LinkedIn has been around a long time, in social media years, but has only recently come in on most business’s radar as a tool for networking. Even so, I too often hear “yeah, I’m on LinkedIn, but no one contacts me. It’s just sitting there.” This is music to my ears, of course (ka-ching!), but I would be remiss if I didn’t share how easy it is to leverage the tools presented to you each time you log in. Here are five steps to developing business using my favorite feature, LinkedIn Groups.
Step 1: Find Groups. There are literally thousands of groups to choose from on LinkedIn. Be they industry based, comprised of your target market, or related to your favorite pastime, enter your keywords in the search box using the Groups filter and start investigating.
Step 2: Join Groups. Well, yes, it’s just the click of a button (and with some groups a waiting period for approval), but be sure to join groups that have a lot of members, think 1,000 or more. Also look at recent discussions to determine whether the group is active.
Step 3: Listen. Keep your group notifications settings at weekly or more frequently if you can handle it. When new discussions are posted, you’ll be notified by email. See what people are talking about and how they’re talking. Who’s talking? Are they people you’d like to reach out to?
Step 4: Engage. Find opportunities to add your two cents to group discussions. This is an opportunity to show off your expertise (humbly, of course), and it gets your name out there. Each time you comment, a link to your profile is available for others to click, so be sure to have that completed to 100%.
Step 5: Connect. Once you have a group in common with a potential connection, the connection process is much smoother. First, because LinkedIn gives you a check-off box for groups you have in common when you fill out the connections request form, and, second, because it gives you a starting point for conversation. Note: Always make your message to the potential connection personal and phrase your request in the form of a question.
Feel free to contact me for assistance or with further questions. My door is always open!
For weeks now, Billy Joel’s, “Don’t Go Changin,” has been playing in my head. It sure is irksome, but it’s a constant reminder of the theme of change that has come up repeatedly in my day-to-day meetups.
It is a romantic notion, as Billy meant it to be, but when it applies to business, we better think twice about not changing to please the object of our affection: the customer.
Many businesses still don’t grasp the concept of change, sticking with the “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” philosophy. I’ve met with several prospects who thrive on the printed word, an isolated web page, or door-to-door sales, and cannot see why they need to get in on the social media conversation. Without thinking forward to their future customers, who are doing most of their decision making on line within social platforms, they are destined for extinction.
The concept of change has come up with friends and associates as well. Some have become agents of change to seek new career opportunities, build a client base, or even to improve their social life. How? By embracing the social networks that have been introduced to us and harnessing all that they have to offer.
Yes, many fear the unknown: The very public status update. The transparency of our “behind the scenes.” The new culture of telling it (and hearing it) like it is. But changing your mindset means appreciating rather than fearing the new normal–and being liberated by it. It means that your local business is playing on the same field as a national chain. That your customers are bonding with your brand because they like engaging with the new open you. And that, if you’re really good at it, your brand personality is contagious and you go viral.
Your core business doesn’t have to change, nor your guiding principles. Just be open to the new ways business is getting done and how your customers are choosing which brands to be loyal to. You’ve heard it before, but it doesn’t get old, so I’ll close out with it—The company that doesn’t change, dies.