Note: This week on Talk Business With Howard radio, which broadcasts live on Blog Talk Radio – Wednesday, May 23 at 11 AM/ET, my guest is, Wayne Breitbarth, the author of the number #1 selling book on LinkedIn entitled, The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Thank you, Wayne, for being a guest on the radio show and for writing this blog post. -Howard-
Have you been sitting on the sidelines or perhaps just dabbling with social media, maybe wondering what all the buzz is about? It can be overwhelming, with so many options from which to choose—LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, etc. With more than 850 million users worldwide, Facebook appears to be the tool of choice in the B2C sector. However, in the B2B space, LinkedIn has unlimited networking and marketing potential, and businesspeople around the globe appreciate the highly professional nature of the site. Here are 10 reasons why you and your company should jump on the bandwagon.
1. 150 million and growing. Yes, LinkedIn has 150 million users, and one million more are added each and every week. There are 650 million businesspeople on the planet, and that means almost one-third of those people have a LinkedIn account. Using keywords and other search criteria, you are able to find new customers, vendors, employees, and partners. Before cold calling, you can attempt to find the name of the person who holds the position you are looking for. This is done with Advanced People Searching—LinkedIn’s #1 tool for growing your organization’s top line revenue.
2. You already have a great network. Your network is one of your most treasured assets. It includes people from every area of your life—your community, industry, personal interests, etc. These people have helped you personally and professionally throughout the years. With LinkedIn’s “3D capability,” you can now see who your friends know and who their friends know. You may be just one introduction away from the person you or your salespeople, purchasing personnel or HR team are dying to meet.
3. The more you know, the more you grow. Most of us are pretty confident that the more we know about a company or the people within the company, the better chance we have of accomplishing our goal as it relates to that company or person. Well, step right up and access the largest keyword searchable professional database in the world. See what I like to call “resumes on steroids” for the people you want to meet. We would have paid big bucks for this database just ten years ago. Now it’s virtually (and I mean virtually) free.
4. Your competition is waiting for you to look at them. Well, not exactly, but you really can see more about them and their people than you have ever had the ability to see. You can view their products and services, watch their slide shows, and view their customer testimonials. LinkedIn helps you see who has recently been hired and who has left the company. Reading the recommendations your competitor’s employees have received from customers will give you insight into not only who their customers are but why they are satisfied customers. This should give you plenty to talk about at your next company strategy session.
5. Got a question? Just think—you and your staff can communicate with the world’s foremost experts in your industry by accessing LinkedIn’s Answers feature and Group Discussions. People are just waiting to meet you and discuss your most pressing issues. Getting involved in ongoing group discussions and lending your expertise will build your credibility with people who may then become your customers, vendors, strategic partners or employees.
6. 150 million and growing. I know I said this before, but this time I want you to think not about your searching 150 million resumes to find the right people and companies but about your company and your people being found by someone else. By strategically crafting your company page and directing your people to have the right keywords and information on their profiles, you can not only be found by people who are searching for your products or services but also improve your chances of being contacted by those potential customers or clients. I wonder how high in the search rankings your company and your people come up when people are searching for your products and services on LinkedIn. Developing and executing a strategic plan for your company’s LinkedIn use will undoubtedly improve your visibility.
7. Your favorite nonprofit is counting on you. By this time in your career, you probably care about, support or volunteer for a number of nonprofit organizations. Maybe you even serve on a board or two. If you are interested in helping them grow and expand, there are parts of your profile that can be used to highlight your involvement and their mission as well as letting people know how they could be involved with the organization. In addition, if you have embraced LinkedIn and strategically grown your network, you should now be able to use LinkedIn to find people who may be interested in joining you in supporting your favorite nonprofit group.
8. Your staff is waiting for your move. In every area of your business, your employees look to you for leadership. Social media is a fundamental change to how we communicate with outsiders. If you do not engage at some level, your lack of interest may turn into a lack of interest throughout the company. Your enthusiasm for this exciting technology could be just the fuel your employees need to jumpstart your company’s social media program, and LinkedIn is the obvious starting point.
9. Are you listening? Whether it is LinkedIn or other social media channels, people are talking about your company, people, products, and services. The company that puts together a consistent strategy for answering, helping, and educating the public will have a superior reputation over those that fail to engage. The world is waiting to hear from your company and all of your people. You are smart, your employees are smart, and your expertise is needed. If you don’t provide it, your competitors will, and they may already be doing just that.
10. It might be fun. When was the last time you had a rush about something new you learned, something that took some time and effort, but once you accomplished it you had the proverbial top-of-the-mountain high? Well, maybe, just maybe, this is one of those times you should climb the mountain. Put on your boots, grab some water, and hit the trails. Oh, and by the way, I am sure you will find a few friends in your organization who would love to hit the trails with you. Have fun!
Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. He is an experienced businessman, speaker, and author who has shared his passion for social media with thousands of business professionals through private business consulting and dynamic presentations to local and national audiences.
Wayne has thirty years’ experience in the areas of operations, finance, management, consulting, and business ownership. He works with companies to develop a comprehensive strategy for using LinkedIn to increase sales, raise brand awareness, recruit employees and reduce recruiting fees, and discover new markets for products/services.
Wayne is a CPA, holds an MBA from Marquette University. He is the author of the world’s #1 selling LinkedIn book, The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search.