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LinkedIn Diary

linkedin64x64So one of my actions from the Northern VA Collaboration was sparked by an inspiring talk from Nicola Little of Sparkle Communications who was talking about LinkedIn.

Her presentation showed how by using only a freebie profile and 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn she had generated a massive amount of business in just 1 month.

I’m afraid I’m a LinkedIn skeptic… I did give poor Nicola a hard time, but she stood her ground – it worked for her, she is evangelical about its uses for all small businesses.  So I’m putting my money where my mouth is… This is live data from my profile, and I’ll be doing a little bit every day from 1st June to see if I can replicate the results. 

Why I am skeptical?  Well one of the reasons I hate LinkedIn is because it’s forever changing stuff.  I used to use it for the groups, which I networked in – but more and more these are full of spammy stuff and people therefore only digest these once a week by email, if they even bother to register for email alerts at all.  I also used to use LinkedIn to sort my contacts into groups so I could message all the VAs re: the VA survey or some interesting news etc – but LinkedIn changed this so you could only have a maximum of 50 people in each group (presumably to stop spamming) and they also changed the options so that it was harder to organise your contacts when they asked to connect, so mine are pretty much unsorted these days!  But fundamentally, the reason why I’m super skeptical about finding clients on LinkedIn: My target is time poor, I really doubt they are spending much time hanging out on LinkedIn!

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When I did use it for marketing it was several years ago when LinkedIn was in its infancy and my goal was to connect primarily with legal eagles who might outsource their typing – what ended up happening is that I had loads of meetings/coffee and chats with people but none of them converted to clients.  (I’m generally pretty good at converting clients – we have a ratio of about 20:1 cold leads converting to actual clients, so I know my targeting is spot on and that my offer is pretty compelling for those leads).  It backed up my initial suspicion that people who are hanging out on LinkedIn are mostly time rich… and therefore not my target.

The other annoyance I have with LinkedIn is its insistence that I can only have 1 profile… Which drives me bonkers.  Yeah – so I have 2 business pages – one for my own VA business and one for SVA, but invariably VAs click on my business page and try to download marketing materials, click on links and generally screw up all my marketing data for client leads… Not only does that cost me money (because my staff follow up these leads!) but it also skews all the data about what real clients are interested in because I’ve got 500-odd VAs clicking on the links… I suspect I’m going to have to do a major cull of my contacts on LinkedIn to solve this issue!

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But let’s be fair – I haven’t really given it much thought for probably about 5 or 6 years!  Things change and I’m open to being proved wrong…

So here’s where we start:

Connections: 786

Business from LinkedIn: £0

Costs spent: £0 (I’m also including my time in this as that’s how I assess all my marketing)

Feel free to join in the challenge… pop in your current data, we’ll review at month end!

9 Comments

  1. Natasha on 1 June, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    Hi!

    I’m on LinkedIn too and in a similar position to you Caroline.

    May I ask, what you will do for 15 minutes each day on LinkedIn?
    Make new connections and follow them up?
    Post in groups?

    I just never know what to write….?!?!

    Natasha

    • Caroline on 2 June, 2016 at 10:26 am

      Part of it will be sorting out my contacts which are pretty random! And some will be making new connections. And some will be spent in the groups, catching up there. And some doing proper posts…Although I think I have enough on my hands just sorting out the lists!!!

  2. Emma Read on 12 December, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Hi Caroline,

    I’d be really interested to know what your results were at the end of this challenge. Is there a follow up article somewhere? I’m reviewing my social media strategy for next year and wondering how much time to invest in LinkedIn.

    Kindest regards,

    Emma

    • Caroline on 12 December, 2016 at 10:50 am

      Hi Emma

      After 1 month I’d had several meetings, and certainly expanded my network… And in fact, it turns out that my profile was ranked by LinkedIn as being one of the top ones in the UK for people named Caroline (which is fairly common, I think!!). But in reality no extra work – which confirms my hypothesis that my target market are time poor and not spending time on LinkedIn.

      I think it depends hugely on your target market – and perhaps the best place to start is asking your current clients whether they spend much time on there? (Mine don’t!!)

      Hope that helps!
      Caroline

      • Emma Read on 13 January, 2017 at 8:05 pm

        I’ve only just seen your response Caroline! Yes that does help. Thank you x

  3. Sharron Woodward on 26 April, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    I’m new to SVA Caroline and have just read your article. I am setting up virtually aiming to begin with, with building surveyors as that is the business I have been and am familiar with. I have a few friends who are surveyors and they have suggested I contact them via Linkedin, apparently “its the way of the modern world”! I too am sceptical but I have had some response emails via my contacts so I’m going to give it a go. Here’s hoping I get some business – as you say if you don’t try you’ll never know.

    • Caroline on 30 May, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      Well nothing ventured, nothing gained Sharron – what’s the worst that could happen?

  4. Justina Thomas on 27 August, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Hi Caroline,

    I have been a bit bamboozled by LinkedIn and wanted to know your thoughts on what’s the best social media platforms to use as a VA.

    • Caroline on 27 August, 2018 at 11:36 am

      Honestly, my best advice is to go and speak to your target market – what do they use? That’s where you should focus your efforts… Every time I speak to my clients about this, they say they aren’t bothering with social media – so my target is not using it, I rarely do much on there.

      I think it’s important to have some sort of a regular presence – because prospects do check it to see that you are currently trading. That’s an hour every 6 months though setting up a few autoscheduled posts – and then responding to anything which comes in… It’s not spending hours on there every day!

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