Is This How YOU Use LinkedIn?

Filed in Guest Post , LinkedIn 17 comments

Does LinkedIn “work” for you?

The sad truth is that it probably does not . . . because you haven’t learned the power of this online business networking platform.

More “LinkedIn Truths” are continually revealed to me by (a) reading articles from experts, (b) putting their advice into action, and (c) being amazed by what evolves. I’m hooked on the power of LinkedIn, and so is Arik C. Hanson, named one of the top 100 PR people worth following on Twitter by Valeria Maltoni and one of the top 50 PR professionals to follow on Twitter by Everything PR. Arik has more than 14 years of experience in marketing, communications and PR. His blog Communications Conversations is one I subscribe to and read on a regular basis [note subscribing and reading can be vastly different].

Arik’s most recent blog post discussed the opportunity to use LinkedIn as a strategic marketing tool to start and foster long-term relationships that can eventually lead to meaningful business down the road.

How?

read on . . .

How to use LinkedIn for strategic marketing

Guest Post by Arik C. Hanson

Think about how the following process might play out for your B2B organization:

* Make a list and check it twice. Start by making a list of all the potential companies you’d like to target. Whittle that down to your top 50.

* Focus your search. Using the company search function, find each company and identify 4-5 people who might be either decision makers or purchase influencers in your specific industry or field.

* Introductions, please. Next, look for folks who can introduce you to these people. Using the “Get introduced through a connection” function, you can approach these folks in a non-threatening, informal way. Write a personal note to your connection asking them for the introduction. Then, paste in a note you’d like them to pass along to the person you’d like to meet. Keep it informal and breezy:

Hello. My name is Arik Hanson and I’m the principal of ACH Communications, a consultancy focused on helping brands become digitally relevant. I’m hoping we can connect here on LinkedIn. Seems we might have some shared interests, common colleagues and similar ideas around digital PR and online marketing.

* The art of the follow up. When/if they respond, make sure to follow-up with another short note. This time, be sure to give them some free, relevant information. Preferably, a blog post you recently wrote or an article you found interesting that they might, too. You’re just trying to start the relationship here, so you want to prove you’re there to help and you care about their best interests–not yours.

Keep your radar up. Send these folks a private message on LinkedIn every once in a while. Again, stick with blog posts you’ve written or industry articles you think they might find interesting. Not to beat a dead horse, but this will prove you care and that you’re genuinely out to help them–not you.

Nurture the relationship. After a few weeks–even a month or so, send them more pointed information about your organization and how you might be able to help them. Not a sales call–just more targeted information. Could be a blog post. Could be an invite to a local event. Heck, maybe it’s an invite to coffee (if they’re local). At this point, you should have a bit of trust built up with them–start to explore where that can go.

Facilitate new connections. Finally, look for other folks in your network that your new contact might benefit by meeting. Obviously, you don’t want to connect them with competitors, but what about other people in similar positions at other organizations? Could they benefit by meeting that person and learning how they handle certain common challenges and situations? Might not seem like big value for you, but believe me, there’s a lot of upside in being the connector/facilitator. Just ask Keith Ferrazzi.

I’ll be honest, this approach probably isn’t for everyone. It’s time-intensive and take a lot of care and feeding. But, I do believe, if done right, it can have substantial pay off. After all, relationships are the bedrock the B2B sales process, right?

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   30 September 2010
Tags : , ,
Comments
Sep 30, 2010
7:09 pm

Thanks for sharing this. Excellent, useful tips. Very actionable and I can see how this could work in a powerful way. Thanks.

Author Sep 30, 2010
8:41 pm

Darlene, glad you got the opportunity to see Arik’s tips.
🙂

Oct 1, 2010
12:15 am
#3 Ari Herzog :

There is a fault with the “Get introduced through a connection” option because the standard free LI account includes 5 of those to be used at once; and if anyone in the chain takes their time to do their part, you won’t be able to send more until the outstanding ones complete.

You can get faster results by sending them connection requests and short bits of information why you seek that connection. Use the “other” option and type in their email address (which is usually Google-able), or mark a group you share.

It’s hard work either way. But hard work pays off.

Author Oct 1, 2010
12:24 am

Ari, THX for the clarification. Do you advise people to opt for the Paid Version of LinkedIn? Many people think that the premium membership will allow them to see who has checked their profile. The problem is that if any LinkedIn member sets high privacy options, then even the paid membership will not reveal their identity.

Oct 1, 2010
12:41 am
#5 Ari Herzog :

You are wasting your money to pay for a paid membership. The caveat is if you’re a recruiter/HR person and your goal is to build databases. Everything else can be found with traditional guerrilla tactics.

Author Oct 1, 2010
12:47 am

Agreed
🙂

Oct 1, 2010
9:36 am
#7 Louise Findlay-Wilson :

Great article, really useful. I agree with the comments too. I’m a big Linkedin fan and think it offers real benefits when used with a gameplan in mind.

Author Oct 1, 2010
9:07 pm

Louise, I love LinkedIn, and it seems that I am continually benefiting from the info and relationships. Do you use the Q & A section? I like to post questions, but I know many others who spend a great deal of time answering questions AND finding clients!

Oct 4, 2010
1:40 pm

Hi Shari,

Awesome post on LinkedIn! I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn and next Twitter, this is where I’m most active in groups. Not only posting your blog posts that are relevant and useful but also joining the conversations go a long way in furthering the connection.

Thanks for sharing!

Janette Stoll

Author Oct 4, 2010
1:53 pm
#10 Shari Weiss :

Our next step is to connect directly on LinkedIn and see how we can help one another. 🙂

Oct 4, 2010
10:52 pm
#11 Steve Starr :

Thanks for sharing Arik’s post. His most relevant comment for me is “Focus your search.” It’s not useful for me to waste my time or someone else’s on something they don’t want or need. If I can see the need for my service, I don’t hesitate to contact them. This pre-qualification works well for me and often those I talk with recognize they do need something I have to offer.

Author Oct 4, 2010
10:57 pm
#12 Shari Weiss :

Steve, I’m glad you focused on the SEARCH tip. Everywhere I turn, I see something new talking about the critical role of Search in online communication.

Oct 5, 2010
8:57 am
#13 Worob :

Probably my favorite social community. Good article.

@Worob
PR at Sunrise – worob.com

Oct 6, 2010
8:44 pm

Thanks for sharing that Shari. Linkedin is something I have really not focused on. I’ll take a closer look into it thanks to your post.

Michael

Author Oct 6, 2010
9:49 pm
#15 Shari Weiss :

Great idea, Michael. Check many of the articles in the category LinkedIn Basics. Lots of good info there.
🙂 Let me know if you have any specific questions.

Oct 15, 2010
6:37 pm

Thank you for this article. I use LinkedIn but I have so much more to learn to maximize it’s value. There is huge potential with LinkedIn to make connections you normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to.

Author Oct 15, 2010
6:57 pm
#17 Shari Weiss :

THanks for checking in, Juniper. LinkedIn becomes more and more useful to me as I discover new features all the time! Hope the LinkedIn articles help. Try the one to maximize your profile. That one has been my Number One most popular post.

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