“Every professional should be on Linkedin” is the refrain so many people told me at the start. So I tried it. I researched how to use it, I even got professional advice on how to use it. My own advice now is: Ignore it unless you are seeking contracts from businesses.

 While it can yield results, they are smaller than most other major Social Media options for reaching consumer clients. For B to B it’s great. When it comes to reaching the person in the street, it’s very weak. That’s because Linkedin is social media with a defined sphere of purpose: connecting business people.

 As always the question of ‘What should I be doing on Social Media?’ can only be answered by the question ‘What is your Goal?’, so here are a few options:

  • If your goal is a regular turnover of public clients then Linkedin is not a top priority for you. Smile, and move on to better options for your business.
  • If your goal is contracting with large businesses or even just local ones, then Linkedin can be a very useful tool for you.
  • If you want some of both or are unsure which way your business will go, then I recommend setting up a Linkedin Account and asking happy clients to endorse you on it, but don’t spend much time on it. Use it for some credibility building at the start and if your business needs it, then get more into it.

So if you want to use Linkedin to reach other businesses, you need to do some legwork to make it useful. Search around and find who it is that you need to get in front of to pitch your help and how it will help them. Then see if you know anyone on Linkedin who is connected to them, and ask to be introduced on the site. It is a good way of getting extra positive attention when trying to get in the door. In an ideal world use that introduction to get a meeting with them in person. Nothing beats personal contact.

 Linkedin is best for getting a favourable first contact through recommendations. It opens a door for you. But you have to know who you need to reach and to get the right message to them. However, you’ll be amazed how quickly you can connect with people. I don’t use Linkedin much and I am only one person away from Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra for example. It’s a case of three degrees of separation meets the Social Media World.

 What to have on your Linkedin Profile:

  1. A good pic of you. Not full body, it’ll show small in most places so keep it to your face and shoulders.
  2. A brief biography – not what you have done, skills learned, or job titles, but how each of these things let you help others.
  3. Ideally a brief 30-120 second intro video of what you do.
  4. Fill in as many parts of the profile as possible. Education, previous employment, volunteer experience, etc.
  5. List your top marketable skills and ask for endorsements from people who have seen you use them.

What to do:

  • Find Linkedin groups that your clients are likely to be members of – contribute useful content that shows your skills, while helping others.
  • Connect with people you know – all of them. You never know who will know someone else that can help you.
  • Seek out connections to prospective clients. Ask to be introduced to people you want to meet or pitch too.
  • Be respectful. Never spam people. Show your ability and allow them to connect the dots towards hiring you from a position of known ability.

Synopsis: Unless you are seeking business clients don’t bother with Linkedin.

If you are seeking business clients, put up a good profile and use your time tactically to reach the people who matter to your business.

 If you’re on Linkedin and wondering what to do, then you need a clearer goal to guide that activity. Set the goal and target the people who can help you achieve it. Give them value and help them, then you will win too.

Lastly, be wary of getting sucked into the ‘endorsements’ game. Too many people put hours into building the number of endorsements they have. It’s usually pointless. If a company is seeking you out and comparing you to others in your field that can help, but if you’re approaching the client, then having a few endorsements in the key skills you’re pitching adds to credibility. Beyond that they rarely move the needle for you.

 As always comments and questions are very welcome.

 Keep sharing your help.

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