Linkedin recently celebrated its milestone of achieving 200 million profiles by sending a congratulatory message for those whose profiles were in the upper 1, 5, or 10% of profiles viewed. (If you’re on LinkedIn and didn’t receive a notification, our condolences.) Even my husband, who is NEVER on Linkedin, received a celebratory 10% viewership. (That does seem to water down the magnitude of the message, doesn’t it.)
Before you light the candles and pop the champagne to commemorate your profile viewership, let’s pause for a moment to consider what viewership means. For instance, it may mean:
- Your Linkedin profile is optimized with key words frequently searched for by others.
- You have a captivating title that attracts others to want to know more about what you’re up to.
- Your comments in groups, or on the now defunct Answer section, sparked interest in your profile.
- You’re connected to someone who knows someone who knows someone that you know.
- Others in your industry are stalking you.
However, just like visits to a website, it means little unless you can convert views to leads to clients to raving fans. How you move others successfully from viewers through the continuum to raving fans doesn’t happen in one leap. It occurs over time with a strategic focus that builds the relationship.
Here are a few of our favorite – and successful – business development strategies for turning Linkedin viewership into clients:
- Personalize the invitation when requesting a Linkedin connection. What did you find intriguing about their profile? Is there something you have in common? Let others know why you want them to join your network.
- Thank each person with a customized message when your invitation is accepted. Politeness is still popular. It goes a long way in building relationships. Plus, so few people follow this strategy that you’ll really stand out among the crowd of 200 million. It’s what your mother taught you when meeting new people. Make her proud!
- Engage in a conversation about their business. Ask them about themselves, what they do, what’s happening in their industry…without trying to sell them your wares! Demonstrate your sincere interest in them.
- Respond to conversations initiated by others. Would you ignore a question or a conversation directed at you while at a cocktail party? If you did, you wouldn’t be invited to many parties. How and when you respond speaks volumes about your business. Don’t be the hollow chocolate Easter Bunny!
- Engage with those in your network. Just like offline networking fosters relationship building and develops trust, the same principles apply with online networking. Show up. Make comments. Contribute to the conversation. Ask questions. Unless your well-known among your industry, or your name is ‘Warren Buffet’ or ‘Bill Gates’, you’ll want to advance your audiences experience and knowledge of you through the nine stages of building virtual trust.
- Don’t sell your wares until you’ve earned the right. If you’ve followed the business development strategies up to this point, there’s a good likelihood that you’ve discovered the possibility of a need – or not – for your services. If you’ve not uncovered a need for your offerings, you’ll likely appear cheesy and desperate in your attempt to sell to your Linkedin connection. Selling is about finding a need and filling it. No need? No sale!
- Don’t just promote – engage. The recent trend in groups seems to be posting blog links without any further conversation. I liken that it to an offline-networking event where someone hands me their business card, expects me to go to their site to read about them, and then waits for me to initiate the conversation. What?! Give others something to go on when posting your blog links. My favorites are those that add a question to their blog links that sparks a conversation.
- Follow-up and follow-through. Each time you have an opportunity to engage with your fellow Linkedin networkers, be sure to follow-up and follow-through in a timely manner. Someone once said, “In the absence of information, people make up their own.” Untimely or delayed follow-up with a connection on Linkedin may lend itself to others falsely believing your service follow-up will be slow also.
- Thank those who have viewed your profile. Linkedin provides a way to see who is viewing your profile. It’s a wonderful opportunity to ‘thank’ the viewer and ask if you can be of service. It’s a simple yet powerful business development strategy.
- Invest in a paid Linkedin subscription. Linkedin will probably love me for promoting this! There’s so much more you can do with a paid subscription. And, the cost is less than one offline networking event a month. Don’t leave the potential to develop long-lasting relationships to chance by limiting your options to connect.
Although these are common-sense business development strategies, many people seem to park their rational and reasonable networking skills at the home page of their favorite social media sites. Don’t let your Linkedin viewership go to waste. Take time to nurture those important relationships that can spell the difference between success and failure in your social networking attempts.
What business development strategies have helped you move someone from a viewer to a client?