LinkedIn is, supposedly, the number one free business networking tool.

So why is it that very few VA’s use it to attract more clients?

I’ve spoken with VA’s in the past, some of whom do use it successfully, but for the majority … they haven’t been quite so fortunate. In fact, they’ve been so frustrated after spending an hour or two on it, they’ve simply given up.

And that’s the problem.

Not taking the time to understand it properly.

Mastering LinkedIn will take time. And of course, you want to know that it’ll be worth your while. But you don’t have to master LinkedIn to benefit from it. For example:

  • Set up your profile thoroughly
  • Include an up-to-date professional photo
  • Link to your website and any other online material that will help sell your services
  • Connect with people
  • Join groups
  • Start blogging

These are just a few things you can do now, with very little prior-knowledge and already you could attract more potential clients.

However, I’m sure you know all that.

What you may not know, is that there are a few things to avoid doing on LinkedIn when growing your network and building relationships. Including:

1. Connecting with the lions

Ever seen someone with L.I.O.N after their name?

This stands for “Linked in Open Networker” – basically meaning that they accept and send requests to anyone and everyone.

It might sound appealing to be connected to someone with so many contacts, but it’s not smart.

Connect with a L.I.O.N and you could end up inundated with irrelevant In-mail, far from useful connection requests and a whole load of distractions taking you away from the real networking opportunities available to you.

2. Spamming

Spamming is frowned upon no matter what the social media channel, but every now and again, reaching out in a salesy way can reap rewards.

Except if that channel is LinkedIn. Then it’s highly unlikely to work.

Your target market as a Virtual Assistant is the busy professional. Someone who takes care over their reputation, resists sales calls and only spends their precious time with the people that matter.

They want valuable information when they connect with people on LinkedIn, and they want to know that you take it seriously.

So give them what they need.

If you portray a professional, business-savvy approach to your own LinkedIn profile, not only will that make a better first-impression, it could be the first thing they approach you about when deciding to outsource their business needs.

Create an informative, professional, authority piece of writing that will sit timelessly on your profile, to show potential clients what you’re made of.

Publish a useful post – around 500 words about something that matters to your target market – time management, productivity, tax affairs, work-life balance …

Once the post is shared it will reach your current contacts. However, you can also share that link in messages and status updates when appropriate.

Just make sure you don’t copy and paste the link into each and every group you’re a member of. Why? You guessed it – spam. A sure-fire way to get nowhere on LinkedIn.

3. Connecting and running

What’s the point of sending someone a connection request, them accepting it and then neither of you talking ever again?

If you’re going to interrupt someone’s day with a notification that you want to connect – make it count.

Take time to research the person’s profile as much as you can, find their website, and find something to compliment them about or a question to ask when you send your connection request.

Then once they accept, send a quick thank you note explaining what you do and how you may be able to help them and their business.

Don’t go to town, and don’t necessarily do the same for each contact. Use your head – think about them first and foremost.

If they want more info they’ll ask for it. Just make them aware that you’re available.

Treat LinkedIn like a real-life networking situation; make conversation, be courteous, thankful and polite, and make it work for you.

After all, as a Virtual Assistant, your time is money.