Monday, January 2, 2012

Why Most LinkedIn Users Don't Get Results

A lot of professionals are on LinkedIn but few are maximizing it as a networking, branding and career tool. To get expert LinkedIn advice, I called upon Jan Vermeiren. Jan is the founder of Networking Coach, the first LinkedIn Certified Training company in the world. Jan is the author of the networking books: Let’s Connect! and How to REALLY Use LinkedIn (2nd edition). He is giving away a million copies for free and is raising a million for charity. He’s worked with companies such as IBM and Nike.

What’s changed about LinkedIn over the past few years?

LinkedIn has added a lot of functionality. Especially in Groups, Company Pages and Events.

What we have experienced in requests is a trend from individuals to teams to whole organizations. In other words: a few years ago individuals wanted to know what they could do with LinkedIn, then teams like sales and recruiting and now CEO’s contact us for advice how to use LinkedIn at a company wide level. That’s an interesting shift. It also implies that more and more companies start to give LinkedIn the credits it deserves.

What are your top three LinkedIn strategies for growing your business?

LinkedIn can be used to find new customers, employees, partners, suppliers, investors, experts, a new job, etc. So it is beneficial for every professional.
There are several passive, active and proactive strategies for each. Unfortunately most people only use the passive ones like creating a personal or company profile. And even then they only use 20% of the capabilities.

Top 3 for finding new customers:

1.Use advanced search with the parameters for your target group
2.Browse your network
3.Use “Saved Searches” to get a weekly list of new potential customers
What LinkedIn features do most people now know about or use actively?

•Features regarding passive strategies: applications in a personal profile and products & services in the company profile.
•Features regarding active strategies: contributing in the right groups (what most people do is promote themselves and are member of the wrong groups).
•Features regarding proactive strategies: saved searches and using events and groups to prepare for offline networking.What are some common mistakes that people make on LinkedIn?

They don’t take into account the fundamental principles of networking.

The two most important ones are:

1.The networking attitude: Give and Receive. Many people are too direct and spam people instead of building relationships.
2.The Know, Like, Trust factor. We advice people to build the Know, Like, Trust factor throughout their personal and company profile instead of direct selling. The same applies to contributions in Groups.
Actually these fundamentals are maybe the most important topics to consider. People who are using LinkedIn, but don’t get results, are the ones who don’t take the fundamental principles into account.

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