When I speak at conferences about LinkedIn I often find huge confusion abounds. The general consensus is that while it’s great for recruiters and jobseekers, it’s just about ok for everyone else – a bit basic and functional. Good for linking but not much more.
Wrong, wrong, wrong!!
Please stop simply linking and start thinking. LinkedIn offers an abundance of potential to anyone with a PR plan. To illustrate this I’ll use the example of an imaginary ‘green’ office supplies business – Enviro Supplies and its MD, Trevor Smith.
As always, I’ve asked Trevor my four crucial PR questions and here are his answers…
What are you trying to achieve?
“Enviro wants to increase sales to smaller businesses (SMEs) by 25% over the next year.”
Who do you need to reach to achieve this?
“UK-based SMEs and their advisors (mostly accountants but also business coaches, consultants)”
What do you want them to do?
“SMEs – Move from a non-green supplier to us. Advisors — recommend us”
If they are going to do this, what must they think about your business?
“Even greener SMEs are cost conscious. They need to think an environmentally sound product or service can save them money too. Also they can’t afford to carry stock, so need to know we can deliver anywhere in the country within 24 hours.”
Ok, so what does this mean for Trevor’s LinkedIn strategy?
Trevor’s profile needs to focus on Enviro and when it does it must reflect these important messages of: ‘green, money saving, ideal for SMEs and nationwide delivery’
The website link in his profile should be tailored (don’t use the ‘your website’ default offered by LinkedIn). The tailored link should keep selling Enviro’s benefits – For instance: Enviro Supplies — good for your profits & the environment.
As part of his profile Trevor should have a slideshare presentation (one of the many extra goodies on offer in LinkedIn) that perhaps talks through the top ten money-saving ways to ‘green’ your office
He should ask a mix of customers, based all over the country to recommend not simply him but the company — thus promoting Enviro’s national reach.
Trevor should join groups aimed at small businesses, advisors and environmental enthusiasts. He should identify prolific networkers in the groups and join the conversations.
Trevor must identify relevant questions and show his expertise by answering them. Asking questions is also good. It shows you’re customer orientated, it is also an opportunity to float ideas for (or even soft launch) products/services.
Perhaps he could host an Enviro Group on LinkedIn — but take care that the group has the right profile – it should be described as the place for small businesses and their advisors to share green and/or money saving ideas and experiences. Of course he mustn’t let his competitors join the group!
Trevor should be suggesting books that help small businesses save money, be green etc. This will communicate that Enviro cares about small businesses, its useful and on their wavelength.
When posting comments/updates – Trevor should take care that these include small business news, links to articles on green/money saving developments, things he has read or seen. Trevor should also ask for views and share Enviro tips.
Trevor should identify organisations and influencers (including journalists) who may be reaching out to Enviro’s prospective customers — check out the groups they are in, the shows they are going to. Where possible connect up — but use a personalised approach NOT LinkedIn’s default message.
Trevor should also ask his most influential contacts to suggest people he should be telling about Enviro’s services — and use Linkedin to research them.
He should put a relevant poll on LinkedIn to do with the environment and small businesses, ask everyone he knows to take part and then publicise the outputs.
He should ask contacts or people in groups for views, quotes or experiences that can be used to add substance to Enviro’s news releases and features.
Trevor could even ask small business owners or green experts for their top ‘money-saving, green tip’ pull these all together into a Enviro-branded downloadable mini guide (with each tip properly attributed to the person who shared it)…then publicise the Guide in all of his groups and on Enviro’s website.
Apply this approach to your own business situation and see the abundance of communication opportunities that LinkedIn offers to those prepared to think rather than simply link.
If you are looking for a PR agency or want to do your own PR, contact Louise Findlay-Wilson on 01993 823011 or on firstname.lastname@example.org.
For training and tools so you can DIY PR visit www.prpro.co.uk
If you are looking for a PR agency visit www.EnergyPR.co.uk