Linkedin is full of lurkers hoping to generate leads and grow their business. They have an online presence (aka profile) but rarely do they engage in a virtual conversation. It’s not enough to “like” a comment or merely “accept” a Linkedin invitation, you have to interact with others to get results. You have to strike up a conversation to build the relationship that creates the trust that leads to the inquiry that grows your business. You have to engage, and here’s how:
1. Send a personalized invitation when asking others to join your LinkedIn network. For example: “I really enjoyed reading your profile, especially the part about skydiving. As someone who is afraid of flying commercially, I’d love to link up with you on Linkedin.” Isn’t that much more intriguing than “I’d like to add you to my professional network on Linkedin.” (Say ‘yes’.)
2. Personalize the ‘thank you’ once your invitation is accepted. For example: “Thanks so much for accepting my invitation. I look forward to following your adventures.” There are so few people on Linkedin that do more than click ‘accept’ that you’ll really stand out in the crowd. And, if you’re feeling particularly brave, you can add “Tell me about yourself and your business.”
3. Comment on others posts in your newsfeed. It’s always fascinating to see what others are up to in their business. The newsfeed is a great place to get a bird’s eye view and stay on their radar screen. Plus, you’ll find it interesting to discover who your network knows!
4. Mix up your Linkedin postings. Whether on your status update or in group discussions, keep things interesting and others interested by posting links to your blog, ask captivating questions, share valued resources, and solicit others opinions. Don’t just talk at – learn to speak with – your online network.
5. Get in on the conversation. Don’t be left out! Share your thoughts. Answer questions. Add value. In other words, don’t just hang out at the water cooler, contribute to the conversation and make some new friends.
6. Respond in kind. If an in-the-know professional networker connects with you with a personalized message, respond back. Didn’t your mom tell you that “actions speak louder than words”? No response to a personal message speaks volumes about how you conduct business. (Can you say ‘brand damage’?)
It reminds me of a comment made by my uncle years earlier. At the age of 65, he walked into the Social Security Administrative office to apply for benefits. Being quite gregarious, he said to the social security agent, “I know how to be social. I’m here to find out what you can tell me about security.”
And so it is with social media. You likely know all about the media. It’s time for you to be more social. Don’t let the lack of engagement hurt your opportunity to develop relationships and generate leads online. You’ll be amazed at what a little personal interaction will do for your business.
Now, was that so hard?