By J.D. Gershbein, Web Success Team contributor
In Part I of this blog series, I examined the Law of Social Probability that governs LinkedIn activities. To continue, I’d like to introduce those areas and concepts that lie outside the realm of mathematics—at the confluence of skill, insight and circumstance—and define the popular notion of luck as it applies to social business.
Your personal rules of engagement—i.e., how you represent, to what extent you choose to connect with others, and the ways in which you process and respond to the information displayed on your screen—will dictate your fate on LinkedIn. Once you define them, you can concentrate on heightening interest in your brand and driving economic buyers of your product or service to your LinkedIn profile. Constructing a high-impact LinkedIn profile, one that compels people to connect with, contact, or research you is no easy task. A working LinkedIn profile is a well-planned, surgically-crafted piece of persuasive prose that is spring-loaded with keywords and phrases that massage the psyche. You don’t get lucky without this kind of writing.
The real driver of achievement on LinkedIn is in connecting with the right people and building a tightly-knit online community. But robust, fertile professional networks do not arise by chance. They are the product of constant observation, critical thinking, and a bit of risk-taking. With an expanding network comes the added responsibility of nurturing relationships and staying top-of-mind with many potential clients, influencers and connectors at any given moment. Vigilance and effective time management, not luck, operate here.
We all have our own unique powers of observation, our own take. No two people are alike in the way they interpret data on a computer screen, convert it into useful information and apply it to the physical world. The Internet is getting easier to navigate. More and more people, with repeated exposure, are figuring out the nooks and crannies of LinkedIn. Recognizing business opportunities hinges on our ability to create and understand situational awareness within a given user experience. Creating win-win business scenarios is dependent on our visual acuity, powers of rationale and communication style. At any given moment, hard work can cross over into a fortuitous encounter.
LinkedIn and Social Serendipity
In my study of social networking sites, I have come to appreciate their serendipitous nature, exquisite simplicity and limitless potential for human interaction. Since the moment I discovered LinkedIn, I have marveled at its algorithms, analytics and patterns. As my network grew, and I became more agile on the site, I suddenly found myself in meaningful conversations with people who ultimately became my clients, centers of influence and marketing evangelists. Exposure channels emerged. Traffic to my Website increased. With each login, I made unexpected discoveries that fueled my intuition and grew my enterprise. In retrospect, I was disciplined (still am) and always operated with a positive attitude (still do). By being prepared for and receptive to the opportunities that arose, I began to critically think my way through each experience and create my own luck on LinkedIn. You can, too.
On LinkedIn, the extent to which you can capitalize on opportunities is directly proportional to the degree to which you can be seen. Your visibility on the site lies completely within your control. You dictate what others will see when they visit your LinkedIn profile and also when you have visited theirs. You can specify who will see your status updates (and when) and who can view your directory of connections. If you choose to operate in stealth and dissociate from LinkedIn Nation, then you cannot reap serendipitous reward. The more visible and less private you are, the more active and interactive you can become. You will find and connect with the right people; conversely, they will find and connect with you. With anonymity, luck cannot materialize.
Random Acts of Commerce
Although LinkedIn achievement is no accident, there are positive outcomes that occur which defy logic and explanation. You cannot predict much of what happens; it just happens. Sometimes the eye just lands on a piece of text, a link, or a photo or video that brings you knowledge and advances you toward an advantageous situation. The majority of your well-composed status updates, poignant group posts, or timely info shares may go unnoticed, but it only takes one to see it—someone who just might be a difference-maker for you. A conversation starts. An engagement ensues, which leads to a transaction and (ideally) a bounty of referrals. There’s simply no telling. You can painstakingly draft a personal blueprint for social networking success, agonize over the selection of every keyword and its placement in your LinkedIn profile, and execute the strategies popularized by the so-called experts, but sometimes, the best plan is no plan at all.
Good luck, of course, is not the end game of LinkedIn work. Determination and commitment to excellence far outweigh the virtues of patiently waiting for something good to unfold. Yet so much of what we do on LinkedIn is predicated on chance. If you’re lucky on LinkedIn, that signifies you’re showing up, paying attention and bringing the positive energy every day. It also means that you are fully invested in developing mutually beneficial business relationships. Good luck lives on LinkedIn. Keep your mind and browser open.
J.D. Gershbein, CEO of OWLISH COMMUNICATIONS, is a specialist in the Art and Science of LinkedIn. He is a trusted asset to top executives, managers, entrepreneurs, professional service providers, salespeople, and those involved in the search for their next great opportunity. Dubbed “The Oracle of LinkedIn,” J.D. is considered one of the top LinkedIn strategists in the world and a pioneer in the design and delivery of LinkedIn educational programs. A highly sought-after global speaker, J.D. draws upon his background in marketing communications, industrial psychology, neuroscience, broadcast media, and improvisational comedy to inspire opportunity-oriented professionals in all walks of business.
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