I spent six years attracting new copywriting clients via Twitter. Then, bored of the bird, I moved to LinkedIn for a change of scene. So how’s it going? As it turns out, while Twitter and LinkedIn are very different animals, you can treat them exactly the same. Here’s how I get new business on LinkedIn.
7 ways to get new business on LinkedIn
- Always thank people with a personal message – It costs nothing to say thank you whenever someone sends a connection request, and people appreciate it. It’s good manners, and while it’s only a little thing it has a big impact.
- Comment on other people’s posts – It’s no good posting a constant stream of one-way ‘look at me’ content. Like all social networks, LinkedIn is a two way street, a place where you converse, not just a forum for your own opinions. Much more than a mere mouthpiece, it’s a lively community. If you want people to take more notice of you, comment on their posts. In my experience interacting with others often has more impact than posting your own stuff. It makes sense since networking isn’t really about you, it’s about the people you want to engage with.
- Be human – I am not a business. I am a human being. That means I have good and bad days, get crabby now and again, and enjoy times when it feels as though the universe is laid at my feet like a glittering gift. Like all of us I feel more friendly some days than others. Sometimes I can’t be bothered look at LinkedIn for days on end. I don’t post at tactically-advantageous times or on days when people are – allegedly – more likely to be responsive. I post when I feel like it. Which means my interactions are genuinely random and my account profile is wholly natural.
- Dare to have a sense of humour – Are you scared to be funny in work-related social media posts? Why? In a landscape where 99% of people are stiff and formal, it’s refreshing to come across something that, while it might not be funny haha, is wry enough to raise a grin. In my experience people like something a bit lighter, a bit out of the ordinary, and they remember it for a surprisingly long time.
- Don’t do any selling at all, never mind hard selling – Hard selling is lazy. There’s no need. You can be cleverer than that, subtler than that. In fact you don’t actually need to consciously sell anything at all. You just need to be interesting, relevant, entertaining and memorable to persuade people you’re a good egg, someone they can trust. You might have to wait a while, but they’ll come your way when they’re ready.
- Never send in-message offers – Now and again, when I thank someone for connecting, they come directly back with a sell. Hm. Bad timing, especially when the offer makes it clear they haven’t looked at my profile. I don’t do it.
- Make it clear you’re not looking for new clients – Being really busy is one of the best ways to generate new clients. Strange. Maybe it’s because humans have a tendency to want things we can’t have, simply because we can’t have them! People really are that contrary. Me included.
That’s about it. That’s all I do to get new business on LinkedIn. I’ve been generating my own clients for 13 years and my methods have never let me down. I’ve always had enough work, often more than enough. If your social media efforts aren’t bringing home the bacon, why not test doing things a bit differently, perhaps networking in a less corporate, less marketing-focused way?