On Friday Bright Light Marketing http://www.brightlightmarketing.co.uk/ and Reiver Recruitment http://www.reiverrecruitment.co.uk/ hosted a breakfast at Ettrickriverside to discuss how to get the most from Linking in. The breakfast was the brain wave of Eileen from Reiver Recruitment who met me a couple of months ago for a coffee. Over our discussion she said that she felt that although most business people have a LinkedIn account many of us know we should be using it more and also that it could do more for our business . From this the idea of the breakfast came along.
So on a bright sunny day about 20 of us gathered to hear Darren Bunker from QubeGB http://www.qubegb.com/ and Andy Drane from Davidson Chalmershttp://www.davidsonchalmers.com/ speak about how they use LinkedIn for business. Although both stressed that they were not experts and also knew that they could do more. Their effective use of this key business tool was impressive as was the simple fact that both QubeGB and Davidson Chalmers are using LinkedIn not just to make connections but converting this into real and meaningful business and making money from it. Many great points were made over the course of the presentations and subsequent discussions. However to summarise here are five key points that struck me:
1. You have to be on there – LinkedIn is now the business to business tool. As Andy Drane said You are who Google says you are. You might not like that but its true. As is the fact that Google likes LinkedIn and if you have a LinkedIn profile you will come up high in the search engines. More than that prospective clients and business will check you out on LinkedIn. Stories at the breakfast included prospective clients reading your profile in advance so that when they met you they got straight to business. Winning a tender as one business had an updated LinkedIn profile and the other did not. Plus checking out prospective employees and their profiles.
2. You have to use it – For me the breakfast confirmed that if you want to do business in 2013 you need to use LinkedIn but as one of the delegates said the worst thing you can do is set up a profile and do nothing with it. Both Andy and Darren use LinkedIn on a daily basis. Darren said he opens LinkedIn in the morning at the same time as he opens his email as it is that important. Andy pointed out that having lots of connections on LinkedIn is great but if you don’t communicate with them you might as well have no connections at all. Use it and use it and use it daily. Yes you have to devote time to it. But as the two companies showed LinkedIn is one of the most important marketing tools today for business to business. Can you afford not to use it?
3. Privacy Settings – This one was the salient point for me. One of Darren’s great tips was that you need to make sure that your settings on LinkedIn are set so that everyone can see your account as otherwise you are only seen by your connections and you will loose a major benefit of being found by others which for both Darren and Andy has resulted in new business. In QubeGB’s case connecting them to a major UK player who they are now doing business with and in Andy’s case connecting him with a law firm in Derby who they now act for in Scottish legal matters. Take a look at your privacy settings and make sure you are seen by everyone.
4. Keep it up to Date – Make sure that you check your profile on a on going basis. Keep it up to date and current and showcase work that you are doing currently. Make sure that you have a current photo of yourself. People will use it to see if they do know you and also when they meet you face to face. Be careful on recommendations they do sell you but they need to be genuine recommendations from people who value the work that you do. Both Andy and Darren were very pro LinkedIn for their companies encouraging people do use the medium but both felt that people should create their own profiles. It is about your personality and that should come through from the profile not a corporate face where every profile reads the same. People buy People so make sure that your personality comes across in your profile.
5. Groups – Both Andy and Darren had used groups and found them a useful tool particularly ones where they were able to get across their respective areas of expertise. This had raised their profile in their industries and got them along to speak at relevant events. Other’s in the room had also found groups useful for getting advice and general networking within their industry. The rule of thumb seemed to be that groups are useful but not all of them so look at a few at a time test them out and if they don’t work join other groups till you find the ones that will work best for you.
Fiona Drane from Bright Light Marketing and Eileen Pheasant from Reiver Recruitment would like to thank Andy and Darren for speaking at the breakfast and all those who came along and participated in the discussions greatly adding value to the event. We are hoping to run future breakfasts so if you would like to be included email firstname.lastname@example.org.