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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Top 10 latest trends in Social Media Marketing.

social-media-peopleTo face Social Media exponential growth, or should I better say explosion, and to help keep up with so many new sites, services, apps coming-up every day, helping businesses connect and engage more directly with customers, I thought I will take a step back and try to point you to what’s in my view are the Top 10 latest trends in Social Media in a Marketing perspective.

1- Large Enterprise adoption of social media platform: America’s Fortune 500 havefortune 500 twitter accounts increased their participation in Twitter, from 35% in 2009 to 60% in 2010, and 56% have a Facebook page, according to a yearly report from the Center for Marketing Research.

2- SBM adoption of social media platform starts growing: according to research by Zoomerang and GrowBiz Media, 34% of SMB companies (less than 1,000 employees) use social media, 10% is allocating 30% of their marketing budget to social media, and 13% will spend more on social media next year.

social media growth3- Audience Growth: According to The Nielsen Company, global consumers spent more than five and half hours on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in December 2009, an 82% increase from year before. Teens and young adults spend more and more time on social media, and now older people (50 to 65 years old) represent the most growing population of social media users. Facebook already has over 500M users and growing exponentially everyday, and over 150M twitter users, and growing even faster. Social Media becomes more popular, and social business becomes a play that companies marketers can’t ignore anymore.

4- Corporate Policies: Result is many companies are now setting up official company  guidelines, policies and best practices for usage of social media tools and services, specially when representing the company via social media.

5- Like in Real estate social media is now about “Location, Location, Location” (see my blog on that topic) –With latest Facebook announcement  launching its new Geo-Location feature, “Facebook Places”, Facebook is moving from a basic Social Networking space for friends to a business-oriented tool for local businesses. Location-Based-Services once integrated via APIs to services as Facebook are going to change the Internet over-all, as the internet will become “less about the searching and more about the getting“, less about Search Engines and more about Apps.

6- Social Media becomes more and more Mobile: Facebook and Twitter access via mobile phones has grown by triple digits in the last year. social-media mobileAdvertising & Mobile advertising is becoming a major source of revenue and a BIG business for social media platforms. The detailed personal information they detain on their users coupled with location based services is a dream come true for any marketer and advertiser. Facebook advertising revenue forecast from advertising is around $1.3 billion in 2010, and $1.7 billion in 2011, and has not yet penetrated the Mobile Ad market, which they will do with “Places”.

7- Social Commerce & Mobile Payment is a growing trend in social media and social business world, offering the ability to make purchases and micro-transaction from mobile apps, mobile social media platforms and social gaming, embraced by major finance players as Visa, Paypal etc..

8- Email marketing is becoming more Social: Recent acquisitions like Constant Contact acquiring NetShellMail and Exact Target acquiring CoTweet are good examples of this new trend, merging email marketing with social media, and the emergence of a more interactive marketing platform to engage with customers..

9- Another new trend is Group Buying: Groups in a social network can get discounts or group rates on products or services. Social sites like Living Social and Groupon are focusing on this market, a new business model for retailers and local stores.

social-media-ad metrics10- Finally Analytics and Return on Investment measurement has become increasingly critical for marketers to analyse and justify their return on social media marketing investment. More and more tools are available and in the future the winning social media platform will be the ones with the best analytics tools.

There are of course others trends in Social Media, some more specifics to specific countries, population, industries, businesses, and this new area of marketing-Communication is evolving so rapidly, trying to predict the future is often more like guessing, so pragmatically, as a marketer take advantage of those latest trends to optimize your social media marketing strategy and tactics.