LinkedIn is an extremely powerful platform that continues to evolve as a business tool. However, most individuals and companies do not capitalise on its full potential. The reason for this is that majority of people are still using LinkedIn in the outdated way that originally made it popular- as an online C.V.
Currently, most LinkedIn profiles are set up to advertise an individual’s skills and work experience to prospective employers. However, the vast majority of people viewing your profile do not want to employ you in the traditional sense. You therefore end up sending the wrong message to the wrong audience, and lose out on LinkedIn’s power as a business tool.
There are a few simple questions that must be addressed before you can create an effective and fully optimized LinkedIn profile. This will serve your business needs by building trust, rapport and credibility.
These questions are the standard: Who? What? Where? When? How?
The question really is; when will you be spending time on LinkedIn? This will differ for each individual and particular role in a company. If you are able to spend a lot of time prospecting, networking and connecting on LinkedIn, then your profile can be more dynamic and active.
However, if you use a “fire and forget” approach due to time constraints, then you need a more passive strategy that will garner connections without consuming too much of your schedule. The active approach is suitable for people in sales, while the passive approach is better suited to non-client facing executives.
Who are you targeting? Which individuals and roles do you want to connect with on LinkedIn? Do you want to connect with everyone, or are you going to focus on specific targets? The power of LinkedIn lies in its ability to offer a highly targeted professional audience that is a rich source of quality leads. Your connections say a lot about who you are, and build your reputation as a professional.
Why do you want to connect with those you have identified? Even more importantly, why should they connect with you? LinkedIn connections are aimed at garnering prospects through valuable introductions and networking. Your connections should therefore be done with this in mind.
What pain do your potential connections have that you can potentially alleviate? Additionally, what can you show them to demonstrate your ability to do so? In order for people to connect with you, they need to see value in doing so.
Everybody is constantly listening to their favourite radio station- WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?). It is therefore absolutely necessary to give prospective connections a reason to connect with you. This can be done by offering useful content that is thought provoking, educational, and solves problems while positioning you as a trusted expert.
How does LinkedIn fit into your broader marketing strategy? Does it complement what you are doing elsewhere, online and offline? Activities done offline to build trust and credibility with clients can be greatly enhanced through LinkedIn networking and your website. This creates continuity between your offline and online activities, and develops a closer rapport with clients for increased conversions.
Answering these questions before crafting and optimizing individual profiles will ensure your activities on LinkedIn do not become a box ticking exercise, which generates little or no return on investment.
The old adage “They don’t care who you are until they know why you care!” is true for LinkedIn networking as it is for sales and marketing. The most important question to answer is the WIIFM one. This can only be done by talking about the needs, desires and pain points of those you want to connect with and serve.
Anything else is plain vanity that prevents LinkedIn from serving as a business tool. It simply relegates it to the level of an online repository for C.V.s. While this might be useful to some, it also has the potential to damage other marketing efforts, your brand and your ability to position yourself as a leading problem solver in the market.
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About us and this blog
Hi I'm Dave Russell CEO & Founder of OneFishTwoFish and we are Digital Marketing Strategists that deliver compelling solutions to help you attract, engage and convert more of your ideal clients online.