I recently read that a well-known internet marketing guru decided to shut down his LinkedIn account. It was a bold move that got him a lot of comments on his blog. Mostly people were wondering why he would disconnect his account considering it’s a top social media site.
The reason he chose to do it was because he knew that his market wasn’t going to follow him there and that he had better traction using other social media streams such as Facebook and Twitter. What he didn’t say was that he also has a very well established business and no longer needed to spend time building his business and connections in LinkedIn.
For the average new business owner I think it’s not necessarily the best move. As you may have heard, social media is where it’s at. The top streams are still Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and now Pinterest. One of the top questions my clients ask is “Do I need to be everywhere?” and my answer is, “Yes and No”.
Every social media stream has their own unique benefits and deciding which to use can be a business owner’s challenge. However, when you know your market, where they tend to hang out and how to leverage each social media stream you’ll be able to convert conversations to clients and customers.
When I coach my clients I teach them how to have a presence on each stream but to ultimately determine where it makes sense to spend the majority of their time. It’s an individual choice but I always guide them to have a presence on each of the five streams I mentioned above. Why? Because until you really know your market well and develop a strong referral base you need to ramp up presence and establish yourself on the internet.
Many business owners don’t know how to use LinkedIn to it’s fullest potential. It’s been one of the best streams for my business and I often find that when used properly it’s extremely effective for my clients as well.
LinkedIn has traditionally been known as the “professional” person’s social media stream. For those of us with jobs it’s been the acceptable social media site to connect professionally with other individuals. In fact, most employers don’t typically block this website at work whereas Twitter and Facebook often are. This stream allows you to openly list your resume, connect with other professionals, friends and business owners, provide and receive recommendations and much more.
But how do you use LinkedIn properly? What about if you have a job and a business, how do you display both? Here are some of my tips to use it properly:
- Profile Up: Make sure that you fully complete the profile. If you happen to have a job and solo business and you feel it won’t compromise your position then feel free to add both to your profile. Complete it entirely and make sure that you include your website link. If you feel that you need to have two separate profiles, one for your job and one for your business then go for it.
- Key Words: Many people have found me on LinkedIn because of the choice of keywords I’ve used in my profile. If you’re a specialist, coach, consultant, service professional, use key words to help your market find you. This will help with SEO when your market is looking for you in the search engines.
- Import Tweets: If you’re on Twitter you may import your tweets right into your status bar. This will allow others to see what you’re up to, promotions you may have and get to know you better. If you’d rather not share them then keep that feature turned off.
- Become a Joiner and Jump Into Groups: groups are one of the best places to “hang out” in LinkedIn. Not only to connect with your market but to find strategic alliances. Groups allow you to import discussions, strike up conversations and even have a promotional area. They are often underutilized. Do a search in the groups section of LinkedIn and find groups that may be of interest to you and could possibly be where your target hangs out.
- Participate: You need to make sure that you spend time in LinkedIn. Don’t just put up a profile, post a tweet and send out a promotion. This stream likes it when you participate.
LinkedIn is a great place to be to grow your business. I highly recommend that you develop a presence on this site especially if you know your target is “hanging out” there.
If you’re not using LinkedIn and highly suspect that your target market is there then you should spend some time on this site by setting up your profile. Start by looking for connections and send people a request to connect. Then look for some groups to join and start participating in conversations. You’ll find that by answering simple questions you’ll become known as a resource and expert. Every so often share one of your blog posts as a discussion in a group. But don’t just set it and forget it, make sure you go back and reply to comments. Do the same for others as well.
Have you set up a LinkedIn account and aren’t using it? Would you consider terminating a social media stream too? Do you feel like you should only focus on one or can you see the value in spreading out your reach?
Do you have a social media and marketing strategy in place to grow your business effectively online? Set up a brief conversation with Jeannie to see how you can grow your business more rapidly online. Contact Jeannie here