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If you work in the business world, the chances are that you’re on LinkedIn. It’s an amazing tool, not only to find new opportunities, but to extend and build your network. It allows you to publish content directly to potential buyers, especially if you’re in the B2B market. Our guide will help you work out whether LinkedIn should be part of your marketing strategy and business development.
LinkedIn is a social media/content sharing site, similar to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Youtube. However, just like each of these, LinkedIn has its own unique niche, which can be exploited to suit your business needs. Understanding these, and how the platform can be used to best effect, will help you determine whether it should be part of your marketing strategy.
LinkedIn, unlike the other social media platforms, is a professional, business-orientated network, as opposed to a more casual network. For example, your LinkedIn profile will summarise your qualifications and your expertise in whichever field you choose to operate – similar to your resume. This means that content you create for LinkedIn should be tailored to suit that professionalism and formality.
LinkedIn can be an excellent way to promote your business because of its ability to identify potential customers more effectively than more personal social media sites.
Being able to see the details of a connection’s job or the business they represent is a unique feature of LinkedIn, giving you the ability to liaise with people who may be able to benefit your business – whether that be through lead generation, recruitment or finding new/better suppliers (to name a few).
With the restrictions on data collection and management introduced by the General Data Protection Regualtion, which has decimated many mailing lists, LinkedIn provides an ideal platform to expand your network and message people directly. However, don’t take that as an invitation to spam people; it’s still a social network and people won’t respond if you send them an unsolicited connection request without context.
Importantly, research who you are reaching out to; you want to build a network of people who can add value to your brand, whether as potential influencers, collaborators or customers – but if it’s the latter, it’s really vital that your connection request and subsequent communications are not a sales pitch. Ideally ask a mutual connection to introduce you. Failing that, personalise your request to connect so they can see value in it, for example:
If they accept your connection request, reach out to cement the connection, for example:
You then need to nurture the relationship moving forwards. It’s not just enough to build a big network, you need to share the love, liking and commenting on their posts, so they can see that you’re a giver, not just a taker.
However, if they don’t accept your connection request, don’t pester them. Move on!
‘Whenever I have needed to get some more work in, I have gone on LI and reached out to contracts managers at FM companies and got more work in. When I first started my business, I would reach out to about 10 a day and built the business through that. The first one to give me some work I had to reach out to three times, and it’s a balance of being persistent but not annoying them. But I did go back to him about every three months, and the third time he had just fallen out with his shutter company and came straight back to me.’
Paul Nolan, Dynamic Doors, Sittingbourne
There are several ways that LinkedIn makes it easy for you to address your audience:
Creating your own LinkedIn articles can be a great way to put your brand in front of more people. However, it’s not a sales platform; you should be creating content that adds value to your connections. For example, if you’re in facilities management, you might publish articles on ways companies can save money through managing their buildings more effectively.
An excellent benefit of the professionalism of the LinkedIn community is that, if you take time to nurture relationships properly, you can expand your reach even further. Building up rapport with influencers in your area can get you to the position of being able to ask them to comment on or share your content, which gives you respected endorsement and gets your message in front of their followers. To learn more about writing engaging and interesting blog posts, check out this guide.
Social media can be extremely rewarding when done right, and with many options out there it can be difficult to choose which channels your business should use. LinkedIn can be an excellent tool for growing your business, especially if you are in the B2B market. With a little work, it can be a really valuable tool in your marketing strategy and help you grow your business effectively.