Social media has emerged as a way to target and reach leads and business contacts. While Facebook and Twitter are the two most use sites and thus are helpful for reaching the largest number of people, LinkedIn provides a community of serious professionals who are interested in doing real business. If your business leverages LinkedIn effectively, the leads you create are significantly more likely to transform into real clients.
It’s true that LinkedIn has fewer users than the other major networking sites, but it emphasizes quality over quantity. The over 200 million accounts together have an average annual salary of more than $100,000. On Facebook, you’ll often find college students and 20-somethings. On LinkedIn, you’ll find people who either own real estate or are likely looking to buy some soon. The conversations are professional and geared toward building relationships rather than sharing funny quips. Your target audience has already amassed, now you just have to reach them.
Who do You Present?
A LinkedIn profile needs to be more complete than profiles on other sites. Before a lead becomes a client, they are likely to comb through your profile and evaluate both your professionalism and relationships. Make sure your experiences are up-to-date, that you include a professional photograph, and that you incorporate appropriate keywords into your descriptors.
Who do You Connect With?
The short answer is; everyone. Just like all social media sites, the more connections you have, the more people you can reach with your message. However, LinkedIn provides different levels of connections. After connecting with someone, they have the option to endorse your skills. This is akin to liking something on Facebook in that it takes a simple click of a button. While you should try to maximize your endorsements, especially among past clients, there is a more powerful tool. Recommendations are short paragraphs people can write about you. Consider it an informal recommendation that you can give to leads. Eliciting and posting recommendations isa powerful marketing tool for your business.
What do You Include?
One of the biggest mistakes people and businesses make on LinkedIn is they are so formal that they become dull. You want to give leads a reason to both connect with you and to stay current on what your business is doing, so you have to spark their interest. This can be accomplished by continually posting new content and providing links to your website, your blog, and other relevant sites. Moreover, classify your websites, including a call to action that encourages leads to interact with you.
What do You Do?
In short, be active on LinkedIn. Endorse and recommend others, both because it will encourage them to do the same for you, and because it helps you build connections that develop into lasting relationships. Keep your tone professional, but interesting, and reach out to everyone you can. LinkedIn give you the opportunity to reach the most likely clients in your area, so be sure to take full advantage of it.