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Use of LinkedIn/Social Networks for marketing

Does any have any tips/techniques for use of these networks in marketing/business development?

-Don Bolen

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Here are some ideas based on how I am using LinkedIn:

1. Read and respond with quality answers to posts in forums (don't turn your answer into a sales pitch and don't start a forum with a question that is really the beginnng of a sales pitch)
2. Build a strong network of connections to "level 1" people that you would eagerly refer to others and that you believe would eagerly refer you. When approached by someone you do not recall meeting - either ignore them (not good) or request phone time or coffee time to get to know each other
3. Recommend others that you really believe in without expecting a return recommendation. Your name will appear on their profile
4. When prospects ask for references - provide them and also refer them to your LinkedIn profile (provided that you have a good profile)
5. Use LinkedIn as a search tool rather than a "broadcast" tool. Enter the name of a company or the name of a key individual by name or title. Further qualify the search by location and "degrees away from you"
6. Make requests for referrals by using inmails and let your network work for you. Ask others to do the same and then either amplify their request via you or let them know why you will not do so.

Please view the Bradley Will Video - 8 Simple Tips in the Videos Section of this site

Twitter

Twitter 1: If you have not already signed up – I urge you to do so – even if just to protect the brand around your name. The web is still the “Wild Wild West.” Anyone can go into Twitter and claim your company name. As an individual you have the opportunity to establish a personal brand with your twitter name. Please do it before someone else does.

Twitter 2: Reinforce your "brand" via Twitter by "tweeting" about topics that are consistent with the value that you provide to others or seek from others.

Twitter 3: Begin to evaluate an experiment with other Twitter functionality like "search", using the # sign and using RT to signify a Retweet. We can discuss what the # sign and retweet means but you will learn it best be experiencing it as you observe others doing it.

Twitter 4: Do a careful evaluation of other "open" products that build on Twitter - Tweetdeck is an example. There is risk and reward - only you can determine whether or not to use these services. MrTweet is another example od another application to evaluate.

Twitter 5: Research your prospects in Twitter. You may have found them via the "search" function but no matter where you found them - do a search on their name - read their tweets - learn about them and how you can help them or why they might be interested in you.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn 1: Almost everyone is using LinkedIn but most state that they have not been using it effectively. One method of effective use is to participate in groups. This means to read and comment on other people’s questions and comments in these groups. I have established a LinkedIn Group – “Strategies for the Training Industry” – please consider joining it.

LinkedIn 2: Display your expertise (without selling) as you answer questions and respond to others. Begin to establish relationship with others via private responses. Once you've established rapport and perhaps even spoken via phone or met - request a direct linkedin request. When you watch the Bradley Will VIdeo you will hear him describe the purpose of Social Media as a process to turn Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers.

LinkedIn 3: Experiment and master the search capability. This is a prospecting tool. Search for prospects by specific name, company, industry, geography - just like you would normally do. The first thing to look for of course are level 1 and 2 connections. You can also look for groups that the individual participates in and you can learn about them based on their activity and comments in these groups. Use this information to formulate a reason that they would be interested in getting to know you!

LinkedIn 4: Ask questions in Groups or Forums that give others the opportunity to display their expertise. Do not sell or promote products or services - this will turn others off. The value of social media is transparency and authenticity. We are "opening ourselves up" to learn and build relationship - not to be sold to. We'll eventually buy -when we are ready and for our reasons. Your goal is to be easily found and "attractive" when others are looking to buy.

Social Communities

Social Communities 1 Forrester Research has predicted that the distinction between a website and a social website will be gone by 2011 because all websites will be social. You are here already so you've taken the first step to at least visit a social community. Now go beyond that - join subgroups and display your expertise and create dialog with othes. Use social communities built by others similar to how you use LinkedIn (items 2 and 4 above) and remember the "affinity" around which the community is established.

Social Communities 2 Build, maintain and grow subgroups in social communites run by others (Kind of like a SIG in ASTD or Society in TAG)

Social Communities 3 Start your own social community for your clients

Are there other social media tools, questions or suggestions that you are willing to contribute?
Don,

I am currently helping organizations understand how to use these networks in marketing and business development. The items that Paul wrote down are spot on. The key is to develop a Social Media Strategy based on your Business Objectives. I will continue a further discussion on this topic on this site and also on www.atlantabusinessmagazine.com. You can find out more about my organization on www.mysylbert.com. I would also be happy to join you for coffee to discuss this with you and help you understand more of the reasons why marketing and business are moving to these type of tools.
-----Original Message-----
From: Withheld by me (Paul)
Sent: Thursday, September 03, 2009 3:07 PM
To: paul terlemezian
Subject: hi

Hi, Paul. Got a question. I'm trying to network, meet new people in companies to discuss their interest in the services offered by my company. I'm using LinkedIn, but I got a message back from somebody saying it's an inappropriate use of LinkedIn to make contacts. Basically, he's a web marketing guy and I said I was networking, reaching out to people who might not be aware of solutions of the type I am an expert with.

The message was not salesy at all. Isn't this what LInkedIn is all about?

How would you respond? Here is how I responded:

1. Lots of people use linkedin in order to sell (and perhaps to buy/hire) but "no one" is using linkedin to be sold to. So, why would one want to fish in a pond where the fish don't bite?

2. A effective way to reach someone is through their intermediate contacts and with transparency. Use the linkedin "request an introduction" capability and describe clearly and honestly why you are requesting an introduction and what you intend to do as a result of the introduction. I have found that this gets me the introduction in a very high percentage of the times I use it.

