Tuesday February 5, 2013
How to effectively engage with your network on LinkedIn. What to do (and what NOT to do) when getting people to “Know, Like and Trust” you.
Types of Engagement:
- Profile Copy
- Profile Updates
- Company Page Updates
- Targeted Company Page Updates
- Group Discussions
- Endorsed Skills
- Connection Messaging
- Group member Messaging
Profile and Page Copy
You engage with your audience with the copy on your LinkedIn Profile and Company Page. From your Professional Headline to your Interests, and everything in between, you are engaging your audience (or not).
Updates allow you to share your news and the news of others. Use them to share interesting, intriguing or useful information. When it comes to self-promotion, use the 80/20 rule. 20% valuable content, 20% promotional content.
Company Page Updates
You Company Page also has an Update feature. Follow the guidelines above. The benefit of the Company Page update is that you get to see update statistics like: impressions, click and engagement. You can see if your audience likes you, and adjust your messaging according to what they respond to.
Targeted Company Page Updates
You can also target your updates to a specific audience. This allows you to craft your message directly to your audience and that means a higher likelihood that they will read your update and click through to any links you may post. You have to have at least 100 followers in any given category in order to target a message.
Group Discussions are a great way to engage with an audience of like-minded others. In the world of “Know, Like and Trust”, groups help us easily achieve the first part of the equation.
Community Engagement is a great way to get people to know about you and begin to like you. The trust and buying really comes when you begin to engage one-on-one with your community.
Connecting on LinkedIn is usually the first step people take when engaging with a specific person in their network. LinkedIn strongly suggests that you only invite people you know to connect (and only accept invitations from people you know) but I personally feel that you should strategically expand your connections to people you don’t know, but might want to know now and in the future.
I like a great introduction if I can find someone I know, like and trust; whom I know uses LinkedIn regularly, to introduce me. With the new Connections Search feature, this makes finding the right person to introduce me to a prospect even easier!
It’s easy to position yourself in front of a connection (in their notifications, on their profile and in a letter from LinkedIn) by simply endorsing their skills on LinkedIn. When you endorse someone, your picture shows up next to his or her skill, and your connection, simply by scrolling over your photo, can send you a message or view your profile.
Recommendations are a great way to do something nice for a connection, and engage with them in the process. Click on the down arrow next to the blue “Send a Message” link and then click on the “Recommend” link. Then you have only to choose how you know your connection, why you want to recommend them and write your recommendation.
The easiest way to engage with your network is through a message. To do this, just click on Contacts, then connections, then send message or you can go to you Inbox and click on “Compose Message”.
Your Contacts will be divided by Tags you and LinkedIn have created, by Location, Industry, Company and even Recent Activity. A nifty trick is to reach out to your new contacts (up to 50 at a time) with a “Thank you for connecting” message.
I always call InMails LinkedIn’s Fed Ex. You have to pay for them (or you have to have a paid account to get them.) However, InMails are the easiest way to reach out to someone in your network that you are not directly connected to. If you have a message that absolutely, positively must get to a LinkedIn Member, then it’s probably worth the investment.
Group Member Messaging
If you don’t want to pay for an InMail, but do want to send someone who is not a contact a message, then you can always do what I call “reverse engineering”. This means finding someone you share a group with and sending them a message, or joining a group so that you can send that person a message through the group.
When you join a group, click on the “Members” tab. This will allow you to search the group for people by name or keyword. Not everyone will have this option turned on, but I have about a 70% success rate.
The one major drawback to all these methods of reaching out to people who are not direct contacts is that it is time consuming. And unless you have one of the more expensive paid accounts on LinkedIn, you can only send one message at a time.
Another drawback is that all direct contact on LinkedIn is text only (although you can add hyperlinks). You can’t add images, formatting, video or any other feature that might more strongly attract a prospect.
I have discovered an amazing tool called eGrabber that lets you harvest emails from LinkedIn, allowing you to create very targeted and specific lists that you can then use in your more traditional email messaging.
You can use the LinkedIn Advanced Search, a Group search or a Google search to find and make a list of prospects to reach out to. I caution the users of LinkedIn to use these amazing tool for good (not spam!)
If you get enough people reporting your messages as spam, you might lose your access not only to your email service, but LinkedIn itself.
However, if you use the 80/20 rule and conservatively reach out to these individuals with useful and valuable content, then you might just end up with a growing LinkedIn and email network of invested contact that know, like and trust you… and we all know what that leads to!
Stay tuned for my FREE webinar with eGrabber on March 25th!
Q1: Do you more actively communicate by direct or community engagement?
Q2: Have you ever received a warm or hot lead through LinkedIn?
Q3: Part One: Have you ever closed business on or through LinkedIn?
Q3: Part Two: How did that lead come to you? Out of the blue? Through a group? As a referral?
Q4: How do you engage with people on LinkedIn?
Q5: What has not worked for you on LinkedIn?
Q6: How do you like to engage on LinkedIn?
Q7: What is one thing you'd like to see LinkedIn do for better engagement?
Q8 What is your best piece of advice for engaging on LinkedIn?
People do business with people they know like and trust!