Everywhere you look online you will see internet marketing agencies promoting LinkedIn for social media marketing. LinkedIn is a professional social network and it is very different to the other popular social media channels. Once you create your profile on LinkedIn, what do you do on this network that everyone is talking about?
The first thing you must understand about LinkedIn is that it is not very different from real-time face to face networking. At a network event, you cannot expect to meet someone instantly to start doing business with them. LinkedIn is very much the same, you cannot add someone on this network to your connections and expect business to happen immediately.
LinkedIn is very much like traditional networking, except it is now easier. The same rules apply on this professional social network and lets look at how traditional networking works.
- Who do you wish to meet? What are you looking for in a real connection?
- Where can you find people to network with? This can include networking meetings, BI events, etc.
- Who will be attending the network event?
- Traditional networking is not about you. It is about meeting like-minded people and networking with them.
- What is going to be your message?
The above explains traditional networking in plain English, but how can you make this work on LinkedIn? To start off, complete your LinkedIn profile so that it is 100% complete. This will include the professional photo of your profile, links to your website, blog, and Twitter profile, your work history, and your interests. Your profile is your face on LinkedIn, and if someone is interested to meet you, this is the first place that they will look. An incomplete profile shows you in a very poor light.
A great feature on LinkedIn is LinkedIn Answers. This section on LinkedIn gives you access to millions of people asking questions. You can use this section by answering and asking questions that will interest your target audience. This help you get chance to start a conversation. Some of the most well written questions can receive over 50 answers. This can mean a lot for your exposure on LinkedIn.
When using LinkedIn answers, I usually follow-up a with a personal response to every person that answered one of my questions. Here’s a couple of the responses that I send out.
- If they are already a connection of mine: I thank them for the time they have spent by answering my question.
- If they are not a connection of mine, but I want to add them: I thank them for answering the question and I send out an invitation to them to connect with me.
- Not connected, and not interested in connecting with them. I thank them for the answer.