Give your B2B Sales a Boost with LinkedIn groups

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If you’re not a believer yet that Linked is a key networking tool, this shouldn’t be your first read. You will benefit better if you read this one first: LinkedIn is 10 today!

I guess now you are ready for this one.

LinkedIn is an essential networking platform for all businesses, just a little bit more for B2B. Marketing plan for any business isn’t complete without the salt of maintaining the LinkedIn presence. The Groups feature of LinkedIn has proven ROI for B2B sales. Taking advantage of this feature provides the potential to get your brand in front of a lot more people than relying only on your company page. If you haven’t already gotten involved in Groups, here are a few LinkedIn tips to get you started and give you a boost in sales.

Direct participation is the right participation

Active participation in your group means that you will attract more prospects. Future customers feel much more confident about brands that are obviously invested in their clients’ experiences and opinions. Express your interest from the get-go by setting up automated messages to send to LinkedIn users who join your group, giving them a warm welcome and inviting them to contact you freely with any questions or comments. Think of your members as prospective clients or customers. When they have questions, answer them promptly to exemplify the type of timely, quality service you provide for your clients.

Create engagaments, Communication should always be two-ways
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Encourage group members to get involved too. Keeping members tactfully engaged is the key. You will want to provide topics of discussion from time to time, but it’s also important to let group members lead a good number of discussions. This shows potential members that you are interested in what they have to say. Instead of seeing a veer of topics provided by you with a list of responses from members, they will see a group full of members engaging in interesting discussion with useful information. Make sure you participate in member-led discussions as well. Again, you want your members to know that you value them and their viewpoints. You can only demonstrate it by showing interest in the discussions led by them.

Be the leader in all ways

While member participation is key crucial to the success of your group, you must ensure that activity within the group is appropriate, informative, and doesn’t annoy current or prospective members. For instance, say there is a member who is constantly posting messages for self-promotion. This kind of spamming can get very old, very fast. When group discussions are littered with promotional jargon, people get bored and sometimes annoyed, which means they might possibly leave the group. If there are members who are acting inappropriately or posting the same things over and over again just to get their names out there, turn to them privately and let them know that their behavior isn’t conducive to the group’s purpose. Always take the responsibilities of the group leader just like you would do in real-life. Keep an eye on the activities in your group and moderate them judiciously.

Keep Content Relevant

People join groups for a reason. They are interested in a certain topic and either want to be involved in discussion on said topic or just get as much information and advice as they can from the sidelines. Therefore, only relevant content should be posted to your group. The best thing about groups is that you’ve got a ready-made audience there for the taking—possible future clients or customers who are interested in your topic and have joined your group voluntarily. These folks are there to read information that pertains to the category under which your group falls. You should act like a content police, don’t post (or allow others to post) anything that might digress from relevant subject matter.

Search for Leads

In addition to managing your group, you should also be looking for prospective members that could turn into clients. LinkedIn now has an Advanced People Search, which is extremely useful in farming for a specific group of people. For example, you can search for people who have a specific job title, such as CFO, or perhaps those who run companies with specific number of employees. LinkedIn helps you find the precise audience you have always desired but never knew how to contact. Inviting these people to join your groups will give them a preview of what they can expect from you and your company.

Advertise

LinkedIn now has an advertising feature. It is a paid feature, but the cost is comparable to Facebook’s ad feature, and the possibility of reaching your target audience is greater. The Groups feature allows your ad to be placed front and center on the pages of a group. For example, you can specify that you want an ad to be visible to members of corporate real estate groups or inbound marketing groups. These ads are customizable and are written by your company, but they do have to meet certain criteria to be established by LinkedIn.

Participate in Other Groups

In order to integrate your group with your profile and get more exposure, join other people’s groups whose topics fall under the same umbrella as yours. In addition, you might find that you can generate leads within other groups that have nothing to do with your actual business. Joining a group with members who have the same interests as you—sports/food/wine, for example—might give rise to business relationships. Cultivating friendships with like-minded individuals can lead to talk about business, which gives you an opening to see if you can be beneficial to one another in Business-2-Business (B2B) sales.

LinkedIn’s Groups feature has grown by leaps and bounds since it was first introduced, especially where group management is concerned. Many tools have been implemented to help you lead and monitor your group efficiently. Starting a group is easy, but you must be committed to managing it as well. Participation and steadiness are keys if you want your LinkedIn Group to help boost B2B sales.

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LinkedIn is 10 today!

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It looks like yesterday when I was in complete annoyance about updating each minute detail of  my academics, career and professional journey on LinkedIn. To be honest, it all started in a moment of desperation while finding a new job assignment. I was not leaving any stone unturned and untouched so stumbled upon LinkedIn as well.

Today my morning tablet surfing and coffee made me gather that my emotional shift journey for LinkedIn. Feelings graduated from annoyance to love with an ease. A decade ago, really!

Do I really need to mention that its biggest and busiest business networking site on the internet.  LinkedIn has 200 million members worldwide and the network is growing by two members per second or 10-15 million members per quarter.

I have a ‘love and hate’ kind of relationship with numbers. (I like them when they make achievement look like one. I just start hating when they make a problem look bigger than its solution.) Today I am happy to share numbers for sure.

At present, over 2.8 million businesses have a LinkedIn Company Page. The popularity and global approach is evident from the fact that the website is available in 19 languages: Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, Čeština, Dansk, Deutsch, English, Español, Français, 한국어, Italiano, Dutch, 日本语, Norsk, Polski, Português, Română, Русский, Svenska, Türkçe.

LinkedIn and its users did evolve gradually and both helped each other in tremendous ways. It has been a journey for both.

As a LinkedIn admirer, I want to raise a toast for LinkedIn and its users in my way. How about a quick 10 Things To Do LinkedIn List?

  1. Allocate and adhere to your LinkedIn time for each workday
  2. Stay up-to-date about your industry
  3. Stay in the know of your department and business development of your own and competitor’s business development
  4. Keep your LinkedIn inbox clean (not by deleting, by appropriate responses)
  5. Respond to professional requests in hours or days but never in weeks – Delayed response is as rude as no response
  6. Stay conversant with the groups you join
  7. Recognise people for their good work – Recommendations is a key – give and get recommendations, and now with the new feature of Skills endorsements, it’s another quick way to endorse your co-workers and old colleagues
  8. Stay conversant with your own company page, do value add whenever possible
  9. Be status active – Scan the status updates of your connections and nurture relationships
  10. Check your profile often – Would you follow you?

The list can go longer, leaving some room for my readers to add.

I am sure like me, for all you LinkedIn graduated from an annoyance as the moment you updated your details, to an essential business tool. I look at it as an authenticate business card today.

So on this note and toast wishing happy birthday to LinkedIn.

Stay connected!
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/diptibsocialmediastrategist