Why B2B & LinkedIn Should Say “I Do”
LinkedIn recently announced the passing of their 200 million-member milestone and commemorated it rather publicly with an email campaign congratulating those with the top viewed profiles. With over seven million Canadian professionals on LinkedIn, it’s become as essential as a business card for many and even a replacement for resumes with certain hiring departments.
Despite the impressive numbers (and believe me, they’re impressive), one of the most exciting statistics is how LinkedIn is four times more effective for B2B (business to business) than Facebook or Twitter. This stat excites me because I feel it is glaringly obvious for anyone that spends the time to find out for themselves. Many stats excite people for the wrong reasons, inciting false hope and confidently misguiding entrepreneurs down a path that always leads to greater confusion and frustration.
But let me say this…. LinkedIn has truly become a non-negotiable resource for professionals, business people and especially anyone involved in B2B. Newer research has shown that 87 per cent trust LinkedIn as a source of information that affect decisions but this comes as no surprise when you find out that over 80 per cent of LinkedIn’s member base are decision makers.
Your LinkedIn Profile Will Get You Found
If you Google your name or anyone else in your organization, it’s very likely that nearly every single person’s LinkedIn profile will show up at the top or near the top of the search results. LinkedIn commands a tremendous amount of authority within the search engines; Google and other search engines can index both LinkedIn profiles and public LinkedIn groups.
Those who take the time to complete their profile see dramatically higher traffic from other members viewing them than their competitors. Those who understand how to optimize their profiles lead the pack and likely sit somewhere in the top 0.01 per cent of viewed profiles – a huge advantage on a network full of decision makers.
Click here to learn more about how to optimize your LinkedIn profile see this step-by-step infographic.
Three Degrees of Separation
We might all be six degrees of separation away from Kevin Bacon but you’ll find your best prospects usually won’t be further than three on LinkedIn. Your network is shown as first, second and third level connections but what about the ones beyond that?
If you have trouble finding many results in a LinkedIn search, it could be that your network is too small. People who are reluctant to connect with new people on LinkedIn do themselves a disservice by closing off their extended network and consequently make themselves less visible to others.
Visibility means everything online for businesses. Similar to the PR industry, you need to put a value on visibility and exposure because it can be worth its weight in gold when used properly.
Niche Targeting Has Never Been Easier
With the combined power of LinkedIn groups and advanced search functions, options to finely target any niche are a mouse click away. When working with a recent client, we were able to deduce that most of their business came from government workers and health care professionals so we began searching out appropriate groups on LinkedIn. There were an overwhelming amount of highly qualified leads, despite specific geographical restrictions.
Most businesses and professionals that don’t achieve success on LinkedIn usually lack in one common area: a fundamental misunderstanding of who their ideal client truly is. If you know who you are looking for, it only takes seconds to find them online – then your biggest concern becomes establishing and building the relationship.
Where Are Your Resources Allocated?
Current and prospective client engagement needs to constantly be a priority for any business in the B2B realm. As we all know, relationships are everything so does it really make sense to allocate more resources to arbitrary and detached marketing mediums in an age where everyone is so connected?
LinkedIn offers an unparalleled ability to directly connect with highly targeted prospects but that doesn’t mean it’s as easy as snapping your fingers to get them to buy. You need to have people handling these tasks that know how to be strategic in building relationships that turn into business. It takes a certain hybrid that falls between marketing, sales and PR, but none of those are a replacement for understanding the unique dynamic that exists in a professional network like LinkedIn.
Business can be a dirty game and those who don’t get ahead get left behind. Don’t let you and your company fall behind like the rash entrepreneurs that scowled at having a website in 1996. You’re better than that.
Melonie Dodaro, founder of Top Dog Social Media helps business owners, sales teams and professionals use social media marketing to boost their visibility, attract new customers and increase their revenue. Dubbed by the media as Canada’s #1 LinkedIn expert and social media strategist, she’s also a highly sought after social media speaker and trainer. To learn more about Melonie visit TopDogSocialMedia.com