It is often said that the more things change, the more they remain the same. As technologies continue on a path of relentless disruption, there is increased pressure on businesses to keep up and adapt. There will always be a learning curve that needs shortening.
Throughout the years, I have recognized and practiced the benefits of proactive LinkedIn use. Even though best practices have remained the same, there are new techniques and tactics to master if one is to harness the full potential of LinkedIn.
At the time of this writing, we are a little over a year removed from the news that Microsoft agreed to purchase LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, the largest acquisition in the former’s history.
The Great LinkedIn Makeover of 2017…and what it means for you
LinkedIn’s acquisition, updates, and changes have forced us all into new modes of thought and operation on the site. True, it is no longer business as usual for LinkedIn Nation. Many users claim that the changes are a regression and have voiced their discontent right on the homepage and in group forums, a somewhat ironic twist of fate for a platform that was bent on improving the user experience.
Still, the site can be a total game-changer for owners, salespeople, business developers, aspiring thought leaders, talent acquisition specialists, and job seekers. You build a distinctive persona on LinkedIn by representing yourself well, connecting with the right people, and engaging in an authentic, purposeful manner. But this, as some people would have you believe, does not happen overnight.
LinkedIn is an input-equals-output proposition
Input does not mean updating your profile once in a blue moon; rather, it encompasses continuously building an online presence and bringing your brand image into clear focus. In that respect, nothing has changed on LinkedIn. The basic premises remain the same.
As a sales professional, your LinkedIn profile is typically the first impression a connection will have of you. It’s where business can either be ignited or extinguished. Your LinkedIn profile is essentially your landing page. In order to attract and convert high-caliber prospects, decision-makers, or recruiters, you must put the time into creating a compelling LinkedIn profile.
Here are three simple and effective LinkedIn strategies that can help you grow sales in an evolving social selling environment.
1). Re-calibrate your Mindset
The changes to the LinkedIn user interface following the Microsoft purchase have forced countless users to re-frame their purpose for being on the site. However, LinkedIn remains the number one professional networking site…use it to your advantage. With the proper mindset, your self-belief increases, your behavior shifts, and you make better decisions. Think strategically and you begin to execute on a higher level and move in the direction of your professional goals. You will understand how LinkedIn intersects with the real world and recognize opportunities as they present.
2). Refresh your Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is the prime driver of results in leveraging the site. Be vigilant in keeping the content of your profile current and compelling. Articulate your value—to a prospect, strategic alliance, or potential employer—and you will attract more high-caliber connections and generate more meaningful conversations. That is how you build brand.
3). Reconnect with your Network
With so much emphasis on generating targeted lists, and reaching out to people you have not yet met, it is easy to lose sight of the goldmine that is your existing LinkedIn network. If you are to generate leads or score new clients from LinkedIn use, you must engage on a level that instills trust and confidence in your abilities to deliver on your brand promise. That starts with those professionals who know you best and can attest to your skills and areas of expertise.
A Parting Thought
In a technological and disruptive arena, return to the basics. New tools are helpful, but do not replace real human interaction, and that’s where the magic happens. You have everything at your disposal to drive a desired outcome, be it on the individual or organizational level. Treat every online interaction with the idea that it could become something wonderful. LinkedIn is the most efficient engine of economic opportunity that we have today. But you must be present to win.
JD Gershbein is the CEO at Owlish Communications. He is considered one of the world’s top LinkedIn strategists and a pioneer in the design and delivery of LinkedIn education for organizations, sales teams, and entrepreneurs. As a social business psychologist, keynote speaker, and broadcast media personality, he has gained widespread recognition as a thought leader in the areas of personal branding, social networking, and video storytelling. JD has been featured on FOX TV News, CBS News, and WGN Radio, and is also a contributing writer for The Huffington Post and Forbes.