The effective use of LinkedIn for business


LinkedIn is now a more powerful tool than ever, not just for personal use but for your business as well. This article will help you understand how to optimise your own profile to influence potential clients with engaging content and discuss the basics of building digital relationships.

Statistics

Did you know?

  • LinkedIn has over 467 million users
  • 50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions
  • 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content
  • 43% of marketers say they have sourced a customer from LinkedIn

Use your own profile

Although a company profile is essential to create validity, the majority of company profiles will and should post content including: updates, blog posts, call to actions etc. People who normally follow a company page are recruiters, employees and competitors.

The best way to influence, sell and engage; is to use your own profile and use yourself to promote your business. Although it isn’t a quick process to create inbound enquiries; if you provide engaging information, value and build relationships you should start to see an uplift in people engaging with you, your brand and your company.

The buyers you wish to attract are probably not interested in your professional achievements but are interested in what’s in it for them, how you and your business can solve their problems and the value which you can bring. You need to start by doing your research, look at your buyer and competitors profiles and align your profile to fit their needs.

Use a professional photo

As wrong as it is, the majority of people judge a book by its cover; this includes potential clients. In this case, it’s your profile and cover photo. Remember that LinkedIn is a professional network so your picture should be a dedicated, professional, clear picture (you wouldn’t go to a business meeting and dress as if you were going to the pub). Make sure you can clearly see your face and don’t forget that LinkedIn will display the picture 400 x 400 pixels.

Create an engaging headline and summary

Your headline will be displayed alongside your name if you come up in a search, this means it is imperative to use the limited amount of words to create engagement.

A bad headline example is to put your job title only; a more coherent method is to add information, make it relatable and more engaging, say what problem you intend to solve or what you do well.

For example: helping businesses ….. or helping clients ….. or proven success in …. achieving ….

This will help potential clients quickly identify how you could help them whilst also boosting your discoverability on search engines for key search terms.

Move down to your summary, you have 2000 words to play with here so make sure you use them all effectively. The first thing to consider is to use words that will resonate with your buyer this should also in turn help optimise your profile for potential buyers using search engines.

The second thing to consider is to create engagement by showing value to your potential clients. Write about what you can do to help, your offer, who you have helped, your contact information and maybe a white paper or webinar to add value and show your expertise.

Screen-Shot-2018-02-22-at-14-26-19.png

Use your skills to your SEO advantage

In your skills section ensure that you include your personal key skills but also include what your clients may be searching for. For example, as a digital marketer, you may write: digital marketing, inbound marketing, strategy etc.

Research what your clients are searching for and use these keywords in your skills for SEO optimisation, as a digital marketer you may put: CMS, CRM, Digital Transformation etc.

Screen-Shot-2018-02-22-at-09-48-31.png

Ask for recommendations

Recommendations are used in almost all digital places from eBay to Google, whilst many companies are based on reviews such as Trip Advisor and Which.

These reviews heavily influence the buyer or consumer, LinkedIn is no different in this respect. Recommendations from a variety of people and companies will add value and give you validity and credibility.

When asking for a recommendation give the recommender a short structure as to what they should say. For example, what problem they had, how did you help solve it, why they chose you.

Hints and tips

How to personalise your URL: if you are able to have just your name (as no one else has taken it) your profile will be pushed to the top of Google when someone searches your name.

  • Move your cursor over yourself and click view profile at the top of the page
  • Click edit public profile & URL
  • You'll see a URL link in the top right of the page like, move your cursor over the link and click the edit icon next to it.
  • Make sure you have your public profile enabled
  • Type your own custom URL into the field, as close to your name as you can get.
  • Click Save.

After optimising your profile you will next need to look at your LinkedIn strategy. Next, I will give a brief overview of best practice.

Share engaging content

By engaging with others and posting regularly (around 5 times per week), you’re helping boost your personal reach and that of your business. The most effective method is an inbound strategy, to provide valuable content which will engage your target audience, for example. In the marketing and digital world, Quba has published topical guides and white papers which I re-post that will help my followers gain knowledge in a certain topic such as content marketing, Content Management Systems or GDPR.

By doing this you will start to create a reputation that will interest your current followers whilst helping to gain new ones.

Build relationships

Whilst creating and posting engaging content that will bring connections to you, you also need to actively reach out and build relationships. The best way to do this sounds like common sense but many people (including my past self) fail to see how this comes across. When sending a connection request, a bad example would be:

Hi “name”,

I hope you’re well I work at “here” we work with “clients” it would be great to chat about your digital strategy and plans moving forward.

However, experience and through plenty of ignored responses and no’s I learnt that although this sounds polite and coherent it is still directly advertising your business or service too soon.

The most meaningful way is to use an inbound methodology, to build a relationship up over time.

How to connect

Make sure to do your research on the person you wish to connect with, read their profile, look at what groups they’re in, read their articles etc.

Then write your message:

Hi “name” I read “this article” and found “this” really interesting.

I particularly liked your point about “xxx” it  helped me to “xxx”

I would be interested in connecting with you to keep updated on your posts / articles / blog

Over a time be that a few days, weeks or months comment on their articles and engage with them on a personable level and build the relationship.

When you feel the time is right message them to discuss a collaboration, talk to them about a service or a recent project.

You can draw these steps out as long as you think necessary but the idea behind this method is to start and build a relationship with the contact and then ask for a meeting to discuss what you need to.

Conclusion

In short, LinkedIn needs to be a key part of your companies inbound marketing strategy, make sure that everyone in the business has an optimised profile and is using LinkedIn on a regular basis. This will help gain exposure through the company’s employees whilst assisting with the new business and lead generation efforts.

 

If you fancy a chat about anything digital, feel free to contact Ryan on email hello@quba.co.uk or give Ryan a call on 0114 279 7779.

21 Feb

2018
Ryan Gains
Listed in: 
Estimated read time:
 words,  minutes

Signup to receive these articles straight to your inbox.