As you peruse through the most popular social media channels, make sure you take a good long look at Linked In. This one holds great promise for growing a business.
It has the visual connections of Facebook without the inclination of sharing trivial commentary. You can find groups of people with common interests, as you would with Twitter, without having to think about time zones and character counts.
Linked In provides a unique buffer zone where you can evaluate prospective connections before you jump in. It is a place where you can generate leads, find a job, and gain influence in your community. So, how can you begin tapping in to Linked In’s power today?
Business or Personal?
The first thing you need to do is create a personal profile on Linked In. This will display your background, experience, and current objectives to 200 million people worldwide.
Once you’ve done that, build a page for your business. Make sure that all of your team is connected to your business profile. And, most importantly, sculpt your text with the eye of a marketer. If you have no idea what that means, hire a copywriter – not a colleague who thinks they can write well – but someone who makes their living writing marketing copy.
A Linked In profile is like a commercial, only better. Within your Linked In profiles, you should include anything that could persuade someone to call you instead of the next guy (without sounding like a pitch). Make sure that you clearly communicate your brand essence. Again, if you are unsure of how to accomplish this, enlist the help of a professional. It’s that important.
Ah yes, the gold mine. You can do amazing things with Linked In connections. Begin by building a network of people who know you such as: industry leaders, casual acquaintances and old co-workers. Simply type the name of your contact in the Linked In search field with “people” selected from the adjacent drop-down menu. Your search will produce a list of possible matches.
If the name is unique, you will probably see your guy right there. But, if your guy’s name is John Smith, it won’t be that simple. Not to worry, Linked In allows you to narrow your results by keyword, location, present or past company, industry, and school. You should be able to find your John Smith by using these parameters.
Another great feature of Linked In is Linked In Groups. Each group is built around a certain concept, industry or profession. There are 1.5 million to choose from. But don’t worry; you can search by keyword, location, language, and existing relationships between you and the current members.
Pick up to 3 groups to start with. Spend some time looking at their posts. See what type of information is exchanged. What is the overall mood of the group? Look at the list of members. Is there anyone there that you already know? Are there any members who work for potential clients or competitors? Look at their profiles. See what positions they hold and determine if any of them would be valuable to you.
Once you feel comfortable, start interacting in the group. Answer questions, comment on discussions, and gradually you can leave a few crumbs of shameless self-promotion. The best part is that you can forge relationships with people who might not otherwise give you the time of day. Just make sure you keep your comments and messaging in line with your brand’s marketing strategy.
What are you waiting for?