While much of the social media buzz over the last couple of years has been about Facebook, the leading professional social network, LinkedIn, has just gotten on with business.
Now, more and more business people are starting to ask about marketing through LinkedIn, and whether it’s a good idea for their organisation.
Here are some of the most frequently-asked questions:
Q. Why should I bother about LinkedIn? Isn’t it just for B2B?
A. The motivations for developing an effective presence on LinkedIn are many and varied, but here are just a few:
- Build Personal and Corporate Credibility. Before someone decides to accept an appointment request from you, or approach you about a business opportunity, they’ll first check out you and your company on LinkedIn. Research shows that 40 percent of everyone you meet will try to check you out online. 93 percent focus on LinkedIn, 66 percent use Facebook, and 54 percent recruit via Twitter.
- Get Referrals. Most of us have sales responsibilities (in one form or another, even if the word Sales isn’t in our job title. It’s much easier to get a sympathetic hearing within an organisation if you already know someone there. The LinkedIn system enables you to quickly identify who you know who works for an organisation (or who knows someone who works there).
- Make Sales. 61% of B2B organisations and 39% of B2C companies have successfully acquired customers via LinkedIn, according to HubSpot.
- Build your network. LinkedIn provides an opportunity like never before to meet and collaborate with people who you would likely not meet any other way. The talent pool available to question, poll, and request advice from is almost overwhelming. LinkedIn’s 3-tiered network gives you access to your connections’ connections whenever you search for someone with particular skills, and the reverse is also true, so a strong LinkedIn presence can get you noticed when a friend’s friend is searching for someone who does exactly what you offer.
- Demonstrate your capabilities. This is not the place to be humble. A strong LinkedIn profile can lead to jobs, project work, speaking engagements, and new vendor relationships.
- Display public references. This is an opportunity to prove that you are actually capable of all the wonderful things you claim on your profile. These credibility boosters are also instantly accessible references for a potential employer to read, which may give you an added push to the top of the applicant pile.
- Build your personal brand. You already have a brand, which is how people feel about you. It’s the public’s sum total of all their experiences with you. LinkedIn provides a terrific opportunity to bring your brand online, reinforcing what people already think of you professionally and revealing it to an expanded network.
- Increase traffic to your website and blog. LinkedIn provides many opportunities to drive traffic to your website and blog. You can start by adding links within your profile, but don’t forget about adding them to your signature whenever you post a comment to a discussion item within a group or answer a question. You can also post a link to a new blog post as a status update and within relevant groups. In addition, you can add links to your website and blog from your company’s profile, and you can use the companies component to add exclusive offers that link to custom landing pages on your website or blog.
- Position you as an expert. LinkedIn provides opportunities to demonstrate your expertise in ways that don’t make you appear as a pompous, egotistic fool. By answering questions, contributing to discussions, and always being helpful and friendly, you can raise your professional credibility and stature. This can lead to media interviews and other opportunities.
- High Authority Link Juice. If you have a profile on LinkedIn and it has been filled out completely, then when you type in your name, or the name of your business on Google, your LinkedIn profile will more than likely come up on page one. Now, If you participate in the community, and you leave recommendations for others with your signature, business name, and web address, you will have high authority links pointing back to your web presence from each and every one of those posts you leave.
- Social Proof. If you spend a little time visiting other businesses on LinkedIn and leaving recommendations, you will be able to ask for recommendations in return. When people come to visit your LinkedIn profile and see 6, 12, or 20 recommendations from other professionals, what do you think this will do for your business, you, and your overall reputation?
Q. Does LinkedIn matter for Kiwi businesses?
A. New Zealand now boasts 707,696 LinkedIn members, according to SocialBakers. LinkedIn usage has more than doubled over the last twelve months (UMR Research), going from 12% to 29% of Kiwis online. Despite that growth, the 2012 MYOB Business Monitor shows that just 17 percent of New Zealand businesses use LinkedIn to network with business colleagues and/or clients. That spells opportunity — you can be marketing through LinkedIn ahead of your competitors.
