How Linked In works for business
Why using Linked In to build relationships with potential customers is the fastest way to success these days…
Selling is a tricky business.
Thankfully, with the advent of social media, the days of the hard sell are over – today the best way to grow your business is by building relationships and sharing your knowledge and expertise with a trusting audience.
Linked In is a great platform for doing just that. According to John Espirian, a B2B technical copywriter,
“Linked In is the world’s no 1 business to business marketplace. For me, it’s the professional version of Facebook.”
The Mystery of LinkedIn
There is still a lot of mystery surrounding Linked In. Whether you’re a graduate fresh out of uni, or you’ve been in business for a while, Linked In can sometimes seem like a stuffy, dry place where you upload your CV if you’re in job-seeking mode. But actually, says John, it is a fully-fledged social media network.
“With changes to its algorithms and user interface, Linked In is now a great place for online chat and robust discussions and more importantly it’s a great place to market yourself,” he says.
John's relationship with LinkedIn
John started to delve into the world of Linked In back in 2017 to try to grow his business as a copywriter. Using Linked In as a social media forum, but with a business strategy and conscious goal to grow his business, has been a journey of discovery.
“My pathway to success has been to remove sales from my approach and put out as much helpful content as I can,” he says. “I’ve followed the basic principles of content marketing – to try to be the authority in your industry but not by hard selling.”
To engage with potential customers, John was consistently posting twice a week, sharing knowledge, engaging in discussions and answering people’s questions. He was in it for the long haul – after all, it takes time to build up people’s trust – and after nine months, began to see the green shoots of progress.
“If you’re talking about organic reach and you want your stuff to grow organically and be seen, you have to pay for it on other platforms,” says John. “But Linked In content can work deep into the network for free and it’s a great place to connect with peers and potential clients – it’s my number one social network.”
However, your social media activity needs to have commitment and a purpose in order to move your business forward, otherwise it’s just a hobby. Indeed, John thinks that to be successful, you need three strands to your online marketing strategy:
You need to build credibility through a good Linked In profile. It’s vital to get this right – see more about how to write an eye-catching profile in John’s tips below.
You need an inbound strategy – creating the stuff that attracts people to you such as posts, blogs, adding articles and features that show thought leadership and where people can see that you really know what you’re talking about.
There’s the outbound strategy where you need to actively seek out people relevant to your industry. Use the Linked In services where you can search for certain industry professionals and start engaging with these people. Put effort into going out to look for the people you want to do business with.
“So much of the power of Linked In is the direct messages you have with people,” says John. “One to one connections with people are a great way to influence thoughts and build proper partnerships.”
So, are the days of the hard sell really over? Try John’s tips on how to grow your business with Linked In and you may just be won over, softly!
John’s tips on how to grow your business with Linked In:
Start out by posting twice a week, every week, consistently. Consistency is the key here because you need a consistent presence to make a dent. Be mindful that Linked In algorithms may penalise a lack of engagement. Plus, you can’t expect people to be there when you come back to the platform after a hiatus.
Don’t be an island
Get involved in other people’s conversations. I suggest that you contribute five times more to other people’s posts than the amount you post. So if you manage two posts a week, leave 10 comments on other people’s posts.
Treat your profile as a one-page website
Begin with a snappy 5 or 6 word headline, something that’s different and memorable. Use your brand colours and include a bit of text on the banner image. Next write a great ‘about’ section – state what you do, who your audience is and how to get in touch. Make it clear and easy to read and include a number of key words that people might use to search for your business. Use short paragraphs to explain what value you’re providing to the audience, how you relate to their problems. Keep it short and snappy with no walls of text – use emojis as bullet points to enliven the copy. End the profile page with a ‘call to action’ – give clear contact details and show people what the next steps are and how to get in touch.
Many of us hate being in front of the camera but it’s a valuable tool for adding a memorable, personal touch to your profile. It helps to humanise the content and is one of the best ways to build a quick bridge with the audience. Add captions to any videos as they can often be watched without the sound on, in an office or on the commute, for example. And upload your video directly to Linked In, not through a link – this is called a native video post.
Collect the right endorsements
On Linked In you can be endorsed for certain skills. Keep updating these as they are what people can search for when looking for someone in your industry. Prioritise them to make sure the top three endorsements are relevant to what you do and what you want to be known for.
Don’t wait for a formal introduction
The beauty of Linked In is that you can make your own introductions. However, it pays to do a bit of ground work first. Start by following someone you want to later connect with – like or comment on a few posts and then you can send a warm introduction. When you connect, add a personal message as this shows you’ve taken an interest in what the person or business does.
For more from John, check out linkedin.com/in/johnespirian or find him online at espirian.co.uk
For more details on how Linked In works for your business listen to the full Podcast at :