Everyone has told you LinkedIn has replaced cold calling and that’s great news as you never had any intention of cold calling anyway, because people come to you, right?
However, you realize the world has changed and you joined LinkedIn months ago. So, why aren’t people calling to become clients?
What Exactly is Your Strategy?
Your strategy might be summed up in three words: “I joined LinkedIn.” Ask yourself:
- Do you regularly post?
- Do you proactively build your network? (more than just accepting connections)
- Do you communicate via In Mail?(or even know what that is).
Well, you aren’t alone. The average LinkedIn user is only on the site 17 minutes per month, and including weekends, that about 34 seconds a day!
A local landscaper summed it up as: “For me, being on LinkedIn is like being listed in a local business directory.” You want to be there in case someone is looking for a local landscaper.
Establishing a LinkedIn Strategy
You are busy with your practice and don’t have time to find a class. You work in a specialized business, so how does LinkedIn relate for accountants?
If I may, articles such as “How Accounting Firms Can Get More Clients on LinkedIn” are one of many articles under the “accounting” heading on LinkedIn. FYI: This area has 3,525,239 followers.
Revising an Existing LinkedIn Strategy
Consider some basic questions regarding your approach to LinkedIn:
- Photo – Do you have one? Having a professional photo makes your profile 14x more likely to be viewed. (6).
- Posts – Yes, that endless feed of articles other people think would be of interest. Scroll through. These come from your connections. See what your friends and colleagues are posting. You have the opportunity to “Like” it, with one easy click. You also can “Comment”, which makes sense because your friend will know you read the article.
- Posting – You see interesting articles too. How about posting from time to time along with an intro sentence explain why it’s interesting? If your firm has rules restricting what you can post, they probably have a library of sanctioned posts.
- Network Building – The “My Network” tab provides an almost endless list of “People You May Know”. Give it a shot. Clicking “Connect” sends a generic invite. Clicking on their face brings up their profile. The “Connect” button gives the option of wording your own invitation text, which increases the chances it will be accepted.
- Network Building on Steroids – The left hand side of the “My Network” screen shows your e-mail address with “add personal contacts”. You can invite your entire address book or be more selective.
- Notifications – You need reasons to “Reach out and touch someone.” (AT&T, 1987) The “Notifications” tab lets you know who is celebrating a birthday, job anniversary, changed jobs, got promoted, etc. It’s a reason to touch base. LinkedIn even provides generic text to make it easy.
- Groups – You don’t belong to any. Your rationale for skipping your alumni group is “I don’t attend reunions.” This is a way to develop a new audience for your posts. Groups give access to an entire new audience. People might then choose to connect with you.
One of the ways professionals get new clients is getting out and about in the community and meeting new people. Back in the Stone Age, people exchanged business cards or kept contact information in an address book or Rolodex. Then we exchanged e-mail addresses.
Today, with 467 million people on LinkedIn, it’s common for professionals to say: “I’m on LinkedIn. Send me an invite.” Do people really do that? Here’s another LinkedIn statistic: the average CEO has 930 connections.
Where’s the Magic?
Your activity is building name recognition across a universe of people. You might be impressed growing your network to 1,000 connections. After all, only 27% of LinkedIn users have 500-999 connections and 1% of LinkedIn users (there are 467 million users total) have over 10,000 connections. LinkedIn limits users to 30,000.
So you’ve got a big network. Within the financial services industry, someone explained you’ve got an interested prospect when you’ve had a back and forth exchange eight times. Your object is to get a dialog going and they may need an accountant. Their firm may be considering making a change and may be in a position to refer a friend new to the area.
Are there other strategies you can utilize? Sure. This is just a primer on some basic steps you can take requiring little time or financial cost.