Gini Dietrich

Five Tips for Using LinkedIn for Business Growth

By: Gini Dietrich | July 26, 2011 | 
116

This first ran on Women Grow Business, a Network Solutions blog that Shonali Burke edits and manages.

One of the most untapped social media tools is LinkedIn. Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+ are the media darlings while LinkedIn, which has been around longer than any of the tools combined, continues to grow and provide value without all the celebrity.

Sparkle and shine notwithstanding, the fact remains it is the single most valuable tool when it comes to business development.

A few weeks ago, I spoke to a Vistage Chair Group about the use of LinkedIn to help them build their groups. In three hours, we got through 21 different tips. So I distilled them into the top five that were most useful to them, for you.

  1. Link to your web properties using keywords. The default words (website, blog, etc.) can be edited to fit the words people actually search to find your business. If you don’t know which keywords to use (i.e. We use “Chicago PR firm” for Arment Dietrich), you can use Google’s free keyword tool.
  2. Activate the apps. If you don’t have a blog, don’t panic! There are several applications you can activate to move content to your LinkedIn profile. Just like anything else, the more active your profile is, the higher it ranks in the search engines.
  3. Find connections through search. I’m a Vistage member and I like to connect with other members around the world for networking and business development. By doing an advanced search and entering keywords, finding Vistage members who are second connections takes less than three seconds. Then it’s easy to sort through them and find people who you’d like to meet.
  4. Browse your connections’s connections. This is so easy and so underused. It’s the same philosophy of saying, “Gini, I’d really love to meet Shonali Burke. Can you introduce me?” I find a reason to help you make the connection, I introduce the two of you, and then the ball is quickly in your court.
  5. Set up searches for specific questions…and then answer them. You can search for questions about your industry, your product, your service, or even your competitors. You can also set up an alert so that, any time anyone asks a question about your topic of expertise, it comes to you. This allows you to stay top-of-mind and build credibility around your expertise.

By following these five easy steps (take one a week if it’s too overwhelming), you’ll grow your pipeline in just more than a month and money will begin to grow on trees. OK. Maybe not. But you will see some significant success.

If I were to pay for a webinar, this is the one it would be. Marcus Sheridan is going to teach you how to use your blog to generate leads. It’s $50, but I think it’ll be worth every penny. Register here.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • SophieData

    @ginidietrich that was a great post! can’t believe i am only just finding out about linkedin Q&A search now! #epicwin thanks!

  • ginidietrich

    @SophieData It’s funny how little we know about it. And they keep introducing new stuff. SUPER effective!

  • SophieData

    @ginidietrich yeah definitely i’m a bit of a linkedin newbie so your post was really useful!

  • ginidietrich

    @SophieData Awesome! And thanks for tweeting it, too!

  • Like a lot of people, I didn’t take LinkedIn seriously until I was in the position of having to look for work. The fortunate thing for me is that when I did get in, it was at a time when LI was just starting to take off again and was adding new features. They’ve done a great job of quietly improving while not really acting like they are competing with the other platforms. And they don’t have to, at least not yet. They have focused on their mission and not swayed from it, which is something the other social networks could learn from them.

    One of the best things I’ve done is publish my blog to LinkedIn every day, as well as publishing it in a variety of LinkedIn groups. It has become a huge source of traffic for me, and I get some great discussions going from people, that is if they actually read the post, rather than commenting on the title and ASSUMING they know what I wrote.

    One downfall is that I get a lot more spam comments on there than on any other platform. I don’t need to buy a purse or invest in gold.

    I also get a lot of connection requests from people in the groups I’ve joined, but most of them don’t really tell me why they want to connect. And others, it is clear they want to connect solely to sell me something. So that’s another downfall. A lot of people treat it like a Chamber of Commerce networking event and they approach you with their business card in hand.

    all in all though, I’ve really enjoyed LinkedIn and have benefited from it.

