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Start Your Linkedin Strategy the Right Way
Meeting the right people is critical to success in any endeavour and in our era, connecting is done online via Linkedin. Linkedin has a vast group of link minded professionals, who you may do business with at some point.
The quality of connections via Linkedin is very good. They’re generally well educated, have careers in relevant fields, and have the money to spend. I’m connected with at least 7200 business people including thousands of realtors, many of whom would excel if they hired me. By connecting with me, they’re getting a better chance to power up their real estate careers using a dedicated real estate marketer.
While you’re surfing around looking for great people to connect to, you should begin improving your value offer. The purpose of connecting via Linkedin is to establish your value to them, and also to expand each other’s network and exchange ideas and services.
Create a Good Value Proposition First
If you want to know more about unique value propositions, you can do that. Consider your product/service, it’s benefits and features, and how your offering is different from your competitors. Not that you have obsess with the competition, just to know how you can deliver better value to customers or clients.
Relevance is the key to everything and content strategy is how you make yourself relevant online — where you match your UVP to their need. And when you’re perfectly relevant to a new client or investor, your career could take off.
3 Part Launch Sequence
There are 2 keys to really doing well on Linkedin. The first is researching, via Google or Linkedin, and finding your ideal targeted prospect. The second is making contact and presenting your significant, personalized, unique value proposition. Then you follow up with introductions to what you do and how they will enjoy investigating you.
Nothing aggressive at this point. You need to establish yourself as credible, relevant and likable. That means starting a conversation. Find out as much as you can about them, what your shared experiences are, and what their needs might be. That’s a good starting point. Know where you want to take the new relationship.
Welcome to my Content
When you make contact, you’ll want to present a body of valuable, persuasive, and emotionally moving content (content strategy) and let them explore. Your Linkedin profile may whet their appetite, yet your real success generator is what they see when they Google you, visit your blog, see your published works, and read your ideas. Style, passion, intelligence, determination, experience, sense of humour, and other great personality traits will tell them whether you’re right for them.
Most CEOs, marketing managers, and investors are busy. You have 3 seconds to get the ball rolling or they may ignore you forever. That’s what makes new business development and sales so tough. You must have everything created and ready to go almost as though it’s a movie choreographed to entertain and inform them. A strategic approach actually is the best approach.
For this to work, you must have your personal and business goals aligned and in focus. This is important. Your preferred contact will be annoyed by vagueness, conflicts, or empty promises. If you achieve crystal clarity first, you’re bound to be more effective. I’m assuming you have your business idea or offer crystalized and your content strategy ready to convey that with laser-like consistency.
Who does Linkedin really well? I think Jeff Hayden with his helpful posts and 570k followers does well, Dave Kerpin does okay, and Richard Branson with his feel good philanthropy (gets him 5.7 million followers) understand Linkedin.
Smart realtors will have a nicely written profile that sets out specifically the value they produce. Pulse blog posts, comment on others posts, listed projects, and an active Twitter account tells you they are right into networking effectively.
Since most experts prefer to talk about your Linkedin profile, let’s get that out of the way.
1. Get a good headshot photo — have it taken at a big event where you’re having fun or with an interesting background.
2. Job Title: Your Ideal Work Title or the key service/value you provide.
3. Profile Summary: A 4 line paragraph that succinctly states the value you deliver to employers/clients
4. Current Position: 4 line sentence summarizing the key things you have accomplished in that position with bullet points that make it easy for viewers to scan. A Call to action — give them a url to click through to. Letting them read your old jobs that you left, isn’t good for you or them.
5. Endorsement: Get endorsements and recommendations from your past employers and clients.
After they read your profile, they’ll go back to your skills and the industries you worked in.
What’s Your Mission? You’ve got 5 seconds to Tell Me
It’s wise to have a mission statement, and a unique value proposition statement in your profile summary, but if not, you should still have it stuck in your mind as you write your profile. Having it written out makes it more real and clear. So do that.
You don’t have tell everybody what your UVP and mission statement are. That’s personal, but really you should strive to have authentic relationships where the people in your life want to know you and appreciate you. Eliminate your self-imposed limitations and get on with creating useful connections.
Example Mission Statement:
My Mission Statement: To increase my opportunity, income, and personal freedom by creating a compelling, convincing digital content strategy for my continually growing set of quality clients.
