You can buy ads on Facebook and Instagram to generate leads, but there are plenty more marketing strategies to increase sales on other platforms. LinkedIn ranks the highest in the B2B space. It’s for professionals and marketers looking to build their brand, expand their influence, and improve social selling – the art of building and leveraging relationships.
In the past, you might have used LinkedIn for finding jobs or congratulating colleagues on their new gig. But as it’s grown (and growing daily) to over 828 million members monthly, it’s a must-have business platform to communicate with ideal prospects, clients, partners and peers. It’s a social media marketing platform to grow your business, brand, expert authority, and tell the world what you’re up to and how you can help others.
LinkedIn lets you share content, post videos, and showcase your brand in different ways than you would on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It’s not the place for cute dog photos, what you had for dinner last night, or your latest workout or travel adventure, but rather the place for connecting with decision makers at companies here and abroad – that have the potential to impact your business.
Social selling becomes easier because it’s all about creating relationships with individuals in a professional B2B space. As you do your due diligence in the prospecting process, LinkedIn allows you to find out as much as possible about who you’re connecting with and how they might help you meet your goals. It’s a goldmine of opportunity if you know how to sift through the data and information to support your personalized marketing and PR plan.
4 Steps to Build your LinkedIn Influence Circle
1. Expand your network
LinkedIn mirrors the offline business world, because the number of connections you have shows the possibility of brand growth, influence and expansion. Unfortunately, you can’t hit the magic ‘connect’ button and voilà, have a new audience dying to engage with you. It takes time, thought, and strategy to build like, know, trust and believability with people who barely know you (but may know of you).
As you expand your network, follow your marketing and PR plan guidelines. Who are your ideal prospects, customers, referral partners, vendors, and media contacts? If you’ve already got that figured out, it just takes good business judgment and a dose of tenacity to connect and grow your audience with LinkedIn connections who will provide value. People who you want to do business with and that can help you. A high-quality network will always trump a huge audience of viewers who are disconnected or don’t care.
2. Make deeper connections
One of the benefits of LinkedIn is that you can find decision makers in all industries. Love a brand and want to work with them? Reach out. In your initial message, give them a glimpse of who you are and comment on what they’re up to. Tell them what you thought about their latest post or video, or say you love their book. Focus on starting a conversation, not delivering a sales pitch.
Since everyone will check out your profile (at a minimum), make the most of your LinkedIn headline; it’s the first thing that will grab their attention. Include the name of your business, your specialty as a problem solver, strategic keywords, and contact information. Maximize space too. If you’re a health and wellness expert for seniors, your headline might read, “(Name of your business) | Health and Wellness Expert for Seniors.”
The intention of building out and completing your LinkedIn profile is to turn a viewer into a reader, an explorer of your brand’s content and story. If they like what they see, it opens the door for a conversation in the get-to-know-you process.
3. Add value in relationships
Your first contact with a new connection doesn’t have to be a private message. It could be a comment on their latest post, a written “congratulations” note, (not an automated emoji), or a thoughtful response after reading something they’ve shared. Be real and human in what you write – or pass. If it’s a challenge to keep up with posting and engaging, limit yourself to 15 minutes a day. The point is to be genuinely interested and interesting, in whatever time you have.
Is someone posting a challenge? We all have them. It’s your call to offer a few thoughts publicly or message the person privately. As the largest B2B social platform, LinkedIn provides a forum for business experts to give insight, which often turns into lead generation opportunities. The benefit is that you have the ability to research who you want to do business with and get valuable intel to build a solid prospecting list that meets your goals.
Even if you’re not familiar with social selling, recent stats show that there are 8.2 million C-level executives on LinkedIn, and more than 80 percent of all B2B sales leads generated with social media come from the platform. You won’t find direct access to that many key decision makers anywhere else.
4. LinkedIn Sales Navigator
If you haven’t tried LinkedIn Sales Navigator as a prospecting tool, test drive the free trial. It’s designed to grow sales pipelines and increase close rates helping sales teams and marketers target their audience, understand them, and engage in a meaningful way. If you’re familiar with the ad console on Facebook or Google Ads, there are some similarities. You can look at your target, measure your sales efforts, and ultimately your results.
Bottomline: Other social media sites bring you diverse sets of audiences, but LinkedIn’s social media marketing platform is strictly for business professionals. Commit to working the platform for 15 minutes a day. Refresh your LinkedIn page, update it with your brand’s story, and target your ideal customer with messaging that speaks to their problems and challenges. Then, start researching top connections to meet your marketing objectives, goals, and timeline.
As a no-cost, low cost marketing and PR expert, I recommend you master the prospecting game with LinkedIn’s free tool’s first. Learn the advanced search features that LinkedIn offers, before you sign on for LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It’s a sizable investment that has proven to be valuable for many of my clients, but not all.
And finally, check out these amazing prospecting templates for LinkedIn. I love them and thought you might too.