LinkedIn is the big daddy of B2B social media platforms and can prove an incredibly lucrative channel for businesses or marketers looking to find new clients online. With well over 400 million users to its name, this almighty social network has proven its worth when it comes to helping users discover, contact and convert prospects in their field.
Unfortunately, blazing the trail in your industry isn’t as easy as setting up a rough-and-ready profile and sending no-frills connection requests en masse. As is often the case in the marketing world, output is equal to input – and to win new business, you’ll need to work on your LinkedIn game.
These easy, actionable tips should be just the thing to help you on your way to becoming a LinkedIn legend – and if you’ve got some expert tips of your own, let us know in the comments!
Give your profile the royal treatment
Before even considering your LinkedIn marketing strategy, your profiles need to be on point. These are the window to your business and should be as accessible, informative and impressive as possible to do your brand justice. For best results, perfect both your personal profile and your company page – and ensure these are given the ongoing care and attention they deserve.
According to LinkedIn, completing your personal profile means you’re 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through the network – and yours isn’t officially complete without:
- Your industry and location
- An up-to-date current position (with a description of your role)
- Two previous positions
- Your education info
- Your skills (a minimum of 3)
- A profile picture (ideally a professional headshot)
- 50+ connections
Beyond taking care of the basics, optimising your personal LinkedIn profile brings a number of unique benefits – not least the opportunity to put a face to your brand name. A personal touch will serve you well in all aspects of your LinkedIn activity, from tailored connection requests to engaging updates – but it’s particularly crucial as far as creating a winning profile is concerned.
As well as offering an effective platform for advertising career opportunities at your organisation, your company profile is also a powerful tool for creating brand awareness and generating leads. To give your company page the weight it needs to make a great first impression, you’ll need:
- A Products & Services section packed with unique, added-value content – from blog posts and how-tos to industry case studies and white papers
- Exciting, high quality visuals – from custom graphics to company videos – grabbing your prospects’ attention and taking your page to the next level
- Showcase pages to give key products, services and content the exposure they deserve – with customised messages designed to target segments of your audience
- Updates that are short and to-the-point, providing just enough to entice your connections to click through for the full story on your company blog
- Audience engagement through encouraging users to share their opinions and join the conversation at every given opportunity
- Real insight into your company culture – giving connections an authentic look at the human side of your business and the people that comprise your team
- Ongoing and meticulous maintenance, so that your page is always up-to-date – and that includes everything from industry best practices to factual accuracy
Do your research
Data source: Oktopost
With LinkedIn Premium, you’ll have access to bigger, better search functionality – but even a basic account should do the job when it comes to identifying potential clients. The ‘advanced search’ feature gives you the opportunity to track down your dream prospects using criteria such as their job title, industry and location – and you can mine your past or existing clients to find the criteria you need.
Remember: prospecting through LinkedIn can result in hitting your ‘commercial use limit on search’ – after which search results will be significantly more limited. And, of course, every time you take a peek at another user’s profile while logged in, they’ll get a notification – so if you’re trying to be stealthy, make sure to sign out first.
Another rewarding routine involves ‘keeping your enemies close’. Having one eye on your competitors at all times is an effective way of staying up-to-date with industry best practices – and making this a force of habit will help you find inspiration in their profile updates, LinkedIn posts and pool of contacts.
Data source: LinkedIn
The best way to build brand awareness through LinkedIn is to stay on your prospects’ radars at all times – eliminating any possibility of them forgetting your name. By regularly messaging key connections and posting daily updates, you can keep your brand at the forefront of your contacts’ minds – creating a reputation for being proactive and, more importantly, personable.
Better yet, why not use your real life connections to your advantage and ask for an endorsement or recommendation? These seals of approval build a legitimate sense of trust in you and your brand – comparable to testimonials on a company website – and can give interested leads the incentive they need to opt in.
