With a membership base crossing over 200 million* and professionals from all the best industry giants networking here, it’s hard for any anyone today to ignore LinkedIn as a social networking platform. Whether you are looking for a new job or want to grow your business LinkedIn is where you should be today.
Learn Best Practices for Generating Leads from LinkedIn
Complete your profile – Extremely obvious but rarely fulfilled, your profile is an introduction to the people who want to network with you. Complete the basic inputs – name, qualifications, work experience highlighting more on your accomplishments and upload a professional photograph. Add keywords to your profile in the headline (beyond your designation and company name), summary and specialties/skills section so that your name comes up in the keyword search option. Don’t forget to modify your profile as and when you enhance your skills or change jobs.
Connect – Grow your network – Dig out former colleagues, school alumni, customers, suppliers, prospects, people you have interacted with at meetings and group discussions. Look beyond your first level connections – observe second and third-degree connections, you never know who is going to be a source of influence in the future. You can also use the advanced search option to connect with people based on company name, title, industry, location and invite connections based on similar interests or ask a friend for an introduction.
I come recommended!! – Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from your colleagues, seniors and satisfied customers for a job well done. Recommendations earn a trust factor and give credibility to prospective employers or clients. Positive word of mouth is definitely the preferred one over no referral at all.
Groups – LinkedIn groups help enhance your network as you can interact with like-minded people. By using the keyword search option e.g. ‘Internet Marketing’ get a list of groups whose interactions revolve around this topic. Don’t forget to join groups that are outside your industry as well thereby expanding your reach. Joining groups can also be informative for you – get updated on latest happenings in your industry, requirements of other people etc.
Start and participate in Group discussions – The advantage of joining a group is you get to interact with people beyond your first-degree connections, prospects you would like to connect with. Your interactions in these group discussions will enhance your reliability as an expert in responding to queries or asking questions hoping to connect with some potential leads.
Apps – You can add a host of apps to your homepage and amplify your profile by telling your connections what books you are reading (Reading List app), your blogs directly posted on your LinkedIn profile (BlogLink app), share interesting power point presentations about your company (SlideShare app), set up polls to understand prospects needs better (Poll Creator), directly share tweets (Twitter LinkedIn App).
Status Updates – Unlike a Facebook status update which is more personal, status updates on LinkedIn need to be professional like a business conference to attend, share an interesting article you have read, a business trip planned. Don’t forget to comment on other people’s status updates e.g. if there is a common conference being attended, you can request for a one on one meeting.
LinkedIn Ads – Through LinkedIn Ads you can target prospects based on their job roles and create awareness for products/ service you have to offer. It’s an affordable option where payment is based on ‘pay per click’ methodology. Most of the ads are positioned on the right-hand side of the page just like most other websites. Don’t forget to test the efficacy of the ads by monitoring the results and make appropriate changes to improve conversions.
Set up your company page – By creating a company page, you get to broadcast your company products and services to an even wider audience. You can post jobs in the career section, provide detailed information about the products/ services you offer, upload some videos etc. Don’t forget to include recommendations from existing satisfied customers to boost the credibility.
Let’s take it offline – Take your networking to the next level by having a face to face discussion with those you have been interacting regularly on LinkedIn. Create a business event and use the events application to promote it. Tie up with a LinkedIn group of the same industry to further boost some leverage. As the host of the event, everybody will know who you are and you can use this networking to your advantage of introducing your products/services to a new set of customers.