If you’re part of the business community you almost certainly have a presence on LinkedIn, but are you using it effectively? LinkedIn is often under-utilised and there are several common mistakes that people make on their profiles.

This month at NWBL, Ian Preston from 3 degrees social talked us through some of the main pitfalls that people fall into with their LinkedIn profiles, and some of the key things you can do to take advantage of this online networking platform.

Starting with your profile picture, remember that this is a professional environment so your picture should reflect what you would wear at a business meeting. Pictures of you on holiday or holding a drink should be saved for Facebook, unless you work in the travel industry or drinks trade!

Moving onto your headline, it’s really common for people to simply add their job title in here, but if you do this you’re missing a trick. When people search on LinkedIn, the contents of the headline is weighted quite heavily in the search function so it makes sense to include what you do for your customers, rather than your job title. (Your current position is in the next field down anyway, so there’s no need to duplicate it in the headline.)

Clearly you need to sell yourself in the summary field, making the most of the 2000 characters, and also explain your current role in the experience section.

And when it comes to expanding your network on LinkedIn, how you connect with the people you meet is important. Don’t just press the blue connect button –add a personal message. This makes it more likely that the person will remember who you are and where they met you, and will accept your request.

Add everyone you meet, as the larger your network of 1st tier connections is, the greater number of 2nd tier connections you will have access to. Then, if you want to speak to a 2nd tier connection, you can ask one of your 1st tier connections to introduce you.

To find out more about what Ian does, why not connect with him on LinkedIn

[ADD LINK https://www.linkedin.com/in/ianjpreston/]

The Power of Building Relationships via Email

LinkedIn isn’t the only way to build relationships in the business community, and our second speaker, Liz Painter from copywriting agency Comma Comma, explained the importance of ongoing marketing when it comes to following up with your contacts.

Whether you meet people at a networking event or via enquiries that come into your business, you should have a system for following up with every single individual that makes contact with you.

Often people invest in the one-off marketing – the sales letter or advertisement – but then their ongoing marketing lets them down. If you invest in this kind of one-off marketing, but then you have no system for staying in touch with people who don’t buy immediately, then you’re missing out on almost guaranteed future business, and some of your marketing spend is wasted.

It’s about doing things in the right order. Of course there is value in the one-off marketing, but you’ll get even more out of it if you have a tried and tested system for staying in touch with people beyond that one-off marketing piece.

Liz likened it to a ski instructor who wants to teach you to fly over jumps before you’ve mastered the basics of turning and stopping. There’s nothing wrong with investing in the one-off marketing, but you’ll get more out of it, and you’ll land your jumps more safely when you’ve invested in the basics and got a consistent system for staying in touch and building relationships with new contacts.

A regular email out to your list – every week or every fortnight – containing useful, engaging content, will allow you to stay in touch with people you meet. They might eventually do business with you, or they may refer you to someone else who ends up doing business with you.

And once you see how this works, and how your enquiries increase over time, you’ll be determined to make sure that every business card you collect gets added to your database, rather than sitting in a pile on your desk.

The other element of this kind of ongoing marketing is the “Know, Like and Trust” Email Campaign. This is a series of emails – usually around four – that introduce your business to a new contact, explaining what you do, how you help your clients and providing credibility in the form of a testimonial or case study.

If you would like some guidance in pulling your Know, Like and Trust emails together, then you can access Liz’s easy to use email templates here https://lizpainter-2.sendmedetails.com/know-like-trust-email-templates

To see our great speakers in action and network with like-minded people, please email melanie@sourceandeffect.com or caroline@sourceandeffect.com