LinkedIn is a great community for business professionals and is definitely growing in popularity. Many people see it as the job seekers tool but I have found it to be so much more than that. The opportunity to build out your profile with your resume, get referrals and endorsements from employers and colleagues can get you found by potential new employers and should be utilised in part of your job search. It also has a great search capability to scower the website for job vacancies that match the criteria you input. However, if you already have a job that you are content with and would like to stay in, LinkedIn presents numerous other opportunities to grow in your field and actually generate sales leads. In fact, there are so many great things you can do on LinkedIn I am struggling on where to start with this blog!
OK let’s start with connections.
Connecting to people in the same industry as you enables you to see the great content they share. You can learn from what they are doing and actually build your credibility in the industry as they too can see what you share. You should share blogs and news articles you find interesting and expect to see the same from your peers. Make sure you have an up-to-date profile picture that makes you look professional but approachable.
You never know who knows who either. LinkedIn allows you to see who your connections’ connections are. It also allows you to request an introduction if one of your connections is connected to someone you think you could do business with. This is a great way to ask your customers for referrals. Afterall, if you have done a good job with your customer, they shouldn’t have a problem recommending you to their friends, right?
Groups are another great way to build credibility in your industry. You can join up to 50 groups and there are so many industry-specific and job-specific groups to choose from so you are bound to find plenty for you to benefit from personally as well as finding your target market to network with. Be careful here because if you join a group with the intention only to sell to them, they won’t have any problem telling you (publicly) that you are spamming them and you can be removed from the group. The best idea is to share your expertise and ask thought provoking questions within the group. Get your name out there that way and eventually the opportunity will present itself for selling to them. If you don’t show your value to the group before doing this, you can forget about it! You can also create groups very easily and provide a community for your customers to interact with and learn from eachother.
Who viewed your profile
This is information that no other online social community is providing and can be invaluable information. If you know who your target market is, and someone from that target market has been on your profile – what better opportunity to connect with someone than by saying ‘I saw you were on my profile and I believe I can do XYZ for your company because that’s exactly where my expertise lie’.. It’s border line creepy but hey, they were creeping on you first so you kind of get away with it!
LinkedIn advertising allows for very targetted advertising for a low price. So far, I haven’t had huge results from it but my target is very niche and specific and not all of our market are using LinkedIn yet. Watch this space.
Build Your List
If you upgrade to the pro version of LinkedIn you can create lists of your target market and export them into an excel spreadsheet. These can then be imported into a CRM system where you can market to them. LinkedIn doesn’t always provide an email address but if you do get one you should be careful about emailing them with spam laws – you don’t want to get yourself black listed or give your company a bad reputation.
I think this is probably enough to get you to at least sign up for an account or build it out if you signed up and never use it. Spend some time on it and see if you get the results that so many others have. Like any other sales and marketing medium, test it and see if it works for you. It can’t hurt to be present and you never know what benefits it may reap for you.