LinkedIn offers a great service for those who want to connect with likeminded businesses or individuals, however not many people utilise the social networking site to its full potential. Jonathan Jackson speaks with entrepreneur Alex Pirouz about a new business designed to help users gain maximum benefit from their LinkedIn account.
LinkedIn has over 150 million users and is the world’s largest network site for business. What used to be a fad has now formed into a growing trend with more and more business professionals joining the network.
It is little wonder then that offshoot businesses are forming. One such business is Linkfluencer, the brainchild of Alex Pirouz. Alex is a serial entrepreneur who has successfully started and exited several businesses. In recognition for some of his work he was nominated Australian of the Year in 2007 and 2008.
He is the author of the book: Unlock The Passion Within You and has been featured in books such as: Getting Your Business LinkedIn and How to Start A Business With Little Or No Money.
Having already done some work in the LinkedIn field, Alex was well placed to start his own business with regard to this social network.
“With numbers continuing to grow year in year out, I found that training and education on the effective use of the platform was lacking, so given the strong results I had achieved from the platform myself I decided to start training others on how they could achieve similar results,” Alex says.
To gain some traction with the Linkfluencer model, Alex surveyed 1,200 business owners across 11 industries and found from that research that 85.2% of business owners have no real understanding on how to effectively use LinkedIn to grow their business, 9% had a profile but were not active for over one month and only 5.8% were growing their business and achieving results as a result of using the network.
“It was at this point where we realised there was a growing need in the market to help train business professionals on how to best use LinkedIn to grow their business.”
This is done through a series of live seminars and online programs that teach business professionals a proven and tested three-step formula on how to connect, build and ultimately profit through LinkedIn.
“I came up with the three-step plan through trial and error. For close to two years I implemented and tested various strategies to see what worked and proved results. Based on these experiments I realised that there was actually a method to the madness and once I had a more in-depth look into what I was doing on a consistent basis I realised that there was a system behind my actions.”
The system was influenced by Alex’s own experiences in his two years using the site. He says the most profound insight came about when he realised how much social media influenced the way business is now done.
“Five or 10 years ago people used to make buying decisions based on their perceptions around the company brand, product and then the individual with whom they were dealing.
“But now, with the power of social media, the speed and accessibility of information along with the internet being accessible to the masses, people tend to make buying decisions based on whether or not they like the person, the product second and company last.
“As a result of this my approach in business and LinkedIn has always been to add value first with all new business connections. I call this the Value Bank.”
Connecting and effectively communicating with people through LinkedIn is no different than dealing with people outside of the network. Whether they are a supplier, potential partner or customer, you need to build enough value for them to trust you in order for them to grow an interest in your company and therefore your product/service.
“I can’t recall how many times I have accepted a connection invite from someone to then receive an email marketing spiel about who they are, what they can do for me and how much it is going to cost me. Oh and I forgot to mention that none of this was addressed to me personally, no name at the top of the email.
“To be successful on LinkedIn and in business overall you have to add value first. Just because they accepted your connection invite doesn’t mean they are interested in what you have to say. Remember this quote: ‘To be interesting you have to be interested.’”
It hasn’t been easy getting Linkfluencer up and running. The biggest hurdle was finding the right person to put all the pieces of Alex’s business model together and head up operations
“I was fortunate enough to meet Jay Van, a successful entrepreneur who recently sold his business and was looking for his next adventure. Jay is now the general manager of the business and oversees the day-to-day operations.
Jay will now help Alex run the operations and help clients understand that to be successful they require a game plan of what they want to achieve.
“Once you have a good understanding of these objectives it’s then a matter of connection with individuals that are going to help you achieve those objectives,” Alex says.
Building your connections for the sake of having a large following is not really a sound strategy if you want to effectively grow your business using LinkedIn. Every connection needs to be linked to your goals and objectives in business both now and in the future.
“Before growing your network on LinkedIn take a step back and think about some of the goals you would like to achieve within your business over the next year or so. With these goals in mind, now think about who you need to connect with in order to help you achieve those goals. For example, when I first started using LinkedIn I just launched my business advisory service and, given I had no personal brand other than my results in business, I knew this was one of the areas I needed to develop…
Excerpted from an article originally published in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Think & Grow Rich Inc. magazine. If you are a subscriber to Think & Grow Rich Inc. magazine, you will receive this article in your Nov/Dec 2013 issue of TGR. If you are not a subscriber, click here to subscribe.