Friday, November 7, 2014

LinkedIn: 6 Tips for Michigan’s Manufacturers

linkedin tips for manufacturers
So you’re trying to network with new contacts, exchange business cards and generate more leads for your business. Your target audience members create a big networking group, and very conveniently for you, they decide to have their meetings at a restaurant that’s right next door to your office! Even better, they don’t charge any fees to join their networking group. You would be a fool to completely ignore these meetings and never attend, right?

Well, if you’re not an active member of LinkedIn right now, it’s time to start feeling a little foolish. Don't worry though – it’s never too late to join! LinkedIn is the premiere social media site dedicated to business networking and currently boasts 332 million members.

If you’re not connecting with new leads on LinkedIn, it may be because of your strategy. You have to approach LinkedIn as if you were participating in a real-life networking organization. The more active you are, the better chance you have at making connections and driving business. Here are 6 tips on how you can improve your LinkedIn profile:

  1. Picture: You wouldn’t go to a networking group with a mask on your face… same thinking applies for LinkedIn. Upload a professional looking headshot!

  2. Summary: LinkedIn guides you through creating your profile as if it were an online resume. That’s great if you’re looking for a job, but most of us are looking for more leads. Instead of writing your summary as a resume, use it as an opportunity to appeal to your target audience. Your first sentences should connect with your prospects and address their business challenges. Then, the rest of your summary should demonstrate your personal credibility and how your company can address your prospects’ business needs.

  3. Recommendations: The words of others matter. Reach out to your clients and customers and ask them to provide recommendations to display on your profile. To make it easier for them, you can suggest words or sentences you would like them to include. Ask them to quantify your accomplishments. “Ricky’s products boosted our performance by 50%” holds more merit than “Ricky’s products are great.”

  4. Education, Honors and Personal Interests: Don’t overlook these critical areas to personalize your profile. You may have been in the same fraternity / sorority as a prospect, or may be able to bond over your mutual love of boating! However, avoid controversial topics like politics unless it’s explicitly relevant to your job. Is it really worth missing out on business and alienating customers because you felt the need to post about [insert hot button issue]?

  5. Group Participation: Now that your profile is set, it’s time to get cracking on networking. Research LinkedIn groups that your prospects would be interested in joining. On the group discussion board, start interesting and valuable conversations. Please note: your sales pitch isn’t an interesting conversation! You wouldn’t walk into a networking group and then start immediately shouting out your sales pitch… you need to make connections with people first. Try posting industry updates or tips for your target audience. That way, they’ll look at you as a credible expert and will come to you when they’re ready.

  6. News Feed: When your LinkedIn connections make changes to their profiles or participate on the site, that information is reflected in your news feed. By evaluating your news feed, you can see when your prospects change companies, get promoted or start conversations. This information can be valuable to your future sales pitch!

Remember, a new member joins LinkedIn every 2 seconds. Now is the time to use this networking site to your advantage. And if you haven’t joined it already, MMTC has a Proud to Manufacture in Michigan LinkedIn group! It’s a great place to connect with other local professionals. Click here to visit the group!

Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org.


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