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Linkedin – Are you letting your competition see your client list?

I had a conversation with a local Bristol estate agent recently about the benefits of Linkedin to engage and drive new business. He understood the upside but explained his reluctance to use Linkedin as he was constantly getting invites to connect from his competition, other estate agents. In theory he was happy to connect as they were business contacts and in some cases friends but he did not want them to see who else he was connected to. His concern was that his current connections tended to be his businesses clients that could act as a very nice prospect list for a competitor trying to develop their business. He was also concerned that his staff who where also on Linkedin could be also putting their best customers at risk.

This made perfect sense and I wondered how many other business owners where also publishing their client lists on-line, for their competition who they are also connected to plunder as required.

Luckily Linkedin has thought of this and introduced settings that can protect your contacts from prying eyes. This means that your connections only see mutual connections, those that they are also connected to.

So by all means connect to your competition but make sure you secure your connections. Once this estate agent understood this he immediately emailed his entire staff to change their settings and he is now seeing the true value of Linkedin without the sleepless nights..

To protect you connections follow the instructions below:

1. Log into Linkedin and from the Home Page hover over you name on the top right hand side and click on settings.

Linkedin Settings Tab

2. At the bottom of the settings page you will see a section called Privacy Controls click on “Select who can see your connections”

Linkedin Profile - Bristol SEO Partnership

3. A box will appear which gives you options to select who can see your connections. It box also explains that people will always be able to see your shared connections. Select “Only You” to protect your connections and save changes.

only you linkedin - Bristol SEO Partnership

Author: Robert Trapnell - Bristol SEO Partnership

Connect to Rob on , Twitter and Linkedin


How Bristol businesses can make the most of Linkedin.

Bristol SEO Partnership - Linkedin User GuideMany only see Linkedin as a website that can help get an new job, but for a business it is probably the most important and powerful social media tool to connect and create relationships with their clients and prospects. However, you cannot expect to just to set up a profile and sit back and wait for the business to flood in, you need to work at it and be proactive. Here are our top hygiene tips for using Linkedin, things you really need to be doing as a minimum.

1.    Make sure your profile is 100% complete.

It makes sense to promote yourself properly; add a photo, your experience, past jobs, specialisms and links to your websites and blogs. This give people viewing your profile a real insight into you and what you could do for them.

2.    Connect with lots of people, and especially your clients and prospects.

Linkedin in its simplest form acts like a directory system (the new style Rolodex) for a lot of people. If one of you clients wants to talk to you make sure that they can easily do it via Linkedin. And once your client is connected to you they will see your comments, updates, blog posts etc on their timeline, keeping you and you business front of mind. So get all those business cards out and start linking in on Linkedin.

3.    Ask your clients to recommend you on Linkedin.

Testimonials are always great and reinforce your credibility to your current clients and prospects. If you have done a great job do not be scared to ask for a recommendation.

4.    Give others recommendations;

Linkedin is all about cooperation, mutual scratching of backs. If someone has done a great job for you let them and their connections know.

5.    Join groups.

Groups allow you to talk and exchange views with like-minded souls. These could be groups within your profession or groups from you local area to help you network such as Only Connect Bristol. But do not just join; contribute, ask and answer questions, add your views and become part of the furniture.

6.    As well as your own profile your company should also have a profile.

This is similar to a web site and promotes your business and your areas of specialism. Get you clients to link to business profile and it becomes another great way of communicating and imparting information.

7.    Make sure your profile is optimised.

Just like Google you need to have think about what search terms on Linkedin you want you or your company to show up for. For example if you are an IFA in Bristol you want to appear on a search outcome when someone searches for “financial advice bristol”. In this case you will need to make sure that the words “financial”, “advice” and “bristol” appear in the following places, your; Headline, Current work experience, Past work experience, Summary, Specialisms.

8.    Post quality content and be seen as an expert.

Adding quality and added value content raises your credibility and by linking back to your website in the post increases your website traffic and hopefully new business leads. Think about who your audience is, and tailor your content to them. Make sure you are speaking their language, educate and not confuse.

We hope this helps get you started if you are not already on Linkedin or to inspire you to dust off your current profile and make to work harder for you. Good luck.

Author: Robert Trapnell - Bristol SEO Partnership

Connect to Rob on , Twitter and Linkedin