Here I am, scrolling through my LinkedIn connections, waiting for one of them to contact me and ask for help. Some of them I don't actually know.
LinkedIn certainly puts a bunch of updates, notices and articles I don't care about on my page. Still waiting for someone to send an email asking for help. LinkedIn is supposed to get me business, right?
The same names keep showing up. Kelly and Mike have more new connections. Bob joined another group. LinkedIn asks if I want to endorse Elizabeth. Wonder when someone will contact me.
If that's pretty much your experience on LinkedIn, the social media site many of us join because we think it will lead to new business, you apparently are in the majority -- not part of the "one percent of people who understand what LinkedIn is all about," says Michael Yublosky, a Buffalo Grove LinkedIn specialist. "It's target marketing."
"People are under the misnomer that creating a LinkedIn account means business will tumble from the sky," says J.D. Gershbein, CEO of Owlish Communications, Vernon Hills, and a LinkedIn specialist with a growing national reputation. "It's almost like there's a sense of entitlement."
LinkedIn, Yublosky says, is "the world's largest database of individuals." That database needs only a little effort, he says, to turn information into potential customers.
"All the data LinkedIn asks us to put into its system are sortable, even with the free account. You don't need a premium account," Yublosky says. "Identify who you want to talk to, then make your connections. You have to be willing to pick up the phone and start a conversation."
While you're pondering names and information, give some thought to your own listing. The first step may be to polish your profile: The connections you're checking out as potential customers are checking you out, too.
"You need a good looking LinkedIn profile" and a website, on LinkedIn or off, that matches, Yublosky says.
Even then, there's work to do.
"I wouldn't say I get business from LinkedIn," says Fiona McLaren, McLaren Photographic LLC, an Elk Grove Village firm that focuses on manufacturing and industrial companies. Rather, McLaren adds, LinkedIn gives her exposure and, through endorsements and recommendations, credibility.
McLaren has a profile on LinkedIn; a company page; and "I engage with groups, people in my field." She's a member of TMA (Technology Manufacturing Aligned), Park Ridge, and the GOA Regional Business Association, Itasca. Ultimately, McLaren says, "You still have to network, face-to-face."
Ellen Huxtable finds LinkedIn "very effective" in generating new business, but that's because Huxtable, owner of Advantage Business Concepts, Batavia, works the LinkedIn process.
"I join various groups, and that puts me in touch with people I'd never be in touch with otherwise," Huxtable says. "I start dialogues and post comments. People I dialogue with on LinkedIn and meet face-to-face, we develop strong strategic relationships.
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