By now everyone knows what a great place LinkedIn is to build your business network and find potential clients. However, how to actually go about using LinkedIn to get ahead in the business world is something that still seems to elude people. Just knowing that your LinkedIn activity can help your business is not enough. This is one network where your socializing has to have a clear purpose and straightforward strategy! Here are the four key components of your LinkedIn strategy that can help you get more clients and boost your business.
First, you need to complete your entire LinkedIn profile – yes, the whole thing! It’s a long process, but you will suffer in the social network’s search rankings if you don’t do this. If you have already completed your profile, make sure it stays updated with the latest information, as you never know when a new thing you’re doing will catch the eye of a prospective client.
Remember that keywords are of the utmost importance when you are filling out your LinkedIn profile. This is because how well you utilize your main keywords (i.e. keyword density) determines how well you rank at LinkedIn when a prospective client searches for those terms. You should already know the buzzwords that people look for in your industry, but if you don’t then make it a point to look at the profiles of other successful business owners in your niche to see what types of keywords they are using. Be sure to use your keyword in your headline, as that is also an important factor in LinkedIn search rankings.
Finally, get some recommendations to display on your profile. Your prospects will feel much more comfortable about working with you if they know that your past clients have been happy with your work or your product. Don’t be afraid to ask past clients for recommendations, and offer to give them one in return.
It’s a great idea to start your quest for LinkedIn connections by asking to connect with people you already know. Family, friends, and current email contacts should all be fair game here, as you never know who they may know or be connected with. Invite your blog readers or fans and followers on other social media sites to connect with you on LinkedIn as well.
When you’ve got some good connections going, take a look at who your connections know. If you come across anyone in your industry that you’d like to work with, ask your connection to introduce you to them via the “get introduced through a connection” option.
Once you’ve exhausted your current list of contacts, begin to use LinkedIn’s search function to find more prospective connections. You can then send these connections an email (called InMail) to introduce yourself and tell them why you’d like to connect with them and why they should take the time to connect with you. If you are sincere in your approach (don’t use LinkedIn’s standard format for this), your response rate will be high and your connections will grow.
If you’ve used paid advertising before or you know what you’re doing when it comes to buying ads on social media sites, buying LinkedIn ads could also be a way to get your brand out there and build your connections. This can be expensive, so don’t throw a bunch of money into this strategy until you have fine tuned it and you are bringing in prospects that have more value than your current ad spend.
Your Socializing (Groups & Answers):
Joining groups is a great way to get the ball rolling on meeting potential clients. Make sure that you join LinkedIn groups in your industry that have active members. Try to contribute to the group as often as you can, and make everything you do about adding real value for those in the group. Once you join groups and begin to prove yourself as a worthy contributor, you will probably have potential clients coming to you for advice or to find out how you can help them. If you find someone in your group that you’d like to do business with, your group relationship will give you a great platform to connect with them and find out more about how you can meet their business needs.
LinkedIn Answers is also another place where you can give value to prospective clients by sharing your business knowledge with them. If you can offer genuine help to someone, this may prompt them to want to connect with you. Because you have shown that you can be of benefit to their business, they may be more likely to consider working with you as your client. Answering questions also positions you as an expert in your field and could very well make you a “go-to” person in your industry (which will, of course, bring you even more clients looking to utilize your expertise).
Your clients will not always come to find you. Sometimes, you must do the necessary work to go out to find them. Commit to spending at least 20 minutes per day using the search feature to look for business owners and company “gatekeepers” in your industry. Search for terms like “CEO” or “Director of Marketing” to find people in positions of power who can make hiring decisions, then narrow your search by location, industry, or other filters you may want. When you find prospects you’d like to contact, reach out to them. Doing this for a few minutes per day could very well mean big business for you down the line.