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    24 Replies Latest reply on Nov 15, 2008 2:29 PM by EagleEye

    Event: LinkedIn -Social networking can drive sales

    SBC Team Guide
      Your professional relationships are key to your professional success. Social networks help you be more effective in your daily work and open doors to opportunities using the professional relationships you already have. Find answers to questions like:

      • How would joining a group benefit me?
      • Are there any small business social networking success stories?
      • Can I be searched for business opportunities?
      • How do I meet other small business professionals?

      With over 26 million members, Steve Patrizi leads the advertising sales and operations organization for LinkedIn, the world's largest professional online network.

      About Steve:
      Steve's team works with the world's most widely recognized brands and advertising agencies to help them connect with LinkedIn's audience of affluent, influential, and ambitious professionals.

      Steve joined LinkedIn from Microsoft Corporation, where as Manager of Advertising Sales he led a team tasked with delivering cross-platform digital marketing solutions for Fortune 500 accounts based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to Microsoft, Steve spent 10 years with Dow Jones & Company in various roles, including 5 years as Director of West Region Advertising Sales for The Wall Street Journal Online.

      To expand your networking opportunities, if you're not a member of the Small Business Online Community, join today for free. http://smallbusinessonlinecommunity.bankofamerica.com/create-account.jspa

      The SBOC Team is collecting questions. Post yours now and see's Steve's expert answer. He'll answer as many as he can but may not get to all of them.
        • Re: September Event: Leveraging social networks to drive sales
          SBC Team Guide

          Also, be part of the Small Business Online Community group on LinkedIn and receive a special SBOC badge on your LinkedIn profile. Show your support by joining and further expand your networking opportunities too! Simply go to this URL to join for free:

          http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/54772/02918E51BBD1

            • Re: September Event: Leveraging social networks to drive sales
              deborahbeatty Newbie
              Here's a question for Linked In - why among all the social networks is linked in the only one so difficult to expand a network within? I hardly have cracked the surface since the only invitations that are actually sent and not bounced are for people I already know. I already belong to several alumnae associations, I want to use a social networking site to expand my network and thus my business.
                • Re: September Event: Leveraging social networks to drive sales
                  spatrizi Newbie

                  Hi deborahbeatty - This is actually by design. Our view is that your LinkedIn network should be a highly relevant network of trusted peers, contacts, customers and colleagues. The idea is that, through people who you know and trust, you can be connected to other people in a meaningful way. Without that "relevancy" filter, LinkedIn would quickly become simply a database of searchable names, which isn't exactly the spirit of the product. In fact, we've put in quite a few controls to ensure that there's no rampant abuse of the system; if people are "spamming" invitations out to the network and compromising the experience for the rest of the community, then those members quickly lose some of their invitation ability. We believe that creates a more productive environment for the entire community.
                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: Event September 22: Leverage social networks to drive sales
                HumanArrow Adventurer
                Hello,

                My name is Steve Rangel and I am with Human Arrow, a target marketing company from Chicago.
                We direct traffic to businesses by creating friendly and professional interactions with pedestrians and motorists. Our associates are stationed at major intersections holding an arrow shaped sign that displays an ad or sales event. Our customers are Retailers, Restaurants, Websites, etc.

                As a current LinkedIn member, I have faced some challenges in connecting with Retail LinkedIn members such as Managers and Executives because I do not know anyone that can do an introduction. I have tried contacting directly, but its not the best approach. What recommendations would you give me to get the most out of LinkedIn and other social networking sites?

                Please feel free to view my LinkedIn Profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/humanarrow and give me your feedback.

                Thank you,

                Steve Rangel
                Human Arrow
                Directing Traffic To your Business!
                  • Re: Event September 22: Leverage social networks to drive sales
                    spatrizi Newbie

                    Hi HumanArrow -

                     


                    I have a few suggestions that might be of help.

