With over 500 million people on LinkedIn and almost 40% of those members using the platform daily, it’s amazing that more professionals haven’t caught onto the value of this networking platform. Many companies have now jumped on board this trend and now use LinkedIn as one of their primary B2B lead strategies. If you’re a professional – and especially if you are in the B2B space – you should be taking a serious look at LinkedIn as you next lead acquisition strategy.
And then again, if you’re going to ride this LinkedIn wave, we should look at some ways that you can stand out from the crowd and really impress the community. The last thing you want to do is present yourself in a haphazard manner on a platform that is literally built around displaying your professionalism.
Profile OptimizationThis is the one section that you cannot afford to skip over. This isn’t just advising you to “complete your profile”; I’m talking about truly optimizing your profile to reach and engage your target audience.
Start by analyzing what you want to communicate to your audience. What is your overall goal for using LinkedIn? You’ll tailor your profile to those goals.
Your profile should outline who you are, what you do, and why others should care. Discuss what expertise you bring to their professional network? What have you accomplished? What are some organizations that you are a member of? What company do you work for? Essentially, you want to help formulate their perception of you.
- Personal Biography
Describe how you stand apart from the crowd, and how you are different from every other person in your industry. How can you make a difference for them, personally?
You want your profile picture to present you in a professional manner and validate the biography and self-description you’ve crafted. This is important! You’d raised some eyebrows if your biography describes you as a successful lawyer from a large New York Law Firm, but your profile picture portrays you as unkempt and poorly dressed. Each section of your overall profile plays a part in portraying who you are.
- Profile Image
Once you’ve established your personal brand – who you are, what you do, and why it matters – you must give your audience a method to move forward. Give them a place to find and interact with you (Perhaps, Twitter? How about Email? Facebook? Your phone numbers?) and a URL where they can learn more about your offering. Consider this the ‘call to action’ of your LinkedIn profile. You can create a masterpiece of a LinkedIn profile, but if you don’t give your audience a way to move forward – a CTA – you’ve missed the point.
- Links to Social Media and Website
Actively Connect with Those Outside Your NetworkThe point of business networking platforms, like LinkedIn, is to increase your circle of connections with those in similar and auxiliary industries – or anybody, for that matter. You may have never met the people that are suggested to you, but with LinkedIn, you can take the first steps towards getting to know others and increase your business network.
Try to be engaging when you “connect” with other users. You might send them a note along with your invitation, explaining who you are, and who your mutual connection is. You might also include your intention for connecting with them, or interests, organizations, and work experience that you have in common.
Join B2B Groups in Your IndustryAnother way that you can get leads is by joining groups on LinkedIn. Even though you can only join up to 50 groups on LinkedIn at one time, this should be ample, if you choose carefully. Try to find out which groups are most active, have the most members, and which ones are the most relevant, and then simply request to join.
Once you’re in the group, start watching for people asking questions about your industry and then try to answer these questions intelligently. This helps to establish authority as an expert in your field. Other people will see that you are knowledgeable in your niche and will most likely visit your profile to learn more about you. In the future, when they have a need within your area of expertise they will likely remember your previous interaction and contact you.
Request IntroductionsIf you have connected with someone you know well, you may want to go through their list of connections to find people who would be good potential clients and then ask your friend if they would introduce you to these people. If your friend agrees, then this is a really good way to “break the ice” with people who aren’t directly connected to you but would be ideal connections for your network.
You could offer to do the same for your friend and trade introductions to help each other out. If the person you want to introduce you to potential clients isn’t a friend, you could offer a referral commission if anything profitable comes from the meeting, as motivation for them to agree to introduce you.
When you view somebody’s profile on LinkedIn, they will get a notification of who has viewed their profile (in most cases, anyway. They can now turn on their privacy settings). You may get these same notifications on a daily, or weekly basis depending on how many people are viewing your profile.
Reach Out to Connections That View Your Profile
If you’re using the free version of LinkedIn, then you’ll only see a partial list of people who viewed your profile, but you can still use this tactic. However, if you have paid for LinkedIn Premium, you’ll want to go through the complete list of people who viewed your profile recently. If they are connected to you, then you could send them a message, and ask them if there’s anything you can help them with.
(Psst… Don’t be creepy about it!)
If you are using the free version of LinkedIn, you’ll still be able to message the people who viewed your profile, and while the list may be limited, you’ll still be able to contact a lot of the people who viewed your profile.
If you build the relationship – guiding it towards understanding each other’s businesses – and provide them with value, then you’ll most likely come to their mind the next time that they need a product or service that you offer.
Stay ActiveJust like every other social platform available, you need to engage actively with your following. This is how you develop the relationship with your audience and network. If you only jump on LinkedIn once a week, you can’t expect to build any level of audience engagement or gain any new leads.
The key is to stay consistent so that when people who are connected to you have needs or questions within your field, you are the first person that comes to mind.
LinkedIn has massive potential for developing your personal brand or building authority as an expert in your field. These actions will attract new business leads, but like any other lead generation methods, you’ll need to invest time and energy into engaging your network and proving value within the online community.
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.
Stay Connected with WNFP!