“LinkedIn is like a gym…you don’t have to work out on all of the equipment all the time.”
During our presentations and training sessions on our LinkedIn Success Blueprint we often use the analogy of comparing LinkedIn to the gymnasium and for good reasons – LinkedIn has many different ‘pieces of shiny equipment’, all vying for your attention and with persistent and focussed effort it is possible to ‘get in shape’ and achieve phenomenal results.
But what items should you work on and how much work do you have to put in to get real results?
You have be in it to win it Like almost all areas of human endeavour, LinkedIn can only really deliver results if you are prepared to put in the work but this doesn’t mean that you have to spend endless hours and hours on punishing ‘work outs’ – we believe that it is possible to achieve success with a persistent and focussed effort.
If you go to the gym in January, you will see the people who have made a new start and invested in membership as a step toward their goals – many will be going for it and ‘hitting it hard’ – However, it is not easy to maintain enthusiasm when the going gets tough and how many of this bunch do you think will still be there in March?
For some people, simply the act of having the membership gives them comfort that they are moving forward – but as we know this is not enough. If we return to the LinkedIn gym, it is easy to understand that if you rarely engage with the platform, fail to perform basic relationship maintenance tasks and don’t share valuable content – you are unlikely to be happy with the results.
Getting in shape In the LinkedIn Success Blueprint we provide insight on how to get your profile fit for purpose, looking great and in shape to show you off at your best. The process we outline for creating a winning profile is easily achievable for most people and could be done in a couple of hours. Also, once you get past any initial discomfort, you will find it gets easier!
If you look around the LinkedIn gym, you will soon find some “January people” with unfit profiles, who most probably have given up before they have had a chance of getting any success on the platform.
But I’m an allstar! There is a potential trap that many fall into while starting out in the LinkedIn gym, during the creation of their profiles. The site mechanics during the sign-up/new account creation stages incentivise basic data entry with points toward you gaining “allstar” status. This has made many convinced that their profile is in shape – when it is often just a version of their CV online.
Success secrets A successful profile is one which acts as a first-rate digital calling card, as a ‘convincer/reinforcer’ when you are looked up following an initial meeting. It also should immediately convey the value you offer to your target audiences and be keyword optimised for Google and LinkedIn searches.
However, having a phenomenal profile will not be enough to guarantee that you achieve the kind of results enjoyed by our clients.
In the next article in this series we will go further into the LinkedIn gym and show you what ‘gym’ equipment we use and when and will give details of a 20-minute workout that is proven to get great results.
LinkedIn may sometimes make you feel like you are running in a marathon but the way to ensure you cross the winning line is to compete in 20-minute bursts.
In our previous article, we discussed how LinkedIn is like a gym and we considered the traits that lead to success on the platform; Our main assertions are that you don’t have to use every piece of the equipment but that you must regularly attend and ‘workout’ if you want to get the rewards.
Make no mistake, finding potential prospects, clients, generating more referrals and cultivating ‘go-to’ expert status is a long distance race, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be victories along the way. It is key to ensure that you pace yourself.
“Having a plan and tracking your progress will lead to success.”
Often LinkedIn newbies, excited by the opportunities presented by the platform, go at it hard and start connecting with everybody, posting loads of content, in effect using every piece of equipment in the gym – however, this scattergun approach soon leads to disappointment and exhaustion.
While teaching the LinkedIn Success Blueprint, we have found that people who have a plan and who track their ‘workouts’, are those who seem to get more out of LinkedIn.
Having a workout plan
If we continue the gym analogy, it is easy to see that new starts are often given specific workout plans by their fitness instructors. This ensures that they have a manageable workload, achieve even development and this is all tailored to meet their specific goals.
So, taking this back to LinkedIn, we see that we must first have a clear idea about what we are trying to achieve, then select the equipment best suited to deliver on the plan and have a regime that fits in with our schedule.
Who do you want to communicate with and why? What are you trying to achieve? Is it more important to promote your skills, people or products? Find new clients? Generate expert positioning?
Perhaps it is all of these goals? Defining what ‘success looks like’, will greatly improve your chances of remaining focussed and on track.
20-minutes is all you need
The next stage is to break down the marathon into 20-minute stages.
We map out plans for our clients that are tailored to meet their goals and that they can actually achieve within the time constraints of their busy lives.
