How Is Connecting on LinkedIn Letting You Down?

I have a confession. This week I accepted a bunch of LinkedIn connection requests without any sort of conversation.  Why? I like to teach good habits through doing them, but also through mistakes.  This is a perfect example of what not to do.

Hitting connect or accept, is like handing out or receiving a business card at a networking event without any conversation.  Would I ever do that in person?  No!

Connect With Conversation on LinkedIn

My upcoming book called “Get Good Or Get Off” is all about doing social media well and making educated choices to do or not do certain aspects of social media.  The big this is that you can’t do social media well without being social.  My action above is an example of not being social. 

 

What could missing the social aspect of social media, be costing me in this case?  

Conversation, context and care can convert a connection into a client. So dismissing the opportunity to start a relationships from the onset, could be a loss in the long-term.

Let’s break down the connection process into 7 options.  In this example the connection will be known as ‘Bob’.

 

Scenario 1

Bob comes across my profile and sends a connection request.  He makes a choice to send without a message (opening conversation).  I hit accept. The end.

Result – Bob has handed me a business card without any conversation and walked away.

 

Scenario 2

Bob sends a connection request with a personal message. I hit accept.  The end.

Result – Bob has handed me a business card while starting a conversation with me, I have taken his business card but ignored him and walked away.

 

Scenario 3

Bob sends a connection request, without a personal message. I hit accept. Then send a personal message of introduction. The end

Result – Bob has handed me a business card and walked away. Meanwhile I’m talking to him but he is no longer there.

 

Scenario 4

Bob sends a connection request with a personal message, I read the message and respond, then hit accept. The end.

Result – Bob has handed me a business card while starting a conversation with me. I have taken his business card and responded, but he has walked away.

 

Scenario 5

Bob sends a connection request, without a personal message. I hit accept. Then send a personal message of introduction. Bob replies.  Conversation is underway.

Result – A potential relationship.

 

Scenario 6

Bob sends a connection request with a personal message, I read the message and respond.  Bob then replies.  Conversation is underway.

Result – A relationship

 

Which scenario did I apply?  Which would have been a better option? 

 

In general, I take scenario 5 or 6 with a connection request because a connection is the start not the end.  Never connect to collect or convert in the first instance.  Connect to create a relationship through conversation and engagement.

 

LinkedIn Connections

Obviously, I have no control over what Bob does or says in his message, but by leading with positive action I can potentially influence Bob’s behaviour, which brings the social aspect to the social media activity.  One thing not to do, is to jump into a sales message.  This is the fastest way to damage a potential relationship or encourage an ‘ignore response.

Connect online as we do in person, with conversation.  Be interested and add value, rather than trying to be interesting.

 

Now look at your LinkedIn process.  Which scenarios relate to your LinkedIn strategy? 

Do you have a connection strategy?  Does it extend beyond the ‘connect’ or ‘accept’ button? Could you do better?

 

If you are unsure how to create your own best practice and need some technical guidance, or would like to develop your own strategy and processes, then I’m here to help.  My passion is helping individuals and organisations use tools such as LinkedIn more effectively to increase brand awareness, build an engaged network, grow your authority and your business growth.

 

 

Does your LinkedIn Profile Start With WHY?

During your career have you ever stopped to look at your life from a bird’s eye view?

It will help you connect the dots and identify your big WHY, enabling you to write your story using tools such as your LinkedIn profile. 

When we start with why, we understand ourself so much more. 

Understand why you do what you do

Can you recall what you wanted to do from a young age? Did you follow that exact path? I certainly didn’t plan to do what I am doing now, in fact who knew such a role would exist?! But the reason WHY I do what I do has been the commonality in all that I have done.

We create a CV / resume to showcase our experience, from our education to work, but do we communicate to what really drives us? Does your LinkedIn Profile include this important factor? Our Experience section showcases our career in a similar way to our CV. We share our education, volunteer roles, things we have published and our achievements. But have you used our LinkedIn Summary to tell your story? 

The Summary section of your LinkedIn Profile is the perfect place to share parts of your story in order to inspire people to connect with you. This is your opportunity to be creative and stand out. Not only can you use text, but you can add documents, images and video links to expand on your story, show case your work and take the viewer on a journey.

People don’t care so much about what you do, they care about WHY you do it. Finding passions and causes you have in common with someone can strengthen the relationship. 

” People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it” – Simon Sinek 

Why Do You Do What You Do? 

When I looked at my journey I saw the connection between all the dots light up. Finally I understood why I do what I do. Even as a shy teen, I loved to connect with people and help them connect with others. I had pen friends around the world and started my own penpal club in the early 90s to help others, which I ran for over 7 years. I was attracted to marketing and events, which are all about connection and communication, and my other passion; learning and growth.

Take some time to write your own story. It doesn’t have to be shared with anyone, but it can be infused into your LinkedIn Summary, on your website and throughout your communications. Do it for you and suddenly that hobby business as a youth making and selling something, be it decorated soaps (my thing) or growing and selling alfalfa sprouts (Amanda Kendle I’m talking about you), will reveal some relevant in your journey. Read Amanda’s story here.

Look at the leaders you admire – and read their story. One person who does it well is Gary Vaynerchuck. He infuses his story into his speaking, and his brand. http://garyvaynerchuk.com/about/

I believe there is an entrepreneurial gene that many of us have. Some find it sooner and activate it, others take it and really let it shine bright.

Never discard experience and devalue yourself. Everything is an opportunity and part of your DNA. Even a negative experience will provide a learning that will allow you to grow. Make it relevant and identify it as part of your unique story. This is the power of you and your uniqueness.

If you are interested to learn more about your WHY, look up Simon Sinek and check out his upcoming online program.

Have you written your professional story?

Feel free to share a link below to inspire others.

21 Steps to the Perfect LinkedIn Presence & Cheat Sheet

Being up to date and active on LinkedIn is important to be visible, finable and credible… but where do you start?

Here are the 21 steps to the perfect LinkedIn presence.

21 Steps to the Perfect LinkedIn Presence

Be Current on LinkedIn

Having a half-complete profile is a crime.  Take the time to build your current position and back story, and infuse the future aspirations into your profile.

  1. Allocate time each month to ensure your profile is a current reflection of who you are, who you help and how you help your ideal clients.
  2. Add in new achievements, courses, qualifications, and new services.
  3. Do you have a photo and does it look like you? Having a photo makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed.

Be Active on LinkedIn

Having a well positioned up-to-date profile is only half of the equation. Increase your visibility through regular activity.

  1. Create an action plan to leverage the profile you have created.
  1. Each week share helpful updates each day to build your authority. Not all has to be original content, but can be found content with your insights.
  1. Interact with your network, by adding relevant comments to their updates. This gives you visibility not only to your connections, but the connections of your connections.
  1. Interact in groups, but starting discussions and joining discussions. This gives you exposure to people you aren’t yet connected to.
  1. Once a month share a long-form post, which could be content created for your LinkedIn audience, or repurposed from your website. Your connections may choose to read it and interact (giving exposure to their network) but it may also be featured in Pulse which gives you exposure outside of your network.

Be Creative on LinkedIn

Display it, rather than just say it. LinkedIn used to be all about the words but now there are many visual aspects to make your profile colourful.

  1. Add a background image to communicate what you do visually. This could be through a branded message, an image showing you in action, an image to show the industry you are in, or it could be used to add personality.
  1. How can you use your Profile image to stand out? Do something different to others by using a bold branded background (colour or branding), add context by being on location, or included a tool of the trade.
  1. Leverage the rich media sections of your Summary and Experience to showcase your work, what you do, where you speak and what you have achieved, through sharing video, documents, images and links.
  1. Share your ebooks, print books, articles and interviews in the Publications section, with links to view, download or purchase.
  1. Share relevant projects you have been involved in and add team members to connect yourself to other influential and well-respected people.

Be Connected on LinkedIn

The power of LinkedIn is in the networking, which is done through connecting and interacting with people.

  1. Create a connection strategy aligned to your business goals and have a plan to consistently build your network.
  1. Connect to people who are your target market, or who may know people in your target market, as well as people you physically meet.
  1. Allocate time to processes connection requests and set reminders for follow up.

Be Personal on LinkedIn

People connect with people, and in connection we look for things in common or things we admire.

  1. Use your Summary to start a conversation and share your story in to give an insight into who you are, how you work and what you are passionate about.
  1. Use conversational language rather than corporate-speak and write as if you are having a conversation with your ideal client rather than spouting a list of achievements and services.
  1. Talk with rather than at. Ask questions in updates to engage your audience. People love to share opinion and ideas.
  1. Don’t overshare, but do infuse your personality into your profile and presence. Infuse a few out of work interests and passions, share causes you care about and any volunteer work or projects that excite you.  Its not just about paid work.
  1. Video adds another layer to your profile and allows people to connect through your personality.

 

If you would like to get strategic in your approach to LinkedIn and build a professional but personal brand, get in touch with us.  We build and transform profiles, mentor clients in using LinkedIn and create and manage content strategy.

 

The Ultimate LinkedIn Cheat Sheet

Leisurejobs - The ultimate LinkedIn cheat sheet

Thanks to Leisurejobs for creating this infographic.