Marketing is all about getting the right message in front of the right people. When you market to other businesses, it’s hard to find where your potential clients are located. This is why LinkedIn marketing is so powerful.
Most white collar business professionals use LinkedIn, and list out their current and past positions, for all their connections to see. This makes it easy to locate, keep in touch with, and form relationships with your existing and potential customers.
Here is a step by step overview of how to start generating business from LinkedIn today.
Setup and Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Success
The center of LinkedIn is your personal profile page. You want your profile to be easy for people to find. Once people find your profile, you want them to be impressed.
How To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Easy To Find
When setting up your profile, there are two primary things you can do to make it easier to find.
- Complete all sections
- Incorporate terms people use when searching for your products and services, throughout your profile.
If you look at my profile, you will find words like small business, online marketing, and sales sprinkled throughout the different sections. This is because I want my profile to rank highly when people search LinkedIn, Google, and other search engines for those terms.
After searching for people by name, people also search for people by companies. If you sell to, have worked for, or your products include those from large companies, include those names in your profile as well.
Think about what terms people may use when searching for the expertise, products, or services that you have to offer, and include them in your profile.
How To Setup Your LinkedIn Profile To Impress
Now that you know how to make your profile easy to find, you’ll want to make sure it impresses your target audience when they find it. You do this by having:
- A professional looking photo.
- A strong headline that highlights why your potential customers should want to connect with you. (My headline is “Co-Founder FitsmallBusiness.com – Small Business Marketing, Growth, and Operations Expert”).
- A targeted summary that acts as an elevator pitch, and backs up your headline. William Aruda has a great article on How to Write the Perfect LinkedIn Summary in 5 steps. You can see my LinkedIn summary here.
- If your business has a website and/or a video which outlines your product or service, include it here.
- A well crafted experience section that lists each of your positions, along with a summary that focuses skills and attributes your customers care about.
- A well managed skills and endorsements section. When you connect with people on LinkedIn, they have the ability to endorse you for specific skills. If you do not list the skills that you want to be endorsed for on your profile, LinkedIn will make an informed guess. These guesses may or may not be skills that are relevant to your current business. You have the ability to list 50 skills here, so if you are setting up a new profile, go ahead and pick the 50 skills that are most relevant to your business. If you have an existing profile, and already have skills listed, then replace the skills that are not relevant to your business, with ones that are.
- The other steps are self explanatory. Just keep your keywords in mind. Also keep in mind that the more complete your profile, the better the chances are that it will rank highly.
- The final step for setting up your profile is customizing your profile link, and making sure all sections of your profile are visible to everyone. You do this by clicking the down arrow beside the edit button at the top of your profile, and then clicking “manage public profile settings”. This is where you can set all sections of your profile to be visible to the public.
On this page you also have the ability to change your profile. Try and use your primary keyword in the link. For example, I changed my link to:
LinkedIn Connections: Why You Want As Many Quality Connections As Possible
You want to have as many quality connections as possible on LinkedIn, for the following reasons:
When you connect to someone you can see who they are connected to. This is powerful for identifying other potential customers, and getting an introduction from your existing contact when you do.
When others connect with people that you are connected to, it makes it easier for them to find you.
You see the changes your connections make to their profile, and the content and other updates that they share. This makes it easier to keep up to date on what is happening with your current and potential customers, and other business relationships.
Your connections see the changes you make to your profile and updates that you share. This helps keep your business top of mind with your network. It also allows you to establish yourself as a thought leader in the space.
How To Connect And Grow Relationships With Your Current and Potential Clients
The easiest way to start getting connections on LinkedIn, is to connect with people you already know.
If you allow them to do so, LinkedIn will scan your email contact list, and show you all the people you know who are already on LinkedIn. This saves a lot of time and effort vs. searching them out one by one.
If you are new to LinkedIn, then giving LinkedIn permission to scan your email is part of the setup process. If you are already a LinkedIn member, and want to enable this feature, you do so by clicking the head with a plus sign beside it in the upper right hand corner of the window. It looks like this:
Once you have connected to a few people LinkedIn, you will get recommendations for other people you already know and should connect to.
Connect with people you have met but do not have a concrete relationship with.
LinkedIn is a great way to turn people you have met briefly, into solid business contacts. An example would would be people you met at a trade show.
Once connected, you can start following their activity on LinkedIn. When they have a birthday, or update their profile with things like a promotion or job change, that information will show up in your LinkedIn newsfeed:
They will also see your updates in their LinkedIn newsfeeds. This keeps your business top of mind with your customers and potential prospects as well.
