LinkedIn may have started out being a place for job-seeking professionals to find connections and new employment, but it is now also a powerful marketing tool for businesses. It’s an incredible resource that gives you worldwide exposure for your company. LinkedIn is about connections. With more than 2 million businesses, LinkedIn is a powerful way to network and meet people relevant to your business and professional needs.
Businesses of all sizes always want new clients. Once your business has a business page created, you, and other employees in your company, start building exposure for your company by reconnecting, or linking, with people you already know. This is done by sending an ‘invitation to connect.’ These people can be from any part of life – past clients, past colleagues, high school, college, current and past associations, groups, fields of interest, and so on. As they connect with you, you will be able to identify others you’d like to connect with. You can do that directly, or ask for an introduction from a current connection, depending on the type of relationship.
Either way, you want to have your ‘handshake’ ready (basically your electronic elevator speech, short, sweet, and simple.) Tell the person why you want to connect with him or her. Just like when meeting someone in person, you want that short introduction and an idea of mutual topics at the ready. You don’t want to start with a sales pitch. You want to find a way to start building the foundation for a business relationship.
By building a solid company profile filled with relevant keywords, clients around the world can find your company page, review your products and services, and get in touch. LinkedIn gives you the ability to build strong and lasting relationships with your customers through status updates that give details about your business. Keeping your client base in the know will lead to new connections discovering your company page.
LinkedIn is also an excellent resource for positioning your business as an industry expert. There is a Q&A section where anyone can post questions by area of expertise. Find questions you or fellow employees can answer intelligently and you will start building awareness and credibility for your company. The person who poses the question has the ability to rate the quality of the answers. You and your company can build exposure by gaining a ‘point of expertise’ every time your answer is selected as the best answer.
You can also join groups that contain your target market. Participate in discussions, offer tips, give feedback, and direct people to places to find out more information. You’ll be building an awareness for your company as helpful and focused on building relationships.
As well as positioning yourself and your business as an expert, you can seek answers from others. Pose your own questions. The feedback you receive will be impressive. To get an idea of the power of getting answers on LinkedIn, check out the Q&As that already exist. You can do this without having a LinkedIn account.
If you aren’t already on LinkedIn, you can register for free at http://www.linkedin.com and start building your company page. If you are on LinkedIn, but haven’t used it in a while, take a new look, send invites to people you know and start expanding your network.
Last but not least, be sure to join the ISPP LinkedIn group to begin networking with other ISVs! When used correctly, LinkedIn can be an incredibly powerful tool for connecting with others.