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The Power of LinkedIn



As you prepare your marketing plan complete with goals and strategies for generating leads and sales online, consider tapping into LinkedIn for additional exposure for your company. LinkedIn is used for networking among companies but many entrepreneurs are learning that having a presence on LinkedIn solidifies their business reputation and presents their company in a more positive, efficient way. You must use every tool available to you to build credibility and trust among your colleagues and online users with whom you may never interact one-on-one.  Over 1.9 million companies have established a presence on LinkedIn and are connecting with over 100 million professionals to provide updates, learn of job openings, and get advance notices regarding new products coming online. LinkedIn is best described as a cyber meeting area or hub for sharing information in an efficient method.

You will be offered a company page on LinkedIn that will permit you to centralize all of your business information for the public to see.  Your employees will have personal pages that will provide a more personal touch and flavor to your business. Although the business will happen in cyberspace, the consumer still enjoys knowing what the business is about, who you are, and what you have to offer them to make their life more enjoyable or easier. By developing a company page, you can access analytics data that will show you what customers are viewing and how they are accessing this information.  Here you can showcase your goods, services, and products, include dynamic photos and images, and send private messages that will inform them of trends, patterns of product development, and special deals you are promoting.  It allows you to connect in a more personal way with your client to establish trust and confidence.

One of your main goals in participating in the LinkedIn community will be to gain exposure of your company to potential clients. The engagement levels of users will be important as you decide whether to opt into active participation in this medium. The primary focus of LindedIn is the business community.  47.6% of users spend up to 2 hours per week on the website. Even higher rates of 26% of users spend 3- 4 hours a week engaged in activity.  Almost 1,000 minutes per month are logged by active participants. Thus, the amount of possible exposure for your company is phenomenal. 

How can LinkedIn help your business? A staggering 7.9% of all users report that they used LinkedIn to research people and companies. Other users use LinkedIn to reconnect with former business associates and almost half of the users stated that it was a new way to network and build solid relationships with professionals who could influence clients toward future business.  This is an excellent way for business professional to connect and support each other.

Business professionals leverage the power of LinkedIn in a plethora of creative ways.  They can make excellent hires from this site and they can use the groups like mini conferences to acquire more knowledge about advertising and public relations.  Here you can also find trusted vendors, partners, and perhaps that all important funding institution.  With the proper attitude and a creative spirit, this powerful tool can be yours for the taking. No matter what the size of your business, you can task the power of LinkedIn to assist you in generating leads and sales.

The users on LinkedIn are professionals and are internet savvy which is a plus as you try to connect and maintain valuable relationships. Being an active participant grows your network and can also help you build your all important list for marketing and advertising strategies.  You can develop direct connections and reap referred connections as work of your stellar business reputation spreads. Some studies show that communications conducted via LinkedIn are much more valuable and perform at a higher positive rate than traditional emails do.  The sales tool “sales navigator” is an outbound sales tool that is provided to LinkedIn’s premium members that will gather accurate data, develop seamless integration, and offer real-time information about consumers and companies.

In the cyber world of commerce, establishing credibility, trust, and reliability are of the utmost importance in gaining customers and maintaining a repeat business base.  It will be to your advantage to answer questions on LinkedIn Answers, to take part in group discussions and to participate in forums where you can share valuable information.  Members benefit from meeting and conversing with experts in a particular niche and many use these connections as referrals in their daily business exchanges.  If there isn’t a forum related to your business, you should think about starting one.  You can initiate interesting conversations that might solve a dilemma your potential client might be experiencing. These discussions will send many clients to your website to explore what it is that you have to offer.  By appearing as an authority, others will view your comments and reviews and visit your website. They will already be interested in your product if they have purchased an item that correlates with your product.
Begin your LinkedIn activity by connecting with friends and people whom you already know.  These people will know that prospective client who is searching for your product and by establishing lines of communication with circles of people, your business will profit.  You can ask friends to recommend you to their clients and friends and the networking begins.  LinkedIn takes the community approach to business to a more technological level and makes it work for you.  If someone who knows you mentions you to a potential client first, you will not be making the proverbial “cold call” with a distinct possibility of failure.  Someone paving the path for you will make your work a lot easier. Send invitations to people in your address book and on any lists that you have built as you developed your marketing plans.  Publicizing your profile will be the catalyst that moves people to link to you.

