Every now and then, I get asked the question, “What is LinkedIn Stewart, how can I use it build my business?”

A good question and it’s understandable why this question comes up on a regular basis. There’s so much info out there on the topic and people get confused.

If you’re an Executive Business Coach, Trainer or Consultant with a published book, or thinking about writing and publishing your book, then you’re about to learn some of the things you should be doing on LinkedIn.

But first, let’s answer the question of…

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a business to business social networking platform. It is the place to be if you want to invest your time in an intelligent marketing strategy that will reap a profitable return on your investment. So in other words, as business owners we are always looking for and talking about ways of maximizing our time to generate as much R.O.I as we can.

Another question that I often hear is, “If LinkedIn is so great, then why am i not making more sales?” And after digging a little deeper behind that question, I often find the same overlooked reason. People fail to recognize that LinkedIn is all about relationship based selling, it is a social platform and it’s all about building those relationships.

There are certain things you should be doing while participating on LinkedIn, certain things to keep in mind and proven ways to follow that improve your relationship based, social selling.

Build Targeted Connections

Firstly, identify your ideal prospect and start to build targeted connections. Once you identify your ideal prospect, the next thing that you are going to do is send a personalized connection request. Simply ask them to connect with you, giving a reason why you want to connect. Make sure your reason answers the what’s in it for them question that will be in the back of their minds.

I’ve yet to discover any benefits in connecting to colleagues who provide the same products and services. Other than being able to see what they are doing – and no doubt the same for them, it has added little to no value to my objectives. Maybe it’s different for your industry, you know it better than I, so you’ll have to make a judgement call on that yourself.

Engage Your Contacts

When your new connections connect with you always send a personalized thank you message, thanking them for connecting with and being part of your business social network.

It’s always a good idea to go ahead and continue to add engaging value to your new and existing business relationships by sending value adding relationship messages and then to expand your platform a little bit more, while expanding your reach. one of the ways to do this is by joining and contributing to group conversations related to your target audience.

Educate Your Contacts

Ultimately, what you want to do is to go ahead and engage your connections by educating them on some of the biggest obstacles they have to deal with on day to day basis . Educate and demonstrate your expertise to the point where you are accepted as a welcomed guest, instead of an annoying pest. Ask your connections what their biggest challenges are and provide answers or resources that point them in the right direction.

It’s the same as any kind of relationship, you have to invest time and your best intentions to build credibility and trust in the eyes of the person or people your are wanting to attract.

Promote Your Best Stuff

The final step in making LinkedIn work for you is promote your message on a consistent, regular basis. take your ideal prospects and transition them to an email, a phone call or face to face appointments so that you can actually turn that relationship into a potential sale. That’s really what LinkedIn is all about and how it becomes very effective as a Relationship Based – Social Selling Funnel.

What you just learned is a a simple 4 step process called, BEEP:

B = Build Targeted connections

E = Engage your contacts with a personalized welcome, congratulation and endorsement messages.

E = Educate your contacts, demonstrate your expertise.

P = Promote your best stuff, move them off LinkedIn into 1-on-1 phone calls, emails or in person conversations.

This has to be done on a consistent basis, so requires time and discipline… maybe you want to go ahead and have one of your staff take care of this while you focus on the bigger picture part of your business?

In any case, these four elements are a minimum requirement in making LinkedIn for you.

You have to do these on-going chores. And I say chores, because let’s face it, to have a marketing strategy that works, you have to invest some kind of consistent time and effort into:

  • Building out your network
  • Building your targeted connections
  • Sending personalized thank you messages
  • Viewing profiles which then sends traffic back to you
  • Sending personalized congratulation messages
  • Endorsing and giving back to your network
  • Adding posts and continuing to aggregate value added content.

Does it take some work? Yes it does! Is it rewarding? Yes, it most certainly is! Is it worth it? Again, 100%, no doubt, yes, and especially for Executive Business Coaches, Executive Business, Trainers, Executive Business Consultants with a published book, or wanting to  publish their own book. This is how to make LinkedIn work for you.