Becoming the Life of the Party on LinkedIn

Social media can be a very effective way for you, as a Business-to-Business copywriter, to find and connect with prospective clients in your niche.

But, breaking into the B2B market calls for a special approach, which I’ve been outlining step-by-step in a series of articles to show you how to generate return on the time and effort you invest.

You’ve learned about the types of marketing managers, the social media tool that lets you find prospects, and the place where you can connect to those prospects.

I’ve likened this process to attending the right party and kicking-off the right conversations.

But, there’s more to having a good time at a party than showing up or breaking the ice.

It’s always best to be the life of the party.

To most of us, this doesn’t come naturally. But, it’s essential that you’re noticed — especially if you want prospects to find you.

Does anyone have trouble finding Bob Bly or Sid Smith? Of course not — they’re highly visible because they make an effort to be visible.

You have to do the same. Obviously, there are many ways to do that online. Your website and blog are essential examples. But, there are many other venues where you can begin to stand out. I’m going to recommend one in particular: LinkedIn groups.

LinkedIn is one of the best places for self-marketing as it’s the perfect social media platform to engage as a professional, be noticed, and interact. What you might not know is that LinkedIn is like an ideal party house — it has thousands of rooms for conversations, each grouped by topic. These are LinkedIn groups.

These are just a framing device for conversations and connections. Some are public, some are invitation only, and some are moderated. Let me explain how you can get started.

Perhaps you’re interested in copywriting for a building materials business. There are dozens of LinkedIn groups for building materials — some focused on salespeople, some focused on manufacturers, some focused on marketers. The first group in the list has nearly 5,000 participants. That’s a very big party!

So, you have many opportunities, grouped by niche, where you can join a group, participate in conversations, ask questions, and engage with a collection of potential clients.

There’s a wide range of ways to engage with prospects in groups. A common way is a teaser giveaway — free access to a special report or e-book will generate leads. Questions to the group that are interesting and provocative get attention. But, in many cases, you won’t have to look hard for prospects.

I’m a member of 27 LinkedIn groups that align to my personal and professional interests. And, a cursory review of just one group uncovers opportunities for capable B2B copywriters. Just five minutes of searching uncovered a few prospects who clearly need the services of a good copywriter:

  • Posted 9 days ago: Do you know anyone that does IT newsletter articles? Ghostwriting for blog entries? Tech tips, marketing benefits?
  • Posted 2 days ago: Hello — I need some good ideas on how to market software to the public sector.
  • Posted today: Help! I’m looking for someone to write and present multi-lingual marketing webinars to resellers across EMEA.

These are opportunities to connect, establish your value, and convert prospects to clients! Many groups even include a Jobs section where you can find additional opportunities.

An important thing to note: Your prospects use groups for conversation, education, and assistance. Be informative, deliver guidance, point prospects to useful, distinctive tools, be amusing, but avoid hard-selling in group settings!

Save the sale for one-on-one interaction. It’s far too easy in a group to break the tone and flow of a discussion with a sales tactic. If in doubt, watch the group for a few weeks before beginning to interject.

Participating in groups is essentially a free, simple way to begin connecting with prospects if you’re not comfortable engaging one-on-one. And unlike targeted, individual prospecting, this approach is low-maintenance — you can dip into groups as often as you like.

But, if you want to really be the life of the party, you can take it a step farther if you’re confident in your distinctive contribution. You can create your own group or groups.

If you want to build thought leadership around a particular niche, owning a LinkedIn group — serving as moderator and driving participation — can position you as a key source for help with content and copy in your niche. Effectively, you’re the host and can work to educate others about your unique point of view.

A group I watch closely, called Storage Wizards, is moderated by a sales and marketing leader from India. Once a month, he throws out a question to members of the group to stimulate discussion and cause controversy.

He’s positioning himself, within the members of the group, as a thought leader. And 11 months ago, he moved from a full-time corporate role to running his own business. Becoming a thought leader for an obscure IT niche — storage — has without a doubt propelled his career movement.

In my own industry, just in a cursory search, I found six or seven angles where a group doesn’t already exist and interesting conversations could be had. You could find angles in your particular niche as well.

In conclusion, whether you use existing groups to connect with prospects, or build new groups to demonstrate your unique value, LinkedIn groups can be one of the most effective tools in your arsenal.

The question is: Are you going to use them to become the life of the party and attract new and better clients?

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Published: January 23, 2012

2 Responses to “Becoming the Life of the Party on LinkedIn”

  1. I'm slightly skeptical about the QUALITY of LinkedIn discussions, Brian.

    I belong to +/- 20 LI groups within my niche (which has lots of sub-categories).

    While I do see some quality discussions, I see countless instances of people posting a comment and getting no responses whatsoever (or 1 or 2 extremely brief, low quality replies).

    Do, for example, VPs of Marketing & Sales in my niche really find the time to participate in discussions in one or more of those 20 LI groups in niche? My impression is that this is not the case.

    Guest (Rombas)

  2. Starting one's own LI Group.

    Yes, I've read about this many times on different sites.

    And...I've noticed that there is no LI Group specifically decided to Marketing & Sales professionals in my niche.

    On the face of it, this looks like a terrific opportunity and I 'should' dive in.

    But, as you know, being a group manager takes time if you want to do it well.

    Are there enough potential members to populate such a group? Yes, there are more than 1,000 potential members. I've no idea as to whether or not I could drum up enough interest, as many of these people, like me, are already members of several Groups in our niche. And even if they joined, I'm not sure I could get people to participate on a regular basis.

    Guest (Rombas)

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