When it comes to using social media to market your business, choosing the correct platform can make or break your marketing efforts. LinkedIn is one of the premier social media platforms and it boasts a very professional atmosphere. While Facebook and Twitter are geared toward the more casual user, LinkedIn was specifically built for professionals in business.
LinkedIn allows users to build a network of contacts through direct introductions or posting helpful information on their own feeds and in groups. While relationship marketing requires effort on your part, you can also encourage others to network with you by putting forth a professional image. As the old saying goes, “You only have one time to make a good first impression,” and that one time often lasts only a few seconds while prospects look at your LinkedIn profile.
Let’s discuss ways to make that right first impression:
1. Create a professional-looking profile. Splurge on a professional headshot instead of a blurry selfie. Consider how you dress: do jeans and a t-shirt represent you well or should you dress in a suit or a business casual look? Fill out your LinkedIn resume completely with former job descriptions. Always use keywords in your profile descriptions; keywords accurately describe your experience but will also grab your profile when someone does a keyword search.
2. Ask for introductions. Instead of just spamming dozens of people a day in hopes of making a connection, ask others in your network to introduce you to decision makers you want to meet who you’ve identified as prospects. Your choice of introductions shouldn’t be random; instead, think of companies who can use your services and then check your network for connections to those companies.
3. Be a helpful resource in groups. LinkedIn groups are extremely helpful in connecting people with like interests but LinkedIn also protects its users from spammers. If you write an article but try to share it with multiple groups at the same time, you may be labeled a spammer inadvertently. Mix up your group interactions and become known as a helpful resource. Ask questions; answer questions; direct others to resources you have discovered.
4. Send thank you notes. Thank you notes are rare these days but it’s a simple act that will make you stand out from the crowd. Even a quick email thank you is better than none at all. Send one to your newest contact, especially if you have plans to meet in person, as well as the person who introduced you. A simple thank you will be remembered and may encourage those contacts to help you in the future.
5. Focus on relationship-building instead of selling. In the world of social media, nothing turns people off more than accepting a new connection and then getting a “like my page!” or “here’s my sales pitch” messages. To avoid being that annoying spammer, focus on building a relationship first by sending articles, videos, or case studies without any expectations. Go back to basics and learn how to converse again and interact with these contacts in a group setting. Let them see you as a person first instead of just a salesperson.
Done correctly, marketing on LinkedIn will showcase your expertise; done incorrectly, you’ll be seen as someone who’s just looking to make a buck or who doesn’t know the first thing about marketing. Be smart with your marketing efforts and watch your business grow.