Do These 8 Things Before You Send a LinkedIn Message

by Gerry Moran

LinkedIn is an essential personal branding tool for every professional’s toolkit. Whether you are a sales professional, marketer, or newly minted college graduate, LinkedIn needs to be your go-to tool.

Because you can use send a LinkedIn message directly reach anyone in the world, it does not mean you should. It’s a powerful tool, so be careful!

A LinkedIn Message Gives You Networking Superpowers

LinkedIn gives us the networking superpower to reach out to almost anyone on the Web regardless of where they live. And when it comes to connecting on LinkedIn, it’s like Spiderman’s uncle said to his nephew, Peter Parker. “With great power comes great responsibility.” We all should be using LinkedIn with responsibility before making that first sale, marketing pitch, or recruiter contact.

Using LinkedIn to connect with someone is more than a “find and phone” exercise. Yes, we all need to pick up the phone to contact a customer or a hiring manager. However, we should also use LinkedIn to make the most out of the first contact and ongoing touches. LinkedIn should be the first touch that will make your first meeting a bit warmer!

Do Your LinkedIn Research First

However, a bit of research goes a long way before you make the first touch. Knowing five things about a customer before you make that cold call will increase your success rate vs. just knowing one piece of information about them. The same goes for a recruiter or anyone else with whom you are trying to establish a relationship. If someone is familiar with your name before you connect, then your success will be even greater.

8 LinkedIn Tips To Make A Better Network Connection 

1. Research your LinkedIn Group connections

With over 2 million LinkedIn Groups, your customers are bound to be participating in at least one of them. Most LinkedIn members belong to an average of seven of these groups. Use that LinkedIn group membership information or conversation to gather insight about your customer before you contact them. These groups are easy to find—they are listed on their profiles in the Interests section.

2.  Post daily LinkedIn status updates

Increase your status updates to increase your social brand impressions twice daily. These messages will reach your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-level contacts. These messages will help them learn about you. You have to message to be noticed. With over 2 million daily LinkedIn messages across update, Article, and video posts, it won’t be perceived you are posting too much!

3. Stay in light touch with your 1st-level customers

When your 1st-level contacts get promoted, share great content, or make a change to their profile, that’s an excellent opportunity to engage. A simple “Like” could do the trick to get on their radar. You need to comment, share, or like it to increase your visibility with them and with your network. This action is an excellent opportunity to get on the radar of your expanded network.

4. Use the “People Who Checked Your Profile” feature

Identify who checked out your profile and then search to see the LinkedIn Group to which they belong. Once you found it, respond to one of their group questions, or ask them a question in the group directly. However, keep in mind, if someone has their secrecy feature on, you will not be able to see any of their profile information.

5. Connect with Your 2nd- and 3rd-level contacts

Find out the LinkedIn Groups your 2nd- and 3rd-level contacts belong to and start to engage with them in that community. During your group conversation, make sure to drop your contact’s name to set up your commonality.

6.  Join all 50 LinkedIn groups

You’re allowed to join up to 50 LinkedIn groups.  Join them all to spread your social selling web of influence and make it easy for you to be contacted!

7.  Create persistent searches

Are you interested in geo-based or keyword-driven updates that can give you additional data points for greater insights? Use LinkedIn’s advanced search feature to deliver emailed updates to your network and prospect base. You have up to three LinkedIn searches you can save. Better yet, LinkedIn will email these search results to you weekly.

8.  Work on your LinkedIn curbside appeal

Before you connect or engage with a customer or prospect directly, make certain your LinkedIn profile (i.e., your curbside social appeal) is ready. You can’t sell yourself unless you have great curbside appeal, just like selling a home.

Do you have an additional take on how to use LinkedIn before you make your first customer or networking contact? If so, please share below or email me at gerry@marketingthink.com.

Good luck developing your LinkedIn skills that go behind finding and phoning customers or new network connections. Spin your information-gathering and personal branding Web before you make that first contact. And, fun fact!:  Did you know there are 820 Peter Parkers on LinkedIn? I wonder which one is the real Spiderman!

Gerry Moran is a social media and content marketing strategist who's worked for large global brands and digital agencies. He's spent significant time in hands-on marketing leadership roles with HBO, IKEA, Ralston Purina, Kodak, and numerous digital agencies. He spent his last ten years working at SAP and Cognizant, where he built their content marketing operating models, developed social media training programs, and helped thousands with their LinkedIn makeovers and personal branding strategies.

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