No you can’t…not just by being on LinkedIn.
However, you can get business as a result of your activities on LinkedIn. If you regularly engage with your target audience(s), ask questions, promote others, share valuable content, start to build relationships…and then develop these relationships offline, you can generate work.
How do I know? Because I’ve given work to people I’ve never actually met but have engaged with on LinkedIn. This includes:
- attending a free webinar offered by someone in a LinkedIn group I belong to and then paying for the next installment. The thing is this person didn’t just offer their webinar. They shared some really useful tips and content first. Because I’d been able to read their articles and watch their videos I was able to determine that they knew their stuff. So when they offered the webinar, I really wanted to attend and, when they offered the next step at a cost, I was happy to pay because the free webinar was of real value.
I’ve also had discussions with others on LinkedIn and then continued the discussions offline (in person and via Skype). All of them have been really impressive (and I suspected they would be because I liked the content they were sharing and their comments on LinkedIn). As a result I’ve recommended some of them to my clients and friends where appropriate and wouldn’t hesitate to put them in touch with anyone needing their particular skill sets.
And I’ve also found opportunities as a result of my LinkedIn activities.
- I’m a regular contributor to a monthly newsletter which is distributed to around 6500 accountants in Australasia
- I’m helping to develop a webinar
- I’ve presented to lawyers and accountants on topics I have commented on, including social media, and I’ve generated work as a result of these.
The opportunities haven’t come about simply by being on LinkedIn, but they have come about as a result of consistently engaging with others, taking the relationships offline and giving away some of my better ideas for free.
How can you make LinkedIn work for you?
- Be clear about what you want to achieve – have a plan.
- Use LinkedIn to get the right people into your sales funnel. Qualify them by asking questions about issues you want to assist people with (your network updates and initiating group discussions are great ways to do this). Those who engage with you in these discussions are likely to be interested in the same topics.
- Find ways to take the relationship offline – such as suggesting a coffee to further discuss an issue if a person is local or setting up a time to talk via phone/skype to find out more about what they do.
- Be curious – ask questions, and regularly seek others input and opinions.
- Be authentic – be yourself and be honest.
- Engage with others consistently – it takes time to build credibility, relationships and trust. And you have to be in it for the long haul…don’t expect things to happen overnight.
- Focus on how you can help others rather than how they can help you. Share content others produce that may be of value to your contacts, find out more about the other person, what they’re doing, who their ideal client is etc.
- Integrate your LinkedIn activities with your other marketing and business development initiatives both online and offline.
Like all marketing and business development activity, the more you engage, the more likely you are to see results.
Have you generated business for yourself, or for others, as a result of connecting through Linkedin? Do you have other tips on how to turn the connections into workflows?