LinkedIn & American Football
I’ve used this analogy a number of times when it comes to explaining LinkedIn- it’s a lot like an American football team. Because an American football team isn’t just one team, it’s actually four teams: the offensive team, the defensive team, the special teams and the often forgotten coaching team.
Four in One!
So what does that have to do with LinkedIn? Well, LinkedIn isn’t one social media platform, it’s actually four platforms: a platform for job seeking/recruiting, a platform for marketing businesses, a platform for networking and business development and finally a coaching platform.
Last week I wrote about echo chambers and how you need to make sure you’re open to new ideas and are not listening to the same voices all of the time. This can especially be dangerous when we think one communication medium is the only one we should use. If we stay in the echo chamber of that particular medium or tactic or strategy, we risk missing other opportunities.
Know Your Why
This week I want to talk about knowing why you’re using a particular medium and making sure you’re using it in a way that full supports your goals. In this case, I want to talk specifically about LinkedIn.
Because there are four different LinkedIn ‘teams’, there are certain strategies that are taught and features that are used that benefit one ‘team’ over another.
For example, I just heard about this new tactic to discover if you’re receiving a spam connection request. You put a period in front of your name like this .Bill McCormick. Now, that might be ok if you’re using LinkedIn as a recruiting tool. But if you’re using LinkedIn for business development, why would you want to confuse someone who’s viewing your profile (especially a prospective client) with what amounts to a secret ‘in the know’ LinkedIn trick that all the cool kids are using??? If you received a business card with a period before you name would you use them or would you send them back??
The Four LinkedIn “Teams”
So let’s talk about the LinkedIn ‘teams’ and what features and strategies may work well if you’re using the platform for that purpose over another. Now, I know many of you may use LinkedIn for multiple reasons. Think of it as a defensive player who also plays on Special Teams or a player that plays both offense and defense. This is typically the exception and not the rule- use some common sense here.
- Recruiting and Job Seeking: this was the original purpose of LinkedIn and I know many people who have found their dream job as well as a number of recruiters that make a lucrative living by leveraging LinkedIn. Some strategies that serve this ‘team’ well are connecting with as many people as possible. In fact, there used to be a designation LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) now you’ll see these people with OPEN near their name. Recruiters and folks looking for jobs are more open minded to connecting because they see a benefit in connecting with large numbers of people. This will not work as well for those using LinkedIn for business development. Make sure you’re using the profile video feature to connect with your audience.
- Marketing your business: this typically happens on LinkedIn Pages (formerly called LinkedIn Company Pages). You’ll see those using LinkedIn in this way heavily marketing themselves as well as using their page for hiring new staff and promoting their company culture. Be sure to use the profile video feature as well as the new website link under your location on your personal profile page to direct people to a site of your choice.
- Networking/Business Development- Ok, I’m a bit biased as this is the main way that I leverage LinkedIn (don’t get stuck in my echo chamber 😁)- the best strategy I’ve seen from successful salespeople using LinkedIn on this ‘team’ is to treat this virtual platform like face-to-face. Don’t spam. Don’t pitch. Start conversations. Connect selectively and always have a context that you can communicate as to why you want to connect. You should take advantage of the profile video and website link I mentioned above as well as Creator Mode and the Newsletter feature.
- Coaching/Training- So, based on the three areas above 👆🏻, realize that there are coaches and trainers on LinkedIn that teach and train on all of the above (and even some more specialized areas) and they have various philosophies and yes, even echo chambers.
It’s important for you to decide your goals for using LinkedIn. Then, as you hear different philosophies, trainings, strategies and beliefs, compare the experience you and those that visit your profile will have by adopting said philosophies, trainings, strategies and beliefs.
Treat it like a buffet and take what aligns with your goals and leave what doesn’t.
Do some research on those that have titles like Linkedin Trainer and LinkedIn Expert- look at their profiles and their activity and reach out to them. Have a conversation and ask about their thoughts.
The important thing is to know why you’re using the platform and what success will look like for you and then following the guidance that aligns with those goals.
Do you need help figuring out what “Team” you’re on? Or what features you should be using?
Regardless if you’re a social and sales pro or a novice at both, let’s grab a virtual coffee and let me see how I can help and guide you!
Schedule a 30-minute complimentary call HERE.
Originally published on Bill McCormick’s LinkedIn