This is key is to devise a plan of activity daily and weekly tasks, such as content sharing, commenting in groups, making connections, thought leadership blogging, etc that is tailored to meet your business development goals.
We believe that it is possible to make massive progress on LinkedIn with a daily workout regime of just 20 mins. Consistency and daily attendance is vital to helping you spot trends and opportunities.
Track your progress
In the LinkedIn Success Blueprint we provide tracking tools to enable our clients to chart their progress. Keeping a record of how many connections you make, comments, sharing, blog views etc – is a great way of ensure that you will go the distance. It provides a visual record of your progress and keeps you accountable.
To recap with the ‘take homes’ from this article;
LinkedIn is a long distance race that can be run in stages Create a plan that is tailored to meet your needs Ensure that it achievable within your workflow Turn up everyday Track your progress
LinkedIn Success Blueprint extends its thanks to the 80 Glasgow-based business professionals who attended our training seminar at the Grand Central Hotel earlier this month.
The enthusiastic delegates heard two sessions from Miles Duncan on how to really get to grips with LinkedIn to help grow visibility, referrals and to find new clients.
Miles said that it was important to understand that there is much more to LinkedIn than just having a profile, he explained: “Having a great profile, that’s keyword rich and that instantly conveys the value you deliver to your target audience is vital for success on LinkedIn but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
“One of the secrets to getting much more for the platform is to ensure that you have a connection strategy and that you use the tagging feature to help to segment your audience.”
Miles told the audience that most people fail to maximise their chances of getting real results on LinkedIn because they do not create a structure to help them manage their connections.
He said: “Most people do not take advantage of the tagging tools which enable you ‘work’ your connections.”
Miles explained that he can instantly send and share content and reach out to segments of his connections, such as accountants or CEO’s because he has used the tagging tools to give order to his contacts.
He told the delegates: “I use a tagging structure that closely matches my business development goals and I have a connection and communication strategy to help me to nurture my relationships with my target audiences.”
Miles added: “So, have a think about your business development strategy and take the time to think about how you will create a tagging system to help you to segment and work your connections.
“This will really help you to get much more from LinkedIn and will help to ensure that you are in control of your business development.”
We believe that LinkedIn is the best tool in the world for finding new suspects, prospects, generating referrals and cultivating ‘go-to’ expert status. However, getting to the breakthrough point where all this happens consistently requires a lot more than just having a great profile.
But I’m an Allstar!
It can be argued that LinkedIn perhaps sets a potential pitfall for some users by encouraging them to think that they have written a great profile through the reward of Allstar profile status. In fact, this mainly just recognises that boxes have been filled out and sections have been completed and is in no way guarantees that you will enjoy success on LinkedIn.
In our view, a winning profile is one that instantly conveys the value that your skills, products or services brings to your target audience, communicates this clearly -and in the language THEY use.
Your profile should also be keyword optimised for Google, LinkedIn and search engine results to ensure that you gain maximum visibility and position you as a ‘go to’ expert.
Out of the almost 19million users of LinkedIn in the UK, less than 1 per cent have taken the time to optimise their profiles and yet this is just the tip of the iceberg.
If you take the time to optimise your profile, you will almost instantly find that you will start to receive more profile views and gain higher visibility in search results. In the LinkedIn Success Blueprint we call this phase Profile Builder and this is the stage where success BEGINS to happen. But to ensure that you generate massive and ongoing success we need to look below the waterline of the iceberg…..
Below the waterline – where success happens
Success stories from our clients have shown us that the largest part of the LinkedIn success iceberg is composed of repeated action in two key areas – we call these network or funnel building and communications building.
Are you just operating on the tip of the iceberg?
Here are some questions that will show if you are really getting the most out of LinkedIn.
Do you have a strategy for connecting?
Do you know who you want to connect with and why?
Do you build value networks or are you just collecting scalps?
Do you tag connections so that you can place them in business development funnels?
Do you have a communications plan of targeted messaging to move connections along your ‘loyalty ladder’?
Do you adapt your messaging/content for specific audiences?
Do you measure the success of your efforts and adjust your tactics based on feedback?
If you had more than a couple of ‘no’s to this list above, then it is almost certain that you are only operating on the tip of the iceberg and are not realising your true potential on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Success Systems is in no way associated with LinkedIn Corp. We are a third party organisation helping companies and individuals to improve their performance of using LinkedIn through online training and face-to- face coaching. All trademarks recognised.