According to Digital Marketing Ramblings, LinkedIn has 400 million global users, making it the world’s largest and most popular professional network. It can also be a powerful tool to expand brand awareness and generate leads. A successful LinkedIn campaign, however, depends on a strong networking strategy. Your business must not only inspire prospects to follow your brand, but also earn recognition and endorsements from other industry figures.
With a well-defined audience in mind, you can then develop more customized networking tactics to build strategic connections – but remember that all of your interactions should offer professional value.
Here are 6 tips to help you make the most of your LinkedIn interactions:
1. Do your homework. Before you accept or send an invitation, review each profile and consider whether it makes sense to connect with them (or to ask them to connect with you). To form the most productive and beneficial LinkedIn connections, you’ll need to clearly define both who you’d like to reach and who you’d like to reach out to you. If you want to connect with someone but have never met the person before, have a mutual friend introduce you. LinkedIn lets you see your mutual friends so you can easily have someone you know introduce you, even if it is an introduction through LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn to follow up with prospects you’ve contacted elsewhere. This helps reinforce your brand in their minds, and they’ll be more likely to approve your connection requests.
2. Communication matters. Even though LinkedIn is a professional social network, you should still communicate with people on a personal level. Personalize your correspondence rather than using LinkedIn’s standard formats. This shows other members that you’re genuinely interested in connecting with them. When other users do message you, respond promptly to them. Acknowledge their viability as connections, and offer ways that they can contact you or learn more about your brand.
3. Be a reference. Give recommendations and endorsements even when other users don’t specifically request them. They help build friendship and loyalty, and increase your brand’s visibility. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals as well. You can browse other users’ contact lists to find individuals to whom you’d like to be referred, and suggest specific names in your request.
4. Make the most of LinkedIn Groups. With over 2 million available, LinkedIn Groups are an increasingly important way to beef up your presence and make new connections within a specific area. You can use keyword or location searches to find the best groups for your business interests, or try LinkedIn’s Groups You May Like option for suggestions based on your profile, expertise, and current connections. To make decisions easier, pay attention to how active each group is, and how well it’s managed. Then, once you’ve joined a group, engage!
5. Strive to be a Thought Leader. Thought Leader status provides the opportunity to reach and influence a tremendous range of LinkedIn connections, not only by demonstrating industry expertise and a fresh perspective but also by educating, motivating, or inspiring other users. To do this, they should post new, relevant content often and consistently. Ideally, this content should’ve been published in other sources and other mediums. LinkedIn is selective about who they allow to be Thought Leaders and you must apply to be considered. Even if your application isn’t accepted, Thought Leader training is good practice in developing compelling content and enticing contacts to stay engaged with your brand.
Don’t overlook LinkedIn Ads. Though it’s a self-service feature, LinkedIn allows businesses to create and place ads on profiles, groups, inboxes, and other prominent pages to help spur website traffic. You can target audiences for these ads by demographics, Groups, or company names, as well as set customized budgets for each one. You can also try sponsored updates (company updates shown to expand visibility to members not following company page) that show up alongside organic content. If you consider advertising on LinkedIn, however, remember to test carefully to see which messages are most effective, and make sure the landing pages attached to those ads include strong calls to action and clearly outlined benefits.
No matter what your industry, creating an effective brand presence on LinkedIn is an involved process. A few carefully planned strategies will help give your brand unity, consistency, and direction – and prompt more productive professional connections.