Don't get caught with a bag over your head.
Have you ever heard of speed dating? Of course you have! It’s where a bunch of people get in a room with tables and chairs (at least that’s the way I’ve always seen it in the movies) and they have just a few minutes to interact with someone before a bell rings and it’s time for them to move on to the next person.
It’s a method for quickly determining whether or not the person on the other end of the table is someone you want to invest more time and energy into getting to know and developing a relationship with. Imagine if someone showed up to a round of speed dating with a paper sack on their head, had no name tag and just sat there and didn’t say anything. That’d be ridiculous right?!
I mean why would that person even waste their time showing up if they’re not going to tell a little about themselves or engage in the activity?
Eventually everyone else at the speed dating event would end up skipping the table with the weirdo that’s wearing the bag over their head.
What does speed dating have to do with this blog post?
This scenario is maybe a bit extreme or humorous, but the same thing that I just illustrated is very similar to social prospecting and social selling. You have the "big three" when it comes to social media, but I'm referring to one in particular. LinkedIn. Creating a LinkedIn profile but neglecting to take the time to really fill the profile out is like showing up to a speed dating event with a sack on your head.
I know I know, you just wanted to create a profile so you can discreetly gather some intel on that prospect that you’re wanting to approach for the purpose of selling managed IT services or to benefit you in your quest for selling copiers with social media. But, what if instead of lurking in the background and gathering information on someone, you could actually get a warm introduction? Would that be valuable? Of course it would! This is exactly the kind of thing that LinkedIn can be great for.
Let’s backup a bit and talk about LinkedIn. What is it? We've talked a little bit more about how to approach LinkedIn in a previous blog article, and how you should think of it more like a business meeting. Here is LinkedIn’s own description of who they are: "LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service…...it is mainly used for professional networking”. So, if you’ve been to any kind of business networking event, you know that you’ve got to shake a lot of hands, tell people about yourself and ask others about their business and what they do. The hope is, that you develop some mutually beneficial relationships, but even if you don’t, you may meet someone that would be willing to introduce you to other people that they know, that could help you or that you could help. LinkedIn is virtually the same premise, just in a digital format.
Okay, so now that I’ve hammered home the point that it’s important to have a filled out and optimized profile on LinkedIn, let me give you 5 practical tips on how to avoid looking like a social media newbie or even technology illiterate. I don’t care if you’re selling copiers, Managed IT Services or popsicle sticks, these tips will get you moving in the right direction to creating the professional image that you want prospects to see.