Small Business LinkedIn Marketing Tips
by Dale Landrith
LinkedIn’s power lies in leveraging content and sharing information that is important to others. In my last article, I detailed a recent training session that I held with our marketing strategy team, in which we discussed what constitutes great content. Today, I sat in a room with clients who all use LinkedIn, to some degree, in their day-to-day business and for small business marketing, but are unsure of what it is accomplishing and what they can do to unleash the power of this great social media tool.
As I listened to each person in the group discuss their use of LinkedIn, I found that, in the room we had managers, salespeople, administrative staff, and business owners. Each person talked about what they do for the company and each had a different view of LinkedIn, but all had one central problem.
I’m connecting with people on LinkedIn, but what now?
While every business role can use LinkedIn for different reasons, there is a common thread that, when understood and practiced, will improve its effectiveness. Social media for business is not about broadcasting and advertising. It is about conversation and revealing information about you that other people find useful.
This is a hard leap for many people for two main reasons. First, we are conditioned not to brag, and second, we don’t know what other people find useful. No matter your role in a business, understanding how to position your content will allow you to add far more benefit to the company and the prospects you are trying to reach.
Create a profile that is attention getting and useful.
A common LinkedIn profile reads like a resumé. It contains your name, rank and serial number; information about who you are, what you do, and what you have done in the past. While this is better than a profile that has no information, it is not particularly helpful to people deciding whether to connect with you, or more importantly, deciding whether to do business with you.
A well-built profile should contain information about you, but presented in a way that tells prospects why you are the right person to help them. Many times this is the same information you would put in a resumé but written to show how your experience makes you the perfect person to help a prospect solve a problem they have.
Post content that shows your personality and your expertise.
Many people stop once they have created a profile. Then LinkedIn becomes a place where they only build connections. Using your account this way keeps one hand tied behind you. While a well-built profile is a good start, it doesn’t sell anything and doesn’t generate prospects. Content sharing is an important second step to LinkedIn success.
Share the content that your company posts to its business page.
Sharing content that is posted to your company’s business page has two benefits. First, it showcases the services, ideas, and products that you can offer connections and prospects, while positioning you as an expert in your field. Second, it broadcasts your company’s messages throughout your network, in addition to people searching for them and following the page.
When you share updates from the company page you can add your own comments and expertise, share them with groups you participate in or all of your connections. This will place your shared content within your connections’ news feeds when they log in.
Share articles, blogs, and ideas that you find useful and inspiring.
While your connections on LinkedIn are not likely to care about what you had for lunch, it is not a bad idea to give people an insight into who you are, what you read or care about, and how you approach the business world. If you’re a foodie, lunch may be a good topic of discussion, but for the rest of us, share things that inspire you, articles you have learned from or find interesting, and projects and clients you are working with (when appropriate).
Your connections need to see who you are and how you work to better decide if you can help them with the problems they need to solve. Adding your personality and voice to your LinkedIn profile is a great way to showcase your strengths, revealing your unique personality and expertise.
Write your own content.
Now, this one may scare most readers, but don’t think about writing content as if you are writing a term paper. Share what is important to you, what you are passionate about, and what you’ve experienced.
In my business meeting today, one of the people I worked with struggled with how to tell people what he does. I asked about his passion for the business, and he told me that he’s not a real salesperson, he simply wants his clients to have the best coffee in their break room of any business in the Greater Boston area.
He’s a coffee curator. Having talked for a while with this man, I can tell you that he is the guy every dedicated coffee drinker wants to have help them brew the perfect cup of coffee. As we positioned his LinkedIn profile as a Coffee Curator rather than a salesperson, I thought, this guy needs to write about coffee. Not so much about selling coffee as how to make the perfect cup of coffee at work. His expertise will resonate with die-hard coffee drinkers throughout his network, and his passion, expertise, and pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee will come through in his writing, because it is what he loves.
This is the type of content you should create. If you’re passionate about what you do, or can link something you’re passionate about, with your work, then share that content with your network. Others will find it useful and appreciate your passion and expertise.
Listen, Think, Engage.
Your company cannot solve every problem on the planet, however being there with a timely response to something you can help with, helps you stand out from the crowd.
As a kid, my dad always told me to listen first, think about what you are going to say, then engage your mouth. It turns out, this is great advice on LinkedIn too. I recommend you join 3-5 groups on the network that you see as relevant to your position and interests. When you do, listen first. Watch the conversations, see how people interact, pay attention to what seems to generate engagement and what gets ignored.
After listening to the group conversations for a while, look for those that you can join, where people have a problem you can help with. Before you engage, think about the information you are about to share. Does it help the people in the conversation? Does it showcase your expertise in a way that is tasteful and will be appreciated? Will it lead to further conversation and potentially, leads? If you answered yes to these three questions, then share your knowledge. As you do, be sure to give people the opportunity to respond within the group or to contact you directly for more information.
I also like to include a link to my company business page, just in case they want to do a little research before they contact me. Quality conversation will generate leads when you have understood what people need, and thoughtfully given them answers to help them.
LinkedIn is a learning process, and while these tips alone will not necessarily propel you into LinkedIn stardom, using these techniques and this social platform in this way will put you miles ahead of the hundreds of thousands of LinkedIn users who are only connecting and can’t figure out what to do next.
For more information, training, or to help your company put a strategy behind LinkedIn and other social media channels, or your overall online marketing, contact Dream Local Digital today and we can discuss the goals your company wants to achieve, and how we can help.