When you talk to people in our industry about LinkedIn, predictably you get a wide range of responses.
“It’s not for me.”
“I don’t have time for LinkedIn.”
“I’m not looking for a job right now–why would I use LinkedIn?”
“I don’t have anything to share–what would I do there?”
“There’s too much spam in my feed. Too many sales people.”
Pretty typical responses when I’ve talked the value of LinkedIn with clients and colleagues over the last few years. But, my experience has been completely different.
I started actively spending more time on LinkedIn a number of years ago–for a few different reasons.
1) My professional network was starting to spend more time there
2) LinkedIn was making it easier to share opinions and thoughts there (i.e., publishing power)
3) Other social networks were drying up in terms of effectiveness (i.e., Twitter being the primary culprit)
And that extra time on LinkedIn has been extremely well spent.
I probably spend 15-20 minutes on LinkedIn (not for client purposes). Every day. Every week. Every month. And, that consistency of “showing up” on LinkedIn day after day has led to some exceptional results:
- Numerous coffee dates. I’ve set up countless coffee dates with colleagues and prospects, using LinkedIn, in many instances, as a way to research and introduce myself to these folks. And for a solo consultant, the coffee date is like a “first date.” It’s the first step in what I usually hope will be a long relationship. But, it’s a very important step. And, LinkedIn is an absolutely key tool for me in making this happen.
- Name recognition and awareness. One strategy I take as a solo consultant is simply trying to stay in front of clients and prospects. One way I do that is via LinkedIn. I publish my blog posts on LinkedIn. I share client wins on LinkedIn. I recognize friends and colleagues and their accomplishments on LinkedIn. And, I like and comment on interesting material shared by friends, clients and colleagues on LinkedIn. All that activity keeps me in people’s feeds plenty (I’m careful not to over-expose myself). And, keep in mind, I’m showing up in front of, essentially, a 100% prospect list since I’m connected to almost entirely a comms/PR/marketing crowd. Side note: I’m even being recognized by CEOs! Two Fortune 500-level CEOs have commented on my posts in the last few weeks! Crazy!
- Actual leads. It’s what we all want, right? For some, “leads” may mean jobs. For me, on LinkedIn, it means opportunities. And, I got one just this past week via LinkedIn. Now, technically, it came from a friend whom I’ve known for a while and whom I’ve worked with before. But, he messaged me on LinkedIn. And, I have a feeling he did that because he saw me in his feed and I sparked his interest. And, it’s definitely something that’s happened more than once.
So, I’ve had great luck and results with LinkedIn. And I’m here today to advocate for ALL PR/comms/marketing types to spend 10 minutes a day on LinkedIn. Here’s why:
- It’s the easiest way to start to build a network. Notice I said “start”. Spending 10 minutes a day on LinkedIn won’t build your network. It’s just a START. LinkedIn is the ultimate door-opener. But, you’d be wise to use that door-opener to start building relationships and trust with people in our industry. A few easy ways to do that? Introduce yourself to new folks and ask for connections WITHOUT asking for anything in return. Review the “People you May have Worked With” and “School Alumni You May Know” tabs regularly to find new folks to connect with. Use the door-opener for what it’s good for: OPENING DOORS!
- Get your name in the feed constantly. 10 minutes a day is more than enough to make this happen. Here’s how you do it. In those 10 minutes, be sure to, at a minimum, like and/or comment on 3-5 posts. That’s 3-5 posts that will then show up in your connections’ feeds. Want bonus points? Attempt to create 1-2 posts of your own each week. Those will also show up in your feed–and your connections’ feeds–for 4-5 days (or more). Super Brownie Points: Publish an article on LinkedIn (shoot for one a month to start) which, again, will show up in the feed for multiple days. You do that, I can almost guarantee you that your name will get noticed consistently.
- Build trust now, before you need it. One of the absolute cardinal sins I see so many people making day-in and day-out is sending out that email asking to keep your eyes and ears open for any positions that might be a fit–because I’m looking! I get this note seemingly all the time. Sometimes, it’s from people who have invested in our relationship. They call. We have coffee. We see each other at events. We have a relationship! Then, I get notes from others who I seemingly only hear from when they need something (i.e., A JOB!). These people rarely invest in our relationship. They don’t call. They don’t text. They don’t comment on my stuff. Essentially, the only “relationship” we have is that we’re LinkedIn connections. Folks, that’s not enough. To build a credible, trusting network that is willing to help you when you need it most, you need to INVEST. You need to call. You need to write. You need to text. YOU NEED TO SHOW UP. A LOT. I know, it sounds like a lot of work. And, it is! But, no one said this was going to be easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it well!
10 minutes a day folks. That’s all it takes. It’s a round of thumbing through your Insta feed. Isn’t that worth it?