LinkedIn can and should be the nexus of a successful corporate marketing campaign. In addition to being able to write full-length articles, the beauty of the system is that it has the features of most, if not all, of the other major social media sites: You can share short messages (updates), pictures (photos), and multimedia (audio and video) files and, most importantly, you can interact with virtually no limitation, with current and potential clients/customers, whether they are your direct (first-degree) connections or not.
It is how I built my brand which equates to my business. And while it is a long, on-going, process that takes commitment and an investment of time, it’s relatively easy to do.
What are the steps?
First, obviously, create a personal profile. But what some business owners neglect is to create a Company Page as well. While not obligatory, it may be helpful, depending on your type of business. There may be some things you don’t want to have on your personal profile but would want on your Company Page. This is similar to Facebook complementing your website. You do some things on the former that you would not do on the latter.
Of course, if you do not let the world know what you are doing, then you are doing nothing. You can’t be the best kept secret in town! And this is what takes time. You not only have to write articles (posts), but share updates and (business related) photos, but also promote any of your PR successes, such as quotations on news sites, podcast or radio interviews, television appearances, and speaking engagements (all of which may come as your reputation builds).
The foundation of your LinkedIn world is your network. You can literally invite the world to join you. That is a strategy that works for some but not for others. It depends on your type of business. I, for example, need connections in all industries across the United States. A realtor in New York City only needs first-degree connections in the “Greater New York City” area. That said, she still will want to be known outside of New York so that if someone is moving to the City they will reach out to her for advice and assistance. That is accomplished by becoming a recognized industry leader.
This brings me to Groups. In addition to writing articles and sharing updates (not just about your activities but also professional articles/news stories), and photos, it is important to lead and participate in discussions in LinkedIn Groups, which is why joining Groups is so important. It is also a great way to promote your LinkedIn articles.
But let’s return to those first-degree connections. Once you have them, you have to use them. If you don’t interact with them, professionally, through messaging, it would be like going to a party, getting the phone numbers of persons in whom you are interested, not calling any of them and then complaining that you don’t have a date for Saturday night!
Additionally, you should not ignore other social media. For example, make certain to Tweet about your LinkedIn and real-world activities. (This can easily be done by using the social media message scheduling site, HootSuite, which, like all the other sites mentioned here, excluding LinkedIn, are free.) That will help to broaden your name recognition and will result in your receiving requests from LinkedIn members to join their networks. As soon as you are discovered on LinkedIn, based on your activities, people will want to have you in their networks.
(For the record, there is a free LinkedIn account. That said, you need a premium account because there will be no limitations on the number of searches you can conduct. You need to conduct searches to find members to join your network.)
A great website to help further build your reputation is Help A Reporter Out. Sign up as a “source” and every day, three times a day, you will receive literally hundreds of questions from reporters. Answer those that pertain to your profession or industry and, before you know it, you will have media citations which you can share with your LinkedIn and social media networks and include on your personal Profile and Company Page.
Similarly, opening an account on the podcast site BlogTalkRadio, can also help in the building of your brand. If you are proactive, you could be a guest on podcasts. Once the interviews go live, so to speak, you will then have links to share as updates, not to mention having something to add to your Profile and Company Page, thus making them multimedia.
There is no doubt that this is a time-intensive activity, but if you have the time, it is time well spent. And, if not, there’s someone you can hire to do the work for you.