I know small businesses have had plenty of success with different social media opportunities, but LinkedIn is my favorite.
If you don’t do anything else with social media, get on board with LinkedIn. You can make mistakes and survive. Heck, you may even have some stories to share with your children or grandchildren over time. Well, maybe not. They may be a little young – until they grow up and want to learn your business.
Just yesterday, a small business owner told me he was delighted with the results. Leads seem likely now that he’s taken the time to meet other business owners and prospects. Sure, 80% won’t respond. But he knows sales are available from the remaining 20%.
Let’s plow right through the misconceptions of LinkedIn.
1. It’s not just for job hunters and headhunters.
Your LinkedIn connections aren’t always looking for jobs. They’re available to you as sounding boards and sources of information they find and share. Track them. Talk with them. Stay in touch.
2. You can’t make money from LinkedIn.
Really? That’s funny.
Get that head out of the sand and stop listening to people who don’t know what they’re talking about.
OK, enough of those false assumptions.
Here’s what you do to make money from LinkedIn:
1. Sign up
You will be the latest among 700 million members around the world (more than 200 million in North America). People are kind of active in this space.
2. You have options
Your profile can list your experience, but you don’t need to tell the world that you’re looking for a job. You very well may own your company or be a committed employee who just wants the business to grow. Simply list your experience and tell everyone why you’re so awesome and great at what you do. Your expertise will help promote the value of buying products or services from your company.
3. Create a LinkedIn Company Page
It’s super easy. Nearly 50 million businesses and organizations have figured out how make and use them.
- List your products/services (with calls to action)
- Update special offers (discounts, \ webinars, industry guides, eBooks and more)
- Post announcements along with other social media campaigns
- Include some testimonials
- Convey your company’s store (history, culture, etc.)
- Engage with followers
Your personal profile and your employees’ profiles can be linked to your corporate page. But that’s just the start.
As you connect with others (through your personal profile), they will check out your LinkedIn Company Page or your main web site (by following links).
What’s the big deal?
It’s a huge opportunity because your new connections can at any time become prospects or let prospects know you exist.
Keep growing your network. Accept people who want to connect with you. Look for old contacts on LinkedIn and reach out to them.
But it gets better.
Whether they go to your LinkedIn Company Page or your regular web site, you can win them over with your calls to action, including your phone number. Make it easy to find how you can save them money or solve their problems.
Yes, LinkedIn is a pipeline to your business and leads.
But you’re not done yet.
I’d HIGHLY recommend that you scope out LinkedIn Groups that match your interests. Here’s a word of caution. Go slow and get out of groups that don’t fit. In fact, maybe sure you sign up for weekly digests of group activity so you’re not inundated with e-mails.
Like me, you’ll sign up for more groups than your 24 hours a day can really handle. But focus the most on a few that have plenty of members.
And here’s what you do: participate. Check in weekly to see what people are saying. Like their comments. Add some of your comments. Engage.
Every once in a while, you can pitch something. In a comment, let someone know how they can reach you for a free consultation. Direct them to a specific page on your web site. Tell them about a white paper you just finished. Offer value.
Some group members literally ask you to pitch them. They want to know how to connect with you so they can begin an RFP process. Don’t be shocked if they do take you up on your offer and call you.
Finally, and I really like this part of LinkedIn, let the community honor you. If you do indeed have a great demo, tool, study, guide, white paper or video, they will share it with others.
In other words, you get leads without even trying.
But maybe you did try. You signed up for LinkedIn. Start there and nurture your LinkedIn world and watch what it does for you over time.
Here are some key tips and facts to know: