Some small-business owners might steer away from LinkedIn because they view it as yet another social media time waster. However, the professional network could be a key tool to garner referrals and connect with decision-makers.
LinkedIns value comes in the form of introductions, referrals and connection-targeted marketing, said Jeremy Sisk, president of Xperience4Higher, a Durham small-business marketing firm. Its also a great place to send a current connection a note and ask to be introduced to a decision-maker they know. Its also a great referral network.
Here is Sisks edited advice for leveraging LinkedIn.
After building a profile, owners should send connection requests to people they have worked with or know personally. Owners should personalize connection requests to remind the other person how the two know each other.
The site wont allow anyone to make connection requests with people they dont know.
Ask clients to give skill endorsements and recommendations, which are shown on the owners individual profile.
Review the connection list often, and take the time to send target messages to potential customers on the list. Lead the message with how your company is going to make an impact on their company.
A LinkedIn Premium subscription ranges from about $19.99 a month to about $74.99 a month, and allows owners to see whos viewing their profile. Follow up on a profile view with a request to talk about how your companies can work together. Make sure the message is cordial and professional.
Private messaging is another valuable tool. LinkedIn offers a set number of private messages per package that allows users to send message to individuals they are not connected to.
This is a great way to connect with decision-makers and others at businesses outside your and your connections networks. The key is to make sure the message is tailored to the recipient. Do not send canned, please-work-with-me messages.
Bridges: 919-829-8917; Twitter: @virginiabridges