LinkedIn – A tactical guide to get you from Connection to Coffee to Business in 5 steps

NETWORKINGSocial Media shouldn’t change the way we do business.

If you’ve been in business awhile, you’ll have developed a certain way of attracting new clients and interacting with your existing clients that works for you. Social Media just adds a couple of strings to your communications bow and allows you other ways to communicate.

I’ve been interested in social media since the outset. I don’t really know why, but as a natural communicator I’ve felt drawn to the new and rapidly changing world of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others.

From here, I started helping out a few of my friends with their social media needs and found that not only was I enjoying it, but I was getting great results for them. So I left my management role to become my own boss, four months later my Husband joined the team and now we have several people working for us.

Of the major social platforms available, LinkedIn seems to be the most misunderstood and underutilised. At every networking event I attend someone will say “Oh I’ve had LinkedIn for ages, it hasn’t done anything for me though…” or “I have heaps of connections but I just don’t rate it.”

This is one of the major reasons why I decided to contribute to this book. To help more people understand what they are missing and what small steps can be taken to improve your output from LinkedIn and get a return on your valuable investment of time.

To get the most out of LinkedIn, you need to treat it like any other part of your business. Most successful businesses will have 90 day and 12 month plans for their business broken down by key areas that are critical for their success.

If you’re about to start your business or have recently, develop a plan, then come back and read this chapter.

Otherwise, develop your LinkedIn strategy in the same what that you develop your overall Marketing, Sales, Human Resource, Cash Flow or Operations strategy. This isn’t about developing a 30 page document that outlines every possible action that is needed, but to crystallise your thoughts and intentions into a written format to give you a living document to start from.

My 90 day LinkedIn strategy is 2 A4 pages that live on my desk with actions and timelines that have been scrawled all over it. A living, breathing document that gets you set for success. Once you have that, your LinkedIn strategy becomes pretty easy to put together as you will see in Section One.

LinkedIn when used well can become a fantastic growth tool not only for your business but for your personal brand with opportunities finding you instead of you seeking them out. The well-known adage “A poor workman blames his tools” is very apt here. In order to be successful in LinkedIn you need to get to know it and use it.

I recommend to all my clients that they allocate at a minimum of 30 minutes, three times a week to use the platform and implement and refine their strategy. The returns they have achieved speak for themselves.

I’ve broken this guide into the following five sections:

  1. Start with a Plan and do your Research (Start with a Strategy and do your Research)
  2. Set the Stage (Fill out your Plan)
  3. Send the Request
  4. Coffee
  5. Getting from Coffee to Business (this is optional reading but a great reminder for all of us)

Section One – Start with a plan and do your research.

If you don’t know what you want to achieve then it is probably not going to happen. Just as this is true in life, it’s true when it comes to LinkedIn.

So what is the plan? Let’s keep it simple, and review your top level business goals. Like all strategies, your LinkedIn strategy needs be in line with your top line business goals or why are you doing it?

So ask yourself the question, what are you trying to achieve in your business in the next 12 months?

To give you an example let’s have a look at this –

Catering company X has sat down to complete their annual review and has decided on the following goals.

  1. Profit increase of $80 000 for the calendar year
  2. Property – Acquire two new vehicles and have them branded
  3. Promotion – Be the first choice for corporate catering in Adelaide CBD
  4. Product – Launch their event management service
  5. People – recruit an Operations Manager for the business so the owners can take one step back.

So now the question becomes how can LinkedIn support your business in achieving your top line goals?

A simple version of catering company X’s LinkedIn strategy may look like:

  1. Profit – Boost our online profile and find three new clients
  2. Property – Include branding and publicise
  3. Promotion – Strengthen contacts in the corporate catering world
  4. Product – Publicise launch of new event management service
  5. People – Search for potential Operations Manager for the business.

The question now is how do we achieve our LinkedIn strategy?

The start of the answer is research in 4 key areas. This should all be done without taking any action at this point except to begin compiling the action plan……




This is a sample from a chapter in the brilliant book, The Big Social Media Book.  Available from Amazon.

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