Sunday, June 20, 2010

Why LinkedIn, Why Now

Are you leveraging social media, or are you still on the sidelines?

If you listen to my radio show or have heard me speak in the last three years, you will know that a significant part of my message has been the growing use of social media and web 2.0 tools for B2G marketers. Among the tools I have been advocating are webinars, podcasts, video, and various social networking tools, especially LinkedIn.

Last year Market Connections ( released the 2009-2010 Federal Media and Marketing Study which touched on the use of 14 social media tools. According to the now year old study, the top five social media tools were Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, My Space and Twitter.

Fast forward to the just released Market Connections 2010 Social Media Study. This study (available for purchase at the above mentioned web site) indicates a rapidly growing acceptance and use of social media tools by both industry and government. Government is lagging behind, but they have more restrictions for everything. However the study indicates use of social media by 29% of Feds and 55% of contractors.

The main uses of social networking by contractors are marketing and sales (60%), event information (59%), press releases (51%), job postings (44%), white papers/case studies (38%), presentations/speeches (35%), videos/pictures (28%), and product demos (23%). There are more findings, but these are the major ones.

The finding in this study that shows the biggest change from the 2009 study is that LinkedIn has emerged as the most popular social networking site with 36% of the responders using it. Facebook was at 26%. It my interview with John Kagia of Market Connections ( he indicated that the use of these networks continues to grow.

So why is this important to you?

LinkedIn has over 70,000,000 users worldwide, with the majority are in the U.S. - and it continues to grow. My research indicates the Washington Technology Top 100 are all here, in significant numbers. Rarely do I find a significant government contractor that is not on LinkedIn.
If you put "government" in the search box and search on "groups" you will find (as of 6/20/10) 4,197 groups having something to do with government. In the top 100 of the government groups there are 20-25 that focus on some aspect of government contracting, including one of my groups, Government Market Master (with almost 1,400 members).

So again, why is this important to you?

According to the Market Connection study, only 19% of the companies using social media have a strategy or social media policy in place. With no strategy or policy, there will be little or no way to measure the effectiveness of what you are doing, what messages are going out, and what image of your company is being presented.

If you devise a proactive social media strategy (with an intelligent policy behind it), you will be able to use some measurement tools, set some goals, and start measuring the effectiveness of various platforms.

Nowhere in the Market Connections study did it mention one of the major uses for LinkedIn for small businesses: differentiation. All businesses need to differentiate themselves, but for small government contractors, it is closer to a 'life and death' situation- differentiate or die a slow death.

For any small business not currently using social media, or using it only in a limited way, you are missing the major low-cost marketing tool that can truly help you stand out in the crowd.

Here's what you can do right now:

Over the next six months I will be hosting a coaching group for companies seeking to grow their businesses by the intelligent, proactive use of social media, focusing largely on LinkedIn.

During the six months of the program, we will host 2-3 teleseminars each month (all will be recorded and be available for replay) and there will be monthly one-on-one coaching with each company. Each company will also get an initial tele-planning session with me to create an action plan that suits your needs.

By the end of the program, you will end up with an audio library of 15+ hours of training you can use again and again. And you will be light years ahead of where you are on LinkedIn now.

Each tele-session will focus on one topic:

- social media policies
- developing benchmarks
- differentiation
- building personal profiles that attract customers and partners
- finding and managing your company profile
- finding and joining groups that can help you grow
- how to reach out to potential partners and customers and build your network
- selecting LinkedIn applications that will work for your company
- publicizing your company and events
-using Q&A, recommendations, defining your area of expertise and much more.

After each session you can do Q&A with me via email, and use your monthly session to tie this into your custom program.

And all participants will get my 3-CD set, The Ultimate Jumpstart Program for Social Networking – Maximizing LinkedIn.

If you are interested in seeing the details, email me at mark (at) or call me at 301 924 0058.

Why me, why Mark Amtower?

I have been on LinkedIn since February 11, 2004. My "membership" number is around 225,000 - out of 70,000,000. Currently I have nearly 2,700 connections (primarily in the government market), belong to 50 groups (primarily B2G in focus), and have gained national recognition for my use in social media (one of the top 7 LinkedIn profiles in the 2009 Rock the World with Your Online presence contest) and being profiled for using LinkedIn as a thought leadership tool at MarketingProfs. I have also done about 25 media (radio and print) interviews on using LinkedIn. The FedTech Bisnow newsletter called me "the Lord of LinkedIn" (11/10/09, ).

Everywhere I go in the arena of doing business with the government, people know me because of my use of LinkedIn. Take a look at my profile and see why.

Then call me and sign up so you can get the same results.

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