Do you still remember the days when you were able to go to the pub? Remember those times when the pub was absolutely packed – barely enough room to stand, ten deep at the bar, almost impossible to move around and there was some big sports event on the multi-screens; say a big international football game or a rugby match?
Remember the ear-splitting noise when you couldn’t hear yourself think?
Now imagine a business contact invites you to this pub; let's call it The LinkedIn Arms. You don’t know them that well but enough to trust them. They’ve told you that it’s a great place with lots of interesting people and an opportunity to meet new people and to network. It could be good for you and he/she goes there regularly and has really grown their business as a result.
So tentatively you walk in not knowing what to expect and you are met with a sea of people and a cacophony of noise. What is this place, why is it so noisy, how do I get heard and why do I even bother being here?
It’s a crude analogy but it sums up how I have felt about LinkedIn. Until recently.
I joined LinkedIn in its very early days when it was little more than a recruiter’s platform and I have dabbled with it on and off for several years. In the main I have been a bit of a LinkedIn voyeur – regularly checking in and seeing what others are up to but not contributing in any active, regular way.
I was a sceptic in the early days as I only saw it as a method of getting a job and recruiters seemed to dominate but now it has moved from predominantly being a recruitment platform to also being a professional network where people go to learn and keep informed. That means LinkedIn is a valuable platform for B2B marketing. So if you are a sceptic as I was, here are some stats to convince you to become active:
- The current membership of LinkedIn worldwide is over 766m
- The number of active users per month is 310m worldwide and over 29m in the UK
- Coverage in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide
- 90m LinkedIn users are and 63 million are in decision-making positions
- There are opinion leaders and 10 million C-Level executives on LinkedIn
- LinkedIn now has over 30 million companies with 20 million open job listings
- There are 100 million job applications on LinkedIn every month
- 87% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn
I have been convinced for some time that it is difficult for any business not to have some presence on LinkedIn and particularly if your business is as a sole trader and it continues to amaze me when people in business say that they are not on LinkedIn. But until recently I had used it in business mainly to check out people applying for jobs with my organisations, to research organisations that we wish to trade with and to look up individual contacts within client/customer organisations – so mainly as a research tool.
Victoria Thomlinson, Chief Executive Next-Up gave me some sage advice several years ago on how to be more visible and how to be heard above the LinkedIn cacophony. She is an expert on how to maximise value on LinkedIn and I would encourage you to speak with her and get her guidance. Amongst other things, Victoria said to increase my profile and become heard I should do the following:
- Refresh your profile
- Be a thought leader
- Post regularly
- Comment on other posts – join in the conversations
- Share posts
- Seek out connections that you can help and that you feel can help you
- Network, network and then network some more
- DO NOT SELL – EVER
So, I've started on my journey. My two most recent posts have performed reasonably well. I was pleased with them. The first one had over 3,700 views and my most recent one almost 2,500. At first, I didn’t think this was anything to shout about but then LinkedIn advised me that both were in the top 1% of activity! Not bad for a novice. I mentioned this to my younger son who is active on LinkedIn for his business. He quickly pricked my bubble by letting me know that one of his posts recently had over 160,000 views and climbing! From that, he has received a handful of really good new business leads without trying! It just goes to show that LinkedIn does work – if you work it!!
My current challenge is to see if LinkedIn can help me find my next senior leadership role. So far, it has helped me refresh old connections and contacts and has enabled me to make new contacts with some increased opportunities evolving which I would not have uncovered without it. Let's see where this now takes me. If you wish to seek me out, feel free to make contact on LinkedIn – link below!