In a previous blog post I recommend why and how to take advantage of three social networking services: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I also mentioned that I would write subsequent posts on each of these "Big Three" social networking sites, and the video sharing network YouTube. This third installment of four is dedicated to getting you started with LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a somewhat less known social network than Facebook. LinkedIn may be
considered more of a business to business (B2B) social network, whereas Facebook
(for business) is generally considered more of a business to consumer (B2C) social network.
LinkedIn is designed for business people and entrepreneurs to establish a professional profile (post your resume or CV) online, to stay in touch with former classmates, colleagues and friends, and to find experts, ideas and opportunities. Many members use this network to collaborate with other like-minded business contacts, and/or to find businesses who offer the products or services they need. Therefore LinkedIn provides a whole new pool of potential new business clients. Again, the good news is that LinkedIn accounts are FREE!
Wikipedia states, in part, “LinkedIn was founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003. As of June 2012, LinkedIn reports more than 175 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories.
One purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people with whom they have some level of relationship, called Connections. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection. LinkedIn utilizes a "gated-access approach" (where contact with any professional requires either an existing relationship, or the intervention of a contact of theirs) is intended to build trust among the service's users This list of connections can then be used in a number of ways:
A contact network is built up consisting of their direct connections, the connections of each of their connections (termed second-degree connections) and also the connections of second-degree connections (termed third-degree connections). This can be used to gain an introduction to someone a person wishes to know through a mutual contact.
Users can upload their resume or design their own profile in order to showcase work and community experiences.
It can then be used to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one's contact network.
Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates.
Job seekers can review the profile of hiring managers and discover which of their existing contacts can introduce them.
Users can post their own photos and view photos of others to aid in identification.
Users can now follow different companies and can get notification about the new joining and offers available.
Users can save (i.e. bookmark) jobs which they would like to apply for."
I can personally recommend HubSpot, a pioneer in inbound marketing strategies, which offers an impressive library of FREE reference materials including webinars, eBooks, blog articles and videos on the topic of how to best use LinkedIn for business/marketing.
You are invited to ask questions and/or to post a comment in the space provided below regarding your experience with using LinkedIn for business or to point out other advantages and disadvantages not mentioned here.
“Niche marketing” simply means matching your products or services with the most likely buyers. It’s our job as marketers to ensure these most likely buyers either are, or become aware, that your business operation is ready and willing to meet their needs and wants.
Three marketing strategies that will help you with niche marketing are:
1. Differentiation is figuring out how your business is unique so that when prospects are ready to buy, they immediately think of your operation, not a competitor’s. A savvy marketer jumps out ahead of the herd – to create “top of mind marketing”. In its most simple form, differentiation is like word association – for example, what comes to mind when someone mentions “cola”, to you? Your next thought will probably be “Coke”.
Ask yourself, “What is my marketing edge over my competitors?” You know why your prospects should buy from you, (for example, your product is superior, your after sales service is second to none, you offer the most choice, you deliver on time and at the price quoted, etc.) Make the most of these differences to stand out. (Photo by Marnie Somers)
2. Positioning is identifying how your business is at the very top of your “niche” in the market. People like to buy from the best - it gives them bragging rights to impress their friends with. Create a tagline (a business slogan) which identifies your business as the top “whatever”.
Don’t be shy about letting your clients know your claim to fame. If you and another competitor can both equally make the same claim, then make that claim first - before your competitor does. It’s pretty hard to knock you off your pedestal, if you get there first. (You know what they say, “You snooze, you lose!”)
3. An Elevator Pitch is one of the best tools you can have in your marketing kit. What’s that? It’s what you have time to tell someone about your business, in the time it takes to ride a couple of floors in an elevator. When you are comfortable with it, you’ll never be at a loss for words. (A personal confession here - before I developed mine, I always hesitated, saying to myself, ”Oh gosh, where do I start?”, when someone asked me, “What line of business are you in?”) Now that I have my elevator pitch down pat, I begin speaking with confidence, get my message across quickly, AND sound like I know what I’m talking about.
If you are having trouble coming up with twenty-five words or less, start your pitch with “We help our customers with ………”. As an example, here’s mine: “We help our customers build their businesses using proven Internet Marketing Strategies, such as building their websites and handling their email marketing campaigns.” My elevator pitch takes only 23 words. And if the person you are speaking to is truly interested in what you do, they will come back with a question, such as “I see, so what other strategies do you use?”. Then the conversation moves forward from there. (But, here’s a helpful hint: if you’re actually on an elevator, you had better have your business card ready in your pocket to hand over before they step off.)
- Do you agree? What other strategies do you use in marketing to your “Niche”? You're invited to post your comments and advice below.
- As small and medium size businesses, we are all in this together and we can help each other by being mentors to each other.