Earlier today I responded to a LinkedIn post where the author basically said this:
“Yeah, I get the unspoken LinkedIn rule. ‘No selling too soon on LinkedIn via DM.’ But why? This is a business site. It’s like we’re all at a singles bar trying to pretend we’re here only for the conversation. Yeah, sure we are. Do you want to sell me something? Go ahead. give it a shot! You can even do it in the first DM you send me! (By the way, I haven’t tried to sell anything on LinkedIn. Yet.)”
From a LinkedIn Post
Some of those who jumped into the conversation responded with “Yes, we should get to the sales messaging as quickly as possible.”
Some responded with “No, LinkedIn is not where you sell.”
My response went like this:
I think I understand your post, Steve.
Your idea may work for some who play the numbers game of connecting/selling, ie LinkedIn Cold-Calling, however, it doesn’t appeal to me.
For me, LinkedIn is primarily a research, branding & communications site. Once I have done enough research and I am ready, I’ll call, email or LinkedIn message the right people & ask the right question(s).
Maybe that question is “who should I send the invoice to?” or Maybe that question is, “when & where do you want to meet?”
It all depends on the results of the research, prior engagement and other activities that have occurred outside of LinkedIn.
I’m in this for the long journey. I don’t want to become ‘another guy who cold calls on LinkedIn.’
Again, this works for me, maybe not for others. Regarding your post, maybe LinkedIn cold calling works for others, it does not appeal to me.
Thanks for sparking an interesting conversation, even the bar scene tips others threw in here. (lol)
My comment to the post on LinkedIn
Now, I know that my ideas, philosophies, and tactics are not for everyone. However, I know that my processes work well for me.
This is why I teach my style, my tactics, steps, and best practices across the globe. I’m actually preparing to kick off my January 2020 LinkedIn Mastermind Group where I’ll share my philosophies, tactics, tips, tricks, hacks and many of my processes with others. Maybe you’ll want to join in. More info to come soon.
I like to refer to my use of LinkedIn as Social Networking, not Social Selling. For me, Social Networking is the foundation of Relationship Selling.
The phrase Social Selling is so twisted and misunderstood by so many people.
Do you prefer to do LinkedIn Cold-Calling? I’m still not a fan of any flavor of cold calling.
Or, do you prefer relationship sales? Yes, it’s a much longer journey, but this works for me.
Messaging on LinkedIn, now in some cases called Chat, is just one way to communicate and/or engage with your LinkedIn Network.
Before I share the features available to you, I need to alert you to this fact.
Not every LinkedIn Member is on LinkedIn enough to see or engage with you through your LinkedIn message. I generally look for the Green Circle (they are on LinkedIn now) or the green ring (they have LinkedIn Mobile Notifications enabled), before I consider sending a LinkedIn Message of any type. Understanding this can help you manage your LinkedIn messaging expectations.
OK, now I’ll share information about the messaging features and functions on the Desktop and Mobile Application:
Desktop Access – LinkedIn Messaging can be accessed from the following locations on the Desktop Browser application:
LinkedIn Newsfeed – Hover over a 1st Level LinkedIn Member name/profile picturein the LinkedIn Newsfeed and click on Message or Chat
You Connections List – accessed from My Network on the top-level menu bar, and then Connections, you can do a search for first, last or full name, or just scroll the list and then use the Message or Chat option on the right of a LinkedIn Member in the list.
LinkedIn Groups – From the Member list of any LinkedIn Group you are in, you can send any member a message, even if you are not a 1st level connection. You can send up to 15 messages a month to any Group member, across all of your LinkedIn groups.
LinkedIn Company Pages – Viewing 1st Level LinkedIn Members from a LinkedIn Company Page, by clicking on the line xxx connections work here:
shows up in LinkedIn Search using the Company and Connection filters. You can send a message to your 1st level connections from any Search Result window.
LinkedIn Profile – You can send a message to your 1st level connection from their LinkedIn Profile.
Your Network Invites – You can reply to and send a new message to anyone who sends you an original LinkedIn Invite. (I use the word original because there is a problem messaging people who send an invite after you previously ignored another invite.) You do this from the Invitation Manager accessed from your My Network page.
