LinkedIn has been my best resource for connecting with and securing new clients as an independent business owner. But it takes a bit of savvy to use it well. Here are some of my best tips.
Do Some Cold Emailing
I hate cold calling. I’m a writer and most of us writers are introverted by nature. But what I do enjoy is cold emailing, and LinkedIn is a great platform for it.
Here are my steps for successful cold emailing:
As a writer, I look for marketing directors, creative directors, marketing managers, or HR personnel. Other businesses may want to look for IT directors, purchasing managers, or the like.
At this point you have two options:
The more connections you have on LinkedIn, the easier this process becomes. Because you will find that more people will become second degree connections (which you can connect to for free) rather than third degree (which require a paid upgrade).
Join Some Groups
I encourage business owners to not only join small business groups on LinkedIn, but to also join other groups related to their particular industry. Once you’ve joined, don’t just be a lurker. Post actively to discussions, create topics that generate conversation, and take every opportunity to share your “expertise” when you can.
You never know when a connection to another person will land you a job (this happened to me when a client saw me connect with one of his current writers), or when you might have a lurker who is either in need of your services or knows someone at their company who is.
Plus, sometimes people don’t even know they need you or that they have the option for your type of help – that is, until they are made aware that you exist!
I use my feed to quietly promote myself and my work. I do this as unobtrusively as possible, by mixing it up with other non-promotional posts that offer interesting information or something for a laugh. If you just self-promote non-stop, people will most surely delete your updates from their feeds. I have done this with some of my contacts!
How to avoid this blunder? If you’re strategic about it and include other information on a regular basis that people either don’t mind seeing or don’t get annoyed by, you can throw in little tidbits about your current projects, successes, or website updates without totally turning people off.
And yes, this does work. One client hired me because she said she was impressed with how I engaged in self-promotion on LinkedIn.
Enjoy a Professional Image
Without a doubt, business owners need to be viewed as professionals if they want to be respected and earn top fees for the work they do. Because LinkedIn is the type of network that every CEO, VP, Director and the like is a part of, you need to join the club too.
Spend some time updating your profile so that you look polished, educated, and great at what you do. Then when people go to research you, or you try to do that cold email thing that I talked about earlier, you’ll have a better chance at success.
How Has LinkedIn Helped You?
Have you had success networking through LinkedIn? What has worked for you? Share your experiences in the comments.
Contact me at email@example.com.
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