“LinkedIn is one of the most effective platforms for expanding your reach and improving your business results,” reports a June 2015 article on SocialMediaExplorer.com.
With 364 million members globally (around one-third of those in the U.S.), LinkedIn is living up to its claim to be the largest professional network. And it’s not only for job-seekers. Recent developments are expanding its reach as a networking and business development tool for businesses of all sizes.
“LinkedIn has always been the industry standard when it comes to marketing yourself professionally, but the past few years have seen the social network’s importance and reach increase dramatically,” writes Brian Honigman in an Entrepreneur.com article.
The new publishing platform on LinkedIn distinguishes it from competing social networks. “LinkedIn is now encouraging brands and individuals to leverage its robust, new publishing capabilities. It is clear that LinkedIn sees itself as a vital part of the future of content marketing,” Honigman writes.
Making the most of the enhanced platform now means doing more than keeping your profile and company page up-to-date and being active in LinkedIn groups, according to Honigman. To help readers maximize the benefits, he shares tips from top LinkedIn experts in his article, including these:
From Viveka von Rosen, author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day:
“LinkedIn is about building relationships, and one of the best ways of building relationships is to show your top prospects that you were listening to them.”
LinkedIn’s CRM tools make this possible, according to von Rosen, who gives several steps to follow including: researching your prospect or client, making notes about the contacts on their LinkedIn profiles (click on the star icon to ‘unfold’ this feature), setting a reminder to follow up (then doing so), finding an online article, either of your own or from Pulse (LinkedIn’s online magazine), something you think may interest them (then sending it, possibly tagging the prospect).
From Stephanie Sammons, founder of WiredAdvisor:
“If you spend 10 minutes a day engaging personally with 10 of your valued LinkedIn contacts, you will grow your influence.”
These personal engagements can take the form of a private LinkedIn message, a public comment or conversation, or an @mention.
From Alex Piroux, founder of Linkfluencer
“My top tip to [those] looking to use LinkedIn as an effective marketing tool is to first create a clear plan on what they’re looking to achieve from the platform.”
From Brian Murray, director of talent and culture at the digital agency Likeable.
“I share relevant content that causes [the targeted prospects] to continue to see me and recognize my name. When I reach out, they are a lot more likely to respond than a cold email from somebody who doesn’t regularly use the platforms.
“Similar to sales, the time you need to make a sale is not the first time you call or email them. They need to trust you. They need to see you.”
Publishing Platform Offers Great Potential
Two of the experts Honigman features specifically address the new publishing platform.
From Lewis Howes, founder and host – School of Greatness Podcast
Previously reserved for select influencers, LinkedIn’s publishing platform is now open to everyone – a “massive opportunity to expand your reach.”
From Neal Schaffer, author of Maximize Your Social:
“LinkedIn opened up their blogging platform to all users in 2014, but very few have taken advantage of being a part of the LinkedIn publishing empire.
“… when you blog on LinkedIn, your content is seen not only by your connections but also by others who are consuming news on LinkedIn Pulse.”
SocialMediaExplorer also features Sammons, who agrees with the platform’s potential for helping you “build momentum and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry or niche.
“Write articles about your own business and industry expertise or career experiences to differentiate yourself and stand out. Share your unique perspective and insights,” she says. “The frequency of your posts will also make a difference in growing your visibility, reach and engagement. Don’t expect to see meaningful results unless you make a commitment to publishing content consistently on LinkedIn’s platform.”
Beyond establishing yourself as an industry expert and increasing your reach, the platform can help generate leads. “In every LinkedIn post you publish, include a simple call to action either within the post or at the end in your bio section.”
Plan Before You Publish
Before publishing content, Jon Rognerud, founder and chief cartographer at Chaosmap who is also featured at SocialMediaExplorer.com, advises knowing your reasons for doing so, your targeted reader and your next steps.
“Research and engage with new users and groups before reaching out with appropriate content,” he says, recommending these steps:
- Research, find, join and connect with relevant groups within your industry/market.
- Join the conversation by liking posts and commenting with helpfull insights.
- Reach out directly. Connect with new people via profile email or inMail. Share related, helpful articles and insights (keeping in mind your objectives). Then use content to direct readers to your preferred online location (blog, video channel, podcast, LinkedIn profile, etc.)
Echoing Murray’s sentiment on relationship building are the recommendations of Linda Coles, author of Marketing with Social Media: 10 East Steps to Success for Business, found in SocialMediaExaminer’s post. “Be strategic about connecting with new folks or starting conversations with recent contacts,” she advises.
“When making a connection request, always personalize your message by clicking Customize Invite. A generic message is bad connecting etiquette.”
She also recommends getting the LinkedIn Connected app to make it easy to stay in touch with your contacts. “Nurture new relationships with prospects in a very low-key way. Just a few minutes per day of networking on LinkedIn can provide great results.”
How are you marketing your business on LinkedIn? Share your success stories by clicking comments in the menu tab below.
Further reading on marketing with LinkedIn: