When I talk to most people about LinkedIn, I get a pretty consistent response.  Everyone gives some version of, “I have a profile, but I don’t use it much” or “Why should I be on LinkedIn, I’ve got a job” or “I have no idea how to use it”.

There’s a very old saying that goes “If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t like where you’ll end up” and that’s certainly true when it comes to LinkedIn.

Not only is LinkedIn the top social media channel for those in B2B sales, it’s also the only place I know of where you have direct access to your connection’s ‘rolodex’ (if you’re under 40 please Google that)- you can actually see who they know and leverage that knowledge to gain warm introductions.

From my interactions with people they fall into four categories in how they ‘act’ on LinkedIn: Passive, Random, Aggressive and Consistent.  Let’s take a look at all four; as you’re reading see if you can identity where you are and where you’d like to be.

Passive

For the most part, this would be the people who have a profile and just don’t know what to do with it.  Their boss, or a mentor, or a coworker or even a recruiter told them they should have a LinkedIn profile, so they put one together and they scarcely check it.  Or, maybe they aren’t in the B2B space, or another social media channel is their primary medium for social communication in business- that doesn’t mean that LinkedIn should be ignored.

People are looking at your profile and that’s not going to change, in fact, it’s going to increase.  Statistics show that B2B buyers are doing more and more research online, so when they find you, what are they seeing?  Is your LinkedIn profile written as a resumé that tells the viewer all about you and your strengths and how awesome you are? Or, is it a buyer-centric or value-centric profile that tells them about who you help, how you help them and why they should care?

Do you have a quality background image and a professional headshot as your profile picture? 

By converting your profile from a resumé to a resource you move from  passive to informative and with a little coaching you can become consistent in your action on LinkedIn. 

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Random

Random acts of social would describe most people’s LinkedIn use.  They have every intention of maximizing their LinkedIn experience, but lack discipline and scheduling in order to effectively utilize LinkedIn as a tool to establish and build relationships, connect with the right people and thoughtfully engage with insights.

What ends up happening is that they start with best of intentions to be intentional, only to end up being random.  They post sporadically, engage erratically and disappear for long periods of time only to sign in and see thirty-five unread messages, sixteen connection requests and eighty-five notifications.  Feeling overwhelmed they return none of the messages, accept all sixteen connections and lose interest after reading two or three notifications.  After this happens two or three times, they come to the conclusion that ‘LinkedIn doesn’t work’ and disappear from the platform.

The solution to randomness in anything is consistency.  Developing a plan and working the plan.  I’m not a mind reader, but I know right now you’re thinking “Bill, I don’t have hours to spend on LinkedIn every day.” I know you don’t, I don’t either.

You can start by simply creating a daily routine that will only take 5-10 minutes.  Put it on your calendar.  Each day set the time on your phone for 5, 10 or 15 minutes.  After you start the clock, go on LinkedIn and engage- be SOCIAL.  Like some posts, share some posts, comment on some posts.  When the time is up, you log off.  Not familiar with your newsfeed?  Click here for a short explanation.

Then I’d suggest once a week spending more time, maybe start with 30 minutes.  Before you know it, you’ll have a habit and you’ll be moving towards more consistent action on LinkedIn.

Aggressive

We’ve all been in this situation if we’ve been using LinkedIn for any amount of time: you accept a connection request from someone who you weren’t familiar with.  Then, like you got hit by a car, you receive a message on LinkedIn as well as an email from the person telling you how awesome their product is, how you can’t live without it and how they suggest you ‘hop on a 15 minute call’ with a date and time suggested.  Then, like clockwork (actually calendar work because they are probably using an automated system) two days later you get another message and email asking if you missed the first message and how you don’t want to miss this ‘awesome’ opportunity.

This is telemarketing from the 80’s all over again.  I believe in persistence in sales, I don’t believe in aggravated harassment.  Does this even work? 

As sales people we have to, we need to, believe in our product or service.  We have to believe and buy into the solutions we provide.  But our potential clients and customers not only don’t have to buy in, they won’t, and they don’t! 

In the past the sales person’s job was to sell the customer on them, to be likeable and to gain trust- people buy from those they know, like and trust, right?  That was then, this is now.  Now, the sales person’s job is to provide value and insights in order to attract, teach and engage the prospective client.  Aggression on LinkedIn is doing double damage- it’s turning people off to those of us in sales and it’s turning people off to LinkedIn as a viable place to conduct business.

If you’re in sales or lead a sales team, social selling is the right way to leverage LinkedIn to create more sales opportunities with the key decision makers.

By working with trained social selling experts, you can develop the right kind of profile to attract your prospective clients and teach and engage them with thoughtful, educative content to demonstrate your thought leadership.  All without slamming them over their heads with your solution.

Consistent

When we use LinkedIn consistently, provide value thoughtfully and engage with content insightfully, it leads to consistent actions on LinkedIn that will lead to measurable results.  Consistent use of LinkedIn takes some planning and careful thought.  Go to your calendar right now and make an appointment with yourself.

Plan on spending 5, 10 or 15 minutes on LinkedIn and do that for a whole week… then guess what? You’ll have started to be consistent on LinkedIn.

Need help? The team at Social Sales Link is happy to help!  Contact one of us here, we’d be happy to help!