LinkedIn Messages page – Access the full LinkedIn Message page from the top menu bar. This will open a standard Chat Manager where you can read, reply and create new LinkedIn messages
LinkedIn Message Bar – This is on the lower right corner of most LinkedIn pages viewed in a web browser.
When clicked on this message bar, it opens upwards so you can access all of your LinkedIn Messages by scrolling or searching by keywords or names. Creating a new message will open up a message box on the lower area of the LinkedIn page.
Mobiles Access – LinkedIn Messaging can be accessed from the same locations in the LinkedIn Mobile Application, except there is no Message bar in the mobile app. The Full Message Page icon is only accessible from the upper right corner of the LinkedIn Home page.
Additionally, from the LinkedIn Mobile App, you can not send a message to LinkedIn Members who send you a LinkedIn invite. You can reply to LinkedIn invites that include a personal message.
Message Formats – The message formats between Mobile and Desktop are similar with a few exceptions.
From either the Message Bar or from the Full Message Page, the options are similar.
You can send a message to a single connection or to a group of LinkedIn Connections.
You can use text, include URLs to online content (the first URL will resolve to display) and include the URL to other LinkedIn Members by @Mentioning the LinkedIn Member (it will not notify the other LinkedIn Member).
You can attach an image, a file, a GIF or an emoticon image.
On the mobile application messaging has more features.
Beyond the options available on the desktop interface, in the Mobile Application, you have lots more options available.
You can include an image or video from your device Camera.
You can include a Location if you allow the LinkedIn app to access your Device Location.
You can select available times through Availability if you allow the LinkedIn app to access your device calendar. You can also include an audio recording in a LinkedIn Message.
There are lots of interesting options in the LinkedIn Mobile App messaging function
I encourage all LinkedIn Members to experience using the mobile application. Besides taking the LinkedIn environment with you as you are ‘out and about’, the messaging features are worth experimenting with.
I get asked often, “How much time should someone spend on LinkedIn?” I don’t want to answer this question because it’s not focused on a goal.
I would prefer to answer this question, “How much time should someone put into using LinkedIn in order to create real business results?”
Sometimes I answer the question this way, “Consider reinvesting 10-15 minutes every day using LinkedIn to build your presence, your network, and your reputation. Look at the other related tasks you’re doing today that don’t create the greatest results and invest that time into using LinkedIn instead.” (Example – extended cold calling)
This is hard for people to do because they are comfortable with those other tactics, even if they are not creating real results.
This is hard for people to do because they are not sure yet of the right way to use LinkedIn. They have not experimented enough or been taught the proper use of LinkedIn.
The best answer is this, “I strongly recommend LinkedIn Members who want to create real business value need to integrate the use of LinkedIn into other relevant business processes.” (Example – I never cold call without first doing research on LinkedIn.)
There are lots of actions you can do using LinkedIn. Which ones are right for you is directly influenced by your goals. Here are a few ideas:
If you are recruiter you may need to invest more time doing research on candidate Profiles and less time on 1:1 engagement and content sharing.
If you work a captive book of business (i.e not hunting for new clients), you’re more likely going to spend time sharing and engaging on relevant content and less time using the LinkedIn Search tools.
If you are an inside salesperson focused on current clients, you may spend more time on 1:1 engagement and content sharing than you would on market/industry researching.
If you are in marketing you’re likely going to spend more time researching companies, relevant content and influencers and less time searching for people or engaging on content.
These are just a few of the diverse ways different people in different roles could be using LinkedIn.
Look at some of the different functions available within LinkedIn:
Refining/updating your LinkedIn Profile.
Commenting on and/or Liking Content.
Sending new LinkedIn Invites.
Managing LinkedIn Invites.
1:1 messaging using text, images, documents, audio, and video, etc.
Sharing and engaging on content in LinkedIn Groups.
Research of LinkedIn Companies and Content.
Reading relevant and useful content.
Researching other LinkedIn Members
Analyzing your LinkedIn Insights (Profile views, Content activity,
Managing LinkedIn Notifications
Prospecting through LinkedIn Search
Sharing content in your LinkedIn Company Page
etc, etc, etc
I sometimes say LinkedIn is like a swiss army knife. Knowing what all the different blades are, helps you to determine which one to use when, and/or at all.
