Five years ago LinkedIn was “all the rage” when it came to B2B marketing. Books were composed, experts performed symposiums, and LinkedIn really pushed its professional upgrade service. But now what? Is LinkedIn dying? Yes and No. Like any social media tool, it really depends on how you use it and who is in your professional range of contacts.
B2B marketing has to be about give and take. You can’t just ask for referrals without returning the favor. If you’re not into referral fees or gifts, then you should be providing the same amount of B2B referral favors. This is where the majority of people fail. If you’re not helping others get ahead, you’re not going to have others return the favor to you. LinkedIn isn’t a magic resource for referral business and many people don’t understand this. They setup a LinkedIn account and then sit back waiting for the business to come to them.
You have to work for business. Period. Use LinkedIn to ask others to refer to you and let them know what you’re willing to do for those referrals. If you’re willing to pay a referral fee or barter services, say this. If you’re willing to share a networking list or a PR resource, note this. Don’t just send out blind emails to people you don’t truly know- who are in your “inner LinkedIn circle” because they will not be read or immediately are deleted. Work your contacts and develop real relationships with people- this is what works.
LinkedIn isn’t a bad thing to have. It can be very helpful for B2B marketing if you are genuine and actually offer something of service.
Twyla N. Garrett