This is a very useful article on how to use LinkedIn
by Craig Wasilchak – 25 October 2019
What’s the point of having a large network on LinkedIn?
Go to any networking event and ask this question if you want to start a debate. The point behind having a large network on LinkedIn is constantly under debate and will always start a debate in a room full of LinkedIn members. That is just the way it is.
Some people will argue that there is no point in having a large network. Other people will swear up and down that it’s the only way that they make any money in their business. Some people just like to get “Likes” and see pictures of cats or keep in touch with their friends.
What people can’t really debate is there are many different ways to use the platform. There are also many different types of people that use LinkedIn. All of these people are playing different roles in the Game of LinkedIn.
What type of player do you want to be?
People love big plays and the superstars that make them. Hitting home runs in baseball or scoring big knockouts in boxing can make you a legend. LinkedIn isn’t much different because it seems everyone wants to be Tony Robbins or Gary Vaynerchuk. I definitely appreciate those superstars. However, I’ve always been able to identify more with a TonyGwynn and Warren Buffett type.
There is something about consistent effort and results without the need to be the center of attention that I admire. Some people have the natural ability to be great at what they do. Most of us need to do a ton of work to improve our skills and results. A person with an average ability at something can often become great through hard work and dedication to their craft.
The thing about Tony Gwynn and Warren Buffett that made them truly great is their drive to succeed. They also had the willingness to do all the necessary work to make it happen. I’m not saying that Mr. Robbins or Mr. Vaynerchuk aren’t hard workers because they most certainly are. They just seem to have an abundance of natural charisma that makes things a little easier.
Most of us will need to really focus on The Long Game Of Selling On LinkedIn while putting in a consistent effort to improve. A daily effort with modest results can add up over time to produce staggering results. There is no big secret to being successful on LinkedIn. There is also no need to swing for the fences to produce amazing results. You just have to consistently put the ball in play, so my goal here is to show you how to do that.
The first thing we need to do is to explain the basics of the game.
Understanding the basics of LinkedIn
How to define your network
On LinkedIn, people in your network are called connections and your network is made up of your 1st-degree, 2nd-degree, and 3rd-degree connections.
1st-degree: People you’re directly connected to because one of you sent an invite that was accepted. You will see the 1st-degree icon next to the name in the search results. That icon will also appear on the top of their profile. You can contact them freely through the LinkedIn messaging. You can also trade endorsements or recommendations.
Only recommend the people that you know well and feel good about referring to other people. Endorsements are given a little more loosely by a majority of users so don’t be as strict with those.
2nd-degree: These people are 1st-degree connections to your 1st-degree connections, but not directly connected to you. You will see the 2nd-degree icon next to the name in the search results. That icon will also appear on the top of their profile. You are able to send them an invitation by clicking the connect button on their profile. You can also contact them through an InMail or introduction.
3rd-degree: People who are connected to your 2nd-degree connections. You’ll see a 3rd-degree icon next to their name in search results and on their profile. If you see their full name then you will also be able to send them an invitation by clicking connect. If you only see the first letter of their last name clicking connect is not an option. You can contact them through an InMail or introduction.
Out of Network: This is the largest part of LinkedIn for most of us because these are members who fall outside of the categories listed above. You can contact them through an InMail.
Why you should join groups
Fellow group members: These people are also considered to be part of your network because you’re members of the same group. You’ll see a group logo or generic icon next to their name in search results and on their profile. You can also contact them by sending a message on LinkedIn or using your group’s discussion feature.
Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to join groups your business avatars are in. It also makes sense to join larger groups that will enable you to freely contact more people. However, it is important that you follow the rules of the group and common-sense views on etiquette (i.e. don’t SPAM or bug people that you don’t know). There are many tactful ways to introduce yourself through messaging other group members.
Don’t be shy about joining and engaging in groups. Join groups that are relevant to your interests, business, and goals. I also suggest joining groups like #SPN and #ProjectHelpYouGrow due to their win-win networking philosophy. There are large digital marketing groups with over 500k or even over 1 million members in them that you should join too. Join large groups that focus on location like Linked N Chicago and Blue: The DallasBlue Business Network (25,000+ members) to expand in those areas.
Identify Centers of Influence (COI)
Your COI is most likely going to be a smaller group of people. Some people call them “Your Inner Circle” or “Fans.” These are people you know, like, and trust. They also know, like, and trust you. These people are active LinkedIn users that will engage in your content and support your efforts more than most people. If you’re smart you will return the favor to create a strong win-win relationship.
Your COI is also more likely to introduce you to people in their network or recommend you to potential clients. The bigger your COI the easier it will be to be successful on LinkedIn even if your goal is to simply see more cats or memes. I tend to connect best with people in similar industries or locations. However, some of my best connections are also on the other side of the world in completely different industries. Therefore, it helps to keep an open mind when making connections. You never know who will support your efforts the most until you give them an opportunity.
