LinkedIn is a social community, but unlike Facebook, it is a network of professionals. It is a great place for professionals to promote themselves as well as their companies or personal business. In addition, it is a great platform to connect with customers, prospects and industry thought leaders.
LinkedIn is an excellent place to generate high-quality leads, you can find, be introduced to and collaborate with qualified professionals who can help you accomplish your business-building goals.
It is very powerful marketing platform as you can see by the facts below.
- Represents over 150 countries and over 170 different industries
- Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are members
- The average household income of LinkedIn members is $109,000/year
- There are 60 million available connections in LinkedIn
- A new member joins approximately every second
Watch this quick video for an overview of LinkedIn, then read the rest of the post:
Because this is a community of professionals, the rules are a little different than Facebook. However, the leads you generate will be highly targeted and highly qualified.
The Benefits of a LinkedIn Presence
- Increased visibility of your company and products
- Easy collaboration with colleagues, customers, and industry thought leaders
- Excellent source of SEO-friendly links. Google loves LinkedIn and you have the ability to create great anchor text for your website links, which are given the do-follow attribute.
- Allows you the ability to research your competition, customers or partners.
Profile Creation Pointers
First off, make sure your LinkedIn profile reflects how you want others to perceive you. Give it personality and make it known to others what you are most passionate about. LinkedIn profiles rank high in search engines when someone googles your name, so take your time with this process.
Add 2-3 compelling items here. Make sure they answer the questions, who do you help and how do you help them.
Make your profile credible by adding a photo. It should be more professional and only of you.
This will give you and/or your business instant credibility and social proof. Ask one of your current connections, previous employers or other business contacts to do one for you, or recommend them and when they receive it they will have the option to create a recommendation for you. Make sure you ask someone who you’ve worked with and who know you well.
Education/Past Positions and Experience:
Only include relevant information. You do not need to go into great detail about education or past positions that do not relate to your expertise.
Make sure you are incorporating keywords in your profile. This is especially true when you add your websites as you will be able to create a hyperlinked targeted keyword to describe your website instead of the default “My Blog”. If your business is well known, use its name, if it isn’t yet well known, use the best keywords to describe it.
You will want to go to Profile—> Edit Profile—> click on ‘Websites’ which will take you to ‘Additional Information’—> click ‘Edit’—> from the drop-down menu choose ‘Other’ for each website—>you can then fill in your keyword—> next add the website URL for that keyword.
This is where you will speak of your value to others, or your Unique Selling Proposition (why would someone want to buy from you or work with you?). This is where you will also discuss your intent for being on LinkedIn. Include your story or your why for being in the industry you are in or why you created your company. You want others to personally relate to you on this common level.
This is clearly where LinkedIn differs from Facebook. You need to qualify how you know someone before you add them. Categories to pick from are: colleague, classmate, done business together, friend, other (in which you will need to add the potential connection’s personal email address). One thing to remember when you are accepting connections from others, once they are connected to you, they have access to your entire network of connections. So make sure you are comfortable with this.
Don’t forget to add friends and colleagues-LinkedIn makes this easy by looking into your email address book to find current contacts that are already on the network. You can also use the ‘Search’ box at the top.
Advanced People Search:
This is a great way to really narrow down your search more specifically, such as by keyword, location, industry, seniority, function and company size. To access, go to the top right where the search box is—> click on ‘People’ in the drop-down menu—> on the other side of the search box, click ‘Advanced’. This will bring you to a page where you can narrow down your search considerably.
Communicating with your Connections:
*Do not give your website link when you initiate a connection. Add a personal message and identify something you have in common and why you want to connect with them.
*Add about 30 new connections per day.
*Share how long you’ve been in your industry, your goals, your struggles and how you have overcame the; initiate questions back that would lead to more interaction from them.
