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Leveraging The No-Nonsense Network
LinkedIn Basics: Leveraging The No-Nonsense Network
By Andrea Bolder Andrea Bolder is a Gold Medal Olympian turned social media expert, consultant and strategist who’s teaching entrepreneurs how to WIN online. She has used internet marketing and social media marketing to build successful businesses online and coaches small businesses and solo-entrepreneurs simple strategies on how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Blogging to find new customers and increase revenue.
Follow me on Twitter @andreabolder
What Is LinkedIn Getting Started on LinkedIn Adding Connections Adding A Company Page Status Updates on Your LinkedIn Page LinkedIn Recommendations Generating Leads on LinkedIn Tips For Success Final Thoughts 4 6 16 20 25 27 29 34 35
What Is LinkedIn
LinkedIn is “a no-nonsense” site providing the perfect platform for busy professionals and small businesses because you can grow relationships and drive new business. LinkedIn is not just for large corporations and we’ll show you how to put LinkedIn to work for you. LinkedIn is a social network with over 150 million users where professionals can post their profile - think online resume - and establish business connections, join group discussions, ask and answer questions, and stay up on the latest news and trends in your industry. LinkedIn lets you connect with people you don’t know through the people you do know. How? You can see your personal network, but also the networks of your friends and colleagues. So you can discover connections, request recommendations, and learn about anyone’s professional career. A user can easily discover the people employed by a certain business, or the various businesses a certain person has worked for. But what makes LinkedIn truly different from other social media sites? LinkedIn is the no-nonsense, button up social network. Unlike Facebook where you share your party photos with friends, LinkedIn is geared toward white papers, industry news and business to business connections. For these reasons, LinkedIn should be an integral part of your social media marketing mix. So let’s dive a little deeper.
How Using LinkedIn Can Help
At the heart of LinkedIn is making business-to-business contacts, but no matter what your line of work or type of business, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for you. LinkedIn allows you to: 1. Drive traffic to your website. Sharing valuable content, establishing yourself as an expertise and becoming a go-to resource for your industry helps you to attract your ideal prospect, business partner or recruit. Leverage LinkedIn to attract the ideal customer or client. 2. Helping your search engine optimization efforts. Search engines love inbound links, and your personal profile and company page can both link back to your website, giving you a higher rank in the world of Google. 3. Post your resume and brag about your qualifications. This social site is a great place to highlight your credentials. 4. Get and give recommendations. What’s better than being able to have other professionals vouch for you. LinkedIn is perfect for testimonials and recommendations amongst peers. 5. Share links to your content by posting information related to your niche that can be of value to your network on LinkedIn. 6. Demonstrating expertise through the content you post in the site’s Answers section. Scroll through open questions posed by others on the site and answer those that fall in your area of expertise. 7. Connecting with professionals of like interest in the Groups area. Groups are discussion forums centered around a specific topic or industry. You can actively participate in Groups to share ideas, pick up tips and strategies to help your business grow, and connect with people who share similar passions. 8. Staying on top of industry news. You can get the latest news sent right to your inbox and/or at the top of your screen every time you log in.
Getting Started on LinkedIn
Your LinkedIn profile serves as your online business card, profile and resume rolled in to one. It tells people why they should connect with you, gives them a glimpse into the value and expertise you can offer, and what types of content you might be sharing. In addition, it makes it easy for friends, colleagues, and potential customers to find you online because your public profile is searchable. This is a place to show the world all the great things you've done professionally.
Let's start creating a profile. Start by going to: https://www.linkedin.com/reg/join
You’ll see a sign-up box that looks similar to the one seen here.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Enter Your First Name. Enter Your Last Name. Enter Your Email Address. Enter a Password. Click Join LinkedIn.
You can choose the options Employed, Job Seeker or Student. As a Small Business Owner or entrepreneur you want to reflect that in your LinkedIn Profile. So start by adding your official title as “business owner” or “CEO” under Job title along with your company name. 1. Choose Your Country. 2. Enter Your Zip Code. 3. Enter Your Company Name. 4. Choose Your Industry. 5. Click Create My Profile.
Now it’s time to confirm your email address. In this case we used a gmail account. Your page might look slightly different depending on the email address you used to sign up.
Click Confirm my Account or Send a confirmation email instead (we choose the option “Send a confirmation email instead”). Depending on the option you choose to confirm you’ll see something similar to this here:
Once you’ve confirmed your email address and signed in you can start adding connections:
LinkedIn will try to find people that you may already know. Connecting with people you already know is an important step in building your network, but before you do this, we recommend that you first complete your profile. We will come back to this step in a few minutes. Click Skip This Step.
You can share on the social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to let people know you’ve just created an account on LinkedIn.
Choose a LinkedIn Plan. We’re going to start with the Free Plan. You can always upgrade later. Click Choose Basic.
