I’m about to teach a revamped version of my popular course about LinkedIn.
For those thinking “I’ve used LinkedIn but it hasn’t worked for me”, this article is for you.
You probably have a LinkedIn account. So do most of the people you know who’ve had a professional life in the past 2 decades.
Since there are 700 million accounts on LinkedIn, making it the largest, searchable professional networking platform, why isn’t it working for you professionally?
There are only 2 reasons:
- You’re not really using it.
- You’re using it, but ineffectively.
Let’s discuss both…
You’re not really using it
Maybe you created an account years ago and filled out your profile.
Did you think that random new ideal clients are going to eagerly contact you, just because you have a profile with your work history?
When was the last time you used LinkedIn’s search engine, looking to connect with new people that you don’t already know? Exactly. Almost nobody does this, unless they’re a corporate recruiter or in corporate sales.
Release the fantasy that, just by optimizing your profile, you’ll get found by cold audience members who will contact you about your services.
Instead, see your profile as a reminder to the people you already know — a reminder to them about the work you do and what makes you credible to do it.
Optimize your profile for your warm audience… not as a sales pitch to strangers.
Use LinkedIn as a tool for keeping in touch with the professional contacts that matter to you.
Occasionally, you might ask them to connect you with someone they know, that has mutual benefit with you professionally. Or they might ask you.
Most of the time, however, the opportunities come to us from people who already know, like, and trust us — and see our content or updates on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn hasn’t gotten you any clients…
Did you try applying some tips about using LinkedIn, and even after years, it still hasn’t helped your business?
Popular advice basically says the following — and I’ll put my brief thoughts in parentheses:
- Connect to as many people as possible, anyone who looks remotely interesting, because they may be useful to you someday. (I’ve tried this for 10 years. So have many others I know. It hasn’t worked. Again, it’s the fantasy that somehow, more 1st-degree connections will get you more opportunities when the reality is that it gets you more spam! It also makes LinkedIn less interesting for you because everytime you log in, you’re looking at posts from people you don’t really know, and who probably wouldn’t respond to your messages anyway.)
- Post content consistently on LinkedIn and hope for the best. (I’ve also tried this, and it doesn’t work when you don’t have a highly curated network of 1st degree connections who actually care about your content. Also, you probably haven’t shared your LinkedIn articles outside of LinkedIn — you should, because it helps!)
- Contribute to LinkedIn groups. (Have you actually looked at the posts from any LinkedIn groups you’re in? Notice that almost nobody comments on those. People are just posting content to the groups, hoping to be seen. If, however, you’re commenting on interesting posts from people you actually want to connect with, that may work… but for the sake of time management, I’d still deprioritize this strategy of engaging in LinkedIn groups.)
- Comment on other people’s posts. (Not bad advice, but I would suggest that you comment sparingly, but thoughtfully, and only on the people that you genuinely care about and have mutual professional opportunities with.)
- Privately message people, usually using a template, to try to get them interested in your services. (You probably have a bunch of these in your own LinkedIn inbox, from yet another “Client attraction expert” trying to get you to sign up for their services. How does it feel to be contacted that way? Exactly.)
This is getting a bit long for an introductory overview, so I’ll end by saying this:
If you use LinkedIn the kind of way that you care about your friends, then you’ll find that LinkedIn works wonders to grow your business.
I wish everyone would update their LinkedIn profile, and curate their network thoughtfully. This way, we can all have more opportunities for each other.
As mentioned, I’ll be thoroughly teaching my recommended strategies in my upcoming online course about LinkedIn. If this article has been interesting to you, I hope you’ll join us for the course!