Take time to research your connections on LinkedIn. Browse through their personal or company profile to learn about their interests and what makes them tick.  These will be talking points that can break the ice as you being to cultivate a relationship that is moving toward a purchase.  Talk to them about what interests them and relate it to your product at the appropriate time if possible. Don’t force the issue but if the chance to incorporate a personal interest arises, use it carefully.  Statistics refers to consumers but your customers are people with whom you want to develop trust and good will.
It’s important to create a profile that is engaging and one that warrants further exploration by a potential client. Think of your LinkedIn profile as you would your nametag at a party or convention.  When someone meets you they see your name and your business.  They immediately decide if they want to further engage with you or to keep walking.  Feature your expertise, your experience, and the niche with which you are knowledgeable on your profile page. This will also make it easier for professionals who are interested in the same niche to locate you.  Determine who your prospects might be from their profile information and join some of the same groups that they have joined. Offer solid, valuable information in all your interactions with groups of users, answer their questions, and always provide a way for them to go directly to your website for further information and assistance.  Provide them with examples of your customer satisfaction and your stellar customer service. This policy will be very attractive to the polished buyer.  Remember that this relationship is not about you but about them; offer a solution to their problems or concerns and you will have a loyal customer for the long term.
If you have chosen to set u a LinkedIn account, you must perform this task the right way or not at all.  To have a page that is partially completed can do more damage to your business than not having a presence at all.  If you don’t feel comfortable in setting up your page, do some research and get some help. Your page will send clients a message about how you do business.  Keep your profile updated and 100% complete. You can use the “Improve your Profile” button at the top of your edit page to make sure your information is current and clear, concise, and cordial.  You will need to provide three recommendations to complete your profile to its highest level.  Use the LinkedIn recommendation tool to send email to friends, former clients, vendors, or colleagues that will create a positive recommendation for you. You can preview this document before posting it to your profile.  Stress with those doing this task for you that proper grammar, sentence structure, and acceptable usage are very important.  Your prospects will make a decision about you based on what they read from those who know you.
Don’t leave out the Skills and Expertise segment of your profile.  This is one of the newer features of LinkedIn and it causes your profile to be more searchable.  Your skills become the “keywords” on your profile and these are critical in representing what you do, where you live, and your area of expertise. List as many as you can that showcase your skills, talents, and abilities. You want to be a professional who is capable of commanding a successful business entity with seamless strategies. These keywords will create good inbound links for you and your company and any blog in which you participate.  The business community will be more aware of you and what you have to offer.
Remember to add your business website, any blogs, and Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest links to your profile.  You will be providing a transparent picture of your business and product. The more information a client can gather about you, the better they feel they know you; purchasing is easy from someone we know and trust. You will stay connected which is of the utmost importance in the fierce competitive market.  Out of sight, out of mind is not the adage you want when referring to your online activity or participation in the social websites that can grow your business.  Note on your calendar to review your profile on a monthly basis to keep it from becoming stale.  Add recommendations, skills or awards and achievements to keep everyone informed about the progress your company is making. Make yourself stand out from the rest of the crowd!
Never leave the photo section blank in your LinkedIn account blank.  A picture is worth a thousand words and a good, quality image of your will give those who connect with you an image to which they relate when communicating and doing business with you.  If you are uncomfortable with a photo, upload a company logo or an eye-catching image that captures the attention of the browsing visitor.  A photo will provide your company with a personal touch and not a corporate image that is a bit more impersonal.
After your profile is complete, the fun part begins.  Begin to join groups according to your interests, hobbies, job interests, inspiration, and support.  If you can think of a group that you’d like to join, it’s probably already set up and going strong on LinkedIn. Many of these groups will participate in discussion boards, messaging, and connection updates. It’s a very exciting and engaging way to build strong relationships. If you have developed a good relationship with another LinkedIn member, ask them for a referral and return the favor for them.  Your credentials will strengthen and be more widely seen by thousands of people.
Maintain a strategy for generating leads to ensure more business and profits for your company.  You will want to take advantage of every tool that LinkedIn offers and by setting a goal of how you will use the tools to your advantage can keep your marketing strategies on target.  Set a specific number of connections with new people that you want to make each week and grow your account by that number or more.  Keep your company’s name fresh and in front of current clients as well as those who can become valuable as they learn more about you.  If someone needs your services or learns of a need that a contact has, they will be more apt to recommend you if you are on their mind and visible on their computer screen.
