LinkedIn is an awesome social networking platform — not only for professionals, but also for online entrepreneurs. Millions of professionals, business owners, and savvy technopreneurs are making financially lucrative connections via LinkedIn, and millions more are finding gainful employment through the tools offered there.
However, there’s one LinkedIn marketing tool that I believe is under-utilized by people looking to expand their network and acquire online leads. I’m talking about LinkedIn Answers.
LinkedIn Answers provides a forum for thousands of questions posed by real people looking for quick answers about their most pressing concerns.
If you are an online marketer, why should you take advantage of LinkedIn Answers?
Question-and-answer sites are awesome avenues for marketing your products and services and attracting huge amounts of highly qualified traffic. Answering questions on a site like LinkedIn Answers lets you showcase your knowledge and build strong brand recognition for yourself and your company.
One of the great things about LinkedIn Answers is that each time you answer a question there, your network gets updated automatically. LinkedIn puts a post on your timeline where you answered a question.
Also, your profile will be shown to thousands of people who visit LinkedIn Answers. I personally have had tremendous success with it. In addition to the opportunity to display my expertise, I found some of the best leads for my business there. It’s free advertising for you and your organization.
You can experience the same success I’ve had with LinkedIn Answers.
LinkedIn Answers — basic features and advantages
The greatest advantage to using LinkedIn Answers is the opportunity it provides for you to showcase “what you’re made of.” Much like Yahoo! Answer and Quora, the person who asked the question can vote up or down on your answer. If your answer is chosen as the best, the positive feedback elevates your expert status.
If you keep getting positive feedback, your expert status will increase and your profile will join the list of experts in your industry.
Key tips to answering questions
In order to increase your success with LinkedIn Answers, choose those that are relevant to your industry or about which you have solid knowledge. It’s highly advantageous to select topics you have already covered in a blog post. As you answer the question, you can include links to your blog post as support for your answer. It’s an excellent way to build links to your site, as well as to drive extremely targeted traffic.
What about questions that relate to your niche, but you know little about?
Give those a shot by spending a few minutes on research. Choose answers based on authoritative sites and include links to those sites to support your answer. What’s great about answering questions about which you know very little is that it provides you a learning experience.
As you progress, you’ll identify related questions and be well prepared to offer your answer with relative ease. This translates to more exposure for your profile.
LinkedIn Answers are for questions, too
Don’t forget that LinkedIn Answers is question-and-answer site. If you’ve got legitimate issues relating to your niche, ask about them. The more you ask questions as well as provide answers, the better.
A word of caution, though. Everybody hates spam. LinkedIn Answers is a place where real people communicate about real concerns. Don’t spam the place with questions just for the sake of exposure. Strive to provide value not only by providing great solutions, but also by asking questions you think haven’t been covered elsewhere at LinkedIn Answers.
To boost the chances of your question being found and answered by experts, make sure to select the right category, as well as the subcategory where your question belongs.
Looking for the right questions to answer
One of the best ways to find specific questions that are relevant to your industry is by doing a keyword-based search using the search bar in the upper right-hand corner of LinkedIn.
From the dropdown menu, select Answers, and type the keywords or key phrases you wish to explore. If you are a social media marketing expert, for example, type “social media marketing.”
LinkedIn Answers will redirect you to a page where questions on social media marketing are posted. There are ways to filter to questions:
- Filter so that the keywords appear on the question only or on both questions and answers.
- Filter so that the questions are sorted by relevance.
- Filter so that questions are sorted by date.
- Filter so that the questions that appear are All Questions or Open Questions. (I recommend you choose Open Questions: I committed a time-consuming mistake when I spent many minutes of composing an answer, only to find the question had closed.)
It’s also recommended that you sign up for notifications, so LinkedIn lets you know via email each time someone in your network asks you a question. You can also opt to follow certain questions or categories.
LinkedIn Answers as part of your marketing mix
LinkedIn Answers is clearly a great marketing tool that offers opportunities to generate fresh leads and wide exposure for your expertise and business. But go easy on it. You don’t want to end up looking like someone who is desperate for exposure by trying to answer all the questions in your niche.
And to look more natural, you don’t have to post links in every answer. Only do so when there is a solid need to provide support for your answers or the points you’ve raised. You may also want to avoid posting links that point only to your site. You offer more value by linking to other experts’ resources.
Use LinkedIn Answers regularly, but do so with caution and in a way that provides real value to your target audience and the person who asked the question.
I hope you found this post on LinkedIn Answers useful. In the coming days, I’ll have more tips and specific examples to help you develop greater expertise with this awesome marketing tool.
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