More than 100 million people have a Linkedin account (can you believe that?) but most people only scratch the surface of what Linkedin for b2b can look like. If you’re one of the folks who has neglected your account, or you haven’t even gotten around to setting one up, now is as good a time as any to get your head wrapped around using Linkedin for b2b marketing and PR.
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions (with answers) I get asked about Linkedin.
1. Should I accept the invitation of anyone who sends me one?
There are those who will disagree with me but I’ll say no. Sure, it may seem that if you’re using Linked in for b2b efforts, the more contacts you have, the merrier. Yes, it’s good to have contacts, but you want your contacts to be quality contacts. Linking your name with someone is a kind of endorsement for that person, and you want to make sure that an association with them will help and not hurt you.
2. Should I make my contacts public to those I’m LinkedIn with?
Yes you should. The vast majority of people will not rifle through your contacts madly trying to link in with them as they go. They might have tried that early on in their exploration of Linkedin, but if they did, probably got a whole lot of nothing at best, and they will have abandoned it. People who don’t make their contacts public are secretly resented by others who do. It’s like inviting people to your party and telling them you’ll be counting the silverware when they leave.
3. Should I try and link in with as many of my colleagues’ contacts as possible?
Many people are relatively thoughtful about which invitations they accept online, and they approach a Linkedin the way they might about answering their door at home by first trying to figure out who’s there and if they want them in their house. You really want to be knocking on doors you’re welcome. Knocking where you’re not wanted isn’t going to help you anyway – because no one will answer!
4. Should I pay for the premium profile?
I have tried it on a trial basis and didn’t feel it was something I needed. Most people are just fine with the free account.
All that’s well and good, some of you might be saying, but you’ve been there, done that. What you really want to know is how to use Linkedin for b2b communications and PR. Okay, you b2b types, I like how you think!
Let’s get down to business with a few tips on how to use Linkedin for b2b growth:
1.Make sure you set up a company page in addition to your personal profile(s). And make sure you keep it updated and have all necessary contact information there.
2. Ensure everyone in your company has their Linkedin profiles fully or close to fully filled out as possible. You’ll present a better face to the world and more opportunities to be found by people looking for services or products like yours.
3. Like Chuck Hester said in this video, keyword your Linkedin profile (company and personal). Think through what someone looking for what your company does or sells would put into the Linkedin search window in order to find a company that does or sells what you do, and then ensure that your profile features those keywords and themes. Here is a short explaination on what are keywords, and here is an article that will help you understand how keywords work.
4. Linkedin lets one person with your name grab the vanity URL with your name in it, just like mine is. If you haven’t already, try and grab it. It helps you return higher in the search when people are searching those with your name, making it easier for people who are looking for you to find you.
5. Think visually. If you have a paid Slideshare account, you can drop a video onto one slide and then insert that into your Linkedin profile. You can also drop in any kind of slideshow, including a powerpoint presentation. Slideshare, incidentally, is a very cool sharing site for slide presentations of all kinds. You can actually do a fair bit for free but if you do a fair amount with powerpoint or slides of any kind, you will likley find you want the paid version.
6. Get active in groups. Linkedin has 1million groups – at least one of them is bound to be helpful to you. To the left of the search bar is an arrow. In the drop down menu, you will see a number of choices, including “People,” “jobs,” “companies” and “groups.” Anyone of these categories will help you research companies or people you’d like to do business with, so spend a little time nosying around in there.
And make sure you jump into some of the groups that fit your business. Unless you are in a very niche business, you should find a number of groups that will be helpful to you. Make sure you listen first, look around and get a sense of where the conversation already is before you try and steer it. If you have helpful thoughts about a question someone else has asked, chime in.
Same goes if you have something helpul to share with the group, say an observation, a great new tool, a blog post that will given them info or insights they need. Linkedin for b2b is all about being helpful.
7. Start a group. Don’t do that until you’ve explored how other groups work. Once you’ve determined the need for your group and figured out how your group will be different, go for it!
8. Look up in the “More” tab at the top for the menu option that says “Answers” and search the questions for those you can answer. The more you answer helpfully, the more people will see you as a thought leader.
I hope that helps you in using Linkedin for B2B. None of this works if you don’t use it, so go on, jump in. You know you want to…