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Which marketing channels? LinkedIn

How to use LinkedIn as part of your business\\\'s marketing strategy
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How to use LinkedIn as part of your business\\\'s marketing strategy
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

Wanting to find new opportunities, extend your network or build rapport with potential collaborators? LinkedIn is the social network for you. You will probably already be using it if you are in the business world – especially if you are in the B2B market. Our marketing expert, Siobhan Stirling of Sharp Minds Communications, has pulled together an essential guide on how you can use LinkedIn to grow your business effectively.

Who is LinkedIn for?

Unlike other social media channels such as TwitterFacebook and Google+LinkedIn is a professional, business-oriented channel designed to allow people to build their professional network and connect with users who operate in similar fields.

LinkedIn’s unique profile system showcases your qualifications and your expertise in your area, functioning much like a resume. This means that the content you share and the way in which you conduct yourself should be tailored to suit the formality and professionalism of the platform.

LinkedIn’s Strengths

LinkedIn’s ability to target potential customers more effectively than other social networks can be a really useful tool to grow your business. It means when you connect with people, you can take into consideration the field in which they operate; this allows you to build more relevant connections than on the less formal social media channels.

But don’t think of LinkedIn as a one-dimensional tool; it doesn’t just let you identify potential customers, it also allows you to associate with other people that may be of use to your business. For example, LinkedIn can be a great help in sourcing new suppliers and it also has an excellent recruitment platform which allows you to discover potential candidates easily. In a nutshell, LinkedIn does what it says on the tin – it makes it easier to link with people who can benefit and grow your business.

LinkedIn Do’s

  • Create content to display your expertise – LinkedIn allows you to write articles to share with your connections; this can be an excellent way to put your brand in front of more, relevant people and to display your expertise. Posting the right content allows you to be at the forefront of people’s minds when they encounter problems which you can solve or need a service which you can provide. However, it’s important to remember that LinkedIn is not a sales platform and the content you write should add value to your connections. For example, if you’re an accountant, you might publish articles reviewing what the budget means for small businesses. If you have built good relationships, you could also promote and share the content which your connections have created in exchange for them sharing yours, but this requires some groundwork; building rapport with peers or influencers in your field is important before you begin to ask for favours.
  • Be active in groups – LinkedIn groups are often based on niche topics, finding one that is relevant to your field and posting (the right, relevant things) in it can allow you to reach potentially thousands of people (maybe more depending on the size of the group).
  • Broadcasting messages – You can broadcast direct messages to your LinkedIn connections – particularly useful if you have taken the time to build rapport with them so they don’t treat it as spam.
  • Share the love – It’s all well and good building a large network, but you need to nurture your relationships. Liking and commenting on posts can go a long way to keeping that professional relationship going.

LinkedIn Don’ts

It’s extremely important not to spam your connections or send unsolicited connection requests without context; this can annoy people and drive business in the wrong direction. You should research the people you reach out to and ideally be introduced to them via mutual connections; if this isn’t possible, it helps to send individual, tailored messages to add a more personal and less spammy touch.

 When you successfully connect to people, make sure you reach out to them afterwards to help cement your connection and quickly build rapport. You want your connections to be able to add value to your brand, whether as potential influencers, collaborators or customers – if it’s the latter, ensure that your conversation after the request acceptance isn’t a sales pitch.

LinkedIn is yet another option in the list of social media channels to use. But it’s important to remember the audience that you’re addressing and to understand that LinkedIn isn’t the same as other social networks.

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