LinkedIn provides an excellent way to build subscriptions to your membership website, but it has to be done properly. If you treat it as a marketing channel through which you actively solicit business it could do more damage to your reputation than good.
LinkedIn is an indirect sales channel. By that, I mean it is a way of building your credibility and authority amongst a group of people interested in your subject. Over time they will get to know you well and will value what you say. At this point some will choose to subscribe to your site.
Here are my top 10 tips for using LinkedIn to build your business:
Tip 1 – Create A Professional Profile
Your profile is a very important part of building your LinkedIn reputation. You must spend time making it informative and professional. Most importantly, it should back up your claim of being an expert in your subject. Provide as much information as you can about how you have built your expertise.
Tip 2 – Be True to Yourself
A top tip on all social media sites is be yourself. If you try to be someone you are not, or have different personas on different sites you will make people suspicious and mistrust is like a virus; it travels very fast and is difficult to halt.
Tip 3 – Participate In Relevant Groups
Learn how to use the LinkedIn search to find relevant people and groups. Join all the groups which are directly relevant to your niche subject.
Tip 4 – Contribute Regularly
Make contributions to your groups regularly and consistently. Start threads and add to other people’s threads. Be active and visible.
Tip 5 – Be Constructive, Informative and Friendly
No one likes aggressive, argumentative or sarcastic people … even if the points they are making are right. Be a friend to make friends.
Tip 6 – Be Persistent
Using social media to build your business is a marathon not a sprint. It can take three to six months to start reaping the rewards. The key to success is to keep going even when you are not seeing any benefits from your time and effort.
Tip 7 – Give Real Value
Provide valuable content or resources to group members for free, without expectation of reward. This will have three benefits; people will remember you for your generosity; recipients of your ‘gifts’ will feel they owe you a favor and it will drive people from LinkedIn to your website, so they can read more about you.
Tip 8 – Build Your Network
The main point of LinkedIn is to build a valuable network of people you can connect with, so make sure you respond to friend requests. Follow up with the people who connect, so they know you value their friendship.
Tip 9 – Don’t Sell Your Service
Nothing turns people off or makes them more suspicious than people who use social networks to actively promote themselves or their products. If you build a strong reputation people will want to know more about you and they will find out about what services you sell.
Tip 10 – Good Services Sell. Poor Services are Destroyed
If you have a good subscription website, the customers who subscribe will recommend it to other people and your sales will accelerate as more people join. However, if you offer a poor service, customers will criticize it in the same groups where you are trying to build your reputation. Don’t bother with social media marketing until you are confident you are selling something your target audience really want.
LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for interacting with your target audience and over time it will generate new business for you. It requires patience, time and effort, but you will reap from what you sow. Be persistent, helpful and generous and people will reciprocate.