                    1) First, make sure you're as descriptive as possible in your profile, particularly in the "specialties" section; the LinkedIn search engine looks here for keywords, so you'll want to be sure you have words such as "retail advertising" or "local advertising" in your profile so that when members search on those terms, your profile ranks well.

                    2) Get involved in the Answers section, particularly the Marketing & Advertising section. Provided you answer questions in ways that provide value vs. just pitch your services, you'll earn credibility with the LinkedIn community and will likely find people reaching out to you for solutions.

                    3) Join Groups - we recently launched enhanced group functionality that enables deeper conversations among people with similar interests. I'd do some searches for groups that focus on retailing, and join those groups. Again, focus your conversations there around providing value/insights vs. a pure pitch and you'll start making more connections.

                    Good luck, and thanks for using LinkedIn!
                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Event September 22: Leverage social networks to drive sales
                    caffeinated Scout
                    For business owners that have one location, like say a coffee shop, what are some of the advantages of belonging to a social networking site. Would it make more sense utilizing these sites to form peer groups within my industry so we can share best practices, see how we rank up to each other, bash and/or praise distributors etc?
                    • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                      spatrizi Newbie

                      Hi everyone -

                       


                      Thanks for attending this Live Event. At LinkedIn, we're always looking for ways to help out small businesses in any we can, and I'm looking forward to today's conversation.
                      • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                        Howard Adventurer
                        I see my kids on Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn all the time. They seem to be simply sending messages to their friends and swapping pictures. So I am having a hard time understanding how businesses are using these same websites for business purposes. Can you give us examples of how these websites are being used for business purposes? And what type of results can I expect?
                          • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                            spatrizi Newbie
                            Hi Howard - this is a good question. One thing to keep in mind that, while there are functional similarities between MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn i.e. they provide the ability to connect to others, there are some significant differences in both the endeavors of each and they way their members use them. MySpace is very much about entertainment and self-expression, with the origin of the site being about helping independent artists distribute their wares. Facebook is becoming a communication platform - a place for people (like your kids) to share pictures and message to friends.

                            LinkedIn is focused on helping professionals be successful. We don't offer the means to share pictures (outside of a personal headshot) and we optimize the platform to help professionals connect with other professionals to discover business opportunities, find answers to their business challenges, find talented people to join their company, and connect with customers and colleagues.

                            There are a number of examples of professionals finding success in this way, and we've posted some video interviews of real members who have interesting success stories - you can view them here: http://learn.linkedin.com/videos
                          • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                            SBC Team Guide

                            Steve, great answers!

                             


                            Community, we have Steve for another half hour. Be sure to get those questions in!

                            And remember to refresh your browsers often to see the latest posts

                            Thanks,
                            The SBOC Team
                            • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                              Bluesuit Adventurer

                              You mentioned "groups" several times - what are groups on LinkedIn? Can anyone start one? And what can you do with a group?
                                • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                                  spatrizi Newbie
                                  Hi Bluesuit -

                                  Groups on LinkedIn allow professionals to find and join communities of professionals based on common interests, experience, affiliations, and goals. When you join a Group, you have the option of displaying that Group's "badge" on your LinkedIn profile, as well as join conversations with members of that group. There's a group for this community - you can find a link to it in the introduction post. For example, I belong to some groups for Online Marketing Professionals, where I can start and engage in conversations with the members of that group.

                                  Anyone can start a group - you can go to LinkedIn.com and click "Groups" in the left hand navigation bar.
                                • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                                  Interpreter Wayfarer
                                  Hi Steve,

                                  I'm embarassed to say that I currently do not have a LinkedIn account or any other social network account for that matter. What suggestions do you have for beginners like myself?

                                  Thanks for reading,
                                  Interpreter
                                    • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                                      spatrizi Newbie
                                      Hi Interpreter -

                                      Don't be embarrassed; a number of folks are just starting to get involved in social networking and it's still relatively new for quite a few folks. That said, there are now more than 28 million professionals on LinkedIn and more than a million join each month, so it's a good time to get started.

                                      We've actually created a site called Learn.LinkedIn.com (found at - you guessed it - http://learn.linkedin.com) which is a great place to understand what a professional network like LinkedIn has to offer you and how you can best put it to use. My suggestion is to spend some time there reading through the material and see if it sounds like something that could help you and/or your business.
                                      • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                                        deborahbeatty Newbie
                                        My best advice is to query several of your contemporaries and see which group/groups have been most effective. I have been a member of Linked In since its inception and have been extrememly frustrated in its anti-networking stance until just recently. It is very difficult to grow a network here unless you know people or have worked with them at some point. But working with the groups here has been a big boost to that.

                                        My favorite group so far is BizNik but Linked In is starting to realize that it should grow from just being the alumnae site it was to a viable business networking site.
                                      • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                                        Bernoulli Newbie
                                        Hi Steve,

                                        I have been planning to use social networking sites to help expand my contacts. Most of my business is in Europe and Asia. How prevalent is LinkedIn in these areas?

                                        Thanks!
                                          • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                                            spatrizi Newbie
                                            Hi Bernoulli -

                                            Of the 28 million members on LinkedIn, about half are based outside of the U.S. The UK is one of our largest markets, with about 1.75M members, and we have almost as many spread through continental Europe (the Netherlands and Denmark are particularly heavy in membership). We recently launched the ability to view LinkedIn in Spanish, with more languages to launch soon, so we expect our international membership in Spain and other countries to grow strongly in the next year.

                                            We also have about 1M members in India, and that market is also growing a nice pace. Asia is an opportunity market for us; we don't have an incredibly strong member base there yet but it's going to be an area of focus for us in 2009.
                                          • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                                            spatrizi Newbie
                                            In closing, a few extra thoughs on how to get the most out of LinkedIn:

                                            1) Make sure your profile is as complete as possible - this will help potential customers and business partners find you more easily
                                            2) There are over 160,000 Company Profiles on LinkedIn - these bring together robust data from the LinkedIn network and show you how you're personally connected to specific companies. Great if you're looking to do business with a company, buy or sell to a company, invest in a company, etc.
                                            3) Hire Smarter - as a small business, you can't afford a hiring mistake. Do some deep research on potential employees before hiring them - see who recommends their work, who they're connected to, what they've shared in LinkedIn Answers, etc.
                                            • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                                              spatrizi Newbie
                                              4) Vet Demands for Your Time - if someone is trying to sell you a service, a quick search on LinkedIn will help you see how you're connected to that person or company and let you know if it's relevant to your specific needs

                                              5) Find And Research Experts - as a small business, you don't always have all of the answers but you need them fast to make the right decisions. Spend some time on LinkedIn Answers - you'll likely learn quite a bit from other small business professionals just like you, but you can also share your own thoughts and insights to showcase your professional value to potential customers, partners, and employees.

                                              6) Consider LinkedIn DirectAds - these are self-serve ads you can buy and target to specific members of the LinkedIn audience. There's a link at the bottom of LinkedIn.com that says "Advertise" that can give you more information.

                                               

                                              I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did and I hope this was valuable. I can be reached at http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevepatrizi if you'd like to contact me with questions or thoughts.

                                              Cheers,
                                              Steve
                                              • Re: Live Event Now:  Social networking can drive sales
                                                SBC Team Guide
                                                Steve,

                                                On behalf of the SBOC Team and the members of the Small Business Online Community, we wanted to say we truly appreciated your time today and your professional responses to user questions.

                                                Community members, while our session with Steve has now concluded, please feel free to discuss today's session and the questions answered. Again, if you'd like more information about Steve and LinkedIn, visit the link he provided or:

                                                http://www.LinkedIn.com

                                                Thanks again,
                                                The SBOC Team
                                                • Re: Event September 22:  Social networking can drive sales
                                                  Tori Adventurer
                                                  If you missed the event, don't worry! You can always read the transcript.