I have come to believe that, like creating a fine wine, building a network on LinkedIn, to be fully appreciated, needs to be considered years after the experience. There is much enthusiasm when you first set up a LinkedIn profile, as you look forward to all that it could bring. But, I think there is value in looking back years after an experience and taking stock of the difference it has actually made.
I have worked personally with hundreds of clients on linked in. I have taught Social Media and Social Media marketing classes to thousands of RealEstate Agents, Direct Marketers, C-level Executives, Entrepreneurs, Managers, Salespeople, and folks just like you. The first Social Media course I taught was In 2003, and Social media back then was something that most people thought of as a fad that was going to eventually pass. Considering that experience, years later reminds me just how far off base some of those who “didn’t believe” in social media were. Now 14 years later, I feel I have done justice to the privilege that being a Social Media Pioneer has offered.
Now in the spirit of community, camaraderie, and connection, I would like to definitively answer a few of the most common questions I have encountered over the years, and perhaps provide you with some sense of direction and you move forward into the New World of Marketing we are now calling “Social Media”.
On LinkedIn, the most common thing I hear is, I don’t think I have enough connections to make any difference. In this case, After working personally with hundreds of clients on linked in, here at least I can tell you, size does not matter. I can state, without reservation, the number of connections you have is unimportant. What you do with those connections is very important, the messaging, frequency, groups that you belong to, the pulse articles that you publish, the promotion of those articles, how you grow your connections, and how targeted your LinkedIn connections are, as a group, these are all things that you should pay attention to. And they have nothing to do with size. I currently help a dozen or more clients on LinkedIn with business Development. Thier networks range in size from 247 to 23,572. Most seem to be in the 2k to 5 k range. All of my clients are growing daily, and all are getting new clients and prospects from LinkedIn every single day.
The most important thing I try to teach them is, define your target prospect, and then bring value to that prospect. Spend very little time thinking about the individuals in your network, and spend more time thinking about how you add value to your target prospect. You see LinkedIn is self-selecting. Self-selection is a way of letting people choose which team or network to belong to. It is a facilitated process of letting people self-organize into small, cross-functional groups. It is the fastest and most efficient way to form stable teams and is based on a belief that people are at their happiest and most productive if they can choose what they work on and who they work with. If you have defined your Target Prospect, and you are delivering content that appeals to your target prospect, then, you will have a network of people who resemble your target prospect.
Think of it this way, your company manufactures OrangeWidgets. Your profile mentions Orange Widgets, you have published several articles about Orange Widgets and your messages, most of the time talk about Orange Widgets. People will continue to follow you, if they have, or think they will have, some sort of use for Orange Widgets. If the only thing they are or every will be interested in is Blue Widgets, your content is less relevant and, they will self-select to leave your network. That’s they way it works. What you are left with, over time is a network that has an interest in Orange, not Blue Widgets. Simple right?
Simple right? So, If you build your network deliberately over time, you will eventually have a constant source of interested people. But think about this, as you grew that network, you will have engaged directly with people who needed what you offered right then and there, sometimes immediately.
So nurturing your network will provide clients who have engaged with you over time. Growing your network will provide clients who have more immediate needs. And, Business Development happens on a regular basis now, and in the future. Definitively, in the vast number of cases, size is much less important than just moving forward deliberately.
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Michael Noel CEO FullStack TLC https://FullStackTLC.com