7 WAYS LinkedIn WILL HELP YOUR BUSINESS
LinkedIn is one of the peculiarities of the social networking experiment. It’s not ubiquitous like Facebook, Twitter or even Pinterest. Yet, it has found a niche all its own, as a business tool, and particularly for small to mid range companies who want to network and reach their intended market.
The only problem you might be facing is, how do I use this tool—seemingly with unlimited possibilities—specifically to promote my business? We’re going to break down seven strategies that can’t fail you.
Make Valuable Connections
Like any social networking site, the ultimate goal of LinkedIn is to connect people and allow you to network your brand with new leads, or new business associates to collaborate with. While you may only find a few friends and associates based on email searching, you can take advantage of LinkedIn Groups, and connect to people in your industry or in local and regional locations. You can also use the Advanced Search option to target a specific market and find people, companies and industries of interest by keyword.
According to findings from Breitbarth, 41% of the site’s users have over 500+ connections, which is an increase of 30% since 2013. About 15% now have over 1,000 connections. Simply put, the most successful companies using LinkedIn have gone out of their way to create a following, and network with other people.
Build Your Authority by Showcasing Your Knowledge
A few years ago, posting articles on online directories was a fairly good way to prove your authority. However, it wasn’t long before VIPs in the search engine industry realized that the lack of interaction between writer and readers was less than impressive.
The truth is, people are far less inclined to believe someone who gives a speech, than a person who takes unscripted questions and has the ability to reply. This shows your potential leads and associates that you know your industry well enough to interact with the public in an objective and neutral way, and also gives you the opportunity to repeat your name and brand publicly without link spamming.
In general practice, avoid just talking about your opinion and instead quote reputable sources and include your own expertise. Leave your answer open-ended so as to encourage more conversation and perhaps make more connections.
Get Endorsements on Linkedin
A recent study from Dimen-sional Research shows that positive endorsements from sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, & Amazon influence a decision almost 90% of the time.
“Endorsements are easier for a connection on LinkedIn to put in a positive word in for you without going to the trouble of writing a recommendation”.
These endorsements are like reviews for your small business. You can use them to build up your business’s reputation. Plus endorsements can lead to recommendations which we’ll talk about below.
Get Recommended and Build Authority
The age old saying that you should “let someone else say it” rather than saying it yourself proves true in online marketing. It always has.
“People are more persuaded by word of mouth, by the seemingly objective endorsement of other people”.
This shows your audience that your service or product is great enough to earn other people’s recommendations. Recommendations are like referrals, and referrals are gold! Best of all, LinkedIn’s recommendations appear on your page, and even better, they cannot be forged.
Host an Event and Keep People Up to Date
Hosting an event via LinkedIn lets you build awareness for your brand and also generate additional leads, since the event is advertised to your network. The Event
Platform is easy to work with and helps you “promote the event” by asking questions about your purposes and subject. Online RSVP will help you keep in touch with your most important targets, and the announcement also shows up on their page.
LinkedIn has an Events Tool search that lets people find your event based on mutual interest, as well as geographic location and industry. The flexibility of this online tool has resulted in many more links and connections being made, since you are no longer limited to traditional in-person events but can actually organize workshops, virtual webinars, phone conferences, round table discussions and more.
One of the hottest strategies right now is to organize a regular monthly event, online or otherwise, and build visibility with your regular audience and with new members that hear about the meeting from LinkedIn announcements from friends of friends.
Other tips you can try incorporating include:
- Creating a logo, using simple and probably free software, that will make it stand out.
- Come up with a creative title so that it will capture attention and hopefully be shared (and shared on more social media sites than just LinkedIn)
- Always finish with a call to action. We remember this in articles and yet we seem to forget this golden rule in social media. If you don’t tell your audience what to do at the end, they won’t do anything. Always include a strong call to action after advertising a meeting.
- Include keywords that describe your industry and reason for the event.
- Promote your event in groups, preferably the most relevant groups to the theme of the event. It’s not blatant advertising if you’re providing value
- Post about the meeting on your status messages. Remember an active page represents a busy company. Ideally, you tie in the latest company event with your status messages, generating excitement for the event
- Much like other social networking sites, the ability to speak openly & candidly is another way you address any issues and provide amazing support to potential customers, so use it wisely
Use Sponsored Updates
If you are afraid of coming across as an aggressive or too spammy, then using LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates to reach targeted users can help, and generate greater paid lead generation than many other social media strategies. Recently, HubSpot worked with LinkedIn and reported a 400% lead increase with their targeted audience.
Reach Out and Make the Personal Connection
“The biggest mistake people make using LinkedIn and other social pages is to lie back and wait for the traffic to generate”.