My Unique Value Proposition: I generate amazing digital content/SEO/Social media results that accelerate my client’s lead generation, conversions and revenue.
What is the Specific Value you are Going to Share!
After clarifying and establishing your business goals, branding or UVP, and finishing up your business development strategy, you’re ready to begin networking.
Networking is connecting with a purpose such as creating and sharing value with others.
Using Linkedin search functions, you should look for compatible people who can help you move your career or business forward. That would include partners, experts, thought-leaders, advisors, service suppliers, and venture capitalists.
Online networking is important. Combine Linkedin with Twitter, for an amazing biz connection force that establishes you as relevant, knowledgeable, and valuable to other professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs. More people will want to talk to you.
While the expensive premium account lets you contact prospects directly, you still have to find them. Linkedin has advanced search features that can help you drill down to a group of key people. Relax, it takes time. And then you need to determine how to approach them, how to make contact and what to say. The battle’s not over yet.
Publishing with Linkedin
You can publish on your Linkedin account now, which may generate substantial professional credibility and wide visibility. Put out A+ material such as blog posts, whitepapers, news updates, videos and news. Include links to your blog and twitter page.
Epic material: If your published posts take you less than 6 hours to write and edit, don’t publish them. They’re not ready. Let your posts simmer for a couple days, and go back and edit. You should spend at least 30% of your time re-editing. And your material is never finished. Continually revisit your posts and improve them.
You can join groups, however there’s a lot of time wasting “groupies” in there that taint the experience. And moderators who may keep you out.
Launching discussions: Rather than divulging your startup idea, write topics that subtly hint at the market demand. Ask others about market trends locally. Good material includes research, influencer opinions, and vital insights into your target industry. Once they take your bait, you can begin your engagement process.
In my own positioning online, I target those between 25 and 40. They’ll like my travel, sports and music interests. They’re optimistic, enthusiastic, and ambitious. They want a better life. These are intelligent, dynamic, progressive and confident people who get the whole self-improvement, entrepreneurial, marketing thing. They’re looking for partners, or business opportunities with legs, or maybe to be involved in something really cool.
That doesn’t mean my real contacts won’t be those between 45 and 75 because they are the ones with the cash. Rich people like to make money, build successes and feel good about contributing. Find out how they spend their time and that will tell you what they want out of life and business.
There’s only so much you can do on Linkedin. It’s best to take them over to your personal blog where your unique branding and messaging can entertain them and keep them engaged long enough to build desire. At this point, build desire. You don’t want them to contact you too soon. Build the excitement and get their imagination lit up. Your goal is to get them psychologically invested in you and motivated for a long term relationship. First impressions are powerful, so make it good — make an impact.
Yes, they’re buying into your business idea, but your idea is YOU — Jeb Blount says: People Buy You.
Send them to Your Custom Designed Blog
Keeping a blog is very important. Start yours up and then hire a professonal blog designer when you’ve got the cash to do it. Your professional brand image has to be good. It’s vital in presenting yourself as unique, fascinating, memorable, separate from the crowd, and capable. I can tell you it is hard work and time consuming, but if you believe in your mission then it’s worth the sacrifice. You’re getting some more for something less, so in a sense, you’re not sacrificing.
The real work of persuasion and interest-building is done on your blog. As you get better at it, you’ll be saying less and demonstrating more. Intimidating at first, but you’ll improve.
Who Should you Target?
Create a clear picture of the professionals you want to connect with. Read the profiles of those that seem to fit. Understand why you think they’re relevant. Then you can design your linkedin profile to match what they find intersting and what they’re likely seeking. Influential people have needs and they are constantly on the lookout for professionals to connect with.
After you’ve built an emotional/professional connection, then you can take them deeper into your unique value proposition. Don’t present it too early because they may not understand.
When You’re Ready for Serious Networking on Linkedin:
- Have a profile of the people you want to meet personally and professionally
- Have a specific purpose for connecting
- Create value to share with others before connecting
- Only share your “A” material
- Don’t waste others time
- Segment your connections into meaningful groups
- Target your material for these different groups
- Have a blog or relevant business website to send them to
- Don’t ask to connect until you’ve discussed something relevant with them first
- Ask for referals to others who might help you
This article on the Salesforce site is an excellent read on how to prospect: