Question: I just joined LinkedIn. What are some ways I can utilize the social network to help me market, sell and brand my company?
Question by: Dennis Myers
Participate in Discussions Relevant to Your Industry
"Search LinkedIn for groups relevant to your industry, and keep an eye on discussions that members are having. Check in at least once a day and, if you see a question you can answer, do so. Add as much value as you can to the discussion. The more you can bring to the conversation, the more you will be seen as an expert in your field. The result? Increased traffic to your site."
Build the Largest Network Possible
"In order to fully maximize the potential of LinkedIn for your business, you should add as many people to your network as possible. By having a large network, you will have access to more business people through introductions. You can use the introductions as referrals to generate new business."
Check out the Global Spokesperson
"My advice is to check out Lindsey Pollak's blog and page - she is the Global Spokesperson of LinkedIn, so she knows all the best practices. http://www.lindseypollak.com. She's also a longtime mentor of mine, and a member of the Board of Directors of the not-for-profit I started, so I vouch for her expertise! "
Q&A! - Expertise, Credibility, & Sales!
"Answer questions of your niche/expertise in Q&A. You can use the same Q&A to build a FAQ for your clients, or expand on them to write posts on your blog, as these questions are what your target market is wondering about. Show your expertise but stay away from OVER self-promotion. It is a time consuming strategy, but it's organic and long lasting."
Very Few People Like to Be Sold on Anything
"Forget the hard sell when it comes to social media. Develop a content action plan that is geared towards education and information. Once people realize you are a credible source, and that you care, then they are more apt to seek out your products and services. Social media is a two-way conversation that should educate, inform and inspire. "
Utilize Your Tagline
"The key to LinkedIn is making what you do crystal clear. Therefore, the most important part of your profile is the tagline below your name. People will see this right away, without even clicking on your profile. Therefore, instead of writing “CEO of _____ ," say what it is you actually do. For example, my tagline is “Communications expert that helps companies grow through publicity campaigns.”"
Reinforce Your Network
"It's very easy to pull in a bunch of connections on LinkedIn who you haven't talked to years — old colleagues, classmates and anyone else in your email address book. Those connections can be valuable, but not just because you added them. You've got to reinforce your network and make those old connections strong enough that you can actually use them to connect with customers and other useful folks."
Share Relevant Content
"Monitor news and blogs within your industry for articles to share. Regularly share relevant, interesting content with your network to stay top-of-mind. Don't forget to add a quick opinion or thought-provoking question to get the conversation going!"
Get Killer Recommendations!
"The best way to brand your company is by securing 3-5 killer recommendations from people you have previously worked with. A LinkedIN profile is never 100% complete without this key feature! Decide if you are going for quantity over quality. Some people want to have 15-20 recommendations from everyone they have worked with, while others choose recs from 3 key players that are well known."