Is LinkedIn Helpful for your small business?
Like many parts of social media, LinkedIn seems to have it’s positive and negative moments for people. I recently have seen some peers in non-profit fundraising post about their challenges with LinkedIn and after reading all of the comments on their posts (by far negative) I thought I would share some of my experiences.
Just to be clear, I’m not an employee of LinkedIn nor am I paid to write positive things about them.
I have been on LinkedIn for many years. Three years ago I decided that I wanted more from LinkedIn and decided to put more effort in it. Before creating strategy around that I decided to clean it up. I wanted to be connected with people I actually knew, people in my field (non-profit development and fundraising) and people in fields I could collaborate with (corporate leaders, recruiters, activists). This took a while as it was before one could delete from the profile. I had to go through each profile and decide if there was relationship or partnership potential there.
All of that time totally paid off. I ended up deleting almost half of all of my connections, quickly realizing that I had too many connections with people I didn’t know and couldn’t think of how we could benefit each other.
I started fresh. My goals include building relationships with people in my field, those who I can learn from and those who I potentially might want to work with one day. Another goal is to engage with people and businesses who might want to partner with me and the non-profit I work for. By partner I mean that they get something out of the relationship and we get something out of the relationship, not just me as a non-profit wanting them to donate and then see you later. A true partnership. Finally, and this can be inclusive of the partnership part, I want to engage with the community around the those served by my non-profit clients (and potential clients!).
In other words being on LinkedIn for me can’t be all about me.
Additionally, like all of social media and most things that end up being good for you in regards to goals, I need to work it. Seriously work it. That doesn’t mean being on LinkedIn 24/7. It simply means that I need to be proactive if I want results or if I want to feel it’s worth my while. On LinkedIn that means adding posts and articles that might benefit my connections and/or my goals, liking peoples posts, engaging with their posts (writing a comment), introducing people and sharing job openings/searches.
A few months ago I began spending even more time on LinkedIn, based on suggestions of other in the nonprofit fundraising world. The time spent has very much paid off, even to the point of getting new clients and meeting new people who I can learn from, and hopefully they can learn from me.
In the last three years my LinkedIn experience has totally changed. I hope what I have shared can be helpful to you!