24/04/2013 - 15:51

Be smart, creative on Linkedin

24/04/2013 - 15:51

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LinkedIn is great for business – er, I mean smart business.

I am not a Linkedin expert but I do have more than 15,000 Linkedin connections. Do you?

I may have more visibility and notoriety than you do but we are equal in exposure and linking possibilities. And 98.5 per cent of my Linkedin connections are the result of people wanting to connect with me.

I do not accept everyone. I click on everyone’s profile before connection. Many are impressive. Most are average or less. Some are pathetic.

How’s yours? How many connections do you have? How are you communicating with your connections? How are your connections helping your sales or your career?

Your Linkedin profile is one more social media image. When others search for you, Linkedin is one of the first links they click on. You have a chance to make a positive business and social impression.

The good: When I realised the business significance of Linkedin, I immediately sought professional help. I hired Joe Soto at One Social Media to help me with the keywords, layout, and what to include on my profile page. He also recommended what and how to post.

In the two years since I hired him, I have added more than 9,000 connections. Or should I say, more than 9,000 potential customers. Huge opportunity at an acquisition cost of zero.

Reality of Linkedin: I receive requests to link and I also get messages. Some are very nice, some are self-serving, some are insincere and some are stupid (very stupid). All messages are a reflection of the person sending them. That would be you.

Here are some things about Linkedin to make you think, rethink, and act:

• Your picture is not an option. Show a professional but approachable image. Be proud of who you are.

• Have a Linkedin profile that gives the reader insight, not just history. Not just what you’ve done, but also who you are. Your profile is your pathway to connection.

• Danger: Do not use stock Linkedin messages. It shows your laziness, lack of creativity and overall lack of professionalism.

• If you’re looking for a job, or working a lead, tell me why I should connect. Where’s the value?

• If you’re looking for leads, use the keyword feature (rather than the job title option) in the “advanced search” link to the right of the search box. It’s free and you will find hundreds of people in your industry or in your backyard you never knew existed.

• Why are you sending me an e-card on Easter? Three words to ask yourself with any message you send or post: Where’s the value? E-cards are a total waste, unless it’s family.

• If you’re asking me (or people) to join your group, tell me why I should.

• If you’re asking me to connect you with a second-level connection, don’t. The only way to ask is from first to first. Tell me in a sentence or two why you want to connect.

• Asking for a recommendation or endorsement is bad. If you’re asking your connections for a recommendation, don’t. It is perhaps the dumbest, rudest thing on Linkedin.

• Don’t tell me you “found something interesting” in your group message, especially if the link is to join your “free” webinar.

• Allocate 30-60 minutes a day to utilise this vital business social media asset.

The bad and the ugly: Here are some examples of messages and invites I have received on Linkedin. Hopefully, they will make you think, rethink and act.

Bad: Hi Jeffrey, My name is … with … , a leading provider that helps organisations connect with their customers through email, mobile, and social networks. I would like to connect about a potential partnership to help Buy Gitomer, In. increase their interactive marketing ROI.

This is a typical self-serving (and deleted) message. Why not give me a tip and ask if I would like more like it? And stop using dead sales words like “ROI” and “helps organisations.” Help me, don’t sell me.

Dumb: Hi all, as I continue to work on building my network, can I ask that you do me a huge favour and endorse me here on LinkedIn? I would be more than happy to return the favour and endorse you as well. Thank you for your support. (Name withheld to avoid public embarrassment).

Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Give me a break. Spare me. Beg someone else.

Bad and dumb: I got this in my message box (I get a few like this every week): (Subject line) Your opinion please. (Name withheld) supplier business executive.

If you’re hoping for an endorsement or a recommendation on LinkedIn, or anywhere, here’s the two-word mantra: Earn it.

Linkedin is the business social media site of today and tomorrow. Harness its power, do not abuse its options and you will reap its rewards.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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