Planning Your PR Strategy Using LinkedIn

Filed in Guest Post , LinkedIn , Sharisax Is Out There 16 comments

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:

The Power of Planning on Linkedin

by Louise Findlay-Wilson

As a prolific Linkedin user I’m frequently asked how it should be used for PR.  I always answer by first asking four questions:

  1. What are you trying to achieve as a business?
  2. Who do you need to reach to achieve this?
  3. What do you want that audience to do?
  4. If they are going to do this, what must they think about your business?

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.

The Theory in Action

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.

So what does this mean for your LinkedIn strategy?

Profile

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.

Groups

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.

Activity

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.

People

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.

Publicity

All of this is PR, but there are other techniques to consider:

  • Put a relevant poll on Linkedin to do with the environment and small businesses. Ask everyone you know to take part. Publicise the outputs
  • Organize appropriate events – perhaps based on your slideshare presentation and invite your Linkedin contacts. Also promote your events in your groups
  • Ask for views, quotes or experiences that can be used to add substance to your news releases and features

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.

Louise Findlay-Wilson,
Creator PrPro,
Twitter @louisefw
louise@prpro.co.uk
www.prpro.co.uk
For more FREE pr tips from Louise visit http://bit.ly/c1TS1U

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   17 October 2010
Tags : , , , ,
Comments
Oct 18, 2010
8:35 am

LinkedIn is an amazing site to build professional relationships. You’ve put together a detailed post on how to use LI for PR purposes. Utilizing groups is really powerful as you can message anyone once you’re a member of the group.

Regards,
Mike

Author Oct 18, 2010
9:26 am

Mike, what are some of your favorite LinkedIn groups . . . and why?

Oct 22, 2010
11:16 pm

Shari,
This is a GREAT post, thank you so much. I’ve been on LinkedIn for awhile, but haven’t really been sure how to use it. As a psychotherapist promoting my couples and relationship work, I’ve networked with other therapists and joined those type of groups, but none of that creates referrals.
Thanks for giving me something new to think about,
Adam

Author Oct 23, 2010
12:18 am

Hi Adam,
First off, I loved your last blog post and posted a comment on it, but I’m wondering why my Last Post didn’t show up on your Comment Luv.

Re: your comment on this post, you may want to check out my category LINKEDIN BASICS: http://sharisax.com/category/linkedin-basics/
I checked out your LinkedIn profile and it is pretty good, but there are two ways that you could improve it: (1) in the headline and (2) the summary. You will find suggestions on those two sections in the article on Tweaking Your Profile.

“See you around” the blogosphere.

Oct 23, 2010
10:19 am

Adam..really pleased you liked the post.

Author Oct 23, 2010
10:41 am

Louise, I have a discussion topic for your LinkedIn group I’m about to post.
🙂

Oct 23, 2010
2:29 pm

I have a question about LinkedIn – Suppose one has followed a career in … let’s say … environmental engineering. His/her LinkedIn profile is full of engineering credentials, recommendations, and group memberships. Meanwhile the same person begins an at home business selling nutritional MLM products. So the individual has two personnas, and is reluctant to injure any professional connections gained through years of contacts with colleagues and customers. Can one’s reputation in one industry be hurt by a profile showing a lot of activity in another industry. Might it be better to *not* connect with everyone from various parts of one’s business life at one social site? What would another environmental engineer think of the individual’s role as an engineer if all (or half) of the LinkedIn group memberships showing on the profile were about network marketing?

Author Oct 23, 2010
6:24 pm

Richard, the value of social media stems from the understanding that the New Normal means People Do Business with People, not Organizations. And the “beauty” of people is that they can be well-rounded with lots of diverse experiences, all of which can contribute to a great person to go to for products and services.

Re: your specific question about those who are now becoming entrepreneurs with home-based MLM businesses — It would seem to be that a person in such a new venture would want to have as many people as possible [in his sphere of influence] know about this new business, and that the trust/relationship would carry over. Does that make sense?

Oct 23, 2010
3:22 pm

Great post Sheri!

After digging into Linkedin as much as I possibly could for the last few month because of the speaking engagements I am booked for, I continue to learn interesting and innovative ways to utilize LI’s benefits.

The one largest power LI has and why EVERYONE who is serious about their PR online is the search engine credibility. When you Google your name what do you find?

Also, how can you be found on LI? Cracking to code of how to get ranked within the internal searches was the coolest thing I have learned so far. It is all wide open!

Thanks for sharing!

Have a great day!

Joe

Oct 25, 2010
2:14 pm
#10 Paul Klaszus :

Shari – thanks for this post. I haven’t used LinkedIn very much – I sometimes get intimidated by the many facets available there. With all the Facebook and Twitter BizInABox programs out there, where could one go to get the low-down on LI?

Thanks! -oooo.. never mind all that.. You got categories dedicated to that.. LOL On my way!

Oct 26, 2010
3:27 pm

Hi Shari,

Fantastic list on LI tips! Next to Twitter, LI is my go-to site. I love the smaller groups but more targeted to my audience.
There are so many groups to join and like Twitter, check out the group, watch, and then jump in and start conversing by commenting and so forth.

Thank you for sharing!

Janette Stoll

Author Oct 26, 2010
6:35 pm
#12 Shari Weiss :

Janette, my Guest Poster for this article has a group on LinkedIn PRpro. You might check it out. She does Friday afternoon PR clinics for Q & A. Lots and lots of wonderful info . . . out there, and hopefully we will make great use of it.

Oct 27, 2010
3:39 am

Shari…thanks for mentioning my PrPro Group on Linkedin. Just to pick up on it, incase your many followers are interested to know more, it is for entrepreneurs, business owners or those tasked with handling PR for their company, who want gain new PR ideas, insights, pick up fresh tips and so forth. You can of course ask questions via the Friday afternoon PR clinic. There’s lots of idea sharing between members which is superb..it’s also a great place to network with other businesses – we have well over 300 members so you guys could make some useful new contacts too.

Oct 27, 2010
10:06 pm

Shari and Louise,
Thanks for sharing such valuable information and insights into so many different ways to utlize Linked In for Pr. I am involved in several professional sites and listserves, but then I just get oo busy to focus on them all and have to let some go for awhile. How does one keep up with all that this post suggests – and still see clients and have a life?
Erica

Nov 2, 2010
12:40 am
#15 Chuck Balcher :

Great Post. You’re really the go to web site, for those wishing to stay ahead of the social media curve. I’m back, after a break, to view your posts to see what I missed. Thanks Shari.

Author Nov 2, 2010
12:45 am
#16 Shari Weiss :

THX Chuck, I’ll give you a call
🙂

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