If you are still skeptical that using LinkedIn to generate leads is the real deal then read this email that I received yesterday from someone who I met via LinkedIn.

The success here is two fol: One, the fact that Michael and I met through LinkedIn. Two, the success that Michael has garnered through LinkedIn to increase his client aquisition and revenue.

What Michael has shown here is an extreme interest in this social media platform, as well as acumen in seeing the capabilities that can be rendered with LinkedIn. Moreover, his persistence in utilizing the various assets within LinkedIn has paid off very well.

Micheal’s Letter: Using LinkedIn To Generate Leads

Edwin,

I use LinkedIn on a daily basis to network and develop leads and referrals for the company. One way I do this is by joining LinkedIn Groups (i’m in 53 groups, the max) and actively engage in discussions with other group members and professionals. I joined several industry-related groups that help build credibility for me as a tax practitioner and Landmark Tax Group, such as the National Association of Tax Professionals, California Society of Enrolled Agents, and Tax Business Owners of America. In these groups discussions, I help answer case-related questions posed by other practitioners in the tax and accounting industry as well as post industry-related news such as changes in the tax laws, new practitioner regulations, or updated publications and forms.

I also joined several groups based on the likelihood of reaching potential referral sources. Since Landmark Tax Group specializes in resolving IRS and State tax disputes, I spend a lot of time interacting with LinkedIn users that are excellent referral sources for the company, such as attorneys, financial advisors, insurance experts, escrow officers, and tax return preparers. As such, some additional LinkedIn groups I have joined are Beverly Hills Bar Association, Corporate Lawyer Network, Bankruptcy Law Firms, CPA and Business Professionals, Turnaround Management Association, and Real Estate Funding, among others.

In an effort to reach prospective clients directly and to maintain a more local presence, I have joined and am active in additional groups such as Irvine Chamber of Commerce, We Are Orange County, California State and Local Tax Professionals, Orange County Entrepreneur Community, and Los Angeles Times, among others.

I’m also a member of the Internal Revenue Service group which is only open to past and present employees of the agency. By participating in and contributing to this group, I am able to maintain a positive and professional relationship with currently IRS personnel which ultimately helps my clients and my firm.

I created and currently manage a LinkedIn group called “California Business Owners” in an effort to stay connected with prospective clients and as a means of providing free tax tips and information to my target market. The group has approximately 109 members and is the only LinkedIn group that caters to all business owners in the state of California, regardless of industry. I personally recruit new members and not only add invite them to the group, but also add them to my personal LinkedIn network. So, as the group grows, my LinkedIn connections grow, which leads to more exposure.

My top 3 tips for utilizing LinkedIn Groups would be:
1) Share relevant and unique content based on the Group’s topic and Member’s questions
2) Always include a “signature” at the end of each post. For example, my signature is: “Michael Raanan, MBA, EA
President
Former IRS Officer
http://www.LandmarkTaxGroup.com

Note: the ‘http://’, without it there is no hyperlink and therefore not clickable, reducing the chance a Member will visit your site.

3) Always take advantage of opportunities to engage with other members of the Group. This means posting as often as possible and to always respond to a Member’s comment that directly addresses you or your previous post. The more you engage, the more credibility you build among the group’s Members.

In addition to being active in LinkedIn’s groups, I take advantage of the profile links, the ability to send messages to connections, the like button to show support, commenting on postings of others, and status updates. We also have an official company page on LinkedIn complete with company profile and an explanation of our services.

One of the most beneficial features that LinkedIn provides is the ability to research and contact other individuals and businesses that can help you and your business. For example, LinkedIn has helped Landmark Tax Group generate over $12,000 in revenue from direct referrals. Through LinkedIn, I’ve met approximately 30 business professionals in person, including business owners, managing partners of large law firms, and executives of well-known organizations. Many of those meetings have led to referrals to Landmark Tax Group and the opportunity to serve clients that we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to reach. More often than not, other business owners and business professionals are looking to network, too, so there’s a mutual benefit to getting together for a one-on-one meeting where you can build a relationship and make a personal connection. I think of LinkedIn as a stepping stone, just one of many tools that help you connect with people that will help grow your company. I’ve been fortunate to make some really great friends along the way. Being actively engaged on LinkedIn has been extremely rewarding and the best thing about it from a small business perspective is, it’s free.

About me and my firm: I’m an Enrolled Agent, former IRS Revenue Officer and current owner of Landmark Tax Group™, a professional tax firm here in OC. Landmark Tax Group specializes in resolution of tax disputes and tax return preparation involving the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and State taxing authorities. The Firm represents both individual and business taxpayers in Orange County and throughout the United States.

Links:
Firm website: http://www.LandmarkTaxGroup.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LandmarkTaxGroup
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LandmarkTaxGrp
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/michael-raanan-mba-ea/49/277/b03

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