While LinkedIn isn't the largest social network, it is the network with the most business-focused members and mission. It arguably is the best social network to freely market your company; however, it does require some work on your end to ensure that you're leveraging the right techniques.
In this article we will discuss the five main ways which, in our opinion this powerful tool can be used as part of your marketing and sales effort. We will also describe a simple step by step process you can use to start and develop a LinkedIn strategy. At the end we will suggest some tips and guidelines to ensure your success when using this tool. At the end, we expect that the mystery surrounding the use of this tool is dissipated and you have a good idea of where to start taking action.
These are, in our opinion the main five ways you can use LinkedIn to create awareness and promote your products.
As an SEO tool: You can increase both your visibility and that of your business by adding keywords to your profile text and to your company page text. Being active by posting comments, answering questions and adding your site URL everywhere that it is allowed can contribute to being more noticeable.
As a relationship marketing tool: LinkedIn is a great tool who allows you to build trust and relationships over a period of time. Nowadays it is more common than ever that people buy from those they know, trust, like or perceive as experts in a field.
How can you succeed in achieving that kind of appreciation from then? The main way is to give as much value as you can in advance. In the words of Manny Sarmiento, well known Social Media expert and founder of Doral Chamber of Commerce, the strategy is simple: anticipate your target market needs and problems and then GAS! GAS stands for “give knowledge, answer questions and solve problems”. LinkedIn offers an array of tools allows you to do so and remain on top of the minds of your prospects, partners and connections.
To promote specific products and services: LinkedIn allows you to create your company page and add info about products and services.
To brand and position yourself an expert: By giving knowledge, answering questions and solving people’s problems you can raise your status to that of an expert in the eyes of the people you connect to. LinkedIn, as any other social media platform allows you to use the principles of the psychology of needs developed by Maslow to create around you a community of individuals who can see their needs for self-esteem, self-actualization and belonging covered. This way you can build a group of followers who can be potentially interested in every service or product you offer or recommend, as long as they satisfy those needs, too.
Do research: LinkedIn groups and the answers section are great research tools to help you understand the problems and needs of your target market. It also allows you to find solutions to specific issues you are struggling with by giving you free access to the knowledge of thousands of professionals and experts in many areas. And last, it will give you information of what your competitors are doing to attract clients.
If you haven’t started using this tool yet here is a simple step by step guide of some of the most important things you should do to get on board.
1-Open an account: Complete the profile as much as possible. Do some keyword search using Google and add those everywhere in your profile. Remember to include relevant, updated information that your potential clients and avoid including anything that may lessen your credibility.
2-Build your network and connections: LinkedIn allows you to import your connections straight from a database in your computer like a Microsoft Excel Document. If you want to import your contacts in Facebook you will need to move them to a Yahoo account first and then import them to LinkedIn from there.
You can also search the names of people you know or you would like to connect to by tyoing their names in the search tool.
3-Join the groups, discussions and GAS: Find the groups and industries to which your target market or potential partners belong and join them, too. Once again, give knowledge, answer questions and solve problems and your reputation as an expert will go. At some point, people who are in contact with you may raise their hand and ask to have a conversation with you to learn more about what you do. Or you will find opportunities to offer them your services, or simply to remain in touch with them through your newsletters, seminars, etcetera.
4-Create your business page: Use the CCE principles to design your page in LinkedIn and turn it into an effective marketing tool. CCE stands for “capture, call to action and engage”, the three main elements which ensure that a page attracts clients, awakens their interest in their content and move in one way or another towards the purchase of our products and services. Keyword rich text, relevant content and links to products sales pages are examples of what you can do. You can also include videos with trainings, product and services information.
Remember these tips and guidelines when using LinkedIn:
1-Success on LinkedIn relies heavily on reputation. Be careful when you ask for, or make, an introduction, and do so only if you truly think everyone can benefit.
2-Always tell the truth – When discussing where you've worked and what you've accomplished, be honest, and don't oversell yourself.
3-Don't gossip – Don't spread any company or personal gossip through LinkedIn. You never know who's going to read it, or where it will end up.
4-Be professional – LinkedIn is used mainly for professional networking. So, stay professional at all times. Use other sites like Facebook for personal posts.
5- Update your profile frequently.