Can you make money using LinkedIn? You know, that business networking site you check randomly a few times each year?
LinkedIn may be the butt of a few jokes. But if you know what you want to get out of it, and you do a little work, you really can use it to build your business. You just have to know how.
If you have a LinkedIn account and a pulse, you’ve probably gotten a message from someone you didn’t really know. Maybe you only just met them, or maybe they reached out cold.
If so, you’ve probably also seen the wrong way to grow business on LinkedIn. You accept a connection, feeling open-minded and optimistic. Then, you get the message. You know the message, the one that goes something like:
My name is John Doe and my company is [insert unknown company name]
We do this crap that crap and the other crap and [I’m going to waste your time with three more paragraphs telling you about this crap, so you might as well just click delete now.]
[Crap paragraph 2
Does that sound good? Are you ready to buy this crap?
Don’t ever be this person. If you send this message, you deserve the same reaction you gave when you received it.
You can use LinkedIn to sell. You can even use LinkedIn to open business with people you haven’t yet met. You just have to make more effort than this.
Here’s where you can start:
1) Treat your LinkedIn profile like a magazine cover.
If your friends look at your Linkedin profile and get jealous, you’re doing it right. Just like they would if you were on the cover of a magazine.
And if you’re the cover story for a well-known magazine, you better look good. Your picture should shine. Your headline should make people want to open the issue. Your intro should hook the reader. You want them flipping ahead to your article and then reading intently until they get to the end.
You can spend all the time in the world connecting with people, sharing articles, sending InMails, and without this first step your results will suck.
You are always judged by your cover. Like it or not, it is a proven fact. We all know that this happens insanely quickly when we meet someone in person. Why would it be any different on LinkedIn?
If you can’t make the best of this first impression, you might as well not be there at all.
Show them the real you.
I’ll be brief about your picture. Get a good one, and keep it updated. Don’t post your nametag-wearing beer-swigging networking event photo. No cocktail party crop-outs, no comb-overs or crooked shirts.
Hire a professional photographer with good equipment. Pay them, it won’t cost you that much. Pick a good location that matches your headline and your story.
What Story Will You Tell?
Why are you there? Who do you want to impress? How are you going to impress them and get their attention immediately?
Let’s say you are using LinkedIn to attract your potential clients. You know your customers well, and you know their problems and how you solve them. Put that into words, and put your classy mug up there next to it.
If you’re using LinkedIn to attract referral partners, use the same formula. What specific problems are you solving for them and their clients? What do you do that nobody else does? This is Time Magazine and you’re being named Referral Partner of the Year – Oh, the honor! What does your headline say? You want it to be catchy, concise, and edgy enough to get you noticed.
The details still matter.
When you’ve done all that, you almost have them hooked. Now you need to deliver some value to keep this going. No pitches, no boring job descriptions, no mention of the pizza-flipping job you had in college.
You need something that makes your people actually want to give up two more minutes of their day. How do you do that?
Hint: It’s not about you. It’s about them. More specifically, it is about something they care about strongly.
It can be a video, it can be an excellent paragraph, it can be bullet points. But, you absolutely must provide value here. You also should present it in a way that makes them want to look further.
Do you want potential clients to send you a LinkedIn connection request? Do you want them to message you? Maybe you want to go to your website and read something meant just for them. Figure out what this is, and then give them a reason to get there.
2. use linkedin to make a human connection
In order to do this, you have to be real when you make a connection request.
Your online networking is not much different from in-person networking. If you walk up to a person and just start pitching your company, what do you think they’ll do? They’re going to walk away. In fact they’re going to get as far from you as they can as quickly as they can. You’ll experience the same exact thing online.
If you just walk up to them and say something canned like, I’d like to add you to my network.… What do you think they’ll do? That’s right, they’re going to walk away just the same. Well, first, they’re going to stare at you in disbelief that that’s all you could come up with. Then they’ll walk off. Wouldn’t you?
The same rules apply online. You can avoid these mistakes and more by simply being yourself when you make connection requests. If you see someone and you think you could each benefit from knowing each other, say so. If you don’t think there’s mutual benefit, then don’t reach out. It’s really that easy.
Hey, Johnny LinkedIn User, I came across your profile, saw you’re into XYZ, and I thought we could each benefit from connecting.
If you are a master copy writer, you can experiment more here, but there really is no need. If a person is open to creating a real connection, this should be enough to start a conversation, which is all you want. Most people do best to keep it short and sweet.
3) Send them down a thrilling ride, not a trap door.
If your landing page makes people wonder why you sent them there and where they should go from there, you’re doing it wrong.
This includes sending them to your homepage. Even if you have a tiny web site, you need to take them somewhere valuable and relevant to your profile.
For example: Say your profile talks about your coaching program for sales teams. If your landing page talks about global infrastructure management, you’re going to lose them. If it instead provides valuable insight for sales teams, they may stick around.
If it’s valuable enough and gives them a reason to move into your sales funnel, your LinkedIn Profile just helped you build sales.
For more information on how you can use LinkedIn to grow your business, feel free to get in touch for one-on-one help.