Why are you on LinkedIn?

 

If you haven’t stopped to ask yourself this question, how do you know what actions you should be taking?  You have to have a defined purpose to take decisive action.

Most people join LinkedIn because either they heard or read about this site that could help them network more effectively.  Most people initially join for the networking component.  A recent question in Answers asked “Why are you on LinkedIn?”  The majority of responses related to meeting new people, connecting to former friends, coworkers, etc.  Few people actually answered “to grow my business”.

It’s almost as if there is this underlying perspective that trying to use LinkedIn to make money is a bad thing.  It’s not.  Social networking is about making friends.  Business networking is about making friends that lead to making money.  I didn’t join my local Chamber of Commerce because I thought the people were really nice (they are).  I wanted to meet some great people and develop relationships that lead to new business.

If you want to find success on LinkedIn you need to shout out loud “I’m on LinkedIn to make money”.  “Show me the money!”  Yell Jerry McGuire style.

Because here’s the point; if you can’t make money on LinkedIn why are you here?  You can join Facebook and some other social networking sites that do a better job of letting you interact with your network.  They have better tools and widgets.

LinkedIn currently has over 41 million members and the majority of people are not really that active.  Coincidentally the majority of people are not making money from being on LinkedIn.  If they were, they would be more active.  People tend to put their time and efforts to where they expect to find success.

Most people get the social component of LinkedIn which is connecting to others.  Where there is some work to do is figuring out how to go from connecting to collecting (as in new client’s or dollars).  This requires some work, some consistency, and some time.

You need to first build your foundation and then move on to strategically using LinkedIn.

The fastest way to build your foundation is to tap into the resources provided by others sharing their thoughts and expertise.  This blog is one of several that share valuable information for free.  You also should consider investing in learning LinkedIn by purchasing one or more of the LinkedIn “How to” books available.

When I first got serious about learning how to use LinkedIn I bought a book about it.  This one book allowed me to tap into the knowledge and experience of the author.  What I learned I could have learned on my own, but it would have taken time.

The book I purchased was $19.99.  At the time based on my income and a 40 hour week I determined that each hour of my time was worth $50.  That book cost me the equivalent of 24 minutes worth of work.

If I tried to learn everything in the book on my own it would have likely taken me at least 25 hours if not more.  These 25 hours represented $1,250 at $50 per hour.  $20 or $1,250 in time, the decision was easy.

Once your foundation is built, you can begin to focus on using LinkedIn more strategically.  It’s a step by step process and your profile and credibility will play an important part in the success of your strategic efforts.

So going back to the beginning, “Why are you on LinkedIn?”

 

**If you would like more information on building your LinkedIn foundation the LinkedIn MBA ($1.97) and the LinkedIn MBA Workbook ($7.97) are excellent resources.

If you’re ready to take the next step and to start using LinkedIn strategically the LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula is the first LinkedIn book to focus exclusively on how to communicate your message to tens of thousands of LinkedIn members. (Priced at $39.97 the 40% Blog Reader Discount – $23.98 – will end tomorrow.  Use Discount Code: x40sbsbr in the shopping cart)

LinkedIn’s What Are You Working On?

 

Sean is working on helping a prospect with their health insurance because they contacted me after seeing my last “What are you working on?” post.  On Twitter they would be responding to my Tweet.  I’m still working on learning Twitter so I’m not sure what a response to a Tweet is.  On LinkedIn that response is called a “New Lead” or even better a “New Opportunity”.

Posting what you’re working on can be a lot like fishing.  You’re casting your bait hoping that someone bites.  On most days you’re lucky if you get a nibble, and you might be tempted to ignore the feature.  You have to remember “Wax on, Wax off”.   Keep doing it until you see why.

A lot depends upon the bait you’re using.  Do you post that you’re meeting friends for dinner at the Waffle House?  Or do you post something relevant to what pays your bills?

If you’re on LinkedIn for social reasons, by all means post about your social life.  But, if you’re like me and most others, we’re trying to find anyway possible to use LinkedIn to drive business.  Today was a good day of fishing!

My post was simple…”Sean just saved a client $800 dollars on their health insurance”.  If you’re responsible for finding your own insurance, that’s hard to ignore.  It’s good bait.  It’s a way to take a positive outcome and share it with my network in a non-intrusive way.  Because of it I may be able to help someone and create another positive outcome.

For taking 30 seconds of my day to make the post I was rewarded with a new lead that I possibly will earn over $800 in commissions.  That’s spending my time wisely.

What are you working on?  Are you updating your network with relevant posts?  Have you had success with this feature?

As Membership Grows, Participation Lags Behind

LinkedIn has seen significant growth over the last year and the numbers keep climbing.  As of last week there were over 25 million members.  That’s an impressive number even if it does trail Facebook (50 million plus) and MySpace (65 million plus).  Being a business networking site, it’s likely to not reach the saturation of the other two.  That’s ok, since from a business perspective it has the ability to be more productive to your average professional.

Where LinkedIn struggles is in the ability of members to monetize their presence.  Sure there are people who have made money as a direct result of being on LinkedIn.  I have.  But given the fact that there are over 2 million people in my network, there is room for improvement.

If I were to assign a grade to LinkedIn’s ability to help me

  • Enhance my network:  10
  • Expand my Network:  8
  • Identify Prospects:  4
  • Identify Potential Partners:  7
  • Research:  7
  • Build Online Brand:  10
  • Secure Introductions:  8

The biggest hurdle is the ability to conduct a blind search to identify prospects.  Part of this is because LinkedIn doesn’t really want the site to be a tool to identify prospects that you you don’t know.  The downside is that even though you have an extended network, there is no effective way to search beyond your first degree connections.

I would like to see LinkedIn come up with a solution that allows me to drill down throughout my entire network providing more opportunity to identify potential partners and clients.

For now LinkedIn may have a lot of members, but until those members find value in interacting, it will lag behind it’s potential.  And members will continue to think more in terms of the number of connections they have and not the monetization of their connections.