Get in with the Crowd

For most small businesses, the greatest obstacle to effective marketing is finding the budget for it. Yet if you don’t spend a penny, guess what? You’re unlikely to see any return. This is the first in a series of articles I’ll be writing about getting the most out of marketing on a limited budget. I’m going to be covering a number of the most familiar platforms, beginning with Linked In. The platform now tops half a billion users in more than 200 countries and cannot be ignored. Here are some tips on putting that connectivity to your advantage.

Get personal When looking at the list of ‘people you may know’, go to the person’s profile page and click‘connect’ there, which will then allow you to add a personal note. If you want to connect with someone you don’t know personally, let them know why. Be cautious in this approach — if the connection is too tenuous and your invite is declined on more than a couple of occasions, LinkedIn will restrict you from trying to connect with more people.

Post often When a connection like a share so comments on your status update, all of their connections are more likely to see your original post. If your content seems relevant, those ‘2nd-degree connections’ may connect with you in turn. Posting frequently creates additional opportunities for engagement, thus syndicating your content across homepage feeds everywhere. Don’t be concerned about over-exposure by posting every day.

LinkedIn’s algorithms are complex meaning that your network isn’t likely to see every post unless you publish an article natively with LinkedIn’s article tool. Share visuals This can significantly boost engagement and exposure to potential connections. Research suggests that using visuals can increase views by a factor of up to 11 times over those with just links or plain text.

Engage with existing connections This puts your profile directly in front of theirnetworks–a ll it takes is a ‘like’ or comment on their posts. Promote your LinkedIn URL Remember, every other social media platform is a potential pathway to those who follow you on each one. Claim your vanity URL –and add your LinkedIn profile to your email signature.

Leverage keywords Just as you’d optimise your website for SEO purposes, every word counts on LinkedIn too. Use them wisely. Publish an article Bringing your own insights and ideas to LinkedIn is a great way to be seen as a thought leader in your space. Your network will be notified every time you publish an article, increasing chances for engagement. Keep this activity at a sensible level, though – you don’t want people turning off. Remember to occasionally download your connections too.

After you’ve gone to the effort of building your network, you don’t want to risk losing contact information. To do this, click on theMe’ icon at the top of your LinkedIn profile, select Settings and Privacy from the drop-down, click the Privacy tab at the top of the page and under the How LinkedIn uses your data section, click change next to Download your data where you can select Connections to download as a .CSV file. Now you have a file containing your contacts’first and last names, email addresses, job titles, and companies.

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