You don’t need to do everything all the time. You use specific areas of LinkedIn based on the specific task and/or goal.
Back to how much time should you spend using LinkedIn, and doing what?
Initially, I recommend investing a minimum of 15 minutes a day reviewing the different ‘knives’ and deciding what steps within LinkedIn could create the greatest initial value for you in your role. Then once you know how to use the tools, align your use of LinkedIn with other business processes while you continue to invest 15 minutes a day learning more about the tool and how you could again, integrate another LinkedIn activity into another business process.
Fact – if you don’t find a way to integrate the use of LinkedIn into other business processes, you will never completely adopt LinkedIn as a business tool in your role.
No one is truly successful using LinkedIn as a ‘stand-alone’ business tool
everyone wonders, “could he be one of those Kenyan or Russian Bots or just a Fake Account.
their network thinks they are only trying to sell their latest widget.
only spouts political or religious stuff online.
strives to foster fear and animosity in their network.
only looks to ‘pick a fight’ in every comment.
gets all excited when they hijack a conversation.
only shares pics of drop-dead gorgeous, sexy, lean, slick, shimmering scantily clad cars or multimillion-dollar estates.
drops stuff into social media hourly, but never joins into the conversations.
has a stuck selfie trigger finger.
seeks opportunities to criticize, condemn and complain about anything all the time.
sends out friend requests and connection requests to every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the Milkyway.
the moment they discover you disagree with them in any way they remove you as a Friend or Connection.
has never updated their social media profiles in the past 30 years. (hehe)
still has their college yearbook picture as their profile pic.
shares everything from Publisher Clearing House Ginsu knives, stories of the lost Satchsquatch, the best practices of cutting glass, etc, etc, but never anything about themselves or their family/community.
shares everything across all social media platforms at once.
feels the nasty/disgusting language they use on social media is ok, even though they would never say it in real life.
says, I don’t care about people on social media. They are not real to me.
does not verify what they post, especially when it seems like it could be fake.
This is just a shortlist of the types of social media users we should strive not to be. If you want to create value using social media, enjoy using social media, be trusted, respected and even liked for your use of social media, be better than all this above.
Consider how you are using social media. Remember, it all has to be TRUHE
Most LinkedIn Members are afraid to post anything on LinkedIn. They fear sharing content and commenting with any meaningful response beyond, “Thanks” or “Good stuff.” They’re afraid to post something that others will laugh at.
They’re afraid to it may be fake news.
They’re afraid their boss will yell at them.
They’re afraid of violating some rule or privacy guideline.
They’re afraid of making a huge mistake.
They’re afraid of the monsters lurking behind the keyboard.
The reasons are broad, however, they can be overcome.
I’ve made those mistakes, and I’ve lived to tell it about it.
Once, years ago one of my clients posted a YouTube Video that I commented on. My comment started out appreciative and supportive. Then I made a ’snide’ remark about the number of Ums & Ahs my client made in the video. He called me up and asked me, “is this how you want to engage with your client in public?” I immediately realized I made a mistake. I apologized and then deleted the comment and posted a positive one with no snide remarks. I learned from this mistake. I no longer criticize, condemn or complain on social media.
Another time I decided to get into an argument with someone on Facebook about a political issue. OMG, that failed miserably. I deleted all of my comments, took my public beating for running from the argument and, learned from my mistake. I no longer discuss politics or religion on social media.
“Live and learn, most importantly learn so you can live a better life.”
I have three edicts I’ve adopted that help me to overcome some of these fears:
“Never do, say or engage in any way you don’t want to be seen, heard or perceived of in life.”
“Everything you post on social media must be TRUHE (Transparent, Relevant, Useful, Honest and Engaging or exciting, educational or entertaining.”
“It’s not all about you (Teddy), rather make it all about your target audience.”
Adopting these edicts have kept me from making more dumb mistakes on social media as well as in life.
Now, with these ideas, how do we help people who should be engaging more, yet are still a little afraid?
