Should You Have A LinkedIn Company Page?

note the use of primitive hashtags…

 

This may seem like a silly question, but there is a case to be made for not having a company page – or as LinkedIn calls them these days a “LinkedIn Page”. I am an example of this idea as I manage or co-manage eleven company pages for clients but don’t have one myself.

Here are the pros and cons of just what you can do with a Page and what a Page can do for you.

Your reach with your Company posts will be pretty poor.

The fact is LinkedIn just does not distribute company page content that much. Yesterday, I got a notification that one company I follow had published a post. This company publishes two or three times a week. This was the first notification I had received or post I had seen this year. Your organic reach just isn’t there. There is conjecture that LinkedIn will go to a pay for distribution model like Facebook’s.

It takes work!

Setting up a Page is easy. Populating it with really good content – on a regular basis – is another story. Pages need content, and the more the merrier. And that content needs to do one thing: show the visitor that you have the answers to their questions. Your content should be “benefits loaded”, that is less about your capabilities and more about your customer’s results. Even for companies that have that mindset, coming up with a steady stream of that content is a lot of work.

A Page allows your Company to be found on LinkedIn.

Your description and the keywords, phrases, hashtags and specialties you list all provide “hooks” that searchers on LinkedIn can use to find your company. I think this is a vastly undervalued part of a LinkedIn Page, and many companies do not take advantage of it. And it only takes five minutes to set up or fix.

You can use it to establish your credibility.

This would be the role of that content I talked about above. Establishing credibility is a missing part of many companies’ sales processes. You need to have credibility in order to be considered. A Company Page is a good place to start that ball rolling, because then…

You can use your Page to send people back to your website

LinkedIn doesn’t really give you much room to stretch out and write posts – the character limit for Page posts is 700 characters including spaces and punctuation, and you can’t say very much in that amount of space. The solution is a teaser for your content and then to have a link back to the content on your website.

Conclusion

A company page is good for credibility, but not for reach. For companies, as long as you can keep up with the commitment to write good content, a Page is worthwhile. If you work for yourself, I would suggest that you can do a good job building your credibility without a Page by publishing articles – which can be found via Search, and are also indexed by Google Search – and by attaching featured documents to your Profile.

Just Who Is Visiting Your LinkedIn Profile? And Why?

“Did you check the Captain’s LinkedIn profile?”

 

Most people think their LinkedIn profile is something they can use so that whoever it is they want to have find them – suppliers, customers, potential business partners, possible future employers – can find them. 

But is that the case? 

In one word: No. In two words: Heck, no.

How do I know this? Well, I did some research. As most of you know, I have a Sales Navigator account. And with that account comes an expanded version of WHo Viewed Your Profile. I can see who viewed my profile for the past ninety days. When LinkedIn can identify where your individual profile viewers came from, they do so. You will see such things as: My Network, Homepage, Messaging and Search.

I was reviewing my profile viewers and one thing that struck me was hardly anyone seemed to be finding me via Search. So I went back and counted them all over the past ninety days. Out of all the people who had viewed my profile over the past ninety days, the percentage who came across my profile via search was….a smidgeon over one percent. 1.08% to be exact. 

Now, my LinkedIn profile is pretty good. I know my SEO basics and I know the keywords that should be there, and what people should be searching for to find someone like me. But one percent? That’s it?

So where was everyone else coming from? We’re talking about hundreds of people a month here. Well, some came from Messaging, which makes sense when you think about it. In a typical situation, you are trading messages, usually with a new connection, and you want to check something on their profile. But the vast majority of my viewers had either seen something I had written, or I was mentioned, or someone they knew had mentioned my name, or I had commented on something and that brought them to my profile. The bottom line was people were coming to my profile for one of two reasons. They are asking:

  • Just who is this guy?
  • Is he who he says he is?

What it amounts to is people are looking at my profile as a kind of reference check. They are curious about me and they want to know more, in my case, usually more about why I talk like I am an expert at using LinkedIn.

So what does this imply for you? 

Your profile does not have to be an SEO machine. There just are not that many people looking for you or what you do. 

Or if they are looking for someone like you, they are doing it through their network, not LinkedIn search.

What your profile has to be is a reference check. When someone comes to your profile they want to know why you are an expert in your field and the implied question they have is “What can this person do to help me?” 

