How To Use LinkedIn Effectively
LinkedIn is a social networking site with over 347 million users, and it is almost as popular as Facebook and Twitter. In fact, LinkedIn is almost like Facebook, just with a professional feel to it. There are social networking sites mushrooming all over the world sporting themselves in the area of ‘friendship networking’, but there is none like LinkedIn. Though this social networking site has a vast potential, not everyone has been using it to its full capability. When you realize this volatility of LinkedIn, you will never stop using it. There is none like LinkedIn when you want to promote your business and network with professionals on a global scale. On that note, let us look at more on what LinkedIn is and how you can use it to generate more leads and take your business to the next level.
LinkedIn is a social networking website that was launched in 2003 and takes up the third position after Facebook and Twitter, if you rate it among the number of unique visitors that it gets on a monthly basis. The main purpose of this website is not making ‘friends’ as you would in Facebook or ‘tweet’ about things as in Twitter, the idea here is to meet up with professionals on the same platform, Thousands and thousands of people have met their prospective employers in LinkedIn, millions have fostered business partnerships, and still a major part of LinkedIn remains unexplored. If you are looking for a positive marketing tool, then try LinkedIn.
So the first thing that you have to do is make a profile on LinkedIn. There is no point in writing about how to create a profile or add a picture, because that is something that you can do by following the instructions in the LinkedIn website. This post strictly talks about how you can effectively use Linked In promoting your business.
LinkedIn – a network that generates the “purpose” of your business and whets it
When you are connecting with people through LinkedIn, it is because you have a purpose. The purpose could be: to network with your (1) potential employer, (2) potential partner, (3) potential vendor or (4) potential customer. LinkedIn networking is pure marketing in disguise. You meet up because you want profit from the relationship. But sometimes things take on a totally different level that you would have to endure the marketing emails sent on a bulk.
So when you connect, you connect with a purpose. You create a list of people with whom you are planning to network with. Make sure you don’t have a very large following because you would find that difficult to manage. The connections you make must be made with a future purpose in mind because the aim is to grow your business in future. Whenever you see a friend request in LinkedIn, just don’t blindingly add them to your network. True, you might never know who will become your loyal customer; in that case you need to have two profiles, one for yourself, and the other a business one where you are going to be really strict and where you ‘connect with a purpose’.
LinkedIn can be good PR as well
There is a way to do PR through LinkedIn. You connect with bloggers, editors and journalists and network with them. You can actually get them to write about you and your business if you play your cards carefully. You might think it a little cold, where people make friends just because they can grow their business. But this is also networking where the purpose is to grow your business.
To have effective communication with prospects do not create a medley of connections
You must segregate the connections you make, or you will have thousands of connections under one category. The problem is that when you add connections, they all go to the default category called “untagged”. If you are connecting with people from different industries then you must create categories for all of them in the beginning itself because that would help you reach out to them quickly and effectively. Or else you will have to rifle through each of those connections till you find the right people for the right campaign. It is an absolute waste of time and you must avoid it. To make it easier, you must delegate each of connections to their categories when you add them.
What kind of value can you give your connections?
Now that you have people in your ‘friends list’, you might want to start marketing or at least give subtle introductions about your products and services from time to time. What makes you think that just because someone accepted your invite, they are going to be interested in what you are going to sell? Things don’t work that way. So in order to generate other people’s interest, you have to be ‘interested’ and ‘interesting’. This is also called ‘adding value to your business’. Getting connected with a prospective employer or customer is only the easiest part; the tougher trail comes much later.
How would you feel when you get a whole list of marketing mails in your inbox every day? All those emails come there just because you are part of one group or the other. How many personalized emails do you see in them? Just a handful, probably. Personally addressed emails are almost always read.
Thus, through LinkedIn you can promote your brand, generate leads and post updates about the new products and services released by your company. Experiment with LinkedIn and you will soon see a positive ROI on the time and effort you take. That’s for sure!
Pictures: Flickr.com/ Mambembe Arts & Crafts/Barry Schwartz
The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.