LinkedIn is a powerful social network for business growth. As recent as March 2011, LinkedIn reported more than 100 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Imagine the exposure using LinkedIn as a part of your strategic plan? If used properly, LinkedIn is a superb and very effective networking and marketing tool! Are you LinkedIn? If not, then why not? Here are 6 ways to incorporate LinkedIn as a part of your company’s marketing strategy:
Create Your Profile
We can all use new contacts to keep our business open. By joining LinkedIn and developing your profile is a great way to personally brand yourself as a leading industry expert. LinkedIn allows you to connect and continue to build relationships. Not only do you have access to your 1st connections, but you can gain exposure to a second and third tier of contacts. Even more, once you create a LinkedIn profile, you’ve established an identity on the website which is searchable. Here are a few tips to create a stellar presence:
- Create your profile to match your target audience.
- Highlight your expertise and the benefits of connecting with you.
- Ask for recommendations from former employers, colleagues or clients
- Make sure you convey a polished and professional image
- Examine invitations to connect before accepting to ensure there’s a match with your profile
Gain Competitive Advantage
Do you know your competitive advantage? According to Wikipedia, competitive advantage is “strategic advantage one business entity has over its rival entities within its competitive industry.” If you are serious about business, you want to be at the forefront of any changes or trends in your industry. By establishing a presence on LinkedIn, gives you full access to resources, news, support and information.
In turn, you can continually create superior value for your customers and profits for your company.
Ask for Recommendations
If you are of good character and have built a successful professional reputation, then there is no reason not to ask your clients, colleagues, former employers or anyone familiar with you for a recommendation. With that being said, I suggest asking only people you know. Too many times I’ve been asked to give recommendations by people that I don’t know which is very awkward.
A client recently wrote “Sylvia is an excellent Life Coach and Advisor. She has given superb guidance and offered insight that has jump started my company’s success. I will forever be thankful for her counsel in how it has helped my bottom line. Sylvia is reliable, trustworthy and offers out-of-the-box ideas and solutions. If you are in a slump and need genuine directions – contact Sylvia Browder!”
Create a Group
Make your online presence felt by creating a group specific to your industry to share common interest. This allows you to connect with like-minded professionals for networking, collaboration and lead generation. As a group creator, be sure to share your knowledge and expertise by answering discussion questions and posting relevant information. Here are a few tips to optimize your marketing efforts:
- Add RSS feed of your blog to drive traffic back to your website.
- Include links to your Facebook, Twitter and other social network sites.
- Stay in contact with your members by sending a message on a regular basis.
- Include keywords about your business in the description of your group.
In 2009, I created National Association of Women on the Rise, a professional group for women entrepreneurs which currently have over 251 active members.
Join a Group
An important thing to consider when researching groups is to only join those that are relevant to you. Once you are a member, lend your professional knowledge by interacting with other members, respond to posts; share tips and articles; get connected to potential customers and partners; or test a new idea to get the reaction of group members.
I am currently a member of 48 professional women and small business groups. I schedule an hour per week to interact with most of them. This has been beneficial as I’ve gained contacts, new clients and new members joining my LinkedIn group.
Need to hire an employee? There are many benefits to companies looking to fill job vacancies. They can post jobs, recruit and hire qualified candidates. In a recent statement by LinkedIn officials, “We combine job listings, candidate search, trusted referrals and the power of networks to give you results.” This allows you to find qualified candidates easily by using search options.
In addition, you can read recommendations of potential candidates to determine their character. To optimize your experience in researching potential candidates:
- Search for resumes. Some job seekers will post their resume and it gives employers an advantage of scoping out a candidate in advance.
- Change your status to ‘hiring’ as this will alert candidates that you are currently hiring. This allows them to freely seek your company out.
In conclusion, by following these tips, will allow you to market, grow and connect with people that matters for the success of your business.