Social media is the elephant in the room – it’s obvious to all, obnoxious to some and extremely unpredictable. Napster, WordPress, Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube…. What are these things, when do I use them, how do I use them and what the heck’s in it for me?
You won’t like the easy and simple answer: it depends. Which is why, in today’s business world, it’s becoming more and more common for businesses to hire someone just to do their social media marketing. I do marketing and I would love to help your business, but that’s not the purpose of this post. I want to share some successful actions I’ve had using LinkedIn, as this one social site brings me 90% of my business.
LinkedIn, like most of these others, is pretty easy to use – Though, for the life of me I can’t figure out how to use Instagram. I’m sure I’m missing something so simple I’ll regret this comment. A topic for another day…
When you have a little information about what sites are good for what, and you learn a little bit about how a site works, and when you work it – then, and only then can you get the results you want. I’ll repeat the key part of that sentence “when you work it”. I see even the most successful and prosperous businesses set up their profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ but then don’t post anything or get any connections! It’s such a bummer to me to see this very valuable tool being ignored.
LinkedIn is a magical well of gold for B2B companies. Here’s how I work it, and how I’ve gotten it to work for me.
- Get to 500 connections ASAP!
I cannot stress this enough. When I started my current profile, my goal was 500 connections and I got there in a week. The first couple days are the hardest because you don’t know anyone and you need connections to get connections. Don’t worry about that. First, you connect with your current contacts. Then, reach out to people you have one common connection with. When you get a few dozen connections, increase that to people you have ten common connections with, then 50, then 100. You get the idea. Before you know it, you’ll be at 500+. This is important, because it shows that you are serious about utilizing social media to do business. You’re hip, you’re cool, and people like hip, cool people.
There is the old (kinda dumb) thing about “check out someone first” and only connect with people you know. If you never branch out to know more people and businesses, you might as well still be at home in your garage pawning your business off on your friends and family, making them sick of you. C’mon.
Connect with anyone – unless they truly look like an ax murderer or their profile page reeks of “I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t care”. The super great thing about social media is that you can disconnect, un-follow or un-friend any time your little heart desires. Use it with abandon!
- Endorse, Endorse, and Endorse!
When you endorse a connection, you are saying, “Hi! I approve of what you are doing and I’m a nice person who’s also working hard and let’s support each other.” It’s a friendly interaction where you are providing something nice for no reason – and your name is all over it.
As soon as I connect with someone (they accept my invite or I accept theirs), I go right to their profile and endorse them for all the five things suggested. Very likely, they will then turn around and endorse you but even if they don’t, who cares? It’s a numbers game, and when you work it, you’ll have so many that do endorse you that you will look like the Popularity Contest Winner.
Then, each time you go back to their profile to send them a message or interact with them in any way, endorse them again! It’s like a quick shoulder massage or a back scratch – “Sure, I’ll take it!” Win-Win.
- Send a “Happy to be Connected Email” – IMMEDIATELY!
“Hi! Just wanted to send you a message saying how happy I am to be connected with you… Isn’t social media and LinkedIn a fantastic way to support and help each other?… Tell me what you do and how I can support you… Here’s what my business does so pass it on if you know of anyone that could use my services. Thanks!!” Easy, and quick. We all know that people like nothing better than talking about themselves, so invite them to talk away! Then acknowledge how cool it is that they are doing that. Make the focus about them, not you selling your business. You are just making friends, remember? Selling will come later, when you get the call…. “So-and-so recommended me to you because they said you have a great attitude and are always friendly and helpful.” These are the kind of new clients you want anyway, yes?
- Create a database of your connections.
I created a simple Excel spreadsheet where I keep relevant information about my connections: what industry do they work in, what’s their job title, when did I last interact with them. The biggest way this works for me is that I can filter what message I’m sending to whom.
We all know that the more you are “out there” – making phone calls, sending emails, having meetings, connecting to others – the more you will get back. It’s a law of this universe and I’m sure you can think of a time you have witnessed this in action. The more you put OUT, the more you get BACK. This being said, there are going to be times when you need to get creative with your messaging because remember that sometimes you need to reach out to somebody 12 times (or more!) before they communicate back. Persistence is good – but please do remember that filling your connections inbox with messages day-in and day-out is only a sure way to decrease your following. Be friendly, keep your content interesting (relevant to what your business provides) and make sure it’s relevant to their business.
For example, if I were a website designer, I’d want to keep in close touch with owners, marketing managers and other IT people since they are the ones who most likely need a website designer. I’d reach out to these guys differently than I’d reach out to my direct competitors. I do want to “keep my enemies close” as they say, but in a friendly way. I can see what they are doing or stay in touch to share ideas.
- Be friendly and supportive of EVERYONE – even the competition.
Competition is what makes the world go round. No competition = bo-ring. Sharpen your intelligence by figuring out how you can float above your competition, and use the actions of others to help your cause. Also, remember that when your competition does well, they give your industry as a whole a good name, and that makes you look better too, by association. No brainer.
Above all, connect, continue to connect, and be friendly. Ask for the business, but only AFTER you ask how you can help their business. People generally and very naturally want to be supported, and they want to provide support. No one likes to get a million hounding emails, and for sure no one likes to be ignored for your own agenda. The natural reaction to these behaviors is “No thanks”.
I wish you the best of luck with your business, and I hope this post will help you get more business from LinkedIn at the very least. I’m happy to support your efforts, just let me know what I can do for you. Please Like and Share this post if you think others could benefit.
Now, about Instagram… Got any tips?