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How to Use LinkedIn to Promote Your Professional Services (Article 3 of 3)

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The conversation went something like this:

Marketer: "And then use this 'Share' button in your LinkedIn account to share with your network the links to articles and blog posts you've written."

Fee-earner/professional, with look of mild horror on face: "But, I can't do that. That's spamming."

Marketer: "It's not spamming. This is your network to communicate with. Either you asked them to dance and they accepted, or they asked you to dance and you accepted. It's the safest and most important network you have."

And then the light switches on in the client's eyes: LinkedIn—like any social media platform—is there to help him reach out to clients and potential clients.

An Untapped, Free Resource

In this third of three articles focusing on how the professions—lawyers, consultants, accountants, etc.—can effectively market using new/digital media, I focus on LinkedIn.

So much has and will be written about LinkedIn. And why not? It remains a huge, untapped resource for professionals to achieve marketing success. And LinkedIn's network continues to grow. From 2011 to 2012, for example, LinkedIn's membership grew 45% worldwide, and 39% of members in 2012 had the title Manager, Director, Owner, Chief Officer, or Vice-President. (LinkedIn Ad Platform, via Amodiovalerio Verde.)

Getting value out of LinkedIn starts with the right attitude. In my book, there are three types of people on LinkedIn:

  • Don't Trust It, Don't Care. These people are ones who typically have one Connection or two, duplicate LinkedIn profiles, and they have never gotten a handle on what it's about.
  • I Love Everyone! These are people who indiscriminately link with everyone they know or don't know. They typically don't understand that LinkedIn is a network that should be—like any good network—built on trust. Or that it is also aspirational: If the plumber won't help you develop business, leave him out of your network.
  • I Play the Game With Others Who Play the Game. These are the people to emulate. They care about how they look on LinkedIn, taking time to develop their profile. They connect regularly with new contacts, and they visit the site regularly. It's part of their daily good-habit routine.

So how do you become a part of the third group? Here are some thoughts and guidelines.

1. Think of LinkedIn as the new CRM System

Professional firms have invested years of effort and chunks of their budgets to develop sophisticated CRM systems. And these systems are important for tracking activity with clients, developing target market lists, and managing client communications and interactions. But the data is only as good as what is input into the system. Every system contains duplicates and old contact information. LinkedIn, however, updates itself and notifies connections when people have changed jobs. In these ways, at least, it is superior to many expensive CRM tools.

2. Integrate it into your routine

Make LinkedIn a part of your daily routine, the same way you check your email first thing in the morning.

Follow interesting people so that articles relevant to your work life show up in your email box each day. Review your profile every few days—it's no different from looking in the mirror every morning. Just got back from a conference or cocktail reception? Pull out the business cards you just pocketed, link with those new contacts (be sure to customize your LinkedIn request with a special note!), and then throw out the cards.

Keep your LinkedIn profile top of mind: It's a good practice to regularly update your profile so you stay relevant within your target markets.

3. Deepen your network

Now that your own LinkedIn profile is complete, reach beyond it. First of all, be sure to pay for a premium membership so you can have a more detailed view of who visits your profile. Also, be sure to join LinkedIn Groups that relate to your target niches. Can't find a particular one you want? Start your own Group and become a leader in your niche. Even following specific people in your niche will help out. The interesting articles that will arrive in your daily LinkedIn email can help you develop ideas for new marketing outreach activity. Your network will be as active as you are.

4. Share, share, and share again

This is not the time to be shy. So you've been interviewed in an online article? Your article was just published? Your latest blog entry was just posted? Just like book authors have to start publicizing their work once the writing is finished, you need to share your work.

Post a link to your blog post on your LinkedIn homepage. Share the same link in relevant Groups that you've joined, and your article will show up in the email boxes of your network contacts and on their LinkedIn home pages.

Be active, and you'll find that your network will be active in return—visits to your profile will increase when people "Like" your posts.

* * *

Build a routine, deepen your network, and share. These practices have worked for decades in helping professionals earn new clients and matters. Now this same process can be done online, on LinkedIn. It would be a shame to waste the opportunity.

Articles in this series:

1. The New Normal in Professional Services Marketing

2. Marketing the Professions 'Hors d'Oeuvre' Style

3. How to Use LinkedIn to Promote Your Professional Services

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Nicholas Kosar manages marketing campaigns for an AmLaw 100 law firm in Washington, DC. Prior to his work in the professional services sector, he was in book, magazine, and digital publishing.

