Linkedin for Beginners
When it comes to marketing a business online it is a growing trend to prioritise social media. Why? Because it’s free and we all love stuff that’s free. But is it really free? Of course there are all sorts of paid Ad platforms within the various social media platforms. There are also plenty of upsells from the basic free package but you don’t have to utilize any of these in order to see a return from your time.
And that’s the point – your ‘time’. Social Media success for a business takes time and time is not something we can give freely. How much is your time worth? £20/hr? £40/hr? £100/hr? more? Just one hour per day given to social media pursuits can cost hundreds of pounds per week of your valuable time.
As you will know there are hundreds of social media websites all competing for your time. You don’t need to be registered on them all though! Facebook and Twitter are well established in the B2C (business to consumer) marketplace but not all businesses will find riches on these platforms. Indeed no business will without that most precious of all commodities: TIME.
LinkedIn is our preferred social site. It is a B2B (business to business) site. There is no ranting about next door neighbours here. Nobody is interested in what you had for breakfast or the latest failings of the national football team.
Let’s talk a little bit about why LinkedIn works for business.
LinkedIn is a social media website dedicated to business professionals. It now boasts 300+ million members with 2 new members signing up every second. It is the largest professional network on the internet with 15+ million members from the UK.
This is a site where people can get in touch with one another and talk business. You can access potential customers through a friend or even a friend of a friend. Your profile will include your business history and achievements. You profile picture will be of you not a pet poodle! Linkedin’s fastest growing demographic is students (39+ million). Clearly they realise it is a site where opportunities exist.
SIGNING UP TO LINKEDIN
When you sign up to LinkedIn it is absolutely vital that you make sure that your profile is as complete as it possibly can be. I know you will be itching to jump straight in there and start making contacts as soon as possible. However, this is a professional site. People want to know exactly who they are going to be dealing with. They want to know why you should be one of their contacts. This will normally be determined by taking a look at your profile, work history and achievements. There are plenty of guides out there on how you can develop your profile so I will not cover that here. For now just make sure that it is as complete as possible. It is going to come in very useful later on.
SEARCHING FOR BUSINESS CONTACTS
Next up you can start to find those contacts. There are many search tools that you can use. Start by adding people that you know. You can then branch out into people that you don’t know but may actually be interested in what you have to offer. You should ALWAYS leave a thank you message when somebody accepts your invitation to join your contact list. This is not only courteous but it also tells them a little bit about your attitude. You can also browse through some of the LinkedIn groups to find people to ‘add’. Think of this as expanding your network. Don’t just add anybody though. A good rule of thumb is to consider whether you would contact that person in the context of your business. If not, do not add them.
PARTICIPATING IN GROUP DISCUSSIONS
Now get joining some groups. Join groups that you think will benefit from you expertise and groups that will benefit from your service or product. Don’t make the mistake of simply joining groups that are in the same business niche. If you can take part in the many discussions then people will be interested in you. You will be surprised at the amount of business you will be able to generate just by conversing with people through LinkedIn Groups. YOU can then become the solution to the problem.
If you do create your own group then do not forget to promote it. There are a number of different tools available to group owners that you can use.
We really do suggest that you check out LinkedIn. It is a different breed to other social media websites. It is not for everybody by any stretch of the imagination and, as always, it will take time to make it work for your business. Don’t make the mistake of pushing your service on others from Day 1 – it just wont work. In fact your reputation will suffer.
You need to develop trust first, second and third. Contribute to the discussions and give advice freely. When the time is right you can offer your own service and people will listen.