If you want to network with public relations professionals all over the globe, then clearly LinkedIn is the place to find them. Simply search the Group Directory for the terms “Public Relations” in “Professional Groups” and you will discover dozens of PAGES of potential groups to join.
I’ve chosen a half dozen of these groups to participate in and one of them is PrPro begun by British PR pro Louise Findlay-Wilson.
PrPro runs a range of online and offline events and training for those who want to learn how to make their business famous. This group provides a forum in Linkedin where people can share their PR experiences and ideas, ask questions, access the latest cutting edge PR know-how, interact with PrPro experts and with each other.
Louise and I frequently carry on conversations in the Discussion section of the group, so I asked her if she’d like to share her tips on using LinkedIn for Public Relations. Here is her great advice:
As a prolific Linkedin user I’m frequently asked how it should be used for PR. I always answer by first asking four questions:
Without the answers, your Linkedin and any other PR activity will not be planned and purposeful; you will waste your time and talent on things that won’t take your business where you want it to go.
To illustrate, let’s use the example of an imaginary ‘green’ office supplies business – Enviro Supplies.
What are you trying to achieve?
Increase sales to smaller businesses (SMEs) by 25% over the next year.
Who do you need to reach to achieve this?
SMEs and their advisors
What do you want them to do?
SMEs – Move from a non-green supplier to us
Advisors – recommend us
If they are going to do this, what must they think about your business?
Even greener SMEs are cost-conscious. They need to think an environmentally sound product can save them money too. Also they can’t afford to carry stock, so they need to know you can deliver anywhere in the country within 24 hours.
Your profile reflects these important messages:
Your website link in your profile continues to sell your benefits – For instance: Enviro Supplies – good for your profits and the environment.
You have a slideshare presentation that perhaps talks through the top ten money-saving ways to ‘green’ your office.
Ask a mix of customers, based all over the country to recommend you – thus promoting your national reach.
Join groups aimed at small businesses, advisors and environmental enthusiasts’
Identify prolific networkers in the groups. Join the conversations.
Identify relevant questions and show your expertise by answering them.
Ask questions – good way to show you’re customer orientated, and float ideas for (or even soft launch) products/services.
Once the dialogue is going ask the people involved if you can connect up.
Suggest books that help small businesses save money, be green etc This will communicate that you care about small businesses, you’re useful and on their wavelength.
Post comments/updates – relating to things you’ve read or seen, ask for views, share secrets and tips.
Identify organizations and influencers who may be reaching out to your prospective customers – check out the groups they are in, the shows they are going to,;this will help hone your connecting activity. When introduced to contacts of real value, where possible arrange to meet.
Ask your most influential contacts to suggest people you should be telling about your services – use Linkedin to research them and approach them.
All of this is PR, but there are other techniques to consider:
This briefly shows how important planning is when it comes to Linkedin. Fail to plan and you will not just be wasting your precious time, you will also be squandering its precious PR potential.