Q. Is My Industry On LinkedIn?
A. Virtually every industry is, naturally with some represented in larger volumes than others. Industries represented globally on LinkedIn, in order of popularity, include:
7. Consumer Goods
Although Company Pages are a relatively new addition to LinkedIn (so listed NZ business numbers are still small), these are the numbers of Kiwi companies listed on LinkedIn, for the Top Ten Industry Sectors:
Q. What are the latest LinkedIn Stats?
A. Samantha Collier just shared these numbers:
- LinkedIn has over 175 million members globally as of October 16, 2012. To put this in perspective, LinkedIn had only 32 million members in January of 2009
- Users are joining LinkedIn at 2 members per second
- LinkedIn is expecting to reach 5 billion professional searches in 2012
- There are over 1 million groups on LinkedIn. These groups contain between 2 and 250,000 members
- The mobile version of LinkedIn is its fastest growing service
- The LinkedIn mobile app had 12 options in 2011 and approximately 1 million users. In 2012, LinkedIn cut the number of options down to 4 and they saw an increase in the number of users from 10% to 23%
- There are over 28 people searched on the mobile app per second
- Over 75,000 developers are using LinkedIn’s API’s in their own products and services
- LinkedIn gets over 2 billion network updates viewed weekly
- There are over 175 thousand new LinkedIn profiles created every day
- There were 3 billion searches on LinkedIn as of September, 2012
- Over 25 million LinkedIn profiles are viewed every day
- There are over 2 million LinkedIn Company Pages on LinkedIn
- Over 1 million publishers have implemented the LinkedIn share button on their sites
- Recently, 150 thought leaders were requested to create articles for LinkedIn on various topics. These individuals consisted of 1 Nobel Prize Winner, members with over 2 million followers, 1 McArthur Genius, 29 New York Times best seller book authors, all from 11 countries
- There are over 10 million endorsements provided on LinkedIn everyday
- There has been over 200% more social interactions since the LinkedIn homepage was redesigned
Whew! That pretty much covers the questions commonly asked about LinkedIn.
If, after all that, you’ve decided that LinkedIn is a professional social network you should know more about, please keep reading for details of our How To Use LinkedIn Effectively online training course.
How To Use LinkedIn Effectively – For Your Business And Your Career
As we noted above, New Zealand now boasts 707,696 LinkedIn members. Yet far too many of those Kiwi members simply don’t know how to use LinkedIn effectively to promote themselves or their organisations.
In response to this need, we’ve developed a course that will show you how to use LinkedIn to best advantage, taking account of the various developments being rolled out regularly by the LinkedIn team.
About the Course
This is a seven-part eCourse providing a comprehensive introduction to LinkedIn, from the basics to detailed instructions on how to use LinkedIn to promote your organisation, build your personal reputation, find a job, recruit staff and even make sales.
This eCourse is conducted on a web-based e-learning software platform, enabling course participants to proceed at their own pace, accessing materials online. This particular eCourse provides content in a variety of multimedia forms, including videos, slideshows, flash-based presentations and PDF files. No special software is required to participate.
Course lessons will be provided in seven parts, for participants to access in accordance with their own timetables.
COURSE CREATION AND TUTORING
This “How to use LinkedIn Effectively” programme has been created and is tutored by ye editor, Michael Carney.
WHO SHOULD TAKE THE “HOW TO USE LINKEDIN EFFECTIVELY” COURSE
Any business professional who wants to master LinkedIn, whether to further their own career or to develop their business presence on the world’s leading professional network.
Lesson One: How To Set Yourself Up Effectively On LinkedIn
You’re probably one of the seven hundred thousand Kiwis who already have a profile on LinkedIn — but is it just a transplanted CV? We show you how to turn your basic profile into a living, selling document that:
- showcases your unique talents and experience to best advantage
- reinforces your personal brand with a compelling headline that’s the first thing any visitor will see
- highlights your achievements, not just your history
- provides a platform for your future success
Lesson One also covers:
- The most effective ways to ask for recommendations and endorsements
- How to use the principle of Reciprocity to sharpen your profile
- Trojan Horse Marketing and how it can really work for you
- How to claim your name on LinkedIn (and why it matters)
- How to optimize your profile for SEO
- How to use LinkedIn’s Mobile Apps and how you can ensure that your profile stands out on every platform
- The power of an effective profile summary
- How to re-shape your profile to make it sizzle (and show off your best bits)
Lesson Two: How To Use LinkedIn For Business
Once you have your own personal profile up and sizzling, it’s time to turn your attention to your organisation (especially if you operate in the B2B space). LinkedIn has surpassed Twitter as the most popular social medium for distributing B2B content, with 83% of B2B marketers using LinkedIn to promote their organisations. So where do you begin? We start with Company Pages (which were recently redesigned to make it easier for LinkedIn users to find, follow and engage with companies of interest).
