Matching Your LinkedIn Activity To Your Needs

Need: stay alive. Suggested activity: stay away from the leopard’s tree

Many people using LinkedIn wonder why they are not more successful in using it to find and land customers. They think, “I’m using LinkedIn. My customers use LinkedIn. Why don’t I have more customers?”

The usual issue is that most people’s goals are too broad or generic, “I want more customers” being the big one.

But people need to be aware of you in the first place, they need to see you as a viable option, then you need to sell them on your product or service. You can be a great a salesperson with a great product or service but if people don’t know you exist or see you as someone they should be considering, you are going to have a tough time.

In assessing how you should be using LinkedIn for your unique situation, you first need to look at where the holes are in your sales and marketing. What needs fixing or improving?

  • I need more people aware of me or my company
  • People are aware of me but I can’t get and hold their attention
  • I have lots of real prospects, but don’t start the number of conversations I need to in order to make my numbers

All of this is preamble to today’s topic: matching your LinkedIn activity to your specific needs. I am going to talk about the types of things you could be doing to solve these three fundamental problems: awareness, credibility and starting conversations.

“Awareness” (aka Reach)

Here’s my definition of awareness: Having someone realize that you are a player in the industry that may be able to help someone solve their problem. That’s it.

What type of LinkedIn activity works to help you increase awareness?

  • Publishing, especially posts. Posts are easy and quick conversation starters. And LinkedIn likes conversations. LinkedIn rewards posts with lots of comments by exposing your post to new people. This goes for both individual’s post and company page posts, but individual posts work better as we tend to have more connections and followers to work with than our company pages do.

What to look for: a healthy number of comments. You will know you are doing well if someone comments on your post and that comment brings in more people, resulting in numerous little sub-threads in your comment stream.

  • Newsletters and articles can work here too, but if your goal is purely Reach, I think posting is faster and easier. I could come up with three to five posts in the time I write one newsletter.
  • Participating in other people’s posts. Avoid likes and avoid sharing. These work poorly. Comments are the way to go. When you comment on a post, LinkedIn regards your comment as a vote that the post is relevant and worthwhile. The result is LinkedIn increases the distribution of the post to more people which means more exposure for you.

Make sure your comments have value and add to the overall discussion. Things like “I like this post” or “I couldn’t agree more” sure aren’t going to make you stand out. But something like an anecdote which relates to the post and adds value to the conversation will.

You will know you are doing this well, if you start getting people – that is, the author and others – commenting and replying to your original comment.

“Consideration” (aka Credibility, Thought Leadership)

Here’s my definition of Consideration: establishing yourself as someone a prospective client knows they need to consider when evaluating a product or service like yours.

Your goal is to establish yourself as an expert in your field, someone who has the answers to your prospect’s questions and someone who should automatically have a seat at the final table when vendors are being considered.

In this stage, the prospect:

  • realizes they have a problem and are wondering what they can do about it
  • they are gathering all the info they can
  • they start looking at all the possibilities
  • they want to know what others are doing
  • they will want to talk with resources that have a broad level of knowledge into what is being done in different places and how well those things are doing.

What you need to do: this is where you establish yourself with them. You need to establish that you have helped others with the same or similar problems.

What can you do on LinkedIn to establish your credibility?

  • Publish articles or newsletters. These can be individual or company page based. Articles have big advantages over posts as far as credibility is concerned. They have more formatting options, they are indexed by Google and can be found online, and they are attached to your LinkedIn profile, forming a body of work that a person finding you can reference. Every week I get someone saying they went down the rabbit hole and spent two or three hours reading articles of mine that they found via my LinkedIn profile.

In particular, publishing information that answers the questions your prospects have, and showing how you have helped people and companies with similar problems in the past, will help establish you as an expert in your field.

  • Have recommendations and testimonials on your LinkedIn profile

Starting Conversations aka Leads

So, people are aware of you, and you have credibility with them. What types of activities on LinkedIn can help you start conversations with these people?

  • Being Open Profile. If you have a Premium LinkedIn account, you can designate yourself as Open Profile, meaning anyone on LinkedIn can send you a message for free.
  • Inviting people to contact you. Yes, it can be that simple. Does it work all the time? Of course not. But if you encourage people to contact you, some of them will.
  • Intelligent Outreach. Reviewing the engagement your publishing receives on LinkedIn, that is the reactions, comments and shares plus new followers and profile views, over time you will see the same people showing up. These are people who you have credibility with, so contact them.

To contact these people you can do it via InMail if you have Premium LinkedIn subscription, or by using the Open Profile or Group Messaging hacks. Or, you could just ask them to connect on LinkedIn.

In summary, match your LinkedIn activities to your needs. Then measure, test and repeat. These ideas and methods work. They have for me and my clients over the past twelve years.

Want more like this? I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter typically contains two articles like the one above, it’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page:

Obligatory boilerplate: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month.