How to Attract Well Qualified Customers Without Leaving Your Living Room
If you wanted to sell a genuine Rolex for a fair price (not the kind you find via street vendors, if you know what I mean), would you hold a yard sale and hope that someone with thousands of dollars just happened to show up?
It sounds like a funny question, but I see people doing this all of the time when they're trying to market their business online.
Here's what I mean. They create a website or blog, and they're active on Facebook and Twitter posting great content. But then they ask, "how come no one wants to pay me a fair price for my work?"
It's a good question, and I think it's important to value your work and price it accordingly. But it's also important to position yourself where the people with money to spend are, and in the business community, that means knowing how to network on LinkedIn.
Introducing LinkedIn Influencers
LinkedIn has been in the news lately with their Influencer program. They've invited CEOs to regularly post original content, and then LinkedIn promotes it to their users. Sounds pretty simple, right? But according to an article by the New York times, engagement was up 63% in the month the Influencers program debuted! That's huge!
Now, let's think about this. LinkedIn is where the CEOs and other business leaders hang out (aka, it's where you find people who invest money in growing their businesses). And now LinkedIn is changing their format to attract people to explore LinkedIn and to stay more engaged while they're there.
Can you see why knowing how to network on LinkedIn should be high on your list of marketing "to-do's?"
How to Network on LinkedIn and Attract Well Qualified Leads
#1 – Create a Profile — When you create your LinkedIn profile make sure you complete it, well, completely! It sounds obvious, but if you look through many peoples' profiles, it's a step way too many people are overlooking.
You want to include everything you can to make sure your profile looks and sounds professional. If you have one, include a professional headshot. (If you don't have one, consider investing in this form of personal branding.) Also make sure to complete your resume, include your experience, and details about what you do these days. And of course, make sure to link your professional website or blog to your profile page! (Again – it's something many people overlook)
#2 – Import Contacts – After you've finished creating your profile all the way, LinkedIn will ask if you want to import your contacts. This is a great way to begin expanding your network. Then choose the contacts you want to add to your connections. Note – you should choose your connections wisely! More connections is not always better. Your goal is to connect with leaders in your field and your target market, of course.
#3 – Join Groups — Join some related to your niche and/or career goals. There are groups for just about every niche and industry (and sometimes multiple groups). Also join groups where you're likely to find people in your target market.
#4 – Create a Group – You're not limited to the groups that are already there – you can also create a group! This is a great way to demonstrate your leadership in your field. In your group's name, include a solid keyword or two to help the right people find your group. Invite your connections to join it, market it on Twitter, Facebook, in your blogs, and any way that you can to encourage people to join your group. Remember – people often have to be asked several times before they even "register" that you're asking them, so don't worry about asking again in the future. And then when you have members, keep your group active and involved by posing open questions, talking about current issues, or celebrating success.
#5 – Group Engagement – Now that LinkedIn no longer has the Answers section, demonstrating the same kind of thought leadership is best accomplished by being active in a group. Whether through groups you've created or groups you've joined, being engaged and attentive to fellow members' needs is a great way to begin demonstrating your expertise.
Are you using LinkedIn regularly? If so, what's your opinion of Influencers? If you're not using it, why not? Leave a comment below!