A Simple Path To Success On LinkedIn

…it’s all about their results, not your features

Here it is:

1) Figure out what results your customers want

2) Show them you can help them achieve those results

You tell this to someone and they scoff and say, “yeah. that’s marketing 101”. Then they go off and ignore the marketing 101 and talk about how great they are and not their customer’s problems. If I go and look at ten LinkedIn (Company) Pages, what will I see? A couple posts that genuninely assist prospective customers that are outnumbered by stuff like interviews with the CEO who outlines their thoughts on the next ten years.

When you start thinking of your ideal customer’s needs first, you will be more successful.

And LinkedIn is the perfect vehicle for this way of thinking, regardless of whether you are in marketing pondering what piece of content you need next, in sales wondering what to say in that outreach message to a prospect, or if you work for yourself and are both the marketing and the sales force.

To be successful, you need to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and start asking yourself:

  • What do they want?
  • What are they trying to do better?
  • What would they like to do that they can’t do now?
  • What process or processes are they they trying to improve?
  • Are they wondering whether what they would like to do or where they would like to go is even possible?

And the higher up the corporate ladder your prospect is, the more this is true. What do all executives want? Information to help them make better decisions. Give it to them. You aren’t going to be in the position of the consulting companies like McKinsey or Deloitte, but you are in a much more agile position to be able to react quickly.

What these questions help you identify is the gap that exists between where they are now and where they would like to be. Your job – whether it be by your next blog post, case study, outreach message or even the note you include with a connection request – is to show you have helped people in similar positions with similar problems in the past and it resulted in those people achieving good outcomes.

You want to be a resource. You want to be the person with the answers. You want to be the person they turn to when they have a question in your area of expertise.

Everything you do on LinkedIn should be aimed at this idea. Because that is all that matters to your ideal reader or prospects. That is why they are using LinkedIn.

It’s a simple message that needs repeating.

Using LinkedIn To Make Better Prospecting Decisions

One of the books that I read over the Christmas break was “The Biggest Bluff” by Maria Konnikova. The book is about her experiment taking up professional poker to see if her background in psychology (she has a PhD) would help her decision making in playing poker. The book is outstanding and I have re-read it twice in the past three months to just take it more slowly and let it soak in.

Besides being a good read, with a lot of good stories, a lot of what Konnikova has to say can be applied to sales and to LinkedIn. I think the whole idea of using LinkedIn to help us make better decisions applies. Here are some examples.

Use LinkedIn to find the right people

One of the great things I like about LinkedIn is it helps avoid the “anyone who” problem. This is the idea that salespeople draw too wide a net in order to drum up sales prospects, as in “We sell to anyone who builds medical devices.” or “We sell to anyone who uses LinkedIn for sales.”

If you have the ability to use LinkedIn search appropriately (and that can be a big “if”), you can hone in on the exact people who are the best fit for you. I have a client who manufactures printed circuit boards. Based on my research there are around 17,000 companies in North America who buy printed circuit boards. So nominally, they have 17,000 prospects they can find through LinkedIn. But…they have two applications that are their specialty. Using LinkedIn they can identify the hundred or so companies who are the best fit for their two specialities.

They use LinkedIn to make better decisions as to who to go after first.

Using LinkedIn to identify possible options

There are three ideas under this umbrella.

The first is that LinkedIn can show you paths to people you would like to meet. LinkedIn will show you which of your connections (if any) are connected to someone you would like to meet. Often these are hidden pathways you would not know about otherwise. Quite often I will come across someone’s profile and see I share five connections with that person, all of which are a complete surprise to me.

The second is finding alternate paths, if the first one you try doesn’t work. No pathway to the VP of Manufacturing? Ah, look, there is a pathway to the Director of Quality, or the Supply Chain VP or a key Product Manager, all of whom could lead you to the VP of Manufacturing.

And perhaps most important of all, LinkedIn can show you the times – and they are more the rule than the exception – when LinkedIn is not the best way to approach a person and you’re better off finding another means like email.

Using LinkedIn to unlock the doors

Using LinkedIn you can often find the keys to unlock the doors. LinkedIn can be a treasure trove of information that you can use in outreach and to seed initial conversations with people you reach out to. Between their profiles, their activity, and their company pages you can find information that will often surprise the person you are messaging. Nothing elicits a response more than someone asking themselves, “How the heck does he know that?”

