A recent study by marketing automation software vendor HubSpot concluded that LinkedIn was 3 times more effective in generating B2B leads than either Twitter or Facebook. LinkedIn has evolved into an essential tool for businesses and customer-facing B2B professionals. While you should create a company page for your business on LinkedIn, the platform is most effectively used by individuals within your organization. The focus of this blog post is on how business owners, executives and customer-facing employees can best use LinkedIn to generate sales leads. Here are six tips on how to leverage LinkedIn to grow your business.
Create a Professional Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is how potential prospects develop their impression of you. As such, your first step should be to create a profile that positions you as someone who can help your prospects solve their business problems. Here are a few tips on creating your profile:
- Upload a professional portrait. If you dont have one, invest in having a portrait created by a professional photographer. You will be able to use it many times over in your marketing efforts. Save the pictures of you with your dog for your personal Facebook account buyers are looking for professionals to help them solve their problems and you should look the part in your profile portrait.
- Create a headline that succinctly describes how you help your customers solve business problems. If you know the keywords that youre targeting in your inbound marketing efforts, try to incorporate them into your headline. You have 120 characters to describe yourself in your headline take advantage of them. Dont use your job title, use concise phrases separated by pipes (|) to describe how you help customers.
- Use the summary section to expand upon your headline and give viewers of your profile a more detailed description of how you can help them.
Ask for Recommendations
The best way to show your prospects that you can help them is to have others that you have helped recommend you. Solicit recommendations from satisfied customers, managers, colleagues and others who you have worked with in the past. The best way to get recommendations is to give them when you recommend someone on LinkedIn, they are asked if theyd like to recommend you. Most people will reciprocate when you give them a recommendation for their LinkedIn profiles.
Grow Your Network
The larger your network of connections is on LinkedIn, the more effective LinkedIn is for lead generation. Make it a practice to follow up with people you meet at networking events, client meetings and prospect meetings by inviting them to connect with you on LinkedIn. Dont use the standard LinkedIn message when inviting people to connect, personalize your invitation in a way that will make the person remember you. Go through your contact database and invite friends, colleagues, customers and prospects to connect.
Ask for Introductions
One of the best features of LinkedIn is the ability to see how you are connected to someone you want to meet. If you want to meet the CFO of XYZ Technologies and your college roommate knows her, ask him if he can introduce you. You will be surprised how many second- and third-degree connections you acquire as you grow your LinkedIn network.
Participate in LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn has thousands of groups based on shared professional interests. Join industry groups where your prospects and customers go to solicit professional opinions. Provide thoughtful responses to questions and commentary on industry topics that position you as a thought leader. Post carefully while a thoughtful response will make you look good, a thoughtless response will make you look bad. Think twice and proofread before you hit the submit button.
Consider a LinkedIn Premium Account
I highly recommend that customer-facing professionals invest in a LinkedIn premium account. Some of the features available on the premium accounts include the ability to send messages to people that youre not connected to, advanced search features to develop your prospecting list and the ability to see who has viewed your profile. Here is a link to more information on the LinkedIn premium accounts.
These are just a few tips on how to use LinkedIn to generate business growth. For a more detailed description of how to use Social Media to grow your business, please access the free download below: How to Enhance Your Internet Presence with Social Media.