How to use LinkedIn for your business

If you are a consultant looking to find new clients, LinkedIn is one of the best places to start. LinkedIn has created a unique opportunity to take professional networking online, so growing your client base is no longer stressful, and doesn’t have to require a lot of legwork. In this blog post, we will focus on learning how to use LinkedIn to find new clients.

#1: Identify Warm Prospects

With over 420 million global members, LinkedIn is the best social media platform for businesses to find and connect with potential prospects.

It provides an effective way to bypass gatekeepers and directly access your ideal clients. Finding and connecting directly with these decision-makers will not only save you time and energy, but will also make you more successful in your prospecting activities.

The best place to start is with warm prospects, and here’s where to look for them.

Who’s Viewed Your Posts

If you post on LinkedIn Publisher, you can find warm prospects on the Who’s Viewed Your Posts page. Look below the graph and demographics for each post, and you’ll see a list of every person who has interacted with the post. You can view them by Likes, Comments, and Shares, and you can even see what they said in their comment or share.

Not only are these people familiar with you, but they’ve also had a positive interaction with your content. If you find someone who matches your target client, send a personalized connectionrequest mentioning their comment or share.

Followers

Look at the top of your followers list to see the people you’re not connected to. These people like your content and posts so much they’ve chosen to follow you and receive notifications about you, even though you’re not connected to them.

Be sure to do a little research and look for a good reason to connect when you send a personalized connection request to them.

Updates

On your Updates page, you’ll find every piece of content you’ve interacted with, whether you posted it or just engaged with it.

Scroll through your most recent interactions. In each post, look at the people who posted or commented. If you hover over their name, you’ll be able to see if you’re connected with them.

If you aren’t connected and would like to be, go to their profile page and send a connection request that references the post.

Who’s Viewed Your Profile

The people listed on the Who’s Viewed Your Profile page are people who have visited your profile.

If you have a free account, you can look below the graph at the top to see the last five people who’ve viewed your profile. If you have a premium account, you’ll have access to the entire list for the last 90 days.

If you see anyone you’re not connected to and connecting would be a benefit, consider sending a connection request. When personalizing it, find another reason he or she would find value from connecting; not just saying, “I saw you viewed my profile.” If seeing your profile was a good enough reason to connect, that person would have already sent you a connection request.

#2: Create Trust

It doesn’t help you to simply “collect connections.” Once you’ve found and connected with potential prospects or partners, it’s important to build a relationship with your connections.

There are a number of ways that you can strengthen your relationships and stay top of mind.

Comment and Share

An easy way to interact and get on the radar of your connections is to comment on or share their status updates and Publisher posts. Ensure that you tag them when appropriate, as this both alerts them to your share or comment and also gives them exposure to your network.

In the case of both comments and sharing, always make sure that your engagement with your connection makes sense and doesn’t come across as spammy or unprofessional, and that you only post content that will be of real benefit or interest to your network.

Make Introductions

Few things leave as strong an impression as when someone gives without the expectation of getting anything in return. This is true when you introduce two of your connections to each other.

If you know two of your connections could benefit from meeting each other, take the time to properly give them a formal introduction. Remember, don’t make introductions haphazardly; only do this if you know both people well.

Send Helpful Articles or Resources

If you want to build relationships and stay top of mind with your hottest prospects without coming across as pushy or salesy, send them a message with an article or other resource.

Each week, send some of your hottest prospects an article, checklist, video, stat, or white paper they’d be interested in, with a short note saying you thought of them when you saw it. Not only will this help keep you on their radar, but it will also position you as a credible authority on your topic and a trusted advisor in their minds.

Note: Don’t share anything self-promotional. You’re using content to help your prospects along their buyer’s journey, not pitching and trying to close the sale in one step. If you make the outreach about you, you’ll instantly lose credibility.

#3: Build Your Authority Status

An authority is someone viewed by his or her industry, peers, and market as an expert on a specific subject. The benefits include:

  • Increased demand for your services or products
  • Increased trust and credibility with your prospects
  • Ability to charge higher fees for your services or products

There’s a simple secret to successfully positioning yourself as an authority: Help your prospects! One of the best ways to do this is to post helpful content on LinkedIn Publisher. By using LinkedIn’s publishing platform, you have the opportunity to reach a new, much larger audience.

As a bonus, your last three LinkedIn Publisher posts are displayed on your profile and your first-level connections receive a notification each time you post a new article. If your connections interact with your post in any way (like, comment on, or share it), it will then become visible to their first-level connections as well (expanding your reach to your second-level network and beyond).

Your posts also have a chance to reach even further if they’re pulled into LinkedIn Pulse (shared directly on Pulse or in the Pulse email notifications), greatly expanding the number of people who can see your post.

If you aren’t sure where to start, it can often help to look at your competitors’ Publisher postsFind out what’s working for them and what isn’t, and what topics seem to get the best engagement. Use what you learn as inspiration for your own posts.

Or take a look at people who create content for a similar market. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you might look at what kind of challenges copywriters or social media companies are solving with their content.

You can also do a little research into new ideas from your connections. Find additional content ideas in places like:

  • The Recent Activity page of your connections
  • Group posts with high engagement
  • Popular SlideShare presentations
  • Twitter

In Conclusion

LinkedIn is the social media platform where executives, business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals go when they’re looking for experts, recommendations, or helpful information within their industry.

By using the tips above, you can position yourself as an authority on your topic, establish valuable partnerships, start and build relationships with your prospects, and generate new leads and sales for your business.

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