If your business is based on reaching and persuading senior decision-makers, then Linked-in should be a core part of your business development. There’s a real value in developing an extensive contact base and maintaining a professional profile on Linked-in. It provides an essential complement to the traditional techniques of live events, networking, email marketing and telemarketing. I’ve found it invaluable for getting insight into key topics, and creating opportunities to meet prospective clients and business partners. Here’s 7 reasons you should build it in to your b2b marketing:
1. Most industries are incestuous
People tend to stay in one sector or discipline for their career, and so if you start to build a network in a focussed way, you will quickly get to the point where anyone you want to speak to is a second degree connection so just one introduction away. People’s activity on groups is visible to their connections who are also likely to be in the same industry, so word spreads fast.
2. Senior people have a hinterland
Once you reach a certain age, contacts or colleagues from early roles have often moved onto greater things and are working in a range of companies. This is true for your own network and also for your connections; their ex-colleagues may just be working at your target company.
3.Linked-in bypasses the PA
Gatekeepers often intercept phone calls or emails to senior decision-makers, but they are more likely to pick up Linked-in updates on their personal email account or on their mobile. So if they recognise your name your message is much more likely to get across.
4. Your credentials are easy to check
If you have a great CV, impressive recommendations or a wide array of senior connections, people browsing your LI profile can easily see all this and conclude you are worthy of their time and attention. Compare that with yet another unexpected phone call or email in the inbox.
5. Content can be followed up online
If you have expertise to share via blogs, video, presentations, discussions in groups or plain old web content, then your connections can check it out with a click and decide whether they want to hear more.
6. Recommendations are public and qualified
It’s great to make a good impression with a client – and get that warm glow when they praise your work. But if you can persuade them to recommend you on Linked-in it’s there for all your connections to see. And if they are a senior individual then anyone seeing the recommendation can quickly check out who they are, putting greater weight on the testimonial.
7. All connections can see your activity
Strategic plans are great, but serendipity can prove just as profitable. You can’t know which of your connections is just at the crucial decision point, or which of their connections might need some specialist advice. But if you regularly comment on your topic of expertise and get recommended by others, then when they see this activity, they may just be prompted to get in touch.
What are your experiences and tips on using Linked-in for b2b marketing? Please comment below.
About the author: Carolyn Morgan works with media businesses to develop their digital strategies, through her consultancy business Penmaen Media. She launched the Specialist Media Show as a conference and exhibition for niche publishers to learn about digital media and network with their peers. Carolyn runs an active group on Linked-in: The Specialist Media Network for specialist media professionals to swap ideas and make new connections. Carolyn also advises professional services firms on the effective use of Linked-in and other social media for business development. Please get in touch for an informal review of how you are using Linked-in in your b2b marketing.