How to Expand Your Social Network for Business Success
In the last twenty years the growth of online social media has been phenomenal. …
As you may be aware, LinkedIn can be very effective for people selling to other businesses (B2B) – for many such businesses, it's a key source of traffic and leads.
In fact, it can be a more logical place to concentrate your marketing efforts than Facebook. Facebook users are often less interested in business or sales talk, and traffic can be harder to convert.
In contrast, LinkedIn is mainly used by business professionals as part of their working life. It's also rapidly growing, with numbers approaching 400 million.
But how should you use it for marketing? Here are 5 ways to start using LinkedIn as a key part of your overall marketing strategy, and help drive traffic and sales:
1 – Optimize your profile
Spend time on your profile and consider the image you're presenting through it. Also, consider who you want to attract.
This will help build your LinkedIn network, building your own authority and credibility, and can lead to new partnerships, business opportunities, and direct traffic.
LinkedIn can be traditionally thought of as a recruitment tool, and a lot of people craft their profiles in line with this–even when they're a business owner and/or they're not actually looking for a job.
If instead you're on LinkedIn with the primary purpose of finding new leads for your business, craft your profile accordingly.
In what way can you "sell" yourself?
A sales message talks about the benefits, rather than just the hard cold facts of what something does.
Do the same for yourself–what's the benefit for the other person in connecting with you? How would they benefit from the association?
2 – Get involved with LinkedIn Groups.
Search for LinkedIn Groups related to your niche or industry, and join them. Get involved by creating appropriate and useful content and participating in discussions. Work toward establishing some deeper relationships with others in the group.
Once you get your feet wet, you could also try setting up a group of your own and encourage people in your niche to join. Groups will be most effective for you where you aim to 'give' value as much as possible rather than 'take.
Avoid making blatant sales pitches in the groups. Instead think about how you can attract leads to you by simply contributing and helping others. You'll get much better results this way.
3 – Post content on Pulse.
Yes, just like I'm doing here.
This article is actually based on an original blog post, albeit with some adaptations and updates, so you don't have to create content from scratch each time. You can just rewrite other content you already have, and adapt it as necessary for the Pulse environment.
How does this help you?
Here are just some of the benefits:
— You attract people on LinkedIn who may not have come across you before – those who wish to read more of your content in future can start following you and be notified whenever you publish something new.
— When someone does follow you (or Like your post), an update is posted for their connections to see, potentially attracting more Follows and Likes.
— You can link to your site from within the post and help drive traffic from highly targeted prospects. For example, include a call to action towards the end of the article, such as offering some kind of lead magnet in return for their email address. Or include an inline link or two within the main body of the article.
— Your followers (which includes your connections) are notified each time you publish. This helps keep you and your business front of mind and build your relationship with them. As they read more of your content, you build your trust and credibility levels with them.
— You can use the link to your content on Pulse for updates to your other social profiles. This increases your communications with your audience and the number of 'touches' they get from you, as well as helps to grow your social channels and level of influence in general. It also builds your engagement metrics on Pulse, which can lead to higher visibility of your content and therefore the ability to be in front of more potential prospects.
Worth doing? You bet.
4 – Update your followers.
Just as on other social networks, you can share updates with your LinkedIn followers, whether via your personal profile or on your LinkedIn company page.
Share news about your business, useful tips, or content you've created that might be useful to your social community.
And of course interact and engage with content from your connections. This helps further build and solidify those relationships, attracts new leads and connections, and keeps you and your business front of mind.
Where appropriate and where it genuinely adds value, offer links through to content on your own site.
5 – Focus on building your network.
Your network of connections on LinkedIn doesn't just have to be restricted to people you know well or who you've met in person. Expand and build your network by doing the following:
Via 'Connections > Add Connections' on the LinkedIn menu, invite people you already know via email. If you have an email list for your business, try opening a new email account on say Yahoo! Mail, importing your list of email addresses (up to 5000), and then connecting that mail account with LinkedIn to invite thousands at a time. (Yes, there is a facility to upload a CSV file directly into LinkedIn… however, it invariably doesn't work, hence this work around with a clean email account).
LinkedIn will suggest people you may already know – go through the list on a regular basis and connect with people you recognize, with whom you have connections in common, or who may have an interest in your content and in what you do.
As you get new prospects into your business, invite them to connect through LinkedIn within the first few days, while their connection with your business is still fresh in their minds.
You'll also get invitations to connect from others, which you can simply accept as appropriate.
Have you learned something new about the opportunities that LinkedIn offers to build your online visibility? Pick at least a couple of the above tips to get started with right away.
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