According to the official LinkedIn Blog, 35% of users say that a casual conversation on LinkedIn has led to a new opportunity. Last week while away in Raleigh for the 2017 Internet Summit, I experienced this firsthand!
Over breakfast, on the second day of the conference, I was checking my LinkedIn stream when I saw a post from Mike Doyle. Mike is someone I have known for years. He does these cool ‘explainer’ animation videos. While we used to cross paths frequently at local networking events, he moved away a few years ago so I see him less often.
Mike’s post was simple, “If you were paid tomorrow to speak at a conference, what would you easily and passionately WANT to speak about?”.
There were some interesting replies and I added my own, “The value of Networking, both digitally and in real life!”35% of users say a casual conversation on #LinkedIn has led to a new opportunity Click To Tweet
Here is a screen shot of our exchange:
As you can see, in the midst of the conversation I realized that I was in the city that he had moved to and it turned out that he too, was attending the event!
We met at the morning break and then again at the evening happy hour. In addition to being able to catch up and to discuss some of the great presentation sessions we had attended, this was an excellent opportunity to introduce Mike to Barry, someone I had met the day before. They hit it off well and we all had a chance to discuss our work, ideal target audiences and how we can help each other. We also had a brief discussion about meditation and Barry shared some useful tips!
During the day, that post on LinkedIn continued to get views and others had jumped into the discussion. I struck up conversations with a few of the people on the thread, learning new things (do YOU know what a Planogram is? Check out Douglas Manser’s comments for a quick explanation) and ended up connecting with a few of them.
Days later, people were still commenting and interacting on the original post and as of this writing, a week later, the post has had over 5, 320 views and 22 comments. I have ‘met’ a bunch of new people, learned about their businesses and made 3 new LinkedIn connections. I look forward to working with both Mike and Barry and to further introductions from the two of them and the others I have met during that conversation.
Here are some takeaways on how to ensure that YOUR Casual Conversations on LinkedIn lead to new opportunities:
- Take the time to read through your LinkedIn news stream and INTERACT whenever possible.
- Create posts of your own which ask questions to get people talking and interacting. If you are having a hard time figuring out what to post, let me know. I can help you come up with a posting plan that will encourage interaction and community building.
- Be sure to include your location on your profile. Even if you work from home, letting people know where you are based will encourage them to reach out. You can always meet at a coffee shop or restaurant if you don’t have a meeting room.
- If you are traveling out of town for business, check to see who you might know in that area. Contact them in advance to see if you can connect in real life while there. And even if you don’t plan in advance, if you do find yourself with some free time, reach out and see if you can connect for coffee, cocktails or a meal. Catching up, it is a great way to build that Know, Like and Trust factor.
- Ask for introductions. In the case above, Mike did not specifically request an introduction but he was definitely interested in, and open to, networking.
- Be open to meeting new people. If someone offers an introduction, step up and interact. Thank the person who made the introduction and try to reciprocate when possible.
- REMEMBER that there are REAL PEOPLE on the other end of those LinkedIn profiles! While this may not be the case on all social platforms, LinkedIn is more likely to have a real person associated with each profile – approach interactions as you would with a person in real life. Introduce yourself, explain what you do and how you might be able to help them. And like real life, be sure to spend more time listening than talking!
- Link with people you meet on the platform. If you have interacted on a post and think that you would like to keep in touch, send them a LinkedIn invitation. PERSONALIZE the invitation, mentioning the conversation or post so they remember who you are and are more likely to accept the invite.
- Periodically have coffee, lunch, or even a quick phone call with your LinkedIn connections.
LinkedIn is an excellent tool to meet and interact with people but real world interactions can make the difference between just typing and really meeting prospects. Keep these tips in mind so your casual conversations on LinkedIn lead to new networking opportunities!
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