LinkedIn & Your Virtual Assistant

LinkedIn is fast growing in stature and has become a worthy part of any small business owner’s online presence – Your virtual assistant can work with you in so many different ways to ensure that you have a good profile, an even better company page, take full advantage of Group membership, etc… Let’s explore the world of LinkedIn.

1. How A VA Can Support Clients By Running LinkedIn Company Pages

LinkedIn can be a fabulous promotional tool for any business, so long as you understand what it’s all about and pay as much attention here as you would to the other “heavyweights,” like Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps it is because the other heavyweights have such a high profile within our society in general LinkedIn often takes on the role of the poor cousin. But any business large or small should focus on the fact that their target customer may well have a strong affinity to LinkedIn themselves. When this is the case it may not be enough just to have a “personal” presence, and because of this you should ask your virtual assistant to help you get a company page up and running.

Look at it as having a free website, if you want to. You will be able to detail all your services and products and take advantage of a number of different multimedia opportunities. Those videos that seem to work so well on your website can work equally as well here on LinkedIn. Arrange with your virtual assistant to update this particular property frequently and even on a daily basis. You may well already have such a philosophy in place for the likes of Twitter and Facebook, so go the extra distance and feed your LinkedIn company presence equally as well.

Due to the fact that LinkedIn has a very sophisticated search engine, enabling searches of great depth and specificity, make sure that your LinkedIn page is front and centre and optimised as such. It’s no fluke that references to LinkedIn pages appear often on the first page of those search engine results.

Today many a small business owner wears more than one hat. If you have a number of business operations, or simply have different activities within one corporate body you can still have more than one company page on LinkedIn. Once again it’s worth the effort to delineate this properly and get your virtual assistant to set it up in such a way that each entity can be controlled and managed on a regular basis.

It’s quite possible that several different people are involved in your organisation, whether they are principles, associates or key contractors. Make sure that their personal and professional profiles link to your company page and ensure that the description of your company or business entity is comprehensive and relevant.

Even though LinkedIn is seen as a marketplace that may be primarily aimed at the business-to-business sector remember that each person viewing your profile is also a consumer. Depending on the type of business you’re in exposure here can have an exponential effect on sales and general publicity. Once again, though, remember that you need to work with your virtual assistant to ensure that the up-to-date information is contained within and that your page is frequently updated.

Also, remember that in the new world of online marketing and SEO “social search” is the buzzword. This is why it’s important to spend time updating your LinkedIn pages and profiles.

2. How A VA Can Help You Build A LinkedIn Strategy

Do you have a specific strategy in place when it comes to dealing with LinkedIn? It may be true to say that a lot of small business owners bypass this social platform altogether, but this is increasingly a mistake due to the amount of work that the network itself has put in over recent months. Now it makes a great deal of sense to spend time on building up your LinkedIn profile and company pages, to say nothing of getting involved with their Groups feature. Maybe you need to have a detailed discussion with your virtual assistant who can operate your LinkedIn profile on a daily basis.

Even if you have a LinkedIn presence, how “fresh” is it? Just take a look at your profile for example. How up-to-date is that photograph? It’s amazing how many people use a relatively low-quality photograph that they just happened to have in a folder somewhere. It cannot be understated how important that first impression is and in this case your personal photograph needs to be professionally composed and produced and show you in the best light possible. If you really are going to use LinkedIn to its fullest extent and are the type of person to attend industry conferences, meetings or events then you want to be instantly recognisable. Of course you don’t have the time to talk to every single person at such an event, but what if that potentially lucrative contact happens to recognise you from the far corner of the room? Now you will see just how important it was to update that photograph, after all.

Nothing stands still in life in general or in your business world. Why is it, therefore, that people tend to leave their profile “as is” for an extended period of time? LinkedIn itself has made some changes to the makeup of the personal and company pages and you should work with your virtual assistant to ensure that your profile is adequately optimised today.

You may well find that you can use some good industry buzzwords within the body of your profile to make yourself appear more relevant within your industry. Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet here and remember that your updates will be shared with the networks you belong to, so long as your virtual assistant has enabled the appropriate setting within your profile details.

We all know how important keywords are in our online world. Do you have the right keyword phrases in your profile summary? Have a good look at your skill set as itemised in LinkedIn. Are you missing out on search exposure due to the fact that you have less than a comprehensive set of skills listed? Keep updating your profile headline often and you will find that you have more and more visitors to your profile; this can only be potentially lucrative in the long run.

LinkedIn is part of a network of sites that your virtual assistant must maintain for you including of course your blog and your website. By keeping up to date, fresh and relevant within LinkedIn you will be able to grow your network, enhance your visibility and drive traffic to your commercial sites.

3. Building Your LinkedIn Network With Your VA

Think outside of the box when considering LinkedIn. Of course we know that it’s a business-to-business based “social” network and we should be aware of just how important it is to have a full and complete profile within. If you don’t spend time, or rather have your virtual assistant help you, then you cannot expect to use LinkedIn to its fullest potential. You need to use it to build as deep and as broad a network as possible and to make sure that you appear within similar networks belonging to others within and around the periphery of your industry.

Rule number one must be to ensure that your network is a quality one, but don’t be so narrow minded as to exclude those who may work in tangential industries, or who may be just getting involved in the business anyway. Remember that we all have to start somewhere and it’s worth taking a good look at any invitations that are received.

