Approaching Others on LinkedIn
Welcome to this weeks LinkedInformed.
I get approached almost every week by people who want to come on the LinkedInformed podcast. The vast majority want to come on the show to sell something or tell us about something they are an expert in that has very little to do with LinkedIn.
It seems to me to be yet another formulaic internet marketing process being recommended by gurus – search for popular podcasts and approach the host because they are always looking for guests.
Well I’m not looking for guests…
Unless of course I think they have experience to share that is highly relevant to LinkedIn and offers some genuine value to subscribers.
Loren Greiff is one such person.
When I spoke with Loren a few weeks ago, it was clear that she has an innovative approach to using LinkedIn, especially regarding two techniques that we discuss in detail in the podcast;
- Ethical Line Jumping
More of that later but first…
Interesting Stuff I Saw This Week
I finally got the new ‘warmer’ design this week and it gave my eyes quite a shock, the upside is that I can now switch off my office light on a dull day!
Posting links from a company page
I was informed about a curious glitch this week that involves posting links to company pages.
If you are on a website that has a ‘share to LinkedIn’ button, you are not able to share that page via a post (update) from your LinkedIn company page, only from your personal profile.
This must be a glitch because you can take the url and post it from your Page with no problems. It’s also noticeable that the error message refers to an ‘attachment’ not a link.
Video messages from desktop
I love sending video messages from the mobile app but this week I was sat at my desk and thought it would be easier and allow for a better quality video to attach a video to a message from the desktop.
The first video I made was in .mov format which was not compatible – no surprise as such so I converted it to .MP4 format which is the same format as used on mobile but to my surprise, that was not accepted either!
Why on earth can’t LinkedIn make it so that you can send video messages?
Approaching Others With Loren Greiff
Loren has two techniques she loves to recommend to her clients. Ethical line jumping and Triggers.
If your settings are default then you will see notifications such as these
I personally have notifications for all of these switched off because I want to concentrate on more important notifications but Loren sees it very differently.
Rather than clicking on the dreadful canned messages such as ‘Congrats’ or ‘Happy birthday’ Loren simply uses these ‘triggers’ as a reason to reach out to connections and send them a much better, personalised message.
Example: “Hey Angus, we haven’t been in touch [before/for some time] but I noticed that it was your birthday today. Congratulations, what are you planning to do to celebrate tonight?”
Loren and I both agree that this is so much better than sending the canned message which comes across as disingenuous or possibly even rude!
What I’m less sure about is the wisdom of sending this personalised message to a cold connection who doesn’t really know who you are.
Loren explains that she has seen great success using this method but I’m unconvinced. I don’t doubt that some people will enjoy or at least not dislike such an approach but if I received such a message, I would be unimpressed on a good day and a bit annoyed on a bad day! I wouldn’t bother replying though so the author would never know, I might actually disconnect from them but again, they are unlikely to notice that.
We had an interesting debate about this and concluded that the best approach is to consider the person you are messaging and make an educated judgment on whether it is appropriate or not.
Things to consider;
- Cultural. Where in the world are they based?
- What is their profession?
- Make a judgment of their tonality on LinkedIn. How is their profile written (be careful it might have been written for them), what do they post and share, and even more relevant, what do they write in post comments (theirs and other authors)?
The last of those is a really important skill to develop on LinkedIn anyway, mastery of this allows you to post better content, build better relationships, and ultimately achieve greater success on LinkedIn.
In addition, you could subscribe to CrystalKnows where you can obtain a DISC psychometric assessment of someone from their LinkedIn profile. It’s expensive at $29/month* but in my experience, it does give a surprisingly accurate picture of someone.
*You do get 10 free profiles before you have to subscribe
Ethical Line Jumping
I love this one and it’s very similar to my ‘five topics’ technique I teach to my clients.
The term refers to finding a way to be at the ‘front of a line’ that has access to a community of leaders and decision makers you are targeting and want to do business with.
To do this you first need to understand, in some detail, what content your target audience is engaging with and what conversation threads are developing around these topics.
Once you are clear about what content to find you jump right onto these conversations ensuring that you add value and develop your voice in this ‘topic based community’.
This is how to develop from a passive ‘lurker’ into a recognised and hopefully respected, voice in the community. This increases your visibility to the right audience, develops your credibility, and improves your relevancy with that community thus increasing the visibility and effectiveness of your own posts.
To do this effectively, you really need to add value and tune into the nature of the conversation, this might require you doing some research first. The good news is that the more of this you do, the easier it becomes.
The keyword here is ‘contribution’. Your job is not to promote yourself and/or add platitudes – that is likely to do you more harm than good. Your role is to contribute as much as possible by making the thread more interesting/challenging/informative.
In my experience most people struggle to do this and here’s the reason;
They do not see themselves as part of the community they wish to serve
This is a critical point.
If you want to achieve sustainable success, you need to dive in fully and commit to becoming a fully fledged member of the community you wish to serve. You may have a limiting belief that you are not worthy/experienced enough/knowledgeable etc and this will likely hold you back in all aspects of your job, not just when on LinkedIn.
By ‘jumping the line’ in this way you are effectively pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and developing your knowledge and communication skills.
As Loren puts it:
Get yourself some smart feet, take the action. Your head will tell you all kinds of things but let your feet be smarter than your brain and go ahead and do it, there is a very low level of risk here
This will improve your contribution but also the quality of your own content.
Tip: If you see a conversation thread about a topic that intimidates you or feels out of your scope then think about who you know on LinkedIn or elsewhere who may know more about this subject. Contact them and ask for their opinion and then jump back into the thread on LinkedIn and contribute with the information you have obtained. Note – never claim this is coming from you, explain that you were “recently discussing this with a contact of yours and they said…” This will simultaneously develop your visibility, credibility and knowledge!
As Loren explained this type of networking online is so much easier and more effective than it is in person.
It also largely eliminates ageism from the barrier it can be with in-person networking. On LinkedIn, you will primarily be judged by the words you type and the contribution you make.
The bottom line is that ethical line (or queue) jumping will improve you as a professional.
Loren Greiff is Founder and President of PortfolioRocket.com a proprietary system to help design thinkers, UXers, product designers, creatives & keen digital marketers find 80-85% of the jobs not posted online, in the hidden job market.
Post of the week
This weeks post of the week is from Adina. I love it because it’s written in a very engaging style and shows real vulnerability.
OK she is a professional copywriter but this does seem to be her very first first post ever on LinkedIn and with less than 500 followers (probably much less when she posted) it’s a pretty impressive result to get over 200 comments.
Adina’s sentiment is not uncommon amongst others of her age group. Despite being very comfortable with social media, something they have literally grown up with, LinkedIn can seem an intimidating place, full of highly experienced professionals.
It’s important that we recognise that and do as much as we can to encourage and include the younger generation.
Lest We Forget
It’s remembrance Sunday this week and so I also felt it was important to feature this video post which was originally made by the British Army.