You probably heard that Social Networking is the next great thing (among others), so I’d really be surprised if you never heard of Facebook, but Linkedin is probably one of those hidden-gem online resources you may not be so informed about.
While Facebook started as a students-only networking site which in the last 2 years has become the place to be online for anyone, including businesses – and big businesses as well – Linkedin started as a closely-knit professional networking site, and remains true to its origins to this day.
Today Linkedin has over 36 million users world-wide. That’s a great place to hang around if you’re looking to grow your business: either by finding clients or customers to hire you as a consultant, or buy your products. But Linkedin works for you on another level, too: it can provide contacts to help you grow your practise or business by supplying services and/or products you need to grow.
For example, if you’re a product designer, you can link up with a local speciality print shop owner to supply 3-D decals for your products. The printer can in turn hook you up with engineers she may have in her network to hire you as a consultant – and the circle continues – you get the idea…
I use Linkedin for both of these purposes I outlined above, but also for one more, not so apparent one: to grow my email marketing list! You see, the way Linkedin is structured, you cannot easily send mass emails to your whole list of contacts, so if you have several hundred, or even several thousand connections, it would be close to impossible, and certainly not very practical to send each one a personalized email.
That’s why you need to find a way to selectively “move” your Linkedin connections to your own email list (hosted by your Email Service Provider of choice), so that you can reach out to them with information and special offers targeted to their particular needs.
One way that’s been working for me is: I create events, such as my free tele-seminars, and then use Linkedin’s application called “Events” to create a page where I can describe the event and in effect advertise it. From there I go on to send an invitation to my Linkedin contacts – I can send it to 50 recipients at a time. I only send one invitation and leave it to them to take action: if they are interested they follow up by registering on my web site – outside of Linkedin – in effect adding their name to a special list I create for each event.