One question I’ve been asked a lot lately is ‘Does LinkedIn work for you – do you get new business through it?’ Well, the short answer is ‘yes’. So, how does this happen? How is it that in the last 18 months or so, my LinkedIn activity has proven fruitful?
After all I’m still building my network and currently spend maybe no more than 20 minutes on a small number of LinkedIn activities every other day or so.
Yes, I’ve met new people and indeed some of those new connections have led to interesting conversations and opportunities.
But there is one thing that stands out for me – one thing that LinkedIn really helps me do.
That’s keep in touch in a consistent, professional way with people I’ve known for long time.
And this is what has led to real business for me this year.
Sometimes those people are ex-colleagues from corporate life (and fair to say I would never have re-connected with them without LinkedIn) and sometimes they are people I’ve met in other circumstances (like networking and pitching for projects) over the last 12 years.
‘Keeping in touch’ is of course a key part of the sales or marketing process – but how many of us find that hard to do in a comfortable and authentic way?
I first had a sense of the power of LinkedIn in this respect when I was discussing a specific project with someone and they said, “It’s good to talk with you about this - I’ve been following your updates on LinkedIn.”
And several other people have told me they feel that they are in touch with me – all through regular activity updates and the occasional personal contact.
I first felt truly comfortable with LinkedIn when I realised I had to stop thinking about it as something new or different and simply use it to support my natural style and way of doing things.
Close contacts have often told me that I’m ‘good at keeping in touch’. I pop up now and again with something helpful, something I know they’ll be interested in, an introduction.
I like LinkedIn. I enjoy using it. It helps me do more of what I naturally do more easily.
If you still feel unsure about it, take another look (behind the technology), think of it as a valuable tool to use as part of your referrals strategy, and then integrate it into your day-to-day activities. Good networking practice and common sense always come first, so focus on this – because that’s what will make your LinkedIn experience successful and indeed enjoyable.
What do you think about LinkedIn? Have you a different experience to share?
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