You do a good job of promoting your business, right? You have a website, place ads in publications that your target market is likely to read and you support your community through key sponsorships.
You have a strong cadre of clients, influencers and prospects because you’re a great networker. So, why do you need to create and maintain a professional profile on LinkedIn?
Is this social networking thing ever going to go away?
It’s not going away, and LinkedIn is a fabulous tool for your business networking. If you utilize only one online network for your business, make it LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world, that’s why. Your network is using it, your competitors are using it, your prospective employees are using it, your local media is using it, and you better be using it, lest you fall behind.
Here are the key steps to creating your LinkedIn presence:
Create a strong profile. Tap into your marketing team’s writing skills to create a professional summary of your skills and description of your business. This is an opportunity to promote your business and establish yourself as a thought leader within your business. Use your resume to list your job history, education and highlight industry and community organizations in which you participate. Be prudent in listing any organizations that are personal.
Establish a presence. Once you’ve created a strong profile, begin building connections. Here’s a shortlist of people you need to invite to connect with you: coworkers, former coworkers, everyone in your network, former college friends (again, with prudence). Also, you’ll receive lots of invitations to connect with other professionals. Be sure to connect with them. Avoid “spammy” looking connection requests. They are not in your best interest.
Build and maintain relationships.
Scroll your LinkedIn news feed to stay abreast of your connections’ news. They’ll post when they change jobs, when they receive awards, have articles published, etc. Congratulate them. And, be sure to post your own news. This is an opportunity to grow relationships … relationships that may someday lead to new business.
Help others learn about you and your company. LinkedIn is a terrific recruiting and marketing tool. Encourage your teams to use it.
One additional note: educate yourself on the various security features of your LinkedIn account to mitigate unwanted email, connection requests and various other barriers to your privacy.
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool for marketing and growing your business. If you aren’t already utilizing this method of marketing, you’re missing a big opportunity.
And, hopefully you don’t have the mindset that, “I’ve done great so far without it, why start now when it may just be a fad?” Influencer marketing is here to stay!
Influencer marketing has been here for centuries, but in other forms. Referrals and customer complaints are influencer marketing. The art of influence elicits changes in thinking or behavior.
An influencer is someone who has the power to change our perception and behavior.
Because social media is now mainstream, influencer marketing is everywhere. Customers don’t have to go looking for referrals. Referrals (and other influencing content) are everywhere.
So, what’s the best way to use influencer marketing to grow your business?
Here are several ways to increase influencer marketing within your business:
Know the influencers and build relationships with them. Influencers include “influential” people within your community, such as prominent bloggers and local non-competing business people. The influencer’s audience should be the same audience you are trying to reach.
Offer valuable information (contributed article, tips, etc.) to the influencers, asking them to consider sharing the content on their blogs or other social media. The key is to make it pertinent information for the influencer’s audience, and not “salesy” content.
Ask your satisfied customers (who, by the way, are influencers) to review your business on Yelp, Google and Facebook. They love you, so be sure they share their love for you. The goal is for prospective customers to see these reviews when they are researching and making purchase decisions.
Ask customers to “check-in” on Facebook when they visit your office. This is a great method for growing your business’s popularity on Facebook. Consider offering a small monthly prize ($25 gift card to local restaurant) via a random drawing from all people who’ve checked in over the past month.
Engage with your clients via social media. This is a great method of personalizing your service and further integrating into your community. Be cautious of sharing, liking or commenting on any potentially objectionable content. Keep it clean!
One additional note: you should avoid paying influencers to market your product, as paid endorsements lose credibility with buyers.
Follow these tips and you’ll be practicing influencer marketing! It’s not rocket science. It just takes a conscious effort, a plan and a common-sense approach.
No matter how you choose to approach social media, be it through organic content posts, the pay-to-play model or a mix of both, you should have a solid social media strategic communications plan in place before you get down to business.
Your plan should start with clear objectives, including defined target audiences. Are you elevating awareness for a specific event or a unique offer at your business? Perhaps you’d like to leverage your social media to garner more leads for your business.
Whatever your aim is, you’ll want to outline the tactics you’ll use to achieve your objectives such as which social media platforms you’ll leverage, how many posts you’ll make per week, will you have themes for posts, etc.
Your plan should be short and direct, ideally one page in length. Nothing too fancy, but it should be a road map for your success.
Boosting a post works like this: Say you post about an upcoming event, and you then determine you want that post to reach more people’s Facebook feeds and ultimately increase brand awareness of and attendance at your event.
You can pay a nominal fee ($30-50 average per boost) and choose the audience demographics for your boosted post. Boosting posts will increase the “reach” or viewership of your event post.
What’s more, you can also target your boost to reach a desired audience. For example, you may choose all 18-to-36-year-old men and women who live within 3 miles of a specific area code. The more people you choose to “reach” with your “boost,” the higher the fee.
There’s a lot of discussion in social media strategy worlds about how important it is for business owners to produce “original content.”
In public relations and marketing circles, original content still creates more impact than curated content, which comes from reposting others’ posts or sharing links to relevant news articles.
What type of content is more likely to make an impact for your business?
Original content that is helpful, informative or entertaining to your potential audience – be them business associates, prospective customers and even potential talent – allows people to connect and become familiar you.