Thursday, January 17, 2013

Building Your Tribe - 6 LinkedIn Success Studies part 2

I hope that you have thought of or already found some ways to put last week's list of LinkedIn Strategies for Small Business to good use.
We covered the first of the 6 LinkedIn Strategies that I'll share with you:
  • Building a live community
  • Business development
  • Promoting a blog/branding/building traffic
  • Getting work as a freelancer or consultant
  • Promoting a product
  • Strategies for everyone
Business Development
A piece of advice that I will never forget receiving from an older, wiser mentor of mine who started and ran 2 successful businesses including a luxury goods marketing firm — he has a rolodex of more than 1,000 people who he keeps in touch with on a regular basis. How does he do this? For him it's a simple phone call that usually lasts no more than 5-10 minutes and if appropriate leads to a follow up email and possible work. This very simple technique kept him busy.

One of the simplest ways of using LinkedIn is just as a "modern Rolodex" a list of the people you want to communicate with on a regular basis so that they remember you're out there, what you have to offer, and why they like you. The only tools you need for this is your LinkedIn profile, sending LinkedIn invitations to people you know and an hour per day to make phone calls. One of the biggest challenges for a freelancer or consultant is just making sure people remember you when they need something you offer. These quick check-in calls (with an appropriate time lapse in between) are a great way to just stay on your prospect's radar.

Of course LinkedIn search is also a great tool for this — whether you are searching within your networking or outside of it, using keyword searches on LinkedIn to find people who match your target audience is a great way to "mine the network".

NileGuide, a trip planning website, used LinkedIn to help with a variety of successful "business development" campaigns.

The primary tools? LinkedIn Search & LinkedIn InMail. Here are the 3 ways they used it:
  • Fundraising - to identify relevant venture capital firms during their fundraising process
  • PR - to identify a target list of publications to build awareness of their product, they searched on the publication names, and proactively contacted journalists with whom they had at least a "friend of a friend" connection.
  • Strategic Partnerships - to contact people in the right departments at target companies with whom they wanted to explore business partnerships in selected industries. Their goal was to find partners who were interested in providing personalized travel guide functionality to their users.
Let's look more closely at how they leveraged LinkedIn for strategic partnerships'�

How NileGuide used LinkedIn to build Strategic Partnerships
  1. Identify Companies they identified the top 20 companies to partner with in each of several target sectors within the travel and online media space.
  2. Identify Contacts they laid out a process to search for people with specific job descriptions in these organizations that aligned with who they believed would either be the key decision maker for a business development partnership, or one rung up or down the ladder.
  3. Filter Contacts - given the effort invested per contact, the contact list was filtered for both relevance and "closeness" to improve response rates. Contacts had to be at least 3rd level (i.e. a "friend of a friend of a friend"), and they carefully decided whether to reach out to the contact directly using LinkedIn's InMail tool (which requires a paid subscription), or to request an introduction through a mutual contact when the relationship with that mutual contact was strong.

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