The LinkedIn Tutors

Build your business with LinkedIn


LinkedIn marketing for professional services – CME Group

CME Group – LinkedIn company page

If you want to look at how other professional services companies are using social media for B2B marketing, there’s a very interesting interview with Alan Schoenberg of CME Group that gives some helpful insights on how to make LinkedIn and other online tools.

CME Group is a derivatives marketplace, with an electronic trading platform and trading facilities in New York and Chicago, and it also operates a central counterparty clearing provider.

Schoenberg says LinkedIn is the best B2B social media platform. Among other insights, he says CME is maintaining different LinkedIn groups for different segments of their market:

We now have more than 10 groups on LinkedIn and all of them are very different but with a common goal – connect our sales team and product experts to our customers. I like these groups because we keep them private in order to keep out competitors and vendors, but also to keep them small and manageable.

That makes a lot of sense – your LinkedIn groups should be client-focused communities, which means you will need different groups if you have many customers with different interests.

Schoenberg offers a couple of other tips on LinkedIn:

First, focus on finding the people internally who want to use LinkedIn and help them build their profiles. This includes sending them news stories to post and actually helping them write their posts. If you do this consistently (every week) they will better understand the resource and will become great advocates for your brand. My other tip is that you should make your company page a priority.

Again, it’s great advice. Developing a coherent continuous effort to engage colleagues inside your firm to use LinkedIn as part of a joined-up business development strategy is essential to avoid wasting time and losing focus. And yes, the company page element of LinkedIn is critical – as we said for UK law firms recently, it’s important to provide frequent updates, make good use of visual images, highlight specific services, and give useful links to your professionals and web pages.


LinkedIn connections are human beings too!

It’s always worth reminding ourselves that LinkedIn is a way to foster your relationships with other living, breathing human beings – with all their uniqueness, their sensitivities and their social expectations. If you want to relate well with valuable contacts and clients, you need to treat them with the kind of respect, consideration and social grace that you yourself would expect as a client or potential client.

Earlier this month Liz Ryan wrote an excellent piece about the ” several jarring ways in which LinkedIn makes clear that its product folks don’t understand how real people operate.” She picks out five particular examples of how this otherwise excellent online business networking tool doesn’t quite grasp what Ryan calls “the soft and squishy side of online networking and collaboration.”

It’s worth being careful, therefore, about how you use the many tools and functions that LinkedIn provides. Before you press that invitation button, request that recommendation, or publish that comment, think to yourself:

  • Would I say it, or do it, like this if I were talking with someone in person, or on the phone?
  • How would I feel if someone spoke to me or treated me this way?
  • Is there a better way of doing this that this particular person would prefer?

Along these lines, for example, it’s worth thinking about who you accept as connections if you haven’t met them, and how you ask for a connection with people you haven’t met. Kristen Burnham has written about when to accept or reject connections, and offers some tips on which connections to accept and what to do when you yourself approach someone you don’t know.

For professionals, LinkedIn is a great technical aid for growing your business, but at the end of the day that business growth will depend on having solid, long-lasting relationships with flesh-and-blood human beings.


Generating sales in professional services using LinkedIn

How do you get the best out of LinkedIn to generate sales in professional services?

For a great starting point, check out this blog on using LinkedIn for sales prospecting from Anna Bratton at Salesforce.

I particularly like her advice on using LinkedIn’s advanced search function well:

“By intelligently mixing the different filters you can get really deep and identify key individuals quickly and easily….You can also save your search criteria and get a weekly report listing anyone new who matches the customers you’re looking for.”

And she also explains how it’s possible to map the decision makers within target companies:

“You’d be surprised how much people put in their profiles – which team they’re in, which office they work out of, what projects they’re focusing on. With a little detective work, you can quickly build up a picture of who you should be talking to, what they’re like (check out their recommendations) and what they’ve done before.”

Great advice – in professional services, it clearly makes sense to use these ways to find the specific individuals you want to talk with and their role in any decision to engage your services. I’ll be talking about these and other ideas in my next workshop on Using LinkedIn as a Business Development and Marketing Tool.


LinkedIn lead generation: ‘the warm handshake we all need’

If you’re considering using online marketing channels, which is best for generating sales leads?

According to a study by Hubspot earlier this year, LinkedIn is almost 3 times more effective than Twitter or Facebook for converting more website visitors into leads. The data are based on using organic networks (including LinkedIn groups), not on pay-per-click advertising through these channels.

