While most people think of LinkedIn as a great tool for networking and unlocking job opportunities, you can also put the social media platform to use as a means for marketing your business. Whether you’re looking for a way to improve customer feedback or increase the efficiency of your sales force, here are a few tips on how to build your business using LinkedIn.
Eliminate inefficiencies. For many sales and service related businesses, cold calling and navigating through gatekeepers to finally reach decision makers has become standard operating procedure. Unfortunately, this strategy often leads to a lot of lost time and can cause major headaches.
By skipping the calling stage and going directly to LinkedIn, you can eliminate the time wasted making unnecessary phone calls and improve efficiency by directly connecting with the people who can impact your business’ bottom line. Just make sure that when you reach out to decision makers, you don’t waste their time. Have the message you want delivered down cold and make sure your connections are correct – you don’t want to reach out to everyone in a company, just those who relate to your field – before making contact. Spending a little time researching who within a company you need to talk to in order to establish a working relationship and reaching out to them through LinkedIn will help eliminate the wasted phone calls and unread emails that are the biggest time suck when trying to find new business.
Use Advanced Search Options. One of the biggest parts about generating sales is understanding how to find potential customers. LinkedIn’s advanced search features allow users to filter results by position, size of company, demographics, industry, and much more. This will save you a lot of time compared to manually looking up names and position titles of potential customers. Those willing to pay for the site’s premiere service can narrow their search criteria down even further.
Make quality connections. Before contacting someone to request a connection, make sure to verify their legitimacy first by checking out their background and credentials by thoroughly looking over their profile. The key criteria to look for are a professional profile picture, a least 150 connections, and a detailed summation of their career history. Without the presence of these three criteria, it’s likely the person you’re trying to connect to either doesn’t use LinkedIn that often or isn’t a legitimate profile.
Since you don’t want to waste your time trying to connect with someone who will never respond, making sure some is active on LinkedIn before reaching out will increase the overall connections you make. Additionally, connecting with individuals who themselves have a high number of connections on LinkedIn will allow you to expand your network much farther and establish meaningful long-term relationships.
Send personal messages. Avoid sending generic or scripted messages when attempting to connect with someone. These types of messages will come across as spammy, and if you don’t express any common interests or can offer to provide something of value you really don’t need to be reaching out to them to begin with. Instead, always try to craft a personal message. Let the person you are contacting know what interest you have in their business specifically and that you’re not trying to sell your services to just anyone.
A connection isn’t the end. After someone has accepted an invitation to connect, don’t wait for them to message you. Typically, the individual who sends the LinkedIn request should be the one to follow up with a message after receiving a connection, which means your potential customer will expect you to follow up. If the individual you have contacted accepts your invitation, follow up by asking them if they have time for an initial phone call or meeting to discuss potential future opportunities.
Don’t misuse LinkedIn by making it a tool to explore your own interests. You’ll make better, longer lasting connection by first finding a way to help your connections rather than just selling them a product or service.