7 ways Linked In can help your business

LinkedIn is one of the 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 down seven strategies that can’t fail you.

  1. Make Valuable Connections

Like any social networking site, the ultimate goal of LinkedIn is to connect people and allow you to network your brand to new leads, or new business associates that can help you. While you may only find a few friends and associates based on email searching, you can take advantage of LinkedIn Groups, and connect to people in your niche 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.

  1. Build Your Authority by Showcasing Your Knowledge

Publicising your name under the guise of answering simple questions is a great way to generate brand awareness, and also get a keen insight into the mind of your potential customers.

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 realised 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 open-ended so as to encourage more conversation and perhaps make more connections.

  1. Get Endorsements on Linkedin

A study from Dimensional Research showed that positive endorsements from sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, & Amazon can influence a decision almost 90% of the time.

Endorsements are easier for a connection on LinkedIn 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.

  1. 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, LinkedIn’s recommendations appear on your page, and even better, they cannot be forged.

  1. Host an Event and Keep People Up to Date

Hosting an event via LinkedIn lets you build awareness for your brand and also generate additional leads since the event is advertised on 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.

LinkedIn 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 in-person events but can actually organise workshops, virtual webinars, phone conferences, roundtable discussions and more. One of the hottest strategies right now is to organise a regular monthly event, online or otherwise, and build visibility with your regular audience and with new members that hear about the meeting from LinkedIn announcements from friends of friends.

Other tips you can try incorporating include:

  • Creating a logo, that will make it stand out.
  • Come up with a creative title so that it will capture attention and hopefully be shared (and shared on more social media sites than just LinkedIn)
  • Always finish with a call to action. We remember this in articles and yet we seem to forget this golden rule in social media. If you don’t tell your audience what to do at the end, they won’t do anything. Always include a strong call to action after advertising a meeting.
  • Include keywords that describe your industry and reason for the event.
  • Promote your event in groups, preferably the most relevant groups to the theme of the event. It’s not blatant advertising if you’re providing value
  • Post about the meeting on your status messages. Remember an active page represents a busy company. Ideally, you tie in the latest company event with your status messages, generating excitement for the event
  • Much like other social networking sites, the ability to speak openly & candidly is another way you address any issues and provide amazing support to potential customers, so use it wisely.
  1. Use Sponsored Updates

If you are afraid of coming across as an aggressive or too spammy, then using LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates to reach targeted users can help, and generate greater paid lead generation than many other social media strategies. HubSpot worked with LinkedIn and reported a 400% lead increase in their targeted audience.

  1. Reach Out and Make the Personal Connection

The biggest mistake people make using LinkedIn and other social pages is to lie back and wait for the traffic to generate.

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 messages 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 optimised and online market.

The best approach to these messages is to look for areas of interest that you might have in common and then write to them personally, not as a form letter. Mention why you are reaching out and create an honest and meaningful message introducing yourself.  HP recently used LinkedIn 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 biggest mistake people make using LinkedIn and other social pages is to lie back and wait for the traffic to generate.

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 LinkedIn.

As you can see, using LinkedIn has a number of benefits but only if you are willing to use its variety of tools and features consistently… As opposed to blindly posting and visiting once every month.

This doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours at a time that take up your entire day.  Most people couldn’t bear to spend literally 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 LinkedIn, try to check in daily, or at least a few times a week. This way you can keep your presence consistent, your name ubiquitous and your brand promoted.

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