March 5, 2010 Michael Bickerton
You signed up for LinkedIn 2 years ago and have done little to nothing with it since. You have noticed lately that more of your business associates are sending you invitations to link with them, but what is this all about anyway? You probably know you can look up contacts: find gigs, attract talent, sell products, expand your networks, grow your business and gain free publicity, but what else can you do with LinkedIn? Here is a list of how we are seeing people use it effectively:
1. Expand your network by joining industry and alumni groups related to your business.
2. Listen until you get a feel for the conversation and then engage in these communities and share your experiences and ideas.
3. Research a prospect before meeting them. Or find out who can influence a job you want.
4. Follow Questions & Answers until you get a feel for it – then ask questions and provide answers in order to find out what customers and prospects want or think and let them know what they can count on your for.
5. Earn online trust by completing your entire profile including links to your recent work. Don’t be shy – brag a little or a lot.
6. Use polls to do market research and gain knowledge. Then generously share survey and poll results with your contacts.
7. Put your LinkedIn URL on all your marketing materials, including business cards, email signature, email newsletters, websites and brochures.
8. Cross-link your status updates with your other social media accounts such as Slideshare, Facebook and Twitter.
9. Use the search feature to find people by company, industry and city.
10. Create a group or fan page for your product, brand or business.
11. Share useful white papers, articles and resources that will be of interest to your contacts.
12. Be subtle – educate rather than sell. Resist the hard-sell tactics from the past.
13. Write and post honest and valuable recommendations for your contacts.
14. Request a LinkedIn recommendation from happy customers or other contacts such as previous co-workers, bosses or past clients.
15. When you are going to Denver, try to meet your Denver contacts and catch up in person.
16. Ask your first-level contacts for introductions to their first-level contacts so you can find new clients.
17. Log on several times a week so you know what’s happening in your communities.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5, 2010