Are you using LinkedIn?
If you’re selling to other businesses (B2B) then LinkedIn is the place to be. With over 400 million users it’s like having a huge Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool at your fingertips.
But are you getting the most out of it? Be honest. Are you using it as part of your social media strategy – do you have a plan of attack? Or are you there because everyone else is there and you just want to put a cross in the ‘create LinkedIn profile’ box?
If you’re struggling to use LinkedIn to grow your business then maybe there are just a few simple changes that you need to make to turn things around.
So here are 7 simple tweaks that will make you a LinkedIn expert.
Tweak #1 – Be Clear About Your Objectives
Probably the main reason that people drift when it comes to LinkedIn is that they just don’t have clear objectives. They just seem to be making up the numbers and not really getting much in return.
But setting objectives is going to give you a whole lot of clarity. This is probably the biggest change in mindset that you will have and from here you’ll find that things become a whole lot simpler.
If you think about it, all you need to ask yourself is “what do I want to get out of LinkedIn” and then try to focus on these three areas:
- Getting more exposure for your business (backlinks, media exposure, guest blogging)
- Finding partners who can help you promote your products and services
- Getting more leads for your business
In fact there’s no problem if you want to focus on all three. Great, that’s excellent. It doesn’t matter that each requires a slightly different approach. The point is that you are now setting clear objectives and that is a solid foundation for you to build on.
Tweak #2 – Identify Prospects
OK, you’ve got your objectives. Great. You’ve established the end game.
Now you need to match those objectives with the people you need to reach out to and include into your network.
Depending on the objective(s) you’ve set you need to create an Avatar for each one.
If media exposure is what you’re after then these are going to be editors, contributors, bloggers and copywriters. Geographically you’re probably not to worried where they’re located because your objective is to raise your media profile.
If you’re looking for partners that just depends on your type of business. A locally based business is going to have a completely different requirement than an Ecommerce business who can cast a much wider net.
If it’s leads you’re after then depending on the nature of your business this will dictate what your Avatar looks like. If you’re selling big ticket, complex services then you’re looking at senior decision maker whereas lower value services will mean that you can set your sights lower.
But don’t just think this is for B2B. If you’re B2C business then media coverage and partnerships are definitely where you need to be looking rather than lead generation.
Once you’ve identified them, LinkedIn’s advanced search facility allows you to narrow in on your targets. Now you can start to identify the exact people who can help you achieve your objectives.
Tweak #3 – Create A Process
You know what you want and you know who you need to help you. Great.
Now you need to maintain that discipline with a structured process.
There’s no right or wrong here.
The only thing you need to focus on is documenting a process that takes you from unknown to on the radar to trusted relationship.
Now that’s not going to happen overnight and it’s not going to happen with just one email.
Your process needs to be a multi-step process that focuses on building trust and demonstrating that you are a credible and reliable partner.
Tweak #4 – Focus On Relationships
Imagine you’re at a business seminar or conference and you have the opportunity to network. Do you just head up to people and start pitching to them?
Of course not.
You engage with them. You understand what they do and you explain what you do. There’s a certain formality to it initially, but you’re just learning about one another. You’re developing trust.
This is exactly what you need to do with LinkedIn. It’s exactly the same situation.
Get to know your contacts. Share ideas with them and look for ways that you can help them before you ask for something in return.
Tweak #5 – Post Great Content
Nowadays, more than ever, content is central to your success.
You need to commit to creating the best content that you can. Content that educates, informs and solves problems.
Content that clearly states: I am an expert – you can trust me.
Whilst your blog will always be the centre of your online universe LinkedIn also allows you to post content.
You can either post regular updates – maybe two or three a day maybe featuring content created by your contacts or post an update on your own content from your blog.
You can also post long form content in LinkedIn. Consider your target audience(s) and create content that will engage them. Sure, creating long form content takes time but it’s worth the effort and you can always repurpose content from your own blog.
Tweak #6 – Solution Focused Profile
You’ll often hear people telling you that your LinkedIn profile page is super important and that’s absolutely true.
But you’re not using LinkedIn to get a job – you’re there to grow your business. So rather than setting up your profile to read like a glorified CV make it solution-oriented. Focus it on how you can help, things that make you stand out. Things that make you unique.
Of course that means filling in all of the options available and using video, slides, graphics and written content to make sure you stand out when your connections check you out.
Tweak #7 – Ask Questions
Whether you run your own group or you participate in groups never forget how powerful a question is.
If you’ve ever participated in LinkedIn groups you’ve probably noticed that they will often end up with very little two way conversation and people just promoting their own content.
But LinkedIn Groups can be an excellent way to network and asking questions to the group is a powerful technique. It allows you to listen and to understand where the pain points exist and this can provide you with a constant flow of ideas for content.
So try to stop promoting yourself and get into the habit of asking questions and stimulating the conversation.
LinkedIn is an extremely powerful tool for growing your business when used with a structured plan.
Start by understanding what objectives you are focused on. Once you know this you can start to identify the people who can help you achieve a successful outcome.
Use a multi-step, structured plan that is focused on building relationships and centres around creating high quality content and presenting you as a solution provider.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community