And there you go. Those are the questions your profile needs to answer:

  • What can you do for your ideal reader?
  • What benefits can you provide?
  • What questions are you uniquely qualified to answer?

The idea that someone will find you via search is a myth. They will find you from your display of what you know, or from hearing about your from someone else. So what does your profile have to do? It’s not a showcase, it’s a reference check. 

 

Helping The LinkedIn Algorithm Figure Out The Content You Want To See

(what we all imagine the algorithm looks like)

The LinkedIn algorithm decides what you see in your feed. So if you understand how it works, you can use that information to your advantage and guide LinkedIn to present more of the content you want to see.

While you can express interest in topics and influencers (they are under the “My Network” tab), a big part of what the algorithm does is look at your recent interactions. It looks at whose posts you are interacting with and what topics you are researching. Then LinkedIn interprets this data and predicts what you would like to see more of. This is where the algorithm is really smart and really dumb at the same time.

If the algorithm sees me commenting on your posts, and especially if we trade a bunch of comments back and forth on that post, the algorithm interprets that as a high interest level on my behalf with regards to your posting. So LinkedIn will show me more of your posts.

The algorithm is very wise.

But the algorithm also sees someone come along who hates your post, acts like a troll, and wants to argue with you and call you names. Because the algorithm just looks at the back and forth and does not understand what is actually being said, the algorithm interprets these comments as a high level of interest on the troll’s behalf and LinkedIn will now show the troll a lot more of your posts.

The algorithm is kind of dumb.

Oh, and I said “looks at your recent interactions” because I went away on vacation for a week and when I came back the algorithm had effectively forgotten everything about me. It had to “discover me” and build its database of who I liked all over again.

So how do we take advantage of this? Well, aside from not commenting on idiot posts, the idea would be to consider all your interactions with other people on LinkedIn as an interest gauge. Especially comments. There is evidence which suggests that comments are weighted heavily by the algorithm. When you comment on LinkedIn you are not just commenting on the post in question, you are telling LinkedIn, “More like this please.”

You will find evidence of this in your feed all the time. For example, you haven’t interacted with someone in months, but then you commented on one of their posts. Over the next week, it seems like every time that person does something on LinkedIn, it shows up in your homepage feed.

So when you make lots of comments on content from people you would like to see more of, your feed will get better as the algo does less guessing as to who’s content you want to see.

When you understand how LinkedIn interprets your actions, you can act accordingly and help guide the content you actually want to see to your feed.

Got an idea for something I should write about? I am Open Profile so you can send me a free message on LinkedIn.

The obligatory disclaimer: I do not work for LinkedIn. The only business relationship I have with LinkedIn is sending them money every month for my Sales Navigator account.

How To Rank Higher In LinkedIn Search Results

searching….searching…

 

This is an updated version of one of my “classic” LinkedIn articles. I wrote the first version of this in 2016. Since this was first written, LinkedIn has gotten a lot bigger, and the topic of this article has gotten much more important, though most LinkedIn users don’t realize it.

Let me illustrate this with a real world example. My early corporate customers were Printed Circuit Board manufacturers (and a lot of them still are). One of the first comprehensive LinkedIn searches I did back in 2011 was to see how many LinkedIn users had the term “PCB” in their profile. It was around 32,000 people worldwide. I did that search again in early December 2020. The number now? Over 440,000.

The conclusion is that showing up higher in search results is tougher now than it was nine years ago. Heck, it is tougher now than it was only one year ago.

So let’s take a trip into the weeds and figure out what we can do about it.

The most important factor for ranking higher in search results isn’t the quality of your profile or your use of keywords. Those things will get you included in the search results, but not necessarily a high ranking.

What is the most important factor? Your relevancy to the searcher. So what does that mean? It means that you may show up on page two of the search results (that is somewhere between 11th and 20th) for one person and page seven (61st to 70th) for another person searching using the exact same keywords or search parameters. And no one wants to be on page seven. When was the last time you googled something and closely examined the seventh page of results?

Relevancy is a bit of a moving target. LinkedIn interprets relevancy based on an ever evolving algorithm which weighs things like the searcher’s prior activity on LinkedIn, similar searches other people have conducted in the past and the profiles that get selected by the query. Having the right keywords in your profile will get you included in the search results, but they probably won’t help too much, as everyone else who was included in the search results had those keywords too.

And let’s face it, you can’t do anything about a searcher’s prior history, or other similar searches to this one.

