The LinkedIn How and Why

As many of you who are reading this and/or who know me, know am a huge Linkedin advocate. As a social media platform, I find it the absolute best place by a country mile to help build a business and brand. In fact probably close to 95% of all the work of The Exhibition Guy comes directly from LinkedIn. Is it hard work? Yes sometimes it is and if your looking for a platform to dip in and out of and expect loads of business to come from it then you are wasting your time. It takes time and consistency of effort to get results.

This short article is about the 5 best things about Linkedin and some tips on what you should do within each to build relationships and business.

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Your profile is effectively your shop window which sells your business and more importantly yourself. If you don’t sell yourself well on your profile then it makes it less likely people will want to buy into you. Simple things like having a good(not necessarily professional) profile pic. Not using the default Linkedin background image are just the start. For me the key is the headline, this is where people start to be a real feel for who you are and what you do. It could be what you do for your clients or who you do it for. Using a headline like Sales Manager, Business owner, consultant or director are all great business titles but they are purely titles. It’s important to focus on what it is you actually do or who you do it for. The headline has a limited number of characters so it needs to be short and sweet….you can use the summary section underneath for a more detailed explanation.

For me I work with Exhibitors, Organisers & Contractors and each is important for my business so I focus on this and use my summary for a more detailed explanation of the benefit to them. I also work a lot abroad so try and use the word global so people know I travel anywhere to deliver training.

It’s really worth putting time into this as it will pay off and make your profile really stand out.

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The content you share is critical to how people view you. As it’s a business platform, relevant content is really important. This is not difficult, it’s just about sharing things you know really well. It could be changes in the industry, interesting new ways of doing things, experiences you have had or tips for success or indeed things to avoid. Essentially views on things that are posted to help other people. Your content will not resonate with every single connection you have but it’s not meant to. It’s meant to help some people. That’s why varying your content is a good idea. I was in a coffee shop in Dublin some time ago and a guy tapped me on the shoulder and said…oh your that guy whose always posting on LinkedIn. Smiling I said yes that’s me…kinda chuffed…when he said…I don’t like your stuff….I go..oh ok…not really sure what’s coming next. So I asked him why do you follow me then? He said, well I like some of your posts. Ha ha, not sure if I should laugh or cry! The point is it’s all about sharing content that people can get something from. I always say it people when it comes to content, mix it up between standard posts, videos, graphics, comments, articles and whatever works for your network. By mixing it up you keep it interesting and more people will believe in you and see you as an expert in your field. This is the real value…creating “you” brand value.

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Having lots of connections is “nice and fluffy” but without doing anything with them that’s all it is. I have almost 16,000 connections and whilst that’s a big number it’s nowhere close to some other people on LinkedIn but it’s also not relevant…the bigger number gives you the bigger reach but what’s far more important is who these connections are. In my case, I work globally so need to have lots of connections in different countries but if your business is all in Ireland then international connections aren’t as relevant. When I started my business I would connect with absolutely anyone and then realized there wasn’t much point in connecting with people who I couldn’t help and connecting with them was pretty much a waste of time for both of us. The real key is to connect with people in your industry or allied industry as this is where the real value can be shared. Ironically when I stopped inviting people, I got more connection requests and these came solely from the content I was and still am sharing. What’s the expression…give and you shall receive! If you are looking to connect with someone…ask yourself what’s in it for them first…

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Messages on LinkedIn are one thing I love and hate in equal measure these days. Every day I get around 10-12 new connection requests. In about 50% of the case, once I accept I get a long email(bulk mail with no personalization) selling me their services within 4 minutes. This irritates me because I’m in sales so do get that we try and sell but not before you find out a bit more about your connection and build a relationship. In most cases I know the person has no clue about what I do(because they invited me without even looking at my profile) so how could they possibly know what I need? Like I say, I’m all for sales but build some kind of relationship first. If we are in the same industry and know something about each other first, by all means introduce yourself but don’t go in for the hard sale kill on the first email. It doesn’t work! The key is to develop a relationship via messaging with the person and then look at what you can do for EACH OTHER! A one way win in business is not a win. My suggestion is always keep your LinkedIn messages short and develop them over time.

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Groups are a great way of engaging with people on Linkedin as they are and can be specific to your sector. This is a really good place to get involved and shine as the expert in your field. Members of these groups are in your sector so share your knowledge in these groups. There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn so it’s not hard to find relevant ones. By sharing articles, posts or comments in your relevant groups you are enabling yourself build a strong network of likeminded professionals. I try and not successfully enough at this stage(yet) to build in time each week for “groups engagement”…make it part of your plan each week! Funnily enough, for me I have got a lot more connection requests from members of groups I’m in so it does work. I would encourage you to look to join 3-4 groups in your sector in the next couple of days and start engaging there. I think groups are vastly under utilized on LinkedIn and offer you an even more targeted way of engaging with the right people.

I hope you got some valuable tips and thoughts from this article and as someone who has generated in the region of €200k of business through Linkedin I can absolutely attest that this is an amazing platform that really works for those who put in the effort. In fact if you need any help as an individual or business getting your LinkedIn profile working for you, get in touch as we run short courses on how to use the platform even better and see real results.

Have a great day – The Exhibition Guy, Dublin, Ireland,