With everyone going on about the wonders of Facebook and Twitter, our poor friend LinkedIn sometimes gets left out in the cold. While not one of the most visible sites, it is definitely one of the most powerful. With millions of people from all over the globe taking part in the conversation on LinkedIn, it is definitely a place online where your audience thrives.
What I usually hear when I speak to prospective clients about LinkedIn is that “I’m not B2B, I’m B2C. LinkedIn will never work for me.” Aside from that statement oddly rhyming, that statement can’t be more false. Whether you are B2B or B2C, you can carve out your own audience on LinkedIn. I’ve said this quite a bit, and lately people have been asking me to put my money where my mouth is asking “Can you prove that there is ROI in LinkedIn?” My answer, “Absolutely!”
About 60% of my business comes from LinkedIn. True.
While my firm may be unique, we handle accounts for a wide array of clientele that get results on LinkedIn. Not only sales and referrals, but speaking engagements, sharing of content to a wide audience, hits to their website, media appointments and much more. I’m not saying that 60% of your business WILL come from LinkedIn, but it is definitely a spot where you need to be.
But my purpose here isn’t to sell you on the wonders of LinkedIn. It is targeted to those of you out there who are registered with LinkedIn (for a week, a year, 10 years, whatever) and don’t have your completed and are just waiting for the magic to happen. Generally those like this complain that they don’t see any results from LinkedIn. Here’s why: you’re not doing anything.
So let’s get moving and create some stellar results! Here are my 5 LinkedIn “Must Haves” when you are trying to market yourself using this massively useful site:
1. You MUST Fill Out Your Profile: A name and title is not enough. LinkedIn gives you ample opportunity to showcase yourself and your brand. Instead of leaving half of the profile blank (the percentage of which LinkedIn will show you on the right hand side of your profile), why not take an hour or two and really fill it in properly. Want people to call you? Add a phone number. Want people to look at your website? Mention it with hyperlink at the drop of a hat. Don’t skimp here…this is where people are going to find you credible or not credible. Oh, and one final thing. Have a professional profile picture, nothing wild and off brand. No picture = no credibility in my book.
2. You MUST Join Groups: Not only must you join groups, you must also take part in them. I know it seems like a tall order, but this is one of the areas where the magic happens on LinkedIn. Now don’t get stuck on the fact that you have to find groups only within your sector, you want to find those in addition to groups where your target consumers may be. For example, if you are a cosmetic surgeon in NYC you may want to join 25 groups on cosmetic surgery and 25 groups based around the NYC area. The idea is simple. The professional ones will help you gain news and knowledge in your sector while the others will help you share your business and expertise with target consumers. I say join as many as LinkedIn allows (50) and start working them!
3. You MUST Ask Question and Answer Questions: There is a wonderful function of LinkedIn that allows you to answer and pose questions to your network as well as LinkedIn at large. This is a great way to get in front of prospective supporters, consumers and referral partners – so don’t be afraid to jump in there and share your expertise by answering a few questions now and again.
4. You MUST Reply: Nothing drives a social media user up-the-wall more than sending messages that never are replied to. I’m not saying the mass messages that start with those wonderful words “Dear Friends”, but rather those emails sent to your on LinkedIn. Not interested in what they have to say? Give them a polite “No thank you, but I appreciate your kind offer”, don’t say “Leave me alone” or ignore them completely. This is networking. Would you act like that in a cocktail party? Nope.
5. You MUST Bring Your Profile Alive With Testimonials and Applications: Even the most engaging profile can use a helping hand now and again. First off, anyone that you have ever worked with or has known you professionally – ask for a recommendation, a mutual recommendation. This is an eye-catching way of proving credibility and the quality of your work. Never ask for testimonials from people you don’t know, never worked with, and just friended. That’s tacky. On the application side of things, go onto your profile and scroll until you see the Applications section and click “More Applications.” This will take you to a section that allows you to not only integrate your Twitter account and your WordPress blogs, but also share pdf files and PowerPoint presentations. These are wonderful ways of bringing your profile to life.
I’m sure I could go on with the wonders of LinkedIn, but these are definitely the ones I am most passionate about. These steps will help you get the most out of LinkedIn in addition to helping you learn more about shaping your LinkedIn marketing strategy. Its not easy at first and can be time consuming, but keep with it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your social media following. It is an ongoing effort that will bring you what your after, if you are patient.