[Legacy post: Small Business Talent] My guest on the podcast, Mark Schaefer, is among the world’s most recognized social media authorities. He has been a keynote speaker at major conferences such as SXSW, Social Media Week London, the National Economic Development Association, Word of Mouth Marketing Conference Tokyo, and National Association of State CIOs. Mark has also lectured at Oxford University, Carnegie-Mellon University, Princeton, and many other prestigious institutions.
Mark has degrees in marketing and organizational development. He’s a faculty member of the graduate studies program at Rutgers University and is also the author of four critically acclaimed marketing books: Return On Influence, Born to Blog, The Tao of Twitter, and Social Media Explained (the bestselling book that he discusses on today’s podcast).
Social media marketing is here to stay — and understanding how to use key social media tools effectively is important to remaining competitive in your marketplace. If you’re looking for trustworthy advice on using social media to get better marketing results for your business, then today’s interview is a must. Scroll down to the Podcast Player below and listen now!
I know you’re busy. If you’re going to invest your valuable time in using a social media platform as part of your sales and marketing mix, then you want to have an understanding of what it takes to use it effectively and connect with new clients.
LinkedIn can provide you with a wealth of networking and client acquisition opportunities. But before you can leverage the true power of this platform some fundamental first steps need to be addressed. I recommend starting here:
Step One — Create An Effective Headline
Your headline (at the top of your profile, to the right of your LinkedIn headshot) should be laser-focused to provide information that your target audience will immediately identify with. It should include keywords which help these same people to find you with their searches. As an example, my headline is: “Helping Solo Professionals Acquire Their Ideal Clients | Small Business Sales and Marketing Consultant”.
Step Two — Write a Compelling Summary
In the Summary section of your profile, write a highly targeted overview that speaks directly to your ideal clients’ interests and includes keywords relevant to their needs. They’re busy like you, so make it obvious that you’re a valuable connection and resource. All substance and zero fluff.
Step Three — Customize Your LinkedIn URL
Rather than using your assigned LinkedIn profile page URL which includes a long series of numbers, you can edit it within the Edit Profile section of your account. Use your name (I use mine – https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenlahey), and/or other words that identify your brand. This is useful for promoting your LinkedIn profile outside of LinkedIn, such as via your email signature, your website, etc.
Step Four — Customize Your Link Names
Within the Contact Info area of your LinkedIn profile under the “Websites” section, you can add several links to your websites. Be sure to edit each link name (anchor text) to indicate what your target audience will find when they click on it. Include appropriate keywords in the link names.
Step Five — Upgrade Your Profile Photo
We all know that first impressions are important. As a business owner, you’ll want to use a professional-looking, recent headshot that reflects well on you and your brand.
Step Six — Complete Your Profile
As you fill out the sections of your profile, you’ll see a round “Profile Strength” indicator tracking your profile completion. The more targeted information that you can provide to your prospective clients, the better. As part of this process, ask people who know your work to add their honest LinkedIn recommendations. Sincere third-party testimonials act as potent social proof and help you to build trust with your ideal clients.
Step Seven — Write and Post Useful Content
Begin publishing updates that are genuinely helpful to your target audience. This invites opportunities for positive interactions, increases your potential reach, and further increases your credibility as an expert.
Step Eight — Respond to People Who Engage
When you get a positive comment from someone on a post you’ve written – this a golden opportunity to connect with them. If they accept the invitation and join your LinkedIn network, then you might also invite them to schedule a phone or Skype chat. Selectively initiating conversations with engaged people will often lead to new opportunities for both of you. By the way, even if someone just adds their “Like” to a third-party post you’ve shared, you might still want to thank them. You can do that in the comments section or through InMail. If they’re a potential client or networking contact, then start following their posts on LinkedIn and consider sending them an invitation to connect, as well.
Taking these steps is a great way for you to start getting the most out of LinkedIn. Of course, because this process requires a little time, many of your less conscientious competitors won’t take action at all. Congratulations, their lack of motivation just created an opportunity for you to gain an advantage!
Have questions on how to use LinkedIn as a solo professional? Send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll reply with some answers.
[Legacy post: Small Business Talent] If I ranked my guests based on their sales expertise and their enthusiasm for sharing great sales lessons, then Paul Castain might be at the top of the list. Paul clearly loves teaching, and today he’s here to teach you how to target and win more of your ideal clients using LinkedIn Groups.
Prior to launching his company, Castain Training Systems, Paul was the VP of Business Development for Consolidated Graphics, a billion dollar printing company. Before that he was the Director of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates.
Over the past 30 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 10,000 sales professionals and business owners. He has also written B2B sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Paul Castain’s Social Networking Playbook and The Sales Playbook Podcast on iTunes. In addition, his work been featured in various business publications, including Forbes Magazine and Success Magazine.
Paul is the creator of the popular LinkedIn Group called Sales Playbook which is an active community of over 48,000 members. He’s a well-known expert on the topic of using LinkedIn Groups to develop productive networking relationships and new business.
Isn’t it time to make your social networking and sales prospecting efforts more efficient and successful? Used properly, LinkedIn Groups can help you do this with less pain and more gain than almost anything else. So, don’t miss the practical insights and social selling tips that Paul shares in this interview. Scroll down to the Podcast Player and listen now!