Has your business been struggling to find new clients? Consider LinkedIn. This powerful professional networking site has proven to be very effective in generating qualified leads and prospective customers.
Maybe you’ve tried LinkedIn, but you’re not getting the results you want. Well, you’re not alone. Business owners often tell us they know they are not leveraging this platform’s opportunities to yield the fullest result.
But…you can. What if I told you that if you spent a little bit of dedicated time on LinkedIn each week, you could start receiving a continuous flow of qualified leads? Well, that’s just the case with these five basic LinkedIn strategies that you can implement today to start seeing results immediately.
STRATEGY #1: CREATE A PROFESSIONAL PROFILE.
When we meet with our social media marketing clients, the first step is to understand their business goals, their target audience and their unique market differentiators. Once these are defined, we cater their business profile on LinkedIn to those target audience decision makers. Here are some helpful tips to assist in making your profile stand out:
• Make sure that your profile is professional, search-optimized, and most of all, client-focused and written to get the attention of the prospective decision maker.
• If you’re the owner of your business, list your title as CEO, President or something in that realm. Other CEOs often want to associate with CEOs, not “Business Development” people.
• Be specific. You must have it clearly spelled out who you are, who you help, and how you can help them to avoid confusion for those who land on your profile.
• Get to the point fast in your “Summary”. Forget telling stories about how you used to play with computers when you were two. It’s ok to tell an origin story, but do that after you tell me what you can do now.
• Try to throw in a little creativity and personality into your profile where appropriate to make it the least boring as possible.
STRATEGY #2: CONNECT WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW (OR HAVE KNOWN IN THE PAST).
LinkedIn is all about business and personal connections. You never know where that next connection is going to come from or where someone in your past might lead to your next big deal. Here are a couple tips to maximize your efforts:
• Send a personal message along with every request to connect with that person. Unless you’re close friends, don’t assume that someone will remember who you are. Gently remind them and most people will connect with you.
• Never miss a chance to connect. Build up your contacts by reaching out to your second and third level connections. When you meet someone online or off, make sure you follow up with a connection request while you are still fresh on their mind.
STRATEGY #3: IDENTIFY PROSPECTS.
Join as many relevant groups as you can find. Look for your college alumni groups, groups from previous jobs, social groups, industry groups, and anything else you can find.
Most LinkedIn users rely on groups to stay abreast on industry news, but they can also be an excellent source for new sales leads by:
• Giving insight into a prospective company’s current situation through reading their comments in the group activity.
• Allowing you access to more personal details of the LinkedIn user, whereas unless you already have a first level connection, you usually cannot see their full name.
• Creating an opportunity and reason to connect, as one of the options available when sending a connection request is that you both belong in a group together.
You can also use the LinkedIn Advanced Search tool to find prospects who have job titles within your target audience such as: CEO, Accountant, VP Sales, Marketing Director, HR Specialist, etc.
This search can be performed with or without selecting specific groups to search in.
Just type in your keywords (the job title) under the Advanced People Search then select 2nd connection under Relationship, then check the group you wish to search in.
The Advanced Search Tool can also be used to search for companies within a specific area. Once the results list returns results, you can choose to follow those organizations and/or research their company pages to find out who their decision makers are.
STRATEGY #4: USE INMAIL TO CONNECT WITH THOSE HARD TO REACH SENIOR DECISION MAKERS.
LinkedIn allows you to send an InMail to anyone using LinkedIn without having to request a connection first, and ensures that it goes straight to their inbox. However, they are only available on paid accounts but with the Sales Navigator Professional premium plan, you’re able to:
• Send 15 InMail messages a month
• See who’s viewed your profile
• Have an unlimited profile search ability
• Hone in on the decision makers and create custom lead lists with advanced search filters
• Get lead recommendations able to be saved to a list
*As a side note, to avoid the costly InMail messaging options, if you do not already have a premium account and are not able to get one anytime soon, when you join a group, you are able to send 15 free messages per month instead of expensive InMails to people that share the same LinkedIn Groups as you.
STRATEGY #5: WRITE LINKEDIN RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOUR FELLOW COLLEAGUES.
LinkedIn’s recommendations are incredibly powerful when it comes to hooking your dream job. The more you can obtain from different colleagues, the better. With permission of course, you can take these testimonials outside of LinkedIn to be used on your website or other marketing materials. More often than not, when you write a recommendation for someone, they recommend you back (LinkedIn also sends them a reminder).
STRATEGY #6: RESEARCH AND CONNECT WITH JOINT VENTURE AND REFERRAL PARTNERS.
• Start by making a list of people that are a natural fit for your company. Depending on your industry, this could be a variety of local companies that interact with the same type of target audience clientele you do.
• As explained above in the Identify Prospects section, once you have your list, start plugging in keywords in the “People or Company Search” on LinkedIn.
• Whenever you find someone on LinkedIn who appears to be a potential partner, you can ask to connect with them by saying something like this in the connect request:
“Hey ‘Firstname’, I just happened upon you here in LinkedIn. We happen to both be friends with <insert mutual 1st connection>. I’m the CEO over here at ‘YourCompanyName’ and we often find the need to refer out business to people such as yourself. I’m not sure if you’re taking on any new business at this time, but figured that I’d introduce myself and connect with you here on LinkedIn in case you are. -‐’YourName’.”
The Boolean search abilities on LinkedIn are staggering. Most people do not realize how targeted they can actually make their search criteria. You can read this Tip Sheet from LinkedIn here on how to use modifiers like quotes, parenthesis, AND, OR, and NOT.