Linkedin has become a ubiquitous networking tool for the modern business professional. I personally have been using Linkedin since 2005 and I’ve found it to be incredibly useful as a way to stay in touch with my contacts as well as build my personal brand.
I recently attended a breakfast event run by the BC Chapter of the American Marketing Association (BCAMA) on how to effectively use Linkedin to build your brand. This event titled “Marketing your brand on Linkedin” piqued my interest as I have been a long time user of Linkedin and have been curious as to how I can use this tool more effectively.
The speaker for the event was Gary Fearnall, Director of Global Marketing Solutions at Linkedin Canada. Fearnall started off stating that Linkedin’s mission statement is to: “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” Specifically, Fearnall explained that Linkedin acts as a news and personal promotional aggregate tool. Basically what this means that Linkedin doesn’t create content but instead, allows its users to engage with each other by creating high quality interactions.
During the course of the presentation, Fearnall brought up some very interesting statistics in regards to why brands should be on Linkedin:
– There are currently 160+ million users on Linkedin
– 27+ million decision makers
– 14+ million owners and VPs
– Less than 20% of time spent on Linkedin is for job search (This is an interesting stat as I expected this number to be quite higher)
– 2 billion + network updates shared weekly.
– 60% of Canadians visit a social media network at least once a day.
– 89% more leads generated on Linkedin over other platforms.
– Linkedin users follow an average of 2.8 companies
One of the key topics that Fearnall spoke to was in regards to how many contacts an individual should have on Linkedin. It’s really easy to think that interactions on Linkedin are a numbers game but the reality of it as Fearnall says is that it is more important to build a robust network of contacts as opposed to adding people for the sake of watching your contact list grow. His rule of thumb is to only add people that he knows and connects with offline regularly. He also frequently cleans up his list of contacts on Linkedin to ensure that his network is relevant and up to date with what he is working on.
Another insight that Fearnall shared was the idea that in a social world, brands must participate to succeed. With a staggeringly high number of decision makers on Linkedin (27+ million), Fearnall reiterated that engagement online is essential to the success of any business. Specifically, he outlined a number of tactics that companies can use to engage with their customers. These include:
– Building a company profile page with great content.
– Posting 3-4 updates per week on this page.
– Utilizing the free tools that are available on the Linkedin website.
– Focusing on building quality interactions with your following.
Another great point that Fearnall mentioned was in regards to the number of groups that people should be a part of. I tend to join quite a few groups on Linkedin as I was fascinated with the discussion that was happening on a wide variety of topics. Fearnall suggests that individuals or companies join 3-4 groups and actively engage in discussion. His reasoning was that any more than 4 groups is unsustainable in terms of getting the most out of the intention of online discussion which is engagement with other people in your network as well as potential customers.
One of the topics that came up during the question period was in regards to how to deal with people who add you to Linkedin even though you have never met them before. Fearnall suggests that you connect with the person offline before adding them to your network. This creates quality in your network and also ensures that your contacts are highly relevant and up to date.
Overall, I learned some great tips and stats about using Linkedin for building my personal and professional brand at this event. I highly recommend you check out the event hash tag (#bcamabss) as there was some very useful information tweeted out by participants during the event.
For more information on upcoming BCAMA events, visit www.bcama.com .