Congratulations! You’ve setup your LinkedIn account!
To help you get started LinkedIn will provide you with a short To Do list which will get you going and help you improve your profile.
Why Customize Your LinkedIn Proﬁle?
Your LinkedIn Profile is essentially your online resume. It’s your opportunity to showcase and promote yourself to anyone who wants to do business with you and your organization including clients, customers, and partners. Since your LinkedIn profile may be your first impression, you’ll want to make it amazing so make sure you fill it out to 100% completion. If your profile is incomplete, it’s essentially useless. So Let's create a LinkedIn profile that really promotes the value you bring to the your industry.
Step 1: Include a Professional Image
Go to the menu bar at the top of any LinkedIn page and select the “Profile” menu. Drag down to the “Edit Profile” link. While this may seem like an obvious step, countless LinkedIn users fail to include their full name and picture. Don’t forget that LinkedIn is a professional network. Make sure to include your first and last name to ensure people can find your profile and no party pictures here.
Step 2: Optimize Your Headline
Take the time to customize your Professional Headline. Think about what you want potential customers, clients and business partners to know about you. Keep in mind that if a client were seeking you out on LinkedIn, it would be helpful to include your current position in the headline.
Step 3: Update Work History
From your profile page click on Add a Past Position.
It’s a good idea to list other positions you have held because LinkedIn uses that information to help connect you with former colleagues.
Tell people more about your job making sure to include important details that highlight your professional accomplishments. Fill out the info, and don’t forget to Click Save Changes. Next, you’ll want to add your Education and school information as well. Click Save Changes.
Step 4: Optimize Your Website URLs
Adding your website(s) or blog(s) will help people learn more about you and your organization. It will also help more people find your blog and website. From your profile page, select Add a Website. Notice how I have named my website links using targeted keywords related to my niche. Consider adding a link for people to join your email newsletter list, too.
From this page you can also enter additional information about your professional and personal interests, groups, and awards. Remember, the more information you provide, the more reasons you’ll give for people to connect with you. When you’re done, Click Save Changes.
Step 5: Optimize Your LinkedIn URL
You’ll want to create a personalized LinkedIn URL. Under the “Edit Profile” page, look at the bottom of your profile. You’ll see a line that says “Public Profile” with an “Edit” link next to it. From there, you’ll be taken to a new screen. Scroll down and to the right of the page you’ll see prompts that show you how to create your customized LinkedIn URL quickly and easily.
Step 6: Add Your Twitter Account
If you use Twitter, add your Twitter account so that your LinkedIn connections can follow your tweets. From your profile page, Click Edit to manage your Twitter account settings.
Not only should you display your Twitter handle on your LinkedIn profile,
but you should share your tweets as well. I suggest selecting the option to only share tweets that contain a LinkedIn hashtag (#in or #li). This will allow you to filter which tweets appear on your LinkedIn profile. This way, if you tweet a lot or want to filter tweets that may not be “LinkedIn worthy” they will not appear in your LinkedIn stream. Not all LinkedIn users are updating their accounts as often as Twitter users, so having a filter can avoid spamming your connections.
Now that your profile is completely set up, you can now focus on growing your connections. Making connections is the biggest reason to spend time on LinkedIn. It’s sort of like attending a virtual networking event or trade show. There are a number of ways to add connections and LinkedIn makes it as easy as possible for you to grow your network.
Go to the top of the menu bar and click on the link that says “Add Connections” from drop down. There is also a green Add Connections link in the upper right hand corner of your profile page. Click on the link and you will be taken to a page that looks like this:
On this first screen you are given the option of either automatically finding all contacts from your email account, or manually adding select contacts by entering individual email addresses.
Next, Click On the second tab, Colleagues.
This screen will show you contacts you might have worked with at different companies or organizations in the past based on those you entered when you created your profile.
Next you can filter my Alumni based on the contact you might know from schools you’ve attended.
Lastly, Click the P e o p l e Yo u M a y Know Tab. LinkedIn is designed to show you people you might know based on your experience and your existing network.
If you’re just getting started with LinkedIn, you’ll see a page that lists people you may want to connect with. As you add connections, you’ll see your network grow. For example, with 158 connections in my current network I am linked to over 56,000 other professionals! You can also do a manual search by clicking on the People in it. Drag down to Groups. Then type in a subject you’re interested in (e.g., marketing, sales, real estate, social media, etc.). LinkedIn provides suggestions not only on “Groups” but also in several other categories such as Connections, Companies, Features and Skills.
Reach out to organizations or people on LinkedIn, that’s what it’s form but avoid mindlessly adding too many people at once as it can come off as spammy.
