Developing Your LinkedIn Strategy

What’s holding you back from getting the results you want out of LinkedIn?

I am going to talk here about how to figure out what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t. There are four steps, but this won’t take long.

Understand what LinkedIn is

LinkedIn is a database of 550 million people and 19 million companies. Embedded in that database is an active social network of maybe 50 to 60 million people who use it once a week or more often. Understanding these figures is critical to using LinkedIn effectively.

Understand the 7 basic “things” you can do on LinkedIn

  • Use your profile as a reference check

LinkedIn is a great place for people to reference check you. They hear your name, wonder “who is this person?” and immediately go to Linkedin to find out. In many cases, your LinkedIn profile is the first impression you make with someone else.

  • Increase your reach

Your reach is how many people are aware of you.

  • Establish or improve your credibility

Once they are aware of you, you need to establish yourself as a person to be reckoned with, someone who knows what they are talking about, and is knowledgeable in their field. Credibility gets you included when people are considering their options. You want to be on that list.  

  • Be the pointy end of a lead gen program

You can make offers on LinkedIn and generate leads. I call this the pointy end as usually you need a backend to collect the leads such as a landing page on your website.

  • Search and find people and companies

LIke I said, a searchable database of 550 million people and 19 million companies. Everyone and everything is in that database. You just need to figure out how to find what you need to find.

  • Research people and companies

Now that you have found them, you need to review the information on LinkedIn and let it help guide your tactics. There’s a lot more here than most people think.

  • Contact people and exchange messages

Well, it is a social network, isn’t it?

LinkedIn is outstanding as a reference check, and for search and research. It is good for credibility and reach. LinkedIn is completely hit and miss for lead gen and for contacting people and exchanging messages.

What do you need LinkedIn for? What are you looking to do?

Ask yourself, “Am I weak or need improvement in any of the seven areas above?”

Do you need to becoming better known? That’s reach.

People have heard of you but don’t have much more information? Credibility. Need sales leads? That’s reach + credibility.

Need prospects? Search + research + contact people.

Select the things on LinkedIn you need to do to help solve your problems.

For the areas you selected ask, “Do I know how to do these things?”

If you can’t say to yourself, “I know exactly how to do that, quickly and effectively”, get help. And it never hurts to test your knowledge and assumptions about what you can or can’t do with someone who knows their stuff. Someone who can teach you how to get better results or to use a LinkedIn feature effectively will both save you time, and help you get better results more quickly. There are lots of people out there who can help you. There are generalists and there are specialists, such as those that work with LinkedIn users on their profiles. My specialties are search, research and how to contact people.

So if you are unhappy with your LinkedIn results:

  • Figure out the gaps in the results you are getting now.
  • Figure out whether LinkedIn can actually help close those gaps.
  • Get help if you need it.

This isn’t rocket surgery.*

(* a combination of rocket science and brain surgery. Very difficult.)

Getting Better Outreach Response on LinkedIn: Dial Back The Call To Action

I have sent thousands of InMails and outreach messages of all kinds on LinkedIn. I have advised any number of LinkedIn users on their outreach program and specific messages they use.

And today I am here to tell you that one of the biggest factors for lousy response rates is asking for too much in your call to action.

Note I didn’t say what you are asking for but how much. As in how much of a commitment are you asking the other person to make?

In general, the more you ask for, the harder it is going to be to get a positive  response.

If you are asking for a sales call, you are asking for a lot in that outreach message. You typically need to establish your credibility or to establish that you have such a powerful offer that a sales call is a logical next step. It can be done, but you are asking for an awful lot in the outreach message.

On the other hand, if you ask for too little, like an opinion, the other person may not think it is worthwhile responding at all.

I have an approach that works reliably for me. Just start a conversation. My call to action is a question that isn’t easily responded to with a closed answer. I am looking for a response that I can respond right back to. And there is more information on most people’s profiles to work with between their summary, current job, work history and their activity on LinkedIn than you would think. Conversations can build credibility and lead to connecting.

The less risk there is in your CTA versus the possible reward in your CTA – as perceived by the other person – the more successful you will be.

Capitalizing On LinkedIn Publishing

Last week I talked about my LinkedIn publishing. This week: what I do once I have published.

Okay, so I have written an article or post, published it on LinkedIn, and received some views and engagement. So what do I do now? Four things…

  • I ignore the views. They are nice, good for the ego (or bruising for the ego), but as I cannot identify the individual viewers, I can’t do anything with my views.
  • I review everyone who engages with me and my content.
  • I reach out to anyone who looks interesting
  • And I do it right away

Let’s look at the latter three a little further.

I review everyone who engages with me and my content

When I login to LinkedIn, I check my notifications. This will tell me if I have new likes, comments, and followers. I check my most recent article and post statistics for people who shared, and check for new people who have viewed my profile.

I try and respond, acknowledge or thank people who have commented or shared my content, in particular my connections. I usually can’t get to everyone, but I want these people to know I appreciate them.

I reach out to anyone who looks interesting

There are lots of interesting people on LinkedIn. Here are a the two types I look for.
Someone who is a long term prospect. Because there are no short term prospects. While they may fit my target demographic, I don’t really know anything about them, their situation, their problems, or their needs. I may have some credibility with them from my writing, but no personal relationship, and they probably don’t have spare budget lying around.
Someone who is not a prospect but is active on LinkedIn with a half decent network. This is a person who can introduce me to someone in their network.
I play a long game. It makes me look good compared to all the yahoos who go out and pitch people they have just met. Don’t get me wrong, I do get people who find me and want to retain me right away, but they had already made up their minds, and I didn’t need to sell them on the idea.

And I do it right away

I follow up and reach out to these interesting people right away, because if I don’t, people will forget the context of my article or post. I want to reach out when their engagement with me or my content is still fresh in their mind, and they can still remember why they did so. Reaching out to someone who followed you or commented on your post last week doesn’t work very well.

But this is all the necessary boring process stuff. You have heard enough about the labor pains, you just want to see the baby. Here you go.

The results

For those who didn’t read last week’s article (and shame on you) I talked about my publishing the week of April 23 and April 30. Over that two week period I:

  • Published 2 articles
  • Posted 4 updates (which most of us still call posts)
  • Which got 45,000 views
  • And over that two week period just over 1,000 people liked, commented, and shared my content, or followed me, or viewed my profile

Here’s the good stuff: out of those 1,000 people,

  • I found 56 that looked interesting. I reached out to them and
  • 44 of them replied and
  • 9 of them wound up scheduling phone or Zoom calls with me

I like an outreach method that gets a 78.5% response rate (to be fair and in full disclosure, I usually get a response rate between 70 and 75%, so this two week sample was a bit better than usual).

I am pretty good with InMail and can get a response rate in the low twenties reaching out to cold prospects, but why would I waste InMail like that when I can send InMail that gets a response rate more than three times as high? Why wouldn’t I send outreach messages to people who are predisposed to reply?

So in my case, publishing works, but only if I have content people find valuable, I follow up and engage with those who engage with me, and I do so quickly.

That leaves just one last piece of the puzzle: what’s in those messages I sent that prompted so many of them to respond? That’s next week.