Here are 3 great tips on using LinkedIn as a marketing tool for your business.
Tip #1: Create compelling content for your target market
There is a saying that goes, €Content is King€. Your potential customers are searching online for solutions to their problems. When you're crystal clear on your target market, focus your efforts on understanding the needs of your market, and identify creative or innovative solutions that solve their problems. Your content should deliver these solutions and can come in any number of forms, such as articles, videos, blog posts, reports, white papers, power point presentations, case studies, and webinars.
For example, if you own an accounting business, you may identify that one of your target market's greatest needs is determining ways they can reduce the amount the pay in taxes. If you're providing this type of service to small business owners, you could write an article or blog posts that gives them tips on where they can save on their taxes.
If you're more comfortable with videos than writing articles or blog posts, you can speak in front of a video camera and talk about tips or advice on saving on their taxes. You can post this video on YouTube, tag it with the appropriate keywords, and write down the link. Whether by articles or video, you are providing valuable information to the business owner that can help them with their business.
Tip #2: Join relevant groups and participate in the discussions
Once you have identified your target market, search and join relevant groups where your target market can be found. If your business provides a product or service that targets real estate agents, you can type into the search the keyword €real estate€, and the search results will show all the groups relevant to that keyword. LinkedIn usually sorts its results based on the number of people who are members of the group, from the highest to the lowest.
If you are looking to geo-target your search so that you find groups relevant only to your local market, you can specify your search term even further and add the city or location to your search. For example, if you are based in Las Vegas and want to target real estate agents in Las Vegas, you can enter the search term €real estate Las Vegas€.
Once you have identified the target group, join that group and start participating in the discussions. If you followed tip #1, you can post your valuable content, such as your articles and blog posts, into the discussion board and provide a link back to your site. Keep in mind not to pitch or sell your business. The discussion boards are there primarily to provide valuable content to the group members. Some group admins are strict and may remove any members from the group who are posting any €spam€ or €pitchy€ material.
Also take a look at what's being posted in the discussion boards, and take some time to post comments on those discussions. This is a perfect opportunity to add value to the discussion, and you can even provide a link to your site after you have provided some valuable information.
Tip #3: Connect with members of the group
Search the profiles of the group members. If you come across a profile that may potentially be a great contact for your business, send that person a private message and ask to connect. Keep it conversational and do not start selling your product or service. For example, you can keep it simple and ask, €I saw that we're both members of the (insert name) Group. Just thought I'd reach out and see if you'd like to connect and exchange ideas. Let me know if you're interested.€ If they reply back with a yes, send them a connection request right away.
Once you're connected, continue the conversation and ask them how their business is going. From this point, you'll have the opportunity to engage with them and find out more about their needs. The key here is to build a relationship of trust and credibility, and once you have done this, you will know when it is the right time to promote your product or service.