There’s a lot more information available to you on LinkedIn than you may realize. Find that information and you can make better decisions in going after your prospects and leads.

The 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.

Indirectly Approaching Someone On LinkedIn

(…and three reasons why I don’t recommend it.)

Here are three ways I see people trying to reach out to prospects on LinkedIn. You will see these referred to as “indirect” methods and are often flogged by the automation crowd which is always a bad sign.

Following

In this method, you follow someone you would like to reach out to. After following them for a while, you – surprise! – send them a message saying that after following them for a while etc etc etc.

Flashing

No, not that flashing. This refers to looking at someone’s profile.

Commenting

This refers to commenting on a prospect’s LinkedIn post.

All three of these show that you nominally found something about them interesting. Your hope is that they will reach out to you and start a conversation, or even (drool) ask you to connect.

Unfortunately, the likelihood of this approach working is low due to these three reasons:

1) They depend on the other person realizing that you looked at their profile, followed them or commented on their post.

You would be surprised at the number of people who never look at who has followed them or viewed their profile. Or they do so sporadically and they miss most of the new followers and viewers. And I am always surprised at the number of people who post and then never seem to monitor the post for comments after publishing it.

2) The other person sees that you have followed/viewed or commented but they don’t read anything into it.

They take your action at face value. “Hmm, Fred followed me. That’s nice.” Or even worse, “Hmm, Dave looked at my profile. I wonder why?” and then never giving it another thought.

3) The third reason is the most important. The three types of engagement – followers, profile viewers and commenters – are all mild forms of appreciation. But…they don’t give your prospect a reason to want to respond to them. These types of engagement don’t answer the “what’s in it for me?” question.

So what should you do instead? If you find someone interesting, reach out to them or just invite them to connect. In your connection note, add in the reason why it is in their best interests to connect with you.

And a postscript: Note that this whole thing works beautifully the other way round. I make a point of checking the list of everyone who likes, reacts to, comments or shares my content. I regularly review my new followers and everyone who views my profile. But I am not looking for what they can do for me, but what I might be able to do for them. If someone in there looks interesting, I send them a message.

Getting An Unfair Advantage Using Prospect Research On LinkedIn

With a little research, obstacles like this disappear.

 

I wanted to talk today about what I do to prepare for calls…and especially how I use LinkedIn as a key part of that preparation.

As I write this, it’s very early on a Monday morning. I have two people to follow up with today who want to talk with me about my services.

The first case is a previous client I have worked with sporadically in the past. It would be easy for me to just assume he wants to hire me again, call him up and just wing it.

But…something has changed and he thinks he needs my help now so I am going to research him all over again. This involves the following:

  • I will go back over my notes from a couple years ago, see what his problem was, and see what we worked on together.
  • I will check his website, and in his case his blog, to see if there have been changes in his business or his services.
  • I will check his LinkedIn company page to see how it matches up with his website and to review all his recent activity.
  • I will check his LinkedIn profile to see what changes he has made in the past couple years since we last talked. A lot can change in that amount of time. Aside from the obvious current experience section, I will also look for new recommendations, what his skills reflect, the companies and people he is following and the groups he belongs to. All these are things I can do very quickly, but this info can also give me clues as to where he is right now.
  • Lastly, I will check his recent activity (if he has any) on LinkedIn. Is he posting? How often? What topics? Is he interacting with other people’s or company’s posts?

Best case scenario, I can figure out what his likely problems are, or may be, and I can prepare for him. Worst case scenario, I find a couple things to talk about with him.

This will take me fifteen or twenty minutes and it is time well invested for three reasons:

  1. It refreshes my knowledge of him, and the work we have done previously.
  2. It prepares me for what I might suggest to him. I may have ideas prompted by my research.
  3. And perhaps most importantly, it will show him the respect I have for him in preparing in this manner.

That fifteen or twenty minutes makes all the difference in tilting the playing field in my favour. Having the facts and a lot of ideas at my fingertips going into my discussion with him gives me a huge advantage in coming across as a credible resource who respects his time, takes an interest in what he is doing and wants to help him.

So that’s the prep for an individual. But what about a company? The morning I wrote this, one of my connections sent a message asking if he could share my contact info with his VP of Sales, so the VP could set up a call to discuss what I might be able to do to help them. (I would like to build the suspense here, but I must confess I am going to answer “yes”.)

