rowing it. When you log in to LinkedIn, you will be asked if you want to sync to your email contact list. The answer is yes. This allows you to comb through your entire address book to find your contacts who are already utilizing LinkedIn. You’ll want to add those relevant contacts to your network.
Be sure to expand your definition of who should be in your network. Let’s assume you are already sending invites to individuals you meet at events, conferences, etc. Start thinking about sending invites to friends and social acquaintances they have networks, too along with clients, vendors and partners.
One major rule don’t connect with people you don’t know, and believe me, you’ll receive many invites from random people. Think of it as spam when you receive an invite from a stranger; connecting with them waters down your network. You want to be confident that anytime you communicate on LinkedIn, you know who you are talking to, and therefore you are able to be yourself and show your personality as you see fit.
2. Commit to participate
LinkedIn will not work for you if you don’t regularly engage with your network by participating in discussions and posting original content relative to your audience. You should post original content such as information on small business success or industry news. If you have a smartphone, I highly recommend you download the app. I personally don’t find time in my day to log in to LinkedIn, but I often find myself surfing around after hours, because I can pull it up on my phone and spend time reading articles posted by my vast network (I started on LinkedIn when they launched way back in 2003!).
3. Join active groups
Join groups that are related to your industry, composed of your target audience, and have active, engaged members. You will know how active a group is by looking at the activity of the members and the dates of the last posts to the group. Start joining the conversation when a topic is of interest to you and then add your viewpoint or expertise when appropriate. Don’t forget that you can also start your own conversations, but remember the cardinal rule you’re not there to sell your product or service; you are there to help and learn from others.
Here is a list of active groups for the powersports industry:
- Motorcycle OEM Network
This is a private group with more than 10K members. To request membership, click “join”, and your request will be reviewed by the group manager. The community is composed of current and former employees from every major worldwide OEM motorcycle manufacturer and related powersports.
- Motorcycle Industry Professionals
This is a group for motorcycle industry professionals. It is for people who work at dealers or at motorcycle industry related companies. It’s a great place to connect and share.
PowerLily is a peer-to-peer network for women in powersports. The group shares employment opportunities, events, information and trending news articles.
The next time you have an event or giant promotion, check out what LinkedIn has to offer in terms of advertising. You can target exactly the audience you want to reach by industry, company, location, title and much more. One huge advantage LinkedIn has over other social networks is that users are highly encouraged to complete their profiles. As a result, LinkedIn contains accurate, updated and complete information on its users.
Compare this to Facebook, where the user chooses what information to share about him or herself, and many err on the side of caution by providing the minimum required fields. LinkedIn offers
display advertising, sponsorships and pay-per-click campaigns starting at $10 per day. For more information, go to http://linkd.in/13SQOix.
5. Recruit new talent
Once you’ve built a strong network, be sure to use it! When you have an open position at your dealership, post it publically on LinkedIn and send a personal note to your entire network letting them know about the job opening. Many employers rely on LinkedIn as a primary recruiting tool, so be sure to check out the jobs section of LinkedIn at http://linkd.in/11w5oye.
There you have it! You are ready to log on and get rolling. I’ll leave you with this warning: you may find engaging on LinkedIn to be fun. Imagine that. Work and play, all rolled up into one.
Award-winning blogger and CEO of Duo Web Solutions, Heather Blessington is a nationally-renowned speaker on social media marketing and a digital marketing veteran. Her company provides MPN monthly columns focused on best practices in Web marketing for powersports dealers.