LinkedIn has long been considered a social media work horse. The social media channel you go to when you need a new job.
Don’t be too quick to write off LinkedIn as an electronic résumé, when, in fact, there are many LinkedIn strategies beginners can use to:
- Job search
- Research industry trends
- Position themselves as thought leaders
- Generate leads and
- Sell products
LinkedIn is moving strategically towards becoming a hub not just for job searching and professional networking, but for industry news and thought leadership. As LinkedIn grows in this way, there may be increased opportunities for people like you to grow along with it.
Be sure to keep LinkedIn in mind as you build your own social media strategy. Keep your profile up to date, make new connections, and keep up with the latest features.
LinkedIn Quick Facts
- Launch date: May 5, 2003
- Total number of LinkedIn users: 467 million+ users
- Number of countries and territories LinkedIn is available to: 200
- Percent female users: 44
- Percent male users: 57
- Percentage of millionaires using LinkedIn: 44
- Visit-to-lead conversion rate: 4 times higher than other social media platforms
- Growth: Every second, 2 new people join LinkedIn
These figures give some context to the rest of our post, and give you a sense of the scale that LinkedIn operates on. It’s such a valuable platform to so many professionals that, when Microsoft bought the company, the sale price was $26.2 billion USD.
What’s So Special About LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is important for your social strategy because it’s the social channel used by the greatest number of senior decision makers. The average CEO has 930 connections on LinkedIn, on average. This means that, when you are prospecting, you’ll be able to connect with them more easily than you would on, say, Facebook (where people go for entertainment).
LinkedIn’s search functions mean that it is much easier to find and target the types of people for whom you are looking than on any other social channel. Once you find the people you are targeting, trust-building is easier because LinkedIn profiles are so comprehensive.
Here’s something else you may not have considered: Because there are far fewer people on LinkedIn, relatively speaking, status updates are less congested than Twitter or Facebook. This allows your well-considered posts to stand out in the crowd.
Now that you know a little about LinkedIn and why you should care, let’s cover some nuts and bolts.
How to Get Started
Start by uploading your résumé and researching your industry to look for the words people use to describe your profession or industry. Use those words in your profile header and summary.
This may go without saying, but it’s important to optimize your profile with a professional headshot and fill out your profile as completely as possible. Profiles with professional headshots see a huge increase in traffic – on average, they get 14 times as many views than profiles without.
Once you have a professional and well-written profile, you can start to find new customers.
Top 3 Strategies For Finding New Customers
Here are some effective ways to find customers on LinkedIn:
- Advanced search. Used the advanced search feature to focus in on exactly the types of leads you want to find on LinkedIn.
- Browse your network. When you are considering targeting certain types of leads, go to your own network. You can request introductions to people who are separated by a degree or two of separation.
- Saved searches. Creating saved searches and alerts means that whenever someone new in your target area joins LinkedIn, you will be among the first to know. You can reach out to them with something helpful — always a winning strategy when you are trying to build trust and convert leads into prospect.
Because LinkedIn can be such a potentially great way to generate leads, let’s get deeper into just how that’s done.
LinkedIn Lead Generation System
Start by using a scheduling app like HootSuite and schedule 4 posts per day, including:
- Something personal
- An industry update or, if you are a blogger, a relevant blog post
- Regular promotions such as downloads, special events, or complimentary consultations
- Motivational, inspirational, or fun quotes — even on LinkedIn things that make people laugh get more clicks
Put a “hootlet” (a sharing bookmarklet) and a LinkedIn sharing bookmarklet in your browser so when you find something good, it’s easy to share it or schedule it to be shared. Take a half an hour or so once per week and schedule out the week.
You should also leverage LinkedIn Groups. Find groups that are relevant to your customer base and post your original content with a link to your website within groups. This strategy works better if you are a regular contributor to the Groups you join and even better if you create and manage your own Group.
When people comment on your posts, be ready with a cut-and-paste template for greeting people who reach out to you. Include an opt-in link for your email list, a full signature with your contact information and social media, and a testimonial as well as a newsletter or other offer you can share.
Thank people publicly for their comments and, if you have time, reply with something intelligent to keep the dialogue going. In addition, reply privately to them so you can find out if they want to connect — and so you can start to build a relationship.
Sample LinkedIn Schedule
Use the following suggestions as inspirations so you can create your own LinkedIn systems and schedules.
Check LinkedIn for responses to your posts and add fresh content using your “Share on LinkedIn” app (see above).
Using HootSuite, schedule a weeks’ worth of posts, spread evenly throughout the day (post most important content in the morning when people are most likely to be on LinkedIn). Include personal updates, your original content or a link to valuable, industry-specific content, something promotional, and an inspiring quote, image or video.
If you create fresh content share it to your groups with a link to your website or blog.
Bonus strategy: Send links of interest to people in your network on a regular basis. Extras like this one will stand out in people’s minds. Who besides you will make an effort like that?
Research and update your groups making sure they reflect the people you are trying to reach. Be sure to update your profile with new projects or achievements. Research your industry so you can stay fresh and reach out to people in your network and schedule a phone or in person meeting. You never know what the results will be!
Consider a new profile photo. Times change and so do you!
Here are a few bonus tips in case you don’t have enough to do:
- Vet groups before you join: Click the “more” tab below each Group’s name and select group statistics. Your time online is precious, so make sure your Groups work for you.
- Apply for jobs fast: Use the LinkedIn mobile app and edit your applications on the fly.
- Generate a hard copy resume using resume builder: http://resume.linkedinlabs.com/
- Keywords: Update your profile with the specific keywords used in job descriptions if you are job searching
- Privacy settings: If you are networking or generating leads make sure people can see your profile
LinkedIn is a great tool if you know how to use it. Use these LinkedIn strategies to grow your business, get a new job or get inspiration for fresh content for your own blog or other social media channels.
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