Have you ever been to a networking event only to be cornered by one of these three types of people … the Sniper, the Schmoozer, or the Time Hog?
The Sniper – This guy or gal runs into the room, shakes your hand, tells you their name and business and then asks you for a business card and gives you one in return. The next thing you know you are getting a barrage of emails, social media connections and more. You try to escape, but now they have you dead in their sights!
The Schmoozer – This person has the gift of gab. You shake their hand, and now they have your full attention to listen to their half hour or hour-long webinar in person. They have every feature and benefit of their product or service locked and loaded and ready to do point-counterpoint with every objection you may have to their better bread slicer!
The Time Hog – “You have a dog? I have a dog!” This person is starving for your attention. They have something to sell but can't remember why, and will dribble-drabble until you want to poke you eardrums out with glass. When you look away, they talk louder and change the subject just to maintain your full attention!
LinkedIn – Your Online Business Networking
LinkedIn is the 3rd most used of the social networking sites (1-Facebook, 2-Twitter). With over 400+ million people worldwide, you would think you could find a good lead or prospect there, but power users spend less than 10 minutes per day using it and most people spend 3-5 minutes per week. Only one-third of the users are in the US and of those, one-quarter are active regularly (educated guess). So, why should you care?
LinkedIn is the Google for business people. It is one of the best search engines on the internet (although limited to its own data). It is indexed by Google, so your information is easily found. People use it to research you and your business (and you can do the same for them).
[bctt tweet=”LinkedIn is an extension of face-to-face networking. “]
What NOT To Do?
Don't ignore LinkedIn just because you don't use it or don't feel the need to. Anything on the internet is up for grabs, and people may claim your name and use it for evil! Make sure you have control of your name, business and brand. The last thing you want is a scammer posting as you to make a quick million. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Don't use this to be a Sniper, Schmoozer, or Time Hog. LinkedIn is an extension of face-to-face networking. Just because you have someones business card does not give you the right to sell them your crap (not that what you're selling is crap, but it may feel like that to people who don't KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST you). If you want to connect, give them a reason to connect and ultimately call you. Shoving yourself down someone's throat will only lead to choking!
Don't ignore people. You have no idea whether that connection request is someone trying to sell you something or someone wanting to give you $1,000,000 for your product and knowledge. When you get a request – research them. Just because they are in Mumbai India does not immediately disqualify them. Just because they are from your home town does not immediately qualify them. Give their profile the once over before accepting or rejecting the request.
- Master Your Profile – Create a cool headline. If you just put “President or Salesperson (your company), who cares? Give a description that says more about what you do to help people or solve their pain. Use a professional profile picture. Your book and your logo are not you. If I am meeting you at a local business or Starbucks, unless you have a book to hold up or a logo on your shirt, I will have no idea who you are. Make your summary about your value proposition. Tell people how you can help them make more money (that is what business is about right?). Make it in the third person to prevent sounding all I, I, I, me, me, me.
- Utilize All Information – Add past jobs to your profile. When I added Arthur Anderson, I was connected to 168,000 people. Which one of them could be your next $1,000,00 client? Link content – websites, video, PDFs and more. LinkedIn is an excellent tool to share content on your profile. Make sure you take advantage of every opportunity for people to find you! Fill out interests -those can be a great ice breaker. If you post that you are into golf, music or soccer, that may defuse tension by giving the person you are meeting with the option to discuss personal things first … then business or visa-versa.
- Get Recommendations – Endorsements are a waste of time. This is my personal opinion, but I have been endorsed for “Cat Herding and Basket Weaving.” Anyone can endorse you for anything, so it has less street cred! Giving a recommendation will hopefully get you one in return. If you recommend someone first, then you have a 50-75% chance of getting a recommendation back People tend to reciprocate even better. They feel energized by your recommendation and want to one up it by giving you an even better testimonial … try it!
- Join Groups – Find groups that your customers learn from. Join groups where you can learn in return. Be the active one in the room – be careful not to sell. Working in groups is unpredictable, but can reap HUGE rewards. Be active and comment on other people's information and you WILL get noticed!
- Post Good Stuff – Start off by posting original content to the wall (share an update). This only works for people who are connected to you. If you don't have any original content (stuff that you produce) then this is your sandbox. If you find great articles that make sense to share to a group(s), then start here. Publish a Post to Pulse. This needs to be an ORIGINAL article or blog post. That is content marketing at its best. If you fit the bill, LinkedIn will share to influencers via “Featured In” Pulse posts. I just posted one that was seen by over 1000 people (I was not connected to most of them). Teach don’t Sell.
LinkedIn is an awesome tool to connect and draw people into your business. Make sure you research people before you connect to avoid predatory sellers. If they are not directly in your industry, that does not mean “Don't Connect”, because you never know when an obscure connection can lead to your next $1,000,000 deal!
Give and receive. The more great information you provide, the better the chance that people will equate you and that info as one and the same. Teach people and they will want to learn more. Sell people and they will turn away from another ad!
Think of this as digital Face-to-Face marketing and you and your audience will be much happier!
I would love to hear your comments, feedback and experiences, so share away!