Getting results with LinkedIn – What you need to know

Screenshot of LinkedIn

If you own a small business, you probably don’t have a lot of time or much passion for marketing. When I first started as Phelps Research in early 2000, just the thought of dealing with sales funnels, cold calls, and endless coffee meetings, in addition to actually running my business, created a lot of stress. Then someone gave me the two best pieces of marketing advice I’ve ever received:

  1. Attract clients, instead of chasing them
  2. Speak to many, instead of just one

Back then, I did that through speaking and writing. I shared my research knowledge and techniques, and, in those days, it was a challenge. It involved a lot of time away from the office, and you needed a publisher for your articles and books. It was a slow process, and I eventually built a good business based on referrals, not broadcast advertising.

Fast forward 15 years, and I became a private investigator, even changing the company name. My skills were evolving and expanding, and I was marketing to a different audience. Fortunately, LinkedIn had moved from a CV placeholder to a community of like-minded professionals, so I decided to finally take it seriously. I learned by doing, and when I put in the effort, LinkedIn always delivers.

After starting two businesses, one before social media and one after, I can say that you get better, faster results with social media. For individuals and small businesses, there’s no better way to make meaningful connections.

So how do I get such good results with LinkedIn? After years of learning and a lot of trial and error, here’s what’s most important:

It’s all about helping others

We call it social media for a reason. It’s not about you or why anyone should buy your products or services. LinkedIn is not a platform for broadcasting your message. It’s about making connections and learning what they really need—not what you think they need. Once you have a pretty good idea, then find a way to help. Not by selling or asking for their time. Share your knowledge and others’ knowledge. Introduce your connections and celebrate their successes. Without expecting anything in return. Then see where it takes you. It’s about community and becoming a part it—not just an observer or a drop-in visitor who demands all the attention.

Once you switch to focusing on helping others, here are a few ways to make your time on LinkedIn more streamlined and productive:

Set goals – What’s your purpose? Attract clients? Sell e-books or online courses? Find a new job? Then select just one metric for measuring success. This will keep you on track and help you avoid wasting time and effort.

Do your research – Know your audience, their job titles, and the words they use to describe what they do and need. Spend time searching LinkedIn, following those who are well-known in the field, and just listen and observe.

Have a plan – What steps do you need to take before your first post? Once active on LinkedIn, how will you engage and how often? What steps can you take to ensure that you’ll stay on track and notice when you’re not?

In my new online course, Attracting Clients and Building Credibility Through Social Media–Without Making it Your Full-Time Job, I’ll walk you through nine steps for creating your own plan, customized for your best outcomes. I also share tips and strategies for putting your plan into action. And you’ll earn 2.0 CPE hours. You can find more info here.

See you on LinkedIn!


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