February 3, 2010

5 Easy Methods to Build Business through LinkedIn

It is nice to see how LinkedIn has managed to maintain their professional status amongst the social networks. Other networks such as Plaxo and user customized Ning communities have a tendency to turn into friend quarters. Being a friend quarter you have to compete against Facebook, Orkut, vKontakte or wer-kennt-wen which means you are probably dead.

But what is to earn from engaging in or letting your employees engage in LinkedIn. Personally I use LinkedIn when I want to find companies and people who can deliver online services to me when I have too much to do myself. If you have a business and work with YouTube, Social bookmarking promotion (quality, no quantity submission) or social platform development, then please connect to me here: Jesper Åström on LinkedIn

1. Professional pages & LinkedIn interaction ethics

Don’t be a retard and disallow your employees to register profiles on LinkedIn. If you have a good work environment then you don’t have to worry about all the recruiters roaming the LinkedIn sphere. Instead encourage all of them to register profiles and give them a LinkedIn “how to” guide. This way you ensure that they know how to work and how they will reflect your company values in this professional environment.

Your how to guide should include instructions on:

  1. Profile picture instructions
  2. Education level & Previous work
  3. What a description should include + the link to company website and anchor text they should use
  4. Good ways in which to make new contacts and how to contact unknown people
  5. What applications to add and what accounts to connect to them (company presentations, company blog etc.)
  6. Recommended groups they should join
  7. Amongst other things 😉

2. Company profile

Nothing makes less sense than if all of your employees use different names for the company they work for. Second to less sense is if you have a company profile that is badly produced. The simplest way you gain value from your employees activities on LinkedIn is when you put your brand name on their profile page. If your company profile that the brand name links to looks bad or lacks information, then your turnover from these kinds of activities will be much less than if you have a professional and thought through profile.

Good things to include in your Company profile:

  1. A link to your website (yes loads forget this)
  2. What business you are selling/buying
  3. Two sentence description of values
  4. Three sentence description of what separates you from the competition
  5. A good looking company logo in the correct resolution
  6. A press/sales contact person available through LinkedIn – this person SHOULD have a professional account so that they can see the leads just roaming around in their profile

On average, I get about 10 visits a week to my LinkedIn profile by potential clients. They are probably doing research about me or my company. Being an ad agency in Stockholm the potential value for each client is quite high. The professionalism a well executed LinkedIn setup communicates is at least worth the time it takes to set it up.

3. Using VIP Groups to Invite important people

A group on a topic that you are an expert on or you are selling your products in, can be of great use as an introduction tool.

  1. Create a group
  2. Introduce a discussion topic asking people to write a short presentation of themselves
  3. Give it a “VIP name” such as “Social Media Conversion Specialists”
  4. Invite some knowledgeable people from your sector – consultants or good people you already know
  5. Remind them to write a short presentation of themselves and ask them to promote some blog post they think is relevant for the group
  6. Make contact with the person you want to connect to
  7. Tell them that their expertize really would contribute to the knowledge base of the group

I promise you that if this person is in any way active on LinkedIn, they will at least respond to your inMail.

4. Q&A Section

The most time consuming yet effective way to engage clients on LinkedIn is to work throught the Q&A section. You can either work through asking “leading questions” or answer questions that interesting companies ask. Work with pace and with easy questions in the beginning, then move to more complex issues. Your goal with answering questions is to get someone to rate your answer as the best. That way you get the stars next to your name and the little “expert” emblem, giving you a higher authority than other users.

You’ll soon find out that the LinkedIn community works a lot like other communities. It requires an initial volume of hard work and hustle to get some reputation. Then the questions will come to you and you won’t have to search for them.

This is a good tactic on how to get there:

  1. Identify important people, and connect with them
  2. Put up a monitoring on the questions aimed at your section
  3. Invite people who ask questions to your “professional group on the topic”

Remember, as long as you build relationships of value you will gain a lot of trust. Even though you recommend a competitor. If you focus on your specialty then you will do great in the Q&A section where “best answers” count more than anything else.

5. Recruitment

There is no activity more spirited on LinkedIn than recruitment. You simply cannot miss the opportunity. Especially if you are recruiting to a larger business. There are several neat features on LinkedIn that you can use to identify a suitable employee for you.

  1. The best is when you want a person from a specific company. You just use the advanced search functionality. Search for people who have been listed to work at that company. You can then look at with what degree of separation you are away from this person making it easy for you to use a common connection to get introduced.
  2. If you know a bit less, but you know what competencies you want. Go fetch in the Q&A section or just search for that type of competence. Perhaps you have heard a specific name and you want to research their qualities. LinkedIn works extremely well for these kinds of check ups.
  3. One nice component of the profile are the recommendations. But don’t spend to much time looking at how many recommendations a person has. Look instead what the people that have written the recommendation has written. Most of the time it is in a positive context, so don’t expect to find the dirty stuff there. On the other hand you can quite quickly get an overview of the stronger sides of the persons profile you’re looking at.

There are several other ways to use LinkedIn for recuritment purposes. Basically it gives you a name, face and CV of a person before even having to make the initial contact. This can naturally be used by people coming to an interview as well. They can check you up and get prepared for what kind of answers you might like ;).

That’s all for this post on LinkedIn. Please ask questions or connect with me through the link on top.

//Jesper

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2 Comments
  • Nickolass Jensen, February 3, 2010 Reply

    Hi Jesper
    This is by far the best description on how to use LinkedIn that I've seen so far. After registering on LinkedIn Years ago, I have noticed that the targeted and professional use of LinkedIn has begun to get serious for Norwegian users as well. Now it's not only IT people listed, but all kinds of people - high and low. It's easy to become a part of a group if you spend some time on it. As in "real life".

    I have noticed that the event function is a very effective way for some norwegian webmarketing companies to attract participants and gain visibility. If you search for the norwegian terms for "social media monitoring" you get the event which is listed on LinkedIn with this headline on top. This is truly a well orchestrated social media and seo tactics.

    I find you writings very usefull and will off course connect in any way possible. I found it via a status message on LinkedIn from Christian Rudolf. If you wonder;-) I guess not...

    Greetings from danish guy doing both seo, sem and social media stuff in Norway;-)

    Mediakoordinator Nickolass Jensen (@nickolass)

  • Jesper Astrom, February 3, 2010 Reply

    Hey Nickolass,

    Thanks a lot for the great comment! Since Twitter came around people don't comment as much, or at least not in a way that contributes to the post.

    I agree! Events are truly strong if you have local connection to your market, or have some horizon on your planning.

    There are also a couple of "post news in others groups" tactics that really work for SEO and link building purposes that are connected to launching events.

    Once again. Thanks for helping me improve this post.


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