One Photographer’s LinkedIn Techniques

From the Strictly Business blog (an excellent resource from ASMP), here’s a post by photographer, Jim Cavanaugh, in which he explains exactly how he uses LinkedIn to build his network and find new clients. He writes, “This powerful social networking tool has allowed me to add close to 500 new contacts in the last three months!”

LinkedIn has become my most important tool for identifying new clients. While not as popular or user friendly as facebook, LinkedIn has a different culture and is much more about business.

Every time I have a new person “link in” with me in LinkedIn, I will add their e-mail address to my Constant Contact mail list. I will also add the person and their company information to my database. I look up and bookmark their company website and review it to learn more about their company and how they use photography to tell their story. All of this information is available on their profile page.

I will also send them a brief introductory letter thanking them for adding me to their LinkedIn network and telling them a little about my company.  Along with the letter, I include a mini portfolio of five (5) 6”x9” promo cards. This is followed up a few days later with a phone call to introduce myself and learn more about them. The end goal is a portfolio presentation. (Read the rest here.)

Anyone doing this too? Other techniques to add?

BTW: be sure to join the Creative Freelancer Conference LinkedIn Group here — another excellent resource for sharing information and getting your questions answered.

7 thoughts on “One Photographer’s LinkedIn Techniques

  1. Michael Zukerman

    Very pro active but for my taste, a bit much with the phone call. I much prefer e-communications to having my phone ring with someone I don’t know on the other end at his/her convenience and not necessarily mine. TO ME, sort of like dropping by my house without notice. Just my 2 cents.

  2. Ilise Benun Post author

    I see your point, Nicholas, and maybe Jim is missing a step here of asking his newly linked connections whether he can add them to his list. But there is a connection there to build on. Let’s see what Jim has to say about it.

  3. Jim Cavanaugh

    Thanks for the comments. Many of the people I have added I have some connection to, either by having spoken with them previously or by working with someone else in their company. As I stated in the post, after they are added they receive a mini portfolio via regular mail along with an introduction letter. The letter is is personalized to each person. It states that I have added them to my e-mail list and that they will only receive one newsletter from me each month.

    I use Constant Contact to manage the list and generate the mailing and it has an opt out feature that automatically removes them from the list if they choose to do so. With the over 650 people I have added in the last few months, only 6 have opted out.

    The permission based aspect is that they have accepted me into their linkedin network. The purpose of Linkedin is business interaction. It is not a primarily social group like facebook. (But I have many clients there as well.)

    Currently my open rate on the newsletters is about 54% and the click through rate is about 34%, far above industry norms. In addition, the follow up calls have generated more portfolio appointments in the last three months than I have been on in the last two years. My sales for the 1st quarter are also more than double the same time last year.

    There seems to be an overly cautious attitude by some about “bothering” people. But business is about sales, making connections and connecting with potential business partners. Linkedin and other social media are simply the new tools. And tools that I believe are much more personal.

    Will I get the occasional person who does not like it? Sure, I have had six so far. (And one called me to apologize for opting out and said it was a mistake!)

    But again, I let them know I added them to that list, make it easy to opt out and never send more than one piece a month.

    Jim Cavanaugh

  4. Ilise Benun Post author

    I’m with Jim and I see this “overly cautious” attitude everywhere. I also see that, with all the noise, it’s only those who are aggressive enough to push through who get the appointments and therefore the work. Things ain’t like they used to be. We can’t just sit back and hope people find us anymore.

  5. Neil Renicker

    Good thoughts from both sides. Obviously, Jim has the data to prove that this is working for him, and people aren’t dropping him in an angry huff. So he’s taking a risk – and it’s paying off. I’m wondering – are there ways to be too risky on LinkedIn or other social sites? Are there cardinal social media sins to avoid?

  6. Neil Renicker

    One more thought: I think Jim has a real advantage here also because he’s a photographer – his gorgeous architectural shots would be a welcome site in anyone’s inbox once a month! In other words, his content is remarkable and helpful, so it isn’t offensive to receive.

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