Are You Using LinkedIn as Well as You Could?

linkedin-logoWhile Social Media has become the rage in 2012 and 2013, most business owners still struggle to decipher exactly how (or if) it fits into their online marketing plan.  Confusing the issue are the thousands of self-proclaimed social media “experts” throwing out terms such as “customer engagement” without the implementation of a specific strategy or goal.

So rather than loading your Facebook page with jokes and becoming frustrated by your lack of followers and low ROI, here’s a LinkedIn strategy that has a real goal and measurable results.  If done properly, it will also build your credibility, improve your SEO, and transform your website into a valuable business asset.  Here are six steps for LinkedIn success.

How to Use LinkedIn

1. Blogging

If you wish to have any business success online, first realize that you must provide value to others.  The way to accomplish this is by adding regular blog posts to your website that help your potential customers solve problems.  I wrote about this in my previous post titled, What Keeps You Awake at Night.

2. Complete Your LinkedIn Profile

If I told you that LinkedIn could bring hundreds or even thousands of new visitors to your website, would you take the time to build a thorough and complete personal and business profile?  Well, it can and you should.  If you don’t know how or don’t want to take the time, then hire someone to do it for you.  LinkedIn can make a significant difference in your internet marketing efforts, but having an incomplete profile doesn’t bode well for your credibility.

3.  Join the Right Groups

social-networkYou’ll need to spend some time searching for LinkedIn groups where your target audience can be found.  This requires some strategic thinking and planning.  Who exactly are you trying to reach?  What groups might they join?  You need to join them too.

4. Make Connections

One of the great things about LinkedIn is that if you reach out to connect with someone, they will almost always accept your connection request.  Keep in mind that you aren’t making connections and then spamming them with solicitations.  Rather, you are making connections with the intent of providing them with free and useful information that they will actually be interested in reading.

5. Post Regular Updates

This is where your blogging efforts come full circle.  On a weekly basis, copy and paste a link to your most recent blog post in all of your groups.  Keep in mind that if your groups vary greatly in terms of their participants, you may need to post different material in each group.  If done correctly, group members will see your compelling post and click through to your website to read it.

Google-Analytics_vectorized6. Analyze and Adjust

This is a critical step that most forget.  You must have analytics built in to your website so you can measure whether or not your efforts are improving your web traffic.  With Google Analytics, you can even see how many visitors come directly from LinkedIn.  If this process does not yield more traffic, then you are either targeting the wrong groups or the content you are writing is not good enough to capture attention.  However, if you get a spike in traffic and you do not see a corresponding increase in sales, that probably means your overall web content is not good enough to convert visitors into customers and you need to seriously evaluate it.

Some final thoughts…

Social media was never intended to be an overnight lead generation tool for your business.  While it can bring you new clients and customers, you must first be willing to “give”, provide value to your audience consistently for an extended period of time, and thereby “earn” the right to market your product or service.  Have a strategic plan and execute it with deliberation and consistency.

Hopefully you now have a better idea how to use LinkedIn! Follow our blog for more internet marketing tips.