Social media can be a great tool for your small business.
However, there is so much information about social media that it can be overwhelming.
And one of the biggest social media mistakes you can make is to spread yourself thin across all the different platforms.
That’s the point we discussed in our post on the best social media sites for businesses.
For Ghost Blog Writers, we really use three social networks:
And we really spend most of our time on the first two. It’s where we get the most benefit for our small business.
The benefit we’re looking for is traffic and in a few cases we’ve gotten new business directly through interactions on Twitter and LinkedIn.
So you can tell that we’re positive on Twitter and LinkedIn.
In this post I’m going to show you the way I’ve gone about using LinkedIn personally to help grow GBW. I think it’s a strategy you can use to help grow your small business too.
Step 1: Use Descriptive Language Throughout Your Profile
The first step to making quality connections and LinkedIn and earning new business through those connections is to create quality content.
This might not be a surprise coming from someone that creates content for a living, but if your profile doesn’t sell you then you’re not going to get business no matter who you connect with on LinkedIn.
Use your real name.
Use a short, but descriptive title that includes where you work.
Founder: Ghost Blog Writers
Some people get crazy with titles. Keep it simple. People will see through your BS if you make up a title or if you use one that sounds too good to be true.
Then comes your Summary, which is often the first thing a person reads after your name and title.
Start with a sentence or two about yourself, but make the summary mostly about what your business offers, how it helps your target customers and why you’re better than the competition.
It should be about 4 to 6 short paragraphs.
Step 2: Connect With Friends And Family
On LinkedIn, you have to make connections to expand your potential network.
I haven’t quite figured it all out, but it seems you can connect with people that are 2 degrees away or in your 2nd degree network. This would be connections of your connections.
I also think you can connect with 3rd degree folks, but it depends on their settings. I think the same is true about people further outside your network – it depends on their settings.
A good way to start is to build your network with the people closest to you – friends and family.
Step 3: Connect With Current And Past Co-Workers And Colleagues
Next, connect with your co-workers and colleagues. These are people you work with and know well.
It’s hard for your co-workers, past and present, to ignore your request unless you are on their bad side.
Colleagues would be people that you deal with regularly. They might be current clients, vendors and partners.
Again, you’re growing your network so you can reach out to more and more people later.
Step 4: Connect With Industry Leaders
Next up is a bit of a challenge.
You know your industry best and you probably know a dozen or more industry leaders. These are people that have influence. They have an audience of people that admire and follow them on various places including blogs and social media.
The reason you want to connect with leaders is that they have large networks and when you connect with even just a few leaders you can really open up your network.
Chances are that potential clients follow industry leaders.
Step 5: Connect With Target Customers
Now it’s time to start connecting with your target customers.
By this point it’s important to note that you should be disciplined with all the connections you make on LinkedIn. If you have a large number of requests out there you could be flagged for spam.
You ideally want every connection request to be granted.
This is why you want to connect with people you know first and that are likely to often use LinkedIn and see your request.
But if you’ve done that well you can now connect with target customers. You should have a good network built up with potential target customers.
Use the search functionality on LinkedIn to search for titles of people that fit your target customer profile. They might be CEOs, owners, founders, managers, CFOs, etc.
Also search off LinkedIn for your potential customers. Get their names and search for them on LinkedIn.
My recommendation is to stick with only your most narrowed target customer. You want to give yourself a high probability of succeeding. You want these people to see your request, which includes your name and title, to visit your profile and read about your business.
Step 6: Connect With Target Partners
Finally, connect with target partners.
These people are ones that share the same target customer as you. Connect with them because you might be able to form partnerships and you might share clients by referring each other.
I’ve done this with marketing and design agencies. We share the same clients and our connections on LinkedIn can be very beneficial for each other.
Once Connections Are Made
I make connections on LinkedIn and then really don’t do much. You could send out introductory messages, but if you get too salesy or spammy with your messages you’re going to get a bad reputation.
I prefer to let people see my request, read my profile and reach out to me if they’re interested in blogging services.
LinkedIn offers a great way to network with people throughout the world.
Networking has traditionally been one of the best ways for small companies to get new business. You use the connections you have now to connect with new people that could become new clients. Those connections can also lead to referrals from your friends and current clients.
Follow the steps above and you should see results.
We’ve seen some with GBW and we really haven’t pushed the efforts too much other than to make connections.
You don’t have to spam people with messages. Just let them discover your profile and if they’re interested in what you offer they’ll get in touch.