LinkedIn is commonly associated as an online platform to post your job resume. In this fictitious world, LinkedIn users only search for jobs, or on the other side of the coin look for candidates who would make great employees. This viewpoint depicts the platform as an antagonist toward the entrepreneurial dream.
This fictitious reality couldn’t be further from the truth. LinkedIn presents for entrepreneurs extraordinary opportunities that remain unmatched primarily due to its nature. While Google is a search engine for articles, LinkedIn is a search engine for people. When used correctly, LinkedIn’s search engine can create connections between you and people who will lead you to more opportunities. Here are the three steps to landing more opportunities with LinkedIn.
1. Get Clear On What Opportunities You’re Pursuing
It’s very difficult to accomplish a goal if you don’t know what that goal is. Before you use LinkedIn to connect with people, you need to know your objective. If you could land any opportunity with LinkedIn right now, what opportunity would you land? When you ask yourself this question, think both short-term and long-term.
For the short-term, you may want speaking gigs at local areas. For the long-term, you may want to get interviewed on a major news network. Everyone’s short-term and long-term objectives are different, but getting clear on them lets you know who you need to find on LinkedIn.
2. Conduct The Search
Let’s say you want to be a public speaker who discusses social media marketing. Where should you start? You could Google your way to a few articles, but on LinkedIn you can search your way to people who can present you with that opportunity.
For public speaking gigs, the important point of contact is the event organizer. This person decides who speaks at a given event. Depending on your objectives, your important points of contact may have different titles. However, a typical event organizer won’t do. To find specific event organizers in the social media marketing space, you get more specific with your search.
Getting more specific with this search results in the keyword “social media marketing event organizers.” You can get even more specific by targeting people based on their location. With this search, you’ll find event organizers who are interested in social media marketing, organize events around social media marketing or both!
A rule of thumb is to use this keyword phrase for your search:
(Your niche) (Important point of contact) – Social media marketing event organizer.
3. Meaningfully Connect With These People
Once you find the right people to connect with, you must then meaningfully connect with them. The word “meaningfully” is critical. The way most people connect is by clicking on the connect button and sending the generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message along with your name. This message tells me that I’m just a number. I’m one of the connections you need to have “500-plus connections” show up on your LinkedIn profile. Depending on who you are, it also tells me that while you don’t care enough about me to send a meaningful message, you cared enough about an opportunity I can provide to hit that connect button.
First impressions make a significant impact on how people perceive you. The “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message won’t generate a good first impression. In fact, that phrase is so commonly used that people will quickly forget who you are. With this message, you can create a potent first impression by:
Greeting the person (Hello Marc)
Briefly discussing a shared interested (your niche and a personal interest if you find one that you share. If the person I’m connecting with mentions he/she loves dogs, I mention I’m a dog lover, too.)
One accomplishment or article from the person that you liked (I enjoyed reading your article about landing opportunities with LinkedIn)
The call-to-action (I think it would be awesome if we connected on LinkedIn).
When you get this connection, you’ve got your foot in the door. Interact with this person often without overwhelming that person. Help this person before you ask them for the opportunity you have in mind.
Marc Guberti is a student at Fordham University and a social media and business blogger and author. He’s on Twitter @MarcGuberti and can be reached by phone at 914-722-6005 or email at Marc@MarcGuberti.com.