Are you a business owner? Do you seek to be relevant in your industry? Or sell more products, connect with like-minded people, get more clients, drive more traffic to your website, get leads, build your brand or sell tickets to an event?LinkedIn has most answers to your business challenges! Though LinkedIn has been around for a while, in fact it will mark its 10th year anniversary on May 5,2013,it still remains the premier business-focused social networking site for professionals and entrepreneurs. There is no other social networking site in which you have a greater chance of being able to interact with an influential decision maker due to the business-focused nature of the LinkedIn community.
As the number one business and professional networking site in the world, there is a mind-set shift when users log on to Linkedin compared to logging on to their social butterfly cousin, Facebook, or gossipy neighbor, Twitter. Once in Linkedin the mood changes, the atmosphere becomes professional as discussions are geared towards partnership and transactions. In fact. LinkedIn is transactional and professional. If you want to hang with the big industry players, a place where connections are made, sales leads generated, and deals easily closed, then you should accord LinkedIn a premium by spending more of your time on LinkedIn.
In this post, am going to walk you through how your business, whether small or big, old or new, could leverage on the burgeoning power of LinkedIn to quickly reach your bottom-line. However, before trudging on, you may want to further consider the following statistics about LinkedIn in order to understand its business potential .
- It is the only business-focused social networking site for professionals with over 200 million members as at January 2013
- If LinkedIn were a country, it would be the 5th most populous nation in the world bigger than Brazil and smaller than Indonesia with a population equal to France, UK, and Italy put together.
- Linked has the most educated ,affluent, and influential audiences in the web. Infact,4 out of 5 LinkedIn members drive business decisions.
- 2 new members join LinkedIn every second.
- There are 7,610,searches on LinkedIn per minute
- 47% of Business to Business companies actively use LinkedIn
- LinkedIn is the best social network for lead generation.
- 59% of LinkedIn members are managers or senior level executives.
- 2.6 million companies have LinkedIn company pages.
- LinkedIn has a platform to show off what you do and get recommendations from others; give others an inside look at your company, and secure the best talents.
- 75% of Fortune 100 companies use Linked in their corporate hiring process.
- Linkedin has the platform for any business to tailor messaging and target the exact audience or market segment that you need.
So with such impressive statistics, how can a business owner get started in building a powerful online business presence in LinkedIn? It is quite simple and equally free
- Complete your profile by signing up on LinkedIn. Remember to attain 100% profile completion in order to rank high on search engines.
- Use keywords in your profile
- Leverage collected business cards.
- Make a list of individuals you know you would like to connect with.
- Conduct an advanced search using titles and/or industry to see potential connection.
- Leverage profiles to get to know your prospects.
- Follow clients and prospective client companies on LinkedIn.
- Regularly post what your company is working on. For instance, ”Precision Meets Design just completed the mobile website conversion for Glendale Hotels”
2. Set up your company’s LinkedIn business page.
Your marketing in LinkedIn shall be boosted by ensuring that your company can be found in the LinkedIn companies directory and your company can be followed by users who want to stay up to date with your organisation.
Should someone be searching for a company of your expertise, you want to ensure that you will be found.
Steps in Creating your LinkedIn Company Page:
Setting up a company business page on LinkedIn is very easy. More so, it is free. However, you must have a company domain email address for you to create a LinkedIn company page. Common e-mail domains such as yahoo.com, gmail.com, hotmail.com or others cannot be used. With your company domain email address simply follow these steps to setting up your LinkedIn company page:
- From the top navigation bar of your home page, click on “Companies”
- Select “Add a company”
- Type in your company’s official name and your e-mail address on the “Company Name and E-mail” page.
- If your company e-mail address is not a confirmed e-mail address on your LinkedIn account, a confirmation e-mail will be sent to the company e-mail address. The e-mail will give you a link to log in to your LinkedIn account.
- If your e-mail address is confirmed, you will be taken to the “Create a Company” page.
- Click on “Create a Company” once you have completed the required fields.
- Edit the description of your Company Page Overview
Make sure it is in sync with your company website. Add details about the value your company offers.
- Add keywords within the Specialty Section
There is also an opportunity to enter 256 characters under the “Specialties”
section. Make sure that any keywords for which you want your company to be found are here.
- Pick your industry
You can choose a main company industry. Make sure you choose the most appropriate, as this is a field that may be used in a search to find your company.
- List your location
There is also a search field for location. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to enter up to five locations. Use this if your company is represented in multiple regions.
- Post status updates
Make an effort to post regular status updates on your page, including links
back to your website and blog. This is your chance to make your page dynamic and interactive, as well as send traffic back to your website.
3. Join an Effective LinkedIn Group:
Business is all about building and nurturing relationships. After all people do not deal with a company, rather they deal with the individuals behind those companies. People want to deal with individuals they know, like and can trust.
LinkedIn is the only social networking site that affords you the opportunity to consolidate on your existing business connections as well as build new ones.
Joining LinkedIn Groups is a great way to expand your network. Some groups are open to the public, while others require acceptance by an administrator. Choose groups that fit your company’s niche and have active participants who share common traits. Once you have joined or been accepted, introduce yourself and begin engaging with the other individuals. It is important to stay active by frequently sharing links, commenting, and asking questions.
LinkedIn Groups present a discussions board, where it is possible to post a link to a web article of interest or simply engage in a conversation. Through groups, you can also do a member search by geography and/or industry and directly send a message to someone, provided they are using the default setting LinkedIn provides. In other words, by attracting your target demographic to your group, you can now directly engage with them regardless of your connectivity status.
4. Create Powerful Events:
Hosting an event is a great way to build your business (see events under the ‘More…’ news in the LinkedIn navigation bar). LinkedIn has an events platform that allows you to target thousands of professionals for free.Due to the viral nature of LinkedIn, once someone RSVPs to your event, it shows up on the home profile of everyone that person is connected to, spreading the message for you.
Creating an event on LinkedIn is simple. Answer a few questions and start promoting your event. Send an invitation to the people who would be interested in the event based on region or niche. You will notice a wealth of opportunities from hosting your own event.
5. Run an Advanced Search in Your Target Market:
It’s so easy to generate leads from LinkedIn. The advanced search function helps you get in touch with the exact people you’re going after.Simply click on “advanced” on the top right side of your home page next to the search box. This will take you to a clean page where you can input anything you need to find the exact lead you are seeking. You can search by industry, keywords, company and title, to mention a few.
6. Send Personal Messages
According to Lewis Howes, the co-author of “LinkedWorking”, Once you find leads, you want to send them personalized messages. The best way to drop any walls—and give yourself the best chance of making a sale—is to connect with someone on as many personal levels as possible. Look at their profile, find out which companies they’ve worked for in the past, which school they attended, what groups they’re in, listed hobbies and who your mutual connections are. Then, write a personal message like this one:
I noticed that we’re both connected to Mary, Jeff and Bob; we both played basketball back in college; and we’re both in Toastmasters International speaking club.
I would love to connect with you to learn more about your experiences at Xyz Company. I believe there are a number of ways we could help one another. Would you be free for a brief chat in the near future?
Looking forward to connecting soon and I’ll be sure to tell Mary I contacted you. I’m sure she would love to know I reached out to say ‘hi.’
Personal messages seal the deal and give you a greater chance of future opportunities.
Now you can understand why LinkedIn is the best social networking site to build your business, attract sales leads, connect with powerful decision-makers and market your products and services. Now is the time to give your business a boost. Give LinkedIn a chance. Always remember that LinkedIn is a social network. Just get in there and introduce yourself and your business.