Recently I have had the pleasure of getting to know Chuck Hester, director of corporate communications with iContact. Many of you may already know him or may even be LinkedIn to him via the popular professional networking site LinkedIn. Chuck has become a LinkedIn “guru” of sorts. His use of the site and its capabilities have helped him land a great job, meet a ton of folks and even helped others get work as well. His “Pay It Forward” mantra is one that we can all take a lesson from. Here is Part 1 of an interview we did to help you learn more about Chuck, his use of LinkedIn and the power of social networking.
FR: Chuck, how did you start with LinkedIn and what was the result?
Chuck: I started using LinkedIn in 2005 when I was considering relocating from Los Angeles to the East Coast. I connected with about 37 Raleigh-area marketing and PR professionals in hopes of networking for a new position.
FR: How has LinkedIn contributed to your success in recent years?
Chuck: As a direct result of networking on LinkedIn, I met iContact CEO, Ryan Allis. We connected at the time I was looking for a job and he was looking for a Director of Public Relations for iContact.
FR: Not a bad ROI! Moving forward how do you envision using LinkedIn as a tool for your work?
Chuck: I use LinkedIn in several ways:
1. I connect with media and other influencers to further the reputation and the reach of iContact as a brand. I can directly track back LinkedIn connections to media coverage we have received as a company, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Fast Company
2. My network includes people who help me build up my personal brand as well – as a speaker, LinkedIn guru and Pay It Forward advocate
3. Through LinkedIn, iContact has sourced several business partnerships that have resulted in increased sales and revenue for the company
4. Finally, I have been able to “Pay it Forward” through LinkedIn and helped individuals find jobs in over 20 companies locally and throughout my network.
FR: That’s some serious mileage from one venue. Does LinkedIn ever contact you or talk to you at all?
Chuck: I have worked with the public relations manager at LinkedIn as she sources stories on using LinkedIn to find a job.
FR: What high level suggestions do you have for new LinkedIn users regarding their strategy and expectations using the tool?
Chuck: My best advice – always be personal on LinkedIn. Treat your connections like they are standing right in front of you. If you met someone at a business function, how would you act towards the? Just because you meet online and not in person, doesn’t mean they aren’t important.
Also, never use generic information. Be upfront and honest. Take the time to get to know something about a potential connection and find areas of common interest or ways you can potentially help them.
Finally never go into a LinkedIn relationship expecting something immediately. It may not be that connection that will help you. It could be someone else they know, or someone three degrees away from your new connection.
FR: Thanks for your time, Chuck. Make sure to let your connections know about this post!
There is more from Chuck that I will post in the very near future. Check out his bio below to find out more about this master networker.
Chuck Hester is Director of Corporate Communications at iContact, the industry-leading web-based emarketing communications software. Chuck has over 25 years experience in public relations, marketing and branding, with stints as an in-house marketing director, and public relations director for two marketing agencies. Some of the clients Chuck has worked with include TEAC, Western Digital and the Department of Defense Technology Transfer Program.
A LinkedIn power connector, Chuck has more than 7000 direct connections. He is a sought-after expert on the subject of using LinkedIn for personal and professional branding, and how to use social media to build business contacts.
Chuck is the host of LinkedIn Live Raleigh, an in-person networking group that brings together more than 300 professionals for networking in the Triangle.
A published author and blogger, Chuck also teaches marketing and public relations for Duke University’s continuing education department and has taught at the University of Irvine, California. He holds degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Southern California