MarComNeXt Pocket Guide: Leverage LinkedIn to grow your business

linkedin-officeSocial Media is now clearly a required component of any integrated marketing mix for all companies, Large Enterprise or SMB, and among the numerous Social Media and Networks available, LinkedIn is one of the most effective, and may be underused, to help you grow your business.

I first used LinkedIn to build my personal network, and later on I also used it professionally to develop my company (IBM) Social Media Marketing tactics for my business unit and for our events, and in both case it`s been a success and rewarding experience.

First a few stats & demographics: As of February 2011,

linkedin bpo– LinkedIn has over 101 Million members, all experienced professionals, from +200 countries (3/4 in North America, followed by Europe and India), 30% of them are part of SMB companies (less than 1.000 employees), 72% of them are between 24 and 54 years old (average 41 and household income $109k), The industry sector best represented is IT and Finance followed by Manufacturing and Medical, The two most popular job functions are Sales and Administration, followed by Academic, Operations and Engineering.

– 18Million members belong to a group

– 1Million new members are signing up every week

– 45 Million visitors per month, among the top 250 web sites visited word wide

– 2Billion people searches per year

– 69% of the Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn

– More than 1Million companies have an official Company Page on Linkedin

– LinkedIn is a favorite with lead generation companies conducting B2B campaigns: 72% of the respondents in a survey voted for LinkedIn as Number1, Facebook ranked second with 71%, while Twitter came in third with 67%

– Worldwide spending on social networks is expected to rise 71.6% to $5.97 billion, approximately 8.7% of the total amount advertisers are predicted to spend online in 2011.

LinkedIn can help you grow your business in many ways, depending on which type of business you are in, but overall here a few of them:LinkedIn-advertising-campaigns

1.Raise awareness on your profile, your brand and reputation

2. Connect with more people and engage discussions with customers and partners

3. Drive traffic to your web site and generate leads

4. Advertise job offerings and Hire qualified people

5. Trade services and grow revenue

Based on my experience, here are a few basic but useful  tips to guide you on how to leverage LinkedIn to grow your business:

  • Create your company profile on LinkedIn
  • Invite employee to connect and customers and partners to follow your company, Use LinkedIn’s email import tools to import all of your contacts
  • Advertise your LinkedIn profile on your communication, web, social media, email, newsletter
  • Tie your LinkedIn profile to your others social networks and add a LinkedIn widget on your website and blog
  • Create a LinkedIn Industry Group, and invite employees, partners, customers, prospects, industry experts and influencers to join
  • Start rich discussions and promotions on your LinkedIn Group and become a recognized expert in your market or industry
  • Advertise Jobs offerings on your LinkedIn Company Profile and Group and extend your reach to a huge pool of resources and experts
  • Search & invite your customers and prospects to connectlinkedin1 blog
  • Perform blind, “reverse,” and company reference checks
  • Get recommendations and referrals to help attract more clients
  • Join relevant LinkedIn Groups and use them to send e-mails to thousands of prospects
  • Use LinkedIn to get back-links to your web site, blogs, newsletters
  • Enhance your Search Engine results, Claim your own vanity URL for added SEO power
  • Create LinkedIn events and drive traffic to your events, conferences, workshops, webinars or virtual events
  • Automatically get your Tweets to show on your LinkedIn profile
  • Automatically get your blog posts to show on your LinkedIn Profile
  • Use polls and surveys to gather valuable market information
  • Find out who has actually viewed your profile and follow up
  • Leverage LinkedIn’s application features, share Powerpoint presentations and PDF files with your connections, with product and services information, white papers, customers cases studies, press releases
  • Advertise on LinkedIn, "pay per click", and touch hundreds of thousands of potential customers
  • Define metrics, track your results to measure your success and justify your Return on Social Media Investment.

limkedin imagesLinkedIn has grown to become an important B2B marketing and recruitment digital channel.

 Apply all these tactics to take advantage of LinkedIn and help you quickly build a valuable professional network, Improve your brand visibility, grow your reputation, raise awareness on your products and services, extend your reach and Word-of-Mouth and generate leads cost effectively.

View my profile on LinkedIn www.linkedIn.com/in/gdusastre

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MarCom-NeXt Pocket Guide: successfully engage in Social Media Marketing

social-media-mktg-plan

Social media originally started as a tool for friends and family to keep in touch, and has now moved also to the business community for Companies to engage discussions with their customers, partners and others organizations.

Large Enterprises, as well as SMB in a smaller scale, are adopting Social Media as a new wave of Marketing.

