Posts tagged ‘Linkedin’

March 22, 2012

The Right Way to Connect on Linkedin

You’re new to Linkedin and finally completed uploading your resume, choosing a profile picture, and writing a summary. Now you do what any newcomer to Linkedin does. You look for some connections! Naturally, you will want to connect with the biggest influencers in your industry whether you know them or not. Most likely they are the ones with 500+ connections, 13 recommendations, and the manager of several groups. And who wouldn’t want to connect with these people? They are obviously the ones who know the most, like to network and can possibly do something for you in the future. Then there are some of you who are intimated to ask the high-rollers of Linkedin to connect and choose to go for those on your level who are just learning to the play the game. Well I’m willing to bet when asking for connections you are doing it the wrong way whether it be for a Linkedin popular or a newbie.

If you are sending requests to connect using the pre-written generic message, “I’d like to add you to my professional network,” this just might be one of the worst possible things you can do. This message doesn’t say anything about you other than, “I am too lazy or bored to take the time to get to know you, read your profile and personalize my message.” Since you are most likely requesting the person because you think you can benefit from the connection, you need to show them how you this person can benefit from connecting with you. A message like the one above, can very well get you ignored. At the very least, you need to give a reason for actually wanting to connect with the person; especially if you don’t know the person personally. (I know Linkedin “requires” you to know the person before you request to connect, but let’s not pretend like this doesn’t happen on a daily basis.) Besides, Linkedin has the potential to be much more powerful than Facebook. The last thing you want is to have a potentially good connection go to waste like a frivolous Facebook Friend. Make sure this doesn’t happen by saying something to start a conversation and building a what can potentially lead to a great relationship. After all, isn’t that the whole reason why you are requesting to connect? If not, you may just want to stick to Facebook and ignore the hundreds of trivial statuses by “friends” you don’t even like.

So what should you say in place of that generic message when requesting to connect? Luckily the options are endless.

Flattery: “I was looking through your profile and I must admit I’m impressed with your work. I hope one day I will get to your professional level. I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

College Connection: “Hey, I noticed we are both writing professionals and graduated from Rider University! Any plans to attend alumni weekend this June? Let’s chat! I’d love to connect.” 

Benefit Factor: “I saw your update discussing the upcoming contest for your company. Do you need help marketing it or coming up with conditions? I’d be happy to assist! I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

Group Buddy: “I noticed you are member of the Freelance Connection. Have you been following the discussion about marketing your writing services to local businesses? I’d love to know your thoughts. Let’s connect!”

Same Strokes, Different Folks: “Hey, neighbor. I grew up in Sayreville too! Tell me, do you hate Bon Jovi as much as I do or is he the source of inspiration in all of your work? Would you like to connect with me?”

Mutual Friends: “Seems we are both connected to Christine. She told me a lot about your plans to start a non-profit organization. As an entrepreneur, I am certainly interested. Care to discuss?” 

Following Fan: “During my search for all-inclusive resorts in Barbados, I came across your travel articles listed in Travel + Leisure and your blog about Groupon. You’ve earned yourself a new fan! I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

I’m sure there a few more options for connection request messages, but these are a definitely a great start. As you can see, the message need not be long. At most, it requires only a few minutes of studying the person’s profile to come up with a unique message to snag a new connection. But remember, once your connection request is accepted, continue the conversation and begin getting to know your newfound connection.

How do you feel about generic Linkedin messages? Have you tried writing personalized messages when requesting to connect?

January 24, 2012

How I Learned to Love Marketing

Marketing. It’s a word that scares most entrepreneuers and a word I admittedly knew nothing about when I started out. When I first started my writing business I knew nothing about how to adequately market my services. So I did what any young entrepreneur  in the technology age would do. I slapped together a website and portfolio and published it. Then I sat back and waited for the prospects to come running. The only problem was the people didn’t come running. It was more like a trickling of prospects a few times a month. So I decided it was time for a change and time to revamp my marketing strategy.

After doing some research, I found  the words that stuck out the most were social networking and cold calling. So naturally, I drafted a marketing plan that included Facebook and cold calling various businesses in the area. I even threw in some direct mail. Although I had some successes, the problem was I hated every minute of it. I have NEVER been a fan of Facebook and the idea of calling random people to sell them on my services was extremely nerve wracking. As a result, I struggled to push myself to actually do the marketing I planned on. But the I more I did it, the more I hated it. Until one day I asked myself why I was doing it. I was obviously marketing to expand my business, but why did I have to torture myself in the process?

The whole reason why I quit my job to pursue writing was so I would no longer have to do the work I hated. I  could actually LOVE what I do for a living. Wouldn’t taking on marketing projects I hate defeat the purpose? There was no reason for me to continue to dread marketing when no one was forcing me to do it. So I promptly discontinued the cold calls, direct mail, and Facebook to begin a hunt for different marketing strategies I could actually love or at least learn to love.

After I waded through Tumblr, email marketing, and Twitter I finally found my holy grail: In-person marketing and blogging. I also learned to love LinkedIn. Considering I work from home, I jump at the chance to leave the house and socialize with outsiders. And it only made sense to start a blog since I make a living as a writer. What’s funny is the choices seem so obvious now. I can’t believe it took me almost a year to figure this out. Ever since I implemented these tactics into my marketing strategy, I no longer struggle to make time for marketing because it doesn’t feel like work anymore. I actually enjoy doing it. I guess you can say I stopped marketing  since the strategies I chose tend to be fun. And can you believe I yield much better success rates now that I love how I choose to market. Guess my mom was right – Do what you love and the money will come!

It took me almost 12 months of hating my efforts to realize, if I don’t like something I should change it.

Did you have a similar situation? How do you market yourself or business?