Since gaining popularity in 2006, LinkedIn has become the primary social network for the Receivables Management industry. While Twitter is also a popular network among our peers, most industry professionals participate in LinkedIn, as many of the industry’s key players have a social presence on LinkedIn, though some are more active than others. As individuals and companies look for new opportunities to connect with industry colleagues, LinkedIn is continuing to increase in value for our business community.
After continually tweaking and building my own personal profile over the last 10 years, I have amassed more than 4,000 connections in my personal network. I also control the “Debt Buyer” Group which has over 3,800 members from numerous countries around the world. There are several tricks that I used to create both my personal and my group LinkedIn networks, which I am going to share below.
#1- Include a Profile Picture
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a profile picture is worth 100,000. Personally, I prefer not to connect with anyone whose profile does not have some type of profile picture. A clean, clear picture is a great way to personalize your profile, help to build your network, and make others more likely to connect or interact with you. When choosing your profile picture, here are a few things to consider.
LinkedIn is not Facebook or Twitter and your picture should represent your best professional self. Select a photo of youself wearing professional attire, with a simple background, and not in a group of people. Your profile picture may be your first impression to new business contacts, customers, or colleagues, and we all like to make a favorable first impression.
#2- Include Pictures or Links in your Posts
Posts that include a picture are XX% more likely to receive interactions from your network. Interactions can come in the form of likes, comments, or shares from your peers. The goal of social media is to be visible and interact with your network.
When sharing news articles or other links on LinkedIn, check the article for a thumbnail picture. If it doesn’t have one, consider adding your own image to the post to draw more attention. Including pictures in your posts is a great way to increase your visibility and your network.
#3- Request Connections Quickly After Meeting
When meeting with someone new, don’t wait too long before you request to connect on LinkedIn. After the meeting, send out a request while you are still on the forefront of your new connection’s mind. You will find that the closer to the initial meeting that the invitation is sent, the more likely the connection acceptance is to occur. However, don’t get ahead of yourself and start trying to connect before you have even had your first meeting.
#4- Join Groups to Participate in the Conversation
Groups are a great way to get conversations going online. It is an opportunity to find new connections and share your thoughts and opinions with colleagues with whom you may not already be connected. Joining groups is a great way to extend your social reach, but be careful not to be considered group SPAM. No one likes the person that starts new discussions every day or who is trying too hard to sell their product in the discussion post. If you are going to start a discussion, make sure the topic is relevant to the group and not just an advertisement for your own services. As the owner of the Debt Buyer Group, I find myself constantly removing people from the group whose only interaction is advertising their services, especially when they are unrelated to the Receivables Management industry.
#5- Pre-Scheduled Posts
Post often, but not too often. Just like in Groups, you do not want to be seen as the person that SPAMs their connections with advertisements for their products. Everyone has to find their own balance for how often they want to post and how often they can be logging into LinkedIn during business hours.
To help me maintain a continual presence, I use a tool called Smarterqueue to preschedule many of my posts so I do not have to break away from what I am doing to be on social media. For example, every Monday morning, you can expect to see a business or entrepreneurial quote posted on my profile between 8am and 9am. Since I am not in the office until 10am, you can assume that I am not logging into LinkedIn to make that post. Those posts are pre-scheduled to keep me in front of my entire network every Monday morning when people are checking their emails and social media activity from the weekend. I often get comments and engagements from my connections on these posts and I have found them to be a very valuable tool.
If used properly, LinkedIn can be an excellent source of industry information and education. Whether it’s news, jobs, or relevant discussions, LinkedIn is the professional’s choice of social media sites. Invest the time in your profile and project your best professional self.
About Adam Parks
Adam Parks is an entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in the receivables management industry. His diverse background includes holding various marketing and operations positions, purchasing and trading portfolios, and developing systems and technology to manage the servicing of accounts. Adam is the Chief Marketing Officer of Plaza Services, a founding partner of Branding Arc, a premier industry marketing firm, and a founding partner of ComplyARM, a leading compliance consulting firm. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Naked Warrior Project and as Treasurer on the Receivables Management Association International (RMAI) Board of Directors.