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The Power of the ‘Network’ ~ Making the most of #LinkedIn

LinkedIn (“LI”) is a (safe) social media platform for professionals.

To get started it requires little investment of time, or knowledge of inboard marketing.

But it will not work if, as is currently the case, it is viewed as a medium to advertise on.

No, LI should be about creating a Tribe with a shared interest where there is a single goal: to create a Win Win scenario for everyone that you are connected to or those in a group. That doesn’t mean that everyone has the same interests but it does mean that the mindset has to change or adapt itself from broadcast to mutual giving. Much more thought needs to go into the process of who you are connect to, which groups you join and the ability to share ideas that have value.

It would be far too glib to talk about strategic alliances or the like but there is no point in having a significant number of connections that you cannot help and vice versa.

You need to map out your practice area and consider:

  • The internal market;
  • The external, client-centric market;
  • Your referrers;
  • Your experts;
  • Your stakeholders more generally; and
  • Those people or businesses that have the potential to do business with one another and where you can make the introduction.

This exercise should be undertaken in a team setting because even though LI is focused on BrandYou, nevertheless with the settings having been tightened, you will find that there are people that you cannot reach but someone else may be able to make an introduction or has a way of making that connection for the good of the department.

Once you have grouped your connections, you then need to start thinking of where you can add value.

Will you:

  • Publish a manifesto?
  • Produce a Newsletter?
  • Organise an event?
  • Introduce people to one another?
  • Seek to collaborate on a project?
  • And so on.

If your mindset is fixed on selling then you will get very little from LI. And, if anything, you are likely to get an adverse reaction. It would be like someone approaching you at a dinner party and saying: “This is the best widget we have.”

LI, like all social media platforms, requires discipline, and that is not just the habit of spending 15 minutes a day adding connections etc. It is the discipline to change the mindset of what I can get to how can I assist? How can I spread this fantastic idea? How can I build a Tribe?

It is important to make sure that you don’t end up with a bunch of orphans or people that you have no way of helping. You also need to go off-line and meet up and if someone’s contact details are available give them a call.

Don’t be afraid to posit a question like: “How can I help today?” Or what information can you share that you have found that might be useful and it doesn’t just have to be work related.

As was mentioned in yesterday’s post look at what you are trying to achieve (turn the telescope around in other words). If your goal is to win more clients or more work then write it down. But you also need to think about past activity and consider very carefully if LI is the right forum to try the same tactics.

The last thing you want to end up with is a noisy distraction which you pull the plug on.

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For more on developing profitable business, innovating in professional practice and implementing social media, subscribe to the RSS Feed of my Blog. Follow me on Twitter at @0neLife, or @Ju_Summerhayes connect to me on LinkedIn or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your practice, check out my coaching and consulting firm via LinkedIn, email me on juliansummerhayes [at] gmail [dot] com or call me on 075888 15384.