Minal meets Jen Corcoran, My Super Connector
As an introvert, you might find certain situations challenging. Add running your own business to that and things may start to become tougher.
Then add networking into the mix. You need an evening in a dark room on your own to recover. I know, because I go through it!
When it comes to networking, online is great for introverts. If you’re wrangling with LinkedIn and thinking you can’t do it, this interview is for you!
Jen Corcoran is the founder of My Super Connector. An introvert herself, Jen has made LinkedIn her only social media network and she makes it work for her and her clients… Really well.
Minal: Tell me a bit about your business. What do you specialise in?
Jen: Hi Minal, thanks for having me. I help female entrepreneurs to create a clear and consistent lead generation pathway on LinkedIn that they can repeat month after month. I’m a multi-award-winning LinkedIn trainer and consultant and I coach service-based female entrepreneurs to polish up their LinkedIn profiles and to connect with finesse in a way that is fully aligned to their human design. I specialise in profile optimisation and leveraging connection to find more and better leads.
Minal: When and why did you start your business?
Jen: I started my business, My Super Connector in April 2017, so I’ve been going strong now for over 5 years. I first started using LinkedIn during my corporate career and fell in love with the platform. It enabled me to do my role better, create an amazing network of peers and build my personal brand. I was able to create partnerships and collaborations, negotiate company-wide discounts and increase my salary and bonus. What’s not to love?
I started to use LinkedIn for a voluntary role and started to promote content and my love for it continued to grow as opportunities unfolded. I went on to win regional, national and global industries within my industry.
Fast forward a few years – I had a difficult year or two when I got divorced, my mam was hospitalised for six months for mental health problems and my friend Katrina took her life. It resulted in me needing back surgery and during my sick leave, I had time to think about what I really wanted to do in life and what was my purpose.
The result was My Super Connector was born and I now love helping female entrepreneurs to find their voice online and toot their horns. No more playing it small or feeling not good enough.
How introverts can succeed on LinkedIn
Minal: I’ve seen you talk a lot about LinkedIn and introverts. Can you help us understand how they might use LinkedIn differently?
Jen: In my experience, introverts invest a lot more in their profiles than extroverts. We want our profile to do the talking for us so it’s really important that it’s on point and fully optimised.
As an introvert myself I’m a fan of written content and leaving audio voice messages whereas an extrovert may embrace videos and video messaging more.
In my humble opinion, introverts have the edge on LinkedIn – it’s a place for us to get our voice in the room and once we get going there is no stopping us. The secret is to find your purpose and once you replace yourself with your purpose/mission then you will lean in and stop blocking yourself.
Extroverts tend to prefer hanging out in real life versus online.
Minal: LinkedIn is good for networking. How can an introvert maximise this?
Jen: LinkedIn is an amazing tool to combine with networking. Prior to any event or conference, my advice is to find the delegate list and reach out to everyone in advance (including the hosts). By the time you enter the event whether it’s in person or virtual, you will be recognised.
It takes away that ‘icky’ feeling of entering an event cold – as an introvert it’s the initial entrance which is the hardest for me. But LinkedIn does all the heavy lifting and people have started to buy into you and got to know, like and trust you before you have even put your foot in the door. How amazing is that!
My top tip is to make sure that your headshot looks like you otherwise it defeats the purpose. If you can’t get the delegate list in advance no worries – you can reach out to the hosts at the very least and they can introduce you to others. If you get the delegate list at the event make sure you connect after – one of my most important lessons in life is that it’s all in the follow-up and most people don’t make the effort.
Minal: You and I are both HSPs (Highly Sensitive People.) How would the use of LinkedIn challenge an HSP?
Jen: Us highly sensitive people can have a tendency to overthink things and this may result in procrastination. My top tip is to work with a fellow HSP mentor who has been there and done that and got the t-shirt and can advise on steps to skip and fast track.
We’re empaths so really need to be strict with our time management on LinkedIn and other platforms and connect strategically. Don’t feel bad ‘ignoring’ a connection request if it doesn’t sit right – it’s your network and you’re in control.
