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Today, LinkedIn is perhaps the most important professional networking platform. Launched in 2003, it had over 150 million users and from over 200 countries and territories, in hundreds of languages, as of February 2012. The best part about this site is that you find targeted professionals and groups directly. While using social media for marketing is not new, using LinkedIn Marketing for business has its own charm for its different set of rules.

As a self imposed code of conduct, I found individuals and group members to post content or comments in a very professional and cultured style. Exceptions apart, that happens anywhere. This aspect sets LinkedIn apart from the rest of social networking platforms. It place Linked as probably the best social media marketing tool for business.

For a serious marketer LinkedIn represents a unique and lucrative opportunity to market himself as a “brand”. All MLM professionals recognize and understand the relevance of “Me Brand”. The quality of your content and the value it brings to the group members, establishes you as an authority, a guru or a knowledgeable person on your topic.

Use LinkedIn for Business

The art of business promotion and making money from LinkedIn is not much different than for using social media for marketing sites like Facebook or Twitter. The advantage is that here you are interacting with your target group directly. To that extent the process of filtration of your contact group becomes easier and quicker. Further, the knowledge gap between you and your target group is much narrow. Of course, the quality and quantum of knowledge differs. It is this differential knowledge gap or lag that represents an opportunity for you to slip in your offer as a recommendation to the knowledge or help seeker. The rider being “provided he seeks your help”.

I have often wondered why one does not see some of the otherwise active names from the MLM world on LinkedIn. Could it be that it is difficult to sell a “Rich by ” product to a professional? A professional see through such scams. It is also difficult to offer products at $7.99 or 9.99 in hope of a backend up sale. A professional will not fall for these sleazy tricks.

Having said this, let's see the steps in the LinkedIn marketing process.

The principles remain the same. Generate Leads, Leads and more Leads

There are two sources of attracting leads into your system, “Your Profile” and “Your Knowledge”. Let's visit these factors.

Your Profile

Your profile is the strongest pull for leads. Attract leads through a professionally crafted profile. Unlike other social networking sites, at LinkedIn, your profile picture plays a very important role. Being a professional site it is formal. I would therefore recommend having a picture in a business jacket at least. The profile must be crisp and to the point, establishing you as an authority. Your profile picture, description, experience, education and achievements establishes you as a professional.

Now you must establish two more personality traits, “Integrity” and “credibility”. For that you must have a number of recommendations from people with who you have worked before or companies you have dealt with. These recommendations act as your testimonials. All serious profile visitors go through the recommendations to gauge your capabilities and professional standing. I would strongly suggest that before setting up your profile, you go through the LinkedIn guide.

Knowledge – Your Content and Interaction within the Group

You must regularly post value added content. The quality of your interaction within the group will also act as an attraction. These actions will establish your professional credibility and invoke the curiosity to know more about you. You see what is happening…your content and social behavior is channeling people to your profile again – to your leads funnel.

My observation about LinkedIn culture is that people are expected to share knowledge through content, interactions, display of specific skills and so on. I have rarely seen people offering a product or an opportunity blatantly. This all happens behind the scene once you have the leads in your system.

Chase your Profile Viewers

As a daily routine, you should check who all visited your profile in the past 24 hours. These are the people who have walked that extra mile to your profile, the proof of their interest in you.

Let me ask you a simple question. When do you view someone's profile? Only when there is a curiosity about the person or when you want to connect with a person. In both cases, you have someone who has walked the way to your door. It is now your turn to take over and build a relationship.

Open the Door

Yes, if the person who viewed you profile is from your known group, the task becomes simple. After a cooling period of 24 hours or so, pick up the phone and talk to him. Just say “Hi, just connecting, it has been a while since we talked”. The magic starts. You are getting a raw lead into your money funnel. From here on repeat the same tactics that you use in any other MLM script.

For those who viewed your profile and are not from your known group, the best way of breaking the ice is a direct message via LinkedIn. Inform the viewer that you were excited to find that he viewed your profile recently. Tell him on what you do and ask him if you could be on any help to them. You would see the magic unfolding over a period.

Leads to Recruit

The process of converting a lead into a recruit is the same, be it Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. You have to wait for the right opportunity to put forth your product to the lead when he or she requests you to. This will give you the chance to convert the lead not only into a prospect but also as a recruit who gives you both residual and leveraged income.

Caution! At LinkedIn, majority of people who come into your funnel are middle or top level executives, CXO's or the likes. A few may even be owners and entrepreneurs. Your results will therefore depend on the style, professionalism and perfectionism that you display in your written and verbal communication with them. LinkedIn is the best social media marketing tool for any business.

What are you waiting for? Start now. Best of luck!

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