The biggest factor for where you appear in search results is your relationship to the searcher. LinkedIn thinks that the closer the relationship, the higher the relevance. So LinkedIn tends to list the search results by connection level – first degree connections first, seconds second, group members third and the third degree / everyone else crowd last. And this makes sense. Say you are looking for someone to help with you build a WordPress based blog. You search for WordPress on LinkedIn, maybe adding your location to find someone local. LinkedIn shows that you have three first degree connections that qualify, then forty second degree connections, sixty group members, and two hundred third level LinkedIn members. Based on what you asked for, doesn’t it make sense that LinkedIn lists the three people you can contact directly – your first level connections, the people you already know and can send messages to – first?

So what does this tell us? To appear higher in searches you should develop a big network. This doesn’t mean you should indiscriminately connect with anyone on LinkedIn. But you should be connecting with people in, and affiliated with, your target audience – your target audience being the people you would like to be found by, whether that is prospective employers, prospective customers, suppliers, or peers. The more people you are connected with, the more likely you will show up as a “one” or a “two” in the search rankings. If you and I are in the same field, have similar experience and credentials, but you have two thousand connections and I have two hundred, who’s your money on for appearing higher in search results?

LinkedIn even says this (it’s in the LinkedIn help section):

The more connections you have, the more likely you will have a connection to the searcher. Closer connections, such as a 2nd-degree connection compared to a 3rd-degree connection, improve your ranking in searches.

There is a big difference between search engine optimization and LinkedIn search results optimization. To optimize for LinkedIn search results, you need lots of relevant connections.

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.

And the offer: 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. And I do not clobber my subscribers over the head with inane sales pitches. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

Should You Include A Note With your Connection Invitation On LinkedIn?

(they might be a bit more welcoming if you has sent a note…)

 

The answer is yes and I have some data back it up.

I had read someone on LinkedIn a ways back saying it wasn’t necessary to include a message and he was just as successful sending “naked” invites as with ones with a personalized message.

I of course thought he was wrong, but that got me thinking: has anyone researched this? And even if we all “know” that including a note helps, just how much better is it to include a note? Ten percent? Fifty percent?

So I decided to test the idea myself.

I wanted an honest test, so I put together a LinkedIn search. I chose operations people because sales and marketing people might be unduly disposed to accepting an invite from someone like me. The first week I sent connection invites to the first ten people on my search results list with no message, and then I sent connection invites to the next ten people with a personalized message. I repeated this for the next four weeks until I had sent fifty invitations to connect with a message and fifty without one.

Here were my results:

Invite to connect, no note: 18 out of 50 accepted

Invite to connect, personalized note: 39 of 50 accepted

So the first part of my findings is as follows: “People are more than twice as likely to accept an invitation to connect when you include a note.”

This brings up the question of what you should put in your personalized note.

I receive a lot of invites with notes that say something like “I am trying to build my network and would love to connect with you.” Note how this is completely impersonal. It could be sent to anyone. And this invitation revolves around what’s in it for the inviter – “building my network” – and not about the invitee.

In the note you send along with your invitation, you are in effect, giving the other person the reason(s) they should connect with you. What people are told to include are things like:

* shared experiences, such as previous employers or schools you both went to

* shared connections

* shared interests

To my thinking, these are tepid. It seems to me they translate to “there is less risk in connecting with me due to whatever it is we share.”

Instead, the two reasons I advocate are:

* what you can offer (expertise, experience)

* your genuine interest in their experience and expertise

And by a mile, “what you can offer” is the best option. That’s because it answers the “what’s in it for me” questions. The other reasons really don’t. When I write an invite, I add what’s in it for them. I always add that if they have any questions on using LinkedIn they can send them to me and I will answer them if I can. This is something anyone can say about their area of expertise. This makes you a valuable resource in case the other person needs it, and that gives them a compelling reason to connect with you that is in their best interests.

But that’s not all. I also hyperpersonlize my note to get their attention and to show that this invitation is not cut and paste or automated. For example, I may send a note to an invitee I share four connections with. In that note I will mention something specific about one of those people to show I have a real relationship with them, I actually know them, and that this note was written expressly for this invitee.

So let’s amend my original results as follows:

“People are more than twice as likely to accept an invitation to connect when you include a note that has been specifically personalized to them, and tells them what’s in it for them.”

