In a recent blog, we talked about communicating with clients so that you come across as genuine, empathetic to their needs with information they want to hear? And not just trying to sell, sell, sell.
Today we’d like to talk about the need to share these types of messages and communicate to your network by social media and especially via LinkedIn.
In our most recent episode of The Marketing Strategy Show, we interviewed the LinkedIn Ninja, Jillian Bullock.
When we booked this interview with Jillian, we were going to talk about LinkedIn strategies to build relationships via LinkedIn which would then build relationships off line. Over the last few weeks the world has changed dramatically and there is a lot more activity online.
More Activity on LinkedIn
Many people are working from home and more than likely getting easily distracted without the discipline and routine of what usually goes on in the corporate office. So, they are looking to social media more and more to have some sort of connection. It’s a bit like when you’re told not to do something, that’s immediately what you crave and with the current social distancing laws, the only way to attain that connectivity is through social media.
Jillian has seen a massive upturn in the amount of traffic on LinkedIn and even gave an example of her accountant engaging with her via LinkedIn the other day, when he hasn’t been on LinkedIn for about 12 years!
At the moment there’s a huge opportunity on LinkedIn to be in front of more people as activity is way up but conversely the more people on there, the more white noise so you have to make sure your making the most of the opportunity and your messages are relevant.
Don’t be tempted to have a sell
There are some companies advertising a 25% off Corona virus sale – What? That’s a great way to tarnish your reputation. As we said in our last blog, people do not want to think that companies are taking advantage of this pandemic. These are certainly the companies that will be avoided like the Corona virus itself once the restrictions have eased off.
Some companies struggle with their marketing when things are going well and are thinking to themselves. How do I keep going when my day to day business is not bringing in what it normally would? I’m feeling a little desperate. Do I need to do a corona sale to bring in more income? Some people have reduced their service price by up to a crazy 95%. What happens in six months’ time when things return to a relative normal? Have you lost your market when customers have been used to paying such a significantly lower price and refuse to pay your normal higher price?
It’s a different thing altogether for a local club for example to have a 50% off sale on their bottle shop stock. They’re doing this to bring in some money in order to keep paying their staff. Or the restaurant owner that says, we’ve had to close down but we’re now doing takeaway. These are the messages that people want to hear, rather than “Hey – we’ve got 50% off everything because of the Corona virus”. Sometimes, it’s the phrasing as well. But also, it’s the people that are consultants and that sort of thing, they haven’t had to completely shut up shop like a restaurant. So, is there a need to pull your services back 95%? Will that be recoverable in six months’ time?
Obviously, we don’t have the answers but if you are in that situation, you probably will need to go out and find some more income. But it still will be worthwhile if you have to time to be sharing what’s happening with your network. LinkedIn is a perfectly acceptable way to do just that. For example, if you’re a restaurant and now only doing takeaway, maybe you could share one of your favourite items on the menu every so often so that in three months, people haven’t forgotten all about you. The old adage – out of sight, out of mind really fits here.
It’s really bad taste to put out a Corona virus sale right now. People are still trying to work out if the country will be going into lockdown. No one know how long this will go on so they are definitely not in the mindset of what deals can I get right now? They don’t really care if you’re having a big sale of your products or services and you certainly won’t be well thought of down the track if that is your mindset. Like we said in our last blog – it’s not the time to sell, sell, sell but rather give, give, give.
What to Communicate on LinkedIn
There are a lot of people putting information out about Covid-19 and giving us the latest statistics but do we really need an IT consultant or a management specialist giving us this information? Personally, if I want to know the latest statistics on Covid-19, I wouldn’t be trying to find that out on LinkedIn but rather I’d go to a news channel for the Premier or the Prime Minister’s latest briefing.
If you’re an IT person, tell me what I need to know regarding my staff that are now all working from home. For example, is my data at risk in that do my staff have the same level of relevant protection on their home computers as what they would have in the corporate office? This is useful information from an IT specialist and I will get my news from another source.
Hope and Help not Doom and Gloom
A flow on from all these people stepping out of their lane and offering Covid-19 advice, is that people are thinking LinkedIn is all doom and gloom so why don’t we put something positive up. The people out on their balconies singing in Europe to embrace the community spirit and people sharing that is one thing but the guy going 20 pushups in his backyard? He’s actually hoping for some sort of public engagement. He’s not really doing anything to lift the community’s spirit.
Going back to keeping in your own lane, I read a really good one about a HR consultant/business coach talking about how to manage and motivate your team while they’re working remotely and that really is a perfectly valid and clever way to go.
Also, an accountant who’s talking about all the assistance that’s available from the government at the moment is also invaluable as people are really confused as to what they can specifically apply for in their unique circumstances.
Stay on message
With all this social isolation, we’re sometimes tempted to comment on everything. But the reality is there are different platforms for personal comments. It is definitely more relevant to comment on something like the guy doing 20 pushups on Facebook rather than LinkedIn.
It really comes back to what we discussed in our last blog. That is – what are you trying to do with the messaging. Whether it’s through an email to a client, or LinkedIn or something else. The basics will always be not what you want to say but what does the audience really want to hear. This is more important than ever now with many companies certainly not able to carry on business as usual at the present time.
Another tip, not completely on the topic of LinkedIn, is if you’ve currently got any automatically generated messages, make sure you have a careful look at what the content of the message is and either pause it if it’s not relevant for these current times especially if you may be talking about workshops or something along those lines.
