How Small Businesses Can Use LinkedIn to Grow

While designing a social media strategy, it is always advisable to look at the pros, cons, expertise and target market of each social media platform, keeping in mind your field of business. In our earlier blog post, we wrote about how to select the best social media platform to reach out to your customers. Taking it forward, I thought it would be a good idea to elaborate on a network which caters to corporate, namely LinkedIn. It is the best suited for companies which offer B2B consulting and have corporate clientele.

The way clientele of LinkedIn functions is quite different from the one of Facebook and Twitter. While latter offers a more informal approach, LinkedIn requires a more corporate approach with strict business focus. Engagement on Facebook could involve fun updates and contests, LinkedIn requires to the point discussions on topics that revolve around your business and its sectors.

Here are a few tips which can be useful for small businesses to grow through LinkedIn:

Update announcements: Whenever there are any corporate announcements, for instance a product launch or a joint venture, it is a good idea to use LinkedIn to notify your contacts by way of a profile update. And in the accompanying email message to the network, it could work to seek appointments in your field of business. A meeting would always spark an opportunity to engage in a discussion that is good for both you and your contacts. It’s in these conversations (which could be done by email, although probably not as well) that ideas will arise about prospective clients, partnerships and other revenue-generating projects.

Connect and network: It is a good idea to use LinkedIn to understand the relationships between people you know and people you want to know. Personally, I feel that it is the heart of LinkedIn’s value – the ability to see how people you don’t know, but would like to know are connected to people who are closer to you. Therefore, LinkedIn helps you connect and network and not least make the right contacts who might help your business grow. It is also the place to identify your prospects and connect with them.

Participate and be active: In order to get the word out, it is important to be seen. Therefore, it is advisable to be a part of LinkedIn Groups, but it’s best not to overdo it since it’s difficult to manage. It’s good to be a part of only those Groups, where you can share your expertise network with the right people.

Get recommendations: We all know that best way to expand your business online is word of mouth, and I feel LinkedIn manages this well by introducing recommendations. Recommendations are great help in building trust. When someone testifies for your business, it makes it more authentic and trustworthy which is especially important for startups.

These are the things which I thought startups would find useful. Would love to hear anything that you have tried on LinkedIn.

 

Key Factors For a Successful Client-Agency Relationship

collaboration-imageBack in February, our CEO Jonas Klit Nielsen, shared his thoughts in a guest post on Findgood’s Blog. The post addressed the key factors in building a successful client-agency relationship.

A new report from the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Marketing) and Hall & Partners, “From Mad Men to Sad Men”, now reveals that the challenge to build and maintain a positive and flourishing collaboration between agency and client is more difficult than ever before.

With that in mind, it seems relevant to re-share Jonas’ thoughts on the subject, and reflect a bit on what we, whether agency or client side, can do to strengthen relationships and focus on creating brilliant work that delivers great results.

 

Transparency

It’s 2015 and the world has become more transparent than ever – this is also a universal truth when it comes to the future of great client-agency relationships.

Without being transparent in how you do business, you won’t be able to be honest about your demands and deliveries, and thus push each other’s boundaries, which is absolutely key to building a strong and productive relationship. When you start building new relations hang on to the thought that both parties want you to be successful. If you’re not, you won’t be able to create dents in the universe together.

 

Trust

We have been working with social media since 2008, which means that for many of our clients we have entered unknown territory together. When exploring new opportunities, with no best practices or well-documented approaches established, clients understandably need to trust you, and it becomes vital for both parties to always stay aligned in regard to expectations.

As an agency you don’t have to push the limits of your clients every day and all the time, but when you ask them to take a leap of faith, do it with eyes wide open and with all the calculated risks on the table. Most clients are prepared to take risks, they just want to know which, and be able to take the possible implications into consideration.

Working with social media involves handing over some control to the users and to us as an agency. Some would say that the loss of control is inevitable, but don’t lose sight of the state the client is in and the objectives you have agreed to – if you acknowledge where the client is coming from and where they are today, they will trust your guidance and let you be part of their future.

 

Increase Collaboration

We believe that great content can come from any of our clients’ stakeholders. That belief presents a challenge for us, as we need to work closely with the entire team of appointed agencies without increasing the complexity for the clients. The clients demand daily collaboration and expect everyday operations to run smoothly.

To meet this challenge we started thinking about our client-agency relationship from a holistic perspective: What if we could be the solution by creating an editorial structure that de-complicates the task of managing social brand channels with multiple client stakeholders?

The greatest thing about this holistic approach and our implemented processes is not only being more successful in meeting the demands of our clients, but in our journey we have become much more efficient from an internal perspective, giving us a competitive advantage. Our learning is that when evaluating all our processes the key is well-documented structures but at the same time keeping it simple.

 

And please… Stick with the right stuff

As social media has moved up the brand strategy funnel over the years, we experience an increasing number of requests to take on tasks outside of our specialty, something that might seem very tempting.

Agencies can pitch to take over more and more duties within different disciplines, but if you’re a niche agency such as ours, you’ll come out better and stronger if you know when to withdraw from tasks too far away from your core competences. From a client perspective you might ask a separate appointed agency to do extra tasks to avoid adding another agency to your list, but then you risk not getting the level of expertise the task actually requires.

As an agency you risk either having a disappointed client, loosing the relationship to the client’s other agencies or ending up with a satisfied client but an unhappy accountant. As Seth Godin says “Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other.”

 

Which key factors have you found crucial for building a valuable client-agency relationship?