LinkedIn can be an effective marketing and, sales tool, but it isn’t easy or quick.
Many small businesses are trying to figure out the best way of utilizing LinkedIn for that purpose.
While there are myriad solutions, some basic rules should be followed.
According to Dan Sherman, LinkedIn expert and author of Maximum Success With LinkedIn, marketers should:
- Grow your network: LinkedIn becomes more powerful for you when you have a bigger network. If all you do is connect with people you know, after a while they've given you all the leads they can. You need to think globally and connect with everyone who invites you to connect, because you never know whom they know.
- Optimize your profile: Get inbound leads 24/7 by picking out a keyword phrase
that describes what you do, and make sure you have it in the correct places on
your profile. That will ensure that you come up on page-one LinkedIn searches for your
- Use the advanced people search: Figure out the title of the person you want to sell to,
and then use this search to zero in on your perfect customers. You can sort by location,
company size and many other factors.
- Join groups of your prospects: Don't fall into the mistake of joining groups of your peers; they don't need your help. Join groups where your best customers are hanging
out, network with them, start discussions, answer questions and get known.
If you join 50 groups with 1,000 prospects each, you have a 50,000-person prospect database.
- Create your company page: There are over two million company pages on LinkedIn.
If you don't have one, you lose credibility. Set up your company page and link it to your
personal profile so that prospects can click through and get more information.
Sherman also suggests that who whoever is in charge of lead generation should have ultimate responsibility for the LinkedIn effort. This person can be the head of marketing or head of sales.
That's because when used correctly, LinkedIn is the best prospecting tool ever created. You can find out so much rich data on each prospect; information like this has never been available in the history of marketing.
Sherman argues that as with every other marketing effort, care should be taken to establish clear measurement tools to identify what is working and what isn’t.
Sherman says the best ways to measure results in LinkedIn take various forms:
- Number of times your profile has been viewed per day. That shows your reach and influence, the higher the number, the more people are learning about you.
- Number of contacts. That tells how many people see your status updates and whom you can reach. I have over 15,000 direct contacts, and my network grows every day. And finally,
- Sales! How many sales can you trace back to LinkedIn? The more you use it, the more sales you will make.
No matter what happens, remember that like every other channel, LinkedIn requires time, commitment and resources to be truly effective.