Looking for business-to-business leads? You’ve come to the right place.
If your business sells to other businesses or business professionals, then LinkedIn is an ideal sales tool. Because it’s the primary social network used by business professionals to network and stay abreast of industry topics, it’s where your customers are.
Here are five ways LinkedIn can help you attract those customers to your small business right now.
1. Build Your Network
If you connect with a bunch of people on LinkedIn but never interact with them, those connections are of no use to you. But how do you interact with your connections without annoying them? Find their interests and talk about those. Here’s how:
When you connect with someone on LinkedIn, you gain full access to his or her profile, giving you information that you can use to build a more meaningful connection, such as:
· The connections that you share in common
· Where he or she went to school and what he or she studied
· Where he or she worked in the past
· Different places he or she lived (shown in work history)
You can also glean information to help make meaningful connections from status updates, which appear in your news feed, the first page you see when you log in to LinkedIn. Here you’ll see what articles your connections share as well as autogenerated updates that LinkedIn sends out, such as birthdays, job changes, work anniversaries and more. It all provides a great way to follow up and start a conversation with potential prospects.
2. Post Status Updates to Your LinkedIn Profile
When you post status updates, they show up in your connections’ newsfeeds. People use their newsfeeds to keep on top of their connections and their industries. By posting industry-specific status updates, you can position yourself as a thought leader.
I recommend posting once or twice a day. First and foremost, think about what your connections and potential customers would find interesting and informative. Chances are, if it interests you, it will interest them. Just make sure it isn’t an article touting your business or your product.
Remember: These status updates should be informative and industry-specific. Include a comment in the status update that shows your unique perspective or insight into the link you are sharing.
Images tend to stand out in a long list of any social media status updates. LinkedIn is no exception, but a simple text status update letting your connections know about something happening in your industry or professional life is the best place to start.
3. Create a Small Business LinkedIn Page
When you search LinkedIn for a term like “accountant,” the top results that come back are not individuals who list accountant as their profession. Rather, accounting companies are first. If you want your company to show up when people search for the products or services you offer, then you have to have a company page, which is separate from your personal profile that you use to build your network.
Fill out all the relevant sections, avoid industry jargon and instead use the terms that you think your customers will use when searching for the products or services you offer. For example, while you may be known as a “CPA” in your industry, your individual clients are more likely to search for an “accountant.”
As with your personal profile, you can post status updates to your company page. LinkedIn users have the ability to follow it, and when they do, they will see your updates.
I recommend posting to your company page less often than your personal profile, around three or five times per week. But as far as what to post, the same guidelines apply. Status updates on your personal profile should establish you personally as an industry expert and status updates on your company page are meant to do the same for your small business.
4. Participate in LinkedIn Groups
With more than 2 million groups on LinkedIn, there is likely one focused on the product or service that you offer. For example, this group caters to Equestrian enthusiasts. It’s a perfect place to participate if you have a product or service for people who love horseback riding.
When you answer someone’s question in a LinkedIn group, you are not only helping that person, but everyone else who views that thread sees your response as well. Once you have interacted with someone in a group, send him or her a connection request, and follow up with an email to continue the discussion.
5. Start Your Own LinkedIn Group
Having a popular LinkedIn group adds credibility to you and your company. When you are the founder of a group, you also can email everyone in the group once per week. This can build a highly targeted email list for free.
David Waring is the co-founder of FitSmallBusiness.com. He started his career at Forex Capital Markets, an online currency trading company, which grew from 9 employees to 700.
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