Branded as “the world’s largest professional network,” LinkedIn has built up a huge user base of people looking to make business connections. Now reaching over 450 million members, LinkedIn has a distinct advantage over other social media networks in that the business world takes it seriously for networking. Yes, other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are certainly wonderful tools for reaching customers and carrying out marketing campaigns, but they’re not necessarily looked upon as viable networking tools. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is, and because professionals recognize it as a viable connection-building platform, it can be leveraged in very positive ways.
LinkedIn gives businesses the opportunity to grow their client base, offer in-depth looks at their services and offerings, and establish themselves as thought leaders in their respective industries. All of these features and more mean that LinkedIn can be used in very concrete ways to help you expand your reach and continue to scale.
With that in mind, here are five LinkedIn tips to help you build your business.
Advanced Search is Your Friend
450 million people can be an intimidating crowd to wade through. Luckily for you, LinkedIn has an incredibly robust advanced search feature that allows you to narrow down your searches by a number of different categories, including industry, demographic, location, and more. Looking to connect with potential clients in your region? Hoping to scout out some local competition in your field? Maybe you’re looking for grants or other sources of funding. LinkedIn’s advanced search allows you to hone in on a very specific subgroup, so you can reach out to a targeted audience and offer your services with ease and efficiency.
The More Connections, The Better
It’s a known fact that someone with a deep Rolodex of connections has a competitive advantage over others. A wide network of colleagues and industry peers gives you access to business you might not have been able to reach yourself. The same goes true for LinkedIn connections. LinkedIn’s neat feature of showing mutual connections and degrees of separation between yourself and potential business allows you to strategically map out who you can pursue and how you can reach those companies. The deeper and wider your network is, the greater chance you have of your business connecting with a huge web of people. This gives you access both to people immediately in your industry and to tangential businesses and professionals, creating more opportunities to expand your business vertically and horizontally.
Utilize Groups with Relevant Interests
A great way to promote your business organically is by engaging in a community of like-minded businesses and individuals. LinkedIn’s Groups feature allows you to do just that. Where Google+ may have failed with Circles, LinkedIn’s Groups serve as a valuable sub-network, “[providing] a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts,” according to LinkedIn’s website. Making connections with relevant industry leaders and establishing your business as a willing participant in the conversation surrounding that industry shows that you are serious about establishing a foothold in that sphere. Engaging organically with like-minded businesses also shows you have the knowledge to be a thought leader in the industry and can attract clients and lead to future good press.
Publish Relevant Content
Speaking of being a thought leader, one of the recent successful additions to LinkedIn’s services has been its publishing platform, in which businesses and individuals can publish long-form content on their page and share it with their connections and groups. Where you once had to redirect users to your blog or website to get eyes on your content, you can now offer it directly via LinkedIn to an audience of over 1 million readers and publishers. LinkedIn’s publishing platform also offers deep analytics on who is reading your content, so you can get greater insight into your audience. Insights from social media data can be leveraged in very helpful ways, so publishing good content and reaping the rewards from the analytics on that content is a no-brainer.
Leverage Endorsements from Clients
It’s a given that your LinkedIn profile should be complete and up-to-date at all times, but it’s also important to think about what aspects of your profile potential clients or business partners will pay the most attention to. Perhaps one of the most overlooked parts of any LinkedIn profile is the endorsements section. Social proof is known to be an excellent form of attracting customers; it’s why testimonials continue to be so popular among marketers. If you can get satisfied customers to endorse you for relevant skills on your LinkedIn profile, you’ll allow people viewing your profile to easily see what areas you excel in and what you offer in terms of business skills. Let social proof via endorsements be the focal point of your profile, and you are guaranteed to put your best foot forward and offer concrete evidence of why clients should do business with you.
What other LinkedIn strategies have you found successful for building your business? Let us know in the comments!