A Simple LinkedIn Playbook

Posted in: Advice and ideas- Nov 19, 2014 Comments Off

LinkedIn-marketing-toolsRecently I was interviewed (by email) alongside Mathew Tindale of LinkedIn by SecurePay on how to best leverage LinkedIn as a platform for commercial success. The answers quoted in the article came from a longer email interview I thought I would post here as a rough play book for LinkedIn success…

“I think the first thing to say is that LinkedIn packs the greatest punch for professionals, and not so much for brands. I have not seen Company Pages – for instance – providing that much value, except in the area of search. LinkedIn should be seen above all as a place to showcase your expertise and to demonstrate thought leadership in your field – and a place to connect, person-to-person.

It is my view also that it is of most value in the business-to-business space – in helping people succeed professionally and commercially.

Also – it is perhaps to be viewed as most valuable from a Public Relations point of view, rather than marketing. Advertising and branding are of course powerful on LinkedIn, but no more powerful than on any other sophisticated or social web site where ads can be delivered according to relevance. However, what LinkedIn does better than anything else is connect people based on mutually-shared interests and enable your people to connect with their customers, partners and recruitment talent person-to-person in a lasting and binding way.

Key opportunities for professionals are:

  • Profile - by optimising your profile for search, you can be found in the most sophisticated people search on the planet. LinkedIn is the Google of people, and you must be profiled there as effectively well as you possibly can be. Key toi success here is ensuring your skills keywords are all included.
  • Endorsement  and recommendations - it is highly worth investing effort in soliciting these, particularly recommendations. Nothing attests to your quality better than those that have worked with you or done business with you. An absence of this testament speaks volumes also.
  • Network - LinkedIn is now a powerful CRM system, always look to grow your network but be careful not to overstep the mark, LinkedIn looks dimly on trying to connect with people that you don’t know or have no business with. But outside of that, on a network where profiles are already public, there is no such thing as “my network’s too big”. (Caveat: watch out for spam merchants.)
  • Lead generation and deal maturation - there are huge advantages for professionals in terms of social selling, seeding your network with relevant and value-adding information pertinent to your discussion. You can use status updates for this (3rd party or ‘affinity’ content – see this blog for more on this)  as well as Groups. Aside from ambient education and awareness, this creates the possibility of serendipity magic – right time, right place, right expertise.
  • Engagement - using Groups, Posts or the Publishing Platform, LinkedIn provides users with the ability to engage with their prospects in a way that they will welcome and that is relevant and timely. This is a far more effective way to generate business and foster relationships than cold calling or email marketing.
  • Thought Leadership - the newly launched Publishing Platform, similar to a blogging site – is an extremely powerful platform for showcasing your expertise, stimulating discussions, advancing deals and attracting talent.

Publishing Platform

Either for those with or without an existing blogging practice, it is well worth considering investing time and resources into this new feature. AT the very least the metrics and measurement features are very useful. However, the welcome mat on this is very thin however and easily worn out, and so it is important to remember four key aspects:
  1. Cadence: too often will do more damage than not at all. Perhaps a maximum of 3 times a month and never for the sake of it.
  2. Value: it is always about the customer and never about yourself. You must add value to the debate and never blow your own trumpet – that is what your profile is for.
  3. Brevity: as with blogging, these pieces should be to the point – 400-500 words maximum – and ideally based around a list as these are the easiest to read and most likely to be bookmarked and/or shared.
  4. Eye-catching: the headline and image are the most important aspects to help your work cut through the noise.
Ultimately, you get out what you put in. It creates no magic for you if you contribute nothing to it. Daily discipline around maintenance of your presence and involvement in discussion is worth carving out some of your day for, because the dividends are potentially huge.”
To finish off, here’s a useful Infographic on the right strategy for LinkedIn Success…

LIInfographictemplate

 

PICTURE CREDIT: getentrepreneurial.com

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