Our final social media paint-by-numbers article is my own. Hubspot’s report does not include LinkedIn, but we encourage all nonfiction authors to have a presence and get involved.
The business slant of LinkedIn means users focus on Communicating and Bridging. There is very little ‘warm and fuzzy’ going on here.
Posts and articles not only teach readers, they invite them to connect, and to share what they find valuable with others.
The business focus facilitates networking and creates an atmosphere conducive to open discussion, with you, and with other commenters.
What to Do
Teach. Write posts and articles that highlight your expertise.
Promote others. Share content you find interesting and helpful.
Comment. Engage with the community as an active member.
What NOT to Do
Don’t pitch. LinkedIn groups frown on hit and run tactics, on a hard sell, on self-promotion. People here are actively looking for good information and connections. Share good information, be a good connection, and they will seek you out.
Don’t get silly. Treat LinkedIn like you’d treat a business networking event. Have fun, but no cat videos or pointless jokes.
Many clients I’ve worked with want help with grammar, proofreading and editing. They ask me to pay attention to details. They are tired of working with virtual assistants who let correspondence and emails go out with spelling and grammar errors.
Make sure you proofread anything you do for clients for correct spelling and grammar. If writing is not your expertise, don’t market yourself as a writer. If at all possible, ask someone else to proofread for you. Another set of eyes never hurts.
We all have our favorite method of communication. Mine is email. One friend rarely emails more than three words, but will stay on the phone as long as I’m willing to.
Just like we don’t get to choose how we’re perceived by others, we can’t successfully shove people into our communication method. A prospect who emails should get an email, not a phone call, in return. While the email should be sent off just as quickly as you’d answer the phone (email-oriented types tend to expect email to be almost real-time) a phone call response to an email can feel pressuring and invasive.
On the other hand, if someone leaves you a voicemail, or you’re following up on a phone call, use the phone; email will seem impersonal to phone-oriented communicators. Email always sounds a bit less friendly than you write it; write a friendly message and it sounds flat and direct; write something that’s flat and direct, and it sounds angry and rude—especially to someone accustomed to the warmth and instantaneous reaction of a human voice.
And, yes, if someone writes you a letter, you write a letter. Even further, if they hand wrote their letter, do the same.
Be what people expect, not what you’re used to being.
**This is an excerpt from The Commonsense Virtual Assistant – Becoming an Entrepreneur, Not an Employee by Joel D and Sue Canfield. Get a copy from Amazon here.
Four months ago a prospect contacted me to create a spreadsheet of all her contacts. She’d been collecting business cards and scraps of paper for sometime and wanted them all in one spreadsheet so she could upload them to a contact management tool. She explained it would take her several weeks to compile all the contacts and send them to me. We agreed upon the cost and she said she’d be in contact in a few weeks.
Knowing this client was very busy and was going to be compiling scores of contacts from different places, I scheduled to follow up with her in three weeks if I hadn’t heard from her. So three weeks later I sent her an email asking her if there was anything I could do to help her with the compiling since I knew she wanted to get these contacts uploaded to her contact management tool in time to send out cards before the end of the year. After a few emails back and forth in which I sent suggestions she replied, “I truly appreciate your professionalism. You are inspiring me to get moving!”
Several more weeks passed and I still hadn’t heard from her so I sent another follow up email reminding her that I was available and asking again if there was anything I could do to make it easier on her end. Though she still wasn’t quite finished compiling all her contacts she said, “Thanks for keeping in touch.”
Now over three months had passed and many of you may be thinking, “That client is so disorganized she’ll never get the contacts compiled. You’re wasting your time following up with her. It will never turn into paying work.” Wrong! It did take longer than she hoped to compile all the contacts. However, she really does want this project to be done.
After nearly four months the check and contacts are in the mail and this project will be completed in time for her to send out cards before the end of the year. Yes, it did take some time to follow up. The client appreciated that I took the time to stay in touch. And who do you think she’ll call when she needs additional work?
So don’t write off those prospects that seem to be dragging their feet. No, don’t pester them. But send a friendly and helpful reminder. Perhaps send some tips they can use. Let them see that you are interested in helping them and providing valuable information, whether or not they are yet a paying client. Developing this type of relationship does pay off!