by Deborah Richmond
LinkedIn for B2Bs: Fish from the Right Pond
Some B2B (Business to Business) companies are reticent to adopt social media for business. To them it seems unproductive and silly. They don’t see where the business benefit is in putting themselves out there on display. If you are one of these doubters, you are likely missing out on some great opportunities to connect to people who can help you and your business thrive.
LinkedIn is a great place to get your feet wet with online networking, particularly if you are a B2B. This network was designed for professionals. It’s more than just a place to put your resume’. LinkedIn is a place to meet business people in your industry. It’s a place to share ideas, be recommended by people who have worked with you, and build relationships with other businesses who might be in need of your products or services.
If you’re someone who networks in your community, LinkedIn can make your networking time more valuable. When I attend a networking event, I come back to the office, pull out the business cards I’ve been given, and look up the people I just met at the luncheon or mixer. If they are on LinkedIn, I ask them to connect to me. This accomplished two things at once. It is a follow-up greeting to new acquaintances, letting them know, yes, I’m interested in you and your company. The second thing this accomplishes is that it grows my online network.
No More Cold Calls
When someone connects to you, take the time to look through their connections. With LinkedIn, you can focus on exactly the target audience you want. First invite friends, colleagues and existing customers to connect to you . You might also find people who could be a great contact for you. For instance, when I look through other people’s connections, I sometimes find they know the marketing directors of local companies. If there comes a time when I’m looking to connect with local companies, I can ask my friend for an introduction. There is no doubt that a personal introduction is better than a cold call any day.
If you’re ready to get your feet wet in social media, create an account on LinkedIn, start to fill out your profile. Remember, you don’t have to stick to resume’ language. People want to get to know you. Be sure to include interesting information about yourself. For instance, in the summary section, don’t just put your title. Use this area to describe what you do in a way that is interesting to the people you would like to influence. Include a photo in your profile. This allows people to get a better sense of who you are.
Once on LinkedIn, join a couple groups. The discussion areas are a great place to meet new people who have interesting ideas and similar interests. LinkedIn members are eager to converse in these areas. When I leave a comment in a discussion, I often receive requests from other commenters to join their connections. Your LinkedIn strategy can be as simple as showing up a few times a week and commenting on a discussion or two while you are there. This allows you to build your connections and to further relationships with people in your target audience.
You already know the value of networking. Every day more business people are joining these online networks. These are your potential customers and they’re waiting for you. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect.
Deborah Richmond is a owner of Tekkbuzz and author of Pump Up Your Profits with Social Marketing. For free information on how to use social media to market your business, check out Deborah’s free advice on the Tekkbuzz Blog.
*Photo by fcd