LinkedIn is a powerful tool for engaging leads and making sales.
If you’re reading this blog, you probably have some idea about how important social media is for businesses.
With its 750+ million users, LinkedIn helps you connect with clients and generate income.
But to put this fluffy goodness into real terms, LinkedIn helps you:
- Generate brand awareness
Use LinkedIn to bring your brand to the thoughts of new prospective customers, while helping them to understand what you do and what you stand for.
- Communicate with your audience
Let your followers and connections see your latest activities and achievements or help solve problems for them.
- Boost traffic to your site
Social media marketing, including LinkedIn, generates clicks to your site, which in turn boosts your ranking on Google (it’s a search engine optimisation strategy).
- Generate leads
LinkedIn lets you generate leads that convert into paying customers.
Like other platforms, LinkedIn also allows you to create paid advertising and boost your posts so they reach a larger audience.
- Increase revenue
All of these factors combine to boost your bottom line.
In this article, we’ll show you three clever ways to help you reap these benefits from LinkedIn.
Is LinkedIn right for me?
As the professional platform, LinkedIn offers networking opportunities for individuals and businesses.
As such, LinkedIn has its own tone (professional), demographic (18+) and content types (often ‘long form’).
Just like Facebook is great for bonding with family/friends and Instagram’s great for slice-of-life and design, LinkedIn is ideal for professional services, thought leadership, technology and B2B marketing.
If you’re not sure whether LinkedIn is right for you, research some individual profiles and business pages that are in the same space. Through this competitor research, you can get ideas about how to use LinkedIn for your own purposes.
The profile tune-up
Before you’re able to connect with your clients in a meaningful way, you’re going to spruce up your profile.
With an up-to-date, professional and impactful profile, you will:
- Be discoverable to new clients
- Make more valuable connections
- Convert your leads into sales
Should I make a profile, a page, or both?
While there’s plenty of debate about this online, doing both is going to give you the best result. But it’s important to keep in mind that profiles and pages serve different purposes.
A profile is for an individual, and through it you’ll get more followers and more engagement with your posts.
On the other hand, pages are for businesses. They’re good for showcasing your services, recruiting talent and making major announcements.
If you only have time for one, focus on developing your personal profile, because business networking is the cornerstone of this platform.
How to nail the key elements of your profile and page
Being the professional networking platform, your profile photo should look… well, professional.
You don’t have to look like a super-model, but letting prospective clients see your face goes a long way towards building trust. And trust is key to their decision to do business with you.
If you have had a headshot taken at work, use that.
If you need to take one specifically for the purpose, make sure it’s well-lit with a neutral background, and that you’re looking into the camera and smiling.
When you upload your image, LinkedIn will give you the opportunity to edit it using an easy-to-use tool that includes cropping and filters.
For your company profile image, use your logo or something else that clearly communicates what your business is all about.
This is the image that sits behind your profile photo. A lot of people use the default LinkedIn banner.
But if you really want to carve out your own brand on this platform, take the opportunity to use or create a banner that suits.
What you call yourself on LinkedIn is very important, because it’s the first thing people find out about you.
This is your chance to grab the attention of relevant clients – being too vague will not get you a click!
Sum up your specialty, your approach and the brand you want to cultivate in a straightforward way. Try to fit it all into one line, so LinkedIn won’t chop it off with ellipses like these… For the company page, the title will be a headline. Same principles apply.
Don’t try this at home
Some people try to be clever and quirky in their titles.
We don’t recommend this because a) it just confuses people, and b) by not including relevant keywords, this makes your profile harder to find with the search function!
Some examples *not* to follow!
- Digital Curator
- Blue Sky Thinker
- Creative Visionary
- Networking Sherpa
- Vice President of Thought Leadership
- Currently Exploring Opportunities
This should be a clear and compelling description of what you or your business does and plans to do.
Again, this is your opportunity to include relevant keywords to help you get discovered by clients.
Always include words and phrases that best describe your business, expertise and industry focus.
Not sure what your keywords are? Read up about it in How to do Keyword Research Like a Pro in 2021.
You can also use this space to add contact details and relevant media, such as videos, portfolios, website links, etc.
Your LinkedIn page is 13 times more likely to be viewed if it has skills, so be sure to include them.
Here’s where you list the companies you’ve worked for and places you’ve studied.
It goes without saying, but while we’re here: never claim to be anything that you’re not. Through LinkedIn, it’s very easy to be found out and exposed.
For example, don’t claim to have studied at a university you never went to. Institutions like these regularly audit such claims.
Ask for recommendations from existing or former clients who resemble your future ideal clients.
These might be people in the same industry or who match in terms of company size or budget capacity.
It’s perfectly fine to toot your own horn in this space.
Describe your achievements in concrete terms, with figures and percentages if you can.
The might sound something like, “I increased sales by X%”.
Clever method # 1 – Strategise
If you want to use LinkedIn successfully for business purposes, you’ll need to develop a strategy.