  • I get calls like this from time to time, but even with this looking like a pretty good situation (after all they are initiating contact and asking to speak with me instead of the other way ‘round), I am going to research the heck out of that company. I will do all of the things I did with respect to my occasional client I discussed above, but will add four more pieces of research.

Here are the additional things I will look at:

  • I will see if they are active as a company on any other social media and if they are, how they are using those networks.
  • I will review the sales and marketing employees LinkedIn profiles, asking myself the critical question, “do they get LinkedIn?”
  • I will look for active users in other parts of the company. I will often find people who are active LinkedIn users where you normally wouldn’t expect them. (If you would like to see a great example of this yourself, go to LinkedIn and look up thom h. boehm who works for a company called Stanfield’s. Thom publishes posts on LinkedIn about his work maintaining knitting machines at the Stanfield’s underwear factory. He has over two thousand followers who love reading his posts. I am one of them.)
  • Lastly I will look to see if I have any connections who might know people at this company. I look to see if there are any company employees with a “2nd” beside their name.

Do I get push back from people about the amount of research I recommend? All the time. But say you were to land a new client this month. What would the value of that satisfied client be over the next five years? The truth is, putting an hour or two into this type of research pays. And a lot of that research comes courtesy of LinkedIn.

3 Ways You Can Use LinkedIn For Lead Generation (and 1 way you shouldn’t)

 

Here are four ways you can use LinkedIn for Lead Gen. The first three will all work, depending on your client’s strengths and weaknesses. The last one, well, we will burn that bridge when we come to it.

Publish and link

Publish content that leads people back to your website. On your website, in exchange for their email address, they get valuable content such as an e-book, case study, checklist etc. This is the “classic” lead generation system used all over in email newsletters, columns, you name it.

This tactic depends on the reach the company already has. A lot of people need to see your message.

Designate And Follow Leads Using Sales Navigator

You can use Sales Navigator on LinkedIn and designate people and companies as leads. You will then see those lead’s activities and can use them as a springboard to contact the prospects.

This one is hit and miss as it depends on the target companies or people being active on LinkedIn. The rule of thumb for internet use is 90/9/1. Ninety percent lurk, nine percent participate and one percent generate. So in general, if you have a thousand leads you are following on LinkedIn, only a small number of them will be active.

Find ’em yourself

You can go straight to using LinkedIn to identify prospects and reach out to them via email or LinkedIn, or both. This idea actually takes the lead gen out of it, but if you know who your prospective customers are, it is often a better idea to go hunt them down, than hope they drop by.

But most people don’t like using the “P” word (prospecting), or the “W” word (work), so they succumb to the siren call of….

Automated LinkedIn add-ons and systems

Very dangerous. This usually consists of automated software that sends messages or connection requests. Violates LinkedIn’s terms of agreement and people that get caught get their accounts closed and are banned from using LinkedIn.

I get asked multiple times every week: “what automation software do you recommend for” and then they ask about sending connection requests, or auto-commenting on posts, or sending messages. And I answer “none.” I don’t care how much time it may save you, I have good reasons why you shouldn’t use automation on LinkedIn.

Reason #1: Like most trendy tactics, it’s wearing thin

Remember a few years ago when saying happy birthday to each other on LinkedIn was a thing? And salespeople started piggybacking sales pitches onto their birthday greetings? And how that got old pretty quickly? Well automated everything is getting like that. People have seen it before.

Reason #2: Quite honestly, it can make you look stupid

And that is because by definition setting loose parameters to be able to use the software puts you in weird situations. I think most of us have received sales pitches from people trying to sell us the services that are hilariously unsuited to us and would be obvious to anyone who had taken the time to read our profiles.

I am a big believer that how you treat your prospects is a preview of how you will treat them as your customers. And automation screams “I have no time for personal attention, and this is all just a numbers game.” I find it telling that one of the big promotional tools used in selling automation is how much your time is worth and how you can save that time. Of course the flip side of that same coin is that your prospects do not deserve your time.

Reason #3: LinkedIn can close your account and ban you permanently

And they do. Two things you can’t do on LinkedIn is scrape data and have somebody else or automated software using your account. As automated software needs access to your account to get the data – from a search for example – and then to take control of your account to send the invitations or messages, automation breaks the user agreement for both of these.

And for anyone who thinks that the odds are so low they won’t get caught, I have one suggestion. If you habitually believe it is a good idea to go for a walk whenever a thunderstorm begins, because the odds of being hit by lightning are so low, then automation may be for you. But for the rest of us who just thought “the risk is not worth it” we will pass thanks.

