Are you using LinkedIn Answers?

By: Viveka Monday May 30, 2011 comments Tags: LinkedIn Expert, Viveka von Rosen, LinkedIn Answers, LinkedIn Chat

LinkedIn Answers:

An information and relationship-building goldmine!

Tuesday (June 1st) during the #LinkedInChat, we will be talking about LinkedIn Answers.  Here's some homework for you :)

LinkedInChat on LinkedIn Answers

Q1) Have you used LinkedIn Answer?

Q2) How have you used LinkedIn Answers?

Q3) Have you ever use LinkedIn Answers to develop or deepen a LinkedIn relationship?

Q4) Do you find LinkedIn Answers a useful tool?

Q5) Have you ever received a best answer?

Steve Cassady, a regular (and occasional co-moderator) of the LinkedInChat has this to say about answers:
I think Linkedin Answers is a great tool:

      • It helps build credibility when you get credit for expertise on Best Answers.  One point I would like to make is to ask relevant questions.  Sometimes I see a lot of "non-brand building" questions asked for the sake of asking questions.

      • Be selective in the questions you answer.  You always want to be seen as adding value and not additional noise. I see some that answer 50 questions a day.  You wonder if they should have better things to be doing.

      • Answers are also a chance to direct to your blog or website for additional information relevant to the question. Don't post a blog link just to do it.

A few months ago I wrote about using LinkedIn for “Blog Fodder”:  LinkedIn Answers and Writer’s Block:  Got writer’s block when it comes to your blog postings?

  1. Open LinkedIn

  2. Under “More” click on “Answers”

  3. Go to “Advanced Answer Search”

  4. Type in a keyword of something you know something about (i.e. LinkedIn, OD, Project Management, IP, etc.)

  5. Take a look at the questions being asked about your area of expertise

  6. Open an interesting question

  7. Answer it in your blog – OR – see if you’ve already answered it in a blog

  8. Use the text from your blog to answer the question – and add the link (and because it will be so thoughtful and useful you might get the “expert” rating from the question poster!)

>>>>   If you are a prolific blogger – you might just check for questions you’ve already answered and just post your answers with a link to your blog, driving traffic to your website and positioning yourself as a SME (Subject Matter Expert)

But LinkedIn Answers is also good to – well – get answers.  Last week during out #LinkedInChat (Tuesday evenings at 5 PM PST) @RBeland (Rob) asked “If it was kosher to give away a free offer, giveaway/promo to build a group's membership?” I had my own opinion, but since another chatter asked about public vs private questions and answers, I decided to show by example by posting a public question.

(This is how you post a public question:)

  1. Go to “More”

  2. “Answers”

  3. “Ask Question”

  4. “Add details”

  5. “Categorize (choose the closest category -  it won’t be perfect)

  6. “Ask Question”

  7. SKIP sending it to individuals

The responses were immediate and varied.  It even sparked a private conversation with Dave Maskin, who is someone I often reference as a master of the LinkedIn Answer.  So not only did we get some good answers for our folks on the LinkedInChat, but I was able to deepen a personal relationship with someone I consider to be a LinkedIn SME.

The other thing you’ll notice with Answers is, like Groups, you can interrelate with individuals you are not directly connected with – so if you are actively trying to build relationships, this might be an excellent place to source strategic partners and referral partners.  Maybe even clients (but be very careful with this and let them come to you)

And just FYI, here were some of the answers to Ben’s question:

Do you think its kosher to give away a free offer, giveaway/promo to build a group's membership?

Steve Cassady:

I think it is fine to offer a giveaway or promotion to build a group's membership. To maximize the value, it should be consistent with the group's brand or purpose and should reinforce the group. For example, I see a lot of IPAD give aways. I think it would be cool to bundle in related E-books consistent with groups purchase.

I would also want to make sure that you have seeded your group with some key contributors. You will want newcomers to see an active group with pertinent content. You don't want to spend money on getting people to join a "shell of a group" just to get a prize. You want them to keep coming back, so have good content available when they arrive.

Dewoun Hayes MAED, CAP:

There are pros and cons to giving away something to build a membership. One pro is just that, you can increase the membership size, but the con is that the individual or individuals who receive the freebie will have a different sense of value of the group versus someone who joined the group because they wanted to or had a passion to participate. Which asks the question, how long will the individual remain in the group? 

If you wish to have giveaways, give incentives to members already in the group who bring in new people. This motivates people to spread the word about the group and also gives them a reward for doing so. Then people who join based on the suggestion from a member will value the group and what it is about as opposed to joining because they received a cool gift.

Mark Secko:

Hi Viveka. 

My answer would be why not? If you are not being deceitful in any way, sure. I would have some literature stating why someone should join your association. For example, do you have some big name clients in your association? If their competitor is part of your association, I would DEFINITELY name drop them. Everyone wants to know what their competitors are up to. Viveka, I hope this helps.

>>>>>>Notice Mark’s repeated use of my name – great relationship building technique J

Dave Maskin;

If someone is that desperate to build group membership... the group in question should be suspect...

Christine Hueber;

It depends on what kind of membership you want to build, Viveka.

Greg Poulos;

So long as you don't mix your meats and dairy, I think so.

Bernard Gore;

Sure, it is a good and entirely acceptable idea. With the vast number of groups often competing or at least overlapping it is a good idea to do anything to distinguish yours, this benefits the group and all the potential members - clear win-win.

Mike McRitchie;

It all depends on if you make enough money on the back end products/services. If it doesn't pay...why give something away?

Reno Lovison;

What group? Where" What are you giving? Maybe I'll join.

Swallow, Alexander:

Great answer Greg Poulos! I was thinking something similar.

Cristina Falcão:

Why not, as long as you know what you want to attain with a larger membership?

Nancy Fulton:

Of course. Your job is to serve the group, right?

In conclusion -  how can you use LinkedIn Answers?

  • To get answers for questions you have

  • To spark ideas when you have writers block

  • To repurpose content you have already developed

  • To build relationships

  • To position yourself as a SME or Thought Leader

  • To find other business, strategic or referral partners

  • To attract clients

How do you use LinkedIn Answers?



About the Author: Viveka

Viveka is author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and is known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert”.
CEO of Linked Into Business, she also hosts the biggest LinkedIn chat on Twitter.  Forbes has listed her as a top social media influencer for three years running, and she has been cited in Ragan, CNN, Forbes, Mashable, Simple Living, Bloomberg, LinkedIn's Small Business Site and "The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn, The Miami Herald, Social Media Today and The Social Media Examiner!

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