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Imagine you are a financial planner and you are giving a presentation about “What You Need to Know Before You Retire.” You have over 200 people registered to attend but when you walk into the room, 90% of the attendees are recent college grads. Will your presentation yield the results you expected based on the numbers alone? Probably not since the audience Is at the beginning of their career, not towards the end.
Now apply this same concept to your LinkedIn audience. LinkedIn has been around since 2002, gaining wide spread popularity in the early 2010s. Many would agree that it is the most powerful professional social media platform with over 500 million users, over half of which log in on a monthly if not daily basis. The stats on how LinkedIn is used to showcase professional content are even more staggering – over 90% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to share content. But who is listening? Here’s where the audience comes in.
When you joined LinkedIn, who did you connect with? I am guessing you connected to your current colleagues, people you’d worked with at previous jobs, knew from school, your community, friends and maybe family. But ask yourself, are those your targets?
Here’s a challenge: download your current LinkedIn connections. (Here are directions on how to do this). Look through your connection’s titles and companies and mark anyone who you would consider to be a potential target for your business/ industry. I have done this exercise with several clients (including myself) and no one has had more than 10% of the connections that would be considered “meaningful”. In fact, on average, people had about 5-7% meaningful connections, even when they have 500+ in their network.
So how does this relate to the audience metaphor? If you, like many people, are using LinkedIn to talk about your industry and business with the goal of showing your expertise, you need to be connected to your actual targets. If your meaningful connections are less than 10%, you are talking to a room of college grads about retirement planning, simple as that.
When working with clients, our first step is to build up their meaningful connections. Over 3 months, we helped one client dramatically increase theirs from 9% to over 30% while growing their overall LinkedIn network. When you strategically increase your network with meaningful connections, you start speaking to the right audience. Great content is important, but getting it in front of the right people is key to helping you showcase expertise and develop thought-leadership.