To begin, I have close to 250 contacts on LinkedIn and belong to 32 groups.
I receive an email summary of my groups’ activity daily. I typically review these twice a week, scrolling through the email and clicking on any discussion topics that are of interest to me.
Today I was provided a perfect example of how to use LinkedIn. I was reading a discussion on the Motorsports Professionals Group started by Glenn Kelley, MediaFit, who asked, “Which is more important to sponsorship success in racing-talent or publicity?”
This topic is extremely important to me as I’m trying to secure sponsorship for the 2010 Star Mazda series for a driver (www.coreylewisracing.com). Twenty-three people replied within one day, and as you’ll see below the quality and diversity of perspective was excellent.
In the midst of the conversation about sponsorship came this gem from Fred Callahan. It is worth the space to quote the entire thing:
Mark and Max, thank you for your gracious comments. Chris Palmer, congratualtions, you have taken the first step – you have just introduced yourself to a whole host of industry professionals. You should have already sent e-mails to both Mark Chavous and Anthony Castaneira asking them advice on how you can get your son media exposure – press is power in this industry and if you can walk in to the next sponsor meeting with ink or electronic media – you have just seperated yourself from the last 5 fathers that were in there. Next Chris Calligan just told you how she prefers sponsorship proposals and she is a national sales account manager for APPAREL, you’ve just found your team shirts and maybe a little money – Dave Alford is the Motorsports Sponsorship Program Manager for Turtlewax, huge resource for advice on what he likes to see in the way of proposals…and possibly a sponship deal at your level is a stroke of a pen compared to the levels he is used to funding – but at this level, if it cost you $1,000 to fly to a turtlewax meeting for $500 worth of sponsorship – DO IT!!!! You’re not looking for money at this level, you’re looking for relationships. Max Munsie – President, Race Driver, Marketing Director, Public Relations – I’d put him on my Christmas card list if I were you. Glen Kelly Director of Sponsorship Development started the thread. You’ve had a great back and fourth with George Daszkowski who is an Executive Director. Rene’ Kroll owner/manager at R+M Solutions. Take the time to look into the LinkedIn account of each of these, at least seek their advice – ask them what they would do in your situation. You stated its not what you know but who you know – now, look who you know.
This is how you can leverage the power of LinkedIn. It is not enough to make connections and join groups, you need to engage them and interact with others.
Often I will make a public comment, but in this instance I didn’t have anything I deemed valuable enough to contribute, so I read and thanked people for their input privately. I also explained, briefly, that I was working with a driver, had been in a different sector previously, and was not only learning more about the industry but expanding my network in it and would follow-up with a request to connect.
Within an hour I had two new, valuable contacts. I expect I’ll get more.
You can’t join, be read-only, and expect results. Starting discussions, commenting , helping others, and thanking people, will all contribute to your professional success through LinkedIn.
So don’t sit back, get engaged.