Adding A Company Page
Now that you have your personal LinkedIn profile up to par it’s time to add your company to the LinkedIn Directory so that potential employees, partners, and customers find you. A company page can help you expand your reach making it possible for more people to connect with your company through it’s current employees or partners. Chances are many of your employees are updating their personal profiles to show where they work. Every person that connects with that profile may potentially click on your company name and be navigated to your company page giving your brand more exposure. A company page can also promote product awareness. Company pages on LinkedIn allow you to promote specific products so each stands out. Not only are consumers learning about the products and services your company provides, they are also able to see how many of their connections recommend them.
Step 1: Add Your Company
From your Profile Page Click on Companies. Type in your company's name, your company email
address, and check the box verifying that you are an official company representative. Click Continue.
Step 2: Update Basic Company Info
LinkedIn will prompt you to fill in basic information about your company. Be sure to optimize the company description section, as this will be essential for visitors in helping them understand what your business is all about.
Next, fill in the details about your company including adding your logo, address, website, RSS feed and more. When you’re done, Click Publish. Once you’ve completed this section your company is now officially on LinkedIn. Now your employees can link their profiles to the company, and people will easily be able to find your business.
Step 3: Post Jobs
The second tab on a company page is “Careers.” This option allows you to post openings at your company on a social network where high quality professionals are already hanging out.
Step 3: Add Products & Services
LinkedIn is a great place to showcase your various products and services, so make sure you include them. Simply follow the step-bystep instructions to help you broadcast those services.
Step 4: Promoting With Ads
Similar to Facebook Ads, LinkedIn allows you to promote your company through an ad campaign. LinkedIn takes you through a simple series of steps that will walk you through setting up your campaign. A “Common Questions” box also appears to the right of this page, so you can truly understand how ads work. A LinkedIn ad campaign has the potential to help you spread the word about your company, it’s products and services.
Step 5: Measuring Success
The final tab on your company page is “Page Statistics.” As an online marketer you must understand how to measure your market efforts and know how those efforts affecting your bottom line. This will help you determine whether or not those efforts are worth the time. The analytics tab will allow you to track page views and unique visitors on your overall page, as well as each individual tab. LinkedIn also measures how many clicks your products or services have received and the number of members following your company.
In addition, LinkedIn gives percentages for unique member visits which can be extremely helpful in determining who your LinkedIn target audience.
Status Updates on Your LinkedIn Page
LinkedIn now allows companies to broadcast messages to its company followers. You’ll be able to share text, links, videos and images. These updates are very much like the updates a business would post to a Facebook Page. This will allow your company to have another platform to share information, and add some personality to your page. Want to turn on this feature? Here’s a breakdown of the simple steps to activate status updates, which will appear on followers’ LinkedIn homepages as well `as the company’s page itself. In addition, LinkedIn users can “Like,” comment on, and share a company’s updates, a la Facebook.
If you’re an administrator, sign-in and visit your Company Page on LinkedIn (e.g. iOnSmallBusiness) Under “Admin Tools” on the right, click “Edit”. Under Company Page Admins, check “Designated Users Only” (Note: you must have this box checked in order to
enable company status updates. If the “All employees with a valid email registered to the company domain” box is checked, the status update box will not appear.)
Now you'll want to manage who can post messages. Type in the names of the admins you want to allow to post company updates. (Note: you must be connected to a member in order to include them as an admin.) Once you've set your admins, click the "Publish" button.
Now you’re all set to share updates with the followers of your LinkedIn Company Page.
Ask for Recommendations. With LinkedIn, you can ask colleagues, clients, and other people who are familiar with your work to you endorse you through LinkedIn Recommendations. Recommendations reinforce your professional identity online and boost your credibility. LinkedIn recommendations is essentially “Social Proof.” Someone else has vouched that you know what you’re doing, can deliver as promised and have the expertise to help others get the results they desire. To recommend someone, click on Profile and select Recommendations. From this page you can manage recommendations you’ve received from your connections, request recommendations, and make recommendations for others.
If you’re interested in having someone recommend you, find a position you’d like to be endorsed for and click “Ask to be endorsed.”
Then select a colleague from your current or past position to endorse you. Try asking 3-5 colleagues to endorse you every 6-8 weeks. This will help you to stand out from the competition and grow your network. Also, don’t forget to return the favor! Recommending someone you have done business with is a great way to build a deeper relationship. You never know what opportunities may open up because you helped promote someone other than yourself.
Generating Leads on LinkedIn
While all of the eyes have been on the more exciting networks like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn has been silently growing their Internet empire. The average LinkedIn user makes $109,703 a year and 49% of them are business decision makers. Now that we’ve got all of our profiles and pages set up, I’m going to show you how to tap into this social pool to generate leads, prospects, and even future partnerships.
