Imagine attending a networking event where:
you can find more than 80% of the professionals you'd want to see
nearly everyone felt that this was the place to meet trusted professionals
you get the attendee list in advance and you also receive their resumes along with their personal interests
you get a list of people they know that you also know
Would you go to that conference and then stand in the corner and not talk to anyone?
Of course not!
Yet given a similar scenario, many executives and industry professionals do this every day.
Leaders looking for the best talent to bring to their organization. Sales reps responsible for generating revenue. Marketing teams trying to establish their company brand. Account teams wanting to retain customers and expand their footprint. Operations, Finance, HR, Engineering, R & D preparing to stay abreast of their industry's insight and innovation.
All are missing a huge opportunity that with just a few social minutes a day could mean the difference between high growth success and mediocrity. What is this opportunity? LinkedIn. Yes, it's a social networking event and it's on 24/7/365.
Commonly asked questions and how to best use LinkedIn to create results:
1. Is it important to have a lot of contacts?
The more contacts you have, the more people you will reach with your message. Remember that as you post articles, comment on other’s posts and share and like posts, it will show in your connection’s feeds. And if they comment, like, or share, it will reach their contacts. Having only a few contacts hinders your networking ability and frankly, makes it appear that you either have no social skills or don’t care. And by a lot – shoot for more than 500
2. I’m not in sales, why should I care about LinkedIn?
If you are a leader, you are competing for talent in a very tight market. According to Kredible Research, 90% of people trust product or service recommendations from people they know, while only 33% trust messages from a brand. If you want to attract talent, you have to show who you are as a person and how you lead your division/organization and use your network to drive trusted referrals. If you want to stay relevant in your industry, there are groups and articles and posts that can give you an edge. industry leaders willingly share their knowledge, trends, data and predictions – wouldn’t you want to be considered and industry leader?
3. What should I post or share?
You should post and share articles and messages using the 411 rule, 4 articles of interest to your prospects that are written by others/industry leaders, 1 article or post that “sells” your company or brand and 1 article that is a peek into who you are as a person. To establish your brand, you need to be consistent about what you share and post so that your network is excited to open and read your posts.
4. How much time do I need to dedicate to LinkedIn to be effective?
Studies show that 22 minutes a day on LinkedIn is the optimal amount of time. It gives you enough time to reach out to friends and colleagues, post and share interesting articles, read what’s happening in your groups and industry and comment on items you find interesting. Longer than that and you may find that yourself sucked into unproductive reading.
5. How often do I need to update my picture?
Profile photos on LinkedIn should be of you as a professional and current (within the last 2-3 years). This is not Facebook, where profile photos need to be changed with your mood or the season, but rather, the profile photo is so that people recognize you when they meet you. And so they can get a sense of who you are. If you don’t look anything like your LinkedIn photo, well, need I say more?
6. Should I be anonymous when viewing other’s profiles?
You should not be anonymous because the point of social networking is to make connections. Viewing someone’s profile lets them know that you find them interesting for one reason or another and that generally drives a positive emotion. It begins to create engagement and may lead to a connection. That said, don’t view someone’s profile excessively (that’s creepy). And if you do view a profile multiple times, reach out to let them know why you find them interesting.
7. What is an SSI?
LinkedIn assigns a Social Selling Index (SSI) to all users on a daily basis. We suggest that everyone focus on continued and balanced improvement when looking at their SSI and that striving for a number above 70 is a best practice. Read our previous blog on SSI and why it matters.
In our sales, recruiting, account management and leadership training series, we focus on LinkedIn and the importance of social networking for growth. There are many more tips and suggested actions to improve your social selling. Here is one of the activities we review in our training and have provided you a downloadable document to assess your LinkedIn profile and activity and see where you have an opportunity to improve your usage of this valuable tool.