LinkedIn: A Global Economic Platform

Linked: A Global Economic Platform

It’s not necessary to understand how the social networks function to derive utility from them. However, that knowledge will not only give your business more clarity for making better decisions, it will help it identify and adapt to emerging trends long before the competition.

The magic that enables the various digital networks to do what they do well is known as digital graphing or mapping. Digital graphs are the foundation of each and every digital network, with specific strengths the result of their respective structures.

Facebook is a social platform, Amazon commerce, Google content, and so on. However, according to a recent study, as a result of their commitment to connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful, LinkedIn is poised to become the first global economic platform.

Note: If you want to learn more about digital graphs, I covered this extensively in the first chapter of Built-In Social. You can download it here.

A Digital, Social, and Global Economic Network

For users, LinkedIn started as an online resume. These days it has become a platform that is driven by recruitment, business development, and content.

LinkedIn: A Global Economic Platform

You may be surprised to learn that entrepreneurs and small businesses are the leading users of LinkedIn. This is one reason LinkedIn has made a steady stream of acquisitions and improvements to help us showcase our talents as individuals and businesses, with those digital graphs then connecting us to new connections, information, and opportunities.

LinkedIn digital graphs seek to build alignment between like-minded professionals by anticipating what we want to know, who we wish to connect with, and more. So, the more the network knows about you and your business, the better it can help you achieve your goals.

LinkedIn: A Global Economic Platform

For example, Slideshare is a LinkedIn feature that gives you the capability to use PowerPoint® presentations to visually tell your story, while also embedding audio and video. LinkedIn Publisher accomplishes the same by showcasing your best articles, while also linking to additional content anywhere else on the web.

Your website is most likely where you promote your business capabilities – as you should. However, LinkedIn is a robust platform that can help you get it noticed fast.

Most businesses are hardly using LinkedIn at all. Nevertheless, as powerful as LinkedIn is now, we are still in the early stages of what it can become. My suggestion is to get serious about the one network that is committed to helping businesses succeed.

The Global CRM Potential of LinkedIn

For some time now, LinkedIn has shown promise for becoming a powerful CRM. While you would not want to rely on it exclusively (because you do not own it), a small business would be crazy not to take advantage of its capabilities.

For example, LinkedIn Contacts give us the capability to integrate Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Google contacts, and more with our accounts. As a result, whenever I send an email using Gmail a note is automatically attached to that person’s LinkedIn profile, thereby reminding me of our last communication.

Additionally, if that person is not yet a connection, LinkedIn will notify you and suggest you connect with them. Thus, LinkedIn helps you keep your business network updated, and in real-time. Periodically downloading your LinkedIn connections to your own CRM naturally ensures those connections are available within your proprietary marketing system.

Presently at 225 million profiles and 2.1 million groups, and with 2 new users joining every second, LinkedIn is the platform of choice for cultivating your online professional network. LinkedIn may not be as sexy as Facebook or Twitter, but it’s economic power for businesses is undeniable.

A quick favor for me?

If you like this blog, will you help me promote it? Just one click on this ready-made tweet is all it takes. Thanks.

About the author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

Photo Credit

New Marketing: Personalize What You Automate

One of the primary responsibilities of every sales and marketing professional is developing warm relationships with customers.

In the days before computers, we made it a habit to learn about the personal lives of our customers, including their families, pets, hobbies, leisure activities, and favorite sports teams. All of this information was either written down or committed to memory, which naturally limited what one person could accomplish.

These days you have the ability to easily collect massive amounts of data that is readily accessible, while also automating how your business connects with customers.

That seems to be where everything often stops – and it shouldn’t.

In this age of automation, it is possible to scale the time-honored practice of getting up close and personal with customers to first earn, and then retain their business.

It only takes recognizing the possibility, and why it is essential for achieving virtually any desirable business outcome.

The Goal is To Honor Every Relationship

What if it were possible to treat every single connection, follower, friend, or member of your tribe as an individual? This is indeed possible if you seek to organize what you automate, and then use that capability to add a human touch.

Businesses tend to organize from their perspective, using categories such as customer, prospect, vendor, etc. Now that you can tag your connections on LinkedIn and most CRM’s, they can be classified with a focus on them, such as their industry, special interests, events where you met, and so on.

This requires putting systems in place, but over time they will prove to be invaluable means for nurturing relationships. For example, social CRM Nimble has a feature that inquires about how frequently you would like to reconnect with a particular connection, thereby sending a notification based upon that desired frequency.

So, let’s say Nimble sends you a notice to reconnect. As one example, you can then link over to his or her LinkedIn profile, which will have a record of your last email conversation if you have activated LinkedIn Contacts.

Opportunity Starts With The First Connection

When you make a new connection, what happens in the days or months that follow is one of two things: The relationship either gets stronger or weaker.

Relationship take work, but if you have the desire and design a plan for connecting and then engaging with prospective buyers, influencers, and potential partners, opportunities will manifest.

Most of us have squandered more opportunities than we can count because we simply were not ready to take the relationship further. This was understandable in the old days, but technology has now erased those physical limitations.

Once you do make that initial connection, you often have just one shot at making it stronger. Here are a few suggested steps for doing so.

#1 – Invite everyone (yes, everyone) you meet to connect on LinkedIn. If they accept the connection, tag the relationship according to what works best for you. This could include where you met or what you have in common.

#2 – Use your social CRM to remind you when to reconnect with people to keep the relationship alive. The frequency will depend upon the relationship and potential opportunities.

#3 – Build a system that remembers personal information, and develop a plan for leveraging that. This is one of the secrets to getting more engagement on Facebook and the other channels – in short, be personal!

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

Photo Credit

5 Tips for Using LinkedIn Contacts

LinkedIn is in the process of rolling out LinkedIn Contacts. In addition to several new features that are giving it a new look and feel – if offers enhanced functionality for better managing your relationships and social engagement. There is no question that all of the major social networks want you to use their service as your social […]

Read the full article