16 April 2012 By Northern Lights
A year ago, when I wrote our free ebook on social media for business, we knew that LinkedIn would work – but we didn’t really have the evidence.
Now a year on, we are starting to hear great stories.
So here are the ways that your business can win business from LinkedIn, based on the stories that we are hearing – and our own social media success story.
1. Use LinkedIn for new business targeting
Take your top ten target companies. Get everyone in the business who is reasonably active on LinkedIn to see who they know in that company.
There may be one or two first connections, but you would mostly expect to find a number of second degree connections – and a lot of third.
If anyone has first degree connections, clearly start with how these can be helpful. Then move on to your second degree connections. Draw up a list of who knows whom and through whom. You are about to start asking for introductions so you don’t want ten people in your company all contacting one poor chap!
Once you know the connections, you can decide who can ask for introductions, who would be able to give you briefings and so on.
2. Join quality groups and take part
Research and join good quality LinkedIn groups – there is a an element of trial and error in all this. And even the good groups can still have some rubbish conversations.
Watch the style of conversations for a while so you don’t appear ‘salesy’ or inappropriate. Look out for businesses asking questions and see how you can help. Spot the businesses you would like to work with and watch out for questions where you can offer real hep and advice.
A client of ours recently spotted a question ‘anyone know an independent financial adviser who can also offer tax planning?’. The client went in very simply and said, yes, they did. They were invited to meet and have won significant business – probably £20k or more.
3. Search your contacts
Who are your best connected contacts on LinkedIn? Have a look through their contacts and see who would be useful to know. Think about what you could offer in return.
Then approach some of these contacts and ask if they would mind helping you – or ask for a coffee and discuss how you could help each other. And part of this will be introductions to a few key people.
This is what I have done in Dubai – we are in the process of setting up an office there and I’m building contacts. I am about to go out for a third time and am now researching the first lot of people I was introduced to on LinkedIn. So far I’ve set up 18 meetings for my next trip.
All of this reinforces why it is important only to accept invitations from quality contacts – you want to make sure your network can be really effective. And why it is important that whenever you connect, you write personal notes on the invitation and build the relationship as you connect.
4. Complete your LinkedIn profile
Increasingly business people use LinkedIn as a search engine. Imagine you are looking for a patent lawyer, a website designer or a conference venue. Increasingly people use the advanced search function on LinkedIn to see who they know – or who others know – to help them.
Does your profile have all the keywords (in your summary, specialties, skills) to ensure you will be found on searches? And is your profile 100% complete? Check out the tips in our ebook to see how to do this. You are significantly more likely to be found on a LinkedIn search if your profile is complete.
What other tips have worked for you in generating business from LinkedIn?