The only people who truly profit from LinkedIn automation are the people selling it to you.

Stick to the first three methods I discussed above. Trade valuable content for email addresses, use Sales Navigator to follow people, or find and approach your prospects individually on LinkedIn.

The 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? I publish three weekly email newsletters on LinkedIn for Sales, LinkedIn for Marketing and Advanced LinkedIn Strategies and Tactics. Each is typically a two or three minute read, free, and and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

Your LinkedIn Company Page Going Nowhere? Here’s Why

Not getting any oomph out of your company page? Your Company Page content going nowhere and getting zero engagement?

There are two reasons for that. There’s the “what happens when you post” and the “what” you post.

There is a lot to unpack here, but I promise both parts are worth taking into consideration.

The first thing we need to cover is that LinkedIn does not really distribute company page content organically. Okay, what the heck does that mean? Well, when you post something on your personal account, LinkedIn will put it in front of a small percentage – like 5 to 8% – of your connections and followers and see how it does. If it does well, that is, if it gets lots of engagement, LinkedIn will distribute it further and so on.

So most people assume that LinkedIn does the same thing with company page content and most people would be wrong.

For all intents and purposes, LinkedIn does not distribute company page content at all. You’re on your own. If you follow any companies, when was the last time you were notified of what they had published? If you are like me, you can’t remember a single instance. Now would you be surprised if I told you LinkedIn had a bunch of cool tools for seeing the content of companies you follow? And that those tools are in Sales Navigator for only $70 or $80 bucks a month? And what type of Sales Navigator users follow company pages? People who either want to sell to your company or people that compete with your company. So the only people that can actually easily see all your company page content are people you are sure not writing that content for.

So if your company page content is not easily seen by your followers, what can you do about it? Well, the first thing you have to realize is that under these circumstances, your company page is more about establishing credibility than it is about increasing your reach. But there are a couple things you can do.

1) Enlist your company employees. Let your team know when you’re publishing. Get them to share or comment if – and this is important – they are regular LinkedIn users and have a decent sized network. When they share or comment, the company post will then get seen by a small portion of their networks. This can help with your reach.

(I think Liking is too easy and the effects are poor, so I recommend you avoid Liking your company page posts)

2) While enlisting company employees is obvious, no one thinks of this one: enlist your suppliers. Your suppliers have a vested interest in your company’s success, and there are two people at each of those suppliers who should be keen to help you out: the salesperson who is your main point of contact and their company page manager who is likely to be more sympathetic to your efforts than most people in your own company.

Okay that covers the “what happens”, so let’s turn to the “what” in what you should post on your company page.

My suspicion is that as with Facebook, LinkedIn is killing organic distribution of company posts to encourage companies to buy sponsored InMail or advertising. But that means that for the most part, people are not seeing your company’s content unless they actually search for and discover your company page – either through a company search, a hashtag search or a content search.

In each of those cases, your reader is discovering you for the first time. They have discovered you because they were searching LinkedIn and using it as a resource.

What are they looking for? Answers to their questions. They arrive at your company page and ask themselves, “I wonder if these people can help me with my problem?”

What are they not looking for? Someone trying to sell something to them.

So what does your company page and your content need to offer these people? Solutions. The benefits they will receive from working with you. If you can answer their questions they will want to talk with you. If you come across as just interested in selling them something, you won’t get very far.

When you offer people answers to their questions and information they can use, they will want to return to you Company Page.

When all you do is advertise, why would someone every want to come back a second time?

Having people see you as a resource is a good position to be in.

The 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? I publish three weekly email newsletters on LinkedIn for Sales, LinkedIn for Marketing and Advanced LinkedIn Strategies and Tactics. Each is typically a two or three minute read, free, and and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

How I Decide Whether To Publish LinkedIn Posts Or Articles

Back in the day, it took a lot longer to write a post or an article. 

 

Most people I speak with have an “either or” attitude as to whether they should Post or Publish Articles on LinkedIn. I think this is the wrong way of looking at it. 

The way I see it, you should look at the strengths and weaknesses of each format and figure where they fit within your overall strategy. 

First of all what are the key characteristics of posts? 

