Manufacturers – How to Get Social NOW on LinkedIn

Posted on May 4, 2010 by Kerry O'Malley
linked-for-manufacturers

LinkedIn is THE Social Network for Manufacturers

 

You may already have a profile on LinkedIn.  Most industrial marketers I talk to do.Unfortunately, most of those industrial marketers create a profile on LinkedIn that is really nothing more than an online resume – and that’s where it ends.  If this is you – you’re missing out on a huge networking opportunity!  For industrial companies, LinkedIn is probably the most effective social media site for increasing visibility and credibility for your business – IF you take advantage of everything LinkedIn has to offer. Consider that LinkedIn has over 80 million members, with a new member joining every second.  That’s a large target audience in one place for one purpose:  to do business. Nobody goes to LinkedIn to shop, post pictures of the kids, or play games.  There are things you can easily do today to ramp up your company’s LinkedIn presence and take advantage of its networking power.

1)  If you don’t already have a LinkedIn account and profile, create one.  It’s really not that difficult.  Click here to read about how to create a profile that will stand out and get noticed. Ask every key employee of your company if they have a LinkedIn account.  If not, they need to add this to their “to do” list for the week.  Send them the link above to help them create a killer profile.

2)  After you’ve created your profile, reach out to customers and others who know your business and view it positively.  Ask them to connect with you, and if you have had a positive working relationship with them, ask them to write a recommendation for your profile.  You can do the same for your top vendors.  Vendors will be especially eager to join your network and write a recommendation.  After all, you’re their customer!  Ask your employees to go through the same process.

3)  If you or someone else in your company is willing to spend a few hours each week managing a LinkedIn group, create one.  The group you create can be very specific to your company’s business, or one that focuses on broader issues more relevant to your target customers.  Enlist employees to join the group first, and ask several to contribute on a regular basis.  Creating a group gives you the opportunity to do several things:[list style=”circle”]

  • Start discussions in order to position yourself as a thought leader or expert
  • Share news – industry wide or within your company
  • Post job openings for your company
  • Become regularly visible to people in your network
  • Communicate with anyone who joins the group[/list]
4)  Assuming you’ve already started a blog, sync your blog posts to your LinkedInprofile page with a tool like Blog Link or WordPress.  These are applications available to you through LinkedIn.  Every time you post a new blog entry, it will automatically appear on your LinkedIn profile page.

5)  Add a company profile for your business on LinkedIn.  A company profile increases your visibility, bumps up your ranking in search results, and enhances all your employees’ LinkedIn profiles.  The company profile gives you the opportunity to talk specifically about your company, as opposed to your personal profile which should be mainly about you.  You can even add a list of employees based on individual work history information.  Your company’s “pop-up” will appear on your employees’ profiles.

6)  Does your company have a standard PowerPoint presentation?  Linked in offers an application called “Slide Share” that allows you to place a PowerPoint presentation on your profile page.  Lots of people would rather watch a short visual presentation than plod through paragraphs of text.  Applications are accessed by going to the main menu at the top of your profile page, clicking “More” and then “Application Directory.”

7)  Join groups – lots of groups!  Belonging to groups on LinkedIn is good for several reasons, but the biggest one is this:  you can communicate directly with anyone who is in the same group.  On LinkedIn, you cannot communicate directly with someone who is not in your network unless you have been given an “introduction” through someone else in your network who knows the person.  If you belong to 20 targeted groups (groups that have members who are potential customers) that expands the reach of the individuals you can approach personally by 20.  Think about it:  your network has 100 people.  You join 20 groups with a total membership of 10,000 people – you now have the ability to email 10,100 people on LinkedIn!  I know this really falls under the heading of advanced LinkedIn marketing, but I had to point out the benefit.  Another good reason to join groups is that it gives you the opportunity to once again, position yourself as an expert at what you do.  Hang around the group for awhile and get a feel for the discussions and what people comment on the most.  This will give you insight into topics you can post for discussion.  When you feel ready, jump in with comments.  Be genuine, don’t self-promote, and offer expertise based comments, and soon you will be recognized as someone who brings value to the group.

8)  Leverage the LinkedIn “Answers” feature (found under “More”) in your menu at the top of your profile.   You, and other key employees, can commit to checking “Answers” at least once a week to see if there are questions that you can provide an answer to.  For many topics, there are an abundance of answers given.  However, the more technical or specialized the topic becomes, the fewer answers appear.  When you answer a question, your response is viewed by EVERY LINKEDIN MEMBER who views the question.  That’s a lot of exposure!  “Answers” is a great way to position yourself as an expert at what you do.  You can also ask questions yourself in “Answers.”  You don’t necessarily need to ask a question you really want answered.  For instance, you could pose a question that challenges the conventional way of thinking about a certain topic.  Creating controversy (within limits) is a great way to make yourself memorable.

There are many more ways to harness the power that LinkedIn offers industrial marketers.  These are just some of the most basic things you can do to make your company’s LinkedIn presence a step above the average manufacturing company.  Keep in mind that your exposure is multiplied with every employee who uses LinkedIn on a regular basis to promote your company.   Become your company’s LinkedIn evangelist, and encourage colleagues that are already using social media to use LinkedIn on behalf of your business.

Author: Kerry O'Malley

omalley@marketectsinc.com

Marketects was founded in 1999 by Kerry O’Malley, a proven marketing communications professional in international, manufacturing companies. Working on the “other side of the desk,” she hired ad agencies to manage her employers’ advertising and P/R programs. Frustrated over the lack of attention and level of enthusiasm she was looking for in the marketing agencies she worked with, Kerry realized that there was a definite need for a full-service marketing firm that specialized in working with industrial companies. She resolved that her clients would always receive the highest level of service possible and never feel like the last kid chosen for the team.

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