News Column

LinkedIn is Great for Smart Business

May 31, 2013

I am not a LinkedIn expert, but I do have more than 15,000 LinkedIn connections. Do you?

About 98 percent of my LinkedIn connections are the result of people wanting to connect with me.

I do not accept everyone. I click on everyone's profile before connection. Many are impressive. Most are average or less. Some are pathetic.

How's yours? How many connections do you have? How are you communicating with your connections? How are your connections helping your sales or your career?

Your LinkedIn profile is one more social media image. And you choose exactly what it is. When others search for you on Google, LinkedIn is one of the first links they click on. You have a chance to make a positive business and social impression.

When I realized the business significance of LinkedIn, I immediately sought professional help. I hired someone to help me with the keywords, layout, and what to include on my profile page. He also recommended what and how to post.

It must be working. I have added more than 9,000 organic connections. Or should I say, more than 9,000 potential customers. Huge opportunity. At an acquisition cost of zero.

I receive requests to link and I also get messages. Some are very nice, some are self-serving, some are insincere and some are stupid. And all messages are a reflection of the person sending them.

Here are some things about LinkedIn to make you think, rethink, and act:

* Your picture is not an option. Show a professional, but approachable, image.

* Have a LinkedIn profile that gives me insight, not just history. Not just what you've done, but also who you are. Your profile is your pathway to connection.

* If you're looking for a job, or working a lead, tell me why I should connect.

* If you're looking for leads, use the keyword feature (rather than the job title option) in the "advanced search" link to the right of the search box. It's free, and you'll find hundreds of people in your industry or in your backyard that you never knew existed.

* Why are sending me an e-card on Easter? I'm Jewish, not a good move. Three words to ask yourself with any message you send or post: Where's the value? E-cards are a total waste, unless it's family.

* Asking for a recommendation or endorsement is bad. If you're asking your connections for a recommendation: don't. It is perhaps the dumbest, rudest thing on LinkedIn. Think about it, you're asking people to "please stop what you're doing and tell me about me." Two words: go away.

* Don't tell me you "found something interesting" in your group message, especially if the link is to join your MLM down-line or attend your "free" webinar.

* Allocate 30-60 minutes a day to utilize this vital business social media asset.

Here are some examples of messages and invites I have received on LinkedIn. Hopefully they'll make you think, rethink, and act ...

Bad: Hi Jeffrey, My name is ---- with ----, a leading ---- provider that helps organizations connect with their customers through email, mobile, and social networks. I would like to connect about a potential partnership to help Buy Gitomer Inc. increase their interactive marketing ROI.

This is a typical self-serving (and deleted) message. Why not give me a tip, and ask if I'd like more like it? And stop using dead sales words like "ROI," and "helps organizations." Help me, don't sell me.

LinkedIn is the business social media site of today and tomorrow. Harness its power, do not abuse its options, and you will reap its rewards.

* Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of several books. His website is www.gitomer.com.


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