Last week I talked about having “Human Conversations” on LinkedIn. You know, simple, conversational, authentic. Like you’d talk to someone you met at a party:
“Hi, what do you do?”
“I’m a consultant in the field of intuitive leadership.”
“Wow, that sounds exciting. How long have you been doing that?”
“Oh, going on seven years.”
“Great! What are the kind of results you help your clients achieve with intuitive leadership? ”
“Well, it’s all about tapping into your intuition as a leader. And when leaders do that, they make much better decisions.”
“Tell me more about that!”
1. And this is the first tip to increase engagement on LinkedIn.
What you may notice is that all I’m doing is asking questions. I’m showing interest (because I am genuinely interested).
We all want to be so clever and interesting. Give it up, it never really works. The most interesting people are the ones who are interested in others.
I discussed this with a client last week and he remarked, “Robert, I get so obsessed with what I’m going to tell them about my business that I don’t even hear what the other person is saying!” Exactly!
Not only that, when you’re asking questions, you are controlling the direction of the conversation. It’s not that the other person can’t take control by asking questions in return. But you can then ask another question after you have answered their question to keep the conversation going.
Now, how long does this need to go on in LinkedIn until something happens, until you ask for an offline conversation?
Well, there are no absolute formulas, but here are two other things you can do to increase engagement:
2. Send some information in response to something your connection said.
So, in the above example, talking about intuitive leadership, I might do a Google search and come up with an article on the topic. (I just found one on Forbes through a Google search in about 5 seconds).
“Hey, this intuitive leadership approach is very interesting. Just found an article on Forbes online. You may find it interesting. Link to article.”
OK, now I’m sharing some value. This could be a number of things – an article from an outside source, an infographic, a cartoon, a checklist, whatever seems appropriate. And if you know what the person is interested in, this stuff is not hard to find – typically it takes me a few seconds, never more than a minute or two.
Will they take a look at the article? Absolutely, especially if it’s related to the interest you were just having a conversation about.
2. The next thing you can do is ask a compelling question.
This is really the first time you ask something that points back indirectly to what you do.
So, the question I’ve been asking is: “What’s the biggest challenge you have attracting new clients?”
This is NOT something you want to ask in your welcome message or too soon in the conversation. You first need to get to know your connection and have a conversation as I’ve outlined above.
But at some point, you’ll find an opening.
And, look, you’re only going to ask that question if you think there’s a possibility. When you ask it, you’ll learn pretty quickly if there is one or not.
And then, when you get your answer, you can share an idea or two, ask more questions, etc. And ultimately, this can lead to an offline conversation.
So, the three things you can do to increase engagement once you’re connecting and conversing:
1. Ask questions to keep the conversation going.
2. Send some relevant information.
3. Ask compelling questions.
None of these is difficult or takes much time. What is difficult, however, is having the patience to stick with it to start developing that relationship.
In the exchange with the book-writing coach I referenced last week, Ladey Adey, (website here), she asked if I had written a book and I mentioned my online bestseller, the InfoGuru Marketing Manual. And before I knew it, she asked to interview me for her podcast!
So, even if I’m not a prospective client for her or visa-versa, this is a great outcome for a LinkedIn Exchange. Podcast interviews lead to many other good things!
And I want to emphasize that this was all done without an agenda to get to a specific place. It just ended up where it did because I stayed in the present with the conversation and enjoyed the interaction.
The only way you get good at this is by reaching out and making new connections on LinkedIn, engaging them in conversations and see where it takes you.