Many business owners try to consolidate the “Sales and Marketing” role, but the two functions are entirely different. Learn why these two complimentary disciplines are so often consolidated — and why they shouldn’t be.
LinkedIn 101: How to Maximize LinkedIn Exposure in 15 Minutes a Week
We’ve talked at length before about the importance of LinkedIn as a marketing and networking tool – particularly in the B2B space. LinkedIn is one of the strongest online business tools available today, so I’m always surprised when I find out business leaders either don’t use it at all or barely do so.
Part of the reason may be that people imagine LinkedIn (and social media in general) to be a massive time investment. They aren’t sure where to start or how to engage effectively – and more importantly, don’t have the time to figure it out – so as a result they avoid the platform altogether.
Fortunately, believe it or not Kinesis has developed a methodology to consolidate LinkedIn activity into less time than it takes to drink a cup of coffee. (Or I should say, less time than it takes for most people to drink a cup of coffee… since I always seem to drink mine in 60 seconds flat. But I digress.)
LinkedIn for Business: Why it Matters
You’re probably aware of just how important LinkedIn is, and already prepared to devote that coffee time. But just in case you’re still protective of that 15 minutes, let’s take a moment to recap why LinkedIn is so valuable for small businesses.
LinkedIn has more than half a billion users (that’s billion with a “B”), and that number continues to grow – by two new users every second, in fact. That means that by the time you finish reading this article, 600 new people will have created a profile (and I will have finished three more cups). That’s 600 new people with the potential to engage with you and your business!
And yet, at last count only 17% of US small businesses reported using LinkedIn. While this statistic is a surprising one, it also means that the channel is ripe with opportunity: Chances are your competitors aren’t yet using LinkedIn in a meaningful way, and you can use it to stand out in your space.
And that just scratches the surface. Just take a look at this infographic from LinkedIn:
Getting Started on LinkedIn: The Basics
OK, so you know LinkedIn is important – now, where do you begin?
Before you can start engaging with LinkedIn, you’ll need to establish a presence if you haven’t already by focusing on both your company’s LinkedIn page, as well as your personal profile. (Psst: Don’t have either of these yet? Create one – it’s free!)
- Step 1 – Update Your LinkedIn Company Page: We recommend starting with your LinkedIn company page (especially if you haven’t touched it in months or years!). This is a key area that your prospects and clients are looking to learn more about your business.
- Step 2 – Update your Personal LinkedIn Profile: Next, you’ll want to optimize your personal LinkedIn profile to give contacts more information about your own background and expertise.
- Step 3 – Grow Your LinkedIn Connections: I should clarify here that “growth” should not be your only goal. LinkedIn exists to create a meaningful network, so you should be thinking in terms of quality over quantity. Only invite connections you know personally, and be sure to add a note about where you met and how you know each other.
LinkedIn Strategy: Hunters v. Gatherers
Once you’ve optimized your LinkedIn profiles and have a foundation of LinkedIn connections, you can begin to focus your activity to maximize engagement. At Kinesis, we categorize our LinkedIn usage into two tiers: hunters and gatherers.
“Hunter” LinkedIn Strategy
As the name would imply, the “Hunter” LinkedIn strategy is right for someone on the prowl for new opportunities (in other words, someone in a sales, business development, or otherwise community-facing role). As you probably know, the customer buying process has evolved a lot in recent years - with social media becoming a more and more critical sales tool.
LinkedIn is perfect for this type of activity – and LinkedIn Hunters:
- Dedicate time daily: This level of activity should take about 15 minutes a day. Put time on your calendar and hold yourself accountable to it.
- Leverage LinkedIn as a tool for business development and personal growth: Goals with this activity should be to attract new connections, facilitate meaningful discussions, and bring value to your audience.
- Post frequently: Plan to post at least 2-3 times per week. These posts should include shared articles, resources, or your own published work online.
- Engage often: LinkedIn Hunters should also interact with their networks regularly – by participating in group discussions, giving and receiving recommendations and endorsements, and liking, commenting, and sharing on others’ posts.
Like any other business tactic, the more actively involved you are, the more effective you are – and quicker the results.
“Gatherer” LinkedIn Strategy
Then again, maybe you’re like many business leaders and are too busy to devote time daily. If that’s the case, the “Gatherer” LinkedIn strategy may be right for you. LinkedIn Gatherers engage in more passive activity, while still maintaining a presence and showing up consistently in newsfeeds. They:
- Dedicate time weekly: Set aside one day a week where you’ll commit to spending at least 15 minutes on LinkedIn. This can be a part of your morning routine, or as you’re about to leave your desk in the evening, or whenever makes sense for your schedule.
- Use LinkedIn to build upon current network and stay top of mind: Goals with this activity should be to nurture existing connections, engage with meaningful content, and connect with colleagues.
- Post occasionally: Don’t feel like you need to post something during every weekly session, but be on the lookout for articles or trends you find interesting throughout the week. If anything catches your eye or sparks your interest, share it with your network along with a sentence or two about why.
- Engage often: For a LinkedIn gatherer, this is the most important part. Since you won’t be posting as frequently, the only way to remain visible is to engage with content from others. This will act as a nudge to your connections, and keep you top of mind. Be generous (and strategic) with “likes” and “comments.”
LinkedIn for Business: The Takeaway
On average, LinkedIn is responsible for 46% of social media traffic coming to your company website – which means you can’t afford not to put a focus on this critical platform. Whether you’re just collecting berries or actively on the hunt, LinkedIn presents too much opportunity for small businesses to be ignored.
So this week, try trading out a cup of coffee for 15 minutes of thoughtful LinkedIn activity instead (actually, let’s be more realistic – try multitasking with LinkedIn plus coffee)… and watch your company’s digital footprint expand like never before.