Want To Get Discovered On LinkedIn?

I have a premium subscription membership on LinkedIn (Sales Navigator) and with one of its  features I can go back and see everyone who viewed my profile in the past ninety days.

I use this feature every day as I consider a profile view to be a plausible and legitimate reason to contact someone. And I like seeing lists of people that, for one reason or another, have taken an interest in me.

But while doing my daily look through earlier this week, I saw that some profile views listed sources and some didn’t. So I decided to go back through my profile viewers and look at the sources I could find, and see if there was anything I could learn from them.

I wound up reviewing the last 300 people who visited my profile and looking to see where they came from, that is, how they found my profile.

42 of them – around 14% – were connections. This may seem odd but is completely legitimate. I can’t tell you the number of times I have gone to a connections’ profile to check something. I can think of three times I have done it today already.

That leaves 258 people who were not connected with me.

And of that 258 profile viewers, 7 found me via Search on LinkedIn.

Seven. Less than one person a week.

Everyone else discovered me because of something I did.

They saw something I had published, they saw I had commented or engaged with someone else’s content or someone @mentioned me. The screen grab at the top of today’s newsletter shows my number of profile viewers going up and down over the course of this summer. The peaks correlate with the days I publish this newsletter.

The conclusion I draw from this little nugget of research? If you want to get discovered on LinkedIn, I have two words of advice for you:

Do something.

There are two ways to broaden your reach – that is to increase the number of people who are aware of you on LinkedIn. One is to be discovered in a search and the other is to be reacted to after you do something on LinkedIn.

In my case publishing and engaging with other people is more than 35 times as effective as being found via LinkedIn Search. 

If I relied on search alone, I would likely have a couple dozen people discovering me this year.

Now, you may not want more reach, and you may not want people discovering you. But if you do, your Profile isn’t going to do it for you, your activity is.

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. 

Then again, I have been doing this for over ten years. That’s longer than 97.5% of LinkedIn employees have been with LinkedIn (based on a search I did with Sales Navigator).

Want more like this? (the newsletter I mean, not the disclaimer, or the statistic) I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter typically contains two to four articles, it’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

3 Practical Uses For LinkedIn Groups

Just because it’s quiet around LinkedIn Groups doesn’t mean they have lost all purpose.

LinkedIn Groups get a bad rap.

I can think of three applications where LinkedIn Groups are awesome. I have found the key in getting the most from LinkedIn Groups is to not use them the way most people think of using them – that whole conversations thing – but to use them for what they are actually good for.

As most of you know, I have a Sales Navigator subscription. And one of the couple dozen or so filters on Sales Navigator is…Groups. When people join a LinkedIn Group, they are indicating their interest in a topic. I can filter and search through those thousands of interests to find the people that are interested in arcane processes, ideas or topics. A lot of people won’t put on their profile that they have an interest in Hubspot CRM software, but they will join the Hubspot CRM Group on LinkedIn, which is just as good from my standpoint if I am conducting a search for such people.

It doesn’t matter if they participate in the group, or if the group is active or a dead zone, I know they have that interest. 

And of course, most LinkedIn users will never realize that Groups can be used in this way.

The second reason is similar: advertising. One of the filters you can use as an advertiser on LinkedIn is by individual Groups. Using my Hubspot example above, I can choose to advertise to the thousands of members in all the local Hubspot user Groups on LinkedIn. This is a really powerful tool for putting together interest based advertising campaigns on LinkedIn. And again, this is something that most LinkedIn users will never realize.

You will note that these are two wonderful ways to get utility from LinkedIn Groups…without having to join any LinkedIn Groups.

What this illustrates is the sometimes hidden or buried rationale behind why LinkedIn has certain features, or in this case, why LinkedIn does not abandon a pretty derelict feature. As far as the LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Advertising people are concerned, LinkedIn Groups work just fine the way they are.

Now for the third way I use LinkedIn groups, I actually do have to belong to a group. I use Groups to send messages to people that I am not connected with. I know of three ways to send free messages to people I am not connected with on LinkedIn and this is the best one, with the widest range. One of the first things I recommend to my new clients is to go join the LinkedIn Groups their prospective customers would join which you can see right on their profiles. It doesn’t work in all cases – the Harvard Alumni Group likely wants you to actually be a Harvard alumni for example – but it does in enough of them to be worthwhile.