LinkedIn: Nick Kosar

Twitter: @nakosar

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  • by Harrison Kane Thu Nov 21, 2013 via web

    This is a very helpful article about the uses of LinkedIn. I personally dded to many irrelevant people when I first started but I personally know them all and I think that is ok. Premium doesn't seem necessary to me but I guess I haven't really dove into what premium offers.

  • by Casey Lewis Thu Nov 21, 2013 via web

    I know that LinkedIn should be a great business generator. I have over 400 connections and we provide great service. However, I have not been able to really benefit from results. Most of the time I get solicitations and invitations to extend others network. I haven't yet sold a lead from LinkedIn unfortunately.

  • by Hmm Thu Nov 21, 2013 via web

    Is this article really worthy of Marketing Profs? Or better suited to an audience that really hasn't used Linkedin / professional networking sites before...

  • by Casey Lewis Thu Nov 21, 2013 via web

    Excuse me. I'll not participate again.

  • by Adella @ Wishpond Thu Nov 21, 2013 via web

    Hi Nicholas. I totally agree about #4. If you are a LinkedIn beginner and have no idea what to share on groups, I’d recommend using simple polls! This is a fun and quick way to engage your group members by asking an open-ended or multiple choice question. For example, Mustafa Akkoc asked “What is the meaning of Social Media to you in one or two words?” in the “Social Media Marketing” group, and this post resulted in 3,370 comments and 443 Likes at the end.

  • by Nick Kosar Thu Nov 21, 2013 via web

    Dear Hmm - it's understandable if you think this is pretty basic information for a lot of marketing pros and savvy social media users. But there are a lot of very smart and highly educated professionals out there for whom even starting to use social tools is like learning a foreign language (along with a new alphabet). I explain what I believe to be the underlying reason why this is so at the beginning of Article 1 in this series.

  • by Dave Curry Fri Nov 22, 2013 via web

    "If the plumber won't help you develop business, leave him out of your network." Clearly, this statement could be construed as elitist and obnoxious. Worse still, in the context of this article, it fundamentally misses the point of networks, and how to market to them. Effective networking is rarely about marketing or selling directly to the audience. Rather, it is mainly about educating people in your network about your products and services - while building credibility and trust - so that they can then identify opportunities to REFER people in their network to you. A plumber is a person too, with his own network of contacts. To instantly assume that this person is of no value to you because they are not in the market for your services could be a missed opportunity.

  • by Nick Kosar Fri Nov 22, 2013 via web

    Dave (Curry) - fair enough. I have no wish to argue your point, because it makes complete sense. (And I certainly don't want to come across as elistist - which that comment could certainly construe!) In rethinking this point after reading your comment, I think what I ultimately want to get across is: give some real thought as to whom you're connecting with and why. Keep a purpose behind your actions. Thanks for the input. (BTW, I love my plumber!)

  • by Randy Milanovic Sat Nov 30, 2013 via iphone

    Great starter tips but #4 is incorrect. Sharing the same content to multiple groups "without a discussion or introduction" will get you SWAMed (site-wide automatic moderation). If that happens, your every comment and "share" in EVERY room will be "awaiting moderation" forever. Each group moderator must decide individually if you are worthy of remaining in that group - IF they ever look at your post. One moderator lifting your SWAM action in their group does not lift it in others. Further, in every new group you request access to, the moderator will be flagged that you are a risk. Should you be SWAMed, there are steps you can take to lift it, group by group... Read here:

  • by Randy Milanovic Sat Nov 30, 2013 via iphone

    Nick, thank you. So many writers do not engage their readers. Kudos!

  • by Randy Milanovic Sat Nov 30, 2013 via iphone

    Regarding plumbers and others that may not be aligned... a reality is that CEOs will tend to connect with CEOs and interns will tend to connect with interns. It's a matter of comfort. Marketers, however are generally not as selective. Count me as one of the marketers. I like making friends.

  • by José Ochoa Castillo Sat Nov 30, 2013 via web

    Gracias por su ayuda

  • by Nick Kosar Mon Dec 2, 2013 via web

    Randy - I appreciate your comments! - Nick

  • by Randy Milanovic Thu Dec 5, 2013 via iphone

    Thanks Nick. I hope the SWAM blog article is helpful to MProfs readers.

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