What I Have Found
Building a fast-growing company in legal services is not easy and one of the tools that I often turn to is Linkedin. I have found that too many users use the platform for B2B marketing or recruitment by taking the cold approach and targeting potential customer decision makers without any kind of plan. However, the platform should not be used for annoying people with a cold approach, rather, it can also be used for other purposes such as finding your dream employee.
In my experience, without a sound plan for developing your network you are doomed to fail at the first hurdle, and no expensive monthly subscription will make up for your lack of a good Linkedin strategy.
Since co-founding Wicker Hamilton over 2 years ago, I have come to learn a thing or two about building our network on professional networking websites. Here are a couple of our key pointers which I would like to share with readers.
2nd Degree and 3rd Degree Connections
Understanding this concept on the platform is vital. LinkedIn knows that head-hunters and business development officers rely heavily on the use of it’s platform. They also know, that in order to make the social network ‘social’ enough, they need to maintain some decorum when it comes to connection requests.
Without putting controls in place the circles that people will find themselves in on the platform will make user groups feel too far removed from people ‘like them’. Meaning that they will be far less likely to share content (for fear of reprisal or lack of approval) or worse, be bombarded by marketers – both of which will lead to a decline in users.
When building your network for the first time, you will quickly learn that by adding numerous ‘3rd degree connections’ within a short space of time will land you in the LinkedIn equivalent of a ‘sinbin’ – blocking you from adding more people for a cooling off period. Moreover, adding strangers without any mutual connections at all means that they are far less likely to accept you, period.
It is best to focus on building your network by gradually adding those with a large network already, and who are 2nd degree connections to yourself. The fact that an individual has 500+ connections in the first place would indicate that they are more open, and probably, more likely to accept your invitation. Upon accepting you, they will have now given you another 500+ potential connections, who are now ‘2nd degree’ connections to yourself, who you are now more likely to be able to connect with – due to the ‘virtual vouch’. Thereby creating a snowball effect.
So focus on adding those who are second degree connections, with larger networks themselves, and in no-time, you will begin to build a very large network, thereby boosting your exposure when you post content, and improving your hit-rate when it comes to marketing.
Location, Location, Location.
When recruiting or building business in a new geography, I have found that Google maps should be your ‘best friend’. You need to ‘get into the heads’ of both your potential customers and, in turn, their potential customers in order to filter down the terms that you will use in your search. Draw up a list of those areas that you are looking to target. Where do your customers live and work?
Finally on the location point. When building a business, focus is critical. You need to be very specific about the companies that you are targeting within a particular locality. We still live in a world where the location of a business matters. Your biggest aim should be to conquer each market one at a time, and not to take on the whole world.
In summary, I have a simple and positive message to you all; get adding ! It is hard work to build a new company and the associated network that should go with it but, I can assure you, that the future rewards will make it worthwhile !