Facebook likes and Twitter re-tweets are sexy, but as a business development resource for soloists, LinkedIn might be the most powerful social media tool around. Here’s how to build your business via LinkedIn.
Bewildered by LinkedIn? Heard others rave about it but just can’t figure out how they get the results they do?
Regardless of whether you’re amateur or expert, the following techniques will help you navigate LinkedIn like a pro – building both your business and your brand along the way.
1. Become a thought leader
In order to build your personal brand, and garner trust amongst your network, it’s important to become a thought leader in your field. Doing so will make you the go-to resource for any industry relevant questions or enquires from your connections. How do you use LinkedIn to do this?
- Post content that has to do with your industry, what you’re selling, and your target market. For example, I’ll post content (blog posts, links to other sites, little thoughts and quotes) about managing remote based staff, outsourcing and info on local high growth companies. (And it’s worth remembering that this does not necessarily have to be unique content!)
- Comment on relevant updates from your connections. If a connection posts an article about your company’s industry, leave a comment with your opinion and/or advice. This is a great way to get your name out there as everyone in his or her network will see your comment as well.
- Join the discussion in groups. Join groups specifically geared to your industry and the industries of companies you’re targeting. Share content, leave comments and create relationships through discussion.
2. Use groups to message prospects
One great hack to message prospects who aren’t currently connections is to join groups they are involved in. LinkedIn allows you to send direct messages to people whom you share groups with. This is an amazing advantage as it allows you to contact almost anyone you’re targeting in any industry.
For instance, if this week I decide to target recruitment companies, I will join groups that have to do with human resources, recruitment, and executive search in Australia. Once accepted into those groups, I will have access to thousands of contacts in my target market that aren’t a first connection. Not only can I send anyone in that group a message, I now have a point of reference with them once we connect.
3. Utilise advanced search
The search function in LinkedIn might be the most powerful and useful tool this site has to offer. You’re able to search by industry, company size, seniority level, and location to name a few. This is extremely useful when prospecting for new clients.
Let’s say, for example, that I want to find CEOs of Executive Search companies in Sydney that employ 1-50 staff. I simply input “CEO” in job title, “Executive Search” in keywords, “1-50 staff” under company size, and “located within 25 kilometers of area code 2000” in the location tab. In seconds I’ll have a list of all LinkedIn users who match those criteria.
4. Create a great profile
A clean and informative profile is one of the most important parts of your LinkedIn strategy. Rather than treating it like an online CV, think of it more as an extension of your businesses website. Your profile should primarily focus on what your business does and how it can potentially help anyone who visits your page.
- Describe what your business does, who it helps, and its value offering. Humanise it a bit by adding some customer testimonials.
- Link articles you’ve published, educational videos and anything else that will enhance your credibility. As with any website strategy, the goal of your page is to have people staying longer and reading more about what you do and ultimately, how you can help them.
- Make sure you have a professional photo that reflects your company’s culture and how you want people to perceive you. If you’re in financial services and want to be seen as powerful and trustworthy, a conservative business suit is your best bet. On the other hand, if you run a creative business, dressing quirky and casual might be more appropriate.
As with any social platform, you will only get out of LinkedIn what you put into it. Before deciding it’s not worth your while being active there, make sure you actually give some or all of the above a go first.
Have you been able to build your business via LinkedIn? I’d love to hear your story below.