It’s not easy, but you can start practicing and in time all of your fears will go away. Here are some more tactics that may help:
Listen to the words you say out loud when you are talking with a client, a prospect or someone else relevant to your business. Often what we say out loud could be a simple post on social media. The quote I wrote in this article, “Live and learn, most importantly learn so you can live a better life” became a graphic, Facebook and even LinkedIn Post.
Listen to what your target audience says and asks you. Again, often these words and/or your response to them could become a simple post, if not a full-fledge blog post. This article here came from a conversation with a client who asked me, “Teddy, how can I get more comfortable engaging on social media?”
Listen to the conversations at networking events, board meetings, conferences, symposiums, seminars, in the news, in trade magazines, industry websites, podcasts, and people on the street. When we discover the conversations going on around us, relevant to our businesses and our clients, these conversations can be sparks for your own posts, articles, videos, graphics and even a well-intentioned selfie.
Read what your target audience is talking about. Search for these conversations by keywords and/or by the individuals or brands. Read, or at least review the conversation and then imagine sitting at a coffee shop with a good friend and they just told you what you read. How would you reply back to them? What ideas come to mind? What words could you cobble together in a positive way and then respond?
Read content on LinkedIn relevant to your business and your clients. If you liked it, maybe, just maybe, someone else in your network will like it. Hit the Share button and help someone else learn something. Always tell your viewer what you got from the article when you share it.
This is important, don’t overthink what you are going to post or comment. Think about it, but if you spend too much time noodling your post or comment, it’ll come out looking scripted and seem fake.
Don’t overdo it. You don’t need a new post, article, video, graphic or comment every hour or even every day. Practice slowly. Practice around the people you trust and respect. Engage on their content first. Practice again on someone else’s content. Don’t try to create a post around every conversation you hear. Rather let your subconscious lead you with the most meaningful conversations you hear.
Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. I know this because I listened to a client ask me a question and it spurred me to write this article. I wrote what I thought was an interesting quote, and I took it to another level. Practice every day.
If you want my help, comment on my stuff and then message me and ask me, “Teddy, did I do OK?” I promise you as long as it was TRUHE and you did not overthink it, the answer will be Yes.
If you want my help to guide your sales team on content creation and curation, let’s talk.
I do not hand out business cards like they’re candy.
I remember way back in my past, my boss nearly peed his pants when he saw within a month I had handed out an entire box of 500 business cards. He immediately bought me another 1000. I’m sure most of those business cards ended up in the trash, a desk drawer or in a pile with 100’s of other business cards.
I’ve seen it many times. This may even be your desk. A bunch of business cards in a rubber band stacked up on the left or right side of your monitor. Maybe piles of cards in your desk drawer. How does this help anyone?
Today, I only give out my business cards when there is an intent or opportunity for a future conversation.
I’ll often say to the person, “Let me tell you my expectations when I give you my card. I expect you to send me an email and follow up to our meeting and if you are using LinkedIn, send me an invite to connect there.” No one has ever given my card back because of these expectations.
When I receive a business card from someone else, this is my process:
Step 1 – I put them into my personal contact database. I use Google Apps, so they go into my Google Contacts. I enter in their Name, Company Name, email address, phone number, maybe address and a note reminding me where/when we met. These contacts are synced to my phone, therefore I have access to them all the time & everywhere.
Step 2 – If they are relevant to my business, I may add them to my business contacts as well. Everyone I meet is not relevant to my business, however, many are.
Step 3 – I look for them on LinkedIn and send them an invite to connect. I always put a relevant and friendly note in the invitation.
Step 4 – I send them an email in context of where and how we met. If there is an intention for the next conversation I remind them of what we decided or I share dates/times so we can schedule.
Step 5 – If relevant I will look for them on Instagram and/or Twitter. Depending on the developing relationship I will follow them there. Sometimes, but not every time, I may look for them on Facebook and invite them to be friends there. I don’t do this for every new connection and we have had to laugh together in order for me to send a Facebook Friend Request.
Step 6 – I then throw away their business card. I now have their contact information in my contacts, possibly in my business contacts, we’re connected on LinkedIn and maybe following on each other on Twitter, Instagram and maybe even Facebook.
