Why Use LinkedIn as a Marketing Tool

For business to business social networking, LinkedIn is where the action is!

LinkedIn is the most professional of the major social networking sites, used by over 450 million business professionals worldwide. Since it is largely focused on business to business connections, LinkedIn should be a big part of your social media marketing strategy.

Most people only use LinkedIn as an online resume. To take LinkedIn to the next level and use it as a marketing tool, put the following recommendations into action.

How Important Is Your LinkedIn Profile?

Think of your LinkedIn profile as an interactive resume on steroids. In addition, to information about your work experience and education, LinkedIn allows you to enhance your profile with the following Web 2.0 capabilities to showcase your expertise:

Status Updates: One of the best ways to keep your connections informed about your happenings is by posting ‘status updates.’ Status updates are brief statements that you feel your connections will find useful. In addition, they can include links to related content on your Website or third-party Websites. To appear active in the LinkedIn community, post useful and actionable status updates on a regular basis.

Posts: LinkedIn allows you to easily publish articles (or posts) to your profile. This is a great way to establish yourself as a though leader getting exposure to your LinkedIn community.

Videos and Presentations: If you post PowerPoint presentations to SlideShare or videos to YouTube, you can display these valuable content items in your LinkedIn profile.

Recommendations and Endorsements: LinkedIn makes it easy for you to request recommendations and endorsements from your connections. A collection of glowing recommendations that underscore your expertise and experience will significantly enhance your profile.

Publications: If you wrote and published traditional books or e-books, you can highlight these publications with active links so connections can view and purchase them.

Projects: If you have successful projects you want to highlight, post your projects including a description, link and the team members you worked with.

Take Advantage Of LinkedIn Community Features

In addition to your profile, LinkedIn provides a number of community features that allow you to communicate and collaborate with other LinkedIn users, including:

Groups: LinkedIn Groups help you stay informed and keep in touch with people that share your interests. You can create your own LinkedIn groups or join any number of groups that focus on your area of interest or expertise. Participating in LinkedIn Groups by adding value to the discussion is a great way to expand your circle of influence.

Company Pages: Company Pages are a powerful research tool that you can use to find companies to do business with or research competitors. In addition, you can create a Page for your company to showcase your expertise. You can publish your company’s description, headquarters address and Website address. To further your company page’s value, you can post targeted jobs, recruitment videos, information about products and services and company images.

LinkedIn The Business Building Tool

LinkedIn can be a valuable business tool to help you grow your business and catapult your career. The following strategies will help you use this resource to produce results:

Brand Your LinkedIn Address: When you create a LinkedIn profile, it will create a LinkedIn Web address that will appear like a collection of odd letters and addresses. LinkedIn will let you customize this address to create a branded LinkedIn address with your name.

Become an Recognised Expert: By actively participating in LinkedIn group discussions and publishing thoughtful posts on a regular basis, you have an opportunity to establish yourself as an expert and thought leader.

Warm Call Sales Prospects: If you’re in sales, you can use LinkedIn as a ‘warm calling’ tool. If there is a prospect you want to reach, you can easily find them on LinkedIn and see how you are connected to them. If you have an active list of LinkedIn connections, you are most likely only two or three connections away from the prospect. Use LinkedIn’s introduction features to ask one of your connections for an introduction.

Find Rock Star Employees: Successful business people are always looking to find valuable employees that will ensure their future success. LinkedIn provides you with an easy place to find them. You’ll have access to a pool of talented individuals within your LinkedIn groups. You can also post a job directly on LinkedIn to attract a talented set of candidates.

Keep Your Connections Current: Whenever you meet someone, connect with them on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to expand your influence and keep connections up to speed on your accomplishments.

The Magnificent 7 Content Marketing Tips

I am always looking for creative ways to clearly communicate with my audience, and while I regularly test new things, it’s easy to get caught up in a routine instead of stopping for a moment and trying out something new. There is risk involved in moving your content marketing in a different direction, but if you know your audience well, you can experiment with them. Your content can be universally appealing to them while trying a different approach.

imagesThe great thing about a failed content marketing approach is that it teaches you a lesson about what your target audience responds to, about what they want to see, about your voicing and your approach. However, it takes making a risk with your content approach to learn these invaluable lessons. I know this because I have spent a lot of time failing. These failure gave me the information I needed to really succeed.

In spite of my many failures, I found a few channels that consistently gave me powerful returns. Here are my top seven recommended marketing methods.

 

Tip 1: Creative lists
Some of the best content that marketers can offer their audiences is through a creative list. This is the classic Buzzfeed mentality. But even Buzzfeed is not committed to a mindless list.

Rather, a really great list provides invaluable, insightful information in a fun way. Consider a pest control company that gives its audience a list of the top bugs to look out for in the summer. Identify what you can uniquely offer your customers and then come up with a creative list to showcase your expertise in a fun way.

