Plenty has been written about Facebook and Twitter, and how those sites can help you make more money online. Yet, LinkedIn - a very powerful tool to target business professionals - remains under the radar.
If you are looking to get your products and services in front of the general mass audience, then Facebook and Twitter are good solutions. But if you want to attract wealthy, influential professionals then you need a LinkedIn presence.
Neilson Online called LinkedIn, "The world's largest audience of affluent, influential professionals." In fact, you will find more than 80 million of them from more than 200 countries. LinkedIn's population is highly educated; more than 80 percent have bachelor or graduate degrees. The average household income of a LinkedIn user is about $108,000 per year, and more than 20 percent of LinkedIn users are senior-level executives and managers.
What's more, over 60 percent of users are decision makers in their companies or have direct influence over key decisions related to product or service purchases. This is something your competition likely does not know.
It's plain to see that LinkedIn offers its own value proposition. Here's how to take advantage of it:
Don't wait for prospects to come to you - go get them
Out of the 80 million professionals on LinkedIn, only a few consistently gain clients from the website. Most people have a LinkedIn profile and only a few connections. They are not actively seeking prospects, joint venture partners and referral sources. Instead they spend their time asking: Why should I be on this website?
As a small business owner, one of your top priorities is always to get new clients. The only way to do this is to go out and search for those who can be your best customers and refer future business. Notice I used the word "best" - LinkedIn allows you to target potential customers in a way that Facebook and Twitter does not.
As mentioned previously, LinkedIn can help you network with the best and brightest; the decision makers. Build connections with powerful people and a trickle-down effect can bring new connections and new business.
Engage with others on LinkedIn
If you want a prospect to take the next step and actually do business with you, you need to prove that you are worthy. The best way to accomplish that is to get prospects engaged and show them that you are a leader in your industry.
Here are a few ways to easily engage with others on LinkedIn:
- Update your status message daily. I don't mean "Going out to eat at that new restaurant downtown." Provide real, informative content that can help your prospects. Show them that you have solutions for their problems.
- Start debates within LinkedIn groups. For example, one of my clients likes to create article topics such as, "Article Marketing Debate: Is Article Marketing Just an SEO Link-building Tool?" These discussions have helped him gain social proof from those who support his ideas. For the opposition, it has provided a great discussion panel - where my client can provide his expertise and even display case studies to support his views.
- Consistently provide tips, tools, resources, video and articles, and distribute them through your LinkedIn network, including the groups to which you belong.
- Answer questions on the Q & A Boards and within the different groups. This will demonstrate your experience and help you become established as an expert.
- Host monthly training teleseminars in your industry and add them to LinkedIn events. Promote your teleseminars to your contacts and groups, and those groups in which you participate. Another effective way to promote a teleseminar on LinkedIn is to create and distribute articles that provide a sneak preview of what you will be discussing. At the end of the article, provide a call-to-action to register for the teleseminar. This will get people from your LinkedIn list to join your business email list. Remember, the whole point of LinkedIn marketing is to get your connections to take the next step in building a relationship with you and becoming a customer.
- Have a complete profile that includes polls, videos, your blog feed and PowerPoint presentations. Using the new publications application, post your e-books, books, articles and other publications.
Take advantage of LinkedIn groups
Did you know that LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups? In these groups you can network, join conversations and show prospects that you have the answers to their problems. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs do not utilize this tool in order to reach prospective clients.
But when most professionals join groups they often make these two mistakes:
1. They become a member of a group but fail to actually participate. How can you expect prospects to come to you for their needs if you do not take the time to make yourself heard?
2. They join groups where there are similar members. Which makes more sense; to belong to a group that is full of your competition or full of potential clients? It is obvious to me that you would want to be in the same place as your prospects. But many entrepreneurs fail to think outside the box and strictly join groups based on their field of expertise. You might not be an expert in auto repair but I bet those who are need tools.
Create a community on LinkedIn
Another way to take advantage of LinkedIn groups is to create your own, thereby creating your own community of followers. As you are the one in charge of the content that is posted, you can make sure that your message is heard. However, be sure to foster open and fair discourse.
From my experience, many group members religiously check what is being discussed in their groups. Why can't your group be one of them?
Consistently create and distribute content
Eric Gruber (my partner at GetLinkedInHelp.com and founder of Article Marketing Experts) belongs to 50 different LinkedIn groups. Imagine how many people he can reach if each of those groups has 1,000 members. That's 50,000 potential clients he can possibly connect with just by spending a few minutes posting content, as often as he likes. That's one reason his website traffic soared 34 percent in the last month alone.
Are you ready to start taking advantage of all the networking, relationship-building and profit-producing opportunities that LinkedIn has to offer?
About the Author: LinkedIn expert Kristina Jaramillo creates online marketplace opportunities for entrepreneurs who want more website traffic, prospects and profits. Visit https://www.GetLinkedInHelp.com for more information, including a free special report on the top 14 mistakes business professionals make on LinkedIn.