I do this every evening because I can’t tolerate a big pile of business cards to process. That would be overwhelming for me. A little at a time is far easier for me to process.
This activity helps me to connect at multiple points so I can stay aware of them and they of me.
It helps me to be able to stay top of mind with them as they see my content on social media.
I can use the social media connections to find even more people I may want to know about and to get introduced as needed.
Do you have a purposeful business card process? Could this process be useful for you?
As with any journey, you have to keep moving, otherwise, you’ll get nowhere.
I hear people say; “this LinkedIn thing does not work.” Usually, this is because they have not done any work using LinkedIn. You can’t just have a LinkedIn Profile and a LinkedIn Network. You have to work with them.
Another issue I hear from some people; “I don’t have time to use LinkedIn.” Again, LinkedIn will not work if you treat it as a ’sideline tool’ that you never get around to using.
Put one foot in front of the other, over and over and over again, this is how we successfully move through a journey.
Consistently using LinkedIn, especially within other relevant business processes, is how you’ll get LinkedIn to work for you.
In order to do this using LinkedIn, you need to know what tasks you should consider doing.
These tasks are just a few of those you could do to support your Purpose & Goal(s) using LinkedIn as a business tool.
Remember, if what you are about to do does not support building your brand, building your relevant network and/or building your professional reputation, don’t do it.
There are plenty of actions you could take to achieve these steps. Consider what you should do each day. They don’t all have to happen today. (Journey)
One idea I used to recommend is to schedule these tasks across the week or month. I don’t do this so much anymore because there are so many unique tasks you could consider and we all have different purposes and goals of using LinkedIn. You can find that 2018 article here – Schedule time on LinkedIn
What I recommend is getting familiar with all of the different tasks you could do within LinkedIn. Then ask yourself every day, what needs to be done? Should I work on my Presence, Network or Reputation?
If you don’t commit to doing the work, LinkedIn won’t work for you.
Let me know if you need my help for yourself and/or your business development team. Teddy
I’m seeing more and more advertisements for ‘instant’, ‘rapid’ and ‘easy’ automation methods or processes around using LinkedIn.
Even though these plugins, applications, extensions, services, etc may automate and speed up the use of some areas of LinkedIn, this is fact; they are all doomed to fail like a house of cards.
And, if you are not capable of running your business without these automation tools, your business could fail as well.
I make this bold statement based on two facts.
#1 – LinkedIn’s Terms of Service very clearly states you are not allowed to use any 3rd party application to automate any of the LinkedIn processes within the application. Read Section 8 of the Terms of Services completely.
#2 – LinkedIn is the 800# Gorilla who owns the application and access to the data. (You may own your LinkedIn data, just not the application that accesses it.)
None of these businesses creating these ‘unauthorized’ crawlers, browser plugins and add-ons, or any other technology, can sustain the application changes they have to keep making as LinkedIn counters their ‘attacks’ on the data and LinkedIn application.
It may cost LinkedIn lots of money to keep fending off the violators to their terms of services, however, LinkedIn’s pockets and determination are greater than the businesses who are violating LinkedIn’s terms of service.
I strongly feel it is not wise to build a business or allow my employees to build business processes using these 3rd party tools and ignoring these two points.
There are many things in my life where I expect instant gratification. Turn on the water, turn on a light, fire up Apple Music, Netflix or the coffee pot.
However, getting instant results from LinkedIn is not something I expect or want. It’s not sustainable.
LinkedIn is a professional networking tool and plays an important role in relationship development when you use LinkedIn appropriately.
Networking and relationship development is a journey, not a race.
Here are 5 reasons I look at using LinkedIn as a journey, not a race.
I’m a relationship sales professional. I have some level of relationship with all of my clients. I like this style of business.
I like to research my Most Important Viewers in my LinkedIn network and discover more about them so I can best engage with them using words and ideas they understand. This produces some of the richest conversations for me and them.
Being organic in my use of LinkedIn allows me to find new processes, tactics, and styles that fit who I am and my business. This allows me to be different than others who have automated the basic steps of LinkedIn with less personality or uniqueness.
