My brother, Jere, and I talk with a lot of business people. It seems the conversation comes around to social media and to this – are you “on it”, watching it from afar, or want nothing to do with it?
We encourage businesses to be “on it”. Here’s why.
We are building a local networking/leadership forum, First Fridays, here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We could not have reached the audience we have without LinkedIn. Prior to launching First Fridays, we both independently began extending our relationship reach using LinkedIn. As a result, we met some great people who were also working to become better connected in the area. We discovered that NE Indiana has a lively LinkedIn community – and we are proud to be a part of it.
Why do we encourage business people and their companies to become more involved in LinkedIn?
Awareness. We are not marketing experts, but we have seen many businesses struggle with having the community know they exist. LinkedIn is a HUGE resource in building awareness. Connecting with others, participating in the online conversation, networking, sharing content all builds awareness of YOU (your personal brand) as well as your company. In just the recent months, I’ve become aware of a local company that is growing and working to make an impact – GMS Distribution, Inc. I’ve followed Gerrett Stier‘s posts and I’ve read his content. He’s using LinkedIn and he is building awareness! I’m not in the market for what GMS creates, but I’m enjoying how Gerrett promotes and builds awareness!
Indiana Wesleyan University has used LinkedIn to build awareness of their Fort Wayne campus. From my brother‘s posts (he is a corporate rep with IWU) to posts by Dr. Matt Lucas, Chancellor of the National/Global campuses, to hosting First Fridays each month, Indiana Wesleyan has jumped into the the spotlight in NE Indiana.
Networking. Businesses all over NE Indiana are finding ways to connect with consumers and other businesses. Networking forums such as First Fridays, BNI, etc. are great places to meet face-to-face. But networking can also happen online. Because I network and have gotten to know more about local organizations, I have shared leads with others. I have done this with Reusser Design. Nate Reusser and Brandon Noll are “frequent flyers” at First Fridays and have become friends in the process. I have had others ask if I knew a company that can design websites. Of course, I did! I reached out to Nate & Brandon on LinkedIn.
Content. Businesses and business representatives are always sharing great content. The ones that do it well are producing more than mini commercials on LinkedIn. They are providing value-added content. Organizations that excel in this are the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnershipand the NIIC. From articles about how NE Indiana is growing to entrepreneurial stories and resources, both create content that is interesting, educational, motivating and truly makes us proud to live in our corner of the state. Both organizations make an impact beyond our geographical boundaries.
Other business leaders such Randy Lehman of Northwest Mutual share content from wealth building to home buying tips. All very practical. Cody Weikel, one of my team members (he is the creator of the First Fridays logo), always shares interesting content while also promoting our company, 3Rivers.
Connect. If you are not on LinkedIn or struggle to understand the reason why you should consider being on it, talk with Jere and me. Or someone who is actively on it. There are local experts on this. You’ll find them on LinkedIn. Experiment. Read other’s content. See how they are doing it. You can do this.
It’s not about creating a commercial. It’s about connections, conversations, content, and impact. NE Indiana is blessed with wonderful organizations, companies and leaders. You’ll discover them on LinkedIn. They also want to see you there.
It works when you work it.