There are 380 Million users on LinkedIn throughout the world.
That’s a lot of people.
Now, it’s not as many as Facebook, which has over 1 billion users, but if you’re in business to sell to other businesses then LinkedIn may be the place for you.
People use Facebook to see photos and updates from friends.
With LinkedIn, top level executives use LinkedIn for industry networking and to promote their business. Managers also use LinkedIn for industry networking and to connect with colleagues.
That intent is what makes LinkedIn so important for business professionals and so different from other social networks. People on LinkedIn are there for professional reasons while people use other social media sites for personal reasons.
With that in mind let’s look at the ways you can use LinkedIn to market yourself and your business.
1. Optimize Your Profile For Search And Conversion
LinkedIn and really any social network aren’t often looked at as search engine opportunities. But as we looked at with Twitter, search is very much a part of LinkedIn.
People search for people, companies and services on LinkedIn.
These are all important to individuals in business for a few reasons. If you’re looking for job opportunities you would optimize your profile so that headhunters and job hunters will find you for the job you want.
If you want to market your business you would optimize your profile for the service you sell.
Now, an important distinction is that you don’t want to go overboard with this. You want your profile to explain who you are and what you do, but within those guidelines you can explain the service you and your business offer.
Here’s an example, people visit your profile and see that you work for ABC Corp. In their head they’re thinking, “What is ABC Corp?”
You can answer that question in your profile by describing what the company does, what it provides, what it stands for and within that you can describe your role.
Keep it all in the context of what your company provides for your customer because that’s what your potential companies will be searching for on LinkedIn.
2. Add Personality To Your Profile
I also think it’s important to add personality to your LinkedIn profile.
When you’re doing a business deal with a potential client in person you provide some small talk back and forth. There is a getting to know each other period.
And that’s important on LinkedIn. You don’t want to just skip ahead to what you offer and ask people to buy your service.
Let them get to know you by sharing some small talk on your profile. That might be describing your one or two favorite hobbies. It might be talking about where you live and what you’ve done in the past that defines who you are today.
Think about the things you discuss with clients and put that information on your LinkedIn profile.
3. Connect With…
People that know you.
This is the easiest first step on LinkedIn. Connect with people you currently work with. So that would be coworkers at your current company. You can also connect with people you’ve worked with in the past, but remember to connect with them only if you think they will remember who you are.
You can also connect with current clients, past clients (if you have a good relationship), vendors, partners, etc.
You can be picky here. One of the unique aspects of LinkedIn is that who your connections are connected to can have an influence on how well you appear in search on LinkedIn.
So look at who your potential connections are on LinkedIn and look at who they are connected with. If they are connected with 500+ people that’s a good person to connect with. It opens up your secondary network to a large number of people. And you know that the person likely uses LinkedIn fairly often; at last often enough to have accepted 500+ connections.
4. Optimize Your Company Page For Search And Conversion
Now move on to your company page and optimize it for search. Again, you’re thinking in terms of your potential clients finding you and the questions they have in relation to your business and what they’re looking for.
Go back to your sales process with clients in person. Those conversions often start with describing your service and what you can do for the client. Then you get into a little background about your company and why you do what you do. You talk about the people at your company and perhaps the mission and vision of your company.
Also use the language your clients are likely to use. You might refer to your services as something, but your clients might think of another term or keyword when they think of your business. Use the client’s language.
5. Share Content This Many Times Per Day…
Share at least one update every day, but to supercharge your LinkedIn efforts share content at least five time per day.
This could be your own blog posts, videos, guides or even things like quotes and tips.
You can also include content that you find interesting from around the web. So that would be blog posts, videos and other things that others have created and published.
By sharing content you get in the LinkedIn feed of your connections. If you want to be seen on LinkedIn this is a good way to do it and you can build your reputation as someone that knows what they’re talking about in your industry.
6. Join These Groups…
Join the 1-5 groups that are the most used in your industry by your target clients and that allow only discussion and not sharing of articles.
There are too many groups that are basically spam groups for people to share their articles. The real value in groups is the discussion and it’s not easy to foster.
But it’s important to join the groups where your target clients are most likely to be spending their time and where they are getting value.
7. Participate In Those Groups Like This…
When you find the best groups for your industry look to answer questions that your clients have.
They might be asking those questions in the group. Step in and provide the best answers you can. Don’t be afraid to be detailed. Also look to provide action steps so the readers can take action. They will feel like you’re providing even more value if they can actually do something with your advice.
And even if people aren’t asking questions in the group you can still provide answers like this:
I had a client ask me this question the other day. Here was my advice…
Chances are that if a client asked you in person or on the phone or via email that others have the same question.
8. Start Your Own Industry Group
If there isn’t an amazing group in your industry then you can create your own.
You could start your own even if there is an awesome industry group. There is no reason you couldn’t become the best in the industry.
Keep the focus on creating a group that your clients would find extreme value in. That likely means focusing on the biggest issue your clients have.
That might be getting more sales. It might be dealing with the high stress of running a business. Maybe it’s dealing with government regulation.
Whatever it is look for the main issue and form the group around that.
9. Get Group Members Like This…
Once you’ve created the group the real work starts. This is where the opportunity really is, but only if you put in effort in the long-term. Anybody can start a group, but only a very small number get the group built to a valuable level.
Reach out to people you know with personal emails.
Let them know why you’ve started the group. You can be honest that you want to connect with a certain group of people, but also let them know that you really do want to provide value by answering the most important questions the group of people have.
10. Encourage Group Discussion Like This…
After you reach out with personal emails…
Ask each individual to join and to ask their 1-3 top questions on the group. Then go in and provide the answers.
You’ll have to really work to get response and interaction on the group. You might need help from your friends and it can take time to build discussion, but once it gets rolling it can take off.
LinkedIn is perhaps the best social media site for professionals to join. If you sell a service or product to businesses and professionals at those businesses then LinkedIn is where you need to be. It’s so important that you might want to pull back on your efforts on Facebook and Twitter to focus solely on LinkedIn.
Follow the marketing tips above and you’ll likely have success on LinkedIn in terms of growing your business.