- network with peers and fellow professionals
- share knowledge
- dialog with customers
- generate leads
- and more
I placed these in order of a logical progression.
Using LinkedIn to Network
Upon developing a professional Profile, the next thing to do is to search for an Join Groups of interest. These may include professional associations, local business groups or niches you are targeting. The idea here is to listen to the conversations, add comments to existing posts and establish yourself as an active member of the group. Once you have established yourself as a credible professional, you have now earned the right to share your opinions and write posts that your fellow members would consider valuable. Leave the selling out. Your credibility will be all the “selling” you need.
If you have joined the right Groups, sharing your knowledge in a practical and simple way adds value to the Group and helps to establish yourself as a trusted adviser. This used to take years, now it can be accomplished in weeks or months.
Dialog With Customers
You can create your own group with your company as the focus and invite your customers. This way, you can share new offerings, product insight and knowledge to those with whom you have already established a relationship with. Again, done properly, your best customers will appreciate your continued investment in them through the sharing of knowledge and insight.
This direct approach involves identifying specific companies in your target and using your LinkedIn network and the public information to gather insight into your prospects. This is where the professional version of LinkedIn offers additional value. You can contact companies and individuals through InMail. Don’t be overly aggressive, or you can develop a bad reputation in a channel where credibility is everything.
When using LinkedIn For Marketing, remember that it is a tool, as well as a professional network. Your participation and protocol will determine your success.