  • SophieData

    @ginidietrich you’re welcome! 🙂 thanks for the great content!

  • lauraclick

    Great tips, Gini. Admittedly, I don’t spend as much time on LinkedIn as I should. I know there’s a lot of gold there if I just make the time to do it.

    I’ve changed the names of my web links, but didn’t think to do it in the way you mentioned. Making that keyword rich makes so much more sense! Thanks for the tip.

    Gotta run – time to tidy up my profile! 😉

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller It’s funny because, like you, I didn’t see the need for it at first. I own a business; I’m not looking for a job. And then suddenly my eyes were opened wide and I got it.

    I find the two things you list as big downfalls, as well: People who comment without reading (drives me batty and it’s worse there than any other social network) and the spam. I get A TON of invites from students in India.

  • ginidietrich

    @lauraclick I feel like there is always something new you can do to your profile. But, like you, I don’t spend as much time in it as I should. It’s like everything else…you just have to focus on it an hour a week. My hour is on Fridays, when I don’t have any meetings.

  • @ginidietrich The comments are the worst when I pose a question in my title. I recently had a post called “How often should I post on my Facebook business page?” Now…I wasn’t asking the question. It was in quotes. And had a full blog post attached to it. I was answering the question. But oh my, you should have seen all the “answers” I got from people who read the title and not the post. The worst part was, a lot of the comments were in Social Media and marketing groups, and boy they were some strange “answers”. Makes me wonder who is hiring them!

  • @ginidietrich oh, and in terms of spam and followers, I’m getting a lot of that on Google+ too, now, and again, most seem to be from India.

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller That happened to me when I posted, “What the Heck Is Google+?” LOTS of people were happy to tell me what it was. Every time I saw a comment, I got pissed.

  • @ginidietrich hehe. “Gini Dietrich? Isn’t she supposed to be some sorta know it all communications professional? And she doesn’t know what Google+ is? Yeesh!”

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller LOL!

  • ryancox

    Good LinkedIn tips. LinkedIn is one of the few ‘social networks’ where there are gobs of ‘best tips’ pretty readily available. I’ve found LinkedIn to be the absolute best resource for business professionals that are more true ‘business professionals’. As cliche as it sounds, they don’t “get” social media, and they see LinkedIn as not a social network, but a business network. Like @ginidietrich said .. I find that in order to do anything consistently, I schedule it for myself. Read 1 hour a day during this time block, add and engage 5 new followers in that time block, update and try a new tip with LinkedIn during this time block, etc.

  • Thanks for the motivation, Gini. I’ve been meaning to go back to LinkedIn for months.

  • JakeDylik

    Thanks Gini, I really liked your tips. I’ve learned that LinkedIn has also been proven as one of the best B2B marketing resources as well – helpful for those types of clients.

  • JakeDylik

    (I’m hoping to research a bit more abou the advertising opps on LinkedIn too…)

  • dkconcepts

    Five Tips for Using LinkedIn for Business Growth http://t.co/tQYyCYE via @ginidietrich HT @jeffespo

  • Gini,

    The first suggestion alone that you suggested was really good. I have been really getting more involved with LinkedIn and trying to build more connections and growing a group was one of the biggest things I had a challenge with. Especially, after you send out a broadcast message to your email subscribers and the chosen connections on the platform you some what hit a dry wall on how to expand the group. Thanks for your input on this.

  • SoloBizCoach

    Great ideas Gini. I really think LinkedIn is the perfect social media network for me, but I have a hard time getting myself to go there. As a business coach, LinkedIn is a primary watering hole for my ideal client. I think I just need a plan to incorporate it into my daily activities.

  • ginidietrich

    @SoloBizCoach I agree! And it’s hard so I totally get it. Maybe you just start by spending an hour in it every Friday?

  • ginidietrich

    @JakeDylik Ooooh. When you have something to share you should write a guest blog about it!

