LinkedIn to many is seen as a recruitment portal. The place to be to get headhunted into that dream job. I have yet to be blessed with that experience.
To me, LinkedIn was kind of … well, boring. If Facebook is the street party, LinkedIn is a stuffy reception with piped-in music at one of those soulless function facilities.
Does that sound harsh? For sure. If your thinking the same, let me tell you, you couldn’t be more wrong.
While the early adopters flock to Google+ and our kids and moms become power-users on Facebook, LinkedIn is where business gets done. Execs from all Fortune 500 companies are there, and 59 percent of those active on social networking sites sites say LinkedIn is their platform of choice over Facebook or Twitter, up from 41 percent who called LinkedIn their most important social account a year earlier, according to a June report by Performics and ROI Research.
LinkedIn, it turns out, is a happening place. As of this spring, it has more than 150 million members in more than 200 countries, on all seven continents. LinkedIn adds around 10 new members every 5 seconds.
All of this adds up to making LinkedIn the dark horse in social networking. Or the “unsung hero” of the social platforms.
There will –as suspected– an awful lot of job searching going on at LinkedIn. But there’s much more going on over there, too. I have seen that top-level executives and entry-level workers use LinkedIn differently: Younger members use the site mostly to post résumés and network for jobs, while more experienced professionals use it to demonstrate thought leadership and expertise, promote their businesses, conduct market research and–perhaps most important–win new business.
So how might companies use it to win new business, specifically?
- Target searches for keywords you’ve identified as central to your business. Target specific roles ie: “Director of Technology” specific post codes and company names to identify key contacts to call, e-mail, InMail (send a message via LinkedIn’s internal messaging system) or forward a hard copy information.
- Track who is looking at your profile and your staff’s profiles. Understand what searches you are appearing in and perhaps strengthen your profile to appear in more. Reach out to those who stopped by “how can I help”.
- Research, or as I call it “social sleuthing’ others call it stalking, but there is a law against that now!
- Set up a company page. Setting up your business as a “company” on LinkedIn can if you do it right, generate a bunch of leads, as well as it give you an opportunity to have a presence on LinkedIn beyond a personal profile to ratchet up your company’s charisma. I like the way you can embed banner images and videos in your company page, as well as feed your blog posts and tweets. You can also feature your products on your page and seek recommendations for them. That’s a kind of social proof that only enhances your credibility.
- Discern patterns. Notice who’s connected in your industry. Noting that an individual is suddenly connected to several execs at a single company may indicate that the company is open to dialogue. “Which suggests to me that I might want to get my brand (me) in front of them”.
- Participate in LinkedIn groups catering to your target market in order to engage in conversations with the right people. Seek out groups with lots of activity rather than simply lots of members. (You’ll have to join them to get a sense of the activity.) Monitor each group’s discussion posts and respond thoughtfully with content rather than a pitch. The goal is to engage rather than sell outright.
Does all of this work? Yes, although it takes some focused effort, but its worth it. If you are interested in hearing more about the success myself and colleagues are having please drop me a line or tweet with a #wesoe (we sell or else)
The below video and story is why I love social media. Maybe it’s the dad in me, but this video really put a huge smile on my face and I hope it does the same for you. Cain’s Arcade is closing in on 100,000 Facebook Likes and you can like it here: Caine’s Arcade Facebook Page
We are all in business to sell something, whether its a service or a product.
Lets look at the anatomy of a salesperson:
But buying is different and this changes everything!
Customers have too much information, but not enough fact to act upon.
These days Clients have more choice than ever before, with information available through varied and diverse channels. Buyers are no longer relying on the sales person for information. Instead 70 percent are looking for information online before making a decision or purchase.
A recent study “The Future of Selling” from Ogilvy, says that although sales people agree with the above, they feel that the customer is not getting the right kind of information about your products and services.
