LinkedIn is one of the world’s most important social media platforms for business connectivity. With over 3.6 million users in Australia and growing, LinkedIn is an essential marketing and networking tool for generating leads and getting in contact with your ideal client target markets.
LinkedIn replaces cold calling. It offers untapped opportunities to network cleverly and find quality contacts.
Australian companies sadly lag behind the rest of the world on their social media business use due to a lack of understanding. Companies are fearful of the implications of using platforms such as LinkedIn.
The truth is, if you don’t have a LinkedIn presence, and your competitor does, you stand to lose out on significant opportunities to get noticed and to build your brand and credibility as a company.
In this article, we’ll explore:
- Why LinkedIn is vital to everyone who has a job, career and role in an organisation, even if you are not a business owner, recruiter or sales person
- The Future of LinkedIn and its impact for you
- How do YOU use LinkedIn?
- 4 Reasons You should be using it
Why Link Up on LinkedIn?
The Future of LinkedIn: LinkedIn’s 10-Year Strategy
During his LinkedIn 2014 Company Presentation at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, California, CEO Jeff Weiner shared the company's 10 year vision.
LinkedIn will be focusing on three crucial strategic objectives:
LinkedIn want to be known as the professional profile of record online. If you want to list your professional record online then LinkedIn want to be the primary place where you create, update and access those records. Going forward, if you want to know someone's professional history, all you will need to do is look up their LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn aim to connect all 600 million professionals or knowledge workers across the globe. Weiner notes the increase of students or "pre-professionals" coming onto the platform. Therefore, LinkedIn is an ideal place to access new talent and develop professional relationships.
LinkedIn want to be known as the definitive professional publishing platform. If you want to be seen as a global thought leader, publish your content on LinkedIn.
Using LinkedIn is a massive deal when it comes to doing business and I hope that this gives you a new perspective on WHY you cannot afford NOT to be using LinkedIn.
So, How Do YOU Use LinkedIn?
A lot of people ask me, "Why should I be using LinkedIn?
They are worried about things like:
- Comparing it to Facebook and the negative exposure being online can bring
- Personal information being shared online that could be used in negative ways
- How their organisations will view them if they use it
- Being approached by people they don't want to interact with
Yes, Facebook has given LinkedIn a bad wrap due to "Comparison Bias". Yes, there is information that you probably don't want to be sharing on the worldwide web. Yes, where companies don't understand the social media imperative they may well not understand the need for you to have a profile on LinkedIn. Yes, LinkedIn is a tool for recruiters to find possible candidates for their organizations. Yes, it's a tool for graduates and job seekers to find roles. And, yes there are people who have ulterior motives for wanting to connect and who may want to use your information to their own ends.
However there are some compelling reasons for the Australian marketplace to be reviewing how you can leverage the power of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is actually a powerful platform for doing business, getting noticed and establishing yourself as a credible expert too.
Most people are just not tapping into the potential that LinkedIn has to offer them because they don't know enough to make a considered decision.
Four Compelling Reasons to Use LinkedIn in Your Business
In today's highly competitive business landscape it's become extremely more difficult to standout in the market place and get your message in front of key decision makers. The old traditional methods of marketing a business are not as effective as they used to be; even if you have a huge marketing spend.
With millions of members, 49 percent of them being key decision makers, LinkedIn has leveled the playing field allowing business owners all over the world the opportunity to find, connect and build a relationship with their target market regardless of industry or location.
An important point to take note of is that although LinkedIn is another way to connect with existing and potential customers and colleagues online,
"LinkedIn DOES NOT replace the face to face component critical to establishing solid relationships"
It is a tool to help you build your brand, profile and network to move you ahead in your career and businesses.
I cannot stress this enough.
I find that I make connections on LinkedIn and as we build a relationship, we make plans to meet up for a coffee or a skype call to establish a real connection in the real world.
So, the following are the four compelling reasons why I believe all Australian Businesses and their People should be at least looking at how they could be using LinkedIn to leverage relationships and opportunities.
1. Credibility and Expertise
LinkedIn’s publishing platform allows you to raise your credibility and expertise to that next level. I know this personally to be true as I have gone from a few readers accessing, reading and subscribing to my blog to having my articles being read by hundreds and sometimes even thousands each time they get published on LinkedIn. I have also been approached for business as a result.
Have you ever been "boxed or labelled" for your expertise in a certain area when you actually have a lot more interest, talent and passion in other areas that may not be as well known?
LinkedIn’s user profile allows you to really showcase who you are and what you do. You can showcase these lesser known talents and abilities in creative ways such as including slideshare, videos and images, awards.
2. Media Connection
According to a survey by Arketi media group, over 94.2 percent of journalists and editors are on LinkedIn and 62 percent rate it as their preferred professional networking tool.
Could there be an opportunity to reach out to journalists and become a source of credible expertise for them to use? Imagine the brand exposure you could get…
The following two points are taken from the interview that Joshua Steimle, a contributor at Forbes.com did with LinkedIn Expert, Alex Piroux ......
3. From Connection to Client
LinkedIn is also a powerful tool for finding clients. And, regardless of who you are, what industry you are in or where you are based, we are all in the business of sales and marketing. And to be a successful in these areas, what you say and how you say it makes all the difference.
What's the real reason why we all market our business in the first place? It's to get our message in front of decision makers right?
Well this is why LinkedIn makes so much sense.
Alex's experience: Over the past 14 years of business I have tried every marketing /advertising campaign under the sun ranging from Radio, TV, Newspaper, Direct Mail etc. When I look back at the time and money we've spent in designing and launching those campaigns none of them have proved to give us a better return on investment than using LinkedIn over the past few years.
This is mainly due to the fact that LinkedIn allows us to find, connect and build a relationship with hundreds of potential clients with ease all under one platform. It's never become easier to build a sales funnel of targeted leads to than market too.
Fostering strategic partnerships is a powerful way to grow a business. With the right partner you can refer clients to each other, leverage the power of offering complimentary products or services, and help grow each others' businesses.
Finding the right joint venture and alliance partners however can be challenging. So where do you go to find joint venture partners, for instance, if you're a social media consultant focused on helping chiropractors improve their marketing?
LinkedIn of course!
Alex's experience: If you study the corporate strategy of some of the biggest brands in the world, you will see one thing they all have in common: the implementation of joint venture partnerships with key industry players.
Rather than getting your message in front of 1 potential client, using this strategy you can broadcast your message in front of hundreds if not thousands of targeted contacts that have already built trust with the business or person you are partnering with."
So, the question is not, "Should we be using LinkedIn?" rather it should be,
"How can we be leveraging our people's personal brands using LinkedIn?"
Over to You:
- How do you currently use LinkedIn?
- What tips do you have for leveraging your profile for leads and opportunities?
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