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.
1.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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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
6. 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 Turn Facebook Fans into Paying Customers
Here’s the deal. Your business can have a huge presence on Facebook with thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of fans, but still struggle to get new clients. Why is this? Well, for the most part it is because you’re not doing a good enough job of turning those fans into actual paying customers.
You have done a great job with the first step in the process which is attracting people on Facebook and ultimately building a raving fan base. Now is the time, however, to take that next step of turning those fans into people that actually pay you money for what you have to offer.
Here are 4 strategies to consider that will help your fans turn into customers.
Be Consistent With Content
In the overall scheme of things it is important that you keep your Facebook fans engaged and keep your brand in front of them at all times. To that end, it is very important that you as a business owner maintain a consistent approach to the content you are publishing for your followers. A good practice is to put something out there once a day that is likely to be shared or liked a lot. Not only will this help your content go viral and get in front of more people, it will also establish you as an authority in your industry.
Examples of content that you can post on a daily basis are how to articles, tips related to your industry or even interesting photos that your fans may want to see. The key is to make this content as engaging as possible so that it keeps getting shared and it keeps your fans coming back for more.
Now, when one of your fans needs the service or product you offer who are they going to call? Exactly! They will call you because they know who you are and consider you an authority in your industry.
Reach More of Your Fan Base
In order to convert more fans into customers, first your fans actually have to SEE what you are posting and promoting so they have the opportunity to become a customer. One of the most dramatic changes Facebook has made recently is minimizing organic reach for brands. Basically this means that only a tiny fraction of your fans will see your updates in their newsfeed. According to Edge Rank Checker as of march 2014 it was estimated that you reach about 6.5% of your fan base with every post you make on your fan page.
There’s a number of ways you can increase your posts visibility within your fans newsfeed, and one of the best ways is to promote your posts. A promoted post starts off just like any other post you’ve made on your fan page. You simply choose a post you want to promote, like a special sale, or a story you want to share about your business. Then you set a budget and the post is shared to a set number of Facebook members depending on your budget. Your post will be seen by your fans, and even friends of your fans depending on your budget. Promoting your posts is a very inexpensive way to ensure you get maximum visibility.
Another way to ensure your fans see your updates is to educate your fans that they can ‘Get Notifications’ from your Page.
Most of the time, users aren’t even aware that they aren’t getting seeing your updates. Simply by telling them how they can stay better informed with your businesses special promotions will boost the number of people that actually see your posts.
Create Offers with Urgency or Scarcity
If you want to turn more of your Facebook fans into paying customers then you are going to have to market to them – plain and simple.
Now, a common and effective practice to use is creating offers and posting them to Facebook that have an element of scarcity or urgency to them in order to get people to act right away. In other words, why not post a coupon limited to the first 10-people who claim it for a certain percentage off your service?
Or what about a special offer on a service that expires in 24-hours? Make the offer something that your fans cannot pass up and you will see the phone begin to ring! That said, once you end driving your fans from Facebook through your doors it is your job to keep them coming back. Use these special offers as a way to get them there – it’s up to you to keep them there.
Another way to reach your audience with a special deal is through Facebook Offers. This is a form of paid advertising where you can create an ad and target specific people with a special offer that will fit their needs. Once the ad is created and displayed it will have a “get offer” button on it.
When a user clicks this button they will be directed to an area where they can claim the discount offered by your company. The thing that makes Facebook Offers unique and very powerful is that they will actually email the person that claimed the offer to remind them to use it. In other words, they will do some of the dirty work for you to ensure that the person actually becomes a paying customer!
Drive Fans to Your Email List
Having a robust fan base on Facebook is great and can be very profitable but there is an even better way to engage these people to turn them into customers. What is it you ask? Simple, it’s email. If you are able to drive your fans to your email list then you will be able to communicate with them on a whole other level. Email newsletters are still the best way to communicate directly to your audience.
Think about it for a moment. Not only are you engaging them within Facebook, but now you are also engaging them within their inbox. This is very powerful as the more “planes of engagement” there are between you and your potential customers the more you will see your bottom line increase.
The best part about building that email list from your Facebook fan base is that it’s easy! You simply need to drive your fans from Facebook to an email opt-in form on your website or to an opt-in form right within Facebook. There are many apps out there that make it really easy to create these lead capture forms right within Facebook so the fan never has to leave if you don’t want them to.
Please keep in mind that people will only opt-in to your email list if you give them a good reason. Don’t be afraid to offer a discount or some other valuable form of content to ensure they sign up right away!
Show Them Some Love Too
A final strategy to turn fans onto customers is to show them some love too! What this means is making sure you are active on Facebook and sharing content that your fans have produced. This will create a feeling of reciprocity between you and your fans and also show that you are just a normal person too – not a corporate machine.
People love being engaged with in social media. If you take a few minutes each day to engage with some of your fans then you will see that investment on time come back to you tenfold. All of a sudden a normal fan will become a raving fan just because you reached out to engage them. Who do you think that person will do business with when they need what you have to offer?
