This guest post is by Jeremy Epstein, founder and chief marketing navigator at Never Stop Marketing. According to LinkedIn, he is member #146,795 … out of 100,000,000.
Frank sent me an unsolicited e-mail inquiring about my consulting services.
I had no idea who he was at all.
Being the (hopefully) good marketer that I am, I asked, “How did you hear about me?”
The answer shocked me. “I liked your title on LinkedIn.”
As he explained:
I found you kind of randomly. Michael R. accepted my LinkedIn invitation (I have known Mike probably 10+ years) and your name was 1st on his list of friends with the words “Marketing Navigator” by your name.
I found the title intriguing – especially because if Marketing Navigator meant what I hoped it meant, it would be exactly what we need.
It sounds like you could potentially really help us, and if I understand correctly, as your many testimonials suggest, you not only consult, but manage implementation.
Did you read that? A unique title caught his eye … and led to a qualified lead. Pretty low-cost marketing via LinkedIn.
Unfortunately, nondescriptive titles that don’t grab attention and tell stories to would-be connections are just one of the many ways that LinkedIn is completely underutilized.
Another big one is when LinkedIn is not used for pro-active, focused networking.
This has two sides to it.
- First, it reflects poorly on you.
- Second, you miss opportunities to grow your network.
Let’s take the first scenario.
I am frequently surprised (and frankly, mildly irritated) when people send an e-mail asking “do you know anyone at Company X?”
What this note communicates is that the person is lazy. Pretty much my whole network (and probably a good chunk of yours) is on LinkedIn (here’s the network map) and the person didn’t even bother to look.
The second can be illustrated with a recent example from my trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil.
As a committed networker, I have two rules when I travel for business.
- Always see something that is unique to that city.
- Always meet at least one new person in that city for each day I will be there.
Here’s how I (and you) can use LinkedIn to leverage your network and narrow your search.
- First, I turned to LinkedIn and clicked on Advanced People Search. I put in the keyword “Brazil.” (Note: I did this two months before I went there.)
- When I got the results, I sorted by “relationship.” I was looking for all of the first level connections. In other words, I could approach them directly.
- I found 15 people who met the criteria of having some connection to Brazil. This was my initial target market.
That was half the battle. The next part was LinkedIn outreach. So, short and sweet, I went with this approach:
- Technologists (particularly around the sugar cane/ethanol, but also IT)
I’m going to be there for a wedding, but figured I’d also just grab 20 mins for coffee to expand my horizons (and hopefully), provide some value in return. Do you have any contacts down there who might fit the bill?
Of those 15 initial contacts, eight responded (52.5% response rate) and five had contacts in Sao Paulo.
Then, I prepared a focused cover letter introducing myself to my network’s network. A bit longer (too long for this article), but you can see the full text here.
It took a bit of effort, but when all was said and done, I had eight meetings with new contacts in Sao Paulo.
Time will tell, but marketing is about driving objectives, so in that respect, it was a success.
Facebook and Twitter get all the love … but
LinkedIn is a phenomenally powerful tool that is rich with accessible (compared with FB!) information that can help you find the right people quickly.
No matter the business you are in, you need people to help you. If you want to grow your network, as opposed to nurture it, here are 10 ways you can do it (free PDF). I’m convinced that a focused utilization of LinkedIn is a great way to do that.