LinkedIn is one of the top social networking platforms for businesses. The site is hugely popular among professionals, with more than 675 million monthly users and 30 million companies, according to Hootsuite.
You can't just sign up for LinkedIn, create your company profile, and expect the leads to come in, however. There are steps to building a business on the site. If you don't know where to start, here are some simple techniques you can use to begin building your business on LinkedIn and use social media for marketing your small business today.
Buff up your profile
To attract your ideal sales leads, make sure your profile looks great. Add all your business information, upload a high-quality logo and cover photo, link to your website, and post updates from your page.
"Explain exactly why you are the best in your space and what you do to help people," says Wayne Breitbarth, a speaker, author, and consultant at Power Fomula LLC. "Include video testimonials from your happy customers plus links to your website and other valuable information—anything that will encourage people to reach out to you."
According to Breitbarth, you should include SEO keywords that are relevant to your business because, like Google, LinkedIn is also a search engine. "LinkedIn's search algorithm gives preference to keywords in your headline, job titles, and skills section," he explains.
Use sales navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a premium tool that starts at $64.99 a month and can be used to find sales leads. You can see who has viewed your profile, send 20 InMail messages per month, save 1,500 sales leads, get Extended LinkedIn network access, and much more. When building a business on LinkedIn, Sales Navigator is critical.
According to Gootenberg, after you initiate contact with sales leads, you actually need to make a real connection. Figure out what keeps them up at night, be open and upfront about what you hope to accomplish, ask what you want directly, and be of value to them.
"You'll be hard-pressed to find anyone anywhere who isn't busy," she says. "You know what makes people stop what they're doing and listen, though? When it benefits them. Because you already understand the general needs before connecting with a prospect, you should already know how you can help. Lead with that. And if you can, back it up with data, case studies, and testimonials," says Gootenberg.
Get a premium account
If you can't sign up for Sales Navigator when building a small business, then at least get a LinkedIn Premium account, which starts at $29.99 a month.
"Most people can be highly effective on LinkedIn with a free account," says Breitbarth. "However, limitations on number of searches per calendar month and ability to see who has viewed your profile are common reasons to upgrade to a Premium account."
Take the conversation offline
To start building a successful business on LinkedIn, you need to do more than chat with sales leads over InMail all day. Instead, you should focus on nurturing your leads offline to really seal the deal.
"When you find there is some trust built, you should turn the conversation offline," says Jose Gomez, a co-founder at Evinex. "Keeping leads online for too long is a big mistake. Don't forget that you are going to close most of your deals by phone or having a coffee with your prospects rather than online messaging."
Devote time to it every day
Like other social networks, you can't just set it and forget it on LinkedIn. Dedicate time to it daily, even if it's just for a few minutes, and you'll begin to reap the benefits.
"LinkedIn is a powerful platform where you'll get out what you put in," says Scott Ingram, founder and CEO of Sales Success Media. "If you think it's right for you, then commit to spending time there consistently each day. Two 15-20 minute sessions daily is a really good place to start."
Become a thought leader
"Participants come to the platform with the intent to build their network, seek insight, resources and support, and find jobs and/or qualified candidates for openings," says Katie Gootenberg, founder of Digitally Enhanced. "Because of that, business owners who properly leverage the platform have the unique opportunity to position themselves and their company as a thought leader, showcase the breadth of their knowledge and network, forge and cultivate more personal relationships via technical means and leverage it to source, attract and nurture leads."
By creating a robust profile, forging LinkedIn connections, honing in on sales leads, and putting the time into building a business on the site, you can become successful on and off the social platform in no time.