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LinkedIn good for (smart) business

BY JEFFREY GITOMER

I am not a LinkedIn expert, but I do have more than 26,000 LinkedIn connections and almost 30,000 followers. How many do you have?

I may have more visibility and notoriety than you do, but we are equal in exposure and linking possibilities on the LinkedIn platform. And almost all of my LinkedIn connections are the result of people wanting to connect with me because of the value messages I consistently post.

Note: I do not accept everyone. I click on everyone's profile before connection. Many are impressive. Most are average or less. Some are pathetic.

LinkedIn success questions:

n Are you utilizing the power of LinkedIn, or just "on" LinkedIn?

n How compelling is your profile?

n How SEO is your profile?

n How many recommendations do you have?

n How are you communicating with your connections?

n How expert are you at searching for leads and connections?

n How many sales leads are you able to secure?

n How often are your postings being liked, commented on and reshared?

Your LinkedIn profile is a powerful social media image. Maybe your most powerful. And you choose exactly what it is and what it says. When others search for you on Google, LinkedIn is one of the first links they click on. You have a chance to make an immediate positive business and social impression.

When I realized the business significance of LinkedIn, I immediately sought professional help. I hired an expert to help me with the keywords, layout, and what to include on my profile page. But I didn't keep up.

Several years later, my friend and partner Jen Gluckow told me my LinkedIn profile page sucked. She showed me how the new LinkedIn worked and the significance of having a powerful SEO page. She also taught me what and how to post.

It must be working. I had about 21,000 connections and was "LinkedIn flat" In the two years since I've hired her, I have attracted more than 5,000 organic connections. Or should I say, more than 5,000 potential customers. Huge opportunity. At an acquisition cost of ZERO.

Here are some things about LinkedIn to make you think, re-think, and act:

n Your picture is not an option. Show a professional, but approachable, image. Be proud of who you are. Smile.

n Have a LinkedIn profile that gives me insight, not just history. Not just what you've done, but also who you are and how you help. Your profile is both an affirmation of your expertise, and your pathway to attracting connection.

n If you're looking for a job, or working a lead, tell me why I should connect. (Where's the value?)

n If you're looking for leads, I use the keyword feature (rather than the job title option) in the "advanced search" link to the right of the search box. It's free, and you'll find hundreds of people in your industry or in your backyard that you never knew existed.

n If you're asking me (or people) to join your group, tell me why i should (how I will benefit).

n Don't tell me you "found something interesting" in your group message, especially if the link is to join your MLM down-line or attend your "free" webinar.

n Allocate 30-60 minutes a day to utilize this vital business social media asset.

Here are some examples of messages and invites I have received on LinkedIn. Hopefully they'll make you think, re-think, and actâ ¦

BAD: Hi Jeffrey, My name is ---- with ----, a leading ---- provider that helps organizations connect with their customers through email, mobile, and social networks. I would like to connect about a potential partnership to help Buy Gitomer Inc. increase its interactive marketing ROI.

This is a typical self-serving (and deleted) message. Why not give me a tip, and ask if I'd like more like it? And stop using dead sales words like "ROI," and "helps organizations." Help me, don't sell me.

DUMB: Hi All, As I continue to work on building my network, can I ask that you do me a huge favor and endorse me here on LinkedIn? I would be more than happy to return the favor and endorse you as well. Thank you for your support! (name withheld to avoid public embarrassment)

Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Give me a break. Spare me. Beg someone else.

If you're hoping for an endorsement or a recommendation on LinkedIn, or anywhere, here's my two-word mantra: earn it! Three more words: give one first!

LinkedIn is the business social media site of today and tomorrow. Harness its power, do not abuse its options, and you will reap its rewards.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 best-selling books on sales. His real-world ideas and content are also available as online courses at www.GitomerLearningAcademy.com. For information about training and seminars visit www.Gitomer.com or www.GitomerCertifiedAdvisors.com, or email Jeffrey personally at salesman@gitomer.com.

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