You always hear people talking about Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, but as a business development resource for B2B service providers, LinkedIn can be one of the more powerful social media tools around.
For amateurs and experts alike, the following tips will help you master LinkedIn:
Become a Thought Leader
In order to build your personal brand, and 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.
1) Post content that has to do with your industry, what you’re selling, and your target market. For example, I’ll post content about managing remote based staff, outsourcing and info on local high growth companies. This does not always have to be unique content! Blog posts are good, as they lead back to your website, but odds are you do not write one everyday. For finding industry articles, check out Topsy and Feedly.
2) 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. Commenting not only gets seen by the original author of that post, but his entire network as well! I have gotten leads from 2nd connections by doing this.
3) 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.
Use Groups to Message Prospects
One great hack to message prospects that aren’t currently connections is to join groups they are involved in. LinkedIn allows you to send direct messages to anyone in any group you join. 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 all groups that have to do with human resources, recruitment, and executive search in Australia. Once accepted into groups, I have direct access to thousands of contacts in my target market with whom I’m not a direct connection. Not only can I send anyone in that group a message, I now have a point of reference (group x).
Utilise Advanced Search of LinkedIn Premium
The search function in LinkedIn might be the number one most powerful tool this site has to offer. With LinkedIn premium, you can literally narrow your search by industry, company size, seniority level, and/or location amongst other things. Even without upgrading to premium, the search function is pretty amazing.
For example, I may want to aggregate all senior level recruiters in the Sydney area that own or operate companies of 1-50 people.
Using the advanced search makes it super easy to find exactly whom you are targeting. It cuts out all middlemen and gatekeepers that come with cold calls, and gives you the avenue to contact the majority of decision makers you are going after.
Create a Great Profile
In my opinion, having a great profile page is one of the most important parts of your LinkedIn strategy. If you’re using LinkedIn to create relationships and develop business for your current company,
Your profile should not be a life-long CV. It should highlight what you’re doing now and focus on what you’re ultimately trying to sell.
1. Include a description of what you’re company does, how you help people or businesses, and what your value offering is. Link any articles or blogs you’ve published, educational videos and anything else that will give you credibility to potential connections who visit your profile. As with any website strategy, the goal of your page is to have people staying on longer and reading more about what you do and how you can ultimately help them.
2. 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 finance and want to be perceived as powerful and trustworthy, a conservative business suit is your best bet. On the other hand, if you’re in a tech startup and want the ‘Gen Y’ perception going, you may choose to dress more casually. It might not be fair, but people who use an iPhone photo or a group photo for their LinkedIn profile picture instantly lose credibility. No iPhone selfies, nights out with the mates, or beer drinking photos should be used!