In my VA training, it’s pretty much been drilled into my head that any and every professional who means business, so to speak, is on LinkedIn, or should be. Why is LinkedIn so important?
It’s a social media platform that is (or should be – more on this later) where professionals of all kinds can interact and people can find clients, jobs or employees.
So what is it exactly, and how does one go about using it effectively?
While I am certainly not a professional when it comes to LinkedIn, I can tell you that I’ve found roughly half of my clients through LinkedIn, and I’ve even made some powerful connections. But that’s not all LinkedIn should be used for.
Let’s break down social media’s users:
Facebook is for baby boomers. Twitter is used by a variety of people but some millennials use it, despite spending most of their time on SnapChat and Instagram.
Considering the content that is often posted on these platforms, it’s kind of nice to have one that’s strictly professional, however, some folks even abuse this platform. I’ve heard countless stories of VAs receiving creepy messages from men, often disguised as a potential client, but often, there’s no guise at all. These types of people ruin it for the rest of us who want to feel safe and be seen as professional on this platform. It’s not the norm, but if it happens, consider reporting it.
I had my account for several years before actually using it to my advantage. I maybe had 25 or so connections and rarely logged in. But when I became a VA, I turned that around. Here’s how you can up your LinkedIn game:
Connect with three main groups of people:
- ones you’ve worked with in the past
- people in your field
- folks who may need your services
People You’ve Worked With In The Past
You may not want to connect with everyone you’ve ever worked with, but consider connecting with those who can directly vouch for your skills and experience. Connecting with anyone who can attest to how valuable you are are going to be the best connections to make. Once the connection is made, send them a private message and ask for a recommendation that you can add to your profile. It’s wise to give some examples of the types of skills you want to be recommended for in your message. Often, people are thrilled to be asked for recommendations.
People In Your Field
Some may disagree with this advice, after all, they are kind of your competition. But, in my line of work, I appreciate connecting with fellow VAs because it’s about connecting with my tribe and sharing information. I find that the conversations I see in my feed from fellow VAs are interesting, and fun to weigh in on. Plus, if you’re at capacity, its nice to have people to fall back on if a potential client needs help.
People Who May Need Your Services
I didn’t find it easy to figure out who my ideal client is, but it was an exercise that was well worth the effort. Once I knew the type of person I enjoy helping, I could focus on connecting with them, and interact with them directly, through private messages, in groups or in posted conversations.
You’ve made these connections. Now what?
This is where the magic begins to happen. Now, LinkedIn is NOT a tremendously busy platform, which is awesome, because in our busy lives, who has the time to keep up with another busy platform? You really only need about 10-15 minutes a day to log in, scroll through some posts and add your comments to interesting conversations.
Liking and sharing other people’s content/posts is as important, as it is on other platforms, but engaging in conversation is most important.
What if you have nothing to say?
You won’t always have something meaningful to contribute to a conversation, and that’s okay. If that’s the case, you can share what’s going on in your professional life:
- a new blog post
- a tutorial or video
- articles from other authors
- a new service you’re offering
- a business milestone
- case studies
- a tip or trick you’ve learned
These are but a handful of topics you could mention.
Free LinkedIn Challenge
It all starts with a great LinkedIn profile, and I used the advice of the lovely Luan Wise, a UK-based marketing consultant/trainer. She offers a free, 7-day LinkedIn challenge that is just genius. Sign up by clicking here, and get your profile in tip-top shape, and get the most out of LinkedIn.