Running on the treadmill one morning, I had a very unexpected thing happen.
I had someone send me a LinkedIn message who I had never met. And the message was so surprising that I had to respond to it right away (although I was in the middle of a run!).
Here’s what the message said:
Good morning Angela,
I am working with a sales/distribution company with multiple locations in the Carolinas. They are looking for some content marketing assistance. Would you be interested in looking at this opportunity? Thanks.
Jake (name changed to protect privacy)
I’ve never had someone reach out to me with such a specific request for my services. Most of my LinkedIn messages are more along the lines of congratulations, endorsements of skills or even just a chat about some meeting the sender and I both attended. This was clearly different.
So I immediately messaged “Jake” back, asking if he had time to speak that morning – no time like the present, right? And he did. So when my run was done, I gave him a call.
It turned out that Jake had basically been “mining” his LinkedIn connections to find someone who was connected to a person with skills in content marketing. My name came up twice, so he messaged me. After chatting about his client’s needs, we agreed to follow up in a month after he’d had time to set the stage for why his client needed to do content marketing.
This interaction made me contemplate writing about making LinkedIn work for your business. Now you may say “oh, I’m already working my LinkedIn connections” – but how well are you using it as a business tool? Could you be using it even better?
Benefits of adopting LinkedIn as a Business Tool
To help me outline how you and I both could be doing a better job with LinkedIn, I went to my friend and LinkedIn Coach, Professional Trainer and Developer, Teddy Burriss. He has made a career out of training individuals and groups on how to get more out of this business networking tool. Burriss states that, “LinkedIn is a business communications tool and like many other business tools, we must look for real business value before we will truly invest our time and energy using it.”
On the surface, LinkedIn appears to be about connections, endorsements and posts for interesting articles. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Here are 7 real benefits that Burriss has identified of effectively using LinkedIn:
Being publicly present on LinkedIn increases the opportunity of being discovered by someone who needs what we do.
My experience recently is a perfect example of this! It’s very easy to pull up your connections and do a keyword search to see which people or businesses come up. If you don’t get the results you want in your first level connections, that’s where second or third come in handy. If you can find other people, then they can find you!
Building a thriving and relevant LinkedIn network is useful when looking for connections and warm introductions to new companies, individuals and resources.
Perhaps you believe there may be a client opportunity with a company…if only you could get introduced to the right decision maker? LinkedIn provides a way to do this. Once you’ve determined that your connection knows the person you’d like to meet, it’s as simple as asking them to make an introduction.
Becoming trusted and respected because of the relevant and useful content we engage on and share on LinkedIn is a powerful reputation building process.
If you share content related to what you know or has value relevant to others, you will build a reputation over time. The content needs to come from respected sources, and you need to post content regularly.
The power of LinkedIn Advance Search is rivaled only by other fee-based business research tools such as Hoovers, Dunn & Bradstreet and Reference USA.
The Advanced Search function rocks! It enables you to get very specific about the search results you are looking for, mining all the connections on LinkedIn…for FREE.
The knowledge shared by LinkedIn Influencers as well as many other LinkedIn publishers, can be thought provoking as well as perspective altering.
LinkedIn has become a publishing site where invited experts from around the globe serve as thought influencers through the news-oriented and trending topics they discuss. Examples of some Influencers include Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and Bill Gates. The list changes throughout the year, and LinkedIn is always looking for thoughtful contributors whose expertise ties back to the interest of its members. You can join the conversation – and you just may gain an insight that will change the trajectory of your business.
The relationships we develop by moving past a virtual connection into an IRL (In Real Life) conversation can open doors we never knew existed.
LinkedIn is doorway to dialogue. It could be a phone call (like my example above). It could be a meeting for coffee. Or it could even be a more formal discussion about potential work or collaboration. The possibilities are endless for taking the conversation offline to a face-to-face meeting.
I love this final word from Teddy Burriss on the benefits of LinkedIn. He says, “There are two people we should want to connect with on LinkedIn; the one we can help and the one who can help us. However, we may not initially know the difference.”