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Business Monitor

job, essentially because people I knew used it for that purpose and pretty much that alone. Wrong. In effect it is much nearer to the business personʼs version of Facebook. It didnʼt achieve a user level of 450 million (22 million in the UK) just by helping job-hunters. But it did achieve affection with a fair share of them for that reason.

Recognise that the job/candidate finding background of LinkedIn is entirely appropriate as the basis for business building. The process is essentially the same: you want to find prospective clients who are interested in decorated garments; those prospective clients want to find people with that expertise. The fit is there.

It is a widely accepted fact that LinkedIn is the right social media site for those selling business-to-business. It is seen as the most professional of the platforms and the bulk of activity it sees is focused on B2B activity. A high proportion of those active on LinkedIn are or should be interested in what you offer.

Here are some of my top tips for utilising LinkedIn: ● Create a LinkedIn profile that works like an interactive CV, it offers what you have – expertise, experience, high levels of training, breadth of capability – dovetailed with what the customer wants – rapid response, excellent service, good

prices and lots of choice. ● Update, update, update. Post ʻstatus updatesʼ. These are short statements that will be of interest to your connections. You can do this on a social media site better than by email – such information is exactly why people are using the site. These updates can link to your website or that of a third party. Aim to include a call to action, as with all

sales communication. ● Post interesting content. It keeps your profile fresh and informative. It achieves greater exposure within your LinkedIn groups (typically referred to as communities). You become regarded as an expert, the go-to guy in printwear. This also encourages other site users to

refer you to their business contacts. ● American users of LinkedIn regard it as a great route to asking for recommendations and endorsements.

Get yourself linked in I

had always taken the view that LinkedIn was the social media site for people who were looking for a

This month marketing expert Paul Clapham delves into the world of LinkedIn. He explains the pros and cons, detailing how you can benefit from this professional social networking platform.

This is pretty standard business practice across the Atlantic, but I know that most Brits fight shy of it. Work out how to do that in a way that fits British tastes and

youʼve got a winner. ● Feature case studies. If there is a project(s) of which you are especially proud, tell the story and give the reasons. There may well be someone reading with a very similar need, or

where you can be part of a big project. ● Use LinkedInʼs community features to communicate with and collaborate with other users. Note the word ʻcollaborateʼ. This is invariably a sharing process

when it works well. ● Start by joining LinkedIn groups. These are like-minded people and those who share interests. There are lots of them. Join as many as you like. Participating in group discussions online can dramatically expand the number of people who recognise your expertise. You can create your own group,

combining business and other interests. ● LinkedIn Company Pages could prove to be your goldmine. These are other businesses that use the site and have published information about themselves on it. You immediately have a connection. Itʼs certain that the buyer of your product will be featured – if you can guess who that is. Have your own such page – itʼs like a Yellow Pages advert when that used to be valuable.

● Get yourself introduced. If you have a list of people who you think could be clients, who you really, really want as clients, classically at large companies, your LinkedIn connections can help get

you in front of them. ●Asking main contacts ʻdo you know or do business with Fred Bloggs of MegaCorp, or know anyone who doesʼ is classic use of LinkedIn. I doubt you could do that

anywhere else with even a sniff of success. ● Finally we come to advertising, i.e. spending money to appear on LinkedIn. My immediate reaction, having tried to find the detail, is that they donʼt want your business. OK, my tech skills are not great, but come on! Isnʼt this how you make your living? Shouldnʼt your website offer that upfront?

As a general point I found the website

difficult to navigate and the subject headings unhelpful. But the information is there once you do some digging. The best contact I can offer is LinkedIn Recruitment. They are able to help you recruit customers just as much as staff. As an example if you wanted to reach sales managers and marketing managers in London or Lancashire, they would have the means to put your story in front of those very people who are members of LinkedIn. The price depends upon what you want, but it looks to me like a well-targeted deal that reaches the people you want.

May 2017 | 21 |

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