LinkedIn has over 300 million individual users and there are over 5 million businesses with Company pages. LinkedIn is growing twice as fast as Facebook and Twitter and is a great way to connect with decision makers. Over 82% of new business comes from referrals so why not use the power of LinkedIn to feed your referral engine and keep you and your Company top of mind. Here are tips for your personal profile, setting up your Company profile and using LinkedIn for business.
Your Personal Profile is the Foundation
Make it the best it can be by:
Post a professional looking picture, smile and face directly at the camera. Use a neutral background to make your picture stand out.
Take advantage of the new cover page application to highlight your profile.
Add a profile headline under your name that contains key words for clients to find you. This is your branding. ”
Write a summary. Tell a story. What problems do you solve for your clients and what do you do to solve the problems.
Add a “Call to Action” statement, “Contact us @ xxx.xxx.xxx or info@xxxxx for a complimentary assessment”.
List your skills to show a well-rounded profile and using these skills show what you have accomplished for your Company or your clients.
Ask for recommendations and endorsements. In the request, remind your contact of your connection. Thank the person who helps you.
Show off your projects, publications etc. and even a video
Make it easy for people to find your connection information both at the top and bottom of your profile.
If you have a Company Facebook page and Twitter handle, include these in your profile.
Why you ask? It makes your business easier to recognize and you can link your personal page to your Company page. This connects you to your Company. Your Company logo will show up next to your profile and make it more recognizable as associated with you.
Your employees can link their personal profiles to your Company page and make your network and area of influence much greater.
Showcase Pages. These are a new addition to LinkedIn. You can use your page titles to attract clients as they show up in the search mechanism.
Part of your content strategy is using your Company page to educate, and share your website blog.
Post jobs or events or news on your Company Page.
Build up your Personal and Company Network
Add connections by asking synergistic people you meet at networking events to connect with you. Do this within 24 hours of meeting people.
Personalize the invitation by noting where you have met them and interests or people you have in common.
Join LinkedIn Groups and Contribute to the Groups
If you are an accountant, for example, don’t join the accounting professionals groups. Join the groups where your prospective clients hang out ie. Startups, manufacturing groups, retail groups etc. This is an easy way to expand your network.
Add content that your group would find interesting and add comments to other people’s posts. The more you contribute you will appear as a top contributor and will have more authority as an expert in your field.
Other people monitor groups and if you are active in a group, then you could get asked to join other groups.
Differentiate your Group from the pack by defining it carefully and showing the benefit for future members.
Builds Thought Leadership, your name shows as the leader of the group. You are connecting like minded people together.
Drives traffic to your website which you can put in the group profile.
Builds your personal network as people like to be connected with the leader of a group.
Helps you develop a database.
You can send out weekly messages to your group from LinkedIn for free.
A welcome automatic message can be delivered directly to the new member email account.
You can create a sub-group to further define an area to help people ie. Main group “Entrepreneurial Startups”, sub group “Women Entrepreneurial Startups”.
Moderate the group to delete activity that is not suitable for your group ie. Advertisers not content providers.
Scan other similar groups to recruit members to your group.
Using LinkedIn to Strengthen Relationships
Think of LinkedIn as virtual networking. Be as courteous in your online activity as you would be at a personal networking event.
Use Hashtags sparingly in your posts, as they will show up when users use a hashtag in their search for posts ie #entrepreneurs.
Follow through with what you say you are going to do.
GIVE, ASK, THANK = MORE REFERRALS
Invite your connections to have a coffee, chat in person or via Skype or Google Hangouts to deepen your business relationship.
Use your LinkedIn Connections for your Newsletter or Events, Webinars or Podcasts
You can download the emails of your LinkedIn connections to a CSV file see LinkedIn Helpand then upload the list to your email provider MailChimp or Constant Contact etc. Yes this isCASL compliant as people have accepted your invitation and have a public profile which includes their email address. Keep this list separate from other email lists and download each time you want to send out a newsletter to ensure your email addresses are up to date and record the download date on a spreadsheet for CASL compliance. Tailor your newsletter newslettr content for your connections. You are not sending out invitations to your university fundraiser, for example, unless all your connections are university alumni. In this case, you can segregate your mailing list. Your connections will thank you! To be CASL compliant your email newsletter has to have an unsubscribe button.
Sharing Content from your Website to your LinkedIn Groups and Personal Contacts
If you are writing content for your website blog that would be interesting to your personal contacts or some of your groups, you can use your social shares button on your website to post the content across the multiple social platforms, including LinkedIn. You can start a discussion based on your blog content. People love to give opinions and will join in to debate.
Once you have established yourself as a Leader, you may want to invest in a Premium Business or Business Plus account. Details of these plans and their benefits can be found on the LinkedIn Help Pages.
If you are active on LinkedIn through groups and have a large network, consider using either Sponsored Updates or LinkedIn Ads to promote your events or products. You would need a Company page for either of these. You can choose how much you want to pay for your marketing campaign. The more you target your audience the more precise your reach will be. You can choose CPM (impressions ie the no. of times it appears in feeds). This is useful for brand building. An alternative is CPC (cost per click) which means you only pay when a user clicks on the update.
LinkedIn Ads have a headline, some copy and a link to your website. As with Sponsored Updates you bid either for CPM or CPC. Don’t forget to set a budget.
As with any marketing program, to use LinkedIn Sponsored Updates or Ads effectively
Use Pictures or video
Create a compelling headline
Target short message to audience
Spend only 10 minutes a day on LinkedIn
3 minutes reading articles on your feed and from your influencers
4 minutes posting, liking and commenting (set up a schedule for your post topics)
3 minutes community building, referring and introducing people to each other.
If you want to get organized for your postings, consider a social media management program likeHootsuite where you can set up your blogs in advanced to be posted at the best time and day for your blog to get the maximum exposure. The free version allows you to manage up to three social media platforms.
XL Consulting Group partners with small businesses for strategy, business coaching and all things ‘marketing’, including websites and social media. Click here for a list of our services or contact us via email with your questions or call us at 905.639.3555.