Take a look at LinkedIn Discussions and LinkedIn Answers; if you can contribute to a good discussion or help answer even one of the questions, your comment can also introduce you to new, potential customers.
If you are in small business, now is a good time to post your profile on LinkedIn (if you haven’t already).
Next, join a group in your industry on LinkedIn, then look at their current Discussions. If you can add to the discussion, it is a great way to network and meet new people, creating the opportunity for new business leads.
And then take a look at LinkedIn Answers. Like Jason Falls says in his recent article How To Drive Business Leads With Question & Answer Forums, “People are driving leads using Question and Answer forums like LinkedIn Answers, Yahoo! Answers and Answers.com. . . . In essence, the best practices (theirs and mine) remind you to be helpful first, don’t go in trumpeting your sales pitch and focus on long-term relationship building and benefits rather than seeing a sudden influx of leads because you clicked a button on a website. Nothing is that easy. It’s like being at an off-line networking event. You work at it a while and you get results.”
And you can use the same principle at other open forums.
Get started by reviewing the questions. Find one that you are interested in and then do a little research, so that you can include some references in your response. (The answer that you provide with references will be much more impressive than sharing your best guess at the answer, and will make a better impression for you and your business.)
Your business can benefit if you take a few minutes to comment on a blog post, an article, or in a discussion.
This process can be informative as well as helpful to your business. The more you comment, the more it helps.
How does this work? A portion of the basis for your business website’s ranking by search engines is the number of hyperlinks to your website. More links from related websites = better ranking. (For example, it would be better for your yoga website to have more links to it from articles about natural health and exercise equipment than from articles about motor oil.)
And discussions, posts, and articles from related websites can share knowledge that can be helpful to you and your business. And if you leave interesting, helpful, and informative comments, the others who read your comments will want to come to your website to find out more about your business.
Some blog posts, discussions, and articles have “do follow” links for their commenters. This means search engines will follow links in those comments to the commenters’ websites, and the commenters’ website will get credit for a link.
There are some general rules for “nettiquette” (Internet etiquette) for leaving comments.
1. It’s nice to give your own name (or just first name or nick name) and what you do, but not to give your name as your product (“Zoomo Potato Peeler model 3.1”).
2. In your comment, respond to something specific about the post. If you agree, add to the conversation (from the article and the other commenters). If you disagree, try to express some aspect that you do agree with, and then try to disagree in a nice way, just like you were at a meeting and talking with others in person. – It is NOT OK to just say “Hi! Nice article. Thank you!”
Brief comments like that with no content do not add to the conversation, and will probably not get posted.
“Do follow” links are part of the Web2.0 change and the social media evolution, in which the Internet becomes a place for exchange of your ideas and concepts.
Building backlinks (links back to your website) from related websites is part of a good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plan for any website.
Do you have some other ideas for building links back to your small business website that have worked for you ? You can share your ideas with others here. We’d like to hear your thoughts.