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10 Minute Marketing

10MM: Unlocking the LinkedIn Algorithm with Ivana Brutenic

August 10, 2023

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In today’s digital age, LinkedIn has emerged as a critical platform for brand visibility, networking, and professional growth. Yet, understanding and utilizing LinkedIn’s algorithm remains a challenge for many. This is where Ivana Brutenic, a leading expert on LinkedIn employee ambassadors, comes into play.

Ivana’s journey began as a young headhunter. Over time, her curiosity and technical expertise led her to explore LinkedIn as a tool for headhunting. It wasn’t long before clients began to recognize the unique advantage she offered through LinkedIn. They began to seek her expertise to transform their LinkedIn presence, resulting in Ivana working with over 7000 brands to revolutionize their online image.

Ivana emphasizes the significance of personalization on LinkedIn. Personalization is key to establishing a genuine connection with your audience. Yet, she also highlights the importance of maintaining privacy. The fine line between personalization and privacy is what sets successful LinkedIn strategies apart.

One significant aspect Ivana discusses is the change in LinkedIn’s algorithm and its impact on content. The algorithm now favors professional posts, offering advice or insights over personal anecdotes. This is an important shift for anyone looking to create a more effective LinkedIn strategy. Understanding what type of content the algorithm prefers is essential for increasing visibility and engagement.

In terms of growth strategies, Ivana talks about her early days of networking events, keynote speeches, and of course, leveraging LinkedIn itself. It’s a reminder that despite the digital age, the value of face-to-face interactions and public speaking remains significant.

Ivana’s insights and strategies shed light on the potential of LinkedIn as a tool for brand growth. It’s not just about creating a profile and updating your CV. It’s about understanding the technicalities and mindset required to leverage the platform effectively.

Whether you’re a small business owner looking to increase your reach or a corporate professional seeking to enhance your personal brand, understanding and implementing an effective LinkedIn strategy is critical. Ivana’s insights provide a treasure trove of actionable tips to boost your brand’s online impact on LinkedIn.

The conversation with Ivana Brutenic is an enlightening exploration of LinkedIn’s potential. From understanding the algorithm to creating a powerful brand presence, it offers invaluable insights for anyone looking to boost their LinkedIn game. If you’re ready to unlock the potential of LinkedIn for your brand, this is a conversation you won’t want to miss.

About Ivana Brutenic

Ivana Brutenic is the world’s leading expert on LinkedIn Employee Ambassadors. She’s consistently setting trends for multinational brands with effective global LinkedIn architecture and authentic LinkedIn content. Ivana has been recognized in dozens of media outlets, including Forbes.

Ivana and her sister Kristina run a prestigious LinkedIn consultancy, SUNDAYFLIES. They transform employees into LinkedIn™ superstars who attract clients, new talent and media. They have partnered with over 7000 clients worldwide to transform LinkedIn brands into more powerful authentic voices.

This LinkedIn Sisters Powerhouse brings LinkedIn expertise to print, gearing up to publish a book on LinkedIn Ambassadors in Fall 2023 with a renowned British publishing house.

Watch the episode!

Read The Full Transcript From This Episode (click to expand and read the full interview)
    • Sonja Crystal Williams: 0:11
      Hi everyone, welcome to 10 Minute Marketing. I am your host, Sonja Crystal Williams, and today joining me I have the lovely Ivana Brutenic with SundayFlies. com. Ivana is the world’s leading expert on LinkedIn employee ambassadors. Her company, Su ndayFlies, is a multinational agency that’s dedicated to helping leaders really create authentic voices on LinkedIn. She and her sister, Kristina, started the company. She’s worked with over 7,000 brands to transform their LinkedIn presence online. Welcome to today’s show.

      Ivana Brutenic: 0:54
      Thank you very much, Sonja. Thank you for having me.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 0:57
      Yes, thank you for being here. So I personally love LinkedIn as a network. It’s been one of the most impactful networks for me since I got on it gosh in the early 2000s career-wise growing a business so it’s a topic I’m super excited to talk about today. I’d love to hear, Ivana, what’s your backstory? How did you get into this world of LinkedIn and then offering it as a service to your clients?

      Ivana Brutenic: 1:27
      Well, basically it started 17 years ago so it’s been a long time and I used to be a headhunter. I founded a headhunting company in Central Europe and I’ve been 22 years old, so really young. I was eager to provide the services I was missing on our market and we were getting the candidates that other agencies couldn’t. So basically, after a few years, clients started to ask how is it possible that you have the candidates for us that any other agency couldn’t find? Or maybe we were looking for that candidate for six months but we couldn’t find them. And basically I was using LinkedIn for that and then I started getting clients through LinkedIn and then they asked could you do this for us? So basically this is how it started and it’s been 10 years already that we have been helping clients with their LinkedIn presence and sometimes for them it looks like really simple. It’s like, okay, you upload your CV and you’re done. It’s just LinkedIn. It’s too easy. But actually the architecture of the whole LinkedIn strategy project it’s pretty hard to do if you really don’t know the technical part and also the mindset part when we work with a client.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 2:51
      Let’s talk about that mindset. How important is that, what does it mean and how are you shifting their mindset as it relates to LinkedIn?