Social Selling Meets Up With The Pareto Principle…And Gets Creamed

The first time I wrote about this idea was in June 2016. I think this concept is so important that when I started an email newsletter in late 2019 that this was the first thing I wrote about.

For all you people who aren’t getting the results from social selling on LinkedIn that you think you should be getting, here’s one likely reason: you’re assuming LinkedIn is a much bigger social network than it really is.

The reality is LinkedIn is a big database with a small social network embedded in it.

As of Summer 2020, LinkedIn had somewhere north of 715 million members. Around 40% or three hundred million of them, log in at least once a month. Think about that for a second. If you are a social seller, you are left contending with the fact that 60% of LinkedIn members more or less just consider LinkedIn to be a resume holder.

So you can follow these 60%, but because they don’t show up very often there isn’t anything to follow.

They don’t post anything, so you will have a tough time engaging them through likes and comments.

And you can share posts that they will never see.

You can congratulate them on their work anniversary and they may see it when they next log in next Spring, where the first thing they will do is delete all the messages that have piled up since the last time they logged in.

There is a very active social network on LinkedIn, but it’s pretty small. If 300 million people log in at least once a month, how many of them log in, say twice a week or more? Let’s be charitable and call it 100 million. For all of you that squawk that this is a low estimate, I have just one question: If LinkedIn had true numbers of daily users to crow about, wouldn’t you think that they would publish that number, and feature it in press releases every week? So, as I was saying, if only 100 million people use LinkedIn a couple times a week or more often, social selling can be effectively used to address all of 15 percent of LinkedIn users. And while 100 million is a lot of people, in context of a social network like Facebook, it’s a rounding error. In Q2 2020 Facebook reported that they had 1.79 billion daily users. 

So what does this all mean? For the sales “hunters” out there – the people that use LinkedIn to find a prospect but then choose between using LinkedIn to contact that person, or use other means like email or cold calling – LinkedIn is a database of 715 million potential prospects. For the social selling “farmers” that rely on LinkedIn members seeing them or seeing their prospect’s content or activity, it is a social network of maybe 100 million potential prospects.

Social selling can work beautifully, but the majority of LinkedIn users are not social. Set your expectations accordingly.

I publish weekly newsletters on using LinkedIn for Sales, LinkedIn for Marketing and Advanced LinkedIn Strategies and Tactics. Each of these 3 is typically a two or three minute read and contains useful ideas you can put into practice right away.

https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

What’s Your LinkedIn Engagement Rate?

(waiting to engage….with dinner)

 

I track my engagement rate for posts and articles that I publish on LinkedIn. I find that my engagement rate gives me a better idea of which content worked best, and what people want to see more of.

How I calculate my engagement rate

I take the total number of Reactions (what we used to just call “Likes”) + Comments + Rehares + New Followers + People Who Viewed My Profile, divided by the number of views.

I look at all these figures once my content has been out on LinkedIn for seventy-two hours. I typically publish around 8am on Tuesdays, so I just look at all these numbers on Friday morning at the same time. I include followers and people who viewed my profile over this time as almost all of the people who did so follow or view my profile did so based on reading my content.

Let me hit “pause” for a couple disclaimers here: you can argue that some of these types of engagement are better than others. I think we can all agree that a comment is better than a like, but what we will not be able to agree on is exactly how much better it is. Is a comment worth two Likes? Three? One a quarter? Combining all five works for me. You could come up with your own engagement consisting of just comments or comments and profile views. That’s fine. Just as long as you are consistent with it.

The second disclaimer is that yes, I understand that some people will engage in two and sometimes more ways with a post – they could comment on it, then go look at my profile and then decide to follow me. That’s fine too. I still count that as engaging three times because it is obvious that my content really struck a nerve with them.

So that’s how I do it. How do I use it?

Most of the content I use to publish on LinkedIn consisted of articles. Over time my engagement rate on articles has consistently been around twenty percent, that is if I have five hundred views, the sum of my reactions, profile views, new followers, reshares and comments will typically be one hundred.

What I am looking for is outliers, both good and bad. The outliers are always caused by one of two things.

The first is I wrote about an interesting subject, or I have a spin on a subject everyone already knows about, but in an interesting or novel way. The second is that I just happened to be on my game and wrote that article really well. It just came together, had all the elements like the subject line and call to action working, and just flowed.

