Joel Wolh (Boutique Seller Solutions and Ask Joel podcast), Moshe Gross (Reset Locations), Brian Wallace (NowSourcing), with the support of the team at Bell Works, co-host Shimon Rosenberg (Rose Builders Group) and numerous others united to showcase the annual Global Linkedin Meetup (formerly known as #LinkedinGlobal). In so doing, they set a few new records: the largest Linkedin Live event streamed on the platform to date and the largest group meetup for the professional networking site. The event unites the platform’s biggest influencers who share their insights on how to best leverage Linkedin, grow engagement and stay ahead of how the platform is evolving. Looking at the organizers’ and speakers’ track records, it’s no surprise that the event is successful.

The format itself was interesting, opening with a gourmet feast on the patio with direct access to the influencers via a fishbowl-style discussion followed by a series of panels and ending with a networking cocktail party. One of the unexpected observations was the depth of relationships amongst the influencers which goes beyond post-and-response engagement on the platform. Perhaps that’s why they have all gained reputations as influencers: it’s their authentic and meaningful messages that resonate as much with their followers as they do with each other.

The helpers

The fishbowl session enabled attendees to get a personal glimpse into how each of the influencers connects with their audiences. Each was asked the same questions regarding their superpower and advice for others seeking to grow their footprint on Linkedin. John Marty, Amazon, kicked the fishbowl panel off citing his Linkedin superpower as his ability to connect with his audience. His startup failed but he’s coached countless others on how to work through their failures and get on the path to improvement. His advice? Take accountability and think differently about your life and relationships. Summarized, his message was, “Own your shit or it will own you.

Joe Apfelbaum, Ajax Union, enraptured the audience. Literally. Buoyed by two beatboxers, he rapped a ditty about how people can get more out of Linkedin by actively engaging in each other’s posts through comments. Chris Hummel, FitTeam, experienced explosive growth exploding to $10M in revenues and thousands of users in about one year by helping people change their mindset. His mantra is “never quit” and he offered several tips on to scale a business quickly.

The Podcasters

Judi Fox, #FoxRocks and the Judi Fox Show podcast, with her signature fox ears headband, echoed Lara’s advice by encouraging people to show interest in those who you want to become interested in you. Mark Metry, VU Dream, connects with his audience via his Humans 2.0 podcast and, at the young age of 22, he’s already had a decade of experience online. From the beginning, Metry understood the importance of direct access and interaction with his followers. His special power is that he has honed his ability to reach even the impossible-to-reach, inaccessible people and convince them to join his podcast.

Zack Scriven, Zack Scriven Media, the pupfluencer, was there with his beloved dog, Oliver, who talked about quitting his comfortable engineering job to take a chance and follow his passion. He’s never looked back. Shmuel Septimus, SNF Marketing and host of the podcast, “Love Your 9-5” upholds the age-old philosophy that you should only do what you love, regardless of the money and status because it will bring you more happiness than the cash or accolades every will.

Estie Rand, Strand Consulting, cited how Linkedin changed her life. She helps business owners make money with fewer headaches offering tips on her podcast, Breakthrough Business. Likewise, Meny Hoffman, Ptex Group, via his Let’s Talk Business podcast, offers consistent content with a message focusing on delivering quality.

Shark Tank squad

Shark Tank was well represented. Morri Chowaiki, Daymond John, has the incredible distinction of being on both sides of the Shark Tank table. Given that getting on the show is against the odds (fewer than 120 pitches air on the program after an arduous filtering process that begins with more than 60,000 applications), it took him two seasons to get on the show but he was determined. Now, he’s an advisor and part-time shark. His advice was to review his goal sheet morning and night to stay focused.

QuHarrison Terry, Mark Cuban Co., convinced us that a consistent approach to reducing complexity is the only way to go forward. Finally, Tiffany Krumins, AvaTheElephant, was part of the Shark Tank pilot featuring children’s products and encouraged everyone to share the heart of their business with others so that they understand what you’re all about.

The mold-breakers

Chantel Soumis, Stardust Creative, an advocate for “differently-abled” people, broke the Linkedin professional postings only stereotype talking about her health struggles and how being transparent and authentic shaped her role today.

Similarly, Michaela Alexis, posted a heartfelt letter regarding her job search and the note went viral in 2016. Despite her deep fear of failure and rejection, she routinely posted content about how she felt, including her challenges with fertility. The haters on Linkedin were swift and brutal with their responses trying to force her off the platform but she has prevailed and has been blazing a new trail ever since.

The marketers

Maribel Lara, The Sasha Group (a Gary Vee company), referenced her challenges growing up in the projects, taking care of ailing parents and pushing through the discrimination often faced by Latinas. She advised people to leave genuine comments on Linkedin to drive a deeper connection. Brad Leavitt, A Finer Touch, suggests the silent salesman approach where you show what you do without telling people you’re doing it or they need to buy it.

Brian Wallace has always been ahead of the curve. Early on, he recognized the value of storytelling through graphics and a minimalist approach concerning words and data. When he began over a decade ago, the word “infographic” had not yet been coined but he was already a pioneer in the field. He goes beyond crafting the story in a digestible format, but he connects with media to get the story out by leveraging the relationships he’s built. His message is that we all have a backstory, and you need to treat people like people, not like wallets.

Dale Dupree, The Sales Rebellion, spent his youth rebelling against the notion of taking over his father’s photocopier business, “a real snoozer” is how he referenced it, but he turned it around using long-form content on Linkedin. His adage is, “If you can sell photocopiers, you can sell anything!” His winning strategy is being consistent and intentional.

Key themes and tips

Four themes emerged from the discussions. One, be consistent. Two, be authentic. Three, never quit. And four, engagement is a 2-way process. Unequivocally, working harder than everyone else is what it takes.

The influencers suggested that people who want to grow their footprint identify five people whom they’d like to emulate and engage with those people online through comments and conversation. Doing so consistently is critical. Many cited how the Linkedin in byline space was underutilized and how a surprising number of people don’t even have a profile photo.

All speakers encouraged people to read more. Book suggestions included The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; Jab, Jab, Right Hook; Getting Things Done; Think & Grow Rich; The Compound Effect; and How to Win Friends and Influence People. They also invited users to be creative and experiment with new formats like voice messaging and live streaming. As the average of the five people that you associate with the most, the speakers reminded everyone to be mindful of who they spend their time with.

THE NET-NET

Global Linkedin Meetup is a community of some of the most personable, influential, real humans on the platform. They help each other. And offer help to those who ask. All the panelists have developed successful businesses. Many of them didn’t recognize that they were on a new path until they found themselves already there. Finally, the key takeaway is that none of these people were successful overnight: they’ve gone up, down and slogged their way forward with unwavering grit and determination to get where they are today.