Do you have a strategy for using LinkedIn or do you just use it when someone new connects to you?
Many people that have a strategy are seeing some great success with the platform. Did you know that LinkedIn is 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook or Twitter? Did you also know that most people that are using are really unsure what to do?
Imagine how much higher that 277% could be if you learned the right things to do and actually followed a strategy. Following a routine or strategy is great for managing your time, provides more reliable results and makes it is easier to track your ROI. The downside is that we can get stuck in those same routines or forget to stay fresh on the latest tips and tricks for the platform that could improve it.
I am certainly not immune to this problem.
I reached out to several of my fellow LinkedIn experts and trainers to share their best actionable tips on LinkedIn.
Below I share with you 5 tips that will improve your LinkedIn experience, whether you are new to the platform or a seasoned vet. These strategies will amp up your networking and lead generation.
Tip 1: Back Up Your List of Connections
For many of us, LinkedIn has become a handy online Rolodex of vital information about your professional network.
However, I am guessing that most people don’t often think about backing up this list. It is nice to believe that it is tightly secured in one spot anytime you want to access it. But, anything could happen; LinkedIn bugs can occur and that is beyond your control.
This contact list represents a lot of hard work and dedication; what it takes to build a healthy, trusting network of key contacts. So, it is important that you ensure your list is secured in another spot, so you never have to be faced with not being able to retrieve this important data. Go to the Connections page and click on the tool icon (looks like a cog) in the top right corner of the page. On this page under the Advanced Settings (located on the right side), you can export your connections list along with basic information that includes each contact’s name, email address, and current job title into a CSV file. You can organize it later in Excel.
Networking is all about who you know and are connected to. As a savvy social networker, backing up your precious contacts means taking the necessary steps to protect a highly valued resource.
Founder, Linked Express
Tip 2: The Breakfast Method (or Growing Your Network For Shy Social Sellers)
If you are a little shy about making new connections on LinkedIn, then this is a great strategy for you!
It’s called the breakfast method and it is an easy and fun way to build connections with more of your ideal customers. This method was shared with me by a client who has already been putting it to effective use, while having breakfast (thus the origins of the name).
One of the many great things about using LinkedIn as a part of your business development strategy is that you can do it at any time that suits you.
For the breakfast method, all you need to do is look at the profiles of 10-20 of your ideal customers over breakfast (or in the evening, whenever works best for you) and repeat daily. What results is that your ideal customers will notice you are looking at their profiles via the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature and a percentage of these people will check out your profile and then invite you to connect. That’s it.
So easy and a great fit for those who feel a bit shy about making new connections.
A final note: The breakfast method is a great way for getting more people to look at your LinkedIn profile, however it is essential to have a complete and optimised profile first, otherwise your ideal customers won’t know why they should connect with you.
LinkedIn & Social Selling Specialist, Force of Nature
Tip 3: Use LinkedIn’s Built-In CRM
LinkedIn Contacts is one of my favourite LinkedIn tools because it gives you the ability to manage your LinkedIn connections using its built-in CRM features like Tags, Reminders, Notes, How You Met and Who Introduced You. It is particularly useful for supporting your prospecting and face to face networking efforts on LinkedIn – allowing you to easily keep track of key prospects and clients.
Every time you reach out and connect or when someone reaches out to you, get into the habit of updating the Relationship tab – found by clicking on the Star Icon underneath the header section of your contact’s profile.
If you’re not already connected, this will add that person as an `internal LinkedIn contact’ so if you’re not quite ready to reach out and connect, they are saved for later.
After you have saved the profile, fill in all the relevant sections such as how you met, who introduced you, add a note and/or a reminder.
You can also ‘Tag’ your contact, which allows you to segment your connections into ‘labeled groups’ that are very useful for prospecting. You can have up to 200 tags. LinkedIn gives you a number of default tags that I would recommend you delete and replace with your own such as:
You can easily find your tagged connections later by going to Connections page from the Navigation bar and selecting Filter->Tag->Tag name.
Note: None of this information is visible to your connection.
Tip 4: Have A Connection Strategy
One of the biggest missed opportunities business owners make on LinkedIn is not having a connection strategy. Connecting without conversation is kind of like walking around a networking event handing out and accepting business cards in complete silence. We don’t do this in person, so why are we doing it online?
LinkedIn works best when we start building relationships and relationships start with a conversation.
Hitting the Connect button and not adding a personal message, or not sending a message after your request has been accepted is a massive missed opportunity to start a conversation and build a relationship.
On the other side, hitting accept to an invitation without starting a conversation is also a waste of an opportunity.
So how can you create your own connection strategy?
- Map out the process of accepting and requesting new connections.
- Categorize into types of connections
- Create some template messages to save time.
Note: Remember to add some personalization, as you don’t want it to sound generic. This could be simply mentioning the name of the event where you met (I add a code to business cards for this purpose), something you discussed or an action such as making a coffee date.
Australia’s LinkedIn Demystifier, Wildfire Social Marketing
Tip 5: Include Twitter as Part of Your LinkedIn Strategy
LinkedIn and Twitter work well together. For example, when your connections or followers share your status updates or Publisher posts via the Twitter Share function, this adds extra traction to your content and posts.
Recently Twitter introduced the Group Direct Message feature and I have found this new feature to be a very effective method of sharing content and increasing engagement on both platforms.
The reason I think this is so powerful is because most people are not always on both LinkedIn and Twitter at the same time or perhaps prefer one platform more than the other. The Group DM feature paired with LinkedIn allows me to easily communicate and share my recent content with my key audiences on both platforms.
To use the two platforms most effectively and efficiently, I first replicated my LinkedIn Tags as Twitter DM Groups. This way I can share content to the same audience on both platforms while providing slightly different content on each platform to keep my audience engaged.
I focus messages to my LinkedIn Tags to sharing articles from Pulse or other content I curate. I also find they work good for getting feedback on industry issues or for asking for advice.
My Twitter DM Groups also work great for these purposes, but I find are even better for informal conversations. This is because everyone can see each other’s responses (more like a conversation), and this generates more engagement. It’s sort of like a mini Mastermind forum. It also allows group members to add other individuals who they believe can benefit from the conversation, making it a brilliant way to get potential leads.
Once a conversation is going in Twitter’s Group DM, I can look at the different individual responses and gauge each individual’s pain points and respond back when appropriate via a LinkedIn message with possible solutions. This means I can avoid using the Twitter group to openly sell.
To date, this strategy has generated much more open conversations on the topics I have shared as well as produced some amazing suggestions for me.
What Is Your Best LinkedIn Tip
What kind of strategies are you using on LinkedIn build a powerful network and generate new leads? Let us know in the comments below.