Thursday, March 19, 2009

Social Media: Hype or Hidden Treasure?

For those of you that haven’t established a presence on LinkedIn yet, I strongly recommend that you create a profile and linkaway!

LinkedIn is on of the top 5 social networks on the Web and focuses on linking professionals to one another through networking opportunities, business discussions, information exchanges, Q&A’s, industry news, professional Groups, and. more.

It’s easy and free to get started. You simply go to and create a profile. You can information on your education and career. And through your account settings you can chose what information you’d like private and what you’d liked displayed for others to view.
It’s also helpful to get and give recommendations, as it helps validate your credentials as an expert in whatever field you specialize in.Once you sign up, you can invite colleagues and business partners to join your "network" as well as join various Groups that relates to the industry you’re in. After you join those Groups, you’ll receive weekly messages from the Group leader regarding Group discussion, news, relevant articles and other useful information. You will also be able to view other Group member’s profiles and invite those you feel could be synergistic to your business to join your network.

Joining LinkedIn can help your business…and your website (and company!) in several ways…

  • SEO. You can write and upload a useful articles as news or start discussions using with information that will benefit your fellow members. That’s the key, relevant and value-oriented information. When you do this, you also get to upload a URL, which can backlink to your site. Not only will this reinforce you credentials as an expert, but it’s also information that is truly benefiting you’re peers in whatever niche your in.I’ve executed this tactic frequently with the marketing articles I’ve written and those members wanting more of what they read visited the website link I enclosed, increasing traffic, and the opportunity for sales via eCommerce platform. And the traffic was easily identified with website analytics under "top referring sources."
  • Networking and Advertising. You can easily alert members of your special skills, expertise or services by posing a relevant question and offering a benefit-oriented solution. The opportunity is there to network with responders and gain potential business. Again, the key is to be subtle and relevant. You can, however, post a classified-type ad in the Group’s Job section. And here’s where good copy writing comes into play, as your ad must get people to take action quickly. If done right, I guarantee you will also get a handful of qualified leads that will generate new business and added to revenue growth. In my experience, within 4 hours of my initial posts I received nearly 20 leads for potential clients.
  • Increased Web Presence. If you’re goal is to improve your website’s presence, then being actively involved in LinkedIn is critical. If you spend an hour or less a day and offer expert solutions to relevant Q&A’s, provide commentary to targeted questions in your Group messages – and include your name and website URL -- your "brand" will be prominent to site users. This will not only establish you as an expert within LinkedIn, but also have the potential to drive ancillary traffic to your website from members and referrals. And the more traffic your site gets, the more it will help your organic search ranking and visibility.

Now, some may argue that social media is just the latest craze,
but it’s not easy to monetize or measure.

I wholeheartedly disagree.

I say, if you’re a creative and strategic thinker, you can not only
measure social media efforts, like those in LinkedIn,
but also increase you’re business’s bottom line.

And isn’t that what direct marketing is all about?
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