3. Get to be known by doing the following:

a. Join groups and answer questions without selling what you have to offer. Provide links or references to your sources. Don't sell - do display your expertise but in a non-selling manner.
b. In forums run by others - ask questions that help you get smarter and lets others display their expertise, knowledge (and perhaps areas of need.)
c. Respond privately to questions or responses that you think may be prospects for you. Again, do not sell - provide help - answer their questions, give them help but don't ask them to read marketing material or buy from you.
d. Set up your own group. I just did a search and found only 12 groups that had the word "your expertise" in their description. There are 5,438 with training in their description, 3,768 with learning, 970 with selling and 5,275 with sales. There are none that include your expertise and training or your expertise and learning.
e. As you find people that are of interest - guide them to our group - where you can now nurture your new found friends

4. Have a profile that is factual and that would inspire interest from others. The quality of your connections, your groups, recommendations and information about yourself is important when interest is being validated by someone who has heard about you and may want to benefit from you expertise.
I found this post in a LinkedIn Group - Social Media Marketing. It was written by Sean Nelson (he's based in Atlanta)

Are You a LION, Turtle, HoundDog, or Alley Cat? What's your LinkedIn Strategy?

Your connection strategy should support your goals. There are 4 defined strategies for connecting defined at http://bit.ly/8CrvPS .

LION - Open Connector - believes in large networks
Turtle - Tight Networkers - only with people they know very well
HoundDog - Seeks people to connect with
Alley Cat - Seeks people and accepts invitations openly
Here'a a link to Sean Nelson's blog: Social Media for the Small Business

http://www.socialmediasonar.com
Thanks to a tweet by Bradley Will I found this useful article on 10 Rules for Increasing Community Engagement:

1. Make it easy to participate
2. Be a leader
3. Interact with the community
4. Welcome newbies
5. Identify and nurture power users
6. Showcase and cross promote UGC
7. Reward contributors
8. Be timely about posting UGC
9. Allow profile creation
10. Engage with popular existing communities

http://mashable.com/2009/12/16/community-engagement/
http://www.newmediahire.com/profiles/blogs/9-social-media-topics-that

I followed this link from a linkedin discussion and found it to be very good. It is titled "9 Social Media Topics that Need to Die" and was written by Amber Naslund - a social media and marketing practioner.

She provides a useful rant on the following topics:

1. Getting more Followers and Fans ("...people aren't marbles...")
2. Misdefined ROI ("...lack of a business case...")
3. Entitlement to Free Stuff ("...they don't owe you a thing...")
4. Joining the Conversation ("...it's become so diluted...')
5. What's the Next Whatever ("...looking for permission to be messy...")
6. Content is King ("...Like h_ _ _ ...")
7. The Quest for Universal Contants ("...find out for yourself by actually doing something...")
8. Social Media Experts and Proverbial Snake Oil ("..prove your substance through what you do...")
9. Social Media is Hype, Stale, Old, Whatever ("...put your money where your mouth is...")

I think she is 9 for 9 - correct on all accounts - what do you think?
I agree. So let's not talk about this :-)
I posted this on my blog a couple of weeks ago. The question has and will always be, When looking to grow an audience ask the question Why! http://wp.me/pKz7I-1N

Paul Terlemezian said:
http://www.newmediahire.com/profiles/blogs/9-social-media-topics-that
I followed this link from a linkedin discussion and found it to be very good. It is titled "9 Social Media Topics that Need to Die" and was written by Amber Naslund - a social media and marketing practioner.
She provides a useful rant on the following topics:

1. Getting more Followers and Fans ("...people aren't marbles...")
2. Misdefined ROI ("...lack of a business case...")
3. Entitlement to Free Stuff ("...they don't owe you a thing...")
4. Joining the Conversation ("...it's become so diluted...')
5. What's the Next Whatever ("...looking for permission to be messy...")
6. Content is King ("...Like h_ _ _ ...")
7. The Quest for Universal Contants ("...find out for yourself by actually doing something...")
8. Social Media Experts and Proverbial Snake Oil ("..prove your substance through what you do...")
9. Social Media is Hype, Stale, Old, Whatever ("...put your money where your mouth is...")

I think she is 9 for 9 - correct on all accounts - what do you think?
Not trying to be difficult but your competitors are talking about it so why aren't you? http://tinyurl.com/ydxvb9m


Patrick Malone said:
I agree. So let's not talk about this :-)
Just attended the National Speakers Association-Georgia meeting this Saturday, and Gina Carr ("The TribeBuilder" social media expert http://ginacarr.blogspot.com/) said to think of it like this:

..LinkedIn is 'the office' - you wouldn't invite people to your office you didn't have a connection with
..Facebook is a 'backyard barbecue'
..Twitter is a 'cocktail party'
..Your blog is your 'home'

I like to think of all these connections in terms of dating (though it's been a while :)). From a sales perspective, you don't walk up to someone and say, "Hey wanna date me?" Instead, you find things in common, talk sports or current events or people you know in common, and see if there's a fit. If you ask them about them enough (think 'Informational Interview' like in job hunting) they will see your interest, and potentially start getting interested in you. I'm no expert, but this is the guru-strategy I'm implementing from others.

Another great quip from Gina to share ... remember this when you post updates, wherever they are: it is social media, not broadcast media - so make sure it's socialized (personalized) in some way.


Paul Terlemezian said:
I'm using LinkedIn, but I got a message back from somebody saying it's an inappropriate use of LinkedIn to make contacts. Basically, he's a web marketing guy and I said I was networking, reaching out to people who might not be aware of solutions of the type I am an expert with.

The message was not salesy at all. Isn't this what LInkedIn is all about?

How would you respond?

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