Two years ago I was feverishly working to help pay for my dream
wedding in Walt Disney World (modest for most, but a dream
wedding for me – marriage with the Mouse requires some decent
funds!). We were on track and on budget to have everything set
by late spring leading up to our July wedding, when I was hit
with a bombshell: one of my largest retainer clients was taking
my recommendation and hiring an internal marketing resource.
First, let me explain that I actually had recommended for over
a year that this company hire someone internally to oversee
marketing. It was absolutely in the best interest of their
company (even if it wasn’t the best thing for my bank account).
So I was genuinely excited for them and happy to transition my
social media and content marketing to their new resource.
But on the other hand, I suddenly had to recoup several
thousand dollars a month!
I built my consulting business from scratch in late 2011 and
received new clients largely on referrals after my initial
launch, but with the wedding coming up, I needed to move a bit
quicker. Ultimately, I decided to rely on what I knew best to
immediately replace the missing income: social media
(specifically, LinkedIn). Within 30 days, I had earned nearly
three months of missing income from the lost retainer, and I
had built some fantastic new relationships. The best part is
that you don’t have to be a social media consultant to grow
your business on LinkedIn. The steps I took to grow my business
are steps anyone can take right now.
I looked beyond my current network.
Yes, I had
established a strong LinkedIn network by the time I needed to
really use it, but I decided to nurture my current network in
person (which also led to significant income generation during
the few months after this client transition). For this LinkedIn
experience, I focused on new relationships – while my current
network may know me and my expertise, they have other
priorities that are much more important that sending referrals
I offered to help people (for free).
best piece of advice I can give anyone is true for LinkedIn and
every social network: help people. There are several ways to
stand out and stay top of mind on LinkedIn (more so than any
other social network right now), but one of the only times
you’re going to have a “captive” audience on LinkedIn is when
sending your request to connect. I personally wrote every
message and customized it to their area of specialty, but in
each message I included (and still include) the following:
I share social media advice and tips here on LinkedIn and
on my blog, but if you ever have any questions or need some
help, please feel free to give me a call at…
If you’re providing value to people and helping them grow their
own businesses, it will absolutely pay off. I received many
responses to these messages. In some, they actually hired me
I never (ever) tried to sell anything.
would think that a social media consultant and marketing
professional would be focused on selling, selling and more
selling, but that is far from the truth. Social media is about
relationships and connections. Making highly personal
connections online may seem like a waste, but in an online
world where many people are focused on transactions, the most
authentic and real people stand out.
I have never tried to sell anyone on LinkedIn, either through
posts, requests to connect or LinkedIn InMail. I often receive
solicitations on LinkedIn that are just plain awful (I’m sure
many of you have as well). These typically come from people I
have never met and who have never offered any help. I actually
received an awful InMail solicitation just the other day. The
message was sent to a group of several dozen people, so it was
more than one spam message in my inbox — every time a person
responded, the message came to my inbox as well. Ugh! This is
not the way to build relationships or to find long-term sales
success. If you want to sell something, buy an ad. Social media
success is built on relationships.
With more than 414 million LinkedIn users globally, there is
considerable untapped potential for you on this powerful social
network. Whether your goal is $10,000 in one month or $100,000
in one year, focusing on the essentials is key.