Are you frustrated with LinkedIn and feel like you are getting nowhere? There’s a real chance you are just not taking advantage of LinkedIn and all it has to offer.
Social media is often considered a platform to where you hang out with ‘friends’ or hang on the coat tails of moderately popular people and hope the glory rubs off. But in actual fact, social media is a phenomenal tool for marketing yourself professionally, directly to your target, and LinkedIn is one of the best B2B social media platforms going. It’s free unless you choose to upgrade and it’s efficient, allowing you to identify and go to where your audience is actually hanging out. So I was intrigued a while back by a newspaper article that openly questioned the value of LinkedIn as a business development & networking tool. The writer bemoaned the fact that since being on LinkedIn they had failed to convert their time spent on the site into tangible business or employment opportunities. They complained that they didn’t understand why, because as far as they were concerned they were living up to their end of the bargain by having an up to date LinkedIn profile coupled with the all-important glowing references from former colleagues. And whilst these are fair points, a line in the piece asking what purpose LinkedIn served when both Twitter and Facebook were also highly effective promotional and professional tools made me think they’ve been using it wrong.
Like any social media platform, you only get out of LinkedIn what you put in, which is time. Time to not only craft a great profile with a winning CV attached but also time to find the audience you want to be networking with. Don’t just wait for random people to contact you or LinkedIn to serve up the suggestions, go forth and find them. LinkedIn includes access to industry-specific groups, company pages (do many people know there are company pages on there?) and industry leaders you want to hang out with. Believe me, these people are on LinkedIn and so are HR managers and recruitment agencies all looking for the next contractor, employee or conference presenter. What they assess you on is the quality of your profile, the groups you are involved in and the contributions you are making on LinkedIn. It also lets you post your own blog posts, allowing you to build up your credentials and stamp your authority within your industry. Oh and by the way, if random people you don’t know are inviting you to be contacts, chances are they think you are worth knowing, and if so find out why as they could be super connected in the industry that interests you.
Social Media is not a set and forget tool whereby you hope the right people find you with as little effort from your end as possible, it takes effort to maintain. So when it comes to trying to work out why you’re not getting the kind of results you are looking for on LinkedIn consider the following:
- Do you have a strategy? Is it to seek employment, become a thought leader, build a profile, or gain insights into another industry before you make the switch?
- Have you defined your target audience? Do you know where they are hanging out, are they even on LinkedIn? What are they doing there?
- Does your profile reflect your strategy and appeal to your target? Does it suit the platform you are on? Building a following on Facebook by commenting on the latest episode of My Kitchen Rules might win you friends (who will always flick you work when they can) but it won’t work on LinkedIn.
- Do you have objectives relevant to the platform? Is it the number of connections or number of likes on a post? Is it how many people view your profile? Endorsements? Sales?
- Measure, review & revise – if you only engaging with start-ups in New York when you live in Sydney will regular work realistically be forthcoming and if it is, can you accommodate it? Whilst it might make you feel trans-national unless this is your target audience you need to review it.
Remember to network with real people too, meeting people in the flesh and then connecting with them via social media is the best way to build a qualified social network and start building a real relationship.
Do you use LinkedIn as business development and networking tool? If so, what’s your strategy?
Image Credits: Lifehacker.com.au