August/September 2018

You’re on LinkedIn, and you think ‘So what?’

Did you know most people have this view of LinkedIn?
Are you guilty of thinking LinkedIn is the place to go when you need a career move? Did you know LinkedIn is THE business-to-business social media platform? Now you see what you did there? As soon as the term ‘social media’ popped into the equation, a little part of your brain turned-off? That’s normal by the way. If you weren’t ‘born digital’ some of this stuff doesn’t come easy to you. Can I be a bit controversial here too – the more ‘senior’ people are, the less they think LinkedIn matters much. How wrong there are!

Let me run that past you in a slightly different way.
If you could unearth the greatest tool to make you and your business more successful, would you be interested? No-one I have ever asked that question of has said no.

Let me tell you – LinkedIn IS that tool.
In the past, LinkedIn was understood to be the place you went when looking for a new job. You can still tell when that is the case. People start to improve their profile, update their photo, adjust the experience section, etc. But this is simply too late. Being present and active on LinkedIn is the route to being in a position to always be ready for that new opportunity.

LinkedIn is the place to build your online personal brand, enhance your reputational value by sharing what you know, seek valuable new connections that can add value to your life’s experiences and nurture relationships that will grow you and your business. Time spent on LinkedIn is a profitable investment that will serve you well for the rest of your working days.

Now, I’m old and ugly enough to know that claims like this quickly evaporate in today’s noisy world of bite-sized media messages. But I also witness that people tell me every week LinkedIn has changed their lives. Yes, you read that correctly – LinkedIn changes lives. Only last week did a writer on nanotechnology tell me that pretty much all his work comes through LinkedIn. A hotel chain I spoke with a few months ago now have LinkedIn at the heart of their sales strategy. Within two weeks of developing an understanding of the power of LinkedIn, several people generated new business, entirely off the back of activity and time spent on the platform. A person in an audience I spoke to called me to say she had won two new pieces of business in the last two weeks as a result of listening to just one of my tips. Why? Because in a few short weeks a better understanding of it drove new business sales. Yes, new business, straight out of LinkedIn. Let me add, I have yet to find an industry segment that cannot benefit from LinkedIn. From individual entrepreneurs, education, to central government. And do you also know, people tell me it’s fun!

So, what next, you ask?
You won’t have the patience to read War & Peace here, so I’ll give you just two tips that you might just take away and commit to.

  1. Sort out your LinkedIn Profile.
    This is your personal online brand. Are you proud of it? It is your digital brand of honour. Over 60% of your prospects are likely to view your profile before picking up the phone to call you. If that doesn’t make you think, nothing will. We probably all understand the concept of Know – Like – Trust, don’t we? LinkedIn is a powerful vehicle to build that trust. Get yourself a great profile picture, sort out your LinkedIn headline (make clear what do you do and how can you help me). Write a great summary.

Where have you been, what are you doing, where are you going? Make sure ALL the fields available to you are completed. Even the volunteer section should be completed as you never know what hobbies and passions other people have that will resonate with you and them.

  1. Get engaged.
    Having a LinkedIn profile will not benefit you one jot if you don’t engage. Be a human being. What knowledge can you share? What tips can you give? What perspective can you add to a conversation? What questions are your prospects asking? Do this consistently and you will find opportunities come to you. No sales pitch necessary. The world of new business has shifted on a social selling axis in the last decade. It is no longer about selling, but about engagement. In fact, to ‘sell’ on LinkedIn is the LAST thing you should ever do. It is the place to engage and build trust in the relationship. The selling will always be done elsewhere.

Please excuse me from sounding like a sleazy second-hand car salesman here, but I guarantee that opportunities will be generated if you are prepared and commit to spend a little time and effort on your LinkedIn engagement strategy. Since 2002 when LinkedIn was created with the mission statement to ‘connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful’ – it has slowly become the tool of choice for savvy business professionals who want to grow their business. Why wouldn’t you want a piece of that?

LinkedIn? It could just be that opportunity you have been waiting for to experience a life-changing moment.

Nigel Cliffe
Value Exchange Ltd