  • Posts have a limited shelf life – they are part of your activity feed and disappear over time. LinkedIn says they are visible for ninety days
  • Posts also have no real formatting options, unless…
  • you can do a document post, which effectively embeds slides in your post. 
  • Posts tend to be short. The limit is 1300 characters, which is 200 words or thereabouts

And how about Articles?

  • Articles have more formatting options. It’s more like blogging.
  • Length limits realistically don’t exist for articles. I have seen 40,000 and 120,000 mentioned as the limits. There aren’t many people who are going to write seven or ten thousand word articles on LinkedIn.
  • All of your past articles are saved and can be retrieved and viewed by visitors to your profile, or readers of your current article. LinkedIn says they save articles for two years, but I have articles that are going on five years old that are still there. 
  • Articles can be found by Google. I have been fortunate enough to have three of my articles show up at the top of Google search results. This has resulted in tens of thousands of views, hundreds of comments, and several  work contracts. I receive LinkedIn notifications every week about likes and comments on articles I wrote three and four years ago.

Note that from having published hundreds of posts and articles:

  • Engagement is a wash. I find a good post will get the same engagement as an article and vice versa. 
  • Views are counted differently for each and shouldn’t be factor in your decision 

While I articles can be used to increase my reach (those ones Google likes has people constantly discovering me) their main purpose is to showcase my expertise. And while posts will demonstrate my expertise, the main purpose there is to increase my reach. 

With all of this in mind, when I am going to write on LinkedIn, what form it takes is usually guided by one simple observation: 

Articles educate, posts start conversations.

Taking Apart Your LinkedIn Profile Dashboard

If you look on your LinkedIn Profile, underneath your photo and headline, and your About and your Featured sections (if you use either of these), you will come across “Your Dashboard ” which is private to you. “Dashboard” seems like a pretty exotic term to use for three statistics but there you go. Here is what mine looked like today:

In theory, I am guessing that LinkedIn uses these three statistics as some sort of gauge for how visible your profile is, though searching LinkedIn help results in no articles on this topic. But the unspoken thing here is that by presenting these statistics, LinkedIn is implying that you should want then to get bigger, or at least that they are important. So I thought I would take each one in turn and discuss why two of these are crap and should be ignored, and one should be taken seriously.

Part 1: Search Appearances

What this statistic supposedly does is to provide you with some clues as to how well your LinkedIn profile is performing for you. It is updated weekly.

The Search Appearance related statistics that LinkedIn shows are as follows:

The number of times you showed in search results during any given week

While it is a nice ego boost to think I am showing up in a lot of searches, without any context I am not sure that knowing this number helps me much. That’s because LinkedIn quite helpfully does not tell us how a “search” is defined. Here’s a good example: if someone I know types my name in the search bar and hits enter, they find me. Does this constitute a search? And if so, should I be excited that I turned up in their search results?

The statistics screen then lists the top places your searchers work

I am not sure what to make of this. Last week on my report there were three companies listed. This week there are two. Those two from this week were both there last week too. Apparently, over a two week period I landed in more searches performed by people at Oberlin College than anywhere else. How can that be? Does Oberlin College have a “Find Bruce Johnston on LinkedIn” course that I don’t know about?

Even if I put the nice people at Oberlin College aside, that leaves Intel as the next company. Now how can I use that information? Maybe I can send messages to my three connections at Intel asking if it was them. Or maybe I can send InMails to the 5,600 second degree connections I have at Intel.

So once again this information is interesting but not useful.

What your searchers do

Now this is data that helps. In my case, I show up in more corporate trainer’s searches than anyone else’s. And these are the type of people I want to meet so I know my profile is doing its job. If I was job hunting, I would hope to see Recruiters and Human Resources people as my top searchers.

What these statistics don’t do for you

They don’t tell you where you ranked in the results and that is a big deal. If you don’t rank highly in a set of search results then who cares? I regularly perform LinkedIn searches that get thousands of results. I don’t look at them all. When was the last time you performed a Google search and reviewed all the results? When was the last time you performed a Google search and got even halfway down page one of the search results?

In a lot of ways, these statistics make me think of views you would get for a post on your LinkedIn Homepage screen. A thousand views means it was on a thousand screens. But you don’t know how many people actually saw your post and then read it. In the same way, appearing in a thousand search results is nice. But it doesn’t tell you if the people searching even saw you in the search results, let alone clicked on and opened your profile.

I just stopped writing for a moment, hopped on LinkedIn and did a search for people in North America. So congratulations, if you are a LinkedIn member and live in North America, you just showed up in my search results….with 208 million other people.

