We all make mistakes when we start doing something new. If you learn from them and don’t repeat the process then a mistake actually turns into a huge opportunity.
LinkedIn is your gateway to growing your business. Once you nail it, you will reap the rewards. You will also find that, over time you will actually start serving your customers better and providing a better experience for them. Why? Because you will learn exactly what they really want. Your customers and prospects like talking about their challenges and frustrations. They look for solutions and recommendations on how to solve their problems and LinkedIn is a great place to get answers. You just need to know how to be there when they ask and be in a position to respond in a way that gets you noticed and sets you apart from others.
This is the number one mistake people make and it’s so easy to fix. Your LinkedIn profile should be your online billboard – It is a place where you can tell your audience how you can help them and the benefits they will receive if they work with you or buy your products.
Make sure your profile photograph looks like you. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to recognise you when searching for you or even when meeting you in person for the first time.
Second to your profile photograph, this is the next thing someone will see – don’t make it generic – let everyone know who you serve and how you help them. You have one sentence to summarise what you do and tempt people to head to your profile to read more. Don’t waste this opportunity.
Some LinkedIn experts will tell you that this is the way you should grow your audience and a great way to get your content in front of more people and generate more leads. I’m here to tell you not to listen to them. Your LinkedIn network should only contain people that you want to communicate with – your target market, influencers, advocates and fans. That is… if you want to use LinkedIn to grow your business.
The harsh reality is that no one really cares about you – they just care about what you can do for them. When you write a post make sure you put it through the ‘What’s in it for me’ test and imagine yourself as your customer.
If you have something bad to say about someone or a frustration to vent – talk directly to the person that has frustrated you – don’t use LinkedIn as a forum to criticise someone or openly humiliate them.
LinkedIn is a networking tool and a place for you to build relationships and gain trust. If you meet someone for the first time is the first thing you say to them ‘please buy from me – I’m amazing’ – I’m guessing not – try to find out more about your new connection and build the relationship first.
Networking is all about giving and taking. Don’t be afraid to comment and tag someone you know when someone posts about looking for a recommendation. Share your advice and expertise and always add value to others.
If someone connects with you or you with them – send them a message and start your relationship. Learn more about your new connection – don’t just add them to your network and the number of connections you have. Connecting with someone is the start of your LinkedIn relationship – even if you know this person before or not.
As with all social networks, LinkedIn is a place where you can spend a lot of time and get no results. Use your time wisely and with your end goal in mind. Every action you take should contribute to this goal in some way.
Charlie Whyman is a Business Development Strategist and Marketing Trainer with a passion for technical innovation and business. Charlie specialises in LinkedIn training for SMEs, via workshops, coaching, training and digital support so businesses can excel in social selling.@charlie_whyman