Broaden Your Reach in LinkedIn without Spamming

advicePeople who invest considerable time into building large LinkedIn networks regularly ask how they can send group communications to their networks. This is a regular topic in LinkedIn Answers and on external blogs and message boards. Here we will discuss the motivation behind the impulse to send group emails, namely the desire to use the “digital multiplier,” and solutions that do *not* involve spamming.

The Digital Multiplier

Email is so darned fast, easy and inexpensive, what’s not to like? Namely, that it’s fast, easy and inexpensive! There’s too much of it when you’re on the receiving end. I completely understand the desire to send group emails; I have often complained about LinkedIn’s lack of group communications, but for a different reason. I would like, for example, to introduce new members of my network to the community (my network) and am currently unable to do it in LinkedIn. Secondly, many people love the EGLI newsletter (I do, too ,^). Don’t you think I’d like to ping my LinkedIn network about it? There’s a good reason we can’t.

The Gold

LinkedIn’s key target demographic is high impact executives whose presence evaporates like spilled San Pellegrino on hot pavement when they get aggressively propositioned. If you’ll forgive the metaphor, they are the pretty girls in the bar; without them, the venue has little value for anyone. For years, I have organized executive events where the same thing applies: executives are only too aware that they are targets for every vendor out there, and you’ll never attract them to your venue unless you are hyper about preventing too much access. LinkedIn knows this, and I’m sure they would rather err on the side of being too conservative than too loose with allowing their members to be accessed too easily.

Solution: Build Honeypots

If you want to create an approach to use “digital leverage” in reaching people, I suggest:

  • Start a simple, thought leadership program, and put it out there, so it can attract the people who need what you have to offer.
  • For example, write a blog that focuses on solving practical problems that your target audience has and relates to your value proposition. Once you have some content, answer questions on LinkedIn that are relevant to the material on your blog.
  • You can include your blog as a resource in answering those questions. This adds value without “selling,” and most of your target audience will appreciate the value you are contributing.
  • Be consistent, and stay on it, and you will draw people to you. Add cred by referring people to several sources, including yours.

The EGLI Example

The Executive’s Guide to LinkedIn Blog can serve as an example here. It is a magnet for people who want to know how to use LinkedIn better, but instead of spamming LinkedIn members, I let it live out here. I also offer it as a reference when appropriate–when I answer questions on LinkedIn Answers. I try to select questions that are relevant to my services because I can add the most value that way. I try to educate people about LinkedIn’s potential for process innovation in busdev, recruiting, client service, R&D and PR.

Parting Shots

  • Going to people may feel more proactive, but you are better off letting people come to you.
  • Everyone prefers fast results, but LinkedIn is more about relationships than transactions.
  • Besides, the most rewarding transactions happen once you have established trusted relationships. Focus on relationships, and the transactions will materialize.

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