By Chuck Sink
Marketing and selling on LinkedIn is a big deal for business today. Just about everyone in business is now on LinkedIn (over 300 million users) and most are staring at their screens thinking, “What am I supposed to do with this?”
Salespeople who have moved away from cold calling are turning to LinkedIn as a new opportunity for canvassing their markets. It’s a fine prospecting tool for certain, but LinkedIn will not work as a “target rich” environment to pick off prospects. People on LinkedIn are just like you. They want to sell, not get picked off!
I’ll offer you in this article what I’ve experienced using LinkedIn since about 2006. A visit to my profile will inform you of my content, connections and online resume. LinkedIn calls me an “All Star” for whatever that’s worth, and I only have a free account.
My professional network on LinkedIn is among my most precious business assets. I’m connected with most of my identifiable business prospects in my market. LinkedIn is the perfect searchable Rolodex, and when I need to contact someone for any business inquiry, that’s where I go. There’s tip number one! Make LinkedIn your interactive business connection database. Okay, but then what?
How do you grow your business and earn more money on LinkedIn?
The answer is simply this: Use all of LinkedIn’s features for searching, connecting, networking, branding and publishing. Do you want some bullets? Here they are:
- Profile depth
- Content value
- Connections – quality and volume
- Presence and interaction
LinkedIn does its job very well. In fact, it will continually prompt you to be a better user. The rest is up to you. How interesting are your messages to your connections?
Humans behave pretty much the same online, no matter where they are. For example what gets more likes, comments and shares on Facebook? It’s usually family and personal drama, controversial topics, frivolous musings, cool pictures and videos. That’s what gets them buzzing.
People want to be entertained no matter what, and on LinkedIn, some even want to be educated. These are your LinkedIn watchwords for post content: Wise, Fresh, New, Bold, Disruptive and Valuable.
Asking a timely and baffling question will get you more interaction than a technical blog post or sharing a typical business article.
Writing a controversial LinkedIn Pulse post will get people commenting and direct messaging you while sharing your latest newsletter will simply be another brand impression.
It’s fine to post something relevant to your business audience every day and those impressions will only fortify your personal and company branding. Don’t expect the floodgates to be opened, but rather a gradual rise to “top-of-mind” status within your LinkedIn network.
Use LinkedIn like I do and trust me, your messages will be seen and noticed by hundreds and potentially thousands every week! Your brand will be reinforced and you’ll be short listed by your connections when they have a requisition and budget for your services.
Your quality professional network will keep growing as long as you stay active on LinkedIn. You will begin to form relationships inside the minds and hearts of your wider online network without even knowing it.
There’s bad news for those thinking of LinkedIn as a replacement for the telephone which was once a fairly effective “dialing for dollars” machine. Social media including LinkedIn discourage spammy or unsolicited sales messages. Connecting socially and fostering relationships online is the purpose for LinkedIn and other social media.
Look at LinkedIn from the relationship, not sales perspective! Get acquainted with fellow professionals and make friends just as you would on Facebook. Just be authentic about it and remember to keep the tone professional, even when using humor.
LinkedIn is actually a very sociable platform. It’s just dressed for professional life instead of a back yard barbecue. Once you have someone in your network, it will be natural to contact them with relevant, valuable business information. An invitation to lunch through a LinkedIn direct message is more likely to be accepted than a meeting request from an unexpected phone call.
Continuous thoughtful updates and interactions with your LinkedIn Groups and Connections will improve your business development results, without question. It’s not a matter of IF it will work, it’s a matter of spending the time and doing the work to actually generate the results.