Put your LinkedIn Account to Work
According to Marketing Profs, LinkedIn is the favored social media tool for B2B marketers. If you're in B2B marketing or sales, you can do so much more with your LinkedIn account than simply look up your B2B marketing contacts. Use LinkedIn to help sell product, expand your networks, grow your business and gain free publicity.
Here's some simple tips to help you engage fully with LinkedIn:
- Fill out your profile completely to earn trust and credibility.
- Use apps and widgets to integrate other tools, such as importing your blog entries or Twitter stream into your profile.
- Do market research and gain knowledge with Polls.
- Share survey and poll results with your contacts.
- Answer questions in Questions and Answers: show expertise without a hint of self-promotion.
- Ask questions in Questions and Answers to get a feel for what customers and prospects want or think.
- Publish your LinkedIn URL on all your marketing collateral, including business cards, email signature, email newsletters, web sites and brochures, so prospects learn more about you.
- Grow your network by joining industry and alumni groups related to your business.
- Update your status with examples of recent work and accomplishments.
- Link your status updates with your other social media accounts.
- Combine your social media approach: when someone asks a question in Twitter, respond in detail on LinkedIn and link to it from Twitter.
- Use the search feature to find people by company, industry and city.
- Start and manage a group or fan page for your product, brand or business.
- Research your prospects before meeting or contacting them.
- Share useful articles and resources that will be of interest to customers and prospects.
- Don't turn off your contacts: avoid hard-sell tactics.
- Write honest and valuable recommendations for your contacts.
- Request LinkedIn recommendation from happy customers willing to provide testimonials.
- Post your presentations on your profile using a presentation application.
- Check connections' locations before traveling so you can meet with those in the city where you're heading.
- Ask your first-level contacts for introductions to their first-level contacts.
- Interact with LinkedIn on a regular basis to reach those who may not see you on other social media sites.
- Set up to receive LinkedIn messages in your inbox so you can respond right away.
- Link to articles and content posted elsewhere, with a summary of why it's valuable to add to your credibility.
- List your newsletter subscription information and archives.
If you haven't already, it's time to create or refresh your LinkedIn profile and begin increasing your B2B marketing contacts, and activity on this most useful site.
Martine Hunter is the creative director of inbound marketing with the Atlanta advertising agency, MLT Creative, which specializes in B2B marketing. She holds the Inbound Marketing professional certification and serves the Atlanta chapter of the Business Marketing Association as a member of the board of directors.