LinkedIn is often overlooked by small business and local entrepreneurs, but after signing up over 20 millions UK users, I don’t think we can continue to underestimate the potential of this social platform.
Actually, speaking from experience, my personal favourite of all the social media platforms is LinkedIn. The accessibility you have to search for people from specific industries, companies and connect with CEOs, hiring managers and business decision makers is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. I demonstrated this from July to September of last year, where one post generated interest for many hiring managers and my approach (adding people from specific companies, messaging them about my ambitions to become a recruiter, and asking them if they had any opportunities to work for them) had me interview at almost thirty companies and land myself a job at a billion-dollar company.
LinkedIn is amazing. Here are my tips on using LinkedIn to prospect for new customers and find new business.
Define Your Customer
It’s amazing how many marketing campaigns go ahead without a target audience. It astonishes me to find that people are not using the tools available to determine who is best to target, and particularly to actually target them.
We live in a world where the advertiser can directly target a specific portion of the population who are more inclined to buy from them. No more traditional marketing that consists of broadcasting your brand and message to hundreds or thousands, even millions of general people in newspapers and billboards, but a multitude of platforms that allow you to cross-examine the behaviour of your customers and advertised specifically based on their demographic, location, behaviour, interests, down to their job titles and marital status.
Why would you not take advantage of these tools and define your customer in order to better target people when you are spending your advertising budget?
Use Search, Connect & Inmail appropriately
I covered search above, but the importance of connecting with the right people is crucial. Target your audience. Who do you want to work with? What is your ideal customer? What type of business do they work for? Really do some research, look into some companies, search for people who work at those companies, and guess what? Connect with them! Ask them how is business, if there’s anything you can do to help, do some fact-finding. What’s the worst that can happen? They find you annoying and don’t message you back. Even worse, they could post something on their wall about how horrendous your behaviour is by trying to do business with them. Whatever, move on, engage with your audience and ask if there’s anything you can do to help.
I’m connected to over 8000 people on LinkedIn. There’s a reason for that. The first thousand, they were my doing. The last seven thousands have been an accumulation of people adding me, with some occassional structured and strategic searches on my part to find certain people at specific organisations. The best thing is, because I’m connected to so many people, I am second connections to most people. This means I can add just about anyone on LinkedIn, with a friendly message to say hello, and when they accept I am free to hit them up with my services, or pass them a quick message to say hello (and be sure to follow-up with them as I learn more about their problems, company, how we could work together, partner up, or do something together.. even asking for a referral is great move and can lead to business).
The fact is, people are on LinkedIn. They’re ready for you to connect with and contact immediately. Grow your network, promote yourself and reach out to people in the right way, and look to close some deals…
State Your Intention.
You should state your intention to sell to people. Look, I’m just a guy who has been creating websites for fun for years, I’ve seen an opportunity for me to put my skills to use and I’m going all-in. At this moment in time (it’s February 10th), I am making nothing from this company, all our work is being done for free as of yet. I’m working part-time to support my advertising costs and my own living, and putting over 50 hours a week into SME Social to get things started.
It’s okay using social to show off whilst you’re at parties, post about your latest deal or showcase a customer, but the truth is, nobody cares. That doesn’t win business. Winning business is about putting yourself out there, and I am looking to show that this month as I set my target to have ten free clients by the end of the month (I’m already at 4), from zero last month. Our social posts on Facebook last week went up 40,000%. There wasn’t much there before sure, but there sure as hell is something to build on now.
And throughout this, I am regularly stating my attention. Did you see the link above to my free service? I am trying to tell you; I am ready for business, I’m hungry, I want to work with you, I want to help new businesses. Here are some more ways I recommend how you can state your intention online professionally.
We’re already covered how you can use content marketing to increase your sales by up to 450%, but there is also a place for you to share your blogs on LinkedIn. To get full exposure, you should be sharing your blogs across all platforms, especially if you’re doing this to build your brand as an SME. We would recommend 16 blogs per month, which we estimate would take around 35 hours of your month writing blogs (an hour and half per day). We try to write one a day.
if you’re an individual/entrepreneur running a service, or working without a website, Tumblr or LinkedIn can be a great place to build your portfolio of blogs, which you can then share across multiple social channels and to potential customers. It’s surprising what a LinkedIn profile can do if you optimize it properly, and become a dominant voice in your industry.
Join (or create) Group(s)
It’s surprising the connections you can make by joining groups related to your industry. It’s also great for social listening, which is the act of using social media to determine what your customers want and using that information/data to influence your product, service, content and marketing techniques. What else is better than joining groups related to your industry and your target audience, and engaging with your target audience directly?
Creating a group can also be a great way to engage with your followers, particularly if you’re a big brand, or you’re in a niche market. This can help you build your image as an authority within your industry and showcase your knowledge to your audience, and potential customers.
LinkedIn cannot be ignored anymore. Use it. Brand yourself. Put yourself out there. If you don’t voice your opinion, your competition will. Guess who gets the work? The one who gets the attention.