Particularly because this website is professional and the opposite of the informal Facebook atmosphere, people tend to be suspicious when you add them without explanation. It is better to be proactive and to send personal messages to people before or as you add them. This way you can create the emotional connection that so many companies are missing in an overly optimized and online market.
The best approach to writing these messages is to look for areas of interest that you might have in common and then write to them on a more personal level, not as a formal business communication. Introduce yourself and keep it sincere. A little flattery in this situation can go a long way too, but don’t over-do it. Get to the point and tell them why you are reaching out to them.
HP recently used LinkedIn for greater emotional engagement with its social media audience and reported 300,000 new followers in two months, along with an increased attrition and engagement rate, and even a 2.5 increase in customers who refer the company’s products to friends, family and acquaintances.
The “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature is another great tool and one that no other professional social networking site has, as it can reveal who has been searching for you, and now allows you an introduction on how to introduce yourself. Chances are, if someone was searching for you, you have a targeted lead that would not so easily dismiss a personal message. The Who’s Viewed Your Profile option received 76% of respondents’ votes for the best feature of LinkedIn.
As you can see, using LinkedIn has a number of unique benefits but only if you are willing to use its variety of tools and features consistently… As opposed to visiting once a month and blindy posting.
But this doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice hours of your time, day after day. Most people couldn’t bear to spend hours a day on a social networking site…. Right? Err… Sorry Facebook devotees 😉
Make the most of your efforts by spreading out the time you spend on LinkedIn, try to check in daily, or at least a few times a week. Just for a few minutes! This way you can keep your presence consistent, your name ubiquitous and your brand promoted.
How to Maximize Your Facebook Reach
You’re probably using Facebook to market your business already. And you should be – it’s the world’s largest social media site with more than a 1.7 billion active monthly users.
With numbers like that, you might think it’d be easy to reach your audience on Facebook…
But the opposite is actually true. Facebook’s ever-evolving algorithms are making it harder than ever before to increase your organic reach, and that poses a serious challenge for local businesses who want to get the biggest possible ROI for their Facebook activity.
Does that mean you should give up?
Absolutely not! What it does mean, though, is that you’ve got to know some tricks to help you maximize your Facebook reach so your content doesn’t end up getting lost in the shuffle.
Create Shareable Content
This first tip might seem completely obvious, but a surprising number of local businesses miss it. Dry, boring content that offers no value to your users isn’t going to get shared.
By contrast, when you post interesting, fun, entertaining, and informative content that offers real value, it will get shared. In fact, it might get shared a lot.
To understand what qualifies as shareable content, let’s first talk about what doesn’t qualify. Hard sales pitches? Not shareable. Dry facts and statistics? Boring, and likely to die on the vine.
What does get shared?
- Engaging blog posts that offer significant value and entertainment rolled into one.
- Striking images – pictures are the most-shared content on Facebook.
- Videos – they’re the second most popular form of content. And don’t forget Facebook Live as an option!
- Infographics that make digesting large amounts of data interesting and fun.
You get the idea. Create content that’s worth sharing, and it will be shared. It’s just that simple.
Remember that Engagement is a Two-Way Street
So your followers are engaging with your content… but are you engaging back?
Social media engagement is a two-way street. That’s why they call it social. As a business owner, your job is to make sure that the people who engage with your content – whether they like, share, or comment – know that you appreciate it.
How can you do that? Well, you can start by replying to comments in a timely manner. The people who follow businesses on Facebook want to know that their patronage is appreciated. A quick “Thank you” or a reply can go a long way when it comes to communicating your gratitude.
Likewise, when people share your content, navigate to their page and click “Like” or leave a comment thanking them. It’s polite – and it’s also smart, because it shows the person posting (and all of their followers) that you take a personal interest in your fans.
An added benefit to this kind of engagement is that it boosts your post’s visibility. The more activity there is on a post, the more likely it is that it will stay visible in your followers’ feeds for hours after you post it.
Build Organic Reach Prior to Boosting
Boosting a post on Facebook is an effective way of broadening your reach – but you have to do it the right way. Content that’s already popular is more likely to deliver the ROI you want.
Instead of boosting a post as soon as you share it, wait a while. See if people engage with it – and then make a decision about boosting it. That way, you won’t waste money boosting something that’s dead in the water…
And you’ll also benefit from the Bandwagon Effect because people who see your post once it’s boosted will know that it’s already popular.
If a post doesn’t get the engagement you want, you might want to try reposting it before giving up on it entirely. And don’t forget that you can drive traffic to your posts using other means, such as emailing your list, linking to it on your blog, or even sending a text message to your mobile customers.
Boost Your Most Popular Content
Even professional marketers miss the boat with their content sometimes, and you probably will too. That’s okay – because you’re going to make the most of the content that does connect by boosting it.
