Increasing numbers of business owners are praising the powers of LinkedIn, revealing they’ve managed to bolster sales by spending more time on the platform.
Experts continually tell us that LinkedIn is a great way to connect with new prospective clients in a non-intrusive way. It’s also powerful when it comes to increasing your brand awareness, generating leads and as a platform that allows you to demonstrate thought leadership. The site also offers LinkedIn Premium; giving you 25 InMail credits per month to send messages directly to people you aren’t connected with, even if you have no mutual connections.
And while most business people are on LinkedIn these days, some are managing to actually grow sales through the site.
Connecting with potential clients, sharing posts and working to build a relationship on the site has yielded good results for Annette Welsford, who runs a small Brisbane marketing firm, Commonsense Marketing.
She was contacted by a businessman on the site who went on to be one of her best customers, requiring business mentoring, a new website and social media setup services.
Being able to grow her business and develop long-term relationships with businesses in other states and overseas has been invaluable, she says.
“A Sydney mortgage broker contacted me via LinkedIn seeking copywriting services. Since then, he’s spent more than $20,000 with me and has become a long-term client who refers me to others. And we’ve never met.
“Like any form of marketing, you need to be professional and stay active. It’s certainly worked for me, and I now train all my clients on how to use it properly.”
Alex Pirouz launched Linkfluencer two years ago, which is one of the many organisations now offering training on how to get the most out of LinkedIn. He’s personally used the platform to grow his database from 30 subscribers to more than 14,000 and generate hundreds of new clients through events and online webinars.
He’s also used it to get featured in more than 50 media publications without sending out a single press release. He teaches a three-step process to plan, connect and make profits on LinkedIn.
If you’re in the B2B space, LinkedIn can be an extremely powerful tool for you, he says.
“A videographer generated $43,000 in a few months using the tools we taught him, along with endless leads he’s now marketing to on the site. The important steps to getting the most out of the platform include segmenting your database, filtering who you’re going to connect with and identifying how you’re going to build a relationship with the person before you start marketing to them.”
Pirouz has also taught a client in the IT sector the same steps, which landed him a contract worth $60,000.
He’s often asked how much time and effort it takes to master LinkedIn, to which he replies: “Far less time than it takes to master other marketing methods. Once you’ve mastered it, we also teach you how to outsource the campaigns in a far simplified sense to an assistant.”
Irene McConnell writes LinkedIn profiles for professionals, and says it’s vital to ensure you’re viewing your profile from your customer’s perspective. Make sure your summary articulates your customer’s problems better than they can and they will feel that you have a solution, she says.
“Our world is becoming increasingly socially-connected and people enjoy dealing with real people. Think about authenticity, personality, storytelling. Tell the reader who you are, what you stand for and why you do what you do. Engagement is a very powerful tool,” she says.
“Lastly, remember to sprinkle key words which your customers will be searching for throughout your professional headline, summary and experience to ensure that you come in in search results for those terms. However, it’s important to make it natural. Nobody wants to read a keyword-stuffed page which adds little insight into what value you add.”
Most profiles fall down because they’re written in the third person, which is impersonal and has an unnecessary ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude, she says.
“You want to come across as assertive and professional, not full of yourself and distant.”
Social media and public relations expert Catriona Pollard says her profile has directly attracted tens of thousands of dollars of work to her firm since she started spending more energy on the platform.
“Too many SMEs fail the LinkedIn platform because they simply put it in the too-hard basket, when ultimately it’s something you’ve got to tackle in this day and age, or get left behind.”
The biggest mistake most people make is not making the best use of the summary section of LinkedIn, where you should write how you want to be known and your reputation, rather than what you’ve done in the past. Your title doesn’t have to be your actual job title either. Instead, write what you want to be known as, such as ‘social media expert’, she suggests.
“You want to be telling people why they should be doing business with you in the summary section.”
If words aren’t your strong point, consider getting some help to tackle your LinkedIn profile, she suggests.
You should be sharing your content on LinkedIn and include images, she says.
“Content is of course paramount these days. Make sure you edit it and tailor it to the platform, because different audiences will want the content to be shorter or longer, or carry a different tone.”
This article first appeared at Women’s Agenda sister publication, Smart Company.