Using LinkedIn as a speaking lead magnet. Note: Do Not sell on LinkedIn. It’s considered spammy, people will unfollow you and you could take a chance at ruining the credibility you worked so hard to build. A great way to avoid “selling” is to ask and answer questions.
I’m often asked how to find speaking jobs. It’s a combined effort of research, building relationships, networking, marketing and building your speaking platform.
The stronger your platform, the more doors of opportunity will open. There is not just “one magic thing” to find leads or bookings. It’s a combined effort of many things and doing those many things regularly — even daily. Speaking is a business and should be treated as such.
LinkedIn is part of my strategy. I consider it part of my networking, building relationships and marketing all together inside a professional platform. LinkedIn offers enormous opportunities to connect with the people who have the power to hire you as a speaker. LinkedIn gives you un-gated access to your target market.
Here’s a simple strategy to using LinkedIn as a speaking lead magnet and to help expand your reach:
- Make sure your profile is complete and has a very clear message showing exactly what you do, including your speaking topic specialties.
- Seek out groups (Interests -> Groups in the menu) in alignment with your message. In that group you will find associations and organizations you can join. Be helpful, like their posts, share resources and just be present and participate without expecting anything in return. People will notice when you are helpful and visit your profile.
- List companies you would like to work with, and associations or organizations that you would love to speak at. It’s a wishlist, so make the list long — if it’s not long, do your homework to find organizations in alignment with your message and get creative.
- Find the organizations on LinkedIn and follow them. (For a company, there’s a prominent yellow Follow button on a computer and a blue button on an iOS.)
- Each business lists employees who work for the organization, so you can sift through the employees that work for this association or organization. Look for persons most likely to hire you or direct you to the decision makers.
- To connect with individuals who work at an organization, find the section that tells you how you are connected by, 1st, 2nd or 3rd
- If you have a 2nd degree connection, make sure that you touch base with your mutual 1st degree connections and re-introduce yourself if you’re only acquaintances (nothing is worse than name-dropping someone who doesn’t remember you), and if you have a good relationship with the mutual connection, ask for a direct introduction.
- To connect to 2nd-level connections, briefly explain why you want to connect (hint: something about your mission that you share with them) and who you know in common (if anyone). The key here is to eventually connect with people in the company that have the power to hire you as a speaker.
- Be patient. This is about building relationships, and that doesn’t happen overnight. Remember this isn’t about selling; it’s about serving.
Note: These same steps can be used to get you in front of the media, too. Instead of companies and organizations, figure out an escalating chain of media appointments, starting smaller and local to get warmed up, then working your way up to larger venues.
This is an easy habit to get into, just spend a few minutes a day responding to posts and asking for connections. I recommend you doing it yourself because you will know what to look for. However, if your time is limited you can outsource research to an assistant — they can make a nice spreadsheet of some potential buyers, but you spend the time asking for the connections.
Do NOT use the default connection message that is already written for you. Make up something zippy, unique and personalized to the contact – but whatever you do don’t be lazy. You never want to be perceived as lazy.
Be brief, be professional, polite and personalize it with their first name (double check the spelling!) and if you have room, mention something you have in common, that you are grateful for or inspired by from their profile. Tie it back in to why you’d like to be connected.
Once you’ve built a good connection and established your trustworthiness, transition to an offline conversation. Pick up the phone and chat and get their email address to continue your conversation.
There are many ways of finding a person on LI who can hire you, but you have to take the time, make the effort and commit to doing it. Not just one day but several times a week, on a regular basis. If you commit, LinkedIn can become a speaking lead magnet for you.
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