Boosting Facebook posts can help you reach a new audience. You have the option of sharing a post with your followers and their contacts, or you can use Facebook’s demographic and psychographic targeting to reach a new audience of people who are likely to be in the market for what you’re selling.
The key to boosting is to verify the popularity of a piece of content first – as we just mentioned – and then put your money behind it by boosting it. Think of the initial post as a form of market testing that you use to determine whether a post is worth boosting.
After you boost a post, keep an eye on its reach and you can use that information to determine whether to extend the boost. If a post is getting a ton of engagement in the form of comments and shares, then it’s probably a good use of your money to keep it going.
Track Your Stats
Tracking your stats on Facebook is essential if you want to maximize your reach. Your stats can tell you:
- Which forms of content are most likely to grab your followers’ attention
- What times of day are best to post
- Which content gets the most shares
- Which content generates the most traffic to your website
All of this information represents data you can use to reevaluate your Facebook strategy going forward. Instead of throwing good money after bad, you can make more of the content that your followers want to see.
Facebook reach can be a slippery thing…
But if you take the time to create great content, engage your followers, and be strategic about boosting posts, you can maximize your reach without blowing through your social advertising budget. Organic reach isn’t as easy as it used to be, but you do have some control over how and when your followers see your content.
10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Lead Generation on Facebook
Social media site Facebook started off as a way for college students to connect with one another. Since its fairly humble beginnings in a Harvard dorm room, it has grown into a global phenomenon. With over 1.13 billion daily users, it is the world’s largest and most highly-trafficked social media sites.
And while it was originally intended only for personal use, it has also become a marketing powerhouse for the businesses who use it. In fact, there are very few businesses that can afford to ignore Facebook as a way of reaching potential customers.
One of the most effective ways to put Facebook to work for your business is to use it to generate leads. Lead generation – attracting new customers – is an expensive and time-consuming thing. The benefit of using social media for lead generation is that it is relatively inexpensive. If you do a good job of creating valuable and shareable content, it can be an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to growing your business.
With that in mind, here are ten ideas you can use to turn your Facebook posts into lead generation tools.
1. Share your blog posts on Facebook. You don’t have to share every post, but it is a very good idea to share those posts that have done the best job of generating leads for you. Check your blog stats and then schedule the posts that are performing for posting on Facebook. Research shows that blog posts that lead off with an anchor text call to action tend to generate as much as 93% more leads than blog posts without one, so keep that in mind.
2. Post a direct link to your landing page. There’s nothing wrong with keeping things simple. If you’ve got a great looking landing page, use a graphic from it and post it with a lead-in that touts what you have to offer. You’ll be surprised by how many leads you can generate with this simple strategy.
3. Videos. Facebook’s algorithms are changing all the time. One of the things that has changed is that videos are given preferred status and can generate 135% greater organic reach than photos or other content.
Instead of simply posting a link, try embedding a video instead. If you’ve already got a video on your landing page you can use that, or you might consider creating a unique video just for Facebook users.
4. Go Live Facebook Live. If you haven’t tried Facebook’s new live video option, now is the time to start. Live videos tend to get a great deal of engagement. Facebook’s initial trial run revealed that live videos got approximately 10 times more comments that regular videos. Another benefit of live video is that it is meant to be spontaneous.
You can shoot a live video on a shoestring budget, and you don’t have to worry about scripting it. You can even solicit comments and questions from viewers, which makes it a great way to keep people engaged and interested.
5. Take advantage of the new Facebook Call to Action button. Did you know that you can now include a call to action right at the top of your Facebook page, just underneath your cover photo? Many companies are using the new CTA and finding that it helps with lead generation by making it very easy for new followers to respond to your CTA.
6. Pin your promotional posts to the top of your Timeline. This is an extremely simple, free strategy that you can use to make sure your lead gen posts don’t get lost when you post new content. Obviously every post you put up can’t be a direct marketing appeal, but you can simply choose the “Pin this Post” option to keep your lead gen visible at all time. It’s a good idea to update it regularly so that people don’t get sick of seeing it there.
7. Give away a free product. Everybody loves a freebie and your Facebook followers are no exception. The people who follow you aren’t necessarily on your list, but you can get them to sign up by offering them an incentive. All you need to do is post a notice about your contest, promote it for a few dollars a day if you want to, and watch the leads flow in.
8. Ask for Feedback. Speaking of your product, you should consider asking people for opinions of your product. One way to do that is to offer a free trial or sample. Post the offer on Facebook, link to your landing page, and ask people to comment with questions or opinions about what they experience.
9. Host a webinar and create a new Facebook event page to go with it. An event page requires your followers to specify whether they will attend your webinar or not. You can require subscription to your list as a prerequisite for signing up for the webinar.
10. Pay to Promote. Finally, consider boosting any (or all) of the above posts to make sure that they are seen. Facebook’s algorithms are problematic for many marketers because they mean that all of your followers will not see your posts.
