Personal Branding: How To Evolve From A Nobody To A Must-Connect Material Using LinkedIn

By Azleen Abdul Rahim

It seems that you are stuck in the ‘connections’ zone with those bunch of people who tend to ignore you often despite them being a very good potential customers for your products. It’s just that you don’t know how to go about it and what to do for the next move to approach these people using the harmless way? It can be very upsetting if this is the case, as nothing hurts more than watching them from far without doing anything that can make them come near to you.

In many occasions, the person who are stuck in this kind of situation would rather stay connecting, feeling jealous to those who are making ‘progress’ and that is it. You just do not want to stir the friendship a bit, scared of offending them up. But all hope is not lost, just because those people sees you as just another guy or gal does not mean there are no ways to get them to want more from you.

Let me help you here, as I share you 10 practicable tips to get those professional friends of your dreams to see you as the person they can take benefit of, based on the products or services you offer.

1. Get Them To Notice You. It is easy to get offended when those connections whom you’re after seem not keen to ‘talk’ to you, couldn’t be bothered with your comments or likes but seems very friendly to other people. Take it easy, don’t turn yourself green just yet. And no need to turn the situation ugly too. To begin with, start writing and publish your first article. Once you click ‘Publish’, each and every connections you have will be notified on LinkedIn in the News Feed. Every single of them. Remember, make sure you don’t publish your article everyday as you need to build engagements within the comment sections to make your post alive on the News Feed for as long as possible. Secondly, make sure what your writing has great substance in it. And finally, do not republish other people’s material instead keep it authentic.

Everyone will start to notice you, slightly. They start to visit your profile. Once they visit your profile, it will be a good opportunity to start a direct conversation with them. Now you have a ‘reason’. Send them a direct message, thanking them for dropping by. That is it. Keep it short but still sweet. Then wait for their reply. Remember, do not talk about your products and services just yet as you’re still at a very preliminary stage of getting to ‘know’ each other. You’re still at a very preliminary stage of building trust. When they reply, that is a good sign. And another reason for you to also reply back and say, ‘please stay in touch’. When you do this, they acknowledge you to be an active user on LinkedIn. They also will acknowledge you as a person who has great level of courtesy, by putting an effort to text them up. Your status from nobody has moved to another notch up. A small win for you.

2. Remind Them About You. Share relevant articles onto your wall 1-2 times a day. This is one of the harmless way to keep on reminding them unofficially about you. Show them you are always available and a true friend. Share great articles that will enable them to relate. It doesn’t matter whether those articles belong to you or other people, but as long as it can help to boost your presence to their eyes, do it. It would be great if you could share articles that pretty much related to your industry which eventually will indirectly lead them to believe that you are a superstar in your industry. It will indirectly lead them to believe that you know what you’re talking about. This way, they would see you as not just a friend, but as a friend who knows a certain niche and a thought leader of that particular industry. Make sure that this sharing momentum is consistent, until they see your industry name in your forehead.

3. Let Them Realise What They’re Missing. Whether we like it or not, human beings are shallow by nature. Yup, that’s right. Shallow. We, human being, tend to believe what is being shared or see without further checking. We, human being, tend to stay close to those who are ‘successful’ and try to stay away from those who are seen as average. So, work this to your advantage. Work on your LinkedIn profile to make you look irresistible in your audiences’ eyes, especially to those targeted ones. Pay attention to your profile pictures and your profile contents. Are they presentable enough, or sophisticated enough yet still maintaining the down-to-earth nature? Your profile chosen words and sentences must be easy enough to understand. Create a few lines that offer mind provoking statements as well. Remember, the way you position yourselves in your profile will reflects your first impression to the world. Be very careful with your attire, background scene of your profile picture and a few other stuff that could jeopardy your elegant profile picture. Out there, people always want to associate themselves with good looking and successful-looking connections, so start to become and acting like one. You don’t look like one? Then fake it till you make it.

4. Hang Out With Them. To do this, start to click like their posts or status, click like on what they shared, offer your comment along the way and share out their articles to your network of professional friends. Engage with them through these. This way, you’re indirectly showing to them that you’re sincere to become their friends and have a great length of interest in the contents shred. ‘Flex’ your muscle a bit this way and you’re set to be separated from those normal connections of theirs. But remember, do not make it too obvious. They’ll be scared of you if you keep yourself too close to them at this stage. Stay cool and do this moderately. Stay natural too.

