And why it is less evident that you “do” social media marketing on LinkedIn.
People buy relationships, not products or services. People return and develop loyalty to the brand (relationships) and not products or services. You could have the best ice cream in the world, but if your service stinks or your shop is filthy, you’ll go out of business.
Likewise, if your LinkedIn profile stinks or lacks defining information — it will hurt your professional image and impact your marketability.
In this post, I’ll cover a couple of crucial, but not always evident LinkedIn success tips to ensure your time on LinkedIn is a smart investment and not a waste of precious resources.
Who Should be on LinkedIn?
Why you need to thoughtfully target your profile.
7 Things not to do on LinkedIn
Understanding and following the above topics will open your door to success on LinkedIn. The key however to your success, is a profile that is cohesive and well written. If you are ready to dive in and write yourself a compelling profile, but not quite sure how to do it, go check out the F2FSchoo LinkedIn Profile course. We’ll take about 3 hours to walk you through from A to Z the process of efficiently targeting your profile. You won’t regret it.
Who Should be on LinkedIn?
Everyone over the age of 18.
I’ve got a friend who owns an amazing organic farm in Sebastopol, CA. She came to visit us last year in France, and I asked if she was on LinkedIn. She told me that being on LinkedIn doesn’t serve her, so she’s never even bothered to make an account.
I tried to convince her with an analogy about running into a soil researcher at a coffee shop, demonstrating how LinkedIn can be an easy, no-nonsense way to connect with a stranger professionally. She laughed but didn’t buy in.
Ironically, just a few months later, guess who reached out and connected with me? An organic farm soil researcher based in Louisiana, connected to another friend of mine in Minnesota (also into organic farming) and we all three share another connection in California.
Bingo. Point proved.
Who has time for the process of manually introducing, vetting, sharing contacts, and writing up a clever explanatory introduction? On the flipside, with Linkedin, you can share and introduce connections in less than 30 seconds flat.
Even better, if the folks you want to introduce, have complete profiles, you don’t have to write anything about why you want to introduce one contact to another because the profiles will speak for themselves.
If you do any business online, if you interact with other human beings as part of your work or in the process of getting clients or selling a product, you should be on LinkedIn.
Think of it like an old phone book Yellow Pages section on steroids: free marketing for you and your business with everything your audience needs to know to pique their interest and reach out to you.
Retired? Switching gears? Moving to freelance? You can give back to your former network by introducing people and or finding people like you to share stories, resources, or even start a new entrepreneurial venture.
Thoughtfully Target Your Profile
Again, if you were in the phone book Yellow Pages, how would you catch the eye of a potential client?
If you are in an elevator and meet a potential client, what is your pitch?
If you are in an interview, what do you say when the ask you “why do you do what you do?”
Don’t be a generalist — you need to focus your profile to find the right audience.
For the last few years over 500 million people have been on LinkedIn. How are you going to stand-out? If someone is looking for a freelancer, a consultant or a creative to help out their business, you need to make sure that the service or expertise you offer is evident.
Again, think of your profile picture, your headline, and your background image like a modern Yellow Page announcement. Brand yourself. State your offer. Be concise. Don’t ramble and confuse people. Don’t suggest that people offer random jobs to you — that makes you sound unfocused. Don’t try to be an English teacher, a virtual assistant, a web designer and a barista. If you insist on diversifying your offer, target a complimentary suite of jobs such as “VA and web design” and or a “web designer and web design teacher.”
How many clients can you serve in a year? How many interviews or jobs can you handle? The way to make LinkedIn successful for you is to narrow down that marketplace audience of 500 million to something useful.
You don’t need 30,000 connections on LinkedIn because there is no physically possible way you can build a relationship with that many people. Focus. Target. Provide value. Build real human links and you will find LinkedIn success. Don’t be a needle in a haystack.
Build Strong Relationships
LinkedIn isn’t just about social media. It’s about building real relationships.
Have you ever played the children’s game of Operator (or telephone, Russian scandal, Chinese whisper, Grapevine, etc.)? One person whispers a message or word in the ear of the person next to her, and it goes on until you get to the end. When you get to the last person the fun of the game is in seeing how the end message compares with the original message. Usually, the messages have changed slightly; sometimes they’ve become 100% indistinct.
Brene Brown says this:
“When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”
My point? As a business person, your image — how you are defined publicly — is the ticket to your success or your failure. Supporting your public image dictates your ability to cultivate and manage your relationships.
Networking, marketing, sales are all built on relationship building. LinkedIn is your golden ticket to doing so with minimal effort. LinkedIn has everything you need to connect, network and build relationships with people.
Building relationships is why you should do your best to write personal messages when you connect. Why would you link to someone you’ve never even spoken with? Why is this person an interesting connection? How can you give him or her a hand? Maybe you don’t need to connect; perhaps they are someone who you need to follow.
7 Quick LinkedIn NoNos:
- Never send an inmail or message without first reading someone’s profile and making sure your message or request is on target. Time is valuable. Don’t waste it (your own or that of a stranger).
- Don’t consider your profile just another social media profile. Your LinkedIn is a professional branding platform. Be careful what you say and how your present yourself.
- Don’t feel pressured to join the LinkedIn social media frenzy. Step back, watch what works for your peers, make a strategy, set aside the time and make sure your messages will be on target.
- Don’t ask for free stuff. Think about the value that you might provide before writing a contact (or stranger) and asking for something. Sure, maybe you need work or advice, but why should a total stranger give it to you? They are busy too, and this is not how you go about building real relationships.
- Don’t use up valuable headline space saying something like “seeking new opportunities.”
- Don’t ask strangers or contacts that barely know you to endorse you or write recommendations. (see cultivate real relationships above).
- Don’t stagnate or go MIA: If you don’t check your LinkedIn messages regularly, make sure your email address is in your professional summary or otherwise tell people how to find you. Make sure you update your profile every few months as your work changes. Make sure you get recommendations when you finish up with clients. Make sure your contact details are current.
- Don’t use a profile picture from 10 years ago: if you walk into a room or interview, folks should be able to recognize you from your profile picture.
LinkedIn is a highly useful networking and relationship building tool for all professionals. The key is to not waste your time or that of your network. Rather focus on creating and cultivating genuine relationships that provide value to your audience, your network and of course to your personal professional pursuits.
To do this successfully you need to make sure you that the information you present is the professional brand that you want to represent and that will find you the work you love. Target your profile to your ideal audience, client, or employer.
Do this effectively and you will find LinkedIn success. Without ever having to touch on the social media aspects. Make sure what you post is planned and targeted. Just like any other marketing pursuit, to be successful with posting on LinkedIn, you’ll need a plan. And you’ll need a legitimate and engaged audience.