Beyond LinkedIn


Networking on LinkedIn and beyond

Relevant networking is absolutely vital for your business.  LinkedIn offers a way for you and your team to connect, communicate and engage with your different audiences as a form of networking from anywhere – why wouldn’t you leverage it?

Many business people can feel very vulnerable, judged and uncomfortable when they raise their visibility and start sharing a voice, I come across it a lot.  It is totally natural but it is not a reason to avoid getting active.

Fortune favours the brave,  if your business needs to leverage your expertise then you need to literally get over yourself and just get on with it. So if that means  you sharing your personal expertise to build up your credibility and the know like and trust, then we need to get on with it.  First rule of lead generation – it’s not about you and it never was!

People are not judging or noticing, they are more bothered about their own visibility (or lack of it) than caring a jot about yours.   They don’t care about you, they are only interested in how you can help them.

Let’s take a look at how the laws of networking work on social media:

It’s B2B so I am mostly relating this to LinkedIn.  By all means share content as a business but also connect, engage, share your voice and build your personality from your personal profile.   People need to get to know you.

Whenever I open up LinkedIn, I treat it as if I am in a networking room and act accordingly.  I write my content to a person who is very real in my head.  Connecting with people I want to connect with and engaging with others (who I am interested in) akin to a handshake I would offer at a networking event.

I wouldn’t walk into a networking room hand everyone a leaflet on my business and walk out again.

I wouldn’t start pitching to everyone I meet either, I would be curious and human and polite and would leave a pitch for  future appointment away from this initial meeting.

I don’t go networking to speak to my mates in a little clique either.  It is very easy to get sucked into the chat on LinkedIn with friends/connections who you know but that isn’t why you are in there. It is nice to have them as cheerleaders and friends of the house, but they are not who you are showing up for.

I wouldn’t turn up to a networking meeting in a mask and someone elses clothes.  Use irrelevant stuff (eg stock imagery) with caution it just adds to the noise and we don’t need more noise we need to be relevant to our market and let them get to know and see who we are.  Plus, I have come across more than one instance when competitors are using the same stock photos (not cool).

Networking on LinkedIn 

It is an effective way to build audience and awareness and the know, like and trust that you hear so much about.  A few minutes each day purposely connecting, engaging is time well spent.  Sales Navigator is well worth the investment it is great for research, building lists and keeping you up to date with who has posted or been active.

How do you network on LinkedIn?

By connecting with your target market,  posting content and engaging with others (ideally your target markets) with relevant content and posts. Engagement  might be direct with their posts or just in their world with others that they follow and are connected with.

Following and supporting people (and customers) you meet in real life with their LinkedIn work keeps you infront of them and allows you to  help  them get their message out there.  You don’t have to like and engage with every post and things you don’t agree with, you can always take the call whether to stay away or engage in a conversation, just as you would in real life.    

Business or Personal LinkedIn Profile?

For me LinkedIn is a person to person networking platform so I would choose personal profile first  as the professional  network you can build is huge.   However, there is a role for the business page too.   

I am currently doing some “testing and measuring” of my own with a couple of business accounts to see how differently they operate but some obvious points are:  

  • There is the obvious ability to get the logo and link on your  own profile
  • Don’t forget to invite your connections to follow your business page.
  • You can be more sales orientated with content on a business page

To be honest the most important thing is to just start showing up, consistently and stop looking for the excuses for not doing that! 

What comes after connecting, posting and engaging?

I do  think you have to be careful with your effort and return and the whole “building on rented land” warning. There are lots of reasons but here are a few:

  1. Not everyone is on LinkedIn
  2. Not everyone is active on LinkedIn but I do believe “they are always looking”.   More are actively looking and researching on it  than it may seem if you look at their profile and interaction record. 
  3. You have no control on the content they see.
  4. An audience is not committed to you.  They are not leads because they like and see your content on LinkedIn.    
  5. You have no control of your audience, it could be taken away from you any day which is why you need your leads on a database.
  6. You  have to be careful on the time spent.   You can quickly go from being very purposeful to aimlessly scrolling!  
  7. You have to test the temperature with your audience and work to get them from social media into your database.
  8. Think about how you read a social media post or a blog and how you read an email – you give them quite different attention don’t you?
  9. If you have interest get them on a call and emails asap – becoming a human is a real positive step.
  10. How can you bring in direct marketing to push on some of those relationships.

If you believe that what you offer can help your prospects then it is your job to let them know that – you can’t leave it to chance!  I think leads and sales ultimately come from the inbox not social media, getting an email and phone number and the permission to talk to them is for me an important step (your database is yours, your audience on LinkedIn isn’t).   

So for me once you are connecting and engaging on LinkedIn the  next step is to find ways to get the audience off LinkedIn and onto your database of leads to start communicating with directly (telephone, email, direct mail, networking, corporate hospitality).  

It is a 2-way street

Fundamentally it is not just about converting audience to leads in your database, it works both ways.    Connect with your  leads from your database on LinkedIn so you maximise your opportunity for you to be in their world and share your content on social too.    

Give Recommendations and Testimonials

One other thing, BNI brought us the concept of givers gain and I do believe what goes around comes around.  Which of your suppliers or colleagues could you give a recommendation to on Linked In. It could be your phone or IT providers, your garage, your PT or VA, your insurance broker who is always there to answer your queries and make sure your risks are covered   Take the lead and  find people to thank for a good service. 

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