Monday, January 24, 2011

Success On LinkedIn

So much has been written about Facebook and Twitter that one of the keys to online social media success, LinkedIn, sort of gets lost in the dust. Yet if you are looking to really work the business side of Social Media and want to get in front of the right kind of people who are there for business LinkedIn is the tool. Neilson called LinkedIn “The world’s largest audience of affluent, influential professionals.” LinkedIn population comes from more than 200 countries and territories; it is more highly educated, with over 80% having at least a bachelor or graduate degree. The average household income of a LinkedIn user is $108,000 per year and more that 20% of LinkedIn users are senior level executives and managers with 60% of those being decision makers at their respective companies or have direct influence over the buying decision.

So how do you take advantage of LinkedIn?

1) Don’t wait for your prospects to come to you. Of the 80 million professionals on LinkedIn only a few consistently are gaining clients and projects from the site. Seems most people have a profile page and only a few connections. They are not out there actively seeking new prospects, joint venture partners and referral sources. It seems they keep asking the one question over and over: “Why should I be on this website?”

One of your top and I mean top priorities is to always be out there to get new clients. The only want to be doing this is to go out and look for the kind of customers you want. Aside from letting you network with the best and smartest people out there, you can be building real networks with these people that can have a trickledown effect into new connections that will bring in new business. But you can’t stand on the side lines and be a lurker. You need to get active.

2) Start to be engaging. If you want to be notices by possible prospects you need to take the nest step and stop out of the shadows and be seen. Show them you are worthy to be working with them. How you ask:

a) Update your status message at least daily. No not stupid stuff like I’m taking the garbage out, but real business related items that are attractive to them. Like asking pertinent questions or display an industry answer or project you are working on.

b) State debates within LinkedIn groups. I’m pretty good at this one being a devil’s advocate. Stir the pot and have some fun. Flash a bit of your expertise and display your knowledge.

c) Be out there consistently providing tips, tools, resources, videos, articles and linked channels. Be the person people look to for the answers.

d) Answer questions on the boards within the different groups you belong to. Again this is a way to be out there to demonstrate your knowledge as an expert in your field.

e) Be the host of some kind of monthly event. An online teleseminar or get a f2f networking group going out of your LinkedIn followers. Remember you are the focal point in all this and you are marketing yourself as the go-to-guy that everyone wants to be friends with. As you become more and more valuable, not an irritant, you will be building a strong relationship with the people you want to become your customers.

f) Have a complete profile page. Should not have to say this but I do.

3) Take advantage of LinkedIn groups. Did you know that LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups? IN these groups you can network, join in conversations, show prospects you have answers to their questions and problems. Most people don’t seem to utilize the group tool in order to get themselves out in front of prospects. Yet those that do often make a few mistakes:

a) They become a member of a group but don’t participate. Come on now, how can you expect prospects to find you if you don’t take the time to do a posting or two? You have got to stand up and be noticed.

b) They join groups where there are all similar members to themselves. That does you allot of good doesn’t it. You might want to be in some industry groups just to get and keep a pulse on the industry but really you’re not going to find any customers in a group of your peers. You might find an employee but not a customer.

4) Go out and create a LinkedIn Group. Go on and create your own community on LinkedIn. Then you are in charge of who and what is posted, you are in charge of the fairness of the posting and keeping any disputes on your groups board down to a minimum. So yes there is a responsibility to owning and running a group but on the up side, many people almost religiously check out what is being said on the LinkedIn groups they belong to.

5) You should be consistently creating and distributing content. I belong to 48 LinkedIn groups. It was 50 but needed to make some holes in my 50 so I deleted some with duplicate members or ones that were not active or only had my competition. Just think of the people I am able to get in front of? Like wow, if each group only had 100 members that would be 5000 people, and I can tell you a few of those groups have members in the over 2,000 range.

6) Hook up your Twitter and your Facebook fan page to your LinkedIn account and get even more activity. Timeliness and activity will go a long way to being seen on LinkedIn. You don’t want to be obnoxious about it but you to want to keep your name at the top of the posting list. Taking in your posts off your other social media business sites can only help you do more for less.

So let me ask you, nicely, are you taking advantage of all the various networking and relationship building and business growth opportunities and tools on LinkedIn?

Larson Notes & Satire: Last May my web site hits starting to go off the charts. I mean really up in the over 1000% increase in weekly unique visitor hits. Why? I attribute it to 2 things. First off was Google giving its search engine access to real time search and second my 6 years or working social media marketing. I try to claim my company name on every site I find. I then start out lurking for a little bit to get the flow of the site, then doing some pointed posts of blogging to the site to see what the general feeling is of the members. If I find that I like it or I fine that it has a good number of prospects I “set up camp” and work to become a valued member of the site. Over the years I have joined and dropped out of a few sites that became a waste of time while adding in others. The ones I am working hard right now are:

Why, because I like them.

It might change in a week or two or three. Social media is like the waves of the ocean and you need to move as the tide moves in and out. Yet in all the sites there is one key ingredient and that is “be consistent with your message”

Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.

P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!

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