LinkedIn Groups are a classic example of a feature is really effective, just not in the way most people think it should be. This is why I always come back to saying that you should use LinkedIn as it is, not as you would like it to be.

Obligatory disclaimer: 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. 

Want more like this? (the newsletter I mean, not the disclaimer) I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter is a three or four minute read, it’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

The Problem With Getting Introductions On LinkedIn

You were hoping for an introduction, but usually wind up meeting the brick wall.

Kind of a Franken-Post today. I wrote a guide to using LinkedIn for Introductions and Referrals, and as it clocked in at over four thousand words, I chopped it up into eight installments for my email newsletter. Today I thought I would take a couple of those pieces and post them on LinkedIn in order to illustrate how hard it can be to get introductions.

Asking for Introductions on LinkedIn: The Hard Target Method

I call this the hard target method, in that you have a specific person that you want an introduction to, and you usually have one mutual connection with your target that you have chosen as the person that can make that introduction.

Here’s why introductions are huge: Credibility.

The introducer bestows upon you credibility with the other person. It is just a sheen of credibility, a starter kit of credibility, and it is often more implied than said outright. Often just enough credibility is conveyed that the new person gives you the benefit of the doubt and agrees to talk with you. That credibility only lasts until you begin your conversation with them, but that’s all you wanted in the first place, isn’t it?

You don’t get this credibility boost via InMail, email, or cold call.

What an introduction on LinkedIn decodes as is “This is someone I know. He or she is not going to waste your time.”

What does an introduction take?

“Alan, I would like to introduce you to Barbara. I have known Barbara for seven years, since her company was a supplier to the last company I worked with. Barbara has some unique insights into the widgets.”

“Barbara, I would like to introduce you to Alan. I have known Alan since he was at Spacely Sprockets. Alan has been in the sprocket industry for over fifteen years.”

“I think you two would benefit from knowing each other. I will leave you to it.”

And you leave them to it. That’s it. This isn’t rocket science.

The Problem With The Hard Target Method  

So now you’re all excited about Introductions and you go try it out on a connection or two but the only real introduction you get is to our friend the brick wall.

Well, what happened? This seemed like a really good idea.

Let’s look at why introductions can be problematic.

When you ask for an introduction on LinkedIn, you are asking one of your connections to introduce you to your target, one of his or her connections.

But if you are like most LinkedIn users, you have a decent sized network of connections where you really only know maybe 20% of those people well. The other 80% are people you met at a trade show one time, or they are someone that you worked with three jobs ago, or you connected with them for any number of reasons, but the reality is that you never did have or subsequently developed a relationship with that person.

So when you go to ask for a connection to perform an introduction, there is an 80% chance that that connection is someone who doesn’t really know you that well. And they aren’t that comfortable providing the introduction. To them you represent risk: someone who may make him or her look bad. Of course you are not going to make them look bad, but as your connection doesn’t know you that well, they don’t know that.

Even worse, if you do find someone in the 20% you know well that seems willing to provide an introduction, there’s now an 80% chance that they don’t know the target person you want to be introduced to that well themselves! The same thing holds true for them as it does for you: they only know 20% of their connections reasonably well. The possible introduction you wanted falls flat because your connection has no credibility with the target person.

So you started off all excited because you discovered a pathway through a connection to someone you really want to meet. But the odds of this working out in the end are only 20% (that you know your connection that well) out of 20% (that they know your target that well).

That’s a measly 4% success rate. You could have likely done better with a cold call.

So what can you do about it? Lots actually. Because understanding the “why” sets you on the path to figuring out the “how” to work around the limitations, and even use these limitations to your advantage. Hint: most people focus on the 80% failure rate and just give up. They should be figuring out what makes up the 20% and how to find them.

Actually, figuring out if someone belongs in the twenty percent who would enthusiastically give you an introduction is pretty easy: when you come across someone who is a potential introducer, just pretend it was the other way around. If they asked you for an introduction to someone in your network, how would you feel about it? There’s your litmus test.

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. 

Want more like this? (the newsletter I mean, not the disclaimer) I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter typically contains two to four articles, it’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/