Special post: Utilising LinkedIn to its full potential, with Matthew Moulton
Although I secured two of my clients on LinkedIn, it can be a daunting platform to use. What’s it for? What should I post? How can it help me? Am I business-y enough to use it? These are all questions I’ve asked myself in the past so in my ongoing bid to support new VAs, I decided to turn to Matthew Moulton, an expert user of LinkedIn (he’d hate me calling him an expert, but I’ve done it anyway).
Matthew is an award-winning specialist recruiter who has an enviable reputation for building strong relationships with both candidates and clients via LinkedIn. Matthew was kind enough to give me networking advice when I first started my VA business and he has kindly agreed to share his top tips for utilising LinkedIn to readers of my blog. As you read the article consider how you can implement Matthew’s suggestions, particularly when it comes to making that initial contact with potential clients.
What's your current role?
My current role is Principal Consultant at Real Staffing, specialising in the medical device field and recruiting for niche Medtech companies focusing on Regulatory Affair / Quality Assurance. This is a market which is very much focused on building strong relationships with client and candidates.
How do you use LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is the primary way in which I network across my industry. When reaching out to client and candidates I provide market feedback, create opportunities for clients and develop long lasting relationships. The networking opportunities across LinkedIn are endless as it allows you to connect with specific candidates and businesses to targeted endpoints. It will allow you to tailor your marketing or emails whilst truly getting an understanding of their background and network, so you speak directly about relevant services you can provide.
How do you use LinkedIn for your own work?
Personally I use LinkedIn to join specific groups to understand struggles and to learn more into areas which I need to gain access to. Focusing on medical issues and joining relevant medical groups allows me to gain access to market specialists and experts in the field to understand what changes are happening, which allows me to give personal input on tangible information learnt. Also, networking within these groups lets me become a face and name in the industry and creates the professional image which need to be portrayed.
Are there any hints and tips on how to use LinkedIn you could give to someone who is starting their own VA business?
If I was a start a VA business I would consider my initial approach to LinkedIn carefully. Understanding the key players in the industry, understanding who the correct contact within those business are, and aiming to build a strong network of clients you can work with. Nothing says a job well done better than clients providing a good service, so ensure they endorse you for the skills you displayed on a project as this will ultimately help to grow your network and make you a ‘go-to VA’ in the industry.
What's the most effective way you've found to form relationships on the platform?
The best way to form long term relationships on this platform is firstly to discuss relevant topics. Also key is being a market specialist and being able to provide solutions to clients’ needs. It’s also important to be honest and stick to deadlines put in place either by you or the client.
You can’t expect to build a relationship solely by email. Your business is a contact sport so picking up the phone and calling them will always be appreciated by the client, and as such will allow you to skip a couple of steps in cementing a good relationship. It is important to remember 1 size does not fit all so being adaptable to change in an evolving market will be crucial to succeed.
If a VA was to contact you on LinkedIn, what would impress you/be most important to you? Their previous work experience? Their own website? Their client testimonials? Their posts on LinkedIn? Something else?
When I get approached on LinkedIn what would make me decide to take time to read an email is to make sure the email is tailored to me. In this day and age we are flooded with an abundance of information and working out what is important and what isn’t is very key. To grab someone’s attention you have to be specific and you have to be engaging. Writing a long email introduction isn’t always the best as you have to think about when and how the person is likely to read it. More often than not it will be received on a mobile phone on the way into or out of work, so you have to think whether a long message is worth it. It should be short enough but also detailed enough to get the reader to want to respond. Picking up on similar contacts in their network and yours is a good start, and if you don’t have any then perhaps picking up on what they are currently doing or what they have done in the past.
LinkedIn posts are very important, not just to read but to post yourself and like. Remember it is a professional networking site so Facebook or Instagram posts do not always fair well on this platform. Ensure marketing in this area is informative and displays you are truly a market leading VA.