Monday, February 2, 2015

8 Ways to Better Market Yourself on LinkedIn

Brian Honigman

LinkedIn has always been the industry standard when it comes to marketing yourself professionally, but the past few years have seen the social network’s importance and reach increase 
dramatically. TechCrunch reports that LinkedIn has roughly 187 million unique visitors per month, and that number looks like it’ll continue to grow.

In addition, LinkedIn has ramped up its efforts to become a content platform. In the past three years LinkedIn has acquired SlidesharePulse and Newsle; all of which hint at a continuing push towards content distribution.

Instead of just maintaining your profile and company page and being active in LinkedIn groups, LinkedIn is now encouraging brands and individuals to leverage its robust, new publishing capabilities. It is clear that LinkedIn sees itself as a vital part of the future of content marketing.

Building out your LinkedIn presence can seem intimidating. There are so many options now that the thought of exploiting them all can overwhelm even the savviest marketers.

Keeping this problem in mind, I set out to track down the most influential and accomplished LinkedIn experts and ask them to weigh in on their recommendations for making the most of your LinkedIn Marketing.

Viveka von Rosen: Leverage LinkedIn’s CRM

Viveka von Rosen is a prominent LinkedIn expert and author of the book LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day. Her recommendation not only highlights some interesting, often overlooked LinkedIn features, but also shows how they can be used to strengthen your networking connections.

Viveka notes that “LinkedIn is about building relationships, and one of the best ways of building relationships is to show your top prospects that you were listening to them.” With this in mind, she points out that LinkedIn actually provides users with fairly robust CRM tools.

She recommends leveraging these tools in five steps:
1. Research your prospect or client (or better yet, have a conversation with them – maybe at a conference or trade show?)
2. Make your notes about the person on their LinkedIn profile. (Click on the star icon to “unfold” LinkedIn’s CRM feature.)
3. Set a reminder to follow up with your prospect.
4. Find an article of your own or search Pulse to find content you think they might be interested in.
5. You can also tag your prospects, segmenting your network in a way that makes sense to you, and that will allow you to follow up with them in smaller groups.

Stephanie Sammons: The “10 in 10″ Rule

Stephanie Sammons is a renowned LinkedIn expert, named a Top 30 Marketing Thought Leader and a Top 25 Social Media Expert by LinkedIn, who coaches professionals on how to maximize their social presence. Her recommendation for marketers and business owners who hope to build their presence is to adopt what she refers to as the “10 in 10” rule.
“While others are pumping out content and status updates to their entire network” Stephanie instead encourages professionals to “go one-to-one with 10 of your connections 10 minutes a day.”

If you spend 10 minutes a day engaging personally with 10 of your valued LinkedIn contacts, you will grow your influence.

The first step in her process is to identify your MVC’s (Most Valuable Connections) LinkedIn. “These may be prospects, clients, influencers, or advocates for your business. Next, study their profiles and learn more about who they are, what they do, and who they help.”

She continues by noting that “once you are armed with greater intelligence about your MVC’s, strive for a one-to-one engagement with at least 10 of these individuals per day. One-to-one engagement can be in the form of a personalized, private LinkedIn message, a public comment or conversation, a or even an @mention.”

The reasoning goes that a personal, intimate connection with a smaller number of followers can be much more beneficial than an attempt to please everyone. This appears straightforward, but it seems that so few actually spend the emotional energy necessary to foster these connections.

Stephanie offers the assurance that although this consistent connection is hard to maintain, it will be well worth it in the long-run and ultimately lead to social media success.

See all 8 ways and the complete Entrepreneur article