Don’t be concerned with privacy issues as you begin to use and participate in the LinkedIn community.  If you attend a local networking event in your area with a paper bag over your head, it is likely that you will draw unwanted negative attention to yourself.  You interact with strangers at these events; your interaction on LinkedIn is no different.  If your profile and information is incomplete or you guard your participation activities on LinkedIn, you might as well have a cyber paper bag right over your head.  You have to connect in a positive way and withholding information creates suspicion.
Since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has become the number one business social network on the web. If you are striving to become a reputable business, then you should have a presence on this business website. It compares to membership in your trade organization.  You’ll be connecting with like-minded professionals who are gleaning business at the turn of every cyber corner.  It’s an incredible source of data and an excellent way for you to showcase your products and services as you interact with others.  LinkedIn appears high in search rankings which means that your business will piggyback on this high rating to be listed above other references. By all means, LinkedIn must be considered when formulating your marketing strategy.
By joining groups in the LinkedIn community, you will establish yourself as an expert that users will turn to when situations or problems arise that they know you can handle.  You can learn from others, gather useful websites and tips, and can develop an extensive list from which to market your products.  These open discussions will allow you to participate with others to share ideas and build long-lasting relationships that will increase your bottom line exponentially.
One of the most common tools that LinkedIn provides is the search for businesses and people.  There are a variety of tools available to make this a seamless transition from peruser to purchaser safely and securely.  You can learn how to conduct easy and effective searches just like clients are using to find your business and product. It will be valuable to see what your potential customer sees when he visits your profile page. You can modify and adjust your listings to better maximize your efforts and applications.
Word-of-mouth advertising is the basic staple in the toolbox of marketing plans.  The LinkedIn recommendation function will serve this purpose as you work to promote your business.  Elicit help from anyone who has had experience with you, your company, and your product.  It’s much easier to buy a product if you know someone else has already used it and had a satisfying experience.  This is the most powerful tool that you can use to generate leads and sales.
Business is no longer conducted just down the street or around the corner. Your business needs to be available 24/7 for clients who are in varying time zones and who are working under demanding deadlines and schedules.  It is imperative to attract clients who have a need, like what they see on your website, and can purchase safely and securely with no regrets.  To keep the sun from setting on your business, your client base must be extensive and global to reach the potential sales available to you.
At first, LinkedIn might seem like a large investment in time but it’s an investment that can not only save you marketing dollars but also can provide a list from which you can draw your clientele.  Once you get your profile set up and you begin participating on a regular basis, you’ll find that this is an enjoyable portion of your business. You can mention to everyone you meet that they can look at your LinkedIn profile to learn more about you and your business; it’s a professional statement that represents your business extremely well.
Remember to use and place your keywords strategically since your LinkedIn profile is searchable in Google.  You want to appear interesting and knowledgeable about your particular niche.  By taking the time to invest in this page of information, you will be opening doors to your business that you never dreamed were possible.  Geographical boundaries will be removed as the tidal wave of your business rushes across the business landscape. You’ll meet new clients, make new friends, and will establish strong relationships that will quickly replace your luncheons that are a waste of your time. Cold calls will be a distant memory and profits will amaze even the smallest of businesses.
Networking is not rocket science but it can launch your business to new heights and goals. You must use every available method of connecting with professionals who are as motivated and as passionate as you are about succeeding in their online marketing strategies. With LinkedIn, you can meet and introduce yourself in a few minutes and begin interacting with business professionals around the world.  You can get a feel for their economic struggles and how they have overcome adversity or challenging situations. You won’t have to reinvent the wheel as you draw on their knowledge and understanding of how the business environment operates.  You will gain exposure to business owners and possible clients across town and around the world.
Be realistic as you evaluate what LinkedIn can do for you.  Does it matter? Will it work? Is it effective? Is it cost-efficient?  Is your business credible; can you offer authoritative advice and appear as an expert in your niche? Finally, are you passionate about your business and its success?  Carefully consider each question before you take the initiative to get into the LinkedIn community.  You will have about 9 seconds to impress a visitor to your profile and like the speech you might give at a civic event to promote your business, you have to be quick, clear, concise and cordial.  Let your personality show through in your profile just as you do your traditional business interactions.
Since more and more business professionals are using social networks to market themselves and their business, you don’t want to be left behind with antiquated methods of marketing that are no longer reaching the on-the-go society of today.  Your business can be in the palm of their hand as they search for products on smart phones that connect to all social networking sites.  LinkedIn was developed for businesses so you don’t run the risk of complicating your personal, social life with the goals and plans for your business.  Collaboration with others can increase your knowledge and your business skills and introduce you to new ideas and plans. Grow your business, expand your profits and make some wonderful friends along the road to success.



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