We communicate on LinkedIn in a variety of different ways and if you want to stay connected and top of mind with your network, here are some skills you should master along with some tactics that can offer a competitive advantage.
9 ways we communicate on LinkedIn
- Posts and replies to comments
- Comments on other people’s posts
- Our profile, including media in the ‘Featured’ section
- Invitations to connect
- Replies to invitations to connect
- Direct messages
Practice effective listening
Too many people listen to respond instead of listening to learn. I use the word listening and that applies to verbal conversation and also reading comments, messages, invitations and posts.
One of the tactics I use and I teach my clients is when you are having a conversation with a prospect for example, write down the EXACT words and language they use to describe their current situation –again this takes real active listening and also not interrupting or interpreting what the person is saying. You are listening for problems or challenges you may be able to solve through what you do or a referral to someone else who can help them.
Regardless of why you are using LinkedIn, communication skills are key to building relationships, breaking down objections and to educate or inform. The bonus to mastering the skill of listening is people felt heard and become more likely to share.
So how do you ‘listen’ on LinkedIn?
- Look for questions being asked by people in your network, some you can answer and maybe some you can bring someone else into the conversation by @tagging them or making a referral.
- Be a keen observer of the content in your feed that is attracting comments and likes. Notice what topics people are interested in commenting on. Could you add to someone else’s comment and engage with someone new? What results for me when I do this is more profile views and followers effectively now using my comments as a prospecting tool.
- Pay attention to how someone direct messages you or responds to a message you sent. You can keep the conversation going by asking good questions and if it makes sense suggest you jump on a quick call. This is a great way to start to build and nurture relationships.
- Pay attention to the communication style of the person who messaged you – If they use the voice message feature, respond with a voice message. If they write short text, do the same – this demonstrates you are paying attention to them even if it’s subliminal.
I often will message someone who wants to connect with me that didn’t send me a personal message to get a conversation going to find out more about them. So I choose the style of how I want to communicate – but the goal is to get a response.
- When someone doesn’t respond to your message – let it go or find another way to connect or engage with them. I always go to the person’s profile and scroll down to their ‘Activity’ section and I look to see how active they are. If they are not active, then I will look for their email and communicate that way instead.
A more strategic activity and best use of your time –is to spend time viewing the comments from people who are your target audience because this will tell you a lot about their opinions, questions, and how they communicate.
I’ve said this before, always read someone’s profile before engaging with them and then personalize your invitations to connect, let them know you read their profile by mentioning something specific and never, never use the default connection request.
Remember, you NEVER get a chance to make another first impression – so make it count.
- Encourage conversation in posts, articles, and stories. Ask simple questions vs giving the thumbs up. The thumbs up or other emoji reactions are really NOT a great form of communication.
- Check your posts by regularly for new comments and always respond.
Tactics to find topics you can create content & conversation around
First, research and follow relevant hashtags – this is a great way to find conversations in your niche. Then find the posts are getting the most engagement – you will learn a lot about what sets people into commenting.
I typically look for hashtags that have at least 100K followers because it reaches a wider audience, but this isn’t always the case so try to find the most ideal hashtags that people are actually following and then look for the posts with those hashtags and see what others in that niche are talking about.
You also may have forums or groups for your industry, these are often filled with great questions and conversations. I have been listening in to different rooms on Clubhouse just to listen for the questions people ask, I then use that knowledge for writing a blog or social media post.
3 Things I do consistently to stay in communication with people I value in my network
- I circle back with connections I may not have been in contact with over the past year and I reach out with a message and no expectations.
- I look for posts on a daily basis that I can engage with. This could be clients as well as topical conversations I feel I could add some value to.
- I post my own relevant content 2-3x per week with the goal of engaging my audience – those people who find what I post useful to them.