Tuesday, May 5, 2009

5 Simple Ways to Use Linkedin to Market Your Firm

Getting the Most Mileage Out of Linkedin By guest Blogger Brett Owens, the Co-Founder and CEO of Chrometa, LLC.

(Editor's note: Chrometa is a great Northern California-based software company that helps professionals reclaim their undocumented billable time. Some of our readers may have read about them recently in Inc Magazine or the Sacramento Business Journal.)

There are a myriad of different things that you can do with LinkedIn - most of which will require a lot of your time, for very little return. Let’s face it - if you are a solo practitioner or small firm attorney, you don’t have the extra time to burn.

So what are the “critical few” things that you can do to get the most mileage out of LinkedIn?

Here are five simple best practices for you - in fact, I’d imagine these five will take you farther than the next 95 things you could do combined - so I’d suggest just focusing on these five for starters, call it good for now, and and get on with life.

  1. Get your profile up to date, with all of your work history and job/role descriptions. This will take 30 minutes or so to do right, but it’s well worth it. Do it once, and you’ve got it on autopilot for the next year.
  2. Upload a picture to your profile - put a human face on it.
  3. Recommend a colleague or two - and in turn, get a connection or two to recommend you. This just looks good to visitors checking you out, and shows you’re a good guy or gal.
  4. Build your network out as you meet people. Have a follow up “nice to meet you” email to send? Why not ping out a LinkedIn connection request at the same time. This is a great way to stay on the other person’s radar screen.
  5. Join a couple of relevant groups, and answer a question or two every week or so. Our PR guru Josh Morgan landed some nice business using this practice - sharing your expertise helps you establish yourself as a thought leader while connecting with folks who could potentially do business with you.

While we’re at it, here are the top 3 time sinks I’ve found on LinkedIn, which have yielded little or no marketing return for us:

  1. Don’t get email updates from too many groups - I’ve found 3 to be my limit. Pick 1 or 2 or 3 key groups and focus on those. Otherwise there’s too much information and chatter to keep up with.
  2. I’ve joined too many groups in general for my own good - again you can spend all day on these discussion boards, and it’s not the best use of your time.
  3. Don’t spend too much time with the app plug-ins, such as Wordpress, Amazon, etc - while they are nice, potential clients don’t really care what you’re reading right now. Just get them interested enough with your profile to click over to your website.

LinkedIn is a very cool and useful tool for business development - and I believe the 80/20 rule is definitely in play here. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the information, possibilities, and complexity…so don’t. Most of your value will be achieved by a small percentage of your actions, so I’d suggest focusing on these high value add LI activities for starters.


Josh Morgan said...

Thank you for including a link to our discussion about LinkedIn. I agree with all of your advice especially the limiting of applications along with your profile. The most useful I've found is the WordPress app that includes posts from my blog.

Anonymous said...

Linkedin seems to be the grown up version of facebook. Thanks for the tips.

Brett Owens said...

Facebook for grown ups is a great analogy.

I personally get value out of LinkedIn for business purposes, and I do not from Facebook. So personally I shake my head a bit when people talk about Facebook as a medium for business networking.

kristi royse said...

Thanks for your great tips Brett; I agree with each of them. One I will expand on; posting and responding to questions. My business has signed two contracts this week alone with individuals I have connected with through this approach. My response to questions provided me the opportunity to share my expertise and tantilized the individuals to connect with me; all I had to do was the sell job from there.

Thanks again, Kristi Royse

Anonymous said...

I know you shake your head at Facebook, but I prefer Facebook over LinkedIn when it comes to building business. Facebook (when using the privacy features) allows people to get to know more about you. People hire people that they "know". Why LinkedIn seems like a static online resume. Its so hoohum.

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