Those are the good outliers where my engagement can get up to thirty, thirty-five or even forty percent, the ones that short circuit my schedule on Tuesday as I keep coming back to respond to comments, reply to messages from strangers, and look to see if there are people I want to reach out to myself that engaged with my content.

Then there are the bad outliers. The ones where I made a typo, went off track on tangents, forgot to add a call to action, had a bland subject line and in general just want to crawl under a rock because I know I am capable of better.

You need to be able to identify both of these types of outliers, and my engagement rate lets me do that.

Bonus idea: Like I said I write mostly articles, where my engagement rate is around twenty percent. For my posts, it tends to be around two percent or just under two percent, and so far for my LinkedIn newsletter, my ER is around eight percent. As I am the same person, writing about the same topics at the same day and time for posts, articles and for newsletters on LinkedIn, this has led me to conclude that one article view is the equivalent of four newsletter views or ten post views, because that is what it takes to generate the same amount of engagement. Your results may vary, but a handy idea to know.

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/

12 Truths About LinkedIn And Using LinkedIn

Staying focused and headed in the right direction.

“Knowledge is good.” – Emil Faber

If you keep these ideas in mind, you will make better use of LinkedIn and the time you invest in it.

  1. Money talks and companies have money. If you have lots of money to spend on lots of premium subscriptions, ads or sponsored updates, LinkedIn will be keen to talk to you. If you don’t have money, LinkedIn is not that interested in you. I have had two people from LinkedIn reach out and take an interest in me and what I was doing in almost ten years. In both cases once they realized I did not have twenty-five thousand dollars a quarter (I’m not kidding) to spend on job or marketing related ads on LinkedIn, I became radioactive and the calls ended very quickly. As an individual, the most interaction you personally will get with LinkedIn will likely come in the form of a survey to complete.
  2. LinkedIn’s primary customers are sales, marketing, human resources and recruiting people. If you are not in one of these four groups, you are not so much a customer, you and your data are the product LinkedIn sells to those customers. LinkedIn makes changes to the platform that will serve their customers, not you. For example, if LinkedIn can persuade us to become more active on LinkedIn, that is good for ad sales.
  3. You are going to be contacted by people you don’t know. Expect recruiters and salespeople to contact you. That’s the price of admission. Be gracious to people who approach you intelligently and respectfully. But if they don’t approach you intelligently and respectfully, all bets are off. Spammers and people who send automated crap messages should be treated with the lack of respect they deserve and reported to LinkedIn with extreme prejudice.
  4. LinkedIn will never be a fabulous user experience. There are just too many different constituencies inherent in seven hundred million users. You have people who use it every day and people who show up once a year. You have people using it for sales, research, recruiting, networking, job search and a hundred other reasons. And each of those groups has a laundry list of features they wish LinkedIn had. As far as the user experience is concerned, “serviceable” is probably the best you should hope for.
  5. If you don’t have a plan, you can waste an awful lot of time on LinkedIn. Plan what you need to do to accomplish your LinkedIn goals, do those things, and leave.
  6. Using automation on LinkedIn makes you less social. You can use automation and go for quantity in your messaging to connections for example. But treating your connections like an email list doesn’t seem very social to me. And if you use automation for things like profile views, connection requests, or messaging, LinkedIn will come after you. Engage one on one with your connections and other people on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a contact sport.
  7. Social Selling on LinkedIn is just like regular selling, in that if you do it well, it works. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of people doing it well (just like regular selling). Remember that LinkedIn is a tool. A good one, but it’s not the Holy Sales Grail. This is mostly because people think LinkedIn is a social network, but it is really a big database with a very small social network embedded in it.
  8. Along those lines, LinkedIn is an excellent people database with good search tools attached, though you need a Sales Navigator or Recruiter premium account to take full advantage of these tools.
  9. LinkedIn can be used to find paths to people you don’t know via people you do know. This is a very underrated and underutilized aspect of LinkedIn.
  10. You get out of LinkedIn in direct relation to what you put into LinkedIn. By all means you can do LinkedIn in ten minutes a week, just expect to get results corresponding to ten minutes worth of effort.
  11. It’s still a give to get world. The minute you start looking at someone’s LinkedIn profile and start figuring out how you can help them, instead of how they can help you, is the minute you will start moving towards effective results using LinkedIn. The single best thing you can do on LinkedIn is invest your time developing your relationships with your connections. Very few people do this.
  12. For B2B sales professionals, LinkedIn is a game changer. What originally attracted me to LinkedIn ten years ago was that it was what I had wished for since I started in high tech sales in 1985: A searchable database of most every customer I could ever want, a treasure trove of researchable material on those people and their companies, and the possibility that LinkedIn itself may be the best method to reach out to them.

