Content Equals Money recently got to pose a few questions to one of Canada’s top social media experts, Melonie Dodaro. Melonie is an experienced consultant who has dedicated her career to assisting businesses in the successful use of social media as a part of their marketing strategies. Here are her thoughts on some of the most pressing questions surrounding LinkedIn usage.
How should LinkedIn users be using groups to promote themselves as well as their brand and network?
“The most important thing with groups is that people think groups are a great place to attract clients, but they often join groups of similar interest. An example of that is a financial advisor who joins a financial advisor group on LinkedIn marketing their services. This strategy generally doesn’t work, because you need to target where your clients are.
“I have a formula that I use: it’s fine to join 3-5 industry specific groups to help stay on top of trends, but that’s it. You want to join groups where your clients are, and groups that you want to learn about.”
- Bonus tip: “As you are interacting and engaging in these groups, make sure to add value.”
Are there any 3rd party LinkedIn applications that stand out to you as being particularly useful or must-haves for anyone looking to boost their LinkedIn presence?
“There used to be a bunch of LinkedIn apps (import blog to LinkedIn, etc.), but LinkedIn has removed them all. Instead, LinkedIn has recently rolled out multimedia rich platforms like SlideShare and YouTube that help to make your profile stand out. I find it to be an easier process to insert links now, but this capability hasn’t been rolled out to all profiles yet. Right now it’s only available to those who had the apps installed before LinkedIn removed them.”
What can people do to sound less spammy when messaging or networking with a stranger on LinkedIn?
“That’s a good question, because you should never sound spammy when posting on LinkedIn! Do not use LinkedIn’s speedball request – you have to personalize, personalize, personalize. When you are telling people why you want to connect, there is a lot of spam now that wasn’t there before. When you send a personal message, take the time to connect! Tell them you are part of the same group and would love to network with other professionals in this area. But always personalize the message!
“When you are sending messages out to people, you can send 50 messages at a time that are almost equivalent to an email. The key is to uncheck the option that lets everyone see that you have sent this to everyone. You won’t get anywhere on LinkedIn being spammy! People are looking for value when it comes to LinkedIn.”
How can you substantiate ROI from LinkedIn?
“The easiest and best way to do that, especially if you are in B2B, is to be strategic in your outreach. Follow up with people that have connected with you on LinkedIn to show them how you can provide them with something of value. For instance, “Here are my LinkedIn webinars, my LinkedIn checklists, etc.” I get totally positive feedback from people who sign up.
“After that, develop some kind of outreach campaign that will help to move that relationship forward. This will differ from business to business, but you need to do it in a manner that isn’t self-serving so that you are seen as someone that is building value. Unless you are selling an online course, the quicker you can take a relationship offline the better, as that is where you monetize it.”
- Bonus tip: “Don’t do any of this unless you look good on LinkedIn.”
If a person has multiple professional interests, is it okay for their LinkedIn profile to reflect that? Or should their profile be targeted (For example: I am a painter, I am an author, I am a plumber, etc.)?
“Here’s another way to think about this question: should a person have more than one profile for different industries? On LinkedIn, you are not allowed to, as it is against their terms and conditions. This could also confuse people that are interested in networking with you. In addition, it’s way too much work to maintain. If you are going to do it, do it right.
“This issue really depends on what your best leverage is on LinkedIn. Where are you getting the best networking response? B2B is often better than B2C on LinkedIn. Even if you were a painter, you won’t find people that need their house painted. However, you can connect with interior designers, builders, etc. You need to look more creatively at where you can network with people. Utilize LinkedIn for the profession where you are going to get the most leverage. Figure out which area is the best bang for your time and resources.”
What are your tips for effective self-promotion on LinkedIn?
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