By McMillion Stemann
Six new appointments booked on average each week. $140,000+ in commissions. Prospective clients reaching out to you first. Recruiting the best talent to grow your team and revenue.
These are the possibilities that are waiting for you on LinkedIn.
After training thousands of professionals for nearly a decade on how to leverage LinkedIn as a revenue-generating business tool, it is critical to give those I teach a solid foundation to ensure their future success on the platform. We will dive deeper in upcoming PCT articles, but let’s kick off with the basics so you can unlock the power of LinkedIn for your career and business.
MINDSET MATTERS. First, you must squash the notion that LinkedIn is “just another” social media channel. When the company was acquired by Microsoft in 2016 for $26.2 billion, it was clear the massive technology company was here to stay. In fact, LinkedIn is older than Facebook. The company’s vision is to “create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce” — meaning, they want every working person of the 3.1 billion global population to be represented on their platform.
With a mission of “connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful” in mind, LinkedIn is taking a unique approach to marketing, selling, hiring and recruiting. Do you want more business opportunities, more money or more freedom? Do you want to continue to be known as the best in your field?
If you’re not a LinkedIn “believer,” keep reading and have an open mind; take LinkedIn seriously, if not for you, then for your team. If you have already experienced success through LinkedIn, keep reading because you have a responsibility to share your knowledge with your colleagues and you still have a lot to learn.
INVEST IN YOUR REPUTATION. In a job interview or a potential client meeting, you put your best foot forward; LinkedIn is no different. Your personal profile is foundational to the potential success you can have on LinkedIn. A few best practices include: an approachable and recent headshot of yourself (just you and no selfies), write in first person, and include a way for people to reach you outside of LinkedIn. (Note: Companies should be represented as pages, not personal profiles.)
With nearly two dozen sections, take the time to build out each applicable section of your profile; you are increasing your opportunity to be found when someone is looking for a professional like you or a company like yours. Just like Google loves keywords, LinkedIn does too. Remember, there is no draft version of your profile, no spellcheck and no formatting. Use a Word document to catch potential misspellings and grammatical errors.
Your LinkedIn profile is your digital footprint — make sure it reflects your outstanding offline reputation.
21ST CENTURY ROLODEX. You might remember when your desktop Rolodex collected dust. Gone are the days when a business card became outdated the moment it landed in your hand — new phone number, new job title, new employer. Today, that important information is immediately updated by professionals on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the 21st century Rolodex.
Your LinkedIn network should be full of connections that you know professionally, like clients, prospects, vendors, current coworkers and past colleagues. You also can connect with friends, family and alumni.
It is acceptable to connect with people you do not know, yet. However, the intention should be that you want to know them and will use the invitation and new connection as a way to start a conversation. The idea is that you are bringing your offline relationships online by connecting with them on LinkedIn and then taking them offline periodically to have real conversations via phone, Zoom, in person, etc.
Here is a quick rundown of how the LinkedIn network is structured:
- 1st degree: People who you are immediately connected with.
- 2nd degree: People who are connected to your 1st degree connections.
- 3rd degree: People who are connected to your 2nd degree connections.
- Out of network: People who fall outside of the above categories.
To get greater visibility into your extended network (second and third degree), a healthy first-degree connection number to aim for is above 500. However, LinkedIn says it is not just a numbers game (i.e., the goal is not to have 30,000 connections). Who is in your network is more important than how many first-degree connections you accumulate. The more authentically you know the people you are connected with, the more valuable of a resource you can be to them (i.e., introducing them to other people you know, sharing relevant content they would be interested in, etc.).
SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE. As your professional experience evolves, you will periodically update your profile and consistently grow your network. Additionally, sharing your knowledge is essential to guaranteeing you do not get left out on LinkedIn.
Do you blog about your expertise? Do you read articles that could help others? Share this information on LinkedIn by posting articles and publishing your own authored content on LinkedIn. You will be seen as a valuable resource and someone who provides important insight.
TAKE ACTION. First, fix your mindset to believe in the potential you have waiting for you on LinkedIn. Then, invest in building out your profile so that it reflects your full story. Once you lay the foundation with a complete profile, intentionally build your network with connections so you can stay in touch and top of mind with those you care about most. As you build your network, be a valuable resource and subject matter expert by sharing professional and informative content.
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