Are You Networking With a Bag Over Your Head?

Would you attend a networking event with a bag over your head? Of course not. But on LinkedIn people do it all the time. Being on LinkedIn without a photo is like attending a networking event with a bag over your head.

This was the analogy I used this week while running an online training for a client.  It got a good laugh.  But the more I thought about it the more it is exactly right. Why would anyone put up a profile on a networking site without their photo?

I am an early adopter of technology and social media; I have been using LinkedIn for a long time.  LinkedIn has over 100 million users and has been around for about 10 years so it is a bit difficult for me to believe that so many people still haven’t caught on.  It’s not for everybody, but if you are in most businesses it is a powerful tool to help you find resources, employees, funding, people to collaborate with and customers.  Why not be on LinkedIn?

I am not a social media expert and I don’t bill myself as one, but I do use it and I do get results.  I find myself constantly having to convince people as to why they should use social media.  I will tell you this, it is time consuming, especially at first when you are learning and then if you really want to get results you must have a plan and follow through.

For LinkedIn, I am still learning.  I post mostly myself, but my intern does put up the events.  I answer all the connection requests and almost always send a personal note in return with some LinkedIn tips.  If I don’t know the person, I research them and decide about connecting. If I choose to connect I start to build a relationship and work to add value.

I don’t want to be connected to people I don’t know, because those connections aren’t useful.  My friend Caryn asked me to make an introduction the other day to someone I was connected to on LinkedIn.  I looked her up and had to tell Caryn that I didn’t know her or the person I was connected to her through.  I told her I would be happy to write a compelling note and send the request on anyway.  Well, it didn’t work.  I didn’t expect it to, why would anyone introduce someone they don’t know and can’t vouch for.  For all they know you are just trying to sell them something.

I spend a lot of time networking online and off.  It is my best lead source next to referrals.  Sales takes time.  I like to keep my funnel full and networking helps me do that.

P.S. If you still don’t know why you should use LinkedIn, why you should post your picture or how to use it to get connected to get results, join me on my next online training.

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About the Author Alice Heiman

Alice Heiman has been helping companies increase sales for more than 20 years. Her innovative sales leadership programs, coupled with her top-down approach to creating long-term change, set up sales leaders and sales-managing business owners to get consistent and sustainable growth.

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  • Bret Simmons says:

    Hey Alice, so many good points. But I must respectfully disagree about not connecting to people you don’t know. I have an email in my in box right now from a casino executive in another state that connected to me on LinkedIn. I’ve never met him, but he sees we have similar interests and wonders if there is a way we can work together. I try to never close a door. Why build a wall when a bridge works better. Thanks! Bret

    • Alice Heiman says:

      Hi Bret,
      I do connect with people I don’t know if I am willing to build a relationship with them. I don’t just click to connect. So I agree with you. What I do when I get a request from someone I don’t know is research them by looking at their profile and their website and other social media. I try to find something we have in common and I send them a note showing them that I know something about them from my research and starting up a conversation. This way we get to know each other and this sometimes turns into a meeting or sharing a resource or referring them to someone. Because I take the time to do this they remember me in the future if I need them to help me get connected to someone.
      Thanks for conversing with me about this!
      Alice

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