Social media is supposed to be a way to connect with lots of people and build a network of contacts, but anyone who has spent much time trying realizes it’s not that easy! I’m not going to waste your time with click-by-click instructions on setting up your profile and the basics since you can find that information all over the web. Instead, I’m going to give you some real tips you can use to help make meaningful connections with humans on LinkedIn.
Treat People the Way You Want to be Treated
While this should be common sense, it’s really common on social media to run into people that use pushy tactics that they wouldn’t normally use in day-to-day, face-to-face conversations. They will message you with direct sales pitches without taking the time to introduce themselves and “shake hands.”
Take a minute, really think about how you want to be approached by someone that didn’t know you. People want to do business with people that they know, like, and trust. Focus on building a relationship first, before talking about your products/services benefits.
Share Your Knowledge
A lot of business owners like to keep what they know private. There’s this fear that by sharing information, you allow customers to solve their own problems or give competitors a peek behind the curtain. If you are one of these people, then think about this:
- If someone can do it themselves, and doesn’t need you, then were they really a good fit for your services?
- You are not the only one with that knowledge. Someone else will share if you won’t. Which means the person who could take care of it themselves learned how from a competitor. They had a positive first experience in their first interaction with them. If they need additional services beyond the one you already addressed or know someone that needs help, they will send that business to the one they already know and like.
- Your competitors are not you. Sure – they might offer similar products and services, but they are not you. You are unique and bring things to the table they don’t. Focus on what you really do well, and you will always set yourself apart from them – no matter how hard they try to imitate you.
Leverage LinkedIn Groups
Groups are marketing gold. It’s basically a curated list of people gathered together around a common set of interests, goals, or location. This is the digital equivalent of your face-to-face traditional networking groups you are probably already familiar.
Find groups about your industry or where your ideal client might be hanging out online and join them. But again – keep in mind what we already talked about. Don’t hop in there and fill up the feed with sales pitches. Spend some time getting to know other people in the group. Interact with them by liking and commenting on their posts. If you identify someone that’s local and seems like a good fit, then reach out to see if they are willing to meet for coffee or happy hour, and take the networking offline.
Just in case you do need some help with the basics, you can find information on setting up your profile and navigating around in the LinkedIn Help Center at: https://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/list/search/1/source/home_more
Or you can check out the LinkedIn Learning Webinars by visiting: https://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/530
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