For many of us, LinkedIn is a necessary evil. Your boss, your mate or your mum probably advised you to set up a profile because it would make you look professional and clever, it would enhance your career, but you feel you’ve put yourself right in the middle of recruitment piranha pit. Or that you’re online bait for overseas con artists. You may even feel paranoid that if the Company Director walks by and sees LinkedIn on your screen, you must be looking for a job! So what’s so great about LinkedIn and what is its place in your life? Do job seekers actually find amazing jobs through LinkedIn? Do Sales teams actually obtain leads? Has anyone actually successfully used LinkedIn?
LinkedIn holds huge potential for us Kiwis. With 1.5 million users in New Zealand and 400 million users worldwide, every business owner, job seeker and sales team should be all over it. However LinkedIn remains largely untapped especially in New Zealand, due to a lack of knowledge on how to actually use it.
From a job seeker’s perspective, through optimising your profile, you can ensure that you can be found by recruiters and head hunters. For example, I get approached once every 4 to 6 months with job opportunities both for the NZ market and also for international positions- and the roles are tempting! Furthermore, LinkedIn allows you to stand out and connect directly with potential employers rather than being grouped together in a pile of resumes and CVs.
That was how Mark came to work for me. Sick of getting the standard responses through Seek, he decided to target, connect and contact potential employers directly through LinkedIn and as a result had four interviews with four different companies in a short period of time. Ultimately, Mark landed the role of Marketing Specialist at Marketing Minds which he has succeeded in for 5 months now.
While for business to business sales and business development teams, LinkedIn is still the best social media channel to generate leads. With one out of every three professionals on the planet on LinkedIn and with LinkedIn actively targeting tertiary education centres and recruiters, it has become the rite of passage for the millennials looking for work. This means that the number of people on LinkedIn is just going to keep growing and it works to the advantage of those that know how to make the most out of it.
Furthermore, a sales manager is able to find the best person to contact via LinkedIn, research the prospect, find commonalities and even make the first approach via Linkedin. For example Mike Parkes from Mike Parkes and Associates has built his New Zealand mortgage business through LinkedIn. He has generated over $180,000 of business from LinkedIn alone! How did he do this? Mike quickly skilled up in using LinkedIn and started to uncover a goldmine. “I decided to go for volume,” says Mike. He learnt how to directly target end customers on LinkedIn. He also created lead generation channels through lawyers and accountants on LinkedIn by gaining their trust and thus gaining access to their networks.
As for Company Directors, LinkedIn can provide a powerful platform for you to leverage your staff. The reputation of your company can be built through how your staff present themselves on LinkedIn, what is shared and said on your LinkedIn company page and how you can attract like-minded people to work for you. It is a fantastic broadcast platform for news releases and showing off the expertise of your organisation via the channel of your employees and their networks.
You may be convinced and ready to start leveraging LinkedIn now (if not, have a read of 10 Reasons Why LinkedIn Is A Must). Before you do however, bear in mind there are some pitfalls. In New Zealand, not all industries are well represented on LinkedIn and even then, not everyone who has a LinkedIn account is active on it. It is important to know whether or not those that you want to talk to are on LinkedIn and how active they are. Even if they are not very active, there are still ways of reaching them and becoming top of mind to them. This can be achieved through social selling and via the email channel on LinkedIn.
Lastly and perhaps most obviously your success on LinkedIn is dependent on how compelling your communication is on LinkedIn. It’s no different to when you meet someone for the first time, how you present yourself, what you say and your actions will determine if the person wants to continue the conversation or not. So on LinkedIn, it is important to present yourself well, connect and communicate in the right manner and then the LinkedIn world can be your oyster!
LinkedIn could be like your new local café but until you start hanging around there everyday drinking all the free cucumber water, you need to make sure you have something to give in return such as education, and you need to ensure your approach is strategic or you could waste a lot of your time. Happy Link-Ing!