Love it or loathe it, there’s no denying the power of LinkedIn…
LinkedIn generates 3 times more conversions than Twitter and Facebook and is the social media platform of choice for B2B brands. For small-medium sized businesses, it provides a unique opportunity to reach people you wouldn’t usually get the chance to.
You can discover prospective customers, partners, suppliers and employees, as well as following other leaders within your industry. There will also be plenty of people who reach out to you through LinkedIn.
Think of it as your little black book of contacts – only limitless.
Whether you use it often or rarely, it’s important to keep your profile looking smart and up-to-date. As we mentioned, people will use it to search for you or check out your business and you want to make the right impression.
You might not use LinkedIn daily, or even weekly, but keeping your profile up-to-date is still worth doing. It’s also probably not as time consuming as you might think. To help you get started, we’ve put together this 11 point cheat sheet…
1. Complete your profile
It might sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many small business owners/ managers don’t have even the basic profile information completed. For starters, make sure you’re linked to your company page.
You should also have a short summary outlining who you are and what your business does for its customers. Add a professional profile image (not a selfie, please!) and ensure that your contact details are listed in your bio so people can reach you outside of direct messaging.
2. Join relevant groups
LinkedIn isn’t purely about building sales connections; it’s also a platform for industry discussion. A quick search will bring up hundreds of groups relating to your industry and that of your customers. These groups are fantastic for keeping an eye on industry news, ideas and debates.
Some groups may require approval before you join, but many are open. Here you’ll find people posting and replying to questions, sharing news, offering advice and engaging in some healthy discussion. Many of these people will be potential customers.
Getting involved by answering a question or providing advice is great because you’ve already helped someone out before even introducing your business or services. This positions you as an impartial expert in your field and is a soft-touch way of introducing yourself to new customers.
3. Connect with people
As a minimum, make sure you’re connected with your employees, colleagues, key customers, partners and prospects. By doing this, you create a network of people relevant to your industry who will see the content you publish, like or share.
Encouraging close connections, such as employees, to like, comment on and share your posts helps them to be seen by a wider audience. Connections can also recommend you for services and skills, making your profile look more accomplished to anyone who stumbles across it.
4. Post content through your profile
If the first thing a prospect comes across on your profile is a photo of your office Christmas party from 2014, they could be forgiven for thinking you’re no longer active – and no longer worth following!
Keep your profile fresh and up-to-date by posting regularly; at least 2 or 3 times a week if possible. Images, videos, project and industry news is all post-worthy content that will engage your audience without saying ‘buy my products’ too obviously.
5. Write articles!
Publishing articles on your profile has huge value. An estimated 45% of the people who spend time reading LinkedIn articles are decision makers and many people now go specifically to the platform for useful content relating to their industry.
LinkedIn articles can be adapted from existing blog posts on your website, case studies or simply state your position on current issues. As long as they are useful, informative and relevant to your audience they will avoid coming across as sales-y.
6. Use the search tool – it’s brilliant
Do you want to reach more Managing Directors within a certain area? Is there a specific prospect you’re trying to track down? Or perhaps you have a wish list of companies you’d like to work with in the future?
Give it a search! You might be surprised at the accuracy of the results.
The search tool is extremely useful for reaching out to individuals you’d like to do business with, either now or down the line. You might not be ready to pitch just yet, but staying connected with an individual can help you grow awareness of your brand until you are.
7. Don’t be passive
Contrary to popular belief, social media isn’t just for exhibitionists. In actual fact, it can spark productive debates and connect people who have something genuinely useful to share with one another.
Don’t be passive – get involved wherever you can. This could be as simple as liking, commenting or sharing other people’s content. If you do have something to say, joining in the conversation is a great way of getting noticed and showing off your expertise.
8. Be yourself, but be professional!
When social media accounts are overly managed, they come across as dull and artificial. For people to engage with your profile, it needs to appear natural. So, be yourself! Just make sure it’s always the most professional, approachable version of yourself…
9. Proofread, everything
This is an obvious one… but no typos, please! Need we say more?
10. Personalise your LinkedIn profile URL
When you create a profile on LinkedIn, it automatically generates a random URL. Personalising this with your name and business name makes it easier for people to find you, both on google and within LinkedIn search. It’s a quick change, but a hugely beneficial one!
11. Personalise your connection messages
Connection messages are a chance to break the ice with potential customers while you’re still front of mind. Don’t waste this opportunity by copying and pasting something generic, as a recipient will see straight through this.
Instead, take the time to write a short but personal message, maybe including something specific about their business or previous work they’ve completed. This way, you’ll be much more likely to catch their attention and invite a response.
We hope the piece has given you an idea on some of the easy ways you can get the most from LinkedIn. In the meantime, if you would like to talk about your sales process or any other area of your business, contact us on 0113 394 4559 or firstname.lastname@example.org.