How do you take advantage of all that LinkedIn offers as the network takes on a new face in 2014? Here are my top three tips for selling on LinkedIn for 2014.
LinkedIn, the world's largest B2B social network, has come a long way from its beginnings as a simple business connection network in 2005. Today, LinkedIn acts as a personal branding tool for executives, the number one way for recruiters to attract top talent, a highly targeted ad network for marketers, and a professional salesperson's total package for selling. So how do you take advantage of all that LinkedIn offers as the network takes on a new face in 2014? Here are my top three tips for selling on LinkedIn for 2014:
1. Personal Brand Development on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the place to be found by your target. To do this, you first need a strong, visible, and engaging online personal brand. For B2B executives, HR recruiters, and sales professionals, this starts with a solid LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile needs to tell your story about what you can deliver and how your track record supports your credibility in your industry. Your profile should be well-thought-out based on your developed personal brand market position. This means everything you deliver there, from your photo to your summary, presentation links, graphics, patents, experience, education, and volunteerism, needs to tell a story that delivers a personal brand and related perception to your target audience. The LinkedIn personal profile can deliver interest, a sense of real connection, and a visible story about your areas of leadership.
Once the appropriate profile is established, personal branding on LinkedIn as a business professional requires a real commitment to lead and educate others within your network. One way in which you can deliver your promise as an educator in your space gets me to the second strongest way to sell on LinkedIn in 2014: engagement in targeted groups.
2. Targeted, Qualified Groups Activity
The absolute best way to start finding and engaging with global executives on LinkedIn is by affiliation and active participation in related LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn Groups should include at a minimum:
LinkedIn has worked to make the groups' experience more qualified for business professionals. Enhancements that have been added to make selling via group activity include:
Here are some of my quick rules on the best way to engage in groups:
3. Gain Referrals Through a Strong 1st Network
Building and nurturing a qualified network of referrers on LinkedIn is not new, but a priority if you want to sell on LinkedIn. LinkedIn makes it easy these days to see what's new in your network by almost acting as a mini-CRM. Once you have imported your best people from Salesforce or a straight import, you should utilize LinkedIn's capabilities to segment/tag those by how they can support your LinkedIn selling efforts. You should make it a daily practice to review what your network is talking about, what professional moves they are making, what connections they are making, and what/where they are commenting on. It is your job to help your network find business on LinkedIn, provide advice when qualified, and help your network gain visibility by sharing their profiles within the community. Your 1st network should be your best source of referrals for new business. You need to think of your 1st network as something similar to your best off-line industry association, board group, or networking group where you meet with members frequently. In fact, you should take the time to speak to your 1st network connects on the phone and in person. LinkedIn is about building relationships, one business professional at a time.
There is so much more I can share about selling on LinkedIn; but these top three ways are a great way to get you started for serious new business development in 2014. Make LinkedIn selling and marketing a daily practice for 2014 and as always feel free to share your LinkedIn stories here on ClickZ.
Jasmine Sandler is a veteran in online marketing and CEO and founder of Agent-cy Online Marketing, an online branding agency. She has more than 15 years' experience in helping companies use the Web to develop and grow business. Sandler has provided interactive solutions for such clients as Citibank, ISO, Diamonds International, Doublerock Corporation, Loews Hotels, and CityLights Cruises.
Sandler has expertise in the areas of using LinkedIn to grow business, B2B social media marketing strategy, search marketing strategies for sustainable online visibility, website effectiveness for user engagement, and digital strategies for small businesses. She is a published author of Branding & Sales: The LinkedIn Way.
She is a frequent speaker for The Association of Strategic Marketing, The Association of Ghostwriters, ClickZ Live, Small Business Technology, and New York Business Expo and is a contributing writer for ClickZ.com, The New York Enterprise Report, and LinkedIn Original Content.
Sandler holds a dual MBA in Marketing and Technology from the University of Miami and is a very active supporter of LinkedIn and runs several business owner groups on the site. She was previously director of managed data networking sales at IBM Global Services for seven years.
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