Linkedln is one of the WAYS peculiarities of the social networking experiment. It’s not ubiquitous like Facebook, Twitter or even Pinterest. Yet, it has found a niche all its own, as a business tool, and particularly for small to mid range companies who want to network and reach their intended market.
The only problem you might be facing is, how do I use this tool—seemingly with unlimited possibilities—specifically to promote my business? We’re going to break own seven strategies that can’t fail you.
- MAKE VALUABLE CONNECTIONS
Like any social networking site, the ultimate goal of Linkedln is to connect people and allow you to network your brand with new leads, or new business associates to collaborate with. While you may only find a few friends and associates based on email searching, you can take advantage of Linkedln Groups, and connect to people in your industry or in local and regional locations. You can also use the Advanced Search option to target a specific market and find people, companies and industries of interest by keyword.
According to findings from Breitbarth, 41 % of the site’s users have over 500+ connections, which is an increase of 30% since 2013. About 15% now have over I ,OOO connections. Simply put, the most successful companies using Linkedln have gone out of their way to create a following, and network with other people.
- BUILD YOUR AUTHORITY BY SHOWCASING YOUR KNOWLEDGE
A few years ago, posting articles on online directories was a fairly good way to prove your authority. However, it wasn’t long before VIPs in the search engine industry realized that the lack of interaction between writer and readers was less than impressive.
The truth is, people are far less inclined to believe someone who gives a speech, than a person who takes unscripted questions and has the ability to reply. This shows your potential leads and associates that you know your industry well enough to interact with the public in an objective and neutral way, and also gives you the opportunity to repeat your name and brand publicly without link spamming. In general practice, avoid just talking about your opinion and instead quote reputable sources and include your own expertise. Leave your answer openended so as to encourage more conversation and perhaps make more connections.
- GET ENDORSEMENTS ON LINKEDIN
A recent study from Dimensional Research shows that positive endorsements from sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, & Amazon influence a decision almost 90% of the time.
“Endorsements are easier for a connection on Linkedln to put in a positive word in for you without going to the trouble of writing a recommendation.”
These endorsements are like reviews for your small business. You can use them to build up your business’s reputation. Plus endorsements can lead to recommendations which we’ll talk about below.
- GET RECOMMENDED AND BUILD AUTHORITY
The age old saying that you should “let someone else say it” rather than saying it yourself proves true in online marketing. It always has.
“People are more persuaded by word of mouth, by the seemingly objective endorsement of other people.”
This shows your audience that your service or product is great enough to earn other people’s recommendations. Recommendations are like referrals, and referrals are gold! Best of all, Linkedln’s recommendations appear on your page, and even better, they cannot be forged
- HOST AN EVENT AND KEEP PEOPLE UP TO DATE
Hosting an event via Linkedln lets you build awareness for your brand and also generate additional leads, since the event is advertised to your network. The Event Platform is easy to work with and helps you “promote the event” by asking questions about your purposes and subject. Online RSVP will help you keep in touch with your most important targets, and the announcement also shows up on their page.
Linkedln has an Events Tool search that lets people find your event based on mutual interest, as well as geographic location and industry. The flexibility of this online tool has resulted in many more links and connections being made, since you are no longer limited to traditional inperson events but can actually organize workshops, virtual webinars, phone conferences, round table discussions and more.
One of the hottest strategies right now is to organize a regular monthly event, online or otherwise, and build visibility with your regular audience and with new members that hear about the meeting from Linkedln announcements from friends of friends.
- USE SPONSORED UPDATES
If you are afraid of coming across as an aggressive or too spammy, then using Linkedln’s Sponsored Updates to reach targeted users can help, and generate greater paid lead generation than many other social media strategies. Recently, HubSpot worked with Linkedln and reported a 400% lead increase with their targeted audience.
- REACHOUT AND MAKE THE PERSONAL CONNECTION
Particularly because this website is professional and the opposite of the informal Facebook atmosphere, people tend to be suspicious when you add them without explanation. It is better to be proactive and to send personal massage to people before or as you add them. This way you can create the emotional connection that so many companies are missing in an overly optimized and online market.
The best approach to writing these messages is to look for areas of interest that you might have in common and then write to them on a more personal level, not as a formal business communication. Introduce yourself and keep it sincere. A little flattery in this situation can go a long way too, but don’t over-do it. Get to the point and tell them why you are reaching out to them.
HP recently used Linkedln for greater emotional engagement with its social media audience and reported 300,000 new followers in two months, along with an increased attrition and engagement rate, and even a 2.5 increase in customers who refer the company’s products to friends, family and acquaintances.
The “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature is another great tool and one that no other professional social networking site has, as it can reveal who has been searching for you, and now allows you an introduction on how to introduce yourself. Chances are, if someone was searching for you, you have a targeted lead that would not so easily dismiss a personal message. The Who’s Viewed Your Profile option received 76% of respondents’ votes for the best feature of Linkedln.
As you can see, using Linkedln has a number of unique benefits but only if you are willing to use its variety of tools and features consistently. As opposed to visiting once a month and blindy posting.
But this doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice hours of your time, day after day. Most people couldn’t bear to spend hours a day on a social networking site…. Right? Err… Sorry Facebook devotees 😉
Make the most of your efforts by spreading out the time you spend on Linkedln, try to check in daily, or at least a few times a week. Just for a few minutes! This way you can keep your presence consistent, your name ubiquitous and your brand promoted.