It’s not enough to be a LinkedIn LION and post your email on an update once a week. While that’s a way to grow your Network, it’s too random to get you Quality (targeted) Connections. Follow these 3 proven ways and act like a LIONESS to grow a strong pride & reach your goal for using LinkedIn: more/better Connections in your Network.
1. Mark Your Territory (aka Personal Branding)
All aspects of your Profile should reflect your Personal Brand (Brand). Your Brand needs to be ‘strong’ and attract the types of future employers, clients or customers you want. Did you think when you first created a Profile on LI that you’d be developing a Brand – probably not but it’s an essential proven way to get more Quality Connections. If you can’t show in various parts of your Profile ‘who’ you are (your Brand) you haven’t taken enough time with it. LI gives us so many tools to develop a comprehensive, multi-media rich Profile we are able to capture many aspects of our professional and personal accomplishments. Take the time to make your Profile robust and reflective of the YOU you’d like to share with the LI world.
Only you can determine what your Brand is but you’d be wise to seek counsel/advice from your significant other and close friends. Better yet, also run it by someone who is your ‘target’ audience (your prey). Make sure the people you ask will give you honest feedback, assure them you won’t be insulted or upset but you want to clearly and powerfully present your Brand through your Profile. This vetting process shouldn’t take long because these folks are on your side, they want you to succeed and their input it invaluable. Take this input and go with it, making tweaks to your Profile but in the end go with your gut. An aspect or two of your Profile (like the tagline) may be constantly in flux depending on who/what you are trying to #attract that day/week/month.
Here’s an example of when I do slight tweaks to highlight a part of my Brand:
Goal: Attract More Military-in-Transition Coaching Clients
Brand Tweak: Update my Tagline to FOCUS on Military something like this: “2 Coaching Spots Left I Help Military-in-Transition I Next Career Success I Let’s Talk I Exec. Recruiter”
Focus: Key word search “Coaching, Military, Transition, Recruiter”
Result: Within 30 Minutes I had a Message from an Officer in Transition and he’s now a Coaching Client
Success: Um, YES!!!
Now, you won’t get a new Client/Employer or Customer every time you tweak your tagline but it worked in this instance so it tells me it will probably work again. I took the time to develop the relationship with this Coaching Client and I’m sure if I hadn’t it wouldn’t have a successful outcome. I followed through on my Brand promise “Coaching Military-in-Transition…[for] Success”.
The moral: be open to boldly mark your territory. LinkedIn is a HUGE territory with over 300 million users. Mark it as often as your Brand Strategy dictates (Yes, you should have a Brand Strategy. If you don’t we NEED to talk!) I make slight tweaks to my Brand to grow my Coaching Client list; to source for crucial positions and to connect with my Network to show the range of my skills. If you are a shy LIONESS make these updates anonymously (turn off the inform Network of updates option). I’m not a shy LIONESS, I believe in myself and in the work I do, I am a fearless LIONESS – are you?
2. Go Hunt (Find Your Target Employer, Customer or Client)
While you probably didn’t have a Brand Strategy when you joined LinkedIn you DID know your target employer, customer or client. To be a successful hunter, you need to figure out your ‘Targets’ Profile and how to effectively get in front of them. Answer the questions below as they apply to your Brand and remove or add others until you have the components of your Targets’ Profile.
What Interests them on LI?: Are they lurking in one of the thousands of LI Groups? Do they post in LI Pulse?
Keyword: Is there something specific (a key word/phrase) that may be in their Profile?
Title: Does their current or former title have significance?
Employer: Does a current or former employer mean something to you?
School(s): Attendance at a school matter to you?
Location: Do they need to be in your town or can they be anywhere in the world?
I ran an Advanced Search of one of my Target Profiles, “Transitioning Military leaving the Army who live within 50 miles of my office”. There are 565 records in my 1st, 2nd and Group Connections that meet these parameters. I can SAVE this search and go back to it later, EXPORT it to print out or SIFT THROUGH it now. You will find the searching method isn’t foolproof and the keyword “transitioning” can be taken out of context and the person may not be transitioning from the Army. After you scrub the list, even if only 25% of the Profiles fit your Target Profile parameters, you still have a list with 141 people you can reach out to who fit your Target Profile.
3. Pounce (Develop relationships/Network)
Pouncing takes BOLDNESS. You are about to make yourself vulnerable to a complete stranger (who’s now a Connection – great!) to gain their trust so they consider hiring you in some capacity or buying something from you. You’ve created your Brand and you have lists of folks that meet your Target Profile…now what? You POUNCE! Go where they are (back to the ‘What Interests Them on LI?’) and put yourself in front of them.
Indirect Approach A, Groups: Find the Groups they are in (see your SAVED SEARCH) and Join the one(s) where you have some expertise and will be able to either share a post or insightful comments in discussions. If you post enough even in Groups with 20K members you can quickly get featured at the top right-hand side as a Top Contributor. Even better, Groups provide other benefits for consistent contributors that highlight Profiles and taglines at the top of the Groups homepage for a few seconds if you reach a predetermined level of group contribution. If you don’t have anything ‘valuable’ to share better to remain a LURKER so you don’t tarnish your reputation before you are able to build brand loyalty & trust.
