LinkedIn is one of the Big 4 social networks. Instead of friends and family, your followers are former and current colleagues and business contacts. LinkedIn is a great way to prospect for ad sales leads and build business relationships. The “links” create a network that joins you with people you may not know who are connected to people you do know. For instance, you want to reach out to someone at a specific company. In your network, you find a former coworker and their cubicle-mate is friends with someone at that company. Instead of contacting the company cold, use that connection to get ‘introduced’ to them. LinkedIn provides ways for the shared connection to introduce the two of you, or simply contact your friend offline for a recommendation. That personal connection works on several levels. First the mutual friend serves as a referral. Clients are more likely to do business with referrals from people they know. Second, the mutual friend can be an initial icebreaker and instantly create shared common ground. Third, even if the company is not interested in advertising at this time, they’re more likely to remember you when they are.
Personal relationships are just one way to prospect on LinkedIn, another is the Groups feature. LinkedIn Groups are message boards within the site that allow people with similar interests to discuss topics relevant to their industry. Join groups related to the industry you’d like to connect with in order to increase awareness of new verticals or industries of interest, as well as to generate leads. Participating in groups in your industry gives you the opportunity to expand your knowledge base. However it is not a great opportunity for leads, as it increases competition. Joining a group creates a link to other members without you having to already know someone else. Once you are linked, you may have the opportunity to pitch them on advertising with you. Creating a group where you discuss issues and advances related to your product or industry is another way to use LinkedIn to attract interested prospects. A successful group is one that is updated often. Only take this on if your schedule allows you time to update consistently. Social networking is here to stay, use it to your advantage to build your advertising sales revenue and increase your network.