Part III of our series Social Media Best Practices focuses on LinkedIn. This series introduces best-practices for small business marketing using the top social media channels. If you missed last week’s focus on Pinterest or our earlier post on Facebook, here are the links: Facebook, Pinterest. Keep these cheat sheets handy when developing your content.
LINKEDIN SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING BEST PRACTICES
Last century (it’s fun to say that), I used to work for a copier sales company and we would create sales sheets for every business we approached. The sales sheets included information about the business, our contact, and notes about our sales call. We would refer to the sales sheets before making follow-up calls. This is an “old school” sales tactic that really works, so much so that LinkedIn polished the concept and built a business around it. LinkedIn now boasts 225 million users and is one of the most effective marketing platforms for small business owners. By sharing this little tidbit about my past, it will come as no surprise to learn I use LinkedIn every day. Below, I am offering some best practices I’ve learned along the way.
1. Participate, don’t just post. When looking at the daily news feed, engage with your contacts. They were important enough for you to accept their invitation to connect (or to invite them to connect), so engage with them. Respond to their updates, share their valuable content, and most important, if someone comments on your updates, acknowledge it with a comment or reply.
2. Relationship first, sales later. Building a client base is not a sprint, it’s a long stroll among friends. This has never been truer than with the birth of relationship-based marketing. Businesses now focus on relationship-based marketing because their customers demand it. An easy tactic to employ is to ask a version of the question, “How can I help you?” in your introductory message. When I make a new contact, I review their profile and try to identify possible ways I can help them with their business. There are many valuable, helpful ways you can help your contacts: offer to introduce them to a relevant contact of yours, or share about their business in an update. TIP: Be careful when introducing contacts, seek approval from your contact, and ensure the introduction is beneficial for everyone. (For more on this, read LinkedIn but Disconnected.)
3. Don’t just accept, connect. When you are invited to link with a new contact and accept the invitation, CONNECT WITH THEM. Send them a note of thanks and reach out to them. Get to know them.
4. Invite with a personal note, not the blanket… “I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network.” If you don’t personally know a prospective contact, upgrade your invitation with a personal note sharing why you would like to connect. By following this simple strategy, your acceptance ROI will skyrocket and you will build a much more meaningful network.
5. Build relationships with your viewers. LinkedIn allows us to see who has viewed our profile. Chances are if someone views your profile, you’ve turned up in a search. Reach out to your inquirers. For tips on the best ways to reach out, read Business Development Strategies to turn LinkedIn views into clients.
6. Polish your profile!!! This really should be number one. A polished profile gives you relevant, valuable content to use with other social media channels. Your profile is a first impression and by not giving it the attention it deserves, you might actually be losing business right now. What does your audience think when they view your profile? I’ve worked very hard to create a professional, polished profile on LinkedIn and it has paid off more than I ever imagined. (View my profile and connect!) LinkedIn offers valuable opportunities to showcase your talent and expertise and is easily integrated with other platforms. Take advantage of everything the LinkedIn channel has to offer. For more on why this is important, read Are you losing business from misused social media.
There’s no time like the present, please reach out to me for your free profile assessment.