  • ginidietrich

    @Justicewordlaw I wonder if you should just keep asking? We find, with our newsletter, we have to send something out at least four times before people actually do it.

  • ginidietrich

    @fitzternet You’re welcome! 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @ryancox Scheduling time for yourself is a really good time. I’m a big advocate of that!

  • SoloBizCoach

    @ginidietrich That might be a great way to make it a part of my marketing efforts. Thanks!

  • danielnewmanUV

    Bunch of great points in which I will follow up on.

    One thing to think about is the idea of searching a connection’s connections…I have blocked that and so have many others.

    I’m not sure I want people sifting through my rolodex. Do you think it is good practice to leave that open for your contacts to browse?

  • @ginidietrich Yeah, I was thinking about that strategy I just didn’t want to be known as the guy that keeps sending emails about this damn group though lol.

  • jeanniecw

    @danielnewmanUV Honestly, I think being transparent is part of the deal on LinkedIn. The great thing about it is someone can just NOT agree to an invitation to connect. I ignore a handful a week from people I don’t know. I also would argue it goes both ways. If you’re making connections via other people, why not share the love? Share the love, Dan! Share the love! 🙂

  • jeanniecw

    I think LinkedIn is totally underused by most people. I’ve been amazed how many still don’t use the “get introduced” option correctly. I am SO much more likely to send along a thoughtful LI intro then a rambling email that I have to rewrite any way after digging out the contact’s email address. Great tips, Gini!

  • @KenMueller @ginidietrich People are really bad about reading. They skim the title and just react..

    I had a headline last week that I keep taking flak from because some people were offended- if they had actually read the post it wouldn’t happen.

  • Great tips! LinkedIn is both underused and undervalued. I’ve really been working on my LI presence the last few months – and I have made Sundays “LinkedIn Sunday” where I get caught up on LI news, review connection requests and look for new peeps to connect with.

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  • socalrea

    @ginidietrich LunkedIn is a tool I can certainly use some help using effectively!

  • ginidietrich

    @Justicewordlaw You can gently remind them without being overt about it. Maybe in a sidebar of your newsletter?

  • ginidietrich

    @TheJackB @KenMueller Ah yes…the fake readers.

  • ginidietrich

    @socalrea I think I’ll do a webinar on the 21 things you can do using LinkedIn this fall.

  • JeffSopha

    @jginkc The official app is pretty decent – esp considering how infrequently I use LinkedIn

  • ginidietrich

    @jeanniecw @danielnewmanUV I agree with Jeannie – that’s the whole point of being on there. If you’re Jeff Immelt, I get it. And it certainly is a boundaries issue for all of us…what you’re comfortable doing. But if someone asked me to connect them with one of my friends because they found that person by going through my connections, and I couldn’t do the same with theirs, I’d be less willing to help.

  • ginidietrich

    @jeanniecw I just forced a friend of mine to do it that way so I could easily introduce her to a couple of connections. It’s MUCH easier for the person you’re asking to do you a favor.

  • socalrea

    @ginidietrich That’d be really helpful. Count me in!

  • ginidietrich

    @aspinchick That’s such a good idea! You can totally focus on that one tool and use it so its most effective for you. Love it!

  • rustyspeidel

    Great tips, I’m working through some of them now. LinkedIn is a difficult platform. It’s full of features, but they are not obvious or easy to find. That said, it’s the best business connection tool around for finding companies, connections, and ideas in your field, IMO.

  • ginidietrich

    @rustyspeidel Totally agree the features are sometimes hard to find. It’s not exactly a UX person’s dream.

  • ginidietrich

    @BestRoofer Grazi!

  • ginidietrich

    @angelica7641 Do you see me wave to your house every time I ride by?

  • ginidietrich

    @virtualgestures Thanks!

  • I’ve never been a fan of LinkedIn, but I’m always eager to hear what it can do for me. I do find that it can reinforce otherwise weak connections, which helps a lot.

    Also, they had this fascinating study that suggests men are better at social networking than women. I hate the generalization of the conclusion, but the concepts are interesting:

    http://blog.linkedin.com/2011/06/22/men-vs-women/

  • ginidietrich

    @wabbitoid Oh I saw that. And I called baloney. But I might have used a stronger phrase.

  • @ginidietrich I agree, but I liked the way they laid out social media styles / strengths.

  • ginidietrich

    @deliberateink Welcome!

  • ginidietrich

    @jenniferwindrum I was thinking about you last night while I caught up with your BF

  • JakeDylik

    @ginidietrich Awesome, would be happy to!

  • ginidietrich

    @kbkcomm I was just thinking about you. THREE MORE WEEKS

  • SO many people don’t know about #1!

    I have been a huuge fan of LinkedIn for years and have always believed in its value. I thought for a moment it was going to turn into a recruiting site but it has held steady and continues to be a great source of content and answers to problems. I participate daily in my groups and LinkedIn was a large source of referral traffic to my last 2 company’s websites and was a great source of conversions. To get leads here though, you have to be tool agnostic. Its just a must!

  • kbkcomm

    @GreigWells Thanks for the RT Greig!

  • kbkcomm

    @ginidietrich I know!! Ahhh!! I am getting veeerryy excited!

  • jenniferwindrum

    @ginidietrich How sweet. That makes two people thinking about me last night. You AND Stephen. Ha!!

  • KDillabough

    @TomRedwine @ginidietrich You’re da bomb for the RTs. Thanks!

  • ibeatcancrtwice

    @jenniferwindrum In a few minutes I will present WTF as a good soc media campaign!

  • ginidietrich

    @kbkcomm LOL! I hope so!

  • kbkcomm

    @ginidietrich :))))!

  • ginidietrich

    @jenniferwindrum Oh sure. Uh huh.

  • jenniferwindrum

    @ginidietrich Well, Stephen may have been doing more than thinking, but that’s between he and I. 🙂

  • TomRedwine

    @KDillabough and @ginidietrich RE da bomb for the RTs: ’cause y’all have good info to pass along. Thank YOU for bringing it to me!

  • KDillabough

    @TomRedwine @ginidietrich It’s a pleasure! Singin’ Led Zeppelin as I write:)

  • Raman_Kia

    @linkedinexpert Thank you for being the person addressing strategy on LinkedIn.

  • jenniferwindrum

    @ibeatcancrtwice Oh….you rock. Good luck on the presso and thanks again for including WTF. Major Hugzzzzzz!

  • LinkedInExpert

    @Raman_Kia Well thank you Raman 🙂

  • ScottFKatz

    @NancyMyrland @ginidietrich good stuff

  • Gini, you wrote just the article I needed, just when I needed it! Many thanks.

    As an aside… I had my WordPress.com-hosted blog linked to my LinkedIn profile. Then I migrated my blog to a self-hosted situation. Unfortunately, the LinkedIn WP app didn’t recognize the move. So my blog is no longer linked to LinkedIn. The nice folks at WP support told me that, after investigating, they discovered that in that very situation, there’s a bug in the LinkedIn app. While they didn’t have a solution, they were thankful that I helped them discover the bug. Oh well. 🙂

  • RetireFED

    @rwohlner Great lists you have! I’m enjoying browsing..

  • adamtoporek

    Gini, nice list and nice kick in the butt. My LinkedIn has cobwebs on it, need to dust them off. I had not even thought about the anchor text for the links — very good tip! I like your advice below, blocking out an hour a week or something.

  • I used to be more active in groups, before some of them opened up, and answered more questions.. need to get back to it and spend some time there. Like @adamtoporek there’s a few cobwebs lurking about. Thanks for the SEO reminders for tip 1; I am making those updates now. FWIW.

