You might have mixed feelings about social media, but there’s one channel you simply can’t afford to ignore – LinkedIn. Many people think of LinkedIn as a place to look for jobs, but companies big small are utilising this platform to grow their businesses.
In a recent survey by Allianz, over 84% of respondents (small business owners) had generated business opportunities through LinkedIn. These findings show that LinkedIn can be a cost-effective growth strategy.
LinkedIn: Why it works & how to do it right
LinkedIn is the perfect platform for publishing meaningful, shareable content that resonates with your network – your customers, colleagues and industry. You don’t need to be spending your marketing budget on trade shows, glossy magazine ads or TV commercials – LinkedIn, when done right, can generate potential leads for you.
So, how can you unlock LinkedIn’s hidden potential to grow your business? Follow these strategies to start directing qualified, potential leads to your brand.
- Upgrade your account
Yes, this is not necessarily a strategy but it’s an important tip most people overlook when using LinkedIn. For a small fee, you get upgraded features such as InMail, which means you can send messages to anyone whether they’re in your network or not. Employing this tip can remove the barrier of people who only like to connect with people they know – you can send them a message and introduce yourself.
- Create an editorial calendar
LinkedIn, like all other marketing endeavours, requires planning. Avoid posting at a whim and use LinkedIn to stay in front of your network by consistent publishing updates – in the “share an update” box. A great way to achieve this is by creating an editorial calendar which includes the date, topic and type of content you’re posting.
- Research prospects
LinkedIn is powerful for its research capabilities. Using its “Advanced Search” function, you can find out things like:
- People currently at a company
- People that were previously at a company
- People with certain job titles
You can also use LinkedIn to find out if a company would be a good “fit” or to find a decision-maker within a company. All you need to do is search for your target company using the upper right-hand search box to generate results. This will bring up first connections – and if you don’t have any, filter by checking the “second connections” box. This will generate a list of names of people at the company you’re searching. Hop on to their individual profiles and you’ll be able to see if you share any connections – then ask to be introduced to your targets via LinkedIn and you can start the conversation.
- See who’s viewing your profile
The more frequently you post to LinkedIn – such as blog post links and photos – the more your profile will be viewed. Take notice of who has viewed your profile from your LinkedIn home screen. Don’t be afraid to connect with these people, as they might be potential opportunities.
- Add connections
Invest some time each week “connecting” with people. Click on the “People You May Know” list to find connections to broaden your network. It’s also important to add people to LinkedIn that you meet in person. This helps you stay top-of-mind in between your meetings and foster an authoritative voice – making it easier for your current clients to recommend you.
- Join groups
Find out where your customers might be hanging out on LinkedIn – this is typically in groups. Pick 3-5 groups and concentrate on engaging with potential customers by sharing insights and adding your unique voice. Another great thing about being part of a group is that LinkedIn lets you connect with other group members – even if you don’t share any connections.
- Publish your blog posts
The “publish a post” is ideal for longer form pieces – anywhere from 500-700 words – that you’d like to share with your network. Simply go to your home page and click on “publish a post,” and you’ll be directed to a blank blog post page. All you need to do is add an image, a headline and the body copy. If you’re already blogging on your website, optimise the content by sharing it on LinkedIn too.
- Optimise your posts
Include a call to action at the end of each post you share to drive prospects to your website and other social media channels.
Be wary not to use each post to promote your company, but there’s no harm in directing them to additional resources if it’s relevant.
- Mention other influencers
LinkedIn is a network of your professional relationships, so don’t be shy sharing some of the great people you meet Monday to Friday. Share useful stories from conversations you’ve had with people you meet, or reference an achievement of theirs to drive home a point in your article. The people you mention will likely share the post with their networks, expanding your content’s reach.
- Build a list of potential leads
Start building a list of the connections of the contacts in your network that you’d like to meet. A good place to start is by browsing “Recommendations.” As your list grows, you can start asking your connection (that knows them) them to introduce you. Remember – always try to be prepared with an explanation of why you’d love to meet them and how they can benefit from connecting with you.
With any social media, you only get out what you put in so take the time to invest in LinkedIn and you’ll soon see its potential as a lead generation tool to incorporate into your overall lead generation strategy.