You will have seen how LinkedIn has become an important tool in business marketing. There are millions of business people using it every day. There are thousands of companies, with a plethora of employees all interconnected.
You can advertise on LinkedIn and I have tried this for certain offers. But unless you have a big budget I suggest the free tactics that I have given here; I know that they work. So how do you get your offer to the people that matter and the people you want to sell to? I'll tell you in a moment but first...
...Before I answer that question I think it best to mention that when you are looking to engage with others you must consider how they will view you. So before you set out looking for clients and contacts on LinkedIn make sure your profile is up to date and full.
Top 6 LinkedIn Profile Tips:
1. A professional photo
2. Be individual and distinct – stand out
3. Don’t be all things to everyone – use your mission statement to filter out people as much as attract new prospects
4. KISS – keep it simple and to the point – don’t ramble on
5. Show clear and measured achievements – “increased sales by 220% in 2013”
6. Get referrals – not just people endorsing you but real detailed referrals from clients and colleagues
Once you have a great profile you can start some marketing….
Here are 2 main strategies that I recommend:
1. The Mass Approach
2. The Select Approach
1. The Mass Approach is a great way to create interest in your offer and bring people to your website. The basics are simple and can be laid out in simple steps:
a. Join groups in your niche or market.
b. Post useful information on their forum and take part in the discussions that are there. Be sure to lead people to your website to find out more valuable information.
c. Post teaser articles leading to your blog posts and thus to your website
As with most strategies that involve social media, you need to give value first. Give as much helpful information as you can. Lead people to your website to find out more. Get them to join your newsletter to get even greater value.
If you maintain a presence in the key groups you will be seen as a person (or business) that gives value. In this way you are also in the forefront of people’s minds; you are visible. So when people have a need they will come to you as first choice.
I regularly post articles in the groups I am a member of. I try and give helpful information and in doing so I build my brand and stature in that community. Then my prospects will look to me for more advice and services when the need arises.
2. The Select Approach is a little more involved and more subtle.
First you need to identify 10 companies (or people) that you want to sell to. Follow them and see who they are connected to and what groups they are in. Join groups that you think fit your business.
Next you need to look for people who have recently departed the company; recent ex-employees. Search the company and then look for people that have worked there in the past. You can do this on the searches if you do a detailed search. Then connect with them…
[…At this point I should say that I only have a standard LinkedIn account, not premium (paid) account. You can get more features, approach people directly and see more information with a premium account but I tried it and am happy enough not paying now.
So how to connect with someone you don’t know? Well you can join a group that they are in or look to connect with a middle man. I wanted to connect with a CEO one time and I found that his PA was my second connection. So I connected with her and then I was second connection to half the company.
If you give value and are respected, people will want to connect with you. Connections on LinkedIn work like network marketing. If I know 100 people and they all know 100 people then I have a loose connection with 10,000 people, level 2. Personally I have around 600 connections and on average they have 100 connections each so I have direct access to 60,000 people on LinkedIn.
You can see that by knowing more people I am connected to 100 times that number. If I then add in the Level 3, which I can get to, even without premium membership, via my level 2 connections, I am connected to 6,000,000 people.
So one of them probably works at the company I am targeting, or used to; and if not someone will be connected enough for me to find a connection. the other great way to connect is through gropus. Some comapnies make it easy and have groups of their own. A lot of the employees ill be members. So you can join the group and get connected in that way. ]
So now you have access to ex-employees of a company its time to use that. Write to them and say that you are researching the company that they used to work at. Ask them some questions relevant to your offer. In my case I would look for someone who worked in the marketing department. I would ask them what challenges they faced and how they dealt with them. I would also ask what challenges the company was working on for the future.
Gather as much information as you can. The reason for talking to ex-employees is that they will be more willing to engage with you about a company they used to work at. They are also more likely to be frank and tell you about real problems faced by that company.
Now you know what problems the company faces make sure you place prominently on your profile examples of how you have solved these problems in the past for clients. Give exact examples with measured results for the best effect. Make sure these appear on your website too.
Then when you go to the next stage and engage with people who currently work at the company they will see that you can help. Engage these people in conversation and find out if they are still dealing with the same issues. If so let them know how you or your product or company can help.
In this way you are tailoring your offer to meet the exact needs of a business before you initially engage with them. Once you do engage with them your offer will speak right to their needs. You will be half way to the sale already.
This is a very powerful tactic and you can use it on 1 or 10 companies at a time. More would dilute your efforts so I suggest starting with a maximum of 10.
LinkedIn is a great way to engage with people, speak directly to their needs and show how you can be of service. Remember to give value first in all social media activities (if not everything you do!).
For more information on social media and to get free downloads about marketing see http://www.cr4l.com/self-marketing-download.html
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