Social media has absolutely transformed the way that we go about business networking today.
Never before in human history have we had so many different tools for instant communication – literally across all corners of the globe – and then we do today, and many of them are completely and totally free. That being said, the overwhelming majority of social media platforms are just that – platforms for social interactions – and not designed specifically for business interactions.
However, LinkedIn breaks that mold.
What exactly is LinkedIn?
A social media platform designed from the ground up to cater to professionals, small business owners, and entrepreneurs all over the world (all looking to connect with other people in a business and professional setting), LinkedIn has quickly become one of the top 10 largest social media networks around the globe.
Rather than giving you a platform to post all of your favorite pictures, videos, and posts from your crazy weekend, LinkedIn has been set up to allow you to create industrywide connections, pursue exciting business opportunities, and even build a number of high-level joint ventures – all from one little account. This makes it an incredible platform for business to business marketing, as the overwhelming majority of people signing up for LinkedIn accounts (and using the platform on a regular basis) will be professionals, entrepreneurs, and businesspeople across all spectrums.
How can I use LinkedIn to build my business?
This is really the million-dollar question, isn’t it?
A big problem is that most people use social media to do one of two things – either pour on an amazing amount of so-so content in an effort that someone, somewhere will pay attention and be interested in doing business with you, or they pound sales message after sales message over and over again until they burn up what little goodwill they had established in the first place.
LinkedIn is a place for much more subtle – and some would say nuanced– marketing and networking, but can provide devastatingly powerful results.
Rule one of using LinkedIn for your business is that you must remember that people always (ALWAYS) do business with people
In a world that has almost gone “brand mad”, even high-level CEOs, salespeople, and executives have forgot that people are always doing business with people – not doing business with businesses, companies, or services.
The days of focusing on companywide branding is slowly becoming less and less powerful, as more people are realizing that we’ve lost that personal touch in business that we had become accustomed to. Folks are looking to really connect with one another – and especially the people that they buy from – which gives you an incredible opportunity when you use LinkedIn
This means that you’re going to want to put your personality on display, and avoid as much of that “corporate speak” as possible. Rather than saying you’re a multi-global brand strategist responsible for turning around quarterly earnings, you should just say that you help big businesses make money quickly. Remember that this is a social media network first and foremost, and while it has business undertones people want to see the real you.
Rule two is that you should always be looking to create connections – even if you see no immediate benefit yourself
One of the biggest advantages to using network marketing – or LinkedIn as a social media platform – is that you can connect people who wouldn’t have hooked up with one another in the past. This allows you to become a tremendously influential person in your industry, even if you’re not directly benefiting from the deals or relationships that you are putting together.
Think of yourself as a business matchmaker, a problem solver above all else. Using LinkedIn in this way will allow you to create amazing connections throughout a number of different areas in your industry – helping you to “grease the slide”, if you will, when it comes time to put your own deals into action.
Rule three is that to make a big splash – and get noticed on LinkedIn – you’re going to need to be at least a little bit “larger than life”
Most people are uncomfortable really talking themselves up or putting themselves out there – even in a business setting – but you have to remember what you’re up against the moment that you dip your toe into the LinkedIn environment. You’re trying to garner the attention of influential people in your industry, but you’re not the only one.
Literally millions and millions of other people will be in direct competition for that same sliver of attention – and you need to be sure that you stand out from the rest of the pack. There are a number of different ways you can go about doing this, but the best one is to become just a little bit larger than life. Put out fantastic content that is a little bit controversial, don’t be afraid to stick to your guns about your beliefs as far as business is concerned, and go above and beyond what everyone else is willing to do to really create an impact.
If you want to make a LinkedIn effective in your business to business marketing strategy, you’re going to need to be someone that can capture (and hold) the attention of influential people in your industry.
About guest blogger
Goran Stankovic is part of HGDeal’s team. HGDeal is a website that offers the latest Hostgator coupon. Has a background in international marketing, and enjoys writing about changes in the IT industry, video games, and modern business ideas.