People buy from people that they trust – one of the first steps is familiarity, so make sure you give your LinkedIn network every opportunity to experience ‘you’ and your business.
Start with your personal profile
What do you want it to say about you? Assume that potential clients or customers will look for you on LinkedIn before they contact you.
Do you want to be found in Google? Make your profile public.
Think about your image – use a professional picture of you, not your logo or a cartoon, or you on the beach.
Complete your profile and add as much information as possible about your work. Add applications to your profile:
- Amazon bookshelf (books you are reading)
- Slideshare to embed your presentations
- RSS feed to your blog, or syndicate your WordPress blog
- Events (you are running, find events in your industry, see who is attending events in your network)
- Poll (gather input from your network)
Add a company profile
Setup a company profile for your business and complete the profile with your logo, introductory information, twitter feed and blog feed.
Add your services – include an image, description, link to relevant page on your website, special offer. Then request recommendations for these products or services from your key customers.
Don’t forget to check if your customers and clients have their own company profiles and follow them to keep up with their news and updates.
It is not just about self-promotion, so stay on the radar screen by adding value and avoid over saturation. You also need to use your head – do not spam – or link every one of your tweets. You will not impress with an update about the bottle of wine you are drinking – remember this is business. Ideas include:
- Inspirational quotes
- Link to articles and blogs that you find interesting or have written
- News about your business
Don’t forget to comment on status updates from people in your network.
Be selective who you ask and who you give recommendations to. It is your credibility that is important.
Are you connected to all your customers or clients? We all put potential / new clients and customers in our address book so we can email and call them easily – at the same time get into the habit of adding them as a connection on LinkedIn.
Once you have mastered the basics….
Ask and Answer Questions
Start by answering questions to showcase your expertise. These answers become part of your profile and will also tell all your contacts that you are an expert.
You can join up to 50 groups, but be realistic about participation, half a dozen groups is plenty to contribute to regularly.
Think about how you can add value to the group discussions.
- Industry Groups – are great for finding out what is going on.
- Vertical Groups – an industry that you are targeting – can you join in as an authority on your area?
- Local Groups – meet people in your local area on LinkedIn – or join a group for a geographic area that you are targeting.
- Parallel Groups – is there another industry that targets the same audience as you, use this as a networking opportunity.
When you are in the same group as another LinkedIn member you can send them a direct email without being connected to them.
And finally, be consistent
Consider this a daily investment in you for the long-term. One or two actions every day is better than lots one day and then a break for two weeks with nothing because you are too busy!