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From Directory

LinkedIn Works

LinkedIn has many uses - commercial, networking, career, and personal. You must have realistic expectations to use it successfully. And even then, it's not for everyone or for every business. It aligns with certain businesses and sales processes much better than others. The "pay it forward" approach is a long, not short, term strategy.


A few definitions


See PayItForward.


Marketing is the process of building a story (or brand), creating awareness, and instigating interest to move external parties into the sales cycle. It can be integrated into your networking activities.



LinkedIn for business

LinkedIn does not sell leads. (Don't confuse a limited InMail with buying a real lead!) It is not designed for selling. It is not a contact manager. It is not a direct marketing platform that connect you to multiple people. It is (drumroll please, no snickering in the balcony) ... a networking service.


It's only the start of Business


While LinkedIn may be better than sliced bread, it is not a panacea for your business. LinkedIn is an excellent business contact search engine. With a database of 15+ million members, including many top executives, LinkedIn makes it easy to find key people. LinkedIn then provides a platform for a warm introduction to your targets. That's it. The rest is up to you. It's just the beginning of the sales process.


You have to write winning Introductions, just like you do inquiry letters or phone pitches. You have to build your network for the best referrals. You have to pray that the recipient is active, available, and interested. You have to use alternate means of contact if your initial LinkedIn Introduction is blocked or not received. If your message is accepted and you receive a contact email address or phone number, then LinkedIn is totally out of the loop.


LinkedIn is a limited tool in your hopefully much larger business toolkit. It's up to you to make personal contact, maintain communications, and manage your relationships. You must develop effective marketing programs, have the right pitch, create appropriate products, and shepherd and close the sale yourself.



LinkedIn is business ... for Business


LinkedIn works best where there is a natural fit with your business. You can reduce its value to two key features.

  • Contact via referrals. LinkedIn introductions are personal referrals from direct connections.
  • Business. LinkedIn is not a personal social network. It's used for business and professional contacts.


Does LinkedIn fit your business?

The key features above make LinkedIn a better fit for some businesses compared to others.

  • Individual sales. LinkedIn limits your contact with other members. It's oriented to businesses that need to make just a few contacts as opposed to reaching a large audience.
  • Targeted contact. LinkedIn works when you can target the recipient by business, profession, or interest and have a relevant product.
  • For businesses only. LinkedIn connections and contact are business-oriented. If your product is personal and you don't have a strong relationship with your connection, your connection may not find your request to be appropriate for the recipient or otherwise be uncomfortable in referring your sales message.
  • Referral marketing and recruiting. LinkedIn is about people and one-to-one relationships. It's a natural fit for people-based selling where business comes through referrals or you recruit other to work for you ... provided you have business products and can target appropriate contacts.


What isn't a good fit?

Here are a few examples of a bad fit, assuming the recipient is not in that business:

  • Business products that require mass marketing
  • Businesses where prospects are not well-defined or easy to find on LinkedIn
  • Businesses where you seek exclusive contacts like Fortune 500 CEOs and celebrities that aren't on LinkedIn
  • Consumer products
  • Individual services
  • Home-based/MLM businesses


When the LinkedIn shoe doesn‘t fit

If your business is not a good fit, focus on networking and marketing use.



Go wide and deep with a Quantity-oriented approach.


While LinkedIn may not be direct one-to-one fit for your business, it likely will be a fit for some small percentage of your contacts. Build both a large network and personal relationships to maximize exposure to a lot of people and get to know them well enough to find people who will proactively help you.


Create interest


Creating demand is a fundamental part of marketing. One example is the use of Networking Products. Provide something that will engage fellow LinkedIn members and incent them to accept and even welcome contact. Such Networking Products include research, surveys, white papers, blogs, newsletters, videos, communities, LinkedIn groups, etc.



Market to your connections


There are two different types of messages - networking and commercial. Read ContactingConnections to be familiar with the difference between them and how they should be handled.


How do you get the most out of your networking messages? You do the same thing you're already doing with your commercial marketing. Remember, this is business, not fun. So get serious about it. Create a NetworkingCampaign.



Comments (1)

Jaime L. De Jesus said

at 5:27 pm on Apr 15, 2011

We are gathering regulatory intelligence on TGA (Australian Government) inspections. We are preparing our site, but would like to have information on the auditor that will visit us, Ms. Lynda Linhart. We request any comments regarding her area of interests, the areas she focuses on and any other information contributors might have that would her us make more effective preparation and assure we appropraitely address areas that are of interest to her.

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