Over the holidays I’ve been reviewing our sales and marketing plan for 2011. Part of the review has been the evolution of our social media activities, which include this blog site, our current ‘toe in the water’ of Twitter and our use of the business to business social media site, LinkedIn.
I’ve undertaken a review of a good number of articles on top tips for LinkedIn to consider how we can derive more value from the investment we have made in establishing networks. There is a truism that says that the best way to learn a topic is to teach it, so I thought I’d share our own and other people’s recommendations of best practice, as a review article.
It’s important to keep in mind that LinkedIn is a tool to support the creation of and the maintenance of relationships, the goal is build face to face relationships, what my past mentors would call “pressing the flesh”!
- Communications should be personalised : when requesting to link to someone make the effort to personalise it, “please join my personal network on LinkedIn” is impersonal and looks like your interested in growing contact numbers rather than in establishing relationships.
- On accepting requests, send a personal message thanking the person for the request and introduce yourself.
- Only give recommendations to people whose service you have experienced first hand. Likewise only ask people to recommend you who can speak from first hand experience. I’ve previously been asked by people I like to recommend them, which is awkward, you have to thank them for thinking of you, but point out that you’ve not experienced their service first hand so are unable to recommend their service.
- You should look to have more than 10 recommendations.
- If like me spelling is an issue, install a spell checker in your browser tool bar (www.google.com/toolbar).
- LinkedIn is a search engine so add key search words to your professional heading. You have 120 characters so tell visitors and search engines what you do and look to differentiate yourself.
- There are 3 hot links available to drive traffic to your website and blog, so use all three. Also by clicking on“edit” and then “other” you can add engaging keywords / phrases and link them to relevant pages on your website or blog.
- There are two applications available to embed a preview of your blog articles into your profile page (click on “More” in the toolbar and select from WordPress or Bloglink). This allows you to engage visitors with blog articles that could be of interest and allows you to develop your personal brand.
- If you embed a feed from your blog every time your post a blog this will appear in the homepage network activity of all your contacts. This can attract traffic to your profile and your blog, as well as being a way to remind contacts of your services.
- As above, if you use Twitter you can use a tool like Hootsuit to post the ‘tweets’ on contacts homepage network activity summary.
- Review your network for events posted on LinkedIn you might be interested in attending. You can then use the attendance confirmation list to identify contacts that might like to meet you at the event. Click on “More” on the linkedIn toolbar and then “events”.
- Join groups to increase your network, such as regional business groups or business sector specific groups.
- The advanced search tool is great for searching by keywords for contacts, for example, searching for people with the word “Marketing” in their profile within 50 miles of your postcode. You’re not limited to keywords, you could be looking for contacts in a specific company or industry!
- Remember your Profile summary is your marketing pitch, so make sure you highlight the benefits of contacting you.
- Using the recommend a book application can say a lot about your interests and can be really helpful to others. It’s probably a good idea if you’ve read it yourself !
- Be a resource: answer questions, go out and participate in groups. Up to now I’ve not been overly involved in this facet of social media, however as of the start of 2011 I’m opening my mind to the possibility that it could be good fun, time well spent and a useful return on investment!
- Think about starting your own group! it’s certainly worth considering if their is a gap in the market that would attract a healthy following.
If you’ve got tips that would add value to this review, please add them to the comments section below.
I hope the tips above have been useful,
All the best for 2011