Topics covered in Lesson Two include:
- How to use LinkedIn Banner Images to showcase your company brand and really bring your page to life
- How to attract keen followers to your company pages (and what that does for your organisation’s visibility on LinkedIn)
- What you can now say about your company’s products and services
- How to harness social proof to best effect
- Why you must make your updates valuable, relevant and interesting (and what that really means)
Lesson Three: How To Use LinkedIn To Find A Job
You’ve probably heard that LinkedIn is very useful when you’re looking for a new job — but where do you start?
In Lesson Three, we talk about:
- How to use LinkedIn to get the word out that you’re in the market
- How to polish your LinkedIn profile even further, to highlight your best (and most employable) characteristics
- How to find out where people with your skillset are working
- How to check if a company is still hiring
- How to identify new recruits (and perhaps pick their brains)
- How to find out who’s who in your target industry
- How to network shamelessly to future-proof your career
- How to build your personal brand
- How to enhance your Resume with LinkedIn Testimonials
- How to find (and capitalise on) inside connections at potential employers
- How to search the hidden job market for opportunities
- How to use LinkedIn to prepare for your job interview
Lesson Four: How To Use LinkedIn To Generate Business
Can you actually use LinkedIn to create business? Yes, indeed you can, and we’ll show you how. Along the way, we’ll talk about:
- How to use LinkedIn to find business opportunities
- How to Use LinkedIn Groups to build relationships with prospects and attract new leads
- How to decide who you should connect with (and who doesn’t make the cut)
- The power of a clear Call To Action
- LinkedIn Special Offers (and where it’s appropriate to make them)
- How LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search feature can be your very best prospecting friend
- How to use LinkedIn for sales success
Lesson Five: How To Use LinkedIn’s Paid Services
You’ve probably noticed that, whilst many of LinkedIn’s services are free, you are occasionally encouraged to buy some stuff there. Reportedly, around 2% of LinkedIn members have paid-for subscriptions. So should you dip into your pocket?
In Lesson Six, we evaluate the pros and cons of:
- LinkedIn paid advertising — how it works, what you can expect to pay and what results to aim for
- The surprising response rates of LinkedIn InMails (and when using them is worthwhile)
- How to use LinkedIn’s Profile Organizer
- The LinkedIn paid account options and what they provide
Lesson Six: Marketing Through LinkedIn
So far we’ve looked at how to use LinkedIn to make sales and build your reputation. But LinkedIn is also an ideal vehicle for promoting your organisation to other businesses.
In Lesson Six we’ll look at the promotional potential of LinkedIn, including:
- How (and how often) to craft status updates that will appeal to your target customers and clients
- Best practices for sending out mass messages and invitations (without being a pest)
- How to use Groups to build your authority and keep in regular touch with your prospects
- How to connect from LinkedIn to the rest of the web, using widgets and plugins and other automated services
- How to share useful articles and resources without overdoing it
- How to add videos and presentations to LinkedIn
- How to use the right tools to manage your LinkedIn content to avoid getting overwhelmed
Lesson Seven: How To Use LinkedIn For Recruiting
We’ve already covered using LinkedIn to find a new job. In Lesson Seven we look at the flip side of the coin — how to use LinkedIn to find the most appropriate candidates for vacancies within your organisation.
In this lesson, we consider:
- why LinkedIn is a fertile ground within which to find perhaps 80% of your prospective employees
- How to use LinkedIn to tap into the most effective recruiting source of all
- The crowd-sourced accuracy of LinkedIn profiles
- LinkedIn’s job-posting facilities (and whether you should use them)
- Soliciting introductions: the appropriate protocols
- How to use LinkedIn to search and compare
The next “How To Use LinkedIn Effectively” course begins on Thursday December 6. To make allowance for the Christmas Holiday season, we will pause for a three-week break in the middle of the course. As a result, the following timetable will operate:
- Lesson One: Thursday December 6
- Lesson Two: Thursday December 13
- Lesson Three: Thursday December 20
- Lesson Four: Thursday January 17
- Lesson Five: Thursday January 24
- Lesson Six: Thursday January 31
- Lesson Seven: Thursday February 7
This seven-part eCourse is available for $497 +GST.
Bookings are confirmed on receipt of payment, which can be by cheque, bank deposit or credit card. We can raise an invoice in advance if you need it.
To reserve your place in our “How To Use LinkedIn Effectively” course, please pay by credit card through PayPal by clicking here.
If you would prefer to pay by cheque or bank deposit, or require an invoice, please send an email to [email protected] with your requirements.