You also have the ability to contact your LinkedIn connections through LinkedIn’s email system. Unless the recipient has changed their settings, these emails go directly into your contact’s normal email inbox. This makes it much easier to grow a “hi, we met once” relationship into a real business relationship.
How To Position Yourself As A Thought Leader In Your Space
Based on your profile, LinkedIn will make news recommendations tailored to your background and industry. This has made the LinkedIn Newsfeed the go to spot not only to keep up with people in your network, but also to stay on top of and learn about trends affecting your industry.
You can share content from your site as well as other social media sites on LinkedIn. This includes blog posts you have made on your company website, and other articles and resources you think your network will benefit from.
Attracting Clients Through Content
When sharing content you should focus on information that will inform and interest your connections. Avoid things like updates on personnel changes, which are important to you, but are not likely important or interesting to your clients.
Think about your target client. Who are they and what do they care about? What information is going to be interesting to them? How can you help them stay informed on the topics they care about? How can you help them solve problems?
The answers to these questions should guide your decision on what content to share with your connections and what to avoid. When you share it is important to leave a comment along with the piece of info you are sharing. This makes it more likely that what you are sharing will start a discussion.
While you can share promotional material that directly pushes your products and services, be careful. Remember that people are coming to LinkedIn to network and learn, not to be sold to. A good rule of thumb is that you should be sharing four pieces of interesting/educational content for every one share that is promotional in nature.
Comment on the status updates and articles that others in your network are sharing.
When one of your contacts posts something, leave a comment. When you do they receive a notification, which makes this another easy way to stay top of mind with your contacts.
Set Up Your Company Page
LinkedIn company pages allow you to post updates about your company, job openings you have available, and to share industry related news and education. As with LinkedIn profiles, company pages show up in LinkedIn search, as well as when people search Google and other search engines.
LinkedIn users connect with your company page by clicking the follow button. Those who follow your page will see your page updates, and content you post on your page, in their newsfeeds. Setting up and encouraging people to follow your page is another great way to keep your company top of mind with your current and potential customers.
Setting up your page is simple and straightforward. Just click the interests tab at the top of the page and then select “companies”.
As with your profile, keep in mind the search terms that you want your company page to appear for. Use them as you fill out the different sections of your page. For more tips on how to get the most out of your LinkedIn company page, see this article by Susan Gunelius at Forbes.com
Follow & Comment on LinkedIn Company Pages
When you follow other companies pages, updates made to that page will show up in your newsfeed.
This is a great way to keep on top of what is happening in your industry, as well as the businesses and professionals you are targeting. It also gives you one more piece of information that you can use, to show your prospects that you are up to date on their company’s latest news.
As with any other update, you have the ability to comment on the updates shared on company pages. When you leave a comment, the owner of the page, (who is often the owner of the business), will be notified.
Ask For Personal Recommendations
When someone writes a recommendation for you through LinkedIn, and you approve the recommendation, it shows on your profile. This is a powerful way to add additional credibility to your profile when prospects visit.
To ask for a recommendation click the down arrow beside the edit button on your profile and select “ask to be recommended”. Here is a great article from Laura Rubinstein on how to maximize your chances of getting great recommendations.
Ask For Product Recommendations
If you have filled out the products section of your LinkedIn Company page, you can also ask for recommendations there:
Start Participating In LinkedIn Groups + Set Up Your Own Group
There are over 1 Million groups on LinkedIn. Odds are there is at least one that is specifically devoted to the industry you serve, and the topics that your potential clients are interested in. In addition to sharing and discussing industry related content, people use LinkedIn groups to find answers to questions.
When you post in a group, anyone who views the discussion sees your response.
Responding to people’s questions, and leaving well thought out comments in community discussions, are great ways to showcase your expertise. When people respond to you in a group, that’s a good time to send them a Linkedin connection request.
If you really want to take this strategy to the next level then you can setup your own LinkedIn group. Just keep in mind that it takes a fair amount of time and energy to start a successful LinkedIn group. You are going to have to spend time stimulating high quality discussions, and recruiting high quality members.
Because setting up your own LinkedIn group requires a lot of time and effort, I recommend starting with all the other things you can do on LinkedIn first. If and when you are ready to setup your own group, see this article from Melonie Dodaro at TopDogSocialMedia.com.
Consider LinkedIn Premium & LinkedIn Ads
Everything that we have discussed up to this point is 100% free. If you want to put the already highly powerful networking capabilities of LinkedIn on steroids, then you should consider LinkedIn’s premium service. This allows you to reach out to people that you are not connected to, gives you advanced search functionality, CRM capabilities and much more.
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