BE BETTER AT LINKEDIN TO WIN NEW BUSINESSES
Let us guess. You're on LinkedIn. You're reasonably happy with your photo. You've bigged yourself up a bit, but not too much and you've even accepted the odd LinkedIn request (whilst, you know, ignoring a few, because you get way too many.)
But what's next? How can you make LinkedIn work better for you in the time you have?
We've been reading up on this, to make better use of the platform ourselves. LinkedIn has a staggering 467 million members and operates in more than 200 countries. It started out as a place to post your online profile and contact details, but LinkedIn is much more than a 21st-century Rolodex; it's the best place on the internet to do real business.
Here are 10 really simple things you can do to get more out of LinkedIn.
1) KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
To be good at LinkedIn you need to know what you hope to get out of the platform. First ask yourself, why you're on LinkedIn? Is it to generate leads? To make new contacts? To stay engaged with old ones? To recruit new staff? To promote yourself to employers? To promote your business? Or all of the above?
2) OPTIMISE YOUR PROFILE
Once you know what you want, the rest is really easy. Hundreds of thousands of people search LinkedIn every day but if your profile doesn't include keywords for your business they will miss you completely. The best way to think about these words is to put yourself in the potential client's position. What would you type into Google to find a company like yours? Now you've got these words, make sure they're included in your company profile.
Read more about increasing your visibility on LinkedIn here.
3) GET INVOLVED IN GROUPS
Imagine there were regular networking events, just for your business or sector that you could easily attend and would cost you nothing. If you were out of the loop you'd be gutted, right? Well, that's what's happening if you're not involved in LinkedIn groups. Find groups that relate to your business, or even start a new group and get involved.
Read more about getting the best out of LinkedIn groups here.
4) SUSS OUT THE COMPETION
LinkedIn is a treasure trove of information and often presents the best insight into a rival company you can get (short of breaking into their office and stealing their company accounts - not recommended). But LinkedIn isn't just about benchmarking competitors. You can swat up on conference speakers you're about to see, clients you're about to meet, business opportunities and people you'd love to hire. Use LinkedIn to really network and try to reach out to people you want to connect with through a mutual contact.
Read more about connecting with people on LinkedIn here.
5) HELP PEOPLE
LinkedIn, on the whole, is a friendly place and it lets you help other people make useful connections. In other words, you know somebody who wants to get to know somebody else you know, and you can help them do it. Helping others on LinkedIn is a great way to connect and build relationships.
But the real reason to help people is so that they can help you back. You know the theory of six degrees of separation? That goes double for LinkedIn. You may only be a couple of connections away from your dream client, contract, partner or employee. The more people you help, the closer you can get to your own goal.
Read more about introducing new connections here.
6) BLOG DIRECTLY TO YOUR AUDIENCE
Making connections isn't the only way to help people on LinkedIn. Writing a blog that is useful to people is also a great idea too. It demonstrates expertise, helps you become an influencer, creates awareness of you and your brand and shows that you genuinely care about the business you're in. This makes you look authentic and knowledgeable and can lead to new business. (But that's not why we're writing this blog, we're just good people, honest)
Joke's aside, LinkedIn's ‘write a post' function is criminally underused. It gives you the ability to target content directly to specific groups and followers, the very people you're hoping to connect with and it's as easy to use as Microsoft word.
7) KNOW WHEN TO USE ‘WARM LEADS'
On a daily basis, we're bombarded with emails, tweets, LinkedIn mail, SMS – we could go on. If a contact is of particular interest to you and could lead to more valuable contacts, you should still try and meet them in person. If a person has actually met you they are much more likely to accept your LinkedIn request and assist in a referral in the future.
8) NEVER SAY THIS
Our point about ‘warm leads' leads us nicely into another good tip. Don't send generic, automated LinkedIn requests. Ever. People hate them. They're impersonal and they're so much easier to ignore. Compare the generic ‘I'd like to add you to my professional network' to ‘Hi Paul, how are things? We met yesterday and I'd love to learn more about your business'. Feel the difference?
Read more about this issue here.
9) GET THE TEAM ONBOARD
You and your team love Facebook (we've seen the pictures) but you really should love LinkedIn as well. It's a smartened up Facebook for business and the benefits are tenfold. Your employees are often your greatest resource and strongest ambassadors. They know more about your company than anyone else and that knowledge is gold dust. The more individuals you have on LinkedIn; the greater number of connections you will make. Your staff will increase the visibility of your brand and can even share the burden of updating a company's profile.
Read more on the benefits of company-wide LinkedIn profiles here.
10) INVEST A BIT MORE TIME IN IT
Finally, like a lot of things, with LinkedIn, you get out what you put in. If you want LinkedIn to work for you, you have to do more than log on and check out ‘Who's viewed my page?'. Even 15 minutes a day could make a real difference to your business and establish credibility where it matters. And guess what? You might even enjoy it. LinkedIn believe that people who spend 15 minutes a day on the platform use their time to comment, chat and reach out to people. Way more fun than the mind-numbing monotony of all those endless emails. Why not start today? Head to linkedin.com