LinkedIn is often overlooked by people when talking about generating traffic from social media. Traffic-generated social media are dominated by Facebook, Twitter or Google +. In many forums, LinkedIn doesn’t even get a look in. Even if you scroll down through the main Social Media folders, you could hardly find LinkedIn. There appears to be a common misconception that LinkedIn is just a glorified resume or CV site, this could not be further from the truth.
LinkedIn: The Statistics
Before exploring into how to fully utilise this fantastic resource, let’s have a look at some of the statistics, so you can realise just what a potent force LinkedIn, can and will play, in traffic generation.
- LinkedIn has more than doubled in size (OVER 160 million members) in the past year!
- One new user is added every single second!
- 160 Million Active Business users waiting to be contacted.
Pretty impressive eh? Especially when you consider that a large chunk of these users have their own business and are looking for new customers, new ideas, guidance. That is potential traffic and business to your website.
Setting up and Utilising your LinkedIn Profile
Your profile is the first thing that anyone on LinkedIn will see. So you need to make it count.
Firstly, upload a recent photograph of you. Make sure it’s a good one. First impressions count, so pick the best picture.
Secondly, fill in as much of the information as you, a full profile is a good profile. Doesn’t matter if you’re only just starting out and have changed businesses etc, honesty is the best policy. Add your education, your previous work experience etc.
Now, when it comes to filling in your skills and expertise, this is when you have to make sure your clever. You need to choose the words or skills that best suits the line of work you are in now.
If your business is based around social media marketing, make that as your skill, then expand on it a little. If your business is based on baking cupcakes, then your skill set should be based around the skills and techniques used. The reason for this targeting, is when someone is searching within LinkedIn, just like in Google, it’s the skill sets that are being searched upon, so this is really important. Don’t spread yourself too thin, you want to give the opinion you are an expert in your field. Remember, this is the first line of sight.
Make sure you add your websites of blogs too, your entries will be shown in your timeline.
Getting Connected with LinkedIn
Now you’ve got your profile set up, you need to start building your connections. The more connections you have, the more your updates will appear on other people’s home page, the more people will be able to view your profile.
If you have 2000 friends on Facebook, 5000 followers on Twitter but only 5 connections on LinkedIn, you are missing out on a massive amount of potential traffic. Send a tweet to your followers asking them to connect, update your status on Facebook asking the same.
If you’re an active member of forums, look to try to add your friends there as contacts also. It’s very important to get a good base of connections set up before you start joining the groups. Ask the people who know you to endorse you on certain skill sets. This enhances your reputation massively, the more of these you can get the better.
When you do join the groups and start contributing, then those that you build conversations and relationships with, you can then connect with them as you go along. The more you connect, the stronger you become, the more authoritative a figure you become.
How to use LinkedIn Groups to build authority and drive traffic
Once you’ve built your profile and established some connections, now it’s time to start looking into groups. LinkedIn groups give you the opportunity to present yourself as an authoritative figure or leader in your specific market. It enables you to put your skills in front of people who wouldn’t usually see them. What you do need to do is select the right groups. As a free member, you can join up to 50 groups. But don’t go joining any and every group you come across, you want to make sure that the group is of a decent size, and that it’s active.
Searching for the right LinkedIn Groups to join
In the top Right hand corner by the search bar, select Groups from the drop down box. Type in your keyword (in this case “social media”) and you will be returned with a total of groups matching this search, the group names, how many members it has, and how active it is. It will also list the names of the connections you have if they are in the same groups.
This is vital information. It’s so important that any group you decide to become a member of is active, but what’s more important are the underlying stats. Make sure whether a group is just active because a lot of people are post links / stories / articles, or is it a properly active group with lots of comments and discussions. You don’t want to be joining a group where no one comments or reads your posts or articles. That’s no good to anybody. You want the users of the group to be actively and readily engaged regularly. What you’re looking for is a higher number of comments per week than discussions started.
Managing LinkedIn Groups & Building your Reputation
When you’ve joined a group, you can’t just go in there and start dropping links to posts you’ve written. That’s a definite “No, No”. What I’d suggest is the following.
- Introduce yourself to the Group – Tell a bit about yourself, your background and what you’re looking for from the group. It should trigger a few responses. Make sure you respond to each.
- Browse through the posts, look to see who the key contributors are, find out who is the most active.
- Read what they are saying
- Comment on there posts, try to engage them, ask leading questions to get a response back.
What you are trying to do here is create a good first impression, if you do this right, then you will get noticed. If you do this for a week or so across the 10 groups you’ve joined, you’ll soon have an impression of who the key people are in each group, and what the main type of posts that are getting the comments are.
Creating your first LinkedIn Discussion
Now is the time to start creating your own discussions.
Again, rather than just posting an a link to an article, try to engage once more, create a post that asks a question or look for an opinion between 2 sets of answers.
Make it to the point and relevant, but also interesting enough that you’ll get responses. Once more, make sure you respond to each response, either thanking them, or doing a little more digging or challenging their view in the right manner.
You’ll soon create an authoritative presence within the group.
By this time, fellow group users will wanting to know a little more about you, they’ll probably look at your profile and pick up your blog posts from there. It’s about this time that you’ll start to see the traffic coming into your site.
Posting your own articles on LinkedIn Groups
What you don’t want to do here is post the article to all 10 of your groups. Be selective, see which groups best match your article, just 2 or 3 first of all, and post the article, along with some comments asking for thoughts, feedback etc.
By now, you should have developed enough of a reputation for others to take the time to read what you say. Make a note of the traffic flow to your site from these 3 groups. This is the first indicator of just how useful each group is in providing traffic.
If you get a few responses, again, make sure you respond in kind. This is also the time to start increasing your connections, now you’ve engaged a few of the more active users, you can try to connect with them.
If successful, any update that appears on your timeline / wall, will now appear on theres. If they are the major contributors, chances are they will have 500+ connections. All 500 x (number of connections you have) will now see your article and links.
This is where you can start to see a real surge in your traffic.
If you stick to these rules and continue to add a couple of groups at a time, following the same principles you’ll soon find yourself with strong following, people will then be looking to you as the authoritative figure and the circle continues.
Summing up LinkedIn
LinkedIn is such a powerful resource, should you utilise it in the right way, it can have a massive beneficial effect on your business. It is often overlooked in some circles when it comes to Social Media, but it really shouldn’t be. LinkedIn is the 2nd biggest Social Media Traffic provider, claiming a staggering 29%, which is more than Facebook, Twitter and Google+ together. Don’t make the mistake that so many do when they turn to Social Media, LinkedIn is a force to be reckoned with, and one that’s only going to get stronger.