As it stands, “Weekly Search Appearances” gives us some interesting clues, but not enough context and detail to really be a useful tool.

Part Two: Post Views

Let me show you four glaring problems with view statistics.

1) Views are counted differently for different types of LinkedIn content

A post is considered viewed if it showed up on your LinkedIn screen. You don’t even have to be aware that it was there, you are considered as having viewed it, because you could have viewed it if you looked in the right place.

An article view requires you to click on it to open the article.

Note that even with just these two types of content it is obvious that a view for one is very different from a view for the other. With a post you have the opportunity to see it, while for an article you had to click so you had the intent to see it.

And then if three seconds of a video roll while it is on your screen you are considered as having viewed the video.

So a thousand post views are different from a thousand video views and both are different from a thousand article views. So that’s problem number one.

2) You can’t see who your viewers are

Actually I can see people who have engaged (liked, commented, shared) with my content and you can bet I go review every single one of those lists. But in the case of posts for example, what about the 97% who don’t engage? I would love to know who they are as it would give me clues and ideas as to how I could improve my content.

3) there are no meaningful demographics

I would love to know the split between first, second or third degree connections that view my content. I would also love to see what percentage are in sales vs marketing vs other functions. And company size. And geography. Info that would help me. A raw top line number does not.

4) I have reason to believe LinkedIn can’t count. 

If the same person comes back to your post seven times to comment or look at the comment thread, guess how many times they get counted as new views? Correct. Seven.

Then there are the overall counts. Here is an example from today. I published my latest LinkedIn newsletter. Under my avatar I am told how many times my post (actually my newsletter) has been viewed:

So my newsletter has been viewed 2,442 times so far since I published it. So I go to the newsletter statistics and I see this:

3,325 is quite a bit different from 2,442.

If I can’t trust the figures, how do I make business decisions?

This can all be very depressing, but next we will talk about profile views, and I have some good info for you on how to leverage this one good part of your Dashboard.

Part Three: Profile Views

Profile viewers are worthwhile and you should pay attention to them. If you have a premium account, you can see your profile viewers going back ninety days, otherwise you can see your last five profile visitors.

Regardless of whether you can see five or five hundred, you should check this on a regular basis, starting with whenever you log in to LinkedIn. It should be a regular habit, in the same way you would check your notifications or your messages.

In order for someone to be prompted to visit your profile, you did something – you commented, you wrote, you were mentioned, or they heard about you somewhere off LinkedIn, or they may have even found you in a search. But the bottom line is, they have questions that can only be answered by finding out more about you.

In my opinion a profile view is a valid business reason to reach out to someone.

When you see someone interesting has viewed your profile, you should immediately reach out to them on LinkedIn if you can. When you do reach out, do your research first.

When I send an outreach like this I often ask or guess why they came by (was it something I wrote? If so, which post or newsletter? Was it a comment on someone else’s post?). My goal is to start a conversation, but barring that, any information that someone provides helps give me just a bit more guidance as to what causes people to have a passing interest in me.

When I do this, I am successful getting a response around 65% of the time. Note that there are three parts here: the profile view was the trigger, but I had to do good research, which in turn armed me to write a good outreach message.

If this person is a possible prospect, this is the start to a process that goes: outreach, conversation, discovery, build credibility and then (maybe) sell. But it all starts with that first conversation.

For all intents and purposes, people who view your profile are possible business partners such as customers, suppliers, employees or employers. Treat them that way. And that’s what makes profile views the one valid statistic of the three you’re presented with on your Profile Dashboard.

The 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? I publish three weekly email newsletters on LinkedIn for Sales, LinkedIn for Marketing and Advanced LinkedIn Strategies and Tactics. This week’s newsletter is actually a combination of three of my LinkedIn for Sales newsletters from a few weeks ago. Typically my email newsletters are much shorter, a two or three minute read, free, and and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

Be Interested With Your Content’s View Count, But Not Obsessed

If you have ever had an article you published on LinkedIn get a large number of views or a ton of engagement, it is easy to get caught up in trying to do it again.

My LinkedIn articles tend to get in the middle to high hundreds of views each week, and my posts ten to twelve times that amount. A good article for me is a thousand views and with a couple hundred engagements. A good post is ten thousand views (remember that post views are counted differently) with the same couple hundred engagements. Once every six weeks or so, a piece of my content may get double these high water marks.

