There’s a considerable amount of debate about where LinkedIn fits into a business's online marketing strategy. Some say the social networking platform is too ad-centric, too "spammy" and too focused on recruitment.
While there's some truth to these criticisms, LinkedIn can provide a valuable return for online marketers when used creatively. The key is to think outside-of-the box.
For instance, consider the following:
Use Polls to Determine Content
Want to know what content will interest your prospects? Run a LinkedIn poll to determine topics for white papers, ebooks or your next email campaign. By listening to your potential customers, your content will establish a direct connection and create better engagement. By consistently offering this type of well-researched content, you can solidify yourself as an industry expert.
Use your LinkedIn connections to gather feedback for new ideas and products. It's like having your own focus group right at your fingertips. You might even get some new ideas to incorporate into your business and find some new brand ambassadors! Feedback is vital for improving the quality of your products and services.
Tweet or post interesting LinkedIn poll results on other social media platforms. This only works if the results provide unique, water-cooler material that people tend to talk about. It could earn you additional connections or group members who have a specific interest in your product or service.
Complement Face-to-Face Sales
If you're only adding connections haphazardly, then you're just cluttering up your LinkedIn profile. Add connections with a more strategic approach. For example, after in-person sales meetings or even after receiving a referral, follow up with those contacts by sending invitations to connect on LinkedIn. That's because the typical sales cycle requires six contacts before the prospect is prepared to commit. So after your meeting, send a personal email and an invite to connect on LinkedIn. You'll be halfway to securing a sale.
On the surface, LinkedIn may not be the magic bullet for your online marketing efforts. Even so, it can enhance your existing online and traditional marketing strategies when you know how to use it creatively.