Want to Boost Your LinkedIn Engagement? Get Out There and Shake Some Hands! 7/1/2019
Want to boost your engagement on LinkedIn? The get off of the platform.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “What is he talking about? He lives on LinkedIn – he’s always popping up in my feed.”
What I mean is that you need to connect with your LinkedIn followers OFFLINE – meaning in-person, face-to-face, in the flesh. Spend some quality time with them and get to know them beyond your digital engagement. Once you start doing that regularly, watch your engagement ON the platform jump.
It’s no secret that I'm a huge fan of LinkedIn for engaging with ECRM’s audience of buyers and sellers; it’s a major component of our content distribution efforts, and we’re always making new connections on the platform. But it's not an end in itself. The whole purpose of the LinkedIn platform is to foster business relationships. And the only way to deepen and strengthen those relationships is to ultimately take them offline.
And when that happens, an interesting thing occurs: your engagement with them ONLINE will grow. The fact is, we tend to engage more online with people we’ve met in-person (or at a minimum – via a live phone call) than with those connections who are only digital-only relationships.
In the book, Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread – The Lessons from a New Science, author Alex Pentland cites an experiment conducted by the University of California-San Diego and scientists from Facebook during the 2010 U.S. Congressional elections in which they sent “get out and vote” messages to 61 million Facebook users. Some users received just a message, while others received the message and were able to see the faces of their friends who had already voted. The users who saw the faces of their friends who had voted dramatically improved the effectiveness of the mobilization message.
The author writes: “Real-world friends are simply different from Facebook-only friends. The researchers found that close friends exerted four times more influence on the total number of actual voters than the message itself.”
While this was a Facebook study, the same thing applies to all social media platforms, and I’ve experienced this often with my professional connections on LinkedIn. Those connections whom I’ve had the opportunity to meet with face-to-face, or with whom I’ve had live phone conversations tend to comment more on my posts and share them with others versus those connections I’ve only known online. And it’s a virtuous cycle: the more LinkedIn connections you meet offline, the more engagement you have online, which gives you opportunities for more face-to-face relationships, and so on. Ultimately, LinkedIn becomes the place where you maintain engagement with those who you meet in-person.
So how do take these relationships offline? One way is by hosting local meetups. Gary Vaynerchuk is a huge fan of this. In fact, he refers to the strategy as the “High School Party Rule,” referring to the fact that the coolest kids in high school were the ones who actually hosted the parties. LinkedIn marketing expert and CEO of B2B digital marketing agency Ajax Union Joe Apfelbaum holds monthly networking events in New York. Once he secures a space, he posts an invite on LinkedIn and then his connections have the opportunity to meet him and other like-minded people in person. These people turn into raving fans and end up sharing his LinkedIn messages far and wide.
Or, if you travel a lot like I do, you can meet with connections located in cities to which you are traveling. Just throw a post on LinkedIn letting your audience know where you’ll be and when you will be available. For example, when I’m getting ready to travel to one of our sessions, I’ll post a note on LinkedIn letting my followers know when I’ll be there, and if they are available I’ll try and meet one or two of them while I’m in their city. Plus, it’s a great way to meet with connections who may be participating in a session who I may not yet have had the chance to meet with in person. Indeed, several of the videos I’ve posted over the past couple of months have been with LinkedIn connections I finally had the chance to meet with face to face at our sessions.
Which brings me to another point. When you do meet with these connections face-to-face, make sure you post about it on LinkedIn, either a selfie or some content about the value you found in meeting with them face-to-face. This lets your LinkedIn connection base know that you are for real and accessible to them when you are on the road, which in turn will make other connections more apt to try and meet with you when you are in their town. And it's a great way to continue the online engagement with them!
So what are you waiting for? Go out there and shake some hands with LinkedIn connections – you’ll be amazed at what it can do for your online engagement!
And, of course, please feel free to follow me and ECRM on LInkedIn!