I spend a lot of time networking and for the majority of those I talk too they are looking for one thing – Leads. They will ask me for social media advice and tips, I’m always happy to share my knowledge.
Developing business is the number one social media request received. I believe that this is where an engagement strategy can really help. When you engage with someone, you are building a relationship, communicating and to some extent marketing your brand.
With regard to developing leads you can choose the automation route across the majority of your online platforms but personally I wouldn’t recommend it. Any automation (targeting LinkedIn members and sending them posts/messages) is simply spamming or cold calling . And we all know that this is a numbers game and doesn’t really work effectively. We really only work with people we know, or have met, are aware of. People on our radar.
So if you are looking for Leads what should you do? Let’s be clear on one vital element who is your target client? Do you know your audience, your customer and where they are? Be prepared with what words describe them, what would they look for.
Therefore, which social media platform (if any) will you find them? Whilst Facebook and others can generate quality engagement LinkedIn for most professionals should be your platform of choice. I am constantly surprised how few SMEs, Consultants and Freelancers ignore this first initial step. The majority say they don’t have the time, but if you don’t make time for business generation then what are you doing, how will your business survive & thrive?
So below a few basic tips on exactly how to use LinkedIn to maximise your business and generate business. And if you seriously struggling to deliver these actions then outsource.
Most LinkedIn users have seen the “Someone has viewed your profile” email notification. If you’re like me, you’ll take a quick glance and then delete.
By taking this approach you are potentially missing out. Take a look, see who and what is happening in your feed. Find out who looked at your profile and engage with them. Make sure you feel this is someone worth reaching out too have a look at the basic information and invite them to connect. How simple is that?
If someone has viewed your profile, they have taken a step to find out about you. Find out why, reach back and connect with them and see if there is potential to work together.
This approach works on LinkedIn but it will also work on Twitter, Instagram and to some extent Facebook, Tumblr etc. So as good practice make time to review all your connections regularly. Grow your network anyway you can social media and face-to-face.
You don’t need to create your own content all the time. The aim is to establish yourself as an expert in your field. This means showing your knowledge in a number of ways. You can blog about your sector but also share relevant content across your platforms.
Within LinkedIn you can also write articles and share them similar to blogs. Try for one month to share regular content and prepare articles on your LinkedIn platform. Notice who is seeing your content, connect with them and engage with them.
Also ask your employees to post your company’s content. Your network and community can all become brand advocates for you, your content and your expertise. Encourage others to share your updates simply and quickly.
There is a field of thinking that believes people tend to trust their social online connections more than advertising and campaigns. Inc recently wrote about this trend. This type of activity may seem time consuming but long-term will generate traffic and more leads.
SEO doesn’t have to be scary. Plus it’s not just about websites. Make sure you are easily discoverable plus sharing your expertise to develop lead opportunities. For LinkedIn this includes:
- keywords; think about the keywords within your profile and how they rank. Do some benchmarking and look at your peers and compare your profile in terms of keywords and make some changes.
- profile completion; review and update regularly.
- use a professional profile or image
- make sure your branding is consistent with other social media platforms
- use your banner/header with a striking relevant image or your branding
- add all your work experience, make sure job titles, dates and achievements are up to date
- join groups within LinkedIn; these connections will be displayed on your profile and their names assist your rank in searches that potential customers are creating
- recommendations and testimonials; make sure that people you work with write a recommendation. again make sure they mention your skills
Proving your expertise is not just engaging with what others are doing but also you actively engaging with conversations. So make sure to respond to articles, share stories and talk to people online. Be professional, courteous and positive. Don’t challenge views or be rude. Don’t criticise, be positive and constructive. Trolling at any level is not going to be appreciated. Also don’t blatantly sell your services – people will simply take this as spam.
Another way to active potential leads is to create your own LinkedIn group. This is a simple powerful way to establish yourself as an authority within your sector. Starting a LinkedIn Group is easy to do. Keeping it fed, monitored, mediated and maintained takes time and effort so think wisely.
Make sure you add content to your group on a regular basis plus start to add members in your chosen field.
Once you have established your group and identified your content resources now its time to cultivate your leads. Aim to grow your potential leads from between 500 – 1000. This might seem ambitious, take time and effort but it is achievable. LinkedIn is fast approaching 500 million users.
Search for people who are your target customers using keywords and location. Invite them to your group, and start to connect with them. Make sure you identify the decision level for your contacts, CEO, Manager; whatever is appropriate for you.
Connecting with clients takes a lot of time and effort and it’s not a quick fix. Reach out to a number of people each day or week. Set yourself a goal and make sure you connect with a set number of people each time. Explain to them why you want to connect, personalise as much as possible – I want to add you to my network.
Remember don’t overdo it. Send a simply request and don’t worry if they don’t accept that’s fine. But most will.
Build a relationship with your contacts, continue to create and share relevant content. Work on your rapport and think about your tone.
Your aim is not to promote your product and services but to establish yourself as a influencer, an expert in your field. Provide free advice, make suggestions and be someone who people will think of first for tips, connections and suggestions. You won’t have all the answers but within your network you will know someone who will.
Provide value always, connect to everyone who wants to connect with you, do your best to solve problems.
Long-term think about running a webinar or Q&A sessions. Bring other influencers onboard with you and share the workload. You will all benefit.
Remember to feed your content and don’t be afraid to update and refresh content as appropriate.
Generating business through LinkedIn takes time. However, it will be worth it. Trust me.