5 Ways To Be Engaging Leaders On LinkedIn

Most professionals do not have a LinkedIn marketing or social-selling strategy, let alone an online sales strategy that’s aligned to revenue objectives. If you want to be a sales and marketing leader you need to create a plan that will activate your LinkedIn connections. Think of LinkedIn as a professional social media network that you can use to connect, engage, drive demand and create lead opportunities.

Yet, strategy is the biggest difference between a sales or marketing team that drives demand and enjoys consistent revenue opportunities and one that just has a presence and lots of connections it does not engage with.

How you thought about these tactics?

  • After you make a connection, how do you follow up or build on that connection? Your goal should be to develop them into a lead.
  • Do you think about the content you are sharing or posting? The content should position and differentiate yourself.
  • What discussions are you creating? Will these discussions or conversations nurture your connection (or prospect) and provide value for to your business relationship? They should.
  • Have you thought about how to introduce your company and their content to your connection and move them from LinkedIn to your website?

Here are 5 strategies that sales and marketing leaders need to think about to be engaging on LinkedIn.

  1. Social Media Presence

First, review your LinkedIn profile. Did you consider your LinkedIn profile as a strategic tool? Your profile shouldn’t be a cover letter and a resume. You should be considering how to position yourselves as an expert in your field. The information on your profile should be interesting to your target connections, market and industries.

To convey your worth, find out what kind of value your prospects are looking for and optimize your LinkedIn profile to provide value to them. Your profile should be piquing interest and starting conversations with key decision-makers that lead to revenue opportunities.

  1. Thought Leadership

Don’t just use LinkedIn as a publishing platform. It is a good medium to push out content, but the content you are posting should be pulling your prospects in. You need to plan out what type of content you can provide that will convince decision-makers to contact you. The best way is to figure out the pain points that your target connections (and their companies) may be facing and what content you can provide that would position you as a thought leader. The goal is to have your connections take action.

  1. Targeted Connection Prospecting

Review your LinkedIn connections to see how many of them are “long-shots” or who could provide introductions or recommendations. Your connection prospecting strategy should define who your main and secondary prospects and influencers are, and it should include a plan to get them to respond to your communications. The goal should be to retain their attention, so you can provide value, develop the lead (or referral) and convert the lead into a client.

  1. Engagement

It’s not about how many connections you make or followers you have on LinkedIn or any other social media platforms. More accurately, it’s about how many people you reach and engage with. Engagement and providing value should be at the forefront of your LinkedIn strategy.

The best way to engage in social media is to create a community. In LinkedIn, you can create actual groups that you manage. Remember buyers are looking for quick access to trusted experts and relevant content that helps them with their business issues. Your custom, niche LinkedIn community is an effective way to give your buyers what they are looking for.

  1. Lead Generation and Engagement

Most of the prospects you connect with on social media (and LinkedIn) platforms don’t realize what value you could provide or why they need you. It’s best to develop a lead nurturing strategy for move your connections through a defined lead generation process. Nurturing these connections will provide them with value and will encourage them to reach out for additional information.

What you need:

  • A strategy to use your content (blogs, social media posts, case studies, whitepapers, third-party research, etc.) to support your business objectives.
  • Content that will engage and provide value. Think about the pain points that will address your target audience and connections’ needs.
  • A plan for how you will nurture your connections, prospects, leads and clients. How will you move them into your pipeline and get them to engage with you?

By developing an integrated marketing strategy you will be able to create a funnel that will provide value and lead opportunities in the future.

7 Tips to Create (or Optimize) a Great LinkedIn Business Page

Simply put, LinkedIn is a professional social media platform that has been steadily growing in popularity and use, especially for search, business networking, hiring, referrals, leads and even financing. If you haven’t made a business LinkedIn business page, you’re missing out. If you have already have a business LinkedIn page for your business you should review it and optimize it.

Luckily you can probably use these recommendations on your other social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) as well. Here are 7 tips to help you create (or optimize) a great LinkedIn business page.

  1. Branding

Make sure your branding is aligned with your company and overall marketing strategy. If someone is discovering you first through your LinkedIn page, they should be able to know and understand what your company is about. Make sure your images are sized correctly, not distorted and speak to your target audience. Also, include links to your company website.

  1. Showcase your products & services

On the Products & Services page, testimonials and recommendations are highlighted prominently. This will have a direct impact on the number of Linked members who’ll end up visiting your website. Encourage customers to recommend your products and services here as well.

  1. Make your page engaging

Optimize your LinkedIn company page content so it speaks not only about what you company does, but also what your customers will be searching for. Include keywords or buzzwords and make sure that the content provides value to readers.

If your business operation spans multiple locations, you may want to list all of them. LinkedIn allows visitors’ location as a search criterion to narrow down results. You can add up to five different locations to your page. Also, consider including a short video (30 seconds) summarizing your company and it’s offerings. A well-made and appropriately branded video can encourage many to “follow” or engage with your company.