Indirect Approach B, Endorsements: Freely Give Endorsements. Now if you interact with enough people on LinkedIn you will find there are varying thoughts on endorsements. 1) There are the Open Endorsers who EXPECT when you connect with them that you will endorse all their skills at one time and they will do the same. My first foray into the Open Endorsers landed me with a terse email reminding me that he endorsed all 50 of my Skills and he expected me to endorse the same for him (I only endorsed 5 of his). I guess I didn’t read the fine print of the Open Endorsers code – regardless I fully endorsed him and moved on. 2) Casual Endorsers (not the official name) who are like me. When I connect with someone, usually I’ll endorse their first 5 skills (primarily because I’m on my phone and that’s what shows up) and when I go back to their Profile in the future, I’ll endorse another 5. This strategy allows me to give endorsements for up to 10 visits on a Profile. I see giving skills endorsements as a thank you for liking or commenting on one of my Updates/Shares. I also use endorsements to get a person’s attention but they need to be paying attention to who’s endorsing them for this to work. 3) Then there are Closed Endorsers (not the official name) who won’t endorse someone unless they have witnessed the person have this skill. I’ve even heard stories that when Closed Endorsers receive an endorsement from someone they don’t know they don’t accept it.
Let’s put LinkedIn in perspective, it’s a professional networking tool not your own website. If people don’t want to Connect and Network with new people they probably don’t completely understand the reach of the platform. Regardless of how absurd you may find some of these thoughts, you will find that even using an Indirect method to contact a Target you may get ignored, accused of spamming, told they don’t know you and countless other responses. You need a thick skin to network so don’t think just because you aren’t face-to-face that it’s easy. Pouncing can be dangerous and bloody and sometimes there are injuries. (Enough said!)
Direct Approach, Make Contact: Send them an InMail, an email, call or Tweet them. I know this is SCARY. But you are in a PRIDE, you aren’t alone, we protect each other. My preference is email, Message, tweet, InMail & call. Let’s go through each of them.
Email: If a person lists their email and they are connected with you (1st or 2nd), I see them giving you permission to email them ONCE. Don’t SPAM them. Send an email of ‘Introduction’ and include a call to action (contacting you back to learn more about XXX). If they choose not to accept the call to action, just move on.
Message: You are able to send a LinkedIn Message to everyone in your shared Groups. Be strategic about this – again introduce yourself and give a call to action ONCE. Don’t spam them.
Tweet: This is similar to sending an email. The intended recipient doesn’t have to read the message or respond to you. Some Twitter accounts are protected from all incoming Tweets unless given permission to communicate with them. If you Tweet, make sure you look at the persons account first to see what they are interested in (what HASHTAGS they follow) and craft your message so it ‘naturally’ includes one of those HASHTAGS. Don’t spam them. Send the message and move on.
Call: The first time I called someone (cold) from a LinkedIn Profile the person was so shocked they fell silent. However, she listed CALL ME XXX-XXX-XXXX Open to all XXX Opportunities in the Summary Section. I had an opportunity and the person was qualified so I called. Once I explained who I was and how we were connected we had a great discussion and she sent me her resume. I only call a Connection (cold – no previous email communications or personal connection besides them being in my LinkedIn network) if I have an open position in which they appear to be qualified. There is no cost to the job seeker so I figure they should welcome a call if they provide their number and state they are seeking a position.
InMail: If you have the credits and this person fits your Target Profile – Why Not Send them an InMail! Since you only get a handful of InMails a month, I’d suggest this ONLY for the top 3 people you want to develop a deeper networking relationship with. Craft the note carefully as you may not get another chance. If they reject your InMail – fine, you get the InMail credited. Move on to the next person on the List.
After reading this I hope you learned more about the Prowling Pattern of a Lioness that you can use to attract more quality connections on LinkedIn. Bottom line, successful networking requires a Personal Brand, a Targeted (Customer/Employer) Profile and Opportunities to Interact with your Target. Be your amazing self and let your talents shine in the ways you show your Brand. Ask for the Connection, a networking call, a hiring opportunity. If the answer is “Nothing right now” move on there are more people on your List. But what if they say “YES” – someone will, several someone’s will. Then you have the opportunity to develop a real ‘relationship’ to have a quality networking contact who knows other quality people.
PROWL: Have the fierceness of a LION(ess) in your LinkedIn networking. Know who you are (Brand)! Know what you want (a new position, a new customer, a new client)! Make it Known (Branding – Indirection/Direct Actions)! Those who see the value of what you have and are in the Market will POUNCE on you.
I have a few spots open for my March #Attraction Coaching where we’ll work out your Brand, your Brand Strategy and locate your Targets and ways to Pounce on them. Contact me so we can set up a call. I want you to join my PRIDE. Are you ready to achieve Next Level Success?
About the Author: Liz daRosa is business woman who’s an accomplished educator, presenter and coach. She’s always been a fierce LIONESS who prowls & hunts. Liz blogs at http://lizbeardmoredarosa.com and tweets @lizdaRosa.