- Michael Thompson
The good news is you don’t even have to post anything
I hate social media. It does my head in. But I also know as someone who writes and enjoys making money from it that marketing is important.
That being said, over the last two years, I’ve been looking for the platform that gives me the biggest bang for its buck for the time investment I make.
I’ve found Twitter to be great for testing ideas and getting in front of people I admire. A handful of times I’ve even gotten lucky and an influencer or mainstream publication shared an article that set it off. But when it comes to consistent opportunities, I’m not convinced Twitter is the best place to hunt.
Facebook also has its place. So does Instagram, and it feels nice when my buddies from high school like or share something I’ve made. I hate it, however, when someone tries to interrupt me when I’m trying to catch up with friends. I would imagine most people feel the same way.
Quora is super interesting and some of my friends have had some posts drive serious traffic to their articles which has allowed them to beef up their email list. But again, they’ve also put in a lot of energy to build out their following.
For someone who doesn’t love social media, the only place I’ve found that actually has the capacity to bring clients to my door — without a massive time investment — is LinkedIn.
The best part is, you don’t even have to post content there to reap its benefits.
Let me explain.
After taking a few years of hiatus, I decided to give LinkedIn another shot. This time around, a few of my writing buddies and I decided to attack it together to make it more fun while trying to grow out our respective followings.
At the time, I had maybe 500 connections. I didn’t want to take advantage of the options that LinkedIn gives you to connect with every Tom, Dick, and Barbara that their algorithm shoves in your face to grow my numbers.
I wanted the type of people who would engage with my articles and respond to a message if I sent them one. Plus, I didn’t want my inbox full of all those damn pitches that people for some ungodly reason still send out on LinkedIn.
So for close to a year, I went to work. I posted a handful of times a week and engaged with other people’s content. After 12 months of putting in a ton of hours, I finally hit 1,000 followers and I was consistently getting 50 to 100 likes on my posts.
I was happy my posts were resonating with people, but in terms of monetary gain, I didn’t have a pack of gum to show for my efforts.
All of this changed, however, when I decided to stop posting.
Over the last nine months, with only sharing a handful of articles, my follower count has gone from 1,000 to 3,000. This isn’t exactly Eddie Influencer type numbers, but considering the effort, it’s pretty good.
The other thing that’s not bad is earning well over five figures from people reaching out to me for coaching or writing services over the platform.
It was really simple actually. So simple, I didn’t even mean to do it.
One random Friday afternoon in early 2019, an article of mine popped and the first person to leave a comment said something I really liked. So I replied by asking him if he wanted to move the conversation over to Linkedin and I left a link for my profile.
I wasn’t thinking of marketing moves at the time. I just wanted a place to chat in private as the guy seemed interesting and Medium doesn’t make one-on-one chats easy.
A few hours later, however, I realized how smart of a move it actually was. As the views of my articles took off, so did the connection requests on LinkedIn.
Despite everyone I know saying that no one leaves messages when requesting to connect with people there, every day for the last year a couple of people have done just that.
In the span of a month, from that one simple link, I’ve gained somewhere between 500 and 750 new followers on LinkedIn and half of them have reached out to let me know they like my writing. Not only that, but a handful of people, month in and month out, have asked me about my coaching or writing services.
The other 1,250 to 1,500 followers, and even more clients, came from putting a simple 12-word CTA at the end of four career-related articles — If you are active on LinkedIn, feel free to say hi here.
I’d be willing to bet that this number would have been 10x’d if I’d put consistent LinkedIn CTAs on all of my articles. But I always feel a bit dirty doing that as Medium has made it clear that it’s allowed, but not encouraged.
When it comes to people connecting with me on LinkedIn, I get it. I made it super easy for them. Most CTAs promise that by signing up for their newsletter you’ll break free of mediocrity and reach your wild and crazy goals in zero seconds flat. Whereas mine was simply an option to become connections on another platform.
But what I really think is interesting — and if you’re a writer, consultant, or coach, worth taking note of — is the ease of client acquisition.
If you take a step back and look at it, sending your audience to LinkedIn makes perfect sense.
1. They Get to See Your Work History on One page
Whenever someone clicks on my LinkedIn profile they immediately see what I’m about. Front and center is my picture, a quick blurb about being a career coach and communication consultant, and some social proof of being featured in places like Business Insider and Fast Company.
When they scroll down they get a chance to read my career summary and learn that I’ve been at this a while. In addition to writing for well-established publications, they also learn that I’ve also worked with reputable businesses and start-up accelerators.
Finally, they see the recommendations people have given me. If you combine all of this together, along with the fact that I haven’t asked them for anything besides a connection request, it creates a level of trust that asking them to join yet another newsletter can’t buy.
2. You Get to See Their Work History on One Page
Every marketer, writer, and coach that I know shouts the benefits of growing our email lists. I completely understand their argument. It is the one thing that you alone own.
But how many people do you know on your email list? Do you have any idea what these people look like? Do you have any idea what they really want from you? Do they even buy from you?
The beauty of sending your audience to Linkedin, in addition to giving them the opportunity to learn about you, is you also get a chance to learn about them.
Do you work in the same sector? Do they have their own company? Do they live near you? Do you have any mutual friends? Are they a decision-maker in their organization?
With a five-second scan, you can learn all of these things and when they send you a message letting you know they like your writing, you can easily start a conversation to learn more about what challenges they are facing.
3. It Makes It So Much Easier to Sell Your Services
Last week, a woman reached out to me saying she liked an article I wrote on how to improve our communication skills. She then ended her message by letting me know that she’ll be implementing the tips I wrote about on her job search.
After doing a quick scan of her profile, I then sent her a quick follow-up saying I’d be happy to talk to her. In a few hours, we’re having our first coaching call.
This also happens with writing gigs. When entrepreneurs or business professionals reach out to say they like my work, after a bit of back and forth I ask them if they are looking to clean up their messaging or if they are looking to grow their audience.
In short, every single person that messages me on LinkedIn about a Medium article is a potential client. If they took the time to say they liked your work, it is not rude at all to ask them if there is anything you can help them with.
4. You Can Still Get Them on Your Email List
“Thank you for your kind words. Messages like this keep me going and I can’t thank you enough for supporting my work. If you liked that article feel free to sign-up for my fluff-free weekly email where I share all my new articles. Thanks again for taking the time to reach out. Please don’t be a stranger and if there is ever anything I can help you with please let me know.”
Does this take time? Absolutely. But what do you want? A massive email list of strangers? Or one with people who have already shown you they will take the step to send you a message and engage with your work?
Kevin Kelley, the co-founder of Wired Magazine, wrote that we need 1,000 true fans to turn our passions into careers. I love this concept, but don’t underestimate the power of having even ten super fans to support your work.
People buy from people they like and people they trust. It just so happens that sending your audience over to LinkedIn expedites this process.
It makes it easier for them to learn about you.
It makes it easier for you to learn about them.
It makes it easier to sell to people.
It helps you to add quality people to your email list.
Throw in the fact that LinkedIn was made so people could build relationships to help them along on their careers, and to me, it’s a no-brainer to at least give it a shot.
Plus, you don’t even have to post anything.