If your goal is to make sales or grow your brand than you need to expand your network with quality connections. Numbers are great, but 10,000 people that are here for photos of cats are not going to be very helpful unless you sell cat food perhaps.
Identify 2nd-degree connections that are active and likely to add value to your network. Notice the number of mutual connections and recent activity. Look at the endorsements and recommendations. You can also use filters including location, industry, company, and school to name a few. I suggest looking for people with a fair amount of connections.
Should I send personalized invites to connect?
Send a personalized invite when you really want to make a good impression or provide a reason to connect. Some people take not sending a personalized connection as an opportunity to mark you as IDK or SPAM. That is why groups like #SPN and #ProjectHelpYouGrow or even the LION groups can help a lot, especially for beginners. Those groups have a policy of not marking people as IDK or SPAM so it’s generally safer to send invites to their members. If you see SPN or LION in someone’s name they’re telling you it’s safe to send them an invite. That doesn’t mean you should avoid sending those users a personalized invite. It simply means that they won’t do anything to harm you for sending them an invite to connect.
How can potential clients or employers find me?
The LinkedIn search engines will show your profile more depending on the size of your network and the structure of your profile. Your network size, endorsements, summary, and title all come into play here.
It does help to have a large network. However, a large network won’t do you a lot of good if you don’t create a strong profile. Your skills, summary, and title all should have some focus on relevant keywords or topics your target audience searches. If you don’t have the right keywords in your skills, summary, and title then you will miss out on opportunities.
The search engines also pull profiles with the most endorsements first. So two salespeople with similar titles and summaries will show up in the same search results, but the person with more relevant skill endorsements will show up first. This is why so many people are willing to trade endorsements with new connections. Some people will tell you that you shouldn’t do that, but the reality is that line of thought will make your job harder. Skill endorsements are vital to getting results from the search engines.
Recommendations don’t come into play as much on the search engines, but they do carry more weight with people. Only give recommendations to people you know well or have done business with. There have been many people that were quick to leave recommendations for the wrong people and had a reason to regret it.
Should I encourage my organization or employees to have a strong presence on LinkedIn?
Absolutely! You can prevent your employees from spending company time on LinkedIn. You can’t stop them from building their LinkedIn on their own time. Encourage your team to have a strong presence and work together to help accomplish both company and individual goals. The more you support your employees and help them grow the less likely they are to leave or provide bad feedback when they do.
There are many companies and business owners that have angered employees by discouraging them to use LinkedIn. A lot of them have found out how bad online reviews from ex-employees can make it harder to recruit new employees. Disgruntled employees can do a lot of damage to any business in today’s world. On the flip side of the coin, employees leave companies all the time no matter how well you treat them.
However, employees that take a role somewhere else aren’t likely to leave you bad reviews or hurt your business if you treat them well. The happier your employees are the better the chances that they help your business, whether they stay or go. Give your employees all the support and encouragement they need to thrive. You may be surprised by what happens.
Social media marketing can be the best way to take your business to the next level. A group of people working together can accomplish anything. Encourage your employees to focus on their jobs, but give them a reason to support your LinkedIn marketing efforts too!
Successful LinkedIn networking and marketing can grow any business and take them to the next level. LinkedIn can either build or destroy a company’s reputation so do what you can to encourage growth.
How and what should we post?
Here is another topic that will cause a lot of debate among all the “expert” marketers on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is becoming more of a typical social media site every day. However, it’s also important to keep your goals in mind when posting. Avoid religion, politics, sex, and other controversial topics that don’t help your business or professional image.
You also want to avoid negativity in engagement. The general rule of thumb is to ignore and scroll by things that are negative or may personally upset you. Keep it professional and focus on your goals at all times if you’re trying to grow your brand. You don’t have to share every thought, position, or opinion that comes to mind. The ability to scroll on by is one more people should use.
These are the type of people most LinkedIn members want in their network:
- Those that add value
If you and your team do a good job of displaying those characteristics expect rapid growth and results to happen. Show people a good profile and quality engagement and you won’t have a hard time with lead generation or making connections.
Nothing will turn off potential clients or 2nd-degree connections quicker than a negative person that always seems to be fighting with someone.
Please feel free to ask questions or add comments about anything that I may have missed down below.
I also encourage you to check out my 14-step Crushing B2B Digital Marketing Strategy System to learn more about how to sell on LinkedIn It’s a FREE system for anyone to use and I encourage people to contact me at any time to learn more about how I and the Crushing B2B team can help.
Craig Wasilchak is the founder and CEO of Crushing B2B Digital Strategies and a lead contributor to the Service Professionals Network. Crushing B2B Digital Strategies is a Dallas-Fort Worth area-based company that teaches business executives how to improve their ROI from social media and search engine marketing. Craig has built and sold multi-million dollar businesses over the last 25 years. Now, with Crushing B2B Digital Strategies, his goal is to teach other entrepreneurs how to grow and run profitable businesses through professional networking and practical digital marketing strategies. If you wish to connect, here on LinkedIn send an invite. I welcome all
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