Most Valuable Space on LinkedIn

Most bloggers use one or more of the social networks to promote their work and grow their readership. For most bloggers readership translates to income, either through advertising, product sales or consulting.

In this post we’ll take a look at LinkedIn, which some consider the most professional social network since it’s home to few teenagers and discussions about Justin Timberlake’s hair. What do you consider to be the most valuable space on LinkedIn?

Linkedin TodayI think it’s your Public Profile. Your Public Profile, or lack of one, says a lot about you. In fact for most LinkedIn members it’s all they’ll ever know about you.

LinkedIn has over 50 million registered users as of October, 2009 according to Wikipedia. That’s a lot of free eyeballs that you can turn into readers and potential sources of income. To do that you’ll need a great profile. What is a great profile?

It’s simple really, a great profile includes who you are, what you do, and, this is critical, the benefits you provide. Tell your target audience how you can solve their problems, grow their business, write their copy, find a job, teach them something, reduce their stress, make them happier, improve their health, raise great kids, or make them more beautiful.

Your profile can be as long as you want but I recommend keeping it under 300 words. People are busy and a lengthy epistle about your overall greatness going back to high school will work against you, at least in my opinion. Rather, use short declarative sentences to state what it is you can do for your target audience. You’ll want to edit out jargon unless you’re using it intentionally to attract a target audience and repel another particular audience. If you are stating black-and-white opinions it may be wise to back them up with numbers and/or your accomplishments or credentials.

One of the key points about social networking and social media is they are designed so people can converse. So much so that many social media firms use some form of, “Join the conversation,” in their marketing copy.

Due to the more personal elements of social networking, I recommend adding your picture to your profile. If you have the time and money, many of the people I talk to believe hiring a professional photographer is money well spent. I used one for my photo since it was my only hope of being semi-presentable.

Here’s a couple other LinkedIn tips:

1. Add your LinkedIn url to your email signature and your website. It’s a good way to grow your network and let others know that you’re social media savvy.

2. Use LinkedIn as a marketing tool. I’m getting ready to send out a letter requesting a personal meeting with busy executives and a copy of a free report. Each one costs me, between printing and postage, almost $5.00 and that doesn’t include the time it took me to locate the contacts, produce the report, and write the letter. Before they go out I’ll check each name, again, in LinkedIn to see if anything has changed on their profile.

3. If someone has changed positions or companies by the time I’m ready to conduct a direct mail campaign, which has happened dozens of times over the last year, not only do I save myself some money but it’s a great time to reach out and congratulate them on their new assignment.

Steve

  10 comments for “Most Valuable Space on LinkedIn

  1. December 14, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing your tips Steve. Are you finding potential prospects on LinkedIn and mailing them letters or direct mail pieces? How is that working for you?

  2. December 14, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Doug, I haven’t done that yet. My direct mail marketing has been limited to the Carolinas, which has been enough to keep me busy (and off airplanes).

    Nationally I rely on my industry connections and a trade association.

    Note, my business model calls for 10-15 good clients at any one time. I control my outbound to control my inbound. Your model may be different.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. December 14, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Steve & Doug, I assume you are aware that you can download the names and email addys of all of your LinkedIn contacts (or filter them by specific attributes) for email marketing using a service like Constant Contact. Seems to me that this would be easier and less expensive than direct mailing.

  4. December 15, 2009 at 4:02 am

    Mike, thanks for the comment. I appreciate you taking the time.

    Yes, I knew you can download your LinkedIn contacts. That just doesn’t fit my go-to-market strategy (yet). I really target those I market to and try to stick with (1) people I know or have a very strong mutual connection with, (2) are in a position to sign the check (read: not go get three approvals), and (3) I have their email address, physical address and phone number.

    Item 3 is important because my marketing campaigns include phone, email and direct mail. In my experience doing all three really boosts response rates. My broadcast marketing, if that’s the right term, is very “subtle” and is usually confined to blogging and group activities.

  5. December 15, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Steve, I like your perspective on LinkedIn bios. Mike, nice comment, I never really thought about exporting the e-mail addresses, but that is a great point.

    I recently read the book “I’m on LinkedIn–Now What???” by Jason Alba, and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to get more out of social networking and LinkedIn in particular. The book delves into using LinkedIn “Answers” to positioning yourself as an expert in a particular field.

    I also posted a PowerPoint presentation to my LinkedIn profile using SlideShare and it generated a lot of feedback and positive attention. This is another free application on LinkedIn.

  6. December 15, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Thanks, Balse. I had not heard of that book but will definitely investigate.

  7. Nils Montan
    December 17, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Thanks guys for all these great comments. Do you think our LinkedIn connects might resent getting email solicitations from us? Most people go on LinkedIn for networking and many people I know are pretty negative about what they view as crass marketing.

  8. December 17, 2009 at 2:56 am

    Nils, I agree with you and would be very careful about marketing/broadcasting to your LinkedIn connections. If you’re offering excellent value such as a really well written ebook on something of interest then it might work. However, if it’s just a solicitation (“Buy my stuff!!!) then direct mail, a less personal approach, is better.

    These tools are called social networks for a reason. This is a group of full- to semi-friends and full- to semi-neighbors. You wouldn’t go to your next door neighbor’s house with an overt, over-the-top, hard-sell pitch because it would violate your neighbor/friend status, so don’t do that to your online friends. On the other hand, if he was a CPA looking for a website, and that’s what you did for a living, you might say, take a look at my work.

    I hope that helps.

  9. December 17, 2009 at 5:26 am

    Nils, I believe it all depends on your network. I have met people that will not connect with anyone until they have met them face to face. Others have different criteria. I think it would probably be fine for a few select people. However, for the rest of us, I believe if we were to begin to market to them our network would shrink rather than grow. If you are staying up on social media, the new buzz word is “de-friend”.

    When I first mentioned it, I did so from a technical standpoint and not a strategic standpoint. That being said, I will be emailing my network in the next few days to wish them happy holidays (nothing for free or for sale – just a good wish for them). It will be interesting to see what happens.

  10. December 17, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Mike, I think that’s a great idea and have been pondering the same. You’re being social with your network and if someone finds that spammy or a violation of their space then, in my opinion, they’ve got it wrong, not you.

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