  1. Use advertisements to drive traffic (and page views)

The advertising options provided by LinkedIn are definitely worth checking out. InMail, Display Advertising and Sponsored Posts will help you build a large follower base effectively and affordably. The advertisement can be targeted by job title, location, and many other options.

  1. Use and measure analytics (a.k.a. Insights)

LinkedIn Insights will help you track the success of your page and improve it This includes impressions per post, user engagement, follower demographics, audience insights, etc. It also connects to promoting your page (#4) and will help you optimize your targeted posts and determine return-on-investment (ROI).

  1. Add LinkedIn buttons to your site and collateral

Social plugins are a great way to quickly share your content on various social media platforms. In addition to getting your content shared, you could also drive visitors from your website toward your LinkedIn business page. You can select recommend, follow, endorse, or share buttons on your site to drive traffic to your business page. Think about where you will place them on your website and choose the best one to achieve your objective. You should also place your LinkedIn logo (vector image) on your digital assets (website) as well as your marketing collateral (brochures, PowerPoints, business cards, etc.). That being said you should do this for all of your social networks.

  1. Update regularly and be social

Your objective is (or should be) to engage you audience and give your brand as much positive awareness as you can. Keep your page and audience updated regularly. Post information, comments, and tips on a regular basis. When you share information, keep in mind the professional demographic. You can even consider creating a LinkedIn group for your company (internal and/or external).

Are You Mobile Marketing? Here Are 4 Tips To Help.

If you missed the memo, marketing has gone mobile. ComScore reports that more than 1.8 billion people worldwide use mobile devices and this includes your customers. Customers (and potential clients) are using smartphones and tablets to find information about your company (and your competitors). 48% of Internet searches begin on mobile devices. Basically if you haven’t thought about your mobile marketing strategy, you’re already missing out. You need to be in the mobile marketplace if you want to be seen as a relevant leader in your respective industry.

Entrepreneur has a few statistics you should probably consider:

  • 99% use mobile devices to search for valuable content and information
  • 63% of all Internet access is from mobile devices
  • 62% of users access email from mobile devices
  • 15% make purchases from mobile devices

Here are my 4 tips to help you improve your mobile marketing.

1. Have a Mobile Friendly and Responsive Website

This is a must-have. You need a website that is mobile friendly/responsive and loads fast for mobile viewing. Include relevant informations and ensure your mobile website is easily accessible and navigable with clear links and user-friendly icons.

2. Mobile Relevant Articles and Content

Your website needs to have a mix of dynamic (topical content in the form of blogs) and static (About Us, Services, Products, etc.) content. Potential clients search for more than just what your company does. There needs to be a value exchange when developing useful, mobile-friendly content.

3. Be Social

When visitors find great content on their mobile devices they want to share it quickly and easily with others on their social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.). Be sure to include social media icons on all of your web-based marketing.

4. App- Centric

Consumers spend more than half their mobile time using mobile applications. I am not saying that all companies need a mobile app, but you need to consider how your website, content and marketing is presented within other mobile apps – for example Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You should also have a presence on the popular social media networks, with branded pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, etc.  Ensure that the profiles on these sites are complete, up-to-date and provide relevant information.

The Top 5 Ways to Use Social Media for Branding

A brand can help you (and your name) stand out from the crowd. There are many ways to brand and social media is one you should use. Your ability to use social media for branding will greatly depend on having a clear underlining fundamental understanding of social branding concepts.

Benefits of using Social Media for Branding:

  • Virtually Free
  • Wide Audience Base
  • Comprehensive Multimedia support
  • Massive untapped potential

 

1) Facebook Fan Page

Facebook Fan Pages are amongst the best social media tools for branding simply because it has amazing potential to build a great fan following for your business. There’s no other social network in the world with over 1.15 billion active users, 16 billion pieces of content, 11 million active pages and almost 60 million users becoming fans of Facebook Pages each day.

2) Twitter

What can 140 characters of text do to establish your brand? A lot! Twitter is a great brand for building a reputation. You can reach out to millions of prospect customers with a few twitter clicks. You can access twitter from your computer, your phone – from the twitter website or through any of the thousands apps available for twitter. Twitter allows you to start conversations with like-minded peers/ prospects, share valuable news and information, build your audience, stay connected with latest events and finally build and monitor your own brand and reputation.

3) LinkedIn

LinkedIn is known for its networking capabilities. It’s very important that you take advantage of that. Start by adding people you know to your network. Then, when you’ve built up a good-sized network, you can start to see people from your friends’ networks. It’s a great way to interact with and meet people who could be crucial to your industry or business.

LinkedIn allows you to participate in conversations, which gives you a great opportunity to be a voice for your industry and show how much of an expert you are. Join some groups that relate to your niche and get in on the conversation. This will also help you to network with people in your niche.

4) YouTube

Most customers like to see brands in action rather than go by word of mouth. YouTube offers a great way where you can show videos of how your brand works and how you’re superior than your competitors. Create your own branded channel on YouTube and see the world of difference that it makes to your online audience.

