Linkedin is THE platform for business professionals looking to develop themselves, their contact pool and their business. What began several years ago as a professional networking forum quickly evolved into a powerful tool to raise profile and showcase expertise.
As Facebook rose to prominence in the consumer space, Linkedin has been quick to deploy the latest techniques to ensure it stays ahead of competitors like Ning and Plaxo.
Whilst social media (annoying term!) continues its progression into business, and published luminaries’ pontificate on how to monetize it, we the practitioners are left to try and find a way to make it work.
In my view, Linkedin supports two specific objectives: profile and reputation raising AND lead generation. But in this era of soft marketing, you should categorically focus on the former before crashing ahead with the later. The loud, spamming bores are given short thrift on Linkedin.
And, if you follow my non-nonsense ten-step approach to making Linkedin work for you, you’ll be well on your way personally and professionally to achieving both objectives.
If you’re viewed as someone people value through your contributions on Linkedin, you will be sought out. This means posting answers, offering solutions and sharing interesting content. Group members will want to connect with you, your contacts will want to recommend you to their contacts and over time be recommended by you. All these numbers are pretty tangible.
[Image from http://sterlingadvisorsllc.com]
So too, are the tangible numbers related to lead generation. This starts with group and answer discussions, click-throughs to [or downloads of] associated content like slides, blog posts, web visits, Twitter, views/follows on company profile, provision of Answers etc, all leading to connection requests and enquiries.
Everything you do on Linkedin gets you closer to the people you want to get close to. Applying Frignes Karinthy’s six degrees of separation strategy means that technically there is little stopping you accessing the FTSE 100 CEO you seek an audience with; you just have to do it in the right way as you get one shot.
Few account holders stray beyond the free platform such is the integration with other tools including email, Twitter, Slideshare, WordPress and Amazon. But upgrading to one of the business plans affords the opportunity not only to use InMail to communicate with anyone, run detailed 3rd level searches and see expanded profiles but also to see who has been looking at your profile.
Professionals and companies – such as recruitment – are generating real revenue through platforms like Linkedin. Given you can take a step-by-step approach to building your expert profile, contact pool and leads, can you really afford not to?