Alex Pirouz has just launched a business that capitalises on the challenges he says exist within LinkedIn.
The social media platform is challenging to navigate, prompting him to launch a business that shows others how to maximise and monetise their network.
The Sydneysider has launched Linkfluencer.com, which offers a 1½ hour online "business accelerator" programme for which he's charging A$697 ($739).
Pirouz is a 10-year veteran of the sales and marketing industry and also as a LinkedIn user who amassed 6800 connections in two years.
"I've used these connections to get featured in various business publications, land joint venture partnership and secure hundreds of new clients," Pirouz says.
"So many people just don't understand how you can use LinkedIn to actually build customers, so I decided to teach others how it works."
Pirouz says LinkedIn is increasingly important when trying to build sales and an online presence.
"In the past, buyers needed to trust a company before they would ever feel compelled to buy the product. Now, buyers need to like and trust the salesperson before they consider doing business with the company or buying its products, he says.
"LinkedIn has totally disrupted that process of connecting with decision makers. But the biggest issue with LinkedIn is that the platform hasn't explained the power of the platform well."
His webinar walks participants through the functions of the platform and explains how it can be used to grow sales.
It also includes videos that teach people how to use the platform to build their personal and company brand through the media. Participants will also learn how to create new joint venture partnerships and grow their business by acquiring new clients.
While LinkedIn training courses already exist, most focus on the features and benefits of the platform and don't give business owners tips on how to use the site to build their business, he says.
Pirouz built up a door-to-door sales team in Wollongong that was staffed by 40 people before he tried his hand at business consulting.
During this time he decided to seek out some publicity, and avoided the costs associated with PR firms by turning to LinkedIn to build direct connections with editors and journalists. Once he learnt a few tricks, Pirouz found this connection-building process easy, he says.
"I was having some success and going through this process got me excited about the potentials that LinkedIn offered. Everything I was doing involved trying to connect with decision makers. So I decided to take it one step further and teach others how to do the same thing."
Pirouz aims to have 1000 people complete his webinar this year. Participants will be invited to attend a one-day conference in Sydney at the end of the year to learn more about LinkedIn from other users.
His ultimate goal would be for LinkedIn to endorse Linkfluencer, or perhaps even incorporate his webinar into their offering, he says.
When contacted for comment, LinkedIn said it preferred to provide background on the broader business environment than about specific businesses.
A spokesman says the network fosters relationships and helps people build their professional brand.
"We regularly provide guidance for businesses about how to effectively utilise the LinkedIn platform," he said.
"For instance, we found that 93 per cent of B2B marketers rated LinkedIn as the most effective social media site in generating leads, while 91 per cent use LinkedIn to distribute content; the highest among social platforms."
The spokesman also pointed to a new publication called the Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn, which he said provides everything a marketer needs to know about getting the most value out of LinkedIn for themselves and their company.
- Sydney Morning Herald