Here’s the one thing you need to do to get more out of LinkedIn.
Whether you have a free or premium LinkedIn account, there’s plenty you can do to promote yourself and your business. A wealth of third-party applications for sharing your other online content and the advent of open groups have made LinkedIn even more of a one-stop shop for online business networking. Now, consider:
LinkedIn features 90m+ professionals around the world, and counts executives from all 2010 Fortune 500 companies as members (Details correct as of January 2011).
And that’s the problem. There’s so much to do, and so many influential people to tap and respond to (or not). Like most demand generation marketers, I’m incredibly busy. I don’t have much time to focus on things that don’t make a direct impact I can quantify.
But: I count LinkedIn participation as my most worthwhile social media endeavor. (It was also my first venture into social media of any kind.) My top tip may not be everyone’s, but it’s paid off for me in:
- Shaping my targeted accounts lists
- Recruitment of great candidates for my agency
- Keeping me in the know about what my target audience really cares about
Here it is: In all of your LinkedIn activities, be very selective.
Did you just deflate a little bit? Let me explain why this selectivity is so key and how it plays out.
The big temptations of LinkedIn are to connect with as many influential people as possible, and fatten up your profile with as much evidence of your superior experience as you can. But when you feel that itch to overconnect, ask yourself these three questions:
- Wouldn’t you rather build up a highly targeted base of contacts that you know will be of value to you?
- Do you want prospective connections to read several fantastic recommendations from key leaders and colleagues who really know you, or balk at wading through tens of testimonials from everyone you could get to exchange recs with you?
- Reality check: can you truly contribute valuable input to (and take it in from) more than 10 groups?
The specific tasks that drive valuable connections will vary with your background and experience, but here are two mini-case studies to draw inspiration from.
Naturally, I’d love to know your own simple Linkedin tips for busy demand generation marketers. Please share your gems in the comments.