Social Media for VAs and Freelancers: Are you Building Relationships on Linked In?
Building relationships on Linked In is so important to your success on this social media platform. After all it is called ‘social media’. It’s time to stop blasting people with sales messages and become more ‘social’. Humans are social creatures and whether we are introvert or extrovert we can’t just hide behind our computer screens anymore and expect to be successful. We need to focus on building relationships with others. This starts right from the beginning on LinkedIn. The platform encourages us to connect with others on a meaningful basis. How do we do this?
a) Identify Your Ideal Customer
The reasons you need to identify your ideal customer are many. You’ll be able to create more focused marketing that works better than a scatter gun approach which is aimed at everybody. You’ll get a better response because your audience will believe that you ‘understand them’. Creating articles, slides and other types of content will also become easier when you have a picture in your mind of exactly who you are making them for.
b) Send a request to connect
Make sure that you send a personalized connection request message that explains how you know them or why they would want to connect with you. You don’t want them to click on the ‘I don’t know’ or ‘report spam’ option. If you receive too many of these you will have to enter an email address for every new person you wish to connect with. Not good if you want to expand your reach on LinkedIn.
c) Send a Thank you message
When you see someone has accepted your connection request on LinkedIn, reach out with a personalized “thank you” message. Don’t pitch your services or self-promote in any way other than adding the URL to your website in your signature.
d) Reach out with relationship building messages
People do business with those they ‘know, like and trust’. Why not ask them what major project they are working on this year. You might be able to provide a connection for them!
Building relationships on Linked In is not necessarily fast. Your network will not grow overnight. LinkedIn success takes time. Think of networking as ‘planting seeds’ where you certainly talk about what you do and who you are but in a natural, organic and authentic way instead of in sales mode. Over time your connections will remember what you do, and if they like your style they will readily refer people to you; but they need to know you better and that takes time.
e) Engage in relevant groups
Not as effective as they once were in attracting customers on LinkedIn but groups are still a place where you will meet prospective customers and learn about their wants and needs. Your prospects will also see that you are also an active participant in your industry when they see your group listings on your profile. It’s not the place for blasting out sales messages though. Instead, show a real interest in the other members, answer questions, do a survey, or post content that is valuable to them and which will also showcase your expertise. Let the conversations flow naturally in your groups instead of worrying about sales or getting this prospect into your sales funnel. The more active you are, the more people will recognize your name.
f) Connect and engage on other social media platforms and move your relationship offline.
If you’ve followed the steps outlined above properly your prospective customer should be open to the idea of speaking off LinkedIn since you’ve demonstrated: Credibility, Expertise and Your ability to provide value. Are your prospects on other social media platforms? Why not interact with them there and if their content is good go ahead and share it.
I’m author, digital marketing strategist, and entrepreneur Anne Elizabeth Perez and I am here to serve you with my experience, knowledge, and ideas. If you would like to find out more about how to use LinkedIn to promote your business please take a look at my popular Linked Power Relationships training course and consider coming on board to increase your online visibility and profitability.