Post often since when you update your status, it will show up on your connection’s walls each time. The more you participate and interact on groups and discussions, you will get seen on the status update feed by all of your connections. Link it to your Twitter account and it will automatically tweet your status to your twitter followers. Create curiosity and intrigue, but make it short and to the point (140 character max). Make sure your message is relevant to your audience and somewhat professional in nature.
Once you’ve added your personal connections, you can further connect with others via groups. Make sure you pick groups with a common interest. When you search for a group, it is keyword-driven, so you can search by your industry, or the services/products your business offers. Sometimes the administrator needs to approve your request before you can be a member. Once you are a member, you can go to the main group page, go to the ‘more’ drop-down menu and choose ‘members’. From here you can message a particular individual and ask to connect. Since you are both members of that same group, they are automatically available to connect with you.
You can also post relevant and informative content in the “Discussion” section of each group. This is where you could include any new blog post content you create. It should be of value to others. You should never pitch your product, services or business, it looks spammy, it’s not professional and could possibly get you banned from the group. At the end of the discussion post you can add your blog or company website URL beneath your name.
On a side note: There may be groups available where you can promote your services or products from your business, but make sure this is allowed before you post. Most of the time these are location-based groups where people go to search out a service/product they need locally. Make sure when you post you are addressing the needs of the consumer and how your product or service is the perfect solution to this need.
Create a Group:
There are several benefits to creating your own group on LinkedIn:
- It will brand you as a leader in your niche.
- You will connect like-minded individuals who can learn from one another.
- It will drive traffic to your website.
- Give you the ability to market events, speaking engagements or your business services.
- It will build your personal network as others will invite you to connect with them.
- You will be able to send weekly messages to your member’s in-boxes for free.You will be able to create an auto-responder email. Group managers can send out a welcome email directly to the member’s personal email inbox. From there you can invite them to your blog or website or to connect with you on your other social networking sites.
- You can create up to 10 sub-groups which allows you to target various locations (i.e. for invites to regional events) or sub-niches.
- You have complete control over the content posted and ability to delete members.
Create a Vanity URL:
Make sure your brand gets recognized. Go HERE to create a Vanity URL (make sure you are already logged into your LinkedIn profile.)
Keyword Placement for Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
Place keywords in the custom ‘Website’ names you choose (as mentioned above), in the ‘Summary’ section, the ‘Headline’ section, the ‘Specialties’ section and the ‘Experience’ section.
Access these applications and others by going to ‘More’ at the top of your profile—> click on ‘Application Directory’ from the drop-down menu.
- WordPress-allows an RSS feed of your blog
- Twitter-Integration of latest tweets
- SlideShare or Google Presentations-allows powerpoint presentation and YouTube videos via SlideShare
- Reading List-especially great if you have authored a book
- Polls-a great market research tool
- Company Buzz-a great reputation management tool as it shows what people are saying about your business or brand
To access the question/answer area, go to the search box at the top right—-> click on ‘Answers’ on the drop-down menu—> then click ‘Advanced’ on the other side of the search box. This will then take you to a page where you can search by keyword or category to see which questions have been posed and then you can decide if you want to answer.
This is an excellent way to drive traffic to your blog or company website. After you leave your answer, after your name you can add your website. If people vote that you have “The Best” answer, it will improve your status as a thought leader which will increase exposure to yourself and your website.
You could ask a question that could drive more business to you. Such as if you were a social media management business, you could ask, “What types of social media are you using to generate more leads for your business?” In this way, you aren’t blatently advertising your services, but you are creating curiosity where others may want to learn more about your business and visit your website.
Answers are also indexed by Google making it another way to create SEO for your website and LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn is an excellent way to recruit for your business. I will discuss recruitment and how to establish a company presence on LinkedIn in another blog post. As long as you have a personal profile on LinkedIn, you can add your company’s profile as well.
I hope this helps you understand how best to utilize LinkedIn for your business. Please don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions and I will do my best to answer them.
Also, if you found this information useful, please comment or share on your social media sites. Thanks!