Should you outsource your LinkedIn?
Warning .. you may not like what you read next.
I went for coffee with a man this morning who was explaining his LinkedIn as a managed service business. This afternoon I watched a webinar where the LinkedIn trainer was adamant that LinkedIn as a service will be the ruin of you.
Such a conflicting day.
One person telling me that this is the future and the other is saying that it can only create mistrust in your brand. What is a girl to do?
One thing is for sure, LinkedIn as a managed service is becoming increasingly popular. This becomes particularly obvious when you start to notice the volume of Facebook adverts you see for it. It is the new black, the in thing, the new Twitter management but with more potential.
So what makes LinkedIn as a service so good?
Well, as far as I can tell it will …
Saves you time
What is the one commodity that money can’t .. oh ok, scrap that! This will buy you time!
Not only will you save time from not getting caught in the scroll but you will save time learning how to use LinkedIn, sending messages and responding to messages … how much time depends on you but I know many people who spend as little as 20mins per day on the network and they produce fantastic results. Do you need to save 20mins a day?
You will take consistent action
This is one of the things that people seem to forget. Like building a business, building a strong network is the result of consistent effort over an extended period. People you contact today may not be in the market for your product or service and, even if they were, they probably wouldn’t buy from you straight away. But, if you turn up every day, put out good content, engage directly every one in a while, you will start to move up their list of people to go to next time. Know, Like, Trust.
You be might able to be a bit braver with your messages
Admit it; you don’t like selling. If you did, you would be actively managing your LinkedIn account already. So, if you don’t like marketing and the language of sales does not come easily to you, outsourcing that task may mean you get better results. You could, of course, learn how to be a better sales/marketing person but either way, it will be a cost/vs cost & time scenario.
You will have a professional and less emotional approach
Selling these days is not a dog eat dog kind of world but, people who can’t sell (or don’t want to learn) still end up being a bit too soft sometimes. They forget their objective and start to bend over backwards in accommodating others. By outsourcing this task, you will take out many of the emotional choices you may have otherwise made. If you are in sales and marketing (or films), you may have come across a man called Jordan Belfort, otherwise known as the Wolf on Wall Street, who talks about his method of straight line selling. Building a rapport (built on trust) is essential, but you have to keep your objective in mind and be able to get the prospect back on track.
Your activity levels will show you are open for business (Both for the LinkedIn algorithm and to your connections)
Who doesn’t love an algorithm? A sad as it is, we really are being judged by computers. Just like a websites SEO, the LinkedIn algorithm is set up to show the most engaging and relevant content to its user base. It is set this way because LinkedIn wants to keep the reader engaged on the platform for a long as possible. So it stands to reason that the more active you are, the more people will engage with you. The more they engage with you, the more LinkedIn will see your posts and engagement as valuable the more they will show it to other people in your network. It is not quite rocket science, but it is useful.
You are almost guaranteed leads.
If you don’t get any leads from this then you need to let go of the partner and either try someone new or give it a go yourself. But, in all honesty, I think most businesses could get something from LinkedIn, you need to work out what success looks like for you first to see if it is worth the punt.
It sounds tempting huh!
But, you must be careful as it also has the following downsides.
It is not your voice
The way we write today conveys much more of our personality than it used to. We pause and punctuate differently. We use different language patterns, slang and greetings. So when a new connections only impression of you is not you, it may be very apparent when you take over the conversation and break the illusion.
The service provider will not understand your connections
I can say with almost certainty that if someone manages your LinkedIn account they will connect with someone you already know in some capacity. It could be someone you know from school, an old job or even worse …. An ex-boyfriend! You will need to be comfortable with this because this part of the job is most likely automated and out of everyone’s control.
Your partner will not understand your products/services well (to begin with)
Like bringing on a new salesperson, you don’t expect the best results while they are learning the trade. It will take time to learn about your products/services, what the value is and what messages work and what do not. This will take time, weeks or months depending on how complicated the solution is.
You will get negative feedback from some
You will be judged, and quite honestly LinkedIn can be one bitchy place at times. The LinkedIn nazis will tell you that this is not how LinkedIn should work and they will be furious that you are not abiding by their rules. Some will take a lot of pleasure in telling you this. But you may not even see this feedback (unless you dip in occasionally)
If you don’t have a good sales system in place, filling it with leads may not be a great idea
Ahhh, one of the worst things in online marketing is the millions of ways you can drive leads, but due to a shaky foundation, these leads are lost almost as fast as they are found. We spend so much money on ads and services or the new way to drive leads but we end up wasting money as our conversion rate is so low.
It might not be the right strategy for your business
LinkedIn is not right for everyone. It is not right for everyone all of the time, and it is not right for some, some of the time. Think about your overall business goals. Who would make a good connection and what would be the best outcome from that connection? If you struggle to create a business case, then it might be best to put the shiny new strategy down and walk away. Go on… put it down.
Time to sit on the fence in a way only a marketer can
LinkedIn as a managed service is not the devil. It will not ‘ruin LinkedIn’. BUT, it will not suit all.
It will not work for all, and more importantly, some people providing the service are not going to do a very good job. #Fact
To set up there is a very low barrier to entry, there are no qualifications or prerequisites, the cost of setting up is super low .. literally, anyone could offer this tomorrow.
Which makes me think that LinkedIn as a managed service is only going to grow, for a time anyway.
So if using a provider to manage your LinkedIn profile still tickles your fancy then you will want to read this next bit too.
Know your brand
Not just the colours but your values, the value you bring to others, your position in the market i.e. why people should choose you.
Know your target audience
Ban the words everyone and anyone when deciding, who are they? What do they look for when deciding on using a service like yours? What will help them trust you?
Make sure you have a credible foundation
Conversion marketing looks at what happens once you have attracted your audience. Where do they go? What is your online presence saying about you? Will they understand you or get confused? Do you provide clear instructions on what action you want them to take? If someone is generating meetings or calls for you, do you have the time? Or will you start to let people down?
Set goals and make sure you take the time to assess if the system is working
What does success look like? If you sell a high ticket product, it might be reasonable to sell less than a lower value product. If this is the case, what do you need to see for this solution to be viable? Would a sale cover three months fees? What is your conversion rate? If they provide you with five leads per month and you only close one, how does this compare with your other marketing methods? Are they targeting the right people? Opening the conversation with the right information/questions?
Do not believe it is a magic money button
Money doesn’t grow on trees, nor does it propagate within LinkedIn. Not unless you have a product that people want and a way of conveying that message to them. It may also take a bit of time. As I mentioned, LinkedIn is about relationships not sales. Sales will come as a result of consistent action and education.
Do be open to conversations and meetings
You have to manage your time but, the magic rarely happens on LinkedIn. The magic happens once you start to understand someone. Be open to talking and meeting. But be honest, if you know that a meeting is not going to result in anything positive don’t waste each others time. Put the meeting on the back burner for a time.
Do not measure success on the number of connections
Ever heard the expression ‘You can’t pay your mortgage with Facebook Likes’ well it appears that the same is true for LinkedIn connections. If this is the only metric going up, this is a big warning sign that something isn’t right.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. It has been an interesting day, and I wanted to share my thoughts. I would love to know what you think about on this service.
Would you outsource your LinkedIn?