One of the interesting things about my time on LinkedIn has been how my thoughts and strategies have changed over time. Its no different from life in that as you learn more you think of new ways to do things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked “is that it?”, only to discover that there’s more to do.
Sometimes it has been that I came up with a new angle and sometimes its been because LinkedIn made some upgrades. Either way the only way to get more out of LinkedIn is to learn more, participate more, and to constantly rethink how to use it. The minute you stop learning you define the limits of what LinkedIn will provide…a sure fire way to ensure that you get less out of it than is intended.
Over the last year I’ve poked and prodded LinkedIn seeking to find some universal truths that would guide me in how I used LinkedIn. As I learn more there will be others, but for now here are the four things I know in regards to monetizing my time and effort on LinkedIn.
1. The Right Perspective = The Right Activities
I have to have a strategy. I have to have goals. These two form my perspective about what I expect to get out of LinkedIn. Knowing this allows me to determine the actions I need to take. At some point I know I need to measure my results but that will come in time. For now I’m simply tracking what’s happening so that I can create a benchmark.
I also have to own why I am on LinkedIn by stating it clearly. It doesn’t get any simpler than “I’m on LinkedIn to make money”. Connecting, helping others, etc. are all part of the requirement’s to make money.
2. More Connections = More Opportunity
This one continues to pop up and I’ve heard all of the reasons why you should or should not connect to those you don’t know. You’ll have to make your own determination but for me I have seen the difference in results having gone from a Hound Dog to a Open Networker (I’m not an official LION so I don’t call myself one). My offline networking in the Chamber and at events produces results with people I know or have met. I don’t need LinkedIn for that, I need LinkedIn to expand my “Unexpected Opportunities” from people I have yet to personally meet. Its done that and more.
3. Know, Like, & Trust = Success
This one should be in bold letters. Its that important. Two out of three doesn’t cut it. If you want to find success on LinkedIn you need to expand your reach (Know – connecting and groups), you need to provide value to others (Like – Answers, interacting, sharing, etc.), and you need to be found credible (Trust – quality profile, recommendations, sharing information). Achieving these three components has lead to between 1 and 5 people per week calling me to help them with their health insurance needs…most from people I do not personally know.
4. More Activity = More Success
The more you participate on LinkedIn the more your name is in front of other members. Eyeballs lead to traffic which lead to business. You could simply put your profile up and some people would find you. But you don’t need some people, you need a lot of people. It’s a numbers game that takes time and activity to succeed.
The question of “Why am I on LinkedIn” has led me to question my purpose, my activities, and my results. The four items listed above are the high level concepts that provide the framework to build on.
The foundation of the four pillars is that More Knowledge = More Creativity. The more I learn and experiment the more I open my mind to potential. I read other LinkedIn blogs on a daily basis. I periodically buy or trade my books for those written by others. I understand that while I may know a lot it’s worth paying $30 to buy the experience and knowledge of others. I may only learn one new piece of information but I also open my self up to another’s perspective, which in the end may challenge what I currently think.
Focus on these four (and learning something new each day or week) and your time will be well spent. What do you think?
*Remember that there are 18 months of posts available at this blog to help you more effectively utilize LinkedIn. In addition if you are still trying to figure out the ropes the LinkedIn MBA ($4.97) and LinkedIn MBA Workbook ($7.97) are affordable resources. LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula is available and a great resource for those looking to take LinkedIn to the next level…going from connecting to collecting.
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Sean Nelson – http://twitter.com/SeanENelson