      Ivana Brutenic: 3:00
      Usually, Linkedin comes across as cold or boring. This is the thing. When they come to us, they’re like oh, I don’t really like this, but I have to do it, and what we need to do is to switch the narrative and like show them that really, Linkedin can be fun, it can be adventurous, you can be authentic and it doesn’t have to be boring at all. So it’s coming to one billion users of LinkedIn, so definitely there are people that are interesting enough to network with them and make business with them.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 3:36
      Yes, and who’s right for your service, in terms of who you tend to work with and or who just kind of gravitates to wanting to work with you.

      Ivana Brutenic: 3:49
      So when we work with corporates, it’s usually about employee branding and attracting the right talent and retaining the talent, of course, okay. And then we work with SMEs on their sales. So usually it’s a company that wants to grow globally, from a small country, for example, to through all Europe or US. Or sometimes we do have clients who are coming from the US to Europe and they want to localize the services, because the language thing gets really complicated when you come to Europe.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 4:24
      Yep, I could imagine that that makes sense and that speaks a lot to even to your brand, of that ability to cross over from country to country, continent to continent, because it can look very different. So let’s talk about the growth, because 7000 brands over the course of 10 years, I mean that’s incredibly impressive. When you first started so you started out as a headhunter and people were kind of coming to you. But when you realize, oh, I have a business here, they keep asking me to do stuff. What were some of the steps or the channels in terms of a marketing, from a marketing standpoint, that you started to engage on to really grow the business?

      Ivana Brutenic: 5:05
      Well, headhunting is very similar to sales like it’s sales, basically, even though people think like it’s HR. You know it isn’t it’s sales and I was really good at finding people, so you can apply that across. You know, in sales it’s the same. So I was teaching our clients how to get new clients. So basically, I needed to know for myself how to get them and I started with networking and networking events, then with keynote speeches at conferences. This was really PR in Forbes and so on. Okay, of course, I was using my favorite tool, linkedin, for that too.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 5:49
      Absolutely. When you use LinkedIn. I don’t want you to give away all your secrets, but I know the feeling on LinkedIn sometimes that you brought up and number one. It can feel stuffy. It’s like is this the place for me to post personal things? Can I share those things? Then the other side to it that I think about with LinkedIn that I’ll often hear from people is I feel like I get so much spam in my inbox nowadays. How did you start to separate yourself, whether that’s through your post content or if you were messaging people? A few tips how do you begin to do that? How do you begin to just separate yourself from all the noise?

      Ivana Brutenic: 6:34
      Yeah, it’s true that LinkedIn is becoming more and more like Facebook and people are like, okay, some of them don’t like that, but basically what it is is getting more personal. I think it’s the same in business in general, Like 10 years ago, when you were going to meet a client, you wouldn’t talk personal stuff probably. But now, after the last three years, everyone knows that everyone has personal life. It’s becoming more interesting, even on LinkedIn. So there are more and more personal posts. People get to connect with you through that personal story that you share with them. But we never make our clients to be too personal if they don’t want to. So they have the option to be personal, but not to be private, of course, and they have the option to stay professional and they can choose what kind of content they want to provide. And there has been some change with the LinkedIn algorithm recently and they are pushing more professional posts, so more professional posts with advice will get more traction in the future. So I think we’ll see more advice-based posts, not only the personal ones that get viral, and also people from LinkedIn said that for them, viral posts isn’t the result they want to have on LinkedIn. They want to have posts that really add value.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 8:07
      So focus on adding value. You also said something else really great, which is you can be personal, but still there’s a difference between personal and private. So you can be private and keep certain things to yourself, yet be person and personable when you think about sales and how important that is. People do business with who they know, like and trust, and there’s got to be a like factor to your profile on LinkedIn, so I think that’s really critical. Okay so, starting out for you, networking, growing your profile, building up those connections on LinkedIn has that shifted much? Oh, and I’m sorry, keynote speaking that’s another huge piece. So you kind of had a formula that was working for you and which also brings up a really important point, which is, I always tell people, even though you’re doing online stuff, that doesn’t mean abandon the physical face-to-face things. It can go hand in hand those keynote speeches with being on LinkedIn and people finding you With what you were doing when you first started. Has that shifted much to which channels seem to be working well for you today as you continue to grow your business, or have you added other things into the mix?