Your strategy can be as simple or as complex as you’d like it to be, but only when you have one can you start seeing measurable results.
Start strategising by defining your objectives.
While your primary objective is to convert 100% of connection requests into leads and then paying customers, you’ll have to get specific and be realistic.
LinkedIn objectives might include:
- Engage with your ideal clients
- Grow your audience/reach/influence
- Sell your goods or services
- Build trust through credentialing
Here’s how to define your objectives:
- Be measurable – Write down how you will measure your results and give a quantifiable figure to strive for.
- Be realistic – It’s okay to be ambitious, as long as you’re not aiming to hit it out of the ballpark.
- Be relevant – Stay on track by relating your LinkedIn objectives back to your core business goals.
- Be timely – Make sure your goals can be achieved in the near future and set actionable timeframes.
Your strategy can only be truly successful if you measure results periodically.
This helps you work out whether what you’re doing is working or whether you should change tack.
Use your CRM to measure the success of your strategy by tracking the following metrics:
- Click-throughs to your website
- Engagement: likes, shares, comments, mentions
- Sales: number of leads, conversion rates, return on investment (ROI)
Clever method #2 – Grow your network
LinkedIn helps you make different professional connections in different ways.
These can include former colleagues, prospective clients, or people you know in your industry.
Send connection requests only to people you know, have met, or have had a business interaction with (even if it’s just an enquiry). This is how you create meaningful connections.
In contrast, sending connection requests to all and sundry can work against you.
Requests to strangers can be perceived as spam and get rejected. LinkedIn will use the rejector’s feedback to note that you’re spamming.
You will get a lot of connection requests from strangers. Whether you choose to accept them depends on your LinkedIn objectives and capacity.
If you’re aiming for brand awareness, you might accept all requests. But if you’re using LinkedIn for credentialling, being more selective is advantageous.
How to send connection requests to prospective clients
First, determine if it’s appropriate to send the connection request at all. Like we said above, it’s best not to spam people you don’t know in the hope that it could lead to a sale.
The best way to figure this out is by determining if there’s an authentic connection in it for both of you. What can you offer them aside from a new place to put their money?
Once you feel confident to send that request, craft a note that reflects the authenticity of the connection.
Obviously, a prospective client will know that you would love to sell to them, so there’s no use trying to mask your sales pitch as altruism. Aim to serve their goals, pain points, or your mutual interest.
Groups are a great way to start networking, growing your connections and your audience.
You can join up to a hundred groups – but that doesn’t mean you should.
It’s best to join a small but manageable number of groups that you would actually have the time, energy and budget to participate in.
A good way to narrow down your choice of groups is by looking locally or focusing on specific subject matter relevant to your business.
You could also select your group based on those that favourite clients or teammates are involved in.
LinkedIn will also recommend groups based on the keywords you’ve used in your profile, which is handy.
Again, as with all your LinkedIn activities, try to be helpful rather than using groups as a vehicle for spamming sales pitches.
Clever method #3 – Engage
As a busy small business, you probably don’t have the luxury of devoting yourself to a social media strategy that sucks away your time.
But even just half an hour a week on LinkedIn can be effective.
Here’s a recommended LinkedIn schedule:
- Check notifications
- Scroll through newsfeed
- Like and comment on interesting and useful posts
- Invite people who have looked at your profile to connect
- Send connection requests to people you meet
- Post interesting and relevant content
- Look up ideal clients or existing clients
- Like and comment on their posts
- Ask to connect
- Make more personalised comments if you know them – a little way to give back to your clients
- Craft specific content
- Download contacts and direct message people you’ve connected with
There are two types of LinkedIn content:
1 Page and profile updates
Post and share news, promotions, articles, or anything else about your organisation, to show up in people’s feeds.
You could even share other people’s news and articles, aka ‘content curation’.
This content is ‘short form’ because it’s limited to 1,300 characters. It can be in a variety of media such as words, images, texts, video, links and more.
2 Published articles and documents
This ‘long form’ content can be 125,000 characters and could include blogs, thought leadership pieces, longer news and announcements.
It’s a great way to start a conversation with your network, and you can share these published pieces to your feed.
Published pieces will take centre-stage in the activity section of your profile.
Whether you’re time-poor or simply prefer to run your business efficiently, scheduling posts is the way to go.
It’s important to do because it allows you to post at various days and times. Once you’ve done this for a while, you’ll discover which days and times get the most engagement and can schedule posts mostly in those slots.
There are plenty of free tools out there for scheduling to social media, and almost all have free plans.
These platforms will also give you the analytics you need to determine which posts get the most engagement, so you can craft future content accordingly.
Using LinkedIn for business the clever way
Now that you’re up to speed on how to use LinkedIn to grow your client base, you’ve probably noticed a theme.
All of the methods above stress the importance of authentic engagement with the platform as the best way to connect with clients.
As long as you don’t treat LinkedIn as a platform for aggressive self-promotion, you’ll see results in no time.