Have you determined that LinkedIn is a waste of time for your business? Have you created a profile and built a network without getting any real results? The reality is that most entrepreneurs are using LinkedIn but not as effectively as they could be. The possibilities of social media are endless but you need to approach it like you would any other area of your business. It requires a strategy and you have to be consistent with it. Here are some tips that will help you use LinkedIn in a way that will open doors for your company:
Identify and reach out to people who are highly connected.
On LinkedIn you are only limited by your connections. If you are connected to a lot of people, your scope is significant. Consider your contacts as a doorway; through them you are able to access everyone that they are connected with. When you reach out to people who already have a lot of strong connections, you are able to leverage all of those relationships to the benefit of your company.
Find and connect with your target customer.
Very few entrepreneurs use social media to its fullest potential. If your target customer is a particular type of business, you can use LinkedIn to identify and contact people in key positions at those companies. However, don’t forget that on LinkedIn you are not permitted to directly contact people that you don’t know unless you have a premium account.
Complete your company page.
One of the best parts about LinkedIn is the opportunity for your business to be found by potential customers. It is free, targeted advertising. You waste this opportunity if you don’t invest the time to create a high-quality company page. Think about what impression you want people to have of your company. Also consider the keywords that people might use to search for your business. Potential customers should be able to get all of the information that they need from your company page.
Use LinkedIn to compliment your other communications.
While LinkedIn is a useful tool, it is not meant to stand alone. You should be using LinkedIn as a compliment to your website and to your other social media sites. For example if you are holding an event, you can publicize it on your website, tweet it out on Twitter, and mention it on LinkedIn. After the event you can post pictures on Facebook. Usually the best approach is to give your customers the basic information on social media to grab their attention and then link them back to your website.
Join LinkedIn groups.
One of the easiest ways to grow your network is to join relevant LinkedIn groups. These groups allow you to showcase your expertise and to reach out to people in your industry. Participate in discussions and support people in the group and before long you will be viewed as a leader in your field.
In a lot of ways, social media is the great equalizer of our time. With an effective social media strategy, a small business can easily compete with the big box companies. If you are deliberate and consistent in your efforts, it won’t be long before LinkedIn is bringing customers through your door.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)