With well over 250 million users worldwide, LinkedIn has become the top tool for Business networking online. Over the last few years, I’ve built my network to more than 2000 connections and used these connections to build deeper relationships, win business, expand Cosential’s reach, and identify new opportunities. I’ve decided to highlight a few of my favorite ways to leverage LinkedIn for your business.
1. Connect strategically
Ask yourself these key questions when searching for the right LinkedIn connections:
- Who do you want/need to surround yourself with?
- Who can you help? Who can help you? Who is a thought leader?
- Who are your industry’s leaders? Who is influential for your company’s success?
Reach out and send a personalized LinkedIn invitation. Include a short note mentioning their blog, background, recent news, shared connections, or any other detail that would elicit a response. This leads to a conversation instead of just a new connection. Don't forget to make sure your LinkedIn Integration feature is turned on in Cosential so you can track key details and notes.
2. Share engaging content
The goal here is to mix up various approaches below. Creating a successful LinkedIn persona is more than just sharing the same kind of content over and over. Examples include:
- Project wins and awards
Establish your company as a market leader. Potential clients gravitate toward busy, successful companies. Share status updates on your project wins or awards. Mix up your approach with different voices and fun photos.
- Project progress
Have someone in the field take snapshots of different phases of your projects, including completed work. One great example is DPR’s time-lapse experience of the new JW Marriott in Austin using oxblue.com.
- Comment on your contacts’ updates
LinkedIn sends out periodic updates about your connections and now offers the same insight when you click on your number of contacts. Take a minute to congratulate the people in your network on their accomplishments or say happy birthday.
- Relevant articles
Want to be a thought leader? Share your knowledge! Posting awesome content will get you exposure across everyone’s networks, particularly when other users share it. LinkedIn has a tool called Pulse which will help you identify popular articles and key influencers. You can also subscribe to news aggregators that share the most relevant stories on LinkedIn every day.
3. Leverage group knowledge
- Search for industry groups and think about who influences your potential clients. You can search for groups by selecting Groups from the dropdown menu next to the search box at the top of the page. Start your search with broad keywords. Another simple way to find groups is by looking through your connections’ profiles. When you find a group that looks interesting, subscribe to their updates.
- Be sure to contribute to the conversations going on in the groups that are serving you. A quick response or an engaging post gives you valuable exposure to other people within the group; you never know who is looking. Depending on your prospects settings, they may even get an email about your post. Becoming a thought leader to a targeted audience is always an effective strategy. Keep track of which groups are producing the most engagement. Engagement is key to cultivating relationships via social media. Make it a goal to respond to key group comments and LinkedIn emails within 24 hrs.
4. Give back
- Reach out to your connections and ask how you can help them. Pick a few per week and make it a habit.
- Endorse, endorse, endorse – it’s a great way to help others, and they just might reciprocate.
- Watch for your contacts’ updates about looking for new opportunities. Be proactive in helping them. Pay it forward by connecting them to contacts that may be able to help. They will remember your good deed and you never know how it might benefit you in the future.
5. Gain intel
- Who are your competitors and who are their key contacts? If you have access to their contacts and their groups, what insight is there? Who do they follow? By spending a few minutes investigating, you could potentially uncover fantastic opportunities.
- Before you call a prospect, check out their Linkedin page to learn a few things about them. Where did they go to school? Do you have connections or groups in common? Don't forget to check out their Cosential record as well. The more knowledge you have, the better you will be at building relationships.
- Use the Advanced Search criteria to identify contacts by a certain keyword, school, company, geographic region, etc. This tool can be extremely effective in finding a backdoor when you’ve exhausted other avenues.
Finally, don’t forget to expand your reach by posting your LinkedIn profile on your other social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The greater your reach, the wider your net. And don’t underestimate the cumulative effect of LinkedIn. Have key employees share the same posts; this will expand your reach and drive even more engagement.
If you want to tap into my network, join me and let me know your favorite LinkedIn tips. You can also follow Cosential on LinkedIn to get all of our latest updates. Now, go ahead and leverage LinkedIn to grow your business!