Be Mindful of the Times
Going back to our HR consultant we mentioned earlier. It is content that is really relevant at the moment. The best way to get that out may not be just as an article as articles don’t really get the same traction as posts on LinkedIn. Maybe a better idea would be to split the information between an article and a post and possibly even incorporate some extra tips from their IT person or someone else in the organisation who has more advice on something specifically – like cyber security.
Another great message would be from a productivity consultant. People would really love to hear ideas about how to be more productive while we’re working at home. Especially if you are part of the group that needs to home school your kids. We all know kids need the structure in their day but is their recess the same time as at school? Maybe you need to schedule their recess and lunch at the times you need to make a call for example and ensure that they are occupied in a different room.
What Can You Offer People
It would be great to see some of these experts stepping up to the plate – not just thinking I’m not affected by this because I’ve been working from a home office for the last 10 years. These types of people could give great tips on how to stay motivated, be less distracted and anything else that would help people gain the discipline needed to work from home. It is very difficult as you start to think – “Oh the dishwasher needs unpacking” or “The washing machine just beeped – I need to hang that out”. Obviously, when you’re working in an office, you can’t just run home every 10 minutes to do a household chore but when it’s right there in front of you, it’s a lot harder to ignore and have the discipline to focus on your usual work.
While people are still in panic mode, they don’t know what they need to know. They haven’t thought to ask. They’re basically running around in circles. What they really need is not someone trying to sell them something but some good advice and support in these trying times. Those people who aren’t trying to profit from these unprecedented times will be the ones that people will remember and turn to when the crisis has shifted.
Podcasts are an interesting case in point. Who’s running a podcast these days and what podcasts are relevant to me? Do I want to hear some advice podcasts that help me run my business more efficiently, especially in terms of making sure my team are productive and motivated while they are working remotely? Or, conversely, do I want to listen to a podcast that entertains me, makes me laugh, nourishes my soul or gives me some sort of connection to another person in my isolation?
Maybe a podcast expert could do some sort of research on this and frame their messages in a different way to reach more isolated people and give people what they want to hear at this time. As surely in this current climate, more and more people are turning to podcasts for the connection they crave. Or just the chance to hear another voice, even if the conversation is one sided.
Build Your LinkedIn networks
Since we’re primarily focusing on LinkedIn – the big question is should we be trying to build up our LinkedIn network in the current environment? If you’ve written a decent article which is relevant right now, staying in your lane and all the other advice we’ve given, is it OK to then reach out and send invitations? Say, for example, that you have a relatively small LinkedIn connection list and quite often in the past, you may have sent an invitation out to someone and lo and behold 12 months later they connect.
These days with more and more people on LinkedIn, they are far more likely to answer than before considering how many more people are on the platform. So the basic advice is to do what you’ve done in the past, while being careful to make your articles and posts relevant for the times without trying to sell something or be self serving. Don’t try and do anything different, but maybe if work has slowed, you could maybe prioritise keeping in contact through a platform like LinkedIn. For example, you may not have spoken to someone for a while and you could reach out and just say hello and find out how they’re coping with this.
A lot of people may not realise that you can send a short video message through LinkedIn. Make sure it’s not too long as it won’t upload – keep it under 1 minute. And if you’re working from home still in your pyjamas or tracksuit, you can make it a voicemail instead of video. LinkedIn will save it on your phone storage of videos and photos so make sure you delete it once you’ve finished so you don’t waste your phone storage.
If you’ve got a large LinkedIn database, it may be too daunting to try and go through them all for little re-connections. Maybe in that case, you could focus on touching base with suppliers, or your ideal previous clients that have stopped buying and give them a little hello message.
Make sure the message is upbeat and not that the sky is falling. We’ve all pretty much had enough of the doom and gloom at the moment hence all the upbeat senior’s dancing stories on the news or cute kids singing videos on Facebook. Potentially it’s a great time to connect but don’t start pushing your sales.
- There’s more opportunity than ever on LinkedIn so take advantage of that opportunity to increase your connections without selling your products or services.
- Share your knowledge and expertise by offering tips and tricks in your niche. Don’t try and be self serving. It’s not all about you and what you can get out of this. It’s about everyone trying to work together and help each other out in these difficult times.
- Don’t venture out of your lane and start giving advice on the Corona virus itself. Rather, if you’re in IT, for example, make it an article or post on – “ Is my data at risk or do my staff have the same level of relevant protection on their home computers as what they would have in the corporate office”.
- Move with what’s happening in your niche right now. But don’t take advantage of the situation as longer term, you will lose out. Join the conversation but don’t sell in the conversation.
- Don’t think about how to advertise yourself right now. Frame your messages in a way that gets your point of expertise out. Especially if it’s relevant right now.
- Share your expertise in a way that reflects the trends that people are concerned about now. Not just following safety procedures and washing your hands. More like – what exactly does working remote mean and how to be disciplined to meet that client deadline while the kids are running around in the background or the washing has to be hung out.
- Reach out and send a voice or video message through LinkedIn – it’s a great way to stay connected at the moment when that’s what people are craving while working in isolation. Just make sure it’s an upbeat message.
If you need help creating a content strategy, we’d love to help to make this happen for your business. You can reach us on (02) 9125 0520 or visit our website.