5) Blog

I love to read about a brand before I get associated with it. In today’s modern age, many consumers think alike and are keen to spend some time reading about brands before they commit to them. A blog is a great place to showcase your brand. Coupled with SEO and smart tags, blogs are a great way to establish your brand online. Blogs help spread brand-awareness as well as serve as a great medium to educate users about the details of a brand and business.

Content Marketing 101

In business, especially professional services, relationships and referrals are the key to business development. While personal referrals will also continue to play a major role in business development, according to HubSpot, 43% of all marketers have found a customer via LinkedIn in 2013. It took a few years for content marketing to catch on in the realm of professional services, but today a good content marketing strategy involves producing and distributing material that is valuable and interesting to your target audiences. Hopefully you are part of the 23% of marketers that HubSpot stated are investing in blogging and social media in 2013—a 9% increase from 2012.

Benefits of Content Marketing

  1. Affordable. 
  2. Improves your search results and indexing. 
  3. Fosters prospect nurturing.
  4. Drives content efficiency. 

The Content Marketing Model

  1. Create content that is important to your target audiences (e.g. blog posts, articles, whitepapers, webinars, videos, books, etc.).
  2. Promote content through social media, presentations, email marketing, etc.
  3. Convert readers by providing free access to your content, but request at least their email address.
  4. Engage through phone consultations, meetings, assessments, and demonstrations. Be consistent with your ability to demonstrate your (or your company’s) knowledge and expertise.

The Must-Haves in Content Marketing

  1. Plan ahead – have a content manager and a calendar.
  2. Tailor your content marketing strategy to focus on your buyer personas and target market. If it doesn’t interest your clients or prospects then you have missed the point.
  3. Explore a variety of mediums (e.g. text, images, video, infographics, etc.)
  4. Be transparent. Channel your enthusiasm and showcase your company’s culture! 

LinkedIn Recommendations

1.       Update your photo

LinkedIn is increasing focus on you profile photo. This means you need to have a photo, and a professional, likable one at that.  

2.       Refresh your summary

The summary section is the place to discuss your biggest accomplishments. It is also important to note that the summary section is much more prominent. If you haven’t filled out a summary yet, write one. If you wrote one last year, update it. Because of the reduced size of the top box, your summary is now above the fold; thus more important, especially the first few sentences.

3.       Work on your headline

Because the amount of information in your top box has been reduced, the remaining information is more important than ever, including your headline. The 120-character headline is one of the best spots on your profile to explain you and your brand. If the job title is relevant, include it in the headline.

4.       Eliminate the 2012/2011 ‘buzzwords’

According to LinkedIn they are: creative, organizational, effective, extensive experience, track record, motivated, innovative, problem solving, communication skills, dynamic. Also avoid: results oriented, team player, self-starter, multitasking.

5.       Showcase your latest volunteering experience

Demonstrate and document your personal side. What you do out of the office says a lot and employers or work connections can get a sense of you as a person by reading about how you spend your time. Update your volunteer info with new information.

6.       Strengthen your skills list

The Skills section is new and one of the great ways to provide on overview of the skills you poses. These can be professional and directly related to your current job, or from volunteering positions.

7.       Try an endorsement

To go along with Skills, LinkedIn has added a new feature called Endorsements. Give some endorsements and see who’s endorsed you (those faces by your skills).

8.       List all your jobs and skills

One of the ways you are found is through searches on company names or schools.  If you are only listing your current company and/or not even displaying your college, you are missing out on potentially being found.  For every job listed, you definitely need a job description.  Job descriptions provide you with the opportunity to describe your work experience and add keywords.

9.       Get a new recommendation

Lists of recommendations that span months or even years are impressive. A recommendation from executives in your industry or at your company is the best.

10.   Treat “contact information” like a business card

All your contact information is now summarized, nicely, in the top box and opens after a person clicks the Contact Info tab right next to the picture of the index card. Be sure to include all the ways you want people to contact you by: websites, Twitter, email, phone, IM, and your address.  

11.   Consider that website addresses are harder to find

The websites included on your profile (you can list up to three) have been moved to the Contact Info section and as a result you may want to mention your website(s) in your summary and/or job descriptions. Creating a company LinkedIn page can also help.  LinkedIn gives you the ability to list three websites on your profile – take advantage of this. Do you have a Twitter profile or another social media profile that you want to advertise, a company website, or a blog?

12.   Own and run a company? Start a LinkedIn company page

Company pages are a great way to promote your business and reach out to the professional networks on LinkedIn. Learn more here.

13.   Clean out your old groups and add new ones

Groups can be one of the best ways to expand your network. Having a group in common gives you a good way to break the ice with helpful professional contacts.

14.   Follow companies

LinkedIn rolled out company pages in 2012 and you can follow you favorite companies now. When you follow a company on LinkedIn, you can learn about job openings and become seen by commenting on news in the company’s activity stream.

15.   Want to advertise to professionals? LinkedIn Ads may be for you!

LinkedIn also offers various online advertising through LinkedIn. Benefit from targeting a specific audience, controlling your spend and reaching professionals. Click here for more information.