Before we start this I feel it’s important to define marketing.

I like to explain it using the 3 Ms fo Marketing – Message, Medium and Market.

  1. Message – the beliefs you want people to have about you and the business you are in
  2. Medium- the channels you will be using to get your message across (Social networks, email marketing, direct mail, blogging, content marketing)
  3. Market – who you want to get your message to – usually your prospects, strategic partners, stakeholders, clients and people who would give you referrals

So, with all this in mind, can you see how LinkedIn is useful?
If you feel your market is on LinkedIn, then you can use it as one of your mediums to get your message across.

One more definition for Marketing

Marketing is also about making an impression, so you get to the hearts and minds of people who will make an effort to point people or business your way.

Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is known as the professional social network. When I meet people who on the scepticism scale in Social Media are “extreme far right” they usually concede LinkedIn is the one they would consider.

  1. Make a great impression It’s your chance to show yourself off as the smart, experienced, professional expert you are in your field, without showing off. Yes, this is where it’s allowed.
  2. People do use it – even just peripherally. They get requests from people they know, and then a fleeting thought goes through their minds “oh, I know that person, hm I’ll connect” or “what is that person asking me to connect with them for?” or whatever. But there is usually a curiosity. Even for the sceptics. And so it’s going to get their attention.
  3. A percentage of your connections will look – due to natural curiosity. With this natural curiosity comes the chance – not a guarantee – but a chance – that people will look at your profile. This is where having a properly filled in LinkedIn profile makes all the difference.
  4. It’s actually low maintenance – and can still be useful if you’re too busy, or just not that interested Even if you work on it for 1 and a half hours, and then there it is, and if you follow my rules for the 5 things you should have on your LinkedIn profile that make your LinkedIn profile stand out way better than the majority of the population, then you may get more than a split second of their attention.

Beyond just an excellent profile

I often play it down – just do the 5 things and you wll be able to leave it alone, and it will represent you so much better. It will give an incredible first impression. So when you meet someone at an event, and then connect with them on LinkedIn, they will read your profile. Or, maybe someone searches for someone who does what you do, and they will see your profile – and it will stand out. So great! But there are some people out there who want more. They get it, they see the power of LinkedIn. What’s next, they ask!

There’s LOADS – here’s a superlist!

I am so glad you asked. Here’s a superlist – what else can you do with LinkedIn?

Join groups as they will show up as a badge on your profile, giving people who look you up more information about what youre about. For example if you are interested in the environment you can join specific green groups in your niche. You can join the LinkedIn groups for the networking groups you belong to in real life. You can join industry groups, sport related, groups focused diversity issues, groups about marketing and social media, expat communities. Anything you stand for, join it. TIP: go for active groups with a healthy number of members in it, which are moderated. And if you cant tell if this is the case until after, then you can easily leave the group after. ANOTHER TIP: Reset the frequency in which you get the alerts from the groups you are a member of- and have them set to weekly or event never if you prefer.

Consider keywords for search results Some people search for LinkedIn users by keyword. Revisit your profile and compare it to other’s in your field. What key words or phrases do they use, and how often? You can include these in your profile – just don’t overstuff them as this is too obvious. You don’t want to seem like you are working on SEO (even if you are!). As long as you ensure the words and paragraphs are well written, full sentences written in the first person, which show a little personality, then your keywords will blend in nicely.

Join groups and participate in the discussions – or start your own. Out of the different groups you join, you could choose one, two or three that you will put the most focus on.

Recommend others on LinkedIn I don’t mean endorsements, I mean recommendations, the kind you write out properly. This is good kharma and shows up on their profile, which gives you more exposure to the people who are likely to look. Are they the same audience as yours? Could be – think about it. And by recommending others, it doesn’t mean they have to recommend you back, but they might.

Ask for recommendations. And always personalise these requests. Even though you can do group recommendation requests, or use the default text, personalising it and considering carefully who you ask and how you ask will get better results. Remember – people are busy, so ask a few and expect a 25% response. Ask clients, colleagues and suppliers who you know would make good and intelligent comments about you.

Use it to research people. before a meeting, before a networking event, to identify the top players in your industry

Check out the right side in the “edit profile” mode. There are loads more things you can add to beef up your profile. A little bit of time but once it’s done you can leave it alone for a while. Projects you’ve worked, articles you have published, special awards and recognitions – you can put it all in there. LinkedIn has a knack for letting you have all this, without it looking like you are bragging. Imagine if when you met someone you had to real off the achievements you had to that extent – every time!

 LinkedIn in your signature. If you have worked so hard on your LinkedIn profile – even if you have the 5 basic ingredients (great professional profile picture, informative and keyword rich headline, summary written in the first person with passion for what you do evident, previous roles written in the first person with a positive spin and highlighting the achievements and interesting facts, and of course – your “vanity URL”) and NOTHING else from this “superlist” – then definitely include the vanity URL in your email signature

Pulse (previously called “LinkedIn Today”) is the news that’s relevant to the industry you are in (based on what you put in your profile

Look at what your peers are doing. Yes, be snoopy and sneaky. And if you don’t want them to know then change your privacy settings so that only you know who’s profile you have visited. A feeling of competition is great motivator and will surely push LinkedIn up on your priority to do list!

Add slideshare I really rate this feature. You can create a PowerPoint file – or a few, or a series, and they can be on a variety of topics relating to your business, your experience, your projects or your expertise. Then upload it to Slideshare, making sure you label things properly with categories, descriptions and keywords. Finally, embed this into your LinkedIn profile. This shows up visually with a thumbnail of the cover page – and be sure your PPT file is beautifully designed so it stands out (ask us for help if you need it!)

Create your own status updates – link to your blog posts (TIP – you can customise the headlines and the intro blurb), share images, tag people. LinkedIn has all these features now

Interact – when you see other’s posts on LinkedIn on your news feed – comment, like and share – this will increase your visibility and make the person who’s update you did something on feel a little bit more special and like you a little bit more! I promise!

Schedule a LinkedIn Hour in your diary – I have met many who say they do this and have found it to be incredibly useful.

Look at your competitors – Check out this article on the RivalFox blog for tips on how – Four Critical Ways to Collect Competitive Intelligence on LinkedIn

I would love to know if you have ramped up your LinkedIn usage as a result of this post – and what opportunities have been generated as a result! Let me know in the comments below!

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