By Chris Karel
Shon Christy is one of Ohio’s best social media speakers. Recognized as a pioneer and innovator, he founded the state’s first niche social media agency. His 20 years of marketing experience, nearly 10 years of social media expertise and hundreds of speaking engagements with national reach make him one of the most prolific social media speakers in the state. Not to mention that Shon has the energy to engage an audience of any size.
Shon subscribes to a pivotal belief that has been picking up steam in the content marketing and social media spaces: attention is the new currency. Organizations spend far too much time pushing their agendas and not enough time focusing on adding value to their audiences. This customer-centric philosophy on social media, directly influenced by the book The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann, drives Shon to transform the way Ohio businesses use social media. After speaking for the AMA NEO Digital SIG in October, Christy sat down with Digital SIG programming director Chris Karel to discuss LinkedIn prospecting.
Chris: Thanks for taking the time to sit down and talk about Linkedin today. My first question is, why do you think Linkedin has become a popular platform?
Shon: Thank you Chris. To answer your question, I believe LinkedIn has become popular because of its focus on business and networking. People are spending time on the platform because it helps them achieve their goals while building new professional contacts. I also believe we are seeing some fatigue on other popular platforms because of the rise in negativity. We are just not seeing as much negative conversation on LinkedIn.
Chris: I can relate to the fatigue. I rarely use some traditional socials because it’s taxing to weed through the trolls. And, I agree, I don’t see the negativity as much on Linkedin. Let’s move into prospecting. What are three things people can do to their profile to aid in prospecting?
3 Things to Aid Prospecting
Shon: First, develop and implement a keyword strategy for your profile using the words you want to be found for. Second, start publishing more! Write unique content similar to a blog which you can publish and house on your LinkedIn profile. This will not only help establish you as a thought leader in your area, but it might also produce a lead once published into the feed! Third, focus on getting one recommendation a month for the next 12 months. I have found the word of mouth from these recommendations to be a powerful lead generation tool! These recommendations also have lasting impact on your profile and help set you apart from your competition when potential clients are researching you and your company.
Chris: Good suggestions Shon. I never thought of a keyword strategy on Linkedin. It seems obvious now that I hear you say it, but yes, great idea.
Shon: Sometimes it is the easy things that people overlook.
Chris: How can I use Linkedin to prospect? I thought it was a job search platform.
Shon: While about half of LinkedIn’s revenue comes from the recruitment side of the house, the sales side has picked up steam over the last several years. I think the first step is always having goals. If your goal is to prospect, create a top ten list of desired clients and focus on building authentic relationships with the people in those organizations who can make or influence the decision making. I also recommend making connections and building relationships with vendors and other influencers that support those ten companies. A critical part of the relationship building process is adding value. Try to add value to those individuals through your contacts or your content.
Chris: What are some common pitfalls that businesses fall into when trying to use LinkedIn for lead generation?
Shon: First and foremost, I think it is important to understand that it takes time to build relationships and develop business. It is no different on the LinkedIn platform, so having realistic expectations is very important. I have heard that LinkedIn doesn’t work, only to find out they made a few posts and sent a few connection requests and the person is giving up because he/she has not closed any deals.
Chris: I’ve heard similar complaints.
Shon: Once the correct expectations are in place I highly encourage people to have a plan that includes goals, measurements, and an activity plan for how they are going to go after those goals. I rarely see people taking a structured approach to LinkedIn. One of the biggest pitfalls is BAD prospecting. I see so many people make connections and immediately follow up with a sales pitch. LinkedIn is a tool to network and build relationships, not to spam people. Stop the spam!!!!
Chris: I feel your exclamation points. I immediately unfollow or sometime disconnect from a new connection that immediately pitches me like they know me. Okay Shon, last question: What industries are doing it right?
Shon: I think speakers and marketers do a good job overall because those industries are used to producing content. Being active on the platform is very important, but having a plan and following that plan is critical to the success of the LinkedIn program.
Chris: Thank you Shon. I appreciate your insight and I’m sure I’ll see you soon on Linkedin.
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