Friday, January 28, 2011

LinkedIn Answers - How to Market Without Really Marketing

The theme of my week was "LinkedIn Answers." If you haven't checked out LinkedIn Questions & Answers, you are missing out on potential online marketing opportunities. How can you market your company by answering questions? It's not like you can plug your company when you answer the question.

This week, I answered two questions this that involved non-profits and social media. Non-profit is my background so it's a natural fit. Ironically, one question I answered involved how can non-profits better utilize LinkedIn. As a result, my tips were included  in an article. I also will be quoted in another article about Facebook and social good.

So how did this happen? I shared my expertise by answering questions- that's it!  They asked me if they could use my quote/tips. 

I know what you're thinking: "I don't have the time to answer questions on LinkedIn let alone run to Starbucks to grab a latte" It only took me ten minutes to answer both two questions. Ten minutes that turned into an unexpected online marketing opportunity. I even cross-promoted my friend and mentor, Victoria Ipri's LinkedIn for the Clueless book in my LinkedIn answer. That was a double marketing whammy for us both. 

Here are a few tips to get you started on LinkedIn Answers:

1. Use your expertise to help others. Search for questions in your field of expertise/industry. Pick and choose. Don't answer just any question - stick with your expertise range. For example, I have a background in non-profit fundraising/event planning so I'm more inclined to answer non-profit and event planning questions. I also answer questions about public relations, copywriting, marketing, and social media.

2. Don't shoot off a one sentence answer. That isn't helpful. Offer "real world" examples that people can put to practical use. Include resources in the "Links" section and always extend the offer to help beyond just the question. I've had people follow up with me and ask additional questions. As a result, we added each other to our LinkedIn connections - a fantastic networking opportunity! 

3. Don't just answer questions but ASK questions. You have a plethora of industry experts at your fingertips so don't be afraid to jump in and ask for expert advice/help. Although, don't use it as a platform to get "free" advice 24,7. That's not the point behind LinkedIn Answers. 

4. Review the published answers before you answer the question. Someone might have already beat you to the punch. You don't want to look like a "copycat" and give a similar answer. 

5. If you haven't answered any questions on LinkedIn yet, make it a point to answer at least ONE question per week to get your feet wet. 

If you never thought about using LinkedIn as a potential online marketing channel, you might want to consider adding LinkedIn Answers to your marketing tool belt. It's the best way to market without really marketing - and saves you time since other people market your company/brand for you!

Give it a shot...and please share your success stories with LinkedIn Answers! I'd love to hear about your experiences. 

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Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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