If you are reading this right now, you have your friends and business associates talking about the wonders of social media marketing (heck, you might even be the one shouting all over about the wonders of the web). Over the past year names such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have catapulted into our consciousness.
Great. So what are they and how do they generate leads?
The answer is an interesting one. Social media sites are a “virtual cocktail party” where you can network with people all over the world, in real time, without having to get on a plane or put on your “networking suit.” These sites offer an open portal into some of the most attractive customers communication lines. You can ask questions, share information, get referrals, build a new customer base and much more…you will be amazed at the capabilities they have in terms of promotion and credibility building.
Of all of the sites, LinkedIn (the oldest of the big three) is a terrific place to get an instant boost in your lead numbers. Go to linkedin.com and register for a free account. You will be asked to fill in lots of information about you and your business (think resume and company profile materials). Complete ALL of the forms presented as comprehensively as possible, making sure that your answers present your business (and yourself) in an attractive manner. Don’t forget to add a photograph as well…many people don’t trust someone that they can’t see! Also, with the intense growth in spamming on site such as LinkedIn, if you don’t have a complete profile with picture….you are as good as ignored.
Once your profile is in place, start building your network: invite friends, family, business associates or customers (if relevant). There is a quick function in Linkedin that allows you to import all of your contacts from your email accounts (Outlook, Hotmail, Gmail or event from an Excel spreadsheet) and send invitations to connect. This is a fast and easy way to build your connections on the site. Many of your connections will have connections of their own…hence their value to generating leads!
Next, get recommendations! If you have any close business associates that have given you a great testimonial, get them to write a recommendation for you. These will show up on your profile, so it will give you the needed boost that you are looking for. And the best part? These testimonials show up on their LinkedIn profile as well, and positions them on a senior level… so it is a win/win situation!
The next step is to start joining groups. You can join a maximum of 50, so find ones that are relevant. Once your membership is approved, the first thing you need to do is “listen”. Take a nose around and notice of how people are interacting, what they are talking about and begin to think about ways that you can get involved. Then, become an active member by:
- Posting questions, answering questions and overall just participating in discussions
- Posting links to your articles on your blog
- Adding “news” to the section
- Got a job? Post it in the “Jobs” section of your groups
As you get to meet new people, don’t be afraid to send them to your blog or website to look around – this is a sure fire way to build traffic. Remember, if you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. The trick is to not sell, but supply useful information that will greatly benefit them. Tap that expertise of yours and share it with others!
A good rule of thumb is to start off spending at least 1 hour a day on LinkedIin. That way you can look around and get a good feel for the capabilities it has. It also has a TERRIFIC Help section that can help you get started as well! Before you know it, you’ll be more “linked in” than you ever could have imagined. All of this is why LinkedIn is one of my absolute favourite sites. I have made fantastic professional and personal relationships that have helped my business to no end. And there are many more success stories out there.