If you see LinkedIn for what it is, and not for what you wish it was, you will make effective use of the time you invest in it.

What would you add to this list?

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.

Don’t Let The Perfect Be The Enemy Of The Good

(this photo isn’t perfect – there’s a tiny boat on the horizon – but I am okay with that. Photo courtesy Mark Johnston)

I do a lot of walking, a minimum of two hours every day. It’s my pandemic exercise. To keep from getting bored I have a good set of Bluetooth headphones and I listen to podcasts. 

In one such podcast, there was an interview with Dr Anthny Fauci, who no one had heard of a year ago, and everyone has heard of now. 

And during the course of the interview, Fauci had a great line:

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

The context was Fauci was talking about vaccines and the idea was that the first vaccine that comes out may only protect some of the population, or it may only work for a limited amount of time. But, even a vaccine that only protects some people is better than waiting for one that protects everyone. 

This whole line of thought made me think of blogging and posting on LinkedIn. When you blog or write a post, perfect is the enemy of good. I can write a “good” post in one or two hours. I can polish the heck out of that post in another two hours. But the good version is ninety or ninety-five percent of the polished version. Polishing the post may result in a little more eloquence, but the key in a post or a blog post is the thought or idea that you want to convey. When you have reasonable substance, people will forgive some style points. 

I tend to write five pieces of content each week for my newsletters, my blog and to use on LinkedIn. They take me somewhere between five and eight hours to write. If I wanted to polish those five, my time commitment would jump to fifteen or twenty hours. Which doesn’t leave me much time for my clients, the folks who pay the bills around here. What it comes down to is this: 

I have a max of eight hours a week to write. 

What can I get done in that time? 

There comes a time after you write something, and you give it an edit, maybe put it away for a while and then look at it with fresh eyes, you edit it again, but then it is time to let it go out into the world. Hit publish. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Thanks Doc.

An Under Appreciated Use Of LinkedIn For Salespeople: Research

There are three core aspects to using LinkedIn for sales: search, research and outreach. Most salespeople figure out pretty quickly that you can use LinkedIn to find and identify possible prospects and that you can use LinkedIn to reach out to them.

But for most people research is misunderstood. They think it means a quick look at someone’s LinkedIn profile to find an opening hook, something like, “we went to the same school”, or “I see you have been an astronaut too.”

I preach the benefits of more in depth research for two reasons:

To help judge whether LinkedIn the best method for outreach to this person

By having a look at someone’s connections, quality of their LinkedIn profile and activity on LinkedIn, you can infer whether they use LinkedIn often. Someone who uses LinkedIn more often and “gets” using LinkedIn will be more likely to read your outreach message. And that is all we want: an honest shot at someone reading our message.

If I find someone interesting who obviously doesn’t use LinkedIn that much or place that much emphasis on it, then I would much rather try and reach out through another method – introduction, email referral, cold call, carrier pigeon, anything.

To help hyper-personalize my message 

By looking more deeply at their profile, you can gain insights into what someone is working on or has worked on, and in particular what accomplishments they are proud of. This will help you really personalize your message.

Where do we look for these clues? Everywhere. The About section, and the Experience sections are obvious places to look but by no means the only places. Endorsements will tell you what knowledge and skills they want to emphasize. Recommendations can be a gold mine. Even which Groups they belong to can give you ideas to work with.

But I don’t recommend just looking at the one person. By researching the people at the company and their company page, you can get important insights into tenures, personnel changes, new people, and even hiring.

If we do this research well and incorporate it into or outreach messages, the recipient can see that we have not just sent them some cookie cutter crap with their name swapped in at the top. They can see we have really put some effort into finding out more about themselves and their company, and that we really are different from everyone else out there.

Is this time consuming? Yes, but not as much as you think it would be. And with a much higher success rate, it is absolutely worth it.

And if we really want this person to become a customer of ours, someone we want to have an ongoing successful business relationship with, why wouldn’t we invest the time to show them some respect up front?

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.