I’ve connected with someone in my target market on LinkedIn, now what? Is there an etiquette? How should I approach them? What should I say? These are common questions we get asked all the time from people who are just starting off on LinkedIn or launching their very first campaign.
We know it can be a little overwhelming at first, especially if you’re not used to connecting with people you don’t know online. Because of this it’s extremely important you don’t do it the wrong way, otherwise you’ll come across as a spammer, burn relationships and tarnish your personal brand.
The best way to think about LinkedIn is more like one big networking function. Most people who are active on the platform are there to network with other like minded professionals and build meaningful relationships.
That’s not to say everyone is, but that’s okay because as the old saying goes there’s many roads to success, but the only straight path to failure is trying to please everyone. If you try to please everyone on LinkedIn – you’d connect with no one and therefore you simply won’t be successful.
The key with LinkedIn is finding, connecting and then starting a conversation with people who are in your target market. Given LinkedIn is one of the largest social media platforms in the world (567 million members), there’s a good chance there’s plenty on their waiting for you to connect with.
It’s just about knowing how to do it properly. With that said here’s 3 ways you can start more conversations on LinkedIn. Based on us running campaigns for over half a decade internally and educating over 20,000 people across 60 industries and 35 countries.
The first strategy is simply engaging with your target markets content and then inviting them to connect. To do this effectively you need to be using the LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which we have spoken about in many of our blog posts in the past.
You can sign up for a free trial by following this link. For long time readers this is nothing new to you.
But for people who have never read our blogs before, this tool allows us to drill down from the millions of members on LinkedIn right down to the specific people you are looking to get in front of and connect with. You can do this by using the Advanced Search feature as shown in the screenshot below:
Once you have searched for your target market you then save those people as leads. From there LinkedIn will then create a secondary news feed of all your leads who have shared content in the past 30 days. The key is to start liking and commenting on their content before you reach out and connect as this starts to build a relationship with them.
Not only that but you’ll also get more people accepting your invitations and a greater number of those will open up a conversation with you on the back end of that. To do this all you need to do is login to Sales Navigator, go to the Lead Shares section on the home page, simply start from the top and work your way down for 15-20 minutes per day.
At the same time use the same saved search we spoke about earlier to start connecting with your target market one on one. Write a personalised connection script and work your way through the list of contacts from your saved search.
Remember at this stage you don’t want to pitch anything, in fact at no point in this process are you pitching anything, you’re looking to build a relationship. For your connection script to work well, it needs to be short, simple and to the point.
If you do this right you will start to see conversations opening up on LinkedIn and those conversations turning into phone and face to face meetings. As a general rule of thumb we recommend sending out 50 invites per day Monday to Friday.
The second strategy is a follow on from the invites you’ve been sending out. As you start to connect with your target market you’ll find that a percentage of them will accept your invite, enter your network, but not respond. For those we want to follow up and send a private message.
Something simple to start a conversation, again not pitching you or your company. Maybe it’s something you’ve noticed on their profile that they do, perhaps it’s simply asking a little bit more about them or letting them know you’ll be in town and seeing if they’re are keen to catch up for a coffee.
Think of something creative that will open up a conversation, with the aim to take the conversation offline. Doing this effectively will find you starting quality relationships with your target audience.
Now if they don’t respond to this message, then you simply move on. Remember there’s over 567 million members, don’t get hung up on those who don’t respond.
Maybe they’re just not ready to chat, far too busy right now or they’ve just missed your message. If you continue to send out messages to them you’ll come across pushy and a little desperate which can be a poor reflection on your personal brand.
The final piece of the puzzle is developing and distributing quality, engaging and targeted content via status updates within the newsfeed. Once someone accepts your invitation they are officially in your network. This means they will start to see your content pop up in their newsfeed.
Sharing your knowledge regularly will help you stay top of mind, build your influence and a community of people in your market who know, like and trust you. If you stay consistent and put up quality content, once someone in your target market is ready, has a need or is interested in your product or service who do you think they will reach out to? You of course.
Our founder puts up a number of posts per week, out of which we always get quite a number of people enquire about our services, speaking opportunities, podcast interviews etc. It’s very common and a great opportunity to turn your connections into inbound leads and business opportunities.
And right now there’s never been a better time to start posting content on LinkedIn. Why? Because out of the 567 million members only 1 million posts are being published per day.
The time to share your content is now and the best way to do that is through video as LinkedIn is giving a lot of attention to this style of content right now. Start by putting up status updates such as video, image or text posts.
80% of this content needs to be educational or personal experiences with some kind of key takeaway for your audience. Below is an example of an educational piece our founder Alex Pirouz posted a month ago, click here if you want to get to the actual post.
Now the additional 20% can be promotional content which serves as the channel to take conversations offline and into your sales process. Examples include offering free downloads to get people onto your email list or even a free strategy session. Below are examples of each as well as a link to the live posts that you can view by clicking here for the free download example and here for the strategy session post.
These three strategies are by far the most powerful ways to open up conversations with your target market on LinkedIn right now. Implement them and you too will start winning new clients and build your influence. Now if this is your first time running a campaign like this it can be a little daunting.
To take the guesswork out of it, you’re best off outsourcing it to people who have years of experience to ensure you maximise your efforts and also don’t burn opportunities. Remember your first impression can often be your last if not done correctly.
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