LinkedIn is the dark horse of social media marketing. If’s not as sexy as Facebook. Not as flashy as Instagram. Not as in-your-face as Twitter. For many people, it hums along semi-forgotten in the background – and yet, it can yield amazing results for small and medium-sized businesses.
LinkedIn isn’t like other social media platforms. It’s not designed for the general public, but for business people and thought leaders to connect and build professional networks. It’s also not an online resume, although many people treat it like one. If you’re in a service-related field, you need to optimize your LinkedIn page to sell your expertise and connect with potential new leads.
In this blog, we’re going to talk you through the advantages of a LinkedIn presence, some tips and tricks to develop an effective LinkedIn strategy, and some common mistakes to avoid. You’ll be amazed how quickly your network will grow with the right approach.
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Why you need a LinkedIn strategy
LinkedIn currently has more than 660 million registered users. It’s estimated that about 90 million of these are senior-level influencers, while 63 million are in decision-making positions. If you want to connect directly with business owners and managers, this is where you need to be. As your profile rises, you’ll be able to start generating new leads and acquiring new customers.
Just ask our Sales Director, Ken. He jumped into LinkedIn about 12 months ago and now has about a thousand connections. More importantly, he regularly has conversations with business decision-makers all around the United States to find out how our team can help their companies scale. (He also loves sharing his knowledge – just schedule that free consultation to hear his advice.)
LinkedIn isn’t limited to networking, though. You can use it to build credibility for your business, stay on top of industry trends, learn from experts in your industry, and even recruit top talent. The benefits are tremendous, so if you’re not already using it, it’s time to set up a profile.
Maximizing the effectiveness of your strategy
The biggest similarity between LinkedIn and other social media platforms is that consistency is key. We’ve been shouting that from the rooftops since our company began in 2012, and to be honest, we’ll probably still be shouting that when we’re gray and wrinkly and ready to retire.
Just like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it’s important to show up. That means regularly posting fresh content and engaging with other people. Or you could think about it this way: only about 1% of LinkedIn users create content weekly, which means there are more than 9 billion impressions up for grabs on a weekly basis. It would be crazy not to have a slice of that pie. It’s not difficult to do, but it does require research, planning and time. (Naturally, this is something you can outsource.)
Do: Use LinkedIn to tell a story about yourself
To really make a LinkedIn strategy great, however, you need to acknowledge the things that make it unique. Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to tell a story about yourself right from the start. People don’t have to scroll through your content and draw their own conclusions. That means starting with an attention-grabbing elevator pitch, highlighting the key items you want people to know about you in the about section, and detailing your skills and experience to create a snappy online portfolio that creates trust and builds confidence.
What does that mean in reality? Don’t just fill in the boxes and move on. Think about what you want people to know about you and ask for feedback so you can keep optimizing it.
Do: Use LinkedIn to keep touching base
Think long-term here. Connecting with people doesn’t have to mean adding random people and sending them messages out of the blue in the hope they bite. It’s the modern-day version of the cold call, and while it’s always going to be a tool in your sales arsenal, it’s not the only one.
Brand awareness is important. When you’re not actively selling your services, you should be regularly touching base with your connections. This could be a reaction to a post, a thoughtful question, or an interesting comment in a thread about your industry. Any of these are good for two reasons. First, they directly make contact with someone and reinforce that connection. Second, they will make their way into the feeds of all your other connections, which reminds them that you exist and that your services might be able to help them solve a problem they’re experiencing.
Remember what we said about showing up? It pays huge dividends over time.
Do: Expand your mind about LinkedIn’s usefulness
Everyone is different. Great, we’ve established that – we’re saying that in anticipation of your next thought. Just because you don’t use LinkedIn regularly doesn’t mean your customers don’t.
Running a business is incredibly time consuming, and since social media is the biggest distraction of the 21st century, it’s probably fair enough if you’re not a regular user. In fact, it might be a contributing factor to the success you’ve achieved so far. After all, we all have the same 24 hours every day, and the fact that you’re using your time wisely is clearly serving you well.
Other people, however, are different. They may be actively searching for business solutions, clocking up the hours online and on LinkedIn to research companies like yours. They might be employees at companies, instead of business owners like you, which means their work-life balance and priorities may be different to yours. And let’s be real: they might just be looking for something to read in the bathroom (try not to think about that too much). The point is they’re on LinkedIn.
We know that there are about 660 million potential connections floating around, ready to learn your name. Even if you don’t love using it yourself, it makes sense to show up and at least say hello.
Common LinkedIn mistakes to avoid
The biggest mistake we see on LinkedIn is something we discussed right at the very start: stop using it as your online resume! This platform can offer you so much more if you take the time to set it up properly. Don’t limit yourself by just listing your education and experience. Create a portfolio that shows people, instead of just telling them, why they should work with your business.
Here are some other things that could be restricting your progress:
- Don’t focus so much on adding new connections that you neglect your existing clients
- Don’t write meaningless posts full of buzzwords to sound smart – post something real
- Don’t assume what your clients want – instead, engage with them and ASK them
- Don’t get so caught up in the comments that you forget to post fresh content
- Don’t post on the fly – take the time to check your spelling and grammar
- Don’t post sporadically – it’s always worth developing a proper strategy
- Don’t give up – remember, consistency is key (we’re still shouting it!)
What if you just don’t have the time?
Social media marketing is time-consuming. We know that firsthand – we’re really good at what we do and we currently have three full-time staffers who are up to their elbows in posts, trends, and analytics every day. If it’s not for you, don’t worry. This is definitely something you can outsource.
Our team can take care of everything from optimizing your profile to developing a content strategy, staying on top of the latest marketing trends, and posting high-conversion posts. No modern marketing campaign is complete without a social media strategy. After all, there are about 660 million potential connections out there just waiting to find out what your business can do for them.