LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service that launched in 2003. It is mainly used for professional networking and currently has over 300 million members.
LinkedIn is more than just a place to update your work experience when you are looking for a job; it’s a place to network with your professional community, whether through coworkers, clients, customers, friends, past employers and those you connect with generally. And this doesn’t just mean as an individual.
As a business, including a catering one, you have the opportunity to leverage the site’s amazing networking platform to generate new and ongoing business for your catering or off-premise program. With 300 million+ members, there is the potential to speak to a huge audience when it comes to promoting your business and catering offers. As an operator, you have the opportunity to connect with local businesses that may be prospects for business-to-business catering, and utilize existing relationships you may have through the site to grow your catering clients.
By searching for specific types of companies or even looking for individuals that hold a certain role within an organization, you can promote your services to businesses that are local to you, adding the convenience factor to the equation and generating regular, repeat business. With the option to utilize company pages or specific groups, such as a catering-based one, you can direct your messaging to specific types of people or organizations for maximum impact, can generate special offers for the LinkedIn audience (and then know your ROI specifically based on that offer), and connect with people in a purely business-to-business sense. All of these elements are ones that other social sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, are lacking because they are purely social in nature, and don’t have such effective searching or connection functions.
One company that does this exceptionally well is Denver-based Mad Greens, a great client of Monkey’s, that has a well-established catering and off-premise program, and utilizes LinkedIn for hyperlocal marketing opportunities. Mad Greens targets everyone from executives to administrative assistants near each Colorado location, and provides useful information such as links to catering menus, special deals and promotions. One of the added benefits to posting in such a public, business setting, is the ability for those who have experienced Mad Greens’ catering program to share their comments on the service – a perfect opportunity to share testimonials about how stress-free, creative and responsive their catering program is. Check out their page for some inspiration as to how you can extend your marketing beyond your four walls and take advantage of this great (free!) business networking tool.