Tip 2: Live video
Video is becoming more relevant and trendy than ever among social users and this is one area that content marketers really should be investing in to get their messaging in front of potential customers.

Customers want an inside look at your company. They want exclusive access to their brand and producing a live video will give them that access. For Video Marketing tips check out this blog post.

Tip 3: Spin-off audiences
As a content marketer, you need to know your target audience like you know your closest relative or your best friend. You need to know who they are, how old they are, what they like to buy, and most importantly, what their additional interests are. From there, you can identify spin-off audiences that may be interested in your products and services.

Do target audience research using Google Analytics and surveys, and then identify the other audiences you can reach out to online to begin pushing your messages.

Tip 4: Have an eye for traffic
There are sites out there already that you can use to your advantage because of the sheer number of users they get. For example, consider the amount of traffic to sites like Etsy or IMDb.

If you can write unique content for one of these sites with high traffic, then you can send those users back to your website. You just need to make sure that what you are selling relates to one of these big sites.

Tip 5: Utilise LinkedIn
Expand your social stretch to sites like LinkedIn, where you can post valuable business advice that relates to your company and brand. LinkedIn users are business-minded, and they want tips that will push them forward in their careers.

If you can create content that fits in that category, you can drive them to your website. Think creatively about how your products can aid them and make life easier for their work lives and careers.

Tip 6: Start snapping
Snapchat is becoming one of the most trendy and popular social networks to reach Millennials. You can introduce your brand and messaging in fun and compelling ways through the function of the Snapchat “story.”

It’s important, however, that your content marketing does not appear to be promotional. What you are really trying to do is give your users that immediate, live look into what matters about your business. You want to create energy around your brand and show those younger users why it matters that they have you in their lives.

Tip 7: See where your audience is on social
imgresIf you’re thinking about expanding your social platforms to beyond the traditional or trendy ones, then try to find out first where your target audience is on social. One great resource is a site called Buzzsumo.

You can type in a keyword related to your business, and Buzzsumo will tell you what the most shared content is related to that keyword and where it is popular on social media networks.

Conclusion
In conclusion, if you’re not using these seven content marketing tips to get the most profitable return you can, then you’re missing out on easy ways to make big changes for your brand.

These seven areas often go untapped in our field because they are not the most popular or visible approaches. But sometimes, what your customers need is a surprise or a shift in your content marketing in order to really get their attention.

When users hear the same messaging over and over agai or if they become too accustomed to just one mode for your content marketing, such as a video then you’re setting them up to expect too much regularity from you. Shake up your content marketing with these seven tips and determine what failures can turn into successes over time. You’ll be glad you tried.

Are You LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to market yourself as a professional. It’s not much use for a business as a whole, but if you’re a freelancer, contractor or independent consultant it’s one of the most important digital business cards you can have, and you neglect it at your peril. Despite being around for a while, I’m amazed at how some people just fail at using their LinkedIn profiles to sell themselves.

Before I make a list, there’s just one thing I want to say about LinkedIn – it is not Facebook. That means that Facebook rules and customs do not apply. You want to be connected to everyone you’ve ever met, and everyone they’ve ever met – because you never know when one of those connections will turn into a business opportunity.

1. Your profile picture

As I just said, this is not Facebook. Don’t have a picture of you in your bikini, or chugging beer with your bros. Get a professional picture taken, or use a good one of you in a suit. The more professional you look, the more seriously people will take you. And don’t forget to smile – it’s not a passport photo.

2. Think hard about your professional headline

Your LinkedIn profile allows you to add a “professional headline”. This isn’t a Facebook status to be changed every day, or a place for you to be funny. It needs to be 10 or fewer words describing what you do, and it needs to be as specific as possible. A good example is “Online Marketing and SEO Consultant for the medical equipment sector.” A bad example is “I’m an online marketer, casual football player and a follower of  our Lord and Saviour amen”. You get the idea.

3. Spend time organising your portfolio

Whether or not you work online, you can usually find something to add to your portfolio on LinkedIn. It takes a little bit of fiddling to get the hang of it, but it is well worth devoting time to. Get rid of the default descriptions like “my website” and put something interesting in there that tells recruiters and businesses what the website/project is, and what your involvement in it was.

4. Create a vanity URL

Vanity URLs are something that Facebook introduced a few years ago, and LinkedIn followed suit. It changes the URL of your profile from “LinkedIn.com/23u409832ur0u” (for example) to LinkedIn.com/JoeBloggsConsulting. If you can’t get your name, then get something close to it. Don’t use a nickname like “Jojo99” – it’s not MSN messenger.

5. Write a good summary, and don’t forget SEO

You have the opportunity to write a 2,000 word summary. You don’t have to use up the word count (and nobody will read the whole thing if you do) but spend a good hour or so drafting a good page of writing here. Focus on keywords that are good for how you’re trying to market yourself (use the Google AdWords Keyword Selector Tool for ideas). Divide it into sections with sub-headings if it helps, but use paragraphs!