It sure seems to me like the world of marketing is changing so much faster in the last few years than in my previous thirty years, and I am pretty sure we have Al Gore to blame for that.
Pre-Internet, we as business owners and the marketing department of our organization (many times one and the same) were the only ones in our company who really had the ability to choose what message we wanted to share with our intended customer audience. These messages were shared through the small number of media outlets available–various types of print, radio, television and direct mail. The point is that we as the “smartest guys or gals” in the room decided what we said, how we said it, and where we were going to say it. If you haven’t noticed, things have changed a bit.
With the Internet and social media, we have so many voices (like everyone in the company) and choices (websites, blogs, Facebook and Twitter, to name a few, and, of course, my favorite–LinkedIn) to share our intended message. With so many people sharing in so many different ways, the message or content we share is more important than ever.
I really got a great primer on this concept as I was reading a book (which I highly recommend) called “Content Rules” by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman. The concept they share early in the book is that all businesses are becoming publishers, not in the traditional sense of writing books but in a new way. They shared:
“When we say that businesses are becoming publishers, we’re referring not to the process of putting ink to paper or printing and binding books but to the notion that creating and delivering relevant, valuable information to people will drive new business to you.
“Figuring out what your prospective customers are interested in, creating stuff that meets those needs, and delivering it to them is what you need to do. You need to create stuff that will help your clients, you need to become a trusted resource your customers can look to, and you need to get buyers to take action when they are ready.”
Good “stuff,” huh?
This article is not going to help you decide what “stuff” you need to come up with to help your prospective customers but how you can use LinkedIn to deliver that message to the people you’re connected to directly as well as the groups you are in.
The Top Seven Ways to Share Your Best Customer-Focused Content Using LinkedIn
1. Use Box.net files to share the following:
Research-based white papers
“How to” articles
Customer case studies
Event registration forms
Best practices guides
2. Use SlideShare or Google Presentation to share the following:
Videos that provide education, comparison and analysis of products and services
3. Use Blog Link or WordPress to share the following:
Blogs that provide useful comparisons and analysis of your products and services
4. Use the Websites section of your profile to point people to the following:
Parts of your own website where you provide helpful content
Industry-related resources and events
Podcasts that you or industry experts produce
Your Twitter or Flickr account that shares helpful content
The page on your website where people can sign up for your customer-focused newsletter
Registration for your upcoming webinar
Videos that provide educational information and/or analysis of your products and services
5. Direct people to any of the above-referenced resources by commenting on those specific items in your Summary section. This is your way to make sure they don’t miss these great resources that are placed in other parts of your profile.
6. Use the Status Box feature to share and link to helpful company and industry-related documents, websites, events, etc.
7. Join groups where your customers would be and share all of the above resources, being careful not to “sell.” This will help establish yourself as the industry expert in that group.
If you sit down and think of all the content you have already produced for other purposes and “repurpose” that into your LinkedIn strategy–and remember to engage all members on your team in a unified effort–you will be on your way to effectively sharing your voice with the marketplace.
Who says change can’t be for the good?
Wayne Breitbarth was once a skeptic and now is an outspoken proponent of LinkedIn, “LinkedIn Guru” Wayne Breitbarth is passionate about helping business professionals–from entry level to CEO–learn how to combine their previous experience and relationships with this innovative tool in order to more successfully brand and market themselves and their businesses.
Wayne’s diverse professional background uniquely positions him to assist not only individuals but corporate entities as well. With thirty years’ experience in the areas of operations, finance, management, consulting, and business ownership, he is able to “put it all together” for his corporate and individual clients.
In addition to his consulting work, Wayne is a dynamic speaker. His practical yet entertaining presentations have inspired audiences both locally, at many of Milwaukee’s most prominent companies and organizations, and nationally, at conventions, industry association events, and corporate training sessions.