Wondering how broccoli is like LinkedIn? I’ll tell ya. We all have our favorites. Foods. Restaurants. Coffee Shops. We’re comfortable there. We know what to order without looking at the menu. We’re used to the atmosphere, the people, the sights, sounds and smells. We have our favorite server and table.
We know where the stirrers, napkins and sugar are. If someone suggests another place, there’s a visceral response whether we verbalize it or not. It goes something like this “I don’t care what they have over there.
All you know is I ain’t goin‘!
In the back of your mind, you know there’s a “shop around the corner” that people have been raving about. But you’re not comfortable there. You feel awkward. Like the first day you walk into a coffee shop you’ve never been to before. Where is the line? What’s on the menu? Meanwhile the regulars are in there hanging out, ordering in some sort of secret code. . . “I’ll have half soy, half caf, latte, mocha with splash of cinnamon, light foam”.
It can be intimidating
Who wants to look like they don’t know what they’re doing? Especially during the morning rush when people are in a hurry to get to work. I worked in New York City and folks will cut you (with their eyes) if your lack of ordering skills adds one minute to their commute to work.
We do the same thing online. We have our favorite places where we feel comfortable. We know the people, how to navigate around – we don’t even have to think about it. Your “shop around the corner” might be LinkedIn. Where your ideal audience is spending time. You don’t know where to go, what do say, who to say it to or how to say it. What’s your visceral response when someone suggests LinkedIn? All you know is you ain’t goin’! I’m gonna stay right here on Facebook or Pinterest where I know what I’m doing and I can hang with my people.
If you’re in business to make money, you’re passing up big opportunities to do that. What if I told you I have a way to make LinkedIn fun and easy for you to get started? Listen in.
The following conversation is based on a true story.
LinkedIn Hater: I love using Pinterest. It’s where I get most of my traffic.
Me: Who is your target audience?
LinkedIn Hater: Small business owners
Me: They’re on LinkedIn
LinkedIn Hater: I know. But I hate LinkedIn.
Me: Yes, but it’s the largest professional network online. The people who will buy your program and sign up for your workshop are there. Segmented into groups just sitting there.
LinkedIn Hater: I know!!!
Me: What do you hate about it?
LinkedIn Hater: I don’t know what to say on there. Feels awkward. I like Pinterest. I’m comfortable there. It has great pictures.
Me: “How about if I make LinkedIn fun for you?” (I took out my pen and drew two circles and wrote Pinterest in one and LinkedIn in the other – see photo of whiteboard). Like your child hates broccoli, but loves cheese. You dip it in cheese sauce and his mouth is open wide while you circle the spoon around and make it land like a plane in his mouth. Before you know it he’s eaten all his broccoli. By the time he’s 10, you’ve weaned him off the cheese and he’s eating broccoli straight – no chaser.
LinkedIn Hater: Let’s see what you got.
At this point, we flip open the laptop, I do a quick search on LinkedIn for Pinterest Groups, look at a few discussions going on and point out a few that are right up her alley. I give her homework:
- First of all. Don’t worry about going in there all gangbusters. Make it fun at first (heavy cheese to broccoli ratio) and as you get used to it, then we’ll talk about your goals and going in strategically (lower cheese to broccoli ratio) to connect with target audience, saying the right things to the right people in the right group and all that.
- Do a search for groups in LinkedIn: What social network, activity, sport or hobby do you love? Think of your favorite team, alumni, organization or association where you would feel comfortable. Could be basketball, quilting, graphic design, art or music? Do you know there’s even a rock climbing group on LinkedIn? LinkedIn has thousands of groups – there is one in there that will suit you perfectly. Find one.
- Join the group and introduce yourself (if you’re not comfortable doing that – it’s not a deal breaker). Think cheese.
- Listen before you speak. It’s like walking up to a group of people having a conversation.
- Introduce yourself. “Hi I’m Sally/Sammy. I’m a long time Raiders/Giants/Steelers fan. And I’m here to talk some football!”
- Look through the Discussions (think of them as conversations) and find a few that you can “like” or comment on. Keep it casual. You’re not selling yourself, trying to get someone to buy or click on a link back to your website. Think casual conversation. Blending in with the crowd. You’re joining a conversation. Not selling yourself.
- Rinse and repeat. Like or comment on a discussion in one of your groups. Do that a couple of days a week and let me know what happens.
A couple of weeks later I get an email from who else? Yep. The LinkedIn Hater.
LinkedIn Hater: Guess what? I’m loving LinkedIn. Not only have I been logging in, commenting and sharing, but people have followed me to Pinterest. Some of them also joined my Pinterest group on Facebook. I got a few people to signup for my newsletters and interested in my workshop. On top of that I was listed as top influencer on LinkedIn one week because I posted a question that sparked a conversation for over a week and got over 30 comments.
Me: Told ya! (It was hard to resist)
Are you drinking the LinkedIn Haterade? We can’t have that. Take that look off your face. I’m reaching for the cheese!
If broccoli and cheese don’t work for you, feel free to switch it up to strawberries dipped in chocolate. Right now it’s all about you! Once you get comfy in there, we’ll make it all about them. Before you know it you’ll be using LinkedIn, straight – no chaser, (broccoli – no cheese) and lovin’ it.