The results are a little complicated by the mix of B2B and B2C companies studied, and it doesn’t reveal what sort of organic marketing worked best within, for example, LinkedIn – whether it was using groups, company pages, personal pages, email, or other means. From the comments at the Hubspot blog, it seems different people have different results, but some of this may depend on having used advertising rather than organic networking, and it may also be that LinkedIn is more useful if you are trying to target specific professionals with a specific service they need, rather than a broader group of consumers.

As one commenter puts it: “LinkedIn is the warm handshake we all need.”

For professional services businesses, developing a thoughtful and sustained approach to networking in LinkedIn should be a key part of your business development efforts. I’ll be talking more about that at my workshop later this month in London on Using LinkedIn as a Business Development and Marketing Tool.


LinkedIn: new design for company pages

LinkedIn has now rolled out a new design for its company pages to all users, and it’s worth taking a look at your company page – if you have one – and using some of the new design features to give your page some added flair and update followers on your products or services.

In particular you may want to make use of:

  • New headline banners. These offer you the chance to add some images that communicate your brand and message visually.
  • Status Update feature. This gives you the opportunity to communicate with the people who look at your company page or even better ‘follow’ your company page – it can be updated with news, offers, events, etc. Visitors to your company page can like, comment or share your status updates so these messages can be spread virally.

Company pages, in addition to your personal profile, are a great way to generate sales leads. Among other things, you should consider:

  • Updating the page often to ensure people who follow your company receive new information.
  • Creating high-quality banner images of your products, services or offers – these can be clicked to take potential clients to your own web site.
  • Encouraging clients to recommend any of the products and services you show on the company page.

There is more information on the new design, from LinkedIn.


4 Steps to Finding the Right LinkedIn Groups for You

Many of my LinkedIn coaching clients  want to build new relationships with prospective clients.  LinkedIn groups can help you do this.  However, before you join any groups, you need to answer the following question – who is your customer? What is their industry, title or function, and where are they located?

For example, I recently searched LinkedIn groups to help me find marketing directors who work within the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector and live in London.  I’ll use this target group as an example of how you can find the right groups for you.

1.     Go to the Groups directory on LinkedIn field:  “UK AND Marketing”. In  the search results, tick the “Open groups” box.  This means you will find groups that are open to all.  If you see the lock icon on a group’s landing page, this means that you must ask to join the group and may not be allowed to join if you don’t meet their member criteria.

2.    You will see a list of possible groups to join.  Click on a group’s name and you will be taken to its landing page.  You will see your photo and the “Start a Discussion” text box – don’t worry – you haven’t joined yet. 🙂

3.  Have a look at the group’s statistics before joining.  There is no point in joining a group that doesn’t include your target market. To view group statistics, scroll down the right column of the Group page, and click on the black “View Group Statistics” button. The group statistics will give you an idea of how active the group is, who is in it, and where they are based.  Make sure you look at the demographics of the group in order to confirm that there are members at the right experience level and in the right industry, in  my case, director level members within the FMCG sector who work in London.

4.    If you find that the group is full of your target audience, join the group! If your target market is not in the group, then move on to the next group found in your search results until you find the right group for you.  If you don’t find it, start a LinkedIn group yourself!

How do you find the right LinkedIn groups for you? I’m interested in hearing your own tips and suggestions.


Tips for getting the most out of attending events by using LinkedIn

Use LinkedIn to get more value out of every event you attend.

Here are some tips for integrating LinkedIn into your face-to-face networking activities when attending an event:

Before the event:

  1. Let your LinkedIn connections know you are attending by posting a ‘status update’ on your profile.
  2. Post the event in your LinkedIn Groups and ask if anyone is going and would like to meet up during the event.
  3. Let everyone on LinkedIn see that you are attending by searching LinkedIn Events (in the ‘More’ menu) for the event and clicking on the ‘I’m attending’ button.
  4. See if there is anyone you’d like to meet at the event by going to the event’s LinkedIn page and having a look at who is attending. You may want to connect before the event and suggest meeting up at the event.
  5. If the event is not listed on LinkedIn, you can create an event page and let your connections know you are attending.  Others can then go to the page you’ve created and register their attendance as well.

After the event:

  1. If you meet someone new at the event, send them a personalised LinkedIn invitation to join your network.
  2. Once you’ve connected, have a look at their connections, is there anyone there you’d like to be introduced to?  Ask for an introduction via LinkedIn or by picking up the phone and calling your 1st degree contact.
  3. Notice what groups your new LinkedIn connection has joined – would these be good groups for you to join?  Find out by going to the LinkedIn Group landing page and clicking on the ‘See group statistics’ black button.

How do you use LinkedIn to build on the face-to-face networking you do?