However, if you boost your post and choose the “Followers and friends of followers” option, you can be sure that your post will be seen by every one of your Facebook fans – and by all of their social media connections as well. It’s a great way to grow your list for a relatively small amount of money. (You can boost a post for as little as one dollar per day.)
The bottom line is that Facebook can be an extremely easy and powerful way to generate leads if you make proper use of it. These ten ideas can get your started – and get the leads rolling in.
Shoot by the Numbers: Video Marketing in 2017
By now you might be sick of reading articles about video marketing and why it’s a must for your business. That doesn’t matter, though, because it’s time for another one.
If you’re not using video marketing, you need to ask yourself why. It’s not just a question of videos being popular – although they are. The facts support the urgency. There’s really no excuse not to be using video to market your business.
Key Video Statistics for 2017
If you’re not convinced that video marketing is a must for your business, here are some statistics from WyzOwl that might help change your mind. Let’s start with how many people use video as a marketing strategy:
- 63% of all business say that they make marketing videos, up from 61% last year
- Of the 37% of businesses that have not used video in the past, 34% say they intend to start in 2017
While those numbers are significant, what’s impressive is the return these companies get from their investment in video. For example, 83% of companies who use video marketing say it earns them a good ROI.
The positive results of video marketing are clear when we look at the way consumers react to explainer videos that teach them about a product or service. For example:
- Most consumers (91%) say they have watched at least one explainer video to learn about a product or service.
- 79% of consumers say they would rather watch a video to learn about a product than read about it.
- Even more impressive is the fact that 84% of consumers have decided to buy a product after watching an explainer video.
The popularity of explainer videos translates into increased sales. In fact, 82% of businesses who have an explainer video on their website say that the video has helped them increase sales.
The takeaway here is that video marketing works. Having an explainer video isn’t going to convert 100% of your visitors – nothing can do that – but it can certainly help people understand your product and convince them to buy it.
Elements of a Successful Explainer Video
All explainer videos are not created equal. If you want to kick off your video marketing efforts with an explainer video, the research reveals certain things that can help you get the ROI you need.
First, consider the overall length of your video. The study cited above shows that 50% of consumers said that the best length for an explainer video is one minute. 33% said they preferred videos between one and two minutes long, while a minority of 17% preferred videos under one minute in length.
Of course, some products and services might require longer than a minute to explain. It is perfectly acceptable to go over a minute, but avoid going over two minutes unless you want to lose a significant percentage of your audience.
Another element of your explainer video to consider is the voiceover. Some companies opt for a very formal voiceover style, but there is evidence to suggest that consumers prefer something more approachable than that.
When asked, 83% of all consumers said they preferred in informal voiceover style where the speaker talked as if addressing a friend or family member. Almost as many, 75%, said that a speaker who irritated or alienated them might ultimately dissuade them from buying the product discussed.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the research also reveals a gender divide when it comes to a product’s intended audience. 69% of the respondents said they believed that a female speaker would be more persuasive to a female audience. By contrast, only 53% of consumers thought a male voice would help sell a product aimed at a male audience.
The takeaway here is that an informal voiceover is far more likely to be successful than a formal one. While the survey didn’t ask this question, it seems likely that this preference might tie in to the general public’s desire for social proof. A casual voiceover might seem as if it comes from a peer rather than a marketer.
There’s no single correct format for an explainer video, but here are a few to consider:
- Whiteboard or doodle videos are easy to make and provide a way to visually explain your product that’s more interesting than having someone talk directly to the camera.
- Similarly, animation can be an effective and entertaining to illustrate what your product can do for your target audience.
- Live action product demos may also be a good choice for some products.
- Slide shows with a voiceover may work in some instances, but it’s best to use original drawings or photos rather than stock images.
As long as your explainer video is short, to the point, and uses a persuasive voice and images, it can do a great deal to increase conversions and drive sales.
Video Marketing Options
The final statistics to consider are those having to do with new and innovative types of video marketing. In the past, most companies hosted videos on their websites or on YouTube. You can still do that, of course, but there are other options that have increased in popularity in the past year.
- In 2016, 19% of businesses used Facebook Live as part of their video marketing strategy, but that number is expected to increase to 49% in 2017.
- Snapchat and Instagram videos for marketing purposes are on the rise too. Snapchat is expected to increase from 8% to 27% this year, while Instagram videos are projected to rise from 26% to 42%.
- Other video options to consider include webinars, interactive video, 360 video, and virtual reality, all of which are expected to grow in the coming year.
The bottom line is that using video as part of your marketing strategy in 2017 is a must. Consumers prefer video content to written content – and as you know, the customer is always right. With so many options available, there’s no excuse to hold off on making video marketing your go-to option for explaining your product and increasing your sales.