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Have you heard that with the right LinkedIn strategy your business can make money? Yea, me too.

In my podcast interview with Marjorie Clayman, she admitted to making  a social media mistake and was in the process of correcting. She said that her Twitter list is comprised mostly of fellow colleagues—people who do the same thing or are in the same industry. The problem with having all colleagues as friends and followers is that since they do the same thing, they’re unlikely to hire you.

Having lots of colleagues does make for great Twitter chats and strengthens relationships but it doesn’t always increase your revenue.  So she’s connecting with people who are interested in her client’s services to increase their bottom line. Smart move.

If I tell the truth, I’m also preaching to the choir on my social networks—particularly LinkedIn. If it’s true that businesses can make money on LinkedIn then it’s going to be about who you’re connected to. This really forces you to define your target audience.

One well-known LinkedIn strategy is to join groups and start groups. In these groups you’re supposed to make connections, be engaging, post relative information and of course no hard sales. Well for the past few years, I’ve been doing just that and not a single sale or lead from LinkedIn. I decided to find out why and conducted my own research on one of the small business groups of which I was an active member.

The facts

Of the 4,049 group members, I sampled 407 of them and placed them in the following categories:

  • 9-to-5ers – These are people who held various non-management positions in a for-profit organization.
  • The Competition – These are businesses or individuals who offer the same or similar services to my own.
  • The C-Suite – Employees of organizations that hold various management/executive positions.
  • Nonprofits – Individuals who started or worked at a nonprofit organization.
  • Small Business Owners – These are not entrepreneurs or solorpreneurs but businesses with at least two or more employees.
  • Others – These were the authors, entrepreneurs, consultants, coaches, real estate agents/advisors, financial, accounting and insurance consultants.

So here’s how the numbers panned out.

LinkedIn Strategy Infographic for The Marketing Stylist by PrettyWork Creative

I made the mistake of thinking a LinkedIn group targeting small businesses would put me in front of my target audience. It didn’t. Of the 407 businesses sampled, only 21 percent of those would have been considered my target audience. I did find a lot of colleagues and even more business coaches and consultants.

So I spent some time connecting with those deemed my target audience. I sent them invitations to connect and since we were in the same group, I could invite them using that as our connector. After I went through the list, I deleted myself from the group. I’m a member of several such “small business groups” and I believe the results will be the same which leads me to my new strategy; find groups where larger percentages of my target audience congregate and hope the group’s gatekeeper lets me in.

Infographic by PrettyWork Creative.

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