LinkedIn Strategy: 5 Steps to Get Started

LinkedIn Strategy: 5 Steps to Get Started

Should you be using LinkedIn? That depends on what you want to achieve. I’ve been helping a couple of clients to develop a LinkedIn strategy, and in the process, have been creating my own. To date, I’ve spent less time on LinkedIn to focus on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. LinkedIn is perfect for professional networking, so I’ll be more active there going forward.

LinkedIn shines in that it’s a network for business connections, rather than a purely social networking site; you won’t find the animated GIFs and cat videos that you find on the other sites.

Let’s look at how you could develop your own LinkedIn strategy.

1. Set Up Your Personal Profile

If you’re new to LinkedIn, here’s a good way to get started if you’re active on Twitter. Larry Kim suggests treating LinkedIn more like Twitter:

“… there was a huge opportunity there to network in more meaningful ways with a far larger group of people than those I’ve already met and connected with.”

Here’s an excellent video on setting up your profile page.

2. Set Up Your Company Page

Once you’ve established your profile, and have made some connections, it’s time to set up your company page. To set up a page, choose Companies from the Interests menu. On the left, you’ll see recent updates to company pages, and on the right, a button to create your own.

LinkedIn has a useful best practices page for company pages.

3. Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn has thousands of groups you can join, and allows you to join up to 50. If you don’t have time for even one group, let alone 50, consider that:

  • You can contact people directly in groups even if you’re not one of their connections; and
  • Groups help you to be found — if they’re open, you can be found on the Web too, so you might get a search rankings boost.

Groups can be members-only, or open. On an open group, you can share your updates to Twitter and Facebook. “Open” truly means open, because discussions can be viewed by anyone on the Web. This can benefit your search engine rankings.

4. Integrate LinkedIn With Your Marketing Activities

On LinkedIn, your options for marketing include:

  • Your profile page;
  • Your company page;
  • A blog (yes, you can blog on LinkedIn);
  • Groups.

Blogging on LinkedIn is simple. Go to your home feed, and click the pencil icon in the Share an Update field. You can add an image, and format your text as you can in any blog editor.

Tip: your LinkedIn blog is ideal for sharing and repurposing material you’ve posted on your own blog, or elsewhere.

Monitor LinkedIn Regularly

You can stay up to date with LinkedIn via the Pulse app, and can like and share content,  with your connections via LinkedIn Connected.

As with all social media networking you get out of it what you put into it.

So, is LinkedIn for you? If you’re a writer, certainly. the more contacts you have the better, and if you’re an author, ditto. LinkedIn offers many groups for self-publishers, so you can stay up to date with the latest news, and find connections for cover design, editing, and marketing your books.

Get started on LinkedIn, and check it out; you can form connections with past clients, and new ones.

Let’s connect on LinkedIn.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Low-Cost Marketing: 5 Creative Ways to Get Business With a Tiny Budget

Publicity

Marketing is essential for any business, but what if you don’t have a marketing budget? Never fear, you can do great things with tiny budget.

Let’s look at five creative ways.

1. Leverage Google with Google+ Local

Everyone searches with Google. If you haven’t yet joined Google+, do that now. The people who are searching for you and your products are in your local area, so your Google+ Local entry will get you business. Cost: zero, just the time it takes to create your entry.

Creating a Google+ Local page is easy. Google explains:

Local Google+ pages are unique from other categories of pages because they have features that allow customers to easily connect with that business’s physical location. For example, local pages include a map of the business’s location and feature its address, phone number, and hours of operation. Local pages also share the functionality of other Google+ pages – you can create and manage circles, start and join hangouts, and share content like posts and photos.

2. Network creatively

No, I’m not suggesting that you go to your local Chamber of Commerce meetings, although that couldn’t hurt.

Think about reciprocal marketing: you promote others, and they promote you.

Let’s say you own a pet shop. You can’t afford the rent in the high traffic streets in your town, so your business is on a side street. Reciprocal marketing would help you to get known.

Call on other local businesses, and introduce yourself. Watch for reciprocal opportunities. For example, you could promote your local veterinarians, and they could keep a stack of your business cards and flyers for their customers.

3. Get them talking – encourage word-of-mouth referrals

Think about ways you could encourage business referrals. If you’re in a service business, and have a client roster, give your clients a little something extra whenever they refer someone to you.

4. Go retro with paper: use personal letters and postcards

Think in terms of personal letters, rather than mass mailings. Everyone loves to receive letters. Yes, letters take time to write. However they do make an impact.

Recently one of my clients, a management consultant, landed a $25,000 contract which stemmed from a letter he wrote. The letter took him 30 minutes to write; time well spent.

5. Get publicity: PR always works

Many years ago when I was still a romance writer, I was working at a company which spent enormous sums on display ads in Sunday newspapers.

One day I wrote a press release and send it out to local media. That single press release had huge effect. Not only did the business get mentions in newspapers and magazines, a national magazine wrote a complete spread with photographs. Our boss did radio interviews as well as TV appearances.

That single press release had a bigger effect than pricey advertising ever did. It got the business known, and the business traded off that storm of publicity for years.

What’s newsworthy about your business? Publicity is much more valuable than advertising. If you can get press coverage, you’re golden.

These five low-cost marketing methods work for any business, and they work even if you have a tiny budget. Try them.

, and on Twitter: @angee

photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc