Last week LinkedIn celebrated a milestone of achieving 200 million users.

To celebrate the occasion they sent a notice congratulating the users with the top 1% viewed profiles for 2012.

Of course, they also created a social share button so their achievement of being a top user could be shared on Twitter. And those of us that had been so notified complied – effectively sharing our good news while also promoting the LinkedIn brand.

As a result, LinkedIn proved they indeed understand how social media works best.

Use Social Media to Make Meaningful Connections

It is a fact that 80% of all consumers do not trust businesses; but they do trust their friends.

The power of social media is using it to engage your business with its loyal customers – and their communities.

LinkedIn employed a common tactic of making their buyer the hero. It’s a simple matter of using gratitude and recognition to make a meaningful (and human) connection.

Social networks like LinkedIn have both users and customers, and some of us are both.

Brick and mortar businesses don’t have users – just customers. However, they do have connections with friends in the community who can influence the buying behaviors of others, just as the top LinkedIn users did.

2013-02-09 LinkedIn One Percent

Some ideas for adapting this to your business are commenting on the social media profiles or blogs of your close allies – its customers and influencers.

My personal favorite is to use “old media” – picking up the phone every now and then to personally engage non-competing businesses that serve the same community.

Help the collective community and it will help your business in return.

How about you – what are your ideas?

Let Your Customers Do The Talking

I used to be an active golfer but gave up the game a few years ago due to lack of time and an equipment problem. The shaft to my driver was broken by one of the airlines and the replacement shaft proved to be impossible for me to hit – so I just quit.

A friend recommended a hot new driver that was also reasonably priced so I decided to go for it. I did some research online but everything I found was from the company or media outlets that were saying exactly the same thing.

I was really looking for was the honest opinion of at least one unbiased blogger to personally back up my friend’s recommendation.

I found nothing, but bought the club anyway as a result of some great service from the local retailer.

The most credible marketing for any business is the honest opinion of its customers – real people telling the truth.

Since your customers may not necessarily be bloggers, your business needs to create content to engage them:

  1. Give them the content they need to make them look good
  2. Encourage them to share their personal experiences

That’s all there is to this.

Your business may not have 200 million users like LinkedIn, but it has customers that value what you do for them. So, the bottom line is this:

Why isn’t your business blogging?