      Ivana Brutenic: 9:24
      Yeah, I remember myself as a small business owner, I was so proud that I’m using you know content to attract people. I don’t have to go and search for them. But once I realized I can combine that and I can do both content creation along with messaging and very personal messages. No robots, I don’t like LinkedIn robots and LinkedIn doesn’t like them too. So when I saw the difference and I just see the switch in our clients’ eyes when they realize that they can talk to one person, one prospect, or they can talk to 10,000 prospects with one post, you really see the leverage that you can have with content creation. And this is very exciting for me to watch the clients switch and see the opportunity, like, wow, okay, I can have this leverage. I can have this leverage, and I had the same journey with LinkedIn too Okay, Very, very cool.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 10:31
      Okay, let me shift into asking you a few questions. We’re going to shift into our lightning round a little bit. You can answer these questions. You’re already giving me really great answers. These can be just short. You brought up LinkedIn Robots, automation. How do you feel about LinkedIn Automation?

      Ivana Brutenic: 10:50
      I care how LinkedIn thinks about the automation. Linkedin doesn’t like automation. Every week I get a message from a person that his or her profile was canceled because they used automation. I don’t prefer to use automation. I prefer human connection.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 11:10
      Human connection on LinkedIn. Second question would be LinkedIn for research. You hear about sales teams kind of using LinkedIn as a place to find people to communicate with talk. What are your thoughts about using LinkedIn for research and then building connections from there?

      Ivana Brutenic: 11:27
      Yeah, I love using LinkedIn for research. Even when I’m buying something for my office, I’m just asking people okay, what do you use, what kind of software do you use? And LinkedIn is trying to turn this platform into Amazon for B2B business, so there will be more and more also like a platform where you can search some kind of services or products and reviews testimonials. So it’s getting really exciting even in the sales area.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 12:01
      Yeah, all right. Cool, any other features about LinkedIn that you really like, whether they’re coming up soon, or features that you’re like I love this feature, I use it a lot or everyone should be using this particular feature.

      Ivana Brutenic: 12:18
      Well, this is a great question. I think it’s different for each person. For me, I really love to connect with people, even with messages, and this is what you said. Like there are a lot of spam messages on LinkedIn, especially in the US market. So when you compare US and Europe, US is like 100 types more messages in your inbox and but the competition isn’t that strong if you really read those messages. So, for example, I connected with top world leaders in their topics and they just replied because the message was good. So I’m really into personalizing the message and the content. And what people are not using are the company pages. Linkedin has a much larger team for their company pages than they had two years before, and it’s really something that even small businesses should consider for the future.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 13:19
      OK, so as a small business, I have my personal profile, but I should also consider setting up a company page which showcases the company brand and then me on my personal profile. One more question I get this question a lot from people which is I work a professional job, but I have my new small business that I’m starting. Is it OK to put both on my profile, or how do you handle something like that?

      Ivana Brutenic: 13:50
      Yeah, it depends on your company, on your employer, so sometimes there are guidelines that you can’t do that. Usually when we have employee ambassadors, they don’t have a side hustle that is really prominent on their LinkedIn page. But if you are just starting out you can always try it. But usually if you work in corporate, you have to ask if you can do both like side hustle and the real thing that you have at the moment and your current job. Sometimes they might clash. So this is really like I would really check before you start.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 14:25
      Makes sense. Okay, now something really exciting for you. You have a book coming out this fall. I’d love to hear more about it.

      Ivana Brutenic: 14:34
      Yeah, I’m really excited about this project. We are writing this book with my sister, Kristina. It’s about employee ambassadors and, basically, it’s about using the voice of your employees to amplify your brand, and employees have 10 times more reach than company pages. So it’s really a great way how to do that and how the book is structured is structured for global presence, so even for even small companies if they want to have global presence, or larger companies or corporate, because there are a lot of pieces of the puzzle. The devil is in the detail. So you really need to. When you have this kind of project, you need to have all the puzzles in, and we just made a process of 10 hours. You go through 10 hours and you can launch the project, and usually it takes companies Months or years to do that and they can do it in 10 hours. So I’m really, really excited about that.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 15:35
      Okay, so you’ve systematized a way a company can begin to create ambassadors within their company, big or small. So for those of you that are small business owners and you’re listening, you don’t have to be a giant corporation and those of you at those bigger corporations, this is something to really consider, because you’re able to amplify the voice of your brand 10 times more when you’re speaking through those employee ambassadors and bringing them on board to want to participate. I think getting them to want to be a part of it and stick to it is also a big part of that. So, if I’m has got the process on how you begin to do that, Ivana, how can people keep in touch with you or learn more If they’re interested in getting started with really turning up the volume on their LinkedIn profiles?

      Ivana Brutenic: 16:24
      Yeah, the best way to connect with me is only then. So just search for even Brutenic with with my name and you can follow our company too. We have a company page and our website is sundayflies. com.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 16:39
      Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here today. Ivana. We may have to have you back in the future, once that book is published, and talked through that process a little bit. Thank you all so much for listening. I hope you all took away some great tips and if you’re not on LinkedIn or not using LinkedIn, but you have a profile, start building it out today and go to Ivana’s website so you can learn more information. Thanks again, we’ll see you next time.


Social Media


Social Media & Digital Marketing Training

Tools, Templates, and Resources

work with me

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I'm Sonja — social media and digital marketing trainer, consultant, and strategist. I'm here to help you and your team work smarter.