LinkedIn? Is that still a thing?
Oh, wait, that’s the “social media network” for finding a job, right? Can that even be considered “social media”?
LinkedIn has often been considered a black sheep of the social media networks because it doesn’t really feel, well, social.
But, it does, in fact, check all the boxes on what Wikipedia considers social media. (You can check those out here).
What makes us think less of LinkedIn is that it tends to have a singular purpose and not a place we would regularly “hang out” like we do on Facebook or Instagram or even Twitter.
That being said, LinkedIn is like it’s very own business networking event. It’s not just for job seekers anymore.
LinkedIn has grown up a little and now offers a valuable place to find and connect with new leads.
Is Networking on LinkedIn right for me?
Before deciding if LinkedIn is the right place for you to network, you should know the demographics of who’s there.
According to Omnicoreagency.com:
- There are currently 154 million LinkedIn users in the US.
- 61 million users are senior level or above.
- 40 million users are students or recent college graduates.
- There are 87 million Millenials on the platform.
- 44% of LinkedIn users earn more than $75,000 per year.
What does that mean for you? If you have a product or service that targets professionals of any age or are in a B2B industry, then LinkedIn may be a great place to get new leads!
How to Network on LinkedIn
First, let me say this is not another post telling you how to optimize your profile page. Yes, that’s important, but there are plenty of articles out there that will teach you how to do that. Here’s one of my favorite by the awesome John Nemo.
I find a lot of LinkedIn trainings only focus on how to set up your profile. But what then?
It’s important to have a strategy around what you will do once your profile is created. Unfortunately, “If you build it, they will come” only works in Kevin Costner movies.
This article isn’t focused on what to post in articles or the news feed. Our primary plan to network on Linkedin is to reach out and connect via messages.
But First: Know your Audience
Working with coaches and speakers for almost 15 years, I’d guess this is probably the number one reason they don’t use LinkedIn more often.
LinkedIn works best when you know who you want to connect with. Need help with this? Check out our article on finding your target audience.
I don’t mean that you have to personally know the head of HR at Zappos. And it doesn’t even mean you would have to know their name.
What it means is knowing the title, interests, and other demographics of the person you want to connect with.
You see, LinkedIn has this really amazing people search.
You can search by name, title, company, college, location, industries and more.
Some of this detail is searchable within the actual search feature and some of it is just a magical thing that happens when people customize their profile headline to contain certain information.
For example, my headline used to read:
I help coaches, consultants, & speakers grow their businesses & have more time by providing virtual assistant services.
Because of this, I would get connection requests on a regular basis from people looking to connect with coaches.
If you hire someone cheap or automate your connection process with a service, be sure there are checks in place so you don’t end up contacting the wrong people. It’s no fun getting messages targeting me for something that doesn’t fit.
Your first step, then, is to make a list of the types of people you’d like to reach out to.
Then do a search for those types of people!
I recommend targeting your first level connections as a starting point. This is a warmer audience and LinkedIn allows you to message them for free.
Break the Ice
The best Linkedin networking scripts I’ve found are created by John Nemo. If you haven’t heard this guy, you should really check out his podcast, he’s quite entertaining!
The next step is to make that first contact. Here’s where a lot of people go wrong. Their first message is all about them. They want to reach out and instantly share all the details about what they are selling. When someone does this to me, it’s an instant “unfriend”.
Instead, break the ice. Take a little time to check out their profile. Find something in common. It’s Linkedin NETWORKING after all, not Linkedin cold calling!
- Did you attend the same school?
- Are you from the same town?
- Do their group interests align with yours?
Yes, it takes a little more time to read through each profile to find something you might be able to connect on but it’s well worth your time.
Once you’ve found something, message them and start a conversation around that topic.
Gently Lead In
Your next message will be a soft offer. Perhaps you have a free optin or webinar the prospect may be interested in. Nemo suggests not just sending them a link but inviting them to raise their hand. If they say they are interested, THEN send them a link. It will come across far less spammy that way. It also helps you to track who is actually engaging with your messages.
Nemo has an entire process for Linkedin Networking that he’s outlined in his book, Linkedin Riches. I highly recommend you get the Kindle or paperback version so you can best use the scripts he shares.
Of course, if you’d rather have someone else set up the details and work your initial leads, that’s a great area to outsource when you have the right team in place.
Virtual A Team is actively using the Nemo approach to Linkedin Networking with a few of our clients and our own business. If you’d like some help implementing this approach into your business contact us for a free consultation.
Networking on Social Media
If you aren’t ready or Linkedin isn’t the right fit for your business, check out our other Networking Articles: