LinkedIn is the fastest growing social network on the planet. 2 new members join every second with nearly 300M registered members across the globe. 50 percent of all users are decision makers. Marketing and sales professionals must leverage LinkedIn to have right conversations with right people. Your target audience is likely active on it. So should you be.
Here are Best Practices for leveraging LinkedIn.
1) Plan. Before you jump in with both feet, determine your objectives. Ask yourself, specifically, why do I want to use LinkedIn? What do I want to accomplish by using it? Example objectives: 1) Generate 3 new business opportunities in the next 90 days using LinkedIn. 2) Direct connect with 30 target prospects within 3 months. 3) Direct connect with 30 colleagues, partners, and/or people of interest in which you have things in common. 4) Post content in your feed daily M-F. 5) Endorse 5 connections every week. If you're not sure what objectives to create, Ask a LinkedIn-savvy colleague or a LinkedIn paid professional. It’s important that your objectives are properly focused and realistic.
2) Research. Use the advanced search features to research and save your searches. Then back-link any relationships you have even if they are 2nd or 3rd degree. To get the most out of this work, you’ll need to pony up the $53/month LinkedIn upgrade.
3) Warm Introductions. Use your research and network to generate warm introductions through LinkedIn. Take your time and do this right. Be prepared to offer something of REAL value in return and upfront. It needs to be a win/win exchange. Once you have access to the target, don’t show up and throw up on them with a big pitch. Be friendly, direct about the WHY you’re connecting, and offer her access to your network if she needs anything.
4) Build. Treat LinkedIn like a window to your relationships. If you value your relationships, then you’ll use the platform to cultivate and grow them on a daily basis. And don’t link with just anyone. Be selective but proactive. Try to link with multiple new meaningful people every week in pursuit of your planned objectives. You’d be surprised how many people you actually know.
5) Be an all-star. LinkedIn rates your profile for you on the right hand side. If your profile is not ranked as an all-star, get to work on getting there. The platform provides many built-in suggestions, but to summarize the key work…completing all sections, linking with more than 500 people, request recommendations from people you’ve worked with in the past. And offer them in return as well.
6) Post. LinkedIn is full of great content. You likely already receive great content from other sources via email, Twitter, etc. Every source begins or ends with a link to post via multiple sources…almost always LinkedIn is one of them. If you like something you read, post it to LinkedIn. It’s worth the 60 seconds investment of time. Do it daily and you’ll see an increase in profile views and connection requests. More importantly, you’ll be creating opportunities to connect with your target prospects.
7) Group. Be selective and become a Top Contributor. Focus on 2-3 groups where your prospects are likely to hang out. So many people treat groups like trade shows and the 6th grade dance. All the boys on one side and all the girls on the other...meaning they spend time with peers instead of prospects. It’s crazy but it still happens today in business…even in the virtual world! Don’t do it. Mingle with your prospects on their turf. Post great content like your blog or someone else’s that you like. Read and comment on other posts. Use it for discussion. It’s not for hard selling. You’ll become a thought leader and make more meaningful connections.
If LinkedIn is something you think you could improve on with professional management, let us know. We can help with our LinkedIn management services. Jut give us a call @ 214.810.6207 or email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org.