In Part 2 of the 10 Part Series “Can LinkedIn Work for You?” we start with a question…“Why are you on LinkedIn?” LinkedIn takes time and effort to produce results. Without knowing the answer to this question how do you know what actions you should be taking?
Most people initially joined LinkedIn because either they stumbled across an article saying how great the site was or because someone told them they have to be on it. There was probably some excitement about the possibilities that quickly faded once you realized you had no clue what to do now that you had an account.
By its navigation structure LinkedIn is telegraphing some of this potential:
- People: Find people you know and build a trusted network.
- Jobs: Find a new job or advance your career.
- Answers: Share and discover information.
- Companies: Be found by others and have a way to promote your company.
All are great ways to use LinkedIn but what’s missing is the most important reason…to grow your business and make more money.
When I conduct LinkedIn workshops I always poll the audience to see why they are on LinkedIn. Usually about 75% say they are on it to network, 20% say they are on it to find a job or advance their career, and 5% or less say they are on it to grow their business and make more money.
If you think about it, networking and advancing your career are part of the process of growing your business and making money.
It’s almost as if there is this underlying perspective that trying to use LinkedIn or social networking/media to make money is a bad thing. It’s not. Social networking is about making friends. Business networking is about making friends and developing new relationships that will 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 would lead to new business.
Step 1: Acknowledge Your Purpose
The first step is to acknowledge that you are on LinkedIn to make money. Because here’s the point; if you can’t monetize your LinkedIn activities, you time would be better spent conducting revenue producing activities.
LinkedIn currently has over 45 million members but only 24% are considered active users (spend at least 5 hours a week interacting on the site). That tells me that at least 76% of the members have not figured out how to use LinkedIn to grow their business or make money. Because once you figure that out, you’d be crazy to not be an active user. People tend to put their time and efforts to where they expect to find success.
Finally you need to develop some goals to track if your efforts are successful. These goals might be to build a minimum number of direct connections, communicate your message a specific number of times, build brand awareness, be seen as the local expert in your field, and much more.
Step Two: Identify Your Market
Once you know why you are on LinkedIn you probably have an idea of the types of people that will help you reach your goals. You need to make sure that your profile speaks to these people. You can do this by using the keywords that your prospects use to find services or products such as yours.
Your summary is a great place to tell people who you are, how you can help them, and how they can help you.
Your Title is a great place to substitute a marketing message. My title would show “Social Media Strategist”, instead I use a tagline to communicate a message “Showing businesses how to use social networking/media to build communities of people and monetize those relationships”. It’s the difference between telling people what you are verses telling people how you can help them.
You can also use the various applications to share information that is relevant to your target audience. The key is to make sure your profile speaks to the correct audience.
Step 3: Get to work
Once you know why you are on LinkedIn, have set some goals, and know who you are targeting you just need to figure out the appropriate steps to take. 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.
LinkedIn isn’t the most interactive platform but there are ways to make it work for you. You can use the people search to identify new contacts, potential alliance partners, and to prospect. You can use Answers to interact, share information, and demonstrate expertise.
You can use group discussion posts to interact with others and news articles to share information. Applications can be used to share information, communicate a message, and tell others about events.
You can use the Status function to tell people what you are doing. I use it to share success stories, alert my connections to new blog posts, and to publicize upcoming workshops.
You just need to determine which activities will impact the goals you have set. Then consistently use those activities to drive results. It won’t happen overnight but with time and effort you should start to see some positive results.
Understanding your purpose, setting goals, and taking the appropriate actions are not new concepts. These are the same steps that millions of successful people have used to achieve results…long before social media/networking came into existence.
When I joined my chamber the purpose was to grow my business. My goal was to develop as many new relationships as possible. To do this I identified which chamber meetings would allow me to interact with my target prospects to achieve my goals and purpose.
LinkedIn and online social networking may be relatively new concepts, but the tactics and strategies are nothing new.
So going back to the beginning, “Why are you on LinkedIn?”
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