Fill your little black book
Data source: Investis
To broaden your online horizons, you’ll need to commit to continually growing your contact list – and as far as LinkedIn is concerned, that means taking an active approach to finding exciting new connections. From finding dream prospects in competitive circles to infiltrating thriving industry groups, there are a number of tried and tested methods for making new LinkedIn friends.
At an absolute minimum, you should be connecting with every professional you meet in person – be that at local networking events or industry expos, or through pure serendipity. Widening your pool of connections is sure to increase your chances of finding the perfect prospect – so seize every opportunity to reach previously untapped corners of the LinkedIn community.
You wouldn’t walk into a room, say hi and then make your exit – so why should your social media marketing be any different? Finely crafted LinkedIn messages are the key to being accepted and, more to the point, being remembered – and a personal touch goes a long way. Rather than sending bog-standard connection requests, send meaningful ones – and apply the same level of TLC to your direct messages. Offering prospects a valuable resource you’ve discovered or created alongside a friendly ‘I thought you might like this’ can be an effective conversation-starter – and could just be the start of a rewarding friendship.
As your modest connections list grows into a vast pool of prospects, it’s time to start thinking about how to approach these contacts – but first, you’ll have to figure out how best to manage them. If your long-term plan is to take communications to the next level and contact these individuals outside of LinkedIn, you’ll need to extract any relevant contact information from their profile and ensure these all-important details are carefully looked after.
Storing contact information may seem like a minimum effort ordeal – but depending on the level of sophistication you’re after, this can be a simple admin task or a great undertaking. Here are some of your options:
- Google Sheets is your no-nonsense solution to keeping your most promising connections in one place. Create simple, functional spreadsheets online and share around your team for the entry-level experience
- Buzzstream was designed for link-building and digital PR specialists, and gives you the tools to closely monitor relationships throughout the nurture process. Try this state-of-the-art software for intuitive, efficient and effective lead management
- HubSpot Contacts is your one-stop shop for all things CRM – giving prospects the pure, unadulterated professional treatment. Better yet, it can even be integrated with other leading tools – helping you to tailor every message to the recipient
Remember: unsuccessful businesses send bulk outreach – industry leaders have real conversations. Throughout the entire nurture process, ensure your messages are personal, thought-provoking and totally bespoke.
Prove your worth
Whether you’re curating content you’ve stumbled across online or creating something from scratch, value is the be all and end all. A reputation for providing unique, high quality and valuable content to your audience is something you should aspire to for the benefit of your connections and your company.
Making waves in your sector is no easy feat – and to have your brand’s voice heard amongst the industry noise, you’ll need to dance to the beat of your own drum, rather than that of your competitors’. Thought leadership is an incredible thing to achieve – and it’s only by challenging industry standards, sparking crucial debates and innovating accepted processes that you’ll be able to stand at this proverbial podium.
Becoming a thought leader isn’t something that’ll happen overnight and there’s no concrete ‘definition of done’ – but as you continue to increase brand awareness, you’ll find each first phone call is easier than the last. There’s no such thing as a cold email when it comes to household names – and if a prospect already knows who you are, that’s one less battle to fight.
Wondering whether to take the leap and go Premium? Upgrading to a no-holds-barred LinkedIn account is an investment rather than a cost – giving you access to improved versions of existing tools, and all-new functionality guaranteed to make your search for new business a whole lot easier.
There are a number of Premium options on the table – but for businesses looking to level up their sales efforts on LinkedIn, we’d recommend Sales Navigator or Business Plus:
- Sales Navigator unlocks 15 monthly InMail credits, advanced search options including no-limits profile searches, lead recommendations and real-time sales intel – helping you identify exciting sales opportunities through LinkedIn
- Business Plus brings with it 15 InMail credits a month, advanced search options, unlimited profile searches and in-depth information on who’s viewing your profile and how they found it – giving companies the tools to grow their professional network
Want to let us know how these tips worked for you, or flag up any fail-safes you think we’ve missed? Drop us a comment or get in touch today.