I work with a lot of clients who are competing with big businesses. To succeed against the big players in their industry, who outstrip these small businesses in terms of resources and ad spend, LinkedIn offers a great opportunity to promote your expertise and generate leads.
By creating a presence on the professional network, you can increase your reach by making yourself and your business easily findable, and by connecting and engaging with others.
Social Media Consultant Charlie Harper spoke of the professional advantages of using LinkedIn compared with other social media sites to generate leads. He said, “while there are 5x the people on Facebook, the people on LinkedIn are there for a completely different reason – to promote and grow their business. Why are you active on Facebook? To connect with friends and family. Different reasons to be active, different results for making money.”
But how exactly do you achieve results using LinkedIn? The first step is to create an engaging, findable and professional profile. Keep the following in mind:
Have clients come to you: It’s important to remember that LinkedIn is a search engine. This means it offers a great opportunity for you to be found by new clients. The key to this is SEO. LinkedIn is indexed heavily by Google, and this means that with the right SEO you will be found by the right types of clients.
Then show how you add value: To support business-to-business selling, your LinkedIn profile needs to market you and your business. It needs to be clear to the potential client how you can help them and what problems you solve.
Once you have these things in place, here are the top 3 essential elements of a LinkedIn profile that generates leads:
Publish: Position yourself as an expert and make your presence known via the LinkedIn publishing platform. Write your own articles and make sure that they not only provide information, but emphasise why the topic is important. It’s about educating your market. Include some practical steps so that readers can start taking action.
As highlighted by Poynter (a global leader in journalism) journalists are frequently searching LinkedIn to identify and source experts to write for other publications or to add validation to their own stories. If you are regularly showcasing your industry knowledge by publishing articles, you could be picked up to contribute to other publications. That’s a massive boost to your credibility and visibility!
Don’t forget to also like, comment on and share other people’s posts. By sharing industry-relevant content with your connections, you’ll get your name in front of more people and create a strong online presence.
Collaborate: Identify and connect with other experts in your field. LinkedIn has handy search tools to help you find exactly the kinds of professionals you want to connect with. By aligning yourself with other professionals, your network will expand.
Top tip: When reaching out to connect, ensure you send a quick, personalised message. There’s an option to do so as soon as you send a connection request, and I find this is a much more effective strategy for creating meaningful connections than sending a request with no introduction.
Leverage groups: Engage with others in your field, potential clients and like-minded professionals by providing information and answering questions posted in LinkedIn groups. There are groups for every industry and just about every niche within those industries. You can also sort group interactions so you can quickly identify discussions around your area of knowledge.
With an article on the benefits of LinkedIn engagement citing that those who interact in LinkedIn Groups on average achieve 4 times more profile views, the reasons for integrating this into your business marketing strategy are abundantly clear.
By following these 3 essential elements, professionals and business owners can create a strong presence, increase their connections and generate leads using LinkedIn.