O.K. you followed my 7 tips for Growing Your Yoga Community on Facebook and are ready for more. What’s next? Connecting our community professionally on LinkedIn! In many ways our yoga community is similar to the Dead Heads. Where lawyers, doctors, professors and business people used to shed their suits for 3 nights of getting high (marijuana, mushrooms, LSD) and Tied-Dyes; today we are getting high (Triangle, Half Moon, Dancer) by practicing asanas for 5 hours a day over an extended weekend workshop in Lululemon, Prana and BePresent clothing. When you are getting ready for class, stretching on your mat – maybe simply breathing, the people on the mats next to you are not hippies living in caves meditating all day – they are highly educated professionals, just like you. As strange as this is, they avoid Facebook, usually with an excuse about privacy or not caring about what you had for breakfast or a wave of the hand and a “its just not for me.”
A quick search on LinkedIn, and you see they are on LinkedIn, why? Because enough of their friends have invited them, maybe it’s the obvious business slant of the network (find me anybody that doesn’t find the word “abundance” sexy) or maybe it’s because we really are connected by 6 degrees of separation. LinkedIn is growing, faster than ever! Why? Because it is a network of business professionals with jobs and buying power. The Rainbow Theory states that we are all unique people, representing the many colors of the rainbow in our lives. Why do we love rainbows? Because they are beautiful, visually stunning examples of that mystical higher power that we call Mother Nature. And oh yeah, there might be a pot of gold waiting for you at the end of the rainbow. How do we find that pot of gold? Start by building the biggest rainbow you can (lots of connections on LinkedIn), then make plans with the people in your network – whether it is a yoga class and coffee (kombucha?) or breakfast or drinks. When we get together in the real world and take an active interest in each other’s lives, we start to find those pots of gold!
Here are 5 tips on how to effectively use LinkedIn to grow your network on and off your mat:
1. Put an hour into developing your profile. From a clean head shot to setting your public profile address to a concise and accurate summary to the interesting details that make it easy to connect with you. Think of this as creating the best business card of your life, it is the card that lets you stay in front of your network with minimal effort and conveys more information about who you are than ever possible before. Think of of your LinkedIn profile as your living bio.
2. Build a Large Vibrant Rainbow – Add Connections. Who should you add? Friends, family, co-workers (past and present), alumni, yogis you have met in class or at conferences, etc. Start by spending 2 hours looking for every single person you have ever known. 10% of your network should be fat, people you don’t know that you want to know. When you invite someone you don’t know to connect on LinkedIn, it is a best practice to personalize the invite and give them a reason as to why they should connect with you. For people you know, just invite them! Letting LinkedIn check your email list for people you know who are on LinkedIn is a great way to jump start your network (Tip – do NOT let LinkedIn invite every single one of your email contacts to connect-only invite the people with a blue IN next to their name indicating they are already on LinkedIn).
3. Participate in the conversation. Take 1 minute a day and scan your newsfeed, look for new potential connections and content within your network you can comment on and/or like. At the top right of your newsfeed is a search button, you can search your newsfeed for words like yoga or asana or meditation and see who in your 2nd degree or 3rd degree of connections is talking about or promoting something you are interested in. When you Like or Comment on content in your newsfeed, that content is promoted to your network. Like your Facebook newsfeed, this is the most local and interesting news around!
4. Share content with your network. This may be once a week or twice a week, do a status update and promote something you are working on – remember this is a business network! Promoting your yoga studio, class, company or blog is a great way to increase the quality of search of your content on Google and the general internet. More important it is a gentle way to touch your community and share part of your life. You can also Share your content in Groups you belong to on LinkedIn.
5. Schedule real world meetings with people from your network. This is how you find the pot of gold!!! You decide how committed you are to growth. At the minimum once a week or as frequent as your schedule allows. Combine your passion for yoga with these meetings and you will forge stronger deeper relationships within your community. These meetings are not sales calls, these are opportunities to be an active listener and figure out how you can help your connection accomplish their dreams. Yes, you should tell your friends what you are doing, but focus your energy on how you can contribute to their lives.