5. Publish, Publish And Publish. Sharing other people’s article can only boost your LinkedIn’s presence to a certain extent only, but publishing your very own articles will bring your online presence and thought leadership status you’re after to the next level altogether. From just another average person, you could be turning yourselves into a superstar when it comes to your subject. Be it your experience, stories you came across during those projects, open secrets or even memories, sharing with your audience shall create a bond like no other. Remember, keep it professional and talk more about your career journey that includes your area of expertise. Don’t hard sell those stories, instead tell them out. Always tell to sell and never ever sell something here. Authentic stories, this is what people are after. Try as much as possible to create stories that people can relate to. If you can do this, in a way they will begin to open up more about themselves and their part of the stories too. You can see some results at the comment section right after you post the article. Once you can get those people to talk and comment at your articles regularly, then your brand’s journey to these people’s heart is now closer. Trust is just around the corner, slowly but surely.

6. Make Them Think About You. There are many ways to make sure you are on someone’s mind. I am quite good in this actually, and here I am teaching you how to do it. With the above steps, you are getting yourself into a thought-leadership status. You are becoming a reference centre to your community. People are seeing you as a subject matter expert in your field. By this time, you will get quite a regular direct messages from other people asking you about yourself, your role, your organisations and your services that they are keen to explore. Some will also ask you whether do you do seminars or not. When these happen, it clearly indicate that your published and shared articles are sticking hard onto your audiences’ mind. In their perspective, you’re the first person they can go to since you’re being positioned as a person who can solve their problems. And they truly believe that their problems can easily be solved by your expertise. If you do not believe me, try to be very quiet on LinkedIn for a week or two. Your audience should find it difficult to go even on Day 1 of your missing-in-action moment without you popping into their mind from time to time when they come across your type of subject on LinkedIn or even somewhere else.

7. Make Them Miss You. Talking about the missing-in-action gig just now, why don’t you give it a shot to test the strength of your personal brand. Give them some time off from you. Before doing this though, be sure that you have made the right impressions of yourself to the audience first. Once you’re ready, take some days or weeks off from being ‘active’ on LinkedIn. Let them wonder what is going on, where the heck you are and how to reach you using other channels. When you notice that they start to feel restless and attempt to contact you often and expresses that they somehow are missing your articles and thoughts, then you know that your branding is already there in their heart. It is just a matter of time before they start to talk business with you. Just don’t push it, let it happen naturally.

8. Coffee. When you are sure that they are starting to feel you around, even just a little bit, this is when you make your next move. Bring the professional friendship to the next level will be very easy at this stage. Make them your real-life friends by arranging a quick meet up over coffee. Tell them, no specific agenda for this, just a casual meet. Things may go deeper from there.

9. Be Patient. Again, the steps above are something you can’t just rush through. Getting someone who previously does not even aware of you as a quality connection material, to someone ‘important’ will take time. Do not despair if things are not moving on as fast as you would like. Trust me, it is all worth the wait. The feeling of being able to conquer people’s trust is priceless.

10. All You Have To Do Is Ask. Now, how do you begin your first move in getting them on board as paid customers? Once the trust is there, it’s easy. Start the ball rolling by asking more and more questions about their business. Talk about their products or services, talk about their operations and make them feel that you have a sincere interest on those. Show that you really care. Never ever talk about you or your products unless asked. This method is proven, as I am doing it too with my business. For me, this is the most harmless way to convert our ecosystem of community into paid customers. Seriously, you’ll be impressed by the rate of sales closure unlike before. Well, do not expect to get a lot of positive answers all the time, but there will be connections who happens to be in searched of your solutions and you are there at the right place at the right time.

It takes a bit of art, science, braveness and a bit of charm to do this. No pain, no gain and no brave, no sales. You just need balls to make it happen, don’t just plan and strategise only. And do not follow other people’s way of doing things as most of them are also as clueless as you are. Many tried shortcuts too. They think shortcuts can buy them success. Some prefer to spam other people’s mailbox. Well, you can always spam your way to victory to the whole world about your products or services but obviously you will look cheap and amateur right after that. Your brand will suffer.