Social networking – it’s about being social. You may have heard that many times and for good reason. According to Websters II New Riverside Dictionary, the definition of social is:
- Living in communities or groups
- Of or relating to the life and interrelationships of human beings in society
- Marked by friendly companionship with others
These are three things you do every day offline. Now, just transfer your social skills to LinkedIn® and do the same thing online!
You’ll find that having conversations (not just “liking” someone’s post) increases your visibility. And, when you comment on a fellow professional’s post, you’re not only nurturing a relationship, but you’re also strengthening your personal brand.
However, each time I deliver a presentation on the topic of LinkedIn, there are participants who raise their hands, express their confusion, and ask how to use the network, how to have those conversations that build relationships and reinforce their personal brand.
Here are three social engagement strategies to help you get the ball rolling.
#1. Start a conversation as soon as you reach out to connect.
The biggest mistake people make on LinkedIn is clicking on the “Connect” button and sending out a generic LinkedIn invitation, which reads, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
If you want to be social, if you want to make the most of your LinkedIn experience, then take the extra moment to personalize your invitation.
The best way to do this is to visit a colleague’s profile and click the “Connect” button from there. When you’re on a desktop or laptop, LinkedIn will open a dialog box, which tells you that you have a greater chance of having your request accepted if you write a personal note. Plus, it’s a great way to start the conversation and begin building relationships (but please, #ditchthepitch). After all, that’s what social networking is all about.
NOTE: It’s slightly different when you’re reaching out via a mobile device. Read this blog post on how to proceed.
#2. Don’t ignore an invitation to connect.
How many invitations have you received where the person used LinkedIn’s generic invitation? You didn’t know who they were or why they were sending you the invite. So, you ignored it or deleted it. However, by doing so, you may have missed an opportunity to connect with a potential prospect, referral, or resource.
Rather than ignore the invitation, view that person’s profile first. Do you have common professional connections? Review their profile, and see if he/she might be someone worth beginning a mutually beneficial relationship with. If so, go back to the pending invitation, and instead of hitting “accept” or “ignore,” you can reply to the message without accepting the request.
Send that person a message thanking them for their invitation. Ask them if someone referred them to you or if they were simply using a keyword phrase to search LinkedIn for someone with your expertise.
You’ll never know unless you send them a message – short and sweet – and begin a conversation. As mentioned in Point #1, it’s a great opportunity to begin nurturing a relationship.
#3. Thank people for engaging.
If someone “likes,” comments, or shares your post, thank them. “Thank you” are two little words that make a big impact. But even more powerful is a response that shows you agree (or disagree) with the comment they shared because then you’ll be having an engaging conversation.
If someone else endorsed one (or more) of your skills on LinkedIn. Did you take the time to respond to them and say, “Thank you”? When someone endorses one of my skills, I send them a short note via LinkedIn that simply says “thanks,” but I also add an invitation to reciprocate. I ask that person what skills he/she would like to receive endorsements for.
NOTE: LinkedIn reports that there’s a 13% increase in profile views for those who list at least 5 skills on their profile.
Do you see a pattern here? Each of the above three options is a simple way to reach out to someone, start a conversation, and begin building relationships to reinforce your brand.
Don’t Just Join – Get Involved on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is like joining your local Chamber of Commerce or trade organization. The best return on your investment (i.e., time, not just money) is when you do more than simply pay your dues—it’s about getting involved in the community. The same holds true for LinkedIn.
Why not begin today? If we’re not already connected on LinkedIn, start with Point #1 and send me a personalized invitation to connect. You’ll find me at http://linkedin.com/in/debrajason. Be sure to write a personal note to let me know you read this article!
Another way to get involved and engage is through the Stevie® Awards for Women in Business. They are still accepting nominations for the 2023 program, so consider applying today. Winning a Stevie Award—or even just being nominated—is a great reason to talk about your brand on social media. Gaining recognition through awards is also an excellent way to expand your brand and demonstrate your achievements.
In addition, the Stevie Awards hosts the Women|Future Conference. This is a wonderful event for growing your network and practicing your online engagement skills. The 2023 (6th annual) Women|Future Conference will be held virtually from August 1-2. Attending the conference is free, but attendees must register in advance to access the virtual platform and sessions. Reserve your space today.
Remember, when it comes to LinkedIn, don’t just put up a profile and wait for people to “bang down your door.” Get involved and engaged!
About the Author:
In addition to being an award-winning author of Millionaire Marketing on a Shoestring Budget, Debra Jason is a professional speaker, direct response copywriter, and marketing coach. From business owners and event planners to speakers and real estate agents, she has guided hundreds of professionals in creating robust and optimized LinkedIn profiles that help them open the doors to receiving more opportunities on the network. Debra is committed to helping you increase your visibility, gain top-of-mind awareness and grow your business. Find her online at DebraJason.com and WriteDirection.com.
©Copyright 2021-2023 Debra Jason dba The Write Direction. All rights reserved.