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Does Your Social Media Marketing Plan Include LinkedIn?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

According to Alexa.com, LinkedIn is the 14th top ranked website in the world, and the 10th ranked website in the United States. It is described as:

"A networking tool to find connections to recommended job candidates, industry experts and business partners. Allows registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business. "

Based on these facts, there is no reason why every internet marketer shouldn't be utilizing LinkedIn in their social media marketing plan to promote what you may be offering with your business. I have to admit, I haven't really utilized LinkedIn like I need to. I have a profile and I have spent some time on there making connections, but I really haven't educated myself about the reaching power of LinkedIn. So I decided to do a little research via various online outlets such as other blogs reviews and the LinkedIn corporate website.

The first thing that came to my attention in all of my research is this -- LinkedIn is not the same as Facebook. It requires a more professional approach since it is a networking site for business professionals. It is not a fun place to share photos and playfully tag your friends. Communicating in a professional manner is a must at all times.

Here are a few more statistics and facts (according to their corporate site ) that may help you sit up and take notice of this 800 pound gorilla. All information is dated as of March 31, 2013.

  • LinkedIn operates the world's largest professional network on the Internet with more than 225 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
  • Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second.
  • Sixty-four percent of LinkedIn members are located outside of the United States.
  • There are over 30 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn's fastest-growing demographic.
  • There are more than 1.5 million unique publishers actively using the LinkedIn 'Share' button on their sites to send content into the LinkedIn platform.

So how to utilize this tool in your social media marketing plan? According to my experience, and my research supports this, the best way is to NOT market your opportunity or services!! You simply want to network with professionals and online marketers through LinkedIn and build rapport. Start by offering content that provides value to your network connections. This follows the notion of giving first, then you build trust.

Careful Steps to Take When Using LinkedIn

Creating Your Profile

Set up your profile as if you are applying for a job - similar to if you are crafting your resume. Complete the entire profile, by adding all of your work and education history. Write up a detailed but brief biography section as well. Establish your identity in the biography and really be specific on what is it that you bring to the table.

Make sure you add a nice digital photo of simply your face or your upper body and face. Don't scan a photo and crop yourself out of a group shot. This is very important. Your picture needs to look professional. It doesn't have to be a professional head shot, but just a clear, nice picture. Oh, and of course, this goes with out saying - no pictures of your dog or your children or sunsets.

Connecting

Once you have your profile set up and you are a bit familiar with the interface, start by making connections. Invite your colleagues, former classmates, friends, family, and business partners.Most people are aware these days that LinkedIn is a networking platform, and not just a site to post a resume. Making these connections is relatively simple.

Once you have connected with people you know, start slowly by connecting with others in your target market who you don't know personally. Try not to mention your business opportunity up front. Build a rapport with these individuals and build an ongoing relationship. Do not pitch them! You are looking for people you can network with and build trust. Offer advice or answer their questions if they ask. Establish trust and confidence with the people you make connections with.

Groups

According to their corporate site, LinkedIn members are sharing insights and knowledge in more than 2.1 million LinkedIn Groups. Yowza. This is huge. Joining a handful of relevant LinkedIn groups should generate leads and become a big player in your social media marketing plan. This will include promoting yourself in these groups, not your business opportunity.

Once you are logged in, Go to the 'Groups' tab and use the 'groups directory' tab. Do a search on affiliate marketing, network marketing, digital content marketing, etc. All business networking subjects and niches are supported. Once you find a group you feel is in your target market and you can network in, click on the group link name and you can view the group profile (simply go to the 'more' tab and view the drop down options). Take a look a the group profile and make sure you are in the right setting for your networking goals. Make sure you view the rules of the group and also make sure you adhere to them. Some groups clearly state not to pitch your business and to not post your links. This is okay, you are there to network and meet people who are looking to build relationships. Once you decide you want to join the group, simply click the 'join' button. Some groups are closed groups, and joining the group requires you to be accepted first. If you have completed your profile correctly and it seems credible to the group administrator, you should be accepted. Joining groups in your target market will bring you together with 100's or 1000's of possible leads in your target market. Building relationships with them will take some time, but if you play your cards right and be patient, it will pay dividends.

Post Valuable Content

I like to write even though I may not be the best writer - but I don't concern myself with that too much. The key is to provide valuable content.

As long as your content is helpful and informative, you will build credibility within your network connections and within your groups. Post content and do not PITCH your product. Once you build trust with members, they will eventually find their way to your opportunity if you present it in the right way. They may visit your blog and join your list once they have been intrigued by what you offer them. They may comment on one of your posts. Respond back to them and build on that.

Capture the Mobile Application Explosion

Another statistic on the corporate website which is compelling is LinkedIn's mobile application explosion.

  • In the first quarter of 2013, an average of 30 percent of unique visiting members came through mobile apps, versus just 19 percent a year ago.

This is a market we all need to capitalize on. If we follow the rule of thumb to build our network by building rapport, we can capitalize on this greatly by reaching the mobile application generation. This isn't just young people - this is everyone with a smart phone.

We have to admit, anywhere you go these days - whether it is at a restaurant, a coffee shop, or the local grocery store - everyone is on their mobile smart phones. Many people cannot even put the phone away for five minutes without pulling out their phones and checking their email and mobile applications. (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, etc.). With LinkedIn's mobile application, someone can be reading your post or article while waiting in line at the grocery store. This is a very powerful thing that we need to capitalize on.

Like any marketing strategy, marketing on LinkedIn requires dedication and consistency. Stick to your guns and stay focused. I could go on and on about all of the specific details of what LinkedIn can do and its capabilities within your social media marketing plan. However, if you know the basics and apply yourself, you will be very proficient at utilizing this tool and the leads will be pouring in.

 

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