Jun 14, 201701:41 PM#SocialBiz
with Spencer X. Smith
6 tips for using LinkedIn for business (without getting sucked into the social media vortex)
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For every person who is addicted to social media, there’s another person who has sworn it off for fear of getting “sucked into the void.” Because of this, there are hundreds of professionals who are missing out on opportunities to use social media outlets, especially LinkedIn, for specific business purposes.
The fear of wasting their effort keeps many people from investing time in engaging with their LinkedIn community. But the fear of just wasting time in general is an equally large obstacle for many people. They recognize that their behavior on Facebook or Pinterest tends to be an addictive response to boredom, and they don’t want to give themselves another platform to waste time on.
When they open LinkedIn, they may see a silly inspirational post that has become controversial for no clear reason, and their instinct is to immediately close the page before they get sucked in. I get it. It takes approximately five seconds to get a bad taste for a media outlet. That’s how I feel about watching TV most of the time.
But when you write off LinkedIn as “another social media time suck,” you miss a huge opportunity to develop new contacts and stay top of mind for your current contacts.
You don’t have to participate in the conversations that you don’t want to.
Last week I met a financial advisor at a conference where I spoke in Boston who shared how he does almost all his business development through LinkedIn. He finds potential clients, researches their background and interests, highlights their accomplishments, and then leaves the platform.
LinkedIn is a communication tool that can be used like email to connect with other professionals and grow your network. You don’t open your email and scroll through it because you’re bored. You open it because you need the communication platform to conduct business. You should approach LinkedIn the same way.
There’s a line between using social with a purpose and defaulting to it because you’re bored and want to be entertained. The key to using social media for business is to set clear intentions, follow a strategy, and stick to strict time limits.
Here are six tips for making the most of your efforts on social media:
1. Set a time limit and stick to it. I recommend 10 minutes a day, because that should be long enough to do whatever you need and it will motivate you to skip the news feed altogether. Once you’ve made the connection you wanted to make, done the research you needed to do, or posted the content you wanted to share, then get off the platform. Don’t allow yourself to stay and browse.
2. Focus on your target market. Whether you’re in sales, you’re searching for a job, or just looking to grow your professional network, you should know who your target market is. You should focus your activity on starting conversations with these targets, whether they’re vice presidents at a company you want to earn as a client or they’re thought leaders in your industry. Before you log in, make a list of the people you want to engage with.
3. Send personalized connection requests. Stop scrolling and start searching. Find the connection, and send them a connection request with a concise message explaining why you want to connect. And that reason had better not be, “I want to sell you something,” or any variation of that phrase. Try out something like this: “I was reading your latest blog post and I loved your insight on X.” Or, “I saw this share on Twitter and I really liked it.”