, CEO of Top Dog Social Media
, gave some pointers to operators on how to get more business from LinkedIn using the social media tool strategically. Dodaro led two sessions at the International LCT Show
. She said of the audience response, “They were great and very engaged. I had a ton of people come up after and ask questions, which was wonderful. The problems they brought up are common for a lot of the small businesses I educate to, and it was great to be able to offer advice.”
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — As the largest business network on social media to date, LinkedIn gets two people joining every second. The results for LinkedIn in polls have shown that people are twice as confident with information found on LinkedIn, and that it can be up to 277% more effective than Facebook and Twitter in garnering leads.
Melonie Dodaro, the CEO and founder of Top Dog Social Media, told operators March 18 those numbers carry a lot of potential for finding more business, provided they know how to go about it. Dodaro, also the author of the bestelling book The LinkedIn Code, led two sessions devoted to best practices on LinkedIn.
In the first session, “How to Generate More Business from LinkedIn,” Dodaro showed how the number of social media platforms can be overwhelming, but by using some practical methods on LinkedIn, industry professionals can expand their networks, solidify relationships, and create new business opportunities.
How To Get Noticed
Dodaro showed how by using key words in your profile description, you can more readily be found on searches by people interested in your industry and possibly business.
“One of the first things I talk about is the three-step formula: 1) Get Found. 2) Attract Your Ideal Client. And 3) Stand Out,” Dodaro said. “You have to lay a foundation and create a strong profile before reaching out and growing your network.”
The first step is to tailor your profile information to the key words your ideal clients may be using to search for you. Dodaro used the profile of Canadian operator Kyara Kahakauwila of L.A. Limousines in Victoria, B.C., as an example. By having a profile using the words “chauffeured car service, business travel, and Victoria, B.C.,” Kahakauwila makes her profile much more pertinent to the industry in which she works.
“Your profile is not just about you, but it’s about your ideal client,” she said. “By having the right key words, you’re more likely to come up in searches for people interested in your business.” To help stand out, Dodaro advised professionals have a clean head shot, “and make sure you look good, because LinkedIn is a reflection of your personal and company brand.”
Dodaro explained how filling out your profile to LinkedIn’s maximum allowances — using recommendations, endorsements, listed skills and experience — all help create a stronger brand image that increases your page’s search rank.
Key words can be placed throughout your work experience and job descriptions. She advised writing in the first person to help communicate your brand quickly to people who stop on your page.
Getting Leads and Making Sales
Dodaro then turned her attention toward actual return on investment (ROI) and conversion of leads for her second seminar, “How to Build Profitable Relationships with LinkedIn.”
“One of the idioms I like to say for LinkedIn when it comes to generating leads and converting is that you have to ‘slow down the sale to speed it up,’” she said. “What that means is you have to establish a relationship with someone first, before you make a hard sell.”
Many operators new to social media and LinkedIn will message people without establishing a prior connection, and explain to them how they can do business together and make a profit. “That is spam, though,” said Dodaro, defining spam as any message the receiver does not find value in.
A good take-home message was to not end up in “LinkedIn Jail” by sending spam-like messaging to new or potential contacts.
Instead, operators should reach out with a polite connection request first and use the personalization tool to customize a message for each, she said. About 90% of decision makers will not buy from a cold call or unsolicited email. They’ll know right away if it’s a pitch. “So slowing down the sale, by first establishing contact, and then reaching out in a more paced manner, leads to a greater return, because the lead has the time to value your message.”
Another worthwhile practice is to target business communities to find and join industry groups and associations on LinkedIn. Once a member, users should contribute constructively to industry discussions, and not post self-serving content or sales pitches, she advised.
LinkedIn Features And Take-Home Advice
The LinkedIn Relationship tab is an oft-overlooked CRM tool built into LinkedIn, where you can save notes on your correspondences with the contact.
Once a business network begins to grow on your profile, Dodaro told the crowd to make use of the “relationship” button found on every connection. “This is your built-in CRM (customer relationship management) tool, and it is often overlooked,” Dodaro said. In the relationship tab, you can put in any notes and keep a record of all your correspondences with that particular contact. You also can set reminders for follow up contact points.
As Dodaro concluded her presentations with an audience Q&A session, many asked whether it is best to present a brand on their personal profile page or as a separate company page. Personal brand, she replied. “That is a common question I get all the time, and the answer is, people want to deal with people not logos. You can’t build a relationship through a company profile.”
For prospecting, Dodaro instructed attendees to use the search tools to help target specific clients and groups who may be interested in chauffeured transportation. In such cases, finding prospects through hotel groups and larger corporations will make it easier to inquire about business than by searching and approaching individuals, she said.
LinkedIn is a valuable tool for operators networking with affiliates and getting in touch with clients and prospects. Opportunities abound. By having a good profile and solid understanding of social media etiquette and discourse, operators can create a wider network of professional associates that enhances business profits.