My main advice for HSPs is ‘less is more’ and remember that 1 in 5 people in the world are HSPs and your people are on LinkedIn too! Go find them.
Check out the hashtags #HSP #HighlySensitivePerson #HighlySensitivePeople and connect with like minds and read their content. There are a few great groups for HSPs on LinkedIn if people want to check out mine for inspiration.
Minal: I know you work exclusively with women. How do you think they use LinkedIn differently to men?
Jen: I think women block themselves more than men. I’m a volunteer facilitator for Google’s #IamRemarkable campaign which is all about empowering women and underrepresented groups to toot their horns. Research has been done in the past and a man will apply for a job or contract if he can fulfil 60% of the brief whereas a woman will only apply if she’s closer to 100%. I want to help my fellow female entrepreneurs to take imperfect action which beats imposter syndrome and procrastination any day of the week.
Minal: Do you think LinkedIn is easier for introverts than, say in-person networking?
Jen: Absolutely! We don’t need to leave the house – we can do it from the comfort of our own homes. I do most of my LinkedIn networking in my slippers! It expends a lot less energy than in person networking and you don’t waste time on the commute. The key is to be strategic with your time. Put it in your calendar for a half hour tops or you can fall down the rabbit hole.
Minal: In your recent LinkedIn posts, you talk about a social selling strategy. Can you break this down for us?
Jen: So many people hear the term ‘social selling’, and they think they should go and sell. But social selling has actually nothing to do with selling – it’s all about building rapport and this can take time. You can do it via your profile, your content and your DMs.
In my 90 day 1:1 LinkedIn Thrive Academy program I help service-based female entrepreneurs to figure out their unique strategy as what works for one won’t work for another. It’s all about playing to our strengths and being consistent and having a viable lead list and tracker versus a ‘spray and spray approach’.
Minal: What should you consider if you want to work with a LinkedIn expert?
Jen: There are a lot of LinkedIn trainers out there and we all specialise in different mediums. I personally specialise in organic reach (the free platform) and I’m a lover of profile optimisation and personal branding. I don’t cover sales navigator or paid ads as they’re not my bag so do your research.
My results work as I’ve managed to raise a lot of PR for myself so ask yourself what area do you need help in and does the ‘expert’ walk the talk. A lot of marketers sell themselves as LinkedIn experts but they are not laser focused on the platform and often just know how to schedule versus work strategically as they’re not aware of all the features and functionality.
I also see a lot of self appointed gurus with tiny networks. I don’t think you need to have a huge network or amount of followers to be the expert but you do need to have proven results for yourself and clients. I’ve 600+ testimonials across LinkedIn, Google and Trust Pilot so like to think I’m on the right track. For the best LinkedIn trainers check out the #LinkedInROCKSTARS list curated by Brenda Meller, a US based LinkedIn trainer.
Minal: What are you top three tips when it comes to using LinkedIn as a small business?
Jen: I would break it down into the following.
Optimise your profile in terms of keywords and branding: If you don’t have the right keywords in your profile, you won’t show up for what you want to show up for. If you’re not branded well, you won’t create that vital first impression and people will move on and not check out your website. As I said earlier a professional headshot is vital and ultimately making sure your profile is customer centric versus brand-centric. Less ‘me me me’ and more ‘WIIFM’ – I think a lot of people focus on the front end of their profile but rarely consider the back end and the SEO (search engine optimisation) side of things.
Don’t send spammy DMs and try to sell in the first message: Relationship building takes time. Don’t fire off a salesy message or your calendar link in the first message. That person doesn’t know you! You need to get to know each other and listen for cues. It’s a conversation and you need to embrace social listening as a skill.
Stop being passive and waiting for people to come to you: LinkedIn is a social network and you can take the power in your hands and reach out strategically to who you want to and build your network. Don’t be passive and sit waiting for others to come to you. You’re in the driving seat so don’t allow others to shape your network or it will be spammy and spark no joy. Use the search bar!