I was fortunate to present a seminar on LinkedIn last week to an amazing group of people. One of the greatest aspects of this experience was the understanding by the leadership of the opportunities and value with LinkedIn as a marketing tool for each individual while supporting the organization as a whole.
When discussing the composition of a profile I was speaking to the point of writing directly to your target market. That is when a bit of fear came across a few faces. The sentiment that was expressed was, in a nutshell, I don’t want to exclude anyone – I want to make sure I am open to anyone wanting to do business.
No you don’t.
One of the attendees joked in his introduction that he was a jack of all trades, master of none. Writing in any form of business communication portrays you in this manner. “I can help anyone at any time with any thing.”
In business that does not always come across in the appropriate way, unfortunately it can come across more often than not as one word: desperate. I will take any business, just please give me business.
It is important to not only identify your target market but to speak directly to them for three critical reasons:
- 1. It demonstrates your expertise
- 2. It establishes your voice
- 3. It engages your target audience
Demonstrating Your Expertise
Speaking in specifics demonstrates how you have set yourself apart from others in your field – and you are leading the pack. In the insurance and human resource fields there is a title that is commonly used: Generalist. Within the industries these terms are understood in their role.
For insurance it is an agent that can represent several types of insurance rather than focusing only on one or more. In HR it is an individual that performs several roles including recruitment, hiring, screening, assisting with policies/procedures and maintaining corporate/compliance filing.
They are defined roles.
The dictionary defines a generalist as: “A person competent in several different fields or activities.”
Now let’s take that definition from the perception of those outside the industries. Competent. If I am spending money I certainly want someone who is much more than competent. I want an expert.
A generalist can be translated by a prospect as just that: general. Not a specialist, not an expert, not fully competent, not experienced enough to handle the complexities of high net worth individuals or situations.
Even though using the term generalist in your profile will resonate with those in your industry, it may be eliminating your prospects because they do not understand what it is you do. Internally you can be a great resource because of your broad based knowledge and that is communicated with the term Generalist; externally your message is not the same.
Establishing Your Voice
When you read a novel you form pictures in your mind of the characters based on the words presented. It is the same when someone reads your LinkedIn profile, business biography or resume. It is important to write your profile in manner that utilizes words that represent you while speaking from the client perspective. When the profile sounds like you there is alignment when that prospect speaks to you either in person or over the phone.
Without this alignment the prospect is left wondering, “which one are they?” Are you the profile or the person in front of them or on the other end of the phone? If there is confusion it opens the door to doubt, which makes it much more difficult to establish a connection.
Writing to your market in your voice establishes the tone for all future communications. They know what to expect. When that is confirmed in person or by phone establishing trust and a relationship can begin.
Engaging Your Target Market
Speaking to your audience, expressing their concerns and how you provide solutions and insight is critical. They need to see themselves in your message, they need to understand that you get them. Address their needs, their expectations, their challenges. Take it a step further demonstrating that you provide the appropriate, cost-effective, benefit driven solution.
This will engage them for two reasons: they can see themselves in your message, they feel understood. Secondly, they can then be more open to understanding the benefits, value and costs meaning they are more willing to move forward confidently.
My personal LinkedIn profile is written for my resume/LinkedIn clients. I included the two most popular phrases I hear the most from my clients. This immediately resonates with prospects. I speak in a clear, straightforward manner, which is consistent with my in-person communication.
I then go on to explain, in a simple formula, my philosophy and approach followed by a clear definition of the elements and why they are important. I provide my voice, address their challenge and explain how I provide the solution in an easy to understand, engaging manner.
To view my profile click here: www.linkedin.com/in/lisakmcdonald
When writing your LinkedIn profile, resume or business communication get out of your own head and get into the head of your market. Talk to them in a manner they understand, identify with them, present yourself as the expert that you are and come from a voice that is true to you. That is how you create engagement.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Coach-Brand Strategist
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.