- Many people in the business world are aware of what a great social network LinkedIn is. But do all of them know about the many ways they can leverage the platform's benefits?
- LinkedIn is not just a social channel to make connections. You can use LinkedIn for your personal branding, too. Make yourself a thought leader in your field and have people recognise you as an opinion shaper.
- There are many more ways to use LinkedIn to grow your network that can benefit your own business persona and your company - you just have to know how to do it.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners often overlook LinkedIn as a communications platform. Partly because they themselves are not using it, they misguidedly think that no one else is in a typically blinkered way.
Here are 5 outstanding reasons why entrepreneurs should consider LinkedIn for marketing, personal, employer branding and sales campaigns:
1. What's the First Thing that Happens When I Google You?
Your LinkedIn profile comes up.
CEOs and entrepreneurs are often shocked when I reveal this to them. I have no idea why - it’s blindingly obvious that this is where people get their first impressions of you from. The first link that actually comes up organically is not your website, your Facebook or anything else it’s your personal LinkedIn profile, I click on it, and it’s the first impression that I get of you.
Is that impression of your personal brand the one you that you wish to communicate? Is that a brand that you want clients, shareholders, employees and future ones of all three to have of you?
A lot of exceptional marketers who are amazing at creating strategic and well thought out marketing campaigns for their clients don’t do it for themselves and don’t do it for their clients on LinkedIn.
The cobbler’s sons do, indeed, have the worst shoes, the cook's kids go hungry, the mechanic’s car always needs repairing, the decorator's house always needs painting...you get my drift!
2. LinkedIn Is the Only B2B Social Media Platform
When I first came to Singapore 10 years ago there was only 5 million professionals on LinkedIn in the whole of Asia Pacific. Now there are 150 million professionals on LinkedIn, many CEOs and entrepreneurs. What other platform of any kind from the FT to Bloomberg gives you these kind of affluent business people? None, not by a long shot.
With the rise of the middle, business and entrepreneurial classes in places like India, China (2nd and 3rd largest LinkedIn countries in the world), Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, and many more, this number is going to continue to dramatically increase.
Growth has stagnated in the West but in the East, there is a never-ending supply of CEOs, Directors, and Managers being created and joining LinkedIn. What better place for a B2B or even B2C campaign targeting affluent professionals across the Asia Pacific region?
The three degrees of separation on LinkedIn means that you can reach anyone anywhere on LinkedIn by having a great personal network. For Free. Never complain that you can’t reach or find the right person. You can do both on LinkedIn. Free.
3. Content Marketing is Free Marketing on LinkedIn
Don’t buy advertising or sponsored posts on LinkedIn. As a CEO and entrepreneur you don’t need to if you have an effective content marketing strategy.
- LinkedIn allows you to share videos natively or via YouTube on LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn allows you to share business photos or infographics, reports or your business thoughts straight into your connections feed and into their followers feed if you inspire them to like, share or comment.
- Free content marketing influencing your target audience of employees, future employees, shareholders, investors, future investors, clients and future clients is all through your LinkedIn content marketing strategy.
Your opinion is just as relevant and important as anyone else’s on LinkedIn. Enhance your personal brand and employer brand by using the largest professional publishing platform in the world to market your services or products and ultimately yourself.
4. Sales Navigator Is the Key to Lead Generation in LinkedIn
It always amazes me how many business owners don’t know about LinkedIn’s lead generation platform, Sales Navigator. It’s a separate platform that is part of the LinkedIn premium suite and allows you to find anyone, anywhere in the world at any brand or organisation. All the data that you and I input into LinkedIn - it can search on every single person who signs up.
I regularly generate dozens of meetings and signups for my LinkedIn workshops by using the data on Sales Navigator to find entrepreneurs and CEOs in places ranging from Melbourne to New York, Hong Kong to KL, Singapore to Shanghai, London to Sydney, Jakarta to Ho Chi Min.
It’s the best kind of direct marketing mixed with social selling that you can get. Not only can I see:
- Who is a CEO/CMO of a certain sized company,
- How many employees they have,
- Where they went to school,
- Where they used to work,
- How experienced they are, etc.,
But I can also find out if they:
- Have changed jobs recently,
- Whether they have appeared in the news and tailor a message to them.
- If they have even actively been posting on LinkedIn and are, therefore, more engaged with the platform and more likely to reply to a message.
There is also no spam box on LinkedIn and your LinkedIn message reaches someone on both LinkedIn, (so they can see exactly who has sent them the message, who their company is, what their content marketing is like and who you both know in common), and it also reaches their email box too. Best of both worlds.
5. You Too Can Be a Thought Leader
As a CEO, entrepreneur, just like being seen in the FT, WSJ or Bloomberg is better than than being seen in Snapchat, a tabloid or MTV, so is having your content and thought leadership seen and read on LinkedIn compared to Facebook. You read it because it’s in a business context written or shared or commented on by a business leader. It comes across as more professional and business focused.
LinkedIn is the social media brand that WSJ wish they had created or bought!
It’s also important to look at how thought leaders and giants or business from Richard Branson to Marriott Starwood’s Arne Sorenson use LinkedIn as their primary content marketing platform to market to all stakeholders from employees to B2B and B2C customers of all kinds (a hotel may have MICE events to market and wish to host, business people travelling need somewhere to stay, professionals may wish to use a hotel bar or restaurant to entertain guests or put on a private dinner, etc.), partners to PR/media, shareholders to future stakeholders of all kinds.
Don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn when it comes to your content marketing strategy.