  • Biebert

    @Cleversation Lea, thanks for retweeting @ginidietrich’s #linkedin article that I shared earlier. Gini is really great, isn’t she? #yes

  • Thanks Gini. Launching new website soon. Need these tips. Really appreciate your knowledge and willingness to share.

    Al

  • socialtourguide

    @3hatscomm Make sure to read the “Don’t panic!” disclaimer. Haha.

  • 3HatsComm

    @socialtourguide Panic? 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @Al Smith My pleasure, Al!

  • ginidietrich

    @3HatsComm I had to go in and reduce my groups about a month ago. They were getting out of hand and full of spammy sales stuff.

  • ginidietrich

    @adamtoporek Try it…I think you’ll see some value from the time spent!

  • ginidietrich

    @barrettrossie Weird. Can you reinstall it? I don’t have a problem with mine.

  • ginidietrich

    @C_Pappas Tool agnostic IS a must! You’re very right. And it’s funny how many people don’t know about #1 and some of the others. Some of them leave you thinking, “Really?”

  • Cleversation

    @biebert Yes! It was a wonderful article, I’m following @ginidietrich no 🙂

  • Cleversation

    @biebert YIKES< i meant “now” #typingtoofast

  • ginidietrich

    @Biebert Ahhhh. Aren’t you nice? Thank you!

  • ginidietrich

    @3HatsComm OMG! That made me snort.

  • ginidietrich

    @Cleversation @biebert The two of you are going to make my head big

  • 3HatsComm

    @ginidietrich So my work here is done. 🙂

  • @ginidietrich I’ve noticed a change. Lots of people just sharing their own stuff, limited group interaction .. just a free for all. So yeah, some clearing out might be in order.

  • BurnsMcDonnell

    @colekc Thanks!

  • JohnFalchetto

    @ginidietrich LOL!

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  • Biebert

    @ginidietrich @Cleversation haha! That would be a well deserved big head. 🙂

  • Biebert

    @Cleversation I figured that’s what you meant. 🙂

  • richmac

    Those Vistage members can be a tough bunch to convince (especially if you’re a member!) – and you got 21 tips in three hours – highly impressive! This short list makes it more approachable for most people – and the payoff can be big. Just signed up for the Spin Sucks Pro version – look forward to the great info!

  • CPerkinsCPA

    @EzyBlogger Thanks for sharing great information @ginidietrich Five Tips for Using LinkedIn for Business Growth http://t.co/ptFRWsZ

  • EzyBlogger

    @CPerkinsCPA Glad you like the article and thanks for the RT. Have a great day 🙂

  • CPerkinsCPA

    @EzyBlogger Have a great day as well.

  • EzyBlogger

    @CPerkinsCPA 🙂

  • CPerkinsCPA

    @EzyBlogger Thanks for the FB love as well.

  • ginidietrich

    @JohnFalchetto WTH are you laughing at?!

  • ginidietrich

    @richmac I’ll be honest – I had to do a little tap dance to keep their attention after #18.

  • EzyBlogger

    @CPerkinsCPA My pleasure 🙂

  • cesarinou

    Five Tips for Using LinkedIn for Business Growth http://twrt.me/6z8d6 via @ginidietrich rt @linkedinexpert

  • Cleversation

    @biebert 🙂

  • Yay, I know it’s a great device (not tool) for connecting on the business side. However, I have only spent a fraction of the time in LinkedIn as I have Twitter. Probably because Twitter is much more social, huh?

    Thanks for sharing and providing information that will help me at least take it to the next level.

  • ginidietrich

    @RocketGroup I think LinkedIn is a weak spot for lots of us

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  • Thanks for the tips. This is gonna be great.

  • NancyM.

    The fifth tip is just genius. By answering a question that people are already seeking the answer for, one guarantees that at least those who need the answer will visit the blog and who knows? May be they’ll find something they like and come back again.

    • ginidietrich

      @NancyM. It’s like any of this stuff, right? If they like what you have to say, they come back. And eventually you end up doing business together.

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