Connecting With Someone On LinkedIn Is A Waypoint, Not The Endpoint

a-signLinkedIn – perhaps unwittingly – has led many of it’s users astray.  Over and over we hear, “Only connect with people you know well, and who know you.”  

But networking is about the cultivation of people who can help you professionally and who you can help professionally. To me that sounds like finding new people and developing relationships, not just feeding existing ones.

The way LinkedIn phrases it, the connection is kind of a culmination in your professional relationship with someone. And too many LinkedIn users treat their  connections that way. They never really interact with their connections. Oddly, the act of connecting becomes the last real networking they do with each other.

A connection is not a goal or an end, it is a way stop. Regardless of your goals in using LinkedIn, it is what you do before, and especially after, you make a connection that matters. You don’t connect with a pile of people and wait for something to happen. You make something happen. You interact, you add value, you ask questions, you comment and share, and you trade ideas; whether it is in LinkedIn groups, status updates, longform publishing, or best of all in one to one conversations with other LinkedIn users.

Your professional relationship with another LinkedIn member doesn’t end when you connect, it has just begun.  

The Value Hierarchy Of Engagement With Posts On LinkedIn

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One man’s opinion. Let the arguments begin.

There are a lot of different ways to engage with posts and articles on LinkedIn.  Here is my guide to the relative merits of different types of engagements from least valuable to most valuable.

Status updates views

The lowest of the low. A status update view seems to be based on the idea that it appeared in your homepage feed. Did you read it? Did you even see it was there? Based on the ratio of number of views LinkedIn tells me my status updates receive  to the likes and comments on them compared to posts I publish on LinkedIn. I think many (most?) of the status update views I get aren’t views at all.

Published post views

With the changes that LinkedIn made a couple of months ago to the way posts and articles are presented to us, views are a more legitimate measurement now. There are less “drive by” accidental views from scrolling out of one post and into another by mistake. However, the issue remains that a “view” is not the same thing as a “read”. I like to use the analogy of a television commercial. The advertiser can see that the television show had “x” number of viewers, but can’t tell how many of those viewers actually watched the commercial.

Liking a post

Likes are low on my totem pole because they are so easy to assign. It may help engagement but I am not a fan of LinkedIn’s practice of putting the like, comment and share buttons both at the bottom and at the top of posts, allowing people to like posts without bothering to read them.

Liking or Commenting on a viral Status Update

I am not sure what liking something along with thousands of other people does for your brand. And commenting on viral updates? When LinkedIn notifies you that a connection commented on a viral post, it takes you to the latest  comment, not where your connection commented. So you scroll and scroll and usually give up trying to find the comment.

Share a post with no comment

Similar to a like. When I see someone shared a post but does not add a comment, I wonder if they actually read the post.

Comment

This is kind of the halfway point in the hierarchy. I feel that this is where people really start to add value. Don’t get me wrong, views and likes and shares are good – but mostly for the person who wrote the content. With comments and the remaining types of engagement on this list, both the person who wrote the content and the person engaging with it benefit.

Mention

Mentions are a powerful engagement tool because they appear to be a type or even the one type of engagement that LinkedIn ranks very highly. If someone mentions your name in relation to a post, you are almost guaranteed to get a red flag notification for it.

Share (with comment)

The difference between sharing and sharing with a comment is similar to the difference between a like and a comment. Adding a comment to a post you are sharing adds context, and serves as your introduction to the post.  

A comment or share with mention(s)

An opportunity to combine the comment or share with the power of a mention. Kind of stacking your engagement.

Writing your own status updates

Because you get the credit (or the blame…welcome to publishing on LinkedIn). It’s your name at the top. And as the author, you have a good reason to engage with anyone who engages with your update.

Writing your own published posts or articles

For the same reasons as status updates, but an opportunity to write at greater length on a topic…and LinkedIn saves your posts and attaches them to your profile in your recent activity page. Because of this, I get people engaging with my posts months after I published them. These posts can also be found through LinkedIn search.

You will note that my arrangement of these types of LinkedIn engagement follow a rough pattern: the easier it is to do, the less value it has to the person doing the engaging. The harder it is to do, the more value it has. Then again, as someone who writes a lot, I am biased.   

Cooking Up Better Response Rates From Your Messages On LinkedIn

a secret ingredientCooking Up Better Response Rates From Your Messages On Linkedin

Write for your reader and get better results.

Two weight loss clinics sit across the street from each other.

One weight loss clinic has a huge sign in the window saying, “Look fabulous for the holiday season!”

Across the street the other clinic has a huge sign saying,  “We feature a bland and monotonous diet!”

Which approach do you think has greater appeal to prospective customers?

The difference is that the first clinic focuses on their target customer’s results while the second clinic focuses on the features of their program.

And the second clinic’s methodology is a trap that we all fall into in sending messages to other people on LinkedIn. We are thinking of our own needs along with the features of our products or services. That gets reflected in our messages.

Instead of phrasing a message around the other person’s problems or asking about the other person’s problems, we blast away with all the features of our products or services – “It’s faster! Easier to use! It comes in green!”

The next time you send a message to another LinkedIn member ask yourself:

What does this person want?

How can I help them get it?

Then write your message accordingly. If you do this, you will write better messages that get better results.