LinkedIn is a 380 million user powerhouse when it comes to business opportunities. The platform became an essential source for hiring talents, networking, finding and pitching investors and getting peer advice on your business. However, statistics say that the average user spends only 17 minutes per month on this B2B social media network. But users who do utilize LinkedIn actively say that the platform can be a major boost when it comes to sales and expanding your business network, meaning massively higher ROI compared to cold-calling and attending offline networking events. Here are three strategies to help you squeeze out the max of this business network!
Stop Focusing on the Numbers
Unlike Twitter, Facebook or Google+ your influence and reach is not established by the number of connections you have. It's all about the quality here. Accept “the less is more” approach when it comes to building your connections on LinkedIn.
Before even getting started, sit down and work on your plan. Identify those ideal contacts you'd like to connect with and why. Rather than being focused on gaining new contacts, don't forget about the big three that have brought you to where you are today – past customers, current customers and vendors or power partners.
Connect with them, analyze which groups they belong to and which companies they follow. To keep things neat, add respective tags e.g “past client” to each new contact you make.
Kevin Kaplan from Vip Cheats also suggests using a few nifty apps:
“Evernote Premium allowed me to drastically expand my LinkedIn network in just 15 min a day. As you have connected the app with your LinkedIn account, you can just snap a picture of a business card, the app will scan it and save all the information. Afterwards, it will send out a connection request on LinkedIn. Brilliantly simple! Additionally I use IFTTT (If This, Then That) – an app that offers a bunch of handy LinkedIn recipes (pre-programmed action scenarios the app will perform automatically when certain action occurs). For instance, I’ve programmed the app to send a brief introduction email to each new connection”.
Join groups to target new potential customers
While diving into LinkedIn groups may seem like the right choice, the truth is you will hardly generate any sales and will get few referrals despite the efforts spent.
Considering you know your target market already and have an ideal buyers persona in mind, the first thing you need to do is to locate where they dwell. Use LinkedIn search engine to identify the ideal connections and check out what groups they belong to (most of the groups are public).
After joining the group, start the interaction with a brief introduction (a lot of groups have a special thread for that) and comment on other user's posts. Once you establish yourself as an active participant of the community, you are likely to get permission to share your own relevant content as long as it benefits the audience of course.
Curate and generate great content
No one likes users who send out a connection request, immediately followed up by a sales pitch you actually did not want to receive. As most people equate you and your brand with the content you offer them, you don't want to become just another annoying spammer, right? Converting prospects into clients on LinkedIn takes time and careful planning.
Use two types of content to leverage your personal and business brand:
- Curated Content to build your credibility by association. Sharing relevant, helpful posts demonstrates your awareness of the niche and is a great way to connect with the influencers if you tag them.
- Your own content can come in form of relevant blog posts, tutorials or podcasts published on your website; or posts written and published directly on LinkedIn Pulse. Be selective with what you share and don't forget that value comes over quantity always. A single, well-written post can continue to drive you referrals for months, while a dozen of short mediocre posts can come unnoticed.
Building relationships and scoring sales on LinkedIn takes time. However, the more you invest in others, the higher chances are that the right people will invest in you!
Featured Image: Nan Palmero/ Flickr