At the beginning of March, the Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) and Technology Committee joined forces to bring you Bagels and Business: LinkedIn. The event was sold out with standing room only and, after reading this summary of the information packed session, I’m sure you’ll understand why. The goal of the event was to provide the ‘ins and outs’ of LinkedIn and discuss how businesses can leverage LinkedIn for growth. This impactful information was presented by a group of panelists.
What is LinkedIn?
- A professional network.
- Profile and expertise showcase.
- Searchable database.
- Publishing channel.
- Advertising platform.
- e-Learning resource.
LinkedIn can be used for lead generation and business development, but how do we accomplish that?
First, have a great profile! Here are the ingredients:
- Get a customized URL.
- Use professional background photos and headshots.
- A specific headline helps people find you in search. Make it diverse but simple so that potential clients and customers know your expertise.
- Your description should tell what you do and how you do it. Highlight what you can do and use first person point of view.
- You can add media as examples of your work, or how to use your product.
The way to best use LinkedIn is by finding, understanding, and growing your relationships with people you have met or want to meet. LinkedIn facilitates this with highlights and experience. Highlights show who a person and yourself have in common in your network. The experience section is written as a standard resume format. This is where you can find other points of commonality such as education, volunteerism, interests, and work history.
Endorsements and recommendations are big advantages of LinkedIn. Endorsements allow you to easily attest to someone’s skills by simply clicking a box. This can be thought of as something like references on resumes and applications. Recommendations take more effort and are basically testimonials. If you want to receive more recommendations, you can ask people in your network. If you are uncomfortable with that, start by writing a few recommendations for others in your network. You may find that some return the favor.
Once you have a great profile, start connecting so people can see it! A great way to showcase your product, expertise, or industry is by having content on your site regularly. You should provide content on your page four to five times per week. There are three types of content for your page:
- Posts: Can share industry information, advertise or promote upcoming events. The easiest post is to share content from pages you follow and information in your newsfeed.
- Updates: Can be original content, links to other information or articles that may be of interest to your audience.
- Articles are the biggest time commitment but also receive higher newsfeed rankings and increase followers. Articles should have ‘hashtagged’ key phrases for searching with a maximum of three to five tags. Articles also allow you to attach images, but be sure you own the images you use.
There are several ways to use LinkedIn for prospecting in conjunction with networking. If possible, find an attendee list of the event you will be attending. Research attendees and find commonality and talking points for people you want to meet. If you are looking for big companies, research event sponsor employees to find the person from that company who is a decision maker. Use keyword search to find people in the industry on which you are focusing. Mine your LinkedIn network for extended connections and warm introductions to people you want to meet. If you cannot meet them in person but want to connect via LinkedIn to start the relationship, be sure to personalize the message you send.
There is a paid service level for LinkedIn. This service provides the following:
- Send messages to anyone.
- See who has viewed your profile.
- Provides expanded search filters.
- You can see more than 100 results in a people search.
- Provides business sales insights.
- Access to LinkedIn learning.
Sales Navigator offers a one month free trial. It is a powerful tool that suggests leads for you based upon information you provide about the type of lead you want. At $79 – $99 per month after the free month, you need to determine for yourself if it is a good investment for your business.
Heather Reimels is the CEO and co-founder of Hybrid Interactive (HI), a creative services agency designed for managers, directors, trainers and entrepreneurs who—while responsible for developing engaging, interactive and educational programs—just don’t know how to roll it all out.
As the firm’s business development director, Reimels provides solutions utilizing creative communication technologies for companies seeking to train and retain staff, and for business leaders to increase their client or membership base. She develops strategies within client ideas and sensitivities to create an advanced mixture of graphic design, video production, interactive development and other communication techniques to engage and invigorate employees, sales teams, members, or clients.
Suzanne Buggé is a seasoned and goal oriented professional who has been in sales and marketing for over 25 years. Buggé worked extensively in project management, promotional programs and new product initiatives for major retail accounts. Upon leaving the retail arena, she devoted several years to building her own direct sales business and won awards for top performance several years running. Buggé’s success in marketing her own business and those of others lead to the creation of A Focused Advantage.
Sandie Pardey is a Commercial Lines Business Development Representative at New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance (NJM) Group. A Montclair State University graduate, Pardey grew up in Carlstadt here in the Meadowlands region, and has many family members that reside in surrounding towns. These ties to the area motivate her to become better acquainted with local businesses and see them succeed. Pardey’s participation in the Meadowlands Regional Chamber has given her numerous opportunities to work with these businesses, while also helping her grow professionally and personally through the friendships and networks she has developed.
Stan Robinson Jr. has over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing with organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 1000 companies in industries such as publishing, computer hardware, software, and business consulting. He is a member of the New Jersey NAACP Economic Development Committee, a board member with the Workforce Development Board of Union County and a member of the Wells Fargo Community Advisory Board. Robinson has a BA in Psychology from Harvard College and a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton University. In addition, he has completed several continuing educational courses on social media and digital marketing.
If you have further questions about LinkedIn and what it can do for your business, feel free to contact any of our knowledgeable panelists, the Emerging Leaders Network, or the Technology Committee.
Nina Johnson is Co-founder and Chief Business Officer at Singularity LLC (singularityknows.com). She also serves as co-chair of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber’s Technology Committee.