I hope that you have thought of or already found some ways to put last week's list of LinkedIn Strategies for Small Business to good use.
We covered the first of the 6 LinkedIn Strategies that I'll share with you:
A piece of advice that I will never forget receiving from an older, wiser mentor of mine who started and ran 2 successful businesses including a luxury goods marketing firm — he has a rolodex of more than 1,000 people who he keeps in touch with on a regular basis. How does he do this? For him it's a simple phone call that usually lasts no more than 5-10 minutes and if appropriate leads to a follow up email and possible work. This very simple technique kept him busy.
One of the simplest ways of using LinkedIn is just as a "modern Rolodex" a list of the people you want to communicate with on a regular basis so that they remember you're out there, what you have to offer, and why they like you. The only tools you need for this is your LinkedIn profile, sending LinkedIn invitations to people you know and an hour per day to make phone calls. One of the biggest challenges for a freelancer or consultant is just making sure people remember you when they need something you offer. These quick check-in calls (with an appropriate time lapse in between) are a great way to just stay on your prospect's radar.
Of course LinkedIn search is also a great tool for this — whether you are searching within your networking or outside of it, using keyword searches on LinkedIn to find people who match your target audience is a great way to "mine the network".
NileGuide, a trip planning website, used LinkedIn to help with a variety of successful "business development" campaigns.
The primary tools? LinkedIn Search & LinkedIn InMail. Here are the 3 ways they used it:
Let's look more closely at how they leveraged LinkedIn for strategic partnerships'�
How NileGuide used LinkedIn to build Strategic Partnerships
"We referenced a personal connection in order to qualify ourselves. Then, as a relatively new company, we knew we needed to provide a short, pithy introduction that summarized our core value proposition and differentiation in the marketplace. Finally, we summarized in no more than 2-3 sentences or bullet points some areas of opportunity, indicating that we'd been thoughtful about their business before contacting them... and had some specific ideas to discuss."
BIG CAVEAT: they never attempted to add the new contact to their network
"saying you know someone when you don't undermines your credibility (not to mention that it can get you 'dinged' by LinkedIn)."
They also spent time creating a visually detailed landing page on their site, and in a few cases they put together creative mockups customized to the contact. NileGuide learned that these visual aids were key. The sooner a contact got to "seeing something interesting, the more likely they were to 'buy' from us."
The results - roughly 33% of their inquiries yielded immediate results, which is an incredibly high success rate. These partnerships have yielded customers, brand benefit, content, and a variety of other valuable assets for NileGuide.
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Promoting a Blog — Traffic and Brand Building
A blog is basically about building a community. Instead of a community of people who meet, it's a community of readers and comment-ers. So generating traffic for a blog can certainly use all of the "tribe" techniques, although when you are using it to drive traffic to your own blog, you have to be a little more careful about how you reach out. Connecting with other practitioners, industry experts, leaders of communities where your target audiences congregate, and directly with the communities themselves needs to be done respectfully or else face the "spammer" label which could get your ability to email and invite people on LinkedIn dramatically limited.
A great example of how to drive traffic to a blog or content site and build your brand via LinkedIn is the new content portal Ventureneer started recently by Geri Stengel. Ventureneer offers free Webinars and other content relevant to socially driven enterprises.
When launching her business and Web site Geri had three goals — 1) to build her brand, 2) to build relationships with content providers and 3) to build her "contact" list including email subscribers and Twitter followers.
Here's what she did:
Her results — having launched her site just a few months ago, she has more than 1,600 followers on Twitter (@ventureneer), more than 300 LinkedIn connections, and gets about 150 attendees per week to her free Webinars. Way to go Geri!