Is LinkedIn working for you?
Do you want to generate more business from LinkedIn?
When used properly, LinkedIn can be a gold mine for your business.
Here are five steps to improve your efforts to generate more business from LinkedIn.
As a business, the foundation of your success on LinkedIn begins with your LinkedIn profile.
Do you know if your profile is showing up in search results? If it’s not, you may be losing valuable opportunities and ideal clients.
And after you’ve ensured that your profile is showing up in the right places, you’ll want to do what it takes to make the connections your business needs.
#1: Let Prospects Easily Find You
Before you can start generating business on LinkedIn, you need to optimize your profile so prospects can find you.
If you are not showing up at the top of the search results when potential prospects are searching for the product or service you offer, they won’t know to connect with you. While this might seem common sense, it’s often something people overlook when creating their LinkedIn profile.
So what does it take to be found on LinkedIn? First you need to figure out the keywords your ideal clients use when searching for what you offer. Just how do you decide what keywords your ideal clients are looking for?
Figuring out the keywords for your LinkedIn profile is a little different than the keywords you would use for your website. On Google, people often look for things by typing queries like, “How to write a great LinkedIn profile.” On LinkedIn, people are looking for a person and search for a title, such as “LinkedIn profile writer” or “LinkedIn expert.”
Business owners will often use the words “Owner” or “Founder” in their profile. While I am the owner and founder of my company, these are not the keywords that I use on my profile. I use keywords like “LinkedIn expert,” “social media speaker,” “social media consultant” or “social media trainer” because this is what people look for on LinkedIn.
This is a key concept to understand before prospects can find you when they need what you offer. Use the words your ideal clients would use to search for you on LinkedIn.
#2: Give Prospects a Reason to Connect With You
It’s not enough to just show up in the search results. There are numerous other profiles that show up as well. So unless you give prospects a good reason to click on you, they are just as likely to click on someone else’s profile. You must have a compelling headline that grabs their attention and makes prospects want to click on your profile.
To do this, you need to combine an attention-grabbing statement with one or two keywords (for search optimization). If you are a business that provides services in a local area, you may want to include your location in your headline with your keywords.
For example, this accountant and business advisor in Kelowna has a headline that reads “Kelowna accountant & business advisor helping businesses, start-ups & real estate investors experience growth & profits!” This is a great example of an attention-grabbing statement that includes the keywords “accountant” and “business advisor,” as well as a location.
Here’s another example of someone who makes great use of the headline to include the keywords she wants to be found for.
It’s also really important to have a professional headshot to complement your great headline. I see many people with no picture. This is a red flag for anyone wondering if the profile may belong to a spammer or someone who is not totally legitimate.
People want to see whom they are connecting with, so it is important for you to add a picture to your profile. Without it, they will be far less likely to click on your profile.
#3: Give Prospects a Reason to Take Action
Now that a prospect has landed on your profile, it must speak to their needs so that they will take the next action, whatever you choose that action to be. The first section that they see is your Summary section.
It’s important that you include your keywords in the Summary section to increase the number of people who find you. This section must be client-focused.
This may seem completely counterintuitive to what you might believe about LinkedIn, but LinkedIn is a business-building tool (this does not refer to job seekers). And if you are using it as a business-building tool, then skip the resume, curriculum vitae (CV) or professional bio. Nobody really cares about you. People only care about what you can do for them.
With this in mind, be sure your profile speaks directly to your ideal clients. Begin your Summary section with a paragraph about who you are, share some of your story and position your credibility. The rest must speak to your specific target market, who they are, what their problems are and of course what solutions you provide.
You should always end your Summary section with a call to action. So many people miss this important piece in their LinkedIn profile and lose opportunities by not telling those who land on their profile what to do next. Tell them exactly what to do and where to go, whether that is to your website for a free report, to email you, to call you, etc.
#4: Grow Your Network So Prospects Can Find You
Even with a fully keyword-optimized and professionally written profile, you are limited to who can find you in the search results based on the number of people in your network.
If you have a small network, you dramatically limit the number of people who will ever see you in their search results. In order for more people to find you, you need to grow your LinkedIn network.
The only way someone can find you is if you are in his or her first-, second- or third-level network or are a member of the same group.
For best results, you’ll want to make a point of accepting most incoming connection requests (unless you suspect they are from a spammer or fake account). Set a regular schedule to reach out to people you know or would like to know and be sure to always send out a personalized message.
A personalized connection request should always include their first name at the top and your name at the bottom. If it is someone you know, remind him or her how you know each other. If you are both part of the same LinkedIn group, you might write a connection request like the one below.
#5: Follow Up With New Connections
Always follow up with new connections who have reached out to you and the ones you’ve reached out to and requested to connect with.
Send a welcome message after someone accepts your connection request or sends you a connection request. Thank them for connecting with you and then offer them something of value.
For example, when someone reaches out to me, I offer them a couple of free gifts including a LinkedIn checklist and a spot at my free webinar. From this gesture alone, many people have reached out and further connected with me, which sometimes was the beginning of a great relationship. This is the step where you’ll actually lay a solid foundation to generate business.
Stay connected to your network, reach out to them regularly, add value for them and move the relationship forward. This means whenever possible, move the relationship offline and have a telephone call or an email. You’d be surprised at how much business still happens the old-fashioned way!
Use These Steps to Create a Strong Business Network on LinkedIn
As you can see, there are a number of steps for using LinkedIn to generate businessand ultimately build strong and lasting relationships.
What do you think? Have you had success finding new customers or strategic alliances on LinkedIn? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.