brands grow. What do you think about Branex? And how important it is for Businesses to collaborate with a professional Digital Agency?

Viveka: I think it’s key to involve a professional Digital Agency in your Social Marketing plan!  And if you don’t have your own Marketing Department, then agencies like Branex can help you to develop AND align ALL the resources you need to succeed!

Branex: Thank you Viveka for being an awesome guest on our blog. We wish you more success in years to come and look forward to seeing you again on our blog about a different subject.

Aaron Starc

Strategist, writer, learning photography, and friend of the needy. Animated gifs are my thing.