We are spending a growing amount of time online each day, with total hours spent online via PCs, laptops, and mobile devices growing from 5.55 in 2012 to 6.15 in 2014 according to the GlobalWebIndex (GWI). The GWI social networking report indicates that as a share of the time we spend online, engagement with social networks now accounts for almost 30% of our daily internet activity (1.72 hours).

If you want to be top of mind with clients and prospects you need to be where they are, on their time. How are you working to reach, nurture and acquire prospects, as well as engage existing clients during the hours they are spending online?

As a result of the business focused nature of the LinkedIn community, there is no other social networking site that is better suited to helping you in building your brand through social media marketing. According to Business Insider, LinkedIn is the only top social network to feature higher penetration rates in the 50 – 64 age bracket than in the 18 – 29 age group. The largest group of it’s user base is between the ages of 30 – 49. LinkedIn users are a more educated, mature and professional group compared to other platforms making it an ideal gateway to begin exploring opportunities to reach, nurture, and acquire prospect and engage clients.

You want to be focused to optimize the time you spend online and learn how to filter out all the noise – irrelevant content and contacts – in order to utilize social media in a discerning way.

Get started by allocating 15 minutes a day to LinkedIn to either build out your profile or engage with your connections. You want to make sure that your profile and the content you share speaks to your ideal client. LinkedIn can serve as an online resume for those looking for a job, but for those inside a job and looking to use it to build their brand the language should speak to an ideal client, not an ideal employer.

Build Your Profile:

Summary – start with the benefit to the client. Do not just cut and paste your basic bio. You want to captivate your reader’s attention and work to establish trust early on by providing information that your ideal clients will connect with.
Experience – relate previous roles to the one you perform today.  Perhaps you are building on your career in financial services or you can draw on the marketing, sales or service skills you developed in a role. Again, start with the benefit to the client.
Volunteer Experience and Causes section – lots of people don’t even add this to their profile. It is a unique opportunity to highlight your values and those of your business, as well as demonstrate your commitment to your stakeholders – employees, colleagues, clients, family, friends, community etc.
Groups – LinkedIn has over 2 million groups and counting to choose from. The interest tab helps navigate you to explore the variety of groups that LinkedIn suggests based on your profile. You want to join a select number of groups where you can engage in meaningful conversation with other members to demonstrate thought leadership and build your brand.

Engage Your Network:

Connect with members of your community to start building your connections. Make sure you are connected with your friends, mentors, all of your clients and centres of influence. You can find people by searching them directly, adding your email address book or just by visiting your profile people will be suggested to you right there! Remember, being present on social networks like LinkedIn also helps people to find you online.

Once you have a good base of connections, start to engage with your network by posting an interesting article with a powerful question or statement, commenting on an update from someone on your Top 20 list or inside a group, or posting a captivating quote or visual.

In the Summary and Experience sections you can upload files or attach links to make it easier to direct people to the content you want them to see – whether marketing materials, company performance, articles, newsletters, etc.

If you are a content creator, we highly recommend leveraging LinkedIn’s publisher to engage people in your content. Norm’s following has grown dramatically by using LinkedIn as a second platform for his blog. Just make sure you have a publishing plan because readers crave consistency!

These are just some of the ways you can start using LinkedIn. Social technologies are dramatically changing the way companies are implementing marketing, sales, and service initiatives. We want to help you leverage technology to add to your efforts to attract and retain ideal clients.