Based on recent reports and studies, the top benefits of Social Media Marketing are seen as (in this order):

– Branding: Generating exposure for the businessSocial Media Marketing Benefits report 2010

– Word-of-Mouth: Extending audience, raising awareness, increasing traffic

– Discussions: Engaging discussions & building relationship/partnership

– Revenue: Generating leads or sales

– Cost: reduce marketing expenses

Marketers have high expectation of Social Media, often and wrongly perceived as a free or low cost, easy to launch and deploy, not resource consuming tactic and they could be disappointed by the results and return in investment if they do not use best practices; It could even be a failure and damage your brand or business if not well executed and then abandoned after an unsuccessful try.

So, based on my own experience, here are few tips to successfully engage in Social Media Marketing:

1- Define a clear strategy

2- Secure executive sponsorship

3- Clarify Goals & Business Objectives: Talk or Listen, raise awareness, engage discussions, generate leads, drive sales & revenue, foster loyalty.

4- Integrate Social Media as one marketing tactic of your marketing mix

5- Document metrics

6- Target your audience: understand digital audience behaviour, develop social media map, identify and engage the influencers,

7- Define content, aligned with your objectives and aligned with corporate marketing messages

8- Select appropriate social networks, based on your goals and audiencSocial Media Marketing Tools Report2010e: Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, YouTube or others videos sites, Social Bookmarking sites etc… (see chart)

1- Select appropriate tools: management tools, short url tools, analytics tools, maximize digital assets distribution

2- Allocate dedicated assets and resource, experts to provide content, be the Voice and participate in relevant discussions,

3- Define and document some Social Media Guidelines for people participating to your social media activities, bloggers, and all employees,

4- Design your Social Media image, theme, tag line and main message: name, gravatar, banner, theme, colors, page

5- Launch and deploy your Social Media tactic and tools

6- Start Talking and empower consumer advocacy, tell the story, but also let the others tell the story about you

7- Listen to your Audience, monitor the market conversation

8- Engage discussions, be very responsive, show appreciation, gather market intelligence

9- Promote and advertise your Social media presence (via your web site, email marketing, newsletters, blog, webinar, print…)

10- Leverage your network: employees, partners, customers

11- Grow and maintain you LIST of friends, followers, Fans …

12- Maintain the relationship, keep the momentum, keep communicating regularly and intensively, keep on building and growing,

13- Tie all your Social Media and web presence all together and keep the Buzz growing,

14- Track and measure qualitative, quantitative and competitive results using analytics tools, document lessons learned and communicate monthly reports, understand the impact and do what it takes to improve your ROI.

social-media Social Media are platforms for interactions and relationships, not just a branding or advertising platform, it represent a fundamental shift on the way we communicate and make decision, so take advantage of it, build et develop new relationships and partnerships.

Jump on The Social Media Bandwagon, Start Talking & Listening, Start Engaging Discussions with Social Media.

#2- Is my digital Avatar changing who I am ?

  

What does Your Avatar looks like ?

 

 With our “profiles” being created across the internet on social media and social networking and sharing web sites, such as Facebook, Plaxo, LinkedIn, twitter, flicker, MySpace, Bebo, Windows Live/MSN, Picasa, YouTube, SecondLife (and thousands other, in 2D or 3D) and containing so much of our personal information about what we think, what we do, what we like and don’t like, who we are or who we want to look like, we are creating a digital twin of ourselves, an “Avatar”, and our human identity is evolving.       

If you are reading this blog, it means you probably already have a digital identity, and the more information we put about ourselves, about our identity, our family and friends relationships, our day-to-day life activities, our professional endeavours, photos of our “moments”, we are duplicating our memories and really giving birth to a digital persona, getting more accurate by the day.       

Many people don’t even really give to that digital persona the kind of privacy they use for themselves in real life, others are just getting aware of the risk involved and are starting to enforce the privacy settings available on these social networks.       

Interesting enough, your “friends” also contribute to the avatar by tagging you in photos, videos, and  by commenting on yourself or your thoughts, which give an additional light, about how others perceive you, and may sometimes reveal more about you than you would like.       

These avatars are more and more commonly used by vendors and research firms to do some marketing research and surveys, to target, market, sell or buy some stuff, to investigate before hiring someone etc…       

However the most interesting fact is the impact the avatar can have on some of its creators, as it can take a life on its own, diverging from what its creator really is, or just giving a different profile by accentuating some of its characteristics, and as a reverse psychology may end up changing the way he is and who he is.       

As a result, digital identities can transform the way we communicate, the way we socialize, the way we project ourselves, it is certainly already changing our society and may be event in the end the way we act and who we are.       

So, What does Your avatar look like, and is Your Avatar changing who You are ?