I’ve been working with LinkedIn quite a bit lately for myself and for some of our clients – and it’s glaringly obvious to me that it beats out the other major social media networks as the best digital space to make real tangible business “friendships”.
The most valuable offering is that 100% of the members are there for one main reason – to develop business. On some level or another everybody on LinkedIn is trying to make business connections, whether it may be getting their first job out of college, or finding new customers. LinkedIn provides every business professional virtually unlimited access to thousands, sometimes millions, of people related to their industry.
I want you to do a little mental experiment, to get you up to speed on the value of LinkedIn:
Think of all the networking events you attend on a yearly basis – how much time, effort and money do you spend on them? Now think of how often you post your professional thoughts and interact with other professionals on LinkedIn – how much time, effort, and money do you spend there? (Oh wait, it’s free!)
Now you might be thinking, “Well that’s all well and good, but making a virtual connection with someone on LinkedIn doesn’t hold the same value as making a face-to-face connection with someone.” If this is the case, then you haven’t yet realized the true potential of LinkedIn. Let me show you a few examples.
Our most recent client was someone who reached out to me via LinkedIn and asked me to call her regarding her small businesses’ digital visibility (or lack thereof). We set up a meeting in person and “BOOM” sparks flew. Well it wasn’t that romantic, but we made the connection none-the-less – and it resulted in a business deal.
Several months ago I received a message from an organization that was holding a seminar on creative marketing, they wanted me to speak on their panel of industry experts. At the seminar, I met the gentleman with whom I am currently doing a small tour of branding and sales communication workshops. During this seminar, I also met a [current] client who hired my company to increase her digital brand through a weekly YouTube show and several TV and online commercials.
So you see what I am getting at. LinkedIn won’t do the work for you; in fact, it won’t even work if you just post random tidbits related to your industry. You must harness the power of the ‘connection’ and actively develop relationships on- and off-line.
Your task for today is to log onto your LinkedIn account and identify 3 people that you think you could develop a mutually valuable relationship with. Message them and say something like:
“I admire your expertise in [blank industry], I have a few ideas on how we can help each other grow professionally. Can I take you out to lunch to further discuss?”
The ever-growing tree of business starts with a seed – and you just planted one with a simple, two-sentence message. You have just piqued their interest that you might be able to help them, and you opened up the door for a giant world of opportunity.
So what are you waiting for! Getting ‘connecting’!