All in all, getting your Facebook fans to turn into paying customers is easy if you know what you are doing. Just follow the strategies that are outlined above and watch your business take off like you never thought possible!
Making Sense Of Your Social Media Analytics – Quick Reference Guide
Whether you like it or not, social media has now become a part of everyday life and that includes how you present your business to your customers. Whether you own a small handyman service or a computer repair shop, if you want to increase your market share, you’ll need to have a presence on social media.
But how can you determine whether or not you are actually making an impact on social media? It can be daunting at first, especially if you don’t consider yourself an expert when it comes to technology, but all you have to do is follow these guidelines and you’ll easily be able to understand how your customers are interacting with you through social media.
Understanding Social Analytics
It makes sense to actually understand the meaning of social analytics before you attempt to measure it. To make it simple, social analytics are the measurements of the success of your social-media marketing. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to look at the number of your Facebook followers or the amount of retweets you get (though that is one part of it). Instead, you need to be looking at the following things in order to fully understand your social media analytics.
The Size Of Your Community
This one is pretty easy to understand, as all you have to do is look at the total number of followers or Facebook fans that you have. If you have multiple social media accounts, you will want to look at all of your fans across the entire social media spectrum, as the combined total can be an indication of whether or not you are effectively marketing yourself on social media. The more you increase the size of your community, the more effective your social-media marketing is going to be.
To keep track of all of the analytical data for your social media profiles, Klout is a resource that you should definitely consider advantage of. It can examine up to 12 social media profiles and will measure the influence of each profile based on the level of your followers’ engagement. It can easily allow you to see which updates you make have the biggest impact on your customers and followers.
Here is where things get a little tricky. Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who either leave your site immediately after visiting it or bounce around from page to page on your site. A higher bounce rate means more people are actively exploring your site, which means they are engaged by your content and want to find out more! Google Analytics is one of the best analytical resources on the market, especially when it comes to determining bounce rates for small and medium-sized businesses.
Visit-to-Lead Conversion Rate
This determines exactly how many of your followers are actively visiting your social media profiles because of “leads” that you are having. This can be anything from having a special offer on a product or service that you offer or some type of other promotion.
Measuring this can allow you to see which leads are more successful than others, which can allow you to increase the effectiveness of your social-media marketing strategy. If you’re having trouble determining this information, Google Analytics is a great tool for analyzing these types of conversion rates.
Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate
This is perhaps the more important conversion rate. It can be a little difficult to track, since it doesn’t technically take place on social media, but it can help you determine whether or not your social media presence is bringing in customers. This conversion rates refers to the number of people that actually become one of your customers because of one of the “leads” you posted on social media. Understanding this number can allow you to identify which leads are the most effective at bringing in more potential customers.
The Tone of Engagement
The age old saying “there is no such thing as bad publicity” doesn’t really apply to social media. A good reputation that took you years to build can come crumbling down in a matter of days if you neglect your brand on social media. So you need to be able to determine whether or not your customers/fans are positively engaging with the content on your social media sites. It can help you determine if they are happy with what you offer and if they seem unhappy with something, you can attempt to communicate with them in order to fix it.
Who Exactly Are Your Followers?
Understanding your clientele base is important in any business and social media can easily do that for you. This aspect of social analytics is important because it not only allows you to determine who your customers/fans are, but other crucial marketing aspects, like where they are located or what time they are visiting your site.
It can also help you determine if the people visiting your sites are actually leads or other “competitors” in your industry – which means you need to change your social marketing strategy in order to bring in fresh customers.
Determining Where the Lead Came From
if you’re running special promotions on referral or paid advertising websites, you’ll definitely want to know whether or not they are effective at bringing in customers. This statistic can help you determine which leads bring in more traffic to your site and can allow you to figure out where you want to focus most of your social-media marketing efforts.
One of the best social media analytics resources that can track your leads is Bit.ly. It is a URL shortening and tracking tool, which can be incredibly useful if you use Twitter, and Facebook too I suppose. More importantly, it can help you determine which links are getting the most clicks. By taking advantage of this resource, you can figure out what type of content your customers/followers are more likely to be interested in.
How Do Your Customers View Your Brand?
Understanding your customers is incredibly important, which is why you’ll want to know whether or not they started following you by word of mouth or if they “liked” your page after they took advantage of a special promotion. This can give you insight into how effective your marketing strategy is and whether or not some customers are satisfied with your products and promotions.
And if you really want to get a full understanding of how your customers/followers view your brand, SimplyMeasured offers free analytical reports that can show you how effective you are on each social media site. SimplyMeasured even offers reports that compare your social media statistics to your competition!
By utilizing the proper resources and tools, you can better understand your social media analytics. And by understanding your social media analytics, you can better understand your customers’ motivations, as well as what makes them a loyal supporter of your brand!
Why Your Website Must Be Mobile Friendly
Did you know that 4 out of 5 consumers now use smartphones to shop? Let’s face it, nowadays just simply having a website is no longer enough for your business to truly connect with consumers online. People are accessing the internet from desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Your customers are using mobile devices to search for businesses in their area and to shop online.
