This is the first in a five-part series of articles which will help you to make and
get the most out of your social media activity.
To start off with, cast your mind back to the first article I wrote for The Sussex Newspaper in July 2011, about the true meaning of social media and how you should approach it for your business.
In this series, we’re going to look at what I call the four key pillars of social media currently used by businesses and you could be working smarter, starting with Linked In…
Making Linked In Work Harder for you
Just to remind you, social media is about people and it’s about communication. It’s about sharing information and opinions, being helpful and giving. We as organisations must remember that we are not in control of what people say about us; all we can do is try to influence positively.
Our information must relevant for our target market and for the channel we’re using - Twitter, Linked In, Facebook and blogging are all very different channels, reaching very different people – as we will see in this series.
Linked In is without doubt or debate, a professional network. There is nothing ‘social’ about it as there is with Facebook.
Your Linked In profile stays with you throughout your career; your current employer doesn’t ‘own’ it, but it’s in both your interests to ensure it’s up to date and does both of you justice. It’s about reputation management and provides a credibility check.
Here are five key things to consider to get Linked In working harder for you:
1. Your Profile is a credibility check
- Don’t forget we’re dealing with people. Would you want to link with a silhouette?! Don’t be mysterious or lazy if you want to generate connections and business. A picture is important
- Aim for 100% completion. Take the time to complete your profile. It’s in your interest for people to find what they need
- Make & get recommendations. Recommendations always look good, don’t they? So encourage clients to go public with their praise and don’t forget to make recommendations about others - people will reciprocate
- List specialities, skills, interests & hobbies. Your Linked In profile is akin to a glorified CV; don’t hold back! It’s about making connections
2. Farming your connections
- Check your connections regularly. Read your updates & check your connections’ connections. Who are they? Anyone you need to know?
- Tailor your invitations to connect and include them in your lead generation strategy. Quality not quantity is the rule of the day, so only connect with a real connection – reputation matters. Never say you‘re a friend when you’re not!
3. Keep searching
- Consider the size of the Linked In database then consider who you’re trying to reach - and search! Using the advanced search facility you can find companies, individuals, job titles, groups…
4. Get involved in Groups
- Again, it’s about reputation management and sharing your expertise. But don’t use these forums to sell – be relevant or you will damage the reputation you are trying to build. Consider creating your own (relevant, not selling) group.
- What doesn’t exist yet and what you can offer; will people be interested? Combine online and offline activity to promote the group.
5. Optimising Linked In
- Look at Linked In answers - can you help anyone with a query or a problem? Again, not a sales platform; you need to be helpful, share your expertise and people will respond.
- Post quality updates. Tell people what you’re up to, but this is not Facebook! Post relevant updates that relate to work or projects you’re involved in – remember? It’s about your reputation, knowledge and expertise.
- Monitor your ROI. Use Linked In’s excellent statistics modules to check your interactions with people and groups and see the impact you’re making. Set benchmarks for web visits, blog readers/ Linked In answers/ sales leads and enquiries and check your statistics
By getting your profile up to scratch, your ongoing involvement in Linked In will become more focused and less time consuming – and it will become more effective.
Let us know how you’re getting on!
Louise Fenwick is a regular writer and speaker on all things marketing and is Director of Coalition Marketing which provides marketing guidance and knowledge through consultancy and workshops.
The next workshop on Making Linked In work Harder is on 25th September in Brighton.
. You can follow Louise’s marketing musings via her blog or on Twitter: