Why you should treat Linkedin as your Garden

linkedingardenLinkedin Groups are a great way to discover people working in specific sectors or maybe who have an interest in a particular subject.

They are also a great place to attract a targeted audience of prospects for your business.

The members of these different and sometimes specifically-targeted groups, have usually joined them, both to share knowledge and learn from others working in the same sector.

Some of them may also have joined a group because of their allegiance to a regional networking group or perhaps a local business organisation.

Whichever the case, it is the place where THEY have chosen to ‘hang out’.

So why not consider Linkedin like your personal garden?

Linkedin is somewhere that you can find your ideal prospects and then carefully feed and nurture them until they are ready to be harvested. A great place to illustrate to these prospective customers, how you would care for them over the long term if they were to become your customers…

I’d like to show you, how you can get closer to them, , through this valuable channel, by tending your prospects in the same way a gardener would tend his plants.

And yes, talking to them does come into this picture!

How to start and cultivate your Linkedin Garden

First of all, decide which groups you need to join.

It is sensible to join those groups in which you may potentially find your customers, rather than merely joining those groups that are associated to your own trade association or professional body – which most people do automatically (including me), when they first join Linkedin.

This will allow you a much better level of access to the members in that group, through it’s discussion forum.

By participating in group discussions and by commenting on articles and messages left by others in the group, you can begin to raise your profile amongst what is your chosen target audience.

The key to success is in creating your own content and showing others that you have an opinion. What works particularly well are discussion-led articles, which can grab the attention of the group members and bring them into a conversation with you.

This type of informative and topical article also gives you the opportunity to show your depth of expertise and knowledge of the particular sector in which your customers work.

Remember; your prospects want to see that you know something about THEIR business, and not just your own!

You may want to look at getting someone to help you produce content as, in order to be effective in gaining influence you will need to continue to produce a steady flow of articles.

Sticking to the ‘gardening’ theme, this is like employing an expert head gardener to do the day to day work. Which surely makes sense when time is an issue for any business and of course, not everyone can be a talented writer.

If your content is positioned well, it can of course be distributed widely using social media.

This is like fertiliser for your content – Use it correctly and social media can help your stories spread like wildfire!

Linkedin – Your own field of gold

Linkedin is a ‘searchable’ database of course, and if you have a list of specific target prospects in mind, you should maybe first try to find them on Linkedin and then check out in which groups they belong.

You can alternatively trace your prospects by job title, industry sector and of course geographical location and then save them to your profile for when you are ready to ‘engage’ with them.

Once you start attracting comments to your articles, you have the opportunity to then ‘engage’ with anyone who responds. People are much readier to respond to your requests for connection after they have been drawn to your article.

With having already positioned yourself as a ‘thought leader’ or suitable ‘person to go to’ for advice, you will certainly be at an advantage over your competition.

How to Engage with your audience

Engaging and connecting with your audience is a talent that many people can learn, and I believe that it is the key to Linkedin success. It is just a matter of confidence to make an approach, but after a written exchange of views within a group, it is made easier as you will have a suitable subject to discuss over the phone.

I understand that a telephone approach is difficult for many people and I promise that I will cover the ‘Art of Engagement’ in one of my next articles.

I wish you good luck with your gardening efforts.

May the sun keep shining on your efforts!

David Lomas
(Head Gardener)
M3 Media Publishing

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