In the online world we know that there’s a great deal to be said for depth, credibility, visibility and social “buzz.” We see this day after day when it comes to Google algorithms and the way that the company displays results to searchers. You should know that LinkedIn also places a great deal of relevance on the depth and breadth of your account. This means that not only should your profile be comprehensive and well thought out, but that you should have as broad and as relevant a network as possible. The more checks that you put in these boxes the more likely you are to appear in search results.

Request your virtual assistant to review each and every invitation you may receive from another member. See what kind of profile they maintain. For example, if they can’t even bother to put an up-to-date profile picture or any picture at all, then they’re not taking themselves or their business very seriously. Ask yourself questions such as do I work now or have I worked in the past within the same industry? Do you have common interests or hobbies by any chance? Who are you connected to through the applicant and what’s the value of that connection?

Even though it is possible to send a generic invitation to another LinkedIn member requesting a connection it’s much better to be specific and to say why you feel the connection would be important. You should adopt this procedure and approach with your virtual assistant when you’re reaching out to others. Review each invitation to connect that you get and see whether it makes any sense to approve the application or not.

When you have a specific approach to building a network in this way it’s amazing what will happen over time. The quality of your network will grow to such a point that others will naturally gravitate toward you. You may find that you need to spend less active time reaching out and more time approving and then enjoying the quality connections that arrive on your virtual doorstep.

4. Why It’s A Good Idea To Work With Your VA To Create Your Own LinkedIn Group

When we are building our online presence we know that we need to be as specific as possible when choosing our keywords and our niche. These days it’s not good enough to cast your net as wide as you possibly can, expecting to catch enough fish to make a good living. Within the net you will find plenty of the wrong type of fish and will have to spend time, resources and energy trying to separate the good ones from the bad. In short you need to be as specific as possible and don’t be afraid to drill down quite a long way until you arrive at the right niche for you.

Once you are sure that you have identified the right type of profile or avatar for your ideal client you then need to work out how you are going to reach that market. In other words, how are you going to use your chosen keywords effectively online so that you garner the attention of the right people?

Work with your virtual assistant to create a LinkedIn Group of your own. You may not be aware of the existence of the Groups feature in LinkedIn, but it can be a great way of not only reaching the people within your category but also establishing yourself as some kind of a leader and thought initiator, as well.

Have a look to see what kind of Groups exist within your industry in general and within your niche, specifically. It’s possible that there are no Groups that are entirely dedicated to your area of speciality as yet. This is an opportunity for you to create a presence and to reach out to people appropriately.

Put the keywords that you have chosen in the title of your group and in the description so that members of your target market will be able to find your group when they search. Be very clear what it’s all about and why you have started a group in the first place. Focus on what the real value is within the group and why people should take the time to not only join but to interact as often as possible.

You should make sure that your virtual assistant is notified every time a member applies. The group should be open to all, but you should insist that pre-approval is switched on and regulated. Remember that you do not want any kind of spam in here and the less you regulate the membership the more that is likely to happen and consequently the less value everybody is going to get from the group.

Remember that this is not a place to be overtly trying to sell your products or services. This is meant to be a group of value to its members. Look after that philosophy and the long-term financial ambition will look after itself. This is a place for professional conversations and it’s a great place for building your network and getting to know people who may be able to help you in the long run. The more help, advice and assistance that you give away within such a group, the better.

5. Hello Groups And Goodbye Answers – Ask Your VA What’s Going On At LinkedIn

As a small-business owner have you ever tried advertising on one of the various social networks before? Of course we are all aware of how successful Google’s ad network has become and how that company has really perfected the “art” of pay per click. Other people may have tried advertising on Facebook. This has been touted as a new and somewhat easier way of reaching a mass-market audience, as compared to Google’s Adsense. If you really want to analyse the reach of Facebook though, you have to understand that it’s largely driven by the information that people put into their Facebook profile and by various parameters and algorithms based on their Internet activities associated with the platform.

It may not be surprising therefore if some of the results are a little bit wide of the mark, bearing in mind that there is no real “pressure” to fill in your online profile accurately or comprehensively on Facebook if you think about it. However, when it comes to LinkedIn the company puts a great deal of emphasis on comprehension. Furthermore, the business professional is more likely to spend the time to update his or her profile and to create a company page with significant information contained therein. Therefore, LinkedIn has, potentially at least, more relevant information to deal with when delivering ads to its members.

It’s likely, as well, that your article is going to be better received as LinkedIn is by itself seen as being more “commercial” than the likes of Facebook or Twitter from an exposure point of view. You may also be able to get to adverts shown on other professional websites through a partnership that LinkedIn has with another advertising company.

Allocate a budget and experiment with LinkedIn in this way. Your virtual assistant can help you to assess the viability or profitability of your experiment. Make sure that you have a clear strategy yourself first and foremost and that your message is consistent and always professional. You might just be surprised at the efficacy of your new LinkedIn advertising campaign.

While LinkedIn Groups may be a great place to engage with people who are in your specific industry and may be a good place to generate answers to questions that you have, LinkedIn Answers was indeed a very valuable feature its own right. Here you were able to broadcast business specific questions to not only members of your network but the entire community. You were often able to find access to a number of great resources and several different alternatives to help you with your specific problem.

Unfortunately, Answers is no longer a part of the LinkedIn community, but nevertheless this B2B network continues to become ever more prominent for the entrepreneur today.

It seems that every month or so a new feature appears or some particular aspect is updated or refined. Ask your virtual assistant to keep an eye on any innovations or alterations, so that you can take advantage of them from your own specific point of view.

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