Then there are the true outliers. An article about your Weekly Search Appearances – almost 88,000 views, one on Fake LinkedIn Profiles, 25,000. And the granddaddy of them all: What Is A View on LinkedIn? (irony alert): over 170,000 views. All of these were articles. The equivalent number of post views would be ten to twelve times higher.

The upside is that at various times over the past five years I have written and published something on LinkedIn that readers really liked. And apparently they still do. The downside is that since that first article that did really well I have had around three hundred shots at publishing new articles and replicating that success. Which I have done around once a year since. So four out of three hundred.

But I don’t worry about it and here’s why: I have no clue why those articles did really well and why none of my other couple hundred articles did not. I think you can write as well as you can, hit publish and then it is out of your hands. If it goes viral, enjoy your moment in the sun. I published one article that got several hundred times the views I normally get. I don’t know what was different about that one from others I have written. I don’t know the secret.

And no one else does either.

Anyone who writes that they know how to go viral is full of it. Otherwise they would be viral every time they published…and wouldn’t have to write articles on how to go viral.

And while views are good for the ego, engagement from those views is the real deal. LinkedIn doesn’t tell me who my viewers are, so I have no way to identify and contact them if I wish to. People who like, share and comment are identifiable so I can contact them. I consider an article with three hundred views and sixty people engaging with me to be more successful than having three thousand views and thirty people engage with me.

Don’t sweat going viral or piling up huge numbers of views. Views are good for the ego. Engagement is good for business.

The 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? I publish three weekly email newsletters on LinkedIn for Sales, LinkedIn for Marketing and Advanced LinkedIn Strategies and Tactics. Each is typically a two or three minute read, free, and and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

Cultivating Your LinkedIn Connections For Fun and Profit

 

Actually, just for profit. But that’s fun too. 

A couple months ago I wrote about how you can identify the connections that are worth improving your relationship with. These are the ones that may become prospects or suppliers or other types of people that can help you down the line. The morning that I published that, I got this note from one of the subscribers:

“You left everyone hanging! Now that they have identified those “special” connections, what do they do with them? How do they segregate them? How do they make sure that their content or comments or postings go to them??”

So in answer to that question, here are four steps you can take:

1) Get them in your CRM

And yes, you should actually have a CRM tool of one kind or another. The key here is the “M” because you want to manage your relationship with them. And that means tracking what you have been doing. At its most basic, all you want to be able to do is to identify people you are working to promote your relationship with. While there may be overlap with other work you are doing, your goals with these people should be pure relationship building.

2) Figure out how often you want to reach out to them

Frequency will be a function of several things, but in particular how big your “ask” is. For example, there is a big difference between making your case and asking for a phone call now, or asking for a phone call after you have interacted four or five times with them and built your credibility more slowly. The other big factor is just the raw number of people you are enrolling in this little program at any one time. You may have fifty people you want to work to develop your relationships with and it will make a big difference if you are doing, say ten at a time, or all fifty.

3) Figure out what you want to offer to help them

There are more things you can offer your connections than you are probably aware of. How about a phone call to see what types of people they would like to meet so you can see if any of your connections would be a good fit for them? Can you endorse them on LinkedIn? How about a recommendation? Can you write a testimonial for them? Do you have a case study on that new technology their company is getting involved in. Send them a copy. How about blogs or podcasts they might be interested in? Offer to send them the links.

Now I don’t do all these at once, as that can be a little overwhelming and to be honest would be just a little bit weird. What I do is have two of them ready, usually one “thing” like a white paper, and one “service” like an offer of a LinkedIn recommendation. Then I add another one each time I reach out to them.

The overriding theme here is “I am a resource and I want to help you achieve your goals.”

4) Set aside time to contact the people at the top of the list each week.

Three suggestions on starting this up: start slow, make it a priority and do it. Start slow because you want to take the time to do it correctly. Make it a priority, don’t kind of say to yourself, I will fit this in if I get some extra time at the end of the day. And do it: get it done. Make it a habit, a part of your day, and of your week.

This isn’t that difficult and it works. The hard part is starting. Start, keep at it and you will make it part of your LinkedIn habits.

The 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? I publish three weekly email newsletters on LinkedIn for Sales, LinkedIn for Marketing and Advanced LinkedIn Strategies and Tactics. Each is typically a two or three minute read, free, and and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/