This new way of gathering information is affecting the seller in a huge way. In Ogilvy’s study, nearly 50 percent of sellers (1100 interviewed) agreed that social media helps them sell. The biggest influence was seen in China at 73 percent, Brazil 65 percent UK 33 percent and USA 27 percent.
Also the platforms used, vary from country to country:
Top performing sales people are adopting social media technologies to drive their success in sales. Using these tools they can help with personal branding, demonstrate their value faster, reduce the “time to trust” factor and best of all help (unconditionally).
It is also worth noting that sales organisations recognise that the buying process is changing faster than their organisations are responding, with many companies blocking employees from using social media. When companies do allow use, there is lack of education about how to use with many employees wishing their companies would offer more help.
Change or else.
The world is changing at an astonishing rate and as such the role of a salesperson will be completely different in five years. The link between the Marketing Department and Sales Department is becoming inextricable. Individuals, regardless of role i.e. sales, technical or operations are also becoming marketers of their personal branding. Peoples skills and expertise will be easier to locate at the touch of a button.
Questions to ask now are: “If your client is researching, are you easy to find?” “Do you provide information that will assist them and that will provide value?”
We all have information that someone is looking for, whether its in your head, on your hard drive or in your email. Get it out there, put it on YouTube, write a blog, use Twitter or collaborate from within your company, engage in conversations, be helpful, try to solve problems versus just selling your solution.
Another question to ask yourself is: Does your boss know your skills?
Things to do right now:
Check “your” brand, Google yourself.
Create content to fall in the path of the digital buyer.
Get marketing and sales on the same page.
Build your network with people you know well and others who you don’t know that well but essentially build your network.
Image credit: Use by country, Ogilvy
If you would like any advice please feel free to contact me.
If you know me, you will know I am addicted to work, I am pretty much online most of the time. Often the voice inside my head, typically my wife,
is “you’re not on the clock now you know”. But you know what, I love what I do.
Its great to explore new networks, searching out questions where I can offer an opinion. More importantly have conversations with people I
dont know, about topics we have an interest in. I feel engaged.
Its a sad fact but I often hum to various tunes about it, but being tone deaf and lyrically barren, I never manage a full verse. One of my hums is to the tune of “500 miles” by The Proclaimers
When I wake up yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who tweets alot to you
When I go out yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who checks in using Foursquare
That’s as far as I get, I cant work in additional lyrics such as – I check my RT’s, mentions, blog comments and the buzz I get from “Great post,
thanks for sharing” or the followers that find something of value from my twitter antics. I am as I said addicted and need the fix, that social
networks can provide. But you get the drift.
I shouldn’t have been surprised when I Googled social addiction, that the images it provided depicted the worst meaning of addiction mixed with the brand names of social networks, but I was. All very negative connotations. However I did find this infographic.
As usual there is no shortage of articles:
So I can even understand why people are hesitance to get into social media. It can, if you let it, get quite involved. But and this is a big but, what I get from helping people I dont even know personally and being recommended as a resource to others is a fantastic feeling.
My personal recommendations are figure out what you want to achieve first. If its personal branding then think LinkedIn, Blogs and Twitter,. If is marketing a brand then Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Blogs. If its sales then you need to think both, why, because people buy from people. You are now being a marketeer as well as a sales person. Believe me once you have done the set up work, it gets easier!
If I am allowed one more song to hum to it would be “Jeans On” by David Dundas
When I wake up, In the morning light
I turn on my phone and I feel alright
Like I said lyrically barren!!
The economy of Africa consists of the trade, industry, agriculture, and human resources. As of 2006, approximately 922 million peoplewere living in 54 different countries. Africa is a resource-rich continent but many African people are poor. Recent growth has been due to growth in sales in commodities, services, and manufacturing.Africa is by far the world’s second poorest inhabited continent, second only to Asia in the number of poor people. Though parts of the continent have made significant gains over the last few years. In recent years, African countries consist of the fastest growing economies in the world.