Having a mobile website can make a big difference in how many customers find and interact with your business. The use of mobile phones to browse the internet isn’t new, but it continues to rise, making a mobile website more and more important for businesses who want to stay on top of the market.
Why being Mobile Friendly Is Important for Your Business
Studies show, the average consumer is spending more time browsing and utilizing the web on a mobile device vs. on a desktop or laptop. Tablets and phones can be conveniently carried around and accessed instantly.
How often have you seen someone looking at their phone while waiting for a bus, sitting in a restaurant, or taking a break from work? All of those moments are opportunities for your business if you have a mobile friendly website.
Some Statistics to Think About
In a 2014 study, ad network InMobi found that in the United States people are spending more time accessing the internet through their mobile devices than through their PCs. This means that if your business’s website is designed only for PCs, you’re missing out on over half of the market. Furthermore, about one in three online searches are now conducted through mobile devices. People use their phones when they are out and about and looking for a local service. If your website comes up in their search results and is easy to access, you might gain an immediate new customer.
A recent study by iAcquire found that 70% of mobile online searches result with an action taken within less than an hour of the search. This means that mobile searches are a more effective way of reaching customers than desktop searches, and can quickly result in new customer interactions and sales.
Connect with Customers Where They Already Are
Nowadays it’s pretty much second nature for just about everyone to use their phone to access the internet. No matter where your customer is, simply by having a website that is easy to access on mobile a device, you are making it easier for customers browse your website and find what they need and take the next action.
Whether it’s your business phone number, information about your products or services or it’s directions to your business. They can browse your website with ease and quickly find what they are looking for – and that’s the bottom line. Mobile websites make it easier for consumers to get the information they want.
Mobile Websites Create a Better User Experience
In a brick & mortar business, whether it’s a restaurant or retail store, the better and more comfortable the experience is for a customer, the more likely he or she is to stay for longer and ultimately buy something. The same is true for websites. If a website is difficult to navigate or slow to load, an internet user is highly likely to close it and look elsewhere. Standard websites can work on mobile devices, but they are usually ungainly. They are meant to be viewed on a large PC screen and become distorted and slow when viewed through a smaller mobile device.
Mobile sites, on the other hand, are designed specifically to be used easily on a cell phone or tablet. That means that users won’t have to spend time scrolling, pinching or zooming to find the information they want. They are also smaller in file size as well and will typically load faster on mobile devices. This is good because a fast load time will decrease the chances that a person will get impatient and click the back button and go to your competitor. Mobile websites make for a more pleasant viewing experience and faster navigation, which can ultimately result in better business.
So What Type of Mobile Site Is Right For You?
To further complicate things, there are multiple types of mobile websites. The best option for you will depend on the size of your business and the kinds of services you offer. Here’s a quick guide that breaks down the differences between the 2 main options, and some pros and cons to think about.
Dedicated Mobile Website
A dedicated mobile design, simply put, is a secondary website that is specifically geared toward and designed for mobile devices. So instead of using one website that is only compatible for larger monitors on desktop and laptop computers, you can opt for second (mobile) site to accommodate the consumer on the go. To see an example, check out mobile.nytimes.com. When a user accesses nytimes.com site from a mobile device, the site detects that they are using a mobile device and redirects them to the mobile version of the website.
This is a good option if your business does not need a ton of pages and you simply want to direct people to a physical business location and provide easy to access contact information. It’s also a great way to get started if you don’t want to upgrade to a new responsive website.
Dedicated mobile designs are faster and operate better with mobile devices than responsive web designs, which focus on a variety of devices instead of just mobile devices. This is due to the fact that the workload is not through the phone, but rather with the server that the device is connected. Another advantage of dedicated mobile sites is that you can add custom “mobile only” features like a “click to call” button or “click for directions” which gives your customers the ability to quickly interact with your business and set your business apart from your competitors
Images and content are typically much easier to view on mobile devices than with desktop standard websites. The downside, of course, is that you won’t some of the features or be able to really engage with customers through your mobile site as you would with a responsive design.
The main drawback with a dedicated mobile site is that you must build and maintain two separate sites: one for traditional desktops & laptops and one for mobile devices. This can take extra time and resources.
Reviewing Your Site
Once you have built your mobile site, you will want to ensure that it looks exactly the way you want it to. Using tools like Google Chrome’s Emulator or Adobe’s Edge Inspect will emulate your mobile site on a number of different devices so you can make sure it’s functioning properly.
How to choose the best options for your business?
his question is kind of like those psychology ink blot tests, is that the answer is different for each person. Neither option is wrong. Which is why you should consider your business goals and choose the option that meets your needs the most.
Are you going to be updating you content frequently? Then responsive design may be the option that suites your needs best. Would you like a more customized mobile experience? Then a dedicated mobile site could be the right solution for you.
So when you are ready to make a decision keep these three things in mind – Your business goals, your budget, and what option will work best for your customer