There are 2 ways to drive traffic to your business: 1. Providing potential prospects valuable information about your company directly on LinkedIn. 2. Engaging potential prospects with conversation then driving them to a landing page on your website. This first approach—to provide prospects information directly on LinkedIn —is a great way to showcase your expertise and reach out to people with a genuine inclination to help solve their problems. By helping others, they are more inclined to trust and purchase from you in the future. Using this strategy requires that you take the time to get to know the prospect first. Be helpful by offering advice, marketing tips, useful resources, industry insights or general information before you turn it into a sales pitch. The 2nd strategy is to focus on driving potential prospects to a lead capture page where you can collect their contact details in exchange for an offer. This offer could be a free report, training video, newsletter or giving them more information on your products or services.
This approach also requires that you reach out and engage, offer beneficial advice and tips but your goal is to drive them from LinkedIn to your site where you can then continue to develop a long term relationship with them ideally through your email list. So How Exactly Can You Use LinkedIn To Generate Leads For Your Small Business? Here are a few key strategies you’ll want to consider:
LinkedIn Answers lets you tap the knowledge of your professional network and demonstrate your own expertise. This is useful (and underutilized) tool on LinkedIn. It’s a section where people who want to ask questions about business go to get advice. And guess who’s giving the advice? You are, because you’re an industryexpert with a lot of helpful knowledge, right? Absolutely!!
From your profile page go to More and Click on Answers. On the LinkedIn Answers Page you’ll see Questions and Answers from your Network. Begin by searching for a question and seeing what others have to say about a particular topic.
Take a few minutes every week to ask and answer questions. Let the world know you are an expert at what you do!
The Applications area is where you can go to add new and interesting apps that will improve the experience people have on your LinkedIn page. Want to add your blog posts to your LinkedIn page, there’s an app for that. Or, if you’d like to let people know what marketing books you’re reading, there’s an app for that too. You can even set up simple polls to find out what’s on the minds of your customers and prospects. Applications are easy to use and simple to set up. Try them.
LinkedIn Groups allow you to connect with like-minded individuals, grow your network, share information, and find support. Join several groups on LinkedIn both within and outside of your industry that can potentially connect you with the audience you need to grow your business. Don’t be afraid to expand your reach outside of your comfort zone. To Find Groups To Join Start by Clicking on Groups in the LinkedIn Menu. Click on Groups Directory. Search for Groups related to your niche or interest. Type in your search term and Click Search.
Find a group that looks interesting and click Join Group. Choose your Group Settings and how you’d like to receive messages from the Group, then click Join Group. You’ll see a screen to confirm that you’re now a
member of the group. Some groups require approval from the group administrator, so you may need to wait before you can start reading and commenting with other group members.
Can’t find a group you like - Create your own. Click on Create a Group and follow the simple instructions to create a group that you control and one that focuses on your specific interests.
The LinkedIn advertising program can be used to promote your business and drive new prospects to your landing page, LinkedIn group or other external destination. To create an ad you simply craft a headline, add some copy and create a destination link. Then you bid on how much you’ll pay LinkedIn every time someone clicks on the ad. If you pay $1 to LinkedIn for a clickthrough, and it takes 25 clicks before you convert a customer, then you’ve just spent $25 for 1 customer. If your product sells for $250 each, investing $25 to generate $250 is not too shabby actually it’s a pretty darn good return on investment.
Tips For Success
How can you get the most out of LinkedIn? Here are a few keys ways to ensure your brand and business shine: • Post Consistently: Post something new to your profile at least once week. Add events, share links to blog posts and relevant content, ask for and give recommendations, engage, etc. • Actively Participate: The more you participate in group discussions, the more you’ll build credibility and trust within your industry. Your goal is to establish yourself as the expert in your niche. If you’re consistently contributing valuable content, soon you’ll be seen as a go-to resource by your peers. • Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Fresh: Update your profile every 3–4 months to make sure everything is current. Received a new award? Start a new position? Earn an accolade? Let everyone know. • Ask and Answer Questions: Tap into the power of your network 3-4 times a month to ask or answer questions (learn how to do this at http:// learn.linkedin.com/answers/). This will keep your name and business top of mind. It will also help you build clout and credibility with those colleagues, as well as with potential customers, prospects, and partners. • Publish Quality Content: Create content that has the potential of being promoted by LinkedIn users. If you don’t already have a blog, start one now. You never know what great content will get shared enough to land in a user’s top stories. • Embed Share Buttons: You’ve created content, now give your users the ability to share it. Be sure you add a LinkedIn share button to your pages, blogs and websites.
While LinkedIn is considered the no-nonsense social network, it is a great place to have fun showing off your qualifications and professional expertise. Take advantage of this ever evolving site as there are a number of tools being added that make marketing and promoting your business easier than ever. If LinkedIn is not a part of your social media marketing mix, it should be. Stay in the know on what’s working within this network by plugging in to our blog and other helpful resources. Once you get a handle on everything you’ll be excited about what LinkedIn can do for your business. ............................................................................................................................
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