When I first joined LinkedIn my thought was that this would be a good place to network and connect to other business professionals. What I’ve learned since is that LinkedIn is a great place to communicate your message to millions of business professionals. Most often through indirect methods.
Most people think in term of communicating directly, but that’s a traditional perspective. Social networking/media has its own rules in regards to sales related activites and most often using a direct sales pitch will fail and potentially cause damage to your brand.
There are a few ways to communicate directly on LinkedIn. The most obvious is to send a direct message to your first degree connections. Personally when I receive a direct sales message I immediately archive it. Most often it’s from someone I’m connected to but do not personally know. If I receive several I simply remove the connection.
If you want to sell to me you have to first introduce yourself and then start a conversation. It all starts with the three requirements necessary for someone to choose to do business with you. First they have to know you, second they need to like you, and finally they need to trust you.
Connecting or interacting within LinkedIn groups can accomplish the “getting to know you” requirement. Moving to like and trust requires time and interaction. You’re going to have to share value over time for this to occur.
Here are some of the ways that I communicate my message to tens of thousands of LinkedIn members each week.
- I have replaced my title with a tag line… from “social media consultant” to “Showing businesses how to leverage Social Media to Build Communities and Monetize their Business”. Now everytime my mini profile is displayed I’m indirectly telling people how I can help them rather than what I am.
Action Step: Modify your elevator speech to 160 characters and replace your title with it.
- I’ve used my status update to communicate to my direct network. Most often I use it to share success stories…”Sean just helped a client create a social media strategy and implement it”. With the new Twitter integration now I can simply Tweet my message and it’s displayed in my status. Be sure to only integrate your business related tweets.
Action Step: Either update you status manuall or use the Twitter integration. Keep your integrated tweets business related. You have two choices: Post only business related messages or use the #in hashtag for messages you want to display on LinkedIn.
- I’ve written the Social Media Sonar blog for two years now to help others more effectively utilize LinkedIn. I share a lot of value in my posts. I add each post as a news article in the 50 groups that I belong to.This drives traffic to my blog and helps people get to know me. If they like the information they will normally grow to having a favorable opinion of me (Like).Over time this consistent sharing of value leads to building trust.At this point if they have an issue that I can help them with there is a high likelyhood that they will contact me.
Action Step: If you write a blog or articles join the groups where the information will be relevant and post these as news articles.
- Another great way to share value is to engage inconversations in group discussions. You can add your own discussion topic or join a conversation someone else has started. Participate enough consistently and over time you will go from know to like to trust. The key is in how you interact and the value you provide through your comments.Also if you add value be sure to share a link to your blog or website.
Action Steps: First make sure you have joined as many relevant groups as you can find. These can be location, alumni, industry, or topic specific groups. These should be groups where you prospect belong. Once a member join the conversations and participate. Just be sure to conduct every conversation as you would if you were speaking in person.
- Answering questions is a great way to share value and communicate your message. This is your opportunity to provide value by answering another person’s question and to demonstrate expertise if the questions is related to what you do for a living.You can also ask questions. Both the questions you ask and answer will be viewable to your profile visitors.
Action Step: Be sure to periodically look to answer questions in your field. You can set up a RSS feed to see new questions or integrate them into your LinkedIn home page. Take your time and provide well thought out answers. Remember every answer either adds to your brand or subtracts from it.
These are only some of the opportunities to communicate your message on LinkedIn. You should explore the various features to see how you can put these to use. Utilizing the various means to communicating my message has led to my receiving from 3 to 5 inquiries a week from fellow members needing help with the services I provide.
What are some of the ways not listed that you have used to communicate your message to your fellow business professionals on LinkedIn?