People are misusing LinkedIn left and right. As with any tool, you can be most effective when you use it properly and that usually requires some learning. Unfortunately, we see people self-promoting and trying to sell overtly on LinkedIn and it is just as undesirable as someone going around at a networking event shoving cards at you and trying to sell to you on the spot without knowing if you are even a viable prospect (as shared in my networkers infographic).
Here are tips to stay out of LinkedIn jail and do it right.
Be genuine and connect with those you know. Always include a personal message.
Think of LinkedIn just like real life networking. It’s a two-way conversation. It’s about acknowledging others, asking questions, listening, and showing others that you care. Your job is to get on LinkedIn and engage so others will get to know you, like you and trust you. Then you have the opportunity to find out if they are a prospect. At that point, get off of LinkedIn and make a call or meet in person. LinkedIn can help you with your sales process, but it doesn’t replace the need for real human interaction and the fact that we need to give before we get.
When sharing, follow Wayne’s advice: 6/3/1
Wayne Brietbarth has a great article on this LinkedIn Status Updates: The Rule Everyone Should Follow. He talks about the 6/3/1 Rule, which simply means that for every 10 posts you make, six should be great content you enjoyed reading and thought worthy of sharing with your audience. Three should be informative content that you or your company produced and it can include blogs, videos, infographics, case studies and other similar content. Then, one can be a shameless self-promotion of your offerings. This is a great guideline to follow. If you follow other experts and thought leaders, you will always have plenty of great content to post. This is one of the reasons I love Twitter. It is an endless stream of great content.
When there is someone you want to know, ask for an introduction.
LinkedIn states clearly to connect only to those you know. Once you do that, you can get an introduction to those you want to know. Of course, networking is about meeting those you don’t know, and if you can’t get an introduction, then send a note explaining briefly who you are an why you want to connect. Do not use the default connection message under any circumstance, even if you know the person. This is the main reason why I don’t use the mobile app frequently. It doesn’t allow you to personalize a connection request message.
Use LinkedIn to connect with people and develop strong, leveragable relationships. Use it to share great content your followers will be interested in, and use it to share thought provoking content that you or your company prepares. By doing these things, people will be open to the times when you do share a product or program you would like them to buy.
Get more sales tips in the RingLead ebook, Sphere of Influence Selling: An Inside Sales Approach to Crushing Your Quota.
This post originally appeared on AliceHeiman.com.