For me, it would be devastating to use an automation tool that purports instant gratification and be discovered as less than sincere, honest, or real. See point #1 again.
Getting into open conversations with my LinkedIn Network has created a huge advantage for me. This takes time and has uncovered new ideas that have had a positive impact on my life and/or business.
I truly enjoy fulfilling this edict every day; “Networking is finding, developing and nurturing relationships that mutually move people forward through life.”
Again, networking and relationship development is a journey, not a race. The magic is in the journey. The rewards are in the conversations I get to have along the way. The benefits are mutual when I listen and get permission to share after I discover what is important to the other person.
My last point regarding using ‘unauthorized’ applications with LinkedIn is this; I believe I have built a fantastic LinkedIn Network, one that I am blessed to have. I also have created a strong reputation across LinkedIn in regard to the work I do and it makes my phone ring.
There is no way in the world I would jeopardize this and lose access to my LinkedIn account because I want instant gratification.
I recently was asked this question on Quora.com, “has LinkedIn become a toxic place or is it the same as ever?”
Let me first define Toxic: Webster says it’s Poisonous. The dumping of toxic waste. That sounds relevant to me.
I define Toxic in regards to social media, as any content filled with hate and attacking words which is detrimental to a positive society.
I don’t call content I disagree with Toxic. Just because I don’t agree does not make content toxic.
Only when it’s filled with ugliness, hatefulness, and attacking anyone or groups of people for any reason, does it get called Toxic by me.
Ok, this said, yes, LinkedIn is just as toxic as it has always been. Just like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, YouTube, etc, they all contain toxic content in some way or another.
It really has not changed much over time. Maybe more people adding to the toxicity and maybe a little more diversity in the toxicity. However, just as in life, hateful & attacking content has always been out there.
So, if it’s true that all social media, including LinkedIn, contains lots of toxic content, how come I almost never see any? My LinkedIn newsfeed is for the most part very enjoyable and useful.
The answer lies with us.
Our social media news feeds are filled with content from our networks that we engage on and look for. This is accomplished by the mystical news feed algorithms the social media platforms use.
They want us to see what we want to see, so we stay on their sites longer.
Think about this for a minute. Social media platforms make money when their members are viewing the newsfeed and seeing and/or clicking on the social media ads they share with us. If your newsfeed contains content that is toxic in your mind, you’ll minimize the time you spend on that site.
There are three primary reasons you are or are not seeing toxic content in your LinkedIn newsfeed.
#1 – Your LinkedIn Network, hopefully, chosen by you and you alone does not share much if any toxic content at all. Therefore, who you decide to connect with on LinkedIn will have a direct impact on the types of content you see in your newsfeed. Connect with a lot of hate spewing LinkedIn Members (and I don’t doubt they exist), and you’ll see more toxic content.
#2 – Your LinkedIn Newsfeed contains the types of content you like to engage on. I proved this a few months ago when I stopped engaging on content about LinkedIn and started searching for and engaging on content related to sales leadership. The more I shared and engaged on sales leadership content, the more my newsfeed became filled with sales leadership content. Slowly this replaced the content about LinkedIn.
Eventually, I returned my focus to content about LinkedIn and sales leadership content slowly began going away from my LinkedIn newsfeed. This fact of ‘what you touch is what you see‘ is why I developed the edict, “Never do, say or engage on social media in any way you don’t want to be seen, heard or perceived of in life.” It’s real.
#3 – You can influence your LinkedIn newsfeed based on many different things. Hiding specific content, reporting content, unfollowing or following people or companies, viewing the newsfeed by Top or Most Recent, your LinkedIn Group activity, and following content #Hashtags, are just a few of the ways you can influence your LinkedIn newsfeed content.
In summary, we can control the visibility of toxic content in LinkedIn by adjusting our network, the content we engage on and the activities we do on LinkedIn.
Now, will this make toxic content go away? Maybe not by the actions of a few, but I’m certain if more people were deliberate about their LinkedIn Networks and what they do on LinkedIn, the toxic content will be kept from growing even more.
We are who we hang out and what we do and say in life, as well as on LinkedIn.