The tenth of our weekly interviews in which we discover how real businesses are making Social Media work for them. Please meet Patrick Bird from Interactive Performance Management.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am a facilitator, trainer, coach and public speaker. I work with corporate clients through an associate relationship. For example I am currently working with a Government Department as an associate of Price Waterhouse Coopers. I frequently use role play in my work and finding business through an associate relationship is easier as I find it difficult to sell what I do to end clients. I often form a part of a change management or HR project run by my associate partner. I also deliver a number of talks. For example I spoke at the Institute of Grocery Distribution master class.
How do you use Social Media?
I mainly use LinkedIn. I do have a presence on Twitter but that is generally a repeat of whatever I update on Twitter. I would like to put together some video blogs in the future. I also send out a newsletter every 2 months.
I find LinkedIn really useful for keeping in touch with people that I have trained. Graduates who have come to master class events a few years ago are now in more senior positions and I find LinkedIn and a newsletter a good way of keeping in ‘front of mind’.
I subscribe to the premium version of LinkedIn which allows me to send a number of inmails each month. Each month I use LinkedIn to research companies and individuals who might be interested in the skill that I am promoting that month, e.g. Story telling might be a promotion and I will search to find experimental training companies, acting companies, etc. I then send a structured inmail focused around the individual and what I have found out during my research. In October I sent out 9 inmails, got 7 replies, 6 meetings, 3 contacts and 2 are leading to business. The success of it does depend on the quality of the research I carry out and how targeted I can make the inmail.
I do use LinkedIn groups to post discussions around articles I have written, but I need to spend more time finding the right groups and being more focused, getting involved in discussions. When I was able to use LinkedIn answers, I found that answering questions was successful so I know that being more targeted with groups would work.
Can you share a Personal Success Story?
The Price Waterhouse Coopers contact was somebody I met 4 years ago but I kept in contact with through LinkedIn and newsletters so when he needed some work done, he thought of me when he needed my style of training and this has led to a large contract.
I also like the fact that LinkedIn is accessible from wherever I happen to be. It has become my main form of marketing.
Can you give our readers